Friday Roundup – Oprah, Being Alone and the Blues

It’s Friday! Here are some of the things that resonated with me this week.

On being Alone

After last weekend’s Valentine’s Day, this poem by Tanya Davis came across my FB feed. I’ve seen it before, but was struck by seeing it again how many of these “alone” things I do now and thoroughly enjoy. While I have yet to go dancing by myself (well, it public, anyway), I enjoy lots of alone activities – working on my art, going to movies by myself, eating out, going for walks, park benches.   A great poem with a great message.

Blog’s End

I had been following a blog called ‘One Thousand Single Days” by a woman who had committed to being single for a thousand days. Awhile ago she stopped posting.  This week she wrote about the reason why and then reflected on the experience in her last blog post. She writes,

The many hours both alone and in deep and beautiful conversation with friends, family and strangers has taught me that whether we take 1000 days off to try and nut it out, or we simply steal moments from the week where we are just going about daily, regular life we are all aiming to hit the same bullseye, trying to answer the same question: Who am I? Why did I let that person say that to me? What do I stand for and why didn’t I stand for it back when I had the chance? Am I likeable? Am I good? Is the past in the past? Or does it still gnaw at my achilles tendon? Am I an asshole? Was my dad an asshole? Do I really know my mother, am I learning whatever lesson I was supposed to be learning this whole time?……

In other words: What the hell man?

A good question to ask as we navigate the waters of our lives and our emotions and our relationships. What the hell, man …

Giving Up on Oprah

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Oprah is promoting Weight Watchers now.  As someone who has tried Weight Watchers several times (and any other number of “diets” and “food plans”), I felt my heart sink. For Oprah, whose message has always sort of been “you are enough”, to join the money making diet industry of “you aren’t good enough” was disheartening.

And, I also was thinking what this article by Caissie St. Onge so eloquently and humorously pointed out. If Oprah, with all her money and connections and time and resources, can’t be thin enough, then maybe it’s just time for me to quit the game entirely.


Blues Lovin’

Lastly, one of my favourite songs by the incredible Matt Andersen. I saw him live last night. An amazing show by an amazing artist. If you get a chance to see him in concert, run do not walk! Have a great weekend!!

Stretch and Release

My word of the year for 2015 was stretch and it was a good word. A hard word. A rewarding word.

Hard because it required me to keep striving, to keep reaching, to keep working towards my dreams, my potential and to remember to rest but not to backslide.

Rewarding because I moved closer to, and achieved, so many things. I am in the full swing of being a novice glassblower. I’ve made friends to blow glass with, I’m practicing regularly and I’m near ready to take my “test” to move from Novice to Student. I have even sold a few pieces.


On the left – my first plate. On the right – my most recent plate.

I bought a new condo in a neighbourhood where I’ve always wanted to live.  It enables me to ditch the car and bus, walk or water taxi just about everywhere (ironically except the glass studio!).  I am a 5 minute walk from the beach and seawall and can do most of my grocery shopping at a farmer’s market.

I made difficult changes in my spiritual practice that have resulted in moving away from the status quo, freeing me from rules that weren’t working for me. I spend more spiritual time outdoors, connecting with the earth and the land and the sea, and less time trying to colour within the lines of a picture that is not a vision I share.

And as I said in my mid-year stretch, I am “hashtag blessed” with good friends, meaningful work that pays me well, and a wonderful home. I lost two very dear friends to cancer this year and I am grateful for the time I had with them and for the love that rushes in to fill the empty space where I am missing them.

Other losses this year have been more difficult. Especially the friends who have just stopped talking to me. I never expect that people will agree with everything I do. Or that people won’t say “no” to my suggestions and requests. But I always find it difficult when friends choose to stop communicating rather than talking and explaining and understanding and resolving. I know that there are those who would say that those weren’t really friends if they do that. But, to me they are. Or, were, I suppose.

Which brings me to this year’s word … release.  In order to move forward, it means leaving some things behind.  To stretch, then release.  As I start to do more walking, I have to be careful with my Achilles tendon, which can become quite inflexible and painful. I have to actively stretch and release, stretch and release, in order to keep moving.

Isn’t the heart a muscle, as well?  As I stretch emotionally and in my relationships with myself and others, don’t I also need to release that which holds me back? To be conscious to take the time to process and let go. Actively release.

Release sadness and grief.

Release dreams and desires that are not going to be fulfilled.

Release self-doubt.

Release anger. And expectation.

Release what weighs me down, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

That is my aim for 2016. To release so that I can soar.


The Red Hat

My therapist once told me a story that goes like this –

Once upon a time there was a woman who really wanted a red hat. She went to a store and walked up to the counter and asked the salesperson for a red hat.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell red hats.”

Disappointed, the woman walked away. Then, she thought, “Maybe I didn’t ask in the right way.”

So, she went back to the counter. “I’d like a garment in a crimson colour that fits on my head.”

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

Disappointed, the woman left. Then, she thought, “Maybe I didn’t enter the store from the right door.”

So, she walked around the block to another entrance and asked again.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

Maybe she should try a different time of day? Or day of the week? She tried again.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”

Maybe she wasn’t dressed nicely enough? She changed into nicer clothes.

“I’m sorry, we don’t sell those.”


And so it goes with you and me.

Looking for a red hat, I try again and again.

And because you love me, you offer me a blue hat. Or a purple hat. Or a red scarf.

And because I love you, I try to wear them and be happy. But they don’t fit right. And when I look at myself in the mirror, I no longer recognize myself.

I am left confused and unsure.

When my therapist asks, “what should this woman do?”, I answer without hesitation.

“She should walk away and look someplace else.”


Life is short … and other clichés

This year seems to be one that is determined to make me think about mortality.

January started with the profound and intense experience of being with a close friend, and his wife, as he passed away from cancer at the too-young age of 48.

More recent events of a  friend undergoing life critical surgery, others battling cancer and those dealing with the shock of loved ones who have died suddenly and unexpectedly  have made me realize that so many of the clichés we use about life and death have probably become clichés because they are so true. I am reminded that life is short and that we all will die. Including me.

But the knowledge that has really settled into my bones and blood is that none of us know how short, or how long, our lives truly are.

What motivates me, and what lights a fire in my belly, is not that I will die someday. But that I could die tomorrow. Or today.

And I could die with things left undone. Words that have not been spoken. Places left unvisited. Time still wasted on actions without heart or passion.

I am finding myself becoming wildly determined to not to wait to do the things that are important to me.  After all, what am I waiting for? Last year’s journey of “fierce” has combined with this year’s journey of “stretch” to urge me forward on my path leaving behind the “I should’s” and moving toward the “I want’s”.

Two weeks ago an opportunity came up to buy a condo in an area of town in which I’ve always wanted to live. In nine days, I bought the new condo, got my place ready to sell and accepted an offer.  Nine days. And I took Sunday off to visit with friends!

My initial thought was “it’s too fast, I’m not ready, I can’t do this”.  But as the Committee in my head began the bickering process of why it wouldn’t work, I could also hear the insistent whisper of my heart saying, “this is what we want, what we’ve dreamed of, we can do it”. But is my blood and my bones that are new to the conversation and who are speaking up and saying “We are doing this and we are doing it now. So get it in gear and figure it out”.

So with help from friends, a good real estate agent, and an amazing mortgage broker, I made it happen. And, with the bit of money left over I am starting my travel fund to finally travel to Africa on safari. I want to see elephants in the wild.

I don’t know how long I have left. So I am doing it now. I am not waiting any longer.

As the cliché says, “there is nothing like death to make you appreciate life”.


Looking for a good one

It’s been two years since I started this blog and I was just thinking that I don’t write nearly as much about my journey as a single woman as I thought I would. Maybe it doesn’t matter so much anymore?

Then I went to have my legs waxed.

I’ve been going to the same salon for at least 10 years now. The woman who does my waxing is great. And after ten years of small talk during some pretty intimate moments, we know each other pretty comfortably. We talk about our vacations, our families, her kids, my work and the weather. (hey, it’s Canada, we always talk about the weather!)

As I settled onto the table on Monday, she asked me “so, have you found a good one, yet?”

I started to think about what I was looking for the last time I saw her. It was before the trip to Florida, so maybe a good pair of sunglasses? Did I tell her about my car troubles? Maybe a good car? My hair clip sometimes falls out during our sessions, maybe a new hair clip?

Feeling bad about not remembering our last conversation, I finally asked, “A good what?”

“Husband!” she responded.

Immediately my mind bifurcated into two parts. The part with all the somewhat angry and defensive sounding answers like “I don’t need a husband to be happy/successful/a woman” or a few bitter, sarcastic responses “Is there such a thing? ha ha”

And the other part, which was stunned into silence trying to find a reasonable and calm response to her question. Because, first, she is a really nice woman who asked from genuine kindness. And second, she was about to rip all the hair off my legs and it seemed like a good idea to stay on good terms and not get bitchy!

Before I could get the two halves of my mind working together again (which I’m not really sure how long that might have taken), she said “well, I guess you’re too busy”.

Right. Somehow I forgot to put “find a good husband” on my to-do list. Whoops!! I mean, when was I going to get around to checking that off my list!

How is being less busy supposed to help? If I sit around at home, the only guys I might meet are burglars and maybe that guy who stands on the street each night and smokes a joint while his dog uses the lawn.

Finally, my brain kicked into some sort of action and I responded that ‘yes, I’m busy having a fun life and I think doing that alone is better than being with the wrong person”.

Luckily, she agreed and we proceeded with the rest of the small talk and hair ripping.

I’d like to say that this is the first time I’ve heard the “maybe you’re too busy” response to me being single but it’s not. I’ve also heard “well, you have a very full life”, said like some kind of accusation instead of the compliment that should really be.

I’ve also heard “well, you’re very independent and don’t seem like you need a man”, “you’re very smart which is intimidating for men”, “some men aren’t comfortable with a woman who makes more money than them”. There’s the always classic, “but, you’re such a good catch!” And, my personal favourite, “just get drunk and be slutty!”

But it’s been awhile since I’ve heard any of those. Or, maybe I’m just not listening anymore. Being single feel normal to me, rather than some kind of social abnormality that has resulted from a distinct lack of effort on my part.

Which is maybe why in all the range of responses that flew through the part of my brain that was still working, it never occurred to me to feel bad and say, “no, sadly, I haven’t found a good husband yet. Sorry about that.”

And maybe that’s why I haven’t been writing about being single very much. It’s not the important or the most interesting part of my journey right now.



Thoughts on turning 45

Last week I marked my 45th birthday and I discovered something neat. I actually really like me.

I have always found birthdays slightly stressy. On the one hand, all the birthday greetings and love from friends and family are wonderful. They remind me how blessed I am. I have been whisked away on surprise trips, had birthday parties and I usually treat myself to an extra long massage session. I mean, pretty blessed, right?!

But then there is that niggly feeling, that “still not good enough” gremlin. Still not married. Still not thin. Ungrateful for what I have. And, somehow the “middle of the decade” birthdays seem worse. Somehow, 35 felt closer to 40 than 30. Time slipping away into another year of failure. And, 45 has brought 50 into view for the first time.

So, while I love celebrating my birthday and being reminded of all the great things about my life and especially all the wonderful people in my life, I find myself unconsciously bracing myself for the emotional blow of “not good enough”.

When that didn’t fall this year I was left a little like a stranger in a strange land. It was a new place, a new landscape. I felt my shoulders gradually begin to loosen from their tenseness of the anticipated blow and I realized –  I am so okay with where I’m at this year. Life is full of wonderful things which I am ever grateful for. And, yes, it still has the struggles that I still keep chipping away at. That’s what exploring is. Enjoying the journey, the view and the scenery while facing the unknown and doing my best to change directions when I need to, with honesty, gentleness, compassion and fierce loyalty to myself and my path.

On the day of my birthday I took myself off to the glass studio for some creative time. And, I made myself a heart. This was only my second try at making this kind of pendant and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I’ve been working on pieces for other people over the past while but I decided on my birthday I would make something just for me.

Only later did it occur to me that I had made myself a heart.  A manifestation of love for myself.

Self-love is a pretty awesome gift at any age.