There’s almost nothing as soothing to me as waking early to a cool, bright morning after a full sleep, knowing myself, feeling full freedom in the day ahead.
It’s been almost exactly a year since I left for the UK, a trip that was full of mixed emotions. I was supposed to “make it” something, come home anew.
My Dad was on his way out of this world, he in BC, me in Montreal, and it was heart-wrenching. I went, and because of a passport issue, my trip got turned around. I felt like a failure, in part because this was a trip I was making “for” him in some sense. A last chance of him knowing freedom through me…maybe.
At least that what I told myself.
I made the trip as nice as possible, but it still felt…unproductive. Aside from a bit of exploring and relaxing, and visiting a good friend, nothing really happened. I had some peaceful moments, but nothing I couldn’t have had here, for the most part. The highlights were definitely Edinburgh (meeting up with Emily!!), meeting Jaime Khoo IRL (a freaking fantastic afternoon with a tour of York), seeing Sara (still not sure how someone can be quite so beautiful), reconnecting with Colin (20 years later, we still feel the same). I also quit my job, which was something that had been needing to happen, but of course, made things more challenging in some ways.
I spent November in Montreal, trying to be in touch with my mom, and basically waiting for “the” call. I walked, grieved, took space. It was actually pretty lovely, despite the sadness.
And then, the call. I sobbed hard. The grieving took on many different forms through the next little while.
I went to be with my mom for a bit, and it was lovely, hard. Still, there was a certain peace inside of me, even though everything felt disjointed. I went to LA for 2 weeks, then Vancouver for about 4 months. It was nice enough, but even that even turned sour in the end.
I felt supported relationship-wise, because I was around good friends. I needed that—always will. But I still didn’t quite feel like I was supporting myself. Financially things were dismal. I scraped by on bits and pieces of work, but still felt too scattered to really buckle down. I knew I needed a certain type of business guidance, but I didn’t know where I’d find it. And a fight broke out over money, a fight which made me feel smaller and more incompetent than I had in a long time.
I felt like I was climbing out of a long hibernation, only to be sort of shoved back down the hole a little. It’s kind of how I’ve felt all year.
I guess that’s what life does, generally.
Late March, I was back with my mom for a bit, then was invited to stay at an Ashram in the Kootenays with a dear friend. It was the first time I’d felt a hint of sobriety—literally and metaphorically—in ages. And things felt a little lighter.
That was early April. I bussed to Calgary and flew back home to spend April at my own space in Montreal. The point was really buckle down and move my business forward. But I knew I didn’t have long because my space was rented out. I needed the extra income and had planned to spend the summer elsewhere.
I remember sort of goofing around, then, still not buckling down. But I managed to scrape up enough cash to sign up for a copywriting course, which I followed haphazardly through the summer. I knew that doing that was exactly what I needed, but I wasn’t quite sure how until more recently.
I enjoyed the summer—time at my sister’s, my mom’s, with some good friends. There was a Picard reunion, camping, beautiful walks, plenty of day-trips, quiet nights, plenty of wine and simple dinners. And I can’t forget the fantastic (quasi-spontaneous) 39th birthday in Vancouver, thanks to a few stellar friends there.
I needed that company, the support, the freedom. This was my first summer not working full-time in probably 20 years, and it was glorious.
I returned from that trip two months ago, and immediately felt momentum as soon as I set foot in my own space. But between more rentals and a good friend visiting, I still didn’t quite get into the flow that I know I’ve been needing.
The truth is, despite all the good stuff, I’ve still been scraping—emotionally, financially, energetically. I realize now that, although it’s been great, I haven’t been able to find balance and focus very easily. I do have a few health issues and my business to tend to. I have come to terms with myself that I cannot heal or focus properly without complete space. I need (what seems like) a ridiculous amount of space to truly do the work.
So, it’s time to stay still for a while.
This morning is the first one in a while that I’ve known I can just stay. I now understand what being footloose is: as much as I love my people, I can’t expect too much of myself during those times. I can maintain, but not move forward. Without regular, long periods of alone time, I won’t deliberately practice the level of radical balance and self-support which is essential for staying centered while moving forward, both business-wise and personally.
I am grateful for all the arms that held me this year, for each and every adventure and calm moment together. But I’ve also been feeling new momentum, in part because that copywriting course and other growth work (via Kate B and others) has opened my eyes to what is really going on.
It’s not all pretty: there’s still a lot of negative/anger floating around inside, but I’m ready to approach it properly now. Alongside of this feeling of approaching it differently comes different twinges of possibility, entirely new things that I sensed through the past year, but never really acted on.
So I don’t now what true balance and radical self-support is really going to look like exactly, but I do know that health and business go hand in hand, and that it’s all right in here—in my apartment, in my heart.
This is the time to deliberately heal, build, grow.
And I’m ready to dig in.
(PS: This is kinda what the book will be about. ;))
There’s this adage about how when you let go of something that doesn’t serve you, you create space for better things to to come into your life.
On some level, it seems a little woo woo…I mean, you can’t expect to just ditch everyone at any sign of discomfort and then expect “better” things to just drop in your lap, you know?
But when you are aware, paying attention to *why* certain things/people don’t serve you, and how you create more space for yourself to take care, and then also try to build connections with people that genuinely do respect what you have to offer, whether personally or professionally…
Well, it is somewhat organic, but not effortless.
It’s part of life work—and when we treat it as such, when we trust our intuition, it does work in our favour.
As a semi-nomadic freelancer, I feel like I have a little heartbreak a few times a week these days: a weird client, something that reminds me of a past lover being gone from my life…almost every day, there’s a little goodbye.
I’ve struggled to find the *hellos* the past couple of years; really there’s been a lot of transition and I have found myself extremely lonely on a regular basis.
I don’t mean to dismiss the amazing connections that I’ve made…it’s just been different.
Out of these transitions came a ton of space that I’m finding the courage to work with, and it feels like something is finally happening. I still have to work at it, and I still have trouble with the goodbyes.
But today I had that little (big) feeling of knowing that…yeah, I’m actually creating the perfect life for myself. There will be bumps, but maybe I can actually, really, do it.
So: Gratitude to the ones who choose to work things out, who ask how things are, who just take the time to connect, professionally and personally, those people who say “I know you are good, I know you can do it, keep going,” in some way or another.
You are the people that make me understand why I can’t hang out in the darkness of goodbye.
Thank you for letting me know that the space I take up in this lifetime, whatever life is, matters.