Monday Ramble, Sun, Storms, Food, Bears, Death.

HellOO Friends!

Thank you SO much for your patience with the dead air here on HeartStyle and my personal inattention! Something happened last week that switched my brain into sad mode, so … I was sad and let those feelings reign.

This weekend wasn’t sad though. I woke up on Saturday and it was SUNNY! It’s been storming for AGES here and the day felt like waking up to Spring all over again. So I read an excellent book and went for an excellent walk and bought a Slurpee that was SUPPOSED to be excellent but was not.

Because instead of Lime, I got MELON. Yuck! I should have known by the colour. The sign said Lime but it was lies. ALL LIES!

OH well, it was cool and I was hot!

On Sunday, we went to K-Days here in the city and that was fun. We walked around and ate all the things:

These are just what I took pics of. I also had a brisket sandwich and a Butterbeer cone and a Beaver Tail…I may have to go back for the fried chicken skin! We got into K-Days for FREE thanks to our library cards. So thanks EPL! We had fun and I appreciate the treat! ( K-Days are formally known as Klondike Days and it’s basically an exhibition and fair)

Sooooo, what made me so sad?

One of my husband’s drivers was killed in a crash while working.

He was on his last trip of the week, heading home.

He was young and married to his beloved. He loved motorcycles and cats.

His death was so shocking to everyone. Like a lightening strike out of the blue. And so damn sad. The rainy, stormy weather at the time definitely matched the hearts of all who learned the news.

This experience taught me a lot. My end of life doula skills came in handy in supporting my husband and hopefully through him, the driver’s wife, but sudden death is a whole other thing all together. I knew that….but I did not KNOW that. I’m forever grateful for the lesson.

And you know, it felt “good” to be sad. To allow myself to be sad. I didn’t know this fellow but he was still a part of my everyday life through my hubs. It felt like feeling sad was a way to honour that he had lived. It felt like a very important thing to do.

Today the rest of us are alive, and the sun is shining again.It’s supposed to be HOT. No thunderstorms for the next little bit but just in case:

I kind of like the idea of yelling Bring it on ASSHOLE to a tornado, ha! That’s a whole mood right there πŸ™‚ As is the last don’t too…everything changes.

This is also a MOOD! Although you know, I was outside with tons of people yesterday and I loved it! I think fairs are one of my favorite things. The delicious smells, the clacks and clicks and clangs of all the rides. The music blasting. The little kids. The people dressed in all sorts of different get ups…Mind you give me TOO much of that^ and I’m right back to this meme again, ha ha.

Well. THAT answers that question. πŸ™‚ Have you ever seen bear poop? It’s pretty neat stuff, especially during berry season. I accidently touched it once when I was checking to see how old it was. One of my many claims to fame πŸ˜›

I haven’t tried that new aging app thingy because all I need for that is the mirror but still, this made me laugh. Then cringe. Then ponder…

Only if you’re lucky. My newest, fondest wish is that I die peacefully in my sleep. That’s my wish for all of us. Happy being alive day, to YOU ❀

Love & Squishy Hugs.

R Is For *Rituals. A-Z Challenge

As an End of Life Care doula we are taught to recognize, develop and honour rituals as we empower our clients and their families do the same.

We all have rituals in our daily lives

Rituals offer us comfort and familiarity.

Rituals help us make and take time to just be. Rituals bring us together and empower us in our aloneness.

They motivate us and give us a way to focus our attention and intentions.

They help us mark life events and give us opportunities in this crazy world to acknowledge the present moment with a reverence that doesn’t seem silly while allowing us to recognize the sacred of the day.

Here are some of mine:

  1. Morning stumble to the bathroom, morning greeting with the dogs morning cup of coffee while I sit on the couch with my Hubs.
  2. Thursday flier reading and grocery list writing.
  3. Birthday celebrations. Mine and others. The cake, the candles, the presents.
  4. My daily walk.
  5. Watching the Sun rise and set.
  6. Writing in my journal.
  7. My evening personal well being check in with myself.

Think of some of yours.

I’m thinking about rituals because as a doula with the dying, it’ll be part of my role but also because I’m going to need my own ritual to help me cope with the losses I’m going to face.

Every single one of my clients is going to die. Sure, I’ve signed up for this and I wouldn’t do such a thing if I thought it would be an impossible task BUT I am still a human being. A sensitive human being and I’m going to need my own way to move through those losses that’s meaningful to me, and honours something about them personally.

But here’s another situation where a death ritual can be helpful.

Someone will die and while we don’t know them, we know of them, and we feel sad about their death. It’s a loss.

We might feel silly for this but those feelings are real, no matter what anyone says and it can be therapeutic to do something to honour them.

When George Michael died, I sat in the bathtub ALL DAY, playing his songs and mourned him. I was also mourning all the memories that went along with those songs. Our feelings can be pretty complicated.

You should have seen me when Princess Diana was killed…

Your emotions are usually about that person and something personal to you too.

ANYWAY, I’m not suggesting you go run a hot bath and cry over every person that dies but it can be very nice to do this:

Write the person’s name on a piece of paper. Hold them in your mind and think about what it is you so admire and appreciate.

Think about anything they gave you- Prince gave me Purple Rain and that gorgeous achey feeling I get every time I hear it. Luke Perry gave me Monday night doughnut parties with friends -and light yourself a candle. Then just let it burn for a bit.

( Please watch it. Don’t burn your house down)

Whenever you feel ready( keep a fire safe dish at the ready) light the paper on fire.

Thank the person, yourself and the memories with love as the paper burns. Do what you will with the ashes. Witchy Lael might suggest scattering them to the wind or burying them in the Earth. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that you’ve now done something, a small thing, a meaningful thing and allowed those feelings to be. Expressions of grief and honouring the dead are important and healing rituals. Hopefully this helps you. I find, its helped me.

Tell me about your daily rituals! What are your favourites? Do you have any sacred ones? Please share if you feel comfortable! ❀

D is for *Death. A-Z Challenge

You might think as someone who’s training to be an End of Life Care Doula, I’d be completely comfortable with all things Death related.

Future Worm Food.

I have spent time in a cardboard coffin after all and Death is my number one focus in life, behind reading and food. I must be so chill. I must be so brave and strong. I must not fear anything to do with Death at all!

Ha ha ha!

Yeah … NO.

Just last night, I woke in an absolute panic, chest pounding, mind racing because … I don’t have money set aside to pay for my funeral.

Once I calmed down, I had a good laugh at myself. I can immerse myself in Death but I can’t escape all the complicated emotions that go along with it. I have dreams like this with great regularity. The other night it was men in hooded black robes trying to hack their way into my house with farming tools and the night before that I was trying on some really fashionable shrouds.

I find it worse now actually. The further I delve into my practice, the more things come up for me. I’m grateful because I’d much rather work this stuff out now, than in a frenzied panic on my death bed.

(If I get a death bed. )

Some days, I even declare a “death free” day, as much as I can control that of course, because it all gets to be too much and I need to take a soothing break.

Most days, I’m Ok. I can think about it and read about it and learn about it and while I realize the gravity of it all, I am able to live a normal life, just like everyone else. But some days … some days I am ridden with anxiety and disbelief.

I.am.going.to.die!

People die.

It happens to the “others”.

It’s going to happen to me too!

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

What is up with that?

I want to be open because I want other people to know that their feelings of fear et al, are completely normal and can be worked through. I might wake up in a panic sometimes, or cringe when I imagine the world without me but thinking about death and working through those feelings are valuable to me too. It’s a trade off for sure, but I’ve only grown because of it.

Death clarifies life.

It motivates me. If I realize I only have a finite period of time left to do the things I want to do, I’m going to do them! That’s why I went to Peru, even though I was scared to travel alone. That’s why, I went to Tanzania rather than buy myself a car. That’s why I stopped waiting for a perfect time to educate myself . I only have so many years yet. And none of them are guaranteed to be good or comfortable. None of them are guaranteed at all.

It puts all things into perspective. I’m not going to fight with people over stupid sh*t. The energy output is not worth my precious time.

This includes arguments with myself too.

I’d rather spend my time loving rather than hating, and just ignore the nonsense as best as I can. Hell, I even ignore the nasty weather. I hate it, that’s for sure but I’ve found my life is better if I just keep it in the background. Instead I focus on how good hot tea is or how nice fuzzy socks are. ( This is huge for a natural complainer like me. )

Death helps us live in the now, intentionally. I became the captain of my own ship. I choose. I decide. When you live intentionally you take responsibility for everything in your life and that my friends is freedom. Freedom is my jam.

When I live in the now, I’m really living my life, not just coasting through it wondering where the days ( months, years ) went.

So, facing death, even though I am as afraid as anyone can have its benefits.

These are just a few of the things that I think about. If you start using death as your advisor you’ll have your own things too.

It’s all OK. You can be scared AND still think about/ plan for/ talk about Death.

You wont die. Well you will, just not from that. πŸ™‚ ❀

Talk to me about death. Are you fearful? Curious? Indifferent?

Love, & Long Healthy Life & Squishy Hugs!


Death Cleaning-Altars & Knick Knack Niches.

This task was easier than I thought. Perhaps my previous clean up successes paved the way for positivity. I reeeeeally thought this job would be harder because I loooove my little keepsakes! ‘Twas super simple and satisfying though, woot, woot!

The before:

Bedside altar, phone “booth” luck and prosperity niche and glass case ‘o crap…

The after:

I was pretty ruthless. I only kept the things I really love and am enjoying now. Having said that, out of these items I have FAVOURITE favourites too.

The little owl my son made me, my Dalai Lama photo and my rocks.

Wow, hey? That surprised me. Something tells me I’ll be doing this whole process again and again and again.

And I think that’s just it. Death cleaning doesn’t have to be one big purge in your late 60s. You can do it, again and again as you move toward death. It’s not really any different than the developmental stages of aging where one sheds their inner nonsense as they grow older and wiser…one can shed their outer nonsense too!

I’ve cleaned three areas thus far and am finding the process to be a good one. I’m impatient to get on with it, because there are other things I can be doing and learning from but I keep telling myself that this is important too. I don’t want my kids or husband to have to deal with piles of stuff when I die. That’s not fair to them. So onward I march! Err…clean.

Up next in our series, my art room. A hot mess of another kind. This one is giving me heart palpitations…

What Does It Feel Like To Die?

Do you ever think about what it feels like to die?

I sure do.

I’m not talking about what it will feel like if say, I’m hit by a car or if I develop cancer and have pain from that as it kills me.

I’m talking about what will it feel like in the moments when my lungs stop taking in air and my heart stops beating, in any circumstance. What will that all feel like? Physically, mentally and emotionally.

Will I know I’m dying? Will I care? Will I be anxious? Will I fight against it or will I go with it? Will I be happy, angry, sad or glad?

I know from near death experiences I’ve had that if death arises near me suddenly, I will most likely be in the moment, as it is. There won’t be time or care to think or be fearful. There is only time to observe it as it unfolds.

The scary stuff, or the funny stuff comes later. If you get a later! It seems like in that circumstance, death just is.

If I’m lying on my deathbed, elderly or ill or just living my life and I die in my sleep or throughout the course of unconsciousness will I even know it’s happening?

I’m just so curious about it all! Do any of you have yourself a wonder too? It’s OK to talk about it. In fact, it’s beneficial to talk about it. Good practice for when it’s our turn.

I read a really good article about one person’s experience in dying that really moved me. I sat there weeping with … joy and comfort as I took in her personal account.

Her name is Christen O’Brien and here is her story: What It Felt Like To Almost Die.

Have a read and let me know what you think! I found it beautiful, encouraging and oh so comforting. I hope you do too. ❀

Death Cleaning The Closet.

Part two in my series on Death Cleaning and Minimalism. Part one is here!

Originally I assumed this was going to be a giant task but the whole thing only took me around thirty minutes. Mind you I only did MY side and I only focused on clothing and accessories but still: Thirty Minutes! Colour me surprised. I had it in my mind that it would take forever.

I wonder if that’s why I kept putting it off? There is a lesson here!

ANYhoo, here we go!

Gigantic Pile Of Nonsense
Manageable Rack Of Nonsense.

I felt GREAT after I got it all done. Not only because it felt good to see the neatness of it all but because it was a quick and easy job. I see why the experts tell you to tackle your clothes first. I ran into some emotions-shame-but I was able to get through them by keeping Marie Kondo’s mantra in mind. Does this item spark joy? Nope? Then into the donate pile it goes. It matters not that it still has the tags on it! (Or that it doesn’t fit. Or that I hate it now and probably shouldn’t have bought it in the first place.)

I found it extremely helpful to have a set of rules and guidelines there to assist me. SO don’t scoff at them, they do work and serve a good purpose. This is emotional stuff.

The takeaway: When you set an intention, have a plan and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by your feelings, cleaning and organizing your messy piles of nonsense doesn’t take all that long to do.

Spring is coming! We’re all going to need to go a clothes switch. Why not take this time to give yourself the gift of a good clean out too?

Stay tuned for part three-Three Altars.

Death Cleaning

One of the services a death doula can offer is Death Cleaning.

What the heck is Death Cleaning?!

Well, death cleaning is the act of organizing, giving away, donating and trashing the mountains of things you’ve collected in your lifetime, before you die, with love and intention. It can be a big job, which is why some doulas offer it as a service. Aside from the practicalities of cleaning, a death doula can help you make the experience rich and meaningful.

( If you’re with me and you’re keen on the idea, it can also be silly and fun. Actually I pretty much guarantee it’ll be silly and fun if you’re with me. That’s kind of my jam.)

You may have seen this before marketed as Swedish Death Cleaning based on the book of a similar name. It is a lovely, lovely idea and I am fond of it madly.

I’ve since learned that this isn’t really a thing like the press would have you believe. It’s more like minimalism- live simply and practically- that the lifestyle types have repackaged and turned into a trend and brought to the masses. This lovely book has been turned into a movement of sorts which is very cool. And whether is a “thing” or not, I love that it gets people thinking, and talking and acting. It’s a thing now, ha ha.

( My need for authenticity is fighting with my love of talking about death)

Whatever you want to call it, at its core Death Cleaning is just the act of taking care of your shit so your loved ones don’t have to. It’s done in the later years as one thinks about such things.

This can all also be done before your later years because hey, let’s face it: You could be 21 years old and this very day is a day in your “later years” because you get killed by a crazy Edmonton driver! One never knows.

With that in mind, if you happen to still be ALIVE , a good Death Clean or even just thinking about good Death Clean might inspire you to live a more simplistic lifestyle and that my friends is called minimalism.

I suck at minimalism.

I suck at cleaning.

I love it. I appreciate it. I crave it.

It’s all very Zen.

But I suck at it.

I can’t suck at something if I’m going to offer it as a service! And the thought of leaving piles of junky stuff for my kids to clean makes me shudder so…

I’m going to death clean myself first!

And document it here of course πŸ™‚

I have a feeling this is going to be a difficult task but I think that by doing this I’ll have a better understanding of what the process is like for my dear clients and that’s a win for everyone.

I feel great anxiety and trepidation in my chest just thinking about it. The task is very overwhelming.

I have so much stuff!

All over the place!


Which is why I’m going to start small with the easiest items:

Clothing!

Let’s tackle the dresser first.

The whole task took me about an hour from beginning to end. I approached it as if I were working with a client so I was a. nice to myself about the mess. b. detached emotionally from my belongings c. invested in being efficient.

Here is what I learned:

  1. Doing the task quickly and intentionally is crucial to not getting stuck in the emotions of it.
  2. Have a garbage bag and containers for each of the following right there before you begin. The containers, boxes, bags, whatever are for things you give to family and friends, things you are donating/selling, things you need to move to another area of your home, and trash.
  3. Do any task that will only take 5 mins, right away. For instance, I had a pile of sunglasses that needed to go somewhere. I found an old makeup bag, tossed them in it and then put them away. Completing these small tasks right away prevents you from moving one mess to another area and gives you a feeling of completion in the original one.
  4. If the task is something that requires more work and time, write it down and then do it. You’ll forget and it wont get done or you’ll remember and it’ll hang over you and make you anxious. I can’t put all my things away because I need a jewellery box, and I need one of those file folder thingies and I need a Rubbermaid. So I wrote myself a list and on payday I’ll get what I need to put it all away, in a proper place. Now I know those real minimalist types say things like “Oh, if you need to buy more things to put your stuff in, you need to get rid of more stuff!” Well, I’m sorry DIANE, I’m not tossing out my fucking jewellery just because I don’t have a jewellery box to put it in. Gee Willikers!
  5. Be kind to yourself. Take breaks if you need them. Ask for help. Work through your heart lens. It will all be OK in the end no matter what you do.

It was an interesting task to complete because I could really see the way my mind operates, laid out within my stuff. According to a bunch of studies that are easily Googleable, if one lives in a scattered, cluttered mess, one’s mind is an scattered, cluttered mess BUT the opposite of that is true too!

Cleaning it and organizing it and living simply has a calming effect on your entire life. I can benefit from that and if I die from a stroke today, my drawers are one less thing my family has to take care of. That brings me peace and comfort, however small.

Until next time, when I tackle the closet, love and squishy hugs!