Call for help! Your story matters…

So I’m super excited right now because I started a new course last week, and while it’s only 8 weeks long, it feels like it’s going to be eight short weeks that change the course of my life forever – heavy stuff right?! The very first self-help book I read after my divorce was called “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by best-selling author Jen Sincero, and it revolutionized my mindset during this very challenging time. It’s funny, and inspiring, and uplifting and real and I LOVED it! I loved it so much in fact that I listened to it again this summer, and decided I wanted to see if Jen was doing any speaking engagements nearby that I could attend. Instead, I found an 8 week course she was offering and decided to take a leap of faith and sign up for it!

So here I am, in week 2 of this course and I KNOW this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life right now. It’s about goal-setting, making your dreams come true and reaching your ONE BIG BADASS GOAL! What’s my goal you ask? To make this blog a place that men and women struggling through challenging break ups can come for inspiration, realness and relief from the pain they’re feeling. Oh, and to write a book too…nbd right?!

So as I manifest these badass goals into reality, I need YOUR help! I want to hear your break up stories…the good, the bad, the ugly and the unbelievable. I want to hear it all, and I want to share it here and in my book when it’s published, so that together we can use our experiences to help others! You can remain anonymous, or you can shout your name and story from the rooftops of the internet – either way, I want to know what you did, how you did it, and how you’re feeling now! Sound like something that you want to do (or that could be super cathartic to do?!)?! Please email me at operationpassion@hotmail.com and I’ll connect with you to interview you via Skype, telephone or in person! You won’t need to write anything yourself (I promise!!), I just need you to tell me your story, and I’ll spin your tale on paper (with your final approval of course!). If you know me personally via Facebook or Instagram, just comment on the post or PM me and we’ll go from there!

I cannot WAIT to start on this project with all you brave, brokenhearted, rise-from-the-ashes amazing humans! Please don’t be shy, I can tell you from experience that telling your story is one of the best ways to heal your soul ❤ XO

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Blinded by judgment…

So I had a disagreement with a friend today, and it’s left me feeling really unsettled. Not only did I feel hurt by the argument, but I know she did as well and that’s just never good on a gloomy, rainy Monday 😦

In short, I felt like she’d changed our plans for a guy (which was a reason I didn’t agree with), and she felt like I wasn’t being honest about why the choice was bothering me (and that perhaps I’d have done the same thing in her situation). I decided I needed to do some reflecting, and get to the bottom of what was REALLY bothering me about the situation (and then write about it of course).

I have spent A LOT of time in past relationships making choices out of fear and changing myself (not for the better I might add). I would choose my partner before friends (every. single. time), and have hurt a lot of people in my life in the process. As recently as my relationship with my ex-husband, I had such serious trust issues (not going to say ‘I told you so’ to myself on this one or anything, buuuuuut lol) that I would more often than not say no to plans with friends because I didn’t want to be away from him. What kind of trouble would he get into if I wasn’t there? Would he meet someone else? Would he go out with his friends and cheat on me? Would he really (REALLY) like his alone time and decide he didn’t want to be with me anymore? These are questions I have literally asked myself 1 million times since my first serious relationship started when I was 14, but guess what? In spite of my best efforts to keep my three (serious) boyfriends/fiances/husbands by my side at all times so they wouldn’t cheat – they all did. Yes, you read that right…THEY ALL DID.

I will delve more into that trifecta of awfulness at a later date, but for now I will just say that one thing I’ve decided definitively is that I will not let myself be in another relationship where I let insecurity take hold of me. I will not need to be attached to my partner’s hip, in fact I will relish in the time I can spend alone, enjoying my (newfound) passions, spending time with my family, enjoying my friends, and just generally loving my kick ass life. I won’t kid myself though, I know how easy it is to slip into old habits, I saw it happening with Ghost Guy earlier this year, so I think there’s a lot of fear surrounding this past pattern for me in future relationships. How will I be able to move forward and find a partner that complements my life, and not rely on someone to complete it? The answer is truly that I just have to do it, easy as that! Breaking old habits can be hard as hell, but living the same relationship over and over and over again is WAY WAY WAY harder!  And maddening…seriously maddening. So yeah, my number one priority when I meet someone new – stay true to me.

So this takes me back to my Monday morning argument with my friend. I think I reacted so viscerally to hearing she wanted to change our plans, because it brought so much fear to the surface for me. As irrational as it may seem, it made me feel like this was something I could do (again) in the future and it scared me! In fact, it scared me so much that I judged her, and I shamed her (unintentionally) and I had no right to do any of that (don’t worry, lots of apologies have been exchanged!). I believe the lessons I’m taking away from this  whole debacle are that a) I need to be aware of how my own reactions can be fueled by fear and emotion; and b) that I need to have confidence in my resolve to have a different kind of relationship with any future partners. I KNOW I can trust myself, I truly love myself for the first time I can remember, and I need to continue to have faith in who I am and what I want.  Oh, and to remember that the Universe has my back and will only keep sending the same lesson until I receive and learn from it ❤ XO

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holy s#*t, I’m 35…

Sometimes, I think about where my Mom was when she was 35 and think, what the heck happened to me lol?! She was 11 years married, had an 10 and 7 year old, and was living the life we’re all told we want when we’re growing up. And the thing is, that IS a good life for a lot of people! I have LOADS of friends who are happily married, love being parents, and love the careers they have. But I’ve worked really hard over the past two years to let go of what I think being in my mid-30s *should* look like, and to embrace what I *want* it to look like (for me).

I live on my own, I have two cats (that I “got” custody of in my divorce), I have a few jobs I’m pretty darn good at, I’ve discovered tons of passions that keep my cup overflowing, I have an incredibly supportive and loving family, I have the BEST FRIENDS EVER, I do pretty much whatever I want on any given day, I travel like a boss and I party like one too – and I’m freaking 35!!!! If someone had told me 10 years ago that this is what my life would look like today I honestly would’ve laughed at them, and then maybe slapped them and started crying lol. Because I wanted what my Mom had, what I thought I *should* have when I was here…but you know what, I know now that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and I fucking love it.

I think that’s the biggest gift my failed marriage has given me – the hindsight to realize that I was choosing SO many things in my late 20s out of fear…fear that I’d never be married, fear that I’d never have kids, fear that I had to hold onto a partner and relationship that didn’t fulfill me or I’d never have the above, fear that I’d always be alone, fear that making bold and brave decisions would uproot my life detrimentally. Of course hindsight is 20/20 so it’s easy to say all this now, but that’s where the gratitude lies because you know what?! I made all sorts of choices out of fear, and it still didn’t work out – crazy, right?! It really just solidifies to me that what we need to be doing is making decisions from a place of hope, love and excitement. When I choose something now, I first ask myself if the idea of it sets my soul on fire, and if the answer is YES, then I do it! If the answer is no, I move on and keep searching for those soul-awakening, heart-bursting, butterflies-in-your-stomach opportunities to say yes to – cause they’re out there waiting to be found!

So as I come upon this very big birthday, I have gratitude for all that is good in my life, and all that isn’t quite as I want it to be as well. It’s truly the imperfect in our lives that teaches us just how badly we need to create our own kind of perfect, and it forces us to get outside our comfort zones and find it. Keep searching and creating my friends, and be bold and brave and unapologetic about it! To paraphrase the incredible Joseph Campbell, the treasure you seek is out there waiting for you to find it, but you just have to fight through the fear first ❤ XO

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get up, stand up…

So, it’s been a crazy week that was preceded by a hectic few months as co-chair of this year’s Burlington/Oakville Walk of Hope with my bff Ange. I don’t think I ever could have imagined the scope of putting together a national charity event like this, but I’ll tell you one thing – I can now lol!!

Our local walk was on Sunday, and it was the most gorgeous day you could imagine to be outside. Bluest of blue skies, white fluffy clouds and the kind of weather that’s not too hot, and not too cold – it was perfect. We had over 300 participants come out and #walkforher, and another 70 friends, family and loved ones who came to donate their time and energy as volunteers. I personally had friends from high school, current work, past work, cousins, my parents and sister and people from so many avenues of my life out helping that there were times I just kind of stood back and thought “wow, am I so lucky or what?!”. What a blessing to call on people for help and have SO MANY of them show up to support you, and an amazing cause. Did I mention our walk location raised almost $131,000 in support of ovarian cancer research?! What an amazing feat.

Sunday was not only the 15th anniversary of our Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, but it was also the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As most people do, I remember exactly where I was that morning, and couldn’t help but reflect on that while I was at the Walk. While there have been great strides taken in the world to protect innocent people from ever suffering through attacks like this again, the world’s problems seem to have gotten so much deeper, darker and scarier over the past 15 years. We have the world’s most influential country in the middle of an election with an inexperienced sociopath as one of their presidential candidates, more shootings in a day than I can keep track of, and a global landscape that seems filled with so much hate, racism, sexism, sadness and despair that sometimes it’s hard to believe that there will ever be change. Or at least that’s one way to look at it.

We always have a choice to see the good or the bad in things. The scary or the promising, the dark or the light, the despair or the hope. Sometimes all it takes is a look around at those closest to us to see that one person CAN make a difference, and that became so clear to me this weekend as I saw so many people in my life stepping up to help bring awareness to a cause that may not even have even resonated with them personally at the time they said ‘yes’. Doing good feels good, and the only way to make any kind of change is to DO IT. Just start somewhere, with something you care about and do it. It can be political, health related, a women’s cause, an international dilemma – anything. Trust me, you will thank yourself for it one day, you will change the lives of people you may not even know, and you will meet amazing people in the process. There is so, so much good out there to be found, we just have to embark on the journey to find it.

Do good, be good, find good. Never stop looking for it, and it will be there waiting for you. It will change your life exponentially, I promise. XO

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I love love…

So firstly, thank you SO much for the overwhelming support you’ve all give me since I went “public” with my blog! The messages of encouragement and support have been exceptionally heart-warming, and I know that I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people – so grateful!

The end of summer is always a time for reflection and for loss in a way for me. I always feel like a new season brings a fresh start, and with the end of summer around the corner, I feel more ready than ever for Autumn and what its got in store for me. Having said that, Summer has always been a time when I thrive and flourish, and so there’s almost an inherent sadness that comes with the end of the warm, sunny months filled with travel, friends, outdoor activities, and just general awesomeness.

Luckily I’ve been fortunate enough to have an absolutely incredible summer send off with an epic kind of Labour Day weekend! That’s where the title of this blog post comes from…I got to share in my cousin’s beautiful wedding day on Saturday and had such a kick ass, love-filled time. It’s really interesting (and exciting) to be at a wedding, and actually be happy for the couple getting married. I know that sounds terrible, but after the separation from my ex-husband, I had a really difficult time being at weddings, and believing in the idea of forever. It was almost like witnessing people taking vows to be together forever, and to love each other through thick and thin, made me feel like a failure for not being able to keep my marriage together.

I don’t know what I was expecting this weekend, but I was so relieved that from the very start of the ceremony (which was an awesome departure from the ordinary with the officiant replacing traditional vows with the story of how the couple met, a live band that rocked the night away with the bride and groom making guest appearances on stage, and an amazing menu of vegan and gluten-free options) I was filled with complete joy for my cousin and his new bride. They are so happy together, have created such a beautiful partnership and are just so filled with HOPE for the future. That hope permeated throughout the auditorium, and at one point a guy grabbed me and started dancing with me and looked me right in the eye and said “I love love”…and I thought (and said) “I love love too”!!

This was a particularly exciting revelation for me, because for the first time in a long time, I’m actually open to love, and thinking about what it’ll mean to fall in love again. And get this – I’m EXCITED about it! I’m not in a rush or anything, no timelines over here, but I’m ready if it happens. Most importantly though, I’m in a place where I know I will always love and honour myself first, and make sure any future partner complements my life, instead of becoming my reason for being.

I can thank this blog in large part for that, because it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone, helped me uncover my soul’s passions, and made me focus my energy on becoming a better person through my divorce, instead of dwelling on things that were always out of my control. So Universe, take note of what I’m saying here 😉 Til next time, keep loving and laughing! XO

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