Where the healing begins

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was beautiful and bright and shiny and loving.  And she thought everyone was like her that way.  Her family moved to a new place and she started and a new school excited to have new friends! But the kids around her at her new school were mean, and bullying and called her names and told her no one wanted to be her friend and that she should just go home and die. And then she found out that being herself was wrong, and so she stopped being herself all the while wondering why it was so wrong.

It took her a really long time to be herself again and as she started to blossom back into her authentic, beautiful, loving self, she realized that people liked her for who she really was and that was something indeed.

In the past few days, that little girl who just wanted friends, just wanted to be liked, has been very present.  I was hanging out with a friends dog, who at times, would growl and bare her teeth at me.  I thought “doesn’t this dog know who I am?! I am Seanna, lover of animals and dogs especially! I am fun and open and loving and I love you…why don’t you love me?”  Most of the time this beautiful dog was loving and peaceful and playful and cuddly and then the teeth would show and a low growl would begin and it was time out for doggie. It wasn’t personal, and I wasn’t doing anything to provoke her, and she had done it with other people, so that made me feel a bit better, but seriously, why don’t you like me?!?!?! (Even though I knew it wasn’t personal) It really bothered me and affected me more than I realized.

Earlier today, I was on a call with 3 amazing women and one of them began talking about sharing ourselves and our businesses in other groups in social media and I got really emotional! The conversation had triggered that same little girl who had just wanted to be liked and anytime she had put herself out there, had been shut down, told she was ugly, and that no one wanted her around.  Triggers often bring things to the surface that we haven’t faced in a really long time or incidents that we thought we had healed but obviously had not.

And that’s where the healing began. One of the beautiful women on the call told me that there was something special about me, that if she walked into a room of people and saw me, that she would immediately come over to give me a hug and that she sensed others would do the same too, without even knowing me. Then I went for acupuncture and the magical, amazing acupuncturist, Aaron, brought up the incident with the dog and asked me why I thought it bothered me so much. I realized that the dog represented all those kids years and years and years ago that didn’t want to be my friend and through their words and behaviour, I took that to mean something was wrong with me when in fact I was perfect and complete and whole. Aaron then put the acupuncture needles in and added more healing to my day.  I left feeling like sunshine.

Healing doesn’t happen overnight. For me, it truly started on Bali, surrounded by my Bali sisters, and is ongoing. When I got home from Bali, my healing continued with a gorgeous Goddess named Sherrice and the beautiful women that she has brought together around the fire.  It is in the pages of books written by others and journal pages written my me. It’s in this blog and others that I write. My healing is in me. Beautiful, bright, shiny, loving me.

Seanna: Hey Universe, in the moments that I forget…

The Universe: I will remind you that you are perfect and whole and enough.

With so much love,

Seanna

What do you do when you no longer do what you did

I worked for hotels for close to 20 years, the last few in management. I was slowly moving towards burn out which near the end, turned into an all out speeding downhill towards a full out crash.

I had left the industry in February of 2010 thinking this was it, no more.  I met my sister in Costa Rica and played on beaches and in the surf for 3 weeks. I even got a tattoo!! The story on that will be in another blog.

I got home on March 15th 2010 to no job and very few responsibilities. I kept thinking that this was perfect! I could really sit and focus on what I wanted to do! Take some courses, volunteer, and take my time. What I did not know at the time was that it was perfect, but for a whole different reason than I thought.

My Dad had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer back in August of 2009 and the doctors  had given him 12-18 months.  I got home from Costa Rica the day of the 15th, and jumped on a ferry the next day to go and visit my parents in Victoria. My Dad and I just hung out for 2 weeks. I drove him to a few sales calls, but even the short time in the car left him in great pain, so those ended quickly. So we just stayed in watching golf, Formula 1, Nascar, anything and everything that was on TV.

One evening during my time at my parents house, I was coming upstairs and I heard the both of them laughing. Once I got to the upstairs landing, I poked my head in their room to see my Dad sitting at the edge of the bed and my Mom standing beside him, wiping his arms and neck down with a cool cloth. They were both watching TV and laughing at whatever was on the screen. In that moment, I saw compassion and love and recognized a connection between the 2 of them that preceded me and my sister.

The day I was heading back to Vancouver, we attended a jazz festival. People that hadn’t seen my Dad since the cancer had kicked in, looked shocked at his appearance. As I had seen him throughout the sickness, I hadn’t seen how skeletal he looked until I saw him through other people’s eyes. Had I known it was the last time that I would see my Dad upright, I might have stayed longer.

Just over 3 weeks later, I was at my Dad’s bedside in Hospice saying hardest goodbye of my life, so far, yet also the most beautiful that I had ever experienced. He died just after sunset on April 27th, 2010, leaving behind a legacy of a love of jazz music and a dry, sarcastic sense of humour that occasionally bordered on the dark.

My sister drove flew back to Ontario after our Dad died to get her truck and drive back out to the coast and I started to pack up my Dad’s belongings with my Mom back at the house.

A month after my Dad died I was offered a job in a hotel that I had already worked in and for a position I had been in previously. As anything new at that point was freaking me out so the old familiar was what I went with.  My heart wasn’t really in it, but my brain took the lead on this decision. And sometimes that is just what is needed.

I stayed at the hotel for just over a year and by then realized that I really couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t have the same patience for people and I would get angry at little issues. I wasn’t shining anymore. I had been supported by my colleagues and managers, which would not have happened at any other hotel, so I knew how special it was and I was grateful for how it ended.  It was bittersweet parting for me. I was leaving the industry that I been in for so long, an industry that allowed me to travel & live abroad, to see Tony Bennett live in one of the ballrooms of one the hotels I worked in, that brought amazing people into my life that I am still friends with!. It allowed me to meet family in Scotland that I hadn’t met before, to spend my 33rd birthday in Paris and a Christmas in Prague! I had so many adventures and so much to be thankful for.

Once all the papers were signed, and I walked out the doors of the hotel for the last time as an employee, I had time again to think about what I really wanted to do. I went to Victoria to visit some friends and from that trip and through some connections and the Universe nudging me with a number of signs, I decided to back to Victoria from Vancouver.  I was offered a job in a local company that gave me a fresh start in a new industry which helped me realize that I wasn’t stuck in hospitality, and that even at 40 years of age (please note sarcasm), I could learn new skills.  Just over a year later, I stepped away from the company and launched my own Virtual Assistant business.

Which is where I am now. Seanna Nichol Virtual Assistant. To think back to that time and how concerned I was with what I would do next, to what I am doing now, traveling and working from my laptop, I am just grateful that I stepped out of my own way. I like to think that I was also in part guided by my Dad who had died with most of his song still inside of him and he didn’t want that for me hence some of the nudges.

So what do you do when you no longer do what you did? You do something different.

Seanna xo

Traditions

Tradition is a  funny thing; it keeps us connected to the past, to our memories yet it can also light a path forward. You do, however, have to make sure that the light on that path doesn’t blind you to the fact that a tradition might no longer serve you.

Christmas, for me, is a time of family tradition.  The tree, the decorations, the stockings, going to midnight mass, gathering Christmas morning to open gifts.  My sister was here for Christmas this year, which was quite delightful.  We talked about our Christmas’s past and the traditions that were carried down to us from our Grandma.  The tree was always in the same spot, my sister and I always sang Christmas carols for the family in front of the fire place in our matching nightgowns holding our Christmas themed candles (mine was Frosty and my sister had Santa). My Grandma held onto things with a fierce grip that, in my belief, stemmed from losing all of her and her families belongings in a fire when she was around 9 years old.  So it was only natural that traditions also became a thing that she held onto. And as a child growing up and witnessing this, I started to holding onto some of the same traditions.

A number of  years ago, my Mom, Dad, sister and started going to Aunt and Uncles house in North Vancouver for Christmas. Then my Dad died 4 years ago, and one of the integral parts of the holiday changed for me. My Dad had always been there at Christmas and then he wasn’t.  Christmas started to look and feel different.  Then I moved to Victoria and my Mom and I stayed in Victoria last year and then again this year. To keep some of the tradition alive,I got a tree both years and we decorated it with the decorations that we had when my sister and I were kids.

I didn’t go to midnight mass with my Mom this year as my sister and I got into the Rankin Bass movies and the mulled wine and I was actually in bed before 11pm. Our Mom came over on Christmas morning and we opened our stockings and gifts and then started drinking mimosas which ensured naps in the afternoon. We had Christmas dinner with friends, which we had not done before, so it’s possible that a new tradition has started. Or not.

I am going to Bali next year; the workshop that I am attending starts on the 6th of November and ends on the 3rd of December.  Since I am there, I am going to get a 60 day visitor Visa and extend my trip past the workshop and see explore Bali and the areas around, like Lombok which is a 2 hour boat ride from Bali.  I’ve kept in mind that I want to be home in time for Christmas because, outside of 2 years in Scotland, I’ve usually been home for Christmas.  The 2 Christmas’s that I wasn’t home were painful and I was homesick and felt so very far away from everything that I knew and that was comfortable. So much so, that I lost sight of where I was and wallowed in the sadness of where I wasn’t.

Then I thought of the possibility of staying in Bali over Christmas and into the New Year. I asked my sister what she would do, if she would come home or stay in Bali.  She said that she doesn’t have the same attachment to the tradition that I do, so she might not be the right person to ask.  And she said that she would stay in Bali.  I started thinking about my attachment to the tradition of Christmas and I wondered if I was holding onto tradition for the fear of losing my connection to my Dad, my childhood and to the memories of Christmas’s past.

I’ve realized that over the last few years, the traditions that I grew up with have evolved and have adapted to change.  While there is still a trace of the Christmas’s of my youth, there is also a maturing and letting go of what doesn’t serve anymore.  Like buying lots of things and advent calendars.

Perhaps it’s time for me to evolve and to let go of the need to have physical evidence of Christmas. Instead,  I could be content in the knowledge that this feeling of Christmas, of love and giving and connection, lives inside of me and that I can connect to it anytime I want.  Perhaps I will stay in Bali and explore places I have never seen before. Perhaps I will ring in the New Year on a beach with people I just met who are just as far away from the place they call home as I am. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the traditions of my past and move forward into the darkness of a new path.

After all, traditions have to start somewhere.

Wishing you the peace and love of the Christmas season today and always,

Seanna

 

 

Bali calling

Bali….it invokes thoughts and images of temples, rice paddies, white beaches and turquoise oceans and possibly for me, and 29 others, a one month long work shop with Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love. I had a phone call this evening with a lovely woman named Megan and we chatted about why I want to go to Bali for the Writer’s Mastermind workshop.  I told her that it was time for me, not in a selfish or ego based way, but in a way that allows for me to focus on me and the story that I have inside that wants to come out. I worked in hospitality for a long time and any of my friends that are still in hotels can attest to the fact that it’s always about the other person, namely the customer, and their comforts. I believe, that when you are in that environment long enough, self care falls by the wayside. I’m learning again what self care and nurturing is all about. This trip will be a way for me to reconnect with me, to get quiet and really listen to the story that lives inside of me. It will be in an incredibly supportive environment, in a beautiful place and surrounded by others who have the same purpose.

When I was filling out the application form about a week ago, I started to feel some fear and trepidation about whether or not to finish filling it out.  Because if I finished filling out the application form and sent it in, it would mean that someone would read my application, and I would be judged on what I wrote. It would determine whether or not I would get to the next step which would be a phone call about my application and why I wanted to be picked. Now, as most of us know, fear lives in the dark and doesn’t want to step out into the unknown. ‘There could be scary, frightening things out there!’ it tells us.  And it’s true, there are scary frightening things out there.  But if we didn’t voyage into the unknown, we would have never discovered new countries, new civilizations, chocolate(!), or discovered just what we are capable of.

I will find out in the next week or so if I am picked. What an amazing Christmas present that would be.

Wishing you steps into the unknown and the discovery of something great,

Seanna

A most wondrous day

Mondays tend to be that day that most people look forward to the least.  If you work Monday to Friday, it’s the first day back to work after the weekend. Did you know that some studies out there have shown that there is a higher chance of having a heart attack on a Monday morning than on any other day of the week?!  The study organizers chalk it up to the stress of going back to work on a Monday.  Poor Mondays.  They get just a bad rap. It’s just a day of the week. It does what every other day does; starts at 12:00am and ends at 11:59pm. So why do we, as people, get so worked up about them? There are even songs bemoaning Mondays, like, I hate Mondays.  Is this fair?

Well, I hope what I am about to share with you about my past Monday helps you to shed your perception of a Monday and look forward to your next Monday.

It started out like any other; I got up, got ready and headed out the door to work. The drive to work was uneventful, which is always a good thing.  I got into work, made my rounds of hellos and logged into my computer.  I usually check social media first thing in the morning, so logged into my Facebook account and checked my wall.  And there it was…the first post that changed this seemingly normal Monday into a most wondrous day. ‘Labor was not easy but all worth it;-) 4:46 am our baby girl was born :-))))’  Two of my good friends had become parents to a beautiful baby girl.

Fast forward to later in the day, I would say around 2ish, there was another post that read:’ The results are in- we’re in the clear! God is good. Life is precious. Feeling grateful x’.  This was accompanied by a picture of a jumble of words, and at the bottom of this jumble of words there were 6 words that said ‘complicated way of saying cancer free’.  Another friend who had been dealing with cancer and treatments all while remaining optimistic, had received awesome news…she was cancer free. Happy Dance!!!

This Monday was definitely getting brighter!

Onto later that evening. My sister posted her blog Eccentric exploration, which, as usual, I love to read.  (please read and subscribe! ) She was going to an audition for a part in Cabaret, and she wrote about how the voices in her head found a multitude of reasons to not go to the audition.

So, I am feeling really good at this point. My perception of Monday had undergone a huge shift.  I am normally a really optimistic, bright side of things, glass is half – full kind of person, but even with that, I realized that I too, would get the Monday blues.

Then I remembered that today, January 21st, would have been my Grandma’s birthday; she would have been 97.  She died at the age of 96 and a half at 5:35am on July 19, 2012. I was with her from the time that she started make the journey to the other side to the time that she died.  I got to hold her hand, and tell her that I loved her.  I thanked her for silly things like doll accessories and jello/koolaid popsicles.  I thanked her for the blue rocking chair in the back bedroom where she would rock me to sleep while singing Danny Boy. I thanked her for so many things and then told her that while we would miss her, she could go and be with her Maman and my Grandpa Christy.  My Mom was also there and she got to do the same thing. I phoned my sister, and even though my Grandma had started to drift, when I put the phone up beside my Grandmas ear, and she heard my sisters voice, her eyes lit up, and she looked over and smiled a beautiful, bright smile.  It was her last cognizant moment.  She died with her 2 daughters and 1 granddaughter to guide her on her way.  I pictured her  young and vibrant, and waltzing with my Grandpa moments after she died.

Wow! I loved that my friends daughter was born on the same date that my Grandma was born, 97 years before. I loved that another friend found out she was cancer free.  I loved that my sister had gone to an audition and her audition number was 42, which is how long our parents were married.   I felt so incredibly connected to life, the universe and everything.

So, yes, while it was only one Monday, and it happened to also be January 21st which was also significant, all of these amazing things took place on a Monday.

So Monday? Thank you for being so wondrous to me.  I look forward to  you and all of the other wondrous things that you will bring.

Mud, toughness, and teamwork

Last year, I had friends who entered and took part in the Tough Mudder weekend in Whistler.  I tagged along as cheerleader and team photographer having no idea what it would involve and how I would feel at the end of the day.  It started with a drive up to Whistler through crazy torrential rains and a really dark highway.  We checked into our hotel and went to bed.  The next morning started at 5:30am…I didn’t realize I would have to get up and go at the same time, but we are a team so I got up and went.  You hike into the ‘village’ that they have created.  Registration, stage for live music, food (COFFEE!!), beer garden (not open yet) and plenty of hyped up people just ready to go.  At the beginning of the course, there is a wall that you have to get over just to get to the starting line.  It’s a physical wall, and in some ways, a mental wall too.  It’s the first obstacle and the course starts to test you even before you have started.   When you get over the wall, because you will, greeting you are other Tough Mudders and a guy who has motivation and encouragement down to a fine art. Sean Corvelleis a stand up comedian/actor who is the start line emcee at Tough Mudder. If you were feeling nervous at all before you start, by the time he finishes his intro, the nervousness is replaced by excitement and confidence and courage….heck, I wanted to get changed and jump in!  My team mates, with huge grins on their faces, arms around each other, made the pact to stick together and finish as a team.  Tough Mudder is a challenge, not a race.  The camaraderie is evident even before you start. After they left the start line, I was able to track my team for about 6 obstacles before they disappeared into the wilderness of the Whistler area forest.  I wasn’t the only cheerleader/photographer for our team; there were 2 others along for the adventure. So the 3 of us trooped back down to the village to get coffee and just wait.  There were multiple start times during the day, so we continued to hear ‘Hoo-ra!’ throughout our wait and the start of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ while other Tough Mudder teams made their way to the start line. Our team crossed the finish line in just over 3 hours.  One thing that ‘held them up’ was that they stayed at one of the obstacles helping people up and over.  It looks like a really large half pipe, and the idea behind it is to take a running leap and reach for the top and get yourself over.  Alright then. Add mud, water, exhausted muscle groups and well, you add a wee bit of a challenge.  This is where much of the team spirit comes into play.  There are Tough Mudders that sit atop this lofty obstacle and reach for your hand as you leap up and pull you over.  Time and time again, you will see people sitting up there, sometimes for 20 minutes at a time, to help other Tough Mudders. This is what we need more of in our world.  The hand reaching down when you need a hand up.  Before my team came in, I stood at the finish line and watched other teams finish. Some would run screaming at the top of their lungs at the final obstacle which was a  structure with a myriad of dangling wires hanging down.  Doesn’t sound so tough….it was electrified.  One team leap frogged through, others would close their eyes, put their hands up in front of their faces, and run through. One of the coolest moments was when a team full of guys, all probably in their late 20’s early 30’s, joined hands to go through together.  Before they did, one of the guys yelled, where’s Joe? They all turned around, and up trotted Joe, a guy in his 60’s rockin’ it out with the young guys.  They all crossed the finish line together.  Each team that approached the finish line, made sure they finished together.  They upheld their pact. They made it. Witnessing this was empowering for me and I knew at that moment that I wanted to take part the next year.  Fast forward to January 16th, 2013.  I signed up. I will officially be a Mudder crossing the finish line with my team on June 22 in Whistler and I will feel awesome! Team training nights will be Mondays and I imagine there will be sweat, sore muscles and a whole lot of laughter.  We will do this together, because we are a team.  Hoo-Ra!