I found my Self-Care guide: Something I could’ve used in 2016

The other day, I found a self-care package (pdf) that I created for an overworked friend back in 2012. At the time, I had returned to university and studied something I had been passionate about since I was a kid (psychology, with a focus on research). However, I had an “adult life” before returning to school and had friends in the “real-world” still working in “real jobs” that were making them “real sick”.

My friend had reached out to me about his struggle with burn out. I understood, since I’d had been dealing with burn-out prior to returning to university (part of my 1st re-birth, totally separate story – quick summary: I did what I wanted, even when other’s warned me not to. I did it, loved it, succeeded on my terms, and came out a stronger and better human).


“I had an “adult life” before returning to school and had friends in the “real-world” still working in “real jobs” that were making them “real sick”.”


In 2012, I created a quick and very draft self-care guide for my friend and he really loved it. I remember that I sent it out to other over-worked friends for use and feedback. The draft remained, because the people who used it like it as is and I didn’t have time to update anything. Then, I forgot. In 2013, I was finishing my thesis and started working full-time again. I forgot everything for a while. In retrospect, that was probably my first mistake, I should’ve trusted my new life instead of going back with the intent of money and security.

Fast forward 2017…

I’m de-cluttering and cleaning-up my life, home, and computer files. During my clean-up, I found my self-care guide and read through it. I was surprised by how helpful it was, even in it’s very raw form. I realise that I should keep a copy of this guide with me always – I could’ve used this in 2016, when work was running me down.


“Maybe this time, I’ll trust following my bliss, otherwise, I’ll be doomed to repeat past mistakes.”


Forgetting my path and my self-care guide – That’s probably why I burnt out and got sick in 2016. Since then, I had the opportunity to recover fully (thankfully) and have another re-birth. Maybe this time, I’ll trust following my bliss, otherwise, I’ll be doomed to repeat past mistakes.

This year, I’m going back for graduate work in research…maybe I can clean up the self-care guide from 2012 with current research. Maybe I can fix this self-care guide to be potentially beneficial to many more people (beyond my stressed-out friends). I don’t know, but I think I found my package at the right time.

I don’t know how or when, but I will expand this self-care package -It’s easy to use and read, because I created it for already stressed people. I knew the state of mind people are in when burnt out or during the decent (been there, done that). Again, hopefully, I can help even more people, those that I think the world ignores (functioning adults just holding on). That might be a nice contribution, even if it’s a volunteer thing, we will see what happens…

When I Fall In Love…

Select Poetry from days gone by. I have moved forward, but found some old poems that I received. I read somewhere once that you should keep your old love letters. I didn’t understand, until I found these. It’s a sweet memory, forever etched in time. Though life has changed and I’ve forgotten, the words are a reminder of a love…which is eternal.

Flower2

When I was looking for happiness, I found it in your eyes. As I was searching for peace within my mind, I found it when I first heard your heart beating next to me.

The universe’s light shines each time a smile is sketched on your face. The wind changes its direction, when you move from place to place (about); obeying your command and vanishing in your hands as you hold them out towards me, to hold me close to you.

In your eyes I see my glory and future. On your lips, I am growing to be the man that I want to be. And once your breath touches my skin, and then I know that I am alive. I thank God for you being in my life.

Far from heaven, an angel fell to the earth. She sketched beauty into our sun, to shine all over the land. Her purpose was to cure an ill soul. That’s how God sent her to brighten my world.

Continue reading “When I Fall In Love…”

Creativity in the air…Finally!

Creativity

My new adventure is about rediscovering my love of art. I am no longer the bystander, appreciating other courageous people create. Instead, I am now going back to basics. As a human, we all love to create.

My inner child is reawakening, my inner child is happy that I am going back to my roots. As a child I would draw, paint, design (really, I designed my dream house and built a doll house out of a giant cardboard box – guess, it pays to be “deprived”, you just get resourceful, creative, and grateful for the little things). As I grew up, I got better at drawing and designing, but suddenly stopped. I was told that girls don’t design and that art was a nice hobby, but not something you can use in real life. I was told to focus on a serious career and be a teacher, to be safe. I was too young and confused, I believed what I was told, because the advice came from a parent. However, I still loved art, so I took classes in high school in conjunction of my love and focus on science. However, after 1 year, I stopped taking art, when people started hating on me for being able to do both science and art. I let other people’s non-sense and constant nagging get to me – I let them block out a big chunk of my soul. I was a teenager, maybe it was the hormones? The insecurity? I don’t know, but I do know that I stopped drawing and taking classes, instead I kept on writing at least (in secret, of course).

Fast forward MANY years…

I try to draw again. I even buy a sketch book and a “how-to” book, but it didn’t take. I buy a painting set, sketch pencils, the works…still, doesn’t take. I focus on work, my bf, and continued education.

A few more years…

I say to myself: “Screw it, I want to paint. BUT, I’m scared. Why? I have to be perfect and everything has to be beautiful, otherwise it’s not worth doing.” OK, I realise my ever-present anxiety and perfectionism is keeping me down and making me miserable. I want to start, but my over-thinking is keeping me from actually doing it.

A few months later…

My friend who is always fearless asks “Hey, do you want to go to paint nite? We can use a Groupon! Let’s pick the Cherry Blossom’s one.”… “Absolutely, I’ve been trying to start painting, this is the perfect opportunity. Plus, Cherry Blossoms are pretty.” I reply. The actual event was in downtown Toronto, so I took the subway from the suburbs (park and ride) to conquer my painting/art demons.

The location was fun and airy, but it turned out that I went with the best friend for this particular event. He is so fearless and doesn’t care what other people think of him, while I am the total opposite. Through him, I learned to let go and be free – I just went for it and painted to my heart’s content. I was so free and felt like a kid again. The art instructor was nice and going at a steady pace – It gave us a good time to drink, chat, and have fun painting our version of what the instructor did.

At one point, we look around and realise that everyone else is following the instructor’s painting/guidelines, like to a tee, they followed so meticulously and with anxious precision. I noticed the anxious precision, because I could overhear them freaking themselves out, afraid to make a mistake – this behaviour combined with the very familiar anxious look on their faces. I realised, wow, I’m not alone here with an art scar. What happened to us? Why are we afraid to let go and just friggen paint? It’s a social painting event, have fun!

I realise again, my luck in going with my friend. Had I not gone with him, I am pretty sure I would be as anxious and hard on myself as the people around us were. I mean their creations were nice, all the same, but pretty and full of angst (it showed). My fearless friend’s painting was totally a work in itself, he just went nuts and hated it – I thought it was fine and kept it. However, my painting was similarly different, but had something else contained within it. My painting had release and playful freedom. I had conquered my art scar and slayed the demon! Not that it matters (yet helped with my journey), but the art instructor actually came by my out-of-the-box creation and complimented the beauty of it.

PicsArt_03-05-11.19.27

My friend said it was nice and reminded him of ‘American Beauty’- I think it was a representation of a creative person actually letting go and playing with the art that they love. I credit my friend for helping me become free and unleash my inner child. When I got home that night, I took out my old acrylic paints and brushes and re-created what I learned that day well into the early morning.

A few days later…

I love the freedom of painting, even if I’m not the best, I don’t care. I just love painting and drawing – If it’s too ugly, I’ll paint over it, not the end of the world! Conquering and not caring is a huge thing. Another step forward.

At this point, I want to paint, but not pay for classes in case I only paint for a few months (like I did in the past). OK, in this case I chose to use YouTube to learn. Gotta love YouTube, it has everything. So, I bought more supplies from Dollarama and Walmart, watched a few videos, and went for it.

A year later…

I have had a few friends come over and compliment the paintings that I have in my living room. I told them that I painted those and they are a bit surprised. I’m surprised that they actually like them, because my art is a work in progress (I’m still hard on myself at times). My friends are surprised, because I kept my painting a secret. I was afraid that I’d be nagged at for not being good enough or exposed for being able to do both science and art (again).

I do not (have never) see a distinction between science and art, it is all interrelated and beautiful. I think that we are all creative beings, no matter what we try and do. At this moment, I realise that I still have a ways to go, but I am on the right track of being completely free artistically…creatively.

Present…

I am free and openly discuss my painting and art projects (for fun). I do not post or share anything on social media, because I’m not that brave yet. I will however share the painting that released my inner child again (from paint nite) on this blog. This painting may not be the best, but it was the release that I needed to re-start something that I loved.

paintbrushes

Also, after discussing my love of art for months at my book club events, my book club friends encourage me to take a class (they know I’ve been wanting to take an actual class for YEARS (over 10), but was afraid). After all this time, I just went for it, I breathed and just signed up for a class and start next week. Who knows what the next adventure will bring? If anything, my soul will sing.

Sedona & Grand Canyon: The Real Start of my Journey?

A quick introductory note: I openly struggle with anxiety and perfectionism (recovering perfectionist, in the words of Brene Brown). I know that I am not alone. I also know that my struggle and voicing my journey has helped many people. It helps to be the voice for those that cannot and to help someone realise that there is help/hope and that we are not alone. Also, I am a researcher, with a focus on mental health so it is easier for me to get people help, if they ask. Either way, I have been a great support and voice.

How Arizona changed my life, in facing my fears (false evidence that appears real):

I had never gone on vacation alone before, let alone travel to another country alone. I’m afraid to go on my own, a single woman travelling in the middle of no where. Yes, I am in my 30’s, but still, my anxiety. I don’t know how dangerous people are there and what if my rental car goes down? What if there is no cell signal or roaming? These were a few of the excuses that I gave to myself when my friend backed out of a planned trip to Arizona. However, I needed a break, a spiritual break. I was going through A LOT: over-worked, burnt out, tired, recovering from a bad break-up (another story) and needed to get away. My American friend/colleague told me about Sedona, it was a retreat, and encouraged me to “see the Grand Canyon at least once in your life.”

Long story short, I faced my on-going struggle with anxiety and faced my fears over travelling alone in the desert. I had to eliminate the non-existent “The hills have eyes”  scenario and meeting one of America’s active serial killers on the road.

Continue reading “Sedona & Grand Canyon: The Real Start of my Journey?”

Soul Speaking…

Why can others “fake it” and just go on with what society and those indoctrinating us with the norms tells us to do. Why can they just do it? Are they even faking it or am I just different?

Play on, follow, show, perform duties, follow the “rules” or follow the order of how life is supposed to go, just follow a pattern, a set “guideline”…why not me? I have tried, many times. I have tried to follow the “protocol”. Failed each time. Why? I sit, contemplate, reflect, plan, and try again…repeat cycle. This useless cycle needs to end, how?

It’s my soul, I felt it today. I felt my soul telling me. My inner self. My soul. My nature. My God, I just realised. My soul has a need. My soul is speaking to me now. My soul is ringing and shining bright through the pain. My soul is telling me what it needs – what my soul needs for spiritual fulfilment. My soul has a unique need. We all have a unique need.

I will not progress – in any way – including spiritually, if my soul is left unfulfilled. Once fulfilled, my nature will lead me. Lead me to what I need and my purpose.

My soul will need a certain amount to move forward. As I move forward, towards my purpose. My purpose is my inner desire. Just breathe and listen. Give back, learn, teach, heal, create, love -> My part in this creation to progress. Then, help those that will need it most, including me.

Our soul craves the spiritual fulfilment that we need. We all figure it out in our own unique way. Not everyone is faking it, that is an illusion. If we do not fulfil our spiritual needs, whatever our individual needs are, we get sad…frustrated…and for some. thrown into chaos. In chaos, where nothing we do seems  to work or stick and that causes pain. Maybe the time is not right, a lesson on patience. Maybe that is not our path, another lesson. Through it all, when it is not working, there is pain. In pain, we listen to our soul when it becomes overwhelming. We cross the threshold to enter a new life.

In this world, we are in it together. Connected. We are here together. We all have our own connected soul and need. Listen to your soul when it is speaking…

Recovery – A Blast of Words

There are no words to express the feeling of simplicity, love, and connection that was felt. There were, are, paths to the one uniting us. The uplifting euphoria when I was given a gift in the form of you. In you, my spirit which already connected, was uplifted in ways I had not even dreamt about. In you, I saw your light. Understanding. Love. After all I had been through, I did not understand why – until I found you. Many have written before me, write now, and will continue to write about how being blessed with someone you truly connect with, true love, feels like a gift from the universe.

Continue reading “Recovery – A Blast of Words”