A Toronto Transformation

Life Lessons

Dream Diary – Shedding my Skin

purple, feathered masquerade mask

Last week I dreamed that I peeled a thin layer of skin off my face.

It was an odd sensation, though not entirely unpleasant, as it just seemed to be dry and ready to fall away like I was a snake, shedding her skin. It came away almost in one piece to reveal fresh new skin underneath.

Shedding my skin and taking off a mask.

Seems about right.

The past year has seen me really question a lot of things I thought were certainties and a lot of things I took for granted about myself and my life. Compared to the year before of course, it’s been a quiet year. No whirlwind engagements or core-shaking, heart-breaking breakups.

Nonetheless it’s been a year of re-building, of taking stock of what was left when the dust settled and shifting of expectations and beliefs to fit the picture I was left with. Quiet, internal changes made no less monumental by their invisibility.

It’s always so strange to have a moment or a dream make you suddenly aware that you’re changing, growing, stretching beyond your capabilities and limits and what you new before. Usually you don’t know you’re changing until you look back.

Metamorphocity, indeed.

Or maybe it’s just a sign I’m due for my first chemical peel.

(and by “first” I of course mean, I am never doing that)

I think it’s so fascinating that even when we shut everything else down, our brains are left to wander and sometimes to try to continue to puzzle out the challenges we face when we’re awake. How sometimes they make us aware of things we’re too busy to think about in our waking life.

What have you been dreaming about lately?

A Letter to My 80-year-old Self

I hope you took chances on imperfect love so that at least you got to feel it now and again, even if it wasn't for keeps.

Dear Sarah,

Congratulations on your 80th year on Earth (God, I really hope people still live on Earth -I can’t imagine you’d enjoy space travel).

I hope you are rocking some elegant, long black dresses and a messy silver bun with crazy headscarves, prompting the neighbourhood kids to whisper about whether you’re a good or a bad witch.

Did someone develop a miracle cure for your chronic DVT so that you didn’t wind up wheelchair-bound? That would be grand. Hopefully either way you’re still finding ways to stay active and healthy.

Is it too much to hope that you found an amazing, kind, smart, funny and deserving man to fall madly in love with and raise a tiny army of environmentalist, feminist, activists with?

Well, if it didn’t work out quite that way, I hope you didn’t spend too much time waiting around for that kind of lightning to strike. I hope you took chances on imperfect love so that at least you got to feel it now and again, even if it wasn’t for keeps.

Most of all though, I hope that whatever else has happened, your life has not become too small. That you haven’t become resigned to dull isolation because it’s easy and safe. I hope you haven’t allowed your life to fold in on itself.

I hope that you haven’t stopped making new friends and smiling at strangers.

I hope you’re still curious about the world around you and about human nature. I hope you always have a book on the go.

I hope that you are still exercising your voice and that you still take the time to educate yourself about the day’s events.

I hope you still volunteer, that you’re still optimistic, that you still challenge the status quo.

I hope you still see the humour in life and laugh out loud at it whenever the mood strikes.

I hope your calendar is full of lunch dates with friends and family. And if it isn’t, get on the phone, girl! None of you are getting any younger!

I hope that you never stop learning and growing and trying new things.

I hope you sleep well and that your heart is full.

So much love,

Sarah

What are your hopes for your 80-year-old self? Leave them in the comments below or write your own post and link it up in the comments on my Steal My Ideas board on Pinterest!

When Vulnerability Isn’t Enough

You don't have to be constantly in full bloom. Sometimes we need a winter underground.

I talk a lot about the importance of being vulnerable.

And it is. It’s so important.

There is no love, no triumph, no real life without vulnerability.

But something I don’t always mention, when I’m talking about vulnerability is how to cope when you’ve stood naked with your flaws written all over you for the world to see, and it just doesn’t work.

When the deep, raw, vulnerability of giving your heart, or sharing your talent or just of really trying your hardest at something, isn’t enough.

When there is no one there to receive the love, when there’s no applause, when your experiment just flat fails.

And you know it’s not a case where giving more or trying harder, trying again, will get you the result you were hoping for.

When failure inevitably comes calling, what do you do?

I think that often, the people who recover quickly from life’s crushing disappointments, the ones who can stand to be vulnerable, not just once, but time and time again, are the ones who have built lives for themselves that don’t just revolve around one all-important thing.

They don’t just have one obsession, one person or cause or creation that they live for.

Their interests are many, and their lives are so full that when one part of it falls apart, no matter how tragically, and how much it breaks their heart, they’ve got things to get them up, raring to go, in the morning, people who need them, projects to be completed.

You don’t have to be vulnerable with every person all the time. It’s ok to take a moment, to curl in on yourself and try to heal a bit before opening yourself up  again to the possibilities vulnerability brings.

You don’t have to be constantly in full bloom. Sometimes we need a winter under ground.

Have passion, drive and determination, yes, but don’t make any one thing, any one person your reason for being.

Be vulnerable, yes, but don’t throw everything you have into any one thing.

Always keep a little for yourself.

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