Jan122016

The Unruly Roommate

Have you ever had a roommate who you didn’t quite know what to do about? Perhaps you knew something unusual was going on in his room, but didn’t quite know how to approach the subject. His habits are strange and you’re not sure you can live with this guy much longer. Maybe you find yourself doing inconsiderate things, like playing loud music when he’s sleeping, hoping he’ll be annoyed. You realize that secretly, you wish he’d move out and then you wouldn’t have to deal with him any more.

I think we can be like this sometimes with our subconscious minds. Our subconscious minds are programmed with various things that we’ve told it over the years, and sometimes, I think we know there’s something strange going on in there, but we don’t quite know how to address it. We wish it would stop interfering in our lives — sabotaging what we’re doing.

Obviously, your subconscious mind can’t “move out,” but what if you are frustrated with its behaviour? Have you ever thought of simply talking to it? From your conscious mind, you can address your subconscious any time. You can counter any false beliefs you become aware of, using affirmations, positive self-talk, or affirmative prayer.

You can also get quiet and see if your subconscious has anything “to say” to you. In other words, you can have a wave experience, as I describe in Love Your Skeletons — a new, interesting insight into what is really going on inside you after a wave of powerful emotion passes through.

So, as always, I’m just giving you some things to think about and some ideas about tools you can use to learn to accept yourself more fully. You may have an unruly roommate inside you, so to speak — a part of you that you’d like to be rid of but don’t quite know how to address it. Just talk! Write in a journal. Don’t be afraid to open up a dialogue with parts of yourself you may have pushed down or ignored. And remember all the while that you are a whole, beautiful person on this interesting journey of life like the rest of us!

Sep252015

You Being You

I want to thank everyone who came out to my workshop last week! Thank you for being open, for being *present* and for your smiles and great questions! Let’s do it again some time!

Today, I came across this and just had to share:

Panache Desai quote

It is a quote from Panache Desai, from Discovering Your Soul Signature. It reminds me that although it is good to read books by others, and to want to change, it is important above all to learn to be yourself — to love yourself and to listen to your own guidance the most closely. And know that YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are the blessing to those around you and the world. YOU ARE a miracle!

If you’re wondering what a soul signature is, I believe it’s the unique and beautiful way you are in the world. It’s the precious, one-of-a-kind imprint you leave on those around you. It’s the wake of your vibration — like the wake of a boat moving along — as you go through your day!

Have a great day, everyone! Love you all. 🙂

Sep042015

Understanding Your Emotions Workshop

Understanding Your Emotions-2
I’d love to have you join me in a new workshop, Understanding Your Emotions. I will go over some of the ideas in Love Your Skeletons and lead the Ocean Fence meditation. It’s only an hour long, and it’s going to be great! There’s no ticket price as such — we’ll just take donations — you can pay whatever you like for the evening!

It takes place at the Centre for Spiritual Living in Edmonton, AB. We start at 6:30 pm. See the map below!

Mar032014

New Understanding

It’s strange, but I am understanding new things about the world all the time. I now understand why some middle-aged women cut their hair short (or shorter) — it’s the awkwardness of grey hairs growing in. Another one: some people become alcoholics because they are punishing themselves for something, and are actually slowly committing suicide. One more: when we think of aliens, we think of “the greys,” but they aren’t necessarily real. They became well-known after the TV show “The X Files,” which is just a show, not a documentary!

Freakonomics coverI’ve been reading Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner lately. In it, they look at all kinds of trends and statistics to try and figure out why the world is the way it is. No subject is taboo, and they are careful not to confuse morality with causality; just because something ought not to happen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t. As a result, I have a much better understanding of how urban street-life and drug culture work. The authors actually got financial records from a gang in Chicago, and a sociology student hung out with the gang members and made notes on what he learned. The over-arching theme in Freakonomics is incentive — what makes people do the things they do — and it’s becoming terribly interesting to me. (With my introverted nature, I never really thought about this much before.) The incentive to be a drug dealer? To be recognized, to be popular, to get rich — very similar to an aspiring actor: to be one of the very few to make it big.

Sometimes, I get a new flash of understanding by reading/learning something, and other times it comes as a flash of insight — something more akin to intuition. I had a truly startling flash-revelation when I was in Wrigley. One morning, in that state between sleep and wakefulness, an image and a sentence came to mind: “If I get big enough, maybe they will leave me alone.” The really big girl I had met recently was obese because she was trying to keep men from bothering her. She had been abused and the thought that came through to me was crystal clear. It is sad, but I guess that is her coping strategy… I just don’t know if it’s working.

That flash of insight lead to this:

When you hate yourself, you are less healthy (which includes being overweight).

Many people would say I have it backwards: they hate themselves when they are overweight. But I believe it goes the other way. Why? Because the reverse is true:

When I like myself the most, I am naturally thin and healthy.

It is easy, and it doesn’t seem to matter much what I eat. The “work,” if you want to call it that, is in liking myself, because I’m human too, and sometimes I get into a habit of complaining about myself more than appreciating.

The thing is, you can’t fake liking yourself. Remember how Freakonomics is all about incentives? You can’t ask “what’s my incentive to like myself more? To be THIN!” That just reinforces the idea that you are not okay unless you are thin — a message that has saturated the media, although I am happy to see more normal body images popping up all the time.

But this blog post is not about being thin. It’s about understanding things, and how a new perspective changes everything. So let me summarize a few of my latest revelations:

  • When I tell myself “I don’t feel like being grumpy today. I want to be happy!” I am well on the way to being happy.
  • When I focus on what I have to work with, rather than what I am lacking, I become like MacGyver — solving problems, coming up with innovative solutions, and being a hero (at least to myself)!
  • When I am grateful for everything around me, I am overwhelmed with contentment.
  • When I am happy about who I am, health comes easily.
  • If you’re after fame and fortune, choose acting rather than dealing drugs (it’s a lot safer).
  • No matter the hair style, grey hairs happen!

less grumpy people

Feb282014

Darkest Days

Happy last-day-of February! I know this can be a tough month, but we made it! 🙂

Hope Flickers

It’s always darkest before the dawn,
or so the saying goes.
I beg to differ.

I’d say it’s always darkest when you feel alone,
like no one understands you,
like no one cares.

The darkest days are those
when you cannot think a happy thought,
when you cannot smile,
and all you see is the abyss of your mood,
deep and dark,
like a bottomless pit
pulling you down.

And then you see a glimmer.
You start to think that maybe someone does care.
You are finally able to see the
flicker of understanding in someone’s eyes.

Like a faint smudge of aurora,
your hope grows.
Although it flickers at times,
it isn’t long before
it learns to dance.
A breathtaking glowing curtain rises
on a new life for you.
You dare to hope,
you dare to believe
in something good,
something lovely.

Until one day, quite unexpectedly,
your smile erupts
and as though transfixed by an incredible aurora,
you stand in awe of the beauty
and potential
and boundlessness
of all your blessings.

Feb252014

Loved and Lost, Left and Laughed

Have you heard the expression

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Although this can be a great way to think about past relationships — appreciating love in all its forms — it can also make us feel melancholy, miss “the good old days” or regret things we did.

I recently stumbled on a new musical artist, Leif Vollebekk. In his song When the Subway Comes Above the Ground he twists that well-known homily like this:

“It is better to have left and laughed than never to have left at all.”
– Leif Vollebekk When the Subway Comes Above the Ground

For some of us, this is all too true! It is better to have left unhappy or abusive relationships and learned to laugh again. It is better that we found our inner, hidden strength, that we learned to respect and love ourselves… It is so much better to be alone and happy than attached to someone who hates himself so much, he seems intent on making you miserable.

yellow rose

It has been over twelve years since I left and laughed. If you are on the threshold of doing the same, considering leaving an unkind mate, let me tell you there is life after an ugly relationship — there is laughter after leaving.

International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies

Listen to Leif Vollebekk’s song here:

Feb222014

About Me

So I was reviewing this website, and noticed a couple of things I wanted to change. And then I came across this, my bio:

Teresa Griffith grew up on a farm in central Alberta. After graduating high school, she became a starving student at the University of Alberta, studying physics. She enjoyed it very much, although she didn’t always know it at the time. Upon finishing, she got the excellent and challenging job of Staff Scientist at Science North, an interactive science centre in Sudbury, Ontario. Seven years and one marriage later, for something completely different, she undertook the intensive training to become a Flight Service Specialist at Nav Canada. When given the opportunity to leave her job and do something she loves even more, she took it, and started her own canoe and kayak outfitting company, Flow North Paddling Company. She loves to canoe and kayak, as well as knit, paint, sing, blog, and do all kinds of outdoor activities. She has done several hours of helicopter flight training, purely for the challenge and the thrill of flying. She has recently joined the volunteer fire department in her home town.

Wow, is that me? I sound like a superwoman, but believe me, I am NOT! Although nothing in that is untrue, I don’t feel it is a very good description of me. So, let me try to write a better bio, one that tells you more about the real me.

Teresa grew up on a farm and throughout all her years, she never lost her love of the land. She grew in her abilities to do math and learn science, to write and to paddle, but she still thinks of herself as a teenager. She often doesn’t realize she’s stretching other people’s ideas of what a woman, a blonde, or a thirty-something married person should be doing. She never thought she’d be around this long, and it’s really hard for her to imagine being old.

What is the best description for the “About the Author” page? What do you really want or need to know? Perhaps I should just say

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything. – Voltaire

Like everyone, I am complex. To try and summarize who I am on paper, in a few words, is impossible. I am not my accomplishments nor defined by jobs I’ve had or hobbies I enjoy (the focus of the first bio). I am more than my beliefs and ideas (the second bio). I, like you, am an interesting tapestry of many diverse aspects woven together into a balanced, intricate human being. My thoughts change the way my cells behave. My health changes the way I think. What I eat changes how I feel. How I feel is affected by how I think, and my thought pattern relates to how I was raised. Everything comes together cooperatively to make me who I am, as it does for you.

We are incredibly beautiful, complicated, and unique! 🙂

me-2014-

Jan292014

A New Way to Use Your Imagination

When recovering from skeletons in the closet — any hurtful experience — it’s important to learn how to help yourself in a gentle, accepting way. Here’s a new way to learn to be kinder to yourself, using your imagination.

Start by getting comfortable, sitting or laying down. Make sure you are truly, perfectly settled. If you are sitting, perhaps place a pillow behind your back to maintain a lumbar curve. If you are laying down, consider putting a pillow or some blankets under your legs to help your lower back to relax. Breathe deeply several times, and imagine that there is soft, calming music playing. Think of the sort of music that massage therapists or spas use: slow, gentle, perhaps slightly rhythmic.

Sit for several breaths, slowly inhaling and exhaling and becoming aware of your body as you breathe. Continue imagining the relaxing music.

Now imagine that you are going to make your own meditation/affirmation CD. Wouldn’t you use a calm, reassuring tone? What would you say to encourage someone? You might start by speaking for the breaths — “breathe in slowly through your nose, breathe out slowly… relax your body from head to toe…”

Now where does your imagination take you? Does a calming scene come to mind? Do you feel like telling your imaginary audience about something to visualize? What would you tell someone to help them feel appreciated or important? What might you say to help them relax? Now say those things in your head, as if you were trying to make a great relaxation CD, knowing that you are actually saying them to yourself.

Talk to yourself in this manner for as long as it feels natural — don’t force it or get elaborate. It is best to let ideas simply float to mind, say them, hear them, and let them float away. You shouldn’t need to use your intellect — get out of your head. Don’t worry about remembering what you said either. Just let the ideas flow. Isn’t it interesting — by picturing making a professional meditation/relaxation product, you are actually learning how to love and accept yourself.

How does that feel? I hope it feels rejuvenating and inspiring. I hope it gives you more hope! But I know that if you’ve been in the habit of judging and not liking yourself, then it may feel very uncomfortable or strange, and as soon as it was over, you may have noticed yourself thinking some negative thoughts; you may have even talked to yourself in a harsh voice, because that is what you are used to. Don’t despair! You can gradually learn to like yourself more, to judge yourself less and to be a good friend to yourself.

Try this method two or three times a week, or even as a daily meditation, and see how your life changes when you begin to speak to yourself in a more loving voice. Using your imagination in this way is a bit like tapping into your own personal soundtrack, but in this case, you direct the music rather than simply listening. I hope you will find this meditation helpful as you learn to support and love yourself more.

~

MLogozar-coverA childhood friend of mine, Michael Logozar, is an amazing pianist, and he’s recorded three beautiful albums, all of which I find to be very lovely and relaxing. If you’d like to try them, I’m sure you’ll agree! (I’m not getting any sort of money for recommending his music — I just had to mention it!)

Jan252014

Unraveling Your Mistakes

I’m a monster knitter. Now, when I say “monster,” I mean that I knit a lot. I know, this is a surprise to some of you, since I never mention it here on my blog. I’ve read some knitting blogs and they are great fun, but I’ve never really wanted or needed to write about knitting, until now.

I did my first craft sale a couple of months ago.* This is the first time I’ve ever knitted things with the intention to sell them at a Christmas bazaar, and the whole experience was strangely humbling and personally risky.

Why do I say risky? Because when I make something by hand, I spend a lot of time and effort on it, and I want people to like it. I hope they will think it’s nice; I hope they appreciate the work I put in. And it takes courage (at least for me) to display myself and my homemade crafts for all to see, in public. I’ve helped my dad sell eggs at the Farmer’s Market, but this was very different — much riskier. I wanted to have a table at the bazaar, however, because it was something I’d never done before!

So, I had three baby sweaters for sale, which I had knitted over a year ago, and I spent about 6 weeks knitting mittens, toques and headbands to sell at my table. I made five pairs of children’s mittens using bulky yarn and a pattern that I had invented. I’ve created my own patterns lots of times, because, like I said, I knit a lot. I had traced my little friend James’ hand a while ago, so I had something to follow, but I was still anxious to have some real kids try them on. I hoped they would fit, but I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t wait for people to come by my table and try them on their kids. So, you can imagine how surprised and chagrined I was when the first toddler came by and the mittens were too small.

They were way too narrow! They couldn’t get their chubby little hands into them! The cuffs wouldn’t stretch enough and, in most cases, they couldn’t even begin to get their hands in. I was so… discouraged, unhappy, frustrated and disappointed in myself. Here I thought I had made such great, warm mittens, and they were no good.

Of course, I had to hide all these feelings and keep a good face on. When the doors to the craft sale had opened and people had poured in, I had to work through some anxiety — mainly because it was my first sale — but when I realized the mittens were bad, I was really rattled. I know, in some of my writing, I come across as totally confident and empowered (I generally am), but this was a whole new realm of personal territory for me. I had to pretend everything was fine, that I was a good knitter, and that this craft sale was just a fun adventure for me. I had to keep standing there, smiling, while people walked by my table… a few stopped and remarked at my cute baby sweaters, and I sold a toque and the two pairs of adult-sized mittens. I could sympathize with people trying to find the “perfect thing” for a Christmas present, but I was quite distracted by own thoughts.

I consider myself to be a really good knitter. How could I have made that mistake? I guess I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. It’s humbling, and although this story is about knitting, the same thing can happen to any of us in any area of life. Have you ever thought you were good at something, and then screwed up and had to face the truth of your mistake, or lack of skill? It isn’t easy to keep going, and depending on how bad it was, the mistake might threaten to become a skeleton in the closet — something you never want to talk about, that you desperately wish had not happened. Now, the knitting mistake is no major disaster, but I still had to take some time to deal with it. I was pretty disappointed, but I’d say my self-esteem is again in tact. I have a bit more perspective now; it sucked, but it wasn’t that big a deal. I am humbled, but not defeated. 🙂

The too-small mitten is on the left... see how the one on the right will be wider when it's done?

The too-small mitten is on the left… see how the one on the right will be wider when it’s done?

So, I have started unravelling the children’s mittens that were too small and re-knitting them to be wider. The first pair I’m re-doing I am going to give to a friend’s son — because it is much more fun knitting for someone in particular than for an unknown customer. And they are turning out really well! So, unravel your life, if you have to, and put it back together… and do it because someone cares about you, or because you are learning to care for yourself. 🙂

*Forgive the delay in posting this, but I only recently got around to unraveling those mittens… 🙂

Jan012014

No New Year’s Resolution Required

Another new year is here!

In keeping with tradition, I like to take a little time to review the past year and make plans for things I’d like to do in the coming year. I do not, however, join in on a few other well-practiced traditions:
– beating myself up over things I’ve eaten over the holidays, weight I’ve gained, or any other thing I’ve done.
– making ridiculous, unrealistic New Year’s resolutions — for me, that would be to stop eating chocolate or cheezies!
– beating myself up over resolutions broken — or shall I say, blasted into smithereens, like a high-speed collision between two satellites in space.

No, I don’t beat myself up over anything. I’ve come a long way!

To beat myself up would be a savage act of violence to a survivor of violence, an act of profound disrespect for the journey I have been on. It would be like peeing on Martin Luther King’s grave or stomping on the tulips that so stalwartly push through the soil in spring.

As I said, I’ve been through a lot. When I first left home, I went through a very difficult stage, adjusting to city life and making ends meet. I went to the food bank at my church a few times. I was shy, but it was really self-discovery. I had good boyfriends and bad, and a marriage “we won’t speak of.” It was bad, but on the flip side — the recovery side — I unlocked creative potential I never knew I had. I wrote upwards of 10 songs. I was a singer in a Christian rock band for 4 years. Then I started writing; the creativity needed an outlet somewhere. I’ve written two books* so far and countless blog posts.

I’ve gone through phases where I didn’t like myself much. I’ve even had, for a short time, suicidal thoughts. I’ve had to work hard, physically and mentally, to shed all that baggage and baloney that was weighing down my spirit, festering in my mind.

Yes, I’ve come a long way. I’m so incredibly happy where I am now. The changes in me were not sudden, yet they’ve been significant. They were gradual, and inevitable. You cannot hide from the Light for long, before it finds you, warms you up, thaws your frozen heart, and lets you know you are loved.

You are loved.

You can do it.

You will make it. If I can make it, so can you.

You don’t have to change.

Change if you want to, not because you hate yourself. You know, even if you are in exactly the same place a year from now, you won’t be a failure. You are precious, and you are on the perfect journey.
Do some things differently in 2014, if you’d like, but do it because you’d like to see where it takes you. Do something new to have a new experience, but while you are learning, changing or just living, be easy on yourself. We are always changing — nothing stays the same — so why not think about what kind of person you’d like to become… what direction is your change going in? I find this more helpful than making resolutions!

New Year’s is a great time to reflect and review, but never let yourself get lost in the past. (Chapter 28 in Love Your Skeletons talks about this more.)

Let 2014 be the year you appreciate yourself more, forgive yourself more, and love yourself more.

You are only limited by

Related posts:
Starting Over…
Lifelong Growth
What Does the Future Hold?

*My first book is the one associated with this blog, Love Your Skeletons and my second book is York Boat Captain: 18 Life-Changing Days on the Peace River.

Nov032013

Wildflower

I am not a blade of grass.
I am not like everyone else,
Cut to the same height,
Living shoulder-to-shoulder,
Standing-room-only on the lawn,
Waiting to be walked on.

I am a wildflower,
Growing on the bank
Of a beautiful river.
Swaying in the breeze,
Basking in the sun,
Bobbing in the rain,
Roots spread out,
Reaching for the sky.

If you try to cut me down,
Stomp on me,
Or control how I grow,
You will see my wild side!
I cannot be crushed,
I cannot be stopped.
I will grow and flourish
No matter what,
Because to do so is my nature,
And nature can’t be stopped.

I bloom and grow,
See the river rise and fall,
Sway in the breeze,
Bask in the sun,
Bob in the rain,
Roots spreading out,
Reach for the sky.

purple pasqueflowers

I wrote this poem for a beautiful, Filipino waitress serving me at a local “greasy spoon” restaurant. She was sweet, friendly and efficient. I glanced up and saw her carrying a load of plates, full of food, to a nearby table. She wasn’t “on” in that moment; she wasn’t performing or pretending. She saw me looking at her and a split second passed — of knowing, of shared struggles, of understanding — before she put her smile back on. I grabbed a pen and wrote this on a napkin and left it for her on the table.

Oct202013

Lifelong Growth

If people knew how hard I had to work to achieve my mastery, they would not think it so wonderful.” – Michealangelo

Are you surprised to see that the famous artist, Michealangelo, had to work hard? We tend to think of him as a genius, prodigy or virtuoso — child wonder — whose talent is miraculous and utterly natural. While he may have had talent, clearly this didn’t mean everything came easily to him.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour principle. He says, and I agree, that it takes about 10,000 hours of doing something to become a master at it. Whether it is golf, writing, art or music, whatever it is — it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become truly accomplished at it.

And yet, many of us have fallen into the trap of wanting things fast, and if we aren’t careful, this attitude can lead to frustration. When we forget that growth and mastery take time, we may feel that we aren’t accomplishing what we want, or we may become blind to the progress we’ve already made. Whether we want to learn something, grow or overcome something from our past, it going to take practice and time.

Don’t be discouraged! 10,000 hours is a lot of time! If you “work on” your issue — read a book, do some journaling, whatever — for one hour a day, you’ll reach 10,000 hours in about 27 and a half years. So, now you can see why I gave this post the title “lifelong growth!” When you are feeling frustrated with yourself, remember that things take time. Have you been at it 27 years? No? Then be easy on yourself! Of course, you can spend more than one hour a day — ballet dancers practice for many hours a day for many years to become masters at their craft — but beware tackling your problems (especially overcoming painful events of the past) with too much gusto. The 10,000 hour rule applies to practice, and personal growth takes straight-up time as well. So please, in whatever you are working on, be patient with yourself and think of personal growth as a lifelong adventure rather than an accomplishment.

Oct182013

The Wisdom of the Trees

wisdom of the trees

One particularly lovely day, as the sun set, I asked the amazing trees nearby, who had stood like sentinels for decades, what they would tell me if they could speak. This is what they said:     Be.     Here.     Now.     Simple yet powerful advice!

Be.

I interpret this part of the message from the trees to mean to stop worrying so much about doing, accomplishing, filling my days with tasks and pleasures. Just be. Just breathe. Spend more time simply existing.

Here.

I realized that I spent quite a bit of time in my head, wishing or imagining I was somewhere else. Part of the power of the present moment comes from an acute awareness of where I am — the power of getting out of my head and into my body, coming back to Earth, so to speak. Being grounded in the here is the first step in being grounded at all.

Now.

Our personal power is focused in the present moment, right now. The ability to enjoy the present fully and create the future we want starts, literally, now. It’s fun to think about how the direction my life will take in the months and years to come is hinging on this very moment — this exact second. I neither want to strain for the future, nor do I resist going into it. I am not looking back to the past to relive “the good old days” nor am I straining to leave it behind. I do I see the past nor the present as my source of defining moments. I am who I am now and only now. I know, it gets a little hokey sounding, but it is true! My entire life to come is balancing on this moment, teetering, and I can easily decide what direction I want it to take: more kindness, peace, fun, and adventures! 🙂

Be.     Here.     Now.

It is the doorway to a deeper peace, profound assurance and trust that the world is a loving place.

Sep252013

Evil is Not Always Evil

Good and evil — it seems, universally, that there is an unending struggle between the two. At times, good seems to win, and at other times, evil appears to have the upper hand.

Some say evil began with Adam and Eve, when they ate of the wrong tree back in the garden. Some say it really came to a head with Hitler and the Nazis. And some have much more radical ideas.

Ernest Holmes, philosopher and teacher, enlightened man and author of the religion-transcendent book The Science of Mind, said that evil is not a thing unto itself; it is a misuse of that which is good. God is good, and God is in everything, yet sometimes in our ignorance, we misuse the good within us, and this appears as evil (or any sort of non-good).

So it would seem that evil is not always evil.

Another way to think of it is this — energy can be changed, transformed, but never destroyed. Likewise, we do not have the power to truly destroy. What we burn, might also be seen as sweet incense. What we kill, returns to Source. What we injure, often comes back stronger.

Have you seen the video on the internet of the young woman who spoke to the UN Council about the importance of education for children? Her name is Malala Yousafzai and she isn’t your average leader. She was shot in the head by a Taliban man while demonstrating the need for better education for children, and in particular, for girls. Now look at the incredible impact she is having on the world! Although there may appear to be great “evil” in the Taliban, their power really is limited. Out of an act that was a gargantuan misuse of good comes a landslide of goodness!

So again, evil is not always evil. Sometimes, evil brings out good.

May I share with you another way I know this? My ex-husband was a pretty unpleasant guy — some might say there was evil in him. He was abusive, controlling, belittling, and had violent mood swings. We were together for over two years before I was able to leave him. It was an incredibly difficult time for me.

But if you only knew the good that came out of that “evil” — I have been so blessed since I left him! I am now an unstoppable optimist. I am grateful every day for my peaceful surroundings. I have the most amazing friends and support system, including an amazing, loving husband. I love and connect with animals in a special way. I have found incredible peace and even enlightenment, and it’s very unlikely I would have ever risen above if it weren’t for the “evil” I lived with day-to-day. I am living in the amazing rebound effect of good-for-evil.

Knowing that good can come from evil can help you forgive yourself for any “evil” you may have done. We have all done things that were unkind or hurtful. We have all made mistakes. But that does not make us evil — it simply means we were misusing the potential for good.

We, in our misuse of good, put a heavy, dark filter over the light that is within, that is everywhere… so it seems dark, it seems evil, but the light is still there. Some people are so used to living in the dark, the light seems foreign, unbearable. But the light is always there! Goodness can and does come from bad things that happen, and, like you, many victims of violence become powerful advocates and lightworkers.

Life is worth living. Life is full of good. Life loves you, just so you can love life.

Can you see good that has come out of your difficult times, where “evil” seemed to surround you? If not yet, then it’s coming! Sometimes, a large lump of good comes from an ongoing “evil” — remember Malala? And we don’t even know the other small bits of good that are emerging, all over the world, in areas where evil wants or seems to reign. Have faith that the Universe is good — that perspective will get you through anything, and will bring you amazing resiliency, deep and joyous blessings and unbounded support.

Sep152013

Loved and Lost, Left and Laughed

Have you heard the expression

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Although this can be a great way to think about past relationships — appreciating love in all its forms — it can also make us feel melancholy, miss “the good old days” or regret things we did.

I recently stumbled on a new musical artist, Leif Vollebekk. In his song When the Subway Comes Above the Ground he twists that well-known homily like this:

“It is better to have left and laughed than never to have left at all.”

– Leif Vollebekk, When the Subway Comes Above the Ground

For some of us, this is all too true! It is better to have left unhappy or abusive relationships and learned to laugh again. It is better that we found our inner, hidden strength, that we learned to respect and love ourselves… It is so much better to be alone and happy than attached to someone who hates himself so much, he is intent on making you miserable. He probably does love you, but he is so unhealthy he doesn’t know how to treat you with love and respect. Let him be the one one saying “it is better to have loved and lost…” Many people who love each other can’t live together peacefully, and that’s just the way it is.

It has been over twelve years since I left and laughed. If you are on the threshold of doing the same, considering leaving an unkind mate, let me tell you there is life after an ugly relationship, there is laughter after leaving.

International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
yellow rose

“Leaving” could apply to other things, too. Maybe for you, it’s about leaving a job that isn’t good for you, or maybe you are thinking about leaving the place you are living. If you really can’t find a way to laugh — enjoy yourself, be happy — then maybe it is time to move. Sometimes we outgrow a place (or job), and the only solution is to leave and accept our “bigger good” somewhere else. Just keep in mind that if you are trying to run from your problems, they have an uncanny way of following you!

But sometimes, you just have to leave that drab apartment for a nicer place. Have you ever ridden a subway that came above ground? It is an interesting experience, and Leif Vollebekk’s song captures it beautifully (video below).


Thanks to CBC Radio, Q with Jian Ghomeshi for introducing me to this great music.