1000 Moons

One Strange Dames Experience Winning Cash for Life

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No one ever touches the weird girl!! Ever……..but here I was being rubbed for luck, hugged, and even patted on the back. When did I join the human race?

 

Well, apparently it happened on July 11th, 2017, the day I won $1000 a week for life. Here’s the story published in The Hamilton Spectator : Stars Align for Hamilton lottery winner

 

That lucky lottery ticket was not only a gift from the Universe, but also a VIP pass into a bizarre, unknown and maybe even privileged world I had yet to meet.

 

All anguish and worry I first held about people finding out was quickly forgotten after receiving message after message with kind words and praises from people who were close, family and even some acquaintances  that I hardly knew. I even had a couple of congratulatory Facebook posts from a couple of my music heroes.

 

The only way to explain the elation I felt was to say it was looking down at my own funeral and hearing the lovely eulogies and heartfelt odes. Even now, I wonder if this was the true gift to me…..Can we be honest? I have suffered from depression for most of my life and sometimes my thoughts are very dark. This was the first time, without calling for help that I knew, in my heart, how much people cared. Sure, I’m positive there are some people rolling in their grave cursing me, cemetery dirt encrusted on their rotten teeth. Well those who think I’m undeserving should really be having a party right now with my inner voices. But thankfully the majority of what I heard was sweet, warmhearted and loving. For that, I am most grateful!

 

I quickly realized is that not only were the people in my circle kind, they were also curious. I started this blog to talk about my experience winning cash for life, as well as to keep a journal of the adventures to follow.

 

 

Much luck and love to you and yours.

 

 

 

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I was recently fortunate enough to attend The Andrew Bray Energy Awaken trip to Havana, Cuba. The expedition is it intended for those who work with energy, whether through crystals, meditation, reiki or other forms of divination. I was intrigued, as my usual thoughts on a guided spiritual vacation instantly go to vipassana meditation retreats, where you join others in silence for days (or sometimes even weeks) in which I can see the benefit but I have not had the desire to try it. Yet, I was yearning for the calmness brought by the waves of the ocean and I was desiring the kiss of the sun in the middle of the long, cold Canadian winter and I wanted something more introspective than what an inclusive resort could provide.

Upon attending an information session for Energy Awaken I learned that there would be yoga and meditation in the morning and then day trips to various locations that hold sacred energy with stops to taste local cuisine, listen to live cuban music and sample the local rum and cigars. All this in a tropical setting, with accommodations beside the ocean, seemed like the perfect balanced vacation, with a chance to rejuvenate, as well as an opportunity to play so I signed up,

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Bullet holes on the wall of Castro’s firing squad site

I am not a reiki practitioner, I do read cards, practice meditation and use crystals. But I was intuitive enough to realize that the ‘energy” part of the trip was whisked into a whirlwind of activity, I quickly learned that while being jostled from one site to another that this would not be your ordinary retreat type vacation, there was so much to see and do. From the firing squad site of Fidel Castro to the second-largest cemetery in the world~ Colon Cemetery.

 

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Colon Cemetery, Havana

 

I was overwhelmed with the history and energy we were experiencing daily and before getting a chance to absorb the enormity of these experiences we’d be off to dinner. The days were colder than normal for that time of year and it rained a lot. I only made it into the ocean once for a quick dip before an excursion (and was stung by a jellyfish!). One night, after being absolutely entranced by a performance put on by Santeria dancers I had a complete meltdown. This was unexpected, I haven’t experienced a panic attack in years, but I could not shake the feeling of being overwhelmed.

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traditional Santeria dancers

By the end of the trip I was addressing so many issues with my own personality that I felt caged inside a carcass of skin and bones who just wasn’t me. It wasn’t that I was experiencing bad energy, it was that I was experiencing so much intense energy and I realize now that I don’t always have the that means for coping with this appropriately. No crystal was going to save me now!

Upon returning home, after the plane landed, I understood that I had received the retreat that I needed while turning on my phone which had been off for the entire week. On a whim I had decided not to use my cell phone in Cuba (ok maybe not a whim, but due to the ridiculous travel cost of my cell phone carrier). That is how I’ve always experienced Cuba before, so that’s what I thought to do, even though the last time I was in Cuba was before Facebook and instagram and I had a flip phone. I believe I was the only person in the group of 12 to have experienced the journey without the connection to home. This was the first time in many years I’ve had to stand and face my feelings and acknowledge them in the raw, for good or bad.

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beauty in ruin

My anger, frustration, judgment, and even awe was shaped through an unmediated filter. Sure, I’d taken pictures but I was denied the constant feedback from my peers. I now realize how much I crave that contact but I also realize that this is my crutch. I can look at past situations and see how instead of facing the conflict I would turn to my social network and gain positive approval. If you are part of my social network I want to thank you, as I realize you have helped me through thick and thin, for better or for worse, and I hope I have been rock for you as well, as I also know now how important my network is to my inner world.

I didn’t get what I expected from this trip but I definitely got what I needed. Can I somehow learn to use these breaks from the online world for more positive self reflection and to face my demons? I’m not sure, but I know that I will give it a try from now on. Giving myself weeks, days and maybe a full moon or two to take a rest from my network and ground myself. As I returned home with more gratitude in my heart, I have started having vivid dreams again (or just remembering more of them) and I have also been less concerned with checking my messages so frequently.

First cellphones, then vipassana!!! ..feeling very confident going forward.

Who says retiring is easy? You would think so when leaving a job in search of a new path and embarking on a life of leisure.

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Retirement Bowling Party: Capes Required

I use the word leisure because I believe that when you are doing something you truly love surely the word “work”, as an adjective, doesn’t apply. I have more than a few desires, some require effort, that I am eager to try.  But there I go, defending myself for retiring again!

What I didn’t realize until now was how much the job I did for a living was intertwined with my identity. I mean, I used to sit back and imagine what I would do if I didn’t work (mermaid tale, beach, vegan cooking classes, fancy hat club etc), but that daydreaming doesn’t usually include time for self-reflection, self-analysis, the discovery of who I really am, or how others will see me differently and maybe, in some cases, treat me differently. These were things I couldn’t possibly have imagines (or didn’t want to).

When I introduce myself at a party people often ask..”and what is it that you do?”  they are not looking for the answers~ beachcomber, international woman of intrigue, observer of the extraordinary or lady of leisure.  On a few occasions, I have heard people describe themselves through their hobbies. “Hello, my name is Peter and I Iike to eat laundry detergent”, but usually people save this personal type of information for a second encounter, at least.

Institutions even push your career as identity when you are just a small child. The school system is always asking for full reports on what you want to be when you grow up and why. Who you want to be is never asked. I believe it’s good to have goals, but are passions and dreams, that don’t consist of a pay cheque, valid as well?

Well…I may not have known what I wanted to be, but at least I knew who I was and had the stuff to prove it.

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Even the very idea of a name suggests that you are connected to your history and your family’s history. For example, many of the European last names from the middle ages on were occupational in nature, such as John Smith, describing a smith of some sort. Well it’s about time we got over these medieval notions. Ideas that have followed colonizers and the elite into different nations and communities. These names have nothing to do with who we are today and it’s a rarity that we ever follow in our father, or mother’s footsteps (no matter how much they want us to).

In some pagan circles, adults are initiated with a magical name. This name might only be used within the circle, but others may choose it for their online avatar. Is this name not a closer representation of who you are now than your given name? This is not to discredit ancestor worship, as I believe this is an important part of ritual, but believe these history’s live in our hearts whether we choose our ancestor’s name or not.

With interdisciplinary studies becoming more accredited and hobbies turning into tools to lead “instafamous” lifestyles that pay, we have to polish off our monocles and realize the multifaceted nature of the human entity. It is a rare person that stays at the same job, or even in the same field of work for their whole life.

Since leaving work I have also realized that I’ve been conditioned to please. It’s like Pavlov’s dog. Reward me, tell me I’m great and I’ll be forever yours. Jobs can provide a sense of self-esteem, pride and suggest areas to improve on, which are calculable through an outside lens and hierarchy. Leaving my job on my own terms forces me to set up my own value systems for how I judge my life and what I do. It is here that I believe self-care, self-reflection and positive reinforcement should become daily habit (or work, sometimes).

I’ve often talked to people who were scared of retiring and, though mostly sympatheticly, I would wonder “well what are we working for then?”. I also had the great opportunity to work in an artist-run centre where I met many retired people who make art and are now living their dream, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Their drive and eagerness to pick up new skills made me ask myself why “retirement” is such a dirty word in our culture. Why fear it? Own it. Heck, why don’t we give our self a new name at that time, and not Enid or Rosemary, how about “Thea the Seeker” or “Duchess of Felines” (whatever you like!).

In my own experience, when I told people I was retiring early, many were very disturbed at the idea.  Well, I’d like to dismiss the notions of retirement as your one-way ticket to Netflix comatose or Tim Horton’s meet ups. Your self-work, self-care and discovering your new path is just as important. Hence my blanket fort, filled with every book I’ve half read over the last three years and a few new ones.

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Hey! Whose blanket fort is this anyway? 

This is not to say that I won’t work anymore. I am just giving myself time to explore my interests and reflect on my past as I move forward. And there couldn’t be a more perfect time than January, when “Janus” the god with two faces looks into the past and toward the future. As a person who has previously crammed every moment of every waking hour with work, activities, volunteering and hobbies I’m opening up this new chapter in life with calm, peace and freedom in my heart.

 

After the happy dance, beyond the sweet tears and excitement, and after the celebration and revelry came the rainbow hangover and I fell into a pit of my own demons! I thought winning money would give me freedom, but it turns out I was being held back by my shackles of my mind.

I’ve devised a list of the biggest symptoms.

1. Paranoia
Before the story was published in the paper I was determined to keep my secret, even though I knew all it would take was a google search on my name to find out, as I knew the lottery office had posted it online. It’s procedure, they publish everyone who wins over $10,000

I’ve heard the stories, everyone’s knows the ones ~Friends showing up from the past, unknown people claiming to be family members with strange illnesses, embezzlement and even threats.

I was sure everyone knew! In fact, I was sure everyone was plotting against me. Strangers would come in to work and they’d state “I’m having a lucky day!” well I would get defensive. “What’s that supposed to mean?!” Oh yeah, I knew they knew and I was going to catch them before they pulled any shenanigans.

Surprisingly, as I mentioned in the last post, when the news broke everyone was kind and supportive, with only a few jokes about lending money. I think I am safe!

2. Panic
It hit me like a virus. Heart palpitations, feelings of faintness and chest pains.
This is the first time in my life I was scared to die! All of a sudden all these possibilities were opened up to me and I didn’t want anything to happen to me before I got to experience it all. My panic not related to any strange adventure I would have, it was related to not having those adventures! Have you seen me? I am a child of the dark, I live across from the cemetery. I can’t even say how much the fear of death affects my whole counter culture existence!

Even though I may have a dark soul, I spend a lot of time working on mindfulness, but this is usually to escape my thoughts of the past. This is the first time I had to tell myself to slow down and not get too excited about the future. It was under some serious prodding that I gave my job a year’s notice. They were great about it, but honestly, every day is like molasses, which is slowly drips through a sieve. I have bought three 2018 calendars already and I am so excited to start counting down the days to Freedom 45.

3. Worthlessness
I know this is strange- for once, I was actually worth something on paper, but my mind had a hard time accepting this windfall.

I grew up with very little and I have worked very hard for everything I have. I had three jobs while putting myself through University. I lived with several roommates and went without for many yeaqrs to save a down payment for a house, in a city that at a time nobody wanted to move to, choosing to commute to Toronto in ungodly desires. Now, the area I moved to is becoming very popular and I thought this was lucky enough!
So when I won, I had a hard time believing that I deserved it. Free money every week? Me? I was asking “why not them?” every time I saw someone buying a lottery ticket. I sat up for nights wondering why and I could not help thinking I am supposed to do something special with it. What is special enough? Can I be that special?

I realized that having a relationship with money is like any other relationship. You know when your friend gets into bad relationships constantly and then when they meet a nice person they just cannot accept it? They find every reason in the book not to be with that person! The theory is that they feel they are unworthy of a good relationship.

Good thing I can’t break up with it. It will be coming to me every week, so I have to get used to it. It is probably good I didn’t win a large fortune at once, as I think I would have to get rid of it as fast as possible! Oh yeah, castle, jaguar….private jet to Hawaii with all my friends. I would blow it.

4. Manifestation
Ok seriously, if I can manifest this what will happen to my enemies?!!! I am seriously trying hard not to think bad thoughts, of any kind. Just try not to think bad thoughts!!!…..that’s when the worst ideas come!

It will take while to control this power, but I have a feeling I’m going to learn to love it.