It’s Sunday morning, December 8, 2013; and I find myself reflecting on me and my life. At first I thought, I wasn’t reflecting on anything specific. After all, my house is a mess. My yard is in desperate need of some TLC. My children are still sleeping and...chaos is all around me. And yet....I feel serenity. How strange is this?
So here is my reality; and perhaps why in all my chaos, I find a sense of stillness.
Two years ago, I was so excited about my future. My children were almost finished secondary school and planning their post secondary school futures; university or college? My husband wasn’t completely happy with his current career situation but, was hopeful things would soon be changing. After 20 years with public service, and several years of contemplation and planning, I was counting down the days till my buyout (retiring). A few years earlier than anticipated, but in the New Year, I would be beginning a new career, with my passion work. In 2013 my husband and I would be celebrating our 50th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. The dream destinations were Bora Bora and/or an Alaskan cruise. Life couldn’t get much better than that. Finally all our hard work would be paying off and our lives would be changing.
2012 started as any new year often did. Messy house, sleeping in and amazing hopes for the year ahead. You know how you feel when, something just ain’t right but you can’t put your finger on it so....you dismiss it? Well...so many changes were happening. I cannot say this enough or explain it, but when you tell the universe your hopes and dreams, and then put yourself out there....be ready for the ride of your life! I couldn’t keep up with momentum and rather than trying to control it....I chose to keep my vision clear and trust! Trust in myself. Trust in my vision; and....trust in those who were closest to me.
My 2012 training and experiential learning plans were in place. It was six months since I left public service and....something felt wrong; but I didn’t understand it. I know when things become too good to be true, I have tendency to self sabotage. Maybe you do that too? You say to yourself, “Ok. Things are going too good. Something bad is going to happen.” Because I was finally feeling excited in my life again, I didn’t want to believe something ‘bad’ was going to happen. Plus, I know...when you put it out there...often we bring it on ourselves. I couldn’t ignore it any more so...I checked in with those closest to me. “All is ok” was the response I got back. I believe in their words, but I had no idea what the next eight weeks had in store for me or how my life would change so profoundly.
It was eight months to the day, since I left my job – with my husband’s support and encouragement, it was my choice. But now, at 50 years old, my hopes and dreams were being shattered and falling into chards all around me. I found myself alone and lost without the one I came to believe was my best friend. I was unemployed, uneducated, unaware, and unprepared. I now found myself a single mother of three teenage daughters whose lives, as they had always known it, would also be changed forever. It was as if we had been living is a glass snow globe and someone thought, “Hmmm” as they grabbed our world, turned it upside down, gave it a great shake, put it down again and walked away. Only for us, it wasn’t beautiful snowflakes that dotted our world. It felt more like a home invasion; and fire – if you’ve ever lived that experience, you’ll understand the metaphor.
At first you’re in disbelief. You’re stunned and you think... “man I wish I could just wake up”. Then you think, well...if I can just... fill in the blank... stop throwing up, get some sleep, assure my children, or you think, well maybe this...again fill in the blank...will pass or is a good thing or.... Then reality sits in. We’re two reasonable and responsible adults surely we can.... fill in the blank. Then, another reality sets in and days turn to weeks, then into months and....your life is sinking faster and faster into the obis. A lone, the world balance seems to be relying on you.
Another eight months of your life has past by and you’re life preservers are water logged. You think you see land ahead but you’re not sure. The choice you face now is do you hang on to these weakening securities and hope to reach land or....do you let go of them and try to make it to land? First you must remember....you’ve got three other people relying on you and your choices and second...you don’t even know if what you see in the distance is actually land. The last thought you have is... “I know what I’m doing isn’t good and staying here means certain failure for all of us, so...at least if I make an attempted, we’ve got a chance.” A lone....unsure of what might lie ahead and between where you are and where you’ll end up, you make a decision that will impact your life and all those around you, beyond anything you could have imaged.
My journey has been very interesting. My world has been opened in so many ways, as I live these experiences. My passion work is about helping people rediscover their own value, worth, purpose, magic, trust and love. The idea was to show people no matter what life experience you’ve had; you can live life with peace, love, forgiveness and passion. I thought with all I had been through in my life, I had a lot to offer. Well, let’s just say....I’m in the process of rediscovering myself. I lived the 25 years of my life on my own and developed coping skills that worked very well for me. With a few ‘cross over years’, I lived the next 25 years of my life with a man who became my best friend (or so I thought), my husband and the father of my children.
On that journey, my copying skill set grew exponentially. I had no idea what was involved with living with a ‘partner’. What I thought and what it was....night and day different. I guess I thought there would be more mutual compromises when there were disagreements or differences. And I thought both people would be happy for the other when good things happen to each individual. I didn’t imaging married life would be two individuals sharing living quarters and competing with each other. That living arrangement, I imaged would be similar to roommates or dorm life; and the like. I was so excited when I became a mom. Scared sh.tless, but so excited. I thought my excitement would have been shared, as well and the parenting journey. Clearly, another core value difference between me and my ‘partner’. However, as I mentioned....all along this journey, what I didn’t realize was what I would learned about me.
Who is Carleana? What are her core values? Where does she turn in her time of growth/need? Why does Carleana do what she does? How does she find the courage and strength to live her life? When does she make the choices she does?
While there are specific answers to these questions, the truth is...there is always room for change; as required. I will offer this insight to you as well. 99.9% of all I do is based on the relationship I have with my heart and soul. I chose the battles I’ll engage in carefully; “Is this the mountain I want to die on?” If I choose to ‘take up arms’ I do so after lots of contemplation; in the spirit of justice and compassion. In my previous entries and in those to come...you too will discover your own answers to these questions and/or perspectives about me.
Anyway, I chose risk; to let go of the soggy life preserver, eight months after the storm hit my family. I felt, I had nothing more to lose by letting go of the sinking device. The unknown allowed me to believe, there were many more potential positives by taking the risk. And let’s face it....if nothing else....I would be free. Freedom always comes with great costs but being a slave, in my opinion, costs far more. In more ways than one, I am still paying the price of $wimming to shore. At least now, I’m able to make more choices for myself and my children without having to ask for permission or always weighing the pros and cons. My decision has greatly improved the atmosphere in our home. One day we’re faced with decisions like going to the foodbank and/ or social services for aid and the next day, we’re in the presence of people like Jebb Bush or accepting an invitation to the House Commons from Hon Steven Harper.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all of my angels too. In some cases only you know who you are, but I assure you the girls and I have received your gifts, cash, food, supplies, opportunities, etc; with thanks and humble hearts. Thank you!!!!!
With all that has happen in my life over the past two years, the thing I am most excited about is....what I am rediscovering about myself. Once again, I am rediscovering my ability to live in resilience and to forgive. Both of these are gifts I give to me. They have very little to do with those who throw my life into chaos but everything to do with how I chose to make order of it. To heal, I choose to allow myself the opportunity to be angry and sad.
It’s no different than when we allow ourselves to feel the pain of a broken bone or paper cut. As soon as you feel that pain/hurt you are reminded of feeling and that you have choice. We can choose to stay and live in that pain or we can chose to say “Wow...that sucks” and act by looking for away to move out of it. We can choose negative responses such as, regret or retaliation, but in truth....we then choose to stay living in that pain; or...we can choose to feel the pain and do what we need to, to heal. We wouldn’t stand on the broken leg or pour lemon juice in that paper cut, would we? As long as we choose to heal; we, by default, give ourselves the gift of hope. We empower ourselves by making choices that help us feel better. With every single thing we do that helps us feel less pain...we inspire ourselves to choose health, choose life.
I know...this is often easier said than done, but nothing worth having in life is every easy. Cliché? Perhaps, but...there is some truth in it. Often when we have things given to us, we don’t really appreciate what it means to have them. Don’t believe me? Ask some who’s lost something special or lost someone they loved/cherished.
For months, I’ve been living in and out of a state of mourning for what I thought I had lost. Today as I find myself in a state of peaceful reflection, I’m discovering it’s not what I recently loss that I’ve been mourning, but rather what I had lost a long time ago; and that I’m rediscovering on this journey. I’m reminded of Maya Angelou words, “Never allow someone to be your priority in your life, when you’re only an option in theirs.”
As I move forward in my life, I will share my journey to self-rediscovery. Hopefully, it will inspire others to have the courage to live their truth in kindness and respect. I love quotes!!!! Not only will I share them, but as I can, I will incorporate them in my life, especially with those who wish to walk close with me; in my heart and soul,. I say: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ~Albert Camus
Blessings of abundance, Carleana
As I close, I just wanted to say, thank you to each of you who have reached out to me many times and have asked me to start blogging again. I invite you to visit ASOAB’s facebook page to see part of what I’ve been doing.