Flashbulb memories

“Flashbulb memories are nearly photographic recall of paticularly shocking events. The specifics of flashbulb events can change in our minds, but what is nearly impossible to erase is their emotional impact”   Michael d. Lemonick- The Wall Street Journal.

For me being in a new relationship I have constant flashbulb memories of moments in my past marriage.  When someone dies it is not the big romantic moments you remember, it is the small silly details.  This morning my new partner who I am living in the mountains with went to the fridge, and grabbed a slice of baloney.  He smeared it with mayonnaise.  I sat there entranced watching him roll it up, and pop it into his mouth with such glee.

I was in a complete flashback to my previous husband who loved baloney, he used to make bread, butter and baloney sandwiches and freeze them.  He would take a stack of them to work.

When his doctor told him to cut back on fat due to high cholesterol, I nagged him about his baloney habit.   Flash forward to now, watching my fiance, pop baloney into his mouth made me feel warm and sad, there was a bittersweetness to the memory.

Memory is an interesting thing.  I was thinking about what causes us suffering in life, and I believe a lot of it has to do with hanging onto memories.  Hanging onto the past, investing life force energy in past experiences.

Recently we went to see my finance’s mother who has alzheimers, she was joyful, happy, living right in each moment because that is all she has left.  Is this not what we strive for in enlightenment?  To live in the moment?

What is the purpose of our memory?

Researchers tell us that our memory is designed to help us accumulate knowledge to make sense of the world and to navigate it better.

I know my memories are not exact, they are my interpretation, and from my perspective, and speak to the emotional impact the experience had on me at the time.

How often do we have “relationship flashbacks”?  Where we notice something our new partner does, and it triggers a past memory postive or negative from a previous relationship?

Northern exposure

Near our mountain home there is a redtail fox.  He comes to our door and glares at us.

One day he came upon my fiance who left a bag of dog poo near our back door, left over from the dog park.  The fox glared at him, picked up the dog poo in his mouth and dragged it 3 feet away and peed on it as if to say “you are on my territory”.  We told this story to a shop owner in town.  She said the red tail fox  in her neighbourhood steals her New York Times.  She said one time she found the fox sitting in the middle of the road sitting on two Denver papers and a New York Times.

I asked around to see if other residents had experiences with the red tail fox.  I heard all sorts of wild experiences.   From foxes stealing shoes from a guys feet while camping in the mountains to a fox that would come in the house and let the occupants pet him. It seems they are used to humans in this town.   One woman told me she heard a noise on her balcony which faced Main street and went out to find 2 foxes mating. It appears she startled them. They just moved over to the other side of the balcony and continued their business. One local told me he trained a fox to ride the chairlift with him…

According to Ted Andrews the “Fox teaches us how to remain unnoticed in crowds, to come and go without being remarked upon. A person can learn much by just standing in the shadows and listening. Invisibility is a powerful medicine to cultivate in life. The Fox has very acute senses of smell, vision and hearing. Smell symbolizes the power of discrimination; so fox medicine offers us the power of clear thinking and decision making to keep us safe, healthy, and prosperous”.

The fox reminds me to stay alert and not get too used to my surroundings. When we visit a town as a tourist, everything is new and exciting.  After living here for 3 months I can see how easy it is to get used to the town, to stop going into the cute stores, to see the hordes of tourist as a burden.  The fox also reminds me to get clear about who I want to be in this place.  Do I let time just pass by while I wait for immigration or do I capitalize on this time to get clear about what I want for my life.  Do I continue to allow myself to enjoy this place, to experience daily awe, or do I take it for granted?

Having these foxes around are a good reminder to observe, discriminate, get clear about what I want.

Last night we saw a 2,000 lb male moose standing on our neighbours driveway grazing on something in the snowbank.

I went out on the deck and called to it.  It was not fazed.  Then the police pulled up and put bright lights on the moose.  He just stood there.  I was shocked at seeing this moose in town, and amazed he was not concerned about humans or bright lights

This reminded me of the tv show I used to watch in my 20’s called Northern Exposure.

At the time I was living in the city of Toronto, Canada with 4 roomates; one an actor, another a corporate executive, a community worker and myself.   We used to order chinese takeout and watch Northern Exposure.  We loved the wacky characters and the wildlife.  I remember one episode where the towns folk built a catapult to fling a piano just for fun.  Now I feel like I am living the experience rather than watching it.

How often in our life do we view experiences like a tv show, where we watch all the stories and sit back as a passive viewers of life rather than engaging in it.

Is it time to get off the couch of life?

Viking energy at ULLR festival

Getting from the Denver airport to Breckenridge at an altitude of 9,600 ft  in the mountains has been a real challenge.  The highway was shut down going down the mountain, and closed returning from the airport.

There was no snow in Denver, but the highway up the mountain was closed due to an avalanche.

My fiancé was determined not to spend yet another night at the Econolodge by the airport, so we braved the back roads returning from the airport along with all the other locals.  A two hour drive turned into four hours with speeds of 40 mph.

We followed a mountain shuttle driver who picks people up at the airport.  Thank god we were able to follow his lights in the driving snow.  It was the kind of snow that hypnotizes you over long periods of driving.

When we arrived home our cars were buried by 2 feet of snow. Our  plough driver said he needs to bring in a front loader to remove the snow, as there is too much to just plough.

They closed the ski area at “A Basin” because there was TOO Much snow.  Who ever heard of that happening?  The local radio tells us there has not been this amount of snow since 1917, over a hundred years ago.

I started to wonder how men and women survived 100 years ago in this snow.  We had ordered home-chef delivery and our box was somehow at our door buried in snow.  It reminded me of the miners who had groceries delivered by mule train once a month, and often found boxes of frozen food in the snow bank in spring – and the food was still frozen.

My fiancé shovelled for 2 days straight and we are expecting another storm this weekend.

Now we find ourselves saying “what have we done moving here”?

We arrived and stopped at the store for eggs. Inside there were 5 or 10 people wearing viking helmets.

They told me today is the start of ULLR festival.  ULLR is the god of snow.

We were told to go into town and get our viking helmets for the parade.

My fiance ran to town and came back with two viking helmets covered in jewels and fur, with only 5 minutes to spare before the festival began.

We put our helmets on, grabbed our dogs and headed down to the main street.  There were 1,000 people lined up to do “shotski”.  That is a series of skis bolted together the length of the town, with 3 shot glasses per ski velcrod to the ski.  Everyone had viking helmets on.  There was a master of ceremonies counting down.  Everyone took their shot of whisky off the ski at the same time.

This was followed by a viking parade, where they chanted “ULLR, ULLR, ULLR”

Then there was a huge town bonfire where they burned all the old christmas trees.

It was great to return to this crazy energy.  We went to the irish pub and had fishbites and listened to live music and danced in our viking helmets.  Where else could you do this?

This gold rush town is true to its roots of wildness and self-expression.

My fiance said this is a town where you can be yourself.  I reflected upon the accounts of women in the 1800’s who said that they were able to be themselves, no longer confined by society’s expectations.

This bubble  in the mountains called Breckenridge is a unique town, with unique energy.  It just makes you want to stay up here in the mountains until spring. Who knows what summer will bring.

What a crazy adventure this is!

The benefit of daily awe

I was reading the Saturday Wall Street Journal, and saw an article which told me that if  I experience one minute of awe in nature each day, it will make me happier, kinder and more compassionate**.

Today, as we drove down the mountain, we saw people ice climbing.  I screamed out loud “holy mother of god, pull over”.  I have never seen a person climbing up a frozen waterfall on the side of a mountain.  I asked my fiancé, “Why would they want to climb frozen water or ice- it could break off any minute.”  He said, “because they can”.…talk about awe!  I stood there and watched them repel down a frozen waterfall with such ease and grace. At any moment a piece could break off and they could slide down.  I looked up to see where they had tied off the rope, it was to a small aspen tree at the top that was leaning over with the tension of the rope.

Risks.  Something we crave,  something we avoid, something we assess in life.

Some people believe that we have acceptable time periods of our life to take risks.  It is o.k. to take risks in your teens, or your 20’s because that is what youth is for. We tell ourselves later in life that we have done all our crazy stuff, now we have it all together.  The truth is that risk is always something that is present at any age.

In my 30’s and 40’s I had everything.  I had a great career, a wonderful lake front home, a great couch that you could sink into and disappear.  I would read the Saturday paper for 3 hours.  It was a high back tufted couch which I had yearned for 3 years and it cost $6,000.

For years in Toronto, Canada I had dreampt of owning a lake front home and having a great career.  We moved out to Scugog lake area and bought a cottage that was “lifted up” so it could be a home.

I was a driven professional, ambitious.  Then my husband died at 44 years old— and everything was meaningless.   Suddenly the couch was meaningless, the panoramic view of the lake was meaningless.

Eight years later I have found more meaning, but the couch is long gone, sold to a single mother for $100 who left her abusive husband.  She deserved to have time reading the paper against the high back tufted curve of my designer couch.

Now I live in the mountains and have very few belongings…. but I have love, and great dogs.  It feels like family.

Life is full of risks and the p0tential for awe at any age.

** In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that after gazing up at tall trees for just one minute participants in Berkeley California behaved more helpfully to others than people who looked at an unremarkable building.   The reason,  Momentary awe it suggests. The University of California Irvine psychologist Paul Piff, who co-authored the study  says “I think we can say pretty certainly that having a little bit of awe everyday in your life would make you happier, kinder and more compassionate”.

Your church?

Our favourite bakery is the french bakery on main street in Breckenridge.  My fiance gets the almond croissant.  It reminds me of Montreal, Canada.  I was living there in my 20’s. I would get a bol de cafe o’lait and a chocolate croissant.  I would sit there and smoke my Gauloise filterless cigarettes and pretend to be Simone de Bovoire in Paris while I wrote in my journal.

Well here in the mountains there is a little bit of France.  Excellent Baguette, incredible authentic crepes.   The pastry chef said that he could not find housing for him and his Newfoundlanders dog, so he lived in a tent when he first came to the mountains.   After four months in a tent he found a studio apt that would allow him and his dog.  What determination!  Living in a tent in the mountains to make his patissere dreams come true.

What would I be willing to do to make my dreams come true?

The song by Peter Tosh comes to mind, “get up, stand up”.

Am I willing to get up and do what it takes?

Some days I find I don’t go out because of the cold or the snow.

How can I reframe the winter to be something that is fantastic.

This is a place where people spend thousands of dollars to come here for a few days, to ski and be in this incredible scenery.

I have talked to many people who came for a year in their 20’s and still live here 12 years later.  I asked my accupuncturist what makes a girl from California stay here in the mountains?

She said most of California is so congested, in this mountain town, within 5-10 minutes she can be in the woods in the silence.

She calls the wilderness her “church”.

“Its most important to create a church within yourself, where you are the minister of the temple in your own soul”.  Paramahansa Yogananda

So what is your church?  What do you do in your life to bring about peace and silence?

I know my church is meditation and prayer.  I meditate and connect with divine love.  I pray to my ancestors. Each day I take one hour to open my heart to divine love and be still.

What do you do to create stillness in your life?

Life grief

 

Have you ever experienced any grumpiness or grief as life changes?

Have you ever gotten what you wanted and then found it wanting?

Whether it is a new job or a relationship,  you have reached your goal.

I believe as humans whenever we have any change, wanted or not we experience a levels of grief.  Even if it is a change that we have dreamed of.

Eckhart tole tells us “There are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other”.  Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.

I believe we all experience this grief to differing degrees. Is it acceptable to acknowledge this grief in change?

In America I can see this in a bigger way with the turnover in presidents.  There is a grieving of what is known and familiar, along with the excitement of the unknown.

Being a foreigner in America, I find I grieve small things that I took for granted in Canada.  Such as HP sauce that I had with my eggs in the morning, which is not available here. These small familiar things act as markers for home.

Even if home was sometimes predictable and boring.  I believe my mind wants to cling to the familiar to protect me, to keep me safe.

In the mountains of Colorado the scenary is unfamiliar-and I am unfamiliar. My identity is changing, and my ego wants to cling to the old me.

For years I prayed for love to find me, I asked my dead husband to help me.  Now my prayers have been answered and I am in a push-pull relationship with all the good that is coming into my life.  Being in a new relationship and living together is a big change after 8 years of living alone. When you live alone, sometimes the loneliness vibrates throughout your very being.

When I was living with my good friend Pauline, we each did our own thing.  We watched the news and ate dinner together, but that was the limit of the togetherness.  We always did our own thing.

In this new relationship we sleep together, we wake up together, we do things together.  We process our feelings together.  That is a lot of togetherness.  Currently I am not able to work, as I wait for my immigration to be processed for  residency. This gives me a lot of time at home.

I feel like there are two parts of me, the old grumpy widow who is stubborn and is used to doing her own thing, her own way.  The other part of me is the excited tender part of me that is so grateful to have love in my life.  To cuddle, to cook together, do yoga together.  I feel that the old self, and the new self are trying to cohabite but are in conflict, like difficult roommates.

There are times when I stay up until till 12 midnight when my fiancé goes to bed at about 930pm.  I stay up and watch British tv shows, and tell myself I am doing exactly what I want to do.  This feels like me time.

He has expressed an interest in going to bed together at the same time.

Why am I so resistant?

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

A sheltered oasis

 

For the past 6 weeks I have not driven my car.  Instead I have walked the mountain town.  Shuttling on foot from yoga, to the coffee shop, to the grocery store, the dog park and back home .  One of our goals was to live somewhere where we could walk everyday.

During the week between Christmas and New Years there were 160,000 visitors in a town that has 4,500 permanent residents.  I was glad to walk everywhere as drivers were impatient and the traffic was bumper to bumper.  In this mountain town, the sidewalks remain clear and walkable due to hot water pipes running under the cement.  Quite brilliant.  It’s too bad Canadian cities have not done the same.

My favourite “date” with my fiancé is to get a soy caramel late, and take the 20 minute free ride in the gondola up the mountain.  It is so silent riding the gondola. We glide above forested wilderness. From the gondola we have seen moose, red foxes, and bears. There is marshland, and frozen water that has nothing but animal tracks. It is like a moving meditation in the wilderness with no effort exerted. All in the comfort of a glass cabin in the air.

Heading down the mountain range to the Denver airport is a trek.  We got the car warmed up after 6 weeks of sitting.  We dug it out three times as it was snowing constantly.  We left Breck and drove an hour at 35 mph, getting about 15 miles to Silverthorne.

The I-70 on-ramp was closed, and the Eisenhower tunnel was closed.  We were turned back.  Only then did it dawn on me how isolated we are in the mountains.  There is only one way down, and if that is too dangerous to pass you are turned back.  We took it for granted we would be able to get to the airport and travel down the mountain with ease.  This time we missed our flight.

A simple trip down the mountain becomes a two-day voyage due to the mercurial weather storms that blow through the mountains suddenly.

The next day we got through the pass, my ears popped 3x on the way down the mountains descending from 9000 ft to 5000 ft altitude.  There were two air masses interacting half way down the mountain that caused a pounding headache for us both.

As we descended, the wilderness of the mountains surrounded us. What a blissful bubble the town of Breckenridge is. Only 15 minutes outside the town there is no phone reception, no clear roads, no gas.  At any moment the visibility could be zero, with snow falling off the mountain cliff or an avalanche that shuts the highway.

Imagine being in this mountain town in the 1800’s gold mining halfway up the mountain. Imagine living in a rough wood cabin built from the surrounding trees with the snow blowing through the cracks in the walls creating a snow carpet onto the floor.  I watched a documentary called the Ladies of the mines. It depicted the life of women who were wives of the gold miners.  Their job was to cook, wash and educate the kids.  One woman’s diary from the time period said that “she felt free in the mountains to be the woman she wanted to be.” In one photo she is shooting a gun with her husband and wearing pants and a cowboy hat. Written accounts from the time talk about breaking with convention of what was expected of women at that time.  In this mountain town women rode horses, set up schools, took in the miners laundry, and had their own income.  One women referred to missing the mountains when she went back to normal society, as women led aimless lives “with calling cards and an invitation to tea”.

Were these 1800’s women feminists before the word was coined?  Were they bucking the traditional role of women at that time.

I guess that is why so many people come to the mountains, to reinvent themselves without conventional roles or expectations put on them.  Is that what I am doing here?

What would you do if you had no expectations put upon you? How would you re-invent yourself?

Gold mine of the heart

Fear, have you felt it? Have you interpreted it to mean you should stop what you are doing?  Or do you feel the fear and do it anyway?

Coming to the mountains for love, I have felt a lot of fear.  Mostly fear of making a mistake. Part of me wants the map for my life.*  The really scared part of me wants to know that my relationship will work out, that this is it!  We all know that there are no guarantees with love.  By leaving my home country for love, I have this hidden expectation that this should be worth it.

Having this expectation put demands on the situation, that really has nothing to do with the situation, or the other person, but has everything to do with fear.

I was researching the history of this area in the Colorado mountains.   During the Pikes Peak gold rush thousands of men came here, young and restless and hoping to come for a summer, then go home with a pocket full of gold.

Breckenridge was a town of men and some women in transition, who were adventurous, restless, and seeking an outcome that would make the sacrifices worth it.

Am I any different from these 19 century gold miners?

My gold is love, intimacy, connection, an expanded self, success in a career, and having a true life partner.

Dr. Barbara D’Angelis says “fear is a natural response to the new, and the unknown, the invisible.  Fear is an energy that keeps you alert and paying attention” .

I find this reassuring, that I’m growing.

If I listen to my fear long enough it immobilizes me, and stops me from moving forward.  My fear would have me stick to what is familiar, and would never make a change.  My fear wants to keep me in a holding pattern, in limbo. Focusing on my fear leads me to want to eat sugar, drink beer, and sleep; all behaviours that are avoiding taking responsibility for my life.

Its like driving with the parking brake on, or living your life with one foot on the brake, and one foot on the gas*.  What if I feel my fear, listen to its voice, but don’t let it dominate the discussion in the room?

What if I take my foot off the brake?

When I was 20 I leapt and was not fearful, I was fearless.  Is it possible we get more fearful as we get older?

What if I make friends with my fear?

Risking love again brings up huge fear.  Having lost my husband suddenly in a crash, has left me with parts of my heart that have walls up; parts of my heart that have been intentionally unplugged for 8 years, so that I would not feel the pain.

But Dr. Barbara D’Angelis says “we cannot selectively open”, meaning we don’t pick and choose who or what we open to.  I always believed I could shut down parts of my heart, and pick and choose whom I love, when I love.

I told myself when the time comes I can choose to love again.   But after years of practicing shut down I am like a vintage car that has been in storage for 8 years and needs an overhaul just to be driven again at any speed.  Hell, I might even need a new engine metaphorically speaking!

Whenever one of us embarks on the risks of love, are we all not leaving our home country; the place that is familiar,  to go to the unknown.  Is that not the role of love to get us to unknown territory within ourselves;  to expand us, to grow us? Are we not all prospectors of the heart?

*concepts explained by Dr. Barbara D’Angelis author of the bestselling Soul Shifts and the upcoming book The Choice for Love (out Feb. 14th).

The privaledged outsider

We emigrated to Canada from the UK on a Polish cruise ship in 1979 called the  stephan Batory.  We boarded it in Southampton England. It was when there was still Communism in Poland.  We crossed the Atlantic and sailed through the area where the Titanic sank, eventually landing in Montreal, Canada.  A highlight for me was seeing an iceberg.  The crew went out to the iceberg and cut out a huge chunk of ice and served baked Alaska on it in the dinning room.  The authentic polish food was incredibly delicious.  I remember my parents saying they gained 14lbs over the ten-day crossing.

Crossing the Atlantic was rough. At dinner we hung onto our plates of food, otherwise they would have slid down the table.  I have photos of my parents; my mum dressed in an evening gown, and my father in a tux hanging onto a pole on the dance floor because of the rough seas.

As a teenager,  I thought the boat ride was fantastic.  The waves in the pool slammed you against the side, as the water synchronized with the ocean tide.  I used to entertain myself in the bottom of the ship playing the grand piano, in the theatre below deck.

We arrived in Montreal, Canada where everyone spoke French.  Most of the Polish crew jumped ship and declared refugee status.  This left no crew to unload the cargo from the ship.  We  waited 12 hours for another crew to help us disembark, and go through immigration.

Coming to Canada was part of my father’s “mid life crisis” he and my mother were 42 years old. We arrived in Sudbury Ontario, Canada which was a small rough mining town in Northern Ontario.  At that time there was no internet, so my father’s only information on Canada was based on television.  In England we watched the tv show Grizzly Adams, and we believed that all Canadians lived in log cabins, and hunted for their meat.  Convinced we would encounter wild animals my father had us get three rabies shots,  to prepare for the wilderness.

We arrived in a very civilized suburb of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada and my father was all set to hunt and gather.  Except we were in a suburban middle class neighbourhood, where people bought their meat at the store.

This did not stop my father, he joined a powder rifle club, took archery, and made us practice archery and fencing on the driveway.  He got a hunting license and managed to kill a deer. He decided he was going to skin it on the driveway and learn to tan hides.  After all this is why he came to Canada to experience the wilderness. The fact that the suburban neighbours stared at the dead carcus skins-salted and drying on the driveway did not sway him. He was “the proud Canadian hunter”. If we were not obviously outsiders with our accent, the tanning hides certainly indicated difference.

As a kid I was used to being the “outsider” we were stationed in different countries every 2 years with the British Air Force.  Before coming to Canada we moved countries 14 times in 16 years.   I adopted the stance of being a witness in life.  Observing people and cultures, realizing that I am a guest, an outsider, that I clearly did not belong.  I believe I have internalized the “outsider stance”, the witness stance, into my psyche as a way of being, always holding back a little bit to observe rather than throw myself into life full force.

As an adult I find myself drawn to the outsiders in any culture or community.  I have spent the past 20 years in Canada, working for those individuals who do not fit in.  Who function on the periphery of society such as addicts, homeless, new immigrants and youth.  I have advocated for the underdog in many different situations.

I believe years of being the outsider in many cultures made “outsiders” familiar territory for me.

Meeting Love face to face

I am a 51-year-old woman who was widowed suddenly at 44, when my husband was killed in a crash on the way home from taking his mechanics exam.  After the severe shock and loss I resigned myself to being alone.  I started traveling and meditating, thinking that in traveling I could leave my grief behind.  Over the past 7 years since my husband’s death I have dated, but I had never let myself love someone, or be loved.  I was on emotional strike.  I was being emotionally loyal to my dead husband.  I never let anyone in.

On my 50th birthday I was asked out to lunch by a man online, who said all the right things to me but his words did not ring true.  Something felt not quite right.  But hey, it was my birthday and I thought it would be nice to be taken out for lunch.  We went to a lovely riverside town called Bobcaygen in Canada, we had fun laughing and chatting.  As we walked down the street arm in arm he said “well I bought you lunch, you owe me”.  I thought he was joking and I started laughing.  I asked what he thought I owed him.  He said “at least a blowjob”.  I laughed even harder, I could not believe he was serious.  Except he was.

After that wonderful experience I sat down and spoke directly to my dead husband.  I wrote a list of all the qualities that I deserved in a partner.  It was a very specific list.  I then lit a candle in front of my  husband’s picture, and read him the list.  I told him directly that I would be celibate for the rest of my life, rather than accept crumbs.  I told him that I expected these qualities in a partner.  I challenged my husband’s spirit to find such a person.  I burned the list, and surrendered my request to spirit and let go. The cynic within me thought “good luck with that”, as I did not believe such a man existed.

A few weeks later I was drawn to a spiritual development retreat at the Omega Centre in upper state NY.  That is where I met the man with ocean blue eyes.   He sat in front of me at the retreat with a friend.  I tapped him on the shoulder, and asked if we could work together.   We were put in groups of three and asked to share about our ability to receive in our life.   He shared at a deep emotional level with his eyes tearing up.  I was lost in his eyes.  One of the qualities on my list was a partner who could express themselves emotionally, rather than having to drag it out of them.  I was struck by his eyes and wrote in my notes “that I could swim in his eyes forever”.

I noticed he was with a woman, and I said to myself “forget  about him, this is not why you are here”.

Saturday night, I went to the Omega Centre cafe even though I was tired.  Something in me made me go.  I ran into the ocean blue eyed man again, and we sat and chatted until the cafe closed.  I told him about my husband dying suddenly, and he talked about his 35 year marriage ending.   He asked me if he could come back to my dorm room and keep chatting.  I told him I had to go and ask my angels.

I went to the bathroom and asked my angels, my wise self-what to do.  they said “ do not invite this man back to you room”.  I told a young staff woman in the bathroom that a guy wants to come back to my dorm room, and what did she think?  She said “well its a cold october night”.   I came back to the table  aid my angels said “no you cannot come to my room”.  He was disappointed but did not question my decision.

Sunday morning I went to yoga, hoping to see him.  He was not there. I went to breakfast and sat with 3 women who were in the retreat.  I told them I had met a man at this retreat, they all knew him, and they had known him for 5 months as part of this ongoing group.  They spoke about his big heart, and his willingness to work on himself.  They basically vetted him.  This was another of my requirements on my lists to my deceesed husband, that I would meet a man face to face, and through other women who knew him, and could vouch for him.

Sunday was the end of the retreat.   Before he left, he ran to the Omega bookstore and bought two wooden malas, one for me and one for him.  He said “now we will always be connected”. We kissed as the autumn leaves fell.  It was a sunny day, but it was also snowing lightly.  I distinctly remember the kiss in slow motion.  The sun on my cheek, the soft snow falling with the leaves.  And then he was gone.

We started to talk via Skype every night for hours.  We meditated together via Skype.   We talked about our relationships.  He had been married for 35 year and has been alone for 2 years. I shared memories of my dead husband every night.  For the first time I met a man who was not offended by my love for my deceased husband.  He honoured and embraced my love.  This kind man I met at the retreat begged to come and visit me in Canada.  After 2 months of talking I said yes, and we went on our first date in Toronto.

Flash forward 14 months, I find myself deeply in love, and in a foreign country.  I know my spirit husband sent me this man.  How do I know?  He has all the qualities on the list, that I had written to spirit.   I met him face to face, as I had requested in my list.  He  had an interest in growing spiritually,  he had no interest in the bar scene,  he is emotional and romantic, and still curious  about life.

It was as if spirit lined us both up, to be there at the exact right time.  Spirit put him right in front of me.

This experience has made me really trust more that spirit has my back.  That there is such a thing as divine timing.  My part is to be clear about how I want to feel in a relationship, and what qualities I want, but then I need to surrender the timing to spirit, to the divine.