Whiskey Rivers

October 15, 2016

I want to feel alive. I am so hungry. I need to find purpose and a deeper meaning to my life. This hunger keeps me locked inside of my own head. It’s complicated and it’s maddening. I need to harness this part of me so that I still get satisfaction out of life without this constant nagging feeling that there is something bigger out there. That’s a lot of pressure. How am I supposed to enjoy the day to day when I measure myself against people who have dedicated their lives to a deeper purpose? Jared jokes about me being a perfect candidate for a midlife crisis and he’s right. All of the ingredients are there. At this rate someday I am going to wake up and wonder at what the fuck I’ve done with my life. I’ll count down the years as I always do and realize I have too little left in terms of time and I’ll skyrocket into insanity. Hopefully it won’t be anything more than a boob job, ridiculous speed car and unlikely hobby like drumming. But anyone who knows me deep from the very beginning I was destined to run away to Africa, give up everything material in life and drink Tony Robbin’s Kool-aid (SOMEONE, ANYONE, DON’T LET ME DRINK HIS KOOL-AID!!!!) cause that’s the kind of person I am, that’s my midlife crisis and I’m on the fast track there if I can’t find a way to fill my bucket in a more reasonable way.

And here’s the crazy thing… there’s some real irony to who I am. My decisions have been driven by a deep seeded fear of financial instability. Yeah, that’s right. My whole heart can picture myself deep in mid-life crisis in some obscure part of Africa living a simple and selfless life, but my decisions are driven by money. And while I don’t think I’m really very materialistic (although, I got a bit lost in Calgary for a while keeping up with the Joneses… I think I’m coming back to myself again now), but this fear was rooted watching my parents fight over money constantly and my mother always commenting on what other people had and what we didn’t. I want to be happy without worrying about maintaining my financial freedom that I currently have, but it’s hard to shed something that has been a part of me since childhood. “Financial freedom” shackles me. I think it keeps me from being who I want to be. It’s preventing me from taking risks. It’s controlling my decisions. It’s blocking my dreams.

So I’m trying to rebuild myself. Like I said, I want to feel alive. So many days go by in a blur and dealing with depression means there’s a lot of grey and darkness. I’ve been thinking about things that have made me feel alive in the past. You know that feeling where you have the chills, adrenalin is pumping, you’ve got goosebumps,  and you have so much energy you want to run up and down your street and just scream with pure joy. By the way, I’ve done that. When I was 14. Picture lanky awkward me running up and down my tiny residential street with a maniac smile on my face probably singing or something like that… I wasn’t popular in school. I’ve always been a weirdo. But that feeling is awesome! Sometimes you’re walking on the line of sheer craziness and letting go is exhilarating.

There’s no rhyme or reason as to why my flip suddenly switches. I just want hold onto that feeling of being alive. Really alive. I want to build myself back into a healthy and happy human. I want to dig deep and find my authentic self. I want to practice mindfulness, gratitude, respect, patience and kindness. I want to let go of the fear of losing money, losing face in front of people I don’t even care about, and of pleasing any and all other people.

I’ve been taking little steps towards that. I deleted facebook. I know, that sounds so miniscule in the grand scheme of things but baby steps. Maybe someday I will cut out other things that make me superficial and other things that make me sedentary like trash tv, Instagram and magazines. I’ve been focusing on self-development and self-growth. When I think about the things that fill my bucket I think growth and giving is a big part of that and that hasn’t been a priority in my life.

I want to volunteer again, I want to grow in all the ways – I want to grow my practice in mindfulness and my search in finding myself and my meaning, and I also want to grow in knowledge of things that really matter versus the shit I am currently addicted to like facebook posts and random lists about celebrities.

I also want to remember and honour my experience from when I was in an abusive relationship. That propelled me to greatness if only for a little bit. In the face of crisis I believe we truly have the opportunity grow and expand and break through all barriers. As I healed from my experience I also found deep satisfaction and inspiration in my desire to help other women who had similar experiences. Nothing ever came from that. I want to change that. There is an untapped talent there that I can offer this world and while it’s not Africa and it’s not making radical changes to the world to save the environment (my grade 4 self had some brilliant ideas in that arena!!), but it’s a step in the right direction. I want to uncover the girl who wanted to save the world before I got overwhelmed and walked away from that ambition. I do want to make a difference in my own life and in yours.

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Love that feeling of getting stronger. I’m running harder, faster, longer. I’m pushing further. I feel happy. I feel great. Focused. The challenge is always keeping the focus. I used to run for 15 minutes and just lose focus… I struggled to get past 15 minutes. Now when I get to 30 minutes it feels so easy. At the end I amp up the speed and find myself in this really smooth zone. Smiling helps. I look like a fool on the treadmill, but it gives me new energy…  just a little grin here and there. I hope that I can bring that strength to my hot yoga practice. So many times I want to give up on holding a pose. Maybe I can find that zone there too. It was my instructor that gave me the idea to smile. When we are holding challenging poses he reminds us to smile… and something on the inside changes.

I want to be my very best self. I’m finally digging myself out of this rut that I’ve been in. I don’t want to aim for perfection. Perfection is painful. The house isn’t tidy and I need to let that go. I’m flawed and I have to let that go too. I have to love it and accept it. My best self is my happiest self. Whatever that is… I’m not sure yet, but I know my priorities need to change. Less TV. More friends. Less fast food. More cooking from the heart. Less couch. More life.  Travel, experiences, appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, love. This is my last month of my 20s – I want to jump start my third decade on this planet with joy, kindness and courage. Lets go!

I choose happy. Inspire me.

 

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It’s no secret that I’ve been searching for inspiration and meaning in my life.

I know I said I was practicing mindfulness and I am! I’ve also been spending some time reflecting on my past. Specifically I’ve been trying to track down the moment of when I lost a really important part of myself.

It started when I was in elementary school. It probably started even earlier than that, but I just can’t remember. I wrote a story on global warming. And then I wrote many stories on global warming. I had this buzzing and explosive passion for solving this horrible snowballing problem. I would be a trail blazer and find some way to change the world so that everyone would be as mindful as me of the environment. Fast forward a few years later and I’m in university falling in love with the idea of going to impoverished countries and solving one of the greatest mathematical problems that ever existed… the 80/20 equation. I spent days and nights reading inspiring messages that past trail blazers shared in magazines and articles and I fantasized about saving up enough money to go to Africa to help create wells for different communities. I felt I had a strong grasp on economics and I was taking a course on American and Canadian politics… I was ready to take on the world. Then gay rights took center stage when a local Mayor compared the pride flag to a made up flag representing pedophiles. I poured my heart and soul into letters that I sent to the major and other local political figures sure that I could make them grasp the depth of their errors. Not long after that I scraped myself out of an abusive relationship and willed myself to make something beautiful out of it. I was going to write a book that would inspire women and men too who felt hopeless and trapped. I would volunteer at shelters. Maybe I would become a psychologist! I would travel the country giving inspiring speeches and I would make the world understand that we had it all wrong – women trapped in abusive relationships aren’t pathetic at all – they’re you, they’re me and we can’t give up on us. I was going to once again be a trail blazer… going through the court system and being an example for other women who were too afraid to speak out. Well, I did that much, but I didn’t volunteer, I eventually put down my pen and I stopped caring. I got over it. It’s like the flame was so huge and so engulfing that it eventually burned out all of the inspiration. Or maybe I just realized that every cause I took up I eventually gave up on. I never followed through. I didn’t go to Africa, I didn’t even recycle 100% of the time, and I eventually even stopped crying for women who were in abusive relationships.

I wonder if I’ll ever find that kind of inspiration again. Maybe I would have done more if I had practiced mindfulness back then. Instead of feeling like I needed to go to Africa, maybe I could have volunteered at a local soup kitchen or bought someone supper. It has always been go big or go home with me. And in the end I always went home.

I just wish I could recapture that sort of feeling. The sort of emotions that gives you chills. Like that one night when my family went to my cousin’s wedding. Mom and dad let me and my brothers stay for the whole thing. It was one of those high energy nights and when we left a bit past midnight the summer air was still mild enough that we didn’t need sweaters. My older sister left with us and we all went to a gazebo in the park. We had a picnic there with some left over treats from the reception and I still remember how it felt to run around the park beside my sister drawing picture art with sparklers. I didn’t save the world that night, but I felt inspired. There was definitely magic in the air.

I hope that I find that kind of inspiration again.