Tag: blockages

The Power of Visualization

The May 24 weekend sees thousands of people flock to the hip and chic central neighborhood of the Glebe for a long-standing tradition: The Great Glebe Garage Sale (GGGS). For Ottawans who happen to also be thrifters, it’s a pretty big deal. My partner and I being thirfty and creative people watchers, this is an exciting meeting of the senses. We’ve been almost every year since we’ve met as friends and decided to shack up. Although some years have been less successful in terms of “finds”, we usually have a grand ol’ time running into friends and basically, contemplating the quirks and trends of locals.

This year being one where I’ve redefined abundance, I didn’t feel the same need to ‘hunt’ for treasure. The mindset is quite a liberating one. Don’t misunderstand; I like a mad deal and a unique find as much as the next fashionista or DIY queen, but it just wasn’t a drive. I wasn’t attached to an outcome. For me, it was all about the experience. I wanted to spend a sunny Saturday morning with my honey, walking about, narrating our adventure and sharing some banter on why some rather pessimistic attendees call the Great Glebe ‘Garbage’ Sale. It surprises me how some people just don’t see the humour in the (very) broad scale of stands, exhibits and displays. Besides, doesn’t it make it all the more precious when you find the ‘right’ thing for you?

In any case, I wasn’t looking to blow my spending budget nor did I want to get impractical trinkets. For a woman who loves beauty and who cares about her environment, this is saying something. Wow, sometimes, I feel like I’ve come a long way! I decided to make peace with the outcome of the GGGS before it happened. I decided to roll a film in my head of the absolute best finds for me. As I pictured myself finding certain (practical and less practical) items, I knew deep down that if they were a good thing for me, however practical, I would find them. I then imagined the following…

Visualization Before The GGGS

I pictured myself finding one or two yak or alpaca wool sweaters in a neutral colour such as beige or brown. I saw myself smiling that I had found just the right sweater for my needs. You see, I wanted a sweater to wear travelling this summer, because you simply can’t dress up a hoodie.

I pictured myself finding books I would use. Nothing specific, just a book I would find a use for. I love books… we’ve established this in earlier posts. 😉

The next thing I visualized, and this was a whim, a whisper from my heart, not so much a practical wish, but one that charmed me just thinking about it, was that I would stumble upon a mechanical typewriter. I didn’t care about the model, the year or even the colour. But just for shakes and giggles, I decided to picture three colours I would particularly find fetching: blue (turquoise, sky, teal…), pink or cream. I figured, if we’re dreaming, might as well be wild! Might as well dream big!

Before falling asleep, I’d decided my morning was going to go smoothly, and I’d decided that the only things I wanted were the few things I’d find a use for and would also please me aesthetic. As I imaged this, I felt how giddy I’d feel if I found those items. And then, I let it go. I was ok if I didn’t find them then. I was ok with whatever timeline I’d get those things in, if they were meant for me. But I trusted that it would all work out. And I fell into a restful sleep.

Morning Of…

Saturday morning rolled around and we got up, my honey made breakfast AND my coffee. This is key, because he doesn’t drink coffee and I love it, so the fact that he made me one, for the road, was him going above and beyond to make my morning good.

We had trouble finding parking but we found a nifty spot next to the Canal, at Dow’s Lake. Within a few minutes, I found a dynamic yoga book. “What? That’s so cool!” It was in some milk crate of old random books, not on some neat display of wellness books. I leafed through it and it offered the right amount of “challenging” poses as I’d expect from a book I’d use at this stage in my practice. SOLD!

After wandering for about an hour and a half, we had to use the facilities (one of us more than the other). He wanted to head back to the car (which was still pretty far) and I wanted to go to Bank street to find a coffee shop and something to nosh on. We settled on the French Baker and I yielded that if he still wanted to leave after that, I’d be ok walking to the car. As we stepped out with croissants in hand, he suggested we mosey-on back to where we parked, all the while taking in the sights from other streets. Curiosity got the better of him. I didn’t mind one bit.

On the next to last street on our way back, I stumbled upon a Montreal-based guest merchant who happened to be selling beige sweaterend of stock alpaca wool sweaters. There were two left in my size: a beige and brown pull-over and a brown and beige button sweater. What?!? The best past was that they cost me under $25 and were BRAND NEW. Alpaca and yak wool sweaters go for upwards of $60. He was also certified fair-trade. So I couldn’t even feel guilty about the deal! Huzzah!

I was pretty happy with myself by then and I was trailing behind my partner like a three year old who had too much candy and her arms full of blanky and teddy. When I finally caught up, that’s when I saw a beautiful, multi-coloured paisley scarf I’d been looking for over a year ago. I simply needed to throw it own and hear that it was going for less than our two croissants and I was making out like a bandit.

My soft new pashmina. Style can be a bargain!

My soft new pashmina. Style can be a bargain!

As we walk down the last street to the car, I’m overheating, it’s about 10:15 and I’ve just about had it with the crowd. My honey went ahead to bring the car around. That’s when the crowd dissipated and I felt a welcome breeze. It blew past my left ear. That was the sale side. I brushed my hair behind my left ear and turned to take inventory (and a breath). That’s when I saw it: the blue Remington typewriter.

Blue Remington Typewriter

My blue Remington!

I hesitated for a second before I shook off my surprise and walked up and put my hand on it, in good garage-sale form. I asked a trendy, smiling lady just barely younger than me if she was selling it. She was happy to tell me she was, it was in full working order and it had belonged to her great aunt, who’d done her nursing degree with that blue baby. She’d kept this in storage and felt bad it wasn’t having adventures of its own anymore. We were equally pleased with the transaction; the Remington was going to a good home.

This experience is just another example of manifestation and serendipity working in my life. By tuning in and believing, while being open to receiving in whatever format, I am allowing for the things I need (and a lot that I want) to come to me. And when I do meet a helpful person, hear an insightful message, receive a thoughtful gift, benefit from a great deal, I’m all the more grateful.

Have you ever visualized something into your life? Have you been surprised by the power of your own visualization?

Recognizing Barriers to the Self

In recent years, I’ve struggled with my health, my mental well-being and this question of happiness. In this process, which is ongoing, I’ve realized that there were things missing in my life (understatement of my generation, right?). Surprisingly, they weren’t things to acquire, but rather, they were experiences to live and feel. I was missing out on so much because of barriers I’d put up within mySelf. We all have barriers to the self, and we all start with recognizing them.


I realized that one of my sources of restraint was pride. Not in the sense we misunderstand as vain, self-involved and reserved. I mean I was/am proud in the sense that I was protecting my dignity as I saw it and my heart as I remembered pain. You see, folks who aim to better themselves, improve their performance and compete tend to have issues around shame, rejection and self-worth. I know that I learned shame. I learned embarrassment, through experiences such as bullying or singling-out in class. I learned that being “right”, bubbly, helpful and talented was valued. Being valued felt good. I can’t speak for others, but whenever I fell short of any of these, I felt less than. I disappointed and that felt bad. I felt like I lost a bit of shine to my penny. I started to compete with others not to prove myself better than anyone else, but to make myself lovable, though I didn’t know it at the time. When I got older, into adulthood, I loved being the best at something and couldn’t stand not being the best at something I dedicated so much time to. How could I not be the best dancer if I worked so hard? Those questions would send me into tailspins. I would question my entire life’s decisions and whether I even knew who I was. Was I worth anyone’s time?

I was painted as the model student, the talented dancer and artist, the reasonable child, the best friend, the exemplary intern, the up-and-coming reporter, the communications professional, the competitive dancer and team member, the reliable daughter, the girlfriend you bring home to mom. Those are just some of the roles I’ve had to play, as cast by others.


My fears of feeling shame, embarrassment and not being good enough grew over time. No one is born feeling ill-equipped to live. Everyone born wants to be here. So why do we feel so unloved, inadequate and misunderstood from such a young age?Through experiences. We can choose to take the lessons or identify with the pain. We can’t live with both. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I danced in a production of Newsies. My coach insisted we lip-sync the chorus introduction and frustrated as she was, she threatened that if she saw one of us mumbling, she would “make us sing the chorus to all the other classes”, which included older kids and teenagers. You’ve probably guessed that I was singled out and was forced to sing, out loud, with no musical accompaniment to about three classes. This was NOT the kind of attention I ever wanted or asked for. I remember my palms sweating and the blood draining from my hands, which were shaking. I remember having a hard time pushing sound out of my mouth. My throat was dry. I made it through the entire chorus while staring at the floor and feeling my face flush. My legs felt like lead. I remember few moments as uncomfortable as that one. I could tell others were also uncomfortable about the manner in which I’d been thrust into their class and forced to perform, like a circus monkey.

Finding My Voice

To this day, I struggle with singing. I have a visceral reaction; like a caged animal. I was a child who loved music and who belted out tunes without a care in the world. I was never even aware that others may not like hearing me! But since this experience, I have third chakra problems. I have a crackly, raspy voice which breaks sometimes mid-speech, or when I sing certain notes. I lose my voice the second I think someone can hear me sing. I frequently have to clear my throat and often have “a frog”. I discovered I have hypothyroidism, which is an under-active thyroid. Louise Hay has very interesting suggestions relating to root causes of physical disease and illness. According to her, thyroid dysfunction has to do with self-expression and being heard or “speaking your truth”. I think it’s pretty clear that my symptoms stem from a traumatic experience. The irony of it all, is that the song was meant to be empowering.
“Open the gates and seize the day
Don’t be afraid and don’t delay
Nothing can break us
No one can make us
Give our rights away
Arise and seize the day”
For years, I stopped myself from singing. I didn’t sing in public, at the karaoke, on road trips, while walking with an iPod, at parties or around a camp fire. All this time, somewhere deep down, I believed that my singing would be judged, that I would be shamed and ostracized.
I stopped myself from learning an instrument and I quit guitar because my family was full of talented musicians. I stopped myself from sewing because my mom could always do it better. I stopped drawing because it was not practical for school or anything else. Besides, I wasn’t “good” at it, like my father or my cousin was. I “grew out” of playing games, an activity I enjoyed so much. I hesitated for years to learn photography because I thought I wouldn’t understand the technique. I was always “mathematically challenged”. I shelved writing and storytelling for the last few years, when I walked away from reporting. I stopped myself from pursuing riskier career options, which were worth the risk for the sheer experience.
I buried mySelf, as I filled my calendar with activities, my head with worry, my credit card with unattainable standards and my heart with sorrow. I realized something had to change…

Read my recovery story in my next post.

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