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Oh, The Lessons I’ve Learned

I cannot believe it’s that time already–that time of year when we slow down, revisit, and reflect on all that the year has brought us.

The sun is setting on 2015, and if there was ever a year when I really, really, wanted to get this down on…er…computer, it is definitely this one. But where do I begin? Do I start with the bad? Do I focus only on the good? Do I give thanks for the balance? Yes, yes, and yes. Because the ups and downs have been in full swing this year and you can’t have one without the other. Because the necessity, the role, of each side has never been this clear before.

Because love. Love made it all bearable. Love made it easy to see through.

I took my time with falling in love. And looking back at how much we both have blossomed in the last year has been nothing short of exhilarating. I’ve almost run out of adjectives to describe the sensation, the choice, that is loving, and how it has helped me heal faster than I could have ever imagined. That’s not to say it fills the emptiness. It is still as present now as it was when I first accepted … it. And as you can see, I still have trouble calling it a death or referring to it as a passing or whatever else people say to cushion the blow. (So maybe I haven’t really accepted it?) But I am healing. My head is up and I am walking on, hand-in-hand with the other half of me, as I prepare to take on whatever else is to come.

So what have I learned this year? What has he taught me? What has life taught me? What has love taught me? It might be easier to say what I haven’t learned yet. But here’s to trying to pin down some of the big stuff.

1. There’s no such thing as a step backward.

This is very important. And it is perhaps my hardest yet most rewarding lesson learned. If you let me, I’d spend so much of my time feeling like there’s no movement. I’d beat myself up for days on end for making a “mistake” or for listening to my ___ (head? heart? gut? whatever) and not listening to my ____ (insert same series). But then one day a little birdie came to me and let me know that there’s no such thing as a mistake. Literally every single step you take in life, whether good, bad, or indifferent, leads you to where you need to be. Every choice is a step on your journey. Had I not made one last bad decision, I wouldn’t be as complete and certain as I am now. The steps I took had been purposely laid out before me. And although I obviously didn’t realise it at the time, it took me to exactly where I am meant to be in this moment. That truth will be worth it every single time. So never ever stop putting one foot before the other.

2. Self-love is the best love.

Is this written down in some book of cliche’s somewhere in an empty library? It felt extra cliche just typing it out just now, but I guess all cliches are such for a reason. They’ve been over-said and 0ver-applied because well … they’re true. Some might even argue that this should have been lesson number one, but hey, you’re not me. And I love myself! (I had to). Jokes aside, though, I have spent so much time courting myself in the last two years, getting to know me all over again, falling in love with the process, falling in love with my choices, and through it all I have discovered that there’s nothing more freeing than being at peace with who you are as a person; realising that you are enough, and you always will be. Automatically, this leads to you being at peace with every single decision you have made in life and to understanding that everything is as it should be–all ways, always. This also leads back to No. 1.

It helps you be a better all around human being too. You no longer have to slither around picking apart other people in search for pieces of yourself. You feel complete; by yourself but never lonely. You learn to navigate through the yin and the yang. You learn the balance of life. You learn acceptance, grace, and understanding. You learn compassion, first for yourself and then for others. You learn love. True love.

As Zoey Saldana so rightfully said, (how did I even happen upon that?) “I know who I am. I love who I am…I like my mistakes and I like the way I learn. And I like the pace with which I learn from my mistakes. I don’t want to be anybody else but me.”

And I mean it.

3. Patience.

At this, I have to have a conversation with myself that goes something like: “Pshh you thought you were patient before? Ha! Take a seat misses, you’ve got a long way to go!” For real though. I actually thought I was the most patient little butterfly in all the land until 2015 came and said nah, you have a little longer to wait. Wait and all the answers will come to you. As my King always says, “just be still for some confirmation.” Lesson learned. And boy, was it worth it.

4. It really does get better.

This might be a little depressing to think about but when it comes to mourning, it does get better with experience. (I lost 5 close people this year alone…Insert straight face emoji here.) I hate to say it but I think I may have gone through enough death in my lifetime to where I’ve either A. Become very numb to the pain B. Learned how to ignore it or C. Learned how to cope healthily. I don’t have the best history with coping mechanisms in death, but I’ve been doing pretty OK this time around. It’s still the first thing I think about every day, at worst the second, and sometimes I’m not sure who to be sad about in any given moment. But I function. I actually get by every day. And even my tears now are more therapeutic than mechanical. I’m grateful.

5. Let the love transfer.

If you let it, it will. Love never dies. Neither death nor life can take love away from you because it’s born inside of you. It’s yours. It’s not outside. It doesn’t come from anywhere else but inside your own soul. So be sure to keep it pure. Love for love’s sake, because loving is your state of being. If you do that, it will be reflected back to you. But if by chance you find that it isn’t, you can put it somewhere else. You can always put it somewhere else. We never run out of love. It is infinite. We have enough love for every single being on this planet, for everything that exists in the universe. We have enough. You have enough.

6. I am protected.

I’m never alone. I walk with the most highs.

7. Gratitude.

I think it’s safe to say we all practise some form of gratitude in our every day lives. But I never learned real, every day, every moment gratitude until I escaped what could have been a real tragedy virtually unscathed. From that moment on, I’ve been extra grateful. (Even though at first I partially wondered if I should be thankful or concerned that I didn’t make the cut.) Alas, my work here on this planet is not yet complete. And I am OK with that. For every day that I get to go on loving as I do, being loved as I am, and sprinkling a bit of light in the darkness, I give thanks.

8. You haven’t really cleansed until you’ve done a parasite cleanse.

Not only can cleansing physically save your life…But if you do it right, if you aim for the parasitic creatures chillin’ on your intestines (a.k.a. the brain of your lower body) as opposed to weight loss or whatever else, you will open up a new world for yourself. We don’t really know how much we are controlled by parasites until we rid ourselves of them. It’s like you are Spongebob in that episode where plankton is in his brain moving him around, speaking for him, dictating his thoughts. Some of us have parasites living inside of us that have been around almost as long as we have. Literally 3-foot worms are inside of some of us telling us what to eat and when.

I cleansed three times this year, (two parasites and one full body) beginning in August and to say that I got my life back in the process would really be an understatement. You gain back your entire self through your digestive system. My mind has never ever been this still in my entire life. I’ve never had this sort of clarity, this sort of peace before. It truly healed my relationship with my body and I can’t even explain how freeing that is. But it’s not just a physical cleanse. This cleanse is spiritual as well. It got rid of my heartache, my confusion, my worry. The clouds in your brain will move out the way and give the sun a chance to shine. You’ll be in better spirits, better balance. You’ll have more control over your emotions. And honestly, for me, the most incredible part is that it completely got me off of cheese! This. Was. Huge. (All who know me KNOW I was a cheese head. I mean I went to cheese restaurants and paid ridiculous amounts of money just for plates of fresh cheese from around the world.)

Naturally, as a result of my amazing experience, I’ve encouraged every and anyone to hop on it. If you’ve ever eaten an animal in your life, you’ve got parasites. Even fruits are subject to parasites. Do yourself a favour and start cleaning up. Your body will thank you. Your mind will thank you. Your heart will thank you. Even people you have relationships with will thank you.

9. Don’t take anything personally.

“If you are willing to look at another person’s behaviour toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves, rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.”

Get your hands on The Four Agreements if you haven’t read it already. And when you read it, really read it. This is one of the four and I’ll tell you, honouring it will GREATLY improve every single one of your relationships, and thus your own state of being.

It’s not easy. But it is worth it.

10. See people for who they are.

This kind of relates to number 9, but it’s important enough to where it really needs a number of its own. I’ve written often about my disappointment and my expectations of people, based on my own standards–but here’s the post about no longer subscribing to any of that. I have finally learned to let people be who they are. No more seeing only potential or waiting for growth or taking a piece as the whole. I no longer let titles or time or closeness define my relationships. I let people define them. No amount of calling a person family or friend or enemy or stranger will ever be enough to dictate their actions. And it shouldn’t. People are who they are, for better or worse. You either love them or fear them (because these are the only two emotions we can feel).

I choose to love. Whether up close, from a distance, with quiet prayers every day in lieu of communicating…I have chosen to love.

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