In A Nutshell….


 

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May the 9th as evolved as rather significant date in my life reaping various challenges upon me.

I’d been successful in selling my condo and was now on the hunt for new digs.

The last few years have been tough in many ways physically, emotionally and its been hard financially as well.

Seven years ago on May 9, 2010 I ran the Sun Run which is a 10 km race in Vancouver. Crossing the finish line had a profound effect on me.  I had also just purchased my first home!

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My focus became my health and well being.  I decided it was time to tackle all the issues that had plagued me for a lifetime.  I got back into running in a big way and decided it was time to dive into my passions and bring them to the forefront.  I pursued writing and photography with a rabid hunger.

For the first time in my life I was really letting myself search my potential and even more so I was building upon it.

A book was in the works, I had joined writing groups, I’d taken a photography class and had found some shutterbugs to roam the streets with.  And I was working on some emotionally deep issues as well.

Emotionally I was sideways for a time.  Dealing with repressed issues was a strange balance between how I was and how I am now and putting them together to become the person I wanted to be.

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People came into my life offering direction and guidance.  And I was actually asking for help, in a round about way.

The introvert was becoming an extrovert.  Still I was pretty rough around the edges.  The emotional aspects were hard to express as I was living through it and not certain about any of it.

As the emotional storm began to settle health issues began to arise.  The first was the heart issue.  I had a stent put in and carried on. I was encouraged to keep running, to keep hitting the gym which I did.  After being on blood thinners for a year and getting the all clear on my health  I decided to treat myself to the BMO 1/2 Marathon.

Halfway through training I began to falter, however, I ran the 1/2 Marathon on May 5, 2013.

Four days later on May 9, 2013 I discovered I had uterine cancer.  So came surgery and treatment.  I worked through all of it, however, my performance at work was impacted as chemo can do a number on you.  Six months after treatment was complete I was terminated and given 5 weeks notice after 5 1/2 years on the job.

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A personality conflict with one of the partners was sited.  The partner in question was a rude, cold individual who commented continually on my shortcomings during cancer treatment. In layman’s terms .  An asshole.

I found another job within 3 weeks.  Better pay and full benefits!

Some things, however, are not as they seem.  While I initially thought this was the job I’d been looking for, it became anything but that.

Working with an antiquated computer system, and this was new industry for me, I walked into the worst mess I’ve seen.  There had been no accountant in the position for 4 months prior.  This had not been disclosed.

The promise of a new computer system that would be implemented within three months of my start date never happened and has still not occurred.

I’m either a fool or a trooper, perhaps a bit of both, but I dove into it, despite the fact that chemo still had me a little foggy.  Perhaps that’s why I jumped in the way I did.

I worked hard.  Really hard.  Too hard.  Rebuilding a company that was in serious relapse with its clients and vendors, restoring the relations necessary to do business in a manner that is balanced and productive.  I worked along side two women who were exceptional and assisted in my efforts in every way.

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In the New Year I headed to Vegas to visit a friend.  A vehicle accident occurred.  My car was totaled.

I thought I’d be fine.  I wasn’t.  As the months passed my neck and back were like a vise.

If my ability to remain focused had been a little challenged before now it was painfully so.  Still I toughed it out.  Didn’t take any time off as felt I could not.  With dogged determination I muscled through.  Working with a DOS based program requires you to think about applications differently as well.

Yet I did.

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I was so close to having the whole thing brought up to date, so close to having all the checks and balances back in place, so close to completing what had at first seemed impossible when I was unceremoniously released from my employment contract.

This I didn’t see coming.

The other major issue for 2015 was the re-piping of my condo building.  Twelve of the forty-seven units lost their hot water for three months.  Mine was one of the units.  The cost escalated to a ridiculous rate.  I cleaned out my RSP and savings to pay for it.

2015 was a year where I felt that I was running up hill the entire year but not really moving.

In 2014 I’d started my own publishing company in early 2015 I’d released my book, however, with the chaos occurring in my life from the accident and the building repairs I thought it might be best to focus on marketing it later.

I’m nothing if not resourceful.  Unable to run or hit the gym…and spending far too much time at physio I thought it may be prudent to build on my public speaking skills.

In effect I had none.  So I joined my local Toastmasters to work on that aspect of self.  2015 was a tough year.  Depression reared its ugly head and as the year closed out I found myself unemployed and feeling desperate.

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I had worked so hard and now it felt like everything was starting to slip away.  I had made some poor decisions.  Shopping sprees that were ongoing for a time.  Purchases of $300 in perfume that kind of thing.  This is simply a reaction, an echo.  It is not who I am.

Still, I found a job.  And I like this one.  I really like it.  The fit is good.

I assessed my situation.  The building was completed, I had my place painted and put it on the market.

And as stated I was successful with the sale and on May 9th, 2016 I found a new place!

A little rough around the edges, like me.  I would make the space a beautiful one.  I would make it a home.

In January I had renewed my mortgage and discussed the plan to sell with my mortgage specialist, who is fabulous.  He set the mortgage up to be  portable.  All was good.

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So when the call came that Canadian Housing Mortgage Corp. had pulled out, that I could not get financing…I spent last Wednesday evening in a very dark place.

What had I done wrong here?   Was I going to lose everything again?

I had never missed a payment.  Never defaulted on anything.  Still I no longer had the safety net of my RSP and my savings had been depleted.

The point of all of this was to regain control of a situation that could well get out of control.

The following day I was resigned to the fact that it would be back to renting. My boss asked how I was doing with everything and I told him it looked liked I would be renting once more.  His response would goad me back into action.  “So…you’re just going to give up?”

Calls were made, bank managers were contacted.  My mortgage guy went back to it and put it on the table.  My realtor got an extension on the subjects being removed.  Again it came as ‘No’ on Friday morning.

Well, that’s it then.  I felt defeated, deflated, abandoned.

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I wanted an explanation.  Not the debt ratio where I was three percent out of what CMHC considered acceptable.  I was not going to go out quietly.

Someone was deciding my fate without knowing how hard I’d worked to get here.  Someone was looking at numbers, nothing more.  Someone who didn’t know the hardships I’ve overcome to get to this point.

I picked up the phone.  Then they at least had to know who they were saying ‘No’ to I decided.

The first fellow tried in vain to curtail my attempts to take this further.

Not once did I swear or raise my voice, though at times the emotions caused me to have a higher pitch. I insisted that I need to speak to a manager and was put on hold, a few times.

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Finally he put me through to Joanne who had been dealing with my file from the get go.  She did not want to talk to me.

I was not about to drag it out, I just wanted her to know what a tough year I’d had and that I was doing the right thing by taking the actions I had.  She spouted privacy laws, she could only speak with the lender, not the person whose life her decision was affecting.

The debt ratio came up.  She had laws to abide by.  Had I broken a law here?  No.  Why was her organization pulling the plug when they had renewed my mortgage for 5 years just a few short months ago?  The debt had been there then as well.  It had been made portable for the very reason we were here today.

And damn!  I’m so proud of how I relayed my message on Friday.  With calm determination I wanted her to know that I was not a number.  I’d made mistakes, yes.  I’d had a tough year, but I’d paid for everything.  I was taking care of everything in a responsible way.  Why was I being cut short here?  You are telling me that a three percentage point is going to alter my life?

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Joanne would tell me nothing due to ‘privacy’ laws.  I requested then that she contact my lender and provide an answer to my inquiries.  I didn’t want to hear about debt ratio.

With the money laundering that is currently going in the real estate market…well, I won’t go there.

I think Kenny cringed a bit when he received the message from Joanne.  She wasn’t happy.  Still this had been an action I’d taken on my own.  Kenny called me.  He was going to try one more thing.

Collectively we held our breathes.

I was so very grateful to my boss and his father for encouraging me not to give up.  I was so thankful that I had the  mortgage and realtor guys that I do in my corner.

At 7:30 pm I got the call.

I was approved.

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I’ve learned a great deal through this experience.  I made many assumptions prior to beginning this exercise of buying and selling.  This time I got my happy ending.

Now begins a new chapter. This time out I am whole, complete.  This time I will reach for the stars and I’ll get there.

Just watch me.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Full Circle


1. Sunrise Steveston

 

Do we move in circles and dream in colour?

I know I do.

The past couple of years have challenged me on virtually every level.  In 2010 I took on the greatest transition of my life and that was to accept myself as whole.  It would take me up until about a month ago to realize I’d been successful in this endeavour.

I also realized it doesn’t stop there.

There is so much more depth, so much more life, so much more everything.

Then the health issues arose

The heart issues made me feel vulnerable and frail.

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The Cancer?

Well this made me feel as though I’d been invaded.  And the treatment of it made me feel ugly.  I felt as if the beautiful soul I was discovering slipped from my sight back into the abyss of my subconscious.

I began once again to have the doubts I’ve lived a lifetime with and as per usual, I hid what I was feeling and I hid it very well.

I was recovering from the brutality of the cancer treatment, running again, taking back my health when the accident occurred.

It felt like a kick…

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Last year was tough.  Really tough.  I’d released my book but found myself unable to concentrate on the game plan to market it.

The building I live in needed to be re-piped and this was costly.

The cement blocks of depression moved in once again making everything in my life feel unbearably heavy.

And fear.  Always at the edge of my ego waiting to blossom if it gets the chance.

I didn’t listen to my body insisting that it needed for me to take a break.  Unfortunately that has been a hard lesson to learn for me.

I took a week off after my heart procedure in 2011.  I took two weeks off after having a full hysterectomy (uterine cancer) 2013 and the only took the days off that I was in a chemo session.

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I took no time off after the accident.

Why?  Well that’s fear for you.  It comes in all forms.  I was afraid to slow down and deviate from all the projects and social events I was attending.  I was afraid to tell my workplace that I couldn’t concentrate.  I was terrified when I was enveloped by the ‘chemo fog’ that I would never get the recall I once had that had been instrumental to my success thus far in this life.

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Today I feel a calm I’ve not felt in a very long time.  I’m releasing the anxiety that has bound me.  What will be, will be. I’m trying to find that presence of mind and balance.  Health issues are still being determined.

But I feel good.  And I know that I’ll be okay.  I don’t know how…I just do.  I won’t fret about tomorrow or be anguished about my past.  I only have this moment.  Why should I expect anything else?

Namaste.

 

 

 

Silver Linings


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I am a person who will experience an epiphany and suddenly the whole world and my existence in it makes perfect sense.  Yet as quickly as the insight arrived it sinks faster than the Titanic back into the abyss of my subconscious.  And for me it is a shadow that I will try to pursue, try to recover and analyze.

Usually I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m trying to discover.  And I just realized that is one of the absolute joys in living this life.

Being open and present.

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I would like to say that I’m open to new ideologies. new thoughts, however, I really don’t think there is anything really new about much of the information that draws me in.   The thing that changes is perspective.  Of how we see something, of how we regard our place in this world and participate in it.

For example, back in the day…way, way back human sacrifice to the Gods was acceptable and considered necessary.  The idea of having angry Gods was a frightening factor no doubt.

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And I often have these questions that creep into my mind’s eye regarding our existence.  How is it that we came to chart the stars?  How is it that we came to understand that they would never change and guide us on midnight journeys across foreign lands and oceans?

Back in 1632 Galileo would be tried and found guilty of heresy regarding his findings that the Earth was in fact circular and orbited around the Sun.

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And mathematics has had a long history in this world and just as I ponder how the written word came into being I too wonder how it is that the science of math began its journey as well.  I would think some of the first measurements would have been made by our own appendages of fingers, feet and hands.   Of course cycles such as daily, monthly, seasonal and birthing became recognized.

But how is it that someone decided they wanted to measure the speed of light from one star system to our own?

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Unfortunately a lot of information has been destroyed and lost to us over the millenniums.  And there is apparently information that the powers that be feel we should not be privy to.

I look for the silver linings in pretty much everything.  There is always a lesson to be learned or a fascinating piece of knowledge tucked away.

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If I rise each day with the idea that I’m open to learning, open to discovering more of what constitutes life and its infinite layers then this is a good thing.  And while I know that life has the bookends of birth and death…it is the fabric in between that we weave that fascinates and humbles me.

Namaste.

 

 

 

The Man Who Talks to God


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The view from my sofa

I’ve had a lovely holiday season thus far.  I’ve visited with family and friends.  I’ve attended a few gatherings that remind me how fortunate I am.

This has been a tough year.  Yet for all the challenges I’ve had they’ve provided insight into some of the areas I need to focus on.  One of them is most definitely my health and well being.  I’ve got to take back the level of health I was enjoying just a couple of years ago.

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The gal pals from school.

I woke early yesterday.  I didn’t have any coffee which is unusual for me.  I’d meant to pick it up the day before.  These days, however, if I curl up the sofa with my Canucks  blanket tucked about my person then chances of stepping out into the cold again are slim to none.

I bargained with myself that I’d do it first thing in the morning.

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Walking down through the 4th Street overpass yesterday morning shortly after 7:00 AM.

At 7:00 AM I slipped from bed and dressed to go for a walk.  Two hours later I arrived back home.  I’d walked the length of the Quay from the 4th Street Overpass down to the end of New West Waterfront Esplanade.  I’d stopped at Angelina’s for breakfast then I traipsed over the Quayside Drive overpass and stopped at Safeway to pick up my coffee.  Then toddled back home.

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Walking along the Westminster Pier Park walkway watch the sun come up 

I was in pain, though it was moderate.  I know for the next little while any activity I do will leave me in pain, but you know, I just gotta do it.  The alternative is worse.

I then went and had my hair trimmed up and decided to head to downtown Vancouver to use some of the gift cards I received for Christmas.

This is the first shopping trip I’ve made to downtown Vancouver this year which is really odd for me.  My daughter and I decided to meet up and have dinner later in the afternoon as well.

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Out by where I’m now working in Steveston 

I arrived downtown around 1:30 PM.  It has been so beautiful out and the mountains were just glorious!  I decided to have a gander at the new kid on the block being Nordstroms.  It actually looks very much like the one in Seattle.  It is bright, open and accommodating.  It is also outside of my price range.

Still they’ve made every attempt to make customers feel very comfortable regardless of their income.  On the second level is a bar where I watched three men taking photos of their Ceasars! I suppose there is a novelty to this idea of having a drink while you’re out shopping right in the store.

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Canada Place a couple of weeks ago at the Charity Breakfast

I smiled then wondered how much they’d given their wives to spend.  They may well need another drink.

Nordstoms is competing with Holt Renfrew and The Bay in the downtown core.  I’m sure they’ll do well.

I checked out Old Navy then it was on to MAC.  I stopped in at various stores along the way.  I’m on the hunt for some good work shoes for the docks out in Steveston.  Uggs had a nice pair that was just a little too expensive at this time coming in at $255.

I’ll head over to the outlet stores in Queensborough to see if I can find a deal.

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The mountains covered in snow yesterday at 4:30 PM

I made my way down Robson to Burrard then headed toward Mahoney & Sons on the water where I would be meeting my daughter.  I definitely got my 10,000 steps in and I was feeling it.  I was now in need of a bathroom.  I went into the Royal Centre Mall and could not find a public washroom at all.  The Hyatt Regency Lobby claimed to have facilities but I could not find them.  I was running early so I stopped at the Elephant and Castle deciding to use their facilities, have a pint and rest for a bit.

Pulling out my notebook I began to jot down a few thoughts.  A man sitting a few seats over asked me what I was writing about.  He also told me I had bronchitis when I coughed. I smiled and told that no, I didn’t have this affliction.

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Steveston a couple of weeks ago in the morning

He continued to ask me questions periodically to which I would reply.  A text message made it clear I’d be here a little longer so decided to give up the writing quest and chat with the fellow beside me.  I’ve always enjoyed conversing with people.  I’m seldom intimidated and if the conversation gets uncomfortable, then I politely excuse myself.

He asked me what I thought God was.  Quite the ice breakers.

I told him that to me God was an entity of pure energy that resided within all of us and a.k.a. love.  He spoke of the big bang theory, the collision of light and dark matter.  He spoke of time and our human failings.  It was an interesting conversation.  He told me God speaks through him and that life is about love and compassion.  He went on to tell me that he was clairvoyant as well.

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At the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre yesterday

Smiling he told me I’m an old soul.  I’ve been told this in the past as well.  He wanted to pay for my drink and buy me another.  I politely declined.  It really wasn’t necessary.  He told me I’d write about him.  I grinned and said yes, I most likely would.  He claimed to have money and lot of it and he was having issues with his family.

We did not exchange names.  There was something very familiar about him though and there was a sadness that resonated through him.  He told me I still have some anger issues.  This is true, though I’m aware and working on these aspects of self.

We spoke about dimensions and the need to get out of the 3rd dimension and into the 4th and beyond.  Now, you may be thinking that he was a little out there.  The odd thing is I’ve been researching all of these things for many years now.

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The world contained at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre

Some of the posts I’ve written on this blog deal with these topics as well.

It was time to leave.  I think he would have talked well into the night had I remained.  I wished him well then went to freshen up a bit.  As I left the establishment I noted he was no longer there.

Later when I got home certain parts of this conversation came back to me.  He asked me if I could ask God anything what would it be.  After a few minutes of consideraton I decided that I’d ask if I was done with the health issues I’ve experienced.

The answer was interesting.  If I didn’t want them back then I was in the clear and would live a long life.  And oddly this made sense.

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Winter foliage on the Quay in New West yesterday morning

Now it’s about health and wellness.  I’ve got a long road ahead of me.

The other thing that intrigued me was a comment that he made about the anger issues that are still ongoing.  This is negative energy of which I’m aware.  I described it as peeling back layers of an onion.  You think you’ve dealt with everything only to find yet another issue that needs to be addressed.

“Before you go to sleep tonight, count to eight, then think about the relationship between you father and his dad.  There may be some answers there. ” he instructed.

This struck simply because I never spoke about my family at all and this is indeed a relationship I know very little about.

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Santa’s a little hung up on the Quay in New West yesterday

The conversation had been very much about the great beyond and our place in it.  Dark matter will swallow light if you let it and in many ways he is right in that we are in this struggle currently on our planet.

If we give in to fear and anger it will consume us.  Not a good place to be.

And as I walked down to meet my daughter for dinner I thought of how good it was to converse with a stranger about the state of everything.

And there have been several times in my life when those conversations have indeed steered me in a direction I’d not thought of previously.  Sometimes they open the mind just a little more.

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What a lovely way to commemorate those you loved. Located at the Quay in New West

And sometimes it’s just great chatting with someone you don’t know and will likely never cross paths with again.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

The Eagles Among Us


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Time to start doing the things I love again.

Admittedly I’ve been traversing through the realms of depression once again.  It’s been a tough year.

And while I may feel a little stuck, one thing I do know, is that I’ll get past this.  I will learn from the events of this year and grow as a result.

I’ve got to get back out there and try things not attempted before.  Oh, don’t worry. By this I’m not talking about leaping from planes or any such nonsense.  Those are activities that have no interest for this gal.

I’ve been considering a public speaking series to be offered in at secondary schools here in Vancouver and surrounding suburbs.  I will be drafting up the idea and then check in with my Toastmaster compatriots for some guidance on this.  I really do want to use the skills I’m developing in this area.

Later today we are having an Open House at Toastmasters.  After just 5 1/2 months I’ve completed the first manual and am working on the second that focuses on leadership.

On the weekend my photography group headed up to the 20th Annual Eagle Festival in Harrison Mills.  This is out in the beautiful Fraser Valley. It is an 1 1/2 hour drive from my home.  Saturday was spectacular weather wise.  I offered to carpool and two members came along with me.  We left at 9:00 AM.  It’s getting cold as winter is coming.

The effect was a magical mist that hung over the river kissing the trees that lined the shore along the way.  The deep autumn blue sky offered a fabulous contrast.

We arrived at our destination and spent the next four hours exploring the area and watching the eagles feast on the spawning salmon.

The area had been hit by a storm with high winds earlier in the week and the evidence was everywhere.

The treat was being able to watch hundreds of eagles!  At times there would be twenty or more circling high in the sky above.

Here are a few images from this event.  Enjoy!

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Looking for Direction


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For those of you who have followed this blog, you’ll note I’ve not been very active lately on this forum.

I am feeling scattered these days.

I’m once again unemployed and it happened rather suddenly and unexpectedly.

And I find myself once again looking for direction.  I’ve traversed this path a time or two.  I’m missing something , for example, the kazillion red flags that seem to go up a few months in.

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Do I pay them mind?  No.  I buckle down and get to work.

And as the quick sand swallows me,  do I admit that perhaps my choice may have been marred by echoes from my past?

No.  I sink ever deeper fighting all the way dammit.

And even as I can see the writing on the wall…after all it’s now flashing neon at me…do I admit that I may have erred on this?

It is usually at this point when I begin to reconcile all the red flags that have come prior to this moment as I accept that my days are numbered and the madness I’ve been entrenched in must surely come to an end.

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I was at a Toastmaster meeting this evening and one of our members mentioned the necessity of a ‘F-IT’ list.

Quite simply, write down all the things that you don’t want in your life.

And at this moment I’m conflicted like never before.   Should I start my own business? Should I take something else?  Should I focus more on my writing?

The thing that has been lacking with the three places I’ve worked at over the last 10 years has been communication.  I’ve been tossed a mess and I’ve cleaned it up with virtually no direction from those who hired me.

And while these relationships seem to begin  on a good enough note, they start to go south when I begin to realize the depth of the problems and try to discuss it.

In truth this is when I should be walking out the door…no, make that running, as at this point there have been a few substantial problems that have already cropped up prior to this.

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And while I’ve always honoured the job and left the position in excellent shape for whomever follows in my stead, at times it has a hollow resonance to it.

I can’t go back though and I don’t want to.  Now I just gotta figure out what I’m doing moving forward.

Even my blog, for example.

It began as a way to become a better writer.  I believe I’ve achieved this in a big way.  It was never a popularity contest even though I felt quite neglected a time or two.  I’ve voiced this point of view a few times.

And I accepted that I’m not good at the marketing side of this whole blog thing and I’m still abysmal at it.

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This blog has become, to some degree, an online journal.  I’ve simply shared and recorded the last 3 1/2 years of my life much the way I’ve recorded the previous 54 years which is through the written word.

 

I really  need to focus on my writing in a big way.  I need to focus on my physical and emotional well being in a big way.

I’ve been out of work four weeks and it occurred to me that I could have written a first draft in that time.

Instead, I’ve been curled up on my sofa.  I have not been feeling very good…some weird cold thing.

Dr. Phil is pissing me off, Ellen is too bloody happy, Dr. Oz is driving me to madness and they just keep yelling at each on The View.

And why the hell am watching this stuff anyway?  I could be penning the next bestseller!

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Actually I’ve already penned and published a bestseller…just that no one knows this yet!  I need to change that.

It’s back to the lab.  Time to reinvent the wheel…again.  Perhaps I’ll actually get it to work this time out. And by this, metaphorically I am the wheel.  I was really close this last time out so I’ll go back…tweak it and get back out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Many Choices…


 

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I’ve been absent from this forum over the last few months.  It’s not a question of having nothing to say.  I’ve always got something to say.  These days I’m slowing down a bit to decide the best method to deliver what it is I want to convey and, in fact, I’ve been considering the message itself.

I’m learning little by little how to navigate in this world of social media.  I’ve read many posts and watched podcasts.  I’ve hooked up Hootesuite but still don’t really know how to use it.  My daughter will give me a crash course at some point.

My health is improving but now I need to really focus on getting myself back into shape.

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I still have lingering symptoms from the cancer treatment.   As I approach two years of being cancer free,  it is a milestone. This time frame in terms of recovery is particularly important for those having suffered Uterine Cancer.  If the cancer is to reoccur, it is usually within two years after the initial diagnosis and treatment.

I’ll be checking out the iMRS Swiss Bionic Energy Mat next Wednesday.  I’d like to find out a bit more about this and I know a couple who offer treatments.  So I may very well go for a treatment to see if it will help regenerate healthy tissue and repair some of the internal damage I know exists.

It is my understanding that notable improvement can occur after just one treatment.  Considering the issues I’ve had with my back since the car accident earlier in the year, this may provide some of the relief I’ve been seeking.  After all if I want to become active again, I need to find a way to manage the pain threshold so that I can rebuild.

I’ve been exercising my shutterbug passions and practicing hard at public speaking.  Where this will take me, I’m not certain but I’ll be prepared.

These days the focus is on where I want to go with my life.  There are several options and I have to decide which one not only serves me best but that allows me to give back in the manner that I want to.  I’ve been developing ideas and now I need to implement them.

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Stay tuned!