My Next Big Adventure

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The last few months have been a whirlwind for me. Even the last week alone has been a blur as I, yet again, choose to make over my life.

Ever since I graduated from university I’ve been finding my way, one little piece at a time. There have been so many moments over the last few years when I didn’t know what life would look like even three months down the line. Times when I didn’t know where I’d be living, how I’d be making money, or where in the world – literally – I’d be.

My trajectory has bounced across several countries and time zones and I’ve had so many adventures that seem surreal when I look back on them now. I’ve been so unbelievably lucky, and I’ve also made my own luck. I’ve taken risks and gained friendship and love and more confidence in myself than I knew I was capable of.

There’s a Steve Jobs quote I love that I feel applies here (and to all of us, always):

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

And one from Cheryl Strayed, which is tattooed on my heart:

“Let whatever mysterious starlight that guided you this far, guide you onward into whatever crazy beauty awaits.”

I wrote a post that included that second quote on the day I finished university. I had no idea how much crazy beauty awaited me then, and truthfully I still don’t now. All I know is that Steve & Cheryl are absolutely, 100% right. I can only connect the dots looking backwards, and some mysterious starlight is absolutely guiding me onward.

Next Big Adventure >> Life In Limbo

Last week, I chose to end my relationship and move to Toronto. These were two big, scary decisions that I agonized over for weeks beforehand, for lots of personal, complicated reasons. But they were beautiful decisions too, made with love and care and a sense of abundance.

The last time I lived on my own in Canada, it was in a sweet, colourful apartment in Montreal that I filled with projects and good food and friends and plenty of love and cake. That apartment was magic, and I still miss it sometimes. At the time though, I got restless and I wanted to see the world, so I packed it all away and started my adventures.

Three years later, and I’m ready for another kind of adventure – building a life and a home for myself near all my loved ones. I’m happy to say that I now know where I’ll be living three months from now and beyond, and that feels really good. I keep getting excited about tiny little things like coming home for the weekend, or exploring bulk grocery stores in my neighbourhood, or how far of a walk it’ll be to the beach (15 minutes! Hallelujah!).

All this to say: I’m trying to trust. I’m trying to let go. I’m trying to let things feel easy. I’m trying to have an open mind and an open heart. I’m trying to enjoy each moment as it comes and be grateful. If I have learned anything over the past few years, it is this.

PS. Somehow over the past few months I had forgotten that my word of the year was light. I love that I could remember it here, now, and that it came back to me in such a beautiful way.

Looking For the Light: April

Looking For the Light April >> Life In Limbo

This month it was pretty easy to find the light.

On my birthday I got treated to a beautiful lunch at a much-too-fancy restaurant, received kind and heartfelt messages from loved ones, and in the evening went over to my boyfriend’s parents’ house for a small family get-together. We were all sitting in the living room when all of a sudden, a four-piece mariachi band marched in, playing in all their glory. It was such a surprise and so thoughtful and sweet that I cried, and just felt so supported and loved by my Ecuadorian family.

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Looking For the Light: February

Looking for the Light February >> Life In Limbo

One of my favourite moments this month was hosting my boyfriend’s family for dinner one Wednesday night. I made a yummy frittata and a simple salad with homemade vinaigrette and brownies for dessert. Everyone loved everything, but that wasn’t what made me so happy about the night. It was more of this wonderful feeling – a quiet feeling of total contentment, of feeling centered and settled, and of feeling like I can make beautiful, lovely things happen for myself and for the people I care about.

At one point I asked my boyfriend, concerned, if he thought there had been enough food for everyone. He replied by saying that it had been a light meal, just right for that evening. He said, “See! You’re bringing light to them.”

In his perfectly imperfect English, he was making a play on words. A light meal, meaning the food was not too heavy. But also, a light meal, meaning happy and easy and just plain nice for everyone involved. Not too much, not too little, just enough and just right.

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Looking For The Light: January

Looking for the Light >> Life In Limbo

Last Sunday, I had a bad day. In the morning, I put my iPad on the bathroom counter, as I do at least three times a day. But this time, I somehow accidentally knocked it down onto the tile floor, and the screen instantly cracked into a spiderweb.

An hour later, I took a loaf pan full of freshly-baked banana bread out of the oven and promptly dropped it onto the kitchen floor, shattering glass absolutely everywhere and cutting up my toe and ankle in the process.

Do you want to guess what my first reaction was both times?

You got it:“What the hell is wrong with me?! I’m such an idiot.”

And I really meant it, I truly felt that way. Those thoughts played on a loop in my head all day: the serious concern that I had some deep, fundamental issue with my coordination, the feelings that I was just clumsy and careless and lazy, and the belief that I don’t deserve nice things.

I felt dark and heavy and unworthy and ashamed. I’m even still kind of ashamed to be writing about it, because somewhere deep down I feel like it’s embarrassing, like it’s something that would only happen to someone deeply troubled or broken in some way.

Looking for the Light >> Life In Limbo

But I’m realizing that these thoughts that come so easily in dark moments are my limiting beliefs. They’re the unhelpful, untrue, unfounded automatic reactions that hold me back from my joy and my power.

I chose light as my word for 2016, but throughout the past month it’s become very obvious to me that I won’t be able to find the light until I stop dwelling in the dark. Until I find ways to acknowledge my limiting beliefs, bring them to the surface, look at them in the light of day and successfully argue to myself that they’re false. Until I stop listening to every negative feeling I have and allowing it to affect my behaviour instead of questioning its reality. Until I train myself to focus on the positive instead of perseverating about the negative. Until I notice and really unpack all the crazy stories I’m telling myself.

And I’m trying. Every day, I’m trying and learning how to better accomplish these important, lifelong challenges.

Looking For the Light: January >> Life In Limbo

Thankfully, despite my mood I still found lots of light that day. My boyfriend picked the glass out of my ankle, sent me for a shower, and cleaned up the entire mess without being asked by the time I was done. I was embarrassed to tell my mom because I was worried that she’d worry about me, but I reached out to a friend who also struggles with anxiety and together we were able to make light of the situation. And then I went out and bought us a new loaf pan – one made of sturdy metal instead of glass.

Later in the day, I spilled flour on the floor and nearly broke the glass container we keep it in. As I was sweeping it up, I realized that I was calling myself an idiot out loud. I took a deep breath, ignored my insistent feelings, and switched the script:

“I made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Today’s a bad day, and I made a mistake.”

As Brené Brown puts it, this is the difference between guilt and shame: “I did something bad” vs. “I am bad.”

Choosing to be kind to myself may not have been my first reaction, but I am grateful that I could eventually start to reach for forgiveness, grace, and light.


Looking for the Light >> Life In Limbo

I created a photo project for the year based on my word: the Looking For The Light Project (#lookingforthelightproject). The wording is important, because I think that’s what I have to do: I have to look for it. As much as I might wish otherwise, it’s not in my nature to simply bask in all the light I have in my life. Maybe one day that’ll change, but for now it’s something I have to go after with my whole heart.

Sources of Light:

An excellent reminder from Elizabeth Gilbert.

I’m taking Ali Edwards’ One Little Word Class to get the most out of my word this year.

I started a Pinterest board full of beautiful quotes about light, and I’m choosing one per week to write into my planner.

I really want to purchase one of these soul mantra talismans or these temporary tattoos that say “Be The Light”.