God, the Force, & Miracles

So, last year to celebrate my 30th birthday, my mother and I took a girl’s trip out to Vancouver Island. I’d wanted to go to Victoria and Tofino for a long time, and 30 seemed like the time to do it. I’d just left a long time partner, needed a kick in the ass to save me from the “I broke my own heart now what” blues.

To put it mildly- we had a blast. Tofino came first, and we spent our days there eating sushi, bear watching, and on patios by the ocean. I’d move to Tofino in a hot minute if I could get work there (I have been job hunting in Victoria and Tofino ever since I came back). Our first day back in Victoria, however, is the origin of this blog post.

Mom went to drop off the rental car (no need to drive in a city like Victoria!!!), and I found a cool little pub, whose name is currently escaping me. I sat at the bar, and instantly started chatting with an older man, who I will call Yoda. Yoda is a real estate agent, and before long we were talking about God and broken hearts. I told him that I was pretty lost – how do you recover your path when it’s been so altered? – and Yoda pondered this while he took a long, slow drink from his pint.

“Well, I suggest A Course in Miracles,” said Yoda, after a long silence. “I read it after my divorce, and it changed my whole life. It’s not about God, though. Don’t read it with religion in mind.”

“A Course in Miracles?” I echoed.

“Yep. A Course in Miracles. Get the book. I promise you won’t regret it.”

We swapped email addresses, and Mom and I went looking for dinner. I looked for it in Victoria, and picked it up immediately after I landed in Edmonton. A blue bound book, with onion skin pages that read like a religious text. I started to have doubts in Yoda. Within the first few pages, though, I had tears streaming down my face. After the first hundred, I closed the book, and cried myself to sleep. I finished the book like that – rushing through it, tears streaming down my face, and thinking (at the end) that it held nothing for me.

Clearly, I’m a little bit like Luke Skywalker – eager to learn, a bit dull at times, and a bit of a dark side. You see, I react. You can call it an Aries trait, or an Irish temper – but when I react, I usually pick anger. It’s easier than anything else – easier to be pissed off then deal with sadness, or grief, or anxiety. My knee jerk reactions – learned from years of “well, if I let you hurt me, I’m going to lose” – cause irrevocable damage. I’ve lost my last two relationships to a reaction – if you push them away first, they can’t hurt you anymore – and then, I struggle with anger and regret. Every. Single. Time. So, reading A Course in Miracles and weeping…. I thought it meant nothing. I thought it meant that I was still raw from JM, and that it was just hitting all the sore, anger hidden sweet spots.

It’s literally a year later. I still alternate between “That was best for me” and “What the fuck am I doing”. And now, I have a second breakup coupled with “my plan for my future needs to drastically change”. “What the fuck am I doing” is currently the question that haunts me – while I’m at work, while I run, while I meditate – and I have been desperately searching for answers. The why, the how – how can I possible focus all of this negative energy into something that manifests positive results for me? With all of this, I feel like Luke at the beginning of a “New Hope” – lost, lonely, desperate for adventure and stuck in a rut so big that it doesn’t matter if it’s one harvest or one hundred because getting out seems impossible no matter the timeline. So, I did precisely what I have done with every single existential crisis I have ever had.

I went to Chapters, and bought a few books about meditating and faith. I called my mom. I signed up for a guided meditation course.

Now, here is the kicker. Here is where the Star Wars reference really comes into play.

My mom lent me a book about energy. Specifically, it’s about energy experiments – using positive thinking to change your fate. This book brings up the idea of God, but not as the bearded old man that we come to associate with God. Oh no, this book looks at God as nothing but sheer energy – an entire dimension in the universe that WE have control over, a force that we can all control if we only look into ourselves to find the power. This book literally advises the reader to look at God as The Force – something within our control, something that has a dark side and a light side, something that we can learn to master if given the right tools and the right amount of time. (And yes, my first thought was “SWEET. I’m changing my religion to JEDI!”)And then, this book names the right tools. Are you ready?

That’s right – this book names A Course in Miracles as the right tool. In fact, every single non-fiction book I have picked up SINCE my time with Yoda has referenced A Course in Miracles. Every single meditation book, every free guided meditation has either directly referenced it, or mentioned a topic covered in A Course in Miracles.

Also like Luke Skywalker – I can be a bit thick. I have prayed often, to my angels and to God, often in tears and aloud, to be given a sign. “Give me a sign, Lord,” I weep. “I’m not strong enough to do this anymore. Please, please give me a sign. Help me heal, help me find a way out of here. I can’t do this alone.”

I am certain that for the last year, all my guardian angels have been facepalming, saying “What kind of moron prays for a sign WHEN WE GAVE HER ONE IN VICTORIA. And why is she STILL PRAYING when EVERY SINGLE TEXT THAT SHE NEEDS is sitting on her GD nightstand?!?!”

It has become incredibly clear that change needs to happen. I told my (now ex) partner SK about this revelation, and in his ever so loving way, he gave me a big hug and told me to get on it. One of my best gals AM advised me to break my cleanse, and get into that book with a bottle of wine and a bathtub. And now, standing in a little bit more hand crafted wreckage… I think the time has come. And, like Luke learned – sometimes, you get what you wish for but mostly, you get what you work for. Sometimes, saying something in anger or frustration leads to sadness, but eventually… you will escape from the rut (side note to all those angels facepalming…. when plotting the escape from my handcrafted rut, can I please request a handsome scoundrel who is also a brute/bad boy/great man? I don’t specifically need a Han Solo or a Millennium Falcon, but it’d be hella sweet).

I’m looking forward to this. Since tomorrow is my country’s birthday, I think that’s a good day to start. I always like birthdays as the beginning of something new – I always start new projects on my birthday. So, Happy birthday Canada! And new project time for N.

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Thoughts from a Self-Rescuing Princess

I found one of my all-time favourite books when I was in grade 9 – Pride and Prejudice. The heroine is still someone I identify with – a book loving, cynical, romantic. Her love story, of course, is based around a man who, at first glance, is handsome yet conceited. They can’t stand one another, and even though he falls in love with her, she turns him away. He then turns away, begins to fix everything she accuses him of, and she falls in love with him.

As I’m sure you know… when Mr. Darcy propose the second time, he drops one of the most romantic lines of all time. He comes for her, and they live happily ever after.

This blog post has been rattling around in my head for days – weeks, even. A bit of a departure, but I’m trying this thing where I’m open. And fearless.

I thought I had found my Darcy – of course, I’ve been searching for him since I was 16. When I was 26, I thought I’d found him. JM was – is, I guess. He’s not dead, just gone – my instant friend. We connected on every level, immediately, and even though I was in a relationship with another man, I knew that JM would be in my life in a big capacity. My relationship grew rockier, and more unhappy, but JM was there. He made me laugh when I thought I couldn’t anymore, and provided companionship when things got really dark for me. He kissed me for the first time just after my relationship ended, and I will never forget that kiss. Even now, a year and a half since my lips have touched his…. I know that kiss. I’d know his voice anywhere, would recognize the brush of his hand against mine. If I had any artistic talent, I could close my eyes and draw his face from memory, right down to the flecks of gold in his eyes. Sometimes, to say that I miss him is the understatement of my life. There are days that my soul aches so much, one of my girlfriends gets a weeping phone call, or desperate text message.

“I’m texting you so I don’t text him.” (sidenote. I love my girlfriends. Best ladies anywhere, hands down. And I love love love all of you for the zero bullshit, tough love, sweet voices that you have. Mwah.)

Our breakup was sad – we tried, and several times I spoke about wanting a hero. Wanting a Darcy, or a Wesley (oh, Princess Bride. Loves.) To say that I wanted him to prove it – “it” being that he loved me, that he wanted to be with me – again, is an understatement. I wanted him to come for me- for him to prove that our huge, undefinable, radiant love MEANT SOMETHING – and I wished for that with every fibre of my being. I have such a romantic heart – and my rational side knows that JM is gone. If I wanted him, I’d have to be the one to fight. And a girl can only fight so much.

However, since my big news, I have dreamed of JM every night. I can see him vividly, right down to the muscles in his arms, to his going-blonde-in-the-sun hair. In my dream, he’s standing in a campsite, in a place that we went together exactly once. He’s chopping wood, and wearing a pair of cargo shorts that I LOVED on him, and I can see the sweat rolling down his back and through his chest hair. I try telling him – about the news, about the fear, about my blind rage at it – and he keeps splitting wood with his axe. When he looks up, his eyes meet mine – and then, he looks through me.

I wonder how he’d react – the man I met that November night so many years ago would be so concerned. First he’d make me a drink, and then he’d make me laugh. And then, he’d help me plan. My JM would make a plan with me, one full of hope and strength, one that he would support me on. The man that I lived with, and eventually left…. I honestly don’t know if he’d care that I need surgery. I wonder if he’d punish me as much as I am punishing myself. Sometimes, on a weak night (which happen more infrequently now), I wonder if he would (or will) ever prove that my initial impression was the right one – that he is my breathing version of Mr. Darcy.

Most times, though, I think that holding out for a hero, for a fictional dream, is ridiculous. Then I really look at myself, and wonder if I shouldn’t just accept that I’m my own hero. I think that, maybe, JM was right (“It’s fiction, N. FIC. TION.”) and that I need to realize that I need to be willing to rescue myself. It’s not a new concept to me – I’ve been a self rescuing princess since I was a teenager. I meditate a lot on this – I sit in the silence, and have been learning to deal with the less frequent waves of guilt and sadness. I see my mistakes, and am trying to learn from them. With the running, and the yoga, and the meditating… maybe my heart will open back up to the universe. And I won’t dwell on it anymore.

Knowing that, and feeling that, doesn’t make me want a Darcy any less.

Inspiration, Stairs & Fear

Last week, I got some bad news. Nothing life ending, but definitely path altering. Scary enough that I stepped off my chosen path of “gotta escape before I have a heart attack” and sat down beside the path for awhile. For the last week, it’s suffice to say that I’ve been reading books and trying to block out what has to happen. I’ve been so preoccupied that I’ve locked myself out of my house (never happens), left my wallet at home when I went to pay for a race (also never happens), and left my front door open when I went grocery shopping for two hours (ohmygod I love my neighbours even though one of them caught me running to my “Zombies Run!” app and now thinks that I’m insane).

I can honestly say that I have no idea where I’m headed with my life right now. If you’d asked me a year and a half ago, I’d have told you that I was going to spend my life with my (now ex) boyfriend, and that we were going to conquer the world together and have beautiful babies. I would have told you that I would be in crisis communications, writing just like I said I would be, living a life with a love that wouldn’t ever change. I’d be travelling and loving it and I’d be me.

It’s funny how life throws us curveballs.

Now, a year and a half later… I’m here. My love and I don’t even speak (minus the occasional phone call, where one of us breathes and the other asks “hello?”, or the occasional angry text. Or the occasional social media stalk. Even though I want to tell him my news just to hear his medical advice, even though I know that he will not care). I’m definitely not doing what I love (hello, writing for my paycheck?), and I’m certainly not travelling. And now, this monkey wrench is forcing me to sit down hard and look at my next steps. The next steps have to be smart, as well as calculated. And the fear…. Oh the fear. It sneaks up on me (like right now, today) and threatens to pull me into a spiral of panic.

Last night, I tried to swallow it. I put on music that I’m sure drove my roommate crazy, and I danced around my bedroom and made it mine. I put up posters that inspire me, hung race medals, covered two bulletin boards and one wall with quotes that make me happy, quotes that inspire my courage. I dug into the earth and planted flowers. I talked to my brother, and meditated, and finalized my plan for a meditation corner. Last night, I was truly happy. In those moments in my life, my clarity comes. And come it did, as I was washing earth off of my hands and knees, and the sweat swam out of my hair.

My next steps are terrifying. I sit here, equal parts driven and scared out of my mind. I know what I want from my life. This year, I will do what I love. I will train and run one of several half marathons (side note – did you know that there are a plethora of races in Disney World?? Including a Disney princess half marathon, an Avengers marathon, a Star Wars marathon…. OH MAN!!! I WANT TO RUN THEM ALL!!!!!). As scary as last week’s news is… I can’t let it derail me. I can’t sit and wait for my life to happen to me. And I’m definitely not going to call my ex and tell him anything. Because DUH.

I just need to outrun the fear.

However, in the absence of my running gear, I’m going to go climb stairs until my knees give out.

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*sidenote: my knees definitely gave out. Holy lord, 500 stairs is a lot.