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Letting go and Surrender

We all struggle with something about ourselves that we dislike and would like to change, mine has always been a little thing called Surrender. I will fight to the death on any given point. Controlling, trying to control, until it makes me crazy.

A small whisper in my ear “surrender Roxanne, let go, and you will feel better”.

Yet I hold on until I do something incredibly stupid and or push people away by holding on to hard -with claw marks on the object. The cloak of isolation envelopes me, I feel alone and unloved. This is where my head takes me – feelings of rejection, abandonment, all because of something that happened 50 yrs ago at the start of my journey.

In reality, I am loved. I am valued and I am special to some. I have worth to many. The enemy of my mind wants me to isolate and feel depressed and alone.

When I feel like this, I might wallow for a while and lick my wounds and play the why game but eventually that gets old and I want to get into the solution.

I listened to a podcast recently on how to overcome rejection by Dr. Aziz and he put it so simply. There are two types of rejection; internal and external.  Most of the time we perceive it as internal. We take a simple no and turn it into “I am not good enough” I am too short, too fat, not worthy whatever your mantra happens to be.  When this happens we need to stop and take a real look at what is ACTUALLY happening

The person that you think is rejecting you probably has stuff going on in their life that has NOTHING to do with you. READ THAT AGAIN.

Do we have that much control? That if I only said this or said that, the person wouldn’t have rejected me.  When the reality of it is that it has NOTHING to do with you.

Dr. Aziz puts this as a great analogy. If someone offers you a cookie and you say meh I don’t want the cookie, I know if I eat this cookie I will feel like crap later or you decide to eat the cookie. when you reject the cookie you don’t think it’s a bad cookie. It’s just not for you.

I have found that when my head starts reeling and twisting and turning into something I can’t seem to let go of – I simply need to tell myself to STOP in my outside voice. That gives me a few seconds to then proceed to change that thought into something positive

Out loud I start a mantra that is positive: I am worthy, I am smart, I am beautiful, I am exceptional, I am perfect – you get the picture – whatever means the most to you. I take the negative and turn that into a positive. 

This is something I need to work on and it’s not a quick fix solution. I didn’t get this way overnight and I won’t fix it overnight either. There is beauty in surrendering I just wish I would do it sooner.

Grief As I Know It

I remember when my best friend died at the age of 29, three weeks before his 30th birthday. My step-father told me to get over it, and everyone dies, and it’s a part of life. Well, duh, I thought. I was so mad at him for being so insensitive and as far as I was concerned not very helpful. He wasn’t a nice man to me throughout my childhood; so why would I think he would have compassion for me now. Anyways I digress that is another story in itself. He was about 70, and I guess at that age a person has seen a lot of death.

My grandparents died but they lived a good life. They were old, it’s the natural progression of life. Losing Brian, my best friend that I met when I was 7 was devastating. My chest felt like my heart had been ripped out.

I can not say that any death after his death has gotten easier. I have experienced many deaths, in my 53 years on this earth. What I can say is that they are all different but none the less heartbreaking.

The heart-wrenching punch to the stomach; can’t breathe, still feels the same as it did all those years ago. The questions of why did this happen still are on my mind, but the length of time is much shorter.

Do we become cold and indifferent to pain and suffering through the passage of death, the older we become?

This year alone, I have lost three friends and a fiance. The biggest hit was my soon to be husband. Devastated is what we all were.

I still wake up some mornings with a lump in my throat and bile rising from my stomach, feeling as if it happened yesterday. It has been a year now. As I stand and look in the mirror barely even awake, brushing my teeth, I start to cry. I think to myself, “a great way to start the day.”

Does time, one knows someone, determine the extent of the grief? I would have to say no. We can not measure anyone else’s pain to our own. Is it a process, yes. With all the deaths, I have experienced in my life I know is that it doesn’t get easier but changes. Maybe wisdom and experience have something to do with it. Was my step-father, right?

I have days that I get by and even moments when I don’t think of him, but then a song or a smell or a sight will bring him to the forefront of my memory.

Some of the ways I have been dealing with it differently than in the past is that I express my feelings, and I don’t try to numb out with alcohol or drugs. However, lately, I have found a new way to numb out with an endless series of tv. Sharing my grief, with someone I love and trust with my feelings, and I try to get out and enjoy the things I once enjoyed.

I know one thing for sure that we can’t avoid death but hopefully, time is gentle for you and you don’t have to see it too often.

Resource: Elizabeth Kubler Ross – 5 Stages of Grief Model – https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

Sounds of Silence

It has been a long time since I have put pen to paper or should I say fingers to keys. Writing has always been a way for me to get it all out. The last couple of years, I have stopped using my voice.

Things changed for me a so much. I met the man that I thought I was going to marry. He took up so much of my time that I think I lost myself. I lost myself in his life and forgot about things that made me truly happy. How did I let that happen again? I ask myself this over the last few months. Our love that was anything but calm. I was scrambling, in all directions – it was an all-consuming fire our love.

We both agreed that this relationship was different. From the moment we laid eyes on each other. We had never felt anything like this before, and it was different. We couldn’t get enough of each other. It soon became all consuming. We talked on the phone ALL the time, skype sessions for hours and trips to see each other. He became my world. Nothing else mattered except him and his life. I stopped doing things that made me happy because he was my world.

This is not a fairy tale love story. It soon became very apparent that this relationship had some problems. Not with our love but with life.

The Problem

He lived 2000 miles away, divorced but still not over the loss of the family unit. His children were everything to him, and that was part of the strong attraction I think I had for him. I am sure I will never know the real story of his life before me because as we know, there is his truth, her truth, and then The Truth. Perception is a tricky thing in life.

Having stepped out of the fire, but not on my own accord, because on Feb 14th of this year his heart finally broke and he died suddenly. All my hopes and dreams that I had for a future life with him in an instant vanished.

It left a massive void in my life. My world became silent.
I had let so many things go during our manic whirlwind of a relationship. My life was no longer my own, and I lived for his phone calls and his visits or my visits. I let go of my friends, my church, activities like my love of scuba diving.

As a result, I see how unhealthy I became now that I have silence.
Since that day, when my world stopped as I knew it and life became silent, and grief took over, I have had much time to reflect. Today I finally feel like I am starting to live again. I started doing the things that I love and makes me feel alive diving.

Diving has the kind of silence, a healing silence where it’s just me and my bubbles — the sounds of the ocean with its special lullaby sung just for me.

picture by girlsthatscuba.

Vitamin Sea

Photo by Dive Ninja

Growing up on the prairies on a farm and never seeing the ocean until I was into my thirties did not stop me dreaming of the sea and its wonders. I remember wanting to be an oceanographer as young as 10 or 12 years old, however, my parents were people of a different generation and thought it best I focus on something reliable like a teacher or secretary. The ocean and its animals continued to fascinate me, watching Jacque Cousteau on TV.
As I grew the thought of experiencing the ocean wonders became less and less of a priority in life. Until one day, life had taken a twist, and I started living on the coast of British Columbia.

The day I decided to get certified

I realized that life had not entirely passed me by. With this one decision, my life changed in so many ways. I was standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean – feeling quite sorry for myself that day. I was gazing out into the great blue abyss; my thoughts turn to swim with the fish. I realized that my dream had not died and I was near the ocean and could indeed learn to dive! I was 38 yrs. Young.

I researched and went on forums to learn the best dive shops in the area, and within that month, I found and signed up for an open water course. I immediately went from open water to advanced, moved quickly to rescue, and eventually dive master. In the first year, I had logged 100 dives. I would go under every weekend and even some weekdays. I would travel an hour and a half one way. On the days I didn’t get wet, I would hang out at the dive shop and listen to stories from the owner and the teachers that had made scuba diving their life. These divers had thousands of dives under their belt. I loved hearing stories of their underwater adventures. The freedom to travel, scuba dive, and teach. I was obsessed!!

Diving

Diving has always been an outlet for me. My experiences have changed since I became certified in 2006. First learning to dive in cold water is cumbersome, with dry suits and extra weight and mostly shore diving in the chilly green 44F water of the Pacific Northwest. I started diving with a pack of divers that cared about “trim” and “buoyancy” and all the rules of a good diver. We challenged each other to get better with all the skills we learned in all the classes we took.

When I looked on in awe of the divers that had 100 if not 1000’s of dives under their belt, many of them assured me that it takes at least 50 dives to “really” become a diver. Not having to watch your air or buoyancy but be so comfortable in the training that one could relax enough to enjoy the experience. I can feel the pressure in my ears and body and almost know my depth. Of course, always being aware and checking the gauges. So as a new diver don’t be too hard on yourself and each dive gets better and better.

Cold water is challenging with the temperatures, visibility, and currents but so beautiful; however, it was tough some days with the visibility like pea soup (local shore diving) our navigation skills became honed because we couldn’t see where we were. It was never about what we could see but more about a feeling we felt when we were diving. But close to Vancouver Island and by the Georgie straight, beautiful crystal clear green water with 100 Ft visibility and some of the prettiest topography I have ever seen.

Diving saved my life in more ways than one. I found a new family. Divers I know are unique and are different from the landlubbers. They are helpful and passionate about the state of our oceans. They are all a bit quirky, maybe even a little rebel.

I am blessed to live in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where the conditions are not so severe. Warm blue waters, boat dives, and service to the point where I can’t remember the last time I put together my dive gear. With Cabo Pulmo only a 2-hour drive away, local diving is a 5 min boat ride, and the surface interval is as exciting as the dive with whales jumping, Mobula rays bouncing and slapping like popcorn on the surface, sea lions playing and sunning themselves on the surface. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Photo by Pepe

All year round there is something different going on. Just this last month the locals flooded to a little rock about a mile from Spirito Santos Island by La Paz BCS. Giant Manta Rays – they were spectacular and not shy at all. It’s the first sightings of these beauties for several years. No one knows why they are back.
One New Year I went diving with the staff of my local dive shop, and that evening I could hear and feel the vibrations of the whales singing. Local white tip sharks living in a cave by Lands’ End a popular dive spot.

We can’t forget about my favorite sighting of an octopus, sometimes even out in the open. Of course, they are just little guys that don’t compare with the Giant Pacific Octopus but still smart and fun to watch all the same.
Diving, however, has not even about all the cool stuff I see but more of needed relief from the workweek. As soon as I start to descend, my head clears, and all the problems of top-side disappear.

I am in Mother Nature’s womb, I feel instant peace. I start to meditate. Listening to the sounds of the ocean, and my breathing. I slow my body down to the point that my air consumption is minimum (something else we used to work on when we were diving in PNW), the diving crew always joke with me that I must not breathe and I am a mermaid.
Jacque Cousteau said it best,

“From birth; man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface, and he is free.”

Jacque Cousteau

Diving is my therapy in life.

There She Is

There she is!

We all tend to wear masks in our everyday living. We usually don’t expose our real authentic self to anyone unless we trust them enough. And even then it takes years to really show yourself. At least that is my case. It takes years of trauma that the masks just appear and it takes time to peel those onion layers away to find you’re true authentic self.

You know, that self that shines! Eyes bright, the guard let down. When all the pretenses drop. I didn’t even know that I did that till I met the “man,” the man that I was going to marry.

The first time he said it, shocked me. We were lying in bed, cuddling and talking, and then I got real, and I guess that was what was happening, vulnerable in a way that only comes with someone that I have known for years. But this man, for all intense purposes I didn’t even “really” know. It was at the beginning of our relationship. It was so full of passion and electricity it took us both by storm. Really knocked us both out. How could we feel this way about each other after a short period? But it was no denying it and other people, strangers would pick up on our electricity, and it would make them smile.

He said 3 simple words that impacted me I would never have thought. He looked at me and said, “There she is,” and it stopped me in my tracks. I immediately started to cry. He saw me. The beautiful mess that I am. No one and I means no one has ever said that to me and I knew by looking into his baby blues that he really meant it. He didn’t even realize what he had said when I started to cry, and he didn’t know why. I then explained to him the meaning of that powerful statement to me. He shed a tear too.

After that, when I had my guard up when I put on the fierce face (which is how I protect myself), he would say to me ” Where’s my girl?” and instantly I would become real and soft, and we could work out whatever disagreement we had been going through.

I couldn’t wait to marry this man, he really knew me. Unfortunately, we never got a chance, he died. Which is a whole other story I might write about some day?

I wish that everyone can find someone that genuinely sees who you are and if you do snatch that person up!

It took a long time to find him, so I am hoping that I am blessed again someday to meet someone else that can really see me.

Day 3 After Odile

2014-09-14 18.25.34

Sept 17

Didn’t sleep again the place is so unsecure, it’s hard to rest. Woke up and began cleaning again. I think what’s the point another storm is coming and my home will be flooded again.

No communication is the worst, we don’t know if anyone is okay, the only way is through word of mouth and it’s all really bleak with not much hope given. No food, water is limited and if help does come we need to get to the drop places for food and water but with no gasoline how do I get there?

I am sick of trying to clean, with no water. Haven’t showered in a few days, but we are trying to remain hopeful that we will see the military soon. Why hasn’t help come yet?

My old roommate came over; she lives over in the next community. We talked about going to her friend’s house and siphoning gas from her bike that we could use.

I packed a bug out bag with a few pictures, money, and papers and decided I would carry it everywhere. We locked our water in the only locking door and we ventured out. I had over 1/4 tank of gas in my 4 wheel….not much…I had to conserve.

We left the safety of the community and it shocked me every time we left…. the decimation of my beautiful Cabo in ruins. Cabo; in the last 3 years have become my home and I have such a connection to the people that live here. Gringo and Mexican alike.

We drive 10 minutes away from town towards San Jose and the downed cell towers, palms and power lines are everywhere too. We are carrying weapons. I have a screw driver, knives……..wow is all I have to say…..

Now I have tell you we had some  good laughs along the way….siphoning gas is a real treat and I remember from my farm days how gross it is………we were all gagging and laughing and finally my friend got it to drain……..great we have 2 gallons, not much but not nothing either. We couldn’t get gas from the other 3 cars we hit someone already got to them and they were parked in my drive way. This place had a relatively clean pool, I got in and washed my hair….still gross but better than before.

We just happened to try the phone and we got a dial tone! yippee I wonder if we can call international?

Day 1 & 2 After the Hurricane

2014-09-15 07.55.18

 

My friend who lives in the complex over came to see me. She didn’t have it as bad as me. We walked over for a moment and used her landline phone. Little did I know that it would be the last message left for my family for a long time. I got there answering machine. I so wished I could of talked to them.

We decided after a bit of clean up to go for a drive. Unbelievable destruction! Power lines, palm trees, signs all over the place. The destruction was so bad that we came home immediately.

We went to bed early with a plan for the next day to try and clean up some more and then go into town. Oh I forgot to mention there were buildings down everywhere and people were starting to loot the corner store!

Sept 16 day 2 after the storm

We woke up and decided to go to town to see if there was anything left. I am so grateful I have a 4 wheel drive because a regular car would not get through. Mudslides from flash floods were 2 ft. deep full of mud across the hwy, power lines down, buildings just gone!

I stopped to see if my coworker was ok, as she lived alone with her fur babies. She was not home or at least she didn’t answer, her dogs were outside. I will check again tomorrow I think.

We stopped at my work and a window and water was blown all over. No one was there. Met my friend Tony and started to talk to people about the power. They tell us that it could be up to a month to get power back! Plus we have no cell service. Without power we can’t turn on the tap and get washing water, cooking water…..it doesn’t run without power! Things just got a lot grimmer. We talked about the food we have on hand and we realize we don’t have a lot of canned goods……I never expected this!

People are gathering a small army and I see they are going to start to loot Walmart, SAMs club and maybe Costco and this is only day 2 . I’m so scared. The army is there. Later I hear they just opened up the doors and let people take any food items etc. that they needed……

I have 1/2 a tank of gasoline…..why oh why didn’t I get a full tank? I feel so stupid! I was so unprepared! Oh but we have 12 gallons of clean drinking water….that should last a little while if we are careful.

I have a Costco size baby wipes. Thank you Kyrstin for getting me hooked on them. This is how I will wash for the next several weeks because of no power. We do have a cistern with water that we decided we can use to boil and cook with….thank goodness we have a gas stove!

All the freezer stuff is starting to melt, the fridge is warm…..everything is going to go bad. We will have eggs and bacon tomorrow and lots of it!

 

We heard there is only one working cell tower in La Paz 2 hours away. We won’t be getting power back on for at least 2 weeks and all the stores are getting looted! We are worried we might have to bug out, oh ya we just heard the airport is destroyed and won’t be having any flight in or out for a week or more. What are we going to do? And to top it all off with all the rain, our doors won’t shut as they are swollen, bugs and mosquitoes with the threat of dengue. Plus we heard through the grapevine there is another storm headed our way!

My place looks like a bomb hit it, it’s super-hot and humid out and we don’t have a safe place to ride out this next storm. We are afraid that people will start looting houses and we have nothing to protect us…. I can’t go to work and that means no money for me……I really feel …….tired….

Tomorrow is another day to fight the battle.