Day 2, KM’s 8-16

Today marks Day 2 of my Whole40 and the second day I will motor home under my own power.

Nothing is really different from 24 hours ago except that I made a decision… a commitment to myself to do something good for myself.  Something I know is successful.  Something that I know is not necessarily a cake walk but something I know I can do.  I am giddy with excitement knowing how amazing I’m going to feel in 40 days and how proud of myself I will be when I’m done!  I know I will feel that I earned that good feeling and there is a sense of euphoria that can only come from choosing to do something outside your own ‘norm’.

Ran/walked home from work yesterday.  7.75KM in 1 hour and 26 SECONDS… dang… My goal in the next three weeks is to take that 26 seconds off.  Not a huge goal I know, but this is a ‘marathon’ not a ‘sprint’ and it’s about DOING it, not doing it faster than anyone ever has.  It’s about doing it, not talking about it.  It’s about just DOING IT!!  So today I will go DO it again and get kilometers 8 through 16 under my belt.

Actions speak louder than words.  I’m off to go action my future now!

 

 

 

Lost Little Bird

I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets this weekend. Tossed a bunch of expired stuff that wasn’t expired last year when I started my W30 journey… I didn’t know when I started if I was going to completely give up food that required ingredients like corn starch and baking powder. I threw out 2 garbage bags of expired grocery store tea, baking ingredients and other miscellanea that I didn’t need anymore. There’s a ton of room in my cabinets now. Everything is nicely organized and I have lots of space to add new spices or new ingredients in. I don’t know what it is that I’m going to put in there but time will tell.

Okay, now. In the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning out my emotional cabinets… tossing expired stuff that wasn’t serving me anymore. I’ve tossed ingredients for a life that I am no longer living. I’ve cleaned up all the shelves, made a lot of room for new ingredients, new experiences… new things and ingredients to serve my current life.

And now, with all that clean, shiny, organized space, I feel more lost than I did when it was cluttered up with crap. What do I put on these new clean shelves? What ingredients are missing? There’s a lot of room and I don’t have a lot of direction for what to stock myself with.

My friend says that 35 is typically a time of awakening and of getting a lot of personal work done and sometimes a time of intense personal crisis. Maybe ‘mid life crisis’ is actually not when you’re halfway through your life… maybe it’s now… at a turning point of trying to determine what the 2nd third of your life is going to look like.

All I know is that I am a lost little bird. I don’t know what the next chapter of my life is going to look like. The last ten years haven’t been awesome (to say the least).

The ‘advice’ that I’ve gotten so far is to ‘keep living’ and ‘do things that make you happy’ and ‘eat right and exercise’ and other really non helpful things. This is not about food. This is not about how many times I run a week. It’s not about the everyday mundane things like washing my face before bed or putting my laundry away as soon as it’s done. It’s a huge, universal question mark about where my life is going. Maybe some people are blessed by being able to go through this ‘mid’ life transition with little thought or effort… maybe some people don’t even notice it happening. I know that for me, my life up to now has been waves of extreme and I feel like the answer to this journey is going to be something extreme too. It has to be. It is not possible or acceptable for me to just drift through the rest of my life in its current status quo. There is nothing passionate or inspiring or ground breaking about my life now and that is not okay. I am a dynamic and passionate individual and that deserves to shine through.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not depressed. Or sad. In fact, I’m most of the time, reasonably happy. But I am happy tempered with confusion. Happy, tempered with an unsettling sense of drift that I don’t know how to resolve. In moments it makes me INCREDIBLY crabby… almost irrationally so. In moments, I can’t speak a word without tears running down my face. In moments I forget all about it and am just my silly, loving, fun self. Sometimes my silly, loving, fun self takes over for days at a time… and then, like I forgot that something is going to happen, my heart races and I remember… like when you have a sudden panic that you’re going to be late for something.

It is very difficult for someone such as myself to not be able to control this outcome. Sure, I can control a lot of stuff, and I do… I can control my diet and exercise and social activities. I can control how much rest I get and what nice things I do for myself in order to keep a good attitude and outlook. I think everyone needs to control those things in the course of living their lives, regardless of whether they’re going through a state of transition or not. I’ve learned that treating myself the best I can is actually a service I’m doing for myself and while it may not solve every little thing in my life, it certainly doesn’t harm or make any situation worse.

I typed a sentence here saying that if anyone has gone through this type of change before, to please weigh in… and you certainly can. But I don’t know that it’s going to help. Each journey is personal and unique to the person journeying it.

Just Be Yourself

My mom always says that lessons are taught until they are learned.  This one keeps coming up so I guess I’m still learning it…

The way that I perceive myself and the way that others perceive me is not the same.  My friend always tells me to just be my authentic self and that every good thing and good person that is meant to be in my life will come along… drawn like a moth to a flame.  Just be yourself.  Yourself is amazing he says.  Sometimes, when I’m alone and thinking through things, I remember what he says about being my authentic self… and I over think it… I was saying to my counsellor yesterday that sometimes I wonder what ‘self’ that I’m supposed to be to get the best response from people.

Well this morning I was reminded again, that the ‘self’ that I am when I’m not overthinking it is the self that my friend is talking about.  

Be you.  Be silly.  Be friendly.  Be crazy and goofy and loving and happy and joyous.  Let your real, authentic personality come out and play and the people that don’t like it aren’t people that you want around you anyway… 

This morning I was taught (again) that being all those things above pay off.

I missed my regular bus by about 30 seconds… however, not being in the mood (or with the energy… damn this ridiculous fatigue) to run a block or so, I decided to just wait the ten minutes for the next one… So I stood outside in the cold, playing on my iphone… freezing my digits off.  And then a bus arrived.  ‘Not in Service’ said the flashing sign on the front of the bus. But then the door opened and the driver invited me aboard and said that he’d take me as far as he could down my route and try and catch up with the bus I missed.  He said that he remembered me from when he drove my route in the summer. 

Now… think that through… That’s someone who remembered me from six months ago… someone who has seen easily thousands of people in the last six months and he remembered me enough to know that he wanted to stop and do something kind for me.  We chatted and laughed all the way until we did catch up with the bus that I had missed earlier and my Not in Service Hero pulled in front of that bus so that it would have to stop and then wished me a happy day (in French I think… it was definitely not in English) and I got off his bus and walked back to the one I’d missed.  And then something else incredible happened.  The driver of the bus I missed saw me… 50 blocks from my usual stop and looked surprised and confused.  Opened the door and asked how I got ahead of him and all the way down here…. So I told him I’d missed him by seconds but that I didn’t have the energy to run and then my NIS Hero picked me up and brought me this far.  And you know what he said? ‘I looked for you when I went past your stop and I thought about waiting a second but I didn’t see you so I had to keep going.’.  I was so touched that he knew I should have been there and he actually looked for me… what a kind sentiment!

When I got to work I went to the coffee shop I always go to and saw my young barista friend… our faces mutually light up when we see eachother and we always share a chat and a smile before going about our days.  Today we laughed about taking over the world and then that’s when the events of the morning sort of hit me.  I’ve left a lasting impression on these people just by being me. 

Sometimes our self-perception gets in the way of being able to see how others perceive us… I can say for certain that I need to be reminded constantly that the ‘real me’… the ‘self’ that my friend encourages… she’s the key to my happiness.  At no time am I more joyous and friendly and silly and loving and happy as when I am being shown that being those things consistently start a perpetual circle.  Being joyous and happy and silly and loving makes me feel those… which make me want to be those… It takes practice to let ‘real me’ out of the dark because it hurts more when ‘real me’ is rejected or wounded, but oh my… the rewards when ‘real me’ is welcomed by the world with open arms and good deeds and smiles and the kind of human love that boosts my spirit! 

It’s difficult to not bring all of this back around to health and fitness.  When your body is quiet and content, it’s just enormously easier to hear the other things going on.  I remember my sister saying that when she switched her diet to the paleo/primal way of eating, she could hear her own thoughts easier… it was difficult to understand and I’m sure it was difficult for her to explain, but boy, she wasn’t wrong.  When Body is taken care of and not a massive urgent concern to Mind, then Mind gets to focus on other things. Mind gets to have epiphanies and process ideas and information in a pure uninterrupted way that is not feasible when Mind is too busy worrying that Body is a train wreck. 

So I’ll go through the rest of my day… week… month… trying to remember that being authentic is the key and I will be duly rewarded in my life by authentic people and experiences.  And the rest will just fall away like dust in the wind…

Journey Plan 2014

Every year I write a Journey Plan.  It’s a categorized list of things I want to strive for in the coming year and it is by no means written in stone.  It has things as simple as ‘wash face before bed daily’ (which incidentally, I did every single day of 2013 except for 3) and things more complex like re-uniting with old friends, making a plan for relationships and finding a hobby.  Everything is up for editing, erasing and expounding on throughout the year, because while no place in time is static, an entire year is certainly not and I don’t do this to determine success or failure to sticking to a list.

The other thing I did last year that I’m adopting again this year is a Mission Statement.  Last year my mission statement was ‘Do your best.  Every day’.  I like to think that it was a good beacon for weighing decisions against altho to be honest, there were many periods of time in the last year that I don’t think I was doing my best.  I came up with my 2014 Mission Statement about three months ago and I’ve been keeping it under my hat for just this post.  The funny thing is that there is a great connection between my Mission Statement and the 90SecondsofReal Project that I am a part of.  Why such a great connection?  Because my 2014 Mission Statement is…. Drumroll please…..

Be.  Real.

Funny how coincidences sometimes align themselves so perfectly as to not actually appear as coincidences.  I liked the simplicity of the statement Be Real.  That’s what we should be striving for right?  It’s incredible just how difficult it actually is to be consistently real.  The whole world is set up for sabotage.  The media wants you to wear false eyelashes, dye your hair, whiten your teeth… Social Media only gives you 140 characters to tell a polished version of what your life is actually like and it even provides filters to add an extra layer of ‘unreal’ to your photos.  Self help books suggest you fake it till you make it (which in itself is not such a terrible thing sometimes) and most people who as ‘how are you’ aren’t even listening for your answer… double not listening if your answer happens to be anything other than ‘I’m good thanks, you?’.

A friend of mine sent me a text about three or four months ago and said that he was proud of me for being able to stand up for myself and do the impossible * against all odds and against a world that doesn’t understand and would prefer to see me fail.  It was a little seed that sat in my brain until I realized that all I was doing was being real.  Genuine.  Authentic.   And I wasn’t even doing it ‘on purpose’.  So I wondered… what would happen should I make a concerted effort to be these things with purpose…well, as Dr. Seuss says… oh, the places you will go.

So this year, I plan to practice being real.  It might not always be the popular choice… honestly, that doesn’t bother me.  Because I’m not looking for popularity.  I’m looking for the best me I can be.

For more on ‘real’, check out our new project 90 Seconds of Real and hit the subscribe button.  You’ll get a short video from the five contributors daily to help keep you inspired, moving forward and knowing that we’re all in this journey together!

35 Things before I’m 35

My 35th birthday is coming up on December 18th.  That’s 71 days from now.  It would have been much better if it was 70 days because then that would have been 35 x 2, but I’m not that anal retentive about stuff like that… (or at least I pretend not to be).

This birthday will perhaps be the first birthday in many years which I approach from a good place in my life.  I am happy, I am healthy and I am calm.  It’s not a fluke that I am approaching my birthday with these feelings, it’s a product of a lot of hard work, both mentally and physically.  It’s a product of having people in my life that are supportive and loving and encouraging.  It’s a product of removing from my life people who are NOT supportive, loving or encouraging.

The last birthday that I remember being happy for was in 2005.  That’s 8 years ago.

To celebrate and to hopefully enhance the feelings of happiness and joy in my life, I’ve made a list of things I’d like to achieve in the next 71 days.  It’s kind of an offshoot of the Journey Plan I do every year, so some things will be the same… and then there are fun new things. I realize that usually people make these types of lists years before milestone-esqe birthdays, but I had other things on my mind in the last few years… So I’m making a modified, achievable version… altho not without some challenges! 

Mail 35 postcards/greeting cards/post it notes to friends and family

Get a ‘makeup makeover’ at MAC

Run 60 miles

Finish reading a book (any book will do!)

Be the subject of a photo shoot

Get a facial

Write another Future Me letter

Get two massages

Write a thank you letter to three people who helped me out of my dark time and into the light

Dial down the potty mouth (that’ll be hard to measure…how DO you measure that?)

Take out the compost weekly

Go on Snowshoeing adventure

Plan the continuation of my tattoo

Take a bubble bath once a week

Make two skirts

Reconnect with an old friend… I’ve got a few candidates in mind

Fill out daily postcards

Join ‘The World Needs More Love Letters’ and then write love letters

Shoot guns

Play in the studio

Knit a pair of mitts

Do one Whole30 (at minimum… keep going for as long as you can)

Get a haircut

Drink at least 30 oz of water at work and 30 oz of water at home.  Per day.

Wear jewellery every day

Get a manicure 

*UPDATED ITEM*  Do the ‘Plank Challenge’ and be able to plank for 8 min by Dec 18th

Okay… this is 26.  I have 9 more spaces, so if you have any suggestions, bring them on!

Because I Can

As I was on my after work run last night and my head was telling me that I can’t, I remembered something an old friend once told me about why she ran.  Because I can.  Because I am capable of running and exercising.  Because there are people that physically can’t do it and it would be such a waste to be someone that CAN do it and to take that for granted.

That thought has stuck with me for a long time… She told me that right near the time we first met and that was in around about 2002 so it’s a sentiment that managed to stick in my brain for the last 11 years. 

I was thinking about that as I ran last night.  Because I can.  I do this because I am capable of doing this.  I have been blessed with mobility and perseverance (God knows I’ve used a lot of perseverance in the last while) and a time in my life that I have next to no commitments or demands on my time.  I don’t have kids, I don’t have a significant other, my pet is pretty self-sufficient and I can work my 7.5 hours a day and then go home.  This is not said to gloat of course, I know from the outside it looks like I’ve got it pretty easy and maybe comparatively I do.  This is said because I think it would be grossly taking advantage of this time of my life and not pushing myself.  I could go home and play with the kitty and have a nap and watch crappy tv while I eat crappy food… I’ve done it in the past and I COULD do it again… Or I could put my runners on, grab my ipod and go outside and run as hard and as fast and as long as my body will carry me that day because I can.

What’s that on your arm?

Back in May I got myself on the waiting list for a very talented tattoo artist in Vancouver.  At the beginning of July I had a consultation with him where I described what I was looking for, showed some pictures of inspiration and then left the details in his hands.  It’s difficult to describe something artistic when you’re as incapable of fine arts as I am… I left with an appointment for the beginning of August and a sense of calm.  About a week later I emailed another inspiration photo and a story about why I was getting the tattoo, on the off chance that it would help inform the design. 

Throughout the month of July, while I was waiting ever so impatiently for my appointment time, I was constantly asked by friends and family if I’d seen the design yet… No was my reply.. I’ll see it on the day of the tattoo and I have every confidence that it will be perfect so no, I’m not worried.  Last Sunday I took the bus (and then a cab, because I am stupid) downtown… I was calm as a cucumber (even tho I find the mere idea of cucumbers most repellant!) and very confident and peaceful.  It stood to reason I told myself… part of why I was on my way down there to get this piece of art etched onto me was to celebrate the peace I’d found in the last six months. 

I didn’t know what to expect or what the design would look like… but the literal second that I saw his interpretation of my story, I fell in love… It’s a weird thing to say that it was exactly what I wanted; even though I didn’t know what that was until that very moment… His art closed the chapter on the last seven years of my life and celebrated the opening of my mind and heart that has occurred in the last six months.  I look down at my arm and see a reminder of the overwhelming peace I feel now… it reminds me to be thankful for it and to continue to seek peace and strength.  And, it’s really really pretty! 

Please excuse the somewhat crappy picture… the tattoo also looks somewhat crappy because it was only three days old when this photo was taken and it’s still healing… but you get the idea. (also, it’s sideways… but again… you get the idea…)

Hummingbird

And for those of you in Vancouver/GVRD who are wondering…

Gastown Tattoo Parlour

My artist was Logan Howard.  And he will certainly be doing my next tattoo… which isn’t as long away as one might think 😉

Trust in the Timing. Always Trust.

I’ve been wanting to get another tattoo for some time now.  The one I got I love uncontrollably but I want to celebrate my new life.  When people had asked me what I was getting, my answer was that I could FEEL it in the back of my mind but I couldn’t SEE it yet… Frustrating right?  It’s so difficult to not be able to put words and descriptors to a feeling.  Even when I tried, I felt tongue tied and like I wasn’t meant to be talking about it.

Jumping the gun as I am wont to do, I booked a consultation with an artist that came on a recommendation from a friend of a friend before I could ‘see’ the design I was feeling.  I went down with my girlfriend and we chatted with him for an hour.  The style of her tattoos appeals to me and so she showed him hers, we talked about what was driving the tattoo, what I was celebrating, why I was where I am today and what I’d come through.  I really thought that he ‘got’ me.  As it turns out, I was either right and he did ‘get me’ but then didn’t spend any time on the work whatsoever… or he didn’t actually get me at all, which is reflected in his design.

The design is absolute garbage.  It has nothing to do with anything remotely meaningful to me at all.  I still couldn’t see my design through the haze but I knew for sure that this wasn’t it.  ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ was something I said to a friend about it.  I’ll just know.

So I sent the garbage design to my friend… mostly for a laugh… mostly because we’d just been talking about the design and the odd feeling I was getting from this artist.

Well as I’m sure you can gather, the reaction to the picture I sent wasn’t good, but then the most amazing thing happened.  The inspiration that I was searching for… the lens I needed to see what I could already feel.

“May I make a suggestion?” he said.

“Yes!  Of course” was my reply. 

“It’s simple.  I’m lending you the hummingbird coin back.  Use it to inspire you” he said.

 

And there it was.  A rush of emotion washed over me and I could finally see it.

I know what the design is, I’m in love with the inspiration and the meaning behind it and it all shone forth from the back of my mind… it broke free of the haze.

Maybe this all seems overly dramatic for a tattoo.  Maybe it IS overly dramatic for a tattoo.  The thing is that this tattoo is a part of my journey… a journey which is so important to the rest of my life.  I assured my friend many times that I wouldn’t get anything tattoo’d on me that I wasn’t in love with… that wasn’t the perfect thing.  And that was true.

I want to say that I shouldn’t have jumped the gun on going for that first consultation (since I’m actually on a wait list for the guy I REALLY want to do the work), I shouldn’t have tried to explain something that wasn’t ready for public consumption and I shouldn’t have tried to force the issue of seeing what it was.  But had I not had the awful design to show to my friend… to open the window to his simple suggestion, then I may not have gotten where I am now.  It’s a metaphor for life if you think about it.  Mistakes and decisions you make will inform the future.  You might not see how at the time and you might not know when, but if you’re open to the idea then eventually the whole picture is layed out in front of you.  Perfect and meant to be.  I love that!

Don’t look at me!

A long time ago, when I was unhappy… no, downright miserable, I didn’t really care what I looked like. I was standoffish and mean to say the least because my home life was a nightmare… It was hard to see the beauty in things and I certainly didn’t see any beauty in myself. Now that I’m so much happier and content and at peace, I’m a heck of a lot nicer to be around and putting makeup on and doing my hair nicely just reflects outwardly the inside that I care so greatly for. I didn’t start this lifestyle of Paleo and working out to get a nicer outside, I started it to get a nicer inside… but it’s hard to keep the ‘nice’ contained to the inside and so it’s becoming reflected in the care I take for my appearance now. It was never a lie back then that I didn’t care what I looked like… I really didn’t. I was working day by day to just get through the days without losing my mind and there was nothing left to invest in my appearance.

Now that things have changed on the inside, my outside is becoming pretty nice… some days I look in the mirror and see how far I’ve come… and sometimes I look in the mirror and I see how much work I have ahead of me and how long it will really take to wash the pain of those years away… an interesting dilemma has surfaced.

I have a huge secret that I have carried around with me, starting in 2005… and then it doubled itself in 2011… I talk the talk of not carrying shame in something you have no control over… I am an armchair advocate for women’s rights and mental health care for those that need it. I would tell someone till I’m blue in the face that rape and abuse and sex assault is not their fault and that mental health should not carry a stigma with it. Because I, from the seat of my being, believe this to be true.

I was sexually assaulted twice in the last 8 years. Once by someone I barely knew and once by my ex 22 days before we finally ended it. I am in general, not traumatized by it. I made decisions at the time to prevent myself from being harmed more than necessary and while it’s incredibly painful to think about what people with no conscience will do… and I know it will be heartbreaking for people who know me… I’m honestly fine. The thing is tho… that kind of thing… it changes you. It changes parts of you that you wouldn’t think or know it changes until something in your life comes up to show you how you’re different.

The experience has made me quite shy… I’m not usually one to be labelled as shy… in a group of people I know, where I feel safe, I’m not shy… but in any situation where I feel even a little bit vulnerable or out of my element, my personality shuts down and I become painfully shy. It’s taken a very special person in the last little while to see me through my shy protective barrier and pull me out. That same person, who I’ve mentioned here before as a dear friend of mine has also showed me that trust is not always misplaced.

The other thing that my experiences have made me is incredibly self conscious. I’m absolutely terrible at taking compliments… It borders on rude how terrible I react actually. It’s something I am trying to work on… it all goes back to trust then right? Trust the person… trust what they say… trust that there is no ulterior motive. For the last ‘can’t even count that high’ years, I didn’t care what I looked like. Truth was, that was a safe place to be for me. Not that I knew it at the time, because the reason I was wearing so much extra weight was due to other life factors and an emotionally abusive situation. But when the outside started to become affected by the dramatic changes on the inside, that’s when it hit me. People are going to look at me. And I am not comfortable with that. I’m comfortable sharing an anonymous photo of my bikini clad before and after on the internet… I’m comfortable posting pictures of myself online… that’s all anonymous… I’m not comfortable wearing a nice shirt that shows my… ahem…‘assets’ …in a complimentary light and then having people look at me. I rationally don’t think anyone is out to get me and I rationally actually don’t think that anyone would be too interested in me for looks alone. However… the damaged and irrational side of me… that voice in my head tells me to walk faster, keep my head down and go eat some ice cream to get a bit of protective fat back because it’s a dangerous, dangerous world out there. Now the rub… I’m also not comfortable wearing baggy clothes that hide all the work I’ve put into myself. I’m not comfortable wearing too many layers for how hot it is outside and I’m not comfortable pretending that I don’t care about how I look. And there is the situation at hand. I don’t want people to look at me but I’m not going to dress or care for myself in a way that prevents it. I honestly don’t know where to go with that. I wish I could say that the last paragraph of this post was going to be some enlightenment over my dilemma… that I’d made some dramatic association and solved my own problem. I haven’t. The only thing I can give myself is another day and another day loving me from the inside and allowing that to show on the outside. I can only be stronger from my experience and while it would be impossible to say it will never happen again (but God I hope it never EVER happens again), I have to know that my instincts both times were right… and be stronger in trusting them. Because what a shame to be taught a lesson like that… twice… and not to take it to heart and get every ounce of experience and knowledge out of it that I possibly can!

 

NB: It was only recently that I was able to recall all the details from the first assault in a linear fashion. I don’t know if it’s because I was mentally strong enough, because it had been buried long enough or what… (altho no amount of burying it resolved the acute pain of the ‘in the moment’ emotions). I do believe that rape, sexual assault and physical abuse should not be kept in the dark. I believe that the more that people who have experienced it talk about it, the more that we can use our own experience to help teach eachother. That my experience might pave the way for someone else to recognize the signs and help themselves. And to help heal our sisters and mothers and daughters who have experienced it. Every time you find out you’re not alone with your experience is another moment of strength. That takes the dark off the shame and pours daylight on it.

With that said, I do have my experience written down. I understand it now in a way that I didn’t understand it then. Having uncovered it and poured my own daylight on it, I now understand why in some circumstances, I am the way I am. There is nothing gory or perverse in my account. There is no content that you couldn’t read on a computer screen at work. And yet, I go back and forth on whether to post it. Not because I’m ashamed, or scared, or even care that it’s on the internet. More because I am terrified that it will hurt people I care about to the depths of my soul. Do I know that these same people are statistically likely to have had a same/similar experience? Of course. Does that make it easier? No.

I think it would be cathartic to share it. Even tho the majority of the readers here are strangers. Because that’s another ounce of daylight shed on my experience from each person who reads it. I’m still debating. Your thoughts would be so appreciated as to the route I should take. But even if I get 0 or 100 comments on it… the decision still rests with me.

The Hummingbird Coin

One day last year in the middle of my struggle for sanity and a firm grip on my life, my dad came down to visit. We took the bus down to Granville Island and while he was talking to a sales clerk, I was digging through a dish of small pewter coins…. On the front each one had a Northwest Coast Native animal symbol and on the back an inspirational word. I found one that said Peace on the back with the depiction of a hummingbird on the front. The sign on the front of the dish said ‘Pocket Spirits’ and while I’m not much for the idea of items being ‘spirits’, I felt compelled to buy it. I thought if I didn’t have any peace of my own, maybe I could at least have this… I carried it around in my wallet for a year… every time I went into my wallet I saw my small bit of peace.

The Hummingbird Coin

I was pretty far from being peaceful and it would take me an additional six months to actually find peace, but still this little coin I held on to… the only peace I had at the time. It was a small reminder that peace was out there and that it was something that I could have. Something that I wanted. I didn’t know what it felt like but I was sure that when I had it, I would know.

I’ve mentioned how I found my peace in December. The calm peaceful feeling that I now have is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I don’t know if you can identify the feeling of peace if you haven’t had the feeling of being not peaceful. It’s hard to describe… the immense sense of calm that I feel now. I still have my moments of course and I still have bad days, but I’m peaceful overall.

About three weeks ago I found the coin on my desk. I don’t know how it got out of my wallet but when I saw it on my desk I knew I didn’t need it anymore. I’d found my peace and it was stronger and more powerful than the piece of pewter I was holding. I sat, rubbing the coin for a long time… playing with it… contemplating it… and at that moment I knew that I needed to give this very important piece of my healing away. I have a friend that could certainly use some peace and so I said goodbye to my coin and put it back in my wallet so it was with me the next time I saw him.

I’m an incredibly sentimental and romantic type of person.

(Romantic:  defined as marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized).

Most people in my life don’t meet me there… my sentimentality is oft regarded as cheesy or ridiculous. My ability to remember tiny, seemingly insignificant details about people I care about, and my innate ability to understand someone more than they can ever know has been labelled as crazy. I assure you, it’s not crazy and it’s not something I can control. For those that I care a great deal about, it’s a built in operating system (to steal a phrase from a friend) function to care about and recall these small details… things that seem insignificant rarely are. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life hiding it… laughing along when my sentimental side is dissed… pretending that it doesn’t bother me that instead of appreciating who I am at my core, I’m mocked for it. Truth be told, it does bother me… of course it does!  It’s a side of me that is integral to my character and no one feels good to be mocked on about something that is innate to who they are.

I took a chance giving my coin away to my friend. In the ongoing effort I’ve been making to be true to who I am, I knew I was going to say what I wanted to say, regardless of how my sentimentality had been received in the past. I was pretty sure that this time would be different.

I took the coin out of my wallet and held it tightly in my hand. I told the story of how I ended up with this coin and then, pressing it into his hand, said ‘I’ve found my peace. Now maybe you’ll find yours’.

The gift was received in just the way I gave it. That it was just an object at one point but that it had meaning to me and I was passing it along. I was told that it was a true gesture of love and trust. And I wasn’t mocked as being sentimental or cheesy… I was met where I am with an understanding of who I am and why something like this would be important to me. The gesture wasn’t cast off, but accepted and embraced in the pure way it was given.

There are some ‘things’ that we have and hold on to that cease to become things… they assume a life and a power of their own and while to the naked eye this is just a $2 piece of metal, to myself and to my friend, it’s a powerful piece of love and friendship and powerful love and powerful friendship can change our worlds. When we change ourselves, we change the world… and when we find our peace, we find that the world around us has more peace.

My hope for my friend is that every time he reaches into his pocket and his hand grazes this coin, that he feels the power in the care of another. That he knows that if I can find my peace (and Lord knows, it was a hard road!) then he can find his peace and he will forever have a friend to walk down that road with him.  We are only alone on difficult roads if we choose to be… and those in my care… those who gain access to the core of who I am… they will never be alone.