OH CANADA PART 1

H and I just got back from a trip to Canada, specifically Sooke, BC.  I won a gift certificate at work last Christmas to stay in any of these Canadian chains of hotels.  I learned very quickly after exciting the ferry that Sooke is not pronounced, “Sookie,” but like the zook in gadzooks.  Sook.  It looks like it should be pronounced Sookie, but you will definitely get a weird vibe from locals if you do not pronounce it correctly.  Sooke (repeat out loud: Soooook, if you are still reading it as Sookie in your head) is about 40 minutes up from Victoria.  It seemed silly to get passports for H and I, and take a ferry to the edge of Canada, but I’m all for taking some small adventures.  Originally the name was actually, “T’sou-ke,” for the first nation there, first nation being what Canadians would term what we would call Native Americans.  Sooke is situated across from a harbour (ocean running in) and northern Sooke, which is a curly cue extension of land running in a kind of c-shape.  Really, look it up on a map, it is a bit hard to describe.  Or check out the view from our room.  We’re on the main Sooke side, the harbour is next, and then you see north Sooke on the other side.  This view changed with the time of day.  It was quite exquisite to watch:

DSC02781

DSC02779

DSC02782

DSC02784

The ferry sitch was rough.  I was late and not knowing what to expect, I hustled all our stuff and H in the stroller and booked it to the ticket window.  You have to drive on, the attendant said.  I went into mom freak out mode, I knew H would bawl and I did not want to unload everything back in the car.  So I asked if someone could drive my car on for me (yes I did!) and if I could just walk onto the ferry.  This was a bad idea as getting up and above from the car area is only accessible by stairs, the vessel was build in 1959.  They obliged me anyways and it all worked out.  My car was the last car out and as I was chasing after a toddler during the hour and a half ride to Canadian soil, I did not think to go potty, er, to the bathroom.  Soooo, I had to pee very badly when we finally hit the customs drive through.  Then the customs agent proceeded to tell me that I needed either H’s birth certificate with just my name on it (this is vital so all agencies can see that the dad has no rights whatsoever), or a letter of some sort.  Well…I pulled the crazy mom card again, not purposefully, I just was stressed.  I have to pee, I have a toddler in the back, and my mapquest is not working, I said.  What can you do to help me?  This makes me laugh, I don’t know how I turned the situation back on the poor customs dude, but I did!  He let me use their restroom and another agent gave me directions to Sooke (Sooooook!).  I did not have service in Canada, I failed to think of that before traveling.  I had to rely on old fashioned directions.  The Victorians in Canada were very kind, I had to ask three different people how to reach Sooke.  In Sooke I had to ask someone at a petrol station where the hotel was.  It was stressful but kind of empowering to find my way around this way.  I thought about calling my carrier to get service, but then thought, what the hell?  I didn’t want to go back to Victoria, I just wanted to stay in small lil Sooke.  The older I get the more I feel drawn to small towns and N A T U R E, and that is the very definition of Sooke:

DSC02819 DSC02820 DSC02821

This was French Beach, another 20 minutes up from Sooke.  H loves rocks!  He was in his own little rock heaven, I believe we could have stayed hours longer.

DSC02822

DSC02824

DSC02825

AH, WHICH ROCK DO I PICK UP FIRST?!

DSC02832

DSC02795

DSC02797

DSC02805

DSC02807

DSC02809

The hotel was insane.  Very posh for this girl.  I brought my mat and managed to get a few yoga seshes in, although doing yoga with a toddler is intermittent, you get interrupted a lot.  I wasn’t in my normal yoga groove.  I was dealing with some feelings during this trip too, I wanted to just let go and have fun.  Not even fun, I just wanted to let go and B E.  I saw someone holding their hand out of their car on the way to the ferry in WA, and I thought, this is how I was to be.  Just letting go and enjoying the world.

I did have a great trip, I was just battling some old demons.  I am really scared about my future with H.  I am so taken care of right now, but I am on the fence between getting a big girl job or pursuing yoga.  Every fiber in my being wants to pursue yoga.  I also can’t escape the huge sum in student loans I have, not having a substantial pay check, or not having any type of retirement savings for the future.  It all feels so insurmountable right now.  What am I going to do?  Yesterday and today I really dug in on prayer and focus.  I taught yesterday and was scattered (three peeps besides my mom showed, yay!), but still a good teaching experience.  I had a great yoga practice this morning, and am starting a new class for two weeks from yesterday.  I am on a new mantra for the next 40 days:  Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, Ganesh removing all obstacles and opening up the root chakra.  I’m thinking of switching my nights from streaming shows to practicing yoga and reading before bed.  I feel like if I put my spirituality first all else will be okay.  And sobriety.  Back to a meeting tonight, I am so looking forward to it.  A week away from meetings is too long for this drunk!

And lastly I somehow signed up to do this writing challenge, Wilsonville Writes!  You write a chapter and then pass it on to the next person.  I seem to get a fuller and fuller life.  It is all good, I just don’t want to spread myself too thin, and again I still worry about taking care of H and myself for the long term.  Our master teacher in teacher training, Jen used to say that fear is the opposite of love.  How can love crowd out fear in my situation?

As it alludes to in the title, more Sooke/Washington stuff next post!

Peace and love.  May Ganesh remove any obstacles you are struggling with!

Advertisements

FOR THE LOVE OF A CITY

***Please note:  I’m not trying to hate on any of the cities below.  I know that any negativity I write about came from a place in time where I was personally.  Anyone else living there could have a completely different perspective on it, as I even did for a big chunk of time.  And as the title hints, these are cities I loved too.***

When I was about 8 months pregnant I was stalling in a line of cars at a Taco Bell by my old house in San Pedro.  Off Gaffey.  I hated Gaffey.  It was almost always busy, the businesses were hard to get in and out of.  It was run down.  I felt so alone there moving through doorways.  All my friends were in Long Beach.  I went to the WIC to pick up my WIC vouchers once a month off of Gaffey.

While dreaming of tacos and add ons (my former vegan self could not get enough of TB while pregnant) I heard what can only be described as a gut wrenching crash of metal and ensuing shrieking.  I was instantly disturbed, I knew something bad had happened.  The lady in line ahead in a mini van started backing up, which I immediately understood.  I backed up too, the car behind me let me out, and I let her out.  I followed her out to Gaffey.  A dog was down, blocking the right lane.  A crowd grew around the dog, the lady in the van joined, as did I.  It was a white poodly looking dog, his/her back leg had been rolled over.  The dog was snapping at everyone who tried to get close to it.  The lane behind us was backed up, the other lanes rushing by.  They talked me away from the dog.  You’re pregnant, they said, and I let them.  I felt bad then for being afraid that the dog would bite me, and I feel bad about it now.  We somehow got the dog in the lady’s van, she would take it to animal control.  We had called them, they told us they had no idea when they could arrive.

The lady called me the next day.  Animal control didn’t even blink.  A damaged dog is a dead dog.  They had put the dog down even though the lady had said that she could take him if he healed.  She or I didn’t have the money to take him to a vet.

I saw dead animals all the time there.  Blood, fur, and guts all over the road.  This dog was a metaphor for how I felt towards the end, how I felt about living there.  I felt like I might be the next to get pinned down, that something would crash into me, and that I might die.  I despised my drive through the port of Los Angeles, a drive I made sometimes four times a day to work and meetings in Long Beach.  I despised the cranes, the containers, the pyramid shaped piles of god only who knows what.

There were my friends and my meetings to find comfort in and only.  This was magnificent and good.  Even so, I felt that if I stayed that my life would stop.  I had gotten sober, so many good things had happened to me, I had discovered Y O G A, I had this great and amazing circle of friends, but it was if Long Beach had given me all that it was supposed to.

It was time to move on.

I slept in the heat of a house with no air in the summer and I froze in the cold of a house that had no heater in the winter.  My body ached every night as I slept on my side.  I cried myself to sleep as I though about how I had to find homes for my cats, my first babies.  I hoped Oregon would be different.  I was grateful for my life.  I was grateful for sobriety, yoga, my friends.  I just was tired of scraping by.  I wanted something different.

So I came here, had Holden, and am having a reprieve.  I’ve gotten to do something I dreamed about in Long Beach: yoga teacher training.  I’ve lived for about a year and a half not having to worry every second about how to pay bills.  Living like that.  You don’t know until you’ve gone through it.

I sat there last Thursday at Free Yoga on the Green at 3pm sharp.  My friend from work said she was coming.  I suddenly felt silly and impotent sitting there in the heat.  What was I trying to do?  Who was I trying to be?  As I thought this a golden labradoodle bounded across the green space over to me.  He sat right on my mat calmly like he knew me for forever.  It was like god, the universe, the divine was saying to me, hey girl.  I got ya.  Keep going.  Keep doing this thing.

My friend showed up and we practiced.  I heard that a couple more will come this week.  A soon to be mama at Mama Bear said she heard some of her neighbors talking about it.  That right there made me amazingly happy.  I feel so invested in it, along with the mom group.  I want them to thrive.  I think I have to refocus and let go, to know that they will be what they are meant to be.

Pictures of my step-dad’s baby, our back yard.  Seriously he does so much with the small space.  And of a 1 year old birthday party.  This mama ate two cupcakes, yum.  Yes I did share some with H.  Of course.

DSC02675

DSC02679 DSC02680

DSC02683

DSC02684

DSC02685

DSC02690

DSC02692

DSC02693

DSC02699

DSC02710

DSC02711

DSC02714

DSC02721

DSC02723

There are so many crazy water features in Wilsonville.  This is a long wading structure, H loved it.

DSC02726

DSC02727

DSC02728

DSC02730

DSC02731

DSC02733

DSC02734

DSC02739

DSC02742

DSC02743

DSC02746

DSC02747

DSC02688

I still miss Long Beach as much as I needed something different.  It’s in my bones.  It’s a part of me.  4th street, Redondo, people crossing the street without looking, the garbage, the oil islands, the way the trees looked during Free Yoga on the Bluff, the way the ocean sparkled, the Queen Mary, Marina Pacifica, Inner city, veggie burritos from Hole Mole, The Maya, Toledo, Mira Mar, all of it.

I needed to leave to love it again.

Namaste & Peace to you all.

SOCIAL MEDIA & ME

I’ve recently been having a complicated relationship with social media.  Me, who quit Facebook back in 2012.  Me, who keeps a private Instagram, my only social media account.  I am now the proud facilitator of three Instagram accounts, two Pinterests, one Twitter, and four Facebook accounts.  These include work accounts that I regularly (except Twitter which gets ignored quite often!) post on.

What..is..going..on…  That’s what I would like to know.  How did I get to the place of checking each page, logging out under one password to log back in with another, and obsessing over ways to plug, plug, plug.  I am not some type of marketer.  Most of the social media I’ve begun, I am not getting paid for.  So why am I doing it?

Because it makes me feel good.

And not in the watching Netflix all night while eating ice cream kind of way (although that is a well spent night in my opinion).  It makes me feel good to be doing stuff for others.  I haven’t had a sponsee since I moved here, so the moms group I started and the free yoga I’m about to start is giving me a deep feeling of usefulness in this world.  I am not advancing my career or able to buy a house, but I do feel pretty darn good about where I fit into the world right now.

Social media can be weird, it’s a lot of stimulation.  I hope it evens out over time.  I keep racking my brain about who else I can ask to plug my free yoga.  I keep emailing people.  My thoughts run in threes most of the time.  Thinking three things at once is too much.  I’ve also been teetering between ignoring the fact that I will be teaching yoga on a weekly basis, to being overwhelming scared of it.  This Thursday.  What if no one shows up?  This is my fear.  I have to remember I’ve done the footwork.  It’s up to the universe what happens next.  I’m glad I began the Mama Bear Group first.  No one showed up on my first try.  Last week and the week before, four besides me showed.  That was enough.  If that many show up for yoga, I will be fine.  In two weeks it moves from Thursdays to Saturdays as well.  This will help.  I am obsessing about it.  Thank goodness for meditation and yoga.  This has been calming my anxiety about teaching.

Something crazy happened at work.  I was hungry and trying to be patient for the lunch our office was going to at a local restaurant.  Somewhere between sitting down and ordering I had that ancient feeling of being high, I realized that my blood sugar must have just plummeted.  I zipped my lip, I know when I get loopy like that it’s best not to talk.  I did my best to act as if, I nodded a bunch and inserted half words here and there.  As it usually happens the topic of conversation got turned towards alcohol, like what they were going to drink, how much, and how they didn’t like it when they drank too much.  Suddenly one of my co-workers turned to me and said, you don’t really drink do you Liz?  And what did I say?  What could I have said?  I can tell you now.  I could have just said, no!  I fully blame the low blood sugar, there was zilch of pausing and praying, I blurted, actually I’m in AA, I’ve been sober for about 7 years.  Luckily no food had been served yet to them, their mouths plummeted open.  I immediately thought, what did you just say!  You’ve worked with them for a year and not a peep!  Why now?  I certainly didn’t feel like it was necessary.  Necessary is if someone needs help.  I will share anything in that case.

It may come back to bite me later, but the strangest thing happened.  I felt a softness from them.  And then they got vulnerable and started telling me their stories as relates to alcohol.  The food came, we ate, my brain was restored.  They asked for more details, it’s never hard for me to convince someone I should not drink.  All I have to do is tell them one story of what it was like.  It was not pretty.  Again, I don’t know if this will be a good thing in the long run, but it just happened.  It’s like letting my son eat on his own or paint.  Jam and colors everywhere, life gets messy sometimes.  I’m not perfect, and I gotta roll with it.  It was actually funny to me that it happened.

Here is the yoga flier I made:

image

I went to the Wilsonville Art Festival last Sunday.  The student art blew me away, very impressive.  H and I had fun, looking at art, playing on the play structure, and eating ice cream.  Being a mom is the coolest thing ever sometimes.  Other pics are from the area surrounding the meeting I love on Wednesdays.  Two weeks ago I drove around after the meeting so I could just pray.  I was taken aback by how serene it was.  I love that I live in a place where I can just drive and find so much beauty only 5 minutes away.

DSC02600

DSC02603

DSC02606

DSC02608

DSC02609 DSC02610 DSC02612 DSC02614

DSC02616

DSC02619 DSC02620

DSC02622

The inexpensive area.

DSC02621 DSC02624 DSC02630

DSC02639

DSC02643

DSC02647

Indeed.

DSC02645 DSC02646 DSC02648 DSC02649 DSC02652

DSC02665

There is a person there picking something. I could not figure out what they were doing and did not want to spook them.

DSC02654 DSC02659 DSC02661 DSC02662  DSC02666

DSC02669

DSC02671

Life is all a lot right now and very beautiful if that in any way makes sense.  It is full and good.  I am so grateful to be in a position to give to others.  I really hope that I can help.  My teacher Jen would say, do your best and don’t get attached to the fruits of your labor.

If you think of it please send me good vibes these next months to the tune of teaching yoga well.  I’m at the cliff, I’m stepping off!