To the man who stole my mother’s heart

I knew before I met you that you had to be special
because my mother was not one to ever settle.

She lived on her own for 20 years
Not really sure she had let go of all her fears.

She told me about you and that is when I knew
That the man of her dreams- well that was you.

She never thought that day would come
When she’d open heart despite the possible outcome

She found her true love, her white shinning knight
someone who shared that same bright light.

With drives and adventures all planned out
What was all this crazy talk about

Illness and disease so close, so near
Sometimes forgotten over the sound of laughter and cheer

It quickly caught up and upset the scale
 bringing with it, all that illness entails.

Your heart was full, and you were so soft spoken
I knew you never wanted to leave my mom heart broken.

But progressively you began to fade away
A wedding it is! with little delay

We celebrated the journey that lead us here
Perhaps shedding quite a few tears

Both slowly and quickly You began to decline
You held on, because you did not want to leave us all behind

We know now you are somewhere warm,
while we ride out the waves of grief like a storm.

You are somewhere loving, majestic with an incredible view
And remember dear Armand, that we will always love you.

 

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Love &support is a hidden gem

where_there_is_love_quote_mahatma_gandhi_yogaShe was undeniably compassionate- almost excessively. When others require ample amounts of attention due to their difficulties, or obstacles she always lent an open ear. One that would be understanding, and also ease some of their burden. This constant attack on her energy left her empty, and drained. Void of all energy, unable to recover herself, the need of her assistance still prevalent, to help ease the burden of others.

Her heart simply felt as though it was imploding unable to help others, to be sympathetic or even understanding. She wanted to feel normal, and able to provide her full love and heart to others. Her purpose could not be fulfilled without her vibrancy or sparkle. Unconscious to the fact that she was hurt and needed the warmth, love and tenderness that she had once provided others.

We always find solace in talking to others, to become aware that we are not alone. We are not the only one’s who may be struggling along our path. It takes persistence to achieve success. We may fail 757 times but the 758 might lead to our success. This is why we figure out what it is we are meant to do and persevere no matter how many times we must fall down. When we show others our failures, they are able to compare with their own lives and help provide us with comfort and reassurance, that nothing great is achieved without difficulty. She was having difficulty finding the reassurance she needed to proceed and develop her inner strength. Her explanation of her sentiments was too difficult to fully share, and unload onto the shoulders of others. She dug deep inside and buried them. The hole became overflowing with memories that were overly agonizing, and too damaging to share with others who were oblivious to her truth. It was an ongoing internal battle until she found the missing element.

A space and supportive community that inspire greatness, develop character, grow inner strength, and enhance qualities that already reside within each and everyone who simply show up. They simply show up and remain open in heart and mind to the experiences and knowledge of others. A place to share energy, and transform dark into light. To grow both inside and out. It is a place that has a magic quality within its walls that illuminates even the darkest of places. We tap into awareness with breath, tranquility in stillness and find roots in the present moment happiness that can be ours if we simply let go.

Although she still has the overwhelm that first tried to drag her under, she has developed the muscles she needs and found a support system to help her battle the swells within. She no longer has to feel alone, depleted and without.

The Sun rises again

Warmth dissipates,
life hushed and serene,
Dormancy, lethargy follow

Still lingers the impressions of scars,
buried just below the surface
As not to disturb.

Time may heal, but not regenerate
Nothing will ever be as it was exactly
Always slight remodeling, as time always moves forward.

Transformation is not instantaneous,
You are not one then the other
always a transition period – a period of in between.

We overcome challenge with persistence,
like a river leaves an impression on the bank,
not an easy task.

Time & movement propel forward
We grasp easy, clear, painless
Avoid existence of wounds.

In between is where we learn,
we develop,
our “flaws” turn into strengths.

We dove into this journey,
with knowledge of transcendence
But progression is imperceptible.

Nearest has difficulty to judge progress
perpetual movement forward inevitable
Happiness is on the horizon.

Transition almost complete
Sun heightens, intensifies
The dawning of a new day.

There is nothing more important than your community

For a long time I lived in a place where I felt like a stranger, I did not have much connection with others in the city where I lived. I felt so out-of-place and disconnected that I felt the need for a big change, and soon enough my whole life shifted.

I found my community in yoga studio in my hometown, Moksha Yoga Fredericton. It is in the heart of the city and for good reason. Teachers and students alike are open-hearted hippie warriors determined to create a beautiful loving atmosphere for themselves and anyone else who wants to be apart of it. It is an essential part of my life, as it provides relaxation, clarity, insight and a piece of happiness that you can not find anywhere else.

The community welcomed me with open arms on a frigidly cold day last February when I was asked to sub a yoga class on a lunch hour one Friday afternoon. I graciously accepted, having been given such a marvelous opportunity, sometimes your mind rapidly takes a swan dive into fear– well what if I am not good enough, what if my sequence isn’t right or challenging enough, the what ifs can be never-ending …  After that 60 minutes, those worries, anxieties and fears evaporated. I was where I was meant to be. You have all these like-minded people wanting to expand their knowledge of themselves and their abilities Just like what I have been searching for. Just like that, I clicked into place with all those other yogis, what I had been looking for, what I had been missing I finally found it. This yoga studio had filled that void that was left empty for so long.

Community is so important because it gives you a sense of belonging, they allow us to interact with like-minded individuals, share experiences, develop valued relationships that work towards a specific goal, and without community we live a pretty isolated, desolate life.  These are the people who surround your life and directly impact the person you become. As individuals we weave our spirits into everything that we do, whether we make a bracelet for a friend or a painting for a collector our spirit has imprinted on that object, same can be said for the people we spend our time with. They weave their spirits into ours and vice versa. With that being said it may alter your current situation- you may choose differently in the future but it may not change your situation at all.  Let the people that support, uplift, motivate to do better, be who you are and be the best you possible spend the most time with you because they will help you achieve success in all the areas of your life.

Get out there get involved, do something you love in your community to broaden your connections, your circle and your life.

Bad News Travels Fast

DCIM100GOPROWhen you wake up and receive some really awful news, it definitely does not help you get started on the right foot. I have been trying for almost two years to surface from this feeling of drowning, and today I felt like I was sinking just a little bit further into the depths.

My heart felt like it was being torn apart by ravaging wolves, and I just burst out into tears.

It is almost like every time I receive any kind of bad news this is what happens to me, and I know it is not the most normal response. For the last two years, I have been persevering despite not knowing or understanding exactly what was wrong with me. My parents brought it to my attention after the trauma of 2014.  PTSD became my diagnosis despite only being 26 years old, and probably one of the happiest people you will ever meet. A deep rooted fear creating havoc in my life all this time, and with no end in sight. I have been determined to overcome this obstacle in my life. However when I receive less than favorable news, I tend to feel this overwhelming sense of anger, frustration and above all fear.

So how do I manage that debilitating feeling that accompanies this kind of news? I meditate. Yes it is true, I sit on a cushion in silence. It brings me focused concentration, and answers. I sat today for 20 minutes in silence, focused on my breath and counting inhales/exhales and finally as the meditation came to a close, I imagined myself taking in warm, light radiant energy. This energy filled me, and dissolved my fears, worries, and troubles with each breath. The answers came to me- Go to yoga- go to Moksha, the hot room, where all those magical things happen, and so I did.

The movement of yoga helps my body rid itself of the poison my mind creates with fear, anger and frustration. It builds up in the muscles, and joints and creates pain in my lower back. I knew yoga class will help me work out the muscles in my back and I would feel better, but sometimes when you just can not take any more bad news you want to curl up on the couch, and watch movies all day long, not moving or seeing a single person. This is what I wanted to do when I woke up this morning, but after 60 minutes of present moment-pure bliss, my body felt 100% better.

I am so genuinely grateful for yoga and everything it has given me the last couple years, freedom of pain, love, community, happiness, stress relief, and of course transformation.

 

You can always begin again

At the age of 25 you think you are invincible, that nothing can touch you. I was always a free spirited hippie soul with a love for helping others, and somehow I fell into my job as a 911 operator for the city of Fredericton at the age of 20. I absolutely loved every minute of it. Answering emergency calls and sending the help they needed. I was caring and compassionate and was not attaching myself to any of the calls. It was quite an experience. Honestly it felt like nothing bothered me, that I was capable of staying detached from those people but still care about each and everyone one of them.

Over time yes the job was wearing me down, I mean you can not go unscathed everyday listening to the worst day of people’s lives and get away untouched, but it wasn’t until a couple years later that I realized just how fragile life can be. In 2013, I worked on shift with a woman who was conniving, manipulative and well poison. She did everything in her power to make others look stupid, she picked on those who were “beneath” her, and she brought it to everyone’s attention if you made a mistake no matter how small or big. It defeat my self confidence but only because I let it. I developed shingles at least 2 times while on shift with her, because I always felt like my guard was up, and could never bring my nervous system out of the fight or flight response. Our job is already challenging enough without the added stress of someone who might be bipolar.

On June 4 2014, something terrible happened. I was at home, enjoying my 2nd day off when my husband woke me up at 5am. He told me 3 police officers in Moncton (my home town) had been shot and killed. I was ripped from my sleep and thought of my father automatically. He proceeded to tell me that he talked to my dad who was alright BUT he was still at work dealing with other issues. Well that was that, I was awake and there was no going back to sleep after that rude awakening. I turned on the television to the news and stayed in my bed all day just watching. The guy who killed these police officers was my age, but I did not know him. He was only 24 years old, why would he want to kill the people whose job is to serve and protect us? I wondered. The police had not apprehended him after the shooting. He was hiding in the woods near where the incident had occurred, just a few blocks away from where my mother lived. When she called to talk to me I got the feeling she was terrified of being alone. I called my husband at work and told him we were going to Moncton after his shift. For the next 8 hours I just stared at the television in disbelief, trying to understand  why? The truth was I could never understand. I was not aware at the time, but the reason he decided to kill these police officers is because just before this all unfolded, his friend was killed by a cop. This was all for vengeance.

When my husband arrived home, we packed our bags and headed in the direction of Moncton. It was a 2 hour drive from my current home in Fredericton. My husband and I discussed our day on the drive and when we finally arrived close to the city it was complete stillness and silence. There was not a car on the road, and not a sound to be heard. It was the most eerie, earth shattering silence I had ever experienced. My heart started to race, and I could feel the tension in the entire city. We pulled into the driveway at my moms house and did not waste any time getting inside. Every so often you could hear the helicopters circling overhead, probably using there thermal camera to detect a person in the woods. When I let my dogs out just before bed, my entire body was on fire, my heart pounding, anxiety filled my entire being, and my mind was racing to all these different death scenarios. This lasted for months after. To say that I slept that night would be a gross overstatement, the helicopters circling overhead, and any sound at all kept me from my slumber.

When we woke up we found out that the killer was captured sometime during the evening of June 5 2014. Not only were all Moncton’s officers searching for this one guy, so were police officers from multiple agency’s across New Brunswick who came to help resolve the situation. There were many who thought for sure it was going to end in a shoot out, but thankfully it did not. He surrendered, gave up, and turned himself in. This whole situation began to stir something inside of me, that I did not even know existed. By the end of June I had developed shingles for a 3rd time, while working in Moncton to relieve their operators in order to get counseling and help for what they had to go through. One of them, a good friend of mine from College. We had been in the same class together, I found out she was working police dispatch the night of the incident. We heard a lot of rumors but one in particular was that while police were screaming for help on the radio, there was nothing she could do to help. She was unable to send in the ambulance for fear they would be shot as well, until other officers were able to contain the issue. It is the scariest thing in the world to be a dispatcher. You sit in a chair and sometimes have to make very hard decisions. Do I send the ambulance attendants in to help & get them killed or do they sit and wait it out until we can get them in there? Imagine you having to make that hard decision. Clearly I was thinking too much about the situation, attaching myself to people who were directly involved and making that connection of what if that had been me.

It hurt so much, I was filled with so much sadness and pain that my shield had now been put up, and all that hurt and pain was pushed way down deep inside. I returned to my normal duties. I worked until September of 2014 when I just could not hold in all that pain anymore. It was a call very similar to the one Moncton had received. We received a call for a man walking down the street with a rifle. I remember I took the original call, did all my duties as required, and when they arrived in the area and were unable to locate the individual I went to the bathroom and cried for at least 15-20 minutes. It brought back all the anxiety, the sadness and the fear that came with the original incident. I remember I became very angry for a good chunk of the time and I would become overwhelmed at the drop of a hat. One day I dispatched a call to an officer of a low priority and my Sergeant on shift became a little bit frustrated with me and said “87 (thats what they call dispatch), I requested to have that call held for alternate response.” He was giving a slight bit of attitude mostly because he was frustrated but unfortunately that did not matter much to me at the time, because it sent me into a crying fit. I was not able to stop. My Supervisor at the time told me to go home, so I did. I did not return to work for 2 months after that. I did a lot of yoga and walking to help with physical stress, but unfortunately the mental stress remained.

One day on my walk with the dogs, we saw a bear. I was so terrified we ran home. I stopped walking alone with my dogs after that. The reason being was because it initiated the same response as when I was at work, fight or flight. I knew I needed something, I could not go on living life this way thinking everything around me was trying to kill/hurt me all the time. This is when my Doctor suggested medication. I started Celexa, an anti depressant/ anti anxiety pill. It did help a bit to bring me out of my slump and provide me with enough juice to go back to work but only for a short while. I knew I needed something big, and this is when I found yoga to be the answer all along. I had been practicing for 3 years and before that I had been a cheerleader/gymnast in high school so I was pretty flexible and agile. I knew it would not be so much the physical but the spiritual that would help the most.

I told my husband I wanted to do a yoga teacher training because I knew it would help me develop tools for my well being. He told me if I was able to go back to work then he would give me the green light. I forced myself to go back to work, before I was ready in order to gain this experience. Before leaving, there were many issues. The first one being that they were not sure whether I could get the time off because 2 other people on my shift were off due to illness and pregnancy. It was giving me so much anxiety, that I said I don’t give a flying FUCK I am leaving and none of you will stop me. What can I say, I am a little dramatic.

In the end, I did go to Costa Rica for my yoga teacher training. It was the most healing month of my entire life. It filled me up with so much joy, and help me reset my entire body. This entire time however I was on medication. I truly believe I did not get the full experience of his true power because of that fact. Everyone felt a release while in Costa Rica. My roommate Manon cried one night at one of the practices, and I remember thinking wow, I wish I could let go just like that. It was impossible for me to feel that deeply at that time. I believe it inhibited me from truly letting go. Even though my heart was open to the wonders of the rain forest it did not enable me to stir up those deeply hidden emotions of turmoil, anger, sadness and fear.

When I returned after a month, I went back to work in the communications center I felt rejuvenated to some degree, enough that I could start back to work. November 2015 was when I decided to stop the medication (gradually) in order to deal with the issues still present. At this time I was at another training for Military, First Responders suffering from PTSD. It was very insightful and had lots of great information. Juliane one of my very best friends came with me to California to take the training. We were having so much fun, learning, shopping, and laughing. We did lots of yoga while there, and played on the beach too. I learned so much about my condition, and the physical way to help restore the nervous system back to rest and relaxation but until I deal with the mental reasons behind why it keeps returning I will never find peace.

Finally in 2016, Overwhelm took over. After being off the medication for about 6 months, and having more calls flood my memory, the sea of overwhelm returned and the undertow was pulling me down to the very bottom. This time I was put off work again, but work safe NB intervened. They got me a psychologist who officially diagnosed my condition as PTSD. Before being diagnosed however, I went to a PTSD healing retreat in Windom Texas, they provide you a safe environment, surrounded by nothing, to do yoga, breathing techniques, visualizations, meditations and mantras to help with the physical symptoms. They fill you with nourishing vegetarian food, that is tasty too, and explain how beneficial it is for your body to eat and sustain this way of eating. When you eat meat, it stays in your system between 24-36hours just resting there, as the toxins build and pass around the body, including in the mind. This causes the chemicals in the mind that fire for response to be slightly altered. When you hear the explanation from Acharya Schree however he explains it much better than I can.

I had been working on myself for 2 years to help find stability, but I never really processed all the events that have caused me trauma. It will be a long hard road of reliving trauma over and over again. Not only this incident, but childhood trauma, and all the calls that have left an imprint in my mind. It will be hard, draining, and I will want to quit and run away every step of the way, BUT I am determined to be better, no matter what it takes. I want to feel the hurt, the sadness, the anger if it allows me to let it go. Perhaps this will enable me to return to the job that I once loved, or perhaps I will begin again.