Me, Myself, and I

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I should have known this day would eventually come.  From a young age I always enjoyed accomplishing things on my own. Not to say I didn’t love people and their presence, but I certainly loved being all by myself.  For the last two, almost three years, I had a problem settling in one place; not that it’s odd for someone my age to do. Commitment phobia, what can I say? But here’s the thing, if you haven’t moved around more than six times within the same year while you’re young and have the ability to…go do it. And I mean now.

‪‪After going back and forth between universities, countries, and what seemed like all of life’s hardest decisions, I finally found myself committed and planted at Southern Methodist University where I’ll be getting one of those diploma things. After weeks of apartment and roommate searching I decided it was time.  I was making big changes in my life and that meant I was doing them alone.  After living alone for five months now, I’ve compile‪d a list of pros and cons‪ that come with living alone. In the end, what ‪seems like a silly list ‪has given me the answer: a sou‪nd peace of mind I was searching for all along.  There are plenty of pros and cons‪ to living alone. In figuring them out alone, I found myself…just me, happy. I’d like to think that was the way it was meant to be.

‪Pro: No one else is filthying up your apartment.

‪Con: I have to take out the trash. Yep, that heavy, smelly pile of junk you have no clue as to how it piled up within a week…that’s all you baby.

‪‪Pro: I can listen to my favorite song 10-50 times, on repeat.

‪‪Con: My neighbors most likely have a plan to murder my iHome…and probably me.

‪‪Pro: I have full authority over what and who comes into my apartment.

‪Con: I have to kill things.

‪Pro: You can be alone when you want to be alone.

‪Con: You’re always alone.  Those Life Alert necklace commercials are becoming more and more appealing everyday.

‪Pro: My place looks like me. I can decorate my place like a young woman would and not have to worry about anybody’s opinion. Are you paying for this apartment? No? Great. Then yes this birdcage is going right here, next to the adorable Anthropologie aprons that match my dishtowels. And yes the accent wall shall be a deep purple and I will have‪ a vintage floral chair with an antique gold sofa. Yep.

‪Con: When you do bring a guy home they usually judge the amount of accent pillows you have and your ability to fit the entire color wheel into 650 sq. feet.

Pro: You begin to love yourself more.  I buy myself flowers every week.  Some of my friends make fun of it but honestly, there’s nothing like giving yourself a little love and reminding yourself, “I deserve love.”

Con: When someone buys you flowers all your vases are used. Awkward…

‪Pro: You can be naked as much as humanly possible. In fact, you can do everything naked. Nothing beats cooking naked, getting into bed naked, waking up naked and repeating it all over again the next day…naked. Embrace your birthday suit.

Con: There are crumbs in your bed, your apartment is beginning to resemble a fraternity house and you’ve seen every episode of New Girl, twice.

‪‪Pro: You can cook whatever you want, whenever you want. You want to eat breakfast food for dinner? Then you make that entire batch of 12 pancakes and have at it. You want Mexican food 4 nights in a row? You enjoy that giant bowl of guacamole, ‪you beautiful creature.

‪‪Con: You cooked too much food and there’s no one to help clean the mountain of dirty dishes in the sink.

‪Pro: You can sleep with the light on or any other abnormal habits and not have to worry about it bothering someone.

Con: Putting sheets on your bed, alone, has proven to be the hardest thing known to mankind. Also, if a noise wakes you up in the night, most likely you’re about to be murdered and no one will save you.  Ladies, sleep with a knife.

‪Pro: You can try any crazy workouts on TV and not worry about looking stupid.

‪Con: You quit after three minutes and grab a snickers bar; downfall of having no one to push you to actually make your health a priority.

Pro:  You can cry, laugh, and feel any emotion that overwhelms you. You have the room to cry alone, moan alone, dance moronically and curse the world alone — whatever. You can do it and the truth is you have to do it.

‪Con: Sometimes you strongly believe you’re on the verge of insanity.

‪Pro: Your dog, cat, bird, ferret, whatever teaches you the beauty of unconditional love.  You will also learn what it means to truly love something other than yourself.

Con: You wonder if you’ll actually ever like people again.

‪Living alone means you can make mistakes in private and not have to worry about others judging you for them. You can bring someone home or show an old fling your goodies without having to explain your relationship to your friends. You have the room to realize on your own which decisions are mistakes and which are not. When you live alone the chaos stops for a bit and you can tune into what’s really going on in your brain and your heart. You realize who it is you miss and who it is you truly want. You realize how precious time is and those worthy of it.

‪Living alone means more control over your narrative, essay, story, journey, whatever you like to call it. It’s life sticking a pen into your hand and saying, “Go‪ ahead, make a choice or two or 100, ‪but do it regardless.” The thing I’ve learned is they all won’t be right and they’re not supposed to be. Some will knock you down but others will lead you to places beyond what you’ve imagined. Those are the ones you’re looking for. It takes a lot of courage to finally step into who you are, alone.  It’s a scary, lonely journey but it’s the most beautiful journey you will ever take. The space that you open your heart to alone will become your nest.  It’s the first decision of many on a long trip to become who you were always meant to be. Give yourself a chance to go it alone and get to know your soul.

‪Discovering your strength is one of the greatest gifts a person can give oneself.  When you’re able to sustain life alone,‪ it really helps you think highly of yourself. You’re out there, working, solving, and going through life’s struggles with a strong, clear head. It does wonders for your self-esteem and bravery. It really reminds you how capable and worthy you are of living a healthy, beautiful life. Living alone is a reminder that you don’t need to be dependent on others to define your happiness and your whole life. It drastically changed my perception of myself. Even though it seems a little scary, I promise you’ll find you’ll be in the best company.

If you need an extra push, give this a listen.

Xo,

Caro

 

 

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Growing Pains

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Growing up is hard. This I am most certain of thanks to my early twenties. The term growing pains…well it’s more than just a physical pain we have from our teeth coming in and our legs growing taller. It’s the pain we have when our life is in complete transformation.

And I for one have been experiencing some major growing pains.

There’s this term in psychology referred to as post-traumatic growth I’ve been thinking about quite a bit. A quick Google search defines it as a positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. Posttraumatic growth is not simply a return to baseline from a period of suffering; instead it is an experience of improvement that for some persons is deeply meaningful.

Life can become a great mess if choices and plans don’t go the way we hoped for. Then life throws challenging circumstances in our paths that we don’t even know how to begin to fathom. Growing pains can make you feel like it’s a struggle to even breathe, wake up, and bare the emotions were experiencing. Almost everyone you meet is dealing with some sort of trouble. Perhaps you’re experiencing one of those moments right now.

I haven’t posted a blog in a few months for multiple reasons. I was stuck. I had bloggers block. The honest reason for my absence however, is the simple fact I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say. And if my twenties have taught me one thing, it’s simply that if you can’t explain or wrap your mind around something, most likely you haven’t learned the lesson yet.

So I waited. I wrote one page at a time, in my little journal that was given to me a year ago before I set out for my year of “wandering.” A year in which I created this blog. If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning you know that I began my year away from university after my Moksha/Modo Yoga training in British Columbia. Following that, I started my adventure of self discoveries in the only place I felt right… Prince Edward Island.

I could go into all the itty bitty details about how I ended up taking time away from school, what drove me to become a yoga teacher, how life threw intense road bumps along my journey, but that would take forever. The last two years, which are the first two years of my twenties, have made me question with every ounce of my body what my purpose for this beautiful life is. The path has oftentimes been difficult and left me with more questions than I had answers to.

When it came June, I knew my year of wandering was coming to an end, so I set out to close the chapter where I had started it all, in Prince Edward Island.

Spending six weeks in our family home, alone, in the country, leaves a lot of room to find what those answers are. Yep, I said me, myself, and I. Bat sh@@@@@t crazy I know. I had an old- school home phone, VHS tapes, piles of ancient photo albums, rows stacked with books my grandfather had collected over the years, and of course my yoga mat and my journal. So I sat. I practiced. I breathed. I slept. I wandered around the island. I wandered through the creaking house so vividly full of memories, deeply breathing in the scent of an old wooden house that had been closed up for the winter. I took my time, brushing my fingertips along the edges of old books stacked in bookshelves, glass figurines, and taking long glances at framed pictures containing years of memories. I took long walks, taking in the smell of fresh air and ocean breeze…sometimes even stinky fish and seaweed.

It’s one of the only places that endures complete stillness. It’s one of the only places I’ve ever known that is utterly quiet, and yet it’s almost as if the house itself speaks to you through pictures, squeaks, and memories. The red cliffs with all their rigid marks from years and years of waves crashing upon them have remained bold with beauty. It’s a constant reminder that life is constantly throwing waves of transformation. It has a gift of helping you let go of a delicate wound, a heartbreak you can’t give up on, a profound loss that’s left you feeling empty.

About a week and half before I had booked my flight to leave, my family and I had decided to start a new tradition while on the island to stay up at least one night and watch the sun rise. Despite the fact I was alone, I decided I’d still keep up the new tradition.

So I stayed up…delirious for the majority playing with African masks, riding around in my Grandfathers wheel chair and just having a time being a complete goof. When 5 o’ clock rolled around, I stepped out on the top deck as quietly as I could. I had never seen the world so still. Quiet. The rest of the world was peacefully asleep, and it was as if I was the only one awake. I felt awake, truly awake. All of my worries, doubts, and problems didn’t seem so real anymore because it was just the breathtaking silence, the sunrise, and me.

The lesson, that life nugget I had been waiting for that entire year, finally came to me, and it was simple. It struck me that maybe life can be as peaceful as dreamers paint it to be. Maybe we’re just the ones that give into the chaos surrounding us by clinging to things that cause us pain. We all want things to stay the same. We all wish we had the ability to go back to a specific moment and just freeze there for a little longer. Moving on, letting go, loosing loved ones, growing up is most of the time painful. We’re scared of change because growing pains are hard. We’re terrified to free fall into a place where we honestly don’t know what the future holds.

That morning, I left my delicate wound, my profound loss, my heartbreak to finally be what they were- a closed chapter to part of my story. Something I fought a year to acknowledge. Some people may think that’s insane to hold onto something and someone for that long. Maybe it was silly, maybe it was unrealistic, but maybe it’s a testimony of just how significant that love was.

This year of transformation, wandering, seeking, and self-discoveries may have been rocky and heartbreaking at moments but it’s only one chapter to my story. I intend to write many, many more.

Life is for strange adventures.

Xo, Caro

Tear Down This Wall!

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I guess it would be more than obvious for me to say I’ve had writers block for a while now. I started writing about five different blogs but never could find that special oomph to finish them. It feels like I’ve had a “life block” I suppose you could say. I’ve hit a stump. A big, fat, giant, five hundred pound rock that I’m pushing up against a huge mountain. A wall. A wall so big it feels like a personalized Great Wall of China just for me. Yet, each step has been etched with a challenge for change.

And I’m staring at the steps asking myself, am I ready to move forward? More fearfully, am I ready to look back? Because in order to charge forward, we must find the strength to make peace with our pasts that confine us.

I found this wall about two months ago after acknowledging that it was time to release a long-life relationship with someone who knew ALL the itty bitty pieces that make me, me. Breakups have a way of knocking you on your bum, especially when you didn’t see it coming. Someone I’ve held very close to my heart for eighteen years attacked my character and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for them. Like I wasn’t good enough for God. They could no longer love the mold that made me, me. I needed to fit into their mold. Their idea of what is “right.” Maybe this person thought they were “helping” by pointing out my wounds, shortcomings, and things I needed to change…it wasn’t. I had to sit there and find the courage to realize this person whom I had fully accepted and unconditionally loved for 18 years didn’t accept (maybe never had) who I really was our entire friendship. Still swallowing that one. I had to find the courage to forgive. Even harder, I had to find the courage to walk away.

This break up led to the stupid and insecure feelings we sometimes have after someone’s hurt us. I began to question my life, my uniqueness, my choices. I was by far extremely hard on myself. However, I slowly came to terms there were cycles and patterns I have created and all they led to was this ongoing circle of yuckiness. I was not where I wanted to be, or more importantly needed to be for my wellbeing. I was taking steps backwards instead of forwards. I needed to break them. I needed to change.

I’ve been aware of this wall I need to tackle for much longer than two months. I’ve slowly chipped away at it with a fairy sized chisel because I’ve been lacking the strength and courage to run full force with a sledge hammer screaming, “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!” Moving forward is scary, yes, but looking back is crazy acorn nuts scarier. Opening old wounds and finally facing them is terrifying because, in essence, you remember how much they stung the first time around. You have to ask yourself, am I strong enough to fight through this? Can we find the strength to forgive? Can we give up our fears, our thoughts, our feelings of shame, abandonment, anger?

I slowly began to shut the world out. I was hurt, depressed, and lost, partly because of the lost relationship, but more because I knew I’ve stared at this wall once before, except it was two years ago. I was younger, naive, and not fully aware of what exactly needed to be healed. I was so frustrated with myself. Why couldn’t I get past this? Why was I not able to let go of parts of my past? And I realized if it ain’t healed, it’ll haunt your asssana.

My personal practice diminished. I stopped writing. I hardened. I stopped singing in the shower. Slept way too much. Cried often (which needed to happen, obviously.) I basically shut out everything I mindfully knew would help me heal. I tried to change my mold. I let myself become this version of someone I was not familiar with. Why? Well, why a lot of people allow themselves to do it. We get so comfortable with just being mediocre. We try to numb out the pain and put off the process of healing for another day. There’s only so long a human soul can hold hurt. There’s only so long your light can burn until your pain has extinguished it’s flame.

So with myself in a funk I decided it was time to change the scenery externally. I had the urge to examine my life in a place beyond what I knew. Plus my brother was homesick and I needed to finally make a decision on school. So… I headed for the Windy City of sweet Chicago. I prayed that something would spark my thirst to write again. And this time it wasn’t for my readers, it was for me.

Let me tell you… Chicago gave me that life surging feeling back. Five days spent with my best friend and brother, Paul, taking on all the best restaurants and sky scrappers with freezing noses and cheeks put me right back. It was a week of Mrs. Doubtfire quoting, The Barefoot Contessa, way too many episodes of Criminal Minds before bed… terrible nightmares. Heart to heart talks, lots of walking and lots of singing, window shopping, pretending to be super classy at super classy places. What a city that place is! I fell in love with the many yoga loving addicts, midwestern sweethearts, and a city that shined oh so bright. I can’t tell you how good it felt to laugh. And not just giggle but have tears rolling down your face, belly aching from laughing so hard. Paul has a way of always making people laugh.

I realized how good it felt to just BE in the moment when we were sitting at the top of Chicago in the Hancock building. We could NOT stop laughing. Maybe it was the wine and horrible dessert, but I believe it was more of the fact we were so happy to be in the same city as each other. It was one of those times when you forget there’s a restaurant filled with 50+ more people. Realizing there were people around, I noticed a mother sitting at the table next to us smiling and softly laughing at how much we were laughing!

I loved it! Funny how happiness is contagious?

The weekend came to an end, so with a heavy heart I said bye to my two little four- legged nephews and my twinkie and boarded the plane back to big ‘ole DFW. And surely, that little message I had been praying for came to me. I looked around and saw another pilot along for the flight heading home maybe to his family or maybe not. I had a moment of sonder. If you don’t know what that means… look it up. And I wondered, what things he had done to get to where he was in this moment. What was his story? And in that moment I realized just how unique we all are. Every thought, decision, dream, hope, love, mistake, triumph makes us so diversely organic. You are fearfully and wonderfully made- Psalm 139:14. What a waste it would be to try and fit into someones mold for you. Your life has a sole purpose no one else can fulfill.

As I watched the man with my new revelations I was taken back to the summer of 2011. I have no idea why it prompted this memory but I believe I finally grasped the message my Poppa was trying to relay when he had me help gut an 1800’s house. And here it is: Something can seem so broken, so useless, sometimes it can look as if there is no hope or reason to “fix” it, to re-create. Unexpectedly, you find a tiny piece hidden, deep within the house- deep within your soul. It sparks you to forge forward. It brings you hope to accept the past, all of it’s cracks, cobwebs, rusty nails, bumps, and breakdowns. You decide to use history as a building block for the new stronger house, for the new stronger you.

I’m writing this because I want you to know, you can. I can. We all have a past. And you have to be the one that’s going to decide if you’re going to allow it to make you stronger. You are not your parents, your friends, your brothers or sisters. You are not your mistakes. You are not your fears. You are not the shame that binds you. You may have had people abandon you but you have not abandoned yourself. And I promise you, there is someone special that hasn’t either. God, Great Spirit, Mother Nature, the Divine, the Universe, whatever you believe them to be- I promise you, they have been holding your hand even when you didn’t feel it.

In the words of Frances Mayes, “Life offers you a thousand chances… all you have to do is take one.” I’m ready to run with that sledge hammer and I hope you find the courage to as well. Because the truth is at some point you have to make peace with your past and realize it’s time to release the load that God never meant for you to carry.

Secret Spoken Words.

imagesDo you remember as a child making up your own language? You would write in it, talk in it, and you knew no one understood a single thing you were saying.

Well that’s how I feel about life currently. Silly, I know. But in actuality, there’s a 99.9% chance that if I even tried to slightly explain my logical thinking to people, they would look at me like I was insane. At least that’s how I picture it going.

However, as kids we would engage with other kids in our secret language. Given it involved a lot of hand gestures. Then your friends would talk back in their secret language. It was a childish world of secret spoken words.

In the last three years I’ve heard countless times from my closest family and friends that my life should be a movie. Or at least a realllllllly long novel that belongs in the romantic comedy and adventurous/self help section. Think Eat, Pray, Love, meshed with Big Fish, add a spice of The Notebook.. and BAM, you’ve got it. I just laughed.

From the time I could talk, I remember hearing my parents say, be open to the extraordinary. They also instilled that you never know who you’re talking to or what they have been through. Expressing how coincidental meetings with strangers can be gifts of unexpected, extraordinary messages to our unanswered prayers.

Maybe that’s what this was.

Upon returning back to the States I suffered from a severe migraine. And when I say severe, I mean it. That little devil lasted for six straight days with no remorse to give me a break. Picture day four: I had barely eaten for three days. Moping around like a zombie. Anytime I heard noise or saw a light, I freaked. I hit the lowest of lows when my best friend Cathy was sitting with me while I took a hot bath, making sure I actually ate the bean burrito she brought me. She’s a hawk that one I’ll tell ya. Dramatic sounding…I know. Just take a moment though and please imagine 8 hammers in your head and above your eyes pounding.

Again, devil.

Day six rolled around and I forced myself to go to the doctor. She prescribed a medication I would have to be on for at least a year. Something I was not okay with. Migraines have been something I’ve dealt with for years. In high school, I even tried “curing” them with a long-term medication. Didn’t work. That’s when I realized there was much much more going on internally. (Rest assured that I’ve had tests, MRI’s, and any other medical shabang on my brain done. Everything is A-okay upstairs.) Putting things in my body for an extended period of time was not in the framework for this yogi. I sought out a more holistic type therapy this time around. I was intrigued and very desperate.

I found myself at a little place known as Dr. Tao’s office. He’s a middle aged Asian doctor that practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the DFW metroplex. My time with Dr. Tao lasted 10 sessions. Each containing him sticking tiny needles all over my body and sharing short stories of wisdom with his still, very strong Chinese accent. As therapy progressed the points would change. In his words, “my stress points.” Some focusing more on my upper body, some around the abdomen, and then lower body. It was always symmetrical; finding balance.

I wasn’t looking for someone to understand my “language” when I began treatment with Dr. Tao. I also wasn’t expecting to add to the list of unimaginable experiences that should be a movie scene.

Session one was very basic. I was freakishly nervous. I had my hesitations. Then I fell asleep and drooled all over the bed table. Session one was a success to say the least.

The next time Dr. Tao and I met he asked me, “Can you think of the root problem that brings your migraines on?” Not ready to admit why, I replied no. He then began to place needles in my head, arms, legs and feet. Pressing hard on my bodies “stress points.” Points that honestly made no sense as to how stress could find its way there. Smiling, he left me with, “Let’s try to think about that for next time.”

I plopped down on the examination table for the third visit. “Stress, I think that’s what brings them on,” I confessed.
He smiled and asked, “What are you stressed about?”
Then the babbling began.
“Well, I lost both my grandparents in the last nine months. I was really close to them. That’s been harder than I let on to most people…Soooo I guess I’m grieving. Just got back to the States and it’s been pretty hectic since then. I’m jobless. Not in school. Currently trying to move out. I have 5 months to pick where I’m finishing my degree, which, will probably be out of the country…Exciting, but kind of terrifying. And I’m terrified of commitment and making decisions.” I ended with a wink and two thumbs up guns.

Niceeeeeeeeeeee job Caro.

“You do not talk about how you feel with others, no?” He asked. I immediately thought of the Skype sesh I had the day before with a close friend. He was frustrated with me for being distant. What was I suppose to do, vent? Like most people, I have a deep hesitation to pour my problems on others. But then what did I want, a fair weather friend? Absolutely not. My far from fair weather friend opened my eyes to the handful of unquestionably loving friends near me, and a long ways away.

Without letting me respond Dr. Tao placed his hand over my forehead and said, “You must find peace. Something only you will know how to find within you.” Those words soothed my very much exhausted mind. I left there feeling a little bit lighter.

A week later I was back in the small room filled with Asian decorations and human size charts displaying our bodies “rivers.” I was actually excited to hear what wisdom bits Dr. Tao had to offer. Little was I prepared to actually hear what he had to say.

“You lay on your back this time,” he said. He began to place a deep pressure, quickly inserting the tiny needles. I was used to the usual spots; head, hands, elbow, knee, calf, and lastly my feet. As he poked me with the needles, he told me a story that I believe is something I will never forget.
“There is a famous tale of a type of bird in China. When the birds find their soulmate, they’re unable to loose one another. These birds have a special call they use to find their way back to each other if they ever find themselves lost and apart.”
“Is it true?” I asked.
“Do you believe it to be?” He asked.
“I’d like to believe it’s true,” I murmured.
Giving a little chuckle under my breathe I added, “I don’t know, sometimes I wonder if I have too high of expectations for love.”

And that’s when Dr. Tao found his last pressure point. Walking back towards me, he placed his thumb in-between my breasts, right on my breast bone. Putting a deep pressure on it, I began to tense up. For the first time I verbally expressed how much it hurt. He noticed my aggravation as I looked at him with annoyed eyes.

And with a soft voice he said, “someone hurt your heart.”

Time went on, more visits occurred, and more needles were pricked. Eventually, I found my migraines had been practically healed.

On the tenth visit, I sat in Dr. Tao’s office waiting for him to be finished with his other patient. I starred at the bookshelves filled with jarred herbs. There had to have been at least 40 in there. I giggled imagining what clever comments my Poppa would have said about his way of filling bookshelves.

He entered the room very quickly like always. Sat down and immediately grabbed my wrist to check my pulse.
“Stick out your tongue,” he demanded. Slowly, with shifty eyes I stuck my tongue out like an unsure little kid.
“You’re not sleeping at night, are you?”
My eyes grew huge and I thought to myself, WHO ARE YOU?
“Uhhh, yeah. Well, no. I mean I am but, not well,” I said.
“And you want to stay in bed in the morning?” He asked.
“Ehhhhhhhhhhh I mean yes, but I don’t…….for the most part,” I admitted.
“At night, is thinking keeping you up? You have big decision, no?”
Thanks for reminding me, I thought.
“Mmmhm. Yep. I think a lot at night,” I sharply responded.

“Caroline, this decision you feel you must commit to is something only you can make. Sacrifices may have to occur. But you must really think logically, emotionally, and educationally about what the best decision is for you. You may find that one place leads you more emotionally, and the other will better your education. But in the end, you will know where feels more right for you, and only you.”

I softly smiled. He was right.

We walked into the medicine room and he began to tell me where he would put the needles for my last treatment. I laid there thinking about how miserable I felt ten sessions ago. Just ten, thirty minute sessions had already broken a barrier inside of me. So much built up stress, hurt, pain, sadness, grief, frustration. It all was turning toxic in my body because I essentially let it. Had I healed fully? Heck no. Did I have more to work on? Better believe it.

I was all needled up when Dr. Tao walked over to me with one last needle. I looked up knowing where he was about to place it.
“My heart?” I mumbled.
“Everyone in this world has the ability to do something extraordinary with their time on Earth. Some are terrified of that. Some run with it. Then, there are those that have the heart to share it. It’s a rare gift, sharing your life. You’ve acknowledged that gift, now you need to embrace it openly. It’s yours.”

I was unexplainably shocked. Where did that just come from? And again, WHO ARE YOU?

With a tiny pinch of pressure he said, “be open with your heart, but also your life.”

Each time I tried to explaining my visits with Dr. Tao my friends would look at me like I was insane. They had a common phrase, “I couldn’t do that. I would be so creeped out.” I get it. It’s hard to show people the most raw, itty bitty, fragile parts of our pain and struggles.

I don’t know why certain people come into our lives for a fleeting moment. It’s a lesson I suppose. We get so caught up in our own junk that we begin to feel alone, unequal, lost in our own language. A language each and every one of us has created in our own minds. So why have we stopped embracing it? When did we start believing we can’t speak it? Just because we don’t know how to explain how we’re feeling, doesn’t make our feelings any less real. I don’t want to pretend like letting people see my weaknesses is something that I’ve completely harnessed. In many ways do I have to practice changing that.

Sometimes we feel like no one could possibly comprehend what we’re dealing with. To our surprise, people do. They may not be able to relate how we feel but that’s not the point. If you can find someone who has compassion to listen, be silent, and simply let you feel what you are feeling, then you have all that you need.

Speak your language. Talk your talk. Hell, let your freak flag fly. You’ll find we’re all trying grasp the extraordinary.

When the clock strikes Midnight.

It’s been a while, eh? I wish I had a great excuse as to why I haven’t posted anything, but unfortunately, it’s just life. Crazy ole’ life. Sometimes it’s really nice to take a break from being connected to the cyber world. Taking a break from the Internet is exactly what I needed after coming home to the big city and readjusting back into the fast lane lifestyle.

It’s funny… My eyes have been quick to notice particular things they never noticed here before. I was cruising down HW-121 the other night to meet some friends. When I got high up on the ramp I looked out over all of the suburbs and was in awe. For the first time I realized that even though a beautiful, gigantic sea may not surround this home, it is, however, surrounded by a sea of bright, always shining lights. Somehow I’ve managed to keep my internal clock calm and un-eager to settle into the “human race” that so many city-goers revolve around.

I thought about 2013 a lot on my way home. I also reflected on 2012 quite a bit. My, oh my, how much of a growing year it was. Pouring out with change in big and small ways. There were times I really wondered if I would make it to this day half sane. Now THAT’S sayin’ somethin’. I remember driving through the hills of Tennessee and hearing a song that took me back to months ago. I think that was the first moment I understood what people mean by driving down “memory lane.” It was just the winding road, cruising through one memory at a time. Quite a beautiful thing for this little twenty-year-old.

I’ve always done the usual go out and celebrate with friends on New Years Eve. However, I’m ending 2012 once again with a little change in routine. Going out with a BANG and embracing the change you could say. I’m quite excited and happy about it, too. This year I’ll be spending it snuggled up on the couch with my furry, cold-nose baby and best friend, sipping a lovely glass of red wine and watching New Years Eve. And to end things right, I’ll be devoting those last few seconds of twenty twelve onto my mat by going to a special candle lit yoga class dedicated to ringing in 2013. Some of you may think, wow, she’s crazy and clearly not twenty. But the way I see it is that it’s better to acknowledge the hard times. To accept that, ya know, 2012 was a heart breaker and maybe it got me on my knees quite a few times. And that’s why I can’t imagine being anywhere else but my mat. It’s time to release this year back into the universe for the better of this year to come. So when I bow my head as the clock strikes midnight, I’ll let the drops of sweat and a few tears fall, which they will, I’ll let them fall gracefully onto my mat and smile knowing that I’m a little bit stronger, taller, and at peace with twenty twelve. And when my gaze comes up as the clock strikes 12:01 I’ll smile even bigger because that way, I have a perfect ending and definitely a perfect beginning.

2013 is going to be so different. It’s my lucky year. I can feel it through every part of my body. Thirteen is in fact mine, as well as my family’s lucky number. In fact it’s already off to a great start. Today I was given a free gift card at my favorite store while I was gift shopping for my mummy! Then as I sat down to write this little blog, a handsome young gent gave me a nonfat Chai latte because Starbucks made an extra one. Lucky girl, eh? AND I’ll also be roaming around Europe before I know it with my best friend.

So here’s my little Dr. Seuss moment… The past is gone, the future is so bright. I finally see 2013 is shining a small promising light. Lots of changes and places to see! Exciting part is that it’s all up to me.

“New Year’s Eve is a time to remember both our triumphs and our missteps – our promises made, and broken. The times we opened ourselves up to great adventures – or closed ourselves down, for fear of getting hurt. Because that’s what New Year’s is all about: getting another chance. A chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more. And stop worrying about ‘what if’ and start embracing what would be. So at midnight, let’s remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other. And not just tonight but all year long.”

Happy New Years everyone. I hope 2013 is everything and more you hope it to be.
These are just a few blessings I’m thankful for, in all your ways, shapes, and forms. Thank you for being apart of my 2012. You made it one that’s close to this little big heart.

Always, always, always loving, treasuring, and cherishing the life they shared with me. I will forever keep your memories.
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Since kindergarten. 2012 was just one tiny page in our book. You’ll always be my kindred spirit and one of the best gifts I was ever given.

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Easter with my favorite ladies. Plus Sarah Anne. image(11)

No words come close to the amount of love.

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You came into my life during one of the hardest years. God knew what he was doing. I’m blessed. You bring out the craziest parts of me. THANK YOU. <;;;;;3 Big love Catheter.

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I’m thankful for sliiiiightly intoxicated bathroom pictures during a bachelorette party. GREAT to look back on the next morning.

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You inspire me in so many different ways. You always have soft words with kind, deep messages. Thank you for always being you and different from the rest. You are so special little bird.

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To the trips that make you laugh until you cry, open your eyes to the beauty all around you, and make you feel temporarily insane….. LOVE EM. Every single minute of it. DSC_0557 DSC_0733

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Thankful for being apart of this lovely clan. MENDES<;;;;;3DSC_0895

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Thankful for this cheetah.

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You’re the best Daddy.

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My third brother. Big love sir. Big big love B.

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From climbing hay bales to sneaking into creaky old houses and hourless skype nights, it’s been crazy journey since day one. But I’m thankful for every itty bitty part of it together and apart, Squirt. IMG_7772

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This sidekick is always my biggest fan. XoIMG_7790

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We always manage to get into weird and somehow spooky, but ALWAYS fun adventures. Thank you for always being a sweet ear that listens and the master of bringing a great big smile to mine and I’m almost positive everyone’s face.

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Thankful for new, odd.. 😉 CANADIAN crazies.IMG_7811

You’ll always be one of the brightest gems in my life.

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LOL. This was just a must. Remember that day like no other.

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Sweet Sam.

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My best friend and mom. You are everything and more.

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From toys to boys…oh my, no distance or time can fade us. Always picking up right where we left off. I’m so proud of who you are. I love my Britt.

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Thankful for 59 big hearts I now get to call my family. Xo

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The best present I was ever given. Joy is just one little gift you bring to my life. DSC_1329

Dose of Island Magic

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I was flipping through a yoga book earlier this week and saw this quote from Buddha, “When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” I have read this many times before, but I sat there starring at the words as if it were the first time I had seen them.

I’ve always thought I was meant to thrive in the big city. It’s all I’ve pretty much ever known, big ole Dallas. However, after living in Prince Edward Island for over three months now, I’ve quickly fallen in love with the simple country lifestyle. I’ve noticed the tightness in my chest has subsided. A tightness that I was never fully aware of until it disappeared, leaving more room to breathe invigorating, deeper, fuller breaths.  Looking back, I can actually envision the first chip that broke off of my tension-filled chest, as if it were unlocking a rusty, old door.

Driving over the Confederation bridge, was the first time in a year and half I let out a big sigh with the feeling of, “I’m home.”  Seeing that little island just upon my reach with all it’s island magic was the first time in a long time I felt a sense of familiarity.  I remember thinking, “Ahhh, everything is going to be okay,” and I believed it to be true.

Crazy right? PEI isn’t even my “real” home, but somehow it feels like it is. When I left Prince Edward Island after the summer of 2011, my world, as well as everyone in my family, had been turned upside down. I was spending long nights at the hospital, packing and unpacking the same little green suitcase, either at my house or my grandparents’ every other week;  running countless errands for myself and family; auditioning for plays and films, then memorizing lines for those gigs; dating a new someone and attempting to let a”chip”of old love fall away; trying my best to keep in contact with friends in different states and countries, not to mention actually attending class, turning in assignments on time, all while trying to pretend my life was together to my teachers, strangers, and friends. Clearly, it was walking a FINE line.

My time here has been one of the most enchanted, blossoming chapters, bursting with growth and self love.  You know when you discover things about yourself; feelings, thoughts, habits, longings, dreams, hopes that you never realized were there all along?  You notice the change in the way you walk, hold your head, listen, speak, and breathe.  When somehow your life speaks volumes of overflowing passion.  You feel stronger, grounded, and well- balanced. You’ve found peace. All of the sudden you feel complete, like you have found the missing piece to your best you.

Self love is something I never realized was so important until now.

There is something about this place: the simplicity, the country, wide open fields, bright skies filled every color possible, the small communities from village to village.  It brings you back to the deep roots where the seeds of simplicity and importance were born.  The ever-changing leaves.  Always running into someone you know when you go out.  Countless stars in the country sky, the cracks and squeaks in the floorboards of this big old cozy house.  The howling wind at night.  And of course, the sweet salty ocean. The mother of all mothers with her waves scooping you up as if she’s giving you a big hug.  She’s a healer alright.

Truth is, today was the first time I actually understood that quote.  I was inside an antique store with my mom when the owner, a man in his late sixties, approached us.  He asked my mom if her father and mother owned a big white house in Stanley Bridge.  Replying yes, a big grin came over his face as he said, “I remember you, thirty some odd years ago; I remember your parents and three other little ones you were with. I had just started working here and your parents were buying antiques to decorate the house.”

My mouth dropped wide open.  I could feel Buddha himself winking at me.  With a huge smile I threw my head back giggling at how perfect that moment was.  Something I’ll always remember.

I learned a lot in my time here.  Ultimately, I understand that there is far more to learn.  I accept that this “growing up” thing isn’t all so easy.  Who ever accomplished their dreams without a little mud and skidded elbows? I learned that it’s okay to change my mind 100 times a day and still not know where I’m headed or what life will toss my way next.  I actually learned where each province is and finally got the hang of Celcius.…woooo snaps for Caro! I uncovered I have a bad habit of fast forwarding my life farrrrr too often and not being present.  But that’s where these chips of life lessons fall into place. I’ve learned to laugh at myself, let go of those thoughts, and keep practicing just being, accepting that everything is as it should be.

It’s the first time, I see myself for who I am in the clearest, most bare, absolute way. It’s as if the sun shined some light, leaving everything cloudless.
Peacefully, it’s the first time I’m happy with every ounce of who I am.

It’s never easy to leave this place. It’s special. It’s a special kind of special too. One that can’t really be described until you, yourself, have allowed it to change you. I often fear that I’ll lose that calm, reassured, healed feeling when I set back into city life.  It’s hard to keep things simple in a not so simple place.  However, that’s where my yoga comes into play.  That’s where I can take what the hundreds of sweet sweaty Moksha loving Charlottetownians have taught me in each class I’ve lead and taken; to always come back to the breath. 

The rhythm, my rhythm, has slowed down quite a bit.  It’s as if my internal clock caught up with the actual present moment.  I can see the peace one has found while pressing both thumbs into the chest while in Tree Pose, Vrksasana; awakened to the strong beat of their own heart. The jingles coming from a horse ride outside, the sound of sweat dripping from a nose onto the mat, snow lining the streets, or the frost painting a picture on the windows as it sticks. The delicious inhale one takes as they seal their practice; bowing down or placing their hands over the heart and releasing their gratitude into the world.

A lot of things I’ve ever loved come from this little island, tangible and elusive. A new love in my life, Moksha, came from this place.  I feel blessed and truly honored to have been given the opportunity to teach, play, and learn at Moksha Yoga Charlottetown.  Thank you to my students, new friends that are now lifelong friends, and my fellow yogis.  You all have given me so much love to take with me and keep forever. You captivated me. You will all be missed.

I will never forget this chapter.

So, Islanders, beautiful Prince Edward Island, dear family and treasured friends, be happy. Be present. And know, that everything is just as it should be.

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Thank you. I sincerely adore you.

Trot Around, Trot Around… Turkey.

First off, Happy Thanksgiving Eve to all my family and friends in the States! Thanksgiving has to be one of the best and most symbolic holidays of the year. I mean, who doesn’t love stuffing their tummies with delicious home cooked food AND being in the best company of family and friends?

Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember spending most Thanksgivings in Louisiana with my gigantic Southern family. We would gather around our grandparents’ huge table, with Poppa at the head, and hold hands in a huge circle, while Poppa would say grace. Like clockwork, you could hear runny noses and little sniffles from the adults, while all us youngsters would peak up, giggling across the circle as Poppa’s prayer would turn into a good three minutes. He moved every person he met. His story was incredible. For someone who endured so many trials that tested his faith, he was still thankful for all he still had. And for someone who couldn’t move most of his own body, it seemed he could move mountains and achieve the impossible. If there was one person that was always counting his blessings, it was Poppa.

To be honest, I had NO idea what to write about this week. And with even more honesty, I didn’t want to write at all because I knew where it would go. Sometimes it’s exhausting being a feeler instead of a thinker…just sayin. I’ve had a tendency to abandon ship when life gets messy. Hence, the reason it’s a little late. (But gradually getting better!) It’s just been one of those weeks where everything is on my mind. I’ll be leaving PEI soon…which I keep putting in the back of my mind. Not dealing with that yet. School, work, finding a new apartment, friends, family, ah… you name it. It’s not even what’s been on my mind necessarily either, but more of how I’ve been looking at it all. I’ve been what you could say, umm…a Debbie Downer?

In fact, I’ve already walked away from this blog three times while letting out some big huffs and puffs.

Grieving is hard. It’s also a very lonely process, which explains why I wish there was a magic button that could take it away. But the only cure is time.

When I realized Thanksgiving was coming up I somewhat laughed. I thought….”THANKFUL? HAH. That’s a joke after this last year.” How could I be thankful for a year of so much…loss? It wasn’t until I taught a yoga class I realized how forgetful, wrong, and straight up UNthankful I was being. I try not to plan the “intention” I’m going to set for a class until I enter the room. And for some reason, that day, it was to notice the inner dialogue we have with ourselves.

Talk about a wake up call for this yogi. Enough said, my Debbie Downer dialogue needed to go.

And then I had an even bigger table turner yesterday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The day devoted to give thanks for all that is so beautifully present in our lives. Tomorrow is also the one year anniversary of my Poppa’s death.

Ironic, right?

Talk about time. I sit here in disbelief as I shake my head, while tiny tears swell up in my eyes every time I ask myself, how has it been a year?

PS…walking away just went up to four times.

Out of all the days of the year, those two fell on the same day. And out of all the places I could be, I’m here. There are 204 countries, 804 islands, 7 seas… And after an entire year I find myself in his favorite place, on the day he passed, on one of his favorite holidays.

Most people would say it’s a coincidence, but I don’t believe that.
I believe that’s his way of reminding me to always be thankful, even when I’m struggling to.
I believe that’s his way of telling me they’re still right beside me.
I believe he’s trying to tell us, that they miss us just as much as we miss them.

Maybe it sounds silly to some of you. Maybe you’re thinking this chick is reading into her calendar way too much. But use your google. Yes, I said google people.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams share a similar story.
They both signed the Declaration of Independence. Both were on the committee that drafted it. Both were President and Vice President. Both lawyers and public ministers abroad. And if it doesn’t get any weirder than that…they both died not just any day, but on July 4, 1826, America’s 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Try it with something that’s happened to you in the past. Was there a moment that seemed incredibly unreal? Maybe you landed a job right after you lost one. Maybe you met the love of your life after a terrible relationship. Had a conversation with a complete stranger that reminded you of someone close to you. Ran into an old friend or lover the day after you thought about them for the first time in years. Anything. It’s not just a coincidence. It’s a message.

If I’m thankful for anything, it’s those special moments. Moments when I realize there’s more to this life than just moving through the motions.

There’s hope.

Maybe I have a heavy heart for the holidays this year. Like a lot of us in this world, I’m trying to hold on and let go at the same time. The feeling of someone being missing from you is heart wrenching. Maybe I keep walking away from the computer because I don’t want to deal with the next 24 hours…actually, that is exactly why I keep doing that.

But I’m thankful for those memories. My time with my grandparents was filled with so much joy to keep my heart warm for centuries. I’m thankful for this beautiful life I was blessed with; past, present, and future. I’m thankful for the people that are so present in my heart and memory. I’m thankful for all that has happened, good and bad. My breath, the sun, the moon, and the ocean. Hugs, smiles, and laughter…I’m thankful for all of it. I’m thankful for how beautiful of an artist God is. I’m so lucky he blessed me with sight to see his gift. Smell the rich nature around me. Taste the delicious food that melts in my mouth. Hear birds chirp and newborn babies sweet giggles. I’m lucky to feel a hug, a handshake, holding hands, a kiss- a few wonderful ways to connect with another through touch.

And for this Thanksgiving on November 22, 2012, I’m thankful that I miss my Poppa and Granny because that means they were once here, laughing, smiling, crying, touching, kissing, and living with me.

As Pooh Bear himself would say, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Xo