September 20

Butting It Out

**Note 1** I actually started writing this several months ago. Then summer happened and came along with it were the tough choices of whether or not I’d rather be frolicking outside or banging my head against my lap top trying to string together words I’m happy with.

If only there was an emoji for my decision making abilities…

Oh wait, there is…

poo

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’ve turned out okay(ish) depending on the day of the week and the time of the month, so I suppose I’ve done a few things right.

I have, however, made one decision I can finally say I am – without a doubt – proud of and have zero regrets or second thoughts.

And no, it has nothing to do with my dating life.

**Note 2** At the time of initially writing this, my dating life was still on its nine-year hiatus and that has surprisingly changed, which is a story for another time.**

Anyway.

I quit smoking.

People quit smoking all the time… so why is this such a big deal for me?

My choice to begin in the first place isn’t one I’m proud of. Sometimes, you have to travel to the dark side to appreciate the light. Right? (Still waiting for the light to manifest itself into my romantic life).

**Note 3** Sometime last year, I was having a conversation with a friend about my lack luster love life. I brought up the topic of smoking and how I felt that it was something I had to give up before I could totally attract a healthy relationship – as much of what I had been attracting over the last decade has been toxic (not all, though!). I was treating myself with toxic habits and attracting similar relationships to the one I had with my self. Voila! Not long after butting it out, my perpetual single life smoldered out as well… again, a story for another time.

Regardless, it was a large part of who I was… and who I wasn’t.

In fact, I was such a stealthy smoker that most people in my life didn’t even know.

I was a mostly private – and heavy – puffer (of cigarettes, just to clarify) for 20 years.

Two decades.

That’s a long time.

For 20 years, I relied on these magic toxic filled sticks to make me feel at ease.  They were my dirty little companions in times of anxiety, excitement, boredom, and busyness. They were a social crutch. Ever been awkwardly waiting for someone at a bar? Easy, go for a smoke while you pretend to text someone.

They went great with wine, telephone conversations, driving, and they were my way to step back and quiet my mind. And let’s not forget coffee – nothing went better with caffeine than a dose of carbon monoxide.

Don’t even get me started on how great it was after sex… Well, so I’ve been told…

And I actually enjoyed it.

“Life is short… do what you enjoy. I could quit smoking and then I could get hit by a bus. It’s my only bad habit… I eat well and I exercise…. I really do take care of myself. I could have worse habits!”

This was my reasoning each and every time.

For twenty years I told myself that this was something I had full control over. I controlled them, not the other way around. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The mere thought of going somewhere and not being able to have a cigarette or needing to hide it sent me into anxiety. Despite being careless with my own health, I was always cautious and considerate of those who I shared my bad habits with.

My car was stocked with the necessities. Gum, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and body spray galore. I was like a Health and Beauty aisle at Walmart on wheels. Minus the Health part.

I had ‘quit’ several times over the years. Nothing stuck for more than a couple weeks, tops. I had tried the gum, patches, cold turkey and medications. The terrible dreams were one thing, but my raging bitch moods were another story. Don’t even get me started on being on Champix when you are PMSing. Guys, if you think we are too emotional then… think again.  You haven’t felt true toxic wrath until you’ve seen a crampy, high strung woman too bloated for her fat pants sans her cigarette. That terrifies even me.

I actually felt it was in the best interest of my own well-being and the safety of others to continue to light up.

Although I had ‘wanted’ to butt out for a long time, the one habit I never bothered to adjust was my thought patterns. I had always ‘worked’ on quitting smoking, but I never worked on my mind. For a while, I had only wanted to quit to have extra cash.

I had started CrossFit in 2012 to challenge my mental and physical strength. By no means do I consider myself highly competitive or even all that athletic, but I wanted something that pushed me just a little bit harder. I had only taken small sips of the proverbial Kool-Aid… which was enough to quench my thirst for a healthier lifestyle.

cfIt wasn’t solely CrossFit – much of it was also the changing social perception. Gone were the days of sandbox ashtrays in shopping malls and street corners. I had been a social outcast for the better part of my childhood and smoking was something I did to fit in to some -any- kind of crowd. Despite the changing laws and stigmas – it was still easy enough to hide. But, trying to mask the fact that I was losing a lung before the CrossFit warm-up was even over was getting to be a real challenge – and not the kind I signed up for. I dreaded things like sprints and thrusters, and wall balls and burpees were the absolute worst. And what was the first thing I did after walking out of the torture chambers? Torture my body even more. And not for positive gains.

The more I went, the more I began to feel like a hypocrite. That’s like claiming to be a nature lover as you nudge the remnants of your nic-stick into a sidewalk nook and cranny.

Finally, my mind began to change. Slowly but surely, I began to hate it. I had a hard enough time explaining to narrow minded people why I am was still single and child-less at 33, never mind trying to justify why I was dating the slick devilish darts.

smokeIt had occurred to me that my mind had been conditioned to think cigarettes were ‘cool’ and simply a part of ‘who I was’. The only way I could quit was to rewire my brain and adopt new ways of thinking. Rather than being accustomed to telling myself it was something I needed, I began to tell myself the opposite. (Now if I could only translate this into every other area of my life, I’d be set!) I also did what I have been seemingly good at in other areas of my life – I focused on the negatives. That’s right – but this time for good reason. I filled my brain with the very worst things I could think of. Rather than thinking about how much I enjoyed it with a cold beer on a hot summer night – I consciously thought about all the toxins I was polluting my body with and spent time asking Siri to show me blackened lungs.

One morning, I got into my car and left for work. I had one cigarette left. This is where panic mode would usually set in and I would need to b-line to the Mac’s store. I opened my glove box to dig out some change – only to have the content of primarily empty cigarette packages fall out. I stared at the pile of money I had turned into a toxic wasteland.

And that was it. This is stupid. I kept on driving – which might have been the best decision I have ever made.

Deep breath.

(Because I can do that now.)

 

April 9

How to Be Something!

Be

If you’re human, chances are you may share the same sentiments.  If you’re one of the few that is totally 1000% satisfied with all that you are doing and have it totally figured out, I salute you.

Oh, and as a side note, I should mention these are thoughts that prelude what will be my next rant… somewhere along the lines about why I jumped from the routine and security of a corporate desk job that I relatively enjoyed, into self employment uncertainty.  I thought about writing it all as it’s really one long string of thoughts, but we’re busy people. We got other shit to do and I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep, anyway.

Moving on…

For the last twenty-some years, I’ve been following a similar routine. 8-5 at a desk (or a variation of). At first it was school. Much like the general population, Monday to Friday I would haul my ass to class before the sound of the bell and sit at a desk. Save for recess breaks, when I would scramble to find someone to play with. I was an awkward kid, don’t judge.

Then the bell rang and us rug rats scurried back to class. Back to a wooden slab of a desk to be spoon fed all sorts of interesting and relevant information that I am sure we all fully remember and utilize every day in adulthood. All in hopes that one day we will land a good career, and ‘be something’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against school. I enjoyed phys ed, creative writing classes, and even failing math more times than I can count on one hand (I can only count to five, anyway). There were plenty of good things. Like overcoming the fear of speaking to an audience. I learned what I was good at, and I learned about the kinds of things I never wanted to do again.

It also taught me many of other things – social interaction, how to sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, strengths and weaknesses, constructive criticism, how to meet deadlines, how to create sudden and spontaneous illnesses, forge sick notes, how to slice open an innocent frog, acceptance of routine (blah), and so on.  There were some teachers that simply showed up and read from a text book, and others that helped you to go past your fears and brought out the very best in you.

knowledgeBut in my opinion, there’s a lot of important topics school doesn’t cover in great detail – which are crucial to long term happiness. Unfortunately, they can only been taught through experience. There is no ‘Art of Being Human 101′ or ‘Inward Journey for Beginners’ or ‘Fundamentals of Soulful Living’ and you can’t get your Masters in Mindfulness. Important lessons that really help you BE the best you can be – in whatever field you choose.

And there was always that nagging question:

“So have you decided what you want to be when you grow up, Tanis?”

How do I know? Who says I’m going to grow up anyway? What if I die tomorrow? Does that mean I didn’t BEcome anything? But I already AM something, I AM me, and if I am ME, I’ll also BE me when I ‘grow up’, so doesn’t that mean I’ve already chosen what I wish to BE?

I loathe this question.

It makes it sound like you are not fully a human BEing unless you attach a fancy title to yourself. I guess you’re just merely human-ing, or something like that. Science is wrong, you’re heart only starts beating once you’ve found the perfect job to brag about. (This is incorrect, by the way).

So after school, I scurried off into the ‘real world’ and signed up for the rat race. Be something! Be something! I need to be something!!

As a society, we are caught up in labels, perceived meaning and the pressure to ‘be’ something that already exists (which is YOU, btw)… and less on what it actually means to BE. If you are reading this, I can only assume you’re alive – in which case you are already what you need to be.

“OMG. You’re famous?! Please let me lick the dirt off your heels! I bow to you!”
“Wow! You’re a lawyer! That’s so awesome!”
“So you’re a delivery person… Oh. That’s cool.”
“You drive a garbage truck? What?”
“Heh, so you work at McDonalds? Do you, like, not have any motivation in life? Ew.”

But, seriously. What if I really do actually enjoy flipping burgers and it makes me intrinsically happy? I actually really do enjoy BBQing.

routine3So, most of my life was spent in a relentless attempt to get to the top of some invisible ladder so that at my high school reunion I could say, “Look at me, look at what I am being!” And I was something. I was something that excelled in my field and sat a desk for a determined amount of time every day, Monday to Friday.

Anyway, after several fancy titles, a lot of time spent busy ‘being something’ – I decided I didn’t want to do the dance of routine anymore. I felt stifled and empty, not to mention I’m a terrible dancer.  I didn’t want to do things I wasn’t totally passionate about just to satisfy some ridiculous perception we have.  Disregarding who you are, compromising yourself in exchange for an inflated ego, a perceived monetary value of what you are ‘worth’ just so you can get by and hopefully go out and start enjoying life by the time you’re damn near dead, or because of a bunch of narcissistic societal beliefs, doesn’t equate to success. It adds up to misery and wastes the essence of who you truly are. Time you spend ignoring what you believe to be your true purpose is time you can never get back. Yeah, you can never get time back – that’s scary shit!

So I jumped. Into a foreign land of not knowing, no security, and not much routine. It might have been the most secure choice I have made. But, more on that later.

For now, though, here’s the thing:

Success is not defined from your job or the label you give yourself. If you’ve got degrees and certifications coming out of your you-know-what and you are a terrible person, I am sorry, but you are not a success.  All that does is make you a terrible person with a good education.

Success comes from BEing. That’s it, that’s all. Simply being. Being in the moment. As best you can. Great things happen when you choose to be awesome at LIFE, not just a label. BE a good person. That’s all there is too it.

If you don’t design your life, someone else will. That little nagging voice in your heart telling you to chase your dreams? Or at the very least, to make a change? It’s a real thing, listen to it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

You are already what you want to BE.

Go out and do it.

Be

 

March 2

Let’s Jump Into Bed

messybed3

I’ve started to make my bed each morning. This has never happened. Perhaps, psychologically I feel that if I make my bed it will help to tidy up my entire life which some days feels like a disaster. That, and it’s a small task that leaves a feeling of pride to start the day off.

My inner child is stoked.

“Yeah Mom, Dad! Take that!! I totally just made my bed!”

Life = winning.

Amessy bed1nd at the end of the day, it looks even more appealing to climb into.

But, in actuality, it’s the same level of comfort.

So, maybe this small step can be carried over into the rest of the mess. Truth is, we are all a little bit messy. Some of us aren’t exactly where we want or thought we would be in life. Relationship woes. Marriage woes. Financial woes. Emotional woes. Woe is me.

Some of us have really messy beds.

But, look closer. Is it really, ‘woe is me’?

Fuck that. Not today.

WHOA is me.

It’s all perception.

We are taught from a young age that you ‘should’ make your bed. And if you want to, go ahead. Really. I am.

Because I want to.

It can be as messy as you want it to be. (Unless you share it with someone, it might need a little compromise. I don’t have this problem… yet.) Still though, it might need a little fixing up before you crawl in – and if you make it too tightly, you might kick your feet so that it’s a bit more loose. A little breathing room, you might say. The trick is to find the right balance.

Regardless, it’s your bed. It doesn’t matter how perfect it is. It doesn’t matter how messy it is. It might change on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll go for month with nicely tucked in sheets. Maybe you’ll go for twenty years with pillows strewn across the floor.

What matters, is that it’s where magic happens. (Okay, as of lately, I don’t know what this is like, but whatever, you get the point.) It’s where magic CAN happen. It’s waiting. Calling your name. Dying for you to jump in, roll around and make love to it. How you decide to play – to explore in it is all up to you.

It’s where dreams are made.

All you have to do is show up.

(Maybe relax a little.)

Whoa…

This is a metaphor for life.

Sweet dreams.

messybed3

December 30

Tight Pants, Loose Change and Resolution Refrain

Be-The-Change

Ohhh, the holidays. That joyous time of year that floods the shopping malls with only the kindest of folk. The time of year that has me digging around for an even more elastic-y pair of elastic stretch pants.

Only one of those two sentences has truth to it.

Every year I ask Santa for a slim waistline and a fat bank account, and every year he gets it all mixed up. But is it really Santa’s fault?! Or is it my own for shoving all those extra chocolates and perogies and ham and meatballs and those cute little cocktail wieners into my face that I didn’t need. No need for me to insert a sick joke here, I’m sure you’ve already thought it.

Every action has a consequence. Mine is puffiness around the mid region… and quite frankly, there is nothing Santa can do about it.

(But seriously though, I did get to spend the holidays with a ton of people I love tremendously, so that trumps the stretchy pants.)

gymAnd so comes the New Year. A real time for change, right? Another chance at bringing to fruition all that I (and you) want. Hooray!

But,

A change in numbers doesn’t mean change, unless you are a calendar.  It doesn’t mean a promise of better things to come.  Change only comes from a change in attitude and inspired action. You have this opportunity in every new moment – which is basically, well – all the time.

A ‘new year’ sounds great and all, and sure it gives that refreshed and brand newish feeling – albeit a fleeting one – but don’t sit around and wait for the stroke of midnight. Every moment is a new one, regardless of what year it is. And not to sound totally morbid, but do any of us even know if we are going to live through 2014?! Nope. If you aren’t six feet under, the moment is always ripe.

I stopped making typical new year’s resolutions a while ago. Fuck the plans to save more money, lose weight, etc etc.

Why? Because you don’t know what life is going to throw at you! Last year, I could have sworn by this time this year – I’d be running my own retail business and more financially stable.

Instead, life threw other surprises my way. But as for the good times, I did I find myself couch surfing and castle hopping in Germany, sipping cervasas on sail boats and working in the film industry. None of my year was anything like I thought it would be. I managed to do almost the complete opposite of everything I was ‘planning’ to do. And I enjoyed every single minute of it. I didn’t sit around and wait for the right moment to come along. Instead, I grabbed opportunities by the balls and some of them led me on down paths I never thought I had. Even all the perceived ‘bad’ shit helped with that, too.

Obviously not every change happens over night. Would I way rather be backpacking across somewhere in Central America right now? Oh hell yeah. That’s not going to happen tomorrow with the current state of my bank account. But the point is, is that when you decide to be conscious of the moment, doors you didn’t even expect will open. And some others may shut. You really don’t know where life is going to take you.

I have one goal and one goal only – that is to appreciate everything… whether it’s the extra five bucks to buy a coffee or 50 for a night out. With gratitude comes happiness, and with happiness comes opportunity, and when you are in that zone, things like losing weight and attracting cool shit comes far more naturally.

So rather than setting up all these ridiculous resolutions that last for 72 hours and set you up for frustration and failure, practice mindfulness. Not the most easiest thing when you are feeling disgruntled, but it does help to create change.

Look at everything with a sense of impermanence. That person you last talked to? Yeah, they are going to be gone one day. So are you. That bed you slept on? Well, to be honest it’s going to be in the dump one day. One day that house you live in is going to be gone. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Everything – every, single thing is impermanent – and when you look at things with that in mind, not only does it help you to have a greater appreciation for even the crappiest of moments… but it can also create a state of urgency to make change if you are unhappy. Currently, I’m not happy about my tight pants.

Life is short. Don’t wait for a flip of a calendar. Carpe diem. Be grateful.

Be-The-Change

December 4

A Holiday Poem for the Whole Year

christmas heart

T’was the month of December and all through the weeks,
A frenzy of folks, for ‘things’ they would seek

Pushing their way through the others in a scurry,
Get out of my way – Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Gizmos! And gadgets! And all the latest fads!
Surely, with all this ‘stuff’, no one will be sad!

But it’s not just Christmas, that we find objects to hold dear,
The religion of consumerism exists all through the year.

Cashing in on the sales, just think – the money we’ll save!
For more and more items, you can’t take to the grave.

For some of these folks, these ‘things’ provide solace – on this happiness they depend,
But for others – happiness is found – without a dime to spend.

An embrace, a smile, a gesture, a tender touch
Irreplaceable things – that really don’t cost much.

We get caught up in the parking lot mess, the debt, the stress
Some of us forget – the greatest gift of all – is an act of kindness.

If you want to give true items of gold,
Invest in the things that can’t be sold… memories, experiences, and tales to be told

For the things worth giving, are memories not forgot
They come with real value – because they can’t be bought

The useless crap we collect eventually serves its purpose
Winding up as garbage and junk, eventually worthless

Think not about what you want, but truly what you need
When you remove the clutter – is when you are freed

Collect possessions of love and desire – things that fill your heart inside
When you shop from outside-in, you’ll never really be satisfied

Because ‘things’ only offer moments that are soon to be fleeting
They are not the things that keep your heart beating.

If you don’t know what to give, there’s one true gift that everyone wants
Is the gift of happiness and love – it doesn’t come in a box

It’s not hanging on a rack or sitting on a shelf
And it surely isn’t glued together by elves.

For the gift of pure joy in the heart, is not a room to be furnished
Because it all derives from character – and character can’t be purchased.

Happy Holidays!

christmas heart

 

November 17

This is How I Inherited a Unicorn.

wtf

First of all, this is going to be a long one. I’ve got some magical stories but without any back story, I’m sure I probably just sound like a nut job. I also haven’t found any way to shorten my thoughts yet. Mission impossible. I’m sure I sound like a nut anyway. Whatever. Read if you wish…

Every now and then I get a little bit disgruntled with where I am at in life, and then I need to force myself to stop and remember that EVERYTHING is impermanent. This really helps when you get into a quarrel with your family or are in a shitty situation. Just remember – nothing lasts forever.

wtfSure, it’s about the journey, not the destination – which I fully understand, though it would be a bit easier if I was actually born with a thing called ‘patience’. I am trying to learn the art of patience, which given the path I’ve chosen to follow in this life time, is undoubtedly one of my ‘life lessons’ to master – if I could hurry up and learn already, that’d be f***ing stellar.

However, beyond the whole discombobulation, I find myself drawing people into my life that often spark a memory of the magical things that happen in my life – which forces me to reflect – and ultimately helps me to have gratitude and wash away any unsettling feelings. Not only that, reflecting on some of my stories – and writing them out, helps me to remember that there is a lot of behind-the-scenes magic at work, even when I can’t always see it. Things become clearer. Someone said something to me a couple weeks ago that made me recall this story, so here it is. (Thanks by the way!)

Years and years ago, I began noticing patterns in my life revolving around the number 11. I’d see 11:11 just about everywhere, and although I could have brushed it off as nothing more than the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, it was more complex than that. I’m not going to explain the whole 11:11 thing, because those that understand – do – and the rest – well there’s a thing called ‘Google’. I’ve even mapped out the search terms. Or, you can be all scholarly-like and visit your local book store. But quite honestly, it’s really something you need to figure out for yourself.

1111All I can say, is that over time I started noticing that 11s would appear more frequently in my life when I was going through a massive change, or questioning the path before me. When I couldn’t  understand how something was going to work out – it was as if it was a ‘wake up’ call telling me to sit back, be patient, keep my thoughts positive and let it manifest itself. It was a gateway to a higher level of consciousness. It was telling me that everything was happening at precisely the right time.

The number became a sign to me, and always reminded me of my spiritual essence. I can recall many, many experiences that have come to fruition that are pretty mind blowing – but if I wrote them all out here, I’d have nothing left to write in a book that I am trying to work on – again – writing and a lack of patience are not the best combo.

Before I get into this, I’ll say that I believe some people cross our paths for good reason… there are divine beings out there that are often placed right in front of us to offer a message… half the time though, we are too self absorbed to understand the magic behind it.

Where was I going with this anyway? Oh right… unicorns…

Part One to Acquiring a Unicorn…

When I was going through a kind of turmoil a few years ago, I was really questioning what to do with my life and what my place was (really no different than these days!). I had being seeing 11s everywhere and honestly it was starting to piss me off. I knew I was on the right path but things were so f***ed up, for the life of me I could not understand how they were going to work out. I had become very depressed – and it seemed like everywhere I turned I was met with a brick wall. I tried to do what I normally would – which is build something to climb over it – but I was running out of materials.

I remember waking up almost every hour – 3:11, 4:11, 5:11 and so on – for months. In the mornings, my sadness got the best of me and I could barely get out of bed. I felt lost and did not want to face the day at all.

It was one particular rock-bottom feeling day that I realized I hadn’t even gone grocery shopping and I would need to stop at the supermarket on my way out. It was 8:11am on my clock when I got into my car. I was running late for work, but I didn’t care.

I grabbed a few things to eat for the day and went to go pay. The bill was… $20.11. Meanwhile, in the corner of my eye, I could see a man get behind me at the cashier. I kept my head down, I didn’t want to talk to ANYONE that day.

The man behind me said to the cashier, “Excuse me miss, but please don’t charge this young lady, I am going to buy her lunch today”.

I remember that he was wearing a kilt. He looked like a bag piper and his silver hair was pulled back into a pony tail.

I was shocked. Tears filled my eyes. The cashier smiled and said that was very nice. I waited for the man to pay and walked out with him. I thanked him and told him that was the nicest thing that had happened to me in a long while.

He gave me a hug, wiped a tear away, and said, “Don’t worry miss, everything is going to be alright – just be patient.”

WHAT?!?!?!?!? 

I had never seen him before and I don’t know how he knew, but boy – he knew. It was as if he could see straight into my soul at the adversities I was facing.

I proceeded to my car and started to cry. He got into a van close by, and his license plate began with 111.

I started my car, shaking, crying… the CD playing in my car was on Track 11 and it was skipping on a line in the song… the line of the song sang, “don’t worry everything is going to be alright”. 

Woahhhh… that’s exactly what he said!

That’s the day I knew everything would be alright. Somehow. Some way.

Part Two to Acquiring a Unicorn…

I called him the ‘Mystery Man’. I hadn’t see him for quite some time, but that day I met him was still vivid in my memory bank. It was now about six months later and I was still in the same position. Frustrated. Not only that – I had been discovering my self in a more spiritual way – and I was confused with a lot of things. If there was anything out there guiding me, god dammit I wanted to know – because I sure didn’t feel like I believed in anything.

One weekend afternoon, I was at the Supermarket again. It was a zoo, and I happened to take the last parking space. I was sitting in my car and I remember I had glanced at the clock and it was 1:11.

Out of nowhere the Mystery Man knocked on my car window.

Holy shit.

He said “I’ve been thinking of you and just wanted to know how you were doing?”

I was a bit shocked and stuttered, “I think I am doing okay! I think things are working out.”  That was the only thing I could muster out.

unicornHe said that he had been shopping for a gift for his niece and at that moment he handed me a stuffed unicorn.

He said to me, “I bought this for my niece, but I think you need it. Believe in the things you can not see.”

Before I could say anything he walked way. Again, tears filled my eyes.

That was the moment that I knew I was being guided – even though I couldn’t see it.

I opened my car door, set my foot on my pavement – and right next to my foot was a dime and a penny – 11 cents.

I still don’t know the man’s name or who he is exactly. I’ve crossed paths with him a few times over the last couple years, sometimes I say hello and sometimes I don’t. I’ve never asked his name, because I don’t think that I am supposed to know. But, more often than not – in each passing he always delivers a message to me at a precise point in time that is aligned with exactly what is going on in my soul. He never says anything more, or anything less than what I need to hear. It’s amazing, really.

I haven’t seen him for about seven months now… the last time I ran into was when I was on my way to my usual gym – when for some reason I decided to turn around and go to another one that I had a free pass for. I just had this weird intuition that I needed to go there.

I was in the middle of my work out when he approached me. I was no longer shocked at these moments, as over the last couple years I’ve come to know a lot of magical experiences – and rather than thinking they are ‘crazy’ – they now fill me with wonder.

He said to me, “I don’t know why but you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. You should know that the universe has a very special plan for you, keep holding on because your brightest days are ahead.”

Once again.. it was exactly what I had needed to hear. The time that had been paused on my treadmill when I stopped to talk to him? 11:11.

Excuse me while I go and feed my unicorn.

 

November 4

Why You Should Hug a Writer and Then Run Like Hell

to-hell

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and pondering life lately, and my moods have been… well let’s just say a little bit over the top extreme. Only the people really, really close to me would know this – it’s not something I would ever publicly broadcast, or anything silly like that…

Usually, I am able to associate my over driven emotional tendencies to being a being a female – which should be explanation enough.

MoodsLately, however, it’s been a bit hard to handle.  I’ve always been a chick – as far as I know – some of the early 20’s years are a bit blurry. Either way, I should be used to it by now. (But trust me, men, you really never do get used to having a dagger driven through your guts every few weeks and the hormonal aftermath it leaves in its wake – and don’t tell me that you have to deal with it, too – because you have NO IDEA).

Regardless, because I am a woman – I need to know everything. EVERY FREAKIN’ THING.  My ups and downs lately have been a little bit more than hormones … they’ve also been in part to my spiritual wandering to find out why the hell I am here. These ‘character glitches’ I am noticing have been rearing their ugly head a bit more clearly as I find myself on another personal quest that caught me off guard and hit me harder than that chick in high school with a jealousy problem.

For that reason, I am trying to come to terms – and embrace – some of my… ummm, let’s just call them ‘eccentricities’. .

In the midst of my self exploration, I  forgot to look at my self as being a ‘creative type’… which comes with a laundry list of interesting ‘traits’. Although this may not be reason enough – at least it can be partially attributed.

Yeah… totally… that’s totally it. Riiiight.

I think.

Combine that with being a lost soul trying to break free of the shackles of society, ovaries, a rather dry love life, and full moons – and what you have is complete and utter inner chaos.

It was right around the time I started tapping into my spiritual essence that I began writing more frequently. You see, writing is one of those ‘things’ that has been with me since early childhood – when my Mother taught me to read and write before I started kindergarten. I didn’t like to speak a whole lot and I often found solace using words – in written form.

What a treat it was to skip out on learning the alphabet and read Nancy Drew novels instead. How about them Hardy Boys?! I wonder if they are single. Also, I did not mind hanging out in the teachers’ lounge washing dishes during spelling class. What kid didn’t want to chum with the grownups in a cigarette smoke infested staff room? Way. Too. Cool.

This immediately separated me from the other kids. Who the hell is this 5 year old reading novels and trying to impress us with her short stories at show and tell? She gets to skip class, again?! Wtf.

What a nerd.

Therefore, I suppressed my ability to write for most of my life. It was apparently a talent I had – according to other people – never myself. Most writers never actually think they are any good at their own skill. So, I would deny it. Over and over again. In fact, I still do.

It doesn’t help that I just read Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 tips for great writers and I fail at all of them. Every goddamn one.

I can’t really call myself a legit ‘polished’ writer –  I don’t exactly make a living off of it, I don’t follow the ‘rules’ and I am not formally trained. I only know that my word hobby has been around since I was an awkward child.

I wanted to be ANYTHING but a writer. Next to musicians, writing is one of the least lucrative career choices there is. Race car driver, trapeze artist, lion tamer, lawyer, sewer inspector, private investigator, that chick that’s the bait to catch cheating husbands, exterminator  – please god give me any other talent BUT writing.

Clearly none of these things worked out.

“Well, why don’t you write more?” some people would ask.

“How about you just f*** off and stop asking me that. I don’t want to write.”

And so brings me to this juncture – personal journey #437 and facing some tough questions about who I am.

(For the record I still don’t know.)

trainwreckBut, I can’t be a writer. In this day and age, everyone is a writer just like everyone is a musician and everyone is a photographer. The Internet can make you a pro star anything. Secondly, why on Earth would I even want to take part in this carpal tunnel syndrome inducing activity that makes me want to pull Greek on my dishes and then saw off my sore arm/fingers with a dull butter knife? Seems crazy.

BUT…

I started to explain some of my mild excessive neurotic behavior to fellow writers and even strangers – and they would tell me, “You must be writer”.

Well that’s just f’ing great. Now other people were pointing it out, too.

Then I started to consider that I should maybe acknowledge the fact that perhaps I was a writer – or at the very least a decent wannabe writer – even though it wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

Maybe I just need to accept it. Honor it, in whatever way possible – even if it means I’ll never be an actual ‘writer writer’ per say. EVEN if it means writing a story about how much I despise writing. Regardless, it was a gift that was given to me and I’ve done my best to suppress it.

As I began to meet other writer types, I started to notice certain ‘quirks’ – some not the most flattering – but it did seem to give me a morsel of clarity into the kind of person I am.

Things are really as clear as mud now.

These ‘traits’ could really just be my own made up things to help me feel better about my own erratic behavior on this weird journey. But whatever. In case you know a few in your own life – they are also things that you should know to make your life – and theirs – a little bit easier.

You see, there’s a kind of personal hell most writers go through on a daily basis. By “most” I really “some – and by “some” I actually mean “female” and by “female” I really mean… well, me.

I am sure I am not the only one, but I’d hate to make an error in judgment and speak on behalf of any writers that are actually SANE. I don’t want to pigeon hole anyone. Although, I don’t believe that ‘sane’ and ‘writer’ belong in the same sentence – but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

(I’m using the word ‘we’ because I would like to think that I’m not the only excessive person out there. If you’re a writer and don’t carry these traits, I’m sorry. And also – please tell me your secret).

The thing about some writers is that we loathe writing. We will generally do anything – ANYTHING – to avoid writing.

Write?! Write now?? Right now?!?

to-hellNoooo….. I can’t write right now. There’s a Coronation Street marathon on TV and after that I need to go outside and shovel dog shit, cut the grass with scissors one blade at a time, organize my sock drawer, clean the furnace ducts, knit my best friend’s brother’s cousin’s dog a sweater, rearrange my closet, rearrange my ENTIRE god damn life and call (insert annoying family member here) that I never talk to.

Once that is done, then… THEN I will get to writing, FOR SURE.

Only after I have a bottle of wine.

Furthermore,

  • We always have words and ideas rolling through our head. We tell ourselves stories and sometimes we actually start believing them. Which leads me to my next point…
  • 99.999% of the time we have a story or an idea in our head and when we sit down to write it, nothing comes out. When that happens, our life is over and we become purposeless human beings… and so begins the suicide mission. When we fail at writing, we fail at every other part of life – which may not be the case in reality – but it is a story we will tell ourselves (at least this is true for me)… and quite frankly, NOTHING is going to change the fact that I feel as pointless as a broken pencil.
  • If we are able to get our ideas out – LIFE IS GREAT and the sex is better!!!… Again, this is something I don’t know (seven years single, remember) but I can only imagine.
  • The above is always remedied by wine (or whatever else your poison may be). However, it’s made worse if you fall asleep before writing your ideas down. There’s a limited time on this and if you don’t capitalize on it – you wake up feeling remorseful and so begins the cycle, again. And then you have a new problem. It’s called alcoholism.
  • Don’t correct a writer on their spelling mistakes immediately. That’s what an editor is for. Most of us wannabes are too broke and not legit enough to have an actual editor. If you do feel the need to get all nit picky, do it gently. I didn’t come here to win a Spelling Bee – I’m here to get ideas out of my head before someone cries bloody murder. I don’t care if they are in any logical order – I just want them gone asap –  because I’m not sure they monsterwritereven allow you to have a pen in the asylum. Whether or not I used the proper form of their or there – or misspelled something – is the least of my worries. I don’t even care how many tenses I’m using in the same paragraph. I’ll deal with that after.
  • Knowing you ‘should’ write but avoid it is a lot like being possessed. You know Danny Torrence in The Shining? Yeah, well, rather than ‘Red Rum’… my finger is twitching and that little demon voice is saying “Write me. Wrriiiiiitte Mee. WRITE ME.”

That all being said, writers are really a bunch colourful, caring, attentive souls with a high awareness. You should know one. Also, give them a hug. They probably need one, even though they’ll deny it. They will keep your lives interesting and full of drama all derived from their head. How creative and enticing!!!

And if you do know a writer trying to find their way in the world – keep in mind Danny’s Father, Jack Torrence in The Shining, and prepare accordingly.

Also, this might be the worst thing I’ve ever written… but who cares, my raging emotions are now justified. Sort of.

Where’s the wine?

October 30

Excuse Me While I Pull Out My Hair Extentions

the funk

AAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some days I despise being a writer. I despise it because the times that I think I have an idea that might have even a morsel of value, of sense, are the most inconvenient of times. Like the times I’m on a super hot date and about to be wrapped up in the throws of love making (yeah, right… I’m not that lucky). But the times I sit down and actually make a concerted effort to dismantle a few thoughts and spit out a few words – I come up empty handed. Until I totally force myself.

Just like right now. I am staring at this paragraph and loathing it. Loathing!  A few hours ago I could have sworn I had some wordly wisdom waiting to escape my fingertips and now… now… nowwwwww…

F%&$ it. I can’t finish that paragraph.

the funkI haven’t been writing much for a number of reasons. One part is the lack of time, a dash of procrastination, and the biggest ingredient is that – well, I have been in a funk.

For a long, long time.

It’s pretty hard to write about anything with real conviction when you are in a funk.

I used to chronicle my (mis)adventures in the dating world – satirical, sarcastic, humour that was based on five (now seven) years of being single. And then one day I stopped. I stopped because I was getting attention for all the wrong reasons and I didn’t like it. Being a far less famous and not nearly as stylish version of Carrie Bradshaw in my modest sized city was kind of fun – for a while – but in reality, people were paying attention to me for all the wrong reasons. Nobody was actually interested in what I had to say – only what recent dating disaster I had been on. I like to think that I have far more substance that that.  And then it really started pissing me off the kind of garbage we humans actually pay attention to.

To be honest, I probably could have made a career out of being single. Maybe I should have. The years I’ve been single have now outlasted the amount of years I’ve been at any job. If only I had a helmet cam for the last ten years, I might even have my own reality show.  But it might’ve looked awkward wearing a GoPro on my head, so I would have tried to be all James Bond stealthy-like with a hidden camera in my necklace or some kind of fancy undercover jazz.

And then this weird thing happened that I can’t explain. Well, I can explain it but it would take me eons to sit here and try and find the words without pulling my hair extensions out. I was graced with shitty hair genes, so I pay good money for those. Brazilians really do have great hair. Anyway, to simplify my life and yours, let’s just call it a ‘spiritual phenomenon’ of sorts. Maybe it’s more like a breakthrough. Whatever. It’s a thing, that’s all I can say.  Some might call it a mid-life crisis, but I definitely do not have the shiny new car to accompany that – and well, I’m not that old yet. Knowing how I feel these days, menopause should be a real joy.

I’ve been planning to use some of it as book material – although considering how painful writing this has been, that may not happen until my next life… or the next. And if I have to come back for another one after that, god help me.

I hit a point in my life where I saw things differently. I looked at the world and saw it’s complete and utter chaos – along with its Oneness and interconnectedness. I thought for sure I was on the brink of understanding my purpose here. As I became entwined in all the spiritual, new agey, pop culture fluff floating around the internet, I was certain I was surrounding myself with copious amounts of love and light and bliss and everything else good.

OH NOOO. No, it’s not that easy.

You see, there’s this thing that happens when you learn about your self as a spiritual being – it’s great at first – but then it opens the flood gates of past emotional bull shit that you thought was a non-issue – and it comes to a boil that seeps out of every orifice of your consciousness. It’s part of the whole ‘healing’ process, but man does it suck.

And it seems to last FOREVER.

Here I am, manifesting all this crazy cool stuff – skipping along, humming, la dee da dee da – life is AWESOME. I’m having tons of signs and synchronicities pop into my life and I think I have it all figured out.

And then suddenly, the lights go off and your stubbing your spiritual toes fumbling around in the dark. Wait a second here. I just spent the last five plus years on this epic, personal odyssey figuring out my role here and all of a sudden I have even less of a clue than when I started?

What in the EFFF.

walking in darkThen you find yourself in this messed up, twisted rabbit hole – not quite the colourful Alice in Wonderland kind, either. More like a dark, black pit – a vortex of disparity that you can’t quite climb out of. Now, you’re on a new kind of journey and it’s really not all that blissful. A dark night of the soul so to speak – you have no idea when the day is going to break and all you really know is that hunky Batman character is nowhere to be found. Sooo typical.

But prior to that, in the beginning of your new found spirituality you start stumbling upon every single step-by-step guide, every manual for living an abundant life, every sure fire plan that’ll magically make you realize your life’s highest purpose. Let me buy more of it! I need more books and positive quotes to paste on my Facebook page!!!

It’s all good and great and you’re trying your damnedest to enlighten and encourage others – then bam! You are in the darkness. Let me tell you, there is no plan. There is no defined set of answers. There are guides for sure, but take your book of answers and throw it out the window. Better yet, have a nice little bon fire, toss it in, invite your friends over, strip down until your butt naked, do a little dance and chant a little chant. I swear to whatever higher power, if I read anymore spiritual pop culture rose coloured crap that only tells you about how joyous everything is, I am going to freak out. There is no one size fits all answer book when it comes to ‘finding yourself’.

Because to truly ‘find yourself’ you have to actually work through every single emotional trauma you’ve ever been through. Apparently that’s a good chunk of the whole journey that I failed to get the memo on.

Did you know that while you think you let stuff go, there’s shit stored in your emotional center that you don’t even know about? For example.. not long ago I had some energy work done… I would be in a meditative, relaxed state and the therapist would ask if I had ever had anything happen to my throat because it would turn bright red and get real hot. Well, yeah I did – I always had tonsillitis as a kid and I would freak out every time I had to open my mouth at the doctor’s office. When I finally got them taken out in my early adulthood, I screamed and cried as they put the mask on me. Ten years later I would have never, ever thought that bothered me until my energy worker did some work on my throat area and I had a flash back to being on the hospital bed. I started to shake and cry like a little kid, and I felt the same pain I had all those years ago. And then suddenly, it was gone. Little tiny things like that, your body stores and you’re not even aware of it. Call it your inner child.

clownAnyway, that’s not the point. I can deal with that. My real point is that I’ve been in this purposeless feeling funk that seems never ending. Anyone on the outside looking in would never know that. I’m always having a great time, laughing, and doing things I enjoy. On the inside though, there’s this weird, underlying nagging feeling of hopelessness, or something. A numbness. I think a lot of people are like that, we just never really see anything beyond the surface.

It’s not that I’m not grateful for what I have. It’s not that I’m not a happy person. I practice gratitude and mindfulness in every thing that I do. But there are times I look around and I ask, “What is the point”?

Yes, I know I’m thinking too hard here. But it’s a good thing there’s a brain under these luscious locks.

You mean to say that out of the infinite places in the cosmic realms, we ended up here? What for? I suppose I would probably ask that same question if I was anywhere else, too. To learn lessons and grow and learn unconditional love for our selves and others, etc etc… I get that. I am not a dummy.

But. Why? WHY?

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. I get that, too. But I have this thing about patience – being that I don’t have any. This world is so messed up, I don’t know who in their right mind would come here. Somewhere out there, there’s another life form looking at us like we’re on glue. “Yeah, keep killing each other and raping the Earth, humans! Let’s see how far you get.”

I look around and see people mindlessly driving to their jobs. Struggling to pay the rent. Religion, war, politics, power struggles and pettiness… blah blah blah. This can’t be what LIFE is. It can’t be. I don’t know how this is motivating. And if you think that’s the way it is supposed to be – well you need to reevaluate the magical miracle of life. Take a moment to look up at the cosmos and bask in awe and wonder.

I know my magic. I can feel it. I’m capable of awesome things. But here I am feeling trapped and unfulfilled despite that. Lost and confused. Swimming around in this sea of emptiness. Am I swimming? Am I drowning? I don’t know. God dammit I would like to find a nice beach. Koh Phi Phi come to me.

Don’t get me wrong… there is never a time I don’t truly appreciate the things I am blessed with. I appreciate the beauty in life wherever I am. There is the same amount of magic in a sunset whether you are in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan or a beach in the Bahamas. I have a roof over my head, I have a job that helps me build my creativity, doesn’t mind my outspokenness, and let’s me be myself. I have good health, great friends and family – and I get to be around solid folks every day. In theory, I’m doing better than 75% of the world’s population. I’ve been pretty darn lucky in a lot of respects.

It’s not that I haven’t tried new things. I’ve been open to all opportunities that have come to me, and I’ve had some really great ones.

I just haven’t found that thing that makes my soul sing.

systemfailureI like to live in the moment – whatever that moment is. I never know when I’m going to run out of moments – so they may as well be enjoyed. But, the way we live is starting to URK me. Life is so much more magical than a routine, material possessions and a pile of debt. Yeah, it’s about having fun – which I do. But, my soul wants to frolic through fields of dreams – exploring, connecting, LIVING. I want to dance, prance, a little romance would be great, too. And then I’d like to run through the rain forest with a Peruvian Shaman and ride away on my unicorn (that’s pushing it, I know). Being stuck in the Matrix is giving me a serious case of the blahs.

There’s gotta be a purpose to the madness.

I guess in order to be found, you first have to get lost. Really, really lost.

And I’m directionally challenged.

osho