Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Jingle Dancer

Everyone should find pride in who they are. With strengths and weaknesses, idiosyncrasies and quirks...unashamed beauty and fractured self at times.

Mariah was a different kid.






She danced the Jingle Dance as part of her Chippewa heritage. That native dance costume was a reflection of Mariah...brilliantly coloured, flowing like an accomplice in the dance...and free to the wind and to the skies. Great meaning is placed on the sacred garment as explained by Evelyn Thom...a 76 year old jingle dress dancer:

"It is a gift to be able to dance. The jingle dress was a gift from the Creator. It is important to carry that healing vision to the people".

Complex. Aren't all teenagers? I don't think there is a parent out there who is raising, or has raised a teenager who wouldn't tell you that escorting a young girl from childhood into adulthood isn't a tireless job. But if you knew might say her mother was luckier than most. She effortlessly achieved good grades, brilliantly expressed herself through art, and volunteered her time with seniors in the evenings. She was a different kind of girl.

But she was the same too....she was in the throws of her first love. She loved Jersey Shore and found herself plunked on the couch when it was on...bumpit in place and a room full of GTL companions. She loved MAC makeup and Coach handbags...and she loved her family...immediate, and extended.

Mariah has inspired a movement. The circle that has started adds new members everyday...hand to hand, arm to arm, in the battle against teen suicide. No one is immune to this. Everyone will know someone either personally, or second hand, who has lost a sister or brother...daughter or son as they have died by suicide. Don't look away and ignore the obvious.

This circle aims to surround those battling depression...young and old, wildly successful, or just getting by...Mariah's Mission aims to shield and guard those most vulnerable...those who want to harm themselves and don't see a reason to live with the pain anymore.

So dear sweet girl...tonight we gather, and honour you for your 16th Birthday Bash. We will laugh, and I am sure shed more than a few tears...and we will carry on your desire for advocacy.

Dance on, beautiful jingle dancer....and we will carry out your mission of healing to the people. xo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clover Honey

The mission is simple.

Be real.

Repeated attempts to conquer it are far too many to number. Because truly...what does being real really look like anyway?

I had a very honest conversation with a good friend a while ago, and for some reason truth spilled like clover honey...thick and heavy and consuming. The overwhelming results of my actions in life up to this point were mirrored in front of me. I was faced with the weight of my dissatisfaction with life and my anxious frustrations about the future. A revelation filled me to overflow...I am living in the aftermath of a closed life.

No one intends to be closed. To be guarded and protected. I find it hard to believe that anyone conciously decides to shut down, and build walls. But with brutal honesty...I did it. I did it a year ago. I had a monumental heartbreak and swore never again...NEVER. It's hard to admit. It's risky to admit defeat...and to admit you're not as strong as people believe you to be. So...the walls have armoured soldiers on the perimetre and you assume the post of commander...and swear you'll never hurt again.

My friend challenged me. The conversation hurt. A lot. I don't know why he said the things he did. I don't know why in that moment I was ready to hear it...but I was. Perhaps it's because he knew my Michael...which changes everything in my heart. Michael breaks me open...and I know if someone loved him...then they might just get me like he did. It left me unsettled and angry...tears flowed in frustration because I knew he hit the bullseye...and so began the process of breaking me open. What a journey that is.

Living authentically is hard work. It's respecting your own boundaries, but confidently sitting atop those parametres and looking at a life that is aching to be lived. Atop the wall life presents like a parade...beautiful and invigorating to watch. The choice to watch it from inside your safe place is not uncommon...spectating is a fairly benign activity.

But to march. To be part of be on the inside and look out and feel the satisfaction that you're exactly where you should be...that's the beauty, isn't it? It's a real, concious, mindful and voluntary behaviour...and it inspires the soul. Because life is too short to not let people inside the's too damn short. friend sparked something in me. He helped me realise just how much is going on out there. He didn't assure me it's a clear mission...or that it's not risky...but he told me it's worth it, and more importantly..that I'm worthy and deserving of more. Guess what? I don't have it all together. I'm like you, trying to find my way. But now, my toe is dipped in the stream, and I am cautiously contemplating wading in...and apparently I have always known how to swim, I just needed a well placed friendly nudge.

Thank you meant a lot.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Broken Open

"If it ain't broke, then don't fix it".

You've heard it. I have heard it. I thought it was quite amusing the first time I heard it as a child. My juvenile comprehension of the concept went to those things that are tangible and red bike with the banana seat, or my mothers green Oster blender.

As an adult, I have come to realise that brokeness isn't always a fatal incident. As walls crash down, as dust swirls and rubble is assessed...opportunity has been released from the inside for something new to emerge. That place that was being protected on the inside suddenly has the access to move outside of its confinement, and towards destiny...towards liberty.

Of course, it always comes back to choice. Doesn't life always present that way?

Be broken.

Or be broken open.

I have seen people at their worst possible low. It's always as the result of a loss...a death, a failed relationship or marriage, a job that declared the person redundant. Perhaps it's a loss of how things "should" have been...expectations being shattered. Some of the worst examples of brokeness I have witnessed are as a result of a loss of confidence...a loss of self. I have been this person at many different intervals in my life. We have all been there. But if I know anything about how humanity works, there is always a bust before a boom.

We break. We repair. We refine what's important. We move forward with new understanding.

Someone I love with my entire soul has faced the biggest challenge of her life. The loss of how life should have been is unmatched. As I have witnessed the rebuild with my own eyes, I have seen miracles rise up like giant sunflowers...large, blatant and evident. Just as a sunflower follows the sun throughout the day as a basic, yet magical characteristic of its DNA, so has she kept her eyes on the Son...the source of light, and strength, and rebirth. It's inspired me beyond comprehension. The miracles are not questionable or subtle...she is being taken care of. The brokeness is absolutely, unequivocably being overshadowed by the untold blessings that have already materialized, and those that are ready to appear just on the break of the horizon. It's already been proven to her...and to us;

Hope survives.

Assess your brokeness. Allow it to let the light in. Don't hold tight to the shards of the debris...or you will continue to hurt. Be present in it. Feel the grief of the loss.

Take charge. Move forward. Embrace change, even if you just give it a weak handshake, know that agreement will move you forward.

Broken or broken open. Bust to boom. Make the right decision for your one, only, precious fleeting life. I believe you're worth it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Michael Has Poked You

Life is taking some interesting turns lately. Somehow, I am very clearly aware of the places I can be better. Be better at what you might ask? So many things.

I can be better at being thankful for what I have.

I can be better at being present in my own life.

I can be better at pushing through fear to understand the unknown.

I can be better at letting people love me.

I can be better at trusting.

A few funny things happened today. Niether of them are so earth shattering that anyone else would take to their blog and write about them...but I am learning in unusual, and wierdly wonderful ways these days. Mostly out of choice...because I want to change those things I can be better at, and I want to feel peace in the process. Let me tell you, it's tough.

I picked up a hitchhiker today. I didn't do it on purpose, and I didn't even notice I had a passenger until I was miles away from home. At first, the detection of my companion was alarming and freaked me out. Green...6 legs...long antenna, and about 4 inches big. A praying mantis, hanging on for dear life on my passenger side mirror. I thought for sure, it would be caught by the wind, and disappear into the windscreen of the unfortunate car behind me. But no, the creepy crawler kept adjusting its position to survive the ride. I am sure it didn't have any intention of moving 30 miles away from where it found me. But then, this is my first mantis relocation, perhaps, they crave a change of scenery regularly? Someone let me know. It stayed...for a long time. Between multiple stops, it hung out in the sun, hid behind the mirror...but just found contentedness where it was. And when I got to my sisters house, it found it's way out of the mirror, and onto the lawn...and was off for a new adventure. Oh to be so trusting of the process...accepting of the new and unfamiliar, and willing to take a risk.

I visited someone who has a damaged door. The dead bolt is fine...but the doorknob fell off in the hand of the homeowner. It has yet to be repaired. While watching tv tonight with my friend, we heard a slight bump somewhere in the house. We wondered what it was, but it wasn't alarming and we didn't check it. Much later, we realised the door had blown wide open.

How long has the door been open in my life? How long has the door been open in yours? Letting in the fresh air of opportunity...sending gusts that blow off the thick film of fear that lingers on the surface of life? How long has it been ajar, and waiting for me to find it. I keep thinking...when I've been ready in the past, I have found open doors....and doors opening.

I heard a song on the way home that played at the funeral for my dear friend Michael. It speaks of heaven, and what he'll do "When I get where I'm going". I smiled and listened...and felt him around me, whispering to me to just relax, stop overthinking everything, and enjoy life more already. I felt myself saying..."I'm trying Mike...I'm trying hard." Then a car pulled in front of me with the licence plate "MB 88", and the emotions overcame me. I need to live life more authentically...and I want to live it to make him proud too.

So Michael, I have learned be a brave traveller absolutely takes risk, but can take me somewhere new and wonderful if I just trust the that life is happening as it should, and all is well. As for the door being blown open...well....I hear it loud and clear my friend...and I am getting ready to walk through it into my destiny. Enough of the pushing...a poke will suffice. ;)

Love you and miss you every single day. xo