For the past three years, every September I've made it a priority to go on a trip and experience something I've never done before. It's a personal promise I made to myself after my mom died September 3rd, 2014. Instead of spending that day at home, sad, missing her - I've made it a point to do something worthwhile to honour her. To honour her life and mine. She was the most adventurous and fearless person I knew and she longed to see the world. It may sound stupid but taking these trips makes me feel like I'm bringing her along with me and experiencing these things with her. And better yet, with her guidance and protection. Every trip has had a profound and significant effect on me when I returned home. Like a personal charge-up where I could re-evaluate where I was, what I was doing and reflect on where I wanted to go. The first year I went to Venice and fell in love for what I think was truly the first time in my life. The second year I was in Malibu, facing my fear of the ocean by surfing some of the most refreshing and exhilarating waves. This year I visited Alberta, Canada for the first time with the intent to conquer the mountains - something I never thought I'd be strong enough to do. I decided to write down some of my thoughts after spending six hours climbing Sulphur Mountain, alone and determined.
Remembering you have a choice
We all have a choice as to how we live our lives. Sure, some people's choices are harder than others but at the end of the day, we're the ones living through these choices. I made a choice years back that I would push myself always. That I wouldn't settle and that I'd use more than just my eyes to see. I had my mother reiterate to me how important it is to have a life of my own and not to rush into a relationship. I also had a fire inside telling me the same. Telling me I was meant for more. Just as I made a personal promise to myself to travel every September and experience something new, I also made a cosmic promise to the universe that I'd be open to whatever it brought to me. Making promises to yourself about how you want to live and how you plan to live is the ultimate prayer because it acknowledges that we don't have all the answers and when we ask questions, the universe is then compelled to give us answers. It reminds us how we want to live and what we want from our lives and in times where it's increasingly easy to fall into old patterns and routines - these silent reminders can help keep us on track. It keeps me on track. The moment I arrived in Banff I dropped my bags off and headed to the National Park with my camera and a notebook and within seconds of stepping onto the Bow River Trail I felt like I was exactly where I was suppose to be in that moment. I felt like I was doing exactly what I was suppose to be doing. The sounds of the busy streets slowly faded and were replaced by crackling branches and flowing water. My heart felt full again. And even though I was completely alone on that trip, I felt completely at home in that moment.
Remembering your strength
Fear keeps us stuck. We put limits on ourselves and what we want to accomplish because we don't believe we'll achieve it. It keeps us in a box. If we're meant for anything - it's to endure. We can be pushed to our absolute breaking points and yet, make it out the other side. Pushing myself physically is something that I crave because It's something I've lacked most of my life. My parents liked to keep me in a bubble, my ex boyfriends had a pattern of belittling me, strangers assume I'm weak because of my size, and authority figures always thought I'd spend my life trying to get by on my looks and never took me seriously growing up. Fear has the abilitiy to immobilize and shelter us from our full capabilities. It kept me locked in my room for months, even years, wishing and dreaming for things instead of getting out there in the world and taking them. Our threshold for pain and the limit to which we can push ourselves is entirely reliant on the belief we have in ourselves - not what's put in front of us. I took this picture, an hour into my hike. My ears were popping, my heart racing and I felt dizzy - the air quality obviously a lot thinner than I was used to, I didn't think I'd make it to the top after feeling this way so early on - but I took a little rest, a few deep breaths, and continued on my trek, one step at a time because that's all I could do - and I knew, sooner than later, I'd make it.
Remembering your intention
In the first article I wrote on this blog, I talked about identifying your intention in life and discussed that my intention was to simply be happy. To find happiness in an otherwise unhappy world. To find humour in moments of anger, ease in moments of pain and beauty in moments of ugliness. I then discussed how after you identify your intentions you'd be catapulted into manifesting ways to achieve it. Nature, creativity, love and connection were things I found made me happiest in my life and I decided that If I could incorporate these things into my daily routine, I'd be on my way to achieving a life I'd be happy with. Whether the choices were big or small, took days or took weeks, I had a silent reassurance that with every small step, I'd one day be led to something great. Nature shows me that the world is vast and I am small. Creativity rekindles the fire inside me that sometimes burns low. Love takes me higher and connection gives me security. At this point up Sulphur Mountain I was depleted. I sat down and ate a small lunch I'd packed but decided to sit and marvel at my viewpoint for a bit before I kept going. I sat in silence as I heard water streaming down a waterfall to my right, an almost perfect pathway laid out to my left for when I was ready and Cascade Mountain in front of me reminding me that there will always be something bigger to aspire for.
When I finally made it to the top of the mountain, sweaty, dirty and exhausted - I was again reminded that even with the stunning view in front of me, it was really only a pale shadow of the true beauty the universe has to offer. I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope it inspired you to reflect on your own intentions in life and how you want to achieve them. Making a promise to yourself is a beautiful thing because you owe yourself the chance to have everything you want. A time of the year that used to bring overwhelming sadness, is now a time I look forward to and I will thank myself and god for that gift for the rest of my life.
Love you always mom.
Miss you, everyday.