I love New Year’s Eve.
Not for the parties - I’m lucky if I even stay awake to see midnight! But for the gift of reflection. It’s the last page of a book. A book that, like it or not, you had a hand in writing. This day is an opportunity to look back at the lessons learned. The opportunities missed. The gifts received.
I went into 2017 with no expectations. No resolutions. Just an open mind and heart. A willingness to receive whatever was brought to me. It ended up being a year that I could never have imagined in a hundred years. Filled with blessings and lessons that I could not have dreamed of.
The gift of self love. What a huge one that was/is. To be able to look at myself through loving eyes, rather than critical ones.
The gift of love - and seeing my self through the eyes of someone truly amazing. Someone whom, I know, I’ve spent many lifetimes with.
The gift of putting myself back in the driver’s seat - both figuratively and literally. I took classes and steps to become a business owner which I’m so excited about. I also bought myself a car. The first one I’ve purchased on my own in over 27 years, and she’s a pretty one.
I’ve cut people out of my life, and been cut out of others. This is a tough one. I’m an introvert, but I need to have a circle of friends. I’m learning that those circles ebb and flow and that’s ok. The ones that are meant to be a permanent part of my story will always find their way back to me, and vice versa.
I’ve watched my two daughters - my greatest gifts in this life - step into new territory and not look back. They bloomed and flourished once they were out of the shadows of their pasts. One graduated high school and stepped into her future with grace and confidence that goes beyond her years. The other finally found her tribe and is moving forward with them all surrounding her. They have both been given hard lessons but also blessings.
Something else I finally started to learn was to let go. I know I’ve said this before, but I don’t think I truly got it then. For me, to let go is to truly trust the Universe. To stop fighting where it so very clearly is pointing me. When we have a certain outcome in mind - either a negative one or a positive one - we close ourselves off to the one that’s meant to be. We make things so much more difficult than they need to be. When I FINALLY stopped pushing against what was right in front of me, I found a peace that I haven’t felt in a long time, if ever. I’m too often my own worst enemy and the creator of my stress. If a burden is too heavy for me, it is because I have picked it up and chosen to carry it.
I’m moving forward into 2018 with anticipation, curiosity, and excitement. With a full heart. With intention, and with purpose. I can’t predict what the pages of this new book will hold, but I do know that they will be filled with adventures, love, lessons, and milestones.
Happy New Year to you all. May we all finish 2017 filled with grace and peace. 🖤
*WARNING! This post may cause you to look at yourself with different eyes.
This has been a year that can be best described as an awakening for me. Single since the beginning of the year. I have been on a journey of self-love. If you’ve never been a part of the online dating world, let me tell you….it is a brutal, shallow, strange place. It’s basically catalog shopping for a partner. You have a set amount of space to attempt to attract the attention of someone who checks your wish list. You have a set amount of photos to upload. You get instructions such as “upload pics of yourself doing things you like!” “Show yourself smiling and having fun!” I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because I met my two last boyfriends online and I hate it because, well, it’s a shithole.
It’s a place where books are literally judged by their covers. Where we all set the bar ridiculously high and then scoff when no one meets those standards. I do it. Everyone does. It’s been my experience that if I don’t climb mountains, wear a size 10, or live within the city limits, then I get overlooked, ignored, politely rejected, or flat-out blocked.
A few months ago, I had just had enough. Between the lack of decent, available men in my area, and all of the rejection, I was beaten down. I felt ugly and undesirable and fed up. I cancelled my online accounts (because you can’t have just one on one site), and gave up on ever finding anyone for me.
I’ve never really been one to honk my own horn about my physical appearance. I can look appreciatingly at certain parts of myself from time to time, but its hit and miss. I love a good selfie, but it takes a good 20-30 tries before I get one that I’m ok with and think, “yeah, that’s not bad”. But one day, after a conversation with a friend, I went home and really looked at myself…yes, I need to lose a bunch of weight. Yes, those are laugh lines around my eyes. Yes, if I miss a hair appointment, my grey roots show up. But also….
I have great legs. My cleavage never ceases to impress even me. My eyes are one of my best features. Because I try not to miss hair appointments, my hair is pretty kick ass.
I decided to up my selfie game. To look at myself through appreciative eyes. Through thought out poses and lighting. Let me tell you. I rocked it.
I now have a following of almost 2000 people. I shit you not!! I’m a 46-year-old sexy woman. I’ve come to realize – and embrace – that I’m so much more than the pre-fab box that the dating websites put me in. That took a lot. A. Lot. For me to get to this point.
I think that so many of us live secret lives – either in our heads, or in real life. The communities we live in, our families, our coworkers, and even our friends and spouses all have us in a framework that suits a certain part of us…or them. I have spent most of my life hiding this part of me. The She part. The sensual part. Why is that part of us so shamed? So frowned upon? So taboo?
I know so many married men and women who have watched that part of themselves die. Who live secret lives so that they can feel alive again. Feel desired. Wanted. Whole.
And that’s just it….to feel whole. They all say the same thing to me when I ask them, “I just miss feeling like a desired man/woman”. For whatever reason, we shut off that side of us. It’s heartbreaking, and far too common.
So, here I am. Embracing that side of me. I am loving it. It has opened a whole new dialog between my daughters and I. I tell them of the importance of being a strong female presence. That it’s ok to want to look good. That being sexy is not akin to being a whore/slut/tramp. That there is tremendous strength and power in owning that part of ourselves. That self-love and appreciation is not only ok, but it is necessary to being whole.
So what does this have to do with you? I encourage you to look at yourselves. What parts, if any, have you hidden away? Is there a vixen inside dying to come out? A badass? Women, are you as She as you were when you first met your men? Men, check in with your He, when was the last time you let him out? We are fluid, exciting creations. Embrace all that comes with that! Don't be ashamed, don't let anyone put out your fire. If they do, you come to me and I'll embrace it right along with you and add a few logs to make it burn.
I have created a new online dating profile and it is VERY different than any of the ones before. My standards are even higher than before, because I deserve it and will never settle. But in the meantime, I’m quite busy and content being the fierce, sensual woman that I always was, but kept hidden away.
I'm blowing the dust off my website and giving it some long over due TLC. I have been active on my social media accounts, but have been neglecting my beautiful little piece of cyber-space. I do love this site. Just looking at it makes me feel such pride and happiness. I have some visions and additions coming that I believe will only add to the space. I am getting a new logo designed and that will give me the freedom to be able to design and offer some Spiritual Coffee branded items. I'm very excited!
In the meantime, however, I will be working on more writing. I have found myself in a familiar place and, as always, I have much to say about my journey. Thank you for continuing to share in and support this documentary of sorts. I encourage you to also tune in to my Facebook page here and my Instagram account @spiritualcoffeeca.
I love sunrises and sun sets. Some might even call me obsessed. I have been known to drive out of town just to get an unobstructed view or to pull over on the highway just to marvel at and get a picture of the beauty of the sky.
My smartphone is filled with these photos. Sometimes I share them online, sometimes I send them to friends, but a lot of the time they are just for me.
As I stood out in the yard this morning taking yet another photo of a gorgeous prairie sunrise, it came to me...the act of taking these photos is very worshipful. I don't just take one and move on. I stand and admire it from behind different trees or vantage points. I gasp and say out loud how beautiful it is. I truly spend those moments in awe and gratitude.
The act of taking these pictures is my church. It is my time to stand and worship the glory of what has been created and to give thanks for it.
Some people go to church on Sunday morning and feel those things. But I realized that for me, THIS is my church. Standing in the crisp Autumn morning, the warm West wind at my back. The soft pine boughs nudging me, all while I'm staring at the incredible glory of a new day's beginning.
If that doesn't warrant an Amen, then I don't know what would.
The last month or so I have been able to see the dark clouds building on my horizon. It was a darkness that I recognized as I have been through it before. Every day the dark mass would get bigger and darker. I would try to go about my daily life as though all were "normal", but things were anything but for me. When storms like this happen, everything, and I mean everything, closes in on me. Nothing is as it seems. Everything is multiplied by 10 or more. My legs start to buckle under the pressure of that immense dark mass of clouds swirling and building above me. As those of us who deal with these storms in our lives, we are masters of putting on a happy face. We can still pretend that all is well. Hell, we have had lots of practice. But once it really starts closing in, I will start to send out little SOS signals. There will be signs that not all is rosey. Sometimes I come right out with it. There are times when I am able to keep the storm at bay, but this time, I could not. It overtook me with a force that sucked the breath and life out of me.
I snapped, basically. I couldn't be who everyone wanted and expected me to be for another second. I could not stand to read the constant hypocrisy and skewed priorities. The barrage of negativity became overwhelming. I deleted my Facebook account (the most liberating thing ever), turned off my phone, and I cried for a week straight. I stayed in bed for two full days because I just couldn't function.
Thankfully, I have some amazing people in my life and they were my lighthouses in the storm. They get it. They get me. And they love me no matter who I am or what demons I'm battling. Thank God for them. Jac, Dawn, Matt, and my personal angels, my daughters. I love you all more than I can say.
Once the light began to break through the clouds, I didn't go back on to Facebook. I still needed to be away from all of that. It was quite an eye-opening experience for me. Here is what I learned from it:
What I learned was not all negative, however. I do enjoy those who make me laugh, who share freely their lives with me online, who inspire me, who support those they care about. I love being able to keep in touch with friends and family who live far away from me. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not talk on the phone, so for me, technology has opened up avenues of communication that I can relate to. As far as business or entrepreneurial networking goes, FB is, hands-down, the best. Yes, I also have Instagram, and Snapchat and Twitter, and whatever else, but in this day, FB is a fabulous networking tool.
So, as always happens, my darkness has led to a lot of illumination. I will go back on to that social network, however, the list of those connected to me will be pared down considerably. It is not up to me whether or not you take it personally. If I "unfriend" you online, that doesn't mean that I am in the real world, so remember that. I am surrounded by people who unapologetically do what is best for them on a daily basis, so now it is time for me to do what is best for me.
nI have lived in this house for longer than I have ever lived anywhere. It holds some of my happiest memories, and some of my saddest. It is the only home my youngest daughter remembers. We have said goodbye to some of our four-legged family members here, and we have watched many come into this world here.
This was our family home. It still is, but the shape of our family has changed. There are ghosts of that life everywhere. They come at me and take me off guard once in a while and I find myself sitting in silent tears.
My most prized and sure to be missed aspect of this place are the sunrises and sunsets. There has not been a day go by in the years I have lived here that I don't stop and marvel at the beauty of them. My girls and I have spent many hours on our deck watching the skies morph to darkness. The quiet mornings watching the Eastern sky come to brilliant life are magical. I don't allow myself to think on not having these things, because I am just not able to stop my tears.
The generations of the partridge family that parade their large broods through my yard every year. The crazy animal visitors - moose, cougar, skunks, raccoons, and yes, even a rooster. I've often said that nothing that I see here anymore surprises me. Llamas strolling down the road in front of my house? Sure, why not!
There was the grass fire that we saw start across the field, South of our home. We made that 911 call and then watched, prayerful, unknowing if we were going to lose our home that day. There was the morning after yet another wicked wind storm that we found our beloved tree at the end of our lane on it's side. I cried that morning. The girls and I still miss that beautiful tree.
There's the heady smell of the olive tree blossoms that fill our yard and house every June. Flowers so small that you can barely see them, yet en masse, they transform the air around us for weeks.
But there also comes a time when you have to decide to move forward. This was a decision that the girls and I made as a team. A bittersweet decision, but one that has us moving towards new memories. New adventures. Ones that are just ours. A turning point. An open door that we will walk through together.
It both scares and excites me. But at least it's forward motion.
When I was in seventh grade, there was a girl in grade nine who wanted to fight me. She had her lackey give me a note that said to meet her outside after school that day. I have never been a fan of confrontation. I don't go looking for it, but I'm also not afraid to speak my mind or stand my ground should confrontation arise. This girl had a history of being a scrapper. She was a known bully. It seems that the boy that she liked, liked me, and that didn't sit very well with her. So, the end of the school day came. I nervously gathered my things and headed outside to face the impending fight.
...she never showed.
As scared as I was, I was not about to be intimidated by this bully. It's not my fault that her crush liked me. If she wanted to fight for it, then bring it on. I remember vividly standing there, my most trusted friends waiting in the wings, and the fight never happened. Not only that, she had heard that I showed and left me alone after that.
When people are asked to describe me, words like funny, kind, spiritual, generous and optimistic are usually used. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. I always try to see the inherent good in others. I trust that people speak their truth when they talk to me. This is both a blessing and a curse. I have been rewarded and blessed many times due to my unfaltering faith in people, but I have also been burned. Going along with that optimism is also a trait I have of turning the other cheek. Again, this has both blessed me, and burned me. There have been many dark times in my life when I curse myself and exchange my faith and optimism for words like, naive, and foolish. It takes an awful lot to lose my trust and faith in someone - sadly, usually multiple times of me being let down by them - but when it's lost, it's gone for good. I may forgive down the road, but I never ever forget.
Is that the most spiritual of approaches? Maybe not. I suppose the most enlightened of us rise above it all and know that to even react is to lower our vibrations. That to be truly on our highest path, we must love all. I have always said that I'm a work in progress, so I have no difficulty admitting that I am not there yet.
The last few years of my life have found me finding my own voice more and more. I still have an almost annoying faith and optimism in people, but I'm also not afraid to speak my mind when the situation calls for it. After receiving my Reiki attunements, I have noticed even more that I am even more confident in speaking my truth. It saves me stewing about it for days or even months and I can deal with the issue at hand and then release it and move forward.
This is both liberating and nerve-wracking for me. I still put utmost faith in those around me and I also trust that they mean what they say to me. Just because I am more confident in speaking my own truth, doesn't mean that everyone else is.
I have recently been pushed to my personal limit in a situation in my life. I have been controlled and intimidated for too long and it is time to end it and to finally and definitively find my voice in this situation. I am filled with a strength an also a sense of fear. To finally say, "No more," to someone who has been calling the shots all along is a scary thing. But to finally say, "No more, " to someone who has been calling the shots all along is also a very empowering thing.
I am kind and loyal and generous to a fault, and I think because of that, I can allow myself to become a target to those who would take advantage. I have finally found my voice. It is clear and strong and I am ready. Prepare to hear me roar.
I have my favorite guest-blogger today. My oldest daughter, Kennedy, is sharing her thoughts on the coming school year - her last year of high school. High school was the hardest and yet the most fun time for me. Would I go back? HELL NO. This is a different world than it was when I was in school. I applaud anyone who makes it through - although no one makes it through unscathed.
I hope that this last year for Kennedy and her friends is a fun and memorable one....
My Thoughts Entering Senior Year
We’ve all seen a high school movie that has given us high expectations about school spirit, and for some, breaking out in random song. (High School Musical, anyone?) As I’m entering my 12th and final year of school, I’m thinking to myself, why don’t we have school spirit? As an active member of the student council, and this year’s president, this is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night. What can I do to make people enjoy themselves and have school spirit? Believe me when I say that we have tried everything. New events every year, bribery, insane advertising. Nothing seems to work. I am at the point where I have accepted that maybe myself along with a few others are going to be the only crazy kids running around wearing school colours with face paint. And that’s okay. We have gotten so caught up in putting immense work into events that nobody shows up to, or spirit days that nobody dresses up at. We are working so hard, that we are forgetting to enjoy it ourselves. I’ve realized that I haven’t been the example that I need to be to our council, and student body. I always worked a shift in the concessions at dances, and went home. We have a school slip and slide every year, and only 20 out of 150 students show up. I got so angry, but I realized that I was on the side, not taking part. I was so worried about cleaning it up after and thanking everyone who helped and how to advertise for the next event, that I didn’t even try it myself. What kind of example is that?? No wonder nobody outside of student council takes part. This, my last year, is going to be the year I will set a great example for all of the kids in our school. Being a school from grades 7-12, it is important that us grade twelves show the grade sevens that it’s okay to take part and not look “cool” for an hour. I had that when I was in grade seven, and it was an amazing thing. In the end of this, I may embarrass myself at the time or feel silly for dressing up when nobody else did, but 10 or 15 years from now, I’m going to look back on my high school years and realize that that was fun. I had fun. I went to pep rallies, I cheered and jumped up when our team just won a game, I showed up to school in my craziest pajamas because that’s what the day was all about. As we’re sneaking up on September, this is my goal for myself. I wouldn’t want this to be any other way. I think about all of the other kids who don’t participate in spirit days, who sit on their phones during pep rallies, and who are hanging out at home when our basketball team just won a tournament. Don’t get me wrong, I am an extreme introvert and fight that every day. But at the end of the day, while all these memories are being made and documented, I can look back and find myself in the front row of the bleachers, or dancing with our school mascot. High school is only here once, and while hanging out by myself is fun, I’m going to be so much happier that I finally got to see high school through the eyes of the kids in the movies.I am going to create a high school experience from the movies for myself. I’m going to worry about myself and my student council, and hopefully set an example for other kids along the way. Show them that it’s okay to let loose and do something embarrassing for school spirit. And hopefully they’ll find that the more they do it, the more other kids will do it, and suddenly everyone’s doing it and it’s not embarrassing anymore. If I could have one wish for my last year in high school, it would be that. Here’s to senior year!
What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for?
I believe I have the ability to put people at ease. Even strangers will approach and speak to me wherever I go. I used to find it weird and awkward, and truth be told, I still sometimes do, but for the most part, I see it as a gift. I might be the only friendly conversation that person has had all day. Maybe my kind words will be the light in the dark that they needed. Maybe I made them smile at a time when they thought they had lost it. Or maybe I'll just be a funny story for them to tell their spouse at dinner. You just never know. Being kind is free and easy. You really never know the impact that it will have on someone. I love that I can make people feel comfortable enough around me that, for the time we are together, they can be at ease and hopefully walk away with a smile.
The last day! We made it! Thirty days of gratitude. I hope that this has invited you all to look deeper at the blessings in your life. It's so easy to fall into the gratitude complacency trap and although saying thank you is always enough, we can get into a rut with it and lose sight of all of the many, many things that we have to be grateful for in our daily lives.
I hope that you continue on with this and make gratitude a part of your daily routine.
Thank you all for being a part of this with me!
What friend/family member are you grateful for today?
I am going to say my co-worker, Betty. She did the kind and unexpected thing of taking a few words casually said by me and turned them into a beautiful and thoughtful birthday gift for my mom. I was so surprised and touched and it truly meant the world to me. I am so grateful for her and her kind heart.