**Cultivating the art of the stink eye at the Sears Portrait Studio circa 1980

 

Welcomed – born into a loving family in the suburbs with a police officer father, nurse mother, and big brother

Isolated – diagnosed at age 6 with cancer, which meant I spent the better part of a year at Sick Kids Hospital instead of at school with my friends

Nurtured – by my family, especially when I had to stay with my Nana because my brother had Chicken Pox and I was on chemo

Annoyed – when I’d roll over in bed at night and spit tufts of my fine, blonde hair out of my mouth; Nana got up at 3am to vacuum my pillow

Determined – when I courageously walked to the dinosaur slide by myself on my first day back to school

Ridiculed – by two mean boys screaming, “Hahaha! Look at the bald eagle!” as I approached the dinosaur slide

Crushed – because my worst fear of not fitting in was realized

Protected – when my brother magically appeared and beat up those mean boys on the soccer field (the teachers secretly applauded him, I think)

Healed – by the time I celebrated my 8th birthday

Intrigued – by physiotherapy after I fell off my roller skates and hurt my knee

Fascinated – by all things physio, starting with my Grade 11 Co-op placement. This was going to be MY career….YES!!

Stretched – as I dove into all things health and science at Brock University

Hungry – as I studied post-grad Gerontology while holding down 3 jobs, two as a Physio Assistant and another job in homecare for seniors

Bewildered – when I realized the repetition was killing me and I didn’t want to be a physiotherapist anymore

Guided – by the wisdom of all the homecare seniors who told me to TRAVEL MORE

Impacted – I heeded their advice

Thankful – my parents let me forge my own (albeit wonky) path

Disoriented – I followed my friend to work with her (and Bugs Bunny) in the USA

Astonished – my friend and I didn’t kill each other since we worked 90-hour weeks AND lived in a studio apartment on a pull out couch together

Humbled – when I returned home, took a Christmas gig at a craptastic retail clothing store and moved back in with my parents

Fortunate – when I got a sweet government job running my own project

Exhausted – after 3 years – yes, burnout IS possible in a government job

Adventurous – I took a year-long sabbatical and pursued my dream of traveling to Australia

Euphoric – as I was living my dream and having the time of my life

Crestfallen – when I learned about a close friend’s tragic death about halfway through my Aussie trip

Raw – when I sobbed uncontrollably into the shoulder of my handsome crush when I saw ‘her’ black VW Golf on the street 2 days later

Forlorn – I went into therapy so I could find myself again

Optimistic – when I learned I could survive anything and stand on my own two feet like a ‘true adult’

Inspired – thanks to my temp job as an Executive Assistant, I was introduced to the wild world of Event Planning (and paid travel – woohoo!)

Bewildered – when my boss offered to sponsor me so I could live, work, and play in Sydney, Australia

Conflicted – between the job offer of a lifetime and permanently laying down roots so far away from my loved ones in Canada

Homesick – I turned it down and continued on my sabbatical to South East Asia

Immersed – in a wildly foreign world, not a day went by that I wasn’t truly grateful for every precious moment we have on this little blue dot called Earth

Enraptured – when I danced on a beach in Koh Phag Nan under a gloriously big full moon and a blanket of stars

Confused – when I groggily awoke the next morning and realized I had been sexually assaulted

Somber – because I felt like a statistic, I was now one of “1 in 3 women who would experience sexual assault in her lifetime”

Livid – when I made eye contact with the Irishman on that same beach the next day and he sprinted in the other direction

Thankful – for the young nurse who knew exactly what to prescribe me to deal with the pain even though she spoke very little English

Careful – ever since

Shocked – on Sept. 11, 2001 when I strolled through an internet café in Malaysia and saw what I thought was a computer game was actually footage of the planes hitting the twin towers

Scared – because I couldn’t get a hold of my family – at that time New York seemed dangerously close to Toronto

Relieved – I fled to Thailand to feel safe amongst the kind monks and rolling hills of tea plantations

Thirsty – to tickle my grey matter I studied Thai massage and received my certification from a lovely woman named Noi

Comforted – by familiar surroundings and friends and family after being away for a year

Determined – to ‘get my paperwork’ so I could become a professional Event Planner, I pursued part-time studies at Ryerson University, while working full-time back at the government gig

Eager – I quit my stable job and started my event planning career in a non-profit industry

Appalled – when I overheard my boss calling me numerous NSFW names while I was tucked under the registration desk looking for something

Empowered – when I popped up and stared directly into her shocked face – she shut up and bolted in the other direction

Thrilled – when I found my ‘dream job’ of working with seriously ill children, I was finally able to quit that place

Deflated – when within a year I realized that poor upper management would be my ultimate demise at my ‘dream job’

Motivated – as I planned a trip to Africa (dream #2) with my friend, Kari, which included a fundraising climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro for the same hospital that saved my life and her father’s as well

Hopeful – when we touched down in Nairobi and began our adventure

Humbled – by the hospitality we received from complete strangers

Grateful – for the opportunity to talk to kids in rural Kenyan schools about AIDS education/awareness

Impressed – when a 13-year-old stood up and corrected a Doctor who was trying to teach them about abortion vs. miscarriage (and the kid was right)

Thrilled – when I saw The Big 5 (and more) in their natural habitat on safari

Nervous – as we flew over Mt. Kilimanjaro and realized what we signed up for (were we really going to be on top of THAT?!?)

Invigorated – at the thought of the hospitalized people who I was climbing for during the very frosty, tiring 5am summit push

Dumbfounded – as we approached the summit I looked up and couldn’t tell the difference between the stars and the headlamps of my fellow climbers, both were bright and beautiful

Triumphant – when I stood on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro on my 30th birthday with Kari and watched the sunrise

Changed – when I returned once again to Canada

Confident – when I switched gears and took a job at a marketing agency

Buzzing – when I realized my dream of getting paid to travel AND produce events for a living

Disillusioned – when I thought I could live a life on the road AND maintain strong relationships back home AND a sense of balance in life

Disheartened – when I burned out again because of the crazy demands of work and, more importantly, because of the demands I put on myself

Ashamed – when I was forced to admit to my boss that I couldn’t do it all and needed help – I’ve NEVER done that before…tears ensued

Bewildered – because the extra help seemed to ease the surface pain, but there was still something inside that was slowly eating away at my core

Searching – for an answer, not sure where to go or what to do, I decided instead to ‘travel inward’

Aligned – I got in touch with my Strengths and Core Values and realized I needed to fulfill the desire that started with the Grade 11 Co-op placement – I wanted to help others in need

Decisive – after months of research, I decided to get my coaching certification through the International Coaching Academy (long hours ensued again as I maintained a full-time career)

Intrigued – when my friend Natalie and I shared a 5-hour flight and she told me about all the amazing things she learned through her yoga teacher training

Amazed – at how the thousands of years old yogic philosophies paralleled what I was learning through coaching training

Dismissive – because although I dabbled in yoga over the years, it was silly to take on yet ANOTHER course, especially one focusing on ‘woo woo’ stuff

Depleted – after slogging long hours at the office I’d dread having to come home and then focus on coaching people for an hour or two

Joyous – I’d dance around my apartment after those coaching sessions because I was so dang energized

Reassured – when I wrote my research paper and proved to myself that traditional yogic philosophies work brilliantly with modern coaching tools

Awakened – as I listened to my body’s energy, I recognized the signs, trusted my gut and ultimately, followed my heart

Excited – I left my job to pursue dream #3 of living in California, conveniently escaping the Canadian winter, and get my yoga teacher certification

Connected – with my yoga community and finally with my spirituality (cue angelic chorus)

Skeptical – as I slowly started to trust in my connection to my own spirit and the Universe – whatever that ‘thing’ is that is bigger than us

Astounded – when I realized the more I loosened my grip (read: stopped being a perfectionist control freak), the more amazingness came into my life

Realized – that my brother wasn’t the only one protecting my Grade 1 self from ‘showing her flaws,’ I had also built up a perfectionistic armour so no one could hurt me again – this went for men too

Freed – when I connected that the sexual assault in Thailand was the only time in my life that I truly lost control, which resulted in an unconscious vow to never lose control again….EVER

Awkwardly thankful – my perfectionism and control freak-ness made me an awesome event planner because you have ONE shot to get it right, which demands you control people, places, and situations – BAM! Had those skills in spades!

Transformed – when I learned the healing power of meditation, especially in helping me to let go of those things that no longer served me

Energized – when I graduated from yoga teacher training and returned home 6 months later eager to share my new ‘woo-woo’ knowledge with everyone

Blindsided – when my transition home proved to be one of the most difficult times of my life

Vulnerable – because I didn’t have a job or a place to call home

Stuck – because I knew I didn’t want to go back to the corporate world, but was having a hard time getting my coaching/yoga/meditation biz off the ground

Supported – because my friends took me in with open arms and hearts during my time of sheer frustration and sorrow

Weary – because I had spent 51 weeks living out of my suitcase

Determined – I put all my energy into trusting in the flow and abundance in the world – which is way harder than it sounds

Aware – I remembered to release my grip (again) and let go of expectation so that I could allow abundance to enter my life (read: I got out of my own damn way)

Hopeful – as I started to get some cash in the door which built the trust in myself and my abilities again

Peaceful – knowing I’m on the RIGHT path

Fulfilled – knowing I’m helping others get unstuck and back on their path

Solid – knowing I’m now doing what I was born to do and okay with the fact that I took the long way around to get to this happy place

Energized – as I look to the future and know my learning will only continue to deepen as I pursue my 500 hr yoga certification in 2016

Assured – it’s only a matter of time until my new dream of working solely from my laptop and spending winters on the beach is realized

In summary, it’s been a helluva journey to say the least. There have been extreme highs and debilitating lows, but what kept me hanging on to this roller coaster was trusting in my gut and believing in my dreams, even when they (drastically) changed a few times. I used to think I could do it all on my own (WRONG), that only lazy people asked for help (WRONG), and that anything less than perfection was a failure (WRONG).

What I now know to be true is that perspective is everything. Thankfully, I’ve always had a healthy, yet twisted, sense of humour which helps me take the bumps in life a little lot less seriously. Finding the positive in any situation also helps lighten the heavier loads. I now also know what it means to get deeply grounded and how important that is if I want to grow (figuratively, not literally). And I find this is best achieved through being connected to everything…especially myself, but also connected to my family, friends, nature, the world, the Universe and occasionally being DISconnected from my laptop/iPhone/tv/anythingwithapowerbutton.

I’ve also learned that we are all infinitely supported, but to achieve that you also need to be open to receive the love and help that is all around you. Because it’s one thing to give, it’s a whole other thing to be able to accept help graciously.

But most of all, I’ve learned that when it comes to life’s various transitions you have to be willing to risk it all, take the leap, and trust that your safety net will appear.

Because half of life is just showing up.

What’s the other half? Well, it involves this.
(yep, it’s time to get to work kids).

Tammy
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