Live Life Alive Challenge

Gardening Live Life Alive

It's all about connecting the dots and on this sleepless night, connecting the dots has led me here. Writing in my journal again for the first time since Shannon, my life coach, died.

I've never been tagged in an Instagram challenge before, not until my beautiful pageant sister, Rose, tagged me in one about two days ago. I saw the notification, clicked on her IG story to see why I'd been tagged, and saw that she had nominated me to participate in the #LiveLifeAlive challenge. At the time, I hadn't connected the dots and made the connection between this challenge, Shannon, and the great disconnection I've been feeling since April (until now, I didn't even realize this had started in April, the month I lost her).

But tonight, that changed. The agitation keeping me awake, being called to get up and open my long-neglected journal, writing, crying, realizing that this disconnection has been the grief of losing Shannon, and finally, finally connecting the dots...the timing was perfect.

It makes sense that I didn't immediately post my own photo for this challenge on the day Rose tagged me. Something in me kept putting it off. Now I know why.

I needed to come to this night of epiphany first. Now that I have, I'm ready. I won't divulge everything that transpired on this night or the words that finally flowed from unlocked heart to page, but I can connect the dots between this challenge and Shannon.

Tonight, I was reminded that everything about Shannon, the way she lived her life, her life's purpose, and the core tenet of her life coaching business, revolved around her mantra, "Be Alive in your Life".

Those very words are printed on a t-shirt that is hanging in my closet right now. It is the shirt I wore as my sponsor outfit for the Miss BC Pageant where I met Rose and where we both became pageant sisters, titleholders, and crowned pageant queens.

Of course the first time that I was ever tagged in an Instagram challenge would be one about living life alive. Now, during this time when I've been feeling so disconnected from myself and my purpose, is when I needed to be reminded of everything that Shannon taught me. Everything that she ever helped awaken in me.

Be alive in your life.

When I lost her, I lost my way. I didn't realize that it was grief that had knocked me off course and created this disconnection within. I stopped being alive in my life and just started floating adrift.

But it's time to course-correct. It's time to honour Shannon's life, her work, and all the time and energy she invested in me by coming alive in my life again.

So let's start with finally completing this challenge that was started by Maria Giorlando (@mariagiorlandotm). Let me first acknowledge that I am so grateful to Rose for tagging me. I don't know why I was one of the people that came to her mind I am deeply appreciative because, with that tag, she placed a cookie crumb before me that led me to this powerful night of reconnection.

The challenge: "Post a photo or video of an activity that makes you Live Life Alive, aka something that brings you joy and happiness".

For me, that activity is gardening. As a novice gardener in her second year of growing a backyard vegetable garden, I am still discovering the pure joy and endless lessons that come from nurturing living plants and witnessing their growth from seed to fully mature plants while tending to their needs.

It has become a form of living therapy for me while I cope with chronic illness and continue to pursue my healing journey. Through it I have discovered how therapeutic it is to work with my hands, how nourishing and healing it is to feel my fingers dig deep into the earth, and how tending to the garden every day helps me engage in the practice of mindfulness.

Watching the evolution of the plants sparks wonder and awe in me. Harvesting fresh produce from my own backyard to use in my kitchen and nourish my body with instills a specific kind of joy in me that I've never experienced before.

Plants are magical and incredibly intelligent. They teach me so much. They nurture me more than I feel like I nurture them. They have this tranquil, healing energy to them that every human (but especially someone like me who has spent every single day living with illness and suffering for years on end) can benefit from being around.

Yes, gardening is absolutely how I #LiveLifeAlive. And I'm thankful for the reminder.

Be Alive In Your Life