Art of Resistance

My nephew (a new addition to our family) is absolutely adorable and full of charm. The other day I was video chatting with him (and my sister) while he was eating his dinner. My sister couldn’t get the food to him fast enough. I was surprised that he was enjoying spinach, broccoli and salmon. There’s not a lot this little guy doesn’t like to eat. Thinking back to my own childhood, boy was I a picky eater compared to him. I could not handle anything with a ‘funny’ texture, including eggs and most meat (to this day, I still can’t.) 

My video chat with my nephew during dinner time got me thinking about a much larger dilemma than my picky eating habits as a child. When life serves us a diet that is unpalatable we are quick to push the plate away. Our ‘food’ dislikes are actually unwanted emotions and experiences such as discontentment, sadness and loneliness. These can be brought on by loss, disappointment, failure and disagreements.

Just like I avoided eggs and most meat as a child (and adult), I’ve also pushed away many unwanted emotions and experiences. I did this by covering up reality with motivational mantras like, “Don’t give up! Stay positive! Do what’s right!” With such an unbalanced diet of motivational mantras, I neglected to notice any deficiency. The unbalanced diet, while tasty, caused an upset stomach. Unlike a child, I could no longer close my lips and shake my head, “No!” I had to acknowledge every platitude I had collected over the years: “Strong successful people persist! Don’t show weakness! Pray the roadblocks away!” All these taught me the art of resistance.

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Screaming Is An Option

Screaming feels like an option. 

I imagine myself running into my backyard, collapsing to my knees and with fists raised in complaint, screaming.

Tears would follow, dripping with the same guttural utterance of my screams. I would tuck my face in my hands and slump forward. My cry to feel alive or at least to revive the life I once had, would have me lower my forehead to the cold damp Earth. Bracing myself with my forearms I would extend my legs and lay prostrate as if to say, “God!” With one unspoken word muttered in my humble posture, I would plead for communion without fear – for the comfort of a family meal indoors, for celebrations with balloons, cake and gifts, and for peace in spite of this mysterious danger lurking in gatherings. 

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Unmasking

I write this sitting in my backyard on a warm breezy fall afternoon. The setting is ideal. My demeanour calm and collected. I pride myself on how well I can hide the inner turmoil at times. I’m reluctant to admit how difficult the last few months have been and how the culminating eruption took me out. 

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Simple: Swimming

I was aimlessly scrolling when my finger stopped at a post that read, “What makes you feel free?” I thought to myself, “I’m going to answer this.” Without over-thinking or complicating the question I allowed the first thing to pop into my mind: swimming. I feel most free when I’m submerged in water. Swimming ignites an instant child-like pleasure where your adult concerns are tossed aside like a beach towel draped over a lawn chair.

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Grief and Gardens – One Year Later

Earlier this year I shared my story of loss with Grief Stories Podcast. I am thankful for this opportunity. Every loss matters. 🌼🧡

Before the interview I spent many days mulling over what I wanted to share. I had scripted most of my words for fear that I would be too nervous during the actual podcast to remember anything. The process was slow and therapeutic. Each time I went over what I wanted to share tears welled up in my eyes followed by a moment of silence. On the day of the recording I placed a photograph of Grandma and I close to me and poured myself a glass of water in her souvenir glass from Austria. I surrounded myself with memories of her and borrowed from her courage as I shared. As much as I wanted to present a perfectly packaged script I knew that I needed to let go and speak from my heart. …and with slow methodical pauses I did. Here’s to you Grandma. 🌼🧡
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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…. 

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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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