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Sink Or Swim; Nostalgia & a Little Shove

mylifeHolidays tend to make us nostalgic. Thank goodness that they’re officially over for 2015.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard, “2015 was a terrible year“. Wow.

I prefer to frame my year as a deli sandwich. The bread was delicious, but the meat of it was a little sour. In other words, the first and last thirds were great (as in; good enough), but the middle really blew.

How often as children did we say a year was terrible? We didn’t darlings. We just did the 10 second countdown to the new year and moved forward with joyful, curious abandon.

sufferingNow we yearn for the days when life was simple and  we still believed in magic. Friendships and family were taken for granted, and happiness was just on the other side of the screen door.

As adults, we tend to overcomplicate things. ‘Be kind and play fair’, seem to have gotten lost in the big, adult personal ethics playbook. And that just stinks. Because it hurts. Yes, people can be selfish and cruel, but they can also be kind, giving, and lovely to snuggle up with. Naked.

As human beings, we all want to be loved. We all need and want strong friendships, a true love with whom we can  share our most intimate selves , and bourbon. Ok, maybe the last bit is all about me, but whatever.

When we lose ourselves in the fray of losing the one person we fell in love with, we feel broken. I’ve been there. It hurts. It’s scary, and it puts a pretty harsh filter on our vision of the future.

Just this summer, I sat, sobbing on my friend’s front step, while she nursed my broken heart and damaged pride. I felt empty, hopeless, afraid and lost.

We live in a world that prizes the individual and yet makes it impossible to live without the safety net of community, family and friends. Yes, the great Western-way-of-life has unfolded into a wonderful cock-up of psychological dissonance. But what do I know? I’m just a girl after all.

I do know this. The holiday season has seen a lot of falling in and out of love; happy hearts and hearts that have been broken and need time to heal, relationships that are worn thin, or worn out altogether.

The beautifully terrifying part of it all, is that the only way to heal a heart is to live life. The very life that has tossed you like a small boat on a big, angry, ocean, leaving you feeling washed up and broken beyond repair.

Cling to curiosity. Let your friends lead you when you are  blinded by tears. Be wary of the seductive pull of too much sleep, lack of self care, and try to remember how good it feels to laugh after you decide to, ‘fuck it’.

As a quasi-Buddhist-lover-of-Christian-ritual, this speaks to me. You have two choices; get up, dive back into that same unpredictable ocean to wash yourself clean, or wallow in the sand getting burned by the sun and possibly gnawed to death by vicious, exotic fauna.

Sometimes you need a friend to role you back into the ocean. In some cases, you need a friend to drag you, kicking and screaming, back to life. It’s called tough love, and we all need it once in a while.

Nostalgia and wishing for a happily-ever-after is a waste of time.

havetimeYou and I both know that more than anything else, this is true; life is short and precious.

Take the time you need to sit quietly with your broken heart. Don’t run away from it, or deny it what it needs to tell you.  Take your sadness and swaddle it like a helpless infant. As difficult as this may seem, you will see that soon enough, you will be at peace with it.

Weep. Cry. Scream into your pillow…and as you take your last gasp of sobbing breath, get ready for a shove back into the ocean of life.

You’ve always been a beautiful swimmer darling. Always.

 

 

 

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Advent Challenge: The Life-Changing Power of Small-Talk

AP_starbucks_shift_tips_jef_130626_16x9_992
What better place to start a conversation than in a long Christmas-shopping-season line-up?
The season of Advent is upon us. A season of darkness and stillness, awaiting the mystery to unfold.

 

Hell, if that’s what it’s about, I think perhaps I’ve been living a lifetime of Advent!

It’s strange and wonderful how conversation and communication work.

I remember being a little girl and hanging off my grandmother’s shirttails, head thrown back, eyes lolling at a great and dangerous sarcastic angle, whining, “Come oooooo-ooooon! Mom!”, while she jabbered away to someone.

When I was younger I used to think that long, winding conversations were pointless.  Much like advent, impromptu conversations can be ever so revealing about our own hopes and dreams.

Exposing your ideas and dreams to concrete language can be the first step to creating a new reality for yourself.

Once upon a time a poet-mentor of mine asked if he could read some of my poetry aloud to me. I felt reserved and shy at first. He knew that hearing my own words spoken would be a very powerful experience. And it was.

More than once I’ve had a conversation with someone I don’t know so well and then ask myself where the heck that came from. Engaging in conversation with a diverse cross section of ages, genders and intellect is a wonderful way to get to know yourself.

For instance, tonight I had an unexpected and rather lengthy conversation with a gentleman who worked with my mumster (he thinks she’s the cat’s meow). We discussed his career, the professional acquaintances we have in common, his semi-retirement and subsequent move. That lead to a review of my C.V., and some of my dreams for the future.

As only perspective from someone older, more experienced and wiser can do, the conversation really shed some new light on what my future might hold. If only I have the courage to pursue it.

One thing that I’ve learned in my lifetime is that you have to ‘put it out there’. In other words, whatever it is that you want, that you crave, that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning; you need to talk about it with everyone and anyone who will listen.

It’s not what you know darlings, it’s who you know. The person next to you in line at the coffee shop may know someone who knows something about what you’re dreaming of.

Put it out there. Give a friendly hello, and start with the dreaded small talk. Just talk to people.

Wake up with intention and do something about it. Research. Ask Questions. Go do it.

This Advent season, let the mystery of what’s holding you back from the life you desire, unfold in your every-day interactions with the people around you.

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Being Jolly on a Budget

Each year I come up with some grand ideas about how to spend time with the ones you hold near and dear without breaking the bank.

I mean really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Spending time together is my very favourite gift.

So, this year, I bring you a list of ideas for being jolly on a budget, and I encourage to you to do at least TWO of them.

 

  1. Have a Christmas movie marathon. Define that however you like, but it implies watching more than one movie. It requires that you snuggle under a cozy blanket and sip hot cocoa laced with something that will make you giddy.

snuggle up

If you’re not sure which movies to watch, try one of these;

White Christmas

Holiday Inn

The Holiday

It’s a Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

2) Wander through a Christmas Market – no purchase required, except for a minimal entrance fee and optional hot cocoa or eggnog. If you go on a cold night, all the better; it’s a great excuse to snuggle your sweetie.

distillery market

3) Attend a local carol sing. Usually the admission cost is a bit of food for a local food bank. What better way to celebrate the true meaning of the season?

Children's Christmas Pageant 2011 + Christmas in Fan Concert

 

4) Have a Christmas themed games night with your closest pals or your family. BYOB and a snack to share. Voila!

twister-4x3

5) Go for a walk on a snowy night. Take in the Christmas decorations and talk about your hopes, dreams, what your favourite traditions are.

windowshopping

6) Bake and decorate a gingerbread house of your own design. Pick out your favourite candy together, make the gingerbread (gingerbread often has to sit overnight before you bake it, so it could be a romantic pj party!), decorate the house just the way you want I to be.

gingerbread house

7) Read your favourite Christmas poems or stories.

robert-frost-the-road-not-taken

8) One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas. It makes me smile, laugh, and remember what the true spirit of the season is really all about.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season that brings you closer to the ones you love.

 

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The Perfect Gift for Her

You can never find the perfect gift when you’re looking for it. Never.

That’s why I hate Christmas shopping so very much. I hate feeling like I have to buy something for someone.  I prefer to see something that makes me think of that someone special and snatch it up.

Alas, no one is perfect, not even me, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the busiest shopping season of the year. Yikers.

I’ve personally never been told that I’m hard to buy for, but I’ve heard the cry from my friends, their spouses, and the singles among us who are inspired to use the romantic leverage of this time of year to spring something wonderful on their true-love.

I don’t pretend to know the love of your life, but I can tell you this; women, unless you know them extremely well (and if you did, you likely wouldn’t need to read this) all enjoy similar things.

Never forget that just spending time with you is what makes  her truly happy.

If you feel bound to buy a gift, unless it’s gawd-awful or an engagement ring, with jewellery, you really can’t go wrong. White gold, yellow gold, whatever gold. Diamonds? Meh. That may not be the message you wish to send. How about sapphires, rubies or emeralds? And remember, the strength of the stone represents the strength of you love for her. If you’re not thinking of taking the relationship to the next level, do not buy jewellery.

unstoppable

 

 

Perfume. Know what she wears, or what she likes to wear, and splurge on her favourite scent. Most perfumeries offer sets at this time of year, and we love them. What could be better than travelling with a miniature vanity stocked with your favourite frangrance?

elie saab

 

 

If you’re just not really that serious, but you feel like you should buy her something, try alcohol. Chances are she knows you’re also not the one, and could use a little liquid therapy. Buy her something bubbly and delightful.

les etoiles

 

 

If she loves her spa time, give her a generous gift-certificate to her favourite escape. Always, always, always accompany this with something soft and snuggly like a teddy bear or a stuffed reindeer. Silly can be cute. A stark envelope cannot.

blitz.jpg

 

A weekend away. If you can both manage this one during the holiday season, I tip my hat to you. Giving of your time is often the most coveted and most difficult gift to give.  Make it romantic. Bring champers, roses, candles, and a be well rested so you can….well, you know…

room

 

Of course a beautiful bouquet at any time will let her know that you’re thinking of her…

peony

 

These are all terrific Christmas ideas, but what every woman really wants is just to spend time with her sweetie.

Stay tuned for Being Jolly on a Budget….’cause that’s how you’ll win and keep her heart.

HO-HO-HO!!!

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Christmas Dreaming; Joy Rapture & Ecstasy

christmas datingEvery single woman (and women who are in relationships that lack relating) dream of Christmas Romance, passion and at the very least, a decent meal and some intelligent conversation.

Emotions run high at Christmas time, and the word Joy can be found on everything from teacups to the ass of red panties that jingle-all-the-way.

So let’s start with the romantic scenarios that inspire joy…

Joy; the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

Last year I had a blast-from-the-past-he’s-the-one propose a very romantic date.

“Whatever you want. You name it. I want to do something special with you this Christmas”

I was joyous. “Really,” I though to myself. “After all of these years, it’s this guy.” This guy that I’ve known for so very long and idealized since the night he took me for a romantic dinner and kissed me outside a winter, storefront window more than ten years ago. I remember the boots I was wearing that night, and I still have the skirt.

Rapture ; the experience of being swept away by overwhelming emotion or passion.

Ah yes. It was a passionate date. We shared a delicious meal at one of my favourite restaurants. We had just enough of my favourite bottle of wine to make me even more giddy, and went for a long, romantic walk which meandered outside the Grange at the AGO and included a long, slow, kiss.

Ecsatsy; a state of being beyond reason and self control.

Well, a lady can’t expect everything now can she? Mr. Wonderful-After-All-These-Years turned out to be exactly who he had proven himself to be years before.

We never reached the ecstasy stage as date number two never happened.  Oh, don’t worry, he asked for a second date. I just didn’t give it to him. I was hurt. I cried, and I raged, and I called my bestie to rant about what a colossal, self-absorbed dick he was, and then I moved on.

What I did not do is turn to a brand of romantic atheism and man-hating.

I let myself want that decent meal and intelligent conversation. Oh, and the wine, the really delicious wine.

I let myself be satisfied with the company of friends old and new. Most importantly, I allowed my heart to stay open to all of the possibilities of joy, rapture and ecstasy.

Wishing you all three romantic stages this Christmas time, even if the joy and rapture come in the form of wonderful get-togethers with friends and the ecstasy comes from too much eggnog and a  bad one-night-stand decision…xo

 

 

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To The Loser Who Just Broke My Friend’s Heart

jerkYou suck. The end.

The rest of this post goes out to anyone who has been mistreated, lied to, cheated on, or taken advantage of.

Action, not words darling. That’s where the truth is.

For years I have been single. For years I thought I really, really wanted to meet someone to be my partner in life and I was convinced that I would have to make some concessions. Until this summer.

Just when I thought that my dream of meeting Mr. Right had come true, he shed his best-behavior-skin like the snake he is, and slithered out of my life. Good. Riddance. Jack-Ass.

I could say that I hate men, that they’re all liars and cheats, but the reality is that I love them. I love  men.

Just as there are pathetic flaps of skin who slither their way through life clinging to the ethical underbelly of society calling themselves men, there are women who do the same. They are primarily identifiable as neither male or female. They are sociopaths.

It seems that being a sociopath (aka jack-ass, jerk or douchebag) crosses all gender and age barriers. An asshole, is an asshole, is an asshole. Amen.

What my last foray into the world of broken hearts has reinforced is that my gut instinct is much wiser than the negotiated romantic deals brokered between my head and my heart. Intuition is a smart bitch, and I love her for her unflinching honesty during times of despair. My own mistake is not acting on what my intuition is telling me, and believing in  potential.

Listen here ladies and gentlemen, we are not school teachers sent here to point out potential. We are adults in relationship with other adults; each of us responsible for how we treat others.

For anyone (male, female and everyone in-between),who is suffering a broken heart, I urge you to read my ‘Why I Stopped Dating’ articles, Part 1 and Part 2.

loveagainI do not believe that love hurts. If it hurts or if it makes you ‘less than’,  it isn’t love. If you are not joyful, but instead, full of anxiety, self-doubt and fear, it definitely is not love.

What you may need to do is re-evaluate what love actually is, and what it looks like in your life. Let me give you a hint, it does not involve a Disney prince or princess. Quite often the greatest of all loves come from friendship.

Wishing a plague of vicious crotch-crabs and a shriveling, fungus infested pee-pee on the loser who just broke my friend’s heart.