Getting myself into the kitchen…

So I’ve really been enjoying my quest to find all kinds of things I’m passionate about over the past year and a half! Throughout this journey, I’ve really tried to incorporate activities that are not only super fun, and where I can meet new people, but also where I can learn or develop some kind of life skill. I had mentioned in a previous post “Synchronicity for the Win” that I had taken some private cooking classes with my amazing friend Allie (check her services out here, she’s a life-changer!), but I haven’t written about how I’ve been keeping my kitchen skills primed by taking tons of amazing group cooking classes with her over the past few months!

There are so many things I love about what I’ve been learning in the kitchen! Allie focus on plant-based nutrition, which just happens to be one of the best ways for someone with an auto-immune disease to eat. I think the idea of not eating meat really freaks people out, but it’s truly incredible to see some of the dishes that come out of the kitchen in class, because they taste 100 times better then simply chowing down on a steak and baked potato! We’ve made cold rolls, pho soup, spring rolls, cauliflower pakoras, buckwheat pancakes, Buddha bowls, chia pudding, smoothie bowls, homemade granola, falafels, almond hummus, and the list goes on and on! I’m not even kidding you guys, I feel like I’ve been eating like a queen for the past three months, and it’s got me so excited to keep cooking up a storm! The best part!? Cooking for one has never been something I’m great at, so doing these classes has taught me how to work a Sunday night meal prep and have lunches and dinners all week long…yesssssssssss!!!!

So this past weekend I did a vegan Indian cooking class with Allie and 5 other eager chefs-in-training, and while I was there it dawned on me just how much taking these classes has improved my life. And of course, I had to write about it! My health has improved significantly because of taking the time to prepare proper meals, and eliminate meat at home (I’m not going to lie, I’m still guilty of eating a little bacon or chicken when I’m out at a restaurant or eating at my parents’ place!), and my pain is so much more manageable because I’m paying attention to what’s going into my body and I’m making conscious choices about food for (probably) the first time in my life.  I’ve also met SO many incredible new friends from all different walks of life, and that’s helped me expand my community of local like-minded people – like I said, it’s been a TOTAL game changer 🙂

Food is truly one of the easiest ways (in my opinion) to manage many diseases and ailments, and the fact that I can remain medication-free but still feel one million percent better than I did just 2 short years ago, really is a testament to that! I would totally recommend finding a fun class like the ones Allie runs, and getting out of your comfort zone (food or otherwise!) to try something fun, and interesting, and new! You really never know when a small decision will change your life forever ❤ XO

Don’t take your tomorrow for granted…

On January 17, 2004 I got a phone call that would change my life forever. I had just gotten back to my parents’ place after a trip to Walmart with my sister where we had picked up some Valentine’s Day goodies for our fellas, and the board game Clue. We immediately cracked open our new (old) game, and headed up to my bedroom to settle in for an epic battle between Mr. Green, Professor Plum and Mrs. White (all the usual suspects). It was then that my phone rang. On the other end, all I could make out at first were guttural sounds, what sounded like an animal, or maybe…was it a human? It was, it was my fiance (at the time) calling to give me the most devastating news I would ever receive by telephone. Two of my friends had just been killed in a car accident.

I remember trying to breath, I remember staring at my sister and hyperventilating while I tried to regurgitate the most horrible words I had ever heard. I remember her starting to panic because I couldn’t get the words out and she didn’t know what was wrong. I remember her screaming for my parents to come help…I remember so much of that night, so vividly, it’s crazy. I still remember it with more clarity than I can remember what I wore yesterday – seriously. It’s amazing how our brains can hold onto the memory of trauma and at the same time, erase the memory of the pain that accompanies it. I suppose it’s how we protect ourselves from remembering just how very painful it is to have your heart ripped out of your body.

We never know what our tomorrow will look like. We all woke up that morning with very few cares in the world, and could never have guessed what the next 24 hours would bring. My friends left band practice that evening to head home for a rest (we had thrown a HUGE birthday party for one of them and my fiance just the night before), and we had plans to head out to a movie together later that night. Then there was an accident, a horrible, tragic accident, one that could happen to anyone at anytime. And with it, everything changed forever.

I write this post today to honour my friends who lost their lives thirteen years ago, at the tender age of 24. I also write it to remind myself how important it is to wake up each day and live life to the very fullest. To have fun, to love hard, to make mistakes, to go on adventures, to say what you’re thinking, to try something new, to get mad, to be sad, to do anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, because there will always be someone who has lost their chance to do those very things. The friends I lost were amazing. They LIVED. They LOVED. They were awesome guys, and I still miss them terribly. But as someone who is still here, still blessed with the opportunity to live a BIG life, I owe it to them to make sure I do just that – LIVE BIG. So much love and thanks to my favourite guardian angels – hope you are enjoying the big party in the sky ❤ XO

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So that just happened…

Well ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard me talk about it for a few months now but tonight was the night…the stars aligned, the universe smiled down upon me, and I got to live out one of my dreams – I WAS A DANCE TEACHER!! I can’t even tell you how I feel right now…happy, satisfied, proud, amazed, but mostly just super emotional because I did something tonight that would’ve been nothing more than a pipe dream just a handful of years ago, and that is HUGE.

Most of you know from reading my blog that I suffer from psoriatic arthritis, which is an auto-immune disease that causes me chronic joint pain throughout my body. I have good days and great days (okay, and some bad days too!!), but there were days as recently as 2.5 years ago when I couldn’t even get out of bed from the pain. When I couldn’t dress myself, or even stay awake during the day because I had been up all night suffering, and so to do something like I did tonight – dance 15 different routines to 15 different songs over the course of an hour, is literally astounding to me. To think that my body can heal, and recover and grow and flourish and DO AMAZING THINGS, is an absolute blessing and a testament to how strong and resilient we all are as human beings. I feel so, so, so grateful right now.

I will admit that things did not go perfectly tonight (and that is VERY hard for a Virgo, I tell you lol!!); there were some hiccups!! My phone started ringing in the middle of a song (while being connected to the amp I might add), I forgot a few steps during one song and got a little bit flustered, and during the cool down my playlist randomly swapped out Anna Nalick’s ‘Just Breathe’ for the heavy hitting Latin song ‘Gasolina’ – not really a great choice to slow things down lol! But none of these small mishaps mattered at all, because there was just an overwhelming amount of JOY and LOVE in the room tonight! From the amazing souls who came to dance with me, from my friends who came to support me, from myself, from the studio owner (Soul Sessions – check it out, you NEED to go!!)  Alicia who did the full hour class with us, it was just truly the most perfect experience.

Tonight was honestly magic, and I can’t wait for that magic to continue as I teach more classes this week, and hopefully in the very near future as well! When something brings you this much happiness, and the hours and hours you dedicate to passionately training and practicing (thank you Allie!!!!) don’t seem like work AT ALL, you know you’ve found something that feeds your soul. In my wildest dreams I could never have believed that I’d be able to stand in front of a group of women and teach a dance class, but here I am doing it! So yeah, when your BIG CRAZY AMAZING DREAMS seem like mere specks in the distance, always remember that ANYTHING is possible and YOU are an unbelievable force of nature – you’ve totally got this ❤ XO

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try to forgive again…

I was away in Kingston this past Friday night for an annual trunk show I do with a friend. It’s always an awesome time, so this year I decided to meet up with another friend afterward and extend my mini vacay over the whole weekend. We thought it would be a good time away from home, and that we’d find some super fun bars to check out in a new town. While it DID end up being an awesome weekend, it didn’t come without some serious levels of anger towards a certain someone that were rather unexpected…let me explain further…

You may (or may not, depending how long you’ve been following my blog!) recall me writing earlier this year about Ghost Guy…a person I met online last November who I essentially had a four month relationship with before he disappeared off the face of the earth. It was a seriously devastating experience for me because after everything I’d been through with my ex-husband, I allowed myself to open up to this sociopath (sorry, I did mention some residual anger, right?!) and honestly thought I’d met an amazing man. He was hilarious, and sweet, and attentive and kind ANNNNNNNNND totally not who he said he was, but I didn’t find that out until it was too late. At this point, I’d suggest reading these two blogs to catch up…Where Do All the Lonely Hearts Go Part 1, and Where Do All the Lonely Hearts Go Part 2…good back story, I promise!

So as I was enjoying my time away this weekend (brunches, massages, dinners, Irish singing concerts, drinks, etc.!), I couldn’t help but think about Ghost Guy (from what he told me, he was stationed in Kingston) and some serious emotions started resurfacing. I definitely don’t think about this guy much anymore (save for the occasional drunken rant lol), but after the way I felt this weekend, I’m pretty sure there needs to be some additional closure work done here, especially since I want to move forward in a positive way. I mean, he did just completely disappear without a trace, a word, a peep, and that shit is REALLY hard to understand, but I also believe we can’t move on from negative situations with love and light in our hearts until we truly let go of anger.

Now for the record (AGAIN), I really thought I didn’t care about what this guy did (to me) anymore, but then I started searching through old emails looking for a picture of him to show my friend (she thought her boyfriend might know him), and I came across something he wrote me, and this is what got me seriously fired up:

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So this was one of HUNDREDS of emails we exchanged, but I think it resonated so deeply when I saw it again this weekend because I let this guy into my head and heart when I shared my blog with him last year (WELL before it was public to most people!). That was something that was REALLY hard for me to do…trust someone again…and after he read everything I’d been through with my ex, he STILL decided it would be cool to trick me, pull the wool over my eyes, bamboozle me, however you want to say it, and that is just a really, really awful thing to do. Like seriously, hooooooooow do people like this exist in the world?! It honestly really, really hurt to relive the shame and pain of that whole situation, and that brings me here – to writing about it.

I guess what I want to get across in all this mumbo jumbo I’m rambling on about, is how easy it is to be taken right back to a place of hurt, anger, despair, pain, etc. in one quick second. How it can feel like all the progress we’ve made can disappear in the blink of an eye, but the truth is that that is JUST NOT THE CASE. While this experience was a blast from the past I wasn’t expecting, it was also the Universe’s way of reminding me that we can’t just work around our problems, we need to work through them. The progress I’ve made isn’t GONE, I just have more to make, and that comes from working through hard things (like disappearing men for instance!) one step at a time. I need to feel all the feels about this guy, and continue reminding myself that someone else’s inability to see or appreciate my awesomeness – DOES NOT MAKE ME LESS AWESOME! I am enough, always have been, and always will be. No one else can define my self worth, or make me feel anything less than amazing if I don’t let them…so, so important to remember! So yeah, don’t mind me while I keep doing my self-love work, and rising above all the challenges that come my way…and as for Ghost Guy, he’s just another bump in the road  ❤ XO

 

God bless America…

Today is a very sad day. I kind of feel like I’m in the movie Armageddon and we just found out that the asteroid speeding towards the earth couldn’t be stopped. White America has spoken, and the first ever president with absolutely zero military or political experience has been elected to office. Of course on top of being unbelievably unqualified for his new role, Donald Trump is also a racist, misogynist, xenophobic fool who has made his platform hate. Plain and simple, he wants to build walls to keep refugees out, will immediately deport 11-20 million undocumented immigrants, will all but refuse entry into the country for Muslims, and that’s just immigration. He’s also promised to elect a radically right wing judge into the 9th Supreme Court seat, to reverse abortion laws (horrifying fact – more than 200,000 Anerican women died each year from illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade), to cancel Planned Parenthood, to repeal same-sex marriage laws, and just basically disassemble the USA that my American neighbours have been proudly creating for centuries. 

So where did it all go wrong?! It’s really hard to say…in this terrifying video, James Carville says he think the Democratic Party may have dropped the ball, been too confident. I know that when my ex-husband and I were finishing renovations at our house in April, he talked at great length about Bernie Sanders and his new partner’s support of him. He swore that if Bernie didn’t win the primaries, none of his supporters would vote for Hillary. Guess maybe there was some truth to that?! The sad thing is though, the only people who will suffer from that kind of voting (or lack thereof) are the very people Bernie wanted to support the most – women, African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, and the LGBT community. 

I have been a Hillary supporter (yes, as a Canadian) for decades, and my heart hurts for her today. I’ve cried, I’ve gotten a little rage-y and I seriously can’t even look at a picture of her right now without feeling heartbroken. She was supposed to be the first female President of the United States of America. She is absurdly qualified, and 100% the right person for the job. I know she’s not perfect, no politician is, but her career in politics and the law has been incredibly impressive. She should be celebrating with women all over the world today, not conceding defeat to an arrogant woman-hater. 

So where does the world go from here? As stock markets plummet, as currencies around the world nosedive, and as humans who’ve had the horrifying realization that more than half of the world’s  “greatest” nation have enough hate in their hearts to vote for a man who is abusive, disrespectful, bullying, a sexual predator and who spews venom with an ease that is remarkably alarming. That is honestly the scariest part of this all to me, that so many people can want this hateful man to lead them and their country and their CHILDREN for the next 4 years. Cue heart breaking (more). 

I’m out and about right now, been through Downtown Hamilton and now into Burlington and it is a somber day for humanity. Very little talking, just shell-shocked expressions and half-hearted smiles. We all need some time to mourn what has happened, what this will mean for the displacement of power in the world (think Russia, China) but in all this sadness, I have faith that love will prevail. I even wonder if this could be a way for America to heal it’s fractured population? A man so polarizing that all minority groups band together to spread love and light, and protest his actions every step of the way. I know I’m a Canadian and many people will wonder why I’ve written this, why I care, why I feel the right to an opinion. It’s because I am HUMAN and the reign of Donald J. Trump will affect everyone on this planet. So let’s all try and be vessels of love today (and for the next 4 years), and spread the word that one man will not erase all the love, light and hope that exists in the world. Of that, I’m sure. XO

Synchronicity for the win…

First things first – I got some good eyeball news today!!!!  It looks like my blind spot has healed, and the residual blurriness I’m now seeing is from the stitch holding my implant in place. That’ll be removed in early January and apparently it’ll be back to normal sight after that – WOOHOO!!  I honestly feel like the biggest weight has been lifted off my shoulders, because despite my best efforts I was incredibly stressed about my eye situation. I think it no coincidence that I started reciting health-based affirmations yesterday, and today my eye is pretty much all healed up – the power of our thoughts and the Universe will never cease to amaze me! This brings me to the subject of today’s post – synchronicity and how what we put out, comes back to us.

About a month ago I hired my dance instructor Allie Sommerville to give me private vegan cooking classes. Allie is not only a kick ass dancer but she’s a certified holistic nutritionist as well, and I was looking for some help getting back to a plant-based diet to help with my arthritis pain. The morning before she came over, I met my friend for coffee and declared that I had decided I was going to teach a dance class. I had watched an episode of Dancing with the Stars the night before, and was in tears watching one of the dance routines. I think in that moment I realized just how passionate I am about dancing, and thought it would be an amazing gift to be able to teach a class one day. So fast forward to Allie coming over for our 3 hour class that afternoon (you seriously NEED to check out her Facebook page From Allie With Love and get her into your kitchen STAT – she’s incredible!) and I started asking her questions about how she became a dance teacher. I told her about the show I’d watched and how inspired I was to teach a class and guess what she said?! She was looking for someone to mentor as her substitute when she’s away from the studio – and she thought I’d be perfect for the job!!!! Ummmm, what?!?! SIGN ME UP!!!!

The synchronicity doesn’t stop there either! I had already been chatting with the amazing owner of Soul Sessions Alicia about an energy exchange, and Allie suggested that I start teaching as her substitute on an energy exchange (for those not in the know, this basically means that instead of paying a membership fee at the studio, I work for free to offset my registration), which was a total win-win for everyone. We all met up the following week, discussed the details and guess who’s teaching her first dance class on December 12th?!?! THIS GIRL!!!!

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On top of ALLLLLLLL this amazingness, Allie (who is clearly helping guide me down a path full of awesome right now) also hooked me up with a website designer that day! I had been desperately seeking help in building a website (coming atcha in January 2017 peeps!) for some projects I am SUPER excited about, but kept coming up against brick walls. Allie suggested I speak to Sara (who she knew from dance class), the owner of an amazing web design company called Prestige Digital. Sara and I met, I instantly knew she was the person I wanted to partner with for my site (I’m convinced we’re soul sisters from the mountains), and so another box was checked off my to-do list! Stay tuned for loads and loads and loads of posts about the upcoming greatness I’ve got on the horizon…I’m not going to be able to shut up about it soon lol!

So yeah, coming full circle here, I just really want to emphasize how much I believe that what we TALK about will inevitably COME about. If you have a dream, or some crazy thought you’ve been conjuring up in the back of your mind, start TALKING about it with anyone who will listen! When we put things out into the Universe, the Universe responds by giving us the means to achieve our wildest dreams. I know that talking to Allie during our cooking class that day has undoubtedly changed the course of my life forever. Not only am I putting my health on the front burner again with diet and exercise, but I’m accomplishing my dream of being a dance instructor in spire of all the physical obstacles I’ve come up against over the past 8 years. I also found a partner to build the website of my dreams…literally. This site will make my life’s goal of helping people rock their break ups a reality, and I know it’s all just the very beginning of the super cool, windy, topsy-turvy, crazy fun road sprawled out in front of me..how freaking exciting is that?! XO

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oh, the beauty of healing…

First things first, I CAN SEE!! Clearly my eye surgery was successful, and in spite of some seriously traumatic procedures (while awake, I shudder to remember), my pain has mostly gone and I’m well on my way to giving keratoconus the big eff you. WOOHOO!!

On the topic of my surgery though, it was kind of an eye opening (pun not intended, I swear!) week. I’ll start by saying that I am SO SO SO LUCKY. I honestly have the loveliest parents in the world who let me stay with them for 5 days, and took better care of me than I could have ever imagined. I was out of my mind in pain, being a crazy person demanding instant cold compresses and requiring my 5 sets of eye drops be put in in complete darkness (MAJOR light sensitivity) lol, but they stuck by me and did an amazing job as caretakers. I had tons and tons of messages from friends wishing me well on my surgery, and sending me messages afterwards to see how I’d made out (and my lovely mother dutifully replied to each one), and even had some friends come and keep me company bedside – like I said, so incredibly lucky.

Now I’m sure you can feel me building to something here, so I’ll just get on with it. Despite all the incredible loveliness I experienced while recovering from my procedure, I really really missed my ex-husband…I know, right?!?!?! I feel like I haven’t gone out of my way to speak ill of him on my blog here, mostly just written posts in frustration and anger, but I also haven’t spent a lot of time talking about his good qualities either. My ex was a really, really great caregiver. When I first got diagnosed with my psoriatic arthritis, he stepped right up to the plate and cooked and cleaned and helped me when I couldn’t move…it was probably what I loved the most about him – how caring he was.  So I think going through the surgery and recovery last week, and not having a partner to care for me, kind of had me all nostalgic and a bit sad.  Like I said above, my parents did an amazing job, but there’s just something different about the care from a partner  – it radiates a special kind of love. It was just another reminder that no matter how far along in our healing process we are when coming out of a break up or divorce, it can only take one event or even one second to be knocked back a step or two.

Now most of you know me well enough by now to know that when I’m knocked down, I shed a few tears and pick myself up and carry forward, and this time was no different. I had a tough, emotional week, but I think what it made me realize (as these times often do), is that being alone and working on myself right now just means that when I do eventually meet my next partner, I’ll be in the very best place possible to have a loving, caring and trust-filled relationship, and honestly, how freaking exciting is that?! Okay, lots more excitement to catch you up on later this week, but for now I will leave you feeling  very grateful for the eyes that helped me write this post, and the amazing people I have in my life. XO

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