He Is Risen: I did not post on Easter Sunday, not because I was depressed but because I was busy doing good things - In His Name. Praying, fasting and good deeds. Whereas Saturday was the lowest point in years, a culmination of things that just crashed about me, I forced myself to prepare things for Sunday. I was making 4 Easter meals for people in the building, as well as a mini Easter Bunny dessert table downstairs in the building. Keeping busy made things better, even when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and give in to my thoughts, but I did not. I actually had a true Easter Miracle. Last summer I met a homeless woman named Leo in my neighbourhood. She was clearly homeless, clearly clinically mentally ill and not medicated ( she spoke to herself and others, and responded) yet she had such a beauty about her as she was singing to a butterly - that is the first time I met her. I stopped and talked with her, and she allowed me to give her a small offering. I tell you that because I would see her quite a few times in the following year or so, and sometimes she refused my help. I have seen her sleeping on Yonge Street, close to Bloor, across from stores like Prada. She always had 2 two or three green Dollarama bags, full of her world.
I offered to help her get into a woman's shelter, to a hospital and she always told me now. Sometimes she let me buy her a meal, or something to drink if that is al she wanted but most times she just told me that "they" told her not to accept anything.
The last time I saw her was a day or two before New Years very late at night. I went for a walk. All I brought with me were my keys and my phone. I had no money. I was not in the best of spirits myself, and it was bitter, bitter, bitter cold. I saw her on a side street, and I had nothing to give her. I went to her and offered her my scarf, and she said "No, He will take care of me." I asked her if I could call someone and she said to me again, "No, He will take care of me." She ran down the street and I went home.
I am ashamed to tell you that it was so cold, I was glad I still had my scarf and I remember feeling very small for that. I went home, more grateful than ever and ensconced in my plush blankets, I prayed for her, for there was nothing else I could do for her. I was thinking I should have called the police, or a shelter, or 311 but she would not have stayed on that street. Many nights I thought of her during this Covid winter and prayer for her. But the last month or so, I did not think of her or prayed for her because I became engrossed in my own life.
On Sunday morning, Easter Morning, I woke up in sunshine. It was a miracle, all the depression of the day before lifted as I prepared my sweets and my meals. I needed a lettuce and I went down the road to Whole Foods, and who do I see singing at the top of her lungs ( and beautifully!) in her slightly British accented voice, but my friend Leo. She was singing to Jesus. Her coat was literally in shreds. Her 3 green Dollarama bags were on the sidewalk. She was alive! She was my Easter miracle - and I was ashamed of myself for my depression of the day before. I know I should not be, but I was. Leo is black, and has truly beautiful features. She was wearing 2 pairs of glasses, dollar store of course. She was jubilant, and I tried to speak to her and she told me to let her sing, which I did. I only had $20 cash with me to buy my two lettuces, so I asked her if I could give buy her a meal, or give her something. She looked at me, and said, "I will take your gift". And my heart soared. She was alive! I told her I had been worried about her since I last saw her in the winter, She looked at my, almost surprised and pointed up and said, "HE takes care of me." She turned her back and resumed singing. I asked her if I could take a video of her singing and she said, "Yes, but only from the back! And she added, " in this state". So I taped her singing, for my heart. I left her there, with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat so grateful to have seen her - there was nothing more I could do for her - and I pray I see her soon.
339 Days to 55!
Still did not post. Ashamed in a way, not even a month and how many days have I missed. But hoe many days did I post? Gentle. Gentle. To myself too.
340 Days to 55!
Lowest Day in a long, long time. Survived. Plowed through.
Day 341 to 55!
Mental Health - self care day. The act of courage is to admit it and to give myself as I need.
342 days to 55!
Good Friday: My day began with the most beautiful Holy Friday e-mail from a dear, dear friend and the kindest, most compassionate good human being I have ever met. And he is also very talented aside from being a very accredited professional in his field. He is a singer, a musician and send me his new video this morning, which I will share on FB on Easter Sunday. He has helped me smile, and gave be back my smile both figuratively and literally. I began my day with that message, spoke to him after and then went to the Good Friday Service at his Church via zoom. Today's act our courage is not mine, it is the ultimate act of courage - how Jesus gave his life for us on the Cross. Thank-you Jesus. Thank-you my friend for being such a becon of goodness in my life. Good Friday, is good indeed.
343 Days to 55!
Standing UP in EMPATHY: It's really hard, but I need to learn to walk my talk and have empathy for someone who has been truly unfair with me - at least from where I stand. But, I need to put myself in their shoes, and see it from their perspective. It all comes down to self-esteem and self-esteem comes from childhood, one way or another, one extreme or another. I was crushed this morning and forced to let go, truly let go of something I loved very much. I do not know if I am in shock, or if I will try to fight for it still. Right now, I just want to leave it behind me and relinquish it to grow into success. But it hurts, I have not cried like this in years, the tears will not stop, but they are cathartic and somehow comforting, or at least , stress relieving. I feel empathy for the other party, real true empathy and they are not in a good place despite seeming to have it all. That childhood emptiness shows up still unless we cover it up with love, for ourselves - thinking we are enough, not comparing, giving kindness around us and believing that when a door closes, another opens. That is exactly what happened to me, a door slammed shut in a huge way ( think of how Trump would have said huge) at 8:30 or so and at 10 a.m. a beautiful new vista opened up before me. I was expecting both meetings but not the vast divide between them - two extremes. But what else is new? Life in Full Throttle - here I come!
344 days to 55!
MARCH 31 - MISSED DAY! - as terrible a day as March 30 was AMAZING! Posting today, but not beating myself up; because I got so many slaps in the face and punches in the gut that I needed to just cope and not get all dramatic on here. Yesterday's huge ACT of courage - making it to today full of positivity!
Day 345 to 55!
Just Grateful: When we let go of things that do not serve us, others come in. Same with people. The ones that are meant to stay, stay, despite any turbulence that may also come along. The ones that are no longer supposed to be in our lives, leave and follow their path. I need to thank 6 people today that made my day so RICH and such an awesome, day full of hope and joy. ( in the order I interacted with you today)
Thank-you for the 6:38 a.m. text - made my day - and yes we will journey together to improve women's lives in Toronto and beyond. I look up to you, and you changed my life with your passion to end homelessness. Of course, I was awake, and I can't wait till our meeting next week. Excited! So grateful to you.
To the one that put up my art work in her office, did not give up on me when I wanted to give up on myself, and called me today with details of the latest opportunity. I appreciate you. You changed my life with my home and I am so excited to be able to give back. So grateful to you.
My visit with the yellow coat "girl" - how do I tell you how much your support means to me? I am so grateful that you are in my life and your insights are so en pointe . that goose bumps ripple through each chat. Looking forward to next week's session. And a lot of win-win situations. I may even get another tattoo, you inspired me with our chat today. Maybe .... but maybe not. So grateful to you.
To the really cool, brilliant, forward-thinking, cross-fit dude with whom I finished sentences for a whole year, thank you for your like-minded sentences in your e-mail of today. You once said that our differences make us stronger - and you proved that today. I am humbled and so excited to change mindsets. Pivot 221? The last one! So grateful to you.
To the most interesting man I have ever met on "the street". Albeit, the street is Avenue Road. You intrigued me even more today. The project? Maybe .... "you should be so lucky"!
And lastly (but ever so not last) to the one who the Easter Bunny dropped off the yellow bag with a purple ribbon with instructions from the Easter Bunny not to open until Sunday! Your EB e-mail made me so smile. It was not me!! I maintain this. I am not the Easter Bunny. You taught me empathy by your actions .... and making me do all those empathy maps when we met. :) I look forward to coffee again on Friday mornings at the table by the window where you changed the trajectory of my life. UNITED - by open example. So grateful to you.
Today's act of courage is to write out these blessings of today. Miracles, really, each in their own way. But the true test of courage will be to actually send this URL to them. Another act of courage for another day.
346 days to 55!
Expecting Miracles: I love words. They can cure, cajole, cripple, console and caress. I was just thinking how much I loved to type the words "expecting miracles" which is something I have done since I first really talked to God in my heart and head. I am always expecting my next miracle, yet I also look for ways to be a part of a miracle in others' lives too - maybe a small miracle, but a miracle, nonetheless.
I was about 6 years old, and walking home from Humewood Public School in Toronto where I had newly arrived from Romania with my mom and sister to join my dad. It was winter and I was wearing my "pufuletz" ( puffy coat in Romanian) and I was hurting both inside out out for I had just been beaten after school and pushed down the big snow hill that other kids had fun on. They laughed at me and hit me as they shoved me down the hill. I was six years old and had already been through so much. Eventually they left and I walked home the rest of the way. I remembered about God ( He lived in Church, I believed.... and I knew he had a Son). Even early on, I only wanted to go to the "top" - no middle managers for me, - I remember thinking that I would need to talk to GOD ( the Father, the boss. not his kid!) I later found out that the way to the Father is through the Son.
So I began my talk, and I poured out my little heart walking home. And I felt something back. A warmth, a calmness that I had never known. I see the sidewalk even now. I know exactly where I was standing. In front of the Mac's Milk looking towards our building on Raglan and seeing the above ground pool ( although I did not know what that structure was then). I think that was my first miracle, finding God, or God finding me as the broken child I was. That is when and where I got my strength, my resilience, and above all my FAITH.
This preamble, all to tell you (although I know no one is reading this) how I began believing in and expecting miracles. Today was the culmination of expecting in a rather bleak month full of all sorts of huge acts of walking in faith. I had FIVE miracles today - count them - 1,2,3,4,5! Today's act of courage is accepting the miracles that came my way today and working with them to give back. I had a conversation today that won't leave me. It opened my heart in shades of cornflower blue ( I did not even know that shade existed) and the colours of my scarf - magenta and purple. I will draw these colours as promised. Maybe it is the lack of connection during Covid, but I talked to someone today that I feel like I have been talking to all my life. I have only felt like that once before and he is gone. I better stop now. But ... I am expecting more miracles. Are you?
347 days to 55!
Resilience: Very productive day, weekend actually. Today's act of courage would be plowing through with enthusiasm, no, not enthusiasm, rather joy even when I have been totally obliterated in a matter. Empathy to the rescue.
Empathy is something I believe in and I have been on the receiving end of it for a few years now, myself. Without empathy I would not have made it to writing this blog and I will be forever grateful to a series of ANGELS not just people who have shown it to me - starting with my Mentor and ending with someone I met briefly a few weeks ago who also changed he trajectory of my life with his views on sharing his own mental health story with me and encouraging me to persevere. We met in a professional setting (not a mental health setting) , and I was so shocked and humbled when he disclosed his past mental health journey with me ( a stranger) in our conversation.
I have shown empathy pretty much all my life - but never to anyone who was someone I looked up to because I automatically assumed that their life was perfect. or at least exponentially greater than mine, so I never imagined that they would be in need of empathy ( certainly not from 'loser' me).
I have grown up these last few months, even this year, and I realize that sounds 'crazy' since I have lived far longer than half my life.
There are two people in my life now that I try to place myself in their shoes and be there for them, as they have been there for me. Today is Palm Sunday and someone who touched my heart so profoundly passed some years ago on Palm Sunday. Holy Week is here. Easter is near. Hope is near. Rebirth. Joy.
348 days to 55!