Wednesday, 18 May 2016

I'm Ready to SPARKLE!

So in my previous blog post I shared what has kept me emotionally, physically and mentally cooped up for almost a year to the date. In that post I discussed a trauma that my family experienced, a house fire. Since posting that I have had many revelations; I've been able to contribute support to other people experiencing the trauma of a fire out in Alberta and I felt called to pick up a particular book from one of my favourite authors that brought light back into my world.

The trauma happened a year ago and in the past year I've experienced more stress and drama than I ever have in my life. I have spent many nights feeling mind-boggled at all of the 'shit' showing up in my world and praying for things to go back to the way they once were - to a place where I felt innocence and freedom, to a place where I felt light and beautiful and to a place where I felt love and joy. This past year has had many lessons and for the first time in what seems like forever, some pretty 'dark' ones seemed to surface that propelled me into a state of confusion and even self-hatred.

Honestly, the moment I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself to maintain control over the last year I became pretty freaking angry at myself. And this is an emotion that I rarely allow myself to feel. (I know now how important it is to just let yourself feel angry sometimes)
Had I allowed myself to feel angry a little sooner, perhaps...well...maybe the timing was exactly as it should have been. After the fire I was displaced from my home and lived in a few different friends houses for over three months, I began teaching in a new school in a very challenging neighbourhood and busy environment, and I moved into my own home.

For about 5 minutes, okay maybe a few weeks, after moving into my home I felt relief, calm, and peace. I also felt like something was missing, that something wasn't right and very disoriented. I don't really like to attach myself to any diagnosis' - instead I attribute to experiencing something or going through something, having it, not being it. However, during the months after moving when I should have felt liberated about living on my own I just struggled...I missed my family, friends, the world I left that I had known for many years, the fresh air, the quiet streets and connection to a community. And in all of these feelings I felt angry at myself for finding myself in such an isolated place, but I also just didn't feel like myself in order to show up to anyone in my world. Maybe because they represented a peaceful place and joy I had usually always felt...for a few months I actually didn't understand why this was so difficult for me.

After writing my last post I went back to visit my osteopath and we talked again about the going ons of my body and what it was telling me. She recommended this book 'Understanding the Messages of Your Body' by Jean-Pierre Barral D.O. - she said "don't leave my office just yet, take a few minutes and read a few sections...see if anything resonates". I listened - science/body/cellular stuff really fascinates me. I honestly couldn't believe how 'bang on' this book was so I took a screen shot of the cover, raced home and ordered it on amazon. I seriously can't stop reading it and feel SO amazed at what our bodies can tell us if we only settle to listen to it for a few minutes.

Your body IS speaking to you

When I ordered this book online something was calling me to check out the books of another author that I adore, Doreen Virtue, I think she has some phenomenal messages to share. Although much of her work today is spiritually based she does have a significant background in science - and how ironic (or amazing) was it that her book 'Don't Let Anything Dull Your SPARKLE: How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama' popped up...I didn't know what the book would be about - but I thought 'heck yes Rebecca, let's get your freakin' sparkle back!!!' So I ordered it. When my books came in I began reading immediately - and well...this book V8 smacked me right in the forehead!!! It turns out that the fire, move, change in job and in fact - a friendship that I lost a few years ago REALLY put me and my body into a state of experiencing PTS-R symptoms. Holy CRAP! While I can't self-diagnose, even though sometimes I'd like to 'believe' that I am my own best and worst doctor, this book taught me A LOT...

We all have light ready to be seen

PTS-R, Post Traumatic Stress Reaction, as Doreen discusses is only temporary...it's not a  disorder..."disorder" implies we have some disease of sorts. It's not a disease...in fact - HELLO - all of what I experienced in the last year has brought this on - whilst there are some amazing stories of light, happy, joy and good lessons - there has also been some dark yin/yang qualities (she deciphers between bright and dark ones in the book) that showed up. My suggestion - balance your shit out - but have FUN doing it and most importantly - be GENTLE with yourself!!!

There is something to be learned in both the light and dark times

Let me me clear in saying that I DO NOT have PTS-R nor do I want to claim it (not judging, feeling appreciative of what experiencing it has revealed to me, but saying thank you and moving on)...I have experienced some of it's symptoms and they really needed to be acknowledged in order to be released. This book is AMAZING. I read this book in less than a week - in fact my face was in this book every free second that I had - I finally realized all of the feelings that I've felt over the last year and you better believe that I will do EVERYTHING in my power to SPARKLE once more - and honestly...the best advice that I can give you when you are faced with people who are perhaps attached to drama and negativity is, well...send them some love and compassion and recommend that they read this book. Because most likely that person had some trauma show up in their world that triggered some responses that they don't like and they just need to be reminded that they are safe, loved and have nothing to worry about - despite how it might feel sometimes, everything has a lesson waiting to be learned...they need to be reminded that feelings of joy are natural to return to, abundantly available and just behind every cloudy experience and memory. And just remind yourself and others this...

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

It's Just a Door...

When I was 15 years old I was already out in the world working. I actually began my first job at a fast food restaurant at the age of 14...this place gifted me a lot of memories and some friendships that I still have today. As much as I don't like to admit it I was pretty naive back then. I have always been much wiser than my years, so even though I was responsible at a young age there were things about life that I just didn't get yet. I remember walking into work one day and noticing a big mason jar on the counter for collecting donations. I was curious about this jar but didn't pay much attention to what the donations were for. Part way through my shift as I was chatting with other staff I realized that the jar was for a coworker who had experienced a house fire and didn't have any house insurance. Back then I didn't really understand how serious this was let alone any emotional trauma that my coworker and her family were likely experiencing. I also didn't realize that one day I would TRULY understand the trauma she was experiencing. I'm pretty sure I didn't donate any money that day - and I really wish that I had of.

Today I understand about the emotional trauma and life changing results of a house fire. It has taken me a year to write this post because, honestly, I've spent a year looking at how a house fire truly flipped my life upside down and how I could flip it right side up again. It took me a year to come out with lessons, a light heart and tenderness toward the lives that courageously braved the fire in my family home that were miraculously spared. Nearly one year ago my childhood home that I was still living in at the time caught fire and the whole ordeal brought to light true connectedness among my family.

Most people that know me know that I am a highly intuitive and deeply connected individual. Last year on a warm afternoon in May I decided to meet my friend for a Starbucks on my way home from work. We sat and chatted for a little over an hour and the entire time I stared at her asking her if she was okay, how she was feeling and insisting that something was wrong. Each time I asked she assured me that she was fine. After asking her an inordinate amount of times I began to look around the coffee shop (sometimes I can pick up on whom I am feeling from...even if it is a stranger) and nothing seemed to click. My feelings of discontent continued to heighten and I was feeling very unsettled by not knowing what I was picking up on.

After our visit I was about to head over to the gym to meet another friend but before I left I pulled out my phone to see that I had about a million missed calls from my dad...he never calls me, he texts (his texts are quite humorous) so I was slightly alarmed. I listened to my voicemail and what felt like slow motion in a movie, I realized that my intuitive hunches were connected to my family. The voicemail was from my mom...she didn't leave details but said to call her right away. Naturally I called her back with a weird little feeling inside my stomach...Was she okay? Was my dad okay? What about my brother? Sister? When I called back my mom told me that our family home caught fire. Now I can't explain this feeling inside that came over me...I had no idea what type of fire she was talking about...I had burned our kitchen floor once as a kid cooking KD...this was different. This was more serious. She told me that both my brother and my father had been taken to the hospital and she was with the fire department, my dog and her bird.
(NOTE: to heal you must find humour...funny #1: mom, bird, dog, and firemen sitting on your front lawn)

I'm not even sure it was safe for me to drive home from the coffee shop that day. My entire system shifted into panic mode. How badly were they hurt? What about our home? Thank god my dog was safe. Never mind the dog, what about my parents and brother...Even though it was less than a 5 minute drive home I was in complete shock, everything within me was trembling with an unknown feeling that I didn't really understand until about 9 months later. We have this lovely thing called flight mode in our bodies when stress kicks in...and it wasn't until I met with my Osteopath that I realized how much I took in during that moment of initial panic not to mention the months afterward.

When I finally got home my street was blocked off so I had to park on another street and walk up to the scene, this was a VERY frightening feeling. Every step I took was spent bracing myself for what I might see. I had no idea what I was walking up to. In some strange stream of divine support I happened to know one of the firefighters quite well. Despite my seemingly okay but trembling mother sitting with her bird and my dog I walked up to the familiar face and asked him what happened in a foreign voice that was some version of my own. You see when you are in shock or flight mode something seems to come over you. I wasn't sure if I was going to cry, laugh or run into a hole and hide like a young child. Gently, my friend assured me that my father and my brother would be okay...they decided to be heroic and risk their lives for our home...dumb idea...but I invite you to tell an almost 65 year old man not to protect all of the hard work that he spent years putting into his home. My father went through the fire to turn off his electrical and my brother (quick thinking on his end) put an end to the fire. One might think with that - yay - the fire was stopped...another naive moment on my end as that was my initial thought but...SMOKE. Smoke, is worse than the fire itself.

Slowly my friend brought me through our home which REALLY stunk, and had soot everywhere, down into our basement where the fire had originated. As he brought me past my room I immediately began to panic...they had broken open my DOOR! What if I had unmentionables lying around? I was pretty irritated but I did remind myself that it was just a door...Nonetheless...People that also know me know that I am dreamer and visionary...often imagining the next amazing thing I am welcoming into my life...Ironically (or not ironically) a whole team of men did get to see my vision board which included a long list of must haves for my future husband..
funny #2: my future husband must have qualities on display in front of 15 men...

It's Just A Door...


He continued to bring me down the hall to show me the damage...an entire room in shambles. Soot everywhere...including on most of my teaching supplies. After taking a few deep breaths the perseverance in me took charge..."What do we do now?" I asked..."Can I go see my brother and father?" I went back outside and my friend gave me a pep talk about what would happen next... I went to get my brother and father. I didn't know if I wanted to punch them or hug them when I got there. Of course I chose the latter. Despite their macho mentality of saving the home and risking their lives, I love them so much and was just incredibly grateful for those two men covered in black soot from head to toe for the very fact that they were sitting ALIVE right before me. You see nothing matters except the ones you love, excellent reminder to let material grab go. They matter, their breath, their health...this is what matters...

This fire changed my entire life. The fire happened in a matter of minutes, it put us out of home for over three months, the insurance dealings went on for close to six months and we had to open our home to strangers for the clean up (who touched EVERYTHING)...bless those souls for the work that they do...but it does leave you with this weird invasive feeling of being exposed. I lost things in that fire that I didn't know that I had. The soot damaged our entire home and much of it had to be redone, thrown out or cleaned. For three months I lived out of a laundry basket, in other people's homes (thank heavens for amazing friends) and racked my brain to make sure I remembered what I had that was lost. I realized that this attachment we have to things in life is a scary thing. I learned who really and truly cares for me.

 I learned in a heartbeat that I wish I could send my 15 year old self some of this knowledge so that I might have dropped my paycheque into that jar. 

My family had insurance...which, yes, on one hand is good. On another hand that insurance can't replace your favourite shirt, makeup brush, family heirloom...it can only give you a fraction of what it once cost. I know how silly it seems to say makeup brush...but I am telling you...work on your attachment to things now, because in the light or...umm...heat...darkness of trauma...you'll be completely surprised at what makes you crumble. For me, it was those makeup brushes. When they threw them away I cried for hours. I didn't cry about the brushes, just to be clear, they triggered the tears...I cried; because my life was flipped upside down, because my family was still alive, because I didn't have a home, because I learned who truly loves and cares for me, because I still had to show up in the world when all I wanted was to crawl into a hole, because my parents were hurting, because my brother was scared and in shock of how quickly he acted, because I was sad and heartbroken to experience such a trauma. I cried because life has us so connected that despite not being home during the fire my entire body told me my family was in trouble.

Even though this fire is considered a trauma, and that it was, I have come out a stronger more aware person. I cherish each moment that I get with the people that I love and that love me. I cherish the coming and going of things that no longer serve me. I have an open home and heart to anyone that experiences this type of life trauma. I have a bigger more expansive heart that loves my family even more and that loves and cherishes my own life more and each lesson, breath, memory, moment, thought, space and time.

Almost a year later I write this post in hopes to heal any residual bitterness that I held from this fire, in hopes to continue to place my body back into a state of relaxation and allow it to flow in life, in hopes that others will treat this trauma as gently as they can when it happens to the people in their lives, in hopes that I build only healthy attachments from this point forward, in hopes that I continue to seek lessons and see lightness in all things...

And one more thing...to these purple tags....I will see the last of you! These purple tags came back on all of the clothes the cleaners took (many came back ripped, torn or missing altogether) and I'm STILL removing them!

These purple tags...

I'm kind of hoping that I find a few more 'funny' moments within this story...but until then...here's what has had me emotionally, physically and mentally cooped up for a whole year!