It’s a beautiful outside – finally a wave of warmth after weeks of intense cold. I wandered aimlessly through Inglewood, a quirky outdoor shopping area in Calgary. My 3 hours of sleep making anything more urgent impossible.
I practice mindfulness – focusing on the present to keep the anxiety at bay. It’s been a hard week, seemingly everyone else’s drama is creeping in and my coping reserves are spent.
But I walk, and observe and let the thoughts of worry pass by like clouds on a windy day.
A bride, her white sparkling gown dragging in the now dirty streets, laughs as her veil whips over her head in the wind. An old man lights up his pipe and leans against the barbershop storefront – he closes his eyes as if experiencing the inhale for the first time. They remind me to stay present.
I walk into a café and revel in the ability to drink good coffee. My only care is that they ran out of chocolate chip cookies. With each sip of Americano, I sink deeper into contentment.
My phone whistles at me – I get a message from C that makes me even happier, satisfied knowing that I am supported even from afar.
This life is good. I just needed to remind myself of that today.
It’s been two months since I landed back in Canada.
I have the overwhelming feeling that this life isn’t as easy of a fit anymore.
I was walking through the suburbs of my childhood, getting lost in a place that was my home for years. And the incongruities between my two lives hit me: no fences or barbed wire allows me to see right into people’s homes as I pass. As I walk on the perfectly formed sidewalks, across the pedestrian crossings, I don’t get stared at or followed, and cars stop and wait for my leisurely crossing. Basically, walking through a neighborhood is easy: pedestrian crossings, perfectly formed sidewalks, dogs on a leash type of easy. I am not dodging mobs of dogs, or rubbish thrown on the side, rather I am consumed by the smell of freshly cut grass as it lingers in the air.
My brain hurts from the constant comparisons – honestly, walks here are far less interesting.
And so I start to wallow as I try to find healing and a sense of purpose. It’s that allusive glimmer of hope that I will eventually feel whole again. But I am taking baby steps in finding what is next. Each decision that I make, I first ask the question: will it make me happy?
And so, instead of pursuing a job in Oil and Gas or in another volunteering capacity, I took a job at Starbucks.
My new job as a barista continues to make me feel unsure of what I expect out of life. But there is something beautiful in providing a coffee and a smile. That’s it. That’s all I am responsible for. No newbie arriving from America and needing to be held through the process of orientation and cultural fit. No drunk mechanic requiring constant supervision and a development plan. It’s just coffee.
I needed this job. I am so burnt out from nearly four years of caring too much, and near the end feeling constantly unsafe and scared.
And so back in Canada my days are filled with learning the basics of a coffee shop, sun tanning, day drinking and learning how to be with a man who actually is decent and cares for me (something I have never allowed myself before).
I have decided my only mission this summer is to fall in love with life – here in Canada.
there’s an inexplicable shift when you finally make decisions. it’s a freedom i couldn’t even fathom a few months ago.
i am living in the moment.
no pressure, no expectations. just being present, because right now, in this second, it’s perfect.
there’s something so innately wonderful feeling drawn into just being. and so i fill my days with the smallest of victories; where I am experiencing pleasure.
a yoga class. coffee and a health muffin. a man telling me I am beautiful. underlining in a book. twinkle lights in a garden. wearing a bright pink skirt that blows in the wind. beautiful ruminations that allow me the courage to act on dreams. and girlfriends who surround me with swapping clothes, kind words and wine.
so today. this moment. and Rumi:
“let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. it will not lead you astray.”
Coffee is not a big thing here – so instant is the norm but mostly it’s bush tea (rooibos) or Five Roses (black tea) when a hot drink is required (but in the heat, why we suffer through a hot drink I have no idea). Ma graciously offered me ‘coffee’. It’s not even instant; it’s the ‘taste’ of coffee.
Funny enough Ma had a plastic coffee inspired tablecloth. I just shook my head every time I looked down at my favourite part: ‘expresso’. Coffee addicts – it’s cringe worthy, no?