I don’t make rules anymore.
So often we make them when they seemingly make sense, but then something changes and we feel like we should (I hate that word) stick to our rules even when they don’t feel right anymore.
So, I’ve given up on holding myself to my rules.
Now, I’m not talking about moral principles or values. Those I have and live by because they are an integral part of who I am.
But rules are somehow outside of myself, and often I create them to “control” something that I feel needs to be controlled. And often that need falls away.
And so many of our rules come from our limiting beliefs. We aren’t aware of it at the time we’re making them, but then later, if we really pay attention to how we feel, they don’t feel right. And if we ask our hearts what is right, the rules often fall away.
It’s really unfortunate that as children we’re taught that rules are more important than people’s feelings. We aren’t taught that being flexible and understanding is strong, but instead have this image of rule followers as the socially optimal person.
I remember in elementary school a teacher told me that the sun had to be yellow. I liked the sun to be orange, but she stood over me as I coloured and what did I do because she was making the “rules”? I coloured the sun yellow. But when I was at home, my sun was always orange.
People who tow the line and conform are portrayed as honourable and valuable members of society, and people who question the status quo or move outside of socially acceptable circles are labelled trouble makers or black sheep.
I have some experience with this because as I grew up my extended families labelled me a black sheep because I lived in the big bad city of Toronto, because I didn’t want to conform and because I had a mind of my own. A particularly unattractive thing for a girl to have. The fact that I was really bright only added to the division.
One day in my chemistry class in Grade 11, my teacher said, “The highest mark on the last test was 98%, and imagine it was a girl.”
There was dead silence.
And then I said, rather loudly, “What do you mean imagine it was a girl!?”
He spun around and said, “Ha! I knew you’d say something!”
Damn right! At least he was doing it to goad me. He actually wasn’t sexist at all. (Lucky for him or I would’ve made his classroom life hell.) I did very well in Grade 11 chemistry.
So often people shun what they don’t want to understand.
But because I was born thinking outside the box, I have a lot of trouble with people who expect other people to conform to their ideas of acceptable behaviour. I mean who are they to decide what’s okay and what isn’t as far as acceptable behaviour is concerned.
I have found that people who can’t accept difference are often extremely narrow minded and insecure within themselves. They cling to their “rules” of how life should be because they feel unhinged without them. They have no strong inner moral compass so they grab onto ideas that make them feel confident about themselves from the outside in.
And they often consider keeping up appearances extremely important as well.
How could the sun only be yellow? That’s one of the weirdest ideas I’ve ever heard, but to the teacher it was gospel. I was about 5 years old and I knew she was rigid and narrow minded even at that age.
People latch onto these ideas and often don’t question them. That is not me. So I’ve had my share of heated discussion and debates about all sorts of ideas.
I remember talking with the husband of a friend of mine who worked for The Star newspaper in Toronto. He actually believed that what was printed in the paper was the truth. I couldn’t believe it. I explained to him that each newspaper comes from a distinct political slant and that truth is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case the slant of the writer. He didn’t agree at all, no matter how much we jousted back and forth. He just wanted to believe that what was written down was the truth.
I suppose that’s an easier way to live in a way, if you’re comfortable with being misled and lied to. If you don’t really want to find out your own truth, that is.
I grew up with a bully for a mother so from a really young age I fought for my own self. I wasn’t a malleable child, I didn’t want to be mothered and I was smart enough to know the way things are aren’t the way they have to be.
It has taken me until midlife to truly get that I create my reality, and that I don’t have to fight for it, it’s already mine.
The fighting made me strong, but it’s not who I truly am. I’m a very kind, gentle person at heart and I don’t want to control anyone. I only fought because I had to to maintain my sense of inner freedom and self. It drove my mother crazy because I was unbreakable. And believe me she tried. That was until I grew taller than her and could’ve thumped her if I’d wanted to. Then, like a bully does, she backed down.
But all that fighting took something from me too. It took me farther and farther away from who I truly am.
As I’ve realized very recently, I face the world with love. But the bullying led me away from that. I couldn’t love my mother into stopping her abuse. I was only a child. I did what I had to, but now I don’t have to anymore.
And as I’ve come to feel, love is far stronger than hate, and so much easier to live by.
Now I attract kind, gentle people to me who are very much like myself. What a relief that is. I don’t always have to have my guard up. I don’t have to be constantly defensive. If someone treats me in a way I don’t want, I simply talk with them about it. Or let them go from my life.
And people who only want to follow rules aren’t the kind of people I can relate to. I let them be. But I find lots of open minded people everywhere. I guess I attract them now, along with people filled with love.
So, I have learned to let my rules go. Sometimes they still pop up now and then, but invariably they become obsolete.
And they always remind me that personal freedom is rooted in finding your own truth.
And truth has nothing to do with rules.
I believe it’s no coincidence that once I chose to write full time my world opened up in completely exceptional ways.
I have been struggling with having the confidence to just write, write, write. I mean, a full-time writer, how can I be that? How can I make enough money doing that? How can I get people to take me seriously if I don’t edit too?
These questions I have been asking myself for years. And once I finished my last contract I decided that I had nothing more to lose, so I’d just jump right in. So I have.
And since I made that definitive decision my life has changed completely.
All that I thought I’d lost has come back to me.
And somehow I went from almost giving up faith to having so much of it I could burst.
Despite everything I’ve read in self-help books and on Hay House and other daily affirmations, I still couldn’t have imagined how following my heart’s path could’ve changed my life so completely.
I believe that when I finally had faith in my heart, I started attracting to me many other situations that my heart wanted also.
It was as if my heart had been waiting and waiting for me to believe in it 100%, and once I did the flood gates opened and I started attracting love to me in all its gorgeous forms.
And I’m still reeling a little bit from it all. Well actually quite a bit, but it’s such an amazing feeling that it’s becoming quite compelling.
So much so that I can’t imagine ever going back.
And I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I suddenly got everything I wanted because I didn’t.
That’s not real life. But I have learned to accept that what I got was what I needed and that there’s always more to come.
And I have never believed that before.
I used to believe that love was finite, something I had to earn and that I really wasn’t ever quite worthy of it. Not a truly good love anyway.
That was until yesterday, and then those false beliefs all fell beautifully away.
And it was all relationships filled with love that taught me that love is infinite, everywhere and abundant.
And just as one relationship potentially ended another one with myself emerged fully formed.
The confidence I had to go and find to choose to be a full-time writer has also given me the confidence to love.
To fully and completely love. And I never would’ve imagined that the two were connected.
But they are so connected for me that they are inseparable.
So once I welcomed writing into my life, love came right along with it, crossing my threshold holding hands.
And now that it has happened, it makes so much sense that it’s shockingly simple.
But then often the most profoundly meaningful things in life are.
The exquisite simplicity of sleeping side by side with your lover, of holding your child in your arms, of watching your dog play, of listening to the birds sing.
Of writing for life and loving yourself and others…
So simple and so true.
I will not be the same again. And that is good. I am instead who I am fully meant to be, and this is only the beginning.
As Louise Hay says, “Only love is real.”
And so it is.
The misty water was almost the colour of the sky. As the rain beat down, the water frothed a slate, roiling grey. And the world seemed to have shrunk in on itself, except for the trees everywhere. They were dancing with the rain showering their leaves, bending gently with the cool water coating their leaves.
And we all drove more slowly, as if tentativeness was the word of the day. Caution.
It is a day of transition. A day of coming to terms with what has come before, and what will be.
For me a day of grace.
I am no longer the woman I was yesterday, I am so much more. I have been set free by someone I love even more today than I did yesterday.
A thoroughly beautiful man.
It is ironic that when I set him free he actually came back to me. His honesty and genuine sharing gave me a gift I have not been given before. I will miss him, of that I have no doubt, but he is one of the most open and exceptional men I have ever known, and that is such an amazing gift to me.
Just hearing his voice makes me smile, and lifts me up. And even as we paused and potentially ended our time together, we laughed and told each other with such honesty how we felt about each other.
That for both of us it had been the best. And hearing that touched my soul. It touched my soul so completely.
I wasn’t sure anyone would ever touch me the way he has.
And just knowing that he is out there fills me with so much hope. He is not a common man by any means, and finding him renewed my faith in the universe.
And yesterday I really got that I attract the love I want to me, I realized as we spoke last night that I had attracted his beautiful self to me too. And that made me feel so blessed.
And as I was sitting in my favourite cafe yesterday talking with a guy friend of mine he asked me where I’d been, that I hadn’t been around as much. And I realized, though I didn’t say it, that he was telling me he’d missed me, that being here and seeing me was important to him. And at that moment I loved him because he was giving me his feelings. And I knew that seeing me was just as important to him as seeing him was to me.
There was no reproach, no guilty hint of rebuff in his question. It was instead his heartfelt need that he handed me across the table. I wonder if he realized how much of a gift that was to me? On a day when I was receiving so many already.
Another man who tells me what his heart feels. I have been looking for men like this for years, and suddenly I find two in my life. I feel spoiled with it all.
And how I can feel spoiled when I may not see my beautiful man again, I really don’t know, but I do.
Of course I hope he does come back to me, and I told him that. I told him how I’d love to date him, how I’d love it if he were my boyfriend, but I didn’t say it to pressure him. I just wanted him to know.
Knowing that you are loved is so important, and I’m not sure he feels very lovable these days. But he so is, and I gave him that gift, which he humbly accepted.
Being rejected by a spouse is so devastating. It can make you feel as if something is wrong with you. That you lack something essential for love to find you and keep you.
But that is so untrue. It just means that your spouse can’t see your value and love you for who you are. And no matter how heartbreaking that is, it’s better that they leave you than stay with you out of duty, or for the children.
And it gives you the amazing opportunity to find the person who will value and love you for who you are. Of course it doesn’t feel like that at first, but that’s really why it happened.
I know the universe doesn’t always seem kind, but it knows what it’s doing.
And so despite the fact that I may have lost someone I love yesterday, I can’t feel sad because what we gave each other only lifted us up and made us more.
He will always have a place in my heart. And I hope I will always have a place in his.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have him in my arms again.
Now wouldn’t that be an incredible state of grace?!
It is a gorgeous fall day and as I drove along the smooth water, the sky was reflecting off of the light waves making their way lazily to the shore. One of those days, where you feel that there’s lots of air to breathe, lots of sky to reach up towards and that dreams are easy and abundant.
I was having a conversation with an old boyfriend of mine on and off as I drove.
I must explain however that he is dead. He killed himself many, many years ago, but he comes to me and answers me, sometimes when I really wish he wouldn’t, still a smart ass!, but a wise one.
And there is something about love that can make you feel totally inept, broken open, vulnerable, innocent and fragile all at once. And my old boyfriend came to me, I think, because he knew I needed his guidance.
I see the irony of talking with an old boyfriend about a potential new one. Under any other circumstance I doubt I’d do it. But it isn’t as if my old boyfriend is going to come back to me now is he, so I think it’s pretty safe.
And I trust that somehow he knows what he’s talking about. Not only does he know me really well, but he also can see things and know things I cannot. I mean he is in heaven so I assume he’s privy to, well, more information than the average person. If you get what I mean. And he’s totally benevolent, that I know for sure.
So as I drove we talked. Me out loud and him in my head. And I came to really feel something that I hadn’t ever really gotten before.
I was feeling so vulnerable yesterday, love has a way of doing that, and I felt as if I had no control over it. And that made me feel so lost and unhinged. And I think it was at that point that my old boyfriend realized he needed to talk with me and give me the courage to see this love through.
I believed that the love was coming to me from outside of myself, and that was why I was feeling so vulnerable, and so out of control. But then as I drove, and as we talked, I suddenly got that the love was coming not from without but from within.
That I had attracted the love to me, not the other way around. And that means the love I attract is not finite. That it comes from within me being attracted from all around me, and as I said this out loud my old boyfriend said,
“Well of course, Jackie!”
“Well why didn’t you tell me this before?” Was my exasperated questioning response.
“Ah, but Jackie you had to come to the realization yourself.”
Yet another life lesson I had to learn myself. When does this learning ever end? Yeah, yeah. I know the answer to that too.
But I feel so incredibly freed by this life lesson because that means what has come to me I attracted. My energy brought me this love. And I can continue attracting love to me whenever I want to.
Maybe my old boyfriend learned this lesson after he died. I hope that’s how it happened. He was in enough agony to kill himself, I hope upon his death his soul was released and reassured. Because that is what he has helped me see. Helped me feel.
I now feel that I have the power within me to create the life filled with love that I want. I give my love out to the world and the world gives it back to me. How wonderful is that!?
And he has so totally reassured me. Because I felt as if I was coming undone.
My old boyfriend was always so good to me, and I feel so honoured that he’s helped me learn this most valuable lesson. Because without it I may have believed that I had no control over the love that comes to me.
That life was dictating how much love I could have, or not. And that was the scary part, the could not part.
But that’s just not the way it is. There is no lack of love out there. It’s not in short supply. Quite the opposite. It’s everywhere!
So if I could I would give my old boyfriend a big kiss for seeing this through with me and giving me the courage to face all the love I have within myself.
He always was so filled with love himself that it makes so much sense that it was him who taught me this incredible lesson.
I love you my old boyfriend, and I guess I brought you back to me too.
I’m really getting to like this love attraction thing.
I was awake many hours last night, which is unfortunately not all that unusual these days.
I felt that the universe must have something it wanted me to know or I wouldn’t be wide awake when pretty much everyone else was asleep.
And I don’t get up and watch TV or read or whatever. I just stay in bed.
And as I rolled over again and again, likely driving my dog crazy, though she’s very patient, I started to feel this peacefulness fill me.
I hadn’t felt peaceful all day. There was this energy running through me, fueling me. Driving me on figuratively and literally. And also a bit madly.
And as I drove out towards the water, looking at all the colours of leaves cascading over my car, smelling the fall crispness in the air and the burning wood from family stoves, I felt young again. There was an aliveness, a vibrancy that began moving me closer and closer towards my self.
It felt heady and deliciously freeing. Driving does that to me sometimes. That I can go anywhere I want and do anything I want makes my body vibrate with the freedom of it.
And I’ve done that ever since I was a girl. Not driving, no, but taking off on my own to discover whatever I want to discover. Free and clear of anyone else. It sustained me, and still does.
At one point I used to think it was running away. Being freed of the abuse and my unsafe home life. But I have come to realize that it’s not running away but back. Running back into my self.
I was forced to find freedom and safety outside of my house, so I would enjoy it out in the world of people, city streets, public transit, roads, shops, cafes. Anywhere I wanted to go.
Now I can get in my car and go even farther doing the same thing. And it fills me with the same sense that I am becoming stronger, more whole, more grounded and more myself.
So as I lay in my bed last night, wide awake, but at peace, I knew that the universe wanted me to continue to explore. That my day of freedom had filled my soul with an everlasting connection to my self. One that began long ago out of the same necessity that it does now.
Connection to who I truly am.
I found it really weird going to a wedding alone, without a date.
I’m an independent person and usually really love doing things on my own.
The seven-hour drive to the wedding was pure magic for me. I talked to myself most of the morning totally enjoying the gorgeous blue sky, the flocks of Canada geese heading south to feed in the fields and the birds of prey circling overhead. The trees hadn’t started changing yet so they were a beautiful green still crisp and alive from the hot summer we’ve had.
Once I got close to Toronto I realized I’d forgotten directions to my mom’s place. I laughed, shook my head, turned up the music, realized perimenopause had taken part of my brain and at that moment she called and I memorized the route to her place once I got off the highway.
I still took the wrong exit and had to rely on Google Maps to get me back on track, but I got to my mom’s eventually and it was a great adventure.
The wedding was not. Though it was a good wedding. A traditional first wedding with 200 people, speeches, dancing, slides and an open bar–the whole thing. For the first time I was at the kiddie table, which was with my cousins instead of my aunts and uncles. I really enjoyed that.
I was the only one without a date, but I ended up sitting next to an angel. The girlfriend of one of my favourite cousins was sitting next to me and from the moment I sat down she talked with me as if we’d known each other forever, which we didn’t. I’d only met her once before. She kept me feeling part of it all and positive and I made it through the evening without too much old family shit coming up to the surface.
I’m the only family member that has left Ontario.
I left when I was 18 and never moved back.
One of the best decisions of my life.
And as I drove back across the border and into Quebec I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew once again that this is where I’m meant to be.
There are family members that I love and would love to see more often, but overall my family doesn’t make me feel welcome and they never have. I’m not blaming them, they probably don’t know they do it, but my differences were always highlighted. I was made to feel awkward and weird and misunderstood–the black sheep–from a very young age.
And it’s true I don’t want to “fit in.” That’s not me. And because I come from an extremely competitive, Type A family, my own personality defended itself and pushed them away. I don’t regret it. It’s how I’ve kept my own self against great odds, but I don’t feel as if I’m walking into the bosom of my family when I occasionally go back that’s for sure.
But I do feel totally comfortable with the life I’ve made for myself here. It hasn’t always been easy. I’m divorced twice, but I’ve found a church community I love and friends I’ve known for years and watched my son grow up here. And I love where I live, and the home I live in.
As I drove home through the West Island streets I realized how gorgeous and vibrant the area is. The trees were just beginning to get tinges of yellow and orange in the tips of their leaves. The malls were busy and the houses were well looked after and beautiful. And I knew without a doubt that I was home.
I had to make my home for myself because that’s how I found my tribe. It was a journey I will never regret taking. I have grown into myself, and learned that who I am is exactly who I want to be.