The ‘What If?’ Factor


Recently I had another birthday and I’m now officially smack dab in the middle of my 50’s. It’s been an interesting decade, thus far. And, of course, in a few months I’ll put another imaginary ‘tick’ on the imaginary calendar in my head and write- Brian 6-years died by Suicide.

It’s not that I’m worried I’ll forget about it, but for some odd reason those who have been through complex grief, tend to measure time, going forward, with references back to the traumatic grief (be it a death, divorce, breakup…etc.). It’s as of time was different before the trauma. And well, it was.

So, this year (6-years since Bri flew our earthly plain) I started thinking about life a little differently. I started wondering what my life would have been like, who I’d be and where I’d be if I’d never met him. It’s not that I’m regretting it, but let’s be honest, I was a very different person before the whole Brian episode, and I emerged a whole new person afterwards.

Let’s rewind 6-years and 3 months, shall we?

It’s January of 2015. I’d just been dumped (via text no less) by a guy that I’d just spent (hard earned) cash on for a Christmas/present trip to the West Coast of Vancouver Island to go storm watching. I paid for the hotel/ferry/food, etc. To be fair, he did drive, so there’s that. I also made him buy me lunch on the way back; he never would have volunteered so I simply told him this is what was going to happen. Yeah, I was being a bit bitchy, but I was also being taken advantage of by someone who chose to earn just barely above minimum wage because he wanted to be a ‘minimalist’.

If you’d seen his apartment, he was anything but. He was a hoarder and a bit of a jerk. Okay, he was a giant jerk and on New Year’s Eve ditched me with a cryptic text. I wasn’t even upset, just relieved. Moving on, then…

Despite getting dumped on the last day of 2014, I was really in a good place in my life and had all of my ducks in a row. I was in good shape for 49, I was debt free, and I was making some decent money in my job which I really liked. All in all, I was happy just being me. There were cool hobbies that kept me busy, I had my cat Zephyr (best kitty EVER), a really nice place to live and I was even saving money to buy my own condo.

Life was good! Then I met Brian, and nothing was the same ever again – but that’s another story that you’ll find in lots of older blog posts.

So – had I carried on and maybe not even dated…just hung out with me/myself and Z (the cat), where would I be today? I certainly wouldn’t have become a Life Coach because that had never crossed my mind; I didn’t even know what a Life Coach did and had never heard of it. You can cross out life counselling too and if you’d have told me that this would be something I’d love doing, I would have informed you that you’re very mistaken.

There is a lot of:

~maybe this would have happened…

~or perhaps I’d have met this kind of person …

~and what if I’d really buckled down and went into a whole new direction…what would that look like, today?

These are great questions and as I ponder them, the sky is really the limit. I had a plan, you see. Well, I sort of had a plan, but it was a good one! I was starting to write this sitcom about online dating. Brian and I worked on it a little bit, but I actually started it about half a year before and it had a great plot! It was also really funny. Think ‘Friends’ (but not roommates) with the twist of online dating. I had 7 people who were infinitely different but who’s lives intertwined in the most interesting way. All of them were single (some had previously dated or even been married) and all of them would hang out about once a week to talk about their dating woes. Online dating, of course.

These characters had dimension, real problems and challenges – heartbreak/ache and they were diverse in ethnicity and interests. It wasn’t just fluff and silliness.

I felt that I had a lot of experience in the dating department, and I had some great stories to tell that I could incorporate into my seriously awesome characters. I mean, nearly every single person alive in North America has had ‘some’ experience with online dating. I even signed up my elderly mother several years back! She’s off it now, but there she was on a senior dating site!

My point is: people could relate and there still isn’t anything out there like this. Please don’t steal it, I still may do this. 😉

I had also started two other manuscripts (both very different) and maybe, just maybe, I would have finished them. Now, I am under no delusion that anything would be worthy of publication and I have no idea how to pitch a sitcom, but at least if I finished any of them, it would be an adventure and an accomplishment.

Then there was photography. At that time, I was seriously thinking of taking a proper course. While I would never be a wedding photographer (I have no desire to take pictures of people) I was pretty good at other things. I still am and have recently put more effort into it.

On the other side of the coin – who would I have met? Pete wasn’t looking at that point (at least I don’t think so) so I could have ended up with someone completely different, long-term. I might have even married! I kind of am (common-law) but he has no desire to march down the aisle and share his last name with me. I’m okay with that.

The one constant that I truly believe would not have changed is my current 8-5 job. Regardless of meeting Brian or not, I’d definitely still be working for the organization I’m currently with. I’m doing exactly the same job as I was 6-years ago, just with a much (MUCH) better company for more $$ and nearly zero anxiety. I love my current job but the game plan into retirement would have looked radically different had I missed that opportunity on Match.com with one Mr. B. Caffelle.

The most important change I’d have missed out on is learning to be so much more empathetic and compassionate. It’s not like I wasn’t before, but I wasn’t ‘enough’ – if you know what I mean. When I read about someone dying by suicide, I didn’t even blink. I didn’t care. It had nothing to do with me so why should I give it a second thought? Mental illness? Yeah, so what? Again, at that time – not concerned. If it wasn’t present in my life, I didn’t think about it. I’ve changed that tune, drastically and my typically judgmental self isn’t so judgmental anymore. There is a lot more inner reflection and awareness. It’s ongoing; I’m far from perfect and need to still work on a many aspects of my life.

I also learned to love someone without asking for anything in return. Brian never told me that he loved me (oddly, on his last day on earth, I believe he tried to) or showed it, and he was always apologetic that he couldn’t return my feelings for him as he was convinced his heart still belonged to his ‘ex’ girlfriend. This made things very awkward for me; what does one do in this situation when a) you’re in LOVE and b) the person you’re in love with is planning on killing himself? Had I walked, would it have made things worse or better? I’ll never know. What I did know was that I simply couldn’t leave.

When we (his best friend and former wife and I) waited with him at the hospital to be checked in to the psychiatric assessment unit – he turned to me and, said:

“Well?! How do you like me know?!”

Quietly and shyly, I answered: “I love you.”

In the end, she, the ex-girlfriend – not the ex-wife, (yup it’s as complicated as it sounds) didn’t want anything to do with his heart or any other body part of his for that matter. In fact, after all of his efforts to meet up with her for what he said was to say a proper good-bye (but really secretly try to win her back) she cancelled on him and then sent him a very cold text to leave her alone and never contact her again.

Had she been interested; he’d have dumped my sorry (but cute) ass as quickly as he could have managed it. Probably in an email. And that, would have been that. If she’d still been with him today, he may very well be alive – but his suicide ideation went far beyond this woman so I’m certain that it would have surfaced again, just in another form and for a different reason.

I lost a bit of myself during that short affair and afterwards. I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. I used to be romantic in a sweet but authentic way. Don’t misunderstand. I do love the man I’m with, but I didn’t ‘fall in love’ with him. Ever. I just felt one day that I loved him. I somehow bypassed all of the infatuation/honeymoon fun part. And now, 5+ years into a common-law marriage, I can’t even begin to wonder where I’d go looking for it. That part of me seems to be frozen in the year 2015.

I do, however, feel…settled. That’s something I’ve never felt for long. I feel settled in my work, my love life and in my future. It’s peaceful for the most part. You can’t put a price on that.

For what it’s worth, I think had I never met him, I’d still be okay at this tender age of 55. I believe I would have figured my life out, either way. My path would have headed in a new direction, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just a different thing.

Still, this trauma I carry with me wouldn’t exist, yet I would never have experienced the bliss of post traumatic growth, either. It’s really quite something to walk out of a raging fire only to find yourself a better human being.

It has been and continues to be a journey.

Next year, I’ll mark year 7. I don’t know if I’ll feel much different but maybe, I’ll be a little lighter in spirit, a little less sad and perhaps I’ll not miss him and all of the possibilities I’ll never know (including all the ones I’d have had if I’d never met him) as much.

I’m curious about the me I would have been, now, if my life had taken a different path without Brian, but it didn’t, and here I am.

Time to continue to move forward with the life I do have – including all of the terrible and beautiful post-suicide trauma that makes me everything that I now am. Each year I let a little more go. I feel a little less devastated and somewhat more grounded.

Time does heal. But not completely; if you look the scars are very much there, yet they start to fade after a while. I am not ‘over it’ but with it. What that means is: I’m choosing to live and move forward alongside this complex grief and trauma. It’s a part of me. It’s remade me into a softer, kinder and more aware, human being.

How Will You Show Up?


There’s no denying that 2020 has been one hell of a year. If the global pandemic and the US election didn’t give you reason to cringe and wish to move off planet, perhaps the murder hornets, Australian and California

wildfires, plane crashes, wars, earthquakes/floods/explosions/riots/senseless killings (need I go on?) did.

No matter how you look at the last 12-months, it was a hot mess and it’s not getting better any time, soon. We are still stuck in the middle of Global Trauma as the 2nd Wave of COVID-19 rampages across the globe. All in all, it’s not a good time for anyone, especially right before the Holiday Season.

However, help is on the way. There are several vaccines ready to roll out that are 90%+ effective and although it will take time and a massive undertaking like no other to get everyone willing – inoculated, it will get done. It could take most of next year, but it will be done.

2020 has changed us. It’s changed my family and friends and it’s changed me. It’s brought out the best and sometimes the worst in people; laid us bare, stripping us of all facades so that what you see, is now what you get. There is polarization – them and us. I feel, though, that this is temporary as we struggle to get our bearings, find our way through the darkness.

This, I feel, is what 2021 will help bring about. A coming together, a common ground, a rebuilding of values, ethics and wholeness. We’ve got a lot of work to do and there will always be opposers, yet I believe there will be, needs to be, unity so that we can return to thriving and not simply surviving.

So, how will you show up? Which fence are you sitting on, and when will you choose to hop off and join the teams? Team Humanity. Team Humility. Team Empathy. Mankind CAN do better. We MUST do better. 2020 has exposed so many of our flaws, our weaknesses and what a beautiful way to learn. To Grow.

Change starts with you. It starts with me. One by one, we can choose to be a little bit kinder, a little more giving and for-giving. We can be present, be there for one another, be the light.

Listening; I hear you.

Watching; I see you.

Loving; I embrace you.

I choose to show up, to engage, to facilitate – to help and to heal.

Why #BlackLivesmatter Is So Important


People. I’m going to try and explain this a little differently because I see there are still many of you out there who don’t get it. You’re taking this personally and you’re reading this message incorrectly. Firstly – unless your Black, it’s NOT About YOU.

Let that sink in a little while.

I’ll say this again, because it’s extremely important that you understand this. If you are NOT Black, this is NOT about YOU. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a positive impact and help make the world a better place for everyone.

I’m going to assume that you’re aware of the oppression of Black people, specifically in the US, that started ohhhhh… in and around the time that someone (a whole lot of white someone’s) decided it was an awesome idea to kidnap people from their country, force them onto ships, bring them to the New World and other places (which they stole from the locals that were already there for thousands of years…don’t get me started on THAT) and enslave them for profit. Let me be clear, these human beings were a commodity. Just like O&G or Steel or Wheat. Here are some fun facts to mull over.

Now. Taking that all into account, let’s break down this whole hashtag and try and understand just what it is. It’s many things, a campaign, an awakening, a revolution, a demand for change, a spotlight on what’s wrong with America (and Canada and the whole world), a massive movement…so many things.

If you think for one minute that people of colour have the same rights as us privileged white people, you couldn’t be more wrong. And we can’t even imagine it because we are treated completely differently. We have more rights, we aren’t targeted by police, we have never been enslaved. We are privileged. I – am privileged.

I’m not going to point you to all of the evidence simply because there is SO much that it’s overwhelming. Even with this Movement in full swing, terrible things continue to happen to Black Americans AND Canadians. Yes. It happens here, too.

Now, pay attention because this is where I’m going to take you on a little journey of perception and perspective.

There are a whole bunch of you who are jumping up and down, waving your arms about at the audacity of all of this because you feel that: All Lives Matter.

Of course, all lives matter. This was NEVER in question. EVER. Where did you get the idea that by focusing on a terrible injustice to others that this somehow undermines you? Who posted that because Black Lives Matter that somehow, other lives don’t?

Nobody did. Anywhere. Not once. Not ever.

You simply came to this conclusion because it wasn’t focused on you. Again. This isn’t about you. It’s about the oppression of black people and change that needs to happen. You can either be part of the solution or the problem. Which one will you choose?

Remember when Greenpeace launched the campaign: Save the Whales? This movement was launched in April of 1975 right in my own neighbourhood from the docks of Vancouver. If some of you were alive in 1975 (I was 9-years old at the time) you’ll know that there was no such thing as: the internet, the home computer, cell phones, social media (you get the point). But, if there was, imagine the impact (or non-impact) of this very worthy cause if a whole bunch of people started jumping up and down, flapping their arms about and started proclaiming: Save the Planet! Save the Elephants and Rhinos! Save the Amazon!! Save the…(insert whateveryouwanthere)!

If that had happened, all the focus on saving endangered whales would have been marginalized, minimized and soon it would be shuffled to the back of the line because the focus of this worthy cause would become ‘unfocused’ and lost in the swarm. Suddenly, Save the Whales would be insignificant.

This is what you do when you proclaim: All Lives Matter. You shove the whole Black Lives Matter Movement to the back of the line and out of sight where it does NOT belong. There is a spotlight on injustice, racism, intolerance, poverty, police brutality… STOP trying to snuff it out.

Shine a light on it, instead and by doing this, you still highlight that LIFE MATTERS. Your life, my life, every soul, every life, every day, every hour and minute…matters.

Don’t you get it? By lifting others up, you also stand tall. By bringing awareness to and doing what you can to change the state of the world so that Black lives shine, Black people have equal rights, you bring to light that (get ready for it) –

We. Are. All. The. Same.

We. Are. All. Connected.

Underneath our skin colour, all of our blood runs red.

We are all Homo Sapiens and change starts with one movement at a time.

Save the whales. Black lives matter. Save the Amazon. Save the rhinoceros.

Pick your cause but don’t take away from, distract or detract – from any one of them. They are all so important.

Black Lives Matter. Period.

 

The Many Faces of Rape


Some of you reading this may become a little uncomfortable. Others may be triggered by previous trauma. Please be careful and take care of yourself as this concerns a very delicate and difficult topic.

Something happened to me a very long time ago. When this ‘something’ happened, I was left feeling very confused. I did not know if I was supposed to be upset or cry…or be angry. I wasn’t even afraid when it was all over although I was pissed off during the episode.

The only feeling I could muster was confusion. What the HELL had just happened?

Up until recently, having this memory bubble to the surface while I do work on myself and learn about trauma (including sexual abuse and rape) in my counselling class – I’d forgotten about it. Afterall, it was more than 30-year ago. Then, when my perpetrator (and ex-husband) contacted me via Facebook completely out of the blue, the memory started to weigh on me like water-filled rubber boots. It was too hard to move forward and past this without talking about it.

I had never told anyone about it. Ever.

It was the late 1980’s. We were both college students and newly engaged. I think I was 20-years old at the time. He would have been 21. I remember we were in the bedroom of my rented apartment on Millstone Ave. It was the 1st place where I’d lived all by myself. No roommates, no rented room. A whole 1-bedroom place all to me.

We had started kissing – making out, the usual stuff we got up to. But something was different. For some reason, I had changed my mind. I can’t remember why I did or if I just wasn’t into full-on intercourse. Maybe I was tired. I really can’t recall the reason, but I DO know that at some point I said: “No.”

He didn’t take me seriously and thought I was teasing, that this was some sort of game. It wasn’t and I wasn’t, but I couldn’t convince him.

I got up and left the room, slipping away from him easily enough. I thought that this was the end of it, and he’d go home for the evening. He was still living with his parent.

It was not the end of it.

He followed me into the tiny living room or kitchen (I can’t recall exactly where it all started getting ridiculous and weird) and continued to insist on kissing me, trying to take off my clothes. I resisted and again, told him that NO – I wasn’t interested. Once more, he thought this was part of the game I was evidentially playing. I may as well have been having a conversation with the fridge because he wasn’t listening to anything I was saying.

Let it be noted that although I struggled and kept telling him that I wanted him to stop, I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry and I wasn’t hysterical or afraid. I just did NOT want to have sex. It was that simple. I was also angry that my wants and rights were being ignored.

Perhaps he thought this was some kind of kinky role play (although we’d never done that before), perhaps he thought it was all an elaborate game to turn him on. I don’t know because I never asked him.

In the end, in my attempt to get away, I ended up on the floor, scrambling back while he pulled my jeans off, along with his pants, and has his way with me against my wishes. I believe it hurt.

He didn’t hit me or yell. In fact, he was laughing the whole time, which makes me think he was completely clueless as to what he was doing.

What he was doing, was raping me.

Afterward I sat on the floor, feeling that weird surreal confusion, and thought: did I just get raped?!

I really wasn’t sure and in 1986, given that we were a couple and to be married, I very much doubt the law would have thought so. What was the point of saying anything? I really believe he didn’t know what he had just done. He was generally a sweet and gentle guy.

I thought about confronting him about it seeing as he wanted to send some things of mine that he’d held on to (for 30+ years) back to me. I doubt he’d remember the occasion. To him, it was all just fun and play.

Had he (or anyone) tried the same thing, today, it would have gone down much differently. Maybe if I’d shouted or become scared or really mad, he would have stopped. I don’t know.

Today things are very different and thank GOD for that. Rape has no grey areas. Consent MUST be given and NO MEANS NO. It doesn’t mean chase me around the apartment until I trip and fall while you grope me and then force yourself on me. It means FUCKING STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW.

Yes, you can ask someone to stop before and during sex. You have rights. You can change your mind any time you wish as it’s YOUR body and you get to decide what you want to be done to it.

No one else on the planet can do that for you. No. One.

I was young and rape wasn’t talked about. There was no internet; you couldn’t Google sexual consent. It wasn’t exactly taught in schools. I sometimes think I didn’t know any better and should have fought harder. Part of me wants to blame myself, even now, and find excuses for him.

But the harder I look, the less I find. There are no excuses. He should have known better. He should have stopped when I asked him to. He didn’t.

#metoo

SARS CoV-2


I’ve been hesitating to pen a blog post on this as there is SO much. So much emotion, fear, worry and so much information and misinformation. Where does one start? How can you tackle thoughts on the worst global pandemic in the last 100+ years?

I’ll start by saying there are many forces at work, here. We have the perceived good, bad and the indifferent but mostly we have massive change. It’s not an easy thing to do – shutting the world down in the blink of an eye, but it’s a necessary one. Our values are being re-written, our needs are being challenged and our beliefs are being tested.

We’re collectively struggling and grieving. When you have that many humans caught up in a global web, all stuck in one spot, you get division. You get those who are struggling to put food on the table and are not getting help so shutting down seems pointless and impossible. You get those who will do whatever it takes to keep themselves and others safe because all life is important, and they’d rather do without and suffer – than risk the lives of so many.

Division isn’t new and it’s always been prevalent, however, we are divided now more than ever and especially in the US where there is no central voice that is attending to all, speaking for ALL and listening to ALL. As a Canadian, it’s difficult to comprehend this and although there is division in my country, it’s muted; for the most part, we stand as one and most of us are doing our part to slow this killer down so that our hospitals do not become overwhelmed. Thus far, it’s working but we have failed our elderly and vulnerable and we’re failing them badly.

My point is, we are all discovering (or more appropriately, big problems that were being brushed under the carpet are having spotlights shone on them – really bright ones) our flawed systems and are being forced to now deal with them. This is good and bad. Good because something is finally being done and bad because it should have been taken care of long ago.

Let’s talk about exposure. COVID-19 is exposing all of us: the way we cope and react, the way we adjust or don’t, and the way we give or take. We are learning different behaviors and it’s hard. It’s like being a kid all over again and figuring out social behaviors. It’s changed and it takes time to adjust when we really have very limited time. How fast a country can turn on a dime is relevant to how that country naturally behaves. Every system is different due to belief systems, patterns and culture.

Yet I will say, Earth has turned a page and its human citizens are more on that ‘same’ page than ever before. So, in a sense, we are more united than we’ve been since…well long before I was born.

I think the really big questions are yet to be answered: what positive changes will we take away from this experience once it’s over, what negative ways will we return to just because we can and we don’t want to give up our perceived luxuries of consumerism? This is yet to be discovered.

Still, I have hope. I have hope that we will emerge a better species, more tolerant, more adaptable, more alert to our environment and the need to protect it. I pray that we will be better focused on healing, caring, alignment of nurturing collective thought patterns and just plan taking care of all (not just us).

We are in a perfect storm and that storm is different for each of us. How we’ll be after the skies clear and sun comes out is up to each of us, as individuals to discover. We’ll be looking at a different world. Some will adapt, some will struggle.

At the end of the day, we still all have choices. Collectively we can choose to change what is important to us. We can collectively choose to work together to make a better planet and better life for everyone.

We are starting to wake up and really know that we don’t ‘need’ many things we’ve always thought that we needed. Or, maybe we can need ‘less’ or need differently. There is always a better way to do things that serve everyone. It’s up to us to figure out what that is. I believe we are at the tipping point to not just think about it but begin to put best practices into place.

For COVID Blog post

Happy New Year


As I do every year on New Year’s Eve (you probably do this, too), I think about the last 12-months of my life and contemplate just what went on.

Was it a good year? Did some bad things occur? What good things happened? Was I grateful enough? Did I learn anything? Am I a better person or…a worse one? Do I feel grief for anything? What made me smile and what made me weep?

Oh… So many laughs and way too many tears. We said goodbye to my best fur friend of 17-years and turned around and said hello to a new forever kitten who lit up our lives. We continue to work and cope with mental illness and drug addiction in my family and do our best to forgive. It’s hard work. It’s worthy work. It keeps me up at night and it offers a wealth of learning.

I try and be the best version of myself, but then I slip up and disappoint. I get up again and for a while, I am the best I can be. Then, I fall down, once more and anger gets the better of me.

I think it’s called ‘being human’. We all rise and sink to our occasions.

I think New Year’s resolutions should be kept simple:

  • Be the best you can.
  • Love with your whole being.
  • Forgive, forgive, forgive (include yourself in there).
  • Be open. Open your heart, your mind and your soul.
  • LISTEN (shhhh!)
  • Be happy in the NOW. Now is the only time that actually exists. Always remember that.
  • Dance. Have fun. Be silly. Laugh. Please, laugh until tears are in your ears!
  • Remember who you are: A Soul having a Human experience.

Can you do that? Can you be better? Can you do better and make the changes in your life that raise your vibrations and add to the light in the world?

Can you?

I know I will. See you in 2020. xo

On the Edge of Dream

Moving Forward


We have a new little addition to our family. He’s not a replacement; Z will always be in my heart and I miss him, every single day. It’s really hard to believe it’s been a whole 45 days since he took his final breath with my hands gently supporting him (he refused to lie down even with the happy drugs) with Pete standing by.

Little Breeze (his name, in honor of Zephyr) is a handful. He also came to us very sick. Although this is typical of rescue cats and kittens, it’s not cool that the rescue organization didn’t make sure he was perfectly well before allowing him to be adopted from where he was kept…in a cage with his brothers and other kittens at a vet animal hospital in Vancouver.

We’re not impressed with either the cat rescue organization (they didn’t bother to check up on us even though they’d asked for 2 references and our vet’s #) or the animal hospital (who told us he was fine, just finish his meds, it’s only a little URI).

Nope! It’s a massive  bacterial upper respiratory infection along with a tummy infection AND eye infection. The poor little guy was a mess! We’re talking snot rockets, mucousy eyes and diarrhea.

After God knows how many rounds of meds (and $500+ in vet bills AFTER the $350 it cost to adopt him) he’s getting better. He’s now 4.5 months old, rambunctious as hell and after 4 weeks with us, Sabrina (our Tortie) has finally accepted him. They play, she tries to groom him, he gives her the paw of NOPE then they settle down and sleep side-by-side. They wrestle, play tag and then run to the kitchen for snacks.

It’s adorable. They’re adorable.

His sleeping habits need some refining. It’s not cool to sleep ON my face (and then sneeze snot rockets all over me…my pillow, the sheets – you get the picture). I’m hoping in time that he will start to snuggle with Sabrina – or, she’ll ‘let’ him. She’s not there, yet. But, it’s early days.

I’m hopeful. ❤

This is he.

Morning Breeze B&W

Breeze Purple

Sending your Furever Friend Over the Rainbow Bridge


This is a hard post to write but many will relate. Our pets are our family and for those of us without children, our Fur Babies. We love them. They love us and more importantly, unconditionally.

Just over 16-years ago, I was newly separated from my (now ex) husband. I was renting a little house in Calgary. It was Spring. I volunteered at an organization called the Meow Foundation. It was/still is, a cat rescue place; I came in on Saturdays and cleaned.

That place was sterilized from top to bottom, every single day. It was a fair-sized house with many rooms so at any given time there had to be at least 200+ cats and kittens there. That said, it was extremely well-managed and organized. Feral cats had their room, new mothers, kittens and expectant mothers had their area. There was a spot for sick cats, and we had to walk through some sort of antiseptic so there was no cross-contamination.

In the living room, were all the friendly cats who got along with everyone. Down stairs, were several more rooms with new intakes (a few who were injured and had to be kept in cages for their own good) while others roamed around and became acquainted with the place.

When I first started seriously thinking about adopting one for myself, I took a good look around. I spotted him lounging on one of the cat trees, just taking it all in. He seemed to be just coming out of kittenhood and knocking on the door of being an adult male cat. He’d been brought in with his sister; she was waiting for her spay and was in another room. He’d already had his neuter.

Both were wandering around a neighbourhood, seemingly lost or abandoned. They ended up wandering right up to someone’s front door and she took them in. The next day, the kind lady called the Meow Foundation. No one ever claimed them.

They were named Smartie and Skittles because of their sweet nature. Smartie was the male. Both were grey and white with Smartie being a long-haired cat and his sister, not.

I ended up adopting Smartie a few weeks later and renaming him Zephyr. He was the sweetest, most easy-going and definitely the handsomest cat I’d ever had the pleasure of sharing my life with.

I’d never had a cat quite like him and I doubt I ever will again. He had just enough quirks to make him interesting and adorable. He also had the temperament of a Saint. That cat never bit, hissed or scratched me out of anger or fear, in his entire life. You could do anything to him and if it bothered him, he’d either complain about it or leave.

He had his naughty moments, too, but he was just being a cat. One certainly can’t fault him for that. There are simply far too many cute Zephyr stories to list them all, here. But I will say that when he was young, he was a kleptomaniac. He also loved to invent games to play, and we had many. One involved a red bucket and an ex-boyfriend. I still have that red bucket.

He was a lover not a fighter. Whenever his path crossed another animal’s, he’d always try and make friends. Just because I know you’re wondering…he made 2 doggie friends and 0 cat friends, although he did try very hard (Xanadu, you nasty little thing, he was SO in love with you…your loss, honey). I could include Sabrina, but I really think he tolerated her more than anything.

I got to share his life for just over 16-years. He was 17 and had been battling kidney failure for the last 4 of them. On June 1st, he’d had enough. For 2 and a half days I did everything I could to make him better, but he wasn’t having it.

It was his time. So, with a heavy heart, Pete and I sent my best friend home. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but one that I simply had to. I made him a promise that I’d never let him suffer. He was suffering. It had to stop.

It was quick. Pete and I cried. I then cried some more and every day since then, but it was the right thing to do. There is no question in my heart.

I was Z’s mommy and I’m pretty sure he thought that, too. He listened. He came when he was called. He took up half of my queen-sized bed for more years than I care to admit. He was kind of a  big’ish cat. 17 lbs in his prime.

I’ll miss him until I see him again on the other side. I love him dearly. He was one in a million and a huge part of my life. If he didn’t like you (and he liked just about anybody once he got over being shy) you weren’t to be trusted. He had a sense about people. He also never forgot anyone. It could be months or even a year in-between visits, but he’d always remember you.

Zephyr was the best pet I’d ever had; I’d also had him longer than any other animal. 16-years is a long time to have anyone in your life. It’s longer than any man has ever lasted, I’ll say that!

At least…so far.

I love you, big guy; you were the bestest kitty EVER. And that red bucket! How you made us laugh, brought us joy and shone a bright light into everyone’s life you touched.

Really.

Best. Kitty. EVER.

unconditional_by_musingcalliope-d2erd4r

Four Years Later (The Continuing Aftermath of Suicide)


I want to say that it’s a little better with each passing year, and it is…but marginally. I still get taken aback by the rush of grief that spills into my daily routine, unannounced and unwelcomed.

The tears still sting and the ache in my heart really isn’t any less. It’s just less often. There are daily reminders of his existence on earth and in my life; I’m grateful for them and accept them with grace. He still is and always will be: the one that got away. Only his ‘away’ was pretty horrific.

I’ve built up my life around softness, empathy and understanding.  Yes, I still have a wonderful (forever) man in my life. He’s not going anywhere and for that, I’m so, so, happy. He’s my rock and grounds me to this earth when my spirit wants nothing more than to fly away.

In a month, it will be THAT day. That terrible, horrid, worst-day-of-my-life, day – and, once again, it will all come crashing down around me. It’s okay; I always prepare. The lead-up, however, is easier, this year. I don’t go over old emails and texts from him, still looking for some clue that I should have known this would happen.

Thankfully, I’ve stopped that. It’s pointless, really. A little torturous, too.

I was so inexperienced with his mental illness, so new in our relationship, so in-love and so terrified. I don’t think there was anything different I could have done, given the tools (and lack of) that I had at the time. I simply didn’t know how or what to do – other than to do everything in my power to be there, be present, love him, do what I could to keep him safe and then…have faith that he’d stay.

He didn’t. But we all know our story didn’t end well.

I want to tell it. REALLY tell it; it’s quite a love story, after all. A tragic, messy, funny, sad – love story. I’m almost ready, but not quite.

I still miss him, and I know that we all do – all of us that he touched. There were many. I’m not the only one grieving and I know, out there, there are others. Others like us who understand the depths of suicide grief and it’s never ending dark and deep hole in our lives. It really feels like a part of you died with that person. And as you constantly struggle with trying to understand…

Somewhere.

Somewhere in a gentle and loving stillness, there is forgiveness. Not just for them, but for us. For not being able to save them, for not being there, for being angry, for so many things, I’ve lost count.

Forgive yourself. You, who travel this road of sorrow, with me. You did all you could; they know that. HE knows that. A choice was made that wasn’t ours to make or judge.

My story has carried on, but I can still tell his in the best and most loving way that I can. We can still honour their lives here and in the Afterlife.

I’ve learned SO much and continue to grow with this experience. It will walk with me, until I walk into the light. I’ll always advocate for understanding and to end the stigma, the secrecy and the embarrassment. The finger-pointing, the judgement and the ignorance that comes attached to suicide – both for those who’ve taken their lives and for us who are still on Earth; it has to stop.

Let’s replace them with: Love, Compassion, Understanding, Openness, Communication & Kindness.

Right here. Right now.

In love & Light,

Carrie ~

 

HOPE

W.E.I.R.D.


Are you one of those people whom others call -weird- ? Yeah? I am, too.

I grew up thinking I was weird, and for the 1st 23-years of my life, believed that the OBO’s I had when I was a child (out of body experiences) were nothing more than elaborate dreams that taunted me.

I was fascinated with extraterrestrials (I blame my dad for getting me hooked in Star Trek when I was three) and ghosts. Anything paranormal was interesting and wonderful. Faeries? I believed in them! Magic? Like, real magic (not silly card tricks) was alive and well in my world.

I could catch my mother’s thoughts and would often hear her calling me before she opened her mouth. Once I nearly walked into her as she excited her bedroom as I was walking in to find out what she wanted.

When I was older, I knew things before they’d happen. I think I saw my first psychic when I was in my early 20’s. I thought they were amazing! When they started telling me that I’d do what they do, one day, I couldn’t fathom it. Yet, here I am!

Maybe you didn’t start out being ‘weird’ but had some major trauma in your life that caused a shift. After that, you couldn’t look at the world the same; something was different about you and there was no going back.

Perhaps this trauma was so huge that you felt that you’d lost your way. All your coping mechanisms had run away screaming and you were left feeling empty, alone and frightened. The only constant in your life was change and either you accepted it and moved with it or life became a dark sea of pain.

Let’s hope it’s the former. I’ve been down both roads and change is inevitable albeit not a lot of fun. It’s much easier to jump on that Change Train than fight it. If you’re like me, somewhere in that fog, you started to awaken.

What I mean by that is things became clearer, little by little the lights came back on. Only, this time, they were brighter.

You started to think differently, and suddenly some of the people in your life didn’t fit in, anymore. That’s when new people magically appeared. People who thought like the new and different you. People you could relate to.

Whether you’ve always been a little odd or there was an event that tipped you over, weird is wonderful. Weird is beautiful and to be frank, normal isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. It’s a little dull.

The world is changing. WE are changing and we’re energetically growing and … becoming.

We’re becoming… WEIRD.

Wakeful and present in every moment.

Energetically connected to everything.

Intellectually and spiritually grounded.

Resonating in my greatest and highest good.

Dharma focused in vibrational harmony with my higher self.

Weird is pretty rad, isn’t it?

Elegant woman dancing on water. Sunset and silhouette.

Creating Your Day


If you’re like me, the moment you wake up in the morning, you start to think about all the things you have to do for the day. Sometimes, there’s worry. Worry about things that may or may not happen. Often our thoughts are rather negative.

I’ve been doing a little experiment.

Instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong, I ask one question:

What’s the BEST thing that can happen today?

Then, I get all excited about all sorts of wonderful things that can happen, literally creating my reality with universal energy. It may sound all fluffy and woo-woo…but let me tell you something.

It works.

Not only have things magically appeared but they keep coming in! The key is to come at this from a place of fun and love. Not desperation or fear.

Have FUN with it! Think of it as a fun experiment that can’t fail as you’ve put zero expectation into it, yet you’re open to ALL possibilities.

Go on. Try it and watch the magic happen.

Magic hands

Happy New Year!


Happy 2019!
 
I’ll keep it short because sometimes you don’t need to say much.
 
A beautiful piece of advice from one very dear to me on the Other Side.
 
“Fall in love with EVERYTHING.”
 
I asked why… and he said:
 
“Because every experience is SO precious; don’t waste them. Fall in love with the grey sky, pain, sorrow…sunlight. Everything. The only reason it’s there is because you’ve asked it to be.”
Thank you, B. xoMorning Gull

A Very Merry Christmas to You


Can you believe it? Nearly another year has passed. 2018 will soon, slide into 2019 in a silent hush, and humans will pause in the moment, then brace for another rally with themselves. Aren’t we a funny species? So much fear amid so much love for our very own. I hope I live to see the day when the realization sets in that we are all one; the differences we fight about are pointless and non-valid.

I think this will be the last Christmas for some in my life; notably my nearly 17-year old cat who has been battling renal failure for years. That’s going to be a hard one but a necessary one. No animal should suffer.

I also know that I have friends who are missing dear family members for the first time, this Christmas, and it’s hard to celebrate knowing they’re not on Earth with them. It’s painful and difficult, yet they smile and keep it together for everyone else. My heart goes out to you.

Christmas is a funny thing to me because I’m not religious. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to celebrate with friends and family and GIVE. We need to focus more on those that we love, and we need to focus more on those that need our help.

Maybe everyday should be Christmas.

It’s been an interesting month, health-wise, for me, too. I’ve had sciatica, before, but NEVER this bad. I’ve been in near constant pain for almost a month. Although I’m amused that I’ve grown calluses on my hands from using a walker. Me! At 52, using a walker!! Don’t fret, it’s temporary and I’m so very grateful to my mother-in-law for letting me borrow it. Xo

I’ve had to postpone appointments with my Coaching clients and say no to others who have wanted to book Reiki sessions. I just can’t do it. At least, not at this time. For that, I’m sorry.

I’ve had friends wanting to visit and although they know I’m struggling to get around and get ready for Christmas, they’re offended when I tell them that I just can’t entertain at this point. For that, I’m truly sorry, as well. It’s not that I don’t care about you, it’s just too difficult to give you what I believe you should deserve – which is my very best hospitality and complete undivided attention.

There are times when you just can’t be there for others, as much as you’d like to because you need to be there for yourself. And, that’s okay.

So, let me be here, now. Let me tell you how dear you are to me and how I know you’re struggling, too. Let me tell you that you’re loved and that you matter. You matter to me and to so many others. This year will fade into the next and it’s up to you begin again. You have everything you need to move forward and design your life.

You’ve got this!

I believe in you. Please believe in yourself. Put yourself, first. Love yourself and heal. This time carve out a new path instead of the same one you’ve been tripping on.

Don’t wait for life to change. Be the change.

You’re creating your own experience, moment to moment. Let’s make those moments count!

Be present. Listen to your inner guidance. Take one step at a time. Know it’s okay to fail! Failing is the learning process to success. It’s your guidebook of ‘what not to do’ and how can you even know that if you don’t try and see what works and what doesn’t?

Learn from every Thing and every One.

Your life is yours to live, no one else’s. Your experiences are unique and oh-so-beautiful as they are only yours. Know you can create whatever you want and isn’t that incredible?!

Be the creator of your own destiny but also understand that if situations keep repeating themselves, it’s because you still have something of value to learn from them. Maybe spend some time on figuring that out. All of your questions can be answered from within.

Life is precious, confusing, painful and beautiful – all at the same time.

Be grateful for everything. Even the shitty stuff, in fact, especially the shitty stuff, because those are the lessons most worthy.

Remember I love you and all of you are never far away from my thoughts. You live in my heart, always.

Have a wonderful, beautiful, CRAZY and fun Christmas/Holiday!

~Carrie xox

Zephyr Christmas tie

We Have Become a Culture of Apathy


In my day job, we occasionally have events that we host. I know from experience that no matter how many people sign up and ‘commit’ to attending these events, that maybe half will actually show up. The other half that didn’t show up won’t call or email, they’ll just be a ‘no show’. This is now normal, and people expect it.

We also take our time in returning calls, answering emails or texts. In fact, sometimes people don’t bother answering at all. Again, this seems to be expected if not widely acceptable. There are all sorts of excuses offered: I forgot. I really thought I already emailed you. I was too busy. I was going to get to you when I had time. Et Cetera.

I remember when I was a kid, I’d never think to not show up to something that I’d committed to or never return a phone call to someone who has left me a message specifically asking me to call them back. So, what has changed? Why do we think it’s okay to not care or bother? Are we too busy? Or, have we just become so self-important that others no longer matter, and good manners are a distant, fleeting memory

These are good questions and ones that lend pause to our everyday lives. I remember when all this technology (aka computers, the internet and cell phones) were supposed to make our lives easier, give us more free time and allow humans more freedom to do other things (like return phone calls or show up to things they’ve committed to). As we know, this didn’t really pan out.

I find myself inundated, daily and even hourly with things like: emails/texts/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram/insert-whatever-social-media app here. It’s endless! Would we be more responsive if we simply unplugged? I don’t know, I still return calls and show up when I say I’m going to and I LIVE online. Well, at least it seems that way.

So, what is it? Why do we behave thusly if we can’t blame our addictions to technology?

I believe we’ve simply tuned out and prioritized differently. We tune out to things that don’t give us instant gratification, a ‘like’ on Facebook or a ‘follow’ on Instagram. We are a society of apathetic children and adults all waiting for the next electronic stimulation instead of looking for that high in normal, daily life.

Maybe it’s not as fun calling your mom back as it is logging in to see what your 2000+ friends have posted about their fabulous lives on a daily/hourly basis. Perhaps it’s not as gratifying as emailing back that friend-in-need as it is reading what your favourite celebrity has just tweeted.

But think about it. Just think. For one minute…ask yourself what’s really REAL and who is going to be there for you when the chips are down? Is it that friend of a friend of a friend (whom you’ve never met) who just posted the latest meal they’ve had or that famous person who got into a feather-slapping argument on Twitter?

No. It’s your mom whom you forgot to call – telling yourself that you just didn’t have enough time and you’ll get to it when you can. Maybe.

It’s your friend-in-need whom you ignored because it was too much work, you didn’t want the drama, etc. That’s who you’ll reach out to.

The question is, will they be available for you?

Group of friends having a social network moment watching on their mobile phones - People leaning on a yellow wall on their phones texting an

Taking Back Your Power


Recently, someone close to me lost their job for the 2nd time in just under a year and a half. As you can imagine, this is devastating, and he feels like he is a complete failure; his self-worth stock suddenly took a nose dive and there he was, just another worthless piece of garbage tossed to the side of the curb. All of the hard work he’d put in, 60+ hour weeks, not taking vacation and doing everything that he could to be all that was asked of him, now meant nothing.

To make matters worse, he didn’t see it coming. The circumstances didn’t make sense. Just a few months, prior, he’d had his one-year review, and all was well, in fact, he got a nice raise! There were no indicators that something had gone awry. It was shocking, and the reasons given didn’t add up.

This is just one example of having our power taken away.

When we are let go from our jobs, whatever the reason, there is a deflation of positive energy and an inflation of negative energy such as anxiety; you’ve just been tossed into a black hole of: WTF just happened?! Suddenly our livelihood is in jeopardy, our sense of self and worthiness is now in question.  Worse, we often feel we’ve let those that depend on us, down.

Negative emotions will surround someone who’s power is yanked from them, no matter what the circumstance. In this case, this person was powerLESS to do anything about it. There are huge waves of grief, anger, confusion that they’re riding on. There is depression, sadness, (there is a difference) guilt and denial. All of these are completely normal.

At some point, there will eventually be acceptance and ultimately surrender. The damage is done but soon, the healing will begin.

When someone or a circumstance takes your power, the most important thing to remember is: You can and will get it back. The fastest way to do this is to stop denying all of the uncomfortable emotions that bubble up and first, acknowledge them, and then work with and through them.

Denial gets you nowhere. Shoving your pain away is like trying to constantly keep a massive beachball, underwater. The damn thing keeps popping up and smacking you in the face and the farther you push the ball under, the more energy it creates so that when it pops up, it has a greater force and intensity. As well, there are usually several beachballs at once, each a different colour with a different emotion attached to it.

When this happens, stop shoving them down, pick one up and look at it. What do you see? Is it guilt? Let’s work through that. Remember you’re not alone, you’ve got people who care about you and will listen. You’ll need to express yourself, talk about why you’re feeling guilty. Reach out to your partner or friend, family or clergy – whomever you can. If you’re feeling there is no one, there are numbers you can call to talk to someone at no charge. There is no judgment. Here is a number you can text or call 24/7 1-877-870-4673.

The same is true for all of the beachballs/emotions. You’ll be angry, so BE ANGRY!! You have every right to be! BE sad, it’s good to cry and cleanse. Take responsibility for what you did or didn’t do but don’t accept blame for something that had nothing to do with you.

BE. Be kind to yourself, take it gently through the first few days. You can and will get back up on that horse. Little by little, you’ll feel you’re back in the driver’s seat. Take action and take stalk of everything that you DO have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human – just like the rest of us.

Many will tell you that the “why’s” don’t matter and you should just let it go. I disagree. When you’ve gotten your power back and feel you’re ready to move on, you’ll realize that the outcome would have been the same, no matter what. But, in the moment, when it’s fresh, you’ll want to understand what happened and I’m going to say most of the time, the situation won’t make sense.

Knowing what went wrong will bring you a little peace. However, I caution you; you may never fully know. You’ll want to hash it out, ad nauseam, and that’s okay. Remember, express yourself. Talk about it, write about it, get it out and into the open so it’s not stuck, inside, and all bottled up. You’re liable to burst like a soda pop on an automatic paint mixer, if you don’t let yourself vent and explore the situation from every angle.

Once you’ve reasoned things out and realize you’re not such a terrible person (assuming you actually didn’t do something terrible) you’ll feel better, increasing your energy and voila, you’re starting to get back into your own Power.

When someone or a situation takes you out of your power, it can feel like you’ve lost part of yourself. Know it’s not forever and it takes a little time and self-care to get it back.

Strong and powerful as super hero . Mixed media

Taking Care


It’s been a while since I’ve had the energy to write a blog post and I thought the reasons why (anxiety/stress/fear/grief) would be a good topic, and how we need to look after ourselves during difficult times.

Maybe you’re one of those people; you know, that person whom everyone else relies upon. The Dependable One. Is this sounding familiar? You are that individual that people turn to when times are tough. Maybe someone has lost a family member, or your neighbour was in an accident and they need your help. Perhaps you have a good friend whose life is full of frustration, and they need someone to really hear and see them. That someone just happens to be YOU.

The thing is, you’re probably going through your own stuff. Maybe you have people in your life that you care about that have addictions. Perhaps there’s an ill family member or your job is dragging you down. It could be a number of issues and situations that cause feelings such as anxiety/stress/fear/grief, or even, anger/depression/hopelessness. All you need to do is pick one.

Thus, along with being there for everyone else, you are dealing with your own shit, too.

This can be difficult because you may not be the kind of person who feels comfortable reaching out for help, for yourself. You may not post about all of your ‘stuff’ on social media. In fact, you could be really quiet about what’s going on in your own life, only sharing with a select few…so not many really know that you’re suffering, too.

During these times, self-care is imperative. Let’s call it emotional health rather than mental health. I don’t really like the term coined by science: mental health as opposed to physical health, because it implies that our brain is separate from our physical bodies. It is not. However, our emotions/feelings are intangible results of situations and, ultimately, our experiences.

We could get into quite the lengthy debate over whether our experiences are stored in our brain, our heart, or our soul. I think all are true. That said, we can’t exactly examine an emotion, touch it, feel it, measure it, in the same we can a physical body part. It’s an invisible energy/force that has a ripple-effect on everything.

So, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of my point. During stressful times where there are elements beyond your control that cause upset, one needs to slow it down and take a little care of both our physical body and emotional wellbeing.

Yet, so few take the time to do this. We’re all caught up in a race to some finish line (possibly death) and not many make time to simply BE STILL and allow emotions to settle down, so we can better serve ourselves. If we can’t serve ourselves, we certainly can’t serve others.

How many times have you heard this phrase uttered by breathless, stressed-out and angry people when told to slow down: “I’ll slow down/sleep when I’m dead!”

People, I have news for you; life doesn’t end when your body is dead and there is no slowing down or sleeping in the Afterlife. But, that’s another blog post so let’s carry on with the presenting theme of this one.

Are you still with me?

Make. Time. For. Your. Self. That is all that is required. Whether it’s meditation, physical exercise, reading a good book or simply going for a walk, in nature – all of it will help you cope.

Take care of your feelings. Let’s dig a little deeper into that sentence.

Caring for your feelings. This would indicate that you have to acknowledge that you’re having some that are causing you problems, in the first place. Then, you have to figure out which one/s they are, and finally why/what is the underlying cause AND (last but not least), care about them.

Drilling down and taking a deep dive into ourselves can be a bit foreboding but once you’ve identified what’s happening, you can move forward with a plan to create a better environment for you to heal and, ultimately, feel better.

Does that make sense?

There are tons of posts about self-care, out there, and I don’t want to get into self-indulgence because this isn’t what I’m writing about. More to the point, I’m writing about holding space for yourself before you hold space for someone else. If we’re not at our best with our own body and spirit, we can’t be our best for someone else’s.

It’s okay to say: No.

Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s simply respecting your own space and creating boundaries. There will be times when you’re overloaded while dealing with your own personal life, that you simply can’t deal with another’s. That’s okay. No one will blame you and if they do, that’s their issue. Let them go; you don’t want these types of people in your life, anyway. They’re draining, and they’ll suck the life out of you.

Creating boundaries doesn’t make you selfish. You’re not a narcissist if you’re giving yourself some consideration, once in a while, instead of always putting everyone else, first.

It doesn’t mean you have to give a play-by-play on Facebook about how/what you’re doing for your self-care. In fact, during this time, I recommend that you stay away from things like Social Media, entirely. There’s a lot of BS on there that we can get all caught up in and let me tell you: things are not always what they seem.

So, what are you going to do to take care of your emotional health? When are you going to start putting up a few boundaries and say no, once in a while, to allow yourself to move through your own stuff?

At what point will you discover you’ve got so little energy that it’s time to S L O W down and make room for some healing?

I’d say the time is now. In this very moment. Just do it. Start the process and watch yourself become a better, healthier/stronger, you.

You can do it. I believe in YOU. xoAnxiety concept word cloud background

Succeeding Through Failure


Think of the last time you failed at something. I’m going to bet you can recall it in great detail. In fact, I know you play the entire scenario in your mind, over and over; a mini movie that you pause at certain intervals to capture and digest all of the littlest details.

We analyse our failures with incredible precision to see how/why we didn’t make better choices. We do a lot of: If onlys and what ifs.

  • If only I didn’t do that, this other thing wouldn’t have happened.

  • If only I did do that thing, the event/relationship/solution/insert-anything-here, would have gone better.

  • What if I had been there/what if I hadn’t shown up…that thing wouldn’t have gone as badly.

What if, instead of looking at past events as failures, we decided to view the offending incident as a valuable opportunity to grow and move into a different life direction, one that serves us better? How about taking on a broader scope of understanding and exiting with the experience as something that brought you to a higher place thus realizing that your failure was actually a planned success.

Let’s take a deeper dive into that: planned success. Every big experience that changes us in some way is actually designed to help us succeed. What we see as failures is really a path of events to show us we have alternatives and that we can act on them if we so choose to do so.

Have you ever found yourself repeating the same mistake over and over? Maybe you’re drawn to a certain personality type in your love life and the relationship always ends up in a big disaster. From the inside you can perceive yourself as always failing. From the outside, there is a much bigger message. And that is: this personality type has lessons for you and until you learn them, you will be repeating the same sequence throughout your life.

Your repetitious theme could be something as simple as self-respect or restraint. Only you will recognize the pattern that you’ve created. Maybe your mother was controlling so you have always dated controlling women. Can you see where I’m going with this?

Once we can recognize the pattern, we can break it. Once it’s broken, we can heal and move forward. This is success. If you can take away something of value from your past failures, this is success. If you can learn and grow; move a painful incident into greater awareness – then you’ve succeeded.

Instill your success in everything, even if you think you’ve failed. You haven’t; you’re just learning how not to do something or learned that you can do it better or differently to yield more favourable results.

There is always a better/different path waiting for you if you choose to take it. Don’t be afraid to mess things up because through this you’ll reveal your greatest triumphs.

Motivational and inspirational life quotes - Failure is success in progress.jpg Blurry background (1)

Deathiversaries


It’s odd how we count the days/months and then years after someone passes over to the other side. I think the passage of time leaves little tick marks that dig deep into our hearts to remind us that although it still hurts like hell…we’re still here.

Life on earth goes on without them.

We endure the absence of these loved ones in our daily live and if you’re like me, their presence is never far away. Even as the years pass by, our missed people still linger in our thoughts and dance in and out of memories like sun beams across the floor.

It’s year three since Brian left us and as much as I’d like to say it hurts less, it simply doesn’t. It does, however, grow into a smoother transition and although I had my share of tears, I smiled, as well.

I sat in the morning sun with my favourite tarot cards and asked him, out loud, if he’d guide me to pull out the card that I wanted. This would prove to me that he was really there. I was emotional and didn’t trust (as usual). It took a few tries between salty tears to hear him properly and after dropping the deck a few time, I was successful.

Finally, I stayed still  long enough, and calmed my heart, to hear his voice.

“Use your right hand,” he gently said. “That’s it…take a deep breath and carefully choose with your heart. Take your time; I’m here.”

(He’s ridiculously patient with me.)

I slid out one card with eyes shut tight. Flipping it over, I smiled while launching a fresh volley of rain from my half-lidded eyes.

The Love Card.

It’s the one I always wish for when I feel him near. If I try too hard, I fail. This time, I didn’t and showered him with my gratitude. It was a wonderful start to a sad day.

I miss him, still.

Becoming


Over the past decade or so (probably a bit longer) I’ve been obsessed with personal growth. I decided long ago that I wanted to be the best possible ‘me’ that I could during my stint on Earth.

I do believe that you can reinvent yourself every new day and every moment, you can choose whom you want to be. Before you think I’m standing on a soapbox, pointing to my halo – I’m very, very far from Sainthood.

That said, if we are conscious of who we are and who we want to become, we can work towards becoming better. That being: kinder, gentler, more humane and understanding, giving, loving and forgiving.

You get the point.

For the first time in many years, I’m feeling very secure in my life; I have a loving partner, two adorable pets, lots of friends, a lovely home and a pretty secure job. Yet…I look at all of that and ask: what does it mean? Does this automatically equal happiness? What IS happiness and does having all-of-the-above guarantee it?

Absolutely not.

Whenever I express to my Guides that I want to heal people they retort: Heal yourself, first. When I say I want to be helpful to society, I get: help yourself, first.

It is, as always, good advice. If you can’t make yourself better, the one person you know best….how can you help anyone else?

They make a good point.

So that’s what I do. I do the work on myself, first. And I keep on doing it because there is always room for improvement.

I’m working on being the best me that I can be. I’m be-coming; coming into my human being with all of my soul self and it’s a lifetime process.

But while I’m healing and helping myself, I can certainly help others. It’s recognizing that we are always a work in progress, forgiving ourselves for our past mistakes, missed opportunities and those other things we’re so-not-proud-of.

So, how are you healing yourself? How are you working on becoming who you were meant to be and how can I help you with that?

carrie@thehealingcorner.ca                                                                www.thehealingcorner.cablog post

Working Through Anxiety


I have it and always have. I remember getting migraines as a child brought on by anxiety when my parents were screaming at each other nearly every weekend. I’d complain that my head hurt (it really did) and was taken to the eye doctor, the regular doctor and various specialists. I had all sorts of tests done and in the end my parents were told that I ‘just wanted attention’ and was making it all up.

This was the 1970’s; no one thought to look into the social dynamics of my dysfunctional family and ask questions and if they had I wouldn’t have said a word, anyway, for fear of being beaten within an inch of my life. One of my father’s favourite threats was: “I’m gonna knock your teeth out!” English not being his first language, it came out: “teet” rather than “teeth”. I’ve never forgotten that and he’s been dead 28-years.

That was my childhood. As I got older, anxiety lead to panic attacks but surprisingly not until I was an adult. I didn’t have them often but when I did, it was full blown I-think-I’m-having-a-heart-attack episodes. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you’ll know what I mean: difficulty breathing and catching your breath, pain in your chest, shaking, sweating and feelings of utter chaos. Your heart races and your mind keeps up; they end up doing endless 100-meter laps with your thoughts in tow until you’re able to release it and start to calm down.

It doesn’t last forever, but when you’re in the thick of it, it seems you’re either going to pass out, whither and die on the spot, or explode.

Although it’s been a few years since I had a heart-racing panic-attack (the last time was when Brian took his life) I’ve had other anxiety-related issues: lack of sleep, terrible dreams, worry to the point of being ridiculous and being very irritable.

So what’s the magic formula? How does one cope with the escalating madness in the world – both in your own and on the outside where you have little to no control? How do you handle stress from work, family – demands upon your time, illnesses, finances and then contend with our Southern neighbours worst mass murder in their history?

If you’re sensitive like me, and are prone to anxiousness, it’s no easy feat.

You may find that people around you tell you to: calm down/get over it/take it easy/relax etc. None of these help, by the way, but there are a few things you can do for yourself.

  1. Breathe. Concentrating on just breathing keeps you grounded in the moment and helps calm you in the gentlest way.
  2. Take a walk in nature. The energy of plants and water is incredibly calming and healing. Make sure you are by yourself and with no distractions and simply ‘be’ with the beauty. The forests, oceans, fields, rivers and lakes have amazing healing energy. You’ll understand better when you immerse yourself in it.
  3. Pets and animals. If you have a pet or two, spend some time with Fluffy. Animals are very psychic and pick up on our emotions. You may have noticed that when you’re feeling down or anxious, the family pet seems to gravitate towards you with extra cuddles and affection. This isn’t a coincidence. Their energy will always help make you feel better. There’s a reason why trained animals are used as helpers. There are psychiatric service dogs, comfort pets and companion animals. All make a huge difference.

Lastly, there is professional help. Counsellors, Coaches, Psychologists and Psychiatrists are trained to help you maneuver through your anxiety with a variety of tools.

Take care of yourself and be gentle. You matter and there are people out there who ‘get it’ and understand what you’re feeling.

Young woman suffering from a severe depression/anxiety (color to

 

 

The Letter


A while ago, I took a little writing course. One of the exercises I had to do was write a letter to myself (from my future self), one that I’d read, back in time. Of course, I had to choose the most difficult day of my entire life to send this letter to: the day after Brian took his life. 
I found this exercise most powerful and healing. I will incorporate this into my Coaching sessions as I think it’s valuable to people. 
Feel free to give it a try. 

May 11, 2017

Hello me,

It’s me…

You’re reading this the day after that really bad thing happened (May 12, 2015). That’s what we (as in- you and I) ended up calling it. Sometimes we simply can’t bear to speak it out loud. It’s been two years. In fact, today is the 2nd anniversary of his death.

I know you’re in shock. I know this is the very worst thing that has every happened in your life. We both know there have been a lot of very bad things – this one tops all of them. I believe with all my heart we will never have to deal with anything this terrible, ever again. That’s a good thing because I don’t think you/we could survive it.

Right this moment, you’re torn apart and your heart just went through a rusty shredder. It’s been hurled all over the place, bits and pieces of bleeding muscle and everything is soaked in your tears. The very sky is dripping with sadness in spite of it’s perfect spring-blue. The cherry trees are still blooming and a warm west wind blows in to ripple the Pacific, but all you see is black.

I want to explain a few things to you so that eventually, you can take back something that you had so strongly before this happened: Hope.

Our love for him was enormous, vividly deep and hope was our wings; we defied everything. We felt it would carry us and him through those dark and inky days. We were wrong about that because it was never our choice. It was always his.

I need you to know that hope lives on and that this pain will ebb back into that depthless sea from which it came. Like a shadow moving through the light, it will take on many forms, grow, recede and finally it will only follow you around, a ghost, catching your attention, now and then, instead of staring you right in the face as it’s doing now – screaming that this CAN’T be true, there MUST be some sort of mistake because Brian CAN NOT be dead.

You’ll eventually come to terms with this and please know that he is here, always with you, always sending you signs and he hasn’t stopped. He won’t unless you ask him to.

I want you to understand that we made it through the fire. Oh yes, we walked right on through the centre of agony and didn’t stop. We just kept on moving forward even though it was excruciating and when we emerged, black and scorched, we turned back to look but the fire was gone. We’d used it all up, consumed it in our grief. There was nothing left but our smoking footprints to show us where we’d been.

We’d made it.

YOU, will make it. You HAVE made it and even though there are moments when you are raw again, broken apart and the tears flow like muddy rivers…you never let go of that hope. It carries you, it cradles you and now it leads you to where you’ve always needed to be.

So, cry and sob and be angry. Scream, weep softly and know you loved like you’ve never loved in your life. Remember him. Speak his name, often. He’s around and you can feel him in the stillness of the morning, just before the birdsong, moments before the first rays of dawn and seconds after the darkest part of the night.

Hello me…it’s me. Today is the first day that he’s gone – really gone… you feel as if you, too, may leave this world from your torn apart heart. You won’t. You’re still here, better than ever. Hope, your love, his love, all that brought you here and all those days yet to be born, are waiting just for you.

So…what would you say to your past self if you could send a letter from the future? 
sad woman

Why Aren’t We Teaching Children How to Manager Their Minds?


I’m taking an online introductory course in Counselling and I’m currently reading a book called: The Skilled Helper. It’s interesting. I’ve barely started and already I’ve noticed that there is something very important and fundamentally missing in our Western system: we do not teach our young how to manage their mental health. At least, not on a large scale.

We show them how to take care of their bodies through eating well and exercising. We teach them to read, write and problem solve with equations. Sometimes we send them to Church and teach them about religion and morals, but….what about how to handle a crisis? How about teaching our kids about how their emotions work and that it’s okay to talk about them? What happened to focusing on alternative ways to handle situations, emotionally?

This is why we have Coaches and Counsellers! It’s not about telling someone what to do and how to handle their life but helping them discover and identify unused resources and opportunities that they already have, such as: How to cope during an emergency, how to deal with life’s stresses, how to handle emotional pain/anger/death/grief etc.

Do they even talk about this in school? How about at home? I’m not a parent and I can tell you that when I went to school (a LONG time ago) it was never covered off, not even remotely.

Now, I did a little research and it looks like in the British Columbia, curriculum under Physical Health, this subject is touched upon, briefly. So, I’m encouraged but from what I’ve read, it’s certainly not extensive. Big topics such as: sexual identity, bullying, emotional and physical changes during puberty and managing problems related to mental health are all in there. That’s great! This is 100% better than when I was a kid, but what about the nuts and bolts of everyday life? What about how we always tell boys not to cry and to suck it up? And how media encourages girls to look ‘western’ pretty (thin/sculpted features/large breasts…you get what I’m saying. Most of them do not look like that; I didn’t and sure don’t, now. What about female role models? Has that changed much? By looking at the books with key female roles, not so much.

My 22-year old niece worshipped Barbie from 2-years old until around 8 or 9-years old. What are we telling our kids who grow up thinking Barbie is what a woman is  supposed to look like?

Our world is SO fast-paced and intellectually engaging for our young. We give them high-tech electronics practically at birth but do we ever sit down and talk about what it’s like to be sad or mad?  Or, what this growing emotional being thinks about all of that? Think about it. Emotions RUN our lives. If you believe differently, just look at the news and then come back and tell me how it made you FEEL.

I’m just saying, folks, we need to change our entire strategy. What good is having a degree in neural science, having a perfect body, being wildly successful in your career if you’re not happy on the inside?

Now, I know a few AMAZing parents who nurture their children wisely and by the time they are teenagers, I’m willing to bet they will be highly sensitive, functional and intelligent beings capable of making very good decisions. That’s not the norm, though.

So what is the answer? How do we prepare the next generation so they can help fix this world? Who is responsible? Parents? Teachers?

Everyone. What’s who. Without a group effort, this paradigm shift will not take place any time soon.

sad depressed lonely adolescent teen boy

The Aftermath of Suicide


It’s been two years to the day that the man I loved ended his life; an odd anniversary of sorts and there is still so much to say and so much that I’ve already said. I feel, sometimes, that I’m endlessly repeating myself.

So, I’ll be somewhat brief.

If you’ve known someone or loved someone who has experience with losing a person to suicide, or intimately understand what it’s like because you’ve been through it…

Be gentle. Be kind and be empathetic to those that have survived and yourself, if you – like me, have learned to live with it.

You see, that’s all you can do; live with it. You don’t get over it and you don’t forget about it just because it’s behind you. You live with the stigma of suicide around you, every day.

I’m not a grief counselor but I will become an educator. This happens so much more often than I was ever aware of and I’m guessing most people are not aware of the staggering statistics.

Why? Because we, as a society, sweep it under the carpet. It’s a dirty little secret and we talk in hushed, whispered tones, quickly looking around to make sure we are not overheard.

“Did you hear? He killed himself…”

Then, everyone not involved, goes about their daily life and tries not to think about it. Yup. We typically don’t reach out to the survivors, we don’t try and understand mental illness; we try and forget about it if it didn’t concern ourselves directly.

Before Brian, I’d never had any experience with suicide, suicide grief or had known anyone close to me who’d chosen to leave the world by their own hand. So, I can’t say that I was any different, or any more compassionate. Honestly, I can’t remember if the topic ever came up.

My point is that it’s not a fault of the individual; it’s the fault of our culture and the lack of education and understanding.

So I will become one of the educators because I really need to. I need people to understand that you can’t get over it. It lives with you, daily. It becomes a part of you and rather than reject it, I choose to embrace it.

I choose to take this experience and make something positive out of it.

Brian’s life mattered. ALL lives matter, no matter what our exit strategy is out of this world.

So please, don’t pretend it doesn’t happen. Don’t avoid the topic or whisper about it.

YELL IT OUT.

Everyone needs to know and learn about mental illness and how to help those that are suffering.

Because it can kill.

Just like cancer.

Just like any other disease known to humans.

It’s time to make this a priority and stop pretending it’s not a massive problem.

Suicide is a major cause of premature and preventable deaths.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for people of all ages. In 2009, it ranked as the ninth leading cause of death in Canada. Among those aged 15 to 34, suicide was the second leading cause of death, preceded only by accidents (unintentional injuries).

In memory of Bri

Lighting Up the World


There is a lot going on in the world; I’m stating the obvious, here. International political relationships haven’t been this bad in a long time. I think there are various degrees of concern. While many simply go about their day-to-day lives and never give war/poverty/violence on a Global Scale a second thought…there are others that are all too aware, that if unchecked, this could escalate into something really, really, bad and before we know it, we could be plunging into a third world war.
Does that sound plausible to you or do you think everything will be fine and we should ignore the drama?
Personally, I find disregard for human lives and welfare, anywhere in the world, unacceptable – but, this is the age we live in, isn’t it?
What’s really going on? We launch massive bombs at an already ravaged country and then pat ourselves on the back about it. We make threats to countries that might not have an issue launching their nuclear weapons in our direction. We decide that Global Warming doesn’t exist (just because one guy tells us this) and then we go about our consumer lives and nothing changes. I realize I’m generalizing and when I say ‘WE’ I’m painting with a very broad brush. The fact is, individually, we’re pretty powerless to intervene. Or…are we?
Why aren’t the alarm bells screaming?
I believe that far too many people have become desensitized to global atrocities because they don’t necessarily happen to THEM and let’s face it, watching it on TV or reading about it online, just doesn’t cut it.
I am a Lightworker. Perhaps you are too? If you are, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and you’ll want to help. If you don’t think you are, that’s okay – we need you, as well. What I can tell you from a Spiritual perspective, is that there is much happening on the other side. We live in perilous times but this is a wake-up call and a call to action. This is an incredible opportunity to transcend ourselves past this world of starvation, greed, violence and EGO and redefine our humanity. Peace. Love. Harmony. Perhaps that’s too 1960’ish for you?
Then let’s keep it real, current, and start with just yourself. You can do that right? Not too hard?
No one person can really save a planet all by themselves but we can start by changing our way of thinking and doing.
Do’s and Don’ts:
  • Don’t panic. Jumping up and down, pointing finger, yelling and flapping your arms about isn’t going to stop anything.
  • DO be grateful for every little thing you have.
  • Don’t give in to the FEAR. Fear = hate = exacerbates the problem = point of no return.
  • DO give LOVE…everywhere. Really, send out love to every little atom out there. We can’t possible do this enough. Envision Earth right there in front of you and send it all the love you can muster. Do this a LOT. Love = light = peace = goodness = GOD/Source/Whatever you believe in.
There are Lightworkers all over the world doing good work. You can help and all you need to do is suspend whatever disbelief you may have and send a little love into the world. Yup, that’s it. We can make this really complicated, or keep it super simple (KISS).
Go on and light it up so that whatever darkness WE have created, whatever FEAR we are buying into, becomes nothing more than playful shadows.
Never forget, we are the masters of our own destiny. There is no real evil except what we create/manifest. We do this to ourselves and the silly thing is, we can choose not to. We can choose differently.
I don’t care how ridiculous this sounds. Dig deep inside yourself and ask one question:
Would it hurt to send the world some love?
Are you ready? I’ll go through it one more time because you may have missed it.
Close your eyes. Imagine this beautiful blue and green planet in front of you with all its life force as if it were your own child. Focus on your heart chakra or heart area and radiate your love all over it.
If you feel foolish – just remember, no one will know but you.
It can be our little secret…
1908ddfe6b63dc14de31fda2bf89ba1a

When Someone Ignores You


I think I’ve written about this topic, before, but it was quite some time ago.

Recently, a friend of mine, asked me what to do or how to react if the man she’s currently dating doesn’t respond to her emails, texts, etc. I could tell this upset her and, why wouldn’t it?

NO ONE enjoys being ignored. No one.

So why do we do it? Why do we think it’s okay to be disrespectful when we typically hate it when it’s done to us? As I’ve been in the sales world for 30-years, I’m very used to people not getting back to me. It’s a priority thing – I’m trying to sell them something/pass along information, and they don’t always have the time or need to get back to me.

I get that, as annoying as it is, I get that. However, I make it a practice to always be polite and respectful of sales reps reaching out to me. No matter how cheesy they come across, how insistent they are, or how presumptuous, I can’t find it within myself to be mean. Mean/rude people, no matter how you want to justify it, are just that: mean and rude.

You can make whatever excuse you want to, explain yourself away by saying you’re teaching that person a lesson (how kind of you!) etc., etc…but there simply is no justification to be impolite to someone who is just trying to make a living.

Not everyone is lucky enough to not have to cold call or email strangers to make ends meet. It’s great that you make all your business through word of mouth but at some point, you will talk to someone out there and tell them about YOU and what you DO. That, my darlings, is selling. It’s relationship selling, but it’s selling.

All of this said, it’s often the ones closest to us, our friends and family, that think it’s perfectly okay to not get back to us, or take weeks to do it. We’ve heard it all.

I lost your text.

No, you didn’t. You purposefully deleted it and then forgot about that person or chose to not reply.

I thought I emailed you back.

If you have that many personal emails to respond to, make a list and set aside some time to respond to those who you mean something to. We’re all busy. We all have better things we can/should be doing and we can all set aside 30 min. to type out a few quick emails. Even if it’s just to say: “I’m super busy! I haven’t forgotten about you…and will respond when I’ve got some more time. Xox”

Now, if you know me and are reading this and think I may be talking about you (and you’re now upset) you very well may be guilty. If you are, put yourself in the place of someone who gets ignored, and think about how that makes you feel.

Pretty crappy, right?

When you ignore someone, you’re telling them that they don’t matter to you. This leads to hurt feelings, anger, resentment and confusion. The result of this is that this person thinks you don’t care.

Clearly you matter to them! If you have someone in your life who doesn’t matter to you, time to cut them loose and save them some hurt.

Back to my friend. As she was clearly upset by this man ignoring her, I asked her why she spent time engaging with someone who wasn’t engaging with her. If your love interest can’t be bothered with you…why are they still your love interest? I can tell you they are not so interested in you!

Your takeaway is to really think how it affects others when you consciously choose to not respond when they reach out to you or take an unreasonable amount of time. How much time is unreasonable? Ask yourself how long you think it should take others to get back to you…

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Two Years Later


I blog a lot about Brian and how his suicide changed my life. However, this post isn’t so much about Bri, but more on how those changes have taken root and grown in the past (almost) two years.

It’s a little early as it’s two months away but the closer I get to the date, the harder it becomes, emotionally. Today, however, today I can write/talk about what’s happened in the span of almost 24 months.

Firstly, it DOES get easier. It really does. Not a lot, but I’ll take any tiny bit of peace I can get. It’s not that I still don’t think of him every day or get weepy when a song on the radio comes on that reminds me of him…but it’s a little less. I feel I’ve turned a corner on this grief and I wanted to share that with you.

If you’d met me pre-Brian and today, you’d definitely know that I’ve changed as a person – for the good and not so good.

I find that, for nice people, I’m more willing to do just about anything, should they ask. For jerks, I have zero tolerance and I tend to lose my temper, a lot. I’m mindful of my meltdowns and, for the most part, I can calm myself and not fall apart when something makes me irate.

From what I understand, this is still part of processing what happened. It’s getting less and daily meditation is helping.

I find that I’ve become an advocate, of sorts, and will not tolerate any jokes towards mental illness. I’m extremely sensitive towards people talking flippantly about suicide but I’ve also become more aware and caring as an individual. I do what I can for my fellow human and I find that I will cry, easily, over sad or touching pictures/events/videos/etc.

I FINALLY know what I want to be when I grow up! Yes, it’s taken 51 years, but better late than never, right? Had you told me I was going to be a Life Coach? I would have asked: what’s a Life Coach??

I believe in myself (my abilities) a whole bunch more, but my self-esteem still needs some work. No matter how many times my sweetheart assures me I’m NOT fat, ugly, old…(insert every female insecurity here) I have a hard time believing it’s true. Pre-Brian, I was pretty certain I was doing really well and for 49, thought I was hawt! Now, I’m not so sure how I feel about ‘me’. Part of it has to do with that Woman, whom he was still smitten with and who broke his heart (which lead to his premature demise)… and part of it has to do with getting older. Starting Menopause has not been a whole hell of a lot of fun, I can tell you that.

Two years ago, I was doing very well at my job, LOVED it, in fact, and was kinda proud of myself for doing well and being finally debt-free. I really liked myself and knew I was in a good space for a lasting relationship with the right person. I didn’t have any baggage, was saving to buy a place and felt I had a lot to offer.

Today, I’m actually financially even better off (thanks to Brian’s life insurance) but other than having a great down payment for a home and paying off the new car I bought (after I accidentally murdered the old one in a bad accident), the money means nothing to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, that’s not it at all. I really do!

It’s just that money, in general, doesn’t = success/fun, any more. It’s necessary and I need/want it, but it’s just kinda there. Prior to this tragedy, had I come across a large sum of cash, I’d be planning trips and having an awesome time but maybe because I didn’t ‘earn’ this money and because of the circumstances around it, it seems like I shouldn’t spend any of it on anything other than stuff that’s necessary (car/home).

Funny story – when I went to pay off my car loan, the loan clerk looked at me and said (knowing that I’d gotten the cash from an inheritance): Congratulations!!

I just stared at her in disbelief thinking how what I’d do/give/sell (my soul??) to have Brian back. She finally figure out that this wasn’t a ‘happy’ inheritance (what ones ever are?!) and said her condolences for my loss. Idiot.

Today, I appreciate my career but believe it’s not what I’m supposed to do. Today, it’s not about feeding my bank account but feeding my soul and my urgent need to help others.

Two years ago, I ‘may’ have been a tiny bit arrogant. Today ‘humble’ is my middle name. I have a hard time NOT being empathetic to people that, in the past, I would never be. Although, if you say or imply anything bad towards Brian or mental illness (of any sort) the claws come out, quick.

They are quite sharp and lethal, I assure you.

Two years ago, I couldn’t have imagined meeting someone like Pete who is the first man in I-don’t-know-how-many-years…whom I actually BELIEVE is truly in love with me. Seriously, he adores me rotten and I don’t know how I’d be doing, now, without him – me this broken, fragile remanence of a woman.I’m surprised he stuck it out; life with me isn’t always easy.

I needed someone with really BIG LOVE to come into my life…just as Brian needed the same from me. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I helped him, even if he took his life, anyway, I think he stuck around a little while longer because he knew I loved him so VERY much.

Sometimes BIG love is enough, sometimes it isn’t.

I get it now, Spirit, thank you for that lesson.

Two years ago, if you’d told me that I’ve have my own website, little business, and be planning to completely change careers, mid-life, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Two years ago, if you’d told me that I’d come out as a Psychic Medium, I would have burst out laughing. Today, it’s just part of my everyday life.

Two years ago, just before I met Brian, I was really lonely and wondered if I’d EVER find someone to live the rest of my life with. Today, the man I love not only lives with me, but I can’t imagine a day where I wouldn’t wake up next to him. He doesn’t fill the hole that Brian left (it’s a rather large one) but, instead, fills my whole heart with love and joy. I couldn’t be more thankful for him.

Two years ago, I was just going along …living life and not really paying too much attention.

Today, I live in every moment, pay attention to everything and feel blessed for every hurt/tear/sob/scar; because without these, I wouldn’t have grown. I wouldn’t have known the plight of those who are suffering (mostly in silence) with mental illnesses and I wouldn’t have discovered what I really had in me, as a Soul, having a very HUMAN experience.

So yeah, I’m grateful…almost two years later. xosuicide7-copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes life moves on…but not really.


 

It’s coming up to two years since Brian passed away by his own hand.

TWO. Years. About a week ago, (back 24 months) we’d just met.

Some days it seems like it was yesterday and I can still hear his laugh and feel the smoothness of his skin.

Other days, I’m lost in the moment of what my life is now: established relationship, getting ready to purchase a condo, together, same job…and of course, a new little company that I’ve started on the side.

I’m now a (proper) Professional (certified) Life Coach. (happy dance!)

If I look back, I’ve come a long way since that fateful May evening but on the other hand, it still haunts me. This, more than anything, confirms that grief knows no template or order.

It simply ‘is’ there and will show up whenever it feels like it. Or…not at all. I can now go whole days without shedding a tear, but I still think of him, often. There’s all the little reminders sprinkled around my life. I think, once we move, it will get a little easier.

This event is so significant that I don’t feel I’ll ever be able to put it behind me, rather, it will accompany me on my journey – kind of like a little stone I carry around in my shoe. It hurts, but I’ve grown used to it and there are now calluses to help mitigate the ache. I think I’d miss it if it should disappear.

I hope I’m wiser. I hope this has made me a better (more kindhearted and caring) person. I pray that I never have to maneuver through this kind of hell, again. I don’t think I’d survive it. I ask that I be able to continue to help others in any way or by any means that I can. I will always advocate for mental health.

And I will forever miss him.

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Happy New Year 2017


Wow, what a bizarre 12 months 2016 was! It’s like we all stepped into the Twilight Zone where surreal became reality. I’m not sure I’m over it, yet.

That being said, it’s time to take a big breath (really BIG breath, maybe several) and take a peek into the new year of our lives. What do you see? What do you feel? How do you think you will be?

The New Year is always a bit daunting; especially with the way the world is, today. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of crap going on and for the most part, we are powerless to make an impact. However, here’s 5 things you can do as a start to a positive new beginning.

  1. Focus your energy on LOVE, not anger.
  1. Be kinder in a world where there is so much hate, violence and misunderstandings.
  1. Hug someone, today…even if it’s just your pet. 🙂 Pets need our love and support, too.
  1. Reach out to a friend you’ve not spoken to in a while and just ask them how they are doing.
  1. Tell someone you love and appreciate them. It could your mother, or sister or lover or spouse. Maybe it’s your best friend or dad or brother. Maybe it’s yourself. Always save some love for YOU – you need it just as much.

Be brave, my lovelies; I think we’re in for a wild ride but an uplifting one. Let us make a difference, one hug at a time. Let us pass along the positive and the love so that it grows and becomes a force so much stronger than what’s out there, now.

We can do it; I have faith in humanity, one soul at a time.

TONS of love!

Carrie xo

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Being True to Yourself


Recently, I realized that I’ve been lying to myself. In fact, most of us are not honest with ourselves 100% of the time. I didn’t want to believe what my heart was telling me so I brought my head into the conversation and head said: “Oh, hey there! Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out, don’t listen to Heart – we’ve got this and don’t pay attention to all the hidden little signs of possible trouble ahead, we can deal with those later…”

Turns out, my Head, was very wrong and my Heart was the one really paying attention all along. In essence, I was fooling myself into thinking I could work things out by ignoring all the red flags that were popping up. I let things just ‘happen’ without really watching or listening to signs that everything wasn’t on the up-and-up, and now it’s unraveling because the other person involved wasn’t being honest with themselves, either.

So there we were, the both of us merrily going along, pretending it was all OKAY and ignoring warning signs like: anxiety, control, avoidance, haste, and a few other things that are now coming to light. It’s extremely important that we speak our truth at all times and when someone doesn’t, we get led down a path only to find out it’s a dead-end.

Does this sound familiar? I suspect it does. So…what’s the lesson, here?

I believe if we are truly in sync with ourselves and speak our highest truth, we will find that it’s okay to say: No, I’m not comfortable with that or…I’m not ready for that, yet.  We have the right to do that and it’s being fair to all involved. If we acquiesce, constantly, we are not only hurting ourselves, but others, too. And if we try and push the deal through to get what we want (knowing the other person isn’t or might not be totally on board) we do the same thing.

Step into your higher self when being asked the BIG questions in life – like commitment, going forward in relationships, how you feel, where you want to be, what you really want, etc. Be honest and say what’s really on your mind.

In the end, you will avoid a whole boatload of issues that you’ll now have to deal with. It’s like having a massive party at your house and leaving the mess sitting there for months. The longer you wait to clean it up, the ickier it gets and the more difficult it becomes to come clean.

I think if we practice this, in time, our lives will be easier and a lot more peaceful.Print

Dealing with Grief 101 – Part II


I really should proof-read at least 10 times before hitting the “post” button. It would seem I double copied some of my previous post and well…that’s just never fun to read, is it?

Most sorry about that and all fixed now. 🙂

Aright – onwards and upwards.

I’ll list 5 more little known (or maybe you DO know them) items one may want to think on when going through any type of sorrow.

  1. Create a safe space for yourself to ‘do’ the grieving. Crying is just part of it. You may want to yell, scream, throw things or simply curl up into a little ball and whimper. All of this is OKAY. You’re going through trauma and shoving all that raw emotion down into yourself will make it worse. Let it out.

Think about what happens when you put on a pot of water to boil with a tight lid on it. What happens, eventually, when the water boils? It’s all about the pressure. At some point, we will boil over as there will be a tremendous amount of pressure building inside us and it needs out.

Again, let it all out. If you’re not comfortable doing this in front of anyone, make sure you’re alone. If you have someone who can be there with and for you, tell them exactly what you need to do. It’s less scary that way. If you need to scream while someone is holding you – do it.

It’s okay to be angry and sad. In fact, it’s completely normal. Remember, your life has just been turned upside down and all the contents that were YOU have been dumped out. You’ve now got the task of collecting yourself and reassembling YOU. It’s not an easy job.

  1. Be ready for the waves. I’ve heard the analogy plenty of times and it’s such an accurate one. My counsellor told me that there will be massive tsunamis and small swells. You just don’t know when they’ll be coming because they’re stealthy little shits.

You may be in the middle of a meeting and suddenly “WHAM!” you remind yourself that you should call someone about something funny that just happened in said meeting and then the very next thought is: “Oh yeah, so-and-so is DEAD.”

And just like that it’s game over. You’re reliving everything and preventing tears is extremely difficult. I believe this is a good example of why just getting on with your life and keeping yourself busy may not work so well.

So how do you deal with that? I would say any way you can. I’ve feigned having to use the ladies and excused myself. I’ve sucked it back, finished the meeting and then allowed myself to have a complete breakdown in my car, afterwards. There is just no easy answer as that elephant in the room that you’re trying to ignore comes over and steps on you, every once in a while.

It’s not like you can say: “Sorry, my wife just asked me for a divorce out of the blue so I need to take a moment and cry; is that alright with you?”

But hey, wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where that WAS okay to do? Where people were so compassionate that they’d understand completely?

  1. People will avoid you. Well, most people will when they find out. That’s because, as humans, we’re not good with seeing others grieve. We’re uncomfortable and we really don’t know what’s expected of us. Some, will reach out briefly to offer condolences but then disappear back into the abyss. Your true friends, however, will be there and they will check in on you regularly.

Typically these are the people who have been through some sort of traumatic grief, themselves. My best friend battled (and won!) against breast cancer but it took its toll on her and she went through hell.

SHE, got it. We were there for each other and it didn’t matter how often I needed to talk about it, she listened, and listened and listened some more. I can still talk to her any time. And she knows she can talk to me, anytime, about everything she is still going through. She lives on the other side of the planet but we’re thick as thieves.

  1. It’s okay to let those people who ARE there for you, know when you need some space. Sometimes you need to be by yourself to process everything. It’s understandable, as you desperately try and make sense of what happened. In the case of suicide bereavement, you may never make sense of it because, to the ones left living, we can’t ever comprehend what was going on in their minds and hearts.

Know that you’ll learn to live with this. If you need some solitude, take it. Always be kind to yourself.

  1. For a long time, it will be like you’re walking in a fog. You will go through a torrent of emotions and no, they won’t be in a nice little package labeled: The Five (and I’ve seen seven) Stages of Grief. Yes, those emotions will be knocking at your door, but there are no neat little ‘stages’ where you can tick off each one as they come and go. NOPE, it doesn’t work that way. In fact there are a ton of emotions to get to know.

I’d  like to point out that I never went through denial. I also didn’t go through bargaining. I am, though, quite good friends with depression and anger. Each visit me, frequently, and we get on quite well. Sometimes they show up for tea at the same time and we have a big ‘ole party.

Now, guilt. Guilt and I are practically best buds. This is such a fun emotion (not) and even though I know full well I could not have saved Brian, some part of me still likes to think I could have and that if I’d only done this or that (like not forget my damn phone) he’d still be alive. The fact is: he made a choice then and there and it’s already happened. I cannot change the outcome.

And just like that it was all over and my whole world changed. Yours will change, too. It’s maneuvering those changes that I can help you with.

I think this is a better representation but we’re all unique and going through grief is different for every person.

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Dealing With Grief 101 – AKA Things Your Psychologist/Shrink/Counsellor – May Not Mention


I’ve been thinking a lot about the US’s recent election (I’m Canadian) and thought I should write about that. Then, I realized that I really needed to figure out the next step in my career (which is to help heal those in grief through Life Coaching and other healing modalities).

Oddly enough, the two collide as I watch my Southern neighbour come to grips with who their next leader really is. I see many in grief.

So this might be apropos; but let’s stick to the topic…

Some of the things you need to know and that I’d cover off in sessions are (I’ll start with 5):

  1. It’s okay to grieve. Whatever society (by that I mean religion, upbringing, culture, etc.) says to you, It’s OKAY to feel bad when you’re going through a shitty time. Whether it’s something incredibly traumatic like a suicide or something immediately life altering, like losing your job, you need to grieve. It’s not only healthy, it’s necessary.

In fact, you can’t NOT grieve as even if you stuff your emotions deep down inside yourself, they’ll come bubbling up in a violent torrent and (trust me on this one) it will be much worse than just letting it happen right from the start.

  1. Grief comes in a nice variety of forms. From tears to rage to quiet depression and everything you can think of, in-between. It’s a hell of a ride. It can haunt you in your dreams, prevent you from sleeping, cause you to overeat, under eat and wreak havoc on your immune system so you’re more vulnerable to getting ill. The message? Take care – EXTRA care of yourself and know that your behavior will be anything from normal. Again…it’s okay.
  1. Grief is going to change you. This change starts from the moment that bad thing (whatever it was) happened. This change is ongoing and could move within you for sometime. Where you’ll land is undetermined but while you’re changing, it may be helpful to be cognizant of it, at least.

This will help you a great deal when it comes to determining the changes you want to make in your life. It could be something small or, in my case, it could completely change who you are and what your prime focus becomes.

  1. Not every one is going to be understanding of your pain. Even if your child is taken away from you prematurely, there still may be some asshole who says something ‘not’ empathetic like: Well, at least he died peacefully… Know this: when life takes a turn for the worst, you learn who supports you and who doesn’t. If you encounter someone who brushes your pain off, tells you to ‘suck it up, buttercup’, or just plain avoids you, let them out of your life.

I’m not saying you need to be mean, but you’ll be doing yourself a favour by lovingly letting these people go. They are not in alignment with you and vice versa. Keep those around you who don’t judge, don’t give you their opinions, and most of all, are there to LISTEN to you or just be with you when you’re on your knees or curled up in a little ball of heart wrenching tears.

  1. Get lots of rest and take as much time off as you can. When Brian took his life, I took all of 4 days off work. He died on a Monday. The next Monday I was off on a plane to visit a client in the interior of BC for meetings and presentations.

The amount of effort it took for me to a) stay on track, b) NOT burst into sobs and c) be coherent – was incredible. I think it took every ounce of will within me to keep sane. People told me to ‘just get back into it’ and that I’d feel better.

They were wrong. Keep yourself busy! My boss told me. I wanted to shimmy under my bed and hide from the world for an eternity. Sometimes it was so overwhelming and confusing, I wanted to die. Not take my own life, but I literally prayed for death. It was so much more than I ever could have imagined: more terrible, more heart breaking, more surreal, more painful, more of everything.

So, take all the time you need and don’t short change yourself.

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial…there’s more comin’ your way.

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Conversations with My Dead Boyfriend


Yep; thought that title would grab your attention.

As an out of the closet Intuitive Medium, I chat with Bri on a regular basis. It’s healing when you’re going through a shit-ton of grief. It doesn’t matter that I have a new man in my life whom I adore and it doesn’t matter that it’s been a year and a half. The ache, the pain, it’s all still there and I need consoling.

So yeah, he knows when I’m in tears and when I have doubts and when I’m heading towards the darkness of depression. He’s been there, you see, so he totally gets it. Having someone he thought he’d spend the rest of his life with suddenly walk out on him and tell him to never bother her again, was devastating to him.

Having a man you’re completely in love with take their life over that is equally devastating. I have some bad days. In fact, I have many bad days where I feel like I’m drowning but somehow I manage to tread water long enough to get to the next day…and the next.

So what does he tell me? He tells me to hang in there. He tells me I’ll be okay; sometimes I don’t believe him but I listen, anyway. He tells me he loves me. I sometimes don’t believe that, either, but that’s just me playing the ‘hurt’ card. I know, in my heart, he does.

He tells me to do it for him and that he’s here for me like I was for him. He thanks me for being so patient with him and never giving up hope. He has high hopes for me. At times, he’s playful (he always did have a stupendous sense of humour!) and sweet. Other times, he’s serious and gets frustrated with me constantly questioning his feelings. He wants me to know, quite adamantly, that he loved me then, loves me now, and will continue to do so.

But sometimes I can be a little shit and I go through the ‘I’m mad at you’ feelings and I slink down into unworthiness and guilt; those are SO much fun to deal with. I loop back around to compare myself to HER – and I can’t because I’m not 13-years younger with a perfect yoga bod with long blonde perfect hair and a perfect pretty face. I’m 50 for God’s sake. Although I think I’ve held up well…

I feel that I wasn’t ENOUGH for him but I know the truth. He wasn’t enough for himself. He wasn’t leaving ME, or HER – he was trying to break up with himself. As he found out, this cannot be done but I assure you the unbearable pain he encircled himself with is long gone. He’s fine – regretful, but fine.

He hangs around, patiently, while I move through self-deprecating emotions and waits until I come to the same conclusion, every time. That I was enough for him and that I DID have what he was looking for in a relationship, and then some. If I can quote him: “A relationship can’t survive, or be of any measurable substance, if there’s no depth. A pretty face and nice body is not depth.”

I have depth in abundance.

What you need to know is…they are around you.

Talk to them. You know who I mean, the one you lost and loved. They are near you a LOT. They see your tears and can hear you just as plain as day. Speak to them out loud and look for signs; they will send them. They are OKAY; they are with Spirit and GOD/Source whatever you want to call IT.

They are alive! They are without hurts and afflictions, they are whole and healthy and happy. And possibly the thing you need to know the most:

They Miss you. They Love you. And they do these things, constantly, as much as you do.

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You Will Never Be the Same Again


One of the things I was never told in my counselling sessions since Brian passed away, is the fact that I was in the process of changing and would continue to change. In essence, I am becoming a different version of myself.

Now, many things trigger changes within ourselves but suicide is pretty major. I can only tell you my personal experience with this but I know it’s the same for every person going through suicide bereavement. We just don’t look at the world the same, ever again.

In fact, I don’t even look at my friends and family the same or life, in general. Every person’s suicide survivor story is unique to them, as are the changes that occur.

One of the services I wish to offer, in future as a Life Coach, is to help determine what those changes are and how we can best use them to our greatest and highest good. I had to learn to put my life back together, by myself. It was hard because my family and many of my friends didn’t want to discuss it and wished I’d just get on with my life and forget about the whole thing. After all, I’d only known Brian for all of 3-months, didn’t I?  How come I was still so upset?

Well, we know that love doesn’t come attached to a time frame and because I was smack in the middle of the infatuation/honeymoon part of the relationship, I got kind of stuck there. Being still “in love” with a man who took his life is very complicated – specifically seeing as the ‘trigger’ event was another woman. As you can imagine, this comes with its own assortment of interesting issues.  I had to sort through that, myself, too.

I suspect having help with this from someone who can understand what it’s like to move through the pain and sorrow, could and would be helpful.

I’d like to put together a program of healing and movement. What I mean by that is:

  • Acknowledging feelings and moving through them over time with the goal to be able to express them in a helpful and healing way. I started colouring! It helped me relax my brain and stop the constant chatter that was going on in there.
  • Determining next steps in your life and identifying the changes that are taking place in your beliefs, relationships, spiritual understanding etc. I broke up with a few friends and reinforced a bond with another.
  • Set up goals and touchpoints (to make sure we’re on track) and align them with our core desires. I discovered that I didn’t want to do my day-job any longer so I started taking steps towards something more fulfilling.I’m not there, yet, but I’ve started the process.

I could go on, but you get the point. What worked for me may not work for others but there is something out there that WILL help. The new YOU may or may not be similar to the old YOU and one needs to prepare for that. I think my family is finally starting to see the differences in me, little by little. And, not all changes are that positive so we have to be mindful. You may find yourself not as tolerant or patient, for example, but these are things, once recognized, that you can work on.

I’m embracing the new me but she’s not done transforming. It will be interesting, in the next few years, to see where she lands and I’m rather excited about it.

So, if you’ve been touched by suicide and all of this actually makes sense, know that you’re going to change and that it’s perfectly okay to do so. How or if you choose to help the process is your choice but be aware that these changes will take place through time and if you can identify them, along the way, it could help you through the process.

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Feelings and Whatnot


As I’m meandering my way through my Life Coaching Course, I’m learning a few new things and validating others that I already knew. Not ever being a fan of sympathy, I was happy to learn that empathy trumps it (NOT the Donald) every time.

Do you know the difference? I could write an entire chapter on this but simply put: sympathy is pity; empathy is understanding.

It’s always a better scenario to have someone ‘understand’ your feelings rather than feel sorry for them. Why? Because that’s how we relate to one anther – by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

It’s a pretty basic thing…but I will never give a ‘Sympathy’ card out to someone who has lost a loved one, again. I don’t want to pity them, but empathize with what they’re going through. I think we should rename those cards: Empathy cards. Sympathy is the weaker/annoying cousin to empathy – you know…the cousin whom you haven’t seen for a decade that shows up for dinner, one night, expecting you to entertain them.  They are just not up to snuff when it comes to hard core feelings such as grief, like empathy is, who will show up only when you need them and want them, but also take you out for a nice meal and throw in a few glasses of wine, to boot.

Empathy listens without judgment. Sympathy interrupts with platitudes and then possibly makes it all about them.

So the next time someone comes to you for a shoulder, listen with empathy. Don’t judge them and let them know they were heard and you’re there for them.

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World Suicide Prevention Day


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I think it no coincidence that today is the day I end up taking Brian’s ashes to scatter them on a beach he played on, as a child. I was supposed to go, last week, but seeing as it was the Saturday before the last long weekend before School is back in, my sister and I thought better of it. Long and busy ferry lineups are not our thing.

I didn’t even clue in that we’d re-worked our plans for THIS day. There are no coincidences…this was meant to be.

I miss him. Every day, I miss him.

For new readers, my late boyfriend, Brian, took his life on May 11th, 2015. It is a day that I’ll never forget and one that changed me for the remainder of this life.

Every blog post I read about those who have lost someone that they love, to suicide, tells a similar story. Gut wrenching pain and all too stupid and insensitive comments; platitudes that are tossed out there to us like left over scraps thrown towards a starving street dog.

I’ve heard it all and if you’ve gone through it, so have you.

Mental illness is not treated like other diseases and can you imagine if someone came up to you and said: “Well that was very selfish of him to die of cancer that way!”

That’s the trash we get from friends, family, people who should know better as well as strangers.

One of my all time favourites: “Why aren’t you over it, yet?”

They don’t know any better. We’ve been taught to be uncomfortable around the word: SUICIDE. Why? Because, in our culture, it’s an unacceptable way to die. We’re not supposed to choose to leave on our own. If we spoke about this out in the open, discussed it with our children and loved ones, early on, so it wasn’t a taboo and unholy subject, I believe less people would die.

For those who are battling depression, anxiety and have ever thought of taking their life or who have attempted it, ignorance and societal judgments, as well as, misunderstandings are just the norm. It’s sad and it makes everything SO much worse and I dare say contributes to the rising rate of suicide and suicide attempts.

Those that are so desperate to end their emotional pain that they are willing to end their lives are treated like criminals and outcasts, and that is the worst crime of all.

Let me share this: what suicide attempt survivors wish you to know.

I’ve met others who’ve had a brush with suicidal thoughts; it’s far more common than you think. I know a suicide attempt survivor who is a good friend of mine. One thing that was said was: “thoughts of ending your life never leave you, they are always at the back of your mind. I’d decided that if I ever needed to attempt it, again, that this time I was going to get it right.”

Brian’s story isn’t new. His isn’t unique although his reasons and pain are unique to HIM. How many other people out there are suffering in silence, afraid to ask for help because we criminalize their pain, lock them up like a common killer, and take away every shred of their dignity and all of the things that make them feel human and provide a sense of belonging?

We can do a better job and we have to. In a future blog post I’ll describe the initial PAU (psychiatric assessment unit) that Brian was put into. I will say, now, that it was frightening and he was very scared. I would be too. I’m sure there is a way to fund some sort of community temporary home that allows safe personal items as well as protects people from themselves in a more loving environment. I strongly suspect that family would be willing to help. I would have been.

One issue that is brought to our attention is that our youth are greatly at risk. One in 5 teens have considered suicide, last year according to this article.

One.

In, Five, teenagers…children, for God’s sake.

What is it going to take for us to be comfortable to talk about this in the open? When are we going to let suicide out of it’s closet, because it’s bloody well banging on the door.

Take your religion out of the picture. Take your presumptuous thoughts and set them aside. IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU. It could be your best friend, your spouse, your daughter or your dad. It could be your uncle, your cousin, someone you work with, someone you go to school or the gym with. You could save a life. We could all saves lives if we brought this out into the open and just talked about it.

It could be you. You need to know that it’s safe to talk about.

So, let’s do it. Right here. Open up the door and let it out because if you don’t, it could destroy you.

My goal is to help, to council and to coach. My path is to assist in your healing and guide you to your next steps on your journey. Remember, your soul wants to be here. You chose to be here and everyone has everything to live for.

; None of our life stories are over, yet.

 

 

 

 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month


Chances are you know someone or know someone who knows someone who has been touched by suicide. You may not even be aware of it but I’m betting that this is the case.

You see – people don’t talk about it. But, they should for so many reasons and I’ve written about them here.

Please be aware of the signs. Sometimes there are no obvious signs; had I not been warned by one of my Guides, I wouldn’t have been prepared at all. As it was, Brian showed no outward signs that he was suicidal. He kept his pain very well hidden. In the end, only his ex-wife and I knew what was going on. Often it’s a very well kept secret that the person who is suffering, is embarrassed by and they’re afraid to talk about it because our Western Culture shames them and criminalizes mental illness.

Don’t be afraid to call 911 if you think someone is in danger of harming them selves.

September 10th is World Prevention Suicide Day. I’ll be posting my future intentions as a Metaphysical Life Coach, Grief Counsellor and Healer.

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial.

Helping Suicide Out of the Closet


I’ve wanted to write about this for a while and I believe I’ve attempted it, many times, and in various forms. The fact is: Suicide is a problem and the biggest part of the problem is that it’s kept in the closet.

It’s not only kept their by people who have either attempted it, who are thinking about it or have successfully (and most tragically) succeeded at it. But it’s sent into the closet by everyone else. For the most part, the reason is that our culture not only doesn’t really understand this off limits subject, they don’t want to deal with it at all. I’ve personally experience this. In hushed tones, odd looks and behind closed doors – that’s where the topic of suicide lurks.

Nobody wants to fucking talk about it.

At least, not many, unless you’re exceptionally brave and have been battling it. Or…you’ve been touched by it in the worst way. Most religions not only frown upon it but many outright tell you you’ll wind up in HELL (that’s eternal damnation, fire and brimstone for those who are not familiar with this myth). In essence, if you do this, you’re a VERY BAD PERSON. No wonder people don’t seek help. They’re shamed and looked down upon.

This does nothing to help or heal those that are battling this terrible struggle. Quite the opposite, it promotes self-oppression and wrongly points a finger at someone who is deeply in pain and suffering. What element of humanity promotes the condemnation of the mentally ill, those that battle depression and those that are bullied? We do it all the time. Shame on us.

I’d like to point out there have been great strides towards recognizing mental health issues such as depression, bullying, etc., that can lead to suicide. Project Semicolon is one of them and I’m SO, SO, happy for this. It’s incredible but it’s not enough. Many are completely unaware of it and as a survivor of suicide grief, I can tell you most people (including members of my own family) still don’t get it and really don’t want to talk about it.

So. How do we get people talking about it?

This is what I’m all about. This is what part of my new life-focus will become. We need to help. We need to help those that are battling themselves and those that are in terrible sorrow and struggling with the aftermath. It’s hellish. In fact, it’s beyond hellish.

Do you know that suicide grief survivors are 10x more likely to take their own life? I betting you didn’t.

Did you know that even very young children have thoughts about suicide? Think about that…think about what would drive a 6-year old to want to take their own life.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. Yup. An estimated quarter of a million people per year, become suicide bereavement survivors just in the US.

Suicide among males is 4x higher than females but more females have suicidal thoughts and their attempts are 3x’s as often.

1 in 100,000 children aged 10-14 die from suicide every year. Did that grab your attention?

This is mostly based on US statistics but I’ll assume that Canadians are close behind based on POP variables. Now, we don’t have a lot of guns, here, and firearms are the most common method of suicide among males but that won’t stop someone who is serious about it. Trust me on this.

Here’s an interesting STAT. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the WORLD for those aged 15-44 years. THE THIRD. In 2012, it was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year old’s. SECOND.

Over 800,000 die due to suicide every year and that doesn’t count those that attempt it.

Yet, we don’t want to talk about it.

It’s embarrassing. It’s thought to be selfish. You’re told to ‘get over it’. Did you know that when my late boyfriend took his life, last year, I received one card of sympathy?

One. Just….one.

Thank you, Debb. I appreciated that more than you know. Now, had Brian died from cancer or had been killed in an auto accident there would have been an outpouring of support from co-workers, family, friends and whatnot. It would have been talked about and NO ONE would have told me to get over it.

But he didn’t. He quietly hung himself on a beautiful spring, May evening.

We need to talk about it.

I’m betting (and I’m not a betting woman) that there will be some who read this who’ve either thought about suicide, have been touched by it or have even attempted it. But they’ve told no one.

We need to talk about it.

This is preventable, if we educate ourselves, our children and – TALK ABOUT IT.

There is one death by suicide in this world about every 40 seconds.

For your sake, for your loved one’s sake, for all of our sake; let’s talk about it.

Please.

I will continue my plight in bringing this subject to the surface, out of the closet and out in the open.

Until then.

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Three Pounds of Brian


I wondered what was really inside the bag,
Inside the other brown paper bag all non-descript looking, even slightly humble

There it sat up high beside the poem I’d written for you, forever framed in time
Beside your picture; it looked rather out of place and lost

I removed what used to be part of YOU, in that little paper bag, placed it tenderly on the floor

I stared at it.
I walked over and touched it
I picked it up

Gently took out the contents inside clear plastic, all tightly sealed
They looked harmless enough

I saw ashes, bone fragments and I cried

I held what was once a man I loved (or part of…) and washed my face with salty tears as a plastic bag filled with YOU sat in my lap

I imagined that part of those 3 lbs. contains your heart
I imagined you’d want it that way but I know it’s all mixed up

All shoveled together into one spot to be later separated so that you were shared

I’m taking that approx. 3lbs of you home to the Island
To where I grew up and you spent endless summers on the beach with your folks

I wish we’d gone back there, being both Island people, and walked on that beach
Remembering our pasts, contemplating possible crossed paths

We’re going to make that journey, 3 lbs. of you – and all of me
It’s taken us a while, but we’ll walk that beach and share

Share a past we could have known but never did
And I’ll let you go, there; among the sand, the shells, and the Pacific Sea

Setting you free in Qualicum Beach.

Beached 2

Lessons I’ve Learned


About 150 years ago, okay – it is slightly less than that, when I was a teenager…I was painfully shy. I didn’t want to be but always marched to the beat of my own drum. I wasn’t a follower and I never have been.

Teenagers judge, as teens do, and I was judged to be a snob. I’m not sure how that prognoses came about but that is what was conveyed to me, years later. Had they known about the abusive, broken (and very unhappy) home I lived in, perhaps they’d have been kinder…but I doubt it. Kids can be mean no matter what the circumstances are.

“We all thought you were a snob.” I was told at my 10-year GRAD reunion. I haven’t been to one, since.

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t try very hard to ‘fit’ in to any particular group; I still don’t but people think I do. I just…be. I’m there. If you like me, cool, if not, that’s cool, too.

But you know, I USED to care. It used to bother me that I was the last one picked in gym class or for any group project. It USED to bother me that the cliquey groups talked about me behind my back and that I had all of two friends, at the time, in the entire world.

I was and am different and what I’ve learned over the years is that my difference makes me super cool to more people than I thought. I was (and am still to some degree) very sensitive and I can’t relate to people who are surface dwellers. What I mean by that is – many folks are shallow and can’t possibly understand anyone who swims in the deep end. That’s okay; difference strokes, right? Pun intended.

My point is- if you’re that young person who is shy, maybe a little depressed because of things happening at home, misunderstood, picked on, etc. I’m here to tell you that it’s all going to be okay if you don’t get caught up in the bullshit. I get it. Like Bilbo, I’ve been there and back again. In fact, I did the journey a few times. There were dragons, too!

If you believe in yourself even a little bit, you’ll make it. Know that I believe in you. I was you.

If you’re that different person, I want to tell you to celebrate! You are some of the chosen few who are able to not only swim in the deep in but live there. You’re incredibly special. These are fantastic survival techniques. Should one of the shallow-ended people be tossed into the drink where you are, they always end up drowning.

But YOU.

YOU are the survivor. You were made for this, baby!

I’m not going to tell you to NOT let things bother you because they still will. Work through it; you can do it. You’ve got this. I’m here to let you know that it’s this very process that makes you strong and teaches you that at the end of the day, you don’t need to let it bother you. Once you get that, once you lose your dependence on what others think:

Then…you will let it go.

Let it.

Go.

You’ll find at some point you don’t need it anymore and what has taken its place, well…that would be confidence coupled with a lot of humility and gratitude that you weathered the storm. Be proud, you brave and beautiful warrior.

You did it. You made it and if you’re still in the thick of it, you’re GOING to make it. I’m sure of it.Don’t doubt yourself and if you do, look in the mirror and picture yourself at 40 or 50 and see the amazing human who is living the dream in your eyes. He is there. She is waiting for you.

You are the people who are the teachers, the entrepreneurs, the givers and believers, the lovers and dreamers. You are the future of change and change is inevitable. So, keep on fighting the good fight and when someone doesn’t like you or ignores you for whatever reason. Know that it’s because they’re making room for others (the right people for you) to come into your life. Those that understand.

Like me!

Go get ‘em tiger. I’m in your corner. Dare to be different.

xo

yellow umbrella

Change


For the most part, I adore change. I think that’s why I move around so much. For the longest time I thought it was because I’m not grounded, or lack stability. Neither are true. I just like to change things up.

From my experience, though, most are no like me. In fact, some people don’t do well with change at all. I have an older brother who finds it nearly paralyzing when it happens to him. He’s lived in the same home (rented) for over 20 years. It’s like he’s taken root there. It’s not the best place for him to be, in my opinion, but it’s familiar to him and it’s home. He started renting it before his daughter was born. She’s nearly 22-years old.

I used to think it’s older generations (Baby Boomers and Traditionalists) that abhor change; I would be incorrect. Plenty of Gen X and Gen Y folks hate it just as much.

It’s inevitable, though, isn’t it?

EveryTHING changes. At first it may even appear that it’s a bad thing – and sometimes it is…for us…but in the end, something had to give, flow wasn’t happening thus changes were made. Some, life and death changes.

Over the past year that has been substantial changes in me. I can’t say that I wasn’t moving towards this path but if I was hesitant, before, I’m solidly walking the walk, now. Some changes are outside of you but many are within. Most of my changes are taking place internally. It’s quite something to track.

I’m starting to feel life is more like a fun adventure rather than some jostling ride I’m stuck on for the next ‘x’ number of years. There were times when I wondered when I’d be able to get off, I know some that chose to do so prematurely; I don’t recommend it.

I believe once you fully grasp that you really DO design your own life and can attract all sorts of cool and good things, it becomes so much easier and rewarding. Then, change is just damn fun and you’re going to crave it.

“What next?! “ You’ll say.

Now, change doesn’t have to be drastic or uproot your entire life. It could be something quite simple like discovered a new route to work, or taking that course you’ve always wanted to. Or…attracting new and exciting people into your life that you can learn cool things from.

Every. Single. Time. I’ve lost or left a job, I’ve gone on to find something a whole lot better. Life is like that. Life WANTS you to be happy and there are tons of resources out there to help you to become what you were always meant to be. Most of the stuff I find online and that I learn from are free. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, this change…

In fact, a good old-fashioned change of direction can lead to all sorts of cool stuff – like prosperity.

I get that some changes, at first, can cause complete devastation and chaos in your life. That’s when you need to be kind to yourself and be reminded that there is a bigger picture and you’ll get there – it’s a process.

Take death of a loved one…or pet, for example. It’s a terrible thing but inevitable. We are all going to the Other Side at some point. And this brings changes and a crap-load of pain to go along with it. You’ll get through it; trust me on this one.

Bear with yourself. See it through and look for that silver lining because it’s there. It is…really. One day you may find another beautiful little animal soul who needs your love and care. The one you sent on may even help with that.

But the most difficult change you’ll ever have to do is change yourself or some major aspect of your life.

All change is difficult, at first, but in the end, a necessary part of our life adventures to fully embrace and experience all that this little world has to offer.

Remember to breathe. Find your courage and go along for the exquisite ride.

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Surrender


sur·ren·der

səˈrendər/
verb
1. cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.

noun

2. the action of surrendering; capitulation, submission, yielding, succumbing, fall, defeat, resignation

I’m going to add another meaning to this word: To let be.

I feel that we can surrender to many things, but in a good way. It needn’t involve things like: submission, defeat, resignation or giving up. In fact, quite the opposite can be true. Surrendering can simple become – ‘you’ in the moment, letting yourself simply ‘be’ and letting go of everything negative to clear the way so that you can create a new path for yourself.

Just over a week ago, I was in a near head-on car collision.  To be honest, if you’d seen my car (or what’s left of it) you’d think I’d be a lot more injured than I am or…not be here writing this. The doctor who saw me, after seeing a pic of my car, said I was lucky to be alive.

But I am alive and after I collected myself, made sure the other driver was okay, I surrendered to the moment and let it unfold, as it should. I didn’t cry, or panic or get upset. I didn’t see a purpose in that. Yes, I was in shock, but even then, decided to let go of all the feelings I think should have been feeling and remain very calm. I knew it wasn’t entirely my fault and also knew that I couldn’t have anticipated the other driver’s quick decision to change lanes when he did.

However, things with insurance companies are very black and white – so I will be found 100% at fault. I was, after all, turning left. I guess that’s a bad thing…to turn left. 😉

That’s fine. I accept it and surrender to it and do you know what? It feels okay. I feel okay. I bought a new car; I’ll be able to pay it off, soon, and life goes on.

Tomorrow is a tough day; an anniversary of sorts. It will be one year since Bri took his life and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to be, emotionally, so I’m taking the day off.

I’ve decided to surrender to all of my emotions and just let it all flow through me throughout the day. Normally I can’t do this as I’m in an office dealing with clients or home and if ‘P’ is there, I don’t want to burden him with my ‘stuff’. He doesn’t understand it and doesn’t pretend that he does…so he’s quiet about it and keeps his nose out of my grief.

Not because he’s unsympathetic but because he simply hasn’t been through anything like it – EVER. He’s had a pretty easy life, thus far.

I also don’t want him to feel unimportant in my life and talk about Brian 24/7 – that would be unkind, disrespectful and unfair. My past is my past and P is my now and hopefully my future.

I’ll be okay. There will be much meditating and stillness as I sort through memories both good and bad. I will honor him and all those who have this pain and struggle.

I will surrender to this day and to what happened. I cannot change it but I can accept it and see it for the incredible life-changing experience that it was.

What will you surrender to?

beach-surrender

What Are We Really Here to Do?


I’m supposed to be working. I’m supposed to be working and selling but I simply can’t get into it.

In a week, last year, my beloved boyfriend took his life and I simply can’t get past that until I get ‘past’ May 11th. It will happen, I’m sure.

A few days ago, I totaled my car. I was turning left on a very busy intersection and a large pick-up truck changed lanes, as I was turning and…WHAMO! A near head on collision that spun my little red Yaris hatchback around so violently that I was now facing the opposite direction.

I am more or less okay; Scarlett (my little red Yaris) isn’t. My first inclination after moaning because I was in a bit of pain and shock, was to want to move my car out of the way so that I didn’t cause issues in traffic. There I was, wondering just how the hell it all happened and I was worried I was ‘in the way’ of other people.

I started my car (not knowing the real damage, yet) and it started, alright, but made a terrible thumping noise and I smelled smoke. Not good.

Shortly thereafter the driver of the truck rushed out to see if I was okay. Both this young man and his truck fared a hell of a lot better than me. I tried the passenger door because it looked a little dented – but have no idea why I would bother with this. It was stuck. I climbed out of the proper door, said I was alright and then realized just what a mess I was in.

After all of this, I got to thinking; what am I here to do? What gives? What’s the deal?

Then I realized I’m not here to ‘do’ anything. I’m here to BE. That’s all that is required of me.

Just BE. Be myself, be anything I want to be but BE in the moment and understand it’s the experience of that which matters. BE a decent human being, BE loving, BE giving, BE the best damn person I can be.

Simple.

I’ve been putting my life (or trying to) back together since last year and maybe it’s not meant to go back. Maybe it’s meant to be a little scattered around for the time being until it morphs into something completely different. Perhaps I should BE more focused on the here and now rather than on that terrible thing that happened last year.

Oddly, this was one of the many issues that Brian struggled with. He simply couldn’t stop ‘doing’ (mostly trying to understand why his ex-girlfriend walked out on him) and simple ‘be’ – be with me…be with life and be with himself, most of all.

There are so many lessons I’m learning on this journey. I dare say I’m not even close to being finished.

justbe

Your Watch


Time. Time we didn’t get, all caught up in and
dragged through those months of hell

For you,

Time was running out.

For you, I would have walked on fire but there wasn’t enough
Time.

Time to change your mind, time to kiss you once more, to hold you close

Time.

It passes with the hands on your watch; the one I wear with your initials
so worn and faint on the back, my wrist from your wrist

Your soft flesh are ashes in a box on a shelf and I want to scream

Time. Time to remember, to release, to forgive.
Time.

I will keep your watch ticking, polish its black face, wear it often.
I will remember you in better days, your laugh, that smile, those eyes

I will honour your struggle through my words, my tears and your story
Time. There is never enough.

I wasn’t finished knowing you.

This Day, Last Year.


One year ago to the day, Tara and I sat with Brian at the VGH Emergency check in for about 7-8 hours to have him committed to the PAU (Psychiatric Assessment Unit). For five days he was locked in there. It was a Saturday. The Friday night, before, he’d set up everything to end his life. He’d had a last meal; his fav…bacon & eggs and chocolate cake. He’d left a note on the door, had changed his will and left a note for Tara. Everything was in order.

At the last minute, due to the constant texting and calling of Tara and I – he called her and said through tears: “Guess what I’m doing?”

This was his rock bottom for the second time in less than half a year. This was his spiral downward to the bottomless pit of doom that he’s created for himself. So, we checked him in. They took hours and hours but finally committed him, took all of his treasures away (clothes, iPhone, wallet, money, keys…) and gave it to us to look after.

I can’t even begin to imagine his embarrassment and humiliation but we stood by him and took shifts in visiting him; Tara by day, me by evening.

It kept him alive for an extra two weeks as he struggled to cope and did his best to recover.

We brought him fresh things to wear under the prison-like PJ’s (he jokingly called them his crazy clothes), food, coke, things to read and I even brought his little chess set and we played a bit when I was there. I still have that chess set of his.

Half way through, he was moved out and up to another ward which meant they felt he was doing better. He even chatted up a few others there and made some unlikely short-term friends. Well…sort of.

He didn’t like the food, much, so we made sure he had plenty of the things he loved; juice, coke, chocolate, I bought him dinner several nights in a row. I remember he was bored out of his skull because they didn’t allow his cell phone, there, so he went through several books.

I’ll never forget it. The weather was summer-like. Parking there wasn’t as bad as I’d thought and it was very close to where he’d lived. There have been times when I’ve had to drive by the area and felt such anxiety over the memories. I try and avoid VGH if I can.

I was helpless. Nothing I did really made much difference, at least…I don’t think it did. All I could do was love him, keep the Beacon of Hope lit, be there for him, spend time with him, bring him whatever he wanted and was allowed to have in there.

He was on a few anxiety drugs and anti-depressants. They didn’t do him any good at all. They made him jittery and he was as fearful as ever.

I don’t think I ever loved him so much. I was so proud that he fought so hard to keep it together. I can’t imagine what he went through. I don’t think I’d have done half as well had it been me. His struggle sucked up so much of his energy and when I saw him he looked like a little boy; fragile and wide-eyed, timid yet sweet and soft spoken.

He was so scared; so were we.

This past month has been one big lead up to the day he took his life and my emotions are so raw. I can recall so much of those 5 days but the next 6 months after May 11th is a complete blur. I do recall going to Australia for two weeks but that’s about it.

At the end of all of this, we still have to go on. We still look to thrive and must find some light at the end of our own dark tunnel.

I imagine what it’s like on the other side. I imagine it being so filled with beauty and light.

My newness to digital art makes my fractal creations somewhat primitive compared to those that actually know what they’re doing. I manipulate them and blend them in Photoshop to resemble things I can relate to as best I can. I ‘think’ I’m getting better and hope that I am.

I imagine I’d like to have a tree of light, over there; one where he and I could sit and talk and work things out. There’s so much I long to understand. Even just to tell him, in person, how much I miss him…

tree_of_light_by_fragmented_poet-da076sd

What is this cosmic stuff you speak of?


I want to get physical with you.

As in metaphysical. In fact, bring on some downright funky, cool, cosmic shit. Are you ready? Are you sure? But please know that if you roll your eyes, sigh, shake your head or think generally negative thoughts around what I share… that’s your business.

Really. You’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to share on my blog. We’ll just leave it at that.

I’m an Intuitive. Yes, with a CAP ‘I’. I hate the word psychic as it conjures (pun intended) up all sorts of silly images with gypsies hovering over a crystal ball in a dark room tell you your fortune.

I don’t do any of that.

Well…I have several crystal balls but that’s because they look pretty.

I’ve been Intuitive since I can remember but haven’t really told a whole lot of people. As you can imagine it’s a little weird. Not only that; if you’re trying to be honest and ‘share’ you often get ridiculed, laughed at, etc.

But it’s 2016, people. There are lots and lots of folks who do what I do and to be frank, we all have the ability. It’s whether or not you choose this path that makes all the difference.

One of the lovely things I get to do is communicate with Spirit, or the spirit world, if you wish. I don’t know what you want to call it and it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a name.

You know, when people pass over, they will very often go to great lengths to tell you they’re okay and they made it! They know you’re in a world of hurt and they LOVE you, so it’s only natural that they’d want you do know they are well and you know…kinda still around.

Not in the physical sense but Bob is still BOB and he’s cool with the whole afterlife thing (even if Bob didn’t believe there was one). And Bob is really upset that you’re upset! So, Bob will often try and send you signs that he’s still looking out for you, still thinking about you, still loves you and still checkin’ in.

One of the people I talk to frequently is the man I was so very in love with that took his life almost one year ago. That terrible day is fast approaching and don’t think it’s hasn’t been on my mind for the past two months.

I hear him, a lot. But to be fair, I’m somewhat of a skeptical gal so naturally I want proof. I want proof that Carrie isn’t losing her mind and hearing voices in her head because…that’s when we need to check ourselves in and have our ‘head’ examined.

So I ask: if this is really you, prove it. I need to know I’m not crazy.

I asked for something very specific. I wanted to hear a specific song on the radio that has long since worn out its popularity but occasionally, it comes on. It was one of his favourites. I waited. And I waited.

And…I waited some more and…

…nothing.

Now, whenever I really want to see a sign from him, it always happens when I’m not expecting it and this was no exception. I think it must be a cosmic rule that for the most part I have to wait until he’s darn good and ready. Or, maybe that’s just his rule?

Okay. I can do that.

So, I’m driving to work, and having my usual downtrodden thoughts of how much I put into our relationship all the while watching him pine over his ex-girlfriend and how much that hurt…blah, blah…poor little me, blah, blah.

Sometimes you just have to feel a bit sorry for yourself and then get OVER yourself. It’s a process. I’m human, after all and I struggle with what happened, every day.

Then out of the blue, as I’m in bumper to bumper traffic, I look up at the car I’m behind just as the song I’ve been waiting to play (for weeks) comes on, and I notice that on the dealer license plate, it has the name:

Brian.

Seriously.

It just doesn’t get any clearer than that. I laughed loud and wanted to do a little happy dance but traffic was moving again. 🙂 Instead I thanked him and was happy all the way to work.

Most of us have someone dear to us that we very much miss on the ‘other side’. Ask them for a sign. Be specific. Don’t think it will happen instantly (although sometimes it does!) just be ready and when it does happen – pay attention and be grateful for the communication. They LOVE it when they get through to us just as much as we love it when they send us messages…and of course, their love.

"If anyone asks, we never had this conversation."

“If anyone asks, we never had this conversation.”

I’ll See You in the Afterlife


I believe in life after life. Or…life before life (depending on how you look at it). Some say that the ‘afterlife’ is our true home and our 3D Earth plane is simply a place to experience things we can’t as well as learn and grow.

I don’t have all the answers. I can only say what resonates with me. Sometimes in the chaos of grief and death, we find beauty and inspiration.

This is for you, Bri.

Afterlife

Welcome to My Garden


I imagine the fey playing round in soft swirls of light; a dance among spring petals and fresh-smelling, warm earth.

Let your imagination move a little. Hell, let it FLY and soar into unknown and uncharted air waves and celestial vibrations. Stop and listen for a while. Turn off your daily thoughts of business, coffee, that meeting you’re late for and taking the kids to their soccer practices and…

Just…breathe.

One inhale and exhale at a time.

Take a little ‘me’ time and indulge your senses with playful spirits, faeries, gnomes and elves. Believe (if only for a few moments) that ANYthing is possible.

Go on. I dare ya.

 

Paint the Gardens

Brian’s Blog


I realized that as Bri is no longer with us…he wouldn’t be updating his WordPress account and thus…it’s changed back to a free account.

I’ve linked a few posts to his site and you can’t access them as they are.

So…

If you’re curious about the late, great Bri, this is his blog: https://tradervancouver.wordpress.com/

He was a very talented (genius, I’m told) trend trader as well as a loving p/t dad to a fur kid named: Baxter the basset hound. He was also a plumber, incredible friend, much loved boy-friend and mentor to many.

As well, he was quite the talented writer (one of the many reasons I was crazy about him).

Happy reading. 🙂

Brian with his two favourite things, a cigar and a glass of scotch.IMG_0367

Advice on Grief


I’ve blogged about the loss of my late boyfriend, Brian, a lot. But, I haven’t really addressed what it’s like, personally, going through something this life changing in a lot of detail.

Or, if I did, I don’t remember being as this specific about how it affects someone on a daily basis.

This whole suicide grief thing is new to me. I’ve never been through anything like this in my entire life.

Thank GOD for that. I don’t think I could handle it more than once. I don’t know how anyone could, yet people do.

Let me just start by saying it’s a thing you have to deal with, every day, and sometimes many times a day. At first, it’s a constant wave of horror, guilt, unimaginable sadness, disbelief and shock. Then, as time somehow moves along (for us it stands still) the waves start coming at different and varied intervals.

It’s going on 11 months and no…it definitely doesn’t end, here. Most people think you should be over it by now. I mean…haven’t I moved on with my love life? Yes, I have. It doesn’t matter. The pain is still there. The questions, hurt, guilt and every other emotion that is associated with this tragedy is STILL THERE.

It doesn’t go away like magic but, it does fade a little bit. 11 months isn’t really that much time and I’ll tell you that there are moments when it seems like it all happened, yesterday. It’s just that raw and fresh in my head and heart.

I hear and have read that it’s pretty much this way with everyone that has the unfortunate task of wading through this life event. It’s complex grief and often you have such a mix of emotions that it threatens to tear apart the very fabric of your sanity.

I get angry, often, with him. Then, I feel guilty. After that, there is extreme sadness. Sometimes, it’s all around the confusion of the whole mess he was in and I pick apart every minute detail of whatever I can remember during the time when he first saw his ex-girlfriend while going for an innocent walk around Granville Island… and right up until the time I last said good-bye to his very dead self, lying on his bedroom floor with a breathing tube still taped to his mouth and rope burns around his neck.

I comb through all of his texts and emails looking for answers. There are none. I try and see how it could have gotten so bad so quickly but there was no way of predicting he’d really do it after he came out of the hospital and was seemingly doing well.

Not a day goes by that I don’t tear up, my throat constricting in some awful manner making it painful to swallow and breathe. It’s usually while I’m driving to and from work. I think these are my ‘alone’ times so I allow myself to grieve.

There are few precious days where I DON’T cry. Those were busy days and it’s usually when I’m not by myself. I think we push the overflow of emotions away until we feel safe to face them.

Do you stop loving a lover because they’re dead?

The answer is no. It’s also a complicated ‘no’ because I think I’ll always be a little ‘in love’ with him and I’m okay with that. It’s the possibilities that I’ll never see, the future I’ll never realize, that I’m in love with. It’s all of the wonder in a new and budding romance that was cut very short in a violent way. All of these dreams are still with me and I play them like a short movie in my head, stopping now and then to examine every frame of: what might have been.

The -I love you’s- he will never say, the adventures we’ll never go on, the creative endeavors that we started but will never be completed…these are the things I still covet in my heart. This is our story that will never play out. This is why my tears are so many.

For everyone who has lost someone we know and loved/cared about, to suicide, we play it back in our heads over and over and over. We don’t ‘get on with life’ in the same way. We can’t. It’s simply impossible.

We learn to live with the pain and the questions. We deal with the guilt and the lost years with them we will never see in this life. All of us will suffer through it until it is our time to leave this world.

In years to come, I hope that Brian isn’t on my mind all day long, every day. And if he is, I hope that it’s in a very different way. I hope to heal from this.

When do we heal? That’s an individual thing and there simply is no time limit. It will happen if and when it does. It’s as simple as that.

If I mention Brian’s name to family, it’s in passing and very infrequent. I can tell they’re tired of hearing about it. It’s only my very good friends and those who were involved and knew him that I still talk about ‘stuff’, with.

Those that are deep in suicide grief often deal with this; people simply don’t understand and the fact that this is soooooo taboo doesn’t help us. No one wants to talk about it. The worst is when they say hurtful things. This doesn’t help us and in fact, calling someone who completed suicide ‘selfish’, is not only callus but incredibly insensitive.

If you know someone who is going through any kind of grief – give them as much time as they require. It may take a lifetime so be prepared for that. Be kind and gentle. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything; listen instead. Most times that’s all we’re looking for.

Talk to your loved ones about depression, mental health and what suicide is. It’s the misunderstandings and fear around it that make it worse. Educate yourself and then educate others. Talk to your children about death. They will be dealing with it in some form or fashion at some point and being prepared always helps.

Understand that it’s more real than you think and it takes only seconds to change your life, forever.

Understand that those left behind are struggling and are 10 x more susceptible to suicide, themselves.

As with all people suffering in grief, little things set us off. For me, it’s songs that I liked when I was with him, songs that I associated with that time and that remind me of him.

With others it may be smells, places, certain times of the year of anniversaries (birthdays) and such. I will tell you that when we’re hurting, we often live in our own little private hell that we simply can’t share with others. It’s just the way it is.

Be respectful. We don’t want to hear your empty platitudes; they are meaningless to us. We don’t want religion shoved down our throats if we’re not religious and suicide is NOT a sin. It is a choice some people choose and it doesn’t matter if you think it’s right or wrong or somewhere in-between. We don’t care about your beliefs, we only care that someone we loved died and it’s killing us a little, each day, to be without them.

It happens. It’s real and it’s devastating.

This is grief. Our hearts are broken and mending them will take one hell of a lot of love, understanding and patience.

 

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Hearts, Star Signs and the Colour Yellow


It’s just about that time, again; that marketing sensation riding the massive white horse of consumerism called Valentine’s Day. I remember when I was in elementary school; we’d get these Valentine’s cards (kiddy ones) and pass them around the class. I have no idea where the cards came from; I think the school provided them, but it was a fun time. Although…romance to a 6-year old is an entirely different thing.

I ‘think’ I liked one or two boys…I can’t really remember, but most of the cards I got were from girlfriends. We were little and Valentine’s Day only meant cards shaped like hearts, lots of red and pink things…oh…and those AWESOME cinnamon, hot and spicy, red heart candies!

God, I loved those.

Last year, this time, I’d not yet met Brian. He commented, in an email, that he really didn’t believe in Valentine’s Day and all the BS that went with it; it was contrived. I agreed. We met on Feb. 18th. The rest is a tragic piece of history that will always be part of my life.

But he did say that he’d rather spend a romantic weekend away, somewhere, rather than buy chocolates and flowers. Unfortunately, we never got to do that.

The new man in my life is a little more traditional. Although he’s in agreement that V-day is nothing more than a marketing ploy designed to part us from our hard-earned dollar…he does believe in romance and feels if he gets me things ‘around’ THAT day, it counts.

On Friday (yesterday) I got chocolates and a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ balloon in the shape of a heart. I think he actually WANTS to celebrate it but thinks it’s cheesy to just do it because it’s THAT day.

I think he’s terribly sweet. xo

Coinciding with all of this is the 9th month since Bri left us. So there’s that.

It’s all coming together around everyone’s birthday, too. First mine, then one of my best friends, then two of my family members…then there’s Bri’s ex wife, next week. The week after it’s the new man in my life’s B-day.

That’s 5 Aquarians and 1 Pisces in the space of two months.

None of this means, anything, BTW – it’s just random thoughts, in case you’re wondering where the hell I’m going with this.

Lately, as in the past week, I’ve been seeing a lot of yellow X-Terras driving around. The significance is that this was what Bri drove and yellow was his favourite colour. Every time I see the colour yellow splashed around in abundance, I think of him.

There can’t be THAT many yellow X-Terras around the Lower Mainland. Yet, I keep seeing them.

I guess I’m at a pinnacle point where I’m finally learning to BE without him while knowing in my heart that he’s watching over me. I’m moving on with this life. The new man has practically moved in and our relationship has taken a turn for the serious. We’re planning on buying a place, together.

I think I’ve finally met my ‘forever guy’. He came to me exactly when I needed him to. He’s everything I could have asked for and more. He’s made up for all of the men in my past that treated me like crap, used me, said they cared but really didn’t, abused me and just plain didn’t see any value in me.

He’s made up for all of the insecurity I felt over Bri and that horrible woman whom he was infatuated with. I simply can’t compete with someone 13-years younger than me with a rock hard yoga body. Also, I’m not a blonde. So there’s that, too.

The new man honestly thinks I’m gorgeous and sexy as hell. There is no past relationship that haunts him and I not only get told I’m beautiful and that I’m loved, daily…but I damn well know he’s sincere.

I’ll always love Brian. You don’t stop loving someone because they’re dead. He’s in spirit and that’s a completely different relationship to a human romantic one.

That said, LOVE is infinite – and not just on Valentine’s Day, either. I have more than enough love for the new man and I’m grateful everyday that he chose to be part of this life with me.

So.

You can be romantic every day. Feb. 14th is just another tick on the calendar.

I never thought I’d end up with a Pisces man.

I’ll always think of Brian when I see a lot of yellow.

desafinado_by_quiescent_reverie-d3hhbm6

Turning Fifty


On the eve of my very last day of being in my fourth decade, I can say that it’s been an interesting ten years. A lot of shit went down. Many things (good and bad) happened in my twenties and thirties, too, but for some reason if feels I only really became an adult in the last ten years. I finally grew up and figured out who I was in the world.

It’s not that I was horrible or immature, per se when I was younger, but I definitely was naïve. I approached life events with trepidation or without much pre-planning rather than wonder and forward thinking.

I’ve learned to be so much more grateful for everything. I’ve learned how in a matter of minutes, our lives and what we think we know, can change forever. WE, can change ourselves for the better and for the worse. It’s always a choice.

The last twelve months humbled me beyond words but I think it’s character building, despite the cost and sadness. I choose to take away the good, now, from every experience when I used to dwell, a lot, on the negative.

I’m so very far from perfect (we never truly get there and it’s not about BEING perfect, it’s about the journey) but I’m so very far from the girl I was when I started out all those years ago, too.

My self-confidence has known more peaks and valleys than the beautiful Shropshire Hills in the Midlands of England. I’ve loved and lost and loved again, so many times, I don’t keep track any more. Going forward, I want to treat each new experience of the heart as if it might be the last one. I want to covet it, peel away all of the insecurities and open up myself to vulnerability and bliss at the same time. How else can we truly experience the wonder of love? How else can we really BE in the moment and experience this precious gift we call life?

We all have so many layers.

We all have so many facets, colours and shades of humanity.

I’m an onion girl and when I open up to shed all of the different parts of me you’re left only with my core being.

The Real Me is shining through.

Who is at the core of you?

How To Love Someone


For anyone who has been reading my blog, you’ll know the man I loved and adored completed suicide, last May. I believe in my heart that I couldn’t have loved him more, couldn’t have done more to save him and I knew, early on in the relationship, that the worst possible outcome could actually happen. I just wasn’t prepared for it. I don’t think you really can because “Hope” is such a strong emotion and we cling to it in times such as this. It’s far too painful to go down that ‘what if…’ road when you’re fighting to keep someone you cherish, alive.

Now that I’ve been blessed to have a man come into my life who seems to be on the same page as myself, is drama-free and wants to be with me as much as I want to be with him…I’m reminded that life is short so I should appreciate him every day; every moment in time.

Where we’ll end up, is anyone’s guess, but it’s proceeding along nicely . There is love. There is gratefulness and there is passion and compassion. As we walk along this journey, together, I can’t help but think of all the wonderful things I used to look forward to when I was with Brian, all of the dreams that will never be realized in this life.

So…

I’m going to be in the moment with this man like it is the last moment I might share with him. Life is such a precious thing that we take for granted. We never stop to think about how we’d feel if we lost those that we love and hold dear, until it’s staring us in the eyes.

Remember to hold your loved ones close. Make sure they know they’re special in your life and that you will never forget that.

Love them like you’re going to lose them. Then you’ll never have regrets.

I’m Not a Cougar


The man I’m presently dating is 6 years younger than me. Not a biggie…he’s almost 44, not 15.

He was teasing me, today, and called me a ‘cougar’. I abhor the term and for many reasons. While I don’t judge, sleeping around with much younger men simply to fulfill a need in myself to ‘hunt’ and just ‘have fun’ without any commitments, goes against everything I’ve ever believed in and all the hard work I’ve put into past relationships/partnerships.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I love deeply and truly. When I do love, it’s for a long, long time. I want to be in a partnership for life, not just to get off and then onto the next one. I’d even consider marrying, again…despite two divorces!

After all, at nearly half a century, I’m much older and wiser, now. 😉

I want to give my heart again, all of it. I’m not quite ready, but getting there. Normally I’d be head over heels, by now, but due to what happened the last time, I’m a little gun shy. My poor little Carrie-heart really couldn’t take being broken at this time as it’s still in pieces.

I’m not hunting and I’m not prey. I want to work on a partnership/relationship (whatever you want to call it) and keep the fire burning. I want to ‘be in’ the game, be in the moment, pay attention to details and make sure the one I’m with wants to be there. If he doesn’t, we have a problem that can either be solved or resolved into moving in different directions. There needs to be FUN, EXCITEMENT, PASSION, and… LOVE. We need to have commonalities and differences, share ourselves, be honest and speak our truth. There needs to be discovery, challenges, resolutions and revolutions; we need to be in tune, in simpatico and learn to harmonize rather than live in discord.

If that makes me boring, well then…I’m not the girl for you.

That bout sums it up

Hello 2016


I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to bid an entire 12 months adios. That being proclaimed, there were some interesting, noteworthy and positive highlights that are not related to my beloved late boyfriend and all the sorrow that went along (and is still going along) with that. To say it was hard, to say it was painful only scratches the surface of a festering open and bleeding wound.

Let’s list some good things that happened in 2015 and be thankful, shall we? In no particular order:

  1. Financially, I’ve had the best year ever. So, that’s something.
  2. I survived! Truly, this was possibly the worst year of my life, but I made it. I’m broken and I think my poor heart has seen much better days, but I’m alive and healing, little by little.
  3. I’ve learned a lot about love, life and myself. I’ve come a long way from the woman who thought she was doing ‘okay’, in Jan. 2015. I now know better. I now know I’ve much more to learn and much growing to do in so many positive ways.
  4. I went to visit my best friend in Australia! It didn’t fix me; I still had my daily cry over Bri…but I had a blast, anyway! I will return and I hope she comes to visit me, soon, in Canada.
  5. Despite having kidney failure, due to the wonderful medicine (and lots and lots of LOVE), my fur baby (and best kitty friend EVER) is doing well! I’m blessed to still have him at almost 14-years.
  6. I met someone exceptionally nice and although it’s new, there is a care-factor. I have no idea if love will surface but he’s devoted and spends a lot of quality time with me. This speaks volumes. He’s never ‘too busy’ and I think if there were something that I really needed to count on him for, he’d be there.
  7. I lost friends (by choice) but I made new friends (by choice). I think I’m better off by choosing to let go of some who don’t fit inside my world and let in others who do.
  8. I’ve gone back into learning spiritual healing techniques and how have my level II traditional Japanese Reiki. I’ll also be checking out Seichem.
  9. I got better at my climbing techniques. Yes, this counts. Try it if you think it’s easy, ‘cause it’s not.
  10. I’ve committed to daily meditation and actually love it. It’s grounding, healing and helps me connect to Spirit.

Learn to just ‘be’.

Be yourself. Be happy. Be loved. Be okay with stuff. Be good. Be ready …for everything and anything, you can never know what curveballs life will throw at you. Be safe (as in, don’t be stupid). Be lovING. Be truthful and grateful.

Be the best YOU, you can be. Happy New Year.

Peace & Love. xo

i_see_you_in_my_dreams

 

An Unconventional Birthday Wish


Does it make sense to wish someone a Happy Birthday when they’re dead?

I don’t know the answer to that one, but because his loss is still so raw with me and because he only ‘would’ have been 47, today…and tomorrow is Christmas, after all… I’ll do it anyway.

Happy Birthday, Brian. xo

For three months in my life, you were everything to me, although it seems I knew you for years. You mattered, most. Your presence made me a better soul. I learned so much from you. Your leaving still hurts like the most unimaginable hell. I hope you’re okay. I love you. I hope you’re being cared for and healing, where you are. I miss you. Thank you for being part of my journey. And finally, I’ll see you again, some day. 🙂

You’re so very missed and so VERY LOVED by so very many…

Those moments we almost dreamed

thoughts of better times

between a star and magic

I know you

By ghost or Angel

my love and friend

I lived sacred poetry in you

Relationships


re·la·tion·ship

rəˈlāSH(ə)nˌSHip/

noun

noun: relationship; plural noun: relationships

  1. the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
synonyms: connection, relation, association, link, correlation, correspondence, parallel, alliance, bond, interrelation, interconnection

 

I’ve always kind of prided myself in being good at relating to others. Although, truth be told, it wasn’t always so. I’m not specifically referring to the romantic kind, either, as relationships form the basis of …well…pretty much our entire world.

It’s how we ‘relate’ to one another both as individuals and groups, that dictate how others perceive us and ultimately how we view ourselves.

When I was much younger, I was terribly shy. It didn’t help that I came from a mostly difficult and painful, home life. I had trust issues. Later on in life I discovered I had abandonment issues. Thankfully there are professionals who help us deal with these things!

I usually don’t let a lot of people into my life (again…trust and abandonment issues) and once upon a time I thought that I had ‘enough’ people in my life and didn’t need any more. I’ve since reviewed this way of thinking and yes…this is because of the whole ‘Brian’ thing.

I don’t believe he realized how many people really loved him. I don’t think he knew just how deeply he affected our lives and he was the kind of guy who would to go to Meet-Up groups and make friends very easily. He was quite a friendly dude. Everyone really liked him.

So I got to thinking… Maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid of reaching out; perhaps I should try a little harder to ‘connect’ to people. If it doesn’t work out, well, no biggie – we move on.

Since I’ve been more receptive to opening my door to possibly new relationships with others, I’ve made friends with clients (women whom I now count as dear personal friends), offered strangers free Reiki so that I may be of service. I’ve created a basis for trust and respect that is reciprocal.

In short, I’ve extended my network of souls and it feels really good! I’m very far from being perfect or even getting to a place where I could even hope to be on the same page as SO many others in my life.

But, I’m making vast improvements. Baby steps, after all.

The message, here?

Be open to receiving as well as giving. Be open to people who care and allow yourself to care, back.

Connect, reach out, believe in kindness, create bonds, alliances and above all else – give of yourself.

Don’t be afraid to love and be loved.

Thanks for the lesson, Bri – and just in time for Christmas, too. 😉

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Standing Still


Recently, a wonderful new person in my life painstakingly skimmed through my blog in an effort to know me better. His comments were that I seemed to take two steps forwards and one step back in reference to my suicide grief.

I’m going to politely agree to disagree on this one.

Here are the reasons why:

Any sort of grief is very personal. It’s different for everyone. It’s not a set of stairs that we’re standing on or a path where we are moving forwards or backwards. In reality, we cannot physically move backwards in time – so there are only two choices a) to go forwards and b) to stand still.

Grief is a journey and it’s one that, I believe, is lateral vs vertical. I think we sidestep back and forth when the waves of grief over take us and we learn to surf them. We lean to incorporate them into our lives and, quite frankly, get used to them.

We live with them and these waves don’t exactly ask permission before they come along and try to sweep us under. They take us unawares, from time-to-time, and leave us feeling a little empty. But, we fill up again because we know that we have so much to be grateful for. We fill up with the beautiful things that surround us. We fill up with the love from our friends and family. We fill up from knowing we’ll see our loved one again.

It’s a process that will lessen with time but will never completely go away. Something this huge will be with us for the rest of our lives.

I try and look at it more analytically, these days, as in: what emotional damage have I taken on and what good things came of it. What have I learned? How will/have I changed? How will I be better as a soul on this earth? How can I make sure I have done my best for myself and everyone around me who is involved?

All these questions I address, one-by-one, on a regular basis. Daily, actually.

When I started writing about Brian, it wasn’t my intention to chronicle my grief. I simply wanted an outlet in which to help heal from and being a writer/blogger, it just made good sense.

Yet, here I am; here I am yabbering on and on about it.

On the plus side, it does help my fragile ego – but I suspect, some, find it annoying. If you do, just don’t read my blog. 🙂

Eventually, the ‘Chronicles of Carrie’s Suicide Grief’ will subside and dissipate like autumn leaves in a November wind. I’ll write about normal stuff; the things I find interesting, odd and wonderful. I’ll post the odd rant about this and that – the usual blather I’ve been blabbing about for the past four years.

In a nutshell, I’ll move forward. But occasionally…I may stand still. Just to be in the moment, to experience, to re-assess, to see if there’s something I have yet to learn, but mostly, to remember.

It’s okay to stand still, because there is always only one direction in which to go – and that is forward.

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Anew


It’s been six months. Six months since that terrible thing happened but I’m more hopeful than ever. Although I struggle, daily, to comprehend, grieve and simply deal with it – I now realize it’s just a new part of my life that I have to incorporate.

It’s an experience that I’m beginning to learn from. And, after all, that’s why we are here – to experience and learn. At some point, I’d like to teach – teach others about how suicide grief survivors handle life, going forward. Because we’re now different. We now see things differently and we can either dwell in the negative aspect of what happened…or we can find the rainbow after the storm.

I’d also like to teach others that suicide awareness shouldn’t be taboo and kept in the dark. It shouldn’t be spoken about in hushed whispers with shades of embarrassment and overtones of anger towards that person who took their life.

There is so much we don’t understand and so many lack compassion for those whose lives have been turned upside down and ripped open.

Recently, I met someone. He’s incredibly sweet and kind. I have no idea where this will go but it seems to be heading into an actual relationship. We’re on the road, now we just have to agree to walk forward, together.

I told him about Brian because I felt he should know. Certain things trigger my fragile emotions and there are songs that come on the radio which will cause me to burst into tears. I think it’s only fair that someone who is spending time with me be aware of what the heck is going on in my head.

So I fessed up. I figured one of two things would happen a) he’d run away screaming or b) he’d be empathetic and wish to understand.

He chose b).

He was honest…telling me that he truly didn’t know what to say and was afraid he’d say something stupid that would upset me so he told me he felt it best if he simply offered to “listen”.

This is what true friends do. They listen. I’ve known this fellow for about a week and already he’s earned my respect and gratitude.

Because…really, that is all we ever need, sometimes: someone to simply listen to us.

Thank you, Universe, for bringing this man into my life. Even if romance doesn’t evolve, friendship certainly has. And friendship is the best foundation for any relationship.

Let’s begin anew. Let’s live in the moment and appreciate what is in front of us and look forward to the future with an open heart.

Let’s dream a little…

tangerine_dream_by_quiescent_reverie-d3c0lgk

Flow


Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about flow, flowing, going with the…etc. I have my own thoughts on that. But first, let’s take a good look at this word:

Flow:

verb

  1. (of a fluid, gas, or electricity) move along or out steadily and continuously in a current or stream.
  2. go from one place to another in a steady stream, typically in large numbers.

Noun

  1. the action or fact of moving along in a steady, continuous stream.
  2. a steady, continuous stream of something.

I noticed that both the verb and noun, more or less, mean the same thing: a steady and continuous stream of whatever fits the bill. It could be your life, your day, your period (haha) or the meandering stream that runs behind your house.

Generally, this speaks to most of us about movement within our life. If you think about it, nothing is ever stagnant. Life moves along pretty much on its own and will continue to do so, with or without us. It’s a simply law of time. In our universe it only ever goes in one direction and at a pretty consistent pace. Unless we’re talking about the event horizon of a black hole, but that’s a whole other discussion.

If this interests you, you can learn more from Stephen Hawking here.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes…the flow of life.

Although I’ve always known this (it’s just common sense), I’ve been paying more attention to things ‘not’ flowing in my life and the things that are. It stands to reason that if things are flowing along nicely, that this could be a good indication that you’re doing things right. In other words, on the right life path. It could also stand to reason that if you were to ‘step off’ the right life path that you may find yourself suddenly scrambling to swim upstream with all sorts of currents and eddies. There could even be a rip tide! Yikes.

This is terribly frustrating because here we are going merrily along and suddenly we’re struggling. Things get hard, you feel uneasy and nothing falls into place, any longer.

But you know, we rarely sit ourselves down and think: gee, maybe what I’m doing here just isn’t working out… Perhaps I should head in the other or a different direction where the waters are calm again.

Nope. We typically continue to thrash about, desperate to keep our heads above the water and ultimately, we sometimes fail. We are no longer ‘flowing along’, we’re fighting everything and it’s an uphill battle we’re not winning.

Take a look at what’s ‘working/flowing’ in your life and see what it is. Does it seem easy? Things just magically fall into place? What about the stuff that isn’t flowing – the difficult crappy things that you just can’t get ahead on.

Where does your focus lie?

Are you concentrating on the stuff that just isn’t going where you want it to, or…are you focusing on the things that do?

Here’s what I think. Scrap the shit that isn’t sticking to the wall and really pay attention to the energy that you feel when things are RIGHT.

Do it. Try it. Just for one moment. Go ahead….I’ll wait.

……………………….

……………………….

There. Doesn’t that feel much better? It’s an easy shift of thought and energy. Because, you know, WE are in charge. Oh, yes, we are. We can drop the hard stuff any time we choose to. Life, after all, is ALL about choices.

Choose the easy route. Choose to flow rather than struggle. You’ll thank me for it, later.

Peace.

Grace

Finding That Soul Connection


In the past, when I was searching the world over (okay, the Lower Mainland), for a mate, I didn’t give much thought into listening to my inner voice to see if there was a true soul connection, or not. I think I just sorta went for it and hoped for the best.

This whole experience with Brian has moved me into seeing things very differently. I’m still in the process of putting myself back together and in doing so, I’m recreating myself. I hope, a ‘better’ self. I’m redefining who I am, what I want and what it is I’m here to learn/teach, in this life.

Recently, I decided that rather than jump into a potential relationship, should one actually present itself, I would prefer to ease into it. I’m not really sure what that means, exactly, but the word ‘ease’ resonates with me. It means: the absence of difficulty or effort; it means move carefully or…gently.

I’ve met a lot of men in my life but not all of them have had a soul connection with myself. Part of it is that feeling you get when you look into someone’s eyes and think: I’m supposed to be here, with you, this very minute in time, and it’s important that I really SEE YOU for who you are. That means all the bad stuff along with the good stuff.

I’m totally down with that and it makes a whole lot of sense given the past circumstances. Although I’m more than certain Brian and I had (and still have) a soul connection, I jumped into the deep end with eyes closed. I think I had to and there are no regrets, whatsoever. That situation was a one-off and I don’t intend to repeat it. Going forward, my eyes will be wide open.

True soul connections are all around us but not exactly a dime a dozen. That being said, I’m learning how to recognize them, better. They are the ones who will let you down easy if it’s not the right situation for either of you to be in. They are the ones who actually ‘give a shit’. They are the ones who recognize you as a kindred spirit and if you needed them, would be there for you.

This is what we should endeavor to find or keep in our lives whether it be friends or partners.

Who are your soul connections?

Harmony

Giving Thanks


It’s been a hell of a year.

Yet, I’m grateful for all of it. I’m grateful that I elected to come into this life and help choose all of the situations and people that I did, to learn from. I’ve learned one hell of a lot. I’m still learning.

It’s 5 months, to the day, and it’s still ever present in my mind. I can’t help but think of what he and I would be doing…if he were still here. I think about that, daily but little-by-little I’m starting to accept. And bit-by-bit, I’m letting go.

It’s been a long journey and it’s not over, yet.

Today I’m thankful. I’m thankful that I’m here and I’m thankful that I had him in my life. I think I’m becoming a better person because of this experience and this just goes to show you that there is a rainbow after every storm.

Sometimes you just have to go and find it.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

xo

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The Path of Least Resistance


I’m a very justice-oriented person. If I see something that I don’t think is fair, I usually say something about it. If it’s directed at me, I may hesitate but if it’s for someone else, I’ll definitely fight the good fight.

Lately, there has been a sense of incoming potential peace to my somewhat frazzled life during the past 7 months. I’m not sure where that peace emanates from or when it will actually get here, but I feel the need to let it find a place within me. I desperately need it.

Normally when someone takes a shot at me – usually business-wise, but not always. I stick up for myself. However, perhaps I don’t ‘need’ to take it personally. Perhaps I don’t ‘need’ to let it get to me.

I think I’ll let it go, allow it to wash over me like clean rain…and watch it dry up into nothingness.

Some days it just doesn’t matter.

Today, it doesn’t. Today, I choose inner peace, gratitude and I’ll start looking again for all the little things that a) matter and b) make me happy.

I’m following the path of least resistance, and it feels good. 🙂

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Laying Your Cards On The Table


I seem to be fond of idioms.

Recently, and tentatively, I decided it was time to put myself out there, again. It’s been nearly 5 months and perhaps it’s time.

I have no idea if I’m ready, I suppose I’ll find out… And I had a long conversation (through tears) with my best friend about it and what I should be prepared for – such as disappointment.

I figure I can prepare myself for that and many other things but most of all: create no expectations.

I need to get out of this funk. I suspect it won’t happen anytime soon, but a few distractions may help. I’m tired of feeling such sorrow. I’m tired of the constant flow of tears and I’m tired of suffering. I think I’m choosing to suffer and I needn’t.

The fact is: Brian is dead. He’s not coming back. I can’t change what happened. I’m still HERE and he’s well…not.

Also, I’m fairly certain he’d want me to move on and be happy at some point. He’s like that.

So. Onwards and upwards.

It’s really only been a few days and I ventured onto just one site. I figure everyone is everywhere (that’s been my experience in the past) so why waste my time on multiple sites when all the single eligible men are pretty much on the site I’m on, anyway?

As much as I’d LOVE to meet someone organically – it just isn’t working. The meet-up groups I join (and you can see the members) are mostly women and older men. Older as in 60+.

Thus far, I’ve been ignored by all the guys I find both physically and ‘on-paper’ attractive. I do read through profiles and give that careful consideration. I have been getting lots of offers from much younger men and men across the border. Neither of which I’m interested in.

So, in all fairness, I’m not being completely ignored. But I’m not getting any quality leads, either.

It’s early days. I am remaining hopeful.

I do try and make my profile different – as in: it doesn’t read like a resume. I’ve been somewhat successful with that in the past and I do change it up fairly regularly. As a writer, I want to come across as interesting rather than ‘like all the other girls, out there’.

I’m different. I like that about me. I’m interesting and intellectual. I think those are positive traits.

As well, I’m cute. Super cute, if I can quote my late boyfriend. He thought so and told me, often.

Cute goes a long way! I’ll never be stunning or beautiful and I’m okay with that. I’m all that and more on the inside so it’s all good. The man who I’ll offer my heart to will see that and see me for everything that I am.

I’m picky. I need to be picky as I’m tired of playing this game and winding up with people who I’m not compatible with. Settling is stupid and a waste of time. Just to be clear, I never thought I ‘settled’ with Bri. I thought he was perfect just the way he was and had he chosen to stay on this planet, I’d have worked with him endlessly to make sure he was okay. Even if he decided I wasn’t the right girl for him, I would have been his friend, forever.

I can accept faults and flaws. That’s what makes us unique and wonderful. NOBODY is perfect. How boring would that be if we were?

The difficult part in deciding whether or not to respond to someone is: we all make snap judgements. I put all my cards on the table as I don’t want any surprises along the way. I want to avoid the conversation:

“Oh…so you believe in the spirit world…I see, well – I think we’d just better call it quits because you’re too weird for me.”

Plus, I have no patience for people trying to convert me to religion and quoting Bible scriptures. I’m okay with whatever someone wants to believe it as long as we are respectful of each other, are open-minded and can agree to disagree.

I’m an upfront and honest gal. I’m a Reiki healer. Some people find that strange because it’s something they can’t measure or see. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being ‘out there’. I happen to like that about myself. 🙂 🙂

So!

Here I go, again… I’m not expecting much be perhaps the distraction will curb the constant tears and sadness. And maybe, jusssst maybe, I’ll meet someone who I will adore and who will find me all that and a bag of chips.

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Wise Words


When Brian first took his life, I joined an online site to share in my grief, with others. At that time, I really didn’t know ‘what’ to do…

Occasionally, I get emails from them with updates. This was posted by someone named, Sharon, on this site.

I re-post her words because I completely relate to them:

“Here are some of the things I’ve learned”

I’ve learned that some people will never, ever ‘get it.’

I’ve learned that learning to forgive takes a lot of practice. I’ve learned that some sorrow is so deep that it has no words.

I’ve learned that the community of sorrow is the strongest of all.

I’ve learned that your life can be changed in a matter of minutes. I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you think you can’t.

I’ve learned that ignorance isn’t an excuse for the lack of compassion.

I’ve learned that friends can become strangers, and strangers can become friends.

I’ve learned that love isn’t measured by the amount of time you have with someone.

I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life are sometimes taken from you too soon.

I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words, It may be the last time you see them.

–Originally posted on the Alliance of Hope Forum by Sharon”

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Running Before The Wind


Amongst other things, this is a sailing term. Many years ago, my now ex-husband co-owned a sailboat. And thus I was privy to learning how to sail.

Running, in sailing terms, is heading downwind with as much canvas as you can muster. This is what a spinnaker is used for. If you’ve never seen a spinnaker in full bloom on a windy day out in the bay…I highly recommend it. You’re missing out.

It’s truly an amazing and beautiful thing to see a sleek vessel completely under wind power, gliding across the sea with a massive kaleidoscope of coloured cloth, leading the way. It’s a high-speed, whimsical ride with whitecaps crashing on your bow and deep waters, rushing by.

It’s somewhat short lived, but it’s part of every journey and after we furl the majestic spinnaker to replace it with easier to maneuver sails like a jib or genoa, we can carry on our journey in the direction we wish to. We can tack or jibe with relative ease and not worry about the direction of our wind because we are in control, now.

The wind is our power source and we are the manipulator, the conductor of it.

However, there is something about having the wind at your back and not being in complete control that is exciting. There is a danger to jibing (you don’t want to do that when you’re doing this) and you have less steering ability; your boat is less stable. A sailboat that seemed under control can instantly become over-canvassed and in danger of a sudden broach.

The past three months, actually even before that, have been the most challenging, the most groundbreaking and life changing months of my life.

I think I’ve tackled my grief head-on and walked, consciously and directly into the centre of the fire. It burned like hell. But to dance around the outskirts, yelling that it’s going to hurt, is fruitless. This is how I live my life; I deal with the shit without hesitation because I’m only prolonging the inevitable if I don’t. I read that many people who go through suicide grief become numb. I was never numb. I didn’t shove the pain aside and busy myself with life. I’m incapable of doing that.

Bring on the fire, let me experience the pain and the burn. Let me live in the intensity so that I understand and truly appreciate the love I felt before and after it.

At times the sorrow has been unbearable and I’ve questioned my very existence. In fact, I’ve questioned every aspect of my life, many, many times.

I have no answers, only more questions but I’m stepping outside of that fire and pain. At least, for a little while… I may return. I may waltz right back in there so that I never ever forget just what I lost. I don’t want to forget. I want to remember everything in minute detail. This is how I learn.

But now, I’m on my boat, with the wind at my backside and it’s a fine wind, I feel the power racing me forwards into full on sunlight. I hear the roar of the sea, smell the air and taste the salt on my lips.

It’s time to start healing, time to carry forward in every moment, relish every breath, drink in the day and fly into the night.

It’s time to love life, again.

I’m running before…and with, the wind.

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Tomorrow Is


Another day to remember him; an opportunity to meet more souls that loved him.

Grief

Peeling back the layers of truth and unwinding all of the tightly coiled springs of instant grief is humbling. Every now and then I have a reality check; I remind myself that I was blessed to even know him for the short time that I did because I suspect there was a large possibility this was always going to happen.

I believe we make choices on what we want to experience in each lifetime before we get here. I guess he and I agreed to experience this, together, should he decide to use this exit strategy; clearly that’s what he did. He would have had to agree to experience this with every other soul in his life so…in essence and on a higher soul level, we already knew this was going to be a strong possibility.

So. What do we take from that? What have we learned?

I’m still processing that.

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For those of us moving through this journey, we’ve coloured our paths with him differently, so each journey is unique. Thus, each of us is learning about this terrible pain and sorrow in our own way.

It’s like learning how to swim in and ultimately escape quicksand. It’s hellishly difficult but not impossible if you know what you’re doing. Evidently…slow and careful movements are called for.

We’ll get through this, all of us, but there will be scars.

People are confused, broken, cracked open and are having great difficulty really processing exactly just what the hell happened and why it did. Personally, for me, I’ve been thrown off of the life tracks I was on and I’m currently trying to pick myself up and find my footing while getting constantly caught up in-between the rails.

In truth, my heart thinks it’s been shredded. I’m running around trying to find all of the tiny pieces so that I can somehow shove it all back inside my chest. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men are having great difficulty putting Carrie back together, again.

It happened; it’s real. He’s gone and he ain’t comin’ back in the same form that he was in.

He left us in body but he’s still around for us, of this, I’m certain. Talk to him. Tell him how you feel. Speak his name out loud and understand that the veil between earth and the afterlife is incredibly thin and close.

As for the why’s…we’ll never really know and understand that but we can and will find an explanation that we can live with. That’s all we can do as this was his path and pain, not ours to understand.

All I Wanted

Some days it feels like I’m standing at the bottom of the ocean with the incredible pressure of the sea holding me hostage. Other days it’s as if the big picture reality of everything sinks in and I ‘get it’. I get that this is temporary and so very short in the big scheme of things. I get that we’ll all be together with our loved ones, soon. We’ll all leave this place – just when that is, is the unknown.

I asked the question of why we don’t know this; why aren’t we able to know the time of our impending bodily death? The answer I got was that our choices and experiences would not be as wonderful and enlightening if we did. Instead of living life, we’d be sitting around waiting for ‘that’ to happen so we could return home and probably not pursuing adventures that wouldn’t turn out so well. It defeats the purpose of why we chose to come here, in the first place!

We are here to experience this physical plane in the fullest, most wonderful and amazing way possible. This means every part of life – the good, the bad, the bliss and the pain.

That.

Is why…we are here.

Tomorrow is…another day. Another day to remember why I fell in love with him and be thankful for every single moment that we shared. I’ll be with him, again. When? That’s not for me to know and in the meantime, I need to remember that I have to go out there and love/live…life.

Lost Stars


It was an interesting day.

Sharing memories, tears and laughter with people who came together to honour and love a man who touched all of our hearts in the most beautiful way.

It occurred to me that we’re really all the same, struggling to find our way through this sorrow and as I gazed into new and familiar eyes, I realized we are all cut from the same cloth.

Losing someone you love tears people apart; it rips at the very fabric of bonds that were possibly made in heaven.

But unconditional love…

Now, this jewel, brings us all back together, reuniting souls in our grief and loss, giving us a little closure, perhaps a bit of peace and a whole lot of grace. It reminds us of who we really are. And it shows that the one we loved so much…was truly made from~

Starlight.