The Space of an Hour

Lately the stress has been creeping back in.

It’s an expensive time of year, with the holidays ahead and the cost of heating through the winter. Gas and groceries keep rising. Snow removal. Grad year expenses for my daughter. There is never enough.

It also seems to be the time of year for appointments. Doctor, dentist, optometrist, therapist. We are running nonstop.

At my teaching job, the kids are getting antsy and the marking is piling up. We are all tired after three pandemic years and the attempt to find some sort of normal again. My patience is thin.

There never seems to be enough hours in the day or dollars in the week.

That old tightness has crept back, the tension hard to shake. I can feel it in my shoulders and my chest, my head still spinning each morning when I wake.

But no matter how buys it gets, I get myself to yoga. It might only be once in a busy week, but I need it like I need water and food and sleep. That one hour sustains me for days, that hour of just breathing, just moving, just being.

That hour reminds me that when everything around me feels out of control, I just need to be in this moment. To just be.

I hope you have something that sustains you, that helps you reset. I hope you have the space of an hour.

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Wishful Thinking

When I first separated from my husband, the last thing I wanted was to find a new man.

I spent two years healing, enjoying my newfound independence, and focusing on my children.

But then I started to feel lonely.

The pandemic had begun by then, so meeting someone in any of the traditional ways was out of the question. Lockdown led me to try dating apps, something I swore I’d never do.

Messages came swiftly, and after deleting the creepy and inappropriate texts, I got one from a man that seemed interesting. He had all the qualities I was looking for, and we ended up dating for a few weeks that summer. I was excited and thought I’d found the one.

Then he started asking questions I’d already answered – stuff he should have paid attention to, like had I been married before – and got upset when I was in a serious mood one day. It turned out he just wanted a plastic girlfriend, and that wasn’t me.

I waited a little while, then tried again. This time, he was creative and established, and I thought I’d found the one. Until he gave me the silent treatment for several hours, then full-out cried one day because I had forgotten to give him a hug when he’d arrived.

I was done with online dating.

Then someone I had known previously showed up over text. And I thought I’d found the one. Until so many red flags started appearing, I nearly got whiplash.

A year passed before I tried again. This time on the advice of my therapist, who thought I hadn’t been using quality sites and suggested a paid app. I soon met someone who ticked all the boxes. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was so sure I’d found the one.

But after 8 dates without even an attempt to hold my hand, it became very clear this guy had intimacy issues. It died its own death.

I was discouraged, until I wasn’t. Until I realized that none of them had ever been the one. It was all in my head.

Now I happily spend my weekends on my own. I hang out with my kids and my dog and I don’t waste time waiting and wondering and wishing. If I meet someone who is worth the wait, great. If I don’t, then I know I’ll be perfectly happy anyway.

I hope you have a love that is true, or a single life that works for you. I hope you are happy either way.

Mindless Mode

Sometimes all you need… is a little mindlessness. At least, that’s how it turned out for me this week.

I practice mindfulness regularly : I journal, meditate, do yoga, try to eat healthy, and remind myself to be in the moment. I read more than I watch tv, enjoy learning new things, and try to limit my time on social media. I walk my dog often and listen to uplifting music.

This week, that all fell apart.

My daughter experienced what we now think was a severe asthma attack. She’d never been diagnosed with asthma, so when she woke me up on Saturday night because she couldn’t breathe, we didn’t know what was happening.

The last thing I needed was to sit in the moment.

I couldn’t concentrate on my book, couldn’t calm myself through yoga. So I scrolled endlessly on my phone, binge-watched trash tv, and skipped my yoga classes. I didn’t have the energy to cook, or to care about what I ate, so I had chips and cookies and overdosed on dairy. It was cold and windy, so I curled up with blankets and my daughter and my dog and did a whole lot of nothing.

A week later, after multiple appointments and tests, my daughter is doing much better, thankfully. And I am feeling back to myself. It seems a little bit of mindlessness was exactly what I needed.

I hope you find comfort in zoning out once in awhile, that you find some rest in hard moments. And that it all helps you return to yourself.

A Healing X-perience

Last weekend I took my daughter on a tour of my alma mater; she’s in grade 12 and deciding where she’d like to go for university.

I was excited to revisit the place I’d spent four years studying for my first degree. I hadn’t been there in over twenty years and I anticipated the memories.

Stepping onto campus after so long was surreal. The residences I’d lived in, so changed and yet so filled with memories of friendships and experiences. The old-book smell of the library with its quiet nooks took me back to hours spent researching and writing. The student union building where I’d picked up care packages from home, the student pub where I’d danced many nights away. So many things I’d expected to remember, but so many more I hadn’t.

The most unexpected part, though, was the healing. In my years of marriage, my ex had belittled my education. In my head I always knew he was wrong – it was never worthless – but a part of me had forgotten its value, had taken to heart the diminishing messages.

Returning to StFX reignited the significance of having had that experience. Of the learning and the value of an education and the importance of my degree. Of who I’ve become and all that I’ve done.

I hope you have experiences that renew your sense of self, that remind you of the value of the choices you’ve made. And that every now and then, you can take a step down memory lane.

Time for Tea

I’ve recently stopped drinking coffee. It’s an experiment to see if that is what has been making my stomach unhappy.

But this is no happy experiment.

This summer I replaced my afternoon cup with green tea. I had been eating chocolate every day with my coffee and my pants were getting snug, so it was time. To curb the chocolate cravings, I stopped the coffee at the same time, hoping to delete the association. It worked. I even started to look forward to my daily cup of green tea.

But then my stomach started acting up. I tried eliminating other items from my diet, but nothing helped. Then it occurred to me that it could be coffee.

I love my morning coffee. I look forward to it every day, savour every drop. The thought of eliminating coffee from my morning ritual was disappointing, to say the least. But I thought if I replaced it with tea, I just might be able to do it.

I expected some adjustment, knew I’d get headaches, knew I’d miss that smell in the morning, that first sip that starts my day.

I did not expect the brain fog.

Lack of coffee made me clumsy and forgetful, sluggish and unproductive.

But slowly, slowly I am adjusting to a cup of tea each morning. My energy is beginning to return; my head is clearing up. Im even starting to enjoy it, a little.

It’s not coffee, but it’s a steaming cup of comfort nonetheless.

I hope you find comfort in your rituals, calm in your mornings, and clarity in change.


Today I am grateful for beautiful fall weather, getting stuff done, and caffeine in tea form.

Currently reading: Indelible, by Amelia Saunders.

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful…

For a drive through the mountains of northern NB, covered with trees green and gold.

For heavy rain on a misty lake.

For a potluck turkey dinner with family crowded into a camp.

For a walk in the woods, breathing in the earthy scent of fall.

For making memories with my parents, my sisters, my son and my daughter, and my niece and my nephews.

For a Hunter’s Moon, humongous in the early evening sky.

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love and laughter, good food and great company.

Happy Thanksgiving! 🍁 🇨🇦

Easing Up

Two lanes cut into one, just before the busiest intersection in town. They are doing roadwork, and it seems to be taking forever.

As much as possible, I avoid the area. It’s preferable to drive an extra ten minutes around than to sit and crawl along with the backed-up traffic.

But the part that made my blood boil, that no amount of yoga or breath training could calm away, was watching while drivers raced past in the right lane and nosed their way in. I sat in my self-righteousness, seething at their ignorance, their arrogance. Getting angrier by the minute as they jumped ahead of the line.

Then I found out I was wrong.

We were supposed to use both lanes, supposed to follow along and then take turns merging into one lane. But I, like most of the drivers in this place, figured I should get into the left lane as early as possible to ensure my spot.

At first, I was indignant. How else could it be navigated, how else could the traffic actually move along?

But then I sat with it, with my wrongness. And something surprising happened: Instead of holding onto the anger, I let it go.

I still avoid the area when I can. I still get into the left lane as early as possible (after all, it’s what most drivers here are doing), but now, instead of riding the bumper ahead of me, closing the gap for anyone seemingly cutting the line, I let them in.

And I let go.

I hope you find some ease in life’s traffic jams, some right in the wrongs. I hope you let go.

Paradox

Now that I’m feeling like myself again, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

So many hobbies, so little time.

I want to read and knit and write and learn. I want to organize my desk and decorate for fall. I want to photograph and craft.

I’m better when I’m busy, but it’s easier being busy when I’m better.

When I was low, the hours felt long and empty. I was lonely, unsatisfied with my own company. I fell into the social media trap of comparing my life with the digital versions of others’ lives.

I tried to get busy, but nothing held my attention long enough or well enough to fill the emptiness.

But I persisted, and slowly, through yoga and meditation and many long walks on the beach, I began to heal. Through words spoken, written, and read, I found my way back to myself.

I once heard that you can’t sit around waiting for motivation to strike, you have to just begin and the motivation will come.

So I got busy, and I found my motivation to get busy again.


Currently reading: Supernatural by Dr Joe Dispenza (almost done!).

Today I’m grateful for crisp fall mornings, the changing colours, and fuzzy warm pjs.

The Write Time

I never meant to stop writing. It just sort of happened.

The last post I wrote in 2018 was mere days after I’d separated from my husband. For awhile, I suppose I tried to pretend nothing had changed, but I could not have been more wrong. My whole life was about to take a turn; it was the beginning of a series of struggles.

At first, I just kept putting off publishing anything on my blog. What could I possibly say? There was some relief at having ended a relationship that had had its fair share of problems. But no matter how I looked at it, the effects were devastating.

The silver lining? It was the beginning of rediscovering my independence, my power, and myself.

Join me as I share some of my stories about finding healing in new beginnings, and about finding magic in moments otherwise missed or mundane.

I hope that you, too, have been able to find light in dark times.

Into the Light

I lost myself for awhile.

It’s been four years since I last posted. Four years since I felt like myself.

But here I am, still standing. Standing stronger and lighter and more filled with love and hope than ever.

I didn’t know how much I was in the dark until I climbed back into the light.

I am back.

And I am here to share some of my stories, some of the hard lessons I learned, and how I found myself again.

This is a photography and life blog about finding the magic in the moments, about chasing the light.  

I hope you’ll join me on this journey.


Currently reading: Becoming Supernatural by Dr Joe Dispenza

Three things I am grateful for today: The smell of the rain, the colour of the sky before a storm, and not being in the direct track of Hurricane Fiona.