Tag Archives: confidence

In the Mouth of Madness – The Work of a Respiratory Therapist

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Respiratory Therapy

Every day that you breathe comfortably is a gift. This, I say with absolute surety, after 14 years as a critical care Respiratory Therapist.  Every hour you live is a chance to learn something; not a fact or a skill, because these are too tangible, too easy to grasp. No, every day is a chance to learn one more thing about human connection and an opportunity to explore the boundaries set for us by our limitations and our fears.

Flash back 10 years ago to the critical care bedside of a tiny infant, connected to my life-supporting equipment. It is my job, on this day, to be in this room, at this moment and to press that button; Yes, THAT button. The button that turns off a machine that made it look like this baby was taking its own breaths. I’m not alone. On this day there is a doctor with me and a nurse nearby outside the door. But it feels like I am alone because no one is making eye contact. No one is saying out loud what I am screaming inside, “Dear God, this is breaking my heart.”  But really, I am glad it is me. This way, I can be so absolutely gentle and kind, yet swift when I remove the tube from her mouth. This way, I get to say goodbye as well before I quietly leave the room.

Nothing could have prepared us for this. There was no didactic course on terminal weaning babies or palliative withdrawal of life support on patients that look and sound exactly like my grandmother. And so, we learn as we go, pushing the boundaries of our fears and sending out ‘feelers’ into our psyche to probe a dark emotion that we were never trained to recognize. We can sustain life beyond expectations but were not taught to embrace death.

As I sat with an elderly gentlemen in an ER at 4am a few years ago, I finally started to unravel this tangle of emotions that reared its head repeatedly.  I withdrew a BiPAP mask and then watched caregivers duck back away behind curtains. Pieces of the puzzle fell into place. We are healers. We fix people. We pride ourselves in this ability, boastful and resounding. Death is to be overcome! We shall not surrender… but if we do…when we do, we lose purpose. We feel weak. We feel shame. The dark and tangled emotions of failure, fear, vulnerability and shame all blended opaque and smeared across our vision. We can no longer see the person we were caring for without reminder that we were not enough.

So I became enough. Slowly at first but with steady purpose, when there was no family, I became the family. When hands reached out in fear of the unknown, I shrugged off my hesitation and held onto those hands. Fear was overcome by the strength of human connection. In these moments, my practice changed forever and so did I. My rusted old personal boundaries flexed and were broken. Relationships blossomed and life just made more sense. Everything became more real. I have never looked back.

The work of a Respiratory Therapist or any other critical care practitioner is incredibly stressful and exhausting. Finishing a set of 12 hours days and nights, its all we can do to not run out the hospital doors laughing maniacally on our way home screaming ” No one died…it was a great night!” But on those nights when one of our patients does pass away, we can learn so much in reflection. What if we stepped right around our fears and walked boastfully up to death saying “It’s ok that you are here. Let me help you take them kindly”.  Knowing we are enough. Knowing we did our best.

CB

Art Understanding

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Be brave and show your colors! Source:Ticktacktoeleb.com

Be brave and show your colors!
Source:Ticktacktoeleb.com

I started my second painting class last weekend. I have newly discovered the joy and release of painting using acrylic on canvas. Placing myself with paintbrush in hand in a completely new environment at the age of 36 has been so refreshing. It’s a new way to open up creatively, throw myself off balance and choose to become vulnerable thus learning more about myself in the process. Surprisingly, it has revealed a little more about my parenting style. Painting has shown me that one of the hardest things to achieve as a parent is to let your children experience the world in their own way without introducing any of our own biases or opinions. My work is my interpretation of the world. It can be judged but the critque will not change the facts and emotions behind my experiences. My children deserve the same from me. I should allow them the experience, encourage full artistic licence and make no apologies for what they create.

My class has about 6 participants of all ages and most of us are beginners. This means we are still finding our creative voice and feeling out of place. Still lacking confidence and quick to judge our own work, it is common to hear across the room at any point, “Ooops, I think I did it wrong!”. This statement made me think about how my children approach art. When my son was 2 or 3, he showed his own interpretation of the world in his visual art with no apologies made for colors, shapes or sizes used on his impressions. But once he began to join social groups and hear critiques of his work, he would also begin to judge his artwork. That head on the dinosaur is a bit small or the lake is not the right blue. Outside opinion became influential, so I became aware of my own judgements in this manner. I have to remind myself that art is interpretation and shows glimpses of how we see the world. There is no right or wrong. Expect variety and difference.

Being the recovering perfectionist that I am (see blog post here for details) , I had previously had moments of conflict while helping my children draw or color. I used to look over my children’s works of art and feel a compulsion to add or direct color use. I would even embellish pictures after they completed them! You may have experienced similar compulsions or you may think I am a complete control freak. Either way, we can learn from this ridiculous tendency.

I believe there is great value in teaching our children that their thoughts and impression are valid, regardless of popular opinion. Through art, we can teach that not everyone will agree with what they see and feel, but that does not make their experience any less significant or important. If, as parents, we embrace their works with empathy and share our past experiences of harsh judgement, we can create a strong bond of solidarity and teach shame resilience. We can teach strength, compassion and kindness.

So when someone in my painting class announces they have screwed up….I  like to grab these moments to shout out…. “Not wrong! Just different!”. We usually have a giggle, but it lessens the judgement. It opens up our ability to use different blends of color, paint a sky with a few extra clouds, or sketch a skyline with a few extra peaks. Creative freedom found in a world where we feel constrained and must ‘fit in’. This support of being different helps us to feel conviction in our work and confidence as we press on. Such feelings I would be thrilled to pass on to my own children.

CB

“Goodbye Miss Universe”

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Small prizes for self-destruction. Source: http://capriciousd.hubpages.com/hub/7-Things-I-Wish-I-Understood-Sooner

Small prizes for self-destruction.
Source: Superstock.com

This past month I have thrown myself back into a previous work environment. I am back to work at a children’s hospital in the critical care programs. I have not worked there for over 4 years and the break has done me well, but I returned to keep up my neonatal and pediatric skills. While re-orientating in the unit with an old friend he mentioned in passing ” …I know that you are a bit of a perfectionist, but since you will only be working casually here, you will have to ask for help occasionally.”.  His next words became fuzzy as I processed that statement. Wow, he was right. I was a perfectionist. When he had worked with me I was endlessly fighting to prove myself every day and be flawless. No mistakes could be made. Good enough was just not in my vocabulary. I have, thank goodness, begun to evolve and grow in many ways this past year. I used to be a devout perfectionist, but now I am doing the work of recovering from this affliction and have great hope for myself in the future!

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. – Anna Quindlen

I can almost hear some of you contesting in the background. Shrugging shoulders and scoffing in disagreement. You are asking yourselves what is so very WRONG with perfectionism. Doesn’t it make you better? Motivate you? Keep you ahead of the pack at work? Some of this may be true, but what will happen if you make a mistake? If you are caught being imperfect, you will get an awful feeling in the pit of your stomach. Dread and fear. You will feel a flush of heat up your neck and into your face. Shame and embarrassment. These are not pleasant feelings. You will then vow to be even more perfect, placing your nose to the proverbial grindstone and working even harder at your perfectionism. Running from shame and judgement, forever and always.

 perfectionism

Such weight of responsibility we feel from our perfect hair to our excellent, trendy choice in shoes! To look and act and live perfect lives is exhausting but you will only recognize this if you can step away. Like a long commute in for work every day of the week, you will only know the relief of the strain of perfectionism once you have stopped the daily habit. What if you could take this weight off your shoulders? What would that feel like? I know you’ve often wondered. When paired with the weight of the iron mask of my own projected self image, my attempts at perfectionism were like chains, anchoring me to a treadmill that never stopped moving. I could not step off, because if I did, I thought myself lazy, and not worthy of any positive thoughts or love. I would be judged, feel shame and there would be fear. The fear of the loss of attention for my huge efforts. I could not risk it. The consequences would be too great.

There must be some escape from this cycle of self-destruction. I can tell you that there is and I hope to show you a way. I view myself as having thrown off all but one or two small lengths of chain with both feet planted on the stationary sides of the treadmill. I hover above it, loathing the endlessly rotating belt. It stares me right in the face and I make no effort to look away. I shout out “I know you are there, and I WILL be rid of you soon.” But there is still much work to be done.

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen: Anthem

A huge step in my personal journey evolved when I discovered mindfulness. Becoming aware of your emotions and not over-identifying with them as defining who you are is very challenging and the concept needs to be adequately explained. Dr. Dan Siegel’s work on the Mindsight project is pivotal  in helping us navigate our identity : self, separate from emotion. Not ‘I am sad’ but ‘I feel sad’. Wading through a minefield of possible highs and lows every day and letting it flow. You, as a person and powerful being, afloat and in control of how much emotion you experience. The concept is life changing.

I have my children to thank for this personal evolution because becoming a new parent is one of the scariest, most vulnerable positions to ever find yourself in. Their entry into my life kick-started some amazing changes. No control, no study guide, no possible chance of perfection. I was wrong on many occasions, I needed to adapt and learn but I had no answers readily at hand. I can now very easily admit to my children that ‘Mommy should have done it differently’ and that I too, was learning.

I have historically been very hard on myself. I was never allowed mistakes and I still marvel to this day at people that can take a correction with no offense. Could I ever be that kind to myself? Could I ever love myself enough to say ‘It’s ok Christy, even with your flaws, you are good.’ ?

A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life. – Christopher K Germer

Great change and self development is always work, but it is my life’s work and it has become a new passion. I see now that perfectionism,  quite frankly, is boring and a dead end. Seeking a better motivator than temporary nods of approval, I am choosing a life free of chains, full of mistakes and laughter over my imperfection. Seeking a commonality with others on their own journey, I am learning to open up and share my ‘woops’ moments. Laughter and connection are becoming a new driving force. I am not alone anymore.

CB

Note: A good portion of my inspiration for this blog-post came from Brene Brown’s book – The Gifts of Imperfection. Reading her work can be transformational if the timing is right. Watch her first TEDx talk here.

Pride – In the Name of Love

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Hold on tight, or better yet….let go. You are worthy of this and so much more.

Hold on tight, or better yet….let go. You are worthy of this and so much more.

It seems like it takes an entire lifetime to break some emotional and behavioural patterns. Even when I think I have one beat, it rears its ugly head merely a week later. This time around it is pride that has tripped me up yet again. ( I am defining pride as a sense of dignity or value in this post, not as the satisfaction of achievement.) To keep a sense of my own value or worth is essential. What am I if I am not worthy? I would be unworthy… and I have come very far in 20 years to a place of knowing that I am worthy of love. I am enough. This is me. Take it or leave it baby.

So to place myself out there, vulnerable and exposed is still so very challenging. Less so with friends, acquaintances or strangers since I am sure now of who I am. Interestingly, it is so much more challenging to speak from my heart with the people that mean the most to me. Why? Because to lose them, to lose their love, would be crushing. I could not bear it. I fear I would never recover.

I can hear the words that I want to say. I repeat them in my head again and again, hoping desperately that the innervation of my vocal cords, tongue and jaw will just take command and spill out what I cannot. Around and around they swirl like a mantra and just as I feel like I will overcome it the bricks from the wall that I thought I had slain fly together from out of nowhere, lodging together, tight at the seams and like that… it is done. The block is back. Frack. We’re back to this. *sigh*. Maybe next time I will be strong enough.

So what is it that I am so incapable of saying? What terrifies me so much that it seals my lips tight? Admitting that I need someone. Admitting that I love someone so much that to be without them would leave me lost. I live in fear of full celebration of the joys of love, simply because if I acknowledge what I have, it is that much more painful to lose it.

So there it is. Simply put but undeniably complicated. How many of us have great things in our lives? Do you fully embrace and celebrate them, or do you also hold back? How many of us have walked away from amazing opportunities because we feel that if we commit entirely and put ourselves ‘out there’ that there will be so much more to lose? You may not even recognize that you are making the decision to hold back. It can be instinct. Habit. Self-protection.

How do we get there? How do we push through the fear of loss of our sense of worth in those relationships that we hold so dear? I can only see a path of practice taking me to my ultimate goal. The only way to create new neural pathways and thus new behaviours is to do the work. SO back to the front lines I go, battling demons whose familiarity is stifling. Yet I brandish new hope against them, fighting every day for what is mine.

CB

The vulnerability factor – MLM can change your life, not just your income.

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Put yourself out there. Risk and find reward.
Photo credit: Gary Trent Photography

Whenever I see a site or post about Multi-level Marketing(MLM), the common theme goes something like this: “Make your dreams come true!  Make more money than you ever imagined possible! Own your life!”

OK, let’s examine. I am all for owning my life. I work in the Canadian healthcare system. I am subject to union negotiations and that alone is enough to drive anyone into the land of entrepreneurship. Yes please, it would be nice to have some control.

Make my dreams come true. Huh. What dreams? You mean the dreams of just making it through the week and ending up with enough money to pay our debts AND have a little left for dinner out? Are those dreams? Because if not, then I know not that of which you speak. Wow…really sad, but true. What the heck ARE my dreams?

Make more money than I ever imagined possible through MLM. Well, easy enough because I really did not think you could make more than $300-$500 a month selling a product by word of mouth advertising. So any more than that is more than I imagined!

After only 6 months working as an Arbonne Independent Consultant, I truly believe all the above statements are entirely possible. However, these things cannot be achieved simply by ‘joining in’ with a company and just letting everyone know. You can buy into the product a little or a lot, but the more you spend on you initial purchase STILL does not determine how well you will do as a consultant or how well you learn to ‘own your life’.

When we step out on a limb and start a new business, we are putting ourselves ‘out there’. We become subject to criticism from all angles. This is an extremely vulnerable position. Some people cannot manage feeling so exposed. They cannot tolerate the repetitive sound of ‘No’ when the offer of their product or business is declined. They react to hearing no and the resultant feeling of shame by getting aggressive, or simply losing faith in the business as a whole. They quit and walk away, making sure to tell every single person they encounter what a ‘scam’ MLM is.

Timing can be vital. Personality is key. Are you the kind of person that has the confidence to withstand hearing ‘No’ again and again? I personally loved the analogy of the waitress/waiter offering coffee to diners.  They are employed to walk around to each table and ask that complex question: “Coffee?” If you tell them “No thanks.”, do they get upset? Do they feel rejected? Do they question whether they are truly made out to be servers? No, of course not. They ask again and again unfailingly. They circulate and play the numbers game, surely SOMEONE is going to want coffee? If you treat your business the same, asking everyone and simply moving on without an emotional reaction when you hear ‘No’, you can succeed.

This is a simple concept, but when we examine the strength of character required for this persistence, it is NO wonder that 90% of attempted MLMers fail. Show yourself some compassion. Allow some time to read, learn and study how to succeed in this business before you judge it. Do you really believe in yourself and your ability to create a successful business? Do you really believe that the products are outstanding and have a unique solution to your clients problems? Do you understand and believe in the model of multi-level marketing? Do you believe in your company and their values?

You MUST have concrete belief in yourself, your company, your product and the dynamic system of MLM to succeed. The ability to create something fresh and new that is entirely your own places you out front and centre. As vulnerable as it gets. Embrace this space of fear and push through. Allow your mistakes to become your pivot points, turning you toward your goals daily.

To understand the structure and goals of Multi-level Marketing…read The 45 Second Presentation That Will Change Your Life by Don Failla.

For a simple explanation of how MLM works, fill out the contact form below and I will email you some fantastic reading material free of charge!

A fine balance – Sources of positive energy.

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sunflower field

Energy…it flows through us and around us every day. The world is swirling, turning, and teaming with energy. So, why do we all feel so tired? Why do our days feel overwhelming and exhausting?  Is it because we are exhausting our energy stores without knowledge of  how to fill ourselves back up? Are we not making time for the things that create energy in our lives?

With this post I am hoping to give you some options. Ideas on how you may ignite a new spark of energy flowing into yourself instead of the endless river flowing out that you are likely very familiar with.

Idea #1 –Mindfulness practice. A few years ago, I was struggling with my first child as he made his way slowly and steadily into the ‘terrible two’ stage. I was a mess. He was a mess. I could not manage his random tantrums and they threw me so off-balance that I would end up on the floor beside him in tears. I looked for help. It came in several resources. The one that has made the biggest change in my life (and likely thousands of others) is Dr. Dan Siegel. If you have not yet heard about neuroplasticity…get Googling! Your neural pathways can be altered, your habits changed, your fears alleviated and your stress reduced. Books I suggest for learning about how to become more aware of your mind, brain and relationships around you are: Mindsight, The Whole-Brain Child and Parenting from the inside out. Once you begin the practice of disconnecting your emotions from your core belief of self…you can lose the negative and revel in the possibilities for good.

Idea #2 – Success and leadership coaching . There is nothing like a fantastic coach to boost your self-esteem and your drive to surge forward with energy.  Learn time management skills , how to set goals and actually achieve them, how to craft your vision for the future and how to lead without a title. I personally enjoy the teachings of Robin Sharma and think he is a GREAT place to start since he has so many free video resources on YouTube and his website. Jim Rohn’s book Twelve Pillars is a must-read also.

Idea #3 – Rediscover how to communicate. I’m just going to come out and say it. Television is toxic. Victims watch television. If you are sitting in front of the television between 1-3 or more hours a day and you are complaining about your life….then you are your own worst enemy. PUT DOWN THE REMOTE! Take control of your own life. Go out and join a class. Meet new people. Make things happen simply by engaging in conversation and participating in your own life! The only way to reap the rewards of a positive life with great energy is to do the work. Start reading and stop playing the victim. 

Idea #4 – Play, play, play. This point is especially key if you have children and feel so overwhelmed by a busy schedule. There is time for work and a time for play. Separate the two and find joy in games and play again. Rediscover fun and laughter. Swing on a swing. Race across the sand. Stop being so SERIOUS for even just an hour!! Remember that simple things can bring great happiness and good energy.

Idea #6 – Exercise the demons/You are what you eat. This one is so self-explanatory and we KNOW this by now! Exercise takes your energy to a greater level. It is necessary if you do not have  a job that requires physical labour (most of us!). The more you exercise, the more energy you will have and the more time you can commit to becoming  WHO you want to be and getting WHERE you want to be. Learn what a healthy diet looks like and make small changes every day to get you on the track for success.

Idea #5 – Choose your ‘peeps’ wisely. In my short 35 years on this earth, I am sure of only a few things. One of those things is that you cannot change other people. People can only change themselves. If you have friends or co-workers that routinely suck the energy right out of you by way of negative thoughts and comments, then you must simply choose to limit your exposure to them. Move on and surround yourself with those that do impact you positively. The negative ones WILL protest. They will call down your new choices. They will say nasty things to get you back under their dark cloud with them. Let them bray like mules and keep focused on the light ahead! You will be more beneficial to so many more people if  you find the BEST you.

Go for it!

CB

‘Arbonner’ for life: Why I cannot stop smiling lately.

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Reasons to smile… Photo credit Gary Trent Photography, Grand Forks, BC

Reasons to smile…
Photo credit Gary Trent Photography, Grand Forks, BC

6 months ago I started a home-based business with a company called Arbonne. It was not on my radar, nor did I expect the changes that it would cause in my life when I signed on as an Independent Consultant. I am on a really fun part of the ride. The part where you can see what’s up ahead and you just can’t stop smiling.

Let me break it down real quick for you why I am loving this business and what some of the benefits are.

  1. I am the CEO of my own business – HELLO! I am my own boss. If I want to work on my business for only 1 hour instead of 2 today… so be it! No emails need to be sent or manager-types consulted. It’s MY business.
  2. Tax breaks – It only took Robert Kiyosaki and tax guru Sandy Botkin telling me one time what the benefits of being a business owner were going to be. This is huge. I don’t even have to be making money…just trying to make money is good enough for the government. I am creating jobs. Cell phone, car, part of my mortgage, meals, coffee, entertainment costs when with clients or prospects… all going into the excel spreadsheet as business building necessities.
  3. No glass ceiling – I’ll say it. I like to be good at what I do. I like to be really good. But in my health care career, there is nowhere to go. Our profession is unrecognized on so many levels. So imagine my pure delight when I see how possible it is to achieve amazing things in multi-level marketing. Can I set goals, have vision and build belief? You betcha! Do I like to lead? Oh yeah! Do I love the idea of forming a team and supporting them to achieve amazing things in their own lives? Could not be more excited!
  4. Helping others starts here – My team has already started to build. We are growing together. We support each other and know that we will be relying on each other for positive energy, drive and a good swift kick if we get off track. I was BLOWN AWAY when I started to feel the supportive nature of an upline in MLM. People that work above me want me to succeed and will show me exactly what they did to be earning over $100,000 a month. Of course they want me to succeed…that’s the beauty of building a downline. But the kindness and patience is genuine. The encouragement to do the personal development work was real. And the results are fantastic!
  5. Confidence – Who doesn’t have baggage? Who doesn’t have little voices that tell them they will fail? Who doesn’t need more confidence? I listened to my upline, did the reading, set my vision and goals and found my belief. The baggage just started to fall away on its’ own. (Top ten list of personal development books to come on a later post).
  6. Wicked feeling skin and a lighter side to me – There is no denying that becoming a ‘product’ of the Arbonne products is a huge perk. This stuff just makes your skin feel and look amazing. There is a skincare line for everyone: sensitive, aging, men, babies. The health and wellness line has started to help me melt off the stubborn 10lbs that no one else seems to see. All great things especially when my husband gets to see and feel the results!!  There really IS something for everyone!
  7. Networking – Yup, this means talking to people! YES! I am really excited about this perk. I am loving the new connections. I really enjoy interacting with new people everyday and widening my ‘circle’. It’s amazing how when you really listen to people you not only hear some amazing stories but you hear the emotion and begin to understand them as individuals.

I am learning so much…learning to love, learning to listen, learning to live with a fierceness and drive that I could never have imagined. Most of all, learning that my success cannot be obtained if I do not help others succeed around me.  So sign me up as a ‘lifer’… Arbonne has truly ignited a transformational journey in my life.

Brave. The resolution.

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In my Father's eyes...

In my Father’s eyes…

So where did we leave off? Oh right, I was pacing the room, making myself nauseous and about to meet my father for the first time in my life. What a moment! SO stressful that I will likely never forget that feeling.

There was another feeling I felt later that day that was equally as acute. An aching feeling of sadness as we drove away from my father, leaving him behind again in return to our children and our busy lives. This is it. The intensity. The power. The FEELING. This is what life is about. Yet, so often we shy away from moments like this that will reward us with a feeling so powerful that we cannot help but know we are alive!

SO how was our 7-hour day together? Indescribable. I can tell you that we embraced upon meeting. I can tell you that we talked for hours over coffee while I showed him pictures of me growing up and he showed me pictures of my entire paternal ancestral line going 4 generations back. I can tell you we drove to one of his favorite places to take nature photographs and then did a spontaneous photo shoot with me as the subject. I can tell you that there were so many moments when we just held hands or gazed at each other. I can tell you that I literally felt through his entire being the love he had for my mother.

But none of that will be enough to convey the moments so powerful, like little earthquakes shifting in my consciousness. Moments in which I heard that I was loved, wanted, longed for. Little fissures in my beliefs, followed by new connections that were stronger, less imagined and forged with love. I could never have imagined it better.

I am so excited about this new connection and all its’ potential. I feel the power of it like a surge of energy that can ignite every action in my days whether routine or adventurous. This has been a journey a long time in the making. Perhaps that time was necessary, bringing us to the right moment. I have named this the year to face my fears and this was fear #1. Now that I have conquered the biggest… I can line them all up and knock the rest out of the park. Bring it. I am ready.

Brave. A personal journey years in the making.

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As I write this, I am looking out a patio door onto the Granby river in a little town called Grand Forks in the Boundary Country region of B.C. The sun is shining brilliantly after a rainfall and I can hear a myriad of unfamiliar bird calls. I am so excited to be here. “Am I on vacation?” you may ask. Nope… not quite. I am on a mission. A mission to face a fear that is so deeply ingrained in my body that it is as familiar to me as the feeling of my own heart beating in my chest.

I am here to meet my real father. Yes, for the first time. Yes, I am 35 years old. Yes, it is about time.

I will not reflect on how it came to be that I do not know my real father at this stage of my life here on my blog as this would expose the personal lives of others. How we got here is not really so important as what we do now, this instant.

I will, however, reflect on what kind of hurdle this has been for me. I have struggled with feeling ‘abandoned’, ‘unwanted’ and ‘never good enough’ for as long as I can remember. It did not matter whether these feelings were in my present state of mind. They were intrinsic, ever-present obstacles that I would dance around daily or appease by acting out for attention. They were subtle…but even the smallest mosquito can cause quite a ruckus when it is trapped in the room with you.

There are some amazing substitutes for fathers and mine were my grandfather and then later on, my step-father. Love was given, tears were wiped. I was not left wanting for a male presence as I grew up. But there it still was, buzzing in the back of my mind despite my protests of “Why should I want to know my real father? What do I need him for? What will it change?”.

My sister, truly the boldest of we two, made the big leap of contacting our father first.  She was hunting down some family history. I thank my lucky stars above that I had done some recent personal ‘work’ by way of starting my own business, as this placed my mind in exactly the right state to hear her tell me “He is really lovely and he REALLY wants to talk to you!”.

I also need to thank Mark Zuckerberg for the gift of Facebook at this point because it is SO much easier to type a quick message than it is to dial a number. So I wrote a quick note to my father…asking for patience. It was in me to call, I just needed a few more days.

And then I found it! The spark, the inertia, the drive to not only call but really have a wonderful conversation. To hear his voice, finally solid after being such a mystery. To hear his tellings of our family history, the artistic talent, the fact that he himself never knew his own father. But most of all, to hear that when I was 5 months old, he tried to see me but came up against resistance in the form of family meaning well.

That conversation started the pull that I felt toward him. I needed  to meet him and I would feel even more incomplete and frustrated every day that passed without it happening. He sent me a photo that he had taken of himself and my mother before their marriage. Gazing at these two faces together was jarring. There was love there. This existed. I am stronger because of this.

So when I looked at my calendar for the next few months, I was so dismayed. This was important dammit! I will make it a priority! And so here we are…I am so nervous that I feel sick. What will he think of me? What will we talk about? The only thing that calms me is pacing across the tiny motel room and gazing at the engorged river. Just breathe. Just breathe…This is where you are meant to be right now. This is my mantra. On this day of faith. In search of love.

To be continued…

Because it is just AWESOME! Arbonne for body and soul.

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Okay, I only have a few minutes – actually only enough time for Dora and Boots to get through the jungle and up the tallest hill to reach the fix-it machine!?! Wow, if they can do all those things in 20 minutes, I can surely write a blog post! Right?!? Feeling inadequate.

I marvelled after my morning face-prep routine today at the state of my skin. After 2 children, I had some looming dark circles, skin with absolutely NO rebound and wrinkles were setting in BIG TIME! 5 months later and so much has changed. I have a firmness to my skin that is astounding after I thought I had lost it forever! My husband was amazed at how soft my face is. AND, those lines of experience are ever-so-softly reduced, making me feel not so weary when I catch a peek at myself all covered in crumbs and disheveled after a long day with the kids.

I’m not what you would call a materialistic or narcissistic person in general, but there is something to be said for taking care of your body. Confidence has it’s roots in my body and my soul and I can truly flourish when I look and feel my best. When I know that I am happy with my presentation of self, I can really focus on my interactions with others. I can listen to them, see them and really hear what they are saying without being interrupted by that little voice in my head saying “Hmmm, looking a bit ragged today, eh Momma?”.