Denial

Two years.

It’s been two years almost to the day since I slipped and fell. A beautiful spring day hiking in the Muskokas ended with a moderate TBI. It was such a simple little accident but getting through the aftermath has been….not simple at all.

I suck at setting limits. I always have. It is not that I am an endless self sacrificer. I don’t ignore my own needs in favor of others. I just don’t see my limits until I get smacked in the face with them. I feel most happy when I am busy. I feel a sense of purpose when I am working to solve a problem. So naturally I gravitate to helping others but I would set my limits and hold my pace. If I could just develop the skills to do so!

It has been 2 years and still I forget to adjust plans to accomodate for over stimulation and fatigue. I continue to be suprised at how scattered and dysfunctional I can become. I will be standing in the middle of a children’s birthday party and suddenly think “man, I feel anxious and dizzy, I guess I should have expected this to be a lot”.

I feel tired most of the time and need daily naps. When my occupational therapist ask me to describe a typical day she told me I do too much. If I need naps then I am tiring myself out and should adjust my routine to do less. I was shocked. I could see she was right, but I already felt that I was doing so little!

Finding balance is hard. I want to be social and fun. I want to be a part of what is happening with my family, friends and community. I want to produce. I want to feel a sense of contribution. I also have to relealise I will get run down when I push too hard, stay too long or fail to rest. For some reason I just can’t get that to sink in.

Sometimes things can get really out of hand. I get so tired that I don’t speak well. I can not make decisions, or even follow a simple story. People will ask me why I didn’t ask for help or take a break. I can only be honest and say I didn’t think to. I didn’t see it coming until I felt my head tighten and my mind shut down. It is a little embarrassing to admit to such a lack of insight, there you have it. I suck. Lol

This weekend we had a large family event. After 2 hours spent meeting new people,mingling in a crowded room and conversing mainly in french I suddenly felt sick. My head felt as if it was being squeezed from both sides. Not pain…just pressure. I felt confussed and hopelessly tired, almost like I had been sedated.

“Of course!”I thought to myself.

Of course I felt this way. Why had I not considered this? I should have realised I would need breaks. Or at least that this would be a tough event. It honestly had not even crossed my mind until the moment I felt myself hit by the wave of fatigue.

I snuck off to the little room where the kids were playing quietly. I sat on the floor, leaned my cheek against the wall and closed my eyes. Cool, soothing, calm.

A few moments later my husband came searching for me. He had suddenly realized it too. “Oh my god babe,you must be exhausted.” He was concerned and feeling badly for not thinking of a back up plan either.

Driving home we were discussing and trying to figure out how it is possible that this keeps happening. We came to the conclusion that we are really both still in denial. I don’t think of myself as a person with limitations. He does not see his wife as a person who needs special support. So we both kind of drop the ball on planning sometimes.

I feel I have moved through many stages of grief in this experience. I have worked through changing career prospects and missed opportunities. I have adapted to being that lady with the crazy health history. I tell people my last few years have been like wack-a-mole. (But I am stubborn as f#$k and playing to win.) I have come to terms with the fact that the adventure sports I used to approach with aggression and confidence now require great caution. I have been able to deal with most of this well. Mostly because I see it all as temporary.

The attitude of standing back up is a strength. I see myself as strong and resilient. I believe I will get back to where I was and where I want to be. It is also a problem. Because in NOT recognizing my current limits I continue to self sabotage. This brain needs rest. It needs quiet and meditation. The current Kate needs more sleep and shorter days. Brain breaks and lots of excercise. If I want to build myself back up I need to stop knocking myself down. THAT will only come when I learn to see myself accurately. THAT is Hard.

Denial is not a choice. It is a psychological wall. It is the self standing in front of a mirror refusing to see what has changed. Our minds and emotions are so complex it is impossible to determine all the how’s and why’s. We have to work hard to over come denial. We have to be humble and brave. Acceptance brings more change. It brings a shift in identity, the surrender of control and a sense of further loss. Yet acceptance also delivers us to the door step of deeper healing. Acceptance allows us to move through the door, while denial has us peeking in windows but never actually getting there.

I have work to do.

Not the work of more, but the work of less. Less pressing and forcing and figuring out. More rest, more reflection, more acceptance more growth, more recovery.

It is time to ding ,dong, ditch denial and ask acceptance to let me through the door.

And You?? What about you? Will I see you on the other side?

KATE

An Open Letter, to Everyone

pexels-photo-744662.jpegDear Human,

I see you.

I know you are trying, just as I am.

I know you lay awake sometimes wondering if you are doing okay.  

You take long drives wondering where things went wrong.

Maybe sometimes you snuggle under a blanket thinking about how wonderful life is – and worrying about all the work it takes to keep it ‘just so’.

 

I know you exhaust yourself with it all.

The hustle.  The struggle.  The circle game.

I know you have moments of delight sprinkled across your plate.

Sometimes they are tossed with a heavy hand, sometimes so sparse and fleeting you barely noticed.  But they were there.

 

I see you.

Some days you look at the world with the eyes of a child.

You scan the landscape for beauty, and take joy in the lights and sounds.

You admire the trees, the green grasses and the scent of the breeze.

 

I see you.

Some days your eyes are dark and weary.

Some days your eyes are cold.

Some days you walk with your head hung low – as if you are hiding in plain sight.

Other days you move like thunder, demanding to be noticed.

 

I know that you waver between a desire for peace and an impulse to fight for your life.

I know you are confused about what you were taught, what you have learned and what you feel in your heart is right.

I know that life has slapped your right cheek with love and kindness more than once, and just ask quickly jolted your chin with a left hook of anger and cruelty.

I know that you are straddling precariously.  Stretched to your full length and more by the expectations you feel placed upon your shoulders and the path forward you see for yourself.

 

I see you.

I see your light.

I know that you work.so.damn.hard to keep it all in motion.

I know that it takes strength to hold it all together.

I know you feel completely lonely – and crowded at the same time.

People  – like water, everywhere and you are drifting.

 

You don’t get it right all the time.  

Maybe you don’t get it right often. But you keep trying.

I see you

I believe in you.

I’m in it with you.

 

I know that there are people in your life who need your forgiveness – and it’s hard.

I know there are people from whom you want forgiveness – and they withhold it.

I know you feel ripped off sometimes.  Cheated, left behind, over looked, taken advantage of….

I know you play small sometimes.  Afraid to take the space you are worthy of.  Afraid of what people may think, or say.

I see you.  I have been where you are.

We will visit this place more than once.

 

It’s okay.

You can move forward, you can take your space!

You can make the changes you dream of, you can carve the path for yourself.

We can do this!

 

Life is hard friend.

Be at ease.

It’s not because you are getting it wrong.

Life is just hard.

AND beautiful

AND confusing

Exhausting

Intriguing

Delightful

Terrifying

Enchanting

Ugly

Exhilerating

 

All of it.

 

Be at ease

I see you, you’re getting there, you’ve got this.

Keep growing.

 

KATE

Transformation

pexels-photo-175659.jpegYou can transform a difficult relationship.  It can be done.  

It will happen when you:

Stop trying to predict what the other person is thinking.

Stop trying to make them see it your way.

Stop trying to determine who is right and who is wrong.  

 

Transformation happens when we stop trying to spoon feed each other guilt and responsibility.

It happens, when instead of fiercely defending ourselves from wrongdoing or mistake making – we stop.  We humble ourselves and we ask…how must it feel?

If you want transformation, don’t say “…but I didn’t mean to hurt you”  say “I’m sorry – that must have been painful, I made a mistake.”

Drop the  “You remember it wrong” accusation and offer compassion. “I can see why you would have been hurt by that, can I try again to say it how I meant it?”

So often we find ourselves caught in the bind of needing to talk about our feelings with our loved ones – yet fearful the conversation will not go as we hope.  Predictable patterns become the cruel choreography of our relationships.  Repeating themselves as if we are dancers to the same four lines of a skipping record.  

So often when we try to use examples to explain our pain we get caught up arguing the accuracy of each others version of how the story played out instead of moving to a place of understanding.  It is as useful and frustrating as each trying to convince each other which shade of blue is the sky, and it does not matter.  

It does not matter if the scene played out the same way for us both.  It does not matter if yours was in 3D while mine ran in grainy black and white.  Nor does the soundtrack matter, nor the timing.  What matters is the way I walked away feeling and the way you did.  Can we come back to the centre of the stage and suffer the discomfort of having made mistakes?  Can we sit in a place of total humility and offer a sincere apology?  Intentional or not – can we honour the other person in their experience?  Are we willing to adjust, adapt,  TRY to do it differently?  Can we stop the record skipping and move into a new routine?

Someone once asked me.  Isn’t love enough?  Is it not enough for you to know how much I love you?  I answered “NO”.  I wish it were.  But it is not.  We also have to work, and practice.  We need to learn about each other and from each other so that we can find a way to move together.  No matter how long people dance together they will inevitably step on each others toes.  If we want to achieve something beautiful, we can not just say “I love you”  we also need to adjust our steps!  We need to give each other a little freedom to move, and we need to LEARN the choreography of each others very special dance.

PICKY Kid approved (veggie filled) chocolate muffins!!

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YESSSSSSS!!!   Can I get an AMEN!!!???

DO NOT CLICK PAST WITHOUT TRYING THESE!

My children are not just picky – they are excessively limited.  I mean these kids will choose to go hungry rather than eat an under ripe banana or some pasta sauce that ¨touched green¨.

My children are so picky I have to sprinkle nutritional yeast in their peanut butter sandwiches in hopes they will survive the day!  It is BRUTAL.

Suffice it to say I will stop at NOTHING to sneak food value in to things they DO eat.

Today I will share some success that has me completely overjoyed.

  • You will need a decent blender – not fancy but reasonably strong

Place the following in your blender:

 

  • 1 Banana, large
  • 6 oz Spinach and or kale (give or take….I used about 2 cups of mixed greens)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Sea Salt  (approx ¼ tsp)
  • 2-3 tsp Vanilla or vanilla extract (I use closer to a tablespoon because we LOVE vanilla!)
  • ¼ cup butter + ¼ cup coconut oil (or ½ cup of your fat of choice!
  • ½ cup greek yogurt + ¼ cup whole milk  ( or ¾ cup dairy substitute of your choice!)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder ( if you want a richer chocolate you can safely go to 3 tablespoons)

 

Blend this crazy concoction until it is SMOOOOOTHE….it will take on a grotesque colour! But fear not…LOL

You need 2 cups of flour…. you have options about what to use.  

What I used:

1 cup Oat flour (Whole oats blended in advance down to a somewhat fine powder)

¼ cup Corn flour

¼ cup Unbleached all purpose flour

¼ cup Raw hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds ground into a fine powder (coffee grinder works great!)

¼ cup Ground Flax seed

 

YOU could….

Go with all purpose straight up! (there is LOTS of goodness in there already so don´t need to knock yourself out!)

Use half oat and half flour of your choice (best to use something you typically bake with and know how it behaves)

BUCKWHEAT flour!  Yummmy goodness – but the taste is a little different so if this is new to your kids – go no more than HALF and use something familiar the other half…. Like oat or standard all purpose.(I always add extra cinnamon when using buckwheat)

OR DO IT YOUR WAY!!!  🙂 May the force be with you 😀

** In a large bowl, mix your blender concoction into the flour.

(At this point you can consider adding any little extras that will help entice the hooligans.  Some chocolate chips? Nuts? Coconut?…whatever tickles their tummies.)  I opted to add nothing and they were received with rave reviews.

** Bake in greased muffin tin (or lined) approx 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Keep in mind all ovens vary slightly – so watch them, and do the poke test!

They are good warm – but actually taste better when cooled.  So patience is in your favor 🙂

ENJOY!!!

I hope your little toots like them as much as mine do!!  

 

XO

KATE

 

Loving

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‘Tis the season for a little talk of love wouldn’t you agree?

I have wanted to write a little something on the topic for quite some time.  It’s a tricky one though.  You have to find the right balance of pragmatism and romanticism.  It takes ninja authoring to slip some sentimental stuff across the screen of the discerning reader with ¨cheese ball¨ allergies. (You know it’s true.)  But today I am inspired to try.

I recently made a solo road trip to be reunited with several childhood friends.  Driving there and back I was flooded with memories and emotion.  The door to the vaults of my long time memories swung wide open and I toured through the countless adventures, accomplishments, trials and challenges that defined the relationships of my past. Understanding that I was still loved by these people, and felt such love for them made me feel warm, and deeply comforted.  I reflected on my life now.  My family, friends and the life my husband, children and I have built.  We know we are lucky and rich in the way of a life full of loving people.  As I contemplated it all I was a little overwhelmed – and CAPTIVATED by all the ways and layers of loving.

We tend to think of love in fairly concrete terms.  The love of a parent, a child or a romantic partner.  We also tend to hold each other to some pretty strict expectations.

If you love me…

¨You wouldn’t hurt me, wouldn’t disrespect me, wouldn’t leave me.¨

¨If you love me, you wouldn’t choose another path, another person.¨

¨If you love me you would say sorry, you would change your ways, you would give me what I ask….¨ on and on it goes.  We over simplify the notion of love.  Which in turn makes it very complicated.   As I was driving I found myself picking through the layers and I felt a sudden sense of understanding.  Love is not the safe guard against mistakes, weakness, or even unkind behaviour.  Love is the tool we use, to guide our behaviour, to do better, to anchor us through the rough times, and to heal when we must move on!

As I drove the snow covered country roads singing along to old favourites and day dreaming about my friends a list of ¨IS¨ and ¨IS NOT¨ began rolling through my mind:

Love is – accepting each other, even the flaws.

Love is not – allowing ourselves to be hurt repeatedly.

  • You can love someone – but still need to let them go if they keep hurting you!

Self Love – is setting the standard for how you will be treated – and letting go when you must – because you must.

Love is – finding a way to honour the good, even in someone who has hurt you.

Love is not – hiding and ignoring what is wrong.

Self Love – is honouring the good in yourself, and protecting your worth above all else.

  • You may have to leave someone behind – but you don´t have to hate them.

Love is – looking for solutions before walking away.

Love is not – holding on excessively despite what the other person wants, or DOES to you.

Self Love – is finding the healthy balance between these two things – for yourself.

  • There will be times when it is the other person who needs to walk away.  In those times self love is about honouring yourself and all that you have to offer.  It is about understanding that relationships are about SO many things beyond our control.  Like timing, and chemistry and history and priorities etc.

Love is forgiveness even when it is difficult.

Love is about saying you are sorry, even when THAT is difficult.

Love is about honesty – even when it is terrifying and you feel vulnerable and exposed.

It is not always needing to be right (even when you are – or were!)

Love is not about keeping tabs and evening the score.

Love is not ¨payback¨ moves or grudges, or having the upper hand.

It is about making each other feel safe, and wanted, in whatever capacity makes sense in your life right now!

A Loved one lets go of agendas and supports YOU.  Roots for you – even if what you want is not what they wish you would want.

Sometimes – love is romance.  It can be hot and steamy.  You may want to find a dark corner and misbehave like a bad teenager… or it can be more subtle, more relaxed.  It can even be grubby and boring!

Sometimes love is pragmatic.  It can be, making each other cups of hot tea and soothing a forehead with your cool hand.  Or it can demand all your strength and will, as you hold each other through a storm of faith, or health, or conscience or trauma.

LOVE CAN BE PLATONIC!! Even when one or both of you wish it weren´t!!

This is a BIG one.…when you LOVE someone – you put their needs in front of your desires, and there will be times when what they NEED is your friendship and love – but not YOU.

In those times – self love is feeling the feelings, and accepting the hurt, knowing that this is just LIFE, and LOVE and in honouring your loved ones needs….you are LOVING THEM WELL!!!  This takes strength – but it is such a gift.

Love is not about remembering birthdays and special dates.  It is about showing each other respect every day.  It is about seeing the goodness and capacity and potential in one another. Helping each other grow!

Love is not shown in lavish gifts and fancy surprises. Though those things are fun and generous. LOVE is shown through acts of kindness, support and self offering.

Love is not demanding to be accommodated,  it is about seeking to make space for each others needs, and quirks.  Striving NOT to take more space than we allow each other, to be quirky, flawed or forgiven.

Love is valuing each others perspective, time, advice, input.

Sometimes – it is a wordless passing of time, just enjoying the privilege of each others presence, energy and LOVE!

Love is, slowing down sometimes.

Saying nothing sometimes,

Walking side by side sometimes – and other times it is standing at the sidelines with your heart in your throat!

Love can be holding on with all your strength – or letting go, despite your aching heart.

Love is sharing…sometimes we find ourselves giving more, sometimes taking more.

It is humbling ourselves when the moment calls upon us to do so.  And building each other up when it is required.

It is having a standard for one another – and holding ourselves accountable…but not expecting perfection.

It is all SO simple….and yet…not at all…

That´s

 

 

 

LOVE!

 

KATE