happiness

Horsefly!

It was a girl day at the creek, well girls and horseflies. We are loving the summer weather and so grateful for the time to enjoy it.

Being by the creek is one of my soul happy places, I can feel myself relax and regain balance just by sitting beside it.

The horseflies made it a bit of a challenge, although they seemed more intent on biting the girls. I’d hear a scream horsefly then see them dive underwater.

Summer is magical

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happiness

How it is

I was driving with the girl today and we were talking about a cousin of mine and his family. I said how I thought he and his wife are such great parents, how they’ve worked really hard at creating their family.

I said you’d be lucky to have parents like them, I think they’re really great people.

And the girl said I love them, I love to visit them. But I really like how our family is. I like that you’re our only parent. I feel like I’m lucky to be in this family.

And I stopped and breathed.

So often I feel badly for the kids, I see the lack, I think of my dad and want that kind of parent for them. But she didn’t see a lack at all. She loves our family as it is. And you know what? I do too.

We finished off the day at the creek. The best part of summer. And filled with memories of my dad, so it was like he was there too.

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happiness

Laugh like you’re a kid

We had an awesome family fun day at the creek today. It’s one of my favorite places in the world to be, and I got to be there with the people I love.

And things like this happened

The girl and I went on an off-roading version of this that had me laughing for a good 20 minutes straight.

Not just happiness, but fun too!

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happiness

Line of integrity

I spent the day listening to Tony Robbins, Rachael Hollis, and many other motivational speakers. All of it was amazing, much of it transformational. I’ll be absorbing it for a while.

Before today I’d never heard of Erin Skye Kelly, but she altered my thinking about decisions I make, and made me question my own integrity. Not my integrity towards others so much as my integrity towards myself. Do I honour my promises to myself the way that I should be?

She showed us this chart and said that we are all behaving in one of these four ways

The first one is where we are all aiming to be. I nudged my friend and said I feel like I’m stuck too often in the third box – where we do things that feel good but aren’t good for us. Because box two is hard, and box one feels unobtainable so often.

Then Erin said that the red line we see dividing the boxes is the line of integrity. And I quietly muttered shit.

It’s the little things like having that extra piece of chocolate, not doing my morning readings, not meditating, not working out, not forcing our asses around the dinner table. They seem small, but out together they place me on the wrong side of the line of integrity. It makes it so my words (or intentions) and actions don’t line up.

Today was absolutely amazing. I am filled with gratitude that I was able to be there and experience the energy, the love, the knowledge, the struggles, the wisdom, the peace.

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happiness

Two years ago

Two years ago today I went out for a lovely evening ride with my niece and ended the evening in urgent care with a shattered shoulder.

I didn’t know then that I was entering one of the most difficult phases of my life.

And now here we are. On the other side. Or if not the other side, no longer stuck inside the hurricane.

I have learned to much about grace and love and forgiveness in these last two years. I’ve been humbled, helpless, strong, scared, brave, happy, sad. I’ve lived the deepest of any emotion and learned to embrace all of who I am.

It’s been intense. But so beautiful and sweet. 🦋

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happiness

Grow from what we go through

Last night before bed, after I’d written my blog, I read something that put words to what I was trying to express yesterday. I was trying to say that embracing the shadows, the shadow part of myself, my life, of other people, and the world in general is imperative not just for healing but for peace.

Marianne Williamson says We are acting out our anger and our fear because we are not facing the depth of our pain…. yet we seem to have great resistance to looking at our lives, and our world, with emotional honesty. And I think we are avoiding more than pain. We are avoiding the sense of hopelessness we think we will feel when confronted by the enormity of the forces that obstruct us. Yet, in fact, it’s when we face the darkness squarely in the eye – in ourselves and in the world – that we begin at last to see the light. And that is the alchemy of personal transformation. In the midst of the deepest, darkest night, when we feel most humbled by life, the faint shadow of our wings begins to appear. Only when we have faced the limits of what we can do, does it begin to dawn on us the limitlessness of what God can do. It is the depth of the darkness now confronting our world that will reveal to us the magic of who we truly are. We are spirit, and thus we are more than the world. When we remember that the world will bow to our remembrance… 

These are times that challenge our spiritual assumptions, as the power of darkness seems to be taunting us, demanding, “So where’s all this love you believe in now?” The answer is that love is inside us, just waiting to be unleashed. The darkness is an invitation to light, calling forth the spirit in all of us. … that’s the spiritual meaning of a situation: not what happens to us, but what we do with what happens to us and who we decide to become because of what happens to us. The only real failure is the failure to grow from what we go through.  (The Gift of Change) 

That’s why I feel like it’s time to embrace my shadow side, to not be afraid of the darkness, to accept what happened and to know that it is part of my spiritual growth. But that growth can only come from embracing the darkness as much as I embrace the light.

And in a “life still has happiness moments” moment, I was blessed to spend the day with my boy. Our schedules are so crazy lately I barely see him and I was so grateful he set aside a whole day just for me. It feels like not so long ago I was registering him for kindergarten, and now he’s off to post secondary in the blink of an eye. And the girl? Well, she spent the afternoon braving the freezing cold of the creek with her cousin – also an important moment of happiness.

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happiness

Stuck

I’ve been stuck with this blog for a little while now. There are a few reasons, some more petty and some the result of deeper growth and understanding. It frustrates me that Mr. X and his family use my blog to spy on my life. I check myself and say – well the blog is public and lots of people who I don’t know read it, so why does it bother me that they do? And the answer to that is because they’ve been the cause of a lot of pain and destruction for my family. However, if I want to keep blogging and telling my story that is something I will just have to learn to deal with.

The other part is that I’m realizing that my understanding of happiness has changed, deepened, progressed over these last few years. When I started, the only way I could connect to the feeling of happiness was in the smallest of moments – seeing Henry the Heron, a moment of laughter with my kids, a good book. Life was small and scary then.

Ironically life has continued to be scary – just no longer in the immediate will tonight be the night he offs me kind of way. But I had no idea when I started how much would change in my world in 4 years. How much loss, how much grief, how much love, how much deeper my faith would become. I often complain that I wish God would shine a flashlight on my path so I could see where I was going – but if He had 4 years ago I would have run for the hills. I never would have believed all the things that were coming up on my path, and I honestly don’t see how any of them could have been avoided.

And here I am, sitting quietly in Grandma’s kitchen, the sun going down over the mountains, and I think thank God I’m here, this is exactly where I’m meant to be. And that’s just it isn’t it? No matter what happens we are exactly where we are meant to be to keep growing and learning.

I’m now at the place where I understand that the next step is to let go, to make peace, to stop chasing moments of happiness and instead make peace with the shadows.

I’ve been reading a book called The Secret of the Shadow by Debbie Ford that described exactly what I’ve been searching for in my soul. Not just the brief moments of joy (although they’re important too) but the soul comfort of inner peace.

To begin the process of making peace with our stories, we must make a commitment to letting go of all of the behaviours we use to anesthetize our pain. If we look closely at those behaviours and are willing to tell the truth, we will probably see that most of the ways we numb ourselves don’t work very well anyway. In order for us to heal,  we must stop chasing what I call the “feel good moments’…. The process of making peace with our stories requires us to identify, accept, and embrace everything in our past that has caused us pain… As we make the inner journey of embracing our story and all its ingredients, we begin to see that life lies ahead of us, a life that will give us the gift of our eternal selves. Our traumas and failures, once they are understood and processed, will take us deep inside and return us to our Divine essence. 

I feel sometimes like I fight now to try and make up for the pain of the past, to try and make it right for me and the kids. But the pain of the past lies there no matter what I do in the present. Maybe if I can make peace with that pain I will find more peace now. It doesn’t mean remaining a victim – in fact it’s the complete opposite of that – it’s letting go of the victimhood. Instead of trying to cover up the searing wound with candydrop bandaids, it’s time to acknowledge they are there and see how they’ve shaped me into the person I am now.

I’ve struggled with how impossible it is to forgive someone who continues to hurt me, and not just me, but my kids as well. But I have faith that there is a way – because that is my path to peace and freedom.

And maybe this is part of why I’ve been putting off blogging – I knew I needed to say this, and yet I hate to let them see my weaknesses – even though being vulnerable like this is exactly what makes me strong.

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