Pause the Panic-Loop

I spotted him. A streak of bright red tucked behind branches. A male cardinal. He was the culprit that interrupted my stream of thoughts. Mind you, it was a necessary interruption. I was caught in an endless loop of worry, anger and panic. You would think that lounging in a kiddie (adult) pool in your backyard in 32 degrees Celsius weather while on holiday would be a relaxing activity. If I were to post a photo, boy would it appear desirable (especially since small pools are sold out and beaches are closed right now.) While my body was submerged in cool water on a hot day, my mind was racing. This pandemic has a way of producing waves of rest and panic, with no in-between. 

I was three days in on a ‘rest phase’ and feeling a bit less overwhelmed with everything when the phone rang. I had just returned from the drug store where, for the first time in fourteen weeks, I took some time to browse. For me, essential shopping meant no time for browsing. It was a matter of quick decisions, sticking to a list and getting the heck out of there. But during this outing I was happy to have purchased a pair of cute floral earrings. This small purchase combined with feeling okay to take some time to browse put me in a ‘slightly normal’ mood. A mood that would only last a few more minutes. 

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Timely Messages

After five years of writing a blog and filling countless journals, I’ve discovered I am most passionate about unlocking timely messages that encourage, challenge and change my perspective. I’m talking about moments of clarity and self-discovery. This is what I love writing about!

When I happen upon a timely message like spotting light poking through a pinhole, I am fully captivated. I cannot look away because behind that perforated shield is the most sought after treasure. A cache that surpasses wealth and status – hidden, and revealed to the patient, humble and hungry. It’s a treasure of knowledge, making me more conscious of my life choices, beliefs and the recovery or retrieval of my truest self. A refinement of sorts.

When that tiny string of light catches my attention I know that something wonderful is on its way and I must create space for its entry. I simply allow the tiny string of light to increase my curiosity to the point where everything else is dimmed. As my curiosity increases, the light also increases in brightness. The intrigue and comfort of the glow make me vulnerable and open to what will be revealed. At this invitation, I observe, wait and listen…. 

…sitting silently under a fully bloomed tree in my backyard – my body riddled with the underlying stress of the pandemic – I consciously take deep breaths and make note of all that I see around me (a grounding technique I’m told). As I tilt my head upwards to look at the tree above me, there appears the tiny string of light. Intrigue sets in and like a child I let my imagination take over. I notice the arched branches overhead. Each branch lined with symmetrical pairs of heart-like leaves covering me like an umbrella. I wait with anticipation and begin to feel a sense of awe. Then, in the quietness of her hanging branches, I hear a whisper, “You are not alone.” I trust what is spoken and lean in. Each heart-like leaf extending overhead acts as a collective – each representing one human having gone through difficulty in this life, and now like God’s angels they watch over me. I am not alone….

It was a beautiful, very personal and emotional moment. A revelation of sorts.

Knowledge comes in the way of reflection – a pinhole of light shining in our direction. Appearing in the chaos and the mundane, after heated conversations. Coming in the way of a dream, scent, book, quote, podcast, a breeze, lapping of water on the shoreline. Having no word count or set length, it is an occurrence that ignites curiosity and leads to revelation. My thirst for self-discovery and self-recovery has taught me to be on the look out for subtle alerts that flash before my eyes. A tiny string of light that leads to illuminating revelation and wisdom. 

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Self-Care: More Than A Hobby

Self-care: I’ve heard it often enough to understand that we live in a culture where we keep too busy. Many times ‘we’ don’t even make it on our very own to-do list. Serving the demands of our agendas is more important than slowing down to allow time for introspection. It is much easier to disregard self-care since it doesn’t yield the same reward as a clean kitchen, a mowed lawn, an empty inbox or a home-cooked meal. Self-care is not just putting your name on the to-do list – it’s slowing down enough to listen to what you truly need. It means being vulnerable and not just the one in charge of checking-off a list.  

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Certainty

Worry, like a string of balloons tethered to your hands carries you far from reality. 

Detached from the earth below, you spend endless hours constructing scenarios that address every “What if?”

You devise multiple plans – solidifying certainty and safety at all costs.

Every situation controlled. Every outcome calculated. Every question answered.

Nothing is unpredictable and everything works in your favour.

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She is Past

The seal broke releasing the past. 

Its sentence was up and like an uninvited haunting it was making its arrival known. 

Wanting to hide in fear it chased me down. 

Like a child I hid under my blanket pretending that if I couldn’t see her, she couldn’t see me. 

My protective force was faulty. 

I peeled back my cover, slowly exposing my face. 

There on my bed sat Past. 

She was innocent, honest, weathered and bruised, having a lifetime of memories. 

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…but a moment

My backyard, small but perfect – a place to lounge mid-afternoon during the summer months. Two new turquoise-blue muskoka chairs make backyard lounging perfect. Everyday I would sit with my bare feet touching the grass or crosslegged on the chair studying, reflecting and writing. My studies were often interrupted by my curious little dog playfully pouncing on grasshoppers, a squirrel running along the fence line or flying insects. Butterflies were plenty. They were unlike the buzz or crawl of the other insects. Their descent into my backyard was like royalty, gracefully fluttering to the sound of trumpets and strings. I could not help but stop what I was doing to watch them – moving from blades of grass to flowers until their final ascent up and beyond my yard. I was mesmerized by their beauty and elegance. 

Having lost my grandmother at the beginning of July, I was contemplating the idea that butterflies are a sign from God. Continue reading

Beneath Waters

I buried her beneath waters.

A buoyant sail once purposed for adventure, shipwrecked.

Drowned by currents of ‘acceptable norms’ 

She could no longer stay afloat.

She sank. Her beauty. Her purpose. Her destiny. Gone.

She was ‘put in her place’ on the ocean floor.

A vessel repurposed for others. 

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Search For Connection

I was on a search for connection. I hadn’t had time to grieve the loss of my grandma or soul-search until vacation. Time away is more than indulgence in delicious foods and drinks – it’s an intentional practice of stillness, purging the mind of everything that ‘needs to be done.’ I guess you could say it’s an ‘emptying’ of one thing and a ‘re-filling’ of another. Maybe even a re-calibration. 

My mind is always busy. I am constantly taking stock of every social exchange, looking for ways to be productive and feeling overwhelmed when I don’t have time to get ‘life’ in order. It took a few days of a beach vacation to settle my busy mind. 

It was one late-afternoon in the middle of my vacation, right before the magical hours of sunset. Immersed in warm, salty ocean water, my body relaxed and my mind set at ease, I noticed a child-like hunt for treasure. Wading in the water a short distance away vacationers reached below the surface to the bed of the ocean. Each plunge un-earthed rocks and shells from beneath their toes. Sifting through their findings by holding each rock and shell up to their eyes for approval, the treasure-hunters let go of the less precious ones and kept the best ones close. For those who seemed as if they could afford expensive things these natural treasures appeared to hold great value. Even more than the rocks and shells themselves, it was the child-like hunt for treasure that appeared valuable to them. Maybe only kept for a day by their beach chair, or taken home and placed in a decorative dish, these rocks and shells would become a reminder of sun-kissed skin, salty ocean water, letting-go of less-precious ‘stuff’ and discovering nature’s treasures.

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A Shadow of Myself

Fear like shadows cast on sunny days cloud my outlook – shifting my attention from warm rays to cold pavement. 

My shadow distorts my image, stretching the truth until it becomes my only reality.

Turning my beauty into an illusory outline void of colour and detail.

It walks proud as it is tethered around my feet like chains. 

“I own you.”  

“Where you go I go.”

It muscles its way in crushing my self-esteem. 

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When You Can’t Answer Honestly

I stopped going to church when I couldn’t answer the question “How are you doing?” honestly.

When a nice outfit couldn’t distract people enough from the anguish I was experiencing inside, honesty became involuntary. Sure, I let a few trusted individuals know that life at the time was quite stressful – heck, everyone these days understands stress! Unable to find the words that could accurately explain the toll that stress was taking on my body, I finally broke down. No cute outfit or casual talk could cover up the wretched results of unaddressed stress. I was a mess. Even weeks after regaining some strength, I just couldn’t put on a face for the church folk. The act was over. 

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