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

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The path to growth

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to the pa-ath of growth? (sung to the tune of sesame street)

Ah, the path to growth! What is it and how do I get there? And once I am there, how do I truly know I am on it?

We as a species and I as an individual will always be moving towards growth, seeking it, finding it, growing from it. This is not the challenge. The challenge for me is not getting distracted by the shiny objects along the path and then staying put. Sometimes we can’t see what is in front of us and that can also cause us to hold back and not move into the unknown.

I get it. Putting yourself out there is daunting. We see examples every day of people being judged, made fun of, yelled at, being trolled for standing in their truth. And what the fuck is it with trolls? That’s a complete other blog…

At the end of the day is it even worth it to grow, to put ourselves out there into the unknown? I mean, come on! Comfort zones exist for a reason? Why push past them? What else is out there that I don’t already have in my shiny swamp? Can I get a hell yes?! Hell…no? What do you mean no? Look! I have a shiny…nope, back over here. Ignore the pathway out of here…it’s dark up there! You don’t want to go there…wait!!!

Back with me on the path to growth? Good. People have walked/sailed into the unknown for centuries. We are constantly curious. Yes, I know what they say about curiosity, but if you are reading this, you are not a cat. And if you are a cat and reading this, you need your own Netflix documentary. Digressing…

Walking this path takes focus and persistence and a great deal of trust that you are going the right way. You also need to know that growth is continuous. That once you reach one stage of growth in your life or business, there will be another one waiting…then another…then another. And each stage does not have to be momentous! It could be small in doing a social media post for your business once a week and then building up to 4 within a few weeks! Or it could be not hitting the snooze button and getting up and going for a walk or to the gym even though you are comfy and warm and it’s raining out.

The thing is, to get to any stage of growth, you must start on the path. You can ask for help as much as you want and do daily check ins with people to hold you accountable and write lists out and check them off, but start. Just start. You will figure out the rest as you go along.

You won’t grow by staying where you are. Well, perhaps you will grow moss, but I am fairly certain that’s not the look you are going for. There are other ways to find out which direction is north.

Holding my compass and walking forward,

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

The women that came before

I worry about disappointing them, the women that came before, about letting them down, about letting myself down. Disappoint is such a word that invokes a feeling of deep discomfort.

I feel their eyes on me through the ages and I wonder what they think of my life.

Resistance is a bitch, is this angry petulant child that rather than looking at how something could work out, stomps it’s feet and loudly pouts in the corner wanting attention needing to be caressed and coaxing it out with candy and half truths to make it feel better. I am so tired of holding back and living small of not believing in myself and my dreams.

I feel their voices in my heart more than I hear them in my head ‘Little one, do not doubt your power. You were made of stars and wonder, you are more ancient than the Universe and you carry the wisdom of your mothers mothers mother in every beat of your heart and in your soul. You have lived so many times before and this is simply another physical form for you to engage the world in.  Everything you need is within you. All the answers to your questions live within the sweetness of your soul. Listen, little one, listen. You come from warrior queens and gentle women, from men who loved deeply and fought bravely; the blood that flows through your veins ran freely on fields of war and in the fluid of birth. Your eyes have seen birth and death in this lifetime and so many before. You have a depth that is infinite. Listen, little one with the big, beautiful eyes, listen, deeply. You are the cave that you fear to enter. You are the treasure you seek. There is nothing small about you, you are as vast as the Universe.  Your life is a miracle, as were ours, and you are a testament of our lives, our loves, our losses. Reach for our hands in the moments you feel small or feel doubt. We walk with you through this life and all the others that will follow. Reach for our hands when you doubt your worth, your value, your path. You are of the stars and the earth and you are magnificent.  Believe in your magnificence, in your light, in your power. We do.”

I feel them get quieter in my heart and then I feel them standing behind me, honouring the path I am walking and their paths before. And I am grateful.

Lessons from a pottery frog

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The picture above is the broken remains of a ceramic figure of a frog. Not just any frog, but Froggie, as named by a 3 year old in my neigbourhood.

Today, as one of the plumbers was coming out of my place, he accidentally knocked Froggie from his place on my stairs and, as he was made of clay, he shattered when he hit the ground.

Froggie came into my life in March of 2006 when I moved into my apartment on Burnaby Street in Vancouver.  My Mom bought him for me as a house-warming gift and he (always seemed a bit more on the masculine side) sat watch over the neighbourhood from the right corner of my balcony. He was there for so long, that there was an imprint of his base on the balcony.

Froggie travelled back to Victoria with me and since March of 2012, came to rest on the back stairs of my place, again watching over the neighbourhood from the top step.

I was out running an errand when this happened so I wasn’t there for his demise. When I came back, the plumber, Andrew, was coming out of my place and he told me he had some really bad news. I thought it had something to do with the pipe or it’s location for the plumbing he was working on, but no, it was that Froggie was no more. He told me that when he realized that he had accidentally kicked the statue that he reached down to grab him, but just not in time.

I stood and looked at the remains and I will admit that I was sad.  While he was an inanimate object, made of clay, I had become attached to him. So much so that I had assigned it a gender. ( My car is a boy too…his name is Jack.) At this point, I then had to do my best to reassure Andrew that it was okay, that it was just another thing that I had collected. He felt really awful that it had happened. Maybe someone else would have yelled and screamed or raged, but in that moment, I really truly took it as a sign that it was time to start letting go of ‘things’ and of anything that is holding me back. That we have stuff just try to fill the moments of silence and doubt within us. That things break, yet life still continues. That it’s time to see what other places in this world need some ‘Seanna-izing’ (Yeah, I just thought of that) and see what places on this planet will add even more sparkle and shine to my life.

Andrew came back later to tell me that he had taken the broken pieces of pottery and buried them in a patch of sand under the house. That way, he said, a part of me will always be here. That was the best way to honour Froggie and me.

Hanging out on a lily pad, strumming a guitar, and humming the Rainbow Connection,

Seanna

This is about

This is about leaving the ground

It’s about leaping without looking

About what is out there and not in here

This is about possibility and passion

About what can be discovered, uncovered, and found

This is not about anyone but me

This is about what I have been afraid of.

Fear that is disembodied, no substance to it and disappears like smoke in a strong breeze

A breeze that blows through and brings with it opportunity and more possibility

It’s about what is possible.

It’s about a butterflies-in-your-stomach kind of feeling; a stirring of excitement; a reach into the unknown

It’s about time and what to do with the remaining hours, days, months, years.

This is about soaring above and seeing life, my life, from a different perspective

It’s about trust and letting go

It’s about knowing and feeling that the time is right

It’s about looking back at what is clinging at you, holding you, me, back, holding you to old patterns, holding me to old stories and gently asking them to let go

And if they don’t let go…

It’s about grabbing a mother-fucking samurai sword and severing those things that cling, that are holding me back

Because this is not about what came before

It’s about what is in front of me now

Skinny dipping in Loch Ness

My friend Paivi, had decided that skinny dipping in Loch Ness was a thing to do when in Inverness. It was April of 2005 and we, Paivi, our friend Nadine and Paivi’s sister, were on a road trip through the Highlands of Scotland before I headed back to Canada and Inverness was one of our stops. We had already voyaged through Fort William and out to Glen Finnan where the Harry Potter train was often filmed going over the trestle there. We had crossed the bridge over the sea to Skye and visited Eilean Donan Castle which is the most filmed castle in Scotland…Highlander anyone? It also features beams of cedar from British Columbia in the great room.

We hung out at Dunvegan Castle on Skye which is the seat of the McLeod, which also happens to be the clan that I belong to. This was also the place that my Mom got me good with an April Fool’s joke. She had called to say that my work was trying to get in touch with me. I thought this was a bit weird, them phoning my parents in Canada, but not too weird as I driving through some pretty remote areas in Scotland so had no cell service. I asked what they had wanted and I think she held out for a beat or 2 and then said April Fools! She got me! I was impressed.

We stayed on Skye for the night, at the Pink Guest House, and left early the next day, continuing our journey into the hinterlands. And towards Loch Ness.

We drove along the road beside Loch Ness looking for a secluded bay in which to partake this possibly existing but more than likely new ritual of swimming nude in Loch Ness. We found a small bay, void of people and parked our minivan. Automatic by the way. It’s one thing to drive on the other side of the car and on the other side of the road, but my brain had challenges with the whole shifting with the left hand too.

The 4 of us got out of the van and made our way down the embankment to the rocky beach. Just to set the stage a bit. Loch Ness is the 2nd deepest loch deepest loch in all of Scotland and Europe. They say that still waters run deep. They are also damn cold! The water temperature rarely rises above 5 degrees Celsius. Standing loch side, we strip down, completely bare and start to make our way into the water. It was incredibly slow going as the other thing that deep waters produce is something like pond scum, but in this case loch scum, on top of the rocks at the shore line. As I walked along the rocks, slipping and sliding into the water, I looked down to my left as we cleared the shelter of our little bay and saw another little bay…full of people. Clothed people. People looking at us wondering why the hell we were doing naked in Loch Ness. I realized that I wasn’t going to get much further than I already was without the possibility of slipping and causing damage to every exposed part of my body, so I crouched down, splashed the extremely cold water over my body, stood up and turned to walk back to the shore. Just as I turned to face the shore, a tour bus drove past, full of tourists. My moment of Scottish notoriety was complete.

I scrambled back to the shore, as quickly as I could, hoping that I could get dressed before any other strangers saw me naked. The rest of the ladies soon followed and we got dressed and sat and stared out over the loch, lost in our thoughts. Just then, one of the guys that had been in the group of people that had seen us in all of our glory, came strolling past ‘looking for firewood’. Right. He walked past us another few feet and then turned around and walked back, seemingly disappointed that he hadn’t found any firewood.

After that we sat for a good 30 minutes and watched sun move behind the clouds and occasionally poke through the clouds casting beams of light across the loch and in that moment I felt the presence of my Grandfather.

He died before I was born and I had come to Scotland to connect with my roots. I had visited the town that he was from and the cemetery where my ancestors were buried. I looked at the names of 7 generations of Nichols whose names were on the grave marker and it was humbling and awe-inspiring to look at the names on the marker and realize that I, we, any one person alive, is not an accident, that each of us, no matter what our story, is meant to be here. Because this person met this person and married and had this person who married this person and had this person who married this person and had this person…it’s a wonder that anyone of us could ever doubt that we were meant to be born.

I found it surprising that for the first time during my time in Scotland, that I felt connected to him here, on the banks of Loch Ness, far away from the town that he had grown up in, had left behind for a new life in Canada and had never returned to and mere weeks before I was set to go back to Canada. I think he was proud, not necessarily that I had gone skinny dipping in Loch Ness, but that I had felt it important to connect with my roots, his roots, through the country he had been born into and that stayed in his heart for the rest of his life.

From the moment I arrived in Scotland, she captured a part of my heart and didn’t let go. Her haunting, majestic beauty is the stuff of epic poems, emotional laments, and rousing pub songs. Her people are fierce and loving and proud. Scotland lives in my heart and in my blood and in still shots in my head. My name is Seanna Nichol and I am a grand-daughter of Scotland.