Introspection and Retrospection

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2456241182_d6a41cc0e7_oWhy did I go quiet last year? I had only just begun to find my words again after a long painful hiatus so why did I put my pen down and stop writing?

The words were in my head but I feared the power I could give them if I gave them substance. I still do. All the good “stuff” I could have focused on with my pregnancy was overwhelmed by the swirling craziness around me: my oldest child’s mental health issues, our precarious financial situation, the chaos of my house and even my own struggles with facing starting motherhood all over again when I was just beginning to find my own feet and carve my own path in the world.

I had all these plans at the beginning of 2015. More writing, lots more writing about Sacred Pregnancy and many other sacred endeavours, plus courses I would attend and complete with the end result being the starting of my business so that I could contribute to the financial stability of my family and our household.

By March most of those plans were falling a part and I was trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to put the puzzle back together again without any idea of what it was supposed to look like.

I remember a day in late March about a week or so after the positive pregnancy test, I was crying in the kitchen, unable to stand up for the sheer weight of the anger, frustration and helplessness I felt due to the poor choices of my oldest child and the impact they had on the whole family, as well as my own overwhelming guilt for not being able to help my son more.

I remember wanting my mother but we hadn’t told the family about the pregnancy yet because my brother and his wife we’re due any day with their second child and we did not want to overshadow their happy time with our own news. So I sat there in the kitchen, shaking, alone and I reached out to my Reiki healer friend and my Sacred Sisters via Facebook messenger. They talked me through it and held space for me to just be angry, sad and hurt. They held space for my guilt and my pain.

But I couldn’t write about any of it.

Even after the news of our pregnancy went public, these were not words I could share with the world for a couple of reasons. My oldest child is 19, (18 at the time of these events) and many people who read this blog know him. He has enough issues stacked against him that releasing any more details of his struggles with gaming addiction was not in his best interest, which is why I continue to be deliberately vague when discussing specifics of what actually happened. It is not my story to tell. Yes, as his mother, I have a big part in his story but the main story is his and treading that oh so thin line that loops and curves and often gets tangled up with my own story was near impossible so my pen went silent. I’m still working out the parameters of what I will and won’t say and they could change every time I pick up my pen.

6045365685_3ceb314223_oIntrospection and retrospection have and are key components of my starting to write again. It’s been a year since the positive pregnancy test, a year since I sat paralyzed on my kitchen floor having no idea how to process the events and the emotions that were coming up. I felt like a complete failure as a mom and yet I was about to become a mom again for the fourth time. I felt like I did not deserve to be a mom again and yet the child that was growing within me was counting on me to provide them with everything they needed. How could I do that when I was failing so badly as a parent of the children I already had?

Those are pretty big and polar emotions for anyone let alone a hormonally compromised mother to digest. I was very lost and maybe that’s when I should have turned to my words for comfort and clarity but I was terrified of what my words might say as I worked through the anger so it was safer to put the pen down and do what I had taught myself to do over many years of extensive practicing, bottle it up, push it down and show the world a brave face.

But I was not brave.

Brave would have been facing my pain and anger and being honest about my feelings. I put my pen down because I was scared. I took the easy way out and shut down. I stopped working to take my wall down and instead worked to reinforce it. I had no idea how to process all the emotions so I just didn’t, and here I find myself a year later, with a 4.5 month old child and a solid brick wall built around me keeping everyone out, almost back where I started before I began the work of taking the wall down and freeing myself from its confines.

The difference is this time I know the path forward and what I need to do, and part of that path involves picking up my pen again and letting the words flow, working through the hard, painful emotions and facing some difficult truths about myself and my world and everything that happened in 2015. It’s time to start chiseling away at my wall again and to give myself permission to break free of it and find my way out of its shadow so I can follow my dreams and write my words and learn my truths.

It won’t be easy but it is time.

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Dear Me: You are enough.

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Be patient with yourself. The healing will come as you do the work and show up for yourself. I know some days that is really hard because you have a little one who needs so much of you but you’ve been through this before, it will get easier. Babies grow up into toddlers, then preschoolers and then five-year-olds with no patience who can do so much without your help but still need you to be the audience to their big imaginations. Then they will be 12-year-olds who know so much and have such big ideas for their lives but still want game nights and bear hugs and to show off their newest pieces of artwork, and still ask permission to put on nail polish. Then will come 19, so ready to leave the nest and live on their own but still bringing home their laundry on weekends to be washed.

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This new baby will grow up too and all too quickly you will wonder where the small, helpless babe at your breast has gone. You will regain some degree of freedom as he stretches his legs and learns to let go of your hand but the freedom comes at the cost of your sweet babe growing up so try not to rush it. Enjoy your afternoons of rocking together, his head curled tight against your chest, his newborn smell still filling your nostrils for time steals these precious moments away and fades the memories to dull aches of longing for more of those quiet uninterrupted afternoons of just dozing and rocking.

The healing will happen but there’s no need to rush it at the expense of this time with your little one. Don’t let the guilt of unwashed dishes, large piles of laundry and consecutive nights of boxed meals interfere with your healing for it’s in the raw quiet moments that you can let everything go, all the years of pain, disappointment, anger that has built up like uric acid in aching joints so that even when all is well your brain is plaguing you with anxiety and worry, wondering when it will all fall apart, just like last time and the time before that.

I have something really important to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like last time ever again.

You are learning better ways, you are finding your voice, creating your own path to a new future where you will be doing what you want to do and providing for your family while doing it. Right now is just a temporary bump in the road while you nurture and love the newest member of the family in the way that works best for you while navigating your demons from the past and not letting them get a foothold in the present, no matter how hard they might try.

You are stronger than you have ever been but when you are feeling weak know that you are surrounded by people ready and willing to lift you up and remind you that you are enough just as you are and it will be enough to accomplish everything you want to. You just need to reach out to them, they will remind you of your worth when you have forgotten.

And it’s okay to cry. It’s safe now. You’re safe now. You are loved and held. Space has been made for you to release all that pain you hold so tight like an armour around you, keeping everyone out. You don’t have to do that anymore. Let the pain and anger that poisons your soul flow out of you, let the tears come and let them cleanse you. In that cleansing you will be reborn, stronger, more beautiful and with a trust in yourself and your abilities that you can only imagine right now. Let the floodgates open, let the ink on the page be smudged with your tears and know that you are strong and you are more than enough just as you are right now. The tears are just a really long overdue cleansing.

Love yourself, because that’s important too. You are worthy of your own attention. You do not need permission from anyone else to do the basic tasks of self-care. It’s okay to get your hair done and to go to spiritual meet ups and to find time to clear out your space in the house.  It’s okay to read books, to cross-stitch, and to write. It’s more than acceptable to find time for your on-line classes and work on your future, and to purchase the needed materials. I know it feels selfish to do those things for yourself but it’s not, so make your lists, set your goals and get up in the morning and tackle them, one at a time. And if you need to, it’s also okay to ask for help.

I love you and I’m tired of being your punching bag for every little perceived wrong you have done in your life because you have also done so much right. Stop measuring yourself by your failures and start measuring yourself by your successes, and others around you will have no other choice but to also do the same.  You are worthy of your own love and you are worthy of the love of others but you must open yourself up and let them in. I know being vulnerable is really hard for you but it will be so worth it, trust me!

I will write again. You need more pep-talks, someone to remind you how wonderful and amazing and strong you are. Who else is better to do that than me?

Love yourself!

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Oops!

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IMG_2410March 18, 2015 life changed for my family in an extraordinary way.

There was shock.

There was disbelief.

Really? Is this really happening?

My husband and I were sitting on our bed. The kids were asleep in their own rooms and my husband was settling in for some TV show streaming.

IMG_20150326_112807I said, “Can we talk before you start watching your show?” and I handed him the purple and white stick with the plus sign….

I blamed my husband and all the super shakes he’s been drinking…

Without revealing too much information, this should not have happened!

Whatever and however it happened 2015 just turned into another crazy year for us. Our family is growing. Our house is shrinking. Well not actually shrinking but it’s sure going to feel smaller in November with six people and a dog living here.

Next Christmas I will have a 19 year old and an infant in arms…. That just blows my mind right now!

I am looking at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to live my business and blog about the process. Sacred Pregnancy is an amazing program and I want to bring it to women and their families here in the Ottawa area. What better way to get the word out than to tell my own story.

Stay tuned for more details, it will be an amazing journey!!!

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I Feel Pregnant…

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The Beauty Of Pregnancy

I am not actually pregnant but I have been experiencing sensations as if there is something going on within my body akin to the process of growing new life.

I have been sitting with the feelings trying to hear the messages, decipher the tenderness of my breasts and delve into the warmth of my womb to investigate the percolatings, what it is that is evolving and how it wants to change my world.

3572990050_345a844585_oIt is a knot, a knot comprised of the DNA of all my thoughts, my investigations, my dreams, my experiences of the last year coming together, entwining in their awesomeness to show me my future but not quite coalesced. It’s still looking for form and shape, right now it is just raw DNA material, as an embryo at conception.

It’s questions but not quite answers. It’s paint and canvas but not yet a painting. It’s threads and fabric but not a finished piece. The building blocks are there, now I must figure out the finished piece and how I will birth it into the world. I’ve been given the tools, the people, the foundation, the love I need to blossom but only I can bear down and bring the life forward.

3468330509_db1ded1c1b_oI go in-ward, I feel the pulsing energy looking for form. The ideas and memories finding each other, connecting the dots and duplicating like the cells of an embryo growing into a fetus, burrowing down, implanting in my soul, nourished by my enthusiasm, my words, my hopes.

But there is also fear. There is holding back. There is doubt. I am learning my worth and slowly believing in my abilities, letting go of my perceptions of myself as unworthy, and developing new behaviours that when the darkness of doubt knocks on my soul’s door, I can look it in the eyes and claim my worth, my value to this world, and not let any more darkness in.

Where the darkness has already taken up residency, I am serving eviction notices. There is resistance, 20 years of pain, shame and anger does not simply pack its bags and move on. Those emotions are too comfortably enmeshed into the fabric of my soul, they believe they’ve earned the right to live there and they are filing appeals to my eviction notices and organizing demonstrations with picket signs “We will not go!”, but I say “Yes, you are. Be gone!”

I am re-writing my story, finding a new narrative, my voice has power, people are listening, hearing, seeing me, taking notice.

3971578022_fe5fd2475a_oThe fetus nourishes and grows on that evolving power and grace. It is calling to me the people and resources I need. In the last year I have come so far from the beginning tentative steps into the ways of the older religions and traditions. Last New Year’s Eve I included a smudging ceremony as part of our evening with friends, a way to cleanse the negativity of 2013 and open ourselves to the possibilities of 2014, and now a year later those ways have become an integral part of my path and I’m thirsty to learn more.

I’m not ready to label myself pagan or Wicca or whatever variance thereof I am drawn to. There is not enough that I really understand yet, but names come with birth and so 2015 is all about birthing this energy growing within me, it’s about giving this embryo bones, a heartbeat, lungs and all its senses to hear, feel, touch, smell and taste with. And, of course, a name….

As this child gets stronger, the negative gunk will have no choice but to leave. I will finish re-writing my narratives and finally leave the past in the past. The child will grow, will organize itself into the finished work of art, and will let herself be known and seen, her limbs pushing against my insides as she stretches, flexes and expands, filling every cell of my body with her newness, her power, her beauty.

When she is ready to be born, she will become me and I will become her and we will become one, ready to take on the world.

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Cracking Open

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3991345044_b37d8372bb_oMy words often feel scripted to me like I’m playing it safe, holding back, sanitizing them, censoring the gritty emotions. I use words like pain, regret, loss and loneliness but do you even understand what I mean when I use those words? I often wonder if you do and why I hold back?

All I want is to crack open my chest and massage my heart back to life with words so powerful the blood can’t help but pump through my veins with passion, allowing the oxygenated blood to bring the healing salve of forgiveness to a system ravaged by self-inflicted hate, anger and shame.

139136870_4fadd2f255_oI am trying to remember the last time I really cried. I think it was nine years ago. My husband and I were fighting over how to pay the condo levy for the new windows we couldn’t afford.  A failed business, maxed out credit cards and credit counseling had left us backed into a financial corner. We needed help. My husband wouldn’t ask his dad and I was tired of my parents always bailing us out. I went upstairs into the bathroom and looked into the eyes of the woman in the mirror, she was overwhelmed and helpless to support her family.  She let out a scream that came from the bowels of her soul and then collapsed into a sobbing heap, pounding her head and fists against the wall and tiled floor, inflicting pain to feel pain.

My husband tried to get into the bathroom and as he pushed the door open, I pushed back. I didn’t want him to witness my pain, my anger, my tears falling uncontrolled. I just wanted to tear my world apart in peace but he found his way to me and he held me until I calmed down and I put the woman in the mirror back in the mirror.

I don’t remember exactly what happened after I stopped crying but the windows were paid for, split almost 50/50 by our parents, and we avoided a lean against our house. Life went on. My husband has probably filed this moment away under things to forget but for me it was a rare moment of raw, uncontrolled emotions and those are so rare that I remember them and hold them close like cherished mementos.

There’s a line from a song by Three Days Grace, “I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all” and it resonates profoundly with me because most days I walk through life numb. I have trained myself to push back every emotion, good, bad, in-between. I can stop tears from falling to the point that I have almost forgotten how to cry. I can put on a smile when I want to scream, I can play nice when all I want to do is run away. I’m guarded. I hold back, physically and emotionally, from engaging with the world. I’m so good at it many people perceive me as standoff-ish. It’s in remembering the moments of extreme agony, where I lost control of my emotions, that I remember what pain, what love, what feeling feels like and yes, I would rather feel pain than nothing at all.

I am ready to learn to cry again, to let down my guard and let others see my emotions, to let others into my world and simultaneously allow myself to be welcomed into the worlds of others. I am ready to erase the loneliness from my vocabulary and to let my words crack me wide open and fill my veins with life-sustaining prose – one uncensored word after another, an IV tapped directly into my soul, each word releasing a link of the chains I’ve entrapped myself with, slowly allowing me to come alive and live my life unashamed of who I am and her arrays of emotions because it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to love with abandon.

12640988324_89b56bc2c6_oThere will always be pain but I am ready to process the difficult emotions and let them go instead of giving them the keys to my cell. I am ready to live again, to love again and to let myself experience all my emotions so I can process them and where I am broken, let the salve of love heal the brokenness into a new whole.

Will you bear witness to my healing journey? I ask a lot of you, I know I do. Being present as someone bleeds tears of repressed agony is a huge request to ask of anyone, let alone strangers, but in the witnessing and the speaking aloud there is power. The feeling of hands laid upon your soul holding you up so you don’t drown, reminding you to breathe when you forget to, reminding you of your beauty when you feel ugly, and reminding you to look up and see the light that surrounds you, that is power and we all have that power. I am asking, are you ready, willing and able to use your power and bear witness to my cracking open?

Say yes if you are….

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