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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Dance, breathe, dance some more…

So you probably know that I’ve become a liiiiiittle bit obsessed with dance again over the past year, but I’ve taken that love to a whole new level with an amazing place called The Academy of All Things Awesome that I “discovered” back in May. Rather than offering aerobics-type dance classes (which I still love btw), they offer weekly classed based on specific artists, songs AND dance types! It all started with a little dancehall class, carried on through a Janet Jackson series, Sean Paul series, a one-off of a killer Robyn tune and now we’re rocking some amazing Beyonce and Yo Bangers classes! It has become a place I go to for exercise, for positivity and to just seriously dance my booty off!

I feel so lucky to have found something I love to do SO much. Honestly, when I started this blog I just kind of thought I’d work through the weeks and see what happened…then, I rediscovered my love for DANCE! It’s not that I didn’t want to continue on with other new activities, it’s just that I love dancing so much I want to do it as much as possible!

When I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis I never thought I’d be able to move again like I can now…seriously, I thought it was a death sentence for my body. What I’ve discovered is that movement makes my pain BETTER. I’ve lost 70 lbs (holla at ya!), re-engaged muscles I haven’t used in over a decade AND my arthritis is better than it’s ever been – seriously, how awesome is THAT?! How amazing to find something you’re so passionate about that makes you feel physically and spiritually AMAZING?! Honestly feel super blessed every day 🙂

So here’s a fun video from one of my favourite classes…a little Janet Jackson throwback! We learn these routines in 1.5-2 hours, and then film them like the rock stars that we are! Each week we learn 1-2 new songs, and repeat the process…never. ending. fun. Tonight, I learned my most technically challenging routine yet (some Missy Elliott in the house!!) and while I haven’t seen the video yet, I know we all KILLED it! Such an awesome way to engage with new people in the community and share something we all love so much! Can’t wait to share more videos with you as these awesome classes continue! XO

The travel itch is real…

So as some of you know, the house I own with my ex is on the market right now and we’ve got a conditional sale on our hands…woohoo! As we wait for the conditions to be waived (keep your fingers and toes crossed for me), I’ve started thinking about what it’ll mean to not have this house hanging over my head anymore. It’s been 6 years of financial and emotional struggle with this property, and while I know I should be getting excited about the freedom of not owning it anymore, I find myself struggling with what I’ll do next. It almost feels like I should have some specific fresh start planned, but I don’t really know what that should be. So, I will travel while I figure it out 😉

I’m beyond excited to be planning several trips right now, including some serious overseas adventures that will surely be the stuff dreams are made of! I’m looking at an all-inclusive in June (somewhere warm and sunny and fabulous down South), and then Orlando in July for a work conference, Calgary and Banff in August for a work opportunity and then some mountain exploration and finally a trip around Europe in September. I’m planning to hit up England, Ireland, Scotland, Amsterdam and Iceland (hellooooo Northern Lights bucket list!)…FUN FUN FUN!

There are so many places I want to see in this world, but the flying fear has always held me back (as you’ll know from previous blog entries), but now I really feel like I just need to GO…get on that plane, face the fears of the unknown and GO. So that’s what I’m going to do! As Sir Richard Burton said: “the gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” There are so many corners of the world for us to explore, and I think that while we’re doing that, the most unknown corners of our souls become exposed to us for the first time. I am so ready to uncover those mysterious parts of myself, all while exploring the world, meeting new people, understanding the world in a different way, and becoming a more complete human being.

I will OF COURSE be blogging about all these amazing adventures AAAAAAAND I’ve decided to get back to the original mission of this blog, which was to document all the new things I’ve been trying in my life. I’ve kind of set aside writing about these new adventures because I’ve been so busy enjoying them, but as I come up to my one year anniversary of writing Operation: Passion, I want to bring it all full circle. Stay tuned for some new awesomeness in the coming weeks! First up this week – rock climbing!! XO

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Love yourself most…

So I just finished re-watching Sex and the City, and I have to say that I’m even more in love with Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbs, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones than ever before. Not only does this show keep me crying like a baby more than a decade after it originally aired, but it continues to remind me of something very important. While we can consider ourselves lucky if we’re blessed with incredible parents, siblings and friends who will support us through thick and thin, the very most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves.

I have a friend of a friend who got some pretty awful news today. She found out that her significant other cheated on her. My heart immediately broke for her, because I know all too well the kind of pain that comes along with a realization of this magnitude. And sadly, these things happen to people every day. Like every single minute of every single day there is someone out there whose heart is crushed by the realization that their partner, the person they trust the most in the world, has completely betrayed them. Now dramatics aside, I can say from experience that once you’re through the initial hurt and pain of infidelity you have a really amazing opportunity to learn from what has happened to you, and that’s where the basis of this post comes from.

Loving ourselves is so unbelievably underrated. I feel like people in general are always looking outside themselves to find happiness, fulfillment, and joy, but ultimately we can only truly find happiness outside of ourselves, when we’ve found it within ourselves first. I was always the girl who needed to have people around me, to have plans and keep busy and I’ve realized over the past year that while I truly love being surrounded by the people who love me (and whom I love), that being alone and learning to love being with just me is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. To love yourself is to truly understand the significance of your purpose in the world, and it allows you the strength, tenacity and perseverance to conquer anything that is thrown your way (including an unfaithful partner). When you love yourself that much, you truly know what you’re worth and will allow only the best of the best to enter and complement your life. To love yourself completely is the greatest gift you can give yourself…I’m definitely a work in progress, but I’m more committed than ever to getting there.

I’ll finish up with a quote of Carrie’s last words in the very last television episode of Sex and the City: “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” Word. XO

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Forgiveness surrounds me…

You know when you’re thinking about something and all of the sudden it pops up everywhere? I know when my ex and I were trying to have a baby, I would feel like every single commercial I saw was about pregnancy tests and diapers, and I’d see pregnant women and moms with little babies EVERYWHERE. This has happened to me SO many times in my life, and it’s happening again right now. As the title to this post alludes, I’m seeing stuff about forgiveness all over the place right now, and I’m thinking it’s no coincidence.

When I went to see my favourite author Brené Brown speak in Nashville in August, she mentioned something about forgiveness that really resonated with me. I don’t want to paraphrase what she said on stage, so I’ll quote from her book Rising Strong where she quotes the Archbishop Desmond Tutu as saying:

To forgive is not just to be altruistic.  It is the best form of self-interest.  It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger.  These emotions are all part of being human.  You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things:  The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger. However, when I talk of forgiveness, I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person.  A better person than one being consumed by anger and hatred.  Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator.  If you can find it in yourself to forgive, then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator.  You can move on, and you can even help the perpetrator to become a better person, too.

I LOVE this concept – the idea that forgiving someone isn’t condoning their behaviour or letting them off the hook, but rather unshackling ourselves from the label of victim and from the person who made that label a reality. It is so easy to be full of hate and anger and to buy right into this victim status. I remember when my ex first left last year, I would tell people (like EVERYONE who would listen lol) all about how he had left me for a young girl he met on the internet who lived in another country. I TOTALLY bought into my victim status and people felt seriously sorry for me, and I identified with that and felt somehow better because of it. After seeing Brené speak, I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favours by being an angry victim, and that it was time to work towards forgiveness.

So this has become a new way of living for me, or at least I’m continuously working towards achieving it 🙂 Of course being upset, hurt, frustrated, betrayed, disappointed, devastated, etc. by others is an unavoidable part of life, but how we deal with these feelings and situations is what makes us who we are. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be authentic in how we feel – being hurt sucks and I’m not suggesting that you forgive someone before you’re ready. This isn’t about pushing through a problem, it’s not about being inauthentic to yourself, and it’s not about acquiescing to another; it’s about a new way of thinking about forgiveness that allows you to accept what has happened, decide you can rise above, and forgive for the sake of freeing your spirit and soul.

I love these two screen shots from Instagram below. The one by @belongtolove is so spot on…what we’re conditioned to think it means to forgive and what it SHOULD mean to forgive. And @sacredsoulliving says it all when he says forgiveness is love.

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Here are some other great quotes about forgiveness from some of my favourite humanitarians and visionaries:

So I say make the choice to be STRONG and forgive – it’s not always easy, but I can promise you that your body, mind and soul will thank you. In my most recent relationship struggle with Ghost Guy, I never really felt angry about what happened when he disappeared, just incredibly hurt and confused. As a result, I never really thought about needing to forgive him, because I just thought I’d move past it. Oddly enough, I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, and writing this post has made me realize that I have to consciously work towards accepting that apology that I never got from him. And also forgiving myself for obviously making such a huge error in judgment, and forgiving him for screwing me over royally…clearly I still have a bit of work to do with this one lol 😉 but I’ll get there and it’ll be with a full heart and free spirit! XO

Where do all the lonely hearts go…part 2

Well, it’s finally time to bang out part 2 of my loooooooong post about heartbreak, confusion and moving on. It’s been kind of a crazy and unexpected week, and of course it’s been nothing short of emotional having to spend hours and hours and hours with my ex at the house we’re selling, but all in all I feel really good about where I’m at. I’m still incredibly confused about what happened with my disappearing guy, but I’ve realized I really only have two choices right now – keep moving forward, or allow the sadness and disappointment to take over.

The challenging thing about having to move on from a freshly broken heart is muddling your way through the quicksand of what to do next. The incomparable Samantha from Sex and the City famously says (and I quote) “the best way to get over one guy, is to get under another”, but that’s definitely not my game. I just don’t think that rushing into bed with some new dude does any woman any favours when it comes to mending a broken heart. I’m a firm believer that we need to take any experience thrust upon us and learn more about ourselves from it, which brings me to a rookie mistake I made earlier this week.

In a moment of weakness (and late night boredom), I downloaded a new dating app called Bumble that my girlfriend recommended. I didn’t want to go back on Tinder because I think I still have PTSD from meeting Ghost Guy on there, so I thought I’d try something new. Bumble is essentially the exact same thing as Tinder, but once you’re “matched” with a guy, the girl is the one who has to initiate conversation…I think this made me feel like I’d have more control or something, so I decided to give it a shot. I realized two things very quickly:

  1. I still miss Ghost Guy a lot. The incredibly strained, BORING ass conversations I had with a couple guys on Bumble only served to remind me of how easy and good things were with my short-lived bf, and it made me really sad. You just don’t find connections like we had every day online (or in person), and it frustrates me to think about how annoying it’s going to be to have to start over from scratch again (and again and possibly even again); and
  2. There are some MAJOR freaks out there. I was having a seemingly normal chat with a guy named John last night, and in that casual conversation he sent me a link to his website. I soon found out that this website is essentially a chronicle about his penis. Size (5.5″ in length and girth for those of you wondering), his masturbation schedule, and some pictures for good measure (honestly, I am still suffering the effects of seeing this shit). Like WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT is going on in the world?! And what was he hoping to accomplish by sending me this nonsense?? Seriously!!

So yeah, I feel like the combination of these experiences has lead me to a very real break up conclusion – there’s no need to rush into something new just to try to get through the pain of something ending. A mistake made by many women the world over of course, but it’s one I’ve decided I’m not going to make if I can help it. My answer instead? I’m re-shifting my focus back to ME, and figuring out what MY next steps are, not how I can find a new man to fill a void that will not go away that easily. I need to keep writing, and dancing, and doing the things that fill my cup with passion and joy and love, and the rest will figure itself out eventually.

Another great quote from Samantha – “this love stuff is a motherfucker”, and you know what? It really is! BUUUUUUT when you find it and it’s good, it’s SO worth it. I’m more than happy to wait for it to turn up again, and in the meantime I’ll take Carrie’s advice to just “laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason”. Word. XO

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Where do all the lonely hearts go…part 1

I’ve only ever had a really hard time writing two blog posts…one about my trip to Nashville last summer (which I never published because I couldn’t get it out) and this one, which I’ve started and erased several times, and still don’t really know how to start or what I want to say. Part of me just wants to vent about how much is sucks to have your heart broken (again), and part of me just wants to forget it ever happened and move on. In being true to myself though, and working through the process, I feel like I need to write.

I’ve started re-watching Sex and the City this week, and I can’t even believe how relevant this show is to my life now that I’m a 30-something single woman. I always loved the show when I watched it in my 20s (and by loved I mean was obsessed with lol), but I’m not even kidding when I say that every single episode is an epiphany right now, as I once again find myself struggling through the emotions that come with losing someone from your life that you care about.

Now I never talked about the new guy in my life on here for a few reasons. The most relevant one being that he read my blog, and I didn’t really think that letting someone I was just getting to know “in” on my private thoughts and feelings (about him) was a good idea, at least not at the beginning of our relationship. I mean, I’ve always kind of thrown myself into past relationships very quickly, but after what happened with my (soon to be ex) husband last year, I am guarded and not quite as trusting, and just really wanted to take things slower this time around. This was thankfully made a bit easier for me because we were in a unique situation as it was…this guy and I met online (see my past post about joining Tinder for details 😉 ) and he was deployed overseas so our relationship was developed solely online, and not in person. Basically, this means that over the past four months we started a relationship by exchanging hundreds (seriously, last he told me I think it was over 400) of emails, thousands of texts and instant messages, and spent hundreds of hours talking on Skype and online. Eventually, as we connected further, my emotional walls came down and I really started to care about this guy A LOT. We talked about being exclusive, the words boyfriend and girlfriend were thrown around, and lots of big plans were made for when he got home this February.

I have to tell you, telling people that I’d fallen for a guy online that I’d never met was met with loads of skepticism, criticism and some confusion (and encouragement, love and support too), but I had faith that what we had was real and I knew that my feelings were super real. I consider myself a very intuitive person, and it just felt so right. There was a chemistry and a bond there (again, all this having never met) that I couldn’t ignore, so despite my reservations and fear, I jumped in head (and heart) first. I came to really trust him as we got to know each other, and probably even love him a little, and was just so incredibly excited to meet him.

So fast forward to two weeks ago when he was heading home, and was sending me excited, super sweet and thoughtful messages as he boarded the plane about how he couldn’t wait to meet me, how much he cared about me, and how amazing I am. I can honestly say I have never been more excited to meet someone, and for the promise of what could become something amazing. And then…silence…or I should say one email, and then silence.

I don’t even know if I can properly express the emotions that I’ve felt over the past few weeks, but if I had to put it on paper (which clearly I do) I’d have to say pain, confusion, hurt, bewilderment, frustration, sadness, fear, worry, CONFUSION (I could write this one down about 200 times here), and basically every other emotion that comes when you realize your heart is about to be broken. No answers, no explanations, no sense to be made of anything, just SILENCE. Like seriously, what the motherfucking fuck? The one email I got had absolutely no information that could’ve led me to believe that anything was wrong, in fact it posed a question, gave me information about what his plans were, and implied that he still planned to come out and meet me. So what the hell happened??

I still chuckle when I think about my sister’s response to the situation. “This is actually the worst thing that could happen to someone like you…you’re so in your head, you’re just going to try to figure out what happened on a loop ad nauseum”…I feel like she couldn’t be more right. The hours I’ve spent trying to make sense of the senseless in this situation have certainly been the most frustrating hours I’ve spent in awhile. I mean, why even start something with me online, carry it on for months and then not put the effort in to meet me in person and see what happens? There’s just nothing about it that makes any sense to me. I’ve obviously thought up a few (million lol) reasons why he would ghost out, but what I have to come to terms with is the fact that I really may never find out. I still find myself expecting to hear from him with an apology, or an explanation, or SOMETHING…wishful thinking maybe, but I guess it’s still hard to believe that I’ll never hear from him again.

I’ve found myself wondering since this happened, how someone could convince themselves that just disappearing is better or fairer than being honest about why you’ve changed your mind. Like what could you possibly say that would be worse than nothing? It was all a joke to you, and you didn’t mean anything you said? Okay, well seems like I’ve dodged a sociopathic bullet. You met someone else that you like better? Hard to believe but been there done that…my husband left me for a girl he met online through nude photos last year – I’ll be okay. You’ve decided you don’t want a relationship anymore? Well, that’s dumb because I’m awesome, but your loss. See?! Nothing is worse than nothing.

So now, the hard part…moving forward and working through the hurt. You know, it’s funny how you almost forget how shitty it is to have your heart broken…I joked with my friend the other day that it’s like how women forget how much childbirth hurts so that they get pregnant again and rock that whole evolution thing. I have to wonder, if we really remembered how much break ups suck, would we ever put ourselves out there again? Obviously we would, or we’d all be single for life, but I have to be honest, it’s a lot to think about right now…

Okay, so this is not where the story ends…it’s rah rah, pick myself up and put on my big girl panties time, but I need sleep so part 2 will follow tomorrow…XO