A water buffalo named trâu nước

I came upon him on my 2nd day of trekking through Sa Pa. I was near the end of the trek, walking up a seemingly endless cement path through a local village, when he appeared.  He was on a table with a few other water buffalo’s along with other knick knacks, bracelets and items for sale to the many tourists that all finish their treks here.

He was wedged in between 2 other colourful water buffalo friends and when I moved him, he immediately fell forward as if to say “hey pick me!”.  I set him back upright and picked up the other 2 to check them out but I kept coming back to the one that fell forward.  His ‘nostrils’ were not in the right spots and he kept falling forward no matter how I placed him and his horns were a bit askew.  The other 2 were perfectly balanced and had matching nostrils. But I knew I was meant to take him with me.  So I did.

He reminds me that it’s okay to fall every once in a while and to not put so much stock into matching nostrils or any other body parts for that matter. And that perfection is over-rated. Brene Brown writes in Daring Greatly (and I paraphrase) that perfectionism doesn’t exist so it’s self-destructive to even try and attain it. It’s a 20 tonne shield that we drag around constantly having to put up in front of us when we come in contact with other people thinking it will protect us from being seen. That is exhausting.

I’ve been working on letting go of the need for everything to be perfect. For my life on the surface to be organized so that it feels like everything else in my life is organized.

I’m working on feeling into everything that is rising, the discomfort, the sadness, the anxiety that comes with living paycheque to paycheque, in some cases having to get help to make sure rent is paid, all of it.

At 46 my life isn’t what I thought it would be. It’s so much better. And hopefully I get at least another 46 years, if not more, to have adventures, make mistakes, see sunrises and sunsets in other countries, fall in love, make new friends, eat questionable cuisine, and to just experience life on this amazing planet. I am so grateful.

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It’s okay to ask for help and to meditate (vulnerability alert)

 
The building in the photo was built in 1955 and is due to be torn down to make way for condos.
It’s also the building where my Mom, Dad and I received the news that my Dad had terminal cancer (my sister was living in Ontario so she couldn’t be with us for the appointment). The office was on the backside of the building and beyond that, I vaguely remember being in the office, but what I do remember is the doctor telling us it was terminal and that there was nothing they could do for my Dad. I was devastated and I remember looking at the doctor and with tears in my voice, I begged the question ‘Isn’t there any kind of treatment?’ or something along those lines.
I just remember wanting options, wanting him to say offer something else other than terminal. We left the doctors office and stood in the corridor and my Dad said ‘Well, at least we know now’ and I wanted him to scream and fight and get angry and do SOMETHING ABOUT IT! He just took it. And we didn’t talk about it. I swallowed my protests, my fear, my tears and didn’t talk about it. To anyone, least of all to him. He didn’t want to. He couldn’t face it. He stopped drinking alcohol thinking that would help (it was liver cancer) and was in denial until about 3 days before he died. He told me in the hospital that he didn’t want to be maudlin. So I wasn’t around him.
My Dad died on a Tuesday evening. That morning, a counselor had come in to the room in Hospice, providing options on what to do with the body after your loved one dies. As long as you follow procedure, you can actually bury someone in your back yard. Who knew.
There was no one coming in after to say, ‘hey, I know you’re hurting and you’re grieving and you’re world has been turned upside down, sideways, and well, here is some information for you and here is the name of someone you can talk to.’ No one did that. (That I can remember)
A month after my Dad died, I was offered a position in a hotel, even though I had sworn off of hotels when I left the last one. I said yes because it was easy, I knew the hotel, I knew the job, I knew I could do it. The only thing that had changed was, well, me. I hadn’t yet felt the impact of my Dad’s death. And I struggled so much with being of service and it was something that I was really good at. I was not at my best with family & friends let alone complete strangers. I put on the brave face and stayed strong for the people that couldn’t deal with death. I would start to talk about it and I had friends literally put their hands over their ears, close their eyes and shake their heads. So I learned to not talk about it with any sort of depth.
6 months after my Dad died, I was in having heart surgery. After the surgery, I was in my cardiologist’s office getting a check up and I asked the nurse if my heart condition was getting worse. I was feeling so human and fragile and scared and she told me she could refer me to a counselor. But because this was in my arena of expertise, I declined. I know my heart, I know what it’s capable of, her beautiful abilities and her limits. I said no because it had nothing to do with my Dad (it totally did) and everything to do with my and I was fine. (I really wasn’t).
On the one year anniversary of his death, I had an acupuncture appointment with the courageous, beautiful and oh so wise, Sabeeha.  I remember just walking in to her office and just losing it. I stood there and sobbed and she just held me. (I’m crying just thinking about how freeing it felt) I don’t remember much else about the appointment, I just really remember that moment.
Where is this coming from? A conversation with a lovely friend yesterday. I didn’t reach out for help. I didn’t know how to reach out for the help and the guidance that would have walked me through the aftermath in a much gentler way that I experienced. If you are going through something that is hard, no matter what it is, ask for help. Don’t carry it all by yourself. It gets too fucking heavy. Friends are great to reach out to but don’t be afraid to ask for professional recommendations. You don’t have to do it publicly either. Message a friend that’s gone through something similar and ask who they worked with. There is support and love and guidance just waiting to be called in. You just have to do it.
What I do know for sure is that we carry too many burdens that can be eased if we just talk about it. And meditate.  Meditation is amazing! Which is what is leading me to let go of so many of the burdens that I’ve carried for wayyyyy to long that have weighed me down. I’m done with carrying all the stuff that I no longer need, that no longer serves me. Tired of carrying other people’s stuff. Tired of judging and blaming. Tired of the way I talk to myself (I’m sorry, I love you, please forgive me, thank you…I did that one in the bathtub this morning to myself and the water levels rose from my tears).
I let it all go.
I might go and watch the building get torn down. Perhaps it will help to heal some of the pain of the loss of my Dad. Maybe it won’t.
With love, light and unicorns,
Seanna

Vulnerability post #22

This is a vulnerable post. #22 just sounded good. I just came from an amazing session of acupuncture.  Despite all my good intentions at building my empire, I have had a feeling of coming up against a wall that I just don’t know how to get over or around. With that comes a chaotic and erratic sense of anxiousness, that feels like un-contained flood waters wanting to rise up and out. Add to it financial stress and well, it’s just not a nice feeling.  Acupuncture helped to calm the waters to a more manageable flow.

I am a non-finisher. I am an amazing, spectacular starter! Yes I am! I start many a project thinking it will save me or that I will somehow miraculously find the answer to Life, the Universe, Everything! but that doesn’t ever happen. I would blame the non-finishing on, quite often, the fact that I was bullied and teased and made fun of for most of my childhood and teen years. The voices of my peers from that time rise up like some wounded broken chorus, telling me again that I am not worthy, or enough, or wrong or (insert insult here).  I’m also not that great at reaching out for help when those voices sneak in and instead keep it all to myself. I would refuse to take responsibility for where I was in my life.

By the way, this is not a beating up on myself post, so before you start thinking that I am, know this: the Princess will (me) save herself in this one.

I jumped back on the B-School train thinking it would be what I needed to do, but despite it’s clear path guiding me to launching my business, it’s not going to do the work for me. I can follow the formula but if I don’t put in the work, if I don’t set the goal, if I don’t participate and if I continue to allow distractions in all their shiny glory to pull me away from doing the work, then I’m just out on a little paddle boat in the middle of the lake of discontent going in circles.

( I see you picturing that and yes, you can laugh 🙂 )

I am where I am because I allowed myself to get here. My eyes were wide open 2 years ago when I had financial challenges and backed out from the situation but then I walked right back in.  I am fully responsible for me being where I am. Fully. And it’s painful and it sucks. So what am I going to to about it? Save myself. Ask for help. Become my own super-heroine. No more side-kicking. How? One step at a time. I will keep you posted along this journey.

So back to what is rising inside of me. For too long I’ve just pushed all that is rising, light and dark, back down. I’m done with that. So let it all rise and burst forth. The waters will drown that wounded broken chorus and wash them away. For I am strong enough to handle it all.

The Universe: Yes you are.

Boundaries round 2

Hello boundaries my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again.  I’ve been learning or perhaps re-learning what my boundaries are and what they needed to be.

It’s easy to say to someone ‘hey respect my boundaries’ but how about when I’m not respecting my own boundaries and intuition.

When we are children we start to learn the word ‘no’. It’s usually when we are 2 and it’s the best word ever to say, especially super loud in a building that echoes.  But we aren’t really taught boundaries at least, not how to have healthy boundaries. We are so busy going to school, learning social ‘norms’ like who is cool and who isn’t, learning math, learning history, working on figuring out who we are, and if the voices of our peers are us telling us we aren’t good enough, or that no one likes us, we start figuring out how to become someone everyone will like. We hang out with people we normally wouldn’t, we go places we really don’t want to and we do things, like ditching school and smoking, just to try and please other people. In short, we let people past our boundaries time and time again. No wonder we are so messed up as adults.

I’m at a place in my life where I have a wealth of adventures but not funds. At 45 years of age, I had to phone my Mom and ask if I could borrow enough money to pay rent. Hello guilt & shame, I’ve come to talk to you again. I loathed having to ask her. ‘Hi! This is your adult daughter asking for you to bail her out (again).’ For various reasons, and I own much of this, I am barely making ends meet. Why am I admitting this here, out loud, possibly to strangers who happen across my blog?  Because it sucks and it feels rotten and frustrating and shameful and I know I’m not the only one experiencing this. Too many times we shut down when we feel any sort of shame or guilt or having to ask for help.  I didn’t write this to cause any grief or to be pitied or to invoke my victim self or to shame anyone else, I wrote it for me because I hide too much of my life. It would hurt more to carry it inside rather than blurt it out and leave it on the page. I could have just done this as a journal entry, but what if someone else needs to read this and know that they’re not alone in this world of adulting.

I was reminded beautifully today, in speaking with a friend, that when we run from the pain or try to hide from it, it only delays it. It’s doesn’t go away. It’s when we stand and face the pain of whatever it is we are going through, whether it’s money or addictions or the fear of disappointing someone or shame,  it gets easier to move through the pain and the more we do that, the less fear we have of it.

On the phone today, in tears, I said to my Mom (not verbatim), ‘I know that a couple of years down the road, when I am in a place of abundance, prosperity, financial health & wealthy, and in a place where I can give back, I will look back on this day and know that as much as it sucked, that I had to go through it, that it was worth it just to not ever feel like that again.’ And she said ‘It’s already happened’. I can feel my couple-of-years-from-now self reaching back and holding me and assuring me that all of it, all of the pain, the suckiness, the lack, will be worth it. That I will get through it. And I will be able to send my Mom on an all expense paid trip to Cinque Terre for her 81st birthday. Because 81 is a bit more rebellious that 80.

Seanna: Hey Universe, this one really, really hurts. Like deep in my heart hurt.

The Universe: It means you are alive and you feel deeply. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Remember the pain of it. That will keep you moving forward and building your empire so you don’t ever have to feel it again. (Yes, I’ve seen your FB and Instagram posts) And keep working on your boundaries and listening to your heart. You mastered step classes in the 90’s and you will master this too. You are loved and supported, always.

Boundaries

I’ve been up in my head for the last week or so and the conversation has been, for the most part, utterly stupid or at least about stupid things. I rant and rave and get upset about things about other people that are out of my control. I get angry about being 45 and still working paycheque to paycheque and not even being close to a down payment on a house in Spuzzum let alone Vancouver or Victoria. Then I get frustrated at myself for ranting and raving about other people’s behaviour that I can’t control. Then I would do the whole ‘enough!’ and talk to myself in the 3rd person. There was an intense tennis match up there. (without the love)

I know, logically, that the ONLY person I am responsible for is me. I am the one that can control my behaviour, what I think and do,  how I am in the world.  I am soooooo good at creating boundaries in my head. Seriously! Oscar worthy speeches get written in my head about said boundaries but don’t get communicated out. Maybe I need the Kodak Theatre stage to stand on? (taps mic, “Is this thing on?”) I let other people and their issues (or what I view as issues) and the past take up space in my head. And it’s exhausting.  I’m done with it. It will take time but I’m increasing the real estate prices in my head and only nourishing, healthy, beautiful luxurious thoughts may enter.  (think yoga on a beach in French Polynesia)  As the rates increase, I will be pushing the squatters out. No, you may NOT stay.

I can care, but not have to care-give.

I can assist, but not have to do it all.

I can love, but not have to lose myself or my integrity in the process.

I can just listen and not have to reply.

I can say no. Just that.

Okay, I can say no and not feel guilty. (sorry)

I will hold to my boundaries, so expect to hear no more often. (again, sorry)

We are responsible for ourselves and how we are. No one else.  When I worked in hotels, especially in management, I had to take responsibility for others and situations. The staff, the guests, the people outside that were panhandling on the side walk, the condition of the room, the aftermath of a car break-in, the fire alarm at 7 in the morning…I could go on, but you get the idea. All of it out of my control, but as management, it was expected and still is anywhere a management structure is in place. It took a while to learn how to let go of the heaviness of it and it’s still a lesson in progress.

What you did to me or said to me is your business. How I respond to it is mine.

If we take too much responsibility for other peoples stuff, they don’t learn how to carry it themselves. Or stand on their own. It’s like a form of enabling and it sucks.

So please don’t give me your stuff, or anyone else’s for that matter. I have enough of my own.

You do you.

I will do me.

And hopefully we can meet somewhere in the middle for a hug and tea.

Seanna: <deep sigh> Hey Universe, this is a big lesson and it’s uncomfortable and I’m emotional about saying it out loud in the form of this blog. <another deep sigh>

The Universe: Seanna, you are still loving and still compassionate and still a good human being. Hold fast to your boundaries. It will get easier. And yes, you get to take this into the next life with you.

 

So far

I stood at the edge of the cliff, at the edge of all I have known, so far, with the all people that had been apart of all I have known, so far

Suitcases were stacked haphazardly all around us, some with their contents spilling out onto the soggy ground, getting drenched by the falling rain

‘I’m done carry you and your baggage. Whether you meant for me to carry it or not, at some point during this journey, so far, I picked it up and helped you carry it

I’ve got my own baggage to carry and unpack and carry and unpack and I can’t carry yours anymore. I won’t carry yours anymore.

It’s heavy and it’s cumbersome and old. You need to carry it on your own or leave it here. It’s up to you.

But from here on out, I only carry my own matching baggage

Case closed

There are new edges to come to, new joys to feel, new radiance’s to shine with, new adventures to seek’

I took an energetic sword and cut through all the connections that have kept me here, held me here.

I cut through and felt them release.

I heard the whisper ‘Come to the edge and fly’

With that, and feeling so much lighter, I leaped off the cliff into new possibilities, new adventures, and joy.

 

 

Seanna’s travel blog take 1.

While I was traveling, I kept a journal of my travels and had every intention of blogging at least 3 times a week to keep people up to date on where I was, the food and all of that fun travel stuff.  I sat down to write on my blog numerous times. There are drafts of at least 12 blogs that have one or two sentences. What I found is that, despite my love of writing and sharing that writing through the medium of a blog, I have yet reached that place of being able to fully communicate what I experienced in my travels.

Perhaps it would have been easy enough to write and tell you about the meals and the buildings and the architecture, but what wants to come out of me is deeper than meals and restaurants and best place to stay in this neighbourhood kind of posts.

I relied on other bloggers that had come before me to the places I traveled.  Their advice on transportation, recommendations for the best coffee, tea, and tours  helped guide me along my journey through various countries.  At points, I tried to write like those others, and the key word here is try. We can only write like ourselves, no one else. Authenticity translates through the way you write and if you aren’t using your own voice, people will notice and call foul.

Traveling solo is amazing and exhausting and lonely and exciting and joyful. It allows you to travel at your own pace, to where you want to go and to be as introverted as you want to be. You can eat when you want, what you want, get up when you want…the list goes on. Selfie sticks can assist when there isn’t anyone else around to take your photo. Though it’s always helpful to remember to carry said selfie stick with you while out and about for the day. Especially if you have short arms. Like me.

It also confronts you with discomfort and uncertainty and foreign languages that have you realizing that you really did need to pick up that little book of phrases at the airport. Google translate was my friend and Bali became my comfort zone, erupting volcano and all. It was and always will be familiar to me and when I got back, she wrapped me in her cloak of warmth and love and allowed me to come back to myself after traveling in countries that are still recovering from deep pain and sadness.  I carried some of that back to Bali with me, so being surrounded by her rice fields and temples was welcomed and needed.

I will be writing about the places I went to, where I stayed, where I ate and who I met, all the airports I napped in, all the airport hotels I slept in, all of that, in my own way. I tend to feel things deeply so many of the experiences are still embedded deeply within me and are slowly rising to the surface the more I ground into being home. Expect more blogs to come soon.

 

With love,

Seanna

 

Seanna: Hey Universe, thank you for supporting me, guiding me and keeping me safe through all my adventures, especially in the moments of doubt and fear.

Universe: It is my pleasure. I’ve got your back.