Changing my world, one step at a time

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Four things I've learnt in 2016

I'm not going to lie....this has been a very hard year. I suffered a complete breakdown (physically, mentally and emotionally) at the end of January. It had been a very long time coming, literally years in the making. The first few months of 2016 I could barely function. There were times when I couldn't leave the bedroom for days on end. As hard as this year has been though, I've learnt a few things.

1. I love yoga
It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel like I know what I'm doing in this life. I've been doing yoga on and off for almost 30 years but going on a yoga retreat last summer made me fall in love. I learnt that I could do two 1 1/2 hour sessions a day and not die. That I could meditate for an hour and not jump up screaming. When I'm stressed beyond words and tight in every nook and cranny of my body I know that I need yoga. I need the physical release. I need the peace I feel when I'm moving in rhythm with my breath. I need the surrender.

2. I'm braver than I thought
I've moved way out of my comfort zone this year in so many ways. I can do hard things. Admitting to standing in the depths of depression and contemplating suicide, talking to people about it. Not hiding my scars. Those are brave things. Even admitting that is hard! After years of low/no self-esteem, I feel as though I've turned a corner. Being vulnerable because I have to show myself exactly as I am is a difficult thing, but the rewards are great. I've learnt that I have more people in my corner than I realized. That by speaking my truth I can be real and authentic and not the shadow of the person who I once was. True growth lies here.

3. I enjoy self-care
Who knew? I spent 29 years looking after other people, never putting myself first. As a parent, especially as a single parent I got into the habit of always putting myself last. Yes there are times when this is necessary but I could have nurtured myself in countless, small ways if only I'd thought to do so. I'm finally learning how, at the age of 49, to nurture myself. I've discovered that I love occasional massages, painting my nails, getting my hair cut and coloured consistently. These things make me feel pampered and cared for, And why shouldn't I feel that way?

4. I'm more adventurous than I thought
I checked so many things off my bucket list this year! Driving to Ithica to go to Moosewood restaurant and see live theater. Going on a road trip to Stratford and seeing "As you Like it". Reconnecting with a long lost cousin and stepping into her world. First yoga retreat. Going back to school (again!). Kayaking. House sitting in Montreal. Letting people close. Relearning the guitar. Asking for what I need. The trend started in 2015 though with an epic road trip to New Orleans. Feel the fear and do it's worth it.

What are some of the things you've learnt in 2016?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

End of an Era

Wow! I had a great big post almost finished when my computer suddenly decided to crash....It's late and I'm tired. I haven't got the strength to rewrite it all.

So what am I doing now? I'm watching The Tragically Hip on tv performing in their last ever concert. I feel crushed. This is a band that I first discovered in 1985, when I was 18...that's a long time, a lot of songs and concerts. the poetic lyrics that belong to Gord Downie and all the memories that go along with them.

I think of my friend Krista who has passed away and was a Tragically Hip fan. The old boyfriend who first introduced me to them (and punk rock in the bargain). I'm raising my glass to all of it; the memories and lyrics sung past and present. But never again in this way.

The end of an era. And I'm proud to be Canadian.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Doctor's orders

I've recently been to see a Naturopathic Doctor. I had to do something about the chronic low energy I was feeling, in addition to seeing if anything could be done about the continuous flare ups of Crohn's disease and Fibromyalgia that I was experiencing.

This being my first visit the doctor completed a thorough hour and a half interview and physical assessment. She then suggested a few things that could be started immediately. And suggested an elimination diet.

Ignore the Power Sheets on the right. I just happened to be working on them when I snapped the picture. This isn't going to be fun folks, BUT I am so very desperate to feel better that I didn't hesitate when she suggested doing it. 

For those who don't know how this works, a person strips their diet down to the barest of bones. After 4 weeks, you begin adding foods back one at a time, carefully examining whether you are having any adverse reaction at all. As an experiment it will be interesting to see how I feel. So......
No red meat, pork, seafood, gluten containing grains, white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, eggs, dairy etc...I'm sure you get my drift.

I'll be staring on Thursday this week. I've got my menu and grocery list ready and I'll keep you all posted. 

Blessings friends
C  xo

Friday, August 12, 2016

Baby Steps

When I started to feel well enough to begin moving forward I had some decisions to make. Woud I stay in Cornwall or attempt to go back to Ottawa? Deep in my heart it wasn't even a question. Every failed attempt stood in front of me, reminding me that things had to change and that simply wasn't possible if I simply returned.

So I moved into an empty bedroom at my aunt's. My uncle had passed away early in April and the company was good for her. And it meant a move away from my parents house. I had grown up there, had friends, lots of relatives, a church family, a therapist. In other words, lots of support.

I made a list of goals and action steps. I made a bucket list. And I decided that as much as possible, I was going to enjoy my summer.

I made pavlova

spent time with my grandson

Ate at The Quirky Carrot in Alexandria

and took pictures of quirky houses

I bought a live orchid,

took in art galleries,

went to a Medieval Festival,

Upper Canada Village

and took a selfie.
I took hikes

laid in hammocks.

enjoyed my first ever yoga retreat

and tried to surrender.

I drove to Ithica, NY...

to see "The Heights" at the Hangar Theater (Great show!)...

with my daughter Maddie.

We also ate at "Moosewood" Restaurant (Hello bucket list!) I'd been wanting to go there since 1985.

A week later I was off to Stratford, ON to see "As you like It" at the Shakespeare Festival. Another check on the Bucket List.

Thoroughly enjoyed reuniting with my cousin, the great play (Shakespeare's words set in 1985 Newfoundland), the beautiful little town of Stratford

and St Jacob's market.

I've dyed my hair slightly differently.

I'm now housesitting in Montreal,

with Sonja

and Carole who sadly had to leave on Wednesday. We've been to the Botanical Gardens, downtown, saw a protest march, old Montreal, had Mexican in Chinatown, did lots of Khiel's, L'Occitane, Must Boutique, Williams-Sonoma and

Anthropologie where I could have easily dropped a year's wages but managed to restrain myself.

So what else have I done? A partial juice fast for 12 days, some hikes, went swimming. went kayaking for the first time ( more off the Bucket List), registered for school.....

None of these things may seem like much. But for the first time in a very long time, I've actually put myself first. And I've really enjoyed this summer. 

Day by day, I am healing.

Peace, my friends
C xo

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New Beginnings...again

New steps...more steps...different directions. So many different things to make your mind spin. Truly, it's dizzying.

To paraphrase:

Into the freedom of wind and sunshineI let you go Into the dance of the stars and the planets I let you go Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star makerI let you go 

This is my intention. My past life, my past self, I am letting it go. Of course, there are certain things which I will carry forward. My family, my friends, my experiences and history. These are the things I'm taking forward. 

What will this new beginning look like, you ask? Honestly, I'm not 100% sure. There are certain things I've done which I'll discuss in a moment and other things that I have in the works but am not fully certain about yet.

Just like Joan Anderson in "A Year by the Sea" I cracked under the pressure of the weight of carrying my life. The load was heavy and it wasn't shared in the way I needed. After years of fixing the cracks with bandage solutions I found myself unable to function anymore. Literally. And the only way I could even begin to heal was to leave. Now, before I have people jumping down my throat I have to say that my children are all adults. There's "desertion" and then there's DESERTION. Besides which I really had no choice. Staying meant suicide. Is that harsh? It's the truth. 

I tried to come back a few times. Didn't work. Within a day or two my fragile self would crumble and return to my previous state. Being at home wasn't working. 

Now I'm renting a room from my aunt. The children have all moved out. My husband says he is going to sell the house. There are so many bad memories associated to it for me that I could never return to live there, no matter what he decides to do. 

I need to establish my own true self, my identity. I need to establish a pattern of CHOOSING my life rather than letting it be chosen for me or just happening TO me. 

Baby beginnings. 

That's how it works.

Much love
C xo