Sunday, November 30, 2014

Filling Buckets and Adding Fire to Wind

The girls have been coming home from school talking about "filling buckets."  They talk about how, when they do a good deed, help a friend, speak with kindness to a friend or share that they are filling that person's bucket - and their own.
I think that is so wonderful and that we could all learn something from that.

Filling a bucket.  Letting a person in front of you at the store, who obviously appears to be in more of a hurry than you - even if they don't acknowledge it - you have filled their bucket.
Taking extra effort and being more aware of making direct eye contact and offering a simple smile.  Bucket filled.

But the wonderful thing about all these bucket fillers walking around is that, while they are filling others buckets full with kindness, smiles and grace, they are also filling their own bucket.  Every time we do a good deed, how does it make us feel?  Pretty damn good, I would say.  And that feeling of content and doing a good thing, that is the best type of bucket filler, if you ask me.

What I have also learnt lately is that by filling my own bucket, it doesn't mean that I am leaving any less for anyone else out there.  It's actually the opposite.  It is not greedy - it's a necessity.
When I take extra time to have that long soak in the tub with my journal beside me I am re charging.  I am filling my own bucket so full that I might need to dump some out to make room for more.  But that's a good thing,  For when we dump out some of the good ol' remains of the bucket, we are placing it in someone else's.  We really are.  Think about it.  That extra long soak made me extra patient and calm.  I was able to tend to the kids with more patience and respect that I could have pre-soak.

All this talk of bucket filling has me thinking about other aspects of my life which I had been neglecting, but thankfully which I am now re exploring.  It has me thinking about it because for a long time I pushed these dreams, these goals aside as I felt that they would require my talking away too much from my family - time, money, my energy.
I am slowly realizing this is not true at all.

While I still am often times consumed with feelings of guilt over what following my heart means to my family in the practical sense, I am thankful for those feelings because they remind me to look deeper and realize that those feelings have nothing to do with anyone else - they only have to do with my and my feelings of self worth.  And those feelings remind me that I have a lot of growth in that area to do.
Growth is a great, powerful, and necessary tool in life.  How can we learn and move forward with strength if we aren't growing and learning?

For a while, even as recently as this summer, I craved a deep sense of worthiness and confidence,  I wanted so much to feel as though I had mastered it - the feeling of deep peace and growth.  Just recently I have realized that no one (I feel) can ever truly feel a deep sense of confidence in this area as we are always growing.  The confidence, I feel, comes from truly acknowledging and appreciating the growth.  It comes from accepting that in this moment, we are learning and growing and that perfection does not exist - not in the conventional term anyways.
Perfection to me means being comfortable in the present moment and being at peace with it,  Doesn't that sound perfect?

I am reminding myself of this, and will continue to, as I embark on a new journey this coming new year.
I have enrolled in the training to become a certified yoga teacher.  Something that I have thought, day dreamed and researched about for about two years now.  Something that I have pushed off because the timing never seemed right, funds were tight, I was focusing on other things (midwifery), etc.  I had that moment when I felt as though it was now or never.  My desire to deepen my own practice was at a peak.  That, combined with my love and respect of helping guide others in their practice finally made me realize that it was time.

Do I feel guilt?  Yup, I sure do.  The money and commitment required can be overwhelming to think about.  But what is more overwhelming is the feeling of never doing it.  Of never following a soul and gut feeling of mine.

If anyone has heard of Ayruveda (as I have recently learned about) then you may have read that we all sit in one or two "Doshas" - character and soul types.  You can easily google those words to find out more.
I have often thought that I was a fire element as I am rather fiery and can get worked up easily (I know, shocking!)   I was first surprised to find out that I am more dominantly "wind" element, with fire in there as well.  My first thought was "what a dangerous combo that can be!"  But then I remembered that it all comes down to balance,  If the two elements are balanced within me, then I will be more confident and secure in my being.

The wind element makes sense because I do go here and there, and I often have idea after idea that I want to run with.
As time goes on, I either move forward with that idea or I let it go.  For a while there when I would let an idea finally go, I felt a deep sense of failure (cough, cough midwifery).
It has only been as of lately that I am sensing and truly realizing that even exploring these deep feelings, regardless of how far it "takes" me is worth while.
I don't want to not feel something deeply and never pursue it.

In the case of no longer, in this moment, considering midwifery, I have come to feel a deep sense of comfort.  Perhaps I learned what I needed to learn in that lesson.  I made the connections I needed to make, I grew and I expanded.
And everything that I learned, saw and felt during that time in my life are still with me.  They made me who I am in this moment, as I type this.
And looking back I can see the tremendous growth from the woman I was pre-applying to midwifery and now.

This Sunday morning ramble is boiling down to one thing for me.  My windy nature often kicks it up a notch and I find myself in the middle of a full blown tornado.  My thoughts, feelings and beliefs are thrown askew and I am asked to re examine certain aspects in my life.  When the fire within me lights and is thrown into the wind, it can easily become a dangerous storm in which I need to be very careful not to be burned, or burn anyone around me.  When those two elements get close to each other during a time of strong emotional turmoil, it is essential that I do what I can to calm the fire and the wind (enter yoga).
However, when I allow my two elements to work in harmony - that is to respect each other - everything seems to be aligned.  My fire is burning slowly and respectfully and the wind around me is flowing with ease and care.  The wind keeps my fire from burning out, while still being careful not to let the fire get out of control.

THAT balance.  Finding it during times of what may appear to be turmoil at times, that is inner strength.
 Allowing my soul to shine through, showing my purpose in life and filling buckets along the way - that is the way to live.

I recently had a text chat with this gal (my mom) as I feel I have taken from her a lot of the "wind element".  She is a strong woman, never afraid of going with her gut and seeing where it takes her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Saying goodbye to a dream - and making room for another.

I have held off on writing this for a few months now for a variety of reasons and somehow at the same time, for no reason at all.
The variety of reasons that I could say would be because I still needed to figure it out, I didn't want other people's well intended advice to obstruct my own instincts or that I didn't want to let anyone down.  The no reason at all is simply that.  I didn't want to.  Not yet.
And then, just like a sudden change of the wind, so I had a sudden change of heart.  I also had a wonderful talk with a truly inspirational, beautiful and kind woman that I am honored to call a friend.  Explaining it all to her, while she surely didn't hide her surprise, made me realize that there is no reason why I can't share with everyone else.

The anticipation, right?!  Man, I feel like I have been keeping an early pregnancy a secret - which, if you ask me, really IS the best kind of secret to keep.

I share my journey on these little pages of "Wouldn't Change A Thing" because I love to write.  I also love to keep in contact with those that mean the world to me, whether or not I know them personally.  I like to be inspired by your stories and comments, I like to inspire and I LOVE to allow you a little glimpse inside my head.  My thoughts, my feelings and my emotions are something that I am taking more charge of lately and something that I am realizing that, because I am quite sensitive, can also be quite raw.  I don't mind sharing that with you all.  In fact, I like it.  It helps me feel less crazy, if that makes sense.

You have all been alongside this midwifery student dream journey for a bit. You have lifted me when I needed carrying, applauded me when I received an interview and dusted me off when I received my rejection. You have been honest, supportive, loyal and compassionate.  For that, I give you all personal, huge, tight and meaningful hugs.  Stop reading for a minute.  Feel it?  It's there.  It's real.  Thank you.

Now that we have hugged like we meant it, I am going to tell you the truth.  I don't think I want to be a midwife.  (insert gasps here.  Or maybe for some of you, shrugs and "who cares."  Either way, thanks for reading and reacting.)
I am going to sound like an old, rusty broken record when I say, for the umpteenth time) that I am passionate about empowering women.  Like really passionate.  I think that whether we decided to make a professional job out of it it or not, it is our duty to support, encourage and empower each other as women.

When I was expecting Alanna I was coming into my womanhood.  Freshly married and new to owning our own home, a lot of changes were happening.  And then Alanna was brewing inside of me and something shifted.  Intensely.  I was going to be a mother.  I was going to birth this child and raise her.  I looked into midwifery before I even knew what they did because I was pulled to them.  I immediately felt a deep connection to their worthiness and amazing power in a woman's life.  My midwives raised me up and gave me the last piece of the womanhood puzzle: empowerment.  And just like that, I was hooked.
Long story short, two more babies later and many a months nursing babies, and I feel even more deeply in love with midwifery.  Everything about them I respected (and still respect, more than ever).
I began thinking about midwifery as a profession when Aubrey was not even a year.  I can even tell you the exact place I was sitting and who was talking when it came over me.  The seed was planted.

After Alden's birth it didn't take long for me to begin taking classes to be able to apply to midwifery.  The rest you guys probably know. I consumed myself with as much midwifery related material as I could.  I took course after course, read book after book, talked to ANYONE that had even the beginning of a pregnancy belly started, as I felt it was my right.  I was going to be a midwife after all - so why couldn't I ask that complete stranger what her birth plan was?

And then I was rejected from Mac.  Bam.  And then I frantically looked for another way - BAM Birthwise in Maine.  And THEN I realized that I would be insane to be away from my family for long periods of time.  Nursing school was in my mind for a while.  And then summer came and I relaxed.
September rolled around and so did what should have been the beginnings of my getting set to apply again.  But it wasn't there.  That yearning, that excitement, that desperation to be a midwifery student.  I couldn't even find it in my thought's thoughts.  I sat on this feeling and then after a few weeks I began digging deeper.

Here is what I realized about a two months ago:
At a time in my life when I was so ready and willing to be empowered as a woman, beautiful midwives came into my life.
Then at a time when I want so deeply to empower women in any way I can, midwifery comes to mind because that is largely what I associate the beginning of my empowerment with.
But if I can be honest with myself, and you lovely readers, there have been many times through my journey towards midwifery that I questioned my true ability to be a midwife.

Two months ago when I had no distractions of school course deadlines and an interview to get ready for, all I had were my deep thoughts and emotions.  I had time to truly sit and think about what it MEANS to be a midwife - not just the fantasy midwife in my head.
And I will tell you that I DO hold midwives on a high platform - with roses around it and a shining light on them and maybe even halos - there I said it.  I respect them SO much and am so thankful for them.

That does not mean that I should be a midwife.  I am learning that now.  The reality of a midwife is tough stuff and I feel that it takes a certain, amazing person to be able to do the job fully and completely.  I don't think that is me.  I don't think that I have the critical thinking skills to be a midwife.  I don't.  I don't think well on my feet at times and I am not entirely sure what I would do or how I would react in a life or death situation.  I think some people are naturally born calm folks in do or die situations.  I am not sure that I am one of them.  And I don't think it's fair to wait until a serious birth to find out.
I don't think it's fair to my family as this stage in the game to be gone for long periods of time.  Maybe it never will be or maybe one day it will be easier.  I am not sure.  But right now, in this moment, I don't know and I am not willing to not only put money, my time and time away from my family on the line for something I am just not sure about any more.

And that's when I started to really think about it all.  Because suddenly I wasn't sure.  And it wasn't that sort of uncertainty one experiences that passes quickly, it is one that has been with me for a while now - and if anything has gotten stronger.

I began thinking about what I love about midwifery and how I can use those things in a different career path.  I began thinking about things that I loved and desired so much before having kids.  There were things that I re-discovered about myself that I had buried so deep, in my desire to pursue midwifery.  Things that deserved to be re examined and things that are making my heart sing again.

Making my heart sing.  The thought of being a midwife once did that - a long, beautiful, drawn out song like at the end of the final song in an opera.  It was loud, clear and beautiful.  And then that song ended and I found myself in the reception area of the opera theatre, blinking under the bright lights, the sounds of the last song still ringing in my head.  But now the song was dull and hard to hear.  I strained for a while to hold onto that song, but it has slowly vanished.

My heart still sings for midwifery but not to BE a midwife.  Will that change?  I don't know.  Do we ever fully KNOW anything?  I don't know what next year will be bring.  Or next week.  Or tomorrow.  But I DO know that as long as I keep listening to that song in my head and choose the path in front of me that makes sense to ME it will work as it should.

I am so filled with excitement for my fellow midwifery lovers and I am waiting with baited breath to hear how their application goes.
I, too, will be applying to school but it wont be to midwifery.
I will continue to strive towards an occupation that focuses on women's health as a whole.  I wont settle until I feel like I am helping women as they need, in their circumstances.  Does that mean midwifery in the future?  Broken record again but I am not sure.
What I am sure of is that, as long as I keep listening to my gut and my instincts, it will all work out.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Purpose.

I have been filled with a deeper realization than normal lately that it is so important to live life to the fullest.  I am being reminded that you never know when your last day will be - and this is a realization that is sitting very heavily with me.  I don't say heavily like it's a bad thing - actually it's a good great thing.  It is sitting with my heavy in the sense that I am deeply, strongly and powerfully reminded of this.
I know that some of it has to do with the passing of our local news anchor and deeply spiritual and in tune Nicola Jones.  Her passing has hit many people hard and I am thinking of her daily.  I am thinking of how she lived such a beautiful life and that she touched so many people in our community.  From what I am reading, she was very connected to local yoga studios and had a way with making people truly see the real meaning of life.  She had a blog that she poured her heart and soul into and one that spoke of being the healthiest one can be - mind, body and spirit.
That is staying with me.

We all have a deep connection to one another and what we say, do or act is a true ripple effect.  This is also something else that I am strongly reminded of daily.
And what I am noticing is that the more I am aware of it, the more it seems to be true - in EVERY situation.
I have been coming into situations lately that could be viewed as confrontational and I would normally run in the other direction - or hide in the bathroom.  Instead, I am reminding myself that as long as I stay true to myself and keep my heart wide open, it will all work out.  And it does.  Miscommunications are being cleared quicker, smiles are quickly replacing frowns and my heart feels lighter.
I am walking away from more conversations and situations in every day life where I feel such peace and content because I am finally being true to myself.  No exceptions.  I am speaking how I feel more often, and doing it in a way that I feel is not being confrontational while still being true to me.

So that is life lesson numero uno that has been on my mind and in my heart constantly lately.

The other one that is prominent is that, just as the tide changes, so do circumstances and paths in our life.  I am being more aware of this windy, tipsy toppy, often confusing life path and instead of pushing off my deepest instincts because they don't "fit" into what my plans and goals are, I am pulling them front and center.
I will tell you that, for me, that has been rather exhausting at times as it has caused me to uproot my deepest fears, concerns and also desires.  It has caused me to go back to the original Angela before having children, and a husband and the demands of daily life and just listen.  There are goals and hopes and dreams and images of myself that I buried deep.  Not intentionally but because life got in the way.  This beautiful, often messy and hectic life.  This life that I wouldn't change for absolutely anything.  This life that has made me who I am today - but also one that has caused me to examine pre-full blown adult Angela.
You know what I am discovering?  She was pretty awesome.  She had some kick ass desires in this life that are worthy of being re-examined.

So that's what I have been doing.
We all hear often - from movies, books, strangers in the store, that life moves too fast.  To enjoy it now because one day it will be nearing the end and along with that, our potential un-achieved heart's desires will resurface.  What we didn't do, say, act on, enjoy more of.
THOSE are the things that I am bringing to the surface and examining.
I am the ONLY one in charge of my destiny - I am the ONLY one in charge of my feelings, thoughts and take-away from any situation.
While some circumstances may appear to be completely out of our control, our response and feelings of it we have total control over.
How beautiful and empowering is that?!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Feathers in the Fall

This morning I am feeling lifted up.  I feel lifted by the bright sunshine.  While the temps have definitely dropped, there is something comforting about the impending change of a season - a freshness and newness that can't be ignored.  I look forward to seeing the leaves turn beautiful colours and then fall to the ground, almost as if they are telling us that we can also release what residual energy is left from summer.  To hold those moments, those beautiful sunny, warm days close to our heart and allow them to colour us all shades of beautiful.  And then, when we are the most brightest, gorgeous colours that we can be, we can finally surrender to Fall and all that it has to offer.

I am feeling lifted and supported by the love and encouragement around me.  Thoughtful, guiding and unexpected cards in the mail (we really all need to make an effort to embrace "snail mail" and what it represents.  A "simple" I am thinking of you note in the mail speaks volumes and has the power to warm the heart in a matter of moments).  Kind words and compassion towards our family and just knowing that we are thought about.  A team of love and help around the house while I embark on a new journey this Fall.  So much love and support is constantly flowing around us and it is beyond moving and incredible.  It lifts me up.  Higher than I ever thought possible.

I am feeling lifted and rejuvenated by words, pictures and songs that seem to come around at just the right time.  This morning I read this great post and it is really staying with me.  This part in particular is like bells going off in my head:
  1. Authenticity is liberating. – By allowing yourself to be yourself, you allow others to be themselves around you too.  This creates an honest, liberating environment in which to live.  In a society where people love to point fingers and poke fun, you can only fight social judgment with naked honesty.  When you speak up about your challenges and open yourself up to receiving care and support, you allow others to do the same.  The truth is, we’re all in this together, undergoing the same learning process and internal struggles.  We’re all equally perfect in our imperfections.  There’s no reason to hide behind lies.
How incredible is that?  Authenticity is liberating.  Wow.  Yes.  What we bring to any situation, relationship, job or discussion is unique and incredible because WE are unique and incredible.  Instead of hiding behind this mask of what I THINK I am supposed to be - the perfect mom, yoga student, future midwife - I am today choosing to be ME.  And I am not saying *just* me because that is doing myself a huge disservice.  I will be ME and wholly me in all of my awesomeness and being.  I make this choice every day to either pretend to be someone, who I think I am supposed to be, or I be myself.  No excuses.  No apologies.  And while I am learning that this is reviving my soul and feels so liberating, I am also learning today that this also causes a ripple effect and allows those around me to be themselves easier as well.  And vice versa.  How beautiful.

I am feeling lifted by new opportunities this Fall.  For a chance to expand on my knowledge and step out of my comfort zone a bit.  And to do so with all of my being.  I am also comforted by a familiarity that this time of year brings.  University application time is fast approaching and I am ready.  I am excited and embrace this time of year and what it means for my moving forward.

And finally I am feeling lifted by feathers. I have a deep love and appreciation for feathers and it's no secret that I adore them.  Not only are they beautiful but I love what they represent for me.  Comfort.  Support.  Encouragement.  And it appears that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as the girls have been spotting these soft beauties everywhere in our backyard the last month or so.  It is incredible and also SO comforting.  They will run to the house with another feather, of varied sizes and shades of white and add it to our mason jar.  I am not kidding - we have a jar that is filling fast.  Every time we put another feather in the jar, my heart lifts a bit more.  They are appearing in the most interesting places - like a tiny one place on the dash of our truck or the medium sized one that floated right in front of Alanna's face while she was at the craft table.  Beautiful.

On this beautiful, (almost) Fall day, I hope that each and every one of you that happens to read this is feeling uplifted and encouraged.  Reminding yourself that you are a beautiful soul that is perfect.  Another quote that I recently came across and love is this: "We are not all bodies with a soul but rather we are all (beautiful) souls with a body."
We are all souls that need love, support and respect.
Much love.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dear Aubrey

Tomorrow you start Junior Kindergarten.  Tomorrow you will get on that big bus, alongside your big sister.  You will surely be filled with excited laughter and chatter but I know that deep down you will be a bit nervous.   I don’t think that nervousness will last long, but it will be there.

Please know, sweet girl, that all day I will be sitting with you, holding your hand.  I will be putting my fingers to your necklace that you chose for me to wear all day, and reminding myself that you are safe and ready for this.  I will picture you, playing dinos with your friends (you are SO excited to play with all the dinos in the classroom!), but once in a while you will think of home and your hands will also go up to mamas heart necklace that you chose to wear for your first day of JK.

All day we will be missing you terribly and I am sure Alden will look out the window many times, wondering where his sisters’ are.  But as much as we will miss you, we are even more happy and excited for you.

Our sweet second born.  Our little wise owl.  I picture you, first born, your brow furrowed as you screamed in anger at the nurses.  I think of the many pokes and prods you endured during your first few months of life, and the uncertainty we were all faced with. 
  I smile through my tears as I recall you at a year old, taking your first steps on the back deck of our old house, after your birthday party.  
I will most likely relive your first 4 years thus far over and over in my head, not only tomorrow, but certainly for the first few weeks of school.

It seems surreal to me that we are already here.  That your packed lunch bag is sitting in the fridge, and your first school outfit is laid out at the foot of your bed.  It seems unbelievable to me that you are about to embark on this new journey – when I still see you as the tiny 7lb 13oz baby that you were just over four years ago.
I remember when you were sent to the step up NICU at McMaster a day after your birth.  We went from being in the luxurious suite at Mac to NICU.  I will never forget you in your little bed in the far corner of the room.  How, every time for those few days you were in there, I would hear you before I even entered the sliding doors.  I would scrub my hands as fast as I could, wanting nothing more than to have you in my arms again.  Even for the few minutes that we weren’t with you, you would start screaming.  And now, here we are four years later and this time we are letting you go a little bit except this time you won’t be screaming.  Instead you will be wearing your new outfit with the pink flower on it and you will be carrying your much loved Monster High back pack that is far too big.  You will take your sister’s hand and cross the road, and climb those big steps into the big yellow bus.

There have been so many times so far in your life in which we have been there to hold your hand.  We have always been by your side and I would be lying if I said tomorrow would be easy letting go a bit.  It will be mighty hard.  However, I will release my hold a bit, feeling confident in the strong, amazing little being that you are.
You are such a strong, feisty, hilarious little girl that always stands up for yourself.  That makes it easier.  You are competent, courageous and kind.  That makes me so proud.  You are curious, willing to learn and a great friend.  That makes me certain that you will thrive in JK.

We are SO proud of you Aubrey.  You have come a long way, and you are only moving upwards and onwards, at a fast pace.  You are a true model of strength, being true to oneself and courage.  You always push the limits but that is something that we are so thankful for.  You don’t stop at no often times, which as your mama, can be frustrating, but even more times than not, makes me know in my heart that you are strong.  You will move mountains – this I am sure of.


Please be kind tomorrow Aubrey.  Please remember to use your manners, speak your truth and use compassion at all times.  Remember that everyone who is in your presence is often times taken back by you forwardness but that this amazing trait of yours is admired by many (myself included).

I am so proud of you.  I cannot even wait to see you bouncing off the bus tomorrow, your brand new outfit smeared in sand and paint, your hair in shambles.  I am so excited to hear all about your day and the fun that you are sure to have had. 
Tomorrow a new journey begins – and we are so thankful to be your parents to be a part of it.
Love you so much, our sweet Bree owl.

Loads and loads of love.
Mama

xoxxoxoxox

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer.

It has been a truly incredible summer that I am sad to see come to an end.  At the same time, however, I truly look forward to the "newness" that Fall offers.
In the Fall Aubrey starts JK and Alanna grade one.
In the Fall, I will truly take bigger steps to once again fulfill my midwifery dream.
The Fall promises visits to the apple orchard, over-size flannel shirts, crispness in the air and beautifully turned leaves to be amazed by.

It is also sure to offer many opportunities to reflect on the summer, and truth be told, also the spring.
If I can be honest, that reflection has already started, and I am letting those thoughts in.
Just a month and a half ago, I got to a point where I decided that I needed a break.  I needed to stop obsessing, analyzing and worrying.

I thought about what I truly hoped for in this summer and no where in my summer 2014 bucket list did it say "feel sorry for myself" or "go over things again and again in your head until you go crazy."
So I stopped.

I got off of online social media for a while.  I made an effort to move my thoughts from "I wants" to feelings of pure gratitude for what I already have.  And boy, when I began to do that, it was clear to see that what I have to be thankful for FAR surpasses any dream or goal or desire for the future.
All I need is already here.

Yoga and I had a deep talk and our connection is deeper than every before.  Part way through the summer I committed to doing yoga every day for 30 days.  Some days it would only require a 5 or 10 minute deep stretch and other days I would go for over an hour.
My Spring image of myself outside doing yoga as the sun set became a reality.  I would find a spot out back that I was certain wasn't just urinated on by Dez and drop onto the grass and begin.
The kids often joined me and if they didn't, they normally knew to leave me be for a bit while I got my yoga on.
It was remarkable.
I learned very quickly that, when I became one with the moment and when I surrendered to what I have no control over, the worry, the anxiety, the doubt slipped away.  And more amazingly. I was able to carry on those feelings into my life once yoga ended.
Now, that is not to say that I was some yoga enthusiastic that "namasta-d" my way through every situation but I did, without a doubt, have more times of releasing what I can't control and being more in tune with myself.

I once again began to trust the process.  To trust myself and my intuition.
My deepest hopes and desire for the summer were in full force and I made every effort to acknowledge and appreciate all the moments.
Watch the kids run around, covered in dirt and water from the garden.  Check.  Have an evening drink on the deck with Al.  Check.  Sit on the deck, the sun on my face and just be.  Check.  Spend as much time with loved ones as possible.  Check.  Lay in the hammock and write in my journal.  Check.  

And while we still have an official 6 days left before school starts, I can say without a doubt, that summer has been exactly like I had hoped and dreamed back in the Spring.
Back when I was still deeply wounded from my rejection from McMaster.  And I can truly say now that I didn’t fully allow myself to feel the hurt, the disappointment and the complete shock until a good month or so later.  It was only then that I sat down and grieved.  And then, just like that, the blessing of Summer was upon us and I feel that it made it easier to accept what was not to be this year.  I even was able to take it one step further and begin to think about WHY it was not meant to be this year and all of the amazing blessings that I get to look forward to this year instead.
I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A new earth” since the beginning of the summer. I go to it and flip to a random page that I have dog eared (which is basically the whole book) and will read a paragraph or two – until I feel more at once with the present.  That book, and my thoughts and feelings since reading that book, have truly been instrumental in my being able accept what is.  It has also allowed me not to take any situation for granted and to see them all as they are: a chance to grow and learn and be the best person that I can be.
I have learned that so many of us think of the present moment as an enemy, as something that we need to be rid of in order to move forward.  When we are thinking of the future and something that we so deeply want, but want nothing more than the present moment to end so that we can be there already, we are treating the now, so essentially, all that you have, as the enemy.
That has really stayed with me.  I remind myself of that daily.  When I am in a moment of thought or a situation that is less than ideal (which if I can be honest, hasn’t happened often this Summer), instead of being angry or upset with it, I have been trying to accept it.  Accepting every moment for what it is, whether it is putting out the garbage, being at an appointment or being stuck in traffic, truly allows you to be one with the moment and to just be present. 

It became clear to me very early on in realizing this that, the more often you fully accept things for as they are, the less they have an effect on you. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to learn and to grow.
So.  What have I learned this Summer?  I have learned that it is important for me and my family for me to practice patience.  That it is ok to call a time out for myself and to step away from a situation and collect myself.  I have learned that I have been way too hard on myself.  I am so able to see the pure worth in every one else around me but I was skipping out on the most important person – me.  And in my typing that, it tells me that I have made great strides in my self appreciation.  It wasn’t long ago that I wouldn’t have even thought that I was the most important person.

By catering to everyone else around me, I was doing a huge disservice to myself.  I was burning out easily and when I was faced with disappointment, I fell apart.  And then I felt even worse about myself.  I questioned my worthiness as a student and midwife, my ability to parent to the fullest and my contribution to my marriage.  Instead of seeing all of the things that I brought forth, I instead magnified what I felt that I wasn’t.  What I was lacking.  And I felt the need to fill that void and step up my “worth” so I looked into any way possible to achieve what I desired so badly.  And then one day, I stopped.  I literally had a voice yelling at me in my head to stop the moment I woke up – and I did.
  I stopped searching and I just began to be in the now.  And then I came across this book and it affirmed for me everything that I knew in my heart but that I was fighting.  And the icing on the cake was that Summer began and I truly was able to stop.  I stopped searching and then I watched.  I watched my kids chase each other around the yard.  I watched and felt my body and soul strengthen as I practiced yoga daily. 
  And then, somewhere in between all that, I started to feel more worthy.  I began to not only accept each present moment but to be thankful for it, for them all.  I began filling my worthiness cup with thoughts about myself that I love and am so thankful for.  After yoga, I would often place my hands on my solar plexus chakra and soak it in white, healing love.  It worked.  It is working.


I don’t know what is around the corner.  None of us do.  All we can ever be sure of is the present moment – nothing else.  And we ALWAYS have the choice to either fight it or accept it. That is being in the now and being one with your true self.  With this realization, I get ready to close the Summer 2014 chapter with peace in my heart.  There are things that I will miss about the Summer but the excitement and love I feel towards what is next overrides that.  Whatever is next in my life, I accept.  I open my arms and my heart to it all and smile.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mojitos, Acceptance and Exhaust Fumes

The past (almost) two months have been a bit of a ride, emotionally, for me.  I went from feeling quite certain that the goal I had been striving towards for the past over two years was soon to be fulfilled, to being filled with disappointment and rejection.
I took McMaster's rejection into this year's MEP as fuel to my fire.  Immediately upon getting the email from Mac, I began looking into other options.
I researched, made phone calls, talked about it and wrote about it endlessly, and repeated this process - non stop.  I never let not getting into Mac totally sink in.  Instead I pushed forward.

Without getting into too much of the (boring) details, I will say that I was accepted into another Midwifery program - in the US.  I was (am) thrilled!  Not even a week after Mac's email, I began sending everything to this amazing school to apply.  I had my Skype interview with them and it was amazing. It affirmed for me that this school was what I was looking for in Midwifery education.
After a lot of back and forth, I accepted their invitation as a student.  I excitedly texted and called people with the: "I am officially a midwifery student!" message that I had been longing to send since this crazy journey began.

And then reality began to set in.  I would be gone from my family for two weeks at a time.  And that wasn't even considering preceptorship yet, in which I would most likely be required to shadow a midwife, in the US.
I was listening to others' advice, words and amazing support.  Before my own instinct.  The morning after I accepted, I awoke to a loud voice literally screaming at me: STAY HOME!  It was overwhelming.  I had never heard this internal voice so loudly before.  I absorbed what I was feeling along with those words, what they meant and how I felt about them.
By mid-day the answer was so clear and I felt a deep peace.
I wouldn't be starting school in the Fall as midwifery student.  That was ok.  In fact, it was necessary.
My kids are SO young.  As a wise woman (also a midwife) pointed out to me a few weeks ago: "Midwifery will always be here.  Your children are only this young once."  While I heard and felt was she was saying, I was, at the time, still clouded with this obsession of being a midwifery student NOW.
It took me almost a month after hearing those words that I really understood.

Since the Spring, Al and I have talked about this summer.  Aubs is starting JK in the Fall and Alanna is making the leap into Grade One.  Big moves!  We want to really enjoy this summer and fill it our summer cup to the brim with hikes, beach visits, camping and bonfires.  We were saying that Alden is finally at the age where he is full of steam and curiosity and can get himself to where he wants to go quickly. Watching him chase his sisters around out back has been amazing.  And this is only the beginning.

I have written not long ago about how, going into the interview at Mac, I wasn't totally reflecting ME.  Somewhere along the road of preparing, I consumed myself with others ideas, feelings and thoughts on the interview process.  I am EXTREMELY thankful for that and will take what I have learned.  However, I need to be me.
I thought I learned this lesson back in May however now I am seeing that I didn't trust myself yet again.

When I came across this amazing school in the US, I was surrounded by the most amazing support and encouragement.  Along with that came the much respected advice.  Instead of taking those words for what they are and seeing how I felt, I once again got swept up in others views on my being a midwifery student in the US.
I needed a good strong and loud voice on a sudden Wednesday morning to once again remind me what I want.  What is best for my family.  What makes the most sense for us.  I appreciate SO much the love and support we continue to receive.  What I also need to learn to appreciate is MY instinct.  I am reminded once again to listen to that.

I wrote down a few weeks ago what is important to me, in regards of my profession.  It is something that I have known for a while and what keeps resurfacing and pulling me towards midwifery.  Empowering woman.  Unity.  Sisterhood.  Respect.  I am so passionate about instilling important and useful information into woman so that they can feel empowered and in charge, as they should.  I believe so strongly in the power and strength in Sisterhood.  In women standing together - supporting, encouraging and loving each other.  Rising each other up.  THAT is why I want to be a midwife.  Catching babies is a wonderful, beautiful, amazing bonus.

So, in reminding myself of that, I am seeing now that there are many ways that this can be accomplished. When I am talking to my girls about respecting themselves and being compassionate, I am instilling knowledge and power in them.  When I am having a deep, meaningful conversation and good cry with a friend, we are providing a deep sense of Sisterhood to one another.  When I am talking to wonderful young women who are expecting or recently have had a baby, I am (hopefully) helping to provide them with useful information and in turn, allowing them to feel more empowered.  I am doing all of these things now - thanks to all of the wonderful people in my life.
I don't need to travel to another country to do this.  It is happening now.

Yesterday after Alanna's kindergarten graduation, I sat on the deck and watched my family in the back yard.  They were taking the water from our little dinky pool into pails and watering the vegetable garden.  I sat, sipping my mojito (that's right, this happened) and was so filled with gratitude.  These "small" moments are so big and meaningful and if I am honest with myself, ones that I had sadly ignored more than I would like to admit these last two months.
I feel as though I am witnessing and FEELING them once again the way they are meant to be.

I am stepping back from the obsessing, wondering, hoping, wishing and plain ol' driving myself (and I am sure others around me) crazy and being more present.
Ideas are whirling around in my head in regards to what my next steps may be and for now, that is where they will stay.  Tucked safely away, waiting for the right moment.
I am not going to force this anymore.

I am, instead, going to sip my mojitos, hang tiny little socks and bathing suits on the clothes line, swing in the hammock with Al, watch the birds in our beautiful trees, go on more morning hikes with the family, feel the excitement right along with the girls when they see the pixie dust on the fairy house outside that the fairies left the night before, watch our bountiful garden grow and breathe deep.
Smelling the fresh summer air, I am also breathing in peace, serenity and a little bit of exhaust fumes from the kids' mini quad.
A perfect summer, indeed.