Daring Greatly is such a fantastic read and I hope more people break open these pages to truly break open their heart. I couldn’t have discovered this book at a more fitting time in my life. Currently, I am working towards my Yoga Therapy certification in hopes of helping many others who have endured some of the challenges I have and supporting them towards finding the joy and beauty life still has to offer. Brené Brown is the kind of “spiritual” teacher I have been looking to connect with and she has offered so much wisdom in Daring greatly.
As I work through one of my required modules for my certification (Manifest Your Destiny), I am asked to show up in my own life a lot more vulnerable than I have been these last 5 years. I am really great at being the strong/ supportive friend, sister, mother, and partner but the real challenge for me is to be open and rely on others to see my true self. I don’t know the exact moment I walled myself off to my close circle of loved ones but I know I put people at arm’s length when it comes to truly knowing me, my feelings, sadness, and pain. Being vulnerable is really scary for me.
After traveling back to my home town to celebrate my 30th birthday, I received valuable feedback from those I consider my reference point. These are the friends who have known me through all my greatest challenges and love me because of my “flaws.” These friends I refer to as the “keepers.” I believe we all need those people who know us at our core because they keep us in-check and help us find our way back to ourselves when we are “lost.” I know I’ve been “lost” for too long now and I am ready and willing to do the work to uncover my true self again.
I have officially decided to leave San Francisco and return home to Vancouver, British Columbia this summer :) I have definitely grown from the 2 years I have lived in this city and have come to realize, I much prefer living in Vancouver, Canada while raising children.
People always ask me with such enthusiasm how I love living in San Francisco…I always seem to burst their bubble with my response. I make sure to emphasize, my experience living in San Francisco would be much different, more positive, if I didn’t have 2 young daughters. I would embrace the debauchery and naked people if I wasn’t responsible for 2 very impressionable children. My reality is, I do have 2 young daughters who would benefit more from living in a modest city…without naked people, public displays of raunchy behavior and all the other confusing sights you typically see in San Francisco. I don’t think a 7-year-old and 2-year-old need to be confronted with men in thongs biking by, nor should they have to walk through thick pot smoke on the way to the kids park (hello, Dolores Park). Furthermore, I don’t want to deal with my daughters’ issues in the future for exposing them to such things at such a young age.
I have had really good experiences living in San Fran, like the emphasis on building a clean city. I have learned a lot about composting…being forced to compost, or pay a fine is a great motivator :) I love the healthy food options here, the US has more products than Canada. I love going to farmer’s markets in the local neighborhoods. I really enjoy all the different venues and restaurants that are sure to leave a lasting impression. My favorite part about living in San Francisco are the people, people are so friendly here. There are no weirdos in San Francisco, people from all walks of life fit in.
My biggest life-changing experience from living in San Francisco will be my decision to go into Yoga Therapy as my next career move. By the time I move back to Vancouver, I will be nearly finished my Advanced Yoga Instructor and Yoga Therapist certification. My goal is to help people find true happiness and overcome the issues that are holding them back from finding fulfillment in life.
Thank you San Francisco for all the great experiences I have had and for helping me realize there really is no place like home…in Vancouver, Canada :)
Wow, I made it to 30! I tell my friends, it feels like I skidded into home-plate all covered in mud, soaking and exhausted. Life has been a hell of a game so far. I do know the meaning of “when life throws you a curve ball, you have to knock it out of the park…” I’ve had my share of curve balls alright.
My 20’s have been rough with some joy sprinkled in here and there. I started out my 20’s by getting pregnant and married by 21, getting through the loss of my older brother to suicide by 23, getting over my 2nd loss of my younger brother to suicide by 24, dealing with the breakdown of relationships with my older sisters and having my 2nd daughter by 27! It feels like I have already lived a lifetime. It’s not like I’ve had the easiest journey growing up in a family of 6 kids to a single mother who ended up sending me to foster care 2 weeks after my 13th birthday, but that’s a whole other chapter to be shared at a later date. So what have I learned so far?
From all the pain and heartache, the first lesson I’ve learned is you must, must, must hold onto your friendships. It is because of my amazing friends that I have even made it this far…with my sanity somewhat intact ;) Seriously, friends are the ones who are there before the husband and kids, and they will remain there until the end. I consider my friends to be the family I’ve always craved and the relationships I’ve chosen to nurture. I only desire healthy, respectful, and genuine relationships now that I have acquired much wisdom. The second important, life-changing lesson I have learned is, it’s not about what has happened to you but more importantly, how you choose to respond to life’s hardships. It would’ve been all to easy for me to crawl into bed and not want to get up ever but I decided I was worth more than that. Despite all the bullshit, I believe I am destined for a greater purpose. If I can help 1 person get through even 1 of the things I have experienced, I will feel like I have made a difference. I desire to turn my shitty ass life experiences into something of value.
So here’s to being 30 and making this decade all about my own happiness and finding my passion for life again!
* My great girlfriends are pictured above, but I have other important people to thank too for my strength and support.
Today would have been my brother Isaac’s 27th birthday…27! So young to not be on this planet anymore. Although it is coming up on the 5th anniversary of Isaac’s death, I miss him just as much, if not more.
One of the best parts of having Isaac as my younger brother was having his respect as his older sister, even when he would tower over me with his height. He was so respectful towards me and truly listened to my thoughts and feelings. It’s so hard to find people who really take time to hear me out…without staring at their phone while saying they’re “listening.”
Isaac and I bonded over all things health and wellness. We both took kickboxing, although he achieved higher levels than I, so we had a lot in common with the art of fighting. We also worked out a lot together. I was always proud as I watched my baby brother lift more weight than many guys in the gym. I loved seeing the other men around watching my bro with envy…a proud moment for a sister who is all about fitness.
A funny story I will always cherish is the last Sun Run we did together. Isaac had way longer legs than I so with each of his long strides, I would have to do 4/5 steps to keep up. As we were going along the 10km course, Isaac thought the 8km mark was the finish line so he proceeded to sprint…I was confused as to what he was doing so I let him go. I couldn’t have caught up with him if I tried. This guy used to run from place to place through the city instead of doing what us “lazy” people do, drive. I caught up to my brother as he was panting and trying to catch his breath. I asked Isaac what he was doing as we still had 2km to go and there was a hill to climb before the finish line. Obviously, he was shocked and he couldn’t go quite yet. I took full advantage of this opportunity and told him I would meet him at the finish line ;) What are sisters for. I beat his time! Thank goodness he fumbled 2 km back so I could soak up all the glory of beating my brother in the Sun Run :) I took him for breakfast after so he felt a little better about losing to a girl ;)
Thank you Isaac for all the loving and fond memories I will cherish of us. Here’s to many more celebrations of your life and all the lessons I have learnt from our special relationship.
Every new year, people make resolutions for weight-loss, financial gain, or other clichéd matters in life. I am reminded that I lost both my brothers, Ricardo and Isaac, to suicide only a short time ago.
My older brother Ricardo, took his life December 31, 2006 so naturally, my loss is the 1st thing I think of at the beginning of every new year. (My younger brother Isaac took his life April 18, 2008)
The worst part of losing my brothers to suicide, aside from the very real missing piece in my heart, is the lonely silence the loss creates. People no longer speak of my brothers, like their lives never mattered and people just go on with their own lives. I still struggle daily to make sense of it all and find strength to overcome my loss and pain. Even those closest to me stop asking how I’m doing, like I’m stamped with a new label of “strong” (I think this is really about me still breathing) so I am expected to go on and thrive despite my massive, life-crippling losses. It’s sad, lonely and painful.
My intention for sharing my losses is to make suicide less taboo to talk about and wake people up to the very common reality of young people ending their lives. My brother Ricardo took his life at only 27 -years-old and my brother Isaac took his life at a mere 22-years-old. Just for reference, I’m 29. We need to open up the lines of communication around suicide and reach out to those who feel alone and with such despair. Lives depend on us facing and talking about this very serious problem of suicide.
I want to share my memories so people realize the lives of my brothers, Ricardo and Isaac, mattered and will always matter to me and my family that has to live with this heart-breaking loss.
Family will always remain family, whether in person, or spirit.
My brother Ricardo started out like every other innocent child, with his whole life ahead of him. Sometimes, circumstances really do get the best of you. And no, I don’t believe you attract everything life sends your way.