happiness

Safe place 

I have realized over the past couple of weeks that even though I strive to provide a safe environment, even though I have worked so hard to feel safe and to make the kids feel safe, that in fact we are very insecure in our feeling of safety. I believe we are safe here, but I think because we were unsafe for so long that those fears are hiding not far beneath the surface.

Although I was very conscious of the fact that we actually were unsafe when we were living that life, I had no choice but to stuff that feeling as far down as I could and try and keep moving ahead – not only for myself but for my kids too. I didn’t realize until lately how fearfully unsafe they felt during that time as well. I don’t know what I could have done differently, but I wish they didn’t carry that burden as part of their life history. Now that there has been some time and some healing I seem to need to go back into that space and acknowledge the fact that there was no safe place, no grounding, that it was in fact a very scary time. I wasn’t making it up or exaggerating it, it really was that bad. I have journals of that time that make me cry whenever I open them (which isn’t often – too much pain).

I went out for a walk today and without consciously intending to, ended up at my safe place. This is the place I visualize when I need to stop, breathe deeply, and imagine where I am when I feel safe. It’s a spot that is filled with decades of my footprints. Skating, swimming, walking, horseback riding – I’ve been here with loved ones, on my own, with my horse, with my dog. It’s my sacred ground. It’s funny, when I was away I spent time in my memory on many parts of the ranch, but not often here. It wasn’t until we were back and I was out walking that I remembered how much of my childhood I had spent in this spot.

I realized as I was standing in my safe place, taking in the security and the beauty of my surroundings, that I need to come to a safe place within myself. I think one of the hardest things to heal has been the fact that I lost faith in myself. Part of that was years of him telling me what a stupid, useless piece of crap I was, part of that was me not listening to my intuition, not trusting myself, and instead following someone who I knew was not being true to me. I lost faith, or the ability to trust myself, and that means I couldn’t feel safe within myself. I am learning to have faith in myself, I am learning that I can trust in the fact that I can look after myself and my kids. I will get to that safe place within myself.

And until I do, I need to remember that I have this place that lets me know what safe feels like. Being there is pure happiness.

It’s Canadian camouflage – the dotted dog and the grey horse

 

Our swimming/skating spot

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happiness

Too many cats

I celebrated a birthday lunch today with a girlfriend whom I’ve known since forever. We both grew up doing the Pony Club thing and many of the shared fondness and horror stories – Robert Coates’ manure pile anyone?

Her past year has been a difficult, growing journey as well as she is letting go of her marriage. We talked about many things at our lunch – but one of them was the weird rebellion that the two of us went through at the end of our marriages. We know other women who have rebelled in many different ways – dating different men, building careers, being angry, feeling freedom – but we both ended up doing much the same thing. We celebrated by allowing dirty dishes to be left in the sink without worrying about getting in trouble, and by adopting cats. Then we laughed about what badasses we are. Which is funny because back in the day we used to actually be badasses – how did we ever allow ourselves to become so lost?

How can you not love these guys? They remind me all the time of what real love is.


The divorce thing is not a lot of fun, it’s painful for everyone involved. But I’m so thankful that there’s this smaller tribe of women in my circle who have been through the same thing and that we are there to lift each other up. Mostly though, I’m glad that I am back in an area where I have lifelong friends like this that I can celebrate the joys of life with.

It was a fantastic happiness moment – enjoying a beautiful fall day with a dear friend. We know so much of each other’s history. We reconnected this summer in a way that brought all of our defenses down and put us in a place where we rebuilt our friendship in a very raw and authentic way. There is a lot to be said for a friendship where both people simply accept each other exactly as they are and show nothing but loving support. All relationships should be like that.

 

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happiness

Let go, let go… and Derek 

My thing continues to be learning how to let go. The massage I had on Monday moved around some pretty powerful stuff. He even asked part way through if I was having a big emotional reaction to what was happening. I replied oh kind of, there’s a storm forming in my stomach filled with stuff I’d rather not deal with. So that’s great. And that stuff has slowly been letting go ever since. The process itself is kind of yucky, but the knowledge that some of that really painful stuff is leaving my body is awesome. 

It’s all stuff I’ve known about, but things I didn’t quite know how to let go of. It comes with learning how to forgive myself. Even though it wasn’t my action that needed being forgiven, I struggled with the fact that I had allowed it and that was painful enough. I think I’m now in a place where I can let it go, and I have this awesome energetic spiritual support team who can help me with it. 

All of that stuff brewing around in me today kind of felt more like a sadness moment as I had to acknowledge some things I wanted to forget, but really it’s a happiness moment as I put memories in the past. 

My laughing happiness moment came this morning as my niece showed up in my yard to wash Derek’s butt.


 I was weeding my garden and suddenly my job seemed pretty darn awesome in comparison. Derek is so cuddly and after being bathed came into my garden to help me with my weeding 


He’s so cute and loves being around us so much. I have mad respect for all the struggles this little orphan has been through and yet is so determined to survive. He’s a little stinky, cuddly bundle of happiness. 

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happiness

Family trip 

My mom has as her screensaver photos from our big family trip to Italy in 2009. A  group of extended family got together to go celebrate the wedding of my cousin. It was so much fun. I had never been before and I think I probably slept about 6 hours in the 10 days we were there – we were so busy eating and seeing everything we possibly could. 
I love looking at those old photos. We were all so happy (and thinner and younger) – Dad looked so good in all the photos. It’s nice to go back to a time when there was a lot of joy in the family. 

I remember lying on my back floating in the Mediterranean laughing with my cousin. We laughed so hard our stomachs hurt – it was so carefree and easy. I loved that moment. 

Trevi fountain 
I have realized recently that we have finally reached a place where our little trio has started to feel secure enough to want to reach out and explore again. As we have discovered that  we are finally feeling home and safe and secure, we are starting to talk about spreading our wings.  I’m so grateful the kids now have put down roots deep enough that they can grow. I’m grateful I’m getting my balance in a way I probably didn’t have before. 

There was a lot of happiness on that family trip. It reminds me how thankful I am for this tribe of people I was fortunate enough to be born into. 

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happiness

When you start to let it go 

Happiness comes in many different forms, for me it’s so much more than belly laughs and ice cream. It’s that feeling deep in my soul that I’m following my bliss, living my dharma, balanced from within. 

My happiness moment today came from seeing a lightness in my son. He’s been carrying around so much inside and has been slowly able to start letting it out. I’m so proud of him for being able to open up and share his feelings with adults whom he trusts. Watching how he’s learning to advocate for himself makes me incredibly proud of him, and even more secure in the knowledge that he’s one awesome child of God. 

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happiness

Safety, grounding, flying free

I have been thinking lately of the irony of the feelings of safety, security, and grounding that I get from living in this old house that has looked over so many generations of my family. Getting grounded and centred back into my self has been a huge part of my healing journey. But the fact remains that while I find comfort here, this home only exists because of the adventurous will of my ancestors. Had they not had the strength to leap out of their comfort zones and abandon all the safety and security in their lives for an unknown, pioneer life in the West; I would not have this house to sit in.

I’ve been feeling lately like I’m sitting on the edge of a huge cliff. I’ve been climbing and climbing for a couple of years now getting to the place where I do feel some grounding and safety. Now that I’m (kind of) there it’s like I’m being asked to free fall off into the unknown. I don’t like heights and I don’t like falling. Yet that is what I’m being called to do.

Unlike my ancestors, my adventure quest isn’t asking me to pack up and head out on a physical adventure. In fact, that is what the last 10 years of my life have been about. Those years almost lead to the complete destruction of my soul, but also to the building up of myself into a stronger, more humble, better version of myself.

The quest that I’m being called to take now is an adventure of my inner soul. It’s scary and I have a thousand reasons why I’m not prepared for it, but still…. I’m being called. I can feel the past couple of weeks that I’ve been edging closer and closer to my free fall off into this journey of faith.

Today’s happiness moment was a visit with my cousin and her husband. They live just far enough away that we don’t see each other as often as I would like. And often when I see them it’s at a larger family function so visiting isn’t as intimate. Getting to visit in a quiet and relaxed manner was such a treat. She’s just enough older than I am that she’s always been one of the cool cousins who I looked up to, and she was kind enough to put up with me when I was an annoying younger kid following her around. Lord, I made her sing the found a peanut song a million times one summer…

 

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Sunday supper

It’s been years since Sunday supper was a thing in our household. A lot of the time it felt like we spent the evening preparing for the stress of the week instead of celebrating the end of the weekend. 

Since coming home again, we have had a lot more occasions to celebrate weekends, or Holidays, or sometimes just Tuesdays. 

Tonight we had an impromptu family supper up at my cousin’s place. It was more like a feast actually – roast beef (beef from the cattle they raise with tender loving care) and all the fixin’s. Easy and fun conversation around the dinner table with grandparents and aunts and uncles and parents cousins and kids. We had the  whole multi generational thing going on. 

We are so incredibly blessed to live where we do with the family and love and support wrapped securely around us. Being safe and happy in the arms of our home. My happiness moment today. 

Home is where my heart is.   

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Boot to the head 

  
Poor little Jenna came to the car today in tears. She’d been hit in the eye with a frisbee and was sore and upset. Of course the first thing that went through my brain was boot to the head from the Frantics. 

Because most funny things in my brain go back to thr Frantics, Kids in the Hall, or Mr. Bean. I can’t look at a pie, hear the word areas, or stand in line (is this the line? I’ll bet you’re the line) without bursting into uncontrolled giggles. Boredom often leads me to pinch peoples’ heads, and everything else is Mr. Bean. 

Poor Jenna. I did get myself together and give her the sympathy she needed though. 

Yesterday I blogged about  security and confidence and how important it was that our little house is feeling more settled and safe all the time. Jenna told me that as soon as she got hurt, her first impulse was to run into the school and see if her aunt (my cousin) was there. She said I know she’s always at school and I knew she would make me feel all better. I wanted to be with my family. Someone who loves me. 

And that is what this is all about. Living in a way where we have our tribe around us knowing that we are safe and cared for, and that we can make others feel the same. 

That was my happiness moment. Jenna feeling  that wherever she is here there is someone who has her back and will give her a kind hand. We aren’t made to go through this life in isolation and I’m so grateful that we don’t have to anymore. 
On a different note, Dad died 5 months ago today. I don’tknow how I feel about that, but I feel like it bears noting. Miss you Dad xoxo

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Security and confidence

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out my emotions on safety and security, and how that has affected who I am today. I have spent a lot of time feeling unsafe, or like there was a real lack of security in my life. It’s been something I’ve craved and sought after, but I often felt like I was chasing rainbows – hopeful, but uncertain that I would ever reach my desire.

With a lot of work, and a lot of help, I’m finally beginning to realize in my body and soul that I’m safe and that I can be secure. The fact that we are back home and surrounded with love and support of our people has played a huge role in that. Also though, I have been working like a madwoman to release all the old fears and misconceptions and grief I’ve carried along with me for too long.

All of our house pets have been adopted from shelters. They all have had some kind of abuse or neglect before they came to live with us, so they all arrived in the house with a lot of fear and a lack of security.



Over the years I have watched Dottie settle into (kind of) a more normal and calmer version of herself. She’s very attached to me – I am her security blanket if you will – but she’s more trusting and calmer than she was 8 years ago when she first came to live with us. Ella too has calmed into a more secure and loving cat. She’s gone from her strict rule of being “close but no touching”,  to sitting on my keyboard, purring, while I’m trying to type this blog.

Abu and Aladdin were the last members of our little tribe to join us. They both were pretty insecure and fearful when they arrived. They had good reason to feel that way too as their young lives had involved a lot of turmoil. 2 months later I’m seeing that they’re getting more secure and trusting with us.

Having faith and trust in the people (or animals) you live with with is so important. If we can’t feel safe and secure, we don’t have the confidence to spread our wings and fly, we can’t let our guard down and open our hearts to those around us. Feeling safe is, I believe, one of the most important things in life.

Today I was at Jenna’s teacher conferences. One of her goals is to be more confident in school and speak up for herself. I’ve watched how the kids are relaxing into life here and thriving with the sense of security that comes with having a strong support system in our lives. She’s so much more confident and brave than she gives herself credit for, but I was proud of her that that was one of her goals. Making sure we all feel safe and loved is what it’s all about.

My happiness moment today was hearing about what a great job she’s doing at school – how she’s part of the leadership group, how she’s making friends, how she’s starting to feel like she belongs there. My wish for my kids (and me too) is that they spend the rest of their lives feeling safe and secure and loved.

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