Laughter IS the best medicine…

I woke up to an email from my friend Sara on Saturday morning, and it was the most perfect way to start my weekend. Sara is the amazing business goddess creating my soon-to-be-launched website (check her out here!), so she’s familiar with operation: passion and sent a link over with the message “this screamed OP so I thought I’d send it over to you”. The link was to an article on cbc.ca about a woman whose husband had left her for another woman, and how her two best friends are trying to bring a little joy back into her life. The husband and wife have 8 (yes, EIGHT) children together, and he just picked up and left the family after getting his new girlfriend pregnant. The real kicker is that he stole her one prized possession  – a Burberry scarf – and gave it to his new love. What a total douche, right?!

So, what do you do when your best friend’s asshole ex-husband takes off on her with her designer scarf in tow?! Why, you start a gofundme page of course!! This woman’s two best friends (who live in the Yukon incidentally) decided to try and cheer her up by starting a campaign to buy Heather (the wife!) a replacement scarf and in just 6 days they’ve raised over $4,800 from 345 donors – so crazy awesome!! Check out the page here…it’s seriously hilarious, these women are definitely right up my alley!

I’m writing about this today, because this story reminded me how important it is to have laughter and humour in your life through the hardest of times. When my ex first left me, I honestly never thought I’d laugh or smile again. Ever. But I soon realized that that would be next to impossible because I have such an amazing group of friends in my life who keep me laughing, no actually howling, about 95% of the time we’re together. Whether it was cracking jokes about my ex, telling funny stories from our past, or just getting drunk and giggling our asses off, they kept me laughing through the most challenging days of my separation and divorce, and I will be forever grateful to them for that blessing.

So, after reading this story on Saturday morning, I headed to Niagara Falls to celebrate one of my bestie’s birthdays. We had the best time ever!! So much laughing, dancing, adventure, fun – truly just a great night! It reminded me how lucky I was (and am!) to have a such a strong support system, and how important it is to maintain and nourish the friendships we have in our lives. Going through a break up or divorce is incredibly traumatizing, really one of the worst things many will experience, and the women who are by your side during these times are the real heroines of your story. The moral here is that you need to keep your friends close, and your best friends closer ūüôā and make sure you read this gofundme story – and the comments!! It’ll be your Monday morning giggle XO

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Flip that self-belief switch…

Do you ever have those moments¬†when you’re just cruising along, not really feeling like anything’s out of the ordinary and then someone says something and it’s like BAM! All of a sudden you’re mixed up, twisted around and not sure what the hell is going on in¬†your world? Welcome to the week of November 21st through 27th for yours truly lol. It all started innocently enough…had some great wins at work on Monday, and was just living my life, working my booty off getting ready to teach some dance classes next month (that snuck up quick, huh?!) when Wednesday rolled around. That afternoon, I was chatting with a good friend (who I spend a lot of time with), and she asked if everything was okay with me – I seemed ‘off’. I reassured her that I was fine, was just having a long week, but it got me thinking – “hmmmm, am I really okay? What prompted her to ask that question?” Now follow up her¬†innocent comment with one from my sister on Friday morning – “Are you okay Heath? You seem off…not your usual happy self.”,and a bit of a tail spin ensured! Why were some of the¬†most important people in my life implying that I wasn’t acting like myself?!

Self-doubt can be a real mother effer. I’ve written about it before (recently actually!), and even being aware of it doesn’t stop me from facing the challenges of doubting myself regularly. I suffered from anxiety and mild OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) throughout my younger years (teens and early 20s), and I find that at times those old tendencies can come back to haunt me, especially when I’m in a place where I’m not 100% trusting of my thoughts, my actions or my judgments. When self-doubt is kicking around, I find it really hard to make decisions, and that’s where I found myself last week – doubting EVERYTHING! I AGONIZED over which new iPhone case I should buy (like was seriously asking strangers in the store for their opinions, AND my 11 month old nephew who doesn’t talk what he thought lol), and that’s when I knew things had gone a bit too far…it was time to reel myself back in (especially because I had a tattoo appointment that very afternoon!)!¬†Nothing like needing to make a decision about something permanent being drawn onto your body when you’re doubting even the simplest of decisions, right?!

I knew I needed to bring myself back to reality, but that didn’t happen before my brain conjured up a million mean-spirited, awful questions in my head. What am I doing with my life? Why am I writing a book?¬†Who do I think I am creating a website to help others when I’m clearly incapable of making the simplest of decisions for myself? Why are people asking if I’m okay – is something wrong with me? It’s honestly crazy how quickly I can go from being completely at peace (albeit a little stressed) to this horrible, self-deprecating place (yes, it really does get that dramatic lol) in the blink of an eye!¬†I don’t know, maybe I’m alone in this, but it’s certainly not the first time¬†something that should be ‘no big deal’ has me questioning my abilities and spinning a bit out of control. To look on the bright side of things though, ¬†the best part of dealing with this kind of situation many times in my life¬†is knowing that¬†I get to choose how quickly I recover from my limiting beliefs and thoughts.

I will tell you that my sister did ask (as she dropped me off for my appointment) if I should really be getting a tattoo in my current state of mind lol, but I knew that I just needed to flip my switch back from self-doubt to self-belief, and I’d get to a place where I could make any decision laid in front of me. I know I make it seem so easy writing it here – just decide to believe in yourself and you can do anything! Seems kind of ridiculous (and perhaps simplified), right?! I’ll tell you something – it’s really not! Our minds are powerful, powerful tools and we get to wake up and choose happiness every day. How we react to every situation put in front of us (and the crummy things our brains can sometimes tell us) is OUR CHOICE. We have so much power over our lives, our desired outcomes, our day to day living (with some guidance from the Universe of course), that we can choose to defy any limits our minds set within us. We are truly limitless, and so I’m trying to make it a habit to choose¬†to move mountains to accomplish my dreams, believe in myself and follow my true North Star every day. Hence, my new tattoo below ūüėČ so in love with it, and everything it means to me (YAYYYY, good decision Heather lol!!)! ‘Til next time, keep that switch flipped my friends!! 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

 

Full moonin’ and self-doubtin’…

So yesterday there was another gorgeous super moon in the sky (we witness about 4-6 of these babies a year), but it was especially brilliant because it was the closest the moon has been to earth since 1948! I’m not sure about you, but I find that I’m much more emotional¬†around the full moon every month, even though scientifically it’s never really been proven that there’s a correlation between moon cycles and human behaviour. I know my ex-husband wouldn’t even go out with his friends when there was a full moon, because he had a history of (let’s say) dramatic behaviour, and I’m sure you’ve heard the words “must be a full moon out” uttered before when people, or your kids, or yourself (haha) are acting out in an exceptionally high-strung¬†way.

I write about this today, because the past few days have felt really overwhelming for me. These feelings all kind of convalesced last night while I was meeting with the amazing website designer who’s creating my new passion project with me, when I started crying out of nowhere! I was looking at all the decisions I have to make over¬†the next few months, and I felt paralyzed. In that moment I felt so scared of making the wrong choices,¬†so scared of failing, so scared that this isn’t the right path for me, that¬†I literally just couldn’t make a decision – cue waterworks. It’s amazing how we can be SO SURE of what we’re doing (and just to clarify, I do KNOW with 100% certainty that I’m following my true North Star with this project), but yet how easily we can succumb to our self-doubt and our self-limiting beliefs. Last night it almost felt like a switch flipped off for me, and I couldn’t see the light anymore for a minute there…luckily I had an awesome friend on hand¬†to steer me back to the light, but it was definitely a moment of panic that didn’t feel great!

I was listening to the final Q&A call of my course with Jen Sincero yesterday morning, and she said something that I’ll never forget. It was so simple, and so true. She told the question-asker that no matter how well things are going along in life, no matter how perfect it all seems, we will constantly face hurdles, battles and regressions. They can come spaced out, or all in a cluster (seemingly) at once, but they are put in our path to challenge us to do better and because they are part of our plan. They can be painful, stressful, pull-your-hair-out annoying, but each of these experiences helps shape our true selves, and molds us into the strongest type of human beings we could ever hope to become.

So after all that turmoil (I’m still blaming the moon a little lol), last night I went to bed feeling incredibly grateful for all the obstacles I’ve been through over the past few years, and all the moments of self-doubt that have forced me to trust myself and my intuition in a way I never have before. These are the moments that remind me that I’m completely unstoppable, and that no matter what happens with anything I do in my life, it’s all part of the plan to get me to where I need to go. I’ve heard at work for years that if your¬†goal or plan doesn’t make you feel physically ill, then it’s not big enough, and I FINALLY know what they were talking about…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkk!!!! XO

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and then there’s a bump…

Earlier this week I wrote a post about how great I was doing with my eye surgery recovery and that I was on my way to kicking keratoconus’ ass…well, that damn eye disease decided it wanted to have the last laugh and swung back at me…UGH!

At my post-op appointment on Tuesday I found out that what I believed¬†was just a change in my astigmatism (which I thought would account for the extreme blurriness in my left eye even with my glasses on) is actually a blind spot that has developed since my surgery…yeah, cue panic, terror and unbridled fear here. I have to tell you, I literally FREAKED OUT after my surgeon told me this (even though she said it shouldn’t be permanent), and have had a really hard time bouncing back. I consider myself a pretty positive person who really tries to focus on the good in every situation, but I have been SO down since my appointment¬†and am really letting fear take over my sensibilities.

I think it’s¬†very natural¬†to go to a worst case scenario place when we’re faced with a serious obstacle in our lives. Whether it’s the end of a relationship, a struggle at work or a health issue, it is so incredibly easy to sink down into that pit of despair and not know how we’re going to get out of it. I immediately went into victim mode, feeling SO sorry for myself – like here I am with all these awful things that have happened to me, and now I’m going blind on top of it all…I think at one point I even said to myself “well, at least I saw the mountains before I went blind”…like seriously, how does it even get to this point so quickly?!

I’m all about taking time to work through sadness when it comes, but I’m not okay with allowing myself to get all crazy angsty about something that has not even happened yet. Why have I just resigned myself to blindness (for those of you wondering how I’m writing this post, just imagine me wearing an eye patch and it’ll all make sense…gulp)?! My surgeon told me I have a blind spot that should clear up, not that blindness was inevitable, so why is it so easy to conjure up¬†this doomed fate in my mind? ¬†It’s that damned fear that comes knocking whenever hardships arise…it can creep in slowly, or hit us with a sucker punch all at once, but it’s always there, lurking in the shadows, waiting for weak moments. Knowing that, and making the choice every day to choose light and love and happiness instead of darkness and hate and anger, is the only way to combat fear and not let it take over our lives.

So tonight, I will go to bed and be grateful for my perfectly healed eyes, and tomorrow morning I will wake up and meditate and give gratitude for my perfectly healed eyes, and every time that fear comes around, I’m going to make the conscious decision to give it the old heave ho. I’m going to have gratitude for not only what I HAVE in my life, but what I want to MANIFEST into my life, and right now that means a pair of healthy eyeballs!

There’s a part in this amazing book I love (Zen and the Art of Happiness)¬†that basically says, it’s easy to be happy and positive during the good times, but it takes real tenacity to be happy and positive through the rough times. Here’s to not giving up, and staying tenacious – I’ll update you on my peeper situation as developments come! 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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Trust your path…

I’ve got this eye disease called keratoconus. I don’t talk about it much because I’m usually writing more about my psoriatic arthritis, but I’m having eye surgery this morning and having some thoughts about it, so writing therapy it is!

Keratoconus is a degenerative condition, where your cornea cones and breaks down until essentially you require corneal transplants or blindness ensues – pretty scary, right?! Fortunately there is a relatively new surgery available called cross-linking that halts the progression of the disease, and I’ve been fortunate enough to qualify as part of a study to have it done free of any costs…today!

Needless to say, I’ve been freaking out all weekend in preparation for the procedure because the unknown can be really scary! What side effects could there be, how painful will it be (very, apparently), and will my eyes look the same afterwards are just a few of the questions that were plaguing me on Friday when I basically had a panic driven breakdown. I wanted to cancel the surgery, and stick my head in the sand, ignoring the very real long-term consequences of what not having this procedure could mean. 

In the height of my panic though, I decided to try something new. Well, not new new as you’ll know from reading my blog, but instead of choosing flight from fear, I decided to fight it with gratitude. It’s so easy to forget how lucky I am to live in a country where healthcare is free. Where I can qualify for an $8,000 procedure with no out of pocket expense, and I needed to sit with those thoughts instead of the panic I was feeling. I needed to get excited about my fear. 

Trusting the path that his been laid out for us isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding because everything will be perfect and turn out just as its meant to be. Seriously, it always will. 

So I’ll be on radio silence for a few days as I recover, but will be back to regale you with more stories in no time ūüôā XO