The Poet’s Offer

Lonsdale Quay 104
Today was a quiet one. I’d been invited to Italian Days, and typically I would attend. I opted not to go.

This event draws an enormous crowd. Upward of 300,000 people will attend.

I wasn’t in the mood for a crowd.

Then again this has been a weekend of reflection. Of hanging around the house and tending to those domestic duties that are necessary; of stopping and taking a deep breath debating the next course of action.

I know what I want to do. I’m being careful in how this all unfolds. I want to do it right.
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I had signed up to attend a poetry reading event this afternoon and decided to take a couple poems that I’d written to try out.

There is that part of me that needs to become a bit more familiar and comfortable with public speaking. It is one thing to be sitting in a room informally reading text you’ve written.

It is something to bear your soul on a blog post to an audience that you’ll never see.

But this would require standing before a group of people and speaking into a microphone.

Being new to this organization, the Royal City Literary Arts Society, I wasn’t certain of the set up.

We were treated to three featured personalities who sang and read their prose. I was immediately impressed with their ability and comfort at delivering their work. Along with this I was impressed with the expressive nature of their pieces.

I could only hope that upon getting up there I could deliver my offering in a manner that would honour the written word I possessed.

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I had printed out four poems but decided to read just the two.

I think I did okay with the delivery of ‘I Wonder…a State of Homelessness’.

My second choice was ‘The Whisper’ which is about my recent dealings with cancer. You may have read it on this blog along with ‘I Wonder’.

I had read the poems at home…aloud. I’d inserted various voice inflections that I’d felt may make my point a little more poignant and heartfelt.

Indeed, I felt ready.

Halfway through the reading of the second poem, however, my voice had a quaver to it. What I did not want to occur was indeed happening.

Emotions were reaching up and gripping me. Everything I’ve been fighting this last year now stung the back of my eyes.

I had not wanted to deliver this poem in a weepy and fragile manner. I had not wanted to feel the tears slip down my cheek, nor the voice quake and moan. But it did.

I had wanted to say a few things upon completion and instead I was too anxious to be gone from this spotlight. I had not prepared myself for the advent that I might well tear up.

There was awkwardness for me in that moment.

In any case, it is done.

Another experience to draw upon. I was given five minutes to convey some rather emotional content.

I did my best. Hopefully in time I will feel more comfortable in this area. It is an odd place to be. And if I am to be successful with my publishing company, I must become accustomed to this manner of communication.

Another thing to work on.

But I am so fortunate with everything that continues to be directed toward me these days.

So much to explore and revel in.

I came down to the Wild Rice for a nibble. Soon I will depart and purchase groceries for the week ahead.

The river is running high and fast.

A seagull sits upon the water allowing the current to sweep it along. Tug boats dance up and down the river. One towed a stream of logs in its wake, two others a barge containing what, I can’t say

The paddleboats move up and down the river with passengers curious to experience this form of transportation.

And I’ve had a good day.

I need to roll up my sleeves and get to the business at hand.

The last few weeks have found me anxious and sleep has been sporadic.

My dreams have been far more abstract than usual.

I have been second guessing all my decisions it would seem. Do I really know what I am about to embark upon?

What do I really know about publishing?

To be frank….not a damn thing. But I am about to find out.

I have a plan. I will execute it. This idea of mine is born of research, observation, passion, and a desire to create a business that is fair, equitable and encouraging.

To honour the written word has now become my life’s passion. That I can become good at it and find others to represent….

I love where I’m going and with a heart full to bursting and eyes drinking in the fragility and strength of this world, can I give this back? Can I offer more? We will see.


Success…tell me what it means to you?

At my writers’ meeting on Friday night we discussed the trials and tribulations of parlaying thought into effective storytelling.  One thing is certain, all of us have a unique approach on how we accomplish the feat of writing.

I have made it a point to write everyday.  It doesn’t have to be the project that I am currently working on.  If I can at least post a blog, then I’ll have met my self-imposed obligation to the craft.

A conversation cropped up about what success looked like.  I thought about this long after the meeting.  I thought about it as I let sleep claim me later that evening.

A few years ago in some weird little twist I acknowledged that I actually had a fear of success.  I don’t know that this is an entirely accurate description but I feel I can provide more clarity given this ideology.  My meaning is this.

Throughout my life I would begin a course of action designed to improve my well-being.

For example I would get a job and work really hard hoping to move up the ladder and be rewarded for my efforts.

I went into each job with so much hope and attacked the position with undeniable passion.  Unfortunately, I had a deep need to be praised for the work I was doing.  This translated into a behavioural  display of being something of the proverbial doormat.  This conditioning had occurred in my youth.

It had been hardwired into me and in some convoluted manner, I was playing this scene out repeatedly.

As a young girl I sought the attention, approval and love of my father.  The times when praise was rained down on me felt like an aphrodisiac of sorts.  These occurrences were extremely rare.  More often than not verbal assaults and criticisms were directed my way.

As a teen, emotions began to surface and erupt.  The outbursts would ultimately result in physical abuse.

I entered the work place at a young age.  Each job began with me as a dynamo the first little while.  Then somewhere along the way the desire to be acknowledged and accepted would become more demanding.  When it wasn’t offered up then somehow I would begin to sabotage my efforts.  The result was always the same.

A dramatic ending of me either walking out or going off the deep end resulting in the loss of my job.  And of course, it was never my fault.  I was the perfect little victim.  Eventually this behavior of mine began to wear on me.  I would feel so defeated at times and simply could not understand why these things always happened.

The thought then occurred that perhaps I had a hand in my own demise.  Horror of all horrors, if this did not turn out to be the case.

Looking back over the years I saw the pattern that had been established, not just with my conduct in the workplace, but in relationships in general as well.  I knew this had to change if I was ever to be successful in life.

I’ve worked hard to change how I respond in many situations.  I’ve also found that when I acknowledge my participation/or lack there of in certain exchanges and accept the responsibility that I played, I ultimately learn and grow stronger.

As we spoke last night, it came to me.  Success for me is completion.

Of taking whatever it is I am working on to a conclusion.

This was instilled in me in a big way when I ran my first Sun Run, which for those of you who don’t know, is a 10 KM race in Vancouver that attracts approximately 50,000 participants every year.

Crossing the finish line in 2010 was pivotal to where I am today.

With that success, a hunger was born and the challenge was laid out before me. I’ve stumbled along this path ever since.

Oh, I recognize old behavior patterns that still come up creating issues but I now deal with them and move on.

Each success opens a new set of challenges and offers the opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.  Each success results in the foundation of my person becoming that much stronger.

What is the measure of success?

For some it is financial independence.  For others having a family, home and good job.  For many finding love in their life.

Now when I look in the mirror I try not to see the woman I think this world expects but rather quite simply, the woman who I am.  And with each project, with each challenge I accept and the completion of said task, I see my true self emerging.

Enjoy your day! Peace.

And there I was at the finish line but really I was at the beginning…

I have been reflective as of late thinking about all that I have managed to do in a relatively short period of time.  Despite the health issues that have come up, despite the emotional house cleaning that was necessary (and man, was my emotional closet ever a mess!), I have really toughed it out and pushed through.

When I started this blog no one had ever really read any of my writings before.  I had been expressing myself via the pen for the majority of my life.  This had been my voice for a very long time.  What I could not say verbally could be found bleeding onto the page.

I started this blog the day after having heart surgery.  Those of you who have been with me close to two years now may recall that I spoke of this in the beginning.

Yesterday I read back a few of my posts.  They are interesting as they capture my mindset at a particular moment in time.  Somehow I navigated into some more emotional revelations and then into this whole cancer thing.  As I have said early this week, I feel as though my life is righting itself and yet, as chemotherapy looms around the corner, I wonder how long this sense will remain.  I hope it sticks around for a bit.  Think I am going to need it.

I went back to my first post today.  A hopeful woman was sitting on her sofa that day tapping out her imaginings. Here is the opening statement from that post.

‘What I hope to share with everyone who decides to share in this experience with me is the sense of renewal and the excitement of the road ahead.  And I have no idea what that looks like but the idea of it is exhilarating none the less. 

The Power of One…that connection…how many people do you come into contact on any given day?  What energy are you parlaying to them?  Are you reaching out for that endearing sense of human contact or are you drawing back from it?  It is amazing if you stop and think how many people you actually interact with on any given day and even more exciting is what you can perhaps share with them. 

Think about it.  We will never be in the exact same place at the exact same time in the course of this world turning ever again.  This moment will never come again. There will always be variables that have shifted even if you were standing in the exact same place 24 hours later the energy and the light source coming to us will have shifted. And while we are hurtling through space at 600 miles per hour on this planet that is wobbling its way around the sun, we have this source of energy that just permeates our very being…ours to accept or reject.  We are never still, though we feel we are and there is never true silence in terms of the definition we have provided. Also, we are never alone.

Very recently I have begun to discover this energy and for me it is magic. I will provide a definition shortly but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, not just yet.  Right now I am feeling quite giddy and excited and wanting to share all of this….I want to reach out and connect with everyone and everything…and this seems as likely a place to start as any.’

There you have it.  It was at this time that I was accepting myself as a writer and not just someone who loved to write.  The book that was I was just beginning to piece together is now complete soon to be published.

I have run several more races since this blog started including a 1/2 Marathon.  I have continued to reconcile my past leaving the pain of it where it belongs but taking the lessons learned and allowing them to feed and nurture the soul.

I have put posts up that have been extremely emotional.  In all this time I have only removed one as I felt it was far too vulnerable and raw.  Those that subscribe to my blog would have received it.  Perhaps that was a time when I was having a hiccup in terms of behaviour and allowing emotional reflexes to throw me off.

I continue to try to make sense of things that are at times completely irrational.  Perhaps I should just let them be.  And I continue to grow and evolve.  I work to be a kinder and gentler being each day.  I work to be guided by my heart and not my head.

And regardless of the ailments and illnesses that I have been afflicted with I continue to work through them.  And yes, there are times when being the ‘strong’ individual I am is less than appealing.  I would like to have someone who could at times take this burden, even if it is for just a little while, from me.  Just let me cry it out, you know?

It is never a question of saying that it’s ‘not fair’.  Life doesn’t work that way.  Just gotta roll with it.  You’ve all heard it.  If life gives you lemons, best you learn how to make damn good lemonade.

I went back to the beginning to see if I am still on track with the original idea of this blog.  Yes, I am.  The idea was to share in my journey and I have done that.

And this is where I am with just a few days before the next assault on my body begins.  I have reconciled the need and prepared to meet the effects.  Have a great weekend everyone and thanks again for checking in from time to time.


Emotional Fortitude

Keeping my emotions in check has been interesting.  While I have valid reasons for suddenly feeling completely freaked out and begin see the panic rise, I fight it down and contain it.  Case in point.  A miniscule mole on the side of my thigh seems to be getting darker.  Now up until the weekend I was not even aware that I had a mole there…it’s that small.  As of late, however, I’ve been paying extremely close attention to this vessel of mine.  I will call the BC Cancer Agency to inquire if this is a major concern.  And the thing of it is it looks much darker here at work than it does at home.  Go figure.  Perhaps its the lighting.  I don’t know.

Does it mean something sinister?  Is this thing spreading?

The emotional component to all of this is taxing.  I have mini-wars with myself on a daily basis.  I want answers.  But then don’t we all?  More than anything I want to be part of the solution to solving the riddle around cancer.

We all have the genetic potential to have cancer.  So what causes it to mutate in some and not others?

I have known of people who smoked and drank and lived an altogether unhealthy lifestyle who have lived to a ripe old age.

I also know of people living extremely healthy lifestyles who end up developing cancer.  Doesn’t make sense, does it?   This thing doesn’t pick and choose.  Whatever the trigger is once it’s pulled, it then becomes a dance of sorts.

I have just over two weeks before my surgery and I am feeling so incredibly anxious. I want this thing in me gone.  These moments of panic, of fear, of reckoning…

I want to feel healthy and fit, happy and alive.

Always, regardless of my weight, I have been a strong woman.  Now I feel as though that is challenged as well.  It’s not letting the emotions run away on me.  Of keeping them contained.  Reassurance that all will be well is at times followed by what if it’s not.

I commented to a friend on the weekend that this year seemingly has just flown by yet these weeks have suddenly begun to drag out…painful so.  I ask myself if what I am currently experiencing was evident prior to diagnosis and I honestly cannot say.

Once those words were spoken I shifted so dramatically.  Now it is simply a matter of maintaining the emotional fortitude to get through to the surgery date.  I just feel as if something should be done other than waiting.  I have no doubt that everyone in my position feels like this.

I don’t like feeling anxious.  In fact it is something I’ve worked and focused on the past few years.

I close my eyes and breathe.  Feel the oxygen move through my body and tamper down the swell of emotions that threaten to engulf me.  The storm continues around me.  The trick is to stay in the eye of it as this too will pass.  A prayer, a whisper and hope infuse the desperate heart that beats rapidly during these moments.

I will be fine.

In Traing (Day 83)….Just Breathe!

Lions Gate BridgeI did it!  The legs are coming back!  I am feeling so strong right now too.  I rose a little after 6:00 AM this morning and prepared for my run.

As planned I parked my car at English Bay then took a cab to the starting point.  I had wanted to start running around 7:00 AM but it was about 7:50 AM by the time I began.  I was just hoping the legs would feel pretty good and they did.

The emotions that ran through me today were just amazing.  My daughter turns 30 years old tomorrow and I reflected on what has transpired over the span of these last 30 years since I entered into my role as a mother.  It has been one hell of a ride!  Many lessons have been learned along the way.  Some were easier than others.

And as I ran today I completed my longest run to date.  I am stoked.  The emotions that passed through me… the doubt and the resolve and persistence to keep going.  And somewhere in that mix was the belief and wonder that I can still do this.

I thought of where I started with my daughter almost 30 years to the day.  It wasn’t a planned pregnancy and I was on my own.  The fear and the guilt weighed heavy on me.  Was I being selfish?

So many mixed emotions because in truth, I had no clue just what the hell I was doing. One Tree Island

She slept in a laundry basket for the first three weeks of her life as I scrounged around pulling together the basics.  Those nights when I would stare down at this beautiful life that was gifted to me.

Somehow I knew I had to make this work for her.  Somehow I had to correct the dysfunction that revolved around me.  I had been a cloud of ineptitude, a fractured being whose emotional state seemed to be in a constant state of flux.

I begged for love.  Watched it pass me by time and again, but then I didn’t really understand love at all.  I was confused by it.  Afraid of it.  At times I felt its power and then shrank back overwhelmed and unable to open myself completely to its beauty.

And now here I am, blossoming. The heart is opening fully and expanding.Seawall

Sometimes I wonder what it was I feared but when you are told throughout your formative years that you are just not worth it, well, it can do a number on you.

And now I accept that I have done some amazing things in this life!  I have come so far and I have so much more before me.  With each step I took, at times the burden seemed to be too much.   And I would dig a little deeper.  I had to.

And today was no different.  As the legs at times felt like lead weights, I pushed through it.  And when I finished I felt like I could fly.  Along with feeling stronger and having the best run in the last three weeks my confidence soared reassuring me that I will be able to do this.  It may not look the way I initially thought, but isn’t that joy of any journey?

It is a spectacular day outside and I  have a few errands still to do.  Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by.  Many blessings to all of you!

English Bay



In Training (Day 47)….Deciding Factors

Thoughts this morning started with the question of ‘What’s happened to all my socks?’ 

A foolish question, I know, but as I gazed in my sock drawer the six pair of black socks I once had have been reduced to three with a spare black and somehow a navy a blue sock that originally didn’t belong me has managed to find its way in there.  The grey socks have mysteriously been reduced in number and the white ones…well, let’s just say I see sock heaven in their future.

Where do socks go?  I sometimes wonder if the washing machine is not just stuffed full of socks that is has sucked out of the drum and stores in the bowls of its, well…

The mental note to self was made to purge all the orphan socks from my drawer, discard the sad remnants of over used socks and replenish the supply.  I kind of have to do that will all my undergarment things though.  That is one decision now confirmed and scheduled for weekend activity.

I need shoes as well.  I am about as horrid with shoes as I am with my hair.  Just as I let my hair look like the Bride of Frankenstein having a bad hair day before I get it cut, I wear my shoes to the point where they start to look pretty gnarly.

I go for comfort when I buy a shoe.  And when I find that shoe that makes my feet feel as if they are on a cloud they become fused to my feet.  Case in point, three and half years ago I bought a pair of flat dress shoes from Le Chateau.  They were a soft leather dyed silver.  My feet have been in heaven in these shoes.  I wore them to work the other day and about half way through the morning I gazed down at my feet and grimaced at the condition of the shoes.  They are starting to sprout small holes on the toes and the leather has worn away and they are kind of scuffed up looking now.

I said a silent eulogy knowing too that these shoes, along with my Puma mirror-ball shoes must be retired.  My Pumas actually have a lot of sole left but they have sequins on the top, hence the mirror-ball reference, and well, looking kind of ratty now.

What does any of this have to do with training for a half marathon, you ask?

I guess it has to do with the decisions we make and the reasons we make them.  It is the behaviour pattern that I look at now of why I keep things that have long passed on their usefulness.  Why, I wonder, do we form emotional connections to objects such as shoes.  Do you have a favourite top?  A pair of jeans that fits you just so?  Does your car make your heart sing?

Yet these are inanimate objects that simply serve a purpose.  And when they are no longer useful they simply become clutter.  Such is the case with emotional echoes that come back from time to time pulling me back into old patterns of thinking.

For a time I was weighted down with clutter of every variety.  And I have heard it said that once you begin to purge the clutter from your physical world it will resonate with you in your spiritual and emotional realm as well.  I have found that to be the case.

I spent a lifetime telling myself what I couldn’t do.  I had ever excuse going for me too.  I had supporting arguments as well.  I was the quintessential victim in every sense.

What changed?

It started with the little things like cleaning out a sock drawer and then cleaning out the closets.  It started with me asking myself why in heaven’s name I was keeping all this stuff in the first place.  I had ten years of magazines and I leafed through them wondering what article it was that WOWED! me to the point that it had held residence for so long.  And as all of these things found their way either into the garbage bin or they were recycled what was left was just the woman.  Her physical world was cleaned up but when she looked in the mirror she didn’t like who was looking back at her.

Yes, I have suffered from depression.  Yes, I have suffered from abuse.  Yes, I have suffered.  And in that moment I asked myself a very important question.

“Is that all you want to be known for is having suffered in this life?”

It was a frightening admission and one that I needed to change.  And so I opened the emotional closet that day.  Good lord, what a lot of junk!  Still moving through it but its a whole lot cleaner in there now.

These days I anticipate what I will be able to achieve and then work to make it happen.

Rebecca Marino is a tennis player who recently bowed out of the sport.  She has suffered from depression for a long time and she also found the scrutiny and often cruel words bantered about on social media sites hard to accept.

On the drive in I listened to the debates about this on the radio.  Some saying she should ‘suck it up’ and others really ‘feeling her pain.’

At the end of the day it is her decision.  One she will ultimately have to live with.  Just as I decide what is best for the person I am, so must she.  And knowing the sporting world, just knowing the world in general that when you have any measure of success the expectations that can be placed on you are at times unreasonable if not unrealistic and unbearable.  And if you don’t measure up to these expectations, well we all know how cruel our species can be.

Still I look at what I expect of myself now, not what I perceive is expected of me.  Not an easy task and in no way mastered but I have that awareness now.

I wish her well.  I don’t know the nature or severity of her depression but I hope she finds her peace, her truth, her bliss.

I know that depression is an emotional disability of sorts and I will live each day for the rest of my life rising above it.
Now where are my socks anyway?

I’m ready….

I signed up for the 1/2 Marathon yesterday.  I have five months now to train for this run.  The thing of it is, this is a different personal challenge.  This time I am taking everything I have been working on with self, the physical, the emotional, the spiritual, the sexual, the feminine and I am going to focus all of it into the training.

By the time race day comes, I want to be in peak condition on all these fronts, I want to be united on all these fronts.

Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

I have spoken about when I began running again.  I was eighty pounds heavier than I am today.  I was inspired by the opening ceremony to the Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010.

With the weight beginning to disappear and the freedom of movement becoming more prominent what also occurred was a releasing of my soul.  All the hurt and pain that had been buried in the excess weight, came to the forefront.  All the things I had denied about myself, my intelligence, my beauty, my gentle nature, my curious nature, my sexuality…it all rose with a desperation to be acknowledged by the woman who housed them.

So the journey began to heal self, to forgive self and to let self expand and grow.

There have been many times when I have run on an early Friday morning  and I have felt the tears roll down my cheek because I feel so blessed that I can move like this.  That I feel the body moving rhythmically, that I feel the breath move throughout, that I feel the heart beat steadily and that I am interchangeable with all that is around me.

2011 was a difficult year.  I was bombarded with so many emotions and memories that I had suppressed for years.  I found guidance with a number of people and through it all I ran.  And I found the pen once more and this gave voice to acknowledge all that I had denied.

I needed to trust my heart centre now.  Something I had never done.  Something I was really not even aware of.  For that year the emotions that were being purged were incredibly intense and as I teetered through this minefield, I found a calm in my heart that reassured me I could get through this.

This past year has been a year to reinforce and liberate self.  So for the next year I am focusing on pulling it all together.  I want to find that harmony and flow that I know exists within me. I want that to shine through and take me the next level in my evolution.  So I have set a few goals for myself.

Reclaiming my wellbeing on all fronts is one of them.  On May 5th, 2013 when I cross the finish line for the BMO 1/2 Marathon, it will be a success far greater than the time I completed it in.  It has taken me a lifetime to get to this point and from the finish line I know even more doors will open.

And so, I will move forward and become the woman I was meant to be.  I will no longer hide in the cracks that society has dictated I should reside in.  And I am so close now and she begs me to venture further, and encourages me to open my heart and trust my heart.  And so I will.

Happy Holidays to all of you!  Thanks again for your continued support.  I am excited about the year ahead because I really feel I am about to blossom.  It’s a beautiful thing.

The shoulder is always open…and I have two of them

Sometimes it is far more important just to very quietly let someone you love know that you are there, and always will be, not by words but just by your presence.  I was thinking this morning how wrapped up we get in our lives sometimes.   Always on the go, always moving.  When someone I care for and love tells me they are hurting, I will drop everything and offer my shoulder and just listen.

Sometimes all we want is to be heard and acknowledged.  There is never anything trivial about someones pain as well.  However inconsequential it may seem, to that person the effect can be devastating.  I know that if someone treats another’ s pain as unimportant or relays the message to ‘just get over it’, this can be very damaging as well.  It makes one feel invisible at times and unimportant.

We are all important.  We all feel.  We all want love and need love.  We all desire touch.  It is part of the human experience, it is part of being the human animal.

We are by nature, social creatures.  Yet we now live in a world that seemingly puts us behind a computer screen, or an iPhone, or and iPad, or some other miraculous piece of technology that we can interact with other humans through.  And yet so many lonely souls.  We are all connected, and it is not the world wide web that binds us.

It is the human emotion known as love that binds all of us.  It does not matter what culture you are raised in or religion for that matter.  They all acknowledge and desire this one thing…love, as do we.

It comes in so many different colours and flavours and shapes and sizes.

One thing that I have learned over the last 1 1/2 years particularly is to not be afraid of it.  Not to fear giving love and receiving it.  To offer it in all its many forms.  I was so afraid of being hurt that didn’t allow myself to be loved in the first place.

The heart is much stronger than I ever gave it credit and the abundance that is there, well I just want to share it.  Funny, I had a conversation with James,  a healer I have been working with not too long ago and I said that I had this abundance of love to give and share and I was afraid that no one would want it.  That is precisely why I have held back.  So I just need to put it out there.

And so I say, “I am here…and I love you.”

Enjoy your day everyone.