happiness

Stretch it out 

I woke up this morning and realized that it was time to deal with the fact that I’ve been ungrounded and out of sorts the past few days. 

Thank goodness for my Ayurvedic training. I’ve already been working at my sleep routines, but today I kicked it all up a notch. I cancelled other plans and put work to the side and spent the morning doing yoga, meditating, and going for a centring walk along the ridge with the dog 

This was the early morning view from the ridge. The moon had already gone to bed by the time I made it out there (this was yesterday morning’s photo)   
Because this was the walk I always did with dad, I stopped by where we had scattered some of his ashes and had a mini meltdown. I could feel him loving and guiding me as I gathered myself back together and carried on. 

As I was walking I was filled with gratitude that we are back in this place that is home – where we are safe and loved. 

My happiness moment was realizing that even in times of turmoil I have learned how to nurture and ground myself. Learning Ayurveda was one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

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Early spring

Days like today are the reason why I find March to be such a challenging month. My body already thinks it should be spring, I’ve got friends posting photos of flowers popping up (ah to be on Vancouver Island), and it seems like things have been either white or brown for a very long time. Then we get this warmer weather (actually we’ve had a lot of warmer weather lately) and I start to get fooled into thinking it’s spring. I get all happy and believe that this will be the year that spring comes at a decent time in Alberta. Then, without warning, March arrives and the temperatures go down to -30C. But, ever the optimist I get sucked in every year believing that it’s going to be different.

Maybe it will be this year. I hope so….

I decided to play hooky from my work this afternoon and I grabbed the dog and headed out for a walk along the ridge. I always have lots of memories pop up on this walk. I remember galloping across the field on Pirate, walking with my dad, tobogganing down the hill, and swimming in the creek. It’s one of my favourite places to be. I had to stop part way through and just breathe in the beauty of home. I am so grateful that we are here. We are home, safe, and surrounded by loved ones.

My happiness moment. There’s no place like home. 

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A walk on the track

This afternoon after school, Jenna and I headed to the gym to walk along the track. It was maybe nice enough to have walked outside (except for that wind), but the last chinook left everything so icy it’s not very enjoyable walking these days.

The entire ride there Jenna babbled happily about her gym class at school. They had been playing a game and Jenna had decided to find out how fast a runner she was. She was feeling quite accomplished and was busy telling me how she felt like the Road Runner (complete with beep beeps and moments when he would get so far ahead he would stop and check his nails).

It thrills me when I pick up the kids and they are happy after a day at school. Both of them are settling into their environments and no longer feeling like the new kid. They both tell me often how this feels like home in a way that no other place ever has (well, because it is home. Real home). 

My happiness moment was walking along the track with my girl and listening to her talk about how happy she is. She talks about her friends and things they play at school, about activities they do in class, and just how much she likes being here. I love having one on one time with each kid, it was extra nice to get to move around a bit while we shared some stories.

As a bonus happiness moment, right before hitting post on my blog I had a call from my aunt (dad’s sister). We had a long and lovely conversation. I mentioned to her that one bonus that came out 2015 was that it brought us back closer with Dad’s family. I love those people and I’m so glad to be building closer and stronger relationships with them. I imagine Dad is really happy about that too.

 

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Our Lady Guadalupe

I was feeling a little down this afternoon when I headed out for my walk. I’m overtired which always makes my emotions feel that much more intense (and makes me that much more unable to deal with them).

One thing I have learned over this past year is that it is always possible to find happiness in each and every moment. The kicker is to remember to allow it and to look for it. I’ve had some pretty crappy things happen in 2015 and still, every day I sat down and thought about at least one moment that made me happy and left me feeling grateful in that day.

With that in mind but still carrying a little woe is me, I went for my walk around Old Town Albuquerque. It seems every time I explore there’s another little side walkway that I have not noticed before. This time I turned at a sign for a museum and instead ended up at the doorway of a small church. 

It was like God guided me here to remind me that He’s always there holding my hand. I needed that little reminder of love and support. I felt my heart lift and lighten as I walked in the doorway.  

Inside was this beautiful mural. I stood and looked at it for quite a while (I may have also cried in front of it for a bit, whatever. I thought I was done public crying at the end of 2015 but apparently that’s not the case). It made me feel so loved and warm and cared for just standing in this small but holy space.

  

Off to the side there was a small chapel and I walked to the front and stood at the cross and prayed for a little while. Mostly I just gave thanks for all of the blessings I have in my life. I have two beautiful children who make my world complete, I have a wonderfully strong and supportive family, I have friends who hold me up and laugh with me, I have that dog and those cats who fill my heart. I am a blessedly lucky person with all of the things that bring me joy and happiness.

Sometimes I just need that quiet space to remember how happy I am. I am so thankful I was guided into this little church. It was my happiness moment today.

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The Hills Are Alive

I woke up today feeling a little agitated, I’m not really sure why – probably has something to do with not enough sleep and too much sugar the past few days (plus a few wild emotions thrown in). I decided to really take the time this morning to take care of that and calm myself as much as possible. I spent some time on my elliptical and then did a wonderfully peaceful90 minute yoga class. I was feeling pretty good about myself until I had an encounter with another human being. Unfortunately for him, it was my son who came home all upset about something. Tempers flared and soon we were yelling at each other. Fortunately Jacob and I are pretty fair and kind fighters with each other and we each quickly put ourselves in a time out to calm down before coming back together and working it out.

Somehow during all of this it seemed that my sister was picking up on my vibes of needing to get outside and blow off some steam. She texted me that she was going for a walk and invited me to come. That was exactly what I needed. We headed out on the ridge where we used to walk with Dad, and where some of his ashes are scattered. It is still kind of emotional for me to walk along there, but it also helps me to feel closer to him. Gill and I ended up having the exact kind of talk that I used to have with Dad on that walk… we talked about the kinds of people we wanted to be, a little about our faith, a little about our friends, mostly we just shared company.

We walked up and down the ridge until we were both feeling relaxed and happy and then we went home. I went over to see what my kids were doing and was delighted to find them watching The Sound of Music, my all time favourite movie. I got to sit down and watch the end of it with them, and we were joined by my mom and sister and her kids. A family viewing.

A double happiness moment today, first being out in our hills walking with my sister and then watching Maria and family escape across theirs to safety.

  

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Christmas tree hunt 2015

Going for the annual Christmas Tree hunt is a big deal in my family. It’s a tradition dating back  before my time, and one I’ve participated in every year that I’ve been home for the holidays. This year we were extra lucky because it was really nice out. I think back on years when it has been -30 and we have shivered through the fields trying to find a tree as quickly as we could.

This year we only had to worry about being done while there was still daylight, it was pretty sweet to be able to slowly walk around and check out all the options.

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As you can tell, everyone was busy looking in different directions for their perfect tree. Somewhere along this ridge they looked at me and said that they would see this moment in my blog as the happiness moment (it’s like these people know me or something).

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It was so nice to have so many great tree options to choose from. I think everyone got their own perfect tree this year.

The girls were looking for little Charlie Brown trees. Jenna picked this little one out to sit in the sunroom at her Nana’s. Photobomb courtesy of Echo the dog.

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Jacob not only picked out the tree for our house, but with a little help from his uncle he cut it down as well. He was the saw man last year too. I’m more than happy to pass that torch over to him.

The tree

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Photobomb by Jenna

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It was so lovely to get out on the ranch and breathe in some nature (and the Christmas-y smell of the trees) and spend some time with family. I am so grateful that we are home again. I love it here, it’s a heart happy place for me.

My happiness moment, being in a place I love surrounded by people I love. We are blessed.

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Life off the leash 

Years ago I put myself on a leash. I tried so hard to be the person that I thought other people wanted me to be, I  stifled a lot of the things that made me me.  Interestingly enough, the people I was trying to impress with by being someone other than myself either didn’t notice or weren’t impressed. Of course now I know that trying to be someone other than who I really am is an exercise in futility, but it took me a little while to get there.

The unfortunate byproduct of all of this sadly though was that over time of not being true to my self, I lost touch with who I really am. Thus years of anxiety, unhappiness, and tears.

One of the great things about this happiness journey that I am on is that I have started finding myself again. Not all of the stuff I’m finding is fantastic, but it’s all really me. And I’m happy about that.

It’s a beautiful day in Southern Alberta today. Apparently we are in a heat wave – experiencing above average temperatures. It isn’t beach weather, but it’s about +5C which for this time of year is pretty warm. I took the boy and the dog out on the ridge for a walk (I made it both times past where we scattered Dad’s ashes without breaking down in tears…. progress!). I listened to Jacob go on and on about the new Star Wars movie and I watched the dog run and jump in the snow.

Dottie looks like I feel. Poor Dottie had to live life on a leash for 8 years until we moved here where she has the freedom to run. She is an entirely different dog with all the freedom she has. As I’m letting go of the idea that I need to be anyone besides who I am (my leash), I’m feeling more and more like she looks.

Happy.

Freedom

My happiness moment today was walking with my kid and my dog along a ridge where my footprints have been hundreds of times before. I used to ride here, walk with Dad here, toboggan on the hill below here, and I know we have lots of new memories to make along the ridge. Off the leash.

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Simple things 

Today my happiness was  found doing simple things. It was another beautiful day, I love these bright sunny days that have no wind. I went out for a walk along the ridge – so no wind was essential for an enjoyable time. This was where Dad would go for his walks whenever he could, and where we scattered some of his ashes. I can see why he loved it so much, it’s beautiful. I used to love riding along the creek below, so it had an extra boost of happiness as I remembered the freedom I felt spending hours wandering around with Pirate.

I stood at the spot where we scattered his ashes and cried for a while. I’m not really sure why. So much emotion has been stored up inside. Sadness over Dad, sadness over a lot of things I’ve had stuck inside of me for a long time that I’m finally learning to let go of. I’m starting to realize that I need to feel those feelings and acknowledge them in order to let them leave.  Then I had to giggle a little bit when I thought of how lucky I was that it was warm out. If it had been cold and windy all those tears would have stuck to my face, then I really would have had something to cry about.

I came back in the yard and went over to the hill where the girls were sledding. That brought lots of laughter back into my heart. There’s something about being around people who are really enjoying life that makes me feel the same way. The happiness overpowers the sad all the time.

As an added happiness moment, Jenna is still healthy and happy after her long cough. Saturday night she slept 15 hours and last night 14 hours. I am so grateful she had the time to slow down and spend time healing her body – and then time to get outside and enjoy life!

 

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When a door closes, another one opens. 

This morning  I went out for my last sunflower walk here at the Tamaya Resort. I very intentionally went “backwards” so that I could walk halfway, stand at the Rio Grande and say thank you to Dad, to the river, to God; and then walk the last part of the path guided by Dad’s sunflowers.

To my initial disappointment, when I arrived at the river there was a lady already standing there. She looked like she was happily enjoying the view, but she was at my place where I had important emotional things I wanted to do. 

Then that lady and I made eye contact and I realized it was Susan, a woman I had shared lunch with a couple of days ago. Every once in a while you meet someone you just click with and I felt that click over lunch. We have a lot in common, but also are very different. Whatever the case, we had that click of a friendship. 

We stood at my spot at the river and hugged and chatted a bit. She was heading in the direction I had just come from and I asked if I could join her and walk together back to the hotel. 

It amazes me when I just  meet someone and already feel so comfortable with them. We talked about our lives and our journeys. When we were at the house of hummingbirds, she said she was taking this course in part in search of her tribe. Right away my ears perked up. I have been actively seeking out my tribe too. I think we may be tribe members. 

As I was packing up I was thinking about having run into her. She said it was interesting how we kept crossing paths (it’s a big place and I’m not a part of this course) and how it must mean something. I thought of how my intention had been to go have a really emotional moment of gratitude at the river for the healing it has offered me. How instead of that intended moment, I walked forward into a new friendship. 

My moment of happiness and of deep gratitude.  I feel every day like I’m making steps ahead on this journey, but big spiritual stuff happened for me these past few days. Fitting that I again was guided on how to move forward instead of standing still with the past. 

Good bye New Mexico, you hold a blessed place in my heart. 

  

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May it be

I have always been a big fan of having a personal theme song. I’ve had a few throughout the years – Don’t Stop Believin’, Rebel Yell, Say Hey (I love you), The Sound of Sunshine, Alberta Bound (this got me through the last year. The kids and I chanted it over and over and over… and look where we live) being a few of them.

Only a very few times has a song just completely captured my soul and it has sung out this is my song!! Stop and listen to it!! The first time I heard The Gayatri Mantra by Deva Primal my inner being swooned with love. I didn’t know who she was or what the words meant, but I knew that I had to listen to that over and over and over again. 9 years later it’s still something I listen to on almost a daily basis.

Today a song came up on my playlist that I’ve listened to many, many times over the past couple of years and my soul has always yelled that one. That is an important song. Stop and listen to it. Stop and listen I would, but I never knew the name of the song or really understood what the lyrics were saying. Today I stopped and pulled up the lyrics and followed them while I listened to May It Be by Hayley Westenra. And I realized that this has been the theme song of my life for the past few years as I’ve been reaching for better things.

May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home

I started listening to this song when I was so far from home in every sense. Physically we were so far from home and our loved ones. I was so far from the home of my centered being, struggling to find myself in my storm of the dark night of the soul.

Mornië utúlië ([Quenya:] Darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië ([Quenya:] Darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadow’s call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

It was exactly what I did. I just kept believing (although it was while I was humming Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey) and I started to find my way.

When the night is overcome, you may rise to find the sun. I feel like that’s where I’m at now. Like I’ve just awoken to the gift of a beautiful sunrise of life.

A theme song that has been guiding my path out of that dark night of the soul and I wasn’t even aware. I guess that’s the great thing about reaching for better feelings, that I don’t have to control or worry about where they come from, just reaching for them is enough to make them come to me.

My happiness moment today was a re-walking of yesterday’s happiness moment, but with my Mom. We talked again about the sunflower picture that is in the bathroom of our hotel.

the photo is horrible, but the with the lighting in the bathroom there is only so much you can do. It’s a beautiful picture.  But, you get the added bonus of seeing me trying to hide in the corner of the photo 🙂 

Yesterday morning before my walk with the spirit of Dad, Mom had commented on how beautiful the sunflower picture was and how much Dad would have enjoyed seeing it and the inspiration he would have gained for his own photos. As we were out walking in the desert among the sunflowers Mom said it’s like Dad saying I told you I’d be in New Mexico with you. It was a beautiful and peaceful moment to share with her. I said that some people say that departed loved ones come back as butterflies and rainbows, but Dad comes back as sunflowers. Very fitting for who he was –  I knew immediately he was with us.

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