Holding out for magic…

I just finished a 6 hour dinner and catch up session with my fabulous friend who is visiting from England, and I feel like the time with her has truly catapulted my plans for 2017 into a whole new galaxy. Do you have one of those friends who is so like-minded, and so incredibly inspiring that sharing a room with them, even for just a few hours a year, makes you want to be a better person? That’s what spending time with Samantha has done for me over the past few years, and this evening together was no exception.

Sam was one of the first people I told about the shattering of my relationship with my ex-husband. Not only did she know him well, but she had been through a very similar situation just a few years before, and I needed to know how she’d gotten through the pain. Her live in boyfriend had upped and ended their relationship over the holidays, leaving her completely blindsided, much as I was. I remember laying in bed and Facetiming with her as I sobbed through the story of what had happened, and the ache in her eyes was apparent even as we spoke across time zones and an ocean. She knew exactly what I was going through in that moment, knew the heartache and pain that would inevitably follow as I tried to learn my new normal without the man I thought I’d spend my life with. Her advice was automatic and clear. Don’t give that fucker another second of your time, and keep yourself VERY busy. Find something you love and do it all the time so that you don’t fall into bad vices and habits. At the time I didn’t realize that in just a few short months, that advice would launch this blog and eventually change my life forever.

The most important thing I think I’ve learned from Sam over the past few years as I’ve watched her grow and thrive as an incredibly independent and successful business woman is that WOMEN CAN DO ANYTHING. You are smart enough, strong enough, beautiful enough, happy enough, everything enough to live a full life without a partner to complete you. She moved to England to be with the man who eventually betrayed her, but him leaving didn’t stop her from staying overseas and building an incredible life full of friendships, travelling, socializing and professional success. She did this all on her own, in (literally) a foreign country and continues to set and achieve HUGE goals for herself (like climbing Mount Everest in 2017 for instance!). I leave every meet-up with her feeling like I can conquer the world, like there is real magic out there waiting for me.

This all reminded me of an article I read this week written by Danielle LaPorte about holding out for the magic in life. About being aware that when you ask the Universe (or your God) for that special love, or job, or adventure, that we can often be seduced into accepting what comes along first…the ‘okay right now’ stuff. It takes a level of discipline and self-awareness to hold out for the AMAZING stuff, she says. Especially when you’re hungry for it, or in pain, or when you’ve just waited for so, so long for what you want. That’s when it’s hardest to be patient, but also when it’s most important to hold out for the magic that is just around the corner. Doing anything less is doing yourself a huge disservice, and will inevitably have you back at square one before you know it.

Having friends like Samantha (and so many other fabulous women) in my life is my constant reminder that holding out for the magic is not only possible, but also truly my only option. If I know one thing to be true, it’s that settling has been a story I’ve lived one too many times, and it’s done nothing but run me around in circles with the same results over and over again. Happiness comes with waiting (verrrrrrrry patiently) for what’s right and true and full of light and promise, and not from taking what comes easy or first. You owe it to yourself to ask for, wait for, and live the magic that is available to all of us; sometimes you just have to look a little harder and wait a little longer than you might want. That magic is totally worth it though, I just know it. XO

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Being single is (mostly) awesome…

I was chatting with a friend today  who was up sick all night last night. She’s a single woman, a HAPPY single woman (yes, we exist!), but while she recounted the horrors of being up for hours ill in the middle of the night, she said “I swear this is one of the few times I miss having a partner – when I’m up alone, sick and scared, and I just want someone to tell me everything is going to be okay”.  This is definitely something I can relate to…there are very few times I miss having my ex-husband (or any man) around, but every once in awhile I think to myself “it would really be nice to have some help with this right now” lol! Having said that, this certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t absolutely love what being single right now means for me, because I really really do.

There are many, many things that I’ve learned about myself since I stopped cohabiting with my ex in March of 2015, one of which is that I actually LOVE living alone, something I NEVER thought I’d say. If someone had told me two years ago that I’d be living in my own 2 bedroom semi detached house with a creepy basement and a couple of cats, I would’ve laughed at them – for reals. I hated being on my own at home, at restaurants, generally anywhere in public, just really a big old scaredy cat. It’s really amazing what we can come to terms with and learn to love when we’re forced to live a different kind of life, and that’s something I’ve come to be so grateful for. Doing these things – eating at restaurants alone, going to exercise classes by myself, wandering the streets and malls shopping without someone else’s opinion (and the list goes on) – were all things I honestly thought I’d hate, but they’ve become things I surprisingly thoroughly enjoy. I’ve come to realize that one of the greatest gifts my divorce brought me has been realizing how much I really love my own company.

Now as you’ll notice, the title of this post is that being single is “mostly” awesome lol. That’s because there are definitely still times when I’d love to have a partner in my life. Like when I’m watching something funny on TV and look over to share a smile with the person watching with me (my cats just don’t seem to get jokes the way humans do), or when I’m super tired and don’t feel like taking the garbage out on Monday nights (like tonight!), and especially when my toilet clogs and the plunger just doesn’t want to work for me…these are definitely the moments when I think to myself “hmmmm, maybe I’ll consider one of those boyfriend things again one day”. For the most part though, coming home to an empty house, tossing my coat down on the couch, making whatever I want for dinner and watching whatever I want on TV is a pretty sweet deal (for now anyway)!

I guess the most important thing to remember is not to limit yourself. Just because you’ve never lived on your own doesn’t mean you couldn’t (maybe you should test it out by renting a hotel room for a solo night of ‘you’ time!). Just because you’ve never eaten in a restaurant alone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it (seriously, go now!). Just because it’s scary to go to a new class (exercise, craft, writing, etc.) on your own, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run out the door and do it right this second! And just because you never thought you’d enjoy being single (or just spending time on your own if you’re coupled up!), doesn’t mean that you won’t quickly learn to love the times of reflection, learning self love and care, and total and utter amazingness with just YOU. One thing I know for sure is that whether you’re single or in a partnership, taking time for yourself, meeting new people and having amazing adventures is NEVER going to be a bad thing, I promise! XO

If you’re grateful, tell them…

I recently received a Facebook message from a woman who shares a mutual friend with me. It was a group message to about 10 women telling us how integral our friend had been to this woman’s life in 2016, and asking us to participate in putting a book together about why we love this special lady so much. And so I just spent a few hours putting together some words about how important and special this woman is to me, and I am SO grateful for the opportunity to share my feelings with her – something I could’ve done a million times on my own, but didn’t until I was asked by someone else. It really got me thinking – how many times have I thought to myself “wow, I’m so grateful for this person, or that person” and yet never found the words to say it out loud to them?! Too many to count, and I think that’s going to change NOW!

I’ve gotten much better over the past few years at thanking people for their support and letting them know what they mean to me (bending your friends’ ears ad nauseum during your divorce will do that to you!), but there are still so many times I’ve read about something someone is doing, or had an old friend do something lovely for me and not taken the time to express how amazing I think they are. How incredible would it be for someone fabulous in your life to know how much you respect them for the fight they’re fighting, or the light they’re bringing to other peoples’ lives?! To know that they have impacted your life while working their personal mission – that is such a gift.  As I write these words, I can think of at least 3 women who I know are doing great things (thank you social media!) that I will make a point of reaching out to with some kind words full of gratitude for their amazingness – how about you?! Who can you say YOU ARE AMAZING to today??

I think this will be one of my intentions for 2017. To make a point of telling people how wonderful I think they are ALL THE TIME. How brave I think they are. How strong I think they are. To let them know they’re not alone fighting the fight, or shining the light. Because at the end of the day, we’re all in this together, and if you’re reading this, you’re definitely in it with me. Let’s spread love and gratitude far and wide as 2016 comes to a close and a brand new year of hope and promise crests upon us. I can’t wait to hear who you share your gratitude with!! Don’t be shy, comment below or private message me – I’d love to hear your story of spreading the love XO

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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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 🙂 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 😉 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