Category Archives for Diary

Sometimes people don’t get along. I’ve had several people in the last weeks come forward and say “I can’t come to the potlucks anymore, because I’ve had this/this/this happen with some person, and I’m not sure I want to face them. I feel uncomfortable to be in the same room as them.”

It hurts my heart every time, and I encourage them to work it out.
It hurts so deeply, and it seems so simple to just sit and talk and work it out.

And I get why they don’t want to come.
It sucks to be in a room with someone you have unresolved issues with.
It clouds the whole room, and it can wreck a whole party.

So for most people, they just stop going. In fact in our culture of pain, isolation and addiction, it seems easier than not to just tune out, move on, not call back, not show up, and say goodbye to the people who we disagree with, or who have caused problems for us. Sometimes saying goodbye to whole communities, relationships, and friendships along the way.

I know the pain of this.
I’ve travelled, a lot.

I travelled as a way of escaping from really caring about anyone,
or avoiding getting so entangled that anyone would really push my buttons.

I’ve had a lot of 2 week best friends.

What I found was that no matter where I went in the world, the people around me showed up in the “archetypes” of my subconscious. A new best friend, a new lover, a new difficult conversation, and new greatest subconscious pain, showed up where ever I was and made me face them anyways.

It made it easy to see,
and easy to ignore,
as “Maggie” showed up in country after country,
asking me to heal the wound I had with her.
A different face, a different background,
but the underlying pattern the same.

While anyone who I didn’t like could be done in 1-6 weeks,
and with friends changing all the time anyways,
it was simple enough to just move along,
find a new group of friends.

When I returned to Calgary this year it was to stop that pattern, to move through it, and to find friends who I really really loved, people who I cared about deeply, and who I cared about so much that I was willing to do the work, to stop running, and really experience the depth of relationship that comes with pain and finding a way to love again.

I’ve found that in the love I experience with the people at our IVN community potlucks and it’s beautiful.

And today it’s my turn to face my own version of that moment
and stay “let’s sit and talk instead of splitting up”.
It’s scary, and painful, and vulnerable,
and sometimes I want to run and hide from it,
and give up and form my own group,

or go back to being alone.

The kind of healing I’m talking about takes DEEP vulnerability, it takes a willingness to feel pain, it takes a need to look at ourselves, to see where the pain is, how that causes us to point fingers, and to heal the deep pain inside of unworthiness that made us want to lash out or ask for help in the first place.

The beauty of that reconnection, the passion of love long lost and rekindled, is a beautiful thing. Captured so gorgeously in this short film… and in the experiences, I hope will happen tonight.

Suicidal Ideation is normal.

“Suicidal ideation, the act of thinking about committing suicide. Is normal. A normal healthy response to an overwhelming, unrelenting, inescapable emotional pain.”

The words drop into my mind like a hammer. I’m normal. It’s okay.  “I wish someone had told me that 5 years ago.”  I laugh a little bit, but it’s not funny.  I think of the years I’ve spent hiding this part of me, the hours I’ve spent ruminating and pondering what makes me so fucked up that my first thought when something goes wrong is “I want to die.”

The pain I’ve felt at the voice that said,

“I want to die,
I want to die,
I want to die.”

All of this is normal.

 

“When you get a chance, go with a friend to the place where you wanted to drive off the bridge, be the passenger, and talk to them, share with them what you felt, what you experienced, what your world was like then.”

 

“I can do that.”  I think immediately of the bridge as it crosses Fish Creek park on 22x. How many days of driving that cursed yellow school bus did I think about turning the wheel just enough?  Hundreds of times.  Today, a question I had never thought to ask rises to my mind.

How much shame did I internalize from feeling there was something really wrong with me for thinking about it?

A few hours later I’m a passenger in the car, on route south to a family dinner.  I’m dressed up and excited to be going towards my beloved’s families house to spend time with them.  The traffic slows, but it’s the wrong time of day for rush hour.  It must be an accident.  We wait in traffic for a while, and as we pull slowly past the scene, I see clearly, the side of a car smashed in, the back passenger seat, where Alex would sit. It fills my stomach and my heart with dread, I hope dearly there were no children in the back seat.  I feel deeply “I would be so sad if my son died.” This in itself is a relief to the cold hearted “It would be a relief to be free.” a few years back that was my internal response to moments like this.

As we pass by the accident, we both get quiet.  The car is filled with a clear sense of the frailty of our mortality, the real possibility of losing the people we love on short notice, and it brings it all back to reality really fast.   I squeeze his hand, and we sit in silence for a while.

A few KM later, as we exit onto 22x, I realize that this is the moment of speaking my thoughts to die on that bridge.

That moment is happening today.
That opportunity to be listened to
is happening today.

I quickly check in with Dan. “Are you able to hold space for me while I share about this place that I have been suicidal?” He says yes, and I am so greatful.

As we drive forward my voice starts speaking, and it feels not quite like my voice, but the silent repressed voice of all the times I have driven here. I speak in the present tense like it’s happening now. Like I’m walking through my thoughts.

“This is where I start thinking about running off the road.  Before the bridge, so the bus would land in the water, and we’d drown.  Less chance of survival.  But the angle is tricky. Some days I speed down that off-ramp, feeing into the speed build, I’d need to be going fast to break the median.  I remember feeling the courage it would take to take the plunge.  Somedays it was exciting to feel the excitement of getting close to that moment.”

I can feel my body tingling all over, there is a visceral sense of relief, of being seen, heard and felt.  I understand why I was invited to do this.  I know I will do it again in other moments of pain.

“I feel I am useless. I feel I am helpless to change it. The kids I am driving are so far gone off the autistic spectrum, they are incapable of living normal human lives, I would be doing their parents a favor to end their lives and the suffering of parenting a child like that.  But Alex was on the bus most days, I didn’t do it because I thought out of all of us, he might have a future.  I couldn’t take that away from him.  I couldn’t take him away from his grandparents like that. ”

My body starts shaking, and deep tears flow to my eyes. I wonder at the pain I must have been in all those years ago. I see my pain through a new lens.

“Suicidal ideation is normal.”  I think to myself.  Time to REALLY let it go.

“I hated that job, I hated the kids I drove, I was filled with contempt every day. I hated waking up early every morning and slogging through the cold weather to pick them up. So they could sit like lumps on the bus, and sit like lumps at school.  They had no future.  The bus never really got warm, even with three pairs of pants, and a big jacket and scarf and hat, and big mitts and the heat cranked.  I was always still cold.”

I remember the strictness of my playlist.  Only happy tunes, happy words, happy themes to the songs I listened to.  No sadness allowed.  I clung to joy like it was a life preserver in the middle of a choppy sea.  I forced myself into it all winter, being the most upbeat person on the team, I stuffed my pain.  I remember the joy in my heart when spring started to come that year, and I finally felt the sun on my skin again. I remember thinking “I thought I would die, I thought the winter, and the cold would kill me. ”

We pass the bottom of the bridge and head up towards the next offramp.  We are passed the point of no return. I whisper. “This is where I was always silently relieved that I had decided not to do it.”

He says nothing, but I can feel him there.  Listening to my pain, heart open.

I get quiet again, and sit with my feelings, with the tingling sensation in my scalp, hands, and spine.  I know I’ve just healed that time of my life, and that desire to die on a deep level today.

It’s time to return to the lovely conversation we were having before this moment started.  I shake my whole body and make a silly noise.  I take a deep breath in.

“I’m complete. Thank you.”

He squeezes my hand, and we sit together in silence for a while before returning to our conversation.  I hold his hand, watching the city lights sweep past us, and into the night, as we enter the countryside.  It’s beautiful to be here, alive and enjoying the drive.

 

**** If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts. I wrote this today to let you know that you’re normal.  It took me a lot longer to ask for help than I’d like to admit, and I know that it’s hard.  But asking to be heard is one of the crucial steps in recovery, along with learning to love yourself.  I feel I did it backwards, I feel it might have been easier if I’d know how to ask for help but it might also be a chicken/egg type thing.

If you need support in learning to love yourself, check out the 60-second depression recovery/self love hack I created in the darkest of days to help myself find the courage to keep going.  JoyGasm.me/LOVE

The Poison of Pancakes

The plane journey to Bali is surprisingly easy with Alex.  A timeless 26 hours of adventures through long hallways, lineups and watching movies on the airplane.  The snacks I brought from Canada last us all the way through Taiwan, and we are spared from airplane food until our last flight.  I’m able to find him plain rice at the airport without too much trouble.  I much on a strange noodle soup thing I couldn’t possibly pronounce but at least doesn’t have shredded cow intestine in it.

We arrive at the Bali airport, and it’s as gorgeous as I remember.  Our ride to Ubud has been arranged already, and I search the crowd of taxi drivers for one holding a paper with our name on it.  I stare out the window the whole drive there, taking in the sights, almost familiar.   As we get closer to Ubud I recognize some of the statues, and I feel the excitement bubbling through me.  It’s real, Alex and I are starting a new life together in Bali.  This could be our home.  This could be our new life.  Alex fidgets and wines about the heat, he’s not remotely interested in the wild landscape or endless rows of statues and temples outside the windows.  Weird and uncomfortable is more normal to him than anything an average Canadian kid would ever dream of, and so he eventually falls asleep in my lap as we drive.  We arrive at our new apartment and I’m so excited about our new life about to unfold.  The apartment I found on Facebook as a sublease from another woman who designs yoga clothes.  The landlords don’t speak English, but the taxi driver does, so he talks to them about getting keys and fills me in.  The apartment itself is a bit nicer than the pictures. Most importantly it’s cheap as dirt at $150/month, which is what I need it to be right now.  I could have rented a nicer spot closer to town for $3-400, but I spent the last of my cash on getting our flights here, and I’m just trusting that another client will show up before the little cash I have runs out.

 

What I hadn’t realized is that the appartment is also on a main roadway, and the sound of motorbikes starts at 5 am. I know they start that early because for that first week Alex wakes up at 3am every day. I’ve heard that jet lag can be brutal to the system, but when I arrived in Bail solo, I stayed up too late, slept weird for the first day, and then moved easily into a new rhythm. Not so with Alex, for the first week, every morning at 3 am I am awoken by an indignant, sweaty and fully awake child.  It is not pleasant, and I begin to regret my decision to move us to Bali.  I find myself staying in the house longer and longer each day, and by 1 pm its a sweltering 32 degrees in the house and there is nothing to be done about it, no amount of fans can rescue us from the heat.

 

Of course, we could just leave the building, but somehow leaving our apartment just seems like too much.  I’m still trying to find time to do my work, I can’t bring Alex to the co-working space, even if I could afford it.  Plus I’m struggling with re-adjusting to the challenges of being mom again.  After 3 months of being only responsible for myself, the feeling of providing for the needs of my child is so challenging. My newly independent self doesn’t want to bow to his will, and I find myself resisting helping him with simple things that I used to do all the time.  My healthy eating falls off the wagon, as I start eating his leftovers again. His uneaten pancakes go into my stomach instead of the garbage. “Don’t waste food Elena” my mom’s voice echos through my subconscious.  Even if they are disgusting, I still eat them instead of throwing them out.  The things I would never make for myself, and feel so guilty about making for him become the mainstay of my diet.

 

The delicious tropical fruit I’ve been reveling in is rejected by him. His only restaurant staple, white rice, and pancakes are fortunately available pretty much everywhere, but even then he sometimes doesn’t eat it.  Money is tight, and the experience of paying $5 for pancakes I don’t really want him to eat, which he then doesn’t eat, which I then eat because I spent $5 on them is soul-searingly painful every single time. Eating at the superfood restaurants becomes impossible, and I just become used to taking banana and cucumber with us everywhere we go so I can feed him even if he won’t eat from the menu.

 

I miss Daniel dearly, and I wake up early to speak to him every day. The emails that pour out of us are the sweetest poetry, and I live for the moment when he writes to me.

By the end of the first week, Alex and I are competlely toxic.  The healing of “this place of resentment I carried towards my son for stealing my life” is right back where it was when I left him in his dads (semi-capable) hands 3 months ago.  All the healing I did, completely reversed and I’m right back where I started.

 

I can’t leave the house, for fear of how he will yell at me in public for not meeting his needs NOW. I can’t truly pay attention to him, because my mind is consumed with the need for making ends meet, and completing the design work I have to do. And on top of all of it, I get an ear infection. Burning, screaming pain in my left ear. When I tell Daniel about it, he sends me a copy of a few pages from the Gut and Psychologyy book, as well as a suggestion of garlic in my ear, cutting dairy and flour, and a few other things to do to care for myself.

I’m so grateful that someone who understands the holistic has offered a deeper solution, and as I sit to read the pages of the GAPS book. It slowly dawns on me. The chronic ear infections of my childhood, linked with the binge eating sugars and flours in my teens, with the recurring ear infections as an adult, and the massive depression. All of them are linked.  The guilt around feeding Alex flour and milk pancakes crystalize as I realize that my mother poisoned me as a child. Not intentiontionally, not maliciously. But with her love and good intentions, of passing on traditions of baked goods, of lovingly cooked buns, flour based bread, and cookies, homemade muffins.  All of them now feel like poison in my mind, and I reel at the thoughts of the all of the pancakes that I have been feeding Alex. I am literaly posioning him.

 

My body collapses against the wall and I begin to sob. I am consumed with the guilt of having injured my child, the anger at my mom for doing the same, and my complete incapacity to do anything about it. I am bound by the bacteria which rule my sons gut. The same ones that make all the yummy nutritious things here delicious to me, make them repulsive to him, and he’s stuck that way. I think about a how we have lost a food every time we switch countries. I think about how his anger flares, and how much I’m in crisis and I can’t fucking handle it right now.

 

I start to think about escape plans. I can’t handle it.  How do I get out of here? I can’t abandon my kid, but I could get a nanny? Part of my body reels. Although this is actually part of why I came to Bali, it is a whole different ball game to actually do it. I think about the babysitter in Mexico, and how the baby boy was murdered. What if I am putting my sons life at risk? What can I do? I’m watching the free and independent woman who feels she can do anything, I’m watching her not so slowly, die under the burden and trauma of being with her child every day, day in and day out.  I love you Alex, but you’re killing me. I know I need to find help.  I put a message on the Ubud facebook page. I’m sweet, appropriate and choose a good loving picture of us.  Don’t let any of the desperation leek through.  We’re looknig for a caregiveer. I get two replies back, and my whole soul softens. The first woman comes, and I tearfully give Alex into her custody.  I go out to meet a friend, guilty that I’m not working, but I so desperately need a break.   When I come back, Alex gives me the biggest hug and says he misses me.  My heart softens a little more.  Maybe we’ll be okay.

Bargain like a Berber

How to hold your own, and not feel like you’re getting scammed every day you’re in Morocco.   Your guide to the psychology of the bargain and the mutual win in Barter.

Story: The Fatima Henna

The streets of Marrakesh are teeming with people. the experience is maddening, especially trying to keep hold of a 6 year old boy who has just had ice cream.  Imagine his small blonde head, amongst a sea of brunet adults, in the darkness of New Years Eve.  There are thousands more here than usual, and the space throngs with people.  I don’t know how much of this I can handle, but we’re here and I couldn’t NOT come see it, so we’ll see how long it lasts.

All of a sudeen, a dark shape intent on our little group materializes into a woman.  Fatima, her eyes are smiling, the rest of her facing hiding behind a hijab. “Hello” she says and takes my hand firmly in hers… she holds it poised, as if to kiss it, and then deftly pulls out a needle.. I start to freak out! WTF….but it’s a henna pen, and she deftly starts to etch beautiful arcs of flowers onto my hand. 


She pauses and I go to pull my hand away.. she holds it, firmly, and definitely clear that she is NOT letting go of my hand.. “Excuse me..  Give me my hand back” I say to her. 

Max looks at me.  “She’s GOING to ask for money..” Is written all over his face.  We’ve done this already before.  She hurriedly says .. “for free, for free” meaning she’s doing this for free. yah right.

She finishes the drawing on my hand in less than 40 seconds, and turns to face my small son.  She grabs his hand and starts drawing a scorpion on his arm.  I ask her to stop but she doesn’t stop until she is done with the drawing.   When she’s done, she turns around, and says “Selfie! Take a selfie” and poses, with the needle right next to her face and my hand.  She’s done this before, and we both know it.  She looks up at me, her eyes are no longer smiling, but have a questing, victim tinge to them, she’s about to ask me for money, I know it.

“I usually charge 600 dirhams just for the scorpion,” she holds Alex’s arm up towards me, and he squacks a complaint, because she’s almost lifting him off the ground. “But for you I ask only 300”

I look at her square in the face.  “You said it was free.”

“You just give me 300, no problems.”  300 dirhams is 27 euros.  No fucking way is that happening.

I can tell she’s done this hundreds of times today already.  Two blonde haired tourists and a child are an easy mark, and she pegged us minutes ago.

“You said it was free, and I’m sorry, but you chose the wrong people to get money out of tonight.” I lay it all out on the table, made it clear she’s not getting anything.

“Just a little bit of money, for my children, my family.” Her eyes glaze, but it’s so fake I almost puke.

We go back and forth a few more times, and I’m tempted to just give her cash, but it’s tottal bullshit, and I’m not going to, just on the principle that it’s bad to teach the locals that their shit scams actually work.  I decide to hold firm.  “I’m not paying you, you said it was a gift, otherwise I would have taken my hand back.  But you wouldn’t let me”

She glares at me. She’s realized it’s not going to work, and she’s wasted 4 minutes of her time for no money.  “Fine!” she half yells, and grabs my hand, scooping the still wet henna back into her device.  She reaches for Alex’s arm and does the same and then walks off without a word.

I feel like my hand has been raped, and for some reason the person who did is mad at me, even though they lied.  My heart is confused, and my trust in the goodness of humanity just died a little.

 

Understanding What Went Wrong in the Psychology of it All

To win at the bargain, you need to know how to make fun.  That is completely the point of the barter.  Of course you are also choosing a price and an exchange of money, but it is primarily an interaction based in humour and building of relationship.  So without further ado, here’s a step by step to stay in your power, and have FUN while bargaining. 

When you greet your merchant, be friendly and cordial.  Identify what you want to purchase.  Preferably having scoped out prices elsewhere or from friends beforehand so you have a range for a fair price.

Looking at the item, smile, look at them, and ask for the price.  Keep eye contact.

Wait for the response.  Whatever they say, look at them like what they said was crazy while they say it. 

You can say something like “really? are you sure sir?” and look at him again in the eyes and laugh a little.

Whatever he says, laugh in response, and maintain a happy vibe.

Offer you hand forward to hold whatever item you’re discussing. 
Now holding the item, say to him, come on now, let’s not muck about, what’s your LAST/Best price?  Smile and laugh.

Wait to see what he says.  Don’t do anything but ask the same question or laugh if he tries to ask you for your price. 

***Exchanging Hands****

Whatever he ends up saying.. Your final deal is going to be 1/4 to 1/2 of this number depending on how well you push back.

Laugh and offer the item back to him.  “No really sir, that’s not fair at all (that’s too much)” and laugh. keep eye contact.

  • If he objects and stays the same price, put it back in his hand.
  • If he drops his price a little bit, frown and offer it to him again.

“Well I did like it, I like it in this colour, no not the other colours, this one, but its just a little to much” point out the flaws of the item, and also what you liked about it, like you’re thinking it over.

“What was your lowest price sir?” wink and laugh like you have forgotten what he said before (Or ask in seriousness, but with a smile in your eyes looking at him)

Keep laughing and asking for a best price until you have hit 1/2 of the original asking price. Do not make a counter offer yet! 

Avoid making a counter offer as long as possible, because once you’ve done this, you’ve basically agreed to pay half the difference between your two prices, and he’s got more leverage to raise the price a bit by not budging (which they can be very good at)

“Well it’s (not very good quality, not as nice as the other one we saw, but I’m here, and I want it now.  I was only thinking to pay less than that”

At which point they will say “how much do you want to pay?”

“Well I was hoping to spend XXX (low ball your price to 10-20% of his asking offer) yes it will feel ridiculous, but if you do it smiling and looking at him, KNOWING and letting him know that you know that you are playing a game together.  He’s going to act shocked, offended, and repulsed by your offer.  He has to be, that’s his gig, especially since you’ve already shown him you know how to play the game.  If he doesn’t play hard now he’s going to give you the item for too cheep..

This is often where real respect and admiration and friendship can happen, because you are now laughing together both acknowledging playing the game together, so you can laugh your way through the rest of it.  By making it past this hurdle, you’ve gained “not just another tourist” status, and they will love you for it, maybe even invite you to have tea.

He’s going to say “that’s too little, give me X” which may be a little bit less than his previous asking price.  If it’s the same price, use the “exchanging hands” trick to shift the power dynamic again.

Depending on how much he drops from his original price tells you how much it’s marked up. 

If the item is 300 originally, and he drops to 250, and then to 220.  You know that he has at least a margin of 200, and probably he paid 30 for the item.  So you can laugh in a friendly way, lowball him at 30, naming the price, and barter back and for to 60-160 for the item..

Or pay 300 for it. Your choice!

The funny thing about Morococo, is that although people are constantly trying to bully you, if you overpay for something.  (Say he asks for 300, and you give it to him without haggling, he’s just as likely to give you 50 in change anyways, and smile at you)  But also with a sad look in his eyes, like you missed the point of the interaction. 

Using Cash, Power Games and the little lie

I’ve got 20 minutes to find a shop, choose my loot, and bargain a price for the small cash I actually have on me.  It’s the worst situation to bargain in, but I’m leaving tomorrow and it’s now or never to get my trinkets.

I choose my Fatima hands (a symbol of good luck and protection in Morocco), we package them up and I know I’ve fudged the order for my best bargain.  My package wrapped up gives me no leeway to haggle with physical objects.  And I’ve got a time limit coming up soon.

I ask him how much he wants, and he asks me for 600 dirham. Almost $80 Cad, and I truly balk.  I’ve chosen 15 hands, of various quality, none of it guaranteed silver, though they always say it is, and it’s just way too much.  I had planned to spend $5 and I have $30 in my wallet.

So I pull out all the stops, asking him for less, etc etc.  Saying I only have 200 in my wallet, knowing I have a little bit more.  He knows as a tourist I can always go get more money, so it’s an accepted lie.  We open the package and take away a few of the trinkets, pairing it down to the few and required ones. 

I have 5 minutes before Alex looses it, and we miss our ride to Paradise Valley.  We’re stuck at 400, and I just don’t have it.  I reach into my wallet pull out $200 and motion to the older man.  I’ll pay this much for it right now, you’ll make the cash up on the next person, and I’ll thank you. 

I don’t know if this will work.  I’ve never tried such a lowball with just cash, but I can see his eyes flicker across the cash.  He may not have made any sales yet today, or not enough to cover his expenses.  He doesn’t know what will happen after this, and he’s come a long way to sell.  He wants the cash, and I know it.

“You can take this now, or we can sit and have tea if you want.”  (I say this to him, in reality I have less than 3 minutes to meet our ride. I almost have to walk away, but I can’t let him know that, because I need to appear to be able to continue the battle.  Time is not on my side!)

I laugh as I offer tea.  By saying this I’ve singled that this is my last offer, I will sit and drink tea for 30 minutes with him before I we would even talk about another price.  I am set in my price and not moving and he knows it.  This is what the offer of tea brings.

So, I hold the money out, my arm outstretch towards him, 200 at the end of my arm reaching out for him to claim as his.

The old man looks at me with a new respect.  He stands there.  He’s holding my Fatima hands, I want them. Ke knows I want them, which he can always hold over me.   I want this price.  He looks at my cash, then at his younger shopkeeper friend. 

They say something back and forth in Arabic, and the younger man shakes his head.  “Really, this is a crazy price, it’s not a good price for me, but I see you are a good woman, and my friend says we should say yes to you.  But really it’s a crazy price.”

I smile broadly as I thank him profusely, and he hands me the package.  I hand his older friend the cash, and we smile at each other with a wink.  Our hearts hug, though the culture forbids us to do anything but shake hands.  A camaraderie of having made it through the battle unscathed, and both slightly richer makes me feel happy and accomplished.

I feel I just got a steal of a deal.  He has more money to feed his family tonight. We both win, and the experience was fun and funny all the way through.  I head to the car, and arrive in perfect timing to hop in and head to our next adventure.

Loneliness, Alone-ness

Do you ever feel lonely, when surrounded by people? Or while being with your children? I know I have.

I feel like I’ve had these experiences, as well as hiding from them more than most. Or maybe just as much as you have. I can’t know unless we bring it to the air and talk about it.
I’ve hidden from friendship, from companionship, from love. I’ve run away from intimacy since before I can remember that I knew I was running.
Yet I am also free and able to show up when it’s time to connect deeply, especially with strangers. Years of workshops during a difficult home life taught me that strangers are safer to be vulnerable with.

I’m still learning to trust those closest to me.

I feel vulnerable and held in my sharing today. I feel scared, and yet brave. It is a daily journey to choose to love myself in the fear, and to transform the fear or numbness into fullness, to open into it.

Why do I do it? As a truth speaker, one who shares their truth, and opens the ways for others to do the same, I am here sharing the story of alone-ness, knowing some of you will resonate, and hoping you will share, so that we all don’t feel so alone.
Today I painted in the morning, and then all afternoon I wanted to paint more, to be lost in the flow of brushes and paint and cutting and collage. But instead I was in funk, mucking about, trying to leave the house, and getting a sullen boy in return, feeling crappy, and not feeling the goodness of the time freedom I have at all. The boredom, the low level funk, creeped in. Knowing it would help, I dragged my ass to the beach, and even catching a ride 80% of the way, and running into friends wasn’t enough to crack open the feeling blah..
It wasn’t till we got to the beach and Alex wandered off to chat with some kids that I realized that what I needed was some alone time so that I could feel the feeling inside of me.
When I found a quiet patch of sand, and sat myself down, what I found behind the veil of boredom and frustration was…

Utter self pitied loneliness.

It’s the craziest thing to feel lonely when you’ve got a 6 year old boy who won’t leave your side.

He is literally ALWAYS there.

 

And yet the journey of always accompanied, never connected is a slow torture that I’ve inflicted on myself many times over the years. Now with 6+ weeks of solo parenting and no babysitter or co-parent around, the wear and tear of it is starting to show and has me realizing it’s about time to get help, and what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working.

And then there is the Guru, who reminds me softly, that “There is no suffering in being alone, only the suffering comes from the mind, which believes aloneness into loneliness.” Shove it guru, you’ve not been through what I went through. But where did all this pain come from?

As I find time to sit alone on the beach, I drop in and I feel the depth of the pain, it goes back 2, 3, 5, 7 years ago in this town, feeling abandoned again and again in the process of leaving Alex’s dad. It goes back further to moving when I was 10, leaving all my friends behind when we moved cities. “I have no friends” the wounded child inside of my screams. I have no choice but to hold her as my body shakes and cries. As I do, some strangers walk by and see my tears, they ask if I’m okay, and I give them a thumbs up and thank them for asking if I was okay. See, there’s always “someone”.

So now, my existential past pain is stopping me from seeing a gorgeous sunset happening all around me.

I am reminded that it is equally silly to feel lonely in a town teeming with new people to meet, and also with people who have known me for years.
Or all of you on the interweb, only a “please send me love” away.
Yet there’s a companionship of house and years and days that is still missing from my life. Not only from my traveling life, but also from my life before in Calgary, when 30km and 1.5 hrs of traffic separated me from my best friends, and getting together was an occasional and much organized thing. My heart yearns for the simplicity of my time in small town Morocco with Caroline and Anthony, and Christopher when we simply organized by saying “hey, let’s meet at this end of the beach” almost every day.
Or for the constant companionship that Maxim and I shared as we traveled, loved, parented and worked together.
I also realize the ridiculousness of pining over moments from the past, and the added ridiculousness continuing to winge about it all when after leaving the beach, we bumped into people we knew and then needed to “rush forwards” from them to meet up with friends. All while still winging about feeling lonely.

 

Guru pipes up from the back bench. “Seems pretty silly doesn’t it Elena? Remember this too shall pass.”  It’s a calming thought for my mind, but the feeling pulses through me none the less.

I am not such a master yet, that it doesn’t just seem simpler to cry, let some steam off, and see what I can do about arranging adult company, and kid care for tomorrow.
#DreamLife #SelfLove #Friendship #AloneNotLonely #ItStartsWithMe #TruthSpeaker

When road is home, where is the road?

Today it’s been 21 months, 9 countries, 26 homes, 3 boyfriends, and well over 60,000km since I last set foot in my home country. It’s been more than a year since I started to hear her call me to go back. And finally.. FINALLY here I am, in my last 15 days on the road. Tickets booked. Lets go.

There is the unmistakable feeling in the air..

I am going home.

But funny enough, I’m not going home to the country of my birth. That country Canada hasn’t felt like home since I came back from my first trip and didn’t understand how people could live like they do.  I couldn’t understand their suburbs, with their 9-5 jobs and 2 hour commutes, and always living indoors, and so far away from each other.  The culture I came from shocked and appalled me after my first trip, and as soon as I could I got my butt out of the “first world” back to the “developing world”.  After that first trip I spent the next 5 years traveling back and forth between Mexico and Canada, with a gap year for the birth of my son.  He and I had our first trip to when he was 10 months old.  It’s a time of celebration. I am returning to my beloved home in Mexico.  A space where the worst and best days of my life have happened, and where I have more history as an adult than other single place in the world. I am excited beyond excited.  Today as I booked the flights, I had to jump up and scream because it just bubbled through me so much.  Back to this town that made me feel like I was home the moment I walked into it the first time and I said “hmm, I like it here, lets stay.”

Yet If i knew it as my home, why have I wandered away?

It’s a good question, and one I’ve asked myself often while I continued to travel after feeling the call to return about a year ago.

Love has something to do with it.  I went to Bali in search of “a person or a place to call home” thinking that I would either settle in Bali for some time, or find a world traveling hottie to parent and travel with me.  Turns out I actually did both.  Staying in Bali for 6 months, was long enough to fall in love with the all day cuddle puddles, ecstatic dance, and vegan super food for days, and also long enough to feel like my “conscious uniqueness” made me one of the pack, to realize I didn’t want to learn Indonesian, which would forever make me “that jerk who’s lived here for years and doesn’t speak the local language” and for the hyper-monetized and eratic visa and work permit system of $75-300/month to start to agrevate me.  As I sat waiting to have my fingerprints taken for my not so cheep “social visa” in Bali, I yearned for Mexico’s free 6 month visa, renewable at your local airport for a $25 bribe or a quick flight home for Christmas. 

I also realized that Bali was not a place where many people stayed for long. I heard enough stories of deportation, massive crisis, or simply up and packing up from people who had planned to stay longer to know that Bali has a consciousness (as a magical islands often do) that will choose for you, whether you stay or not.  When I got evicted from my apartment 1 week before my 6 month visa expired, I knew it was time to go, and although I loved my time there, I knew I wouldn’t be coming back to live.

Onwards to Thailand, and I found a person to call home. 5 days into my adventure in Thailand, I met Maxim, who I came to admire, love, despise, and love again.  Who I traveled with for the next 9 months.  Experiencing deeply, (finally!) what it is to be a collaborative co-parent with someone who gives a shit about us and is committed to conscious relationship and to creating life together.  What a journey and a blessing our relationship was to me.  Showing me that I can have everything I asked for, and that in fact, once I get it, I might want something completely different. 

Together we made a home of the road, and learned to love where we were in Thailand, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Lightning in a Bottle, Seattle, the airports of the world, Calgary, the JoyGasmobile (my car), Inshala, Edmonton, Astral Harvest, Vancouver Island, Seattle, Moab, Denver, before leaving the car in Denver for a complete stranger to pick up the next day, while we headed across the ocean to Rykiavik, Paris, Nantes, Angles, Toulouse, Barcelona (my love!), and Benicasim, before heading to Morocco, visiting Essaouira, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh and Taghazout.  Phew, while it is definitely a life of adventure and travel, in 9 months we had 26 homes.  Many times not knowing where we would be sleeping, living or staying next week, or if we had the cash to rent a place in the city we were moving to next.

On a psychologists list of the list of major stressors of life, “moving house” is in the top 5, along with getting divorced, having new children, loosing a job or a family member.

Wanting something more has something to do with it..  While I’ve traveled to Mexico and back with Alex since before he was born, I’d always wanted to travel differently.  I wanted to see the world, adventure, visit foreign beaches, travel more, more often and in more luxury than I was used to.  Stay in the AirBNB in the centre of town for a few nights, and see the sights, instead of renting a cheep place on the edge of town for a month because it’s what I can afford.  I wanted to skip through France and Spain like it was a hopscotch, the way other people do. Travel like that requires more stamina and endurance than my single mom self could save up.  Being in small town France 1000’s of km away from anyone english speaking while your kid has a meltdown in the grocery store, is 100x easier, when your boyfriend comes around the corner and tells you “I’ll watch him, you go find the cheese.”   That moment is a luxury you don’t have as a single mom traveling, and moments like that that (where I would want to walk off and take a breather, but in a foreign town where no one knows us, that makes me a negligent parent) has stoped me from the kind of wild travel I’ve done in the last year.  The kind of travel that that require more bandwidth and capacity than I had alone.  And I did it. The last year has been a revelation and a dream come true for me.  I now know what it feels like to travel like that.

Now I’ve had a chance to do all of those things and I’ve come to a surprising conclusion.  I don’t want to travel anymore, at least not right now.

But I also want something very specific.  I started traveling for three reasons, Climate, Lifestyle and Cost of Living.  Mexico fit the hat, but so does Thailand, Malaysia, Morocco, Greece, all of Central America, and probably about 30 other countries around the world. 

At this point I’ve seen dozens of countries, cultures, lifestyles, and judged it all as to my liking or not. But you know what they all have? Food. Language. Social dynamics. Also climate, grocery stores, restaurants, toilets, streets, lamp posts, cars, cats and dogs, buildings, views, sunsets, nature, too much city in the cities, commercialization, consumerism, dirt, plastic wrappers everywhere, I could go on.  They all have it, in varying degrees. Thailand has only dogs, and Malaysia has only cats.  Fez’s Medina has less cars, and more scam artists than Marrakesh, but is also sweeter in a way. Essaouira is a whirlwind of garbage on a bad day, but it’s got the best rooftop cafe I’ve ever loved.

I know what kind of dynamic I like, on each and every one of those spectrums. 

Social Dynamics=Not too fucking patriarchal, with a solid expat community,

Climate=daytime temp between 25-28 +- 4 degrees, 300+ days of sun, tropical on the ocean.

Grocery Stores=within a 3 minute walk, fresh and local, organic market once a week, and cheep

Restaurants=meals under $5, and a wide spectrum within the town.  Smoothie bar a must.

So when I’m thinking about where I want to live in the world, based on my specific travel experience, that looks something like like… hmmmm well Bali is cleaner with more flowers and incense on the streets than anywhere in the world which I LOVE. They give Ubudian hugs, but Ubud is in the mountains and I never go to the ocean there, and actually the oceans so dirty in Bali that I don’t want to swim in them, the beaches aren’t as nice as Mexico, and smoking a joint will get me arrested or hanged.  Visas are expensive, changing constantly, and I could get deported for advertising my business.  Scratch that one off the list.

But it’s not REALLY about the stuff, or the things I’ve seen, it’s about the people. I mean, I know I’m not willing to compromise on some things.  Like climate, I don’t do the cold anymore. After experiencing 3 consecutive years of summer there’s no going back.  But I’m like the rest of us, if you ask any long term traveler what they love about travel, they will invariably say “the people you meet along the way.”  It’s true, meeting new people is fascinating.

Along the way, I have met 1000’s of fellow travellers.  People I have loved, and still love.

People who when I look at it objectively, are undoubtably more comfortable with discomfort than they are with comfort. 

I’ve met people who would rather sleep under a tree in the rain, than have a real job.  Who can pack their whole lives into a backpack in less than 20 minutes, because they never really unpack all the way.  People who would rather not know where or how they will get to their next destination than have a plan and stick to it. I’ve also met entrepreneurs, creatives, Tantrikas, kids on gap years, and seasoned travellers who have been on the road longer than I’ve been alive.  Each with their own fascinating stories to tell, and each with their own journey ahead and behind them.

When you’re on the road, your learn that there is always SOMEONE to be your friend for the moment.

You want company for a meal you introduce yourself to the people you want to sit with at the restaurant, you need a good cry, you meet someone at the hostel who looks just like your sister, and love each other instantly, and cry for and hour together about the things that are going on in your life, without even sharing what those things are..  Or maybe just someone who understands what it’s like to travel the way you do.. slow or fast, cheep or expensive, long or short term… There is always someone.

There is always someone, but the someones come and go. It gives you a sort of quirked view of the world.  “Oh, I guess I’m leaving this town, and I’ll miss Sarah SO MUCH.. but I also know there will be a new “best friend character” in the next place I land so… No problem.. By Sarah! 🙂  It creates a kind of loving detachment that I honestly think the rest of the world could use to learn some from.  Then there’s the repetition of SOMEBODY… There are only so many times you can answer the questions “Where are you from? How long have you been traveling, “oh my god that’s a long time” where are you going next? How old is your son, where is his dad?  etc etc.  Then I turn it around and ask them back.. oh joy!  Some days it’s magical, and I’m fascinated by their answers.  On an average day my threshold for this is 2-4 encounters of people asking me these questions.  Some days I answer happily, enjoying the chance to feel their envy and curiosity at the length and breadth of my travels.  But some days I’m yearning for home, and I couldn’t care less where they are from or where they are going.. and my answer to their “Oh, where are you from?” is “I don’t feel like answering that question right now. I just want to sit here in silence.”  in varying degrees of politeness depending on my mood.

Recently traveling has become a ugly, because my heart wants to go home, and wants my friends to be there.

I yearn for people I can talk about the substance of life with, the way I feel about what’s happening in my life, people who I don’t have to fill in on my dirty relationship history, so that they can help me understand the bigger patterns. People who I legitimately care about, not just because they are the only other white person in the airport lobby who might speak English, or because they happen to (have a smoke, get to chatting, take a selfie, get asked on a date, and then get little emoji’s on Facebook for weeks on end afterwards), or because they have lots of patience to play with Alex and I really need a break from him, or maybe it’s someone I actually really enjoy the company of, but who I know is leaving in 5 days so don’t get too invested.  I want relationships that mean something to me, that have depth and width and length.  That have time, and years, and stories, and memories, and laughter, and tears and Ubudian hugs, because that’s just how they love.

When I first started to travel the world, it struck me how intimately interconnected the families and communities in the “developing world” are, compared to how I grew up.  I wanted that interconnectedness for myself.

I saw 4 generations living together in a family compound in Bali.  Yes partially because they are poor and they can’t afford more.  But they laugh together, they spend days, weeks, years sitting together staring out into the rice paddies, and eating the meagre food they have.  They smile a lot, they laugh a lot, and there are lots of them.  Families are large sprawling things, and the friends in town are too many to count. And I want that! Because let’s face it, my family is 5 people.  Mom, dad, sister, me and my kid.  Yes, technically we have aunts and cousins and uncles and grandparents (well, grandma, the one I’ve got left) … But they all lived over 3000km away when I was a child, and are still 1200km from my parents now. The experience of extended family for me was a long long long drive away and something that only happened once a year. So I’m homesick for family.

Along the way, people who wished they could travel more but didn’t, invariably asked me “But, don’t you miss your friends?” to which I would usually shrug, and say “nah”.  Being on the road for 6 years, you get used to the “somebody” factor, and just keep moving on.  But it’s a scam, I’ve never been okay with it.  If someone asked me on a rough day the same question, I’d end up in tears from the pain of missing “friends”.  I’m realizing slowly just how deep that wound goes, how much I’m really just used to not having anyone who cares around. Realizing that part of the reason I traveled in the first place was because I didn’t really feel like I had friends, no one there to hold me back, not since I was 10 and we moved away.

It’s an old story, abandonment.  Almost a better friend than any friend I’ve ever had. It’s always been there.

My own personal friend trauma runs deep, and brings tears to my eyes just writing this. When my best friend left for collage, the pain of being left behind was something I buried really really really deep, with alcoholl and drugs and sleepless sex filled nights, and it tries to come back up every time I leave, or even meet someone I really click with. I often wonder when I meet my traveling folks, how many of them have unresolved trauma from being moved as a kid, from feeling abandoned by parents, who feel unworthy and that they don’t belong in the world.  See you have the power when you travel, you always leave first, move on, be the adventurous soul, look forwards not backwards, keep moving, keep moving, get lost in an endless stream of planning the next move.  No one can hurt you if you have no fixed home and you always leave first.  You get used to the dance of abandonment.

But things are changing inside of me. I feel the place that used to know what friendship looks like growing bigger.  When I left Bali I had let myself grow into my friends, and I realized that as I left I was shutting my emotions down, I didn’t want to feel sad they were going.  This time I made a choice to actually let myself FEEL how much it hurt to leave people who I had grown to love, and I cried for days.  I felt each of them as they left and I cried when I left, for the ones I had left behind, even though they too were traveling onwards in the next few days.

Realizing that every single time I left this next country, my heart broke a little deeper, as I pushed them away, and said I was fine.

So in Morocco I find myself looking at the locals and envying them.  Tonight as I walked through the square, a man gripped another mans forearm, leaned into him and kissed him on the cheek as he said goodnight.  A friend, an acquaintance, I can’t know.  But the story I told about them is that they’ve know each other for years. I’ll see you tomorrow he says, before he walks way.  A blessing so deep I can’t even fathom, and one he takes for granted. That he will see this man tomorrow, and has years to get to know him. Tonight a stranger joined Alex and I at our fire and saw a friend and invited him over.  The friend, an older man, with 4 children of his own, tells stories of how he watched this man next to me run around when he was the same age as my son.  Tears flow to my eyes, as my heart yearns for people who have known me my whole life, who have seen me grow.  Yearn for the moment when I have my second child, and the same people watch them grow, as they watched the first.  Not strangers, not thousands of different cities.  The same people. 

I yearn for friends, and connections that sustain and endure, beyond an hour, or a week, or a month. For people I adore who I see more than once every 2 years. To live someplace my family of origin can also call home, and get to easily.  This is now important to me, and I wasn’t before. I also realize that it’s a hell of a lot more challenging to do that when all the people you like are traveling people and they pop around on their own whims and schedules all the time.  It’s a lot easier when you sit still in one place, with some others who sit in one place, and let all of life move around you.  I see the people here, all around me, I am surrounded by people who have friends, who have connection, who have love in their lives, continuity, relationship.  Yes dysfunction too I’m sure (after all we’re in Morocco, bastion of patriarchy), but friendships and camaraderie they have for sure. Thousands of little moments of friendship all around me.

Traveling lets you meet a thousand people,
but you only get a day with each of them.

Okay, some you have more time with, but with all the meeting and leaving, and repetition, and shallowness it can be an incredibly lonely journey. I am realizing now that I want a thousand days (2.739 years) with two or three or seven people or maybe more!  I’m realizing that I’m finally ready to let that wound heal even further, to do what it takes to let people in, to explore their lives, and spend time with people I really find fascinating and care about, and let myself stick around, or come back again and again, to find out they are really kind of boring and so am I, but I love the feeling of the silence we share, or the laugh we have when we both realize we love upside down jam sandwiches.  Because.. if I do that, if I let that in… Friendship, and sisterhood, and love for myself and for others, then.. then I get to be the kind of person who can actually spend years living in a community of women and men that are powerhouse crazy god{desses, and happen to also have lots of coo-ing mama love to share and help with changing that second baby’s nappies, while we get together and someone remembered my favourite dish, and it just got delivered so I can sit and eat with my besties, while breastfeeding topless in warm summer air, with the sound of the cicadas in the jungle, watching the epic sunset into the perfect ocean. Okay, so maybe it won’t be quite like that, but I bet you it’ll actually be 100x more beautiful in other ways, and I’m finally open to it.

So I’m willing to settle on some things, (like letting go of my last relationship) and win at many others, to find a spot that feels like the perfect spot for me, and hang my hat, and my backpacks up for a while, and see who I am when I do life this way.  Grounded, rooted, home.  To see who I am when I let people in, when I actually make a point to get to know the people around me over and over again, and let myself relax out of always planning the next trip across the world, and just plan a weekly gathering, (or a bi-yearly retreat.. cmon, when have I ever been simple)

I’m feel like I’m finally ready say, I’ve found my perfect piece of paradise and let myself live in it. Mexico, I’m coming home.

Love the System

Love the system. The system is designed by people older than you.
To replace your creativity, with obedience,

To replace your love, with fear,
To consume your heart with terror
To train you to find solace in the bottom of a beer,
Or an empty potato chip can, or an empty wallet,
Or a closet full of shit you never wear,
And a credit card overdrawn 2x more than you make in a year.
Fuck the system, its wants you cow-towed,
Bent in half with your back broken, just to serve the golden cow of commerce.
Fuck the system, you are made for more than this.
You are made for adventures by the sea,
Long moments basking in the sun under a bridge,
Building endless castles and destroying them like monsters with small children,

Entering dreamlands of imagination, and sharing every detail of it with your friends,
until this new world, seems as real around you as what you can see with your eyes today.
The new model, the non-system, wants you to be a unique caterpillar,

Unique butterfly, unique uni-porn-i-kitten
with an iPhone shoved up your ass
in the toilet if that’s what gets you off.

The non-system, wants you flying high as a kite,
expertly landing business deals rocking your unique purpose that only you can teach.

The non-system, wants you sharing your heart, and your emotions.

Wants you standing in the middle of the subway with tears streaming down your cheeks, surrounded by 10 strangers who heard your cry and came running to hug you.

The non-system wants you begging for more,
believing in your worthiness,
triumphant in our collective heritage as human beings.

The non-system wants you expressing yourself freely, sharing with others, offering your best, and loving everyone else who says… “you could never do anything but make a mess.”

So fuck the system, it’s a digital, incrimination, elimination, regurgitation system. We’ve moved beyond the school white walls, the endless empty halls, waiting to raise our hand to pee in the bathroom covered in graffiti that says “burnin’ niggas tonight”.

This is a system where we all feel equal,
where we unite the people,

Black, white, green, drag queen, super clean, nerdy was-been and everything in between. It’s time to show our voice, stand up for the right choices, and be our own heroes. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and it’s TIME.. to stand up and ROAR.. to Soar! We know what we are fighting for. Let’s not break down the system, but rise above the need for condemnation, let’s rise up and shout, “are you listening?” “There is a better way, if you just open your eyes, you’ll see, the world is okay.” People love each other, they care, they feel feelings, their lives have meaning. Don’t listen to what the TV tells you, it’s job is to lie and keep you occupied. Occupy your mind. Occupy your heart, and occupy your soul. We don’t need all these machines and gadgets and toys to be happy, just a house with our family, our friends.. and for some, a clean nappy.
So stand tall, cross the track, let go of the fight, so it don’t fight you back. Today, and tomorrow.. make a new friend. Fight the prejudice, and bring racism, to an end.

Ps. If anyone knows a production house, rapper, or musician who wants to turn this into a video, I got the whole visual montage along with the text, and would LOVE to co-create.  Love E

Giggling at the beauty of the water 

Dear Beloved, 

When the tides turn, and all that you have asked for comes flooding towards you in the most spectacular way.

Will you run away from it, screaming about getting your feet wet?

Or will you dance in the crashing waves, giggling at the beauty of the water all around you? 
We certainly hope it’s the second one, because there’s a tsunami (a totally safe and perfectly controlled in just the right amount you can handle it arriving all at once but really in perfect timing kind of tsunami)

There’s a tsunami of everything you want, (and have wanted) coming your way… 
And we wanted to give you early warning..

That if you don’t remember to dance in the waves…

it could feel overwhelming.. and almost like *Not* what you wanted.

Which would be a little bit like running scared from everything you ever dreamed of. And you know better than that by now…

Don’t you?
Love JoyGasm
Ps. If you haven’t already started doing I LOVE YOU’s Daily… you should probably start, because 2017 is going to be the year they said “she took life by the hot seat, and sat on it” … in ALL the history books. Because in 2017 you’re that hot. For real.

Meeting Your Future Self

5 years ago I wrote myself a letter from the future.

I was very pregnant and had just moved back in with my parents, having gotten it through my head that my relationship with my sons bio-dad was not going to be supportive of me as a new mom. I was depressed, desperate, in my first months of business, and not even that excited about baby being born, just glad that the ache in my back would be gone soon, and I would have some space in my belly. In those pregnant days life was a dark and fearful place.

I sat down, entered, and connected to my future self. She was sitting in Morocco, at a cafe, and laughing with her partner. She was sipping tea, and talking about the possibilities. Wizing through parallel realities of what “might happen when we get up from the table” would we meet someone to take us on an adventure, would we walk down the beach, would we stumble over a camel, or make out in the park… what would be the most fun. My partner and I turn to each other, and laugh. We know exactly which one seems most fun.

We set our collective intent upon it, and release it.

When it’s time to pay the bill, we get up, and start off into the buzzing market. Within a few moments, we encounter a woman, and it’s clear to both of us, she is the gateway to our adventure. We introduce ourselves, follow her, and she leads us to a community like the one we’ve been searching for. We laugh at the perfection of creation, and enjoy the heck out the afternoon with her. We have met another family member, and we are powerful in our creation.

This sense of mastery, of freedom, of choice and receiving, is something I’ve caught in glimpses and in moments over the years.

Like desiring to go to Afest, and getting an invite that seemed impossible. Meeting a lover who strikes every chord in my body. Letting go of moments of anger deeply felt in the past. People lining up in majestic perfection. Life showing me in perfect harmony what is needed for the transformation of being set free. Magic indescribable I’ve seen happen. And this frustration that the intensity seems to happen only in short bursts. And at the time I wrote this letter, it was a hopeful melody, echoing back from the past. This playful nature of my future self, seemed unreachable, unattainable to my depressed, repressed and abused self.

It was at the time, only a dream from the future.. to give me hope and pull me forwards.

Well, I’m excited to say that next week, I go to meet my future self. My partner Maxim and I fly to Morocco. Alex, that babe in my belly is now almost 6, and passionate in his own right about what “most fun” is. I never knew a reason WHY I wanted to go to Morocco, only that I would go. And now the moment is upon me. I have gathered who I thought I would be..

realizing that my life now, is unrecognizable from the woman of 5 years ago.

Sure, I still have moments of struggle, of getting caught in mind games and worry and fear. But my attitude, my general experience, and my perception of myself are so different than the scared and fearful girl I was those years ago. They say you don’t know what you’re made of until you try. I didn’t know how strong I was until the last 5 years dragged me to a pit and beat me.  I thought that was bad, but.. nothing compared to what came after that.

I really learned how strong I am when I dragged my own butt out of that pit kicking and screaming with parts of me trying to get back into the pit.

And I’m realizing how strong am I now.. Being strong in loving it it. In loving myself through it. And in being strong enough to let myself have what I want. Live how I want. Travel with the dream family I’ve always wanted (and that’s more than just 3 of us! if you want to come travel along, we’re making rooms for you!)

If you’ve dreamed it. You can do it.

Keep the faith, enjoy the ride, and celebrate the heck out of moments like this. Where you really do see dreams (and future letters) come true.

Love Elena

A love note to inner peace. 

Dear Beloved,
When the shift comes, and love rearranges the molecules of your heart, and lets you know that you’re truly okay. When you’re seen in just the right way to let your guard down (that much more!), and let it ALL settle in… That for real… you’re worthy. For real… you’re the shit! For real… you make someone’s world alight and align, and all you have to do is not throw a hissy fit. And even THEN they love you, even when you do. That’s a moment to take a deep breath, and remember “I deserve this too.”
I release the past, the future and the present. I surrender to the moment, inside, and unpleasant. I let myself go, to the feeling inside, let it all flow. There’s nothing to hide. I face it dead on. I love myself through. No matter what patterns of the past, and fear try to do. I love myself fiercely and truthfully too. I follow my path, and my heart, and my feet… How about you?
What changes must happen? For your life to align… if the vision I’ve set seems so different than thine? The words that we speak, they don’t come from here, they come from the collective, OUR words, if I dare.

Our culture is growing, our community strong. We stand undivided over rivers, lakes, and songs. We unite our proud voices, giving rise to the shift. Not longer content with the cultural drift. We’ve all seen it happen, sometimes through misery, or surrounded by song, another Awakens, and starts singing along. It’s changing faster now, and those of us who, have been here a while, well we have more work to do! To button our hats, and show them the way. How to a live amidst chaos, with bliss inside…. everyday.
As Chiron squares Venus, the stars are aligned. To see the truth of your hurts, the scars in your mind. Our mind telling us lies, makes for pain in our hearts. Now let go of those moments.. just as quick as it starts. (These moments of pain, coming up to bite you in the ass when you’re right on the edge. You might want to curse them… but then you remember instead..) You’ve got years of history turning stardust into mystery, pain in to pleasure, and hurtful words into love’s unending refrain. These moments no different. Just do the same.
You came here with reason, to create something new, something way beyond what you knew how to do. You came here to become a master. A great beautiful disaster. Turned into a masterpiece in community, a group of people who will set your heart free.. A master.. a master… a great beautiful disaster… And the longer you put it into the future, the longer it’s going to take for you to realize that you were BORN a master. Born a god and goddess, born love incarnate, and you’ve simply forgotten along the way. You’re already, in so many ways.. a master. Not by changing a single thing about you, but by simply turning your attention, (In that special way that only you do) Just by simply turning your attention, moment by moment towards love that’s true. You deserve it Beloved. Will you claim it for you?

I do.
Love JoyGasm