Living From the Heart

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Remember when I wrote that blog about going on this trip and taking my anxiety with me? I had thought the trip was going to be a great idea and then the first couple of days I didn’t know if I would survive? Yeah, I that one!

Well, it really was the best thing EVER! Not as in the best holiday I have ever had, but the best thing for my heart.

My sidekick and I spent some time in Buenos Aires and then made our way into the cold windy plains of El Calafate. This is where the magic happened!

When we got to our cabin in El Calafate, I immediately asked for the Wi-Fi password because let’s be honest, the necessity of wifi is right up there with food. I was greeted with a ‘no hay wifi.’ Mmmm, come again?! I had booked to stay at a place for 7 days with no Wi-Fi??? Oh dear me.

The thing here is I’m not OCD about having Wi-Fi all the time (ok maybe I am), but especially when I’m away from home and don’t have a good international phone plan.

Ever since our family tragedy in 2009, which happened when I was in Israel, I panic at the thought of my people back home not being able to contact me.

So yes I went straight into, ‘Eva what the heck mode,’ meanwhile smiling and assuring my host that it was totally fine… When in life do we learn to feel one thing and say the other?!

But you guys, after I processed my panic, shock and fear it ended up being okay. Actually, it was the best thing that could have happened on that trip.

The next 7 days Alayna and I saw the most beautiful scenery ever, but better than that was my Wi-Fi free time.

I kept Alayna on her routine of going to bed at 7pm, which meant I now had hours to myself with NO INTERNET. At first I would literally just find myself sitting by the window staring into space for hours.

I would go to a place of peace in my heart that felt so good, I couldn’t move.

In that peace my heart would begin bubbling over with inexpressible hope and joy. I had not felt the extent of that in years, if ever! It was so good I wanted to hold onto it. So my staring turned into writing which turned into listening which turned into dreaming BIG!

It’s amazing what the heart holds when we stop long enough to dig way down.

The challenge here is holding onto that which we discover in those heart moments, especially once you get back to every day life.

I’ve tried to pause long enough every day since being back, to get a glimpse into those moments again.

Because even a breath in that space is enough to keep me dreaming big and believing big. And when we start dreaming and believing big, we start living from the heart.

And living from the heart really is the only way you guys.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

Photo: Our no Wi-Fi cabin where magic happens 😉

Why I will Always Stand with the Immigrant

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My parents had been living on rice and beans for months with 8 children under the age of 10. Then, their only means of income was taken away from dad because of outstanding debt. They had no place to turn…..

until a friend extended an invitation to take them to Canada.

My dad and the kids came in as second generation Canadians born abroad. My mom had nothing. She came in as an immigrant.

Almost 2 years later, I was born here. In Canada.

You see, even if Canada hadn’t given them an avenue to come in and immigrate her legally, they would have had to do something. I can imagine many scenarios of what that could have looked like.

Even though she was the only one that immigrated and I was actually born here, I always felt like I didn’t belong.

“Hey you fucking M&M’s, go back to where you belong!!” We heard that so many times.

To have someone pull up and yell that out the window when you’re walking down the street minding your own, really does a number. You only need to hear that once to get the message.

Every time after that is just a nail in the coffin.

I would get so angry and want to run after them, mom would just laugh and brush it off.

My heart aches for her and every other person who has ever felt like they didn’t belong because of race, gender, culture, religion or whatever else it may be.

I was traveling when a huge statement was made just across the border from us.

Not once did I bring up the topic, but everyone that recognized us as foreigners asked me about it.

The pain in the heart and eyes of the Jewish woman sitting beside me on plane was real you guys. The Brazilian American standing in the airport line behind me said it wasn’t the same coming ‘home’ this time. Then added ‘maybe this never was home.’

You could feel the tension of South Americans serving us North Americans because they should stay or go back where they came from, but we’ll go wherever we want and they should be there to serve us. No you guys, it wasn’t just me and in my head.

It was real.

Some say it was all media and won’t be what it was portrayed to be. Well, I can tell you this, whether it was platform or media, what I felt all those years ago and what those people are feeling right now is real!

SO gosh darn REAL you guys.

We CANNOT sit back and let history repeat itself. We need to STAND UP and STAND WITH them. Loud and bold!

Because we all belong you guys. We all belong. Together.

Lets be intentionally and do life together. Regardless of race, gender, religion or culture. Next time you’re out and about, hold out your hand, whether literally or in action to say, I AM WITH YOU.

WE ARE WITH YOU! Always will be.

Until next time,

Eva

 

 

 

 

 

Feminism vs Feminism

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All eleven of us would be sitting around the table and one of the men would need a dash, all male eyes would then all turn to us, the females….. Because clearly, women get the salt!

Women fetched the salt and men got the allowance.

All nine of us siblings worked around the clock growing up and every cent of it went into a big whopping joint account. Then came allowance day. The boys all got their share and the girls nothing. Nada. Zilch!

I grew up in a culture that screamed the worth of men above women. It couldn’t be missed. Still can’t.

So yes, I am a feminist.

You figured as much?! You either want to stop reading now or your heart just smiled a little, depending on how that word sits with you. Either way, you should keep reading.

Feminism as the world defines it is very different from what it actually is.

The definition of feminism is for ‘women to be equal to men.’ As in, women aren’t just good to get the salt but they also deserve and want a freaking allowance.

It does NOT however, mean that men should get the salt and women should get the allowance.

Can we just both get the salt and both get the allowance???

Why do we do that?! We get so passionate about something and then we take it too far.

Trust me, I get all sorts of fired up when women get stomped on because they were born with the wrong genitals, and yes it still happens all the time.

But at the same time I see these ‘world defined feminist’ scream how women can do anything and everything better than any male ever has, and I want to scream at them too.

If we really want to work towards gender equality we can’t go over board. Then we find ourselves sitting alone in our churches, boardrooms and leadership meetings wondering where in the world all our men have gone.

Meanwhile they are probably hiding under a rock somewhere because we’ve put them there. Because really, we do everything better then them anyway.

I vote for feminism. I vote for equality. I vote for strong women AND strong men.

Because we all know we’re so much better together and only together will we be able to fight for equality as a whole.

You with me?

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. Thankfully I have amazing brothers who always took care of me regardless of what the norm was. I never went without. They always had my back. Also, they have learnt and now get their own salt, at least when I’m around 😉

 

 

image: http://facts.randomhistory.com/feminism-facts.html

 

How to handle anxiety… Or not!

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So what’s the best thing to do when anxiety is gnawing away at your being? You book a flight to a place you’ve never been, a place where you don’t know a single soul.

Initially it’ll seem like a really good idea….. It’ll be an adventure!

That is, until you get to Houston and they ask you for the visa you never got.

First comes denial. This is no big deal, you’ll handle this. It’s only a 24 hour delay. Why the heck is the attendant staring at you?! Oh shit, reality. You’re not handling this. You’re crying! Like a freaking ugly cry is about to go down.

But wait, not only did you take your anxiety on this trip, you decided it would be so much better if you brought the kid too! Who is now, full blown ugly crying right beside you.

Thank you gate E20!

But like really, you push through it. Because you’re going on this adventure and it’s going to be great! It’s actually going to make the world right again.

Then you get to the city of 3 million people, where you decided to get an apartment right in heart of downtown. Because getting a hotel like a normal tourist would have been too easy.

Once you finally get into your apartment, (after frantically searching for the intercom for 30 minutes, that was right in front of your face), you’ll realize that although you are exhausted from flying, there are a few things you need right away. Simple things like, to charge your cell…. but the outlets are different and you need an adapter, which you of course, don’t have.

Okay, things to get…. Adapter, food. Oh, but you haven’t gotten any local currency yet and the little shops downtown don’t take American dollars (not even without Trump’s face on it).

You read online, that to get the best rate for your dollar, you need to go to a guy on the street to exchange it. Going to an official exchange vendor, would again, be too easy. So you walk the streets until you hear a guy yell, “dollas, dollas, I help you, dollas.” Good, he will help and you can be on your way! But wait, you’re supposed to follow him somewhere… Into a dark building and then into a metal rod elevator.

You realize this would make a great movie scene and that your holding onto your kid’s hand as if you’re about to die.

Then you remember you took a 90 minute self defence class a couple weeks ago and you do a re-run of the eye poke move in your head. It gives you enough confidence, that you keep following this guy. Who in the end, really does just exchange your money and not kill you or your kid. (Phew!)

By the time you get the money, food and adapter and crash in your middle-of-who-knows-where apartment, you will literally feel like a super hero! Because you did it, not only did you do all that, but you did it while reminding yourself to breath every second of the day, and carrying the weight of the entire world on your shoulders.

You even managed to take a picture and post it on Instagram to make it look like you were actually surviving.

All this will remind you of what you’re really made of. It’ll remind you to never stop fighting for what is right for your heart. It’ll remind you to keep dreaming and making those dreams come true!

It’ll give you hope to keep pushing through life with everything you got, because dammit, through you big things will come to be!!

Until next time,
Eva

P.S If you are struggling with anxiety and you didn’t make it off the couch today, that is okay too. Trust me, I too have days like that. It’s important though to not let those days turn into weeks, to not let them define us. Because anxiety is not who we are,  it’s a battle we are fighting and win we will!

P.P.S If you have never had anxiety and you’re thinking, she just needs to pray more or she doesn’t need to carry all that around. That’s not how it works, you really won’t know until you’ve been there. And if you’re thinking, oh gosh, she needs professional help, you are right. I am working with a team of professionals, its just a long, freaking hard process.

Shedding

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You guys, I’m shedding. Like a mad dog over here and it’s kind of terrifying but also SO freeing.

In the last couple of weeks, I have come to realize the extent of layers and layers of crap like expectations I was carrying around. It’s no wonder I could hardly breathe!

This started to happen when I felt that I had officially disappointed every single soul on this planet in what they expected of me. I couldn’t even pretend that I was living up to who I was supposed to be anymore.

What I should do. What I shouldn’t do. Who I should be. Who I shouldn’t be.

Some of this goes as far back as my mom and pops and some of it is definitely from the last decade. It was like these crazies had made a permanent home and were choking out any and all new growth.

I found myself on my bathroom floor in a deep pit and I needed out. I needed out NOW. I was suffocating. Eva who?!

I begged God for something. Okay, I yelled at him to give me something and to do it NOW. Reminding him (or myself) of his promise to never leave me or forsake me, and that now would be a good time to show up.

He gave me something very simple. Me…. and Him….. Just like that. That’s all it is.

I sat there exhausted in that silent, dark pit. Really?! But…. But…. Expectations… I can’t….. All those people…

I had lugged my heart on that road for so long, I couldn’t imagine anything else. It was comfortable in a weird twisted way. Without all those extra layers I would need to start feeling me. I would have to get to know me, find out what gives me life.

That’s freaking scary stuff.

I was at the bottom of the pit though. Couldn’t go any lower so I had to choose another way. So frightening! But as the layers started loosening, freedom started shining through.

It was the start of something new. Something good.

Expectations can be deceiving. Did other people really put them on my or did I just think they did? Maybe I put them on myself and it really has nothing to do with the people around me.

Perhaps it’s a game my mind and heart have been playing with each other and the rest of us were never invited.

Either way, it’s coming off.

It’s a slow and messy process but I’m blowing off my coat, even if those around me aren’t sure what to do with it.

It needed to happen. It’s good you guys!

Each one of us is so unique. To live a life in chains of what we feel others want and need from us is a death sentence. I’m not talking about being self-centered and disregarding others.

There is something very different about serving those around us, and living for those around us.

One is life-giving. The other is death-defying.

Have a few coats weighing you down? Shed my friend, shed!

 

Until next time,

Eva