Category Archives: Marriage

Covid 19 – I’m keeping my distance.

Even after baking fresh bread. After making a big batch of mushroom soup and a beef stew. Even after packing up my paints and brushes, my papers and ephemera, I decided not to go.

I was going off to a week-long artist’s retreat in the foothills of the Rockies today.

Yesterday, I called and said I wasn’t coming.

My beloved has a cold. He also has a chronic medical condition. He’s in the high-risk group.

But that’s not really why I cancelled.

I cancelled because I did not want to worry. I did not want to fear inadvertently bringing disease into our home.

I cancelled because I love him.

I made the decision after I saw that Alberta’s number of cases had doubled yesterday. Yes, they are all travel-related but, one of the others at the retreat will be going back and forth to the airport a couple of times for work while I’m there. I do not want to lay the burden of my worry on my friend. And, if you look at the statistics from around the world, this virus exponentially increases on a daily basis. Travel is its gateway. Airports one of its conduits.

It wasn’t an easy decision. I love being at this retreat centre. Savour time spent in the foothills, surrounded by nature’s wild beauty. And I particularly like creating with these friends.

But I couldn’t do it.

To dive deep into my creative essence I need to let go of ‘worldly’ concerns, of worry, of anything but creative expression.

I couldn’t do that when no matter how deep I breathe into the moment, I know my beloved is sick and I am not doing everything I can to protect his health.

So, I decided to practice ‘social distancing’. I hadn’t heard the term before my eldest daughter sent me a link to an article in The Atlantic, Coronavirus: Cancel Everything. In it, the case for social distancing is clearly laid out. In the data, it’s also hard to argue with the fact that to stem Covid 19’s spread, we must change our behaviours.

Yesterday, I scrolled through many articles on Covid 19 and how to prepare for its inevitable presence in the community.

I was looking for reasons why it was okay for me to go.

There were many.

None of them out-weighed my responsibility to the one I love. My responsibility to do the right thing in these difficult and challenging times to create better for everyone. A week ago, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I would have gone.

In just one week, the sinister reality of Covid 19’s presence has darkened the globe and the lives of 14 people here in Alberta, 7 of whom were reported on yesterday. It’s impact cannot be ignored.

This isn’t because the media have created fear and paranoia. They are simply reporting the facts — Covid 19 is killing people and there are things we can do to mitigate against its impact. Media are also not the ones telling people to hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Human nature’s doing that.

I’m doing what I can.

Sure, it’s possible that my response is over the top for the situation right now. It’s possible it is predicated upon the recent passing of my mother and death’s heavy cloak of sorrow clouding my vision.

That is all possible, but none of it outweighs the reality of Covid 19’s lethal capacity to take life.

If I can do anything to stop it from hurting the ones I love, I must.

It doesn’t mean I won’t be creating. I have a beautiful studio at home. It’s french doors open out to the trees lining the river which I can watch flow from where I sit at my work table. It has a fireplace and all the supplies I need to create. It also offers peace of mind. And when it comes to creating, peace of mind is the foundation of my expression.

So, for the next few days I shall be ‘pretending’ to be on an artist’s retreat. I’ll go for long walks (Beaumont will be very grateful as he is not allowed at the retreat centre). I’ll make lemon tea with honey. Share my fresh bread and mushroom soup and other meals with my beloved.

It will be a different experience than I had anticipated and I’m good with that. Different doesn’t make it ‘not as good as’. Different means it will include the one I love and share my life with. It means having the peace of mind of knowing I am expressing my love for him the best way I know how. By taking care.

I am grateful.

Love Will Never Let You Down

“Smoke rises. Tears fall. Hearts break.
Doors open. Time passes.
Love will never let you down.”

The words drifted into my mind as effortlessly as the smoke rising from the incense stick burning on my desk in the corner of my studio.

When I was a young girl in my teens, I loved a boy with all my heart.

He broke it.

And then, I met another boy and I broke his.

I kept falling in and out of breaking hearts and feeling like mine was broken until I learned to not fear my brokenness but to celebrate and cherish every crack and scar of time. To dance with the light that did get through and to illuminate the dark corners with Love.

As Leonard Cohen so famously sang, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

I used to think that to know love, to be in love, to have love, I had to have a perfect heart and be perfect in all my expressions of this thing called ‘being in love’.

I thought I had to ‘win’ another’s heart by only showing the parts of my heart I thought were worth showing. I thought that to win someone’s love, I had to hide my cracks and scars.

Time and the constant breaking open of my heart has taught me that fearless love means loving my cracks unfilled and leaving my scars unpolished.

It means stepping joyfully and courageously into the dark corners of my fear I will never be enough and trusting that Love will never let me down.

And it never has — Let me down.

It’s just given me more cracks for the light to get in and more scars to strengthen the weave and warp of my beautiful tapestry of life.

A broken heart is an open heart and an open heart is a loving heart. 

May we all live with our hearts wide open, loving this beautiful, precious life in all its cracks and scars.

 

 

Stormy Take Outs

It was a day of rest. A day to savour time by the fire. Chatting. Reading. Playing crib. (I won’t mention the fact C.C. skunked me! Cad! 🙂 ) And, a day to appreciate the power of nature and the benefits of electricity.

It was at 2pm the lights flickered and then went out. Completely. For almost 3 hours, a large swathe of Vancouver Island was without power. Storm. Power surges. Faulty lines. Not sure what the problem was but it was rather exciting for a while with just the fire and candles to add light in the storm.

Inside, at The Lodge at Middle Beach, we were warm and cozy. Outside the winds howled. The surf surged and trees danced in the storm.

By 5pm the power began to reappear. On. Off. Until after about 10 attempts, it stayed on.

I had taken a walk on the beach earlier. The wind blew fiercely. The waves roared and the tide crashed against the shoreline. Within fifteen minutes, the path I’d taken along the beach was awash and I had to find the high tide trail back. It was wild and beautiful and intoxicating.

When I returned, my pants were soaked but my upper body was dry as I had worn one of the bright yellow slickers the Lodge provides.

I felt exhilarated. Revived by the wind and sea and salt air.

This morning, the storm has died down. The skies are a misty grey, white flecks dotted with blue struggle to break through. Rain still falls. Soft and gentle, not the skin prickling sensations of yesterday.

The power is on.

We had a delicious dinner last night in The Great Room at Longbeach Lodge. Their generator had kept the kitchen running, albeit at limited capacity, throughout the afternoon and by 8pm when we arrived, everything was back on. We chatted and listened to the waves and savoured the delectable food and toasted our ‘togetherness’.

And my heart expanded, my breath deepened and my thinking mind drifted effortlessly into silence.

Inside me, I feel the ebb and flow of the waves pulling me into stillness. I feel myself slowing down, once again becoming attuned to my heartbeat, the blood flowing through my veins, the feeling of my bones grounded in space and time, connected to the ‘everythingness’ that is all around.

I breathe. In. Out.

I feel my breath move throughout my body. Energizing. Life-giving. Connected.

I feel my breath move down, down, down into my legs. Into my feet. Tingling against my soles. I feel it move through me into the ground beneath me. And I say a silent prayer of gratitude.

My body is present. I am aware. Alive. Awed.

Outside the wind continues to howl.

Inside, I am rested. Peaceful. Connected. Present.

Life is an adventure. Life is grand.

A Love Poem A Day

Several years ago, for an entire year, I awoke every morning and wrote my beloved a love poem.

It started out as a gift of a love poem a day for two weeks.

And then… I got kinda uppity about how he was receiving my gift, let him know how I would have responded if I was receiving the gift of a love poem a day and well, let’s just say my telling him in no uncertain terms my expectations of his behaviour did not go over well.

I had to make amends.

At the time, he was living in another city and when flowers arrived for Valentine’s Day, I realized I had totally forgotten! I knew I didn’t have time to get him chocolates or anything concrete so, I offered up a pretty email with a love poem and a committment to send him a love poem everyday for the next two weeks.

It only took one day for my attitude to interfere with my intention.

Originally, my thought had been to do something that would create intimacy over the distance. Instead, I created more distance when I suggested he open my emails at 6am when I sent them versus his normal afternoon reading which was when he got to his personal emails.

Harrumph. I responded via email. If I were getting a love poem a day it would be the first thing I read in the morning.

Well, you’re not me, he replied, and went on to suggest that a gift came without expectations of how the recipient received it. That’s what made it a gift.

Ouch.

He was right.

And so, I wrote him a love poem apology and committed to getting my expectations out of the way.

When I shifted, everything shifted.

By the time the two week mark appeared, I was committed to writing a love poem a day and he loved receiving them. So I kept at it for a year.

And in that year my understanding of Love grew deeper.

It was a gift to begin every day writing about love, thinking about my beloved and focussing on giving the gift of words to the one I love.

Recently, I shared that story with a group of coaches at Choices Seminars during the G2 training process on how to guide the trainees through the process of crafting the words to their purpose statement. In the actual process, there are a series of questions that lead them deeper and deeper into the truth of what they do naturally in the world to create a difference – which eventually leads to their purpose statement coming clear.

On that day, I was the example to show them how powerful the questions are, and how beautiful a journey writing your purpose statement can be.

As I answered the questions I gained more and more and insight into what that year of writing a love poem a day gave me and my beloved. It drew us closer together. It gave him a look into my day from across the miles (I started taking a photo everyday and writing my poem to that photo and sending both). It deepened my understanding of Love and it gave C.C. the thing I wanted most to give him and had messed up so badly at the beginning — the experience of receiving Love without any expectations.

Ultimately, what I learned is that Love has no expecations. It does not look for words of affirmation, reassurance nor reciprocity. Love is and when we share it without an expecation of how the other will receive it, or give it back, we transform ourselves and our relationships.

My purpose is to lovingly touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free. When I sent my first poems and let him know my expectations of how he should receive them, I was not lovingly touching his heart; I was attempting to hammer it into submission to my way of loving.

Love doesn’t work that way.

Writing a Love Poem a Day helped me learn that vital lesson in living and loving with grace.

Why not give it a try?

 

How to love yourself first and still be in relationship with another

Once upon a time, I thought being in relationship meant I had to change who I am to fit who I was with.

I thought that loving another meant giving up all of me to serve love.

Life, and relationship has taught me otherwise.

One of the most important things I’ve learned along the way of being in relationship with another without losing myself first is to always, Love Myself First.

It’s a game changer.

For me, that means understanding and honouring who I am the value I bring to the relationship is found in being exactly as I am.

It’s in knowing, the strength of my vulnerability when I allow another close-in is not measured in how much of myself I give up. It’s found in how much of me I bring to the relationship without warping, shifting, and submerging my true self to be with another.

I am done with warping, shifting and submerging my true self.

Which is a good thing! I never felt all that comfortable trying to fit into someone else’s skin, no matter how hard I tried to make myself fit just right.

And here’s the thing about the ‘game changer’ part for me.

In the journey of learning to love myself first, exactly the way I am, beauty and the beast, I have discovered the true value of being me. Where once I believed I needed a man to complete me, today, I love and like me with, or without, a man in my life.

What I value most today is not my heart’s capacity to get all excited about being in relationship, it’s how relationship feeds my heart what it needs  — connection.

Think with your heart. Feel with your mind.

My heart is a connector. It not only keeps the blood flowing throughout my body, carrying vital oxygen and nutrients to every cell, it is continually teaching me how to be in this world by the connections it makes in relationship with others.

I am learning to think with my heart and feel with my mind.

I am learning to trust my heart and question my mind’s demands that I fear, avoid, and sometimes destroy relationships because of the past.

It has been an amazing journey.

To go from broken to pieces, to broken open, to feeling whole in this lifetime!

A broken heart is an open heart and an open heart is a loving heart.

I love my heart for its capacity to feel, to know, to teach and guide me in being connected to the world around me.

And I love my mind’s capacity to take all that information the heart feeds it, and sift through it and measure it and give me feedback on how I’m doing, and feeling, in Love.

When I listen to my heart and keep my mind free of fear, I am free to be me completely, no matter where I am or how close-in another gets.

We are all relational beings.

Once upon a time, I was in a relationship that almost killed me. That was many years ago now, but the lessons learned in having survived that painful journey continue to enrich my journey today. A question I was often asked in the aftermath of the relationship was, “How will you ever trust a man again.”

My response comes from the depth of my heart’s knowing what is best for me. “It is not about trusting another. It’s about trusting myself enough to not give up all of me to another. It’s about knowing who I am is not based on who is in my life. Who I am is a reflection of how I am turning up for me in relationship with myself and others.”

Through relationship with my beloved I continually learn to embrace being all of me. Every day I am given opportunities to expand my capacity to trust myself in relationship without fearing losing myself all over again.

What a beautiful gift.

Namaste.

When did you last have fun?

We didn’t set out to have so much fun. But there we were, laughing and playing along and doing just that. Having fun!

C.C., my beloved, returned from a business trip to California in time for dinner last night. Not feeling like cooking, I suggested we go try out a pub our neighbours had mentioned. I thought it was the one closest to our home. Fortunately, C.C. knew where we were going.

Hexter’s in Bowness didn’t disappoint.

Sure, it’s a pub and the food is pub fare but it’s hearty and C.C.’s Shepherd Pie didn’t disappoint nor did my Quesadilla. It was so filling I brought half of it home for lunch today.

We got there around 6:30 thinking we’d be an hour and a half. Expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed!

When we arrived, the early evening sun was streaming in through the garage door windows that were rolled up to allow access to the front patio where several people were enjoying the heat and their meals. Having just returned from southern California and Palm Springs, C.C. wasn’t up to anymore sun and heat so we sat deeper inside at a table next to the bar. We were two of max 30 patrons scattered around the place. There’s a fancy long bar and a couple of pool tables in the back next to a room with VLTs. Beside our table there was a giant Jenga set and a DJ station set up against the wall.

We chatted with the friendly server, Laura, placed our order in anticipation of eating and going home. We had no idea what we were in for.

Just before 7, a tall woman comes striding in the front door. Scottie doesn’t just enter a room. She makes an entrance. Long frizzed up blond hair piled on top of her head, tendrils streaming down her back. Dressed all in black. Black top over tight black shorts. Black boots. Somewhere in her 50s, this is a woman who knows who she is and what she’s doing.

She prances around the room, laying down pieces of paper and a pencil on every table or every person. “Give yourselves a clever team name and I’ll give you 25 bonus points,” she tells us as she firmly places the paper in front of us.

“What’s this for?” I ask.

“Music trivia!” she exclaims and then she’s gone. Off to the next table to engage them in playing the game.

“I’m awful at music trivia,” I tell uber competitive C.C.

He smiles and picks up the pencil. “What will we call ourselves?”

I’m also awful at picking names. He raises an eyebrow at Sugar and Spice, gives me a dazed look at Lucky ‘n Love and starts to write.

“Laughing Stock”.

Hmmm… do you think he was predicting our trivia game fortunes?

Well, we didn’t come in dead last, but we were pretty close.

It didn’t matter.

We laughed and got lots of extra points for our animated singing and dancing in our chairs for every song. I threw names out for everything — artist, song title, year released, whether I knew it was right or not.

C.C. kept trying to get it right. I wasn’t helping. Neither was a guy at the bar who said the answer for the Bonus question at the end of one of the rounds was ‘C’.

C.C. said, “It’s A.”

I pointed to the guy at the bar. He insists it’s C.

I grabbed the pencil and change the answer.

I got it wrong.

It was A.

Dang. 100 bonus points lost ’cause I listened to a guy who was propping up the bar! Now if that doesn’t tell you something about my past experiences in bars… 🙂

By the final fifth round, we’re so far behind we don’t even know where to begin. And even though it’s now 9pm, we don’t want to leave.

C.C. thinks we can make up lost ground.

But the category… “So you think that’s a word?” defies us.

Seriously? Out of the 7 songs we got two parts of the three part answer for one song right. Artist and Title. We were way off on the Year Released. But we did get 50 bonus points for each song because of our singing out loud and dancing!

No matter that we came in second last. Where we really felt like winners was in all the fun we had together.

And what matters more than sharing good times and laughter together?

 

 

 

 

Can you believe it’s been 3 years?

And amidst all that is happening now, this too is happening now.

Three years ago today, my beloved and I stood on a sun-drenched patio overlooking Okanagan Lake. Surrounded by the vineyards of Bench 1775 stretching to its shores and the beautiful mountains on the other side, we said our “I Do’s” and promised to grow through love always.

The day began dark and stormy. I really wanted an outdoor wedding but it appeared Mother Nature had a different idea. The rain fell in heavy sheets. The sky was dark and gloomy. Finally, knowing I had to get back to Therapy Vineyards and Guest House where we were staying and where the girls and I were getting ready for the wedding, we set the chairs and bower up indoors. I reconciled the image I held in my mind of what our wedding would look like to the reality of nature’s downpour and breathed deeply. Love is in the air. Who cares about the rain?

And then, it happened. Just before 4pm when my daughters and I were to arrive at the venue, a friend text me to show me the skies had cleared.

Tell everyone to pick up their chairs and move the wedding outside, I text back.

And they did.

Amidst laughter and good humoured jostling and comments of, ‘trust Louise to put us to work’, guests quickly picked up their chairs and moved everything outside.

The chairs were lined up on the patio. Our dear friend Alyssa placed her chair and cello at the front of the gathered guests and began to play.

My daughters and I walked down the aisle from one direction, while C.C. and his son and daughter appeared from a side entrance. We met in the middle of the aisle. C.C. and I joined hands, kissed our children who lined up behind us and together, we walked to the front of the deck where our friend Al waited to marry us beneath the white, flower laden, bower that had been moved outside when the sun came out.

Across the lake, above the mountains that edged the horizon, fluffy white clouds danced a heavenly chorus beneath the bright blue skies above our heads. The wind blew. It wasn’t all that warm, but I didn’t care.

This is the stuff wedding dreams, and marriages, are made of.

Weathering storms. Confronting obstacles. Changing course. Going with the flow, and always following your heart.

C.C. and I have been married 3 years today.

It hasn’t been all blue skies and sunshiney days. We’ve faced ups and downs and not so pretty moments. We’ve struggled sometimes to understand why the other does what they do. We’ve picked opposite sides. Sometimes, we’ve held our opinions as more important than the space we share as husband and wife.

But, no matter the weather, or the storms, we always come back together to this sacred space where we hold each other in love. Where we honour the other’s opinions and have the courage to let go of whatever side we’re on so that we can stand on the sacred ground of our being together.

Three years ago I said “I Do” to the man who always makes me laugh. He also makes me a smoothie every morning and dinner lots of nights. He is kind and caring and thoughtful and loving. He is willing to stand in the broken places with me so that together, we can find our way deeper into the heart of what makes us, us. To the threads that bind us together stronger and stronger every day. To that which is always the answer, Love.

I am so blessed.

Namaste.