"True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." - Arthur Ashe Reid
It hit me today that I needed to thank you. Not because you caused me 20 years of pent up anxiety, or because I ruined relationship after relationship due to the inability trust myself, which was a byproduct of you. And what you did. Not because I suffered mentally and emotionally over the thoughts of not being good enough, and hating myself for my lack of belief in other human beings because of you. Not for the way I am unable to fully love another soul because you instilled in me very young that the people closest to you, hurt you the most. Not because you violated me physically and emotionally. Not because you deserve any sort of recognition for being a decent human being. No. Not for any of that. But instead for this. Her. My best friend. My constant compaion. Because I became so anxious over the years that the best treatment for my "condition", became her. This beautiful, loving, amazing creature I've come to know as the only thing in life that hasn't let me down. The incredible heartbeat at my feet. Who has seen thousands of tears, taken away years of heartache...just by being. By existing. By placing a head on my lap when my heart begins to beat rapidly. And not because I'm excited or hopeful, but because I'm overwhelmed and terrified. I've struggled to fit in...stand in a crowd and not panic. But with her, I've learned to breathe through the uncomfortable. Teach a class without holding my breath. Make new friends...over and over again. Get up, face the day, and then rest peacefully. So thank you not for all those hurts, but for this one thing that doesn't hurt. Not even a little bit. Thank you for this feeling, this love, this bond. Thank you, for Vandal.
"I feel compelled to re post this when it popped up as a memory.
Also I feel called to say what I have been avoiding for weeks and to honor the love and the man that said I was enough from the day he met me, took me in and loved me with all his might including my flaws and short comings, and only sought that i return. I was enough in his eyes and his heart, but not in my own.
It makes my heart swell and I am filled with intense grief at the same moment for the us that was.
I remember the excitement of traveling to Mexico for the first time with the man that made my heart so happy. I remember how his body felt behind me as we snuggled in to snap this image to post on FB. This was a happier time on all accounts... a time when we took such deep comfort in each others embrace, when we only wanted to be with each other, and when we truly had the others back.
God I wish for those days again, and for that feeling of certainty that we would love and last our way into rocking chairs and walkers.
I was so in love and so happy and at peace in myself and with my husband and best friend Hugo.
We had NO clue what the next trip to Mexico would entail, how that attack became the catalyst and would under pin the slow and painful devolving of our once blissed out marriage. How we would pull back and guard and eventually see the other as the enemy. I am broken hearted today, and have been for several months as I see the man I adored moving further and further away from me. I did so many things I said I would not do, I pushed Hugo away and I placed conditions on my love and more damaging than that... I put conditions on his love for me.
I see the reel of flashbacks in my minds eye daily where I pulled away, pushed away, and rejected his love and support when I could have just said yes and leaned in. I rejected me, in rejecting him. I didn't know what to do or say, I craved the comfort you see in the image above, but knew not how to seek, ask for, or create it anymore. I often said the worst and did the worst things possible causing more heartache and worry, anger, and distance than I could ever have imagined. What I could not see in so many moments that I see now is that I was the one backing away. I was the one rejecting Hugo, and in essence.. My self. The distance between us kept growing and building resentment and anger along the way because let's face it it is way easier to be pissed off and righteous than be vulnerable and honest.
I am currently negotiating a separation agreement and soon I will no longer live with my husband and I nearly throw up when I think of that reality.
I know it takes two to make a relationship work, and two to fight, and two to blah blah blah... But this post is not a t all about justification or blame. I write today because I need to take responsibility for all the times Hugo tried, and I said no. I also need to say I'm so deeply sorry to have en flicked the pain of rejection on another person, most of all the man that said I choose you Darren and you are enough. The man I chose and married.
For those of you that will took the time to read this thank you for being my sacred space to begin to release this pain of knowing I hurt the man I loved the deepest. And to be honest about where I'm at.
Please if you have a loved significant other grab them and hold them a little longer than usual tonight. Tell them how much you love them and how much they impact and improve your life. Even if they make you angry, or upset. Remember with your heart, not your mind how they make you feel.
I know no one can take away the joy we shared and the amazing things we set out to accomplish and did, and my precious memories of happiness and comfort with him at my side... Those are locked in me for ever and thank god for that. AND no one can take away this intense pain of grief and loss when the man I love and want back so badly says "you went to far, and you cut too deep and I can't be with you any longer".
And the truth is.. I did...
Love each other.. Do good in your world, hold tight teh dearest of loves you have availblr to do so, and more than all of that.... LOVE YOU!!
I am enough... My new/old mantra.
Hugo Stoupe, Thank you for choosing me 5 years ago, you were and still are a BRAVE beautiful man. I'm sorry I have been so toxic and mean in the last few months and I truly hope this is not the end of my time with you. It will be different being on our own, but I still love you, I always will and I want to be in your corner once again should you feel that is right for you.
For those of you that know us both, LOVE US BOTH, and For those of you that only know me... LOVE US BOTH!!
Break ups are fucking hard, and trust me I have hurt us both enough to last a life time. It's time for Joy, and for LOVE.
Lastly, It is my Mom and Dad's 44th anniversary, a reality I will never experience, but I will reap the joy and the victory vicariously because I now truly understand the LOVE, tolerance, faith, sacrifice, patience, and shear grit and determination it takes to choose that same person day in day out, in teh face of all that life throws at you.
Congrats Mom (Betty) and Dad. <3 :-)"
First off, clearly I didn't write this. I hummed about editing it, quoting parts, or ignoring its statement all together. I've decided to honour its message in its entirety. As I made my way deeper and deeper into this post, I was a sobbing mess. It struck so many familiar cords, that I reverted back to a time I was trying to pretend didn't exist. I reread my friends message over and over, letting his pain convey my own. Seeing his honesty...his vulnerability...his open wounds. They mimicked my own. They talked of the kind of open wounds that I realized were still there. I'd covered them up, but they haven't healed.
I then debated on posting a blog on this at all. I mean who cares, right? Who was even going to read it? And are those who did, going to judge it? Was it going to end up too long of a read for anyone to even make it this far, to the part you're now on? Will they even make it to my words? Then I realized I don't care. This blog has always been for myself. Somewhere along the way, I suppose I had forgotten that this blog started as a way to sort of cleanse my soul of all the emotions, feelings and destruction that was happening within my anxious being. And even though my soul is no longer anxious, I still find the writing aspect to be...healing. The timing was perfect. I started this blog one year ago, just before the Wild Fires...and here they are showing up in my "memories". And so here it is. My friends words broken down into what they meant to me. How his openness...changed my world. How his passion, has provided an outlet for me to continue to write. How perfectly imperfect his tribute became my own. I feel you, Darren. I cry for, and with you. And I'll continue to heal with you.
"Also I feel called to say what I have been avoiding for weeks and to honor the love and the man that said I was enough from the day he met me, took me in and loved me with all his might including my flaws and short comings, and only sought that i return. I was enough in his eyes and his heart, but not in my own."...this opening paragraph drew me completely in and held me. How someone else out there, that I actually knew, understood completely they struggle of "I am enough"...and believing it. Saying it is one thing, faking it til you make it...but truly seeing yourself as another sees you...that's downright impossible for me at times. Knowing my worth, on an intellectual level, is easy. I'm human, I'm alive...therefore I'm enough. Got it. Believing it? Much harder to accomplish. It's with grit and determination that I've allowed myself to accept what I said, what I did...can't be taken back. And it'll be that same grit and determination that will allow another human being to tell me once again, that I am enough in their eyes. And then begin telling myself that I am. I had that "love with all his might", and not only did I toss it aside, I made sure I crumpled it up and lit it on fire first. Being unable to accept that you are worthy of that "love with all his might"...is such a panicked and ugly place to be. Looking back at that place, makes me cringe. So...forward it is.
"We had NO clue what the next trip to Mexico would entail, how that attack became the catalyst and would under pin the slow and painful devolving of our once blissed out marriage. How we would pull back and guard and eventually see the other as the enemy. I am broken hearted today, and have been for several months as I see the man I adored moving further and further away from me. I did so many things I said I would not do, I pushed Hugo away and I placed conditions on my love and more damaging than that... I put conditions on his love for me.
I see the reel of flashbacks in my minds eye daily where I pulled away, pushed away, and rejected his love and support when I could have just said yes and leaned in. I rejected me, in rejecting him. I didn't know what to do or say, I craved the comfort you see in the image above, but knew not how to seek, ask for, or create it anymore. I often said the worst and did the worst things possible causing more heartache and worry, anger, and distance than I could ever have imagined. What I could not see in so many moments that I see now is that I was the one backing away. I was the one rejecting Hugo, and in essence.. My self. The distance between us kept growing and building resentment and anger along the way because let's face it it is way easier to be pissed off and righteous than be vulnerable and honest.".......ugh. Just read that again...the absolute devastation at the realization that as we push away the ones that love us the most...that accept our...Kariness...we damage and push away ourselves. We reflect our own inner turmoil onto the ones we so desperately want to keep around. Why do we do that? Why did Darren do that? Why did I do that? Though our traumas are different, it was ultimately dealing with those traumas that forced us to unwillingly explode onto those we who we thought could handle our moments of sheer...panic. Moments of doubt, fear, anger and...confusion. I often had no idea why. Why the hell am I acting this way, saying these things, hurting the person I love more than any human on the planet? Why? It took years of professional help to answer those whys. It took digging deep, and just trudging through the waste deep shit that had become my inner dialog from a lifelong pact with myself to just stuff those memories and feelings...oh, but those feelings and memories never stay stuffed do they? Not when a once in a lifetime love comes along. What a perfect time to explode all my chaos onto the person who truly loves me...for me. Good plan, Kari. Good plan. I know now that it wasn't on purpose. I mean none of us go into our days thinking, "yep, today I'm going to just F up my entire life"...no, it wasn't like that at all. It was more, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! *sigh* How did I get to this place?"
"I know it takes two to make a relationship work, and two to fight, and two to blah blah blah... But this post is not a t all about justification or blame. I write today because I need to take responsibility for all the times Hugo tried, and I said no. I also need to say I'm so deeply sorry to have en flicked the pain of rejection on another person, most of all the man that said I choose you Darren and you are enough. The man I chose and married."....I don't even think I'm ready to express how this recognition and apology struck me. Hurting someone who loves you...loves you so deeply...so..."all in". Devastating. Unforgivable. Shameful. These are the things I feel about the amount of hurt I placed on another human. On MY human. THE human...for me. The one who chose me back...that kind of guilt...takes a lifetime to get over.
"Please if you have a loved significant other grab them and hold them a little longer than usual tonight. Tell them how much you love them and how much they impact and improve your life. Even if they make you angry, or upset. Remember with your heart, not your mind how they make you feel."...Remember with your heart, not your mind...these were ultimately the words that are the lesson for me. For when you break the man you love the most, these are the words of wisdom that have got to be taken from it all. To never allow yourself to chip away at any other person that way again. To play this game of love with your heart, not your head. Because it's not a game. You don't always get to fold the board up nicely, and try to master it again tomorrow. It's not about strategies and how to win...it's about how to accept. And love them back. How to attack the traumas together, rather than treat them like the enemy. They were never the enemy. This was never a game.
"I know no one can take away the joy we shared and the amazing things we set out to accomplish and did, and my precious memories of happiness and comfort with him at my side... Those are locked in me for ever and thank god for that. AND no one can take away this intense pain of grief and loss when the man I love and want back so badly says "you went to far, and you cut too deep and I can't be with you any longer".
And the truth is.. I did...".....as did I. And the truth is although I am truly happy...truly moving forward...truly in a good place. A balanced place. A calmer place...it's because I've put these memories in a box. And I don't let them out. I don't look at them. Not in the presence of anyone else anyways. Because holding onto those memories has prevented me from allowing another to love me that way. And mostly I'm not ready for another love like that. I don't think I ever will be, truthfully. I know that my "Hugo", he was the One. And it wasn't perfect, and we both made mistakes...but it doesn't change the soul. The connection. I just have to live without that connection...I have to live with my own self now. Continue being strong on my own two feet. Find another. Become peaceful in the reality of my situation. I've allowed the pain to dull, and become manageable. And so, as always, forward...
"Love each other.. Do good in your world, hold tight teh dearest of loves you have availblr to do so, and more than all of that.... LOVE YOU!!
I am enough... My new/old mantra." This pretty well speaks for itself. Love you.
"Hugo Stoupe, Thank you for choosing me 5 years ago, you were and still are a BRAVE beautiful man. I'm sorry I have been so toxic and mean in the last few months and I truly hope this is not the end of my time with you. It will be different being on our own, but I still love you, I always will and I want to be in your corner once again should you feel that is right for you.
For those of you that know us both, LOVE US BOTH, and For those of you that only know me... LOVE US BOTH!!"....Keith Richardson, thank you for choosing me for 5 years. You are brave and beautiful. I'm sorry I was so toxic and mean. I know this is the end of my time with you. It's been different on my own, but I still love you. I always will. I'm still in your corner.
"Break ups are fucking hard, and trust me I have hurt us both enough to last a life time. It's time for Joy, and for LOVE.
Lastly, It is my Mom and Dad's 44th anniversary, a reality I will never experience, but I will reap the joy and the victory vicariously because I now truly understand the LOVE, tolerance, faith, sacrifice, patience, and shear grit and determination it takes to choose that same person day in day out, in teh face of all that life throws at you."....it was my grandparents anniversary at pretty well the exact same time. And interestingly enough, I had the same thoughts of "I'll never have that". But I do faithfully believe, that one day I will have a love again. Maybe not THE love...but I will find a true, honest love again. Because I am enough.
My PTSD from childhood came roaring into my life when I was 28. It was crazy. I felt like I was literally losing my mind, and I practically did at moments. I didn't have a single clue PTSD could be a result of childhood trauma to be honest. I knew it was very real for people who have been to war or badly tortured, but I don't think I was aware enough at the time to realize that's what was happening to me. I hadn't considered my own story to be traumatizing. I was just basically confused and angry, wandering around trying to help myself with no clue where to begin. Then I discovered this awesome counsellor that found the way to break it down for me in a way that made sense in my brain. She was very real with me and I appreciated that. She allowed my "light bulb" moment to happen.
It was such a loooong, grueling 4 years before I finally got a 95% handle on the anxiety this last summer. It took needing to lose everything that was ridiculously important to me, for me to start healing myself. To actually be selfish and take time to ride my horses and meditate until my mind believed I was worthy of the love and belonging I had been pushing away when PTSD slammed into me. To accept acceptance. Because horses and hippy stuff was what I needed to heal. Took me awhile to figure out that if horses and hippity dippity stuff were what reset my soul, I HAD to dedicate time to it, to heal and move on. I had to stop fighting the idea that my healing should look something like "just keep busy”, “get over it", "a couple counselling sessions and just relax is what you need" or my personal favourite the idea of "giving it time, and time will heal".
I think that time creates a space for growth. And growth heals. But you have got to allow yourself the time to grow. For me, that took Four. Freaking. Years. I had to completely lose my mind, lose everything to me, and then breathe.
I completely lost my mind because I met a boy, who I wanted to be with forever, and I knew that meant facing my past. I was finally doing the counselling and the courses and the self help crap "they" talk about. Let me tell you, that crap works. Truth! But what they don't stress enough is that it's going to be ass kicking, gut punched, teeth knocked out- kinda hard. It'll be a street fight, especially if you lack grace like myself. You'll suffer the loss of important people. But the right people will stick through all that losing the mind bit, to make it to the breathing part. When you have to spend a half a decade holding your breath, and just slugging your way through the emotions of pain, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and on and on. But you march on, and continue to improve until one day you realize you're breathing on your own again and that's when it's time to honour the soul and just DO what "healing" looks like to YOU.
That breathing, "finally through the mess part", just happened for me this summer and that's when I decided to take a victory vacation and just rode horses and practised hippity stuff for about 6 months. Now I'm ready to be back in the real world, and why I reopened the dog daycare. Because I can handle my shit now. I've come full circle back to what I used to love before my PTSD came crashing through the wall like the damn kool-aid man.
Anxiety and depression, PTSD and trauma...they're ass-holes. The whole lot of them. And they force you to shut down, or get tough. I feel like both happened to me. I shut down, and then got tough. I took responsibility for my emotions, and my life. And in the end, I also got happy. I got to start over. I absolutely wish I could start over with a certain few still in my life, but it is...what it is. I can't change those people. Nor can I take back what I said, did, or how I made them feel. I can only send out love and apologies, and then hope that they understand some day. It wasn't them. It was 100% me, battling a demon with any tools I could grab on my way down.
For me, the struggle was always with anxiety. Abandonment was what I would say "we" agreed was likely the core issue, as I felt betrayed and left behind by some key people pretty young in my life. I battled with this the most, followed by guilt. Extreme guilt about being a burden, created my becoming a burden. And I always, always felt guilty the most after I had hurt someone with my anxious malfunctions and angry flashes. It was a total loss of control. And it wasn't fun. Not even in like an, ok that felt kinda good to get that off my chest, kinda way. It hurt people's feelings, emotions and souls. Trust me, malfunction doesn't begin to describe it.
And so I believe now that anxiety controls what you allow it to control. And sometimes it is a bitch to get back on the road. Emotional distress, scares me. It scares me because it took over me. And now that I have myself back, my own control...I'm better able to have a normal relationship with a man. Able to retain relationships with close friends again. And there's a few I would not have made it through that storm without. Because they knew me before the storm. They saw through the garbage my storm was tossing around, and they believed in me. Who I was at my core. So, they held onto whatever stability they could, and rode out the chaos with me. Until I was me again.
Regrettably, I lost that man this all started for, to a forceful piece of debris I couldn't redirect. But I found myself. I found the person that I wanted to become, for him. Now it's for me.
And all I had to do was get serious with nature. All along, I just had to face the storm and learn how to take the tools and skills in front of me and shield myself from the storm until it passed, and then be able to calmly within myself know that I truly deserved the love and kindness shown by others. I just needed to pass that love and kindness on.
And with that, I decided that how I wanted to continue to serve others, was through the connection to animals and self. It's always been nature for me.
Here's my offer.
An anxiety and dogs, breathing and meditation, arts and crafts, let's get calm and creative type course. A "Do it for You" kinda day.
That's it, no catches. I want to donate my time as a trainer, and bring in my friend who is a yogi, to help us all catch a little zen.
This can only accommodate around 8 individuals. So please, please be patient if we can't get everyone in the first course. We really are excited to see how this course plays out, so we can see about moving forward with it in the future as a regular thing. Please call, email, message or drop in to sign up for this course or express interest. We will announce a date once we determine the interest level. Thank you all.
2016 has been that "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" kinda year.🚪(Bye, Felicia!) For not just me, but a lot of people. I lost tons more friends, finally got out of an emotionally abusive relationship, removed even family from my life, and struggled to make it "alone" without all these people🌌. BUT it was also the year I found myself, truly. The year I made new, flexible friends. Cut my anxiety down by about 1000 points. Don't ask me how many points there are total...all I know is I'm lighter. Freer. Happier. 🌄
I rode horses🐴 and hung out with dogs.🐶 All without the guilt and worry that I wasn't doing what I was "supposed" to be doing.🤖 I became ok with the fact that I don't miss kids, oil workers and being told who I was, wasn't good enough. Then being lured back in with fading words of a soul who was too afraid to be alone to just let me go. I'm talking about more than just a spouse, there were many of these hearts trying to "help", in all the wrong ways, for me. They didn't understand my soul is not their soul.🔮 And that's ok. Sometimes it's ok to just not understand each other.
I finally reported my abuser to the authorities,🚔 so they could do, or not do, what they felt was right. And lifted the responsibility and anger from my own shoulders. I started to move past this trauma, at my own damn pace instead of being rushed by those who just wanted me to "get over it".😒 This is my life, not theirs. I heal on my own terms, not yours.
As I look back I realize this year has been about tearing down, and rebuilding.🛠 Fixing what needed fixing. It was about plans and schedules and routines.📋 Creating better habits. Releasing my terrible reactions, and gaining control of my emotions.✌🏼️ Which was needed.
But this year, I'm going to give myself a break. I'm gonna wing it.🎉 I'm gonna stop trying to fix, and just accept. Stop trying to be normal and find the weird and wonderful.🦄 The ones who really are completely themselves. I'm tired of those who talk the talk, but never walk the walk. So if you see me walking out, it's likely because I've decided to take my own advice, and stop talking.🤐🚶
I continue to wish you all love,💜 light,✨ happiness,😃 and as always, a second round of love💞...as you navigate your own lives, in your own beautiful way. Don't ever let anyone tell you the grass is greener,🌱 cause I promise you the flowers off the path...they're blue and yellow and purple and green.💐 And they accept you, just as you are.
To a blessed 2017 💫
Do what ya gotta do-Garth Brooks
I heard this song almost a year ago, randomly on the radio after many years, and it inspired this entire blog. Now, with Garth coming back, and scoring tickets to the show...I'm finally brave enough to post the blog that has been rustling within me for a very long time...I wrote it a year ago.
"Feelings buried alive, never die."
All this talk over the years about "don't care what other people think! Be yourself!" has been a lie. At least that's what I'm being told these days. Instead I'm being told to stuff it, shut up. And most importantly keep it off social media.
It took me a few days to figure out why. It wasn't because "Facebook was an inappropriate place" to discuss my sexual violations, it was because they were embarrassed that what happened to me as a kid, under their roof, might reflect poorly on them as family. Or that someone might assume as to "who it was". The truth?
My step brother sexually violated me as a kid. There was some heated comments about word usage here.
So here's the definitions for clarifications sake (and I assure you both are accurate definitions in my case):
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person's consent.
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or (often pejoratively) molester.
And I don't believe he's stopped for a second.
So, about three years ago I finally got the courage to tell the family and "out" him as the pedophile I believed him to still be.
Again, the definition for clarification is:
Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.
Psychiatric. That means they don't get better without help. They don't just stop.
So I confronted my step "brother" and his reaction was to turtle. I gave him the option of seeking help, with the family's support, or I would begin writing letters. He chose the latter. So I began writing letters to his school (yes he's a teacher) and to the local police services. All were very thankful for the information, as they would have a nice red flag if anyone else came forward about him. I also began to hear stories of at least a half dozen more he did this to, including into his adult years.
The family was initially very supportive of me. One counselling session (which the whole family except one attended) was seen as good enough. Time to sweep this under the rug. With the exceptions of my grandparents (may the universe bless them) and my biological brother, everyone else continued to have a relationship with the perpetrator without his seeking intense therapy for his disorder.
This leads us to the place where I wanted to share my trauma by expressing that I had been a victim of sexual violations also, in a random Facebook post. All hell broke loose.
How dare I? Facebook was not the place! How could I reach out to others in such a public fashion? What nerve I had to share my story. Sounds kinda stupid when you put it that way doesn't it?
In the end, I chose to take the post down with the notion that if I deleted my personal story, they must delete him from their lives until he got help. Not forever, but until he got serious, intense help.
I didn't get supported. Instead, I basically got outted from the family. I tried to tell them to get real. This was the decision? That because of a few personal words I put on Facebook I was out? But they would continue to have a relationship with a molester? It still doesn't make sense in my head. In essence, I was told to just be quiet about it. Move on.
That's victim shaming at it's finest.
Victim shaming definition:
There isn't one. So I made mine up. When people shame people who are the victims of a crime, into silence in public forums because of how others might perceive their story.
This is how I'm moving on. Thank you to the dozens of people who sent messages of "me too". And the one person, because of my story, who had the courage to face their own family member. You're all brave and worthy. Your stories are allowed to be heard for as long as you need to heal. And to connect to others because of it. Don't you dare stay silent for the sake of a few. You may help hundreds.
My family are not bad people. They are just hurt, embarrassed and unsure how to cope themselves. I love them, but for my mental health, this is important too. I know that with this story I may lose more family, maybe some friends. But if blood is thicker than water, LOVE is thicker than blood. And those who stand beside me are the warriors I want in my corner anyways.
May you all find peace and love in whatever your struggle is.
Looking for results with your dog?
I've shared versions of this before, and I feel like it's important to continue to do so. Until we stop putting ourselves on top of the food chain, we will never become apart of nature. I'm not suggesting that we all become vegans and dance wildly in the trees. The dancing part does sound pretty fun though! What I am suggesting, however, is that we could all benefit from placing ego on the sidelines and making an effort to say more things like: "I'm sorry" "I miss you" "I love you" "I was wrong" "how can I fix it".
I've had to do a lot of this in the recent past. So many times I was quick to anger because my ego told me that my early experiences were being played out in my current experience. I wasn't able to see beyond the habits and encounters that created my current mindset. I was misplacing the effects of a completely different time and place, on the present moment. This caused me to lash out in fear, frustration and what I now know was also confusion. My instincts knew that it wasn't right, but I couldn't stop it. I was watching myself lose control, but my brain was in panic mode and self preservation was all that mattered. Ego was all that mattered.
I also held onto grudges like they were my last bit of control over someone whom I had no right to even be considering as responsible for any part of my happiness. I was solely responsible for my own happiness, and I just had to get moving on ways to beat my brain at its own game. So I did. I buckled down and I fought like my life depended on it. Because it did. And I began to forgive.
I forgave my "enemies". I forgave my "friends". But most importantly, I forgave my past. I forgave those whom I had blamed and begrudged for all those years. Years of telling myself I wasn't good enough, and years of hiding behind the pain that those moments brought me. I released my burden of self criticism and fully embraced the wild calling in my soul to start living how I alone saw fit. No one was going to judge me on my day's end except my own regrets and should haves.
I started to find ways that I might be able to help others, who felt like I did. These "ways" are not big, grand endeavours that touch the whole, wide world...No. They are small acts. Words of advice. Dog courses. They are displays of service within my own small world.
I think that's where it starts. In our backyards and communities. Trying to make a difference and be a good person to those around us. Maybe inspiring them to do the same. Because trying to change the whole world is a daunting task when looked at from our tiny place on this planet. So starting small, we start to see the ripple effects of one small act of kindness. One word of comfort given in a time of grief or sadness. A door, hand or trust held within a moment of need. Telling someone "look at you go, you're doing a great job". Or "I see your struggle, I feel your pain...but you got this". Reminding others they are not alone. We have their back. When we perform these things for others, we also give back to ourselves tenfold.
I didn't come up with these concepts. They've always been there, it just took awhile for me to see them. I meditated, drew cards, worked with crystals, sought out the wisdom of counsellors and therapists. And I surrounded myself with soul sisters. Other deeply grounded individuals who were not afraid to admit the mistakes of being human, find truths in a corrupt society, and who let go of ego.
All of this ultimately made me a better human, but also a better dog handler. Because all of this, also applies to your relationship with your dog. Letting go of ego, and embracing the pure, unfiltered spirit of nature will foster a bond that you never thought possible. Putting frustration and anger in its place will force you to replace those emotions with patience and compassion. Looking at the whole picture generates a new perspective of where your dog is coming from, and in what areas you need to work on first. Maybe taking two steps back, creates the foundation you needed to fix the initial issue. But what will happen for sure by putting ego on a back burner and relying instead on integrity and tolerance, is it will build trust and harmony. Which ultimately leads to results.
Which is what the ego wanted in the first place.
Most of you know why it's Bosco here...never give up!
I've always loved Halloween the most of all the holidays. I suppose it's because I could be anyone, or anything I wanted for but a moment in time. For someone who used to always look for belonging and acceptance, Halloween provided a time to do just that. We were all freaks and weirdos on this day.
This Halloween was a bit different.
I messed up. Bad. I messed up so badly that I cost my boss and his family $15,000. I put a cow's milk into the tank that was supposed to be separated, and that caused a fine of $15,000 for a first time offence. First time in 15 years of milking. Ouch. I can't even begin to explain how sick this made me feel. When I mess up in my own business with dogs, I have no one to answer to but myself. I think you can imagine the amount of "oh my gawds" and "how did I miss thats" that went through my head. But all that didn't matter, because it happened and there were consequences.
Now, that being said, I still have my job. I believe that personally this is because of three things:
1. I was honest in admitting I forgot about the second of two cows that needed separating.
2. I didn't shrug it off. I was extremely apologetic and knew exactly how big of a mistake this was.
3. I was it. The training was put in, and there was no one else readily available for the job.
Boy, am I grateful for number three. More than grateful for number three, I'm grateful for such kind, understanding and rational people to be employed under. I've learned SO much about how to treat others from this family. Were they choked? Yes. Were they likely a little angry? Absolutely. But they are also forgiving, graceful and humbling to be around.
This job has taught me many lessons on patience, hard work and commitment. But today, it taught me the biggest lesson in life: love. Whether or not my boss realizes this, what he displayed was a big, fat display of love. He's shown an enormous amount of love by handling the situation with stoicism and mercy. In fact, after a long shift of making sure I did everything EXACTLY right, he handed me a bag of candy, and cheerfully exclaimed, Happy Halloween!
This is the kind of person I am working towards becoming. One who looks past the details of a situation, and looks at the big picture. Who can see the forest for the trees. Someone who doesn't get caught up in emotions, and can come to a rational discussion before addressing an issue.
This job has taught me much more than how to a milk a cow. It's taught me how to be a better human being.
The Universe never fails. Please know this. It never fails.
Following the separation from my significant other and having to face the world alone, it was becoming harder and harder to remember why I do what I do. I had to get a second job, milking cows, and I was desperately afraid that my dream job of working with dogs was going to fall out of my grasp. Working dogs became a sad time for me as I struggled to stay on top of the canine world. Instead of being grateful while I was on the field, I was constantly worrying about it slipping away from me at any moment. I even came to a place where I was thinking about throwing in the proverbial towel and getting a "real" job. That was, after all, what I had been told to do for years by those who didn't get that dogs were real to me. I felt them in every bone in my body.
Then, CTV called. They wanted to do a segment on me. They wanted to feature my dogs, my hard work. My passion. Message received, Universe.
They say that when you stray from your path, you will always find a way back. I can tell you with the utmost certainty, this is true. The divine energy out there knows exactly what it is that your soul longs for. It knows your destiny, and it has no qualms about shoving you right back onto the track that leads you back to a passion that has been the centre of your being for eons. You will continue to trip, if you don't heed her calling.
The day of my interview with this tv station, I went to my secondary job and was overcome with all sorts of emotions. I literally could not keep it together. I cried and cried while cleaning stalls and sorting dairy cows. Finally, my boss sent me home, reassuring me that these days happen and that it was more important to face the music, than tune it out.
I had worked so hard over the last few years to pick myself up off the ground, from my destruction, and gain control over my emotions and my reactions.
So I drug myself out of the barn, distraught and confused. How had such a great moment, become such a devastating place to end up emotionally? Well, I dissected it to the point of damn near boring my Mother to death. But I get it now. I had answered some questions for "society's sake" instead of for the truth in my soul. Which I'm ok with. It needed to stay light, and showcase my abilities instead of my tragedy. And I realized that a lot of those overwhelming feelings inside that barn came from a place of deep gratitude, versus a feeling of failure. I had convinced myself that a second job meant failure. That I wasn't good enough for my talents to carry me through life. Instead, I became deeply thankful for the opportunity to work for such amazing neighbours. This second job, it gives me the ability to financially keep my lifestyle, while still being able to pursue and maintain my passion for working with dogs. It's not a failure, it's a blessing. And past that blessing, it's an opportunity to learn how to handle employees with dignity, respect and compassion. Things I've been shown multiple times already in the short time of my employment with Van Der Gun Dairy. They are the epitome of working your tail off, sticking to your guns and having all that you dreamed of. If you're brave enough.
So I hope to continue learning lessons of kindness, hard work and commitment through not only the dairy world, but also from facing that music. And rocking out to the harmony of my soul. The calling...the mournful yet beautiful call of the wild...the howl in the wind, of the wild canines of this world. Dogs. Always dogs.
Days like today I feel defeated. Worn out. Like everything I worked so hard for, is at the end of its rope. I could lose it at anytime.
We've been told to look for the positive. But it's so hard when life has conditioned us to prepare for the worst. And everywhere I look, it's the negative that's getting attention.
Montreal. Southern Politics. Our politics for that matter. Climate crisis' all over the world.
When are we going to start covering the positive? Why do we have to search into the news ourselves to find the good?
Maybe then it would be easier to stay enlightened and upward looking. So it's days like today that I try to dig deep into my tool box from all the courses and counselling that's I've taken, and remind myself of what is truly important in life. What really, deeply matter to me. Because that's all we have in this life. Ourselves, and our thoughts. It's what makes us human. Our thoughts. And the idea that at the end of the day, we are alone.
The animals don't think this way. They survive only on instinct and pack mentalities. They don't question who their best friend is, and they rarely lose family members. They don't worry about fitting into society, and they don't ever intentionally hurt another's feelings. They simply accept the situation for exactly what it is. They live based around their set of circumstances. They need one another, so "arguments" are quick and never out of spite or ego.
See that's why I want to come back as a raven. Or a wolf. Something spiritually higher than we humans are. My dream has always been to live simply, surrounded by loves ones. But I've been plagued all my life by needless emotions and feelings. For some reason, I seem to experience them more intensely. And react often out of confusion and fear, rather than of pure acceptance and love. My brain kicks in before I have a chance to react from a survival, and best for the pack mentality. And instead, I find myself protecting my own feelings, at whatever cost. A huge cost actually. My friends. My family. My sanity. Saving myself becomes all that matters in the moment.
There's been a large shift in my life. I've had to learn how to make it out there on my own, both emotionally and financially. And what I've come to discover, is that the "only ourselves" conversation, is a lie. We may not need them, but we want others. We convince ourselves we don't, to save our hearts the pain. We tell ourselves that in the end, only we matter. But the truth is, we all matter. And I need to start finding a better way to communicate those feelings.
I've spent the better part of a year alone. Working on myself. Loving myself. I'm lonely now. And I want a family. Maybe that's a family of two, maybe it's a family of five. All I know, is I am ready to incorporate others into my life, and not destroy them this time. I'm ready to stop lying to myself, and admit that I want others. I still maintain we don't need others, but I want them. I want to come home to just that-a home. Not an empty house that I pay taxes on the empty rooms. I want those rooms to be filled with laughter and love. I want disagreements to be present, because it reminds me that I'm not alone. And that that person has feelings, thoughts and emotions all of their own. And that those things are all good. Because it means we are loved back. I want to smile at the frustration, seeing that it means we don't have to struggle alone. I want to laugh at the little things we once thought were big things. And I want to engage in a real, honest relationship.
Screw being alone. I've been there, done it, rocked it. Time to find the connection that blows my mind and changes my world. I'm here. I'm ready. Let's get this done.
Was chatting with a friend and we got to talking about the effects we allow others to have on us. Because that's it, isn't it? People can't bother us, unless we let them. So how do we let them bother us? We figured it was by how much access we allow them in our lives.
The analogy was that our lives were like a series of circles around a core, getting bigger on the outside as we extended our group of those we associated with. This analogy has been around for forever, pertaining to a number of topics and looks like this:
Those we keep in our inner circle are the ones we trust the most. The ones we talk to most often, and whom we share our most intimate moments and thoughts with. They're also the ones who can hurt us the most, but we believe won't. The middle circles are our friends and acquaintances that we still hang out with, chat with...but we maybe don't divulge anything we consider that serious and personal. And as we reach the outer circles, these are the people we just know on the fly. Maybe Facebook friends we've never met, or old friends from whom we've grown away from. Some of them are also people who we once did trust, including family, that we now keep on the farthest reaches of our lives. At an arms length, so to speak.
So when they do or say something that offends, frightens or angers us, they create a ripple in our lives. Those closest to us, create the most waves and we feel the effects of their ripples most strongly because they are close enough that we get splashed onto. But those on the outer limits, have a far less impact. By the time their ripples reach us, it may be enough to rock the boat, but rarely will it tip us over. We can usually sail right through these waves and not give it much thought.
All my life, until recently, I kept everyone on the outer circles. That way, nothing could get to me. But, as I started to find like-minded people, I began to allow people into the closer circles. This created chaos. I wasn't mentally or emotionally strong enough, so handle their waves. They tossed me over board, every single time.
I would react so strongly, that my waves affected everyone around me, even those who kept me on their outer edges.
So I started to help myself. I took course after course. Saw counsellor after counsellor. And slowly, it began to settle. I lost a lot of people overboard along the way, but I kept a couple experts who rode the hell outta the waves like a champion surfer. And I began to find a balance of where to keep people in my life, and how to react...better. Less monsoon like. Less tidal wavey.
This balance has brought around a sense of peace. I'm still working on things, and I know it'll be a work in progress for likely my lifetime, but I'm here. Finding a calm amidst the storm.