You’re Never Alone

“Hold me close / Let Your love surround me / Bring me near / Draw me to Your side.” – Hillsongs, Power of Your Love

Today began just like any other regular day.  I woke up, showered, had my coffee, prepped the lunch bags, woke up my daughter and got her ready for school.  This morning I gave her a kiss.  I always make sure to give her a kiss.  I also make sure to tell her that I love her.  I know that she knows I do because when I say to her “I have something to tell you” she responds with “I know, you love me.”  It’s a little game that we play, and I’m comforted by it.

It’s Daddy weekend this weekend.  Fortunately, I was able to see my daughter after school long enough to give her a big hug.  And this time I held onto her a bit longer than I normally would.  I didn’t want to let her go and tonight I miss her heaps more than usual.

2947

And that’s because today wasn’t any regular day after all.  I’m located about 600 kilometers away from the devastating massacre of the innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut, and I’m having a hard time coping with what happened.  I don’t know these people, never met them in my life, and I’m never going to understand what they are going through.  But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried today just thinking about those poor families who have lost their children, wifes, husbands and parents.  And I’ll never understand what drives a person to do such thing.  I don’t know.  I’ll never know.

But I do know that their lives will never be the same.  They will feel an emptiness inside for the rest of their lives.  They will question God about what happened, and why their loved one had to die, be taken away from them.  They will likely fall into a deep depression, not wanting anyone around, feeling all alone.  They will hit rock bottom.

And today when I heard the news, I immediately thought of my daughter, and imagined her in that school and ice-cold fear travelled through my entire body like a lightening bolt.  I thought about all the times I kissed her goodbye on a Friday morning on Daddy weekends, and how my heart rips out of my chest every single time because I don’t get to see her again until the following Monday.  I thought about how many times I wanted to hold her during those weekends and couldn’t and how I’ve had to settle for phone calls.  And then I thought about these poor parents who won’t ever be able to hold their children again, and how they don’t get to have a phone call. They will never hear their voice ever again.

I wish there was something that I could do.  I feel helpless.  My heart goes out to them, and they are in my prayers.  And while they are in their darkest hour, I pray that they never forget that they are not alone. There is someone holding them, loving them and caring for them.

And while I was in my darkest hour, this reminded me that I was never alone.  This is what helped me through those long, dark nights:

Advertisements

Call Me Jack

“There are essentially two questions in life – a spiritual question and a material question. The spiritual question is ‘Who am I?’ The material question is ‘What am I to do with my life?’ One leads to the other.”  ―Rasheed Ogunlaru

This past Sunday my daughter and I went to see a movie together.  I was reluctant to take her because she had a busy week – celebrating her birthday with her father’s family on Thursday night, with my family Friday night and her friends on Saturday afternoon.  By Sunday I was downright pooped, and I could see it took a toll on her as well.  But I had promised her that we would go, and so we went.  And I’m glad that we did.

I’m not one to go to the movies often.  Half of the time I don’t know what’s playing, but I saw the previews to this movie from the last time we went, and I was excited to watch it.  We saw Rise of the Guardians, and it was an awesome movie.  I really enjoy kids movies, and this one I feel by far is one of the best I have ever seen.  I was moved to tears, as I felt it really touched something deep inside of me.

****Warning – Spoiler alert!!****

Let me tell you a bit about the movie, and why I was so moved by it.  This movie is about all the mystical characters of our cultural mythology (aka Guardians): Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and Jack Frost.  In the story, they are spirits that were put on Earth by the Omnipotent Man in the Moon and their job is to protect the children of the Earth from evil – the Boogeyman.  The Boogeyman’s role is to make the kids stop believing in the Guardians and let fear rule the world.

This is where things get interesting.  The movie obviously has the theme of good vs. evil, alongside with other big themes that we, as adults, deal with every day.  For example, early on in the movie we are introduced to Jack’s struggle as to why he was put on this earth, what his role in life is.  Then Santa blatantly asks Jack what his “center” is, and finally the theme of being alone and invisible and spreading fear.  These all pulled at my heart-strings.

And of course, it got me thinking…..

When Jack asked the Man in the Moon “why am I here, why did you put me here?” I felt my breath get caught in my throat.  I felt like as if someone had punched me in the stomach, grabbed a hold of my insides and started twisting.  I often ask why I’m here, and what my purpose is.  I still don’t know, yet I keep on searching, trying to figure it out.  Like Jack, I feel that I should be doing much, much more, and that there is something bigger out there for me to work towards, but in the meantime I feel completely lost.  I so wish that I could have a bunch of Yeti’s put me in a potato sack and carry me away to a place where I will discover what my destiny is.

A very interesting point that Santa brings to the picture is the question he asks Jack.  “What is your center?” That didn’t make sense at first until he picks up a Russian nesting doll that represents him and opens it. He explains that just like the doll there are different layers that make up his personality – jolly, fearlessness etc, but when he reaches the core, we find out that Santa’s “center” is wonder.  He brings wonder to all the children.  That’s why he’s here. By the end of the movie, Jack finds out that his center is Fun.

I was stunned by all of this information.  This was a completely new way of look at things, of looking at life.  I don’t know about you, but I always associated my “purpose” to be tied to doing something, some sort of task.  For example, help disabled people, feed the hungry etc.  Never did I think that my center could be something like bring wonder or fun into this world.  What a concept!!! Imagine what this world would be like if we could be like the Tooth Fairy and be a Guardian of Joy, or like the Easter Bunny and be a Guardian of Hope?  Or like the Sandman and be a Guardian of Dreams?  Don’t you feel lighter just thinking about it?  For me, when I came to this realisation, I felt a huge weight lifted off my chest, and I felt so much lighter.  To not have to figure out ‘the task’ of what I have to do in this world is liberating.  It really doesn’t matter anymore what I do, but knowing that I can be a Guardian of Fun or Hope or Dreams by just spreading goodness in this world is enough. Wow.

Both Jack and the Boogeyman shared the theme of aloneness and invisibility. They both felt that no one could relate to them, no one could see them.  Obviously, the Boogeyman chose to react in an evil way and take revenge out onto the world for this, and Jack, although struggling chose to be loving and good.  I know this state very well as most of my life I had felt very much alone and invisible.  Sometimes I even enjoyed not being seen, but most times there was nothing I wanted more.  I would have given up a limb just to be acknowledged.

While like that, in that aloneness phase,  it is so easy to turn away from the world and become bitter, as you sometimes wonder what the point of it all is. That was a huge struggle for me.  But the good thing is, that is what it is – just a phase.  It takes time, but eventually you can come out of it, if you allow yourself to be seen.  It takes just one person to believe in you, and your entire world can turn upside down, but for the good.  That is what happened to Jack.  The last child on earth, Jamie, believed in him when no one else would, and was able to see him.  How many times do you see the people in front of you.  I mean really see them, past the layers they build up around them, and see their core?  And sometimes it takes that one person to believe in you, in order for you to believe in yourself.  That is what happened to me.

The Boogeyman wanted to be seen as well. But his method was to instill fear in everyone in order to gain their respect and have them believe in him.  Jamie shouted to him and said “I believe in you, but I’m not afraid of you.” I was floored by this comment.  I thought back to all the times where I’ve felt paralysed by fear, and also back to the times where I had to force myself through a situation where I knew that the risks were high, and that I would likely get hurt, but I didn’t allow the fear to paralyse me.  I chose to replace that feeling with something else, such as courage, and I was able to get through it.  This was a skill I have been learning to master, and to see it in the movie, and hopefully getting through to the children watching it was heart-warming.

Maybe I’m reading into this movie too much, who knows.  But for me, I could see the benefits of this movie, and how it has enhanced my life, I felt like I was Jack.  So, let me be Santa ask as you this – have you found out what your center is? I think mine is to have an awesome time while here on this planet, and to take anyone who crosses my path down with me.  What do you say?

Another Lesson Learned

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This past weekend my daughter and I went for our inaugural skate of the season. We were both very excited. She outgrew her skates from last year, so on Saturday afternoon we went to buy her a new pair. Really cute pair too – pink with flowers on them.  That night, we grabbed her helmet and off to the arena we went.

When we arrived we joined the massive line of people waiting to get their skates sharpened. My daughter was so excited to get onto the ice, she was bouncing around as if she had ants in her pants.  But it wasn’t just her.  I too couldn’t wait to get onto the ice, feel the smoothness underfoot, the cool breeze on my face, and hear the scraping sounds all around. This was going to be a great night!

After about twenty minutes we finally had our newly sharpened skates and off to the stands we went to put then on. Just then the Zamboni came out to clear the ice. My daughter started complaining that we had to wait even longer to skate, but I explained – how great this was! We get to skate on freshly smooth ice! I couldn’t believe that it was possible for her to get even more excited.

Finally, we got onto the ice.  We skated to the kiddy section and I began teaching my daughter to skate again as she was a bit rusty (she hadn’t skated since early this year). She was doing quite well when suddenly she fell.  No big deal, I thought until then she started crying.  She has fallen plenty of times in the past.  She pointed out that her pants tore at the knee, and I said it’s OK, we’ll fix them.  Then I hear “Mommy, I think I’m bleeding”. I looked down, moved the opening of her pant leg over and immediately thought “Oh sh*t. She’s going to need stitches.”  I brought her to the first aid area, and was hoping that I was just over-reacting, but the arena worker did say she would need to go to the hospital.

Great.

I wasn’t worried about the stitches Per Se.  I was worried about how the heck I would get her to the hospital.  My daughter had a horrible experience at the local children’s hospital this year and since then, every time I’ve had to bring her back, or to anyone who wears some type of medical uniform she has freaked out.  She transforms into a screaming, arm and leg flaying little monster who is inconsolable.

And freak out she did. Large. Luckily, she didn’t need stitches, but they did glue her wound together.  The poor doctor’s hand was shaking while he was trying to administer the glue, and I was holding her down.  Once it was all done, I was told how to care for it once we get home.  So last night I had to wipe off the glue, but it was impossible to do.  There was so much glue on her leg, way more than necessary.  Of course, I understand how that happened.  The poor doctor just wanted to finish tending to her.  And unfortunately, trying to wipe off all the excess was like trying to wipe permanent marker off the wall.  It was next to impossible.

So into a warm bath my daughter went, with hopes that glue would soften, or her skin would shrivel allowing for the glue to easily come off. That was wishful thinking. I then slowly started to peel the glue off when she stopped me because it hurt.  Of course it hurt!  It was hurting me just as much doing that to her as it was hurting her! She insisted that she wanted to do it. I thought, OK, go for it kid.

She would slowly lift the sides of the glue up from her skin.  I could see the determination mixed with pain on her face.  She was breathing heavily as she was concentrating on what she was doing.  Then she said “Mommy, can you get me some scissors so I can cut it?”  I said, no way. Then she said “please?  At least this way there isn’t a lot to lift up.”  What a genius idea.  So I sterilized baby scissors and I gave them to her.  So little by little she would peel back the glue, cut the piece off, put her leg back into the water to soften some more and then proceed again.  We were at this for over an hour, but she amazingly got the mission accomplished. All the while, I knelt by the edge of the tub, supervising, cheering her on.  What an amazing sight!

When I was cleaning her wound and applying the adhesive strips I asked her why she wanted to do it all herself, and not let me do it.  Her answer left me speechless.  She said “Mommy, I know that it would hurt anyway.  But if I did it, at least I knew when it would hurt, and by doing it, I wouldn’t think of the pain.  I would have to think about what I was doing, and so it would hurt less.”  Once we were done, she was back at playing with her toys as if nothing happened.  But what

a lesson that my six-year just taught me.  There will be pain that we will experience in life.  Rather than letting it just happen to us, why not take life by the horns and do something about it.  By acting, the pain will still be there, but it won’t hurt as much because we’ll be concentrating on doing something about it.

As I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts, I remain in awe with the lessons that my daughter has been teaching me since her birth. She has been instrumental in my growth process and has been a source of inspiration.

I believe that if we are open to learning, that every situation offers an opportunity which something can be gained. Especially if the lesson is beginning taught from those little munchkins also known as kids.

Predisposition and Enigma – Huh?

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

These last two days I’ve become a regular visitor to Dictionary.com.  I’ve been called an enigma and have been told that I have a predisposition.  I’ve heard these words used many, many times but have never really thought or cared to know their actual meaning.  I find it easy to put together a supposed meaning for words depending on the way the sentence or paragraph is constructed, but to be flat outright called an enigma, and being told that I have a predisposition, well, I felt dumb. What the heck do they mean?

So I referenced the dictionary for their meanings and this is what I found out:

Enigma – n a person, thing or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous.

Predisposition – tendency to a condition or quality, usually based on the combined effects of genetic and environmental factors.

Needless to say, I was shocked to learn this.  I never really saw myself like this but now, while taking a good look in the mirror, I can see it quite clearly.  Like the saying goes “hindsight is 20/20.”

I’ve been called complex, complicated, intense, high maintenance and even difficult.  Those qualities never sat right with me because I find that they have negative connotations tied to them and I don’t see myself in a bad way.  I believe I have a big heart and I feel deeply about things, situations and people.  Who knows, maybe that is where the intensity and high maintenance comes in. And I’m still learning about myself, I’m open to seeing things in new ways, allowing myself to grow as a person, and therefore I am constantly evolving and changing.  Perhaps that is where the complexity and complication comes to into play.

I’m not big on labels.  Never liked them at all.  I think it’s a way to quickly pass judgement on people without even knowing them but I can’t help but wear the enigma badge proudly.  I have to admit that there is something to being mysterious and puzzle-like which I find neat.  But I’m also aware that it must be frustrating for some people who are trying to figure me out and get to know me.  I’m not intentionally trying to hide anything or trying to make things difficult, I’m just learning about myself, figuring out what fits for me, and what works.  And if something doesn’t, then I just move on to learn about something new.

What I’m having trouble with is being told that I have a predisposition. As much as I’d hate to admit to it, I do.  What I struggle the most with is that the person who told me this I have known for a very short period of time, about a week and that this person has been able to see right inside of me.  I’m a private person (yes, one that writes about my thoughts and feelings for the entire world to see – an oxymoron, I know).  Only one other person in this entire world has been able to see right into me like this, and now I’m faced with a second person.  I sit uncomfortably with this.  This person has pinned down that the outgoing, joking, sarcastic front I put on to not let people really see me is just that – a front.  Because of my past, I don’t feel comfortable letting people get close to me, to really know who I am, yet I enjoy being in company.  And so I put up a wall.  As I was told, not many people will put up with this behaviour for long and eventually they will go away.  I don’t let it easily be seen that there is someone beyond that front, and it will lead to a very lonely life down the road.  The good thing is, predisposition does not mean predestination.  It doesn’t have to end up this way.

I’m aware of the wall, and I’m working on it with my therapist, but I didn’t really know how bad it was.  This was a HUGE lightbulb moment for me.  This front is automatic, not only with people I just first meet, but with everyone in my life.  As soon as they start getting close with me, up it goes, and it’s like a brick wall.  It keeps them out and me in.

I’m reading a book called “The Last Lecture” and in it the author at one point talks about brick walls.  The purpose of the brick wall isn’t to stop people from doing what they or getting what they want.  The purpose of a brick was is to show you how badly you want something, and how you can overcome any obstacle if you truly want to.  This is a brick wall for me.  One that I have to scale.

So how about that….I’m an enigma with a predisposition.  Who would have thought?

I’ve Been Gagged

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  – Ernest Hemingway

He’s right. There is nothing to writing. It’s about bleeding all of what you’re holding onto out onto paper.  But figuring what you’re holding onto is the key.

To my dear readers,

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been writing much lately.  Actually, I was shocked to hear that its been quite a few weeks, as a few of my darling readers have pointed out. I honestly didn’t think it has been that long. Time does fly, and this truth is actually stinging quite a bit.

I hate to admit to this, but I’ve been gagged.

I’ve been wrapped up into myself lately – into my mind actually.  I’m not sure what has been going on and I’m trying to figure it out.  I just haven’t been able to write.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, I’ve had plenty, but for some reason I haven’t been able to put pen to paper.  Writing is cathartic for me, it’s soothing.   It helps me process my thoughts, especially the stuff that weighs me down, but lately I have been struggling to get even something small out to you.  Nothing would transfer onto the screen, and as a result I’ve felt very heavy, very drained.

I think this is what they call writer’s block.  But I really don’t know.  I’ve never experienced it before.

One thing I have observed these past few weeks is that writing is hard, but for me, not writing is even harder.  By not being able to write, these thoughts get really crammed into this brain of mine with nowhere to go, and they get squashed. There begins to not be enough room to hold all of these thoughts in and so I then get overwhelmed and more drained and tired.  And because I’m even more drained, then I have trouble to find the energy to write.  The vicious cycle begins and it’s difficult to stop.

To top it all off, then my faithful friends have turned on me – my words won’t come.  I so want to share the amazing things that I’m thinking of with you, but it’s like my mouth just can’t keep up with what is going on in my head.  And when I try to share them, it’s almost as if I’m speaking a drunken slur.  It’s hopeless.  I just want my beautiful words to come back.

I’ve tried different techniques to help me.  I’ve tried to walk away from the computer for a bit.  I’ve distracted myself with different tasks such as drawing, reading, listening to music, but nada.  I’ve tried exercising, meditating, speaking to my therapist, but no luck.

I have so many things I want to share with you.  As Maya Angelou said “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  So now I’m just going to try writing about not being able to write.  It’s torturing me not being able to write, and so with this I’m hoping to ignite that spark again.  I feel like a small piece of me is dying when I don’t write and I need to revive it.  I hate this hollow feeling I have inside of me, which I know is the part of me that thrives when I write that is missing.

I’m hoping that you will see more of me over then next few weeks.  But if you don’t, it’s not because I’ve forgotten you, or I’ve given up.  That’s far from the truth.

With love,
Smartie

You Ok Down There?

“Most important thing in life is learning how to fall.” – Jeannette Walls

I was pushed to the floor and beaten down to a pulp the other day. I was knocked down to my knees, and I felt like I was kicked in the stomach a million times.  I was left breathless. I was beaten down so badly that I was making involuntary noises as I was trying to breathe.  Tears escaped my eyes as I tried desperately to hold them back.  They trickled slowly to the sides of face, as I tried to hide them with my hair. No way was I going to show the other person how what they were doing was affecting me.  I wasn’t about to give in.  I fell into a hole and just lay there hoping that I couldn’t be seen.

I wasn’t physically beaten, even though it felt that way.  But my ego took a beating, and it deserved it.  I was laying on the ground, gasping for air and surprisingly it felt good.

Let me back up a bit and explain WHY I deserved this beating. I have been going through a lot of crap, and I think I have every right to b*tch and complain about it.  These last two years of my life have been absolute hell and quite frankly, I think I’m entitled to let off a bit of steam every once in a while.  To wallow in self-pity and be angry with the world.

But it hadn’t become once in a while.  It became always.  Yes, I had suffered a lot, I went through a lot, but I was hanging onto those memories for my dear life.  Those memories were producing fears in me, and every time I clutched one of them a little more, they fed that fear inside of me a bit more and it was starting to grow into an awful monster, starting to take over my life.

So that day when I was taken aside and “spoken to.” I was forced to hear things about myself that were very hard to hear.  This was one of those “life lessons” that we all have to learn every once in a while and I wasn’t ready to hear was being said and I definitely was not ready to learn this life lesson. I wanted to run the other way.  Fast and hard.  But that’s the funny thing about life. It sends to you people to teach you lessons during times when you’re not ready to learn them.

You see, I was thinking that my life was crummy, and I felt very much alone.  I felt as if my life sucked and that anything that could go possibly wrong would do so with me.  I was walking around with a black cloud over my head.  I couldn’t see the good in anything, and I was spiraling downward fast and hard.  As a result I became reclusive.  I wanted to feel loved, yet I was pushing everyone away from me – except for my daughter who I was clutching to for my dear life.  All this was not good.  To me, everything was doom and gloom.  And I wanted everyone to know about it.  I would complain to anyone who would just turn in my direction.  And someone listened.  That’s when I got the crap beaten out of me.

During the talk, the words which stung the most for me was to hear that I was being selfish and thought that everything was about me.  I felt my back go stiff and immediately thought “How dare you say that?!!  Look at what my life has been like and what I have gone through?!!”  How could someone say such things?  Sure, I do have to deal with this crap, and I have to look after myself and my daughter at the same time.  But, that isn’t what was meant by that comment, it was what I WANTED to hear.  I had to take a step and really pay attention to what I was being told.  And when I did, when I really listened, really let the words sink in, that’s when I knew that  wasn’t being attacked, but rather I was being loved.  Someone was looking out for me.  I was being pushed out of the dark cloud I was in, and onto solid ground.  However, I didn’t land on my feet. I landed flat on my face.

When I got up, I walked away from our talk with what I consider a great lesson learned.  Next time I feel like my world is turning dark and grey, I don’t have to worry about it being a permanent state.  What I am having is a bad time – whether it be a day, a month or even a year.  This will eventually pass, it’s not a feeling that I will feel forever.  And with any sadness, or sorrow, comes the opportunity to feel great joy.  There is always an opposite side to everything.  I was choosing to look at the negatives sides, the losses, the sadness, the things I’m lacking, the things missing.

For example, I was experiencing a huge heartache knowing that I had to go back to work, and not be able to build my business/career the way I had wanted to.  I was complaining that my daughter was going with her father that evening, that I wouldn’t get to see her until the next day after school. And that the tedious, expensive and stressful divorce I’m going through is killing me, and I just want to end the fighting, and get on with my life and how I’ve been feeling stressed because of the people on my back complaining about me. How could there possibly be a good side to this?  Well there is.  There are plenty of positives, and lessons.  Such as the gift of a new job to ease my financial worries, the gift of a loving daughter, and to know how much we care for each other, and the gift of patience and tolerance with the divorce, and all the people reaching out to me because they care.  Are these the only lessons to be learned?

Who knows?  I don’t, that’s for sure.  Maybe this is the way life, or God, or the Universe or whoever it is that’s sending this message, is telling me that something needs to change, that I need to change.  The bad things and situations won’t end, they’ll keep coming.  The only thing that can change is me, and I need to change the way I look at them.  There are the many thing to be grateful for me to be grateful for: the experience of living in this beautiful house, being able to spend two summers home with my daughter, meeting magnificent people, opportunities to grow and find myself.

I have found that there is always a point in life where you reach that there is no possible way to return to where you have come from.  But I have also learned that there is also point to where you reach where you can’t go any further based on the way you’ve been doing things either.  And I think that’s where I’m at.  I haven’t been grateful for many things lately, and the risk of continuing on this way is just too great for me.  The pain I have been feeling is normal.  Pain is part of being human, but it’s also a reminder that I’m alive and there is always good things to being alive, and for which I’m grateful for.

My Many Coloured Moments

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great!”  -Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own

This past weekend I’ve had a mixture of brown, black, green and pink moments, making for mixed up days.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, refer to Dr. Seuss’ “My Many Colored Days“. Brown is for when you’re feeling low, black is for when you’re mad, green is cool and collected, and pink is for being happy!

On Saturday I went to Caribana.  It’s a festival held here in Toronto and I got to experience some of the Caribbean culture, music and food.  I was in awe of the amount of people, the music and beautiful costumes all around.  I saw a bit of the parade, and I had the most yummy Jerk Chicken ever! Defintely pink moments.

Then as the day progressed I found that my energy levels were depleting rapidly.  My legs grew heavy, my mind was stuffy and I needed to sit down every so often.  It was hot and humid that day, so I concluded that my body just couldn’t handle it.  I went home and was in bed very early that evening. A grey momment (tired).

The next day, yesterday, I had a hard time getting out of bed.  I was tired, very tired.  I puttered around the house, doing some chores but I found that I would get easily tired. I became annoyed.  I decided to do some banking as it wasn’t taxing on the body. I took a look at my account and became really depressed, wondering how much longer I could go on like this, with this costly divorce, waiting for the house to sell, daily expenses and being unemployed.  I saw no end in sight and I freaked.  I was a crying mess. Definitely brown and black moments.

After some time, when I had no more tears left to cry, I decided to go for a walk.  I wandered to a park nearby and walked along the trails.  It was beautiful, regenerating, and calming.  There was a slight breeze, the ponds were gorgeous and seeing the people having bbq’s, sitting on the benches, and the lovers laying on blankets under the trees was uplifting. So much of a pink moment. Being out in the outdoors always had an revitalizing effect on me.

But I found it difficult to walk after a while.  I was out of breath – again! What was going on?

Thinking to a few weeks back, while in Italy in the Amalfi Coast, to get to our apartment meant to climb 47 stairs.  And during the day we were always walking.  We never stopped.  In Paris, it was 98 stairs to the apartment.  Heck, in one days I climbed the 98 stairs to the apartment twice, climbed to the second level of the Eiffel tower, the Arch de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur and the gazillion subway stairs for a total of 1,400 stairs in one day, let alone all the walking along the way.  I didn’t have any trouble then. So why on earth am I having trouble walking a park trail?

It because I’m now out of shape.

I find it interesting that after a couple of weeks of decreased activity my body is having trouble functioning the way I want it to, the way it used to.  After my little getaway to Paris, when I returned to Italy to visit family, I didn’t walk a lot, and there weren’t many stairs to climb.  When I returned back to Toronto, my activity levels decreased further.  With this I find that my coping levels have been hit hard, that emotionally I’m all over the place.  My stamina for anything has plummeted.  This means only one thing.  I have to exercise.  I need more red (enegergetic), blue (lively), orange (fun) and pink (happy) moments in my life.

I don’t mind exercising.  I quite enjoy it.  I used to run at least four or five 10k races a year.  I’m not a fast runner, and that’s ok.  I completed every race I began and for me, that’s what matters most.  I earned every medal I set out for.  And above all else, it’s what has got me through some very tough times.

But this year I haven’t done much exercise, let alone any running.  Haven’t done much of anything.  It’s taken some time to get used to this new lifestyle of being a single Mom.  There isn’t as much free time as there used to be, even with being unemployed as there are many things that need to be taken care of.  Earlier this year I decided to sign up for a 5k run, and couldn’t get any training in.  While running the race I felt as if my lungs were being ripped out of my chest.

I need to do something about this, fast.

So my cousin and Godfather have decided to run the Niagara Falls 10k race in October, and want me to join them this year.  This was an annual race for us, up until two years ago when my life changed dramatically.  I think I will go for it.  I’ll train as best as I can.  It will be tough to get out there and train for the long distance runs.  I’ll have to get my little one to join me on her bike.

It’s great to have goals set like that, but my problem is in the present time, not the future.  I have been thinking about strapping on my runners all day, but can’t get myself to do it.  Not sure what is stopping me.  I’m also worried that I’ll start this endeavor, and eventually will let it die off.

Enough of this analysing, now off I go to do something – to get myself moving.  I want to get feel better.  I’d love to hear what your coping strategies are, so please do share.