Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letter to Paul

Gosh, were you ever sweet. Sweet and funny and shy and outspoken and carefree all wrapped up in a cute packaging. And I didn't know what to do with you. You baffled me on a daily basis. I think it was mostly because you were not afraid to say what was on your mind. That baffled me. How is it possible that at 17 you knew how you felt? You were 17! You shouldn't have those emotions for another 10 years, if that.

At 19, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I certainly didn't know anything about feelings. I was 19. I felt fine. But love? How would I know what that's like at 19. Yes, I did believe I loved my boyfriend. Heck, I'd even planned the wedding and the 3.5 kids. But, that, that was easy. I thought I knew what I wanted at 19. Boy, did you ever mess that plan up.

I don't think I knew how a relationship was supposed to be until I met you. You were 'sincere' is the only word I can think to describe it. Sincere in your words, in your actions, in your non-words. You spoke volumes with your eyes without saying a word. You scared me. You scared me so much I ran. I ran to be with someone who I thought knew me. But no one knew me the way you did.

You knew me better than I did. It's only now, 20 years later, that I understand it. And now, I wish I could see you again to say thank you. Thank you for showing me how to love.

Call me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In the photo, I see me.

In the photo, I see me. Exhausted, happy, relieved me. What a goal! 21.1 kilometres frozen in time in a moment that would last a lifetime. I see joy, glee, pride and a pretty confident person with a beaming smile. I did it!

Ha! to all you naysayers who said I couldn't, wouldn't do it. Ha! to the nagging self-doubt that constantly creeped into my training runs over the last few months. Ha! to the rain that started the day and the humidity that ended it. "I beat you". Haha. Damn, that medal looks good on me!

What I don't see is the sweat, the tears, the nagging self-doubt at kilometre 15 that I would be able to finish this race. I don't see the aches, the pains, the soreness, the months of running uphill while my thighs burned, the all too familiar awful taste of blue Gatorade as I eagerly gulped it down or the fear that I would never get here; to the race, the start, the running, the finish.

I started too fast (as usual) and really debated whether I would finish the race when at kilometer 19, I stopped. Just stopped, refusing to take another step; the weight of the last 2 kilometres weighing on my shoulders. I couldn't' go on. I didn't want to. Someone near me cheered some encouragement. I turned to glare at her. 'Don't tell me I'm almost there'. 'I am not almost there!' There is still 2 kilometres of hell to go before I get there. She turned to cheer on someone else.

I had 2 kilometres to go and I was tired but I couldn't give up. One step...two step...another step. Just keep going even if you have to walk or crawl the last 2 kilometres. One step..2 step...okay now run a little, ok walk..but keep walking. Legs burning, lungs burning, the Sound of Madness throbbing through my head...'but keep going'.

Then, I saw the Sign. 'Finish' was all it said. 'Finish'.

As I crossed the Finish line, exhaustion, sweat, tears streaming down my face, I had one thought and one thought only.

'I Am A Runner.'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I think I went there...

I think I went there to find myself. Who is Sandra, what does she want, what makes her happy, what makes her tick. I wanted an answer, anything that would show me the way, the path, my path. I didn't mean it literally but, that was what I received.

A literal path of dirt and rocks and gravel to follow. One rock, gravel road, big rock, pavement (that's odd), more gravel, dirt, grass..but still a path..leading in this direction. So then, I too, will go in this direction.

I found quiet. Too quiet. I found peace. Too quiet. I found serenity. And yet still, too quiet. Perhaps it was just something I was not used to. The sound of sheep being herded in the distance, a child giggles off to my right, a hammer pounds in the far off distance, a ragged breath, a heavy footfall, a pebble. I hear water gushing down a brook. And yet, I still hear the quiet.

Perhaps it was the massive awe-inspiring mountains to my right, the hollow sound of the wind-torn grass to my left, the heavy footfall of my boots on the gravel road that made me painfully aware of the quiet. Or maybe it was the quiet making me painfully aware of the noise in my head. Telling me to stop, listen, watch, see...telling me to squelch the constant noise that I am hearing and listen to the quiet.

This was the reason I was here, was it not. To stop for a minute, a second, a nano-second. To see. To listen. To accept that I am more than the noise in my life, I am more than my commitments, my deadlines, my dread. Here, in this quiet village on top of this quiet mountain, life exists; it flourishes, it smiles, it punches me in the face with a stunness I did not expect. It was I who came here to prove something but perhaps it was this place that brought me here to learn something.

Far away from a bustling, hustling, loud city that bombards me with noise, I can hear a pebble drop, I can hear water rushing down a brook, I can hear the wind whistling through the grass and yet, it is quiet. And, it is in this quiet, that I know who I am. Finally, I can hear myself.

That was the place where..

That was the place where I didn't have to think. There were no deadlines, no phone calls, no emails, no work that needed to be completed. There was no thinking to be done. Just walking. One step in front of the other. two steps, another two, just keep walking. I would look up periodically and see the top of the mountain. As it got harder to breathe; as it got colder; as each step felt heavier than the last, I could always look up and see the top of the mountain; my destination. The accumulation of thousands of steps, a half-dozen meals, many cups of teas, some restless nights of sleep; all there on the op of the mountain glistening against the sunset. What a glorious feeling that would be to get to the top of that mountain.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take me to the place where...

Take me to the place where the rocks are red and the sea is blue, where birds chirp, trees sway and turtles roam.
Here I shall wait for you. In the shadows.
Take me to the place where the sun is bright, the sand is pink and the flowers are red.
We shall tread softly through the trees so as not to disturb the beetles.
Take me to the place where the sea blends into the sand, where the sun heats the ocean, where the earth becomes the sky.
Here we will stand together. And apart.
Here we will whisper across the grass and hear each other.
Here we will hug, dance, smile and laugh. Quietly.
Here no one will hear us but everyone will know we were here.
Take me to the place where you have been so I shall be there too.
Lucrative. Exemplary.
Very excited. Delighted.
Love. Immediately.
Firm. Reliable. Exceptional.
We all love you very much.

In the Shadows

I have been here.
Are you there?
Please come in softly.
Stay there.
Walk over here.
Hug me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's a hot sunny day in August.

But not just another hot, sunny day; today is my birthday. I am 9. All my friends and family are over and there is a huge balloon castle in my backyard. We each take turns.

As my family and friends sing happy birthday, my gaze looks over at the pile of presents. There were many presents. A smile creeps over my face. I turn to blow out the candles.

Now it is time to open the gifts. My eyes look over at the big present. I wonder what could be in it. A bike? A skateboard? A dollhouse? I am excited as the box comes closer.

Finally. With my eyes wide open in anticipation, I rip off the paper. It's a box. As I eagerly look for the lid, my eyes look up. Everyone is looking at me. I open the lid. My mouth drops. In the box, there is a big, puffy, bright yellow ski jacket?? There is a big, puffy, bright yellow ski jacket??

I look at my mom. I look down. It is still a big, puffy, bright yellow ski jacket. I wonder where my mom found this. I look outside. It's a hot sunny day in August.

I looked at the water...

...and I wanted to go in. It was another perfect sunny day at the beach. There were already divers on the rock getting ready to jump in but me, I had to swim near the shore; I was too little to dive. The water was salty but I enjoyed jumping over the waves; they were huge. I looked back and saw my mom waving from the towel, urging me to go in. But I didn't. I just stood at the shore and let the waves hit my legs. To me, this was fun.

I remember the color of his eyes...

..not so much what shade it was but the depth of colour, it was almost as if I could see into his soul. This was the first time I remember writing poetry and love letters and allowing someone else to read them. I was free to say what I wanted, how I wanted and there would be no judgments, no critiques; only admiration and respect. As I sit here now, it dawns on me that I haven't written like that since then. Perhaps I've had no reason to. My muse came and went and now I look for it in everyone's eyes just to see if I find a glimpse. I am still looking...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Heaven on Earth otherwise known as Ste. Anne’s Spa

Day 1 – Welcome to a piece of Heaven on Earth

You can’t tell by looking at the outside of Ste Anne’s Spa that there is a hidden spa inside. And yet, as soon as you can walk through the glass door, every person greets you with a smile, whether guest or employee. It’s an all-welcoming committee that makes you forget about the drive, the worry, the stress and the work. You immediately realize this quiet country inn a mere 70 minutes east of Toronto is a little slice of heaven.

Of course, being that it is the first day, it takes a while to fully relax and enjoy the experience which is why most people who come here stay for a few days. Day 1 is all about getting settled in, taking a deep breath of fresh air and trying to relax. And that is just what I did.

Best thing about day 1 of Ste Anne’s Spa was the food. A delicious pan seared salmon fillet with roasted red potatoes and vegetables, fresh multigrain bread and a too-rich chocolate mousse cake to top it all off. It was my biggest meal of the day and the best one.

After that, I was ready to sleep even thought it was not even 8:00. It was a great start to what was sure to be a great 3 days off.

Day 2, I discover the hot tubs.

You forget what fresh air tastes like living in the city. It takes taking a few deep breaths and a few days to fully appreciate how calming and beautiful clean country air is. After 10 restful hours of sleep, I was ready for my true first day at the Spa to begin. Off to breakfast I went to again pick and choose a wonderful meal cooked with freshly picked ingredients. I forgot how tasty freshly cooked food was.

My treatment for the day was a much needed deep tissue Swedish massage. You do not know much how much tension you have until someone tries to remove it. Then, you know. And boy did I have tension. Kudos to my wonderful massage therapist who dug in and dug deep to release even the tightest of knots (ouch shoulders!). She was fantastic and, after that, a much needed respite in the hot tub was in order. Oh how my weary muscles applauded when I sank into the 104F water. Much relief!

An hour of stretching, another dip in the hot tub and swimming pool and three more delicious meals later, I was ready for another great night’s sleep.

You forget what peace and quiet feels like until that is all you have. And, for the record, it feels wonderful.

Day3: Sweet potato heaven

Ask anyone who knows me what my favorite food is and the answer better be sweet potato fries. Well today, not only was I treated to sweet potato wedges, but also a divine sweet potato soup with maple syrup – delectable! What a way to end a positively enjoyable experience at Ste Anne’s Spa.

My aromatherapy genius (as I will refer to her) provided me with the most relaxing massage I’ve ever had while enjoying the sound of nature in the outdoor gazebo. Followed by that, a scrumptious afternoon tea and then off for my naturally exfoliating facial. My skin never looked so radiant.

Another dip in the hot tub and I was ready for my last supper (oh how dramatic!). And a wonderful dinner of salmon and sweet potato heaven it was. Followed by a vanilla cheesecake, I was ready for another good night’s sleep.

Day 4: Time to say Goodbye

I reluctantly got up on my last day at the Spa wishing I could stay a little longer. With a sigh, I went for a 1 km walk along a peacefully quiet road. I strolled; I sauntered and deliberately took my time so as to enjoy what was left of my short but relaxing time at Ste. Anne’s Spa. A final wonderful lunch and I unwillingly got into my car for the drive home. My time here was short but memorable and I received exactly what I needed from it: serenity. Thank you Ste. Anne.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where to start....

When overwhelmed with information and decisions, where should a person start? Don't we all wish we could just bypass all the difficult decision-making process(es) and get to the end result. Even a sneak peek would be nice..just to see that it all turns out in the end, that all the wringing of hands, countless hours of research and debating, all ends with the happy ending we've all been looking for and dreaming of. Anyone out there build a time machine yet?