How are you not grateful?

I am living my life with consciousness, and it’s teaching me that I can’t understand how the average person is not immensely grateful for what they have.

I don’t understand this and yet I was one of them. Living a fast paced, un-grounded, un-centered life of lack. Sure, I thought I was grateful, and in comparison to the people I surrounded myself with maybe I was, but there was always this sense of lack. An underlying feeling of not having enough. It’s Christmas time so it’s natural to be contemplating gratitude and all that I have but there’s more to it this year. I am going through a process of awakening. I am still so sick and yet I’ve never been happier or more grateful for what I have, with no sense of need for more. I still have goals and ambitions of course, and I would give almost anything to be healthy, but today, for this moment and in every moment, I have all that I truly need.

I no longer feel that sense of longing for the newest technology or a fancier house or car. I am not sad that I am spending the holidays single, or that on this Saturday night I am alone. There has been a shift inside of me.

One day recently I truly did not have it in me to make dinner and as I was eating popcorn and drinking tea on the couch in my pajamas’s I was surprised that I didn’t feel disappointed in myself for being unable to cook or for not having someone else to cook for me. Instead I felt truly grateful that I am a single person with no kids to feed because this allowed me to eat popcorn for dinner without guilt. The reason this feeling surprised me is because I didn’t have to think about it, I naturally felt that way. This is not something that always would have come naturally to me and has definitely taken training.

I don’t have a lot of money, and what I do have has basically been allocated to my treatment and bills, but with the major help of my parents with medical costs, I truly do have enough. I rent a basement suite that I have made home. I have a car that is old and run down but it works. I have a dog that is my soul-puppy. I am single but I have self-respect and happiness. I have so many beautiful people in my life. Do I never want anything more for my life? Of course not! But for today I truly do have more than enough.

I was recently chatting with a friend who, based on his family and who he is as a person I would have assumed wanted kids, so I was shocked when he told me that he didn’t. Not being able to afford to give his kids the life that his parents gave him was his reasoning. Well, I thought that this was completely delusional! First of all, no matter how much money you’re making, you’re going to be raising your kids in a completely different era than you were raised in. Even in the span of ten years the world changes so significantly. I’m 27 and I have not had kids yet and I look at the kids in schools now and can’t believe how different it is than when I was in school. The technological advances alone are enough to change society completely, not to mention ecological and economical changes. I live just outside of Vancouver, B.C., Canada. One of the most expensive places to live in the world. Even if I moved somewhere cheaper I would never be able to give my children the same life that my parents gave me. And they couldn’t give me the same life that their parents gave them, and so on and so forth. Not because of finances, but because the world has changed so much. The person that I was having this conversation with does not have a menial job. I don’t know what he makes but I know he’s on a great path to move up within a good company and that he makes more than I do for sure. Everyone has different needs and comfort zones when it comes to finances and I am not here to judge, but I can only assume that based on where he is now, if he were to have kids in the next 5 years, I think they’d turn out okay. I am far from saying that someone should have children before they’re ready, or that children aren’t expensive or don’t require extra care, the point is that this conversation, and a lot of my conversations with this person were very focused on lack. A lot of people that I talk to all seem to focus on lack. Even when I know that they have more than me, I often only hear about how little they have. The light-bulb that finally went on for me during this one particular conversation was “wow, it’s not that you don’t have enough, it’s that you’re not grateful for what you do have.” I wanted to shake him and say, “you’re 32, you have a roof over your head, you have a $60,000+ vehicle, you have a good job with benefits and room to move up. You get to go on a hunting trip once a year. You have holiday pay, sick pay, and over-time. Your work is paying for you to travel across the world next month. That is a lot more than many 32 year old’s have and if you don’t think that that’s enough right now then it doesn’t matter how much you have in the future it will never be enough!”

I’m home alone on a Saturday night, hair still wet from my shower as I had to sauna as I do most days for my health. Every joint in my body hurts. It’s the Saturday before Christmas and I should be out with my friends but my health simply won’t allow it. I can picture them all, laughing and clanking their drinks as I sit in the empty quiet of my home. Some people would feel lonely. They would feel betrayed by their bodies and angry. Sometimes I feel this way too. But the truth is, it’s Christmas in two days. The weather has been mild but cold, and there is snow on the ground. I’m sitting on my couch writing this under a heated blanket with the fire place on, on a 10 year old laptop that although has broken keys and is painfully slow, clearly works well enough for me to blog. My fridge is full of groceries that I was able to go purchase for myself to make Christmas breakfast for my family. I am drinking a glass of wine from a bottle that I purchased without stress today, my dog is curled up beside me and I am looking at a dozen red roses that were dropped off this morning by a dear friend. How can I not be immensely grateful? There have been countless times that due to my health I was unable to go to the grocery store for myself, unable to get out of bed even. Vomiting from treatment for days on end, still going to work throughout it because I couldn’t afford the time off.┬áThere are so many people who right now are curled up with their kids in their car, trying to stay warm and keep from crying so the little ones don’t see. They’re trying to make sleeping in their car in the dead of winter not so scary for their children. The shelters are all full. There are men and women and children of all ages and backgrounds huddling under 2ft overhangs off of buildings, trying to stay dry.

Somewhere, someone is sitting all alone in the dark because they couldn’t afford their power bill. Someone else is grieving the loss of their child; another their wife. Someone’s child is lost and someone is being beaten, a child watching through the slats in the closet doors. Someone has just lost their ability to see, someone else to walk, another to hear. Somewhere, someone has just lost a leg. Somewhere else an arm; somewhere else, their life.

With all of this happening while I sit in a warm house with the lights on, sipping my glass of wine, how can I not be filled with immense gratitude? I hope that no matter how dark my life gets, no matter how sick I am, that I can always see and feel this gratitude for all that I do have.

Recognize yourself in this blog post? Start a gratitude journal. I used to write down every single morning 3-5 things that I was grateful for followed by 1-3 people that I wanted to send energetic love to. What you focus about comes about.

Online Dating in Modern Day

So I hop in and out of the online dating world whenever I have some extra time on my hands and think I’d like to put myself out there, and boy is there never a dull moment. I have said it before but truly I cannot believe what dating has come to in modern day. In some ways I see the positives, you have an easy and low-risk way of being introduced to people you never would have otherwise met, and you can do it from the couch in your pajamas’s with your favorite glass of wine – so right there we all know I’m in! On the down side though, you have to filter through hundreds of prospects (half of which on the free sites are not even serious about dating), and you have no good way of knowing who you’re really talking to or how many lies they’re telling you.

Needless to say, I don’t get too worked up over all of this but I do take some time to scroll through every now and again, swiping right on anyone that I feel I could enjoy getting to know, and left on the others. I am one of those people who actually look for a write up in the potential prospect’s ‘about me’ section and base the majority of my decision on said write up, and I can’t believe what some people say in theirs. First of all, there are countless men’s profiles that have absolutely nothing written in their about me section, and maybe that works for them as some people must judge based on looks alone, but seriously you can’t take two minutes to write a couple sentences about yourself? Even point form would do. The way I see it is if you can’t take a couple of minutes between your hours of swiping left or right to tell the app a tiny bit about yourself you either don’t know yourself well enough, don’t take your needs or lifestyle into enough importance or are not taking online dating seriously at all. And frankly, I can’t take you seriously enough to swipe right. Which is totally fine! There are probably lots of women who base their swipes solely on looks, and they may not care that you can’t form a couple of decent sentences about yourself.

Other people put it all out there, here is a profile I read the other day that although I have zero interest in, I actually have a lot of respect for their honesty. “In an open relationship, looking for someone for sex and experimentation. Will have open conversations to discuss clear boundaries.”
I actually find myself wanting to swipe right on these people simply to congratulate them on their honesty, but then I realize that I’d have to follow up with, “but actually that doesn’t interest me at all, so best of luck to you byeeeee!” and I just keep on swiping left.

Another one I read this week was particularly interesting, “What I lack in penis size I more than make up for in emotional support! Irish, new in Van, potato connoisseur,” huh… not really sure where to start with that one. Potato connoisseur? Unless you’re a farmer or a professional french fry chef, who cares? And as for your penis size, I don’t expect to know that off of an app, and maybe if you do happen to be lacking in that area you’d like someone to fall for your charm and emotional support abilities first? Also typically, unless you’re sleeping with everyone you chat with online, wouldn’t someone typically naturally fall for your personality before learning your penis size? Or is that just me…

What is with everyone who does take the time to do a write up including whether or not they have a costco card in it? Or, “I’m really only on here to meet someone with a costco card.”
Have I missed something? Is this a thing? Or is having or not having a costco card suddenly a marker of your personality traits that I can somehow use to determine how decent of a boyfriend you would be along with your 4 photos in dim lighting with hats and sunglasses on and your write up of 140 characters or less that is mostly emoji’s?

Like I said, I hop in and out of online dating whenever I feel like it. I have a business to run, I have a dog to take care of, I have a good social life, a chronic illness to deal with… all of these things lead me to ignoring my online dating profile on the regular. Also, there’s a large part of me that just doesn’t give a fuck. So ya, if I’m not in a conversation that is riveting and outside of the basic “how are you, what do you do, how was your weekend, how much did you party, wanna fuck?” I may forget to open my app for weeks at a time and forget to reply. It happens. It’s not personal. But recently one guy had a unique way of handling it. It went a little like this,

Guy: “I hope you had a good time off of bumble,”
Guy: sends dick pic
Me: “I did have a nice time away from bumble actually and that picture doesn’t make me want to come back anytime soon you are disgusting and should be ashamed of yourself. And if you think that would impress me you are extremely mistaken I wouldn’t use that as a pick up line anytime soon as it was nothing to be proud of you pathetic little man.”
Me: Block.

True story. And in reality I didn’t even look at the photo long enough to judge his size but the fact that this was his answer to me being busy and forgetting to check my app spoke for itself.

Yesterday I was told that I was too good for someone. This someone was not someone that I have interest in as more than a friend, and I believe the same goes for him, yet his friend felt the need to tell me that I was too good anyways. I don’t believe in one person being “too good” or “not good enough” for another person. We are all equal. I do believe however that in order to make a happy and fulfilling life with another person everyone needs to be honest about what they want, what they’re willing to give, what they’re willing to sacrifice and what are deal breakers. Everyone makes choices that create the life that they’re living. If we were all honest about what we actually wanted and what we are and are not okay with, I believe that everyone could find someone who fit with their life, wants and needs. No one would be better or worse, people would simply be good for each other or not. Nothing personal just reality.

There is always going to be someone, both male and female, who is just looking for sex. And good for them if that’s what they need at the time! I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that as long as both parties are open and honest about it. There are also always going to be both men and women pretending that they’re only looking for sex when really they want a relationship, and there is always going to be both men and women pretending they’re looking for a relationship when really all they want is sex. Then there will be the handful of people who are comfortable enough with themselves and over the game playing that they’re just flat out honest about what they want. Wouldn’t it be simpler if we could all just embrace our needs, our desires, our strengths and our weaknesses, and be honest about them knowing that that’s the simplest way to find who we’re looking for?

Could everyone just embrace the fact that there is always going to be someone who is just as shy, just as geeky, just as kinky, just as normal or just as weird as they are out there, wanting the same things as they are at the same time, and that if we were all just honest about it we’d be able to find each other much easier?

 

It’s okay to be depressed, it’s not okay to not do anything about it.

At the risk of a lot of people being offended by this (including my 15 year old self), it’s okay to be depressed, it’s not okay to not do anything about it.

I’ve been there. At the bottom, feeling like there was not a single ounce of light left in me. Spending time with an old friend recently has given me the opportunity to crack open a window into my darker past. I’ve been able to remember some of the broken pieces of me that have since been painted over and somewhat forgotten.

I was really miserable. And, most likely terrible to be around. Nobody really wants to spend a lot of their time with someone who is always sad, because, well, it’s depressing. To those of you who are reading this and thinking, “screw you I can’t help it, it’s not my fault, you don’t know how it feels,” I’m sorry. I’ve been there, and my experience may or may not be what you want to hear right now but it also may (or may not!) help you – I truly hope that it does.

I don’t expect you to do this on your own. I expect that family and friends and pets and councilors and maybe doctors will help you. But the fact of the matter is, we don’t all have those supports available to us. I was lucky in that I did have a few family and friends to help me, and that the gaps left by those who walked away were often filled by people who were closer to what I needed at the time, but do you think I saw that back then through the thick black smog that surrounded my life? No. Of course I didn’t. Unfortunately, no matter how hard someone else tries, they cannot fix you. I have spent a lot of my life trying to fix other people, all the while not realizing that there were probably other people that I didn’t recognize were trying to fix me. I never recognized this because I never felt worthy of being fixed, and maybe that’s why I focused so much of my energy on trying to fix others instead of myself.

(By the way, not only did me trying to fix other people never work, but they also probably didn’t want to be fixed! Who am I to say how they should live their lives?! But that’s an entry for another day..)

Every person in the world could offer you help, but if you don’t take any action steps not a single one of them would be able to help you.

Over the years I’ve learned which of the little (and big) things add up to help me get through life. Some of these make very little difference on their own, but when combined have been life changing. Maybe some days you can’t do them all, especially if you struggle with physical ailments as well as mental/emotional, but you have to start by at least figuring out what they are. Make a list to refer back to on the bad days, when you feel helpless and like there’s nothing you can control. Keep it on your fridge or mirror or nightstand, somewhere that you are forced to see it frequently. Post it on the wall that you see from your bed so that it’s the first thing you see every morning and the last thing you see every evening. And then slowly, one by one, do them. If it feels like you can’t have a shower, have a salt bath. If you can’t workout today, meditate. Can’t handle doing laundry? Just change your dirty pyjamas for fresh pyjamas. I don’t care, just do something.

Here’s my list, plus or minus a few things…
Drink lemon water, ideally several glasses per day
Stretching
Exercising
Meditating
Clean the house (or at least the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom)
Personal development reading (always have a book on the go!)
Wash laundry
Put away laundry (for some reason this one always seems so hard)
Put fresh sheets on the bed
Use a fresh towel
Pick or buy fresh flowers for a vase in the house
Garden
Sit with my crystals or salt lamp
Pull cards
Ask a friend to pull cards for me
Write
Do yoga
Walk the dog
Cook a healthy meal
Grocery shop

Sometimes things that seem so basic, such as changing your sheets, filling the fridge with fresh food or taking a shower seem absolutely impossible when you’re in the midst of a never-ending battle within yourself, but as difficult as they are, they can make equally a positive shift when you do them. Yes it would be nice if someone did those that they could for you, but here’s the hard truth: eventually they’re going to stop. Depression is debilitating. Anxiety is paralyzing. Still, no one can spend their entire lives trying to fix it for you, eventually they will need to take care of themselves and you will be left to do your life yourself. If you can, you need to search your soul for that one little tiny spark of light that is left in there and you need to feed it. That’s your only job, find what that spark needs in order to grow, and feed it. You are the only one who can, and ideally you’ll do this before everyone walks away in self preservation.

I don’t care if it’s one thing a week or even one thing a month. Just put the effort in. When you feel like you don’t have even a touch of effort left to give, that’s when you need to give it the most. I’m not saying do so much you burn out, just do something.

One little action step at a time is all it takes. In the moment they may not feel like much, but I promise you that compounded over time they could give you not only your entire life back, but a greater life than you could ever have imagined.