Tag Archives: friends

perspective

A few days ago, I met a friend for a long overdue visit.  I have been in awe of this woman since the day we met almost nine years ago.  I adore her.  We gave each other the Cole’s notes version of what has happened in our lives since our last get together, and I think every single time she tells me what she’s been up to, she continues to amaze me.  She inspires me to be a better person simply by being who she is.  She is the woman I most admire, hands down.  It isn’t because she has won the Nobel prize, or has a triple PhD.  It’s because she is completely and entirely comfortable in her own skin.  She is confident, composed, calm.  Not only that, she inspires the same in others without having any expectations other than to just be the best version of yourself that you can be, because that is what she is also trying to do.

As we sat and talked, the topic of trees came up.  Without the context, it may seem irrelevant to speak of trees, so just trust me that it had great weight in the conversation.  Two days prior, we had a storm that downed many trees in the area.  One happened to be in my neighbor’s front yard that fell into my house.  It caused some relatively minor damage and certainly an ounce of inconvenience since I could not access my front entrance very well, and had to walk around my garage to make it to my house, but nothing unmanageable.  That night, after coming home from my regular Wednesday night meeting and coffee with fellow photographers, the sun was still out and the weather shifted to become a rather welcoming late evening.  I decided to take the dog for a walk and assess the damage to the neighborhood.  Walking down residential streets and the trails, the sounds of chainsaws echoed throughout the community as neighbors cleaned the fallen trees and branches in their yards.

After our walk, I came up to the tree laying heavily on my front steps and took a good close look at her.  She was beautiful.  Even though the blooms had not been ready to open, I examined the clusters of buds on the tree top; the ones too high to be able to see when she was standing tall.  But here, she was at eye level in all her beauty.  I grabbed my camera because I felt compelled to capture this glimpse of her life before it was taken away forever.  At this point, the sun was starting to set above the rooftops.  I realized how beautiful the sunset was in behind the tree, and in several shots I was able to capture that as well.

What struck me most is how much beauty there was in the destruction that occurred mere hours before.  How this perfectly imperfect tree could still be so beautiful laying on her side, how the day could turn itself around from the hundred kilometer an hour winds and driving rains to the gorgeous burnt orange sunset I could see amongst her branches.

There is beauty despite the damage.

It seems somewhat like a metaphor that can be used in so many ways.  Many of us are like that tree or like that storm.  Perfectly imperfect, damaged but still with immeasurable beauty.  Perhaps it is in how you view your environment.  Some would surely say the tree was a nuisance, but I am glad that I took the time to thank Mother Nature for the gift she gave me, even if it was fleeting.

The tree is gone now, but I have some memories of her and some beautiful photographs with a story that needed telling.  I am grateful for my friend who saw the value of my story for many may not have understood what I was feeling.  I thank the Universe for her timely fashion in bringing us together when she did.  Long overdue, yet perfectly on time.

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my tribe

I have been fortunate enough to allow my heart to open and find people who seem to resonate at the same frequency as I do.  It’s interesting how when life seems to be working against you, that truly, the Universe is aligning things for you.

Less than a year ago, I was competing for a position that I was certain I wanted.  I worked endless hours, focused so intently on what I was doing to make that job happen.  Even those I knew thought I was the best candidate for the position, yet it didn’t happen.  I decided for extra insurance, I would apply for another position that came available at a different institution.  Just in case.  It was a similar job, but I still felt that this was maybe not as good as the original one I was vying for.

I succeeded in landing the second job.  I can see now, in retrospect, how this was always the better choice for me.  This is where I am happy.  I feel my work is meaningful.  I have the ability to celebrate accomplishments in a way the other institution didn’t accommodate for.  I have met some incredibly amazing people that I would never have met before.  These people have become a part of my tribe.  I feel that I have been given permission, in a way, from the universe to be myself.  To allow the true me to shine through.  I hid behind the persona that I thought I needed to have.  But in the end, it did nothing for me.  I kept searching for the thing that was supposed to make me happy, yet I could never seem to find it.  It wasn’t until I allowed myself to shed that protective layer and truly allow my own inner self to bare its soul that I found happiness, and others that share similarities with me.

So, thank you, Universe.  I have never felt happier in my life.

the holiday spirit

I have noticed that in removing the pressure of gifting, I have found space for enjoyment of the holiday season.  I have discovered there is time for social gatherings and enjoying the company of my loved ones.  I have removed the pressures of creating the perfect holiday setting with the decorations and lights and the tens of thousands of calories in baking that I certainly do not need to eat, but would if left to my own devices.

I have found joy in spontaneity and planned outings.  I have frozen my toes just to spend two hours with a small circle of friends as we enjoyed the subzero temperature outdoor concert on the CP Holiday Train.  We have those memories to share.  Of finding a new restaurant and a wonderful new ginger cider.  Of bonding and sharing.  Of quality time without expectations.

I have five holiday parties planned just by my colleagues and employers…departmental, multidepartmental, corporate, family, and our own small staff.  These things do not pressure me this year because all those other stressful components of the holidays are now gone.

Don’t misunderstand me, please.  I do have some decorations up and I adore them.  I have bought presents for my children.  I have asked for them to please stop worrying that they cannot find a way to buy me a gift.  I asked for them to create with what they have if they want to give, but that they themselves are the greatest gift I have or could ever get.  I will bake cookies, but just two kinds and it will be a labor of love to be enjoyed with my children, not one where I scoot them out of the kitchen because they are underfoot.

The holidays are about people and joining together.  Enjoying each other and giving back to the community and those in need.  It’s supposed to last year long, but we all know that people tend to give more at the holidays than they do year round.

This year, I am truly enjoying the holiday season more than I have since being a young child and having all my extended family nearby for that wonderful multitable, multifamily Christmas dinner.  That is what remains in my memories.  It isn’t the gifts I was given.  It was the people that I was with.

find your tribe

Perhaps this is a somewhat cliché, or a rather trendy term, but I think the underlying meaning still rings true.  Who belongs in your tribe?  Who makes up your family, your friends, your community?  Who are those people that you connect with unlike any others?

Like minded people can be found everywhere.  The key is to have the open eyes, open mind and open heart to see them and seek them out.

Sometimes people see in us things that we think we are hiding from the world.  Perhaps its in a particular word or phrase we speak, or that subtle piece of jewellery that means so much that it becomes part of us.  Or perhaps is something less subtle, a simple energy that connects like minded souls.

This week I noticed many of these connections.  They come in all ages and sizes, gender, educational level, and  socioeconomic status.  They are found in different places too.  Work, the local coffee shop, the market, the little indie restaurant visited for dessert after the movies.

Who is in my tribe?  The earth lovers, the gardeners, the independent farmers, the spirited, the indigo children, the dreamers, the lovers, the compassionate, the empaths, the wise and the wistful…kindred spirits, those who have creativity, visions and dreams, the gentle souls, and those who have a deep connect with nature. Those are the people in my tribe, in my community.

friendship

There isn’t much that is more satisfying than a good, symbiotic friendship.  Especially when that friend is also the parent of your children’s best friends.

Then funny thing is, when you go through divorce, you find out who your real friends are, who are the gossips, and who just want to meddle and cause problems.  Some are easier to weed out than others.  But those who are actual, true friends…well, those ones are more precious than gold.

One friend happened to be an unlikely one.  One I hadn’t given much thought to, but I am very grateful for his existence.  The best part about this friendship is that there are no ulterior motives there.  No expectations.  He helps me, I help him.  We drink wine.

End of story.

What’s most interesting is because he is the opposite gender, I get a different perspective when I talk with him.  I can see things from the male perspective…something that is lacking in an all female friendship circle.

Some people would claim that men and women are unable to have a purely platonic relationship.  I disagree.  I do know that many men (and likely women too) will use the guise of friendship with less than pure intentions.  I’ve seen it, I’ve had it happen to me, I will not do that to another.  I know he does not have this agenda.  He has a beautiful girlfriend who far surpasses me.  So, this makes it a safe friendship to maintain.

I think every divorcing man and woman should have this kind of friendship at some point.  It really does change how you view the opposite sex, and as far as I’m concerned, it enhances life.  For my children, they now have that strong and positive male role model that they desperately have been craving.  This is probably the most valuable part of all.

birthday thoughts

Birthdays are the time when I tend to take stock of my life.  March is a big birthday month in my world.  Soul Sister, Big Brother, and my birthday all within two weeks are the ones that top my list.  Some years I feel that I’ve been doing well.  Others, well, it feels more like I’ve barely survived.  I honestly don’t know how I feel this year.  Perhaps it depends on the day you ask, and what has happened.  It has been a year full of ups and downs, of stresses and successes.  Of love and pain.

Whichever way the year pans out, I am thankful and grateful for it all.  I have used the hard stuff and grown from it, and I have taken the great stuff and bloomed with it.  I am stronger than I have ever been, and even though there are days where I feel complete defeat, I know that there have been more good things happening than bad.  That is a success for me.

I make plans for where I am and where I want to be.  I look at the next year, two years, five years, and beyond.  Where do I want to be this time next year?  Where do I want to be when it’s time to retire?  Where do I want to live and what is it that I want to do?  I think many of us go through similar thought processes, whether it be at a birthday or perhaps at the new calendar year or even at the new school year.  I think it is important to run through these things from time to time.  Take stock of our mental, emotional, physical, financial, and creative wellbeing.  Where are we?  Have we achieved the goals we have aspired to, and if not, how can we change things so we can get there?

A dear friend of mine has recently told me of a major change in life that has definitely been made for the better.  And I was absolutely thrilled to hear it.  These decisions are not made lightly, and they are typically not made alone either.  We make decisions together, those who are in committed relationships.  We make decisions together, those who are in family units.  We make decisions together, those who are in business partnerships.  We rarely make decisions alone.  When it is a decision made with someone else, someone, or several someones for that sake, it reinforces the positivity of that choice.  It’s almost magical when it happens.  Choices for the better, choices for happiness.

Another friend of mine a few years ago told me some snippets of a decision she and her husband made for financial goals.  I was interested in hearing what she was doing.  I was not ready for such decisions myself when she told me of them, but I was still keenly interested in seeing them succeed.  And succeed they did.  They realized their goals and have recently announced they have reaped the fruits of their dedication.

Inspiration.  Pure and simple.  These incredible people have inspired me.  I may not be ready for the amazing transformations that they have been able to achieve, but I will be.  Slowly I will make my way to the finish line of my goals.  I am not prepared to send those goals out to the world, but I have them.  I have my plans and although it may take several years to get there, I know I will in time hit my finish line too.