The Call: Part 1

I’ve known from a young age that I belonged in the healing and helping professions. How did I know this? Well, it started out with the countless horoscopes that pegged me as a champion “nurturer”. I’d read about my inborn maternal instincts in the zodiac section of the newspaper and think to my (twelve year old) self, “Sure, that sounds like me.” At the time, I was an ace babysitter (!), sometimes caring for seven (!!) children at the same time (!!!) and practically peeing my pants at the thought of making a combined NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR (!!!!). “Helping professions– no prob”, I thought, “I’ve totally got this.”

Image sourced from cafepress.com

Image sourced from cafepress.com. It’s like they know me!

Fast forward a few years, and I still had confidence that I belonged in the healing and helping professions. By then, I was working as an intake counselor at a sexual health center in Calgary, guiding women warmly through sensitive experiences like pregnancy tests and answering delicate questions about birth control methods, fertility, and pregnancy options. I. Loved. This. Job. I started at the center as an unpaid volunteer and practically peed my pants when I was offered a paid contract to cover a year-long maternity leave. “You mean I’m going to make actual MONEY doing this job?”, I screeched in the Program Manager’s ear when she told me the good news, unable to conceal my sheer delight and using all of my restraint not to kiss her square on the lips. “Helping professions, no prob!! I’ve seriously got this!”

Plus I got to meet my BFF, Gloria Steinem. Perfection in a career path!

Plus I got to meet my BFF, Gloria Steinem. Perfection in a career path!

Shortly after finishing up the mat leave contract, I went back to university and completed a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. There, my very foundations were shaken. My core beliefs disintegrated– replaced with GPAs and a thesis advisory committee– and leaving me standing in ashes of confusion and uncertainty. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure what even qualified as a “healing or helping” profession anymore, but one thing was now certain: I didn’t have the right credentials to be that sort of professional or to do that sort of work. What good was an MA in COMS, after all? I couldn’t graduate and become a Professional Communicator. (And even if I could, how lame would that be?) I wasn’t a Psychologist. I wasn’t a Clinical Counselor. I wasn’t even a Coach or a Registered Anything of Importance. Basically, I determined, my degree was worthless and I had just wasted two years of my life. Healing and helping professions, so long…

... but I know y'all are dying to read the riveting thesis I wrote, right? My Supervisor: What's the title of your thesis going to be? Me: Can I call it "Who gives a sh*t"?

… but I know y’all are dying to read the riveting thesis I wrote, right? My Supervisor: What’s the title of your thesis going to be? Me: Can I call it “Who gives a sh*t?” No? Okay, then I’ll call it the next lamest thing: “Communicating About Contraceptives”. Ugh…

*     *     *     *     *

Around that time, I started getting cozier with psychics, palm readers, and astrologists. (And, on a related note, I practically peed my pants when my favorite astrologist, Georgia Nicols, started following me on Twitter. Not that I’m ever actually on Twitter, mind you, but just having her follow me was a thrill!)

Anyway. Psychics and palm readers. Yes.

Dana LH 1

I had my palms read for the first time in the mall in 2008. (Don’t judge). Sandra talked at length about me belonging in the helping professions, and I was all, “Does working at a non-profit organization count as helpful? If not, should I go back to school and invest four more years and fifty thousand more dollars into further education? Should I become a psychologist?” (At that point, I’m pretty sure Sandra just took her fifteen bucks and sealed her lips forevermore). The Era of Over-Thinking Things had begun.

Do you want to work at the Harbour like me? Come on, I know you do...

Do you want to work at the Harbour like me? Come on, I know you do…

In 2010, when I decided to leave the world of non-profits and work full time with my Beloved at our now infamous art booth, I consulted with my trusted psychic medium to make sure that I was heading in the right direction. I certainly was, she said, and then I proceeded to riddle her with tangential questions about getting other training, degrees, certifications, or Officially Sanctioned Skills under my belt so I could legitimately work in the healing and helping professions at some point again. Poor psychic medium. She told me (nicely) to stop over-thinking things, and I interpreted this as “Yes. Training. Get more.” Heh.

So I decided in 2013 that I was going to become a Holistic Nutritionist. (Remember that? Hahaha.) An interview was scheduled. A tuition deposit was even paid. And suddenly? It didn’t feel right anymore. A quick call to my trusted psychic confirmed the intuitive ‘no to Holistic Nutrition School’ hit and also yielded a now familiar nugget of advice: “Healing and helping professions. Stop over-thinking things.

Me: Stop over-thinking things? What does that even mean? I wonder if it means I should get certified as an EFT Practitioner. Or maybe I should take a coaching course! Should I get coaching done for myself? I should probably get more online business training, that’s for sure. Maybe I should take that Crystal Healing qualification course, too? Or wait until I’ve got some Transcendental Meditation experience under my belt. Maybe I should try yoga finally? And then get certified as a yoga teacher, yes! I wonder how long it takes to become a Reiki Master. Or an intuitive healer! Can you get a degree in intuition? Maybe I should get a Ph.D. in Metaphysics. And then write a book!

Not over-thinking things– no prob! I’ve totally got this. ;) 

To be continued…

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Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt

In case it isn’t obvious, I haven’t posted here in months. And months. (And months!) It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say– I did. It’s not that I couldn’t find the time to post– I could.

The thing is… I was being bullied into keeping my mouth shut. Yes, bullied! SHE told me that my ideas weren’t original, profound, or immaculate enough to merit a push of the publish button. SHE said that I could either be humorous or helpful, sarcastic or spiritual, but that I could never, ever, EVER be an offbeat mixture of the two. (After all, that would be blasphemous!)

Don't even try to pose for a romantic photo with your beloved husband, only to be photobombed by a hairless Sphynx cat. That just isn't done!

Don’t even think about posing for a romantic photo with your beloved husband in poor lighting, only to be photo-bombed by a hairless Sphynx cat. Things like that just aren’t done!

SHE is Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt, and for a while– up until this very moment, in fact– I believed everything she said. And so the writing stopped. My voice dried up like a California raisin, dusty and uncertain, and Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt stood watch, ensuring that nothing suspect (i.e. helpful and entertaining) got posted here “accidentally” in the meantime.

Yes.

Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt, retro glasses and bindi intact (gauzy head scarf optional.)

Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt, retro glasses and bindi intact (gauzy head scarf optional.)

Spoiler alert: Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt is technically still me, only she’s the version of me who insists that everything self help-related be delivered in syrupy packets, swirling cursive, and/or sanitized affirmations.

“Reach for the stars!”, she will sing, her voice vanilla-scented and tinkling like the most delicate of bells. “Dream big and stay in school!”

Regular Me resists this flowery, woo-woo voodoo– fiercely. Pointedly. Aggressively. Still, though– Regular Me is drawn inexplicably towards things like crystals, tarot cards, and universal magic, and yet equally, viciously terrified of being sucked into a vortex of patchouli and tie-dye, never to return.

I say affirmations to myself in the mirror and worry that Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt is peering over my shoulder, secretly setting a honey-kissed trap and plotting to steal my sense of humor forever. I complete a morning energy medicine routine and fear that she will swallow me whole! “Do you like the Law of Attraction?”, I imagine her coaxing me, her inquiry deceptively innocuous. “If so, pay the toll: NOTHING FUNNY CAN BE WRITTEN FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, FOREVER AND EVER, SO HELP YOU GODDESS.” Yeesh!

Only serious and serene starfish photos allowed!

Only serious and serene starfish photos allowed from now on! (PS: Those aren’t my hands.)

want to talk about how awesome my abundance altar is, but not if I have to weave daisy chains through my peasant-inspired pleats to do so. (Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt would love that.)

I’m practically itching to tell you everything I’ve learned about tapping and energy medicine lately, but certainly not if I have to deliver my words in a solemn, earnest tone, delicately touching my heart chakra (you know, to keep the channels open.)

There’s so, so much to show and so, so much to tell, but honestly? I can’t bear to share any of it if I have to do it, Magick Faery Goddess Wind Chimes-style. That’s just not my style… most of the time, anyway. Heh.

So here’s what I propose:

I’m going to learn, and I’m going to share what I’ve learned here.

Sometimes, you might have to refrain from guffawing at your computer screen while you are at the office, reading my posts while you are supposed to be working. (That’s how outrageous and hilarious they might be!)

At other times, Sister Flowing Goddess Skirt might have her way with me, and I’ll serenely impart some nuggets of universal wisdom to you, perhaps causing you to touch your heart chakra involuntarily (you know, to keep the channels open).

Word to the wise: green is the color of the heart chakra. In case you were wondering...

Word to the wise: green is the color of the heart chakra. In case you were wondering…

Either way, I’m tired of not writing and tired of not saying all of the things that need to be said. Sound cool? Excellent.

I’ve missed you!

How you been since February?

 

 

When 650 Equals 450

Closets and boxes and crap... oh my!

Closets and boxes and crap… oh my! (Old apartment flashbacks)

I have learned a schwack of lessons during our recent move. (Yes, a whole SCHWACK!) I am still processing the adjustment of everything on an energetic level (which partly explains my dire absence from the interwebs lately). However, while my delicate chakras continue to digest everything that’s happened to us in the past month, allow me to shine a light on a very particular lesson that I must have learned simply so you don’t have to. Read on and learn, dear friends– read. and. learn.

Two years ago, when we left our beloved winter cottage on the lake and came back into the city to rent something “basic and cheap” for Harbour season, we stumbled upon our ghetto apartment in the heart of Victoria. It met our sole criteria– “basic” and “cheap”– so we signed our names on the lease and thus ushered in an era of Pain and Suffering for ourselves. (That was Lesson #1, by the way: “In the future, craft a more extensive/less pathetic list of criteria for winning apartments”. CHECK.)

Anyway. Right after* (*yes, not right before) we had signed our souls away for the low, low price of $650 per month, I asked our landlord what the square footage of our glorious new residence was. I needed this information for tax purposes, and our landlord didn’t skip a beat when she answered “640 square feet”.

Okay– 640 square feet. Small. But manageable.

Since I am a mathematical genius and have a keen attention to detail, I proceeded to take the measurements of Marty’s studio space manually. I needed to know the percentage of Marty’s work space to our whole apartment (yay for home office deductions!), so I wielded the Measuring Tape, divided the size of Marty’s studio by 640 square feet and voila! I had a number I could plug in to the tax forms come tax time.

Welcome to our bike room slash art studio slash plant storage space! Yeesh...

Aaahhh… Welcome to our bike room slash art studio slash plant storage space slash recycling depot! Yeesh!

During the next two years, we did nothing but complain about our 640 square foot apartment:

Yes, we have a lot of stuff in here, but gee– it feels so cramped in here!

It would sure be nice to live somewhere with 2 million square feet! At least! Then we could fit all of the art supplies, bike stuff, books, etc.

By golly, 640 square feet sure feels small!

(This wasn’t even factoring in our other complaints, like having elephants for upstairs neighbours and that time when the building leaked, flooded our apartment, and ROTTED OUR MATTRESS!! But I digress.)

For nearly two whole years, our apartment felt supremely tiny. We were horrified at the thought of having visitors there, so nobody was allowed to enter unless it was 100% essential. (My mom never actually saw our place, despite coming to Victoria several times during our lease. Cough. And when we needed to have a friend water our plants while we were away on holidays last year, I probably spent about three hours blathering about my supreme embarrassment before permitting her to even cross the threshold of the apartment.)

And then I needed to e-mail her helpful photos from afar, so she could locate specific items that could technically be ANYWHERE

And then I proceeded to e-mail her helpful photos like this from Arizona, so she could locate specific items that could technically be ANYWHERE on our jam-packed shelves.

Needless to say, when I saw a listing for a much, much larger suite on the top floor of a heritage house, I lunged at the opportunity to jump from our microscopic ship. So we packed. We cleaned. We unpacked. We cleaned some more. And just before we had our final walk through in the old, tiny apartment, I decided to measure the whole place, just for kicks. (Yes, I am a nerd.)

I whipped out Ye Olde Measuring Tape for the last time there, calculated some lengths and checked them twice. A few days later, I plugged the numbers into my trusty adding machine and was stunned to discover that they yielded 445 square feet total, not even close to 640. Thinking I must have made an error in the basic length x width formula, I calculated all the areas again. And then again, when I arrived at the same number and thought to myself that I must have missed a decimal place or something.

Nope. 445 square feet. No wonder it felt so small!

For two years, Marty and I crammed an art studio, a fully-stocked inventory of art reproductions and supplies, a virtual Tour de France of bicycles, and normal things like a bed, couch, and dressers into a teensy-assed 445 square foot apartment! If somebody had asked us out of the blue, “Hey! Do you want to live in a 445 square foot apartment?”, we would have answered an emphatic HELLS NO! If we were methodically checking out places to rent, a 445 square foot place wouldn’t have even made it onto our radar. By a long stretch! And yet we lived in one, quite miserably, for nearly two years of our lives.

LESSON LEARNED: Use a measuring tape and figure it out for yourself.

ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: If it feels small and cramped… it probably is.

So there you have it! Now you never have to live in a 445 square foot apartment unless you’ve made an informed, conscious choice to do so! Aren’t you glad that I learn these embarrassingly simple lessons so you don’t have to? You’re welcome! :)

We are Moving. Enough Said.

It hit me about a month ago:

“Wait a minute. I’m aiming for more ease in my life, but right now, all that I have on my plate is:

  • Incorporating our art business, and all the super fun paperwork that entails
  • Tax prep (more super fun paperwork!)
  • Completing a coaching program
  • Consoling Marty when he realizes how many custom paintings he still has to work through on tight deadlines

Obviously, I need to round my life out with something else. Something major. Something all-consuming.”

So we are moving. HA.

(It didn’t transpire exactly like that. But we are definitely moving and we are now neck-deep in cardboard boxes and Magic Erasers.)

Part of me feels elated to be heading somewhere new. Our new suite is spacious– nearly twice the size of our old apartment. It’s also a mere two blocks away from our favourite sandy beach and gets us out from underneath our club-footed, insomniac upstairs neighbours. Truth be told, though: I’m really nervous, too. I’m nervous about moving somewhere new but being plagued by the same old issues. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in hauling everything we own to a new place. And stumbling across gems like these doesn’t help, either:

For real? This box has been in a PAID STORAGE UNIT for at least five years. How embarrassing!

For real? This box has been in a PAID STORAGE UNIT for at least five years. How embarrassing! I don’t even want to know what “rarely used toiletries” are in there.

'Hmm... Well, Dana M., we'd love to hire you on the spot, but we'd feel more comfortable if we had PROOF of your familiarity with a fire extinguisher.'

‘Hmm… Well, Dana M., we’d love to hire you on the spot, but we’d feel more comfortable doing so if we had PROOF of your familiarity with a fire extinguisher. You wouldn’t believe how many people lie about being familiar with fire extinguishers on their applications…’

Yeah. Forgive me if I’m mysteriously absent from The Internet for the next few weeks. If you need me, I’ll be framing my Fire Extinguisher Familiarity certificate (W.T.H???!!!) and scrubbing floors. (Seriously. Who issues these certificates? And who KEEPS THEM IN A FOLDER FOR FIVE YEARS??)