Plaster of Paris

When my mind and heart are at peace, my productivity is incredible. Another great lesson.

This week, I’ve been breaking free from my self-imposed hermit status and taking meetings and dates for cocktails. Life is calm and sweet and I can do things like meet with new colleagues and engage new friends. I feel like I’m getting things done, and done well.

Valentine’s Day looms, and it’s promising to be festive and exhausting with two back-to-back shows in Toronto for Les Coquettes, followed by an excursion to Owen Sound where we will perform at a fundraiser for the Tom Thompson Gallery. As I spend my days shopping online for gorgeous things that are worthy of such a high-profile event, I marvel at how exciting my work and life are.

I see so much promise in the coming year, and the secret is my state of mind. Mine alone, really. If I stay focused, open, calm and awake, I feel like I’m prepared for anything. I am better at everything I set out to do – including parenting and love.

“How can I give more?” This is what I keep asking myself. How can I be better? Do more meaningful work? Reach more people? Offer more? Humility is teaching me that by embracing this trait, so difficult for a lion sometimes, I am opening my arms to abundance. This phase of my life feels familiar…

I liken it to really understanding Judy Blume. I read all the books before puberty hit. I was prepared for the change, and I understood the biology inherent. However, it wasn’t until I was in the midst of growing, budding, and ripening that I really, truly understood what she’d been writing about.

I’ve heard so much about gratitude and grace. I think I understand it now, in a way I never have before. I feel like anyone who has had a profound revelation. I speak about it with a fervor and feel as though in some way I’ve been saved. Not by God. Not by Jesus. Not by Allah. Not even by The Mother. By my own inner light, and my own willingness to be better. That is what I think of when people speak of the Divine – the radiance in each of us that pushes us to seek deeper meaning and purpose. I suppose that could be God, couldn’t it? Perhaps that’s where all of this “made in God’s image” talk comes from? Maybe “giving yourself over to a higher power” simply means abandoning your old cycle of fear and anger and opening up to grace and humility. You have no guarantee that this will save you from hurt, but I think a heart without armor has a greater capacity to heal through anything.

At some point, the cast has to come off for the muscles to ever work properly again.

Thanks for all of the signatures. The colorful graffiti will be saved in an old shoe box, and I’ll look at it from time to time. Now, rather than adorn a temporary, bumpy shell, your love and well wishes will go straight to the source and the messages will be loud and clear.

Eternal Sunshine and My Spotless Heart

2011 is off to a very, very good start. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My world is being put back together very carefully, and with so much love. I am so very lucky to have another opportunity at forging the life I’ve wanted with the clarity and awareness and understanding that I now have. That we all have. We are truly blessed.

So many of you reading this have reached out to me with your own stories, and your encouragement, and your love. I really can’t thank you enough. I have no secret solution for solving matters of the heart, but I can try to distill what I have learned, and what I am learning.

You cannot love or be loved without the willingness and ability to make yourself vulnerable. The more you fight that, the more you will encounter strife, grief, and heartache. It’s terrifying to open yourself up, particularly once you’ve learned a thing or two about life, but nothing less will work. Especially when the one who loves you is willing to open themselves up for you. Vulnerability is essential, and sometimes impossible. It’s a constant struggle to check in and identify what is preventing your heart from opening up.

Trust is paramount. You simply have to give it over. For me, giving over trust was like stretching my hamstrings. It fucking hurts, and at first I could only stretch a little bit, and the next day I’d be aching. Eventually, as my body realized I wasn’t going to rip or tear anything by trusting, the hamstrings of my heart began to relax and I could go further and further. I was hurting myself and everyone around me a lot more by tensing up and resisting. Strains, sprains, and tears everywhere. Not pretty.

Trust cannot be taken away. At the end of the day, trust is not about hoping people won’t take advantage of your vulnerability and annihilate you. We really have no control whatsoever over what other people will do. Trust is about trusting yourself and your heart to survive anything life might throw your way. Trust is about knowing you have the strength and tenacity to rise above whatever difficulty or heartache you face.

Love is everything. When you find someone who loves you well, for who you are, who believes in you and inspires you and makes you want to be a better person, hang on to them. The way to hang on to them is to constantly strive to know and understand yourself. Understand what you are contributing to the relationship. Understand how you might be damaging the relationship. Know yourself. Love yourself. Understand that you are worthy of their love and that you won’t make a mess of it.

Don’t listen to fear. Though it may roar louder than the angriest ocean, it is almost always false. The more you have to lose, the louder the ocean of fear. Only you can quell it. Take a deep breath, do a quick survey of what is actually happening around you, understand the difference between what is happening and what you are afraid might be happening and tell fear that it is simply reminding you of how much you have at stake. Then be grateful for the abundance that you have and move forward. This will have to be repeated on a daily basis for some of us.

Communicate. Open your mouth and breathe out the things in your heart and your mind. Breathe them to your loved ones, breathe them to your confidantes, breathe them to your diary, breathe them to yourself, breathe them to the Universe. Speak with love. Listen with love. Listen with more love to the things that are difficult to hear. Accept difficult truths and embrace them with love. Understand why they hurt you and understand the call to change. Answer the call with love and resolve. Understand when words should be ruminated upon and when they should be shared. Share with calm and with peaceful intention.

Banish anger. It will eat you alive. Hear it, look at it, hold it in your hand and then send it away. Find other words to describe that feeling, peaceful words that open the door to transformation. Anger is a wall that is high and mighty and will shadow you from the healing light of love.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m sure there will be many more lessons to share. I welcome your lessons too. Share them here, in comments, so we can all grow wiser.

In the background some chilled out trance music with a smooth beat and a sitar woven through its rhythms acts as a backdrop. This quiet moment where I can share my heart with you feels like an awakening.

I know what I want. It’s what I’ve always wanted. I have it, I accept it, and I am eternally grateful for it. This is my time to shine. Are you ready? I finally am.

Tiny Blessings

I bought a pair of shearling gloves this winter because I always lose my gloves. They were so cozy and delightfully warm, but alas they fell apart entirely less than two weeks after I purchased them.

I was reflecting on the sad state of my gloves as I walked down the street the other day, and was pondering whether to fix them or buy a new pair when suddenly I came upon a beautiful pair of blue mittens on the sidewalk.

The mittens were my favourite shade of teal with white and pink accent. They had dainty pom poms decorating the wrists and a pink “idiot string” to keep them from getting lost. They were tied in two knots and just laying there, without a soul in sight. I picked them up for closer inspection. Mint condition. Angora. Mine.

Thank you universe.

All I Want

Oh she is watching me
And her eyes they flow
With fond and tender pain
I know, fate laid out a road
We have walked alone
And yet we meet again

Now I know finally
I’ve never been alone
I just couldn’t see
That like, The swirling of the sea
Lies a mystery
That brings me back to you

Oh, We put round our world
Chains that we denied
Yes we dreamed that we
Were free, and this was our downfall
With no place to go
We drift eternally

Now, I know finally
I’ve never been alone
I just couldn’t see
That like the swirling of the sea
Lies a mystery
That brings me back to you
Brings me back to you
Brings me back to see
Brings me back to all the things I’ve lost along the way

All I want to know
(Now, I know finally)
All I want to see
(I’ve never been alone)
I’ve never been alone
(I just couldn’t see)
Cause I just couldn’t see…

– Jehro

Day One

This is the first New Year’s Day I haven’t had a hangover in, well, I just don’t know. It’s kind of a nice feeling.

Last night was a quiet dinner in a Yorkville Chinese restaurant (delicious) and a movie – Black Swan (I was totally blown away. Natalie Portman was unbelievable and the story was spectacularly dark.) We toasted the New Year quietly, at home, missing a third of ourselves and feeling more than a little wistful. My life is getting back on track, and I am grateful.

Today I slept soundly until 11 am, which is unlike me. We got ourselves up and went for brunch with some friends, and then returned home for some household busy work and some reading and writing. Getting my drink on just a little today, with nowhere to go and snug in my pajamas. I’ve taken a break from the Caesars and am transitioning into evening with Kir Royale.

I’m thinking about the freedom and strength I felt in Paris. My little vacation felt like a lifetime ago. The start of my life’s great love also felt like Paris. Bold, beautiful, true to my soul, and exciting. Anything was possible. I want this feeling for 2011. I don’t want to feel afraid and unclear. That part is over. It’s time to settle into something deeper, truer, richer than ever before. Richer than we’d even imagined.

I’ve been working at a list of things to focus on for this year. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Stability and a deeper understand of the love I have.

Improved communication skills.

A deeper understanding of what security means to me, and how I have power to build it.

Stronger, deeper relationships with the people who are most important.

Greater physical health and strength.

A meditation practice.

A deeper understanding of my own emotional responses.

A greater exploration of my writing. I think I’ll start a daily writing practice.

Diminished need for approval.

A daily practice articulating gratitude.

Learning to sit with difficult emotion and understanding it deeply before expressing it.

Deeper focus on the positive.

A greater demonstration of the love I feel.

Increased creative time with my little girls.

Deeper trust.

More reading.

A driver’s license.