a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start to you

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And through it all, I stood and stumbled, waded through my thoughts and heart Yeah through it all, I fooled and fumbled, lost to the poet's frown.
I fought the wolves of patience just to let it lie down.

I've come to the conclusion that I am quite lousy at relaxing.

And it's never been more apparent than on this trip. 

Even with my deep desire of a life that is simple, I find myself wrestling with my inability to just sit and be and how much I feel the need to do all the time. 

But I need life to give me some answers to some things that have been heavy on my mind lately. And I know what I have to do to get those. Even when it means discomfort to get them. 

When we landed in San Jose, Costa Rica on Friday we found our way by taxi to a tiny little bus station that would take us on a four hour turned seven-hour journey to Puerto Viejo where we were staying for the night.  This is near the Panama border. 

After two plane rides on nothing more than a few glasses of wine and two green superfood bars I picked up prior to leaving, we found ourselves on a long, full bus ride listening to the unwelcoming sounds of an arrogant Polish twenty-something playing dubstep from a keg-shaped Bluetooth speaker in his lap. 

I only know he is Polish because my friend Raven and I sat for a good thirty minutes listening to these guys talking back and forth as they drowned themselves in some kind of liquor from a bottle in a paper bag.  Eventually, I needed to know and asked. I like to ask people where they are from when I travel. I like to hear their stories. 

After we had our brief conversation he turned on his speaker for the whole bus to enjoy. At first, I thought it was coming from the bus speakers but it became apparent, from the annoyance of other riders, both locals and travelers, that this was not the case and it was coming from the keg shaped speaker in the Polish guy's lap. 

I found myself growing irritated too. I mean, come on guy. Dubstep? Had it been mellow beats that is one thing but if you are privy to dubstep you know it's anything but mellow. 

I kept telling myself to just relax and go with the flow. Don't let this one little moment, this person, this blip on the screen of your life caused by someone else's actions annoy you. 

This is what travel is about after all. The unexpected things that happen. The laughter that comes for years that come from moments just like these. 

Little did I know, I was going to be saying this to myself often on this trip. 

As with everything though there is a great lesson to be learned. And what I've realized on this trip so far is that it has more to do with the fear of facing my myself and my thoughts and hearing that little voice inside speaking truth to me than actually not being productive

But  I don't want the dubstep noises of life to cause me to miss out on all the wonderful moments in between so I need to learn to relax and just go with the flow of life. 

I want to hear life talking to me and to do that you have to learn to slow down, open your eyes and your heart and fully take in what is around you. 

So I slow down and let things be and allow the thoughts and feelings to surface. All of them.  I allow answers to come to those questions I keep asking God and give thanks with gratitude in my heart. Even when it's not the answer I truly desire. 

And as the lyrics of one of my favorite songs goes:

And what we found
Down these coves of limestone and cockle shells,
What we found
Down these roads that wander as lost as the heart,
Is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start to you
My my a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start to you
Oh my a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start

And it's through this song that God gently reminds me that his hands are all over everything as rain pours from the skies and I have no other choice but to just sit and be with myself, my thoughts and my own heart and maybe, just maybe, it's a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start. 

For once there is no dubstep to drown these out. 

These Waters by Ben Howard

I saw red and yellow flowers outside over the moors
And brightest sunrise ever to touched my eyes.

And through it all,
I stood and stumbled, waded through my thoughts and heart
Yeah through it all,
I fooled and fumbled, lost to the poet's frown.
I fought the wolves of patience just to let it lie down.

See these waters they'll pull you up,
Oh, now if you're bolder than the darkness.
My my, let these songs be an instrument to cut,
Oh spaces 'tween the happiness and the hardness.
My my, spaces 'tween the happiness and the hardness.

Oh, out the door,
The touch of morning, the burning of the frost
Out the door
My, strong hands to hold, good friends that I never lost.

And what we found
Down these coves of limestone and cockle shells,
What we found
Down these roads that wander as lost as the heart,
Is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start to you
My my a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start to you
Oh my a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start

Oh, no, see these waters they'll pull you up,
Oh, no, if you're bolder than the darkness.
My my let these songs be an instrument to cut here darling,
These spaces between the happiness and the hardness,
Oh my my, spaces between the happiness and the hardness
Oh my my, spaces between the happiness and the hardness
Oh my my, spaces between the happiness and the hardness

10 Subtle Ways to Feel Different in 2018 and Keep the Momentum Going

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It's a new year. Doesn't that feel so good?

The beginning of a new year always seems to be full of so much hope and clarity. It's an opportunity to begin again. Start over. Do things differently. 

We charge into January with so much intention, so much motivation, so much gusto. 

We are moving and shakin' our bodies. We are eating clean and healthy. We are in a state of gratitude and practicing some big shifts. We are on a roll. We are abundant!

Then, slowly, it starts to taper off. We skip the workout class to meet friends for happy hour but on the drive there, promise ourselves that tomorrow we will move our person once again.

But we don't. 

We crave pizza and cocktails and tell ourselves that it is just this one time. Tomorrow we will eat well again. 

But again, we don't. All of those things we wanted for ourselves start to slowly slip away. 

We find old thoughts and behaviors creeping in slowly and before we know it, it's as if we are back in 2017 all over again. 

Nooooo!

Kidding. 2017 wasn't that bad. 

Again, I kid. 2017 can take a big old hike!

Okay, okay,  it wasn't that bad. I had some pretty incredible things happen in 2017 too. But I am rather happy to flip the calendar on that one. 

I know I'm not the only one who is happy to say goodbye to 2017. It seems a lot of us had a bit of a difficult year and were more than happy to say peace! See ya later! Sayonara! 

But you see, the thing is, I really don't ever want to wish a year away again. The years are moving faster and faster and well, we are only allotted so many of them and I hope to make them all count. 

Be it a "good" or "bad" year,  all of it has an offering for us. This is coming off a year that more times then I care to admit, had me wailing on the floor in the middle of my living room.

So much of it made no sense to me.

However, I am starting to see things a bit clearer and although I may never say that it all happened for a reason, I am starting to see more clarity in how I can take those crappy moments and turn them into something really meaningful. 

And damn it feels good to feel optimistic again. 

I have something pretty awesome and big things in the works. I'll be so excited to share it with you soon. 

Until then, I spent New Year's Eve in a deep reflection, thinking about the previous year and drawing my biggest learnings from all the events that happened and the conclusion that I came to was that 2017 was a catalyst for some pretty intense personal growth on all levels

Physically, emotional, mental. You name it and 2017 challenged it all. 

Parts of 2017 really did stink. However, even those hard events have created new ways of me wanting to be with myself and in the world. 

This year for New Year's Eve, I decided to forgo the usual get dressed up, find a party, drink too much and feel like utter and complete poop the next day for a quiet, reflective night at home by the fire.

I'm not going to lie, my FOMO definitely kicked in. (Mom, FOMO means, fear of missing out.)  But if I have taken anything away this year it's getting really honest with myself and asking what it is I truly need.

I needed to end 2017 in the most positive, intentional, loving way I know how. 

That involved getting quiet, playing my favorite tunes, making a fire, diffusing my favorite essential oils, and then answering some really honest questions I'd been avoiding for, well, ever. 

2017 may have had some doozy experiences but my ability to draw goodness from those happenings is what gives me confidence for 2018. 

And from the events of this past year, I realized that as much as this space is an outlet for me to share, process and heal, I want to get back to a place of offering you something more. 

So I took the last year and I came up with ten subtle ways to feel different in 2018. Use them, don't, use one or two, use none. 

Overall, I hope you too can look back at your 2017 with kindness and love and take exactly what you need to make this year the best.

10 subtle ways to feel different in 2018 -- and keep the momentum going.    

1. Take stock of what is and what isn't working in your life. 

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you know I am a big fan of having my "come to Jesus' moments. These are those sometimes painful, sometimes liberating moments when I stop hiding and get really honest with myself about the various areas of my life that aren't working. Or are working. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Those things that aren't working are merely catalysts to create change and go down a different path. A lot of the time you have to experience the pain to get on the right path. And those areas that are working -- well celebrate it! We all could probably use a little more celebrating in our lives. 

2. Go slow

I think one of the keys to creating lasting change in your life is going at it slow. This is speaking from years of experience. I'm what is called an Activator. I get an idea and wham! I want it all to fall into place right now and will do whatever is necessary to get there. Then I lose steam and move onto the next thing. I forget that sometimes, slow and steady wins the race. So my advice, and only because I've learned this the hard way, treat your idea, your dreams, your goals or whatever you call it, like a houseplant. Take all the precautions to allow it to grow big and strong. Good, organic soil, water, light, time to root down, and slowly but surely, it will in fact grow. 

3. Start small

You know that saying, Rome wasn't built in a day? Well, why the heck do we think we can take a lifelong habit and wish it away overnight? Patience is pretty important when it comes to making lasting change. And kindness. To yourself and others. Baby steps my dears. Just put one foot in front of the others and before you know it, you've walked a mile. 

5. Build self-trust

Every time we make a new goal or want to change a way we do something we have the opportunity to build self-trust. A healthy sense of trusting yourself is imperative to create habits that last. However, every time we don't follow through, we are breaking that trust with ourselves and others. We may be able to brush it off, but again, speaking from experiences, it starts to compile over time and feels like a big heavy weight on your shoulders. It doesn't feel good at all. So this is why going slow and starting small is really important. 

6. Live and breath your values

I remember one day I realized while talking with someone that I really didn't have a clear idea what my values were. That made me sad. Then I remember thinking if I don't know what I stand for, how am I ever going to get the things that I want? So I came up with a list of my top five personal values and I wrote them out and posted them on a board in my room. I base all my decisions, er, well, I try to base all my decisions off of whether or not they are aligned with those five values. I truly believe if you do this, you'll feel so much better about how you make decisions in your life. 

7. Say goodbye to those that aren't a fit anymore

You'd think this one was a no-brainer but it's amazing how many people we tend to keep in our lives without really taking a good long look as to why. I've had to silently say goodbye to a few friendships this year and mostly within the last few weeks. Not because I don't care about them deeply but because it wasn't healthy for me to keep them as am active person in mu life. It was what was best for me to propel forward on my path. I knew it in my gut. Holding on to them was like holding onto a giant weight. I felt like I couldn't get any forward momentum.

It's okay to say goodbye. It's hard. It's not always black and white but most of the time you know, deep down, that it's the right thing to do.  

8. Let go of expectations

Expectations are a huge killer of happiness and joy. When we expect a certain outcome, we limit ourselves from the possibility that life could offer us something so much better. When we have expectations, we are often met with great disappointment when life doesn't unfold how we think it should. Sometimes it can derail us. Often it will prevent us from moving forward with our goals, hopes and dreams. And thus, we get stuck. Really stuck. 

I know it may feel totally unrealistic to never have expectations but I think as we learn to adjust them we stay in the organic flow that is life and our let down isn't as extreme. We allow life to redirect us and from personal experiences, the redirection is usually better then anything I could have crafted had I forced my way into fruition. 

What's that saying? Oh yeah, let go, let God. 

9. Give up the ego labels

I learned this lesson big time this past year when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had no known origin. I found myself feeling really confused and lost, like I didn't belong. People would ask what kind of cancer I had and I'd just stare at them blankly. "Um, well, I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of an unknown primary."

I'd be met with blank stares and looks of confusing and I'd want to reach out and say, "Yeah, I'm confused too."

Eventually I had to find a way to just stop caring so much about the label and focus on other things. This made me think about all the other areas of my life I am attached to certain labels. Labels help us compartmentalize ourselves into little boxes.  However, I think that sometimes what we identify ourselves with can cause overwhelm and internal chaos in our lives. I find myself feeling this way a lot. Especially being a 'jack-of-all' trades kind of gal. But when it comes down to it, I'm just me, Amanda, and feels so much better.

10. Get a Dog. Seriously. Or a cat. Or both

Okay, this really has nothing to do with feeling different in 2018 but Rocky kind of changed my life in 2017 and so if you are teetering on the line of deciding whether or not to get a pet, I say do it. 100%, get the dog or cat or pet. As long as you can responsibly take care of them, do it. 

 

What's Love Got To Do With It?

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"If you are searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror." - Unknown

The other day I was Skyping with a friend who's current situation eerily resembles mine almost three and a half years ago. As she shared her fears and worries, I couldn't help but feel a deep sense of empathy and compassion for where she was. As she nervously confided in me about her decision to leave her marriage of two years, I wanted to wrap my arms around her and say, "It's gonna be okay. I promise. One day it will be even better then okay." 

I wanted to tell her everything I had learned over the last three and a half years about love and how sometimes loss leads you to discovering some of the most magical things about yourself and about life.

I wanted to share how a lot of the time, we think the love from someone else is enough but it isn't. What is enough however is having the courage to do what is in your heart which isn't always the easy thing.

 But I couldn't, it wasn't my place. I knew all these lessons were ones she had to come to on her own. All I could do was listen and hope that she felt my love and support from thousands of miles away. 

It got me wondering though, how many people are married or coupled up who have done so under the same false pretenses I did? The one that says the right person will come along and save you. They will love you enough so that you won't have to learn the very thing that WILL save you; loving yourself.

 I also wondered how many people were staying in relationships that resembled the very one I was in because it felt safe or because they felt it was something the should do. Those damn should's. 

I grew up believing in the fairy tale. The one that had my prince charming riding in on his Technicolor My Little Pony and rescuing me in some way, shape or form. Hey, these were my fantasies and regular horses bored the hell out of me. My Little Ponies were what my romantic dreams were made of. 

He’d trot in with his perfectly parted Ken Doll hair because what young girl doesn't adore Ken. With his sparkling blue eyes and his big, bronze muscles, which were just a little stiff if you asked me, and he'd scoop me up with his arms that barely hinged at the elbows and we’d ride off into the blazing sunset to live happily ever after in our Barbie Dream House. The one with the white picket fence, the perfect career making the perfect amount of money, the 2.5 kids, and a friggin' partridge in a pear tree.  And that wouldbe our "The End".

Fast-forward to real life and one painfully failed marriage and a handful of brutal dating scenarios with openly emotionally unavailable men and this single thirty-seven year old has finally realized that love looks a little different then what my youthful (and delusional) dreams were once so naively made of.

It's taken me a long time to admit to myself that real love isn't the stuff that Blockbusters and fairytales are made of.

It definitely isn’t a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie.

It isn’t black and white.

And absolutely, under no circumstance, can real love sweep in on a brightly colored pony and save you. 

Entering any partnership under these pretenses is bound to fail you at some point.  

But let me start from the beginning. Let me tell how I came to realize that I had it all wrong. That my idea of real love was nothing more then a deceptive idea passed down over time and adopted by a girl who just wanted a happily ever after. 

Let me tell you what love isn't

I remember waking in the early hours of a cold February morning in 2014 from another restless night sleep. A fresh layer of white snow covered the bare vines and steep rolling hills of the fifty acre farm and vineyard I had called home for the past four years. I pulled the covers up close to my chin and in the stillness of the early morning light left over from the moon, I looked to my left at the silhouette silently sleeping next to me and my chest tightened. The heaviness returned from its eight hour break and once again, I wondered how I had allowed myself to get here. 

That had become the norm. I was thirty-three and found myself in a manipulative marriage of less then two years that had become more about constantly trying to change each other then acceptance, support, encouragement and love. I found myself constantly wondering if this was really it. Was this really what love and marriage were? Deception, lies, dread and control? 

Was I really that desperate to be coupled up that I had sacrificed my own personal happiness to do so? 

What about the fairytale? What about my prince charming and my technicolor pony ride off into my rainbow color sunset? What about my happily ever after? 

I slipped out from beneath the covers, quiet as to not wake my then husband, desperate for a few more hours to myself before I had to face my very own Jackal and Hyde. I tip toed down the stairs into the bathroom on the main floor and flipped on the light. Instead of avoiding the mirror as I normally did, I stood, staring down the reflection.

I looked tired and defeated from the daily disappointment and heartache of what I had allowed my life to become. I had no idea who the women in the mirror was. I had broken a promise I made to myself a long time ago after growing up with parents who's marriage resemble the one I now found myself frantically treading water in.

"How did you let this happen? This can't be it." I whispered to the girl in the mirror. For the first time I allowed the words to bubble up and before I knew it, slip out my lips and into the hands of the very thing that could save me, my own.  

It was as if I had broken some kind of spell and I snapped out of the delusional fog I was in. I made a promise to  myself that I would do whatever I had to do to live this one precious life the way I knew, in my heart, I needed to live it. Not chasing down the love of someone else but rather figuring out what that meant on my own.

The events that transpired over the next two months were heavy and heartbreaking but perfectly laid out for me so that I had no other choice but to leave.

In mid-May, just days before what was to be my second wedding anniversary, I found my car packed with all my belongings as I drove north back home to Seattle wondering how I was ever going to put my life back together. However, in my heart I knew a life stumbling solo was far better then being coupled up in something that was abusive and neglectful and lacking any sense of what I believe to be true love

So what does love have to do with it anyway?

Not to sound incredibly cliche, but one of the greatest lessons I learned from walking away from my marriage was that love between two people just isn't enough. You have got to love yourself first. Unfortunately, I had no idea what that looked like and had a long road of hard and repetitive lessons ahead.

How we learn to love ourselves looks different for all of us but I wholeheartedly believe that until we learn to do just that, our lives are going to be full of a lot of pain and suffering because we are going to be constantly looking for that love from others.

The greatest step I ever took was finally listening to my heart and walking away from something that was safe, comfortable and familiar for the complete and utter unknown. It was in that moment I cracked a little piece of the puzzle and realized that this was the way to the truth. This was the way I was going to learn how to love myself and step into a life that felt like me. 

The moment I drove away from comfort I knew I had started a wild and crazy journey into the depths of my own heart. Something I had only ever dipped my toes in. 

I said yes to something big and scary and I have kept saying yes to things that terrify me because I know they will keep leading me to deeper parts of myself. 

So what does love have to do with it? 

Absolutely everything. 

Love with someone else may not be enough but you better believe the love you feel for yourself is. That is the answer. Until you know what that looks like it is going to be really hard to invite in the kind of love you deserve and want with someone else. 

The path isn't always paved perfectly and those bumps and challenges are usually leading you to discovering another part of yourself that needs some love. That's what all those hard, often repetitive lessons are meant to do. They are supposed to shine light on the areas that need more of your own love. 

That is where I'm at now, facing many of the same lessons over and over, slowly realizing I have the choice to love myself enough to say not again.

I'm learning to love myself by leaning into those parts of me that are unfamiliar and choosing to do things differently. I'm creating the life I want that feels like the truth even if it doesn't make sense at the time. And I'm just going to keep doing this. Day in and day out. I'm going to wake up every day and continue to make choices, easy or hard, that are based around doing what is best for my heart, my path, my journey, my life.

I'm going to continue to say goodbye to people, places and things that do not serve my heart and allow time and truth to cultivate the space for those things that do. 

So that hopefully, one day, when the right man walks into my life, I can let him love me just that way too. 

 

 

Turn the page

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"There comes a day when you realize that turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book then the page you were stuck on."

- Taryn Malik

Today is my last day of treatment. 

Six weeks have come and gone and here I am, hours away from laying on that cold and hard table, tucked back in the vaulted room in the basement of the cancer center for the very last time. EVER. Hands tightly wrapped around the squishy blue oval ring they give you to help keep you still, eyes closed humming quietly to myself to pass the time and not think about what is actually happening. 

Mostly I feel excited and very loved as texts pour in with congratulatory words like "YOU DID IT!" "YOU ARE A RADIATION ROCKSTAR!" "LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN!" And I smile and think, "I DID do it." I just did the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life and I definitely plan on celebrating tonight. 

 I'm more then ready to be done as I don't think my poor hip could take much more. Where once was pink and supple skin now resides a four inch, dark leathery purple-red burn that has started to peel and causes discomfort when I wear anything tight. And I'm ready to have back those precious five hours a week dedicated to treatment. 

Overall, I'm ready to have my life back. I'm ready to have the strength and energy to do the things I love but mostly I'm ready to turn the page and start a new chapter.  

I have made the choice that if menopause is near I am okay with it. Despite the rollercoaster of emotions and pain and all that is still unknown, I'm going to wake up tomorrow and just live my life the best way I know how. If I am meant to be a mom that baby will find me in whatever way is destined to be. And I know that this experience will make me an even better parent. 

I've come to a place of feeling peaceful with the direction this is taking my life because I have been reminded of some really important things. So to the Universe and God I say thank you. Thank you for reminding me how precious this one life is. Sometimes those reminders come on the coattails of something traumatic like cancer. 

This experience has reminded me that life is short and as cliche as that may sound, I'm tired of wasting emotions and worries on things I can't control and people whose actions don't align with their words. I'm turning the page and this next chapter is going to be something pretty epic. I feel it in deep within my bones.  

Over the last few months  I've learned three very important lessons that I'd like to share with you now. They weren't easy. There were many tears involved but now as I look back, I'm happy it all unfolded the way it did. Life is pretty interesting and you better hold on tight because it's most definitely always mix of wild and bumpy. 


Your vulnerability is a gift

I've very openly shared my journey and I don't plan on stopping. I truly believe it's far better to be vulnerable and share what you are going through, especially when you feel alone and need the support, then keeping it to yourself out of fear of what others may think. 

There will be people that judge or unfollow or roll their eyes but honestly, that's okay. You don't really need those people in your life. Remember, life is very short. Kindly and lovingly send them on their way.

More then anything, share your story because someone out there needs to hear it. We like to think we are the only ones experiencing the very thing we are going through but I guarantee there is someone out there needing to hear exactly what you have to say.

Every time I was open and honest, especially with the really scary stuff, I was met with an email, message on Facebook or text from someone who needed to hear my words on that particular day. Knowing that my journey was helping someone else, that's a gift I never knew I could give until now. 

Asking for love and support isn't a weakness, it's the greatest thing you'll ever learn to do

Given that my family is 1200 miles away, there were many days where I felt really alone and scared. So I'd post something on social media because I knew that I would be met with the very thing I needed most, love. I really couldn't have gotten through this without all the words of encouragement, thoughts, love, prayers, and so forth.

I used to think that asking for love and support was needy and weak but through this experience, I've learned that it takes a lot of courage and strength to say, "Hey, I'm really struggling today and could use a little love." 

On the days when things were really bad, I'd go back over my feed and reread all those messages you sent me and it would lift me up so I could get out of bed and not only face the day but live the day.  So please know that it really did matter to me and I will forever be thankful.

Balancing your needs with those of others

This is something that hasn't always been easy for me. I'm a constant work in progress. The hardest lesson I've learned through this experience is that even though I'm going through something heavy and hard, so are a lot of other people I love and care for deeply. 

It's easy to get caught up in your own drama and think that what you are going through is so grave and deep but everyone is fighting their own battles and to them, what they are experiencing is quite possibly the hardest thing they have ever had to go through. 

The love, sweet and thoughtful gifts and random acts of kindness I have received throughout this time have quite literally blown my mind and I only hope that moving forward, I can be more selfless, thoughtful and think of others more often then I think of myself. 

We are a world longing for connection and to feel seen, heard and supported. I just want you to know I SEE you, I HEAR you and I'm committed to being here for you in ways I may have not be able to before. But I'm ready now. 

So with bated breath, I turn the page. What lies ahead is unknown and my darling, isn't that what makes life so exciting? 

 

 

 

Broken-heart, closed heart, open heart, full heart

"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."

- Ariana Dancu

The title of this post actually came to me back in August of 2015 while I was on a cool, early morning run on the beach. True to form, out of seemingly nowhere, these four words echoed in my head and I couldn't shake them. I felt this overwhelming urge to stop and sit on one of the cold, sand-covered rocks and gaze out at the ocean when suddenly warm tears began to slide down my cold, wind-kissed cheeks, and these words came to me: broken-heart, closed-heart, open-heart, full-heart.

I sat there in a bit of confusion because I knew well enough that my heart was not full and it was barely even open. However, it no longer felt broken and I could feel the light slowly start to creep back in as I continued to process not only the events of the following two years but more importantly, what lead me down that path to begin with. So, to feel such a connection to these four words left me a little dumbfounded. 

However, there was an unexplainable deep knowing that this was something I was supposed to write about and when I got home I sat down at my computer and typed out the title thinking the words that needed to be shared would immediately follow. Nothing came and I grew more frustrated. Most of the time when this happens words to accompany the title follow shortly there after. But month after month nothing came. But something inside told me to be patient and nine months later they finally came and it all made sense.

The other day, as I was cleaning out my room, purging myself and my life of anything that I no longer felt belonged , I stumbled upon my wedding dress. Something I thought I had gotten rid of months ago. It was tucked under some clothes that were stuffed in a garment bag I kept under my bed. I pulled out the short dingy white Nicole Miller dress we purchased four years early at Nordstrom and stared at it, waiting for the inevitable sadness to come but the strangest thing happened. It didn't. I paused and scanned the room, feeling as if some kind of joke was being pulled on me. Where was that familiar heaviness? Where was the deep sadness? The tears?

A smile slowly cracked from my lips as I cocked my head to one side.

"Huh?" I said out loud to my four-legged companion who was curled up in a ball on the floor by my bedroom door. He looked back at me with his usual indifferent blank stare. "So this is it." I said. 

I pulled the dingy white dress off the hanger that accompanied it in the garment bag under my bed. "I wonder if it'll be different if I put the dress on?" I asked Oliver. He cracked a single eye open and gave me a look that said, "shh, can't you see I'm sleeping?" I smiled back at him with a look that said, "Yes, but I don't care."  I slide out of my tattered jean shorts and mint green 'The Moon Made Me Do It' crop tank top, throwing them in a pile on the floor. I stood there, naked, clutching on to my past with both my hands.

Nothing.

I unzipped the back of the dress and slowly, one foot at a time, stepped in. beginning to work the dress up to my hips. 

Still, nothing.

I gently worked the dress up and over my freshly tan hips, being extra careful as I pulled the dress over my rear. All those squats have added a little extra junk in my truck and with one gentle tug, I had the dress up and was sliding one arm at a time into the arm holes and carefully zipping up the back. 

 Nothing.

I hesitated as I lifted my gaze, waiting for my past to finally catch up and for the flood of tears to come rushing out.

Nothing. 

It was like staring at a long lost friend in the mirror. Someone who I thought I knew so well yet today, is only a distant memory. If I could only go back and tell her what I know now. If I could tell her how brave and courageous she really was. If I could tell her that she needn't do anything she truly didnt't want to do. That love, real love, didn't look or feel that way. I wonder if she would have ever gone through with it? I wonder if she would have ever said yes? 

A smile broke loose and spread across my face, as coincidently, the sounds of Sia's 'Wild One' echoed in the background and I stared my past down in the mirror. Laughter broke free, quietly at first until a thunderous fit of wild giggles erupted from deep within and suddenly I was dancing with my past, wildly across the living room floor as Oliver looked on in a mix of pure confusion and terror. 

So this is what it really means to be wild and free. And for the first time, the title of this post had words. After months of waiting, her transformation was clear:

Broken heart, closed heart, open heart, full heart.