if it isn’t the moon…

beside me is an empty banana peel, a half eaten bar of raw chocolate, a few pens, and lists.   sometimes i think these lists are waking me up at night wanting to talk shop. you know, like: “when the fuck are you going to paint the front porch and oh my god your basement and hallway closet are in appalling condition and…”  i’m sure you know the drill.  you have your own lists.  and i’m sure they must talk to you in their own way.

i have been waking consistently at three or four in the morning for months now.  maybe years…i’m losing track of time.  last night it was just shy of two am.  i like the idea of blaming the moon.  it is so full and round and bright and shines right onto my pillow case.  right onto my sweet face.  i wake and i can’t fall easily back to sleep. sometimes i can’t fall back to sleep at all.

maybe it is the unwritten (unspoken) that is waking me up.  calling to me.  crying.

be, my plant spirit medicine practitioner, wonders if it is my grief.  i am working through a lot of grief these days.  these years.  like a baby, she postulates, my grief wakes me in the middle of the night and wants to be soothed.  but i do not know how to sooth her. in the middle of the night i do not even realize that she/me is sad or crying.  i have asked the linden tree that lives just outside my bedroom window for help.  this might sound crazy to you.  but i do beseech the trees.  and this last week i have also been beseeching my ancestors.  so far i haven’t understood the answers.

yesterday (or was it the day before) i broke down crying in the grocery store.  a sweet friend i hadn’t seen in a while asked me how i was doing.  i told her lots of things.  i gave her a list really.  i said this.  and this.  and this.  i was tired.  and so i also said this. and this and this. then she pointed to my heart.  and told me it was broken.  that all my stories over the years were telling her the same thing.  my sweet heart.  i cried and cried and cried.  right there in the grocery store near the chocolate isle.

maybe i can’t blame the moon.  or the unpainted porch.  or my ex-husband for leaving me.

or maybe i can.

but i’m not going to stop there.  i am going to ask for more help.

what i would like is for my grandmothers and my grandfathers to find some thread.  i would like my great great grandmothers and great great great grandfathers to find a needle.  aunts and uncles can join in too.  i can see all their fingers.  some thick and dirty from their work in the garden. some a little stiff.  i would like them to help me now. together they can work their magic. and begin to stitch, in their otherwordly time,  this heart of mine.  this heart of ours.  maybe they’ll do it while i sleep.  or maybe as i stir and wrestle with the edges of my grief.

because this heart of mine beats on in my daughters.   i would like them to see their mother’s heart whole.  most of their life they have known their mother to have a broken heart.  even if this has remained unspoken.  i long for deep restful sleep and that my heart is free and full and light.

heart is what this whole blog has always been about.  all these years.  moving from my heart!  broken or not.

a few months ago my daughters, now both with ipads, began reading my blog.  it was really wild and weird for me.  they noted that i prayed in my blog posts.  that was weird for them because they don’t see me as spiritual or religious in “real” life.  i am not christian.  or a buddhist.  but i do pray.  and i am spiritual.  they also pointed out things they thought were funny.  and they both enjoyed seeing themselves depicted in my words and images.  and they wanted more!

this post is an acknowledgment of deep hurt that sometimes stays for a long time.  and this post is also a prayer to the trees and to my ancestors that i may continue to heal in just the perfect ways.  for myself, for my children, and all of us.


because a broken heart can still have a tan and wear sunglasses!!!!

begin. again. and again.

oh boy.

oh boy.  oh boy.

twelve months have almost passed since i last wrote.

twelve months.

these past months i have done many things other than write.  many things.  lots of dishes.  laundry.  vacuuming.  (what a weird word that is.)  i have done lots of crying and lots of healing.  thanks to plant spirit medicine i have shed some of what i do not need.  i have experienced lots of loving.  i have watched my children continue to grow.  boom.  my oldest daughter has bigger feet than me.  boom.  both my children are in school all day.

i have experienced a lot of kissing these last twelve months.   more kissing than vacuuming.  which means there was a lot a lot of kissing going on (cause i really like vacuuming).  lots of exquisite kissing.  i have thought that maybe i should just post two pairs of lips touching so you would know where i was.  but really that wouldn’t have done justice to the complexity of my  year (or my days).  you might think it was all roses.  or dahlias.  or cosmos.  or green juice.  or striped yoga pants.  or you might think that i was only having the most incredible orgasms i have ever had.  (i think i will write a whole post about that soon!)  you might even think my year was spent lying on a beach in a bikini.  but that just wouldn’t be true.

this year has been about beginning again.  which is another way of saying that i have been learning to trust.  i have been letting a man love me.  sometimes this has been so easy and sometimes it has been so damn hard.  i have been letting myself really love him.  this too has been both sweet and simple and excruciating.  beginning again is another way of saying that i’m teaching my heart to become un-broken.  or maybe i’m not the teacher here.  perhaps the plant spirits, my children, and my new partner are my great teachers.

perhaps i am “writing” a new story.  my love story.  and maybe i don’t need to write it alone.  maybe i’m learning that we write together.  or as my partner might say:  “what are we going to dream into being?”  what are we going to co-create?

i’m not sure what has stopped me from writing here.  if i have time to scroll facebook….. i have time to write.

i decided to begin again.  right now.  i am grateful that i can.

can you almost see me press the publish button?  just after you watch me spell check!

and after i find that photo i wanted to show you!

P1020035love and new beginnings chantalle xo


and then she came

at supper tonight i was retelling the tale of how eleven years ago i went into labour on a wednesday.   a wednesday just like today.  ivy stopped me to tell the story herself.  i loved watching her tell ezra how i was teaching yoga and my water broke.  i laughed and reminded them that i thought i had peed my pants.  they laughed and ivy joked about how funny it would have been if i had gone to the bathroom and had her there.  still laughing i told her that that was one of my fears.  she asked (slightly incredulously) if babies are ever born on the toilet.  i said yes.  sometimes.  and i quietly remembered my old neighbour mary.  she shared many birth stories with me.   mary was in her late seventies or early eighties.  we would sit and have tea.  i loved our time together.  and i loved her stories.  they were detailed.  and interesting.  and sometimes, like her baby born in the toilet story, scary.  i remember her telling me that the doctor had plans for the weekend and gave her some medication so as not to go into labour or some such thing until the monday.  and one thing led to another.  and she found herself in the bathroom at home popping the baby out into the toilet.  i remember asking if the baby actually fell into the toilet water.  i think i asked this many times on many different days.  she didn’t seem to mind.  and she would always answer yes.  if mary were still alive today i would call her up and ask her again.  did the baby really fall into the toilet?  i am easily fooled.  so maybe she pulled a fast one on me.  but either way i became terrified that i too would have my baby in the toilet.  eleven years ago i was worried that my baby would come too fast and end up in the toilet water.  that is super funny to me now because i  really didn’t need to worry about that!  no baby in the toilet for me!

tonight i curled up with ivy before her sleep and quietly remembered being pregnant.  she made me a mama!  and that it is very big gift.  i think that making someone a mama is the wildest thing you can do to someone.  i am certain my mother would agree!


about being alone

there was a small space between my childhood bed and the window.  i remember sitting in that sheltered place playing.  alone.  no one could see me from the doorway.  the bed skirt went all the way to the floor.  i must have spent hours there imagining.  sometimes i played barbies.  sometimes i sulked.  i attempted journal entries.  i stared up and out the window at the large maple tree that formed my view.  i read books for hours on the small couch near the kitchen.  the couch was behind a half wall and i felt insulated.  as soon as i could drive i went for walks in the forest.  alone.  i was happy to.  no one forced to me be alone.  i had sweet friends to play with.  but i always returned to solo adventures.

i am alone right now.  i have been mostly alone since monday evening.  it is wednesday now.  the girls return in a few hours.

i know alone as a small space between sharing myself with my children and my boyfriend and my students and my customers.  i do not know alone for weeks or years or decades.  i do not know how that might be.  what i do know is that this small space between, this time with me, is awesome.  i am not sure what i like most about it.  but i do enjoy the “quiet”.  (which is funny because i tend to talk a lot!)  i enjoy “small things”.  the simplicity of taking out the garbage in the early early morning.  cutting my small lawn at dusk.  filling the bird feeder to overflowing.  it is a freedom.  and sometimes a peace.  to choose when and where and how.  it is like swimming naked in soft lake water.

sometimes my friends are jealous.  they want to be alone too.  or they think they do.  and i understand.   (or i think i do!)  perhaps not everyone needs to be divorced to find this kind of time.  and maybe i shouldn’t tell them that this time comes with a flip side.  maybe i shouldn’t joke that it is my perk.  but that is what i think.  i was given something bitter and something sweet.  and all these years later it still feels that way.  bitter and sweet like dandelion and raspberry.  maybe one is not more medicinal than the other.

when i am alone now i like to vacuum.  and take photographs of flowers.  i like picking salad from my backyard and eating it with pesto.  i like sitting in the sun.  i prefer to stay home, read a book, and get up early.

i love people.  i love strangers.  my family.  my boyfriend.  my friends.  i love my ex-husband.  and his parents.  we are all interesting and quirky.  we are confusing.  beautiful and utterly devastating.  we are everything.  i love people watching.  i love sitting close.  i like eavesdropping.  and sharing stories with shop keepers.

but it is clear to me now that i am restored by solitude.  i am brought back to existence.  this is why i have been longing to rest in that space between my bed and the window.  and even if i close my eyes i will enjoy the view of the linden tree flowering.

because everything changes and solitude transforms into familial wildness; and i continue to dance in all the ways a mother dances.



a birthing day

i love birthdays.  i love presents.  and flowers.  and cake.

i love photographs.  and sometimes i don’t even mind the things they leave out.

ten years ago today i gave birth to a beautiful baby.  a beautiful being.  she arrived in the midst of a wild april storm.  wind.  hail.  snow.  rain.  i can still hear the hard rain pelleting the hospital window.  it was a difficult labour.  my fear of birthing accidentally in the toilet was not warranted!  she did not come fast.  her shoulders were caught on my pelvic bones.  the room became the storm.  and i the middle.  her head out.  shoulders caught.  immense  panic.  everything slowed and quickened simultaneously.  i can almost hear them yelling at me to push.  i can almost feel the nurse (was she standing on my bed?) pushing down on my belly.  i can see mark, in shock, standing by my bedside.  i did not hear her bones break.  i did not feel the cold of the forceps.  but i saw.  i saw the looks on their faces.

but she was perfect.  perfect.  with a bruise near her eye where the metal must have clamped.  she was gorgeous.  i could have looked at her all night long.  maybe i did.  i listened to the howling of the wind against the hospital wall and learned to nurse on my side.  i was in love.  nothing else mattered.

my body carries the story of her arrival.  i think my belly (even a decade later) is still a little shaken; a little unsure.  i think the little extra skin, the little extra fat is a blanket of protection.  and it has yet to be convinced that it is safe to go away.  i have bits that are rarely seen, bits that have gone slack.  there are even some small parts that have almost fully surrendered.  and lines.  lines that do not seem to connect.  but if you followed them they would tell you everything.  even things that i do not yet know.

ten years is a wild time to mother.  i want to say that this is a beautiful thing.  and an ugly thing.  i am both beautiful and ugly.  i have seen all that in me.  and in them.  i have seen it too in their father.  the sweetness and the cruelty.  the love and the hatred.   the impatience.  the fatigue.  and the sweetness again.  the loving.  the growing.  and growing.  and growing.

i think my heart is growing bigger.  i think it is.  and then sometimes it grows small again.  retracts into an old way.  sometimes i am full of patience.  i am calm and even while the children fight.  i hear what they are saying.  i see them.  and then sometimes i am short and harsh and demanding.  sometimes i am a dictator demanding peace.  sometimes i can watch it all and laugh.  i am a woman living in a house with two young children.  i have done this for almost five years now.  sometimes it is easy.  and sometimes it is hard.  maybe it’s just life.  easy and hard.  beautiful and ugly.  sweet and spicy.

every year, for their birthday, i make a photo album.  i print my favourite photos from the year.  i place one or two images on a page, no words, in a simple black book.  i find photos from every season.  i made one just last week for ivy.  it is awesome.  snow pictures.  cottage pictures.  beautiful smiles.  playful kittens.  laughing eyes.  marshmallows and sunsets.  there are no photos of crying or ranting or unkindness.  i have only showed the pleasant side.  and i realized, maybe a month ago, when the girls, and matthew, and i were looking at many years worth of photographs that we look really happy.  you might not be able to pinpoint when my husband left me.  you wouldn’t know what birthday party was the most heart wrenching.

i guess birthdays remind me of it all.  the true deepness of this life.  the fury and rage.  the lightness and joy.  the confusion.  this birth day i  am thinking about how my days are a blend.  how the years are a mixture.  how my life is all of it.  so full.  so rich.  so clean and dirty.

i surely carry, deep in my skin, deep in my bones, the stretch marks of my ancestors.  i am thinking of my great grandmothers tonight.  ukrainian.  metis.  french canadian.  scottish? i am trying to picture them holding my grandmothers and my grandfathers.  nursing them.  did they have bare feet in the garden?  how did they speak to their children?  did they enjoy sex?  what was their deepest fear?  why were they angry?  what did they hide? i imagine their secrets flow in my blood.  and move too in my children.  a melange of it all.