Cindy walked into her condo, slipped off her shoes and slid into her slippers. Leaving her purse on the hall table, she walked down the hall and into the kitchen. She took a bottle of wine out of the wine rack – ah, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy; she had heard very good things about this wine and she was looking forward to trying it.

She poured herself a glass of wine and walked through the living room to stand by the floor length glass windows looking out over the ravine behind her building. Everything was quiet; everything was peaceful.
As she sipped on her wine, she thought about how having a glass of wine when she got home was starting to become a habit. She had always enjoyed a glass of wine after work, but usually it was because she needed a way to dull her senses so that she could make it through the evening. Her wine ritual was now a way of congratulating herself for productive day and a kick off to a relaxing evening.

How much her life had changed since her divorce!  She realized that she had almost made the same mistake as her parents; chained for years in a loveless marriage, going through the motions every day and not looking forward to the future at all. What was there to look forward to? More of the same, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Ad nauseum.

She used to ask her parents why they didn’t travel more, enjoy life. The answer was always the same; they were going to when they retired. They had planned to rent a motor home and travel the country, spending their winters in warmer climates to the south. Except it never happened, because they got old and sick. When they died, they had never traveled, had never done anything they’d hoped for. Their lives had been chained to each other, to their children, to the jobs and to the house.

Cindy had been about to make the same mistake. When Robert admitted he’d been seeing someone else and wanted a divorce, she felt devastated; her whole life was coming apart. Then she realized that she had been set free, freed from taking the same path her parents had. She’d sold the house and spent a couple of months traveling, seeing all the places she’d once only dreamt of. She had bought this condo because it was close to the downtown area and she could walk to stores and theatres. She was focusing on filling her life with new adventures.

That meant meeting new people as well. Musicians, writers, and artists were now part of her circle, and they didn’t know the role they were playing, each was had an influence on who she was becoming. Absentmindedly, her hand caressed the silver crucifix nestled in the small of her throat. The delicate chain and crucifix were a gift from Robert several years ago, and she had never taken it off.

Reaching up, she undid the clasp and held the necklace in her hand. She loved the delicacy of the tiny chain and the crucifix held so much meaning for her, since she had always been Catholic. It was also a constant reminder of Robert though and represented another type of chain she supposed. Without hesitation, she gently tossed the necklace over the balcony railing and into the fading light of evening. The last chain to her previous life was gone.  

She was finally free.

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This post by Suzette Seveny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2016 – The Year of Living

new-year-resolution-c-carouselHappy New Year 2016!

I’m not a fan of resolutions, as I think they set us up for disappointment and self-loathing. Setting a resolution tends to make us over-critical of ourselves, as if somehow we aren’t good enough just as we are. Sure, we can all get healthier, lose weight, quit smoking, etc., but those are things we should be doing all the time anyway without needed to start self-hating. At the end of the year we can look back on everything we didn’t accomplish and feel even worse about ourselves. Resolutions are not necessary or healthy. For example, I quit smoking a few years ago and I didn’t make a resolution to do it. I just did it.hobbes

What I’d like to do is set loftier goals. What are loftier goals you ask? Good question. I am going to aspire to be a nicer person, and a happier person. I’m going to set some realistic goals for myself that are based more on personality development, and then on the first of every month, I’ll revisit my goals. I can pat myself on the back for the ones that I am actually doing, I can re-commit to some others by re-thinking how to achieve the goal, or I can completely discard the goal if I don’t think it’s realistic, or if my interests have changed. No long-term commitment – this is like a month-to-month lease.

I want to be more conscious of what I’m buying and eating, and I’m not talking diet. My purpose is to buy Canadian products whenever and wherever possible and share my Canadian finds with as many people as I can. I think this is a good way to raise awareness of where our products are grown, produced, manufactured, etc. and might have a positive influence on Canadian jobs. If I can’t find a Canadian product (for example, pineapples don’t grow in Canada), I’ll look for products from the USA.

foot in mouthI also want to be a more positive and less critical person. My purpose is to try to elevate my moods by spreading kindness around. Some people do this by paying it forward at a coffee shop drive through. I don’t use drive throughs though (I actually think they’re the best example of laziness and disregard for our air quality), so I’ll do it by trying to say something nice about most people I meet. I’ll try for three a day. It might be to compliment someone on their appearance, or thank them sincerely for good service, etc. I’ll smile more too – smiling is infectious. Before I make a comment, I will try to ask myself, “Is it helpful?” “Is it supportive?” “Is it necessary?” I’m going to try to be more patient and remember the golden rule – if I can’t say something nice, say nothing at all. Not terribly hopeful on that last part, but I’ll re-evaluate how realistic it is after a month.

I want to disconnect from a lot of social media as well. The town I live in has several Facebook pages, and so many of the comments on them can be very negative. I have a tendency to try and correct misinformation, but I now realize that ignorance truly is bliss for most people. A friend recently pointed out to me that most successful people aren’t on Facebook very much and I realize that’s true. It’s also true that the people who are on Facebook most of the time, don’t have much else going on in their lives. Please don’t let that be me!

I’m going to put a limit on my Facebook activities and even leave some of the groups that I’m a part of because of the negativity. All town information will be on a need to know basis and I don’t need to know about other people’s negativity and close-mindedness. It just makes me lose faith in society. Along those same lines, I’m going to learn to walk away or set boundaries with negative people or people who consistently upset me. I don’t know if they do it deliberately or if it’s just how I’m perceiving it, but whatever the reason, I will no longer accept that negativity in my life. It’s bad for my chakra*.

Since I’ll be disconnecting from Facebook more, I’d like to devote some time each week to writing. I find writing elevates my mood, and allows me to connect with my inner spirit. I’ve already started writing more with this blog and by joining a writing group, so I’m well on my way! I’m also going to spend some time each week reading. I find I’ve been spending more time reading news lately and not recreational reading. I have a list of books I’d like to check out – some e-books and some physical books, but reading a novel for even for 15 minutes a day will be relaxing for me.

And here’s a weird one – I’d like to watch more television shows/movies. This is something I’ve stopped doing over the past year and like reading and writing, it’s a way for me to relax. I’m not going to expect to watch television every evening or go to the movies every week, but I’d like to go to the movies at least every two months if there’s something worth seeing, and watch recreational television for at least an hour or so a week.

I’d like to try something new at least once a month. It might be colouring, a drum circle, wine-tasting, bus trips, whatever – just something to get me out of my stale routine and keep life interesting. If I hear that friends are going to be doing something different, I’m going to speak up and ask if I can join them. I’ve met some really nice, positive people over the past few months by doing this, and it’s definitely a positive thing. I’d like to try yoga and meditation for example. Maybe I can find a friend who would be interested in these things as well. I’d also like to go to Toronto on a Friday evening for storytelling. I used to go years ago and really enjoyed it, so I’d like to do it again and maybe introduce some friends to it.

When I get stuck in a rut, I start to become afraid of change. I need to get out of my comfort zone and stretch my wings a bit. Life’s too short just to go through the motions and soon I’ll be another year older. I’m now at the age where I never know how much time I have left. Time to learn to live.

So here’s a summary of my list of goals:Growing

  • Buy and promote Canadian products (because this is important to me)
  • Say something nice to 3 people a day
  • Be less critical and impatient
  • Avoid negative people
  • Limit interactions on Facebook
  • Make time to write
  • Make time to read (aim for 15 mins a day)
  • Make time to watch TV (aim for an hour a week)
  • Go to the movies at least once every 2 months
  • Try to do something new or different at least once a month
  • Try yoga and meditation
  • Re-visit the goals on the first of every month

Welcome to 2016 – I’m looking forward to the journey!

*This is the first time I’ve used the word “chakra”. It just felt right. I looked it up after I used it and it definitely is the word I wanted to use.