A$king for Help + Send me to NYC!

I’ve always had trouble asking for help. Growing up, my shyness and insecurity led me to becoming more independent and self-reliant. It got to a point where I would even scoff at others for asking for help so readily and so often.

I’ve learned, with much grace and humility over the past few years, that asking for help requires a lot of courage and vulnerability. I now admire those who know when to buckle down and work quietly, and when to turn to others for assistance.

I read this book called You’re a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, and it – along with everything else I’ve been doing for my personal development and spiritual practice – has been transformative. I’ve been shifting my money mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. I’ve been starting to be more generous and securely detached to money and things. I’ve become more secure about who I am and what I am meant to do.

And this has all led me to creating my first crowd fundraiser. I’m doing my masters at a university in Ireland, but I live in Canada. I got invited to a storytelling conference in New York, so trying to get funding for all of this has been challenging. I’m taking the leap to rely on the kindness and generosity of family, friends, and strangers, to raise some money for my graduate research.

You can read my story, find out more about who I am, and make a donation here: gofundme.com/send-camille-to-nyc-for-research

If you’ve been following me for the past few years, or just discovered my blog, thank you for your presence and humanity. ❤

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No More Suffering

I’ve known for a long time that I was highly sensitive. When I was a child, I would cry whenever I saw anybody else crying. I would even cry when others were fighting in front of me. I could barely handle their pain and anguish. A few years ago, I came across the terms Empath and Intuitive, and knew that these words encompassed how I’ve always experienced life.

Of course, like anybody else, I denied this scary truth about myself for a while. It was scary because I felt alone in this truth. I didn’t know anybody else who was like this. And even when others would share bits and pieces about their sensitivity, I still didn’t feel like I belonged. I didn’t want to be on this journey by myself.

The past few months have revealed quite a lot to me. I unearthed truths I had buried years ago, and had forgotten about. Not just about being a Highly Sensitive person, an Empath, or an Intuitive. This journey of discovery led me back to my spirituality, and what it means to have a relationship with the Divine. Along the way, I’ve had to let go of old habits and ways of thinking that did not serve me.

Just last night, I was driving home, feeling the exhaustion of the past few days and thinking about what sleep deprivation does to people. As I was recalling an earlier conversation with my friends about how little sleep they get, it dawned on me: whenever people I love are suffering, I want to take on that suffering, too. When my loved ones are stressed, I take that on and become stressed myself.

And right after that realization came another: I don’t have to live this way. Just because other people are suffering, doesn’t mean I should, too. It’s safe for me to feel at peace. I’m allowed to have an easy life. It’s okay for me to take care of myself despite being around people who don’t do the same for themselves.

I had to laugh. It just felt so obvious in that moment! Of course I suffer and stress so much – I absorb the emotions and energy of other people, and don’t even realize it.

In that moment, I felt free. Free to live my life on my own terms, and control how I experience the world. There’s so much to do and feel and know – and with these revelations guiding me along the way, I know for sure that I will be okay.

Hard Truths About Self-Improvement: A Snapshot

The past several months have been incredibly transformative. Everything about me: all of my insecurities, vulnerabilities, and old ways of thinking have been exposed, examined, and explored with gentle curiosity. Thank God for the gentle part, because this postgrad program has been intense in every other way. The long hours, the demanding workload, the constant critiques, and continuous collaboration with the same people everyday has been nothing short of exhausting.

Sure, it’s definitely one of the best choices I’ve ever made, and I’ve grown so much from this experience. But I can’t help but wonder how I’ll be able to handle this dramatic shift in my perception of myself.

Specifically, the bouts of depression I’ve faced (back in December and on and off every month since) have been the worst I’ve ever experienced. And because of this discovery, I’ve been very mindful of how I treat myself and how I spend my time. I go to therapy now. I have a daily routine that involves writing, meditation, and reading. I go to yoga more often. I’ve cleaned out a shitload of stuff from my home, and cleaned out my social media accounts. I spend less time on social media, actually. I spend more time alone, contemplating my life and the next steps. I’ve become more spiritual.

And while all of this is great, it’s also been incredibly isolating. My current set of friends don’t quite get it. I’ve actually dropped a few friendships these past several months because I’ve realized that I spend so much energy trying to force things to happen instead of letting things be. Let go, and let come. That’s what the speaker at Creative Mornings Toronto had said back in March. I’ve been trying to practice that.

I didn’t expect for all of this to happen. And while I can’t quite see what the end result is, if there even is an end to this, I know that it’s happening for a good reason.

It’s about time that I take my life back – really, truly, for real this time – and live it on my own terms.

Uncontained

I went to see a psychic about a week ago. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing; it felt like this was a precious secret and moment I had to keep to myself.

As soon as she opened the door to greet meet me, I felt a wave of love and energy. I won’t get into everything we talked about – and we talked about a lot – but I will share one of the first things she told me:

“You cannot be put into a box. Even if the box is big, it still can’t contain you. You are too big and too unique to be put into a box.”

That was a recurring theme throughout our session: being uncontained. It was something I’ve known all along, from the way I feel out of place and restless no matter where I was and who I was with, to constantly asking myself and the Universe how I could be more. A different kind of ambition from attaining accolades or adding letters to my name, dollars to my bank account.

Brene Brown wrote in her latest book, Braving the Wilderness, that true belonging is paradoxical. Quoting Maya Angelou, Brene shares how she has finally come to understand what it means to belong and to be free, and to be in the wilderness:

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”

I did not realize I’ve been in that wilderness pretty much all my life until I read this book. Re-learning about my unique gifts and purpose in life over the past few months has been such a signficant thing to experience. Learning what it means to let go, to be abundant, to live lightly, and most importantly, to love yourself… these are lessons I’ve struggled to remember, and I sincerely hope that this time I finally understand.

These past few months, while supporting a rich inner world, have also seen some of the most isolating and lonely periods of my life. I’ve felt so separated from others, simultaneously wanting to shut out but also let in people. It was confusing, and to be honest it still is. But I guess this is what it means to be in the wilderness, to live uncontained. High price, great reward.

It wasn’t burnout.

December 2017 (literally a day ago) had me in the most confusing and terrifying mental and emotional spiral I have ever experienced. I was doubting myself, giving myself negative self talk, and was overall unsure of what my life had become.

I lost sense of who I was, what I wanted, and my reasons for everything. I lost sight of my why.

It was so scary, mostly because I didn’t understand where these thoughts and feelings had come from, and why my body decided to crash at the same time. I knew I was getting sick, but I didn’t know what was happening.

And so I went to a counselling session at school. I explained the exhaustion, the sadness, the confusion, and the profound sense of emptiness and overwhelm. I barely finished telling the counsellor what was going on, when she said, “this isn’t burnout. This is depression.”

I burst into tears. I had somehow known, deep down, that I was going through depression, that I have already experienced depression several times over the past couple of years, that I have been pushing this truth away, burying it. But it resurfaced with a vengeance and wreaked havoc on my spirit and body.

I’m still reeling from the truth being spoken by someone, and from me beginning to accept it. I want 2018 to be the year that I cultivate the seeds I had planted – the seeds of self compassion, healthy habits, loving kindness, and living out my truth. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

Where is the magic?

Right around this time of year, I look around and can’t help but feel a little disappointed. This feeling creeps up sooner every year, sometimes just within the first week of December. It’s a feeling of disappointment in not seeing magic.

It was so much easier as a child to marvel and wonder at all of the amazing things that Christmas had to offer: the TV specials, the movies, the sweet treats, the decorations, the gifts, the music, the sheer enthusiasm and genuine joy that you could actually feel in the air.

But I don’t feel that anymore.

Instead, I’ve felt stress, annoyance, frustration, and a desire to just get it over with: the gift shopping, the party planing, the entire thing. I kinda hate it.

I so wish I could call back the magic of the season, and I’m going to try this month to do so. But it’s just not the same anymore.

So what can I do differently in order to feel the magic? What can I do as an adult to feel like a child again? I can’t get rid of my responsibilities and obligations. So what would I need to add or take away or change in order to bring back that awe and wonder?

I hope I can find this feeling again.

Medium

I’ve recently joined Medium – it’s another online space for blogs, and is getting more popular for organizations and corporations to post their content.

My first post (which I literally just published 5 minutes ago) is called “Why 2016 Didn’t Completely Suck, or What Chicago & Hamilton Taught me about Mortality & Legacy.”

I am especially proud of this post, because I’ve set up my Medium account to be more public and polished. If you don’t have a Medium account, I highly recommend creating one.

This will likely be my last post of 2016, since my post on Medium sums up the year in a very positive way.

Here’s to a better 2017!