013// Relive Me

It’s lovely to me the way you talk about the parts of life that get you excited
it’s as if you are experiencing them for the very first time
over and over
Watching your eyes light up anew as you relive something that has already thrilled you once before-
it’s a privilege.
I find myself becoming increasing attached to the corners of your mouth
the ones that inch upwards when you talk about the clouds

Perhaps this is quite selfish,
but I like it even more when you re-live me
.

06.06.17 

Being loved is a privilege, a privilege, a privilege and I think more people should write honestly about how that feels. 

With Love, 

Kolina 

012// Missing Season

I should have known it when I felt it first –
when the colours on the leaves started changing 
and the air became real crisp in the morning- 
It’s in the glimmer of rays that shine onto windows
and reflect through condensation on a glass of water-
the one that I held to my lips right before I smelled it-
right before it filled me up and I sighed it out.
Then I wished I could have it back again. 
It lingers in the mist and rests among the leaves-
only to let its presence be known by the soft crunches that sound so familiar. 

She told me her heart
always aches this time of year 
and I said “listen, I get it.
Autumn is missing people season.
At least it’s poetic.”

With a sentimental heart,

Kolina

10.21.17

How you Breath, is how you Live

Yoga, for me, wasn’t really a choice. It kinda happened to me.  But for that I am very grateful.

You see I have navigated nearly three years with post concussion syndrome and myo-facial injury but it still manages to throw me for loops. In March 2017 I said goodbye to my weightlifting life and bought a two month groupon for unlimited hot yoga at De La Sol yoga studios in Hamilton. Yoga was the only method of movement that seemed to do any sort of good for me at the time.

My body was broken, my muscles were weak, and to be honest my soul was quiet discouraged and low with this progression of negative symptoms. Disheartened, I began attending classes regularly. My immediate response was that it made my body feel GOOD. I was blown away by the dedication of the teachers at the studio and the variety of classes that I could attend based on my skill level and body’s ability that day.

But something bigger has shifted in the past 7 months. First? I noticed that this might be the first time in my life that I actually have started to listed to my body. Truly and deeply. WHAT do you need right now body? How do YOU want to move. How incredible. That we don’t truly MOVE the way we want to- effortlessly with grace and ease. We are taught how to move- we don’t just do it. Why are we so rigid? This movement, with breath, has become so therapeutic to me.
Second? I stopped pushing myself past my limits. I have always been an incredibly big headed person when it comes to lifting, or working out in general. My ego has been kicked in the gut these days. It’s damn refreshing (mostly). I lay there while everyone else is balancing on one finger (haha) and it.feels.good.
Lastly? The inevitable happened. Yoga made its way into how I live my life. I am more connected, I look forward to taking a break and recentering, and I frequently take lessons from practice and apply them in my day to day journey. I know everyone says this will happen but I really didn’t understand it until I experienced it.

Bottom line is that I appreciate my whole self in its entirety so much more. The connection between body and mind that yoga has given me is something I’m having a hard time putting into words.

If you’re experiencing muscular discomfort- talk to your physiotherapist or health care professional about yoga (I find hot is the best). It’s not full proof, but I would say about 80-90% of the time I feel so. much. better. after a class. It sets the platform for me to take on my day. My mind is in a better place, I have given my body some love, and I have worked and stretched my muscles in a therapeutic way that is not damaging but rather nourishing. I am better able to do my physiotherapy and strengthen in areas that allow me to progress. Not only that, but it helps the pain. My muscles are stiff and ridged. The heat combined with the movement truly provides the right atmosphere for them to let go and relax.

De la Sol has a 30 day yoga challenge coming up next week and I’m excited to dedicate some serious time to my practice. 30 yoga classes in 30 days might be too much for me! We’ll have to see how it goes. But I think this could be a good push in the right direction. I still would like to get back to weightlifting and running eventually, but I would never leave yoga behind.

Too long didn’t read: MOVE WITH BREATH. It’s in the title. My yoga teacher begins every class with that saying. It’s so true. You will thank yourself if you do.

I hope you’ve found some time for yourself over the hubbub of the long weekend. There’s often lots of drinking, eating, long hours and stress involved. As for myself, I’ve been terribly sick. Rest, slow calming movements and bubble baths are on the agenda.

With thanksgiving, breath and a whole lot of love,

Kolina

011// Look at me Now

I looked at the pictures she had taken of me in the Garden

— smile on my face 

sun beaming

And I thought to myself that if I could send

any picture to heaven it would be this one

“Look Dad and Oma, I shine just like the flowers do” 


Real talk on loss:

Perhaps the cruelest part of losing a loved one is that I do not get to show them who I am today. A strange form of self love that I have received from them? When I think of how proud of me they would be I am beaming with acceptance and acknowledgement of my accomplishments. They’re harder to recognize when I just think of them myself, at least for me anyways. What a strange and interesting lesson I have gained from this experience. The lessons never stop– for that I am grateful. Blessed really, to have to angels who teach me so much even in their absence. The ones we love are never really gone though are they? Not a chance.

With love,

Kolina

010//My Kindness is Raw

People say that I will change
As if the world can harden me

They have looked at me with the same knowing in their eyes,
since I was 15 years old
As if they can predict that one day my kindness will be all used up

it has been eight years since I first noticed it
the only difference between now and then
is that I cannot be used, stepped on or pushed aside

My kindness is as raw as ever.

 

 

With Love,

Kolina

 

 

009//My Mother is a Shapeshifter

How can i understand
what it means to provide a home
when i have not felt
what it’s like
to have
two hearts beating
together

i age, and think to myself
that i understand
sacrifices
willpower
strength
and resilience

without ever having
the expectation to reciprocate
the way She has
moulded Herself to fit my life

when our souls were empty
she was the river that filled me first
when i was tired
She would rise as sunshine
to help me grow
when i was weak
She became my energy
only to give up what little She had left

how did i get here
if not for Her

She is a fortress 
a barricade that rose
around me
that fought against the world
for a single soul
the wall that has held me strong

My mother is a shapeshifter
and I am trying to flow
into the ebbs and waves of who she is

so that i too
can lay myself down
and ask
who do you need be to be?

With all of the love for my angel Mama on earth, and my angel Oma in heaven.
I am the luckiest to have you both.
Kolina

Keep fighting, Stop Struggling: The Miles Levin Story

On the path of others
Are resting places
Places in the sun
where they can meet.
But this is your path
And it is now.
Now, that you must not fail
weep,
If you can.
But do not complain
The way chose you-
And you must be thankful.
–Dan Hammarakjold

Something beautiful I wanted to share.

With sunshine & love,

Kolina


*** Image from an unknown source, please email me at withlovekolina@gmail.com if you know the artist so I can give proper credit.

The Things I’m not Sorry for Anymore

Today is International Women’s Day and I am thankful. Thankful for the women I am surrounded by, for of the women that I look up too, that I am able to call myself a woman.

As I get older, I become more aware of the impact that strong, mindful, and powerfully independent women have had over my ‘becoming’. These influences have washed over me in ways that I am still realizing as I reflect on the people in my life.

In this noticing, I am starting to see all of the ‘sorry’s’. All of the things that were part of growing up as a girl that I was ashamed of or uncomfortable with.  All of the times I have slouched my shoulders, stood in the back, because maybe then I would be a little smaller, a little less bold. A little less stepping on someone’s toes, a little more status quo.

So last year I wrote this: 

I really wanted to whisper that I was sorry.
I swear it was burning against my lips
as I fought to bite it back and swallow it whole.
Why couldn’t I say it this time?
Because I swear I’m trying to change my thinking.
With every neuron in my weary brain I’m trying
to retrain the part of me
that as a woman
was taught that vulnerability is a burden.

So as a result of the woman in my life, what am I no longer apologizing for?
(This should probably read: what am I working towards not apologizing for. Big (baby) steps.)

A multitude of thanks to my closest friends, who are deeply in tune with themselves:

  • I am learning to not be sorry for having deep emotion. I am not sorry that my tears make you uncomfortable or that my past experiences have made me intolerant to ignorance or that I find your joke offensive.
  • I won’t apologize for pursuing my passions, even if they don’t take me on a direct path or an easy route. This journey is mine and I will live it boldly.

Thanks to the women I met at the Women’s March & the feminists around me who are fighting the good fight:

  • They have taught me that I am not sorry for being loud. For stating my opinion. I will unapologetically argue why misogynist views are incorrect. I will not apologize for why I am angry, or frustrated or heartbroken by the way that things still are.
  • On the other hand I will not apologize for celebrating. For over- emphasizing the importance of recognizing the strong women around us. I’m not sorry if you’re tired of hearing it.

To the poets, the fearless writers who bare their souls for the world to see, and for my friends who have led by example:

  • I’m not going to apologize that the statement, “are there any men here who can lift something for me?” makes me angry.
  • Never again will I apologize for not giving my body to someone just because they asked.. or didn’t. It is mine and no one else’s and I owe a lot to the women who have taught me this invaluable lesson.
  • I will be wild. I will be messy. I will be raw.
  • I will grow my body hair if I want to because if it grows there, that is where it belongs. (This is hard. Society please stop making this such a vulnerable thing.)
  • I will not be ashamed of my body. Clothed or naked: it is my home.

To my Mother and Grandmother, for showing me what it means to be a woman:

  • I will not apologize for demanding respect or to be heard.
  • I will not apologize for the biological factors that make me woman. I’m not sorry for the way hormones effect my emotions, or that I’m in pain because I have a period or that one day I will expect the utmost respect for the body that has birthed a child.
  • I will not apologize that I am a leader and that, unfortunately, parts of the world and certain demographics within it do not see a woman occupying that role. I was fortunate enough to be raised by strong women who taught me this is what I could be.

I don’t think I can finish off this blog without mentioning that I can fearlessly type all of these words because of my privilege. Feminism, point blank, is easier (and safer!) for the cis- white- heterosexual female, for the woman who was born into a safe socio-economical space, and for the ones with access to education and the foundation to succeed. (I’m talking food, and water and the ability to not have to work 3 jobs while supporting a family, access to health care, support networks etc.)  There are women around me and in all parts of the world who are doing feminism and living unapologetically far better than I, with 700 systemically embedded obstacles in their way. I am at a loss for words for their courage and stamina. For their strength and perseverance.

Remember:

“If your feminism doesn’t include women of colour, queer women, trans women, fat women, poor women, elderly women, disabled women, homeless women, sex workers, etc. then who is it even for?”

With love for of my beautiful- dazzling – courageous -strong- sisters,

Kolina

Places Love Exists (Europe Edition)

For about as long as I can remember I have been showered with love. I am so unbelievably lucky to have grown up in a family that said “I love you” more than necessary (you can never say it enough).  I’ve always inherently known that love exists. Love is important. Love is a powerful emotion that guides passion, and caring, and changes the way we interact and give to those around us. However, what took me some time to appreciate is the multitude of ways in which love manifests itself around us. In fact, is has become a huge fascination of mine to search for it everywhere. So in little notes and scribbles I have acquired lists of places where I think love exists. Here is the Europe edition.

  • On a ferry boat in Greece where a father pretends to be a choo-choo train for his little boy up and down the isles.
  • The families on the streets of Paris. Both mom and dad cuddle and play with their children before they brace for the night ahead.  A heartbreaking form of love.
  • A teenage girl walking down the street holding her father’s hand.
  • The driver who skyped his Canadian friend on our way to the airport in Athens
    • Also, the way this taxi driver so absolutely adored his life.
  • A woman walking past me in Florence on the phone, pep talking her friend.
    • “You got to give it all you got and if that doesn’t work you are going to try something else. You can do this.”
  • The strangers on the street who helped my family get me to the hospital in Greece who then texted AND emailed us to see how we were doing.
    • We were no longer in their country anymore and they were still checking in.
  • The man in Italy who thanked me profusely for buying a single pen from him at his merchant stand. He clearly used this shop as a main source of income.
    • He apologized so many times for not being able to speak english. I wish I could have apologized to him for not being able to speak Italian.
  • My aunt who I have only seen a few times in my life, hugging me and crying as we drove away from her house in Nürnberg, Germany.
  • The family on the pier at Fuschl am See, Austria.
    • “Papa, Mama, Komm!”
  • An old folks home that was having an afternoon dance in Munich, Germany.
    • We stood in the streets, watching through an open door, as a room was filled with moving feet and laughter
  • The way my heart felt when I walked into a room and was embraced by friends that I had not seen for years in Schwabach, Germany.
  • The way thousands of voices sound when they gather arm in arm and sing a song called “Wahre Freundschaft” (true friendship) while the sun is setting on a field in Romania.
    • Also, the way culture has a way of embracing your identity and binding two people together in forever friendship.
    • Also, the act preserving a culture.
  • Le mur des je t’aime, or the wall of “I love you’s” in Montmatre, Paris.
    • I sat at watched as couples young and old, kids with their parents, and friends kissed and posed for selfies in front of the wall that has ‘I love you’ written in 250 languages.

I think the take away here is that it’s everywhere and its all-encompassing. In the past I have often tried to decide which forms of love were more important or unimportant to me. I didn’t give romantic love any sort of value until I experienced it. I know the earth shattering reality of what it means to share love with friends and family while they are still alive, because I know loss. There is heartbreaking love. There is love for places. Love for strangers. Love for humanity. There is SELF LOVE.  I’ve learned it’s all so very important and the ways in which love is present in your life changes. It’s easy miss out on the beauty of one form just because you’re too busy looking for a different one.

Most importantly though (here comes the cheese) … give love. everywhere. always. to everyone (including yourself). no matter what.

With Love,

Kolina