Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In the Rapture of Now.

As part of the Soul of the Pilgrim online retreat I am experiencing, each participant is invited to write a daily reflection and create a mandala from that reflection.

Yesterday, I didn't have time to get to my coursework until the afternoon. On my drive home from a meeting, words began spilling out, leaping and cavorting to be expressed.

I gave them way.

And from those words, a mandala created itself as I gave into my creative urge to express itself without censure, criticism or coercive desire to be anything other than what appears on the page.

It is a challenging process, this creating without coercion. To let it be, I must let be my desire to make it perfect, make it exactly the way I want to see it be, as opposed to the way it desires to become.

I am... a control freak.  Okay, maybe not a freak, but I do like control. Who doesn't? Control, or at least the illusion of control, makes me feel safe.

Yet, in its very aura of safety, I am most unsafe. For in the illusion of control, I give myself up to the notion that I can predict and direct the outcome. Ha! I can't control nor direct the outcome of the world around me. Heck, I can't really direct the outcome of my efforts to create. All I can engage in is the creative process -- and when I let what appears, appear, I give up the need to control what happens as I become part of its happening.

Take for example the 14 Days of Poetry I gifted my beloved on Valentine's Day. It's become 16 days and I am letting it have its way without predicting its duration. When I began I was very connected to controlling both the process and the outcome. I wanted him to respond to my script, and I wanted each poem to be perfect. Ha!

When I shift, everything shifts. 

My expected/desired outcomes flew out the window as we both immersed ourselves in the journey of understanding one another and letting go of expectations of the other. In letting go of the need to control the outcome, love deepened, our experience of one another expanded, and harmony abounded. And now, we both are experiencing the joy of the creative process of expressing our love for one another.

Which leads me to the conclusion, control is not all it's cracked up to be.

When I am busy trying to control people, things, experiences, I am busy avoiding the experience of people, things, experiences.  And in my avoidance, fear deepens, not lessens because -- Avoidance strengthens fear. 

In my fear, I struggle to wrestle the future, the moment, and the past into something I can control and manage.

In my fear, I struggle to wrestle people, things and experiences into people, things and experiences i can control and manage.

In my open-hearted embrace of letting of controlling behaviours that limit my acceptance of people, things and experiences, the past is filled with love, the present with joy and the future with the anticipation of the miracles that can happen when I release my hold on seeing into the future. In opening up to being out of control in the here and now, I fall with grace into Love, living joyfully in the rapture of now where the future is yet to come.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One Crazy Hound!

Uggy, the Jack Russell Terrier of Academy Award fame is getting a lot of press these days. Lest you be tempted.... Here's my tale of Jazzie. A JRT I took in when its previous owners moved away and 'couldn't' (yeah right) take her with them....

One Crazy Hound!

The first time I met Jazzie was at a dinner party. It was an invitation to a blind date, "We've got someone we want you to meet," my friends said.  How lovely, I thought. After a dearth of few prospects on the dating horizon, I was willing to check out someone my friends thought I'd like. I didn't know the someone they had in mind for me was a real dog. I also didn't know my friends knew I was a sure bet to take home items left behind in other people's life transitions. My three fish were acquired when a friend moved cities, many of my plants when a friend of a friend passed away.

So it was no surprise that at the end of that dinner, Jazzie, a 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier, whose owners were moving to Toronto, came home with me.

It didn't take me long to discover that their reason for leaving Jazzie behind --  'we bought a condo but it doesn't allow pets', really meant, 'we bought a condo that purposefully doesn't allow pets so we don't have to lie about why we don't want to take Jazzie with us'.

 She was a handful. All 18 pounds of quivering mess of excitable anxiety of her.

Lovable. Smart. Funny. Affectionate. She was also the most emotionally needy dog I've ever met. Jazzie loved attention. Her favourite place to sleep was on your head, whether sitting in a chair reading a book or lying in bed. Jazzie couldn't get close enough.

She loved to run. And run. At the time, I was training for a marathon and would take her out on my two and three hour training runs. And it still wasn't enough. I'd arrive home, tired, eager to jump into a warm bath and Jazzie would run through the house, barking and spinning circles in every room. Never stopping, until she reached the bathroom. At the sight of all those bubbles popping in the air she would take one flying leap, from doorway to tub, and land with a splash! smack dab in the middle of all those bubbles. Whether I was already in the bath or not.

It became a competition. We'd come back from a run, I'd run up to the bathroom, shut the door, run the bath, sneak out to grab whatever I needed from the bedroom before Jazzie figured out where I'd gone. Sometimes I'd win. Most often I'd lose. At even a hint of the door opening while the bath ran, Jazzie would slip through the crack and take a flying leap into the tub. I started undressing in the tub before the water even started running, forgoing my book and glass of wine.

And on those rare occassions when I'd actually get the bath run, my book and wine set-up by the tub and no Jazzie in sight, I'd sink into the soothing waters and try to relax. Which is hard to do when all you can hear is the sound of eighteen pounds throwing itself against the door and barking for entrance.

"It's a boundary thing," I told my daughters who thought it was cute to bathe with a dog. "I refuse to share my bath with a four legged creature." In the end, Jazzie won. Realizing I was not going to relent, she quit throwing her body against the door and chewed her way right through it.

Just as she chewed through every leather shoe she could get her sharp little canine teeth on. The legs of an antique desk. The feet of a huge paper-maché Cheshire Cat I'd fallen in love with in this sweet little art gallery in Carmel and flown back, at great expense, because I simply couldn't leave it behind. Jazzie liked the taste of paper-maché. Just as she liked the taste of the black leather trim lining the back window of my car. My favourite sweater. My favourite pants. My favourite scarf. She even chewed the heads of dolls and my daughters favourite stuffed animals.

They didn't seem to mind. "But she's so cute!" they'd exclaim and Jazzie would get an extension on her lease on life in our household.

Jazzie had big dog attitude in a pint sized body.

She once took on a coyote at Nose Hill Park. Her teeth bared, her body quivering in anger, she raced up to it, barks flying with the ferocity of lightening striking a tree. Imagine the conversation aroudn that coyote's campfire later that night. "You shoulda seen this crazy bitch come tearing after me. I high-tailed it outta there, dog. Man, she was one crazy hound!" She even caught a gopher once. It had made the mistake of poking its head out of its hole just as Jazzie put her nose in to sniff. She dug faster than it could retreat and suddenly, there she was, much to my amazement and possibly hers, gopher in mouth, shaking it for all its worth. I read later that shaking was how Jack Russel's used to kill the rats, fox and badgers they were bred to hunt.

I made her release the poor fella. She was not impressed.

Life with Jazzie was a constant negotiation of 'you leave me alone and I'll make you pay' versus, 'take me with you and I'll make you pay.' Just as she could not be trusted alone in the house, she could not be trusted to be left in the car, even for a minute. Inevitably, some strip of leather, some piece of cloth would find its way into her jaw and she would leave her mark.

A trainer once told me to kennel her. "You have to teach her to self-soothe. You have to let her know who's boss."

Right. Me. I'm boss.

I quickly learned how wrong I was to even give the notion fleeting thought.

Kenneling an emotionally needy dog is not a solution. It only inspires her to take her angst out on more inanimate objects in her path.

And as to being boss, now that was a joke. Jazzie ruled, and she knew it. Not just our home, but also our hearts. She was just so danged cute!

She made us laugh. She let the girls dress her up in doll's clothes and even let them push her around in a buggy. She had this crazy habit of burrowing into your bed, under the covers, way down by your feet. She loved to sit on your head, her chin draped over your brow, following along as you read. She could be incredibly endearing, but, there was one habit that no matter how hard I tried to adjust my ideals around, I could not accept. Jazzie preferred using the indoors as her toilet. And no matter how hard I tried, what encouragements I used, or what punishment I doled out, Jazzie could not be convinced to change.

Coming home to Jazzie was a delicate navigation of opening the door, stepping aside and getting Jazzie out before you greeted her. To greet her on the front hall rug was an invitation for a soppy mess.

Visitors were always advised to wait outside so that Jazzie could come out to greet them -- woe the day she wasn't allowed to greet every visitor. Those events always resulted in more substantial deposits being left somewhere in the house. It was as if she knew, don't dump in the open. Let them find them, accidentally in the night, or when sweeping under the bed or behind the furniture.

Jazzie was smart, funny and hyperactive. She also almost drove me crazy. After a year and a half of trying everything to work through her personality defects, I had to admit defeat. I did not want a pet who held my home in such total disregard.

"I don't want to be constantly angry with her," I told my daughters when I finally succumbed to the truth. Jazzie had to go. "And I think she deserves to live some place where she can run free, or at least where someone is home all day so that she doesn't experience so much separation anxiety she chews up every piece of furniture in the house."

My eldest daughter shared my pragmatism. Jazzie had deposited a 'gift' one too many times on her bedroom floor.

The youngest was more accepting of the trade-offs in Jazzie's nature. She believed love really could conquer all, even a dog who had ruined several rugs, not mention destroyed most of the furniture in the house.

In the end, I did find a home for Jazzie with a friend of my sister's. I told the woman all about Jazzie and her challenging behaviours. I didn't think it wise to call them 'personality defects' and I definitely didn't say she was crazy, but I did suggest she might want to put plastic down on all her rugs and take the legs off all her furniture.

The woman thought I was joking. "All a dog really needs is a warm, loving home," she told me the day my daughters and I dropped Jazzie off and bid her a tearful good-bye. "You know, it's never the dog's fault. It's always the master," she added as she closed the door.

Jazzie didn't even notice we were gone. The last I saw of her she was chewing on the foot of the wooden coat-tree standing in the hallway by the front door. And the last I heard was the woman's loving voice laughing and saying, "Now Jazzie. We don't allow that kind of behaviour in our home." That was just before the crash of the coat-tree falling down filled the air behind me as I walked away.

I did not turn back. I did not pass go. I high-tailed it out of there as fast as I could.

Last I heard, Jazzie's behaviour hadn't changed. But the woman had adopted a second Jack Russell Terrier. Proving the woman right. "It's never the dog's fault. It's always the master."

I think she's crazy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I told your story old friend

It is snowing today. Soft gentle flakes that fall effortlessly to earth. It is cold. A chilling breath of winter that lingers on the cheeks in claret-stained blushes of winter’s slow ebbing away into the memory of spring not yet seen, or felt. Only hoped for. Soon to come. A distant mark upon the calendar page, not yet turned. Always remembered.

I am inside. Looking out. Watching the snow fall. A cashmere wrap draped around my shoulders. A deep purple, it pours down my shoulders like spilled wine upon a tablecloth, the stain of conversation and laughter sinking me deep into memory.The heat of the space heater toasts the air at my feet. Gentle notes of a piano fill the air. This room is chilly. A carport turned into office space. No basement to heat it from the ground up. It is chilly. And I am warm.

I am wrapped in memories of you.

I write you out. I let the words form upon the page, seep out of my finger tips in an endless stream of letters, vowels and consonants forming meaning out of thoughts that leave my mind unformed until they reach the keyboard beneath my fingertips and slide effortlessly onto the screen. The negative space of the snow white page becomes littered with black. I look outside and see a world of white waiting to be written into story.

I told your story yesterday old friend. I told your story and shared your voice with strangers. Just like you wanted. Just like you knew I would those days when you shared stories of your life on the road and laughed and teased and flirted. Remember? You said you wanted to be remembered. Oh. Not for the word you carried that named you. Oh no. Never that harsh and judgmental label – homeless. It didn’t sit well with you. Call me anything but that, you said.

And then you laughed. Because I’m not, you know. I’ve got a home. Here. And your rheumy eyes glistened and I saw the longing for home shining.

I told them of your brother. Of your reuniting. Of the missing years that had no need of filling in. Of the tears and the joy. And finally, I told these strangers who had never met you, but wished they had, of your brother's hand holding yours in those final moments. Of your passing over filled with grace in the love of a brother who never forgot you and never gave up on finding you before it was too late. 

You blessed my world my friend. You blessed me with your laughter and your words and your insistence you would fight this. You would win. You would beat it. Not even life can beat me down you said. And it didn't. At least not life itself. You were so full of it. So completely engaged in it. And then, you were gone.

In the end, you won. In the beauty and the tragedy of your life you found the thing you most sought. That thing we all yearn for. That place we all want to be. Held forever in the arms of Love. 

Yesterday I told your story and I smiled and laughed and remembered you just the way you wanted to be remembered. Determined. Feisty. Laughing and just a little bit naughty. Tell them about the man I was, you said. Tell them about the man with dreams and big ideas and an eye for the ladies. You winked when you said that. You always winked when you flirted. Tell them about the man who could lift bales of hay with one hand and change a flat tire in three minutes flat. Don't tell them about the skin and bones, the skeleton rattling around a small cubicle room where all I own fits into a 2x6 foot locker. Leave the ending out, would you? you asked. Remember me for the man I was. The man who did it his way. The one who told himself he never needed anyone and found out, in the end, he was wrong. Make sure they know that, you said. Make sure they know. No one is meant to be alone. Especially in the end.

I told your story yesterday old friend and you were remembered and eyes glistened and hearts drew near and warmed their hands in the glow of your closeness and I knew, you were there. Laughing. Caring. Sharing your stories and your funny jokes and not so delicate ones too. 

You are not forgotten my friend.

It is snowing today. The world outside my window turning white as once the page lay flat and white before me, until your memory filled it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some Sunday Inspiration

Some Sunday Inspiration

I found the following video link over at Integral Options Cafe. It's a short (3:41) video on M.C. Escher's work, which has always fascinated me,  and well worth the watch -- the music alone is stunning.

INSPIRATIONS from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

From Integral Options Cafe --  two years ago, Spanish filmmaker Cristóbal Vila shot an exquisite little film, Nature by Numbers, which captured the ways in which mathematical concepts (Fibonacci Sequence, Golden Number, etc.) reveal themselves in nature. And the short then clocked a good 2.1 million views on YouTube alone.

This week, Vila returns with a new film called Inspirations. In this case, the inspiration isM.C. Escher (1898-1972), the Dutch artist who explored a wide range of mathematical ideas with his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. Although Escher had no formal training in mathematics beyond secondary school, many mathematicians counted themselves as admirers of his work. (Visit this online gallery to get better acquainted with Escher’s art, and be sure to click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images). As Vila explains, Inspirationstries to imagine Escher’s workplace, “what things would surround an artist like him, so deeply interested in science in general and mathematics in particular.” It’s a three minutes of unbridled imagination.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Drawing courage

Sit in your cell and your cell 
will teach you everything.  Sayings of the Desert Mothers and Fathers

As beginning preparations for the Soul of the Pilgrim online retreat I am engaged in, Abbey of the Arts Abbess and course facilitator, Christine Valters Paintner invites each pilgrim to prepare themselves -- mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually by following simple suggestions she provides to help each of us get ready for the journey into 'the desert'.

"The Desert Mothers and Fathers remind me that my monk's cell – which is really a metaphor for the inner cell of my heart – is the place I am called to sit day after day and be present to the mystery of myself and of God I discover there." writes Paintner in her introductory email.

In the cell of my heart I am wise. In each cell of my body, wisdom breathes life into my being.

Yesterday, after meditation I added a new modality to my experience. I opened up my sketchbook, drew a circle and inside the circle let my heart guide me in the creation of a mandala. It is an activity Paintner suggests engaging in each day of the course -- to deepen our engagement in our journey inwards by employing other modalities in our exploration. Movement. Chanting. Drawing. Whatever calls to our hearts, explore it.

For me, the act of drawing is fraught with resistance. Fears of 'not being good enough', ridicule by unseen critics (in this case, the invisible one's living in my head), and the numbing thoughts of -- but the page is blank. I don't know what to draw! -- arise as I contemplate the blank sheet of paper, the pastels waiting to be used, the space waiting in the tension of expectant grace to be filled.

Don't think. Be the page. Be the drawing. Be in your body, the voice in my heart whispers.

And I let go and an image appears. Hesitant at first, but slowly it emerges from the white space that looked so daunting when first I began.

No. It's not perfect. And it definitely isn't meant for 'human consumption'. But it is mine. My effort. My inner world brought forward on the page for me to express, experience and enjoy my inner journey into the cell of my heart in ways I never imagined.

And the wisdom of my heart breaks through my resistance to change and fear to create.

It isn't the 'doing' that matters. The gifts and wisdom do not exist in the product. They are not encompassed in the final result. They come to life in my being present in their creation. In their creation, I am blessed in the process of doing, of becoming one with the page, one with the pastel held lovingly in my fingertips as I set myself free to create, without expectation, without judgment, without knowing -- what's the outcome?

It's the being willing to invest my time, energy and talents that creates value. It's my willingness to not let fear drive me away, but to let courage draw me into the act of creating, of expressing myself so I can see with my very own eyes elements and shades and shadows of the mystery within me. And to experience the joy of finding my inner world through my hands, and my body, becoming engaged in the process.

I drew a mandala yesterday and in its creation, courage drew me out of my fear into my heart.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Soulful Experience

Curving back on myself, I create again and again. Bhagavad Gita 

Why do we turn our back on Soul in spite of having direct experience of the Oneness? asked Dal, our meditation guide last night.

Why indeed?

I meditated on the question, delved into my own journey and felt my response gently rising within my being -- because my expectations of the experience supersede my experience, the deep, knowing voice whispered within me. I cannot be of the experience when I am anticipating its unfolding according to my pre-designated pathway leading to the experience of my choosing.

Yup. Just a typical Wednesday night meditation group experience. Ask and you shall receive.

My awareness and knowing of how my expectations play havoc with  my experiences began last week on Valentine's Day. My gift to you, I wrote C.C. my beloved who is living during the week in Saskatoon, is a poem a day for fourteen days.

Pretty special, I told myself as my mind began to write the script of how he would receive my gift.

And that was the problem. The script I was writing did not include his knowing commitment to participate according to my rules.

By Thursday, third poem lovingly crafted and emailed, I waited his excited response.

Nice. Thanks. His text message said at 1pm.

Hello? the poem was in your Inbox at 6am. You finally get to it at 1? Not to mention the fact,  I write my heart out and all you can say is, Nice?


And so, I gave him the script he was supposed to be following. It included the oohs and aahs and oh wow I can't wait for your next poem. The first thing I do every morning is race to my laptop and check my emails...

He read the script and replied, 'but that's not me. I get up. Get going. Get on with business.'

Hello? Get on with business when there's a love poem waiting in your email?

Harrumph again.

That night, as I contemplated to do or not to do a poem, the child in me ranted. He doesn't deserve one. He's taken all the fun out of it. He's destroyed the meaning. He's just not getting it.

Gotta love the child. She's so into her self-centric emotions she forgets all about what's at the heart of the my world today -- my heartfelt desire to create love, harmony, peace and joy in the world today.

I took a breath. Went back to my script of why I offered this gift in the first place. -- to share love. Be love. Deepen connection.

And got the message.

My expectations of C.C.'s response were getting in the way of my experiencing the joy, the love, the infinite gift of connection that was waiting on the other side of my ego's need for recognition (not to mention control).
Another breath. A poem lovingly crafted with no expectation of the outcome. An email to apologize for my behaviour and everything shifted.

When I shift, everything shifts around me.

Why do I turn my back on Soul in spite of having direct experience of the Oneness?

Just ask my ego. She'll tell you. Because my expectations of the journey into Oneness block Soul's access to my heart's calling me to let go, release and be present. I expect Soul to know better than to give into my desire to control the outcome. I expect my Soul to let me know when I'm treading on hearts, dampening spirits and creating chaos in my midst. And in my expectations, Soul lovingly rests waiting for me to stop choreographing the world around me to know, Soul is present, where ever I am. To create space to experience Soul, all I need to do is stop creating the world around me with the expectation I can make it into anything other than what it is. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Pilgrimage Begins

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. While I am not a 'practicing' Catholic, my spiritual roots are firmly planted in the soil of my past experiences. The comfort of ritual, of finding meaning in the calendar dates, of wanting to mark the passage of significant events with a ritual, runs deep.

Today, I begin a 40 day online pilgrimage with Abbey of the Arts -- Soul of a Pilgrim.

To prepare for the journey of the Soul of a Pilgrim retreat, we are invited to look around and lighten our beings of unnecessary baggage. Pilgrims, don't want to be weighed down by unnecessary things coaches Abbey Abbess, Christine Valters Paintner, OblSB, PhD, REACE. In our study notes Christine writes,  "Consider the things in your life and perhaps during Lent make a commitment to give away something each week, whether it is clothing to your local Goodwill, or books to the library, or maybe there are larger things in your life that require too much energy to sustain anymore.  Then broaden your vision for what you carry and imagine what kinds of attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and stories you tell about yourself that you could let go of." 

On Monday, I found an envelope stuffed in a file filled with cards I had received many years ago from Conrad, the man who promised to love me 'til death do us part and thought the death part should come sooner, rather than later. I had kept those cards all these years and, while they were beneficial in writing my book, The Dandelion Spirit, and in the production of the documentary based on the book, they serve no purpose today.

Last night, under the light of the new moon, I cut up the cards into small little pieces and burned them. As I watched the flames I imagined each spark flying free, up into the atmosphere, high into the spirit's realm where light lives in the collective soul of all humankind. I imagined that light flowing through my body, spilling out all around me, and I felt peace, freedom, joy.

It was powerful.

This morning, I feel lighter. I feel unburdened, ready to take on this pilgrimage into my creative soul, ready to journey into the wilderness seeking to heed the call the course invites each pilgrim follow so that we may  --

 “Return to me with your whole heart.”
                                                            ---Joel 2:12 (from the reading for Ash Wednesday)

Years ago, I set off onto a journey into the darkness. I am grateful it has lead me to the light of this moment, this day, this time when I can stand illuminated in Love, knowing within my heart, all is well with my soul.

Today, I stand at the edge of the desert, my being unburdened by unnecessary flotsam of the past, ready to take the next step forward into the light.

May your journey today be filled with light. May your heart be light in the knowing, you are loved.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I am not a disappointment

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. -- Zora Neale Hurston
When I was a child, I often felt like 'the disappointment' in my family. Like I didn't fit in. Danced to a different drummer, heard a different note, saw a different movie of life. I often felt that what I did wasn't what they expected, or wanted, even when I ensured I was on the honour roll, up on stage, doing things that would get me noticed. It didn't seem to matter. In my mind, I knew, believed, lived what I perceived to be the truth -- I was a disappointment to them. I was outside looking in on their circle of love and trust.

I carried those feelings into adulthood and, though they didn't sit well within me, I held onto the feeling of 'being a disappointment' in ways that disturbed the ebb and flow of my life. I held on so tightly to the belief, "I am a disappointment', I made it my truth and ended up disappointing and hurting, the one's I love the most.

It was the grace of my daughters' love, the healing balm of their forgiveness that helped soothe the troubled waters. That eased the burden of my feelings of being a disappointment to everyone, including myself.

In the waters of forgiveness, disappointment waned and love flowed and in that healing space, the past rolled away and I was left with the truth -- I am not a disappointment. My family never intended for me to feel like I was, or to believe it was true. It was a child's mind trying to make sense of the ebbs and flows of life in a family where time and money and understanding were in short supply with the demands and exigencies of life. The seeds of my disappointment were planted long before I understood -- families do the things they do, not because they don't love you, but rather, because it's all they know how to do, they're doing the best they can.

Getting over the disappointment of not getting what I wanted or needed way back then is my responsibility today. Not anyone else's. No one is to blame. No one is accountable for my feelings of 'being a disappointment' today, other than me -- and seriously? Why would I want to believe or act out on that lie?  Acting out on the belief, I am a disappointment, only gets me more disappointment and dissatisfaction in my life today. And I am committed to being my light, shining bright and sharing my brilliance without fear of never being enough. Truth is... I do enough. I give enough. I am enough.

It's a tough little word that word 'disappoint'. When I hang onto it, I make it mine. And frankly, I don't want it!  Don't need it and definitely don't want it to be my truth today, though I'm grateful I got to chew on it for awhile and set the record straight. It's lead me once again to my truth, to what is real and affirming and what makes my rich and fulfilling today...

 I am Love and love becomes me.  

Just like Love becomes you! And you! And you!



It's another Blog Carnival Tuesday over at Peter Pollock's place and.. you've probably guessed it by now -- today's one word prompt is... 'Disappoint'.

You can write along, or simply read along by visiting Peter's place and the Blog Carnival. I promise. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What if... better is possible?

Yesterday, I helped out in the Givers 2 room of Choices, the life experience/personal development course I've been part of since first taking the seminar in April of 2006. Before taking the seminar, I'd only known one person who'd gone through it. My high school friend Mark W. He kept wanting me to go, and I kept saying, ask my friend Nan. And he did. And Nan went and when she finished the first five day segment of the training she asked me to go. And, because Nan once saved my life (it's all part of The Dandelion Spirit), I did go. For her. I didn't need it for me, I said. I'd done my healing time. Done my 'work'. But she needed my support, so... I went.

And discovered... I did it for me.

And in doing it for me, my life got even better, my healing even deeper, my sense of me strengthened, my understanding of who I am and how I am in the world expanded, and... my relationships became even more loving. And in my going, other's I love went and my world got brighter and more loving because their worlds expanded too!

It can be scary to think about 'change'. To think that maybe there is a 'better' out there. And then, our facile minds leap to the fear of -- but what if it doesn't work for me? What if where I'm at really is the best I can do, or be? What if, this is as good as it gets?

If better is possible, is good good enough?

We are evolutionary beings in an evolutionary world. Change begins with the moment the seed of our birth is planted in the womb of our possibility. And change continues, every moment of every day -- whether we want it to or not.

Why then, do we cling to not changing? Why does our resistance to look at what is, or isn't working in our lives, increase when we are invited to see that all things, including ourselves, change, with or without our permission?

What is it we are clinging to?

For me, getting to a place where I was 'ok' with who I was, where I was comfortable with being me meant that thinking about changing was scary -- what was beyond my comfort zone? What 'more' was out there? I couldn't see it so, I resisted it. Clinging to the belief, "I'm doing my best," kept me from seeing I hadn't even touched the edges of my capacity of 'my best'. My limiting beliefs of what I was capable of in this world kept me from seeing all that I was/am capable of in this world.

And reality is, those limiting beliefs still trip me up -- they just don't control me like they used to because when they appear like tiny speed bumps on my road, I change the words I use to describe them.

Someone once said to me, "Living on purpose is hard."

Where does that thought live, I asked.

In my head, they responded.

What if you change your thought, I asked. What if you simply choose to think and say, Living on purpose is.... fun, easy, wonderful, exciting. Whatever it is.

In You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay writes, "It's only a thought and a thought can be changed."

What if... it's your thinkin' that's stinkin' and not your life?

What if... you could change your thoughts and change your life?

Think about it. What would be different in your world today if you stopped thinking about not changing and embraced the idea -- You cannot change or heal what you do not acknowledge?

What if... better is possible?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Celebrating the disconnects

I started this blog earlier, and wouldn't you know it, while I was busy making coffee my computer did a Scan, rebooted and... the original blog didn't save.

LOL -- gotta love technology when it works because, I figure, maybe, the having to start afresh is a blessing!  'Cause, seriously, if I'm not looking for the value in all things, I'm mucking about in the dissastisfaction of what's happening. And that's no fun!

Yesterday, I shared my feelings around my weight point and the connections I experienced through it to past events.

My friend Mark wrote in to say, Over time, if we eat less and drink lots of water, our weight will go down .... just not at a predictable rate. I suspect Conrad has nothing to do with it . . .

He's right -- the secret to weight loss is to eat less and drink lots of water.

The secret to a healthier me, I believe, is buried in my psyche -- and turns up in unhealthy ways when I do not see the connections between what I'm doing now, and what happened back then that got shoved under the mat of my efforts to ignore its feedback by feeding my pain.

All things are connected to all things. My physical well-being is connected to my emotional health which contributes to my mental state which affects my spiritual connections to the greater calling of our humanity.

Symbology is the language of the Universe. Symbolism connects us to the invisible messages, and hidden truths,  within our hearts and souls, and ultimately, to the spirit essence of the world all around us.

For me, seeing 'Conrad' as a symbol of what ailed me, of what kept me from living my life on fire, in desire, in love with all I am, empowers me to delve into that vast ocean of unexplored territory called, my psyche.

In that space, I find the truth of who I am when I accept how I am in the world is not a one off, standalone event. It is all connected.

Recently, I hurt my beloved through  my impatience. He wasn't getting the significance of something I was doing 'for him'. Imagine! He was expressing his gratitude on his terms, and ignoring the script I'd written in my mind about how I saw it all unfolding.

Now that caused some angst I can tell you!  There I was, devouring the story of how he should respond, reveling in its rapture, thinking of course he'll do it my way!  Isn't my way the right way? The best?

Ha -- I love it when my ego trips me up with its assertions -- I know best.

The grace in this situation came when I spent time delving into the connections. Exploring how 'my way' wasn't about sharing my love or loving him as he is, but rather, running from what I feared -- that my gift would be rejected. That the past would be the present and I would be rejected. Once again.

In that truth, I found the courage, and the Love to acknowledge I had expectations that had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with my pain.

And in that truth, I let go and fell in Love.

All things are connected. In exploring those connections, arm yourself with a loving, kind and gentle heart where you celebrate those moments of disconnect, and fall in Love.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breaking Free

I seem to be stuck at this weight point. Three days no movement down, but alas, a slight 'uppage' even when I've been following the strict guidelines of the diet to a 't'. I'm frustrated. Wanting to give-in. Wanting to quit. To fall into my set-point of dissatisfaction, "What's the point?"

And then, last night I got the message.

My Vision Board
I was at a Vision Board session with a group of fellow seekers. Our objective, to create a vision board that reflects our dreams/aspirations/
vision for our lives this year.

Years ago, I wrote a fairy tale for my daughters called, The Heart Rock. (a young girl with a heart of gold meets a King with a heart of stone and through her love and care, his Kingdom flourishes, proving-- Even a heart of stone can be warmed in loving hands.).

Last night, one of the women said, I collect heart rocks, and she turned to me and said, thanks to you.

And I was reminded of the bucket of heart rocks in the garage. I was reminded of my sense of wonder, my sense of joy, of awe in finding these stones and collecting them and holding them and feeling their warmth and passing it along to another.

Those rocks were more than just hardened earth to me. They represented the magical, mystical, and mysterious aspects of our world. They embodied grace and wonder and the power of Love to heal.

Throughout the 4 years 9 months of the relationship from hell, I continued to collect heart rocks. I continued to hold onto the essence of what they represented, desperate to cling to something that would connect me to the magical, mystical, and mysterious aspects of my being in this world.

And I fell.

And I let go of my heart rocks, and my belief in the wonder all around.

I've written before of my journey in reclaiming what was lost through that relationship and last night, after coming home and hanging my vision board and holding onto a heart rock I keep on my desk -- I knew.

When Conrad was arrested, this was the weight point I was at.

It has been safe for me to stay at, or above, this weight point because in staying here, I have not had to dive into what it means for me to not embrace my full sense of the magical, mystical and mysterious relevance of my being.

Breaking beneath this set point opens me up to limitless possibility.

And I've been resisting it.

I let go.

I let go and pick up a heart rock and hold onto it and set myself free. And in that freedom is the beauty and joy and wonder of my soul's journey back to the light.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CZ. This one's for you!

Time and healing, time and faith, time and good hearts make anything possible. CZ, The Narcissistic Continuum

Almost 9 years ago I met a woman who's screen name CZ invoked feelings of delight (and sometimes terror because man, can she call bull, bull when she sees it. And she can really see through it!) every time I saw her respond, or write something on the online forum where I belonged. It was a forum (no longer in operation due to MSNs changes in how they ran things) built around the need for women and men who had been in relationships of the highly dysfunctional (aka abusive) kind with a narcissist or psychopath. Membership was not a coveted status -- seriously -- why would anyone want to belong to a group where the only qualification for membership was to have been hoodwinked and abused? But it was a necessary imperative to empower and sustain our healing. So, there we were, thousands of members strong, supporting each other, learning and growing and healing through our shared experiences of these relationships.

And there was CZ. One of the funniest, most articulate writers there, she never ceased to amaze me with her writing skills and her ability to write it straight-out. She constantly floored me with her wisdom and her knowledge -- because wow, did she know a lot about the pathology of these relationships and their impact on the survivors. And, her generosity to share was legendary.

Eventually, CZ set off to create a safe online haven of her own. A forum where cyberwars did not disrupt healing and inter-forum politics did not disturb the natural order of the flow of heartfelt sharing between members.

Her efforts gave birth to her website:  The Narcissistic Continuum and several blogs including the Web of Narcissism (WON) Forum . Her efforts and generosity of spirit have also given birth to a friendship that I value and treasure, even though we've never met, in person. After 9 years of online sharing and emails, I do know CZ. And she is an amazing Woman of Worth. A real WOW!

I was honoured this week by CZ when she posted my TEDxCalgary talk and a witty essay on what she perceives to be 'my achievements'. She definitely knows how to make a girl feel awesome even when she's lost her wings and is wearing a feather duster but no tiara!

I wanted to take this space to thank CZ and to encourage anyone who has been involved in relationships of the not so functional kind to visit CZ's site. Through the incredible resources she shares, you will be inspired to live life free of unhealthy relationships that would make you believe, I am not worthy of more. I am not worthy.

We are all worthy. Thank you CZ for your role in helping me embrace my truth. You're awesome!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Luminous Love (A Valentine's Poem)

Luminous Love

Love slips in
through the crack
where the light seeps
over the sill of hearts
whispering softly
beneath a star-studded sky
wishing upon a new day
in rosy wonder
just beyond the horizon
where two hearts play
on the fields of happily-ever-after.

Love moons
in adolescent delight
glistening in nascent splendour
in the desires
of two young lovers
held captive to Cupid's arrow
piercing their hearts
with its once upon a time
 imaginings that this could be
Love everlasting.

Love blossoms and blooms
upon the aging
of time spent
a look, a glance,
a word, a gesture
in the luminous
of Eros' embrace
lulling two hearts gently
into the arms of Love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

30 Aspects of Being

I have made a commitment to myself to lose weight. And I'm doing it. For me. About me. Because of me. Since the beginning of the year, I've lost 12 lbs and there's more to fall.

Now, I need to be clear, losing weight isn't all about 'looking better', it's about changing how I look at myself and carrying an extra 30 pounds has affected how I feel about myself, and how I feel inside me, how I feel being me and living within me.

Truth is, I want to feel alive, vibrant, light. Being overweight restricts my lightness of being. It limits my sense of well-being because, as one of my daughters commented, 'We want you to stick around mom for a longtime and we worry about your health.'

I don't want my daughters to worry about my health and I don't want to have to worry about it either. Worry is counter-intuitive, counter-productive. To not worry about my health I need to move from worrying into caring. I need to move away from doing nothing to acknowledge the issues to doing something about it.

So I am.

It also means, getting active. Moving from inertia's pull into gravity's weightless grace of moving lightly through the world.

And it means, shifting from seeing it as 'weight loss' to 'wellness gain'. Each fallen pound lightens my body, and my spirit.

So.... here's what I've done. I've named 30 Aspects of Being that limit me. They range from Shame. Guilt. Regret. to Hopelessness. Inactivity. Helplessness.

We each have Aspects of Being that do not support us on our journey. That weigh us down and keep us playing small in the big, wide, world of wonder all around us.

For me, even if I don't consciously feel Shame or Guilt or Helplessness, I know they play a role in my psyche somewhere -- because the words would not have come to me if they didn't. So... what better way to release their power than to consciously let each fallen pound be represented by something in my life that could hold me down?

It's fun!  I'm not losing weight. I'm losing Aspects of Being that would limit my living freely, stepping lightly and shining my light for all I'm worth. Without these Aspects of Being, my light is brighter, my steps lighter and my being is freer to live joyfully in the rapture of now!

Interested in identifying your own Aspects of Being and setting yourself free?

Here's the simple process I created for myself to do it:

1.  Make a list of the positive Aspects you believe/want your being/life to embody. ie. Truth. Honesty. Joy. Beauty. Humility. Patience.

2.  Beside each Aspect, write the opposite.  ie. Lies. Dishonesty. Sorrow. Darkness. Vanity. Impatience.

3. Consciously make a commitment to lose the negatives. For me, losing a pound is analogous to losing one of the negative aspects. I could choose to burn a piece of paper with each aspect written on it everyday, and say a prayer for its release (which, now that I think about it I can still do to symbolize the significance, and the depth of what I'm doing). Or, I could plant a seed everyday, burying the negative aspect into the soil, tending the seed with love so it can grow up towards the light (on the positive side of the earth).

There are countless ways to 'lose the negatives'. Losing them is an opportunity to get creative. It's also a great way to acknowledge the yin/yang, darkness/light of our beings in the world without holding onto the weightiness of the negative as a reason for not stepping into the light.

And a word of caution...... This exercise works best if you don't judge the words -- or try to fathom how they affect you or why a certain word came to you. It's about accepting the positive Aspects you want more of in your life, and acknowledging its negative value and pull, that keep us from experiencing the full power of who we can be in the world when we set ourselves free -- in Love.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Andrew Phung speaks up for youth

When I heard Andrew Phung speak at TEDxCalgary -- Volunteer... Even Better, in November of last year I was in awe of his energy, his youth, his wisdom and.... his story.

Get inspired.


"You learn by failing" is the philosophy taught to TEDxCalgary speaker Andrew Phung at a young age. Born and raised in the Northeast of Calgary, Andrew is a unique character with a tank full of energy. While attending high school, Andrew became a volunteer at the Loose Moose Theatre Company.

 Taken under the wing by many of his improve heroes, Andrew developed a love for the stage. To him the theatre was the one place where he fit in and could be himself. It is at the Loose Moose Theatre where Andrew learned to fail and to get back up again. Through failing, Andrew learned and has adopted this philosophy in everything he does. read more.

Friday, February 10, 2012

When the world says shrink... EXPAND!

As I wrote in my journal last night, a thought went spiraling through my mind...

When the world says shrink... EXPAND!

Expand your breathing. Expand your lungs. Expand your thinking. Expand your horizons and your inner knowing.

Do not let what other people say give you cause to hesitate, to vacillate, or stop what you're doing. Do not make yourself into a victim.


Yesterday, while talking with someone very dear to me, they unintentionally offered up criticism. Now, I appreciate that from their perspective, this is what they 'see'. But it is their truth. Not mine.

And in their words, I am given an opportunity to... Shrink or EXPAND.

Which one I choose will determine how another's words affect my actions and my thoughts.

It isn't about sloughing off what another says with a shrug of your shoulders and an under-the-breath, "I don't care what you think, blah blah blah."

It's about honouring their truth with a loving heart and embracing both theirs and yours with Love.

This point was really brought home to me yesterday when a girlfriend from high school wrote to comment on the TEDxCalgary video I shared the other day.

She wrote:  "Wow… very impressive indeed.  You whole outlook is so upbeat and refreshing… those of us stuck in the hum-drum and mundane could take a lesson.

...You have always been good with words… I remember the car blowing up and something about all that was left was a wisp of smoke as he walked away (or something like that….the short story we had to write in grade 11!).  You have a great talent and I hope people recognise it."

So... here's what's inspiring and enlightening about her comment. I too remember that story in Grade 11 -- but I don't remember it as being 'good with words'.  I remember the teacher telling me that I couldn't end a story with a death -- which is what happened in that particular story. The car blowing up was the end of my heroine who was actually the villain.

What's interesting is I let that teacher's comment inhibit my writing for years. And I mean years. Sometime ago, when I wrote a screenplay about street youth, one of the criticism's from the producer who wanted to option it was -- your ending is too clean. too predictable. Too pretty.

See -- that teacher's comment had convinced me that I needed to insure my stories were all tied up with pretty bows, neatly digestible -- and, as the producer commented -- predictable.

It took a lot of practice and hard work to allow myself to 'write dirty'. To let the gritty appear without fearing the criticism of a 'teacher's voice' in my head.

And all my friend remembers is.... I was always good with words.

The other aspect of this story that is so enlightening for me is... maybe that's not what the teacher said. Maybe I just took what the teacher said and converted it into something that was neatly digestible for me. Maybe, because I was scared about claiming my writer's voice, I simply packaged it up so that I could hold onto it and Shrink rather than EXPAND into my writer's spirit. Maybe what I wanted was a predictable ending... and living life in careful is predictable.

No one can make me a victim unless I choose to carry the label, and the role.

No one can make me shrink, unless I choose to not EXPAND.

Here's to expansion. Here's to expanding into every corner of my life living it up for all I'm worth, embracing every breath with life-giving force and celebrating all my being who I am when I choose to let go of my fear of expansion. Here's to no longer shrinking into my fear of never being right, wrong, enough, good, bad or indifferent.

Who cares if I am not playing by someone else's rules?  What I care about most is that I live my life on full, reveling in every moment, sharing the best of me that I can and inspiring others to do the same.

Here's to the gifts we receive when we EXPAND into all that life has to offer.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

I came home

Every morning I pull a card from my Caroline Myss/Peter Occhiogrosso Healing Cards deck. I let that card be my guide for the day, allowing its insights to direct my spiritual unfolding.

And while the message on the front of the card resonated, "Everything lost is found again; everything hurt is healed again." it was the clarification on the back of the card that rocked my world. "This truth has the power to retrieve a part of your spirit from the past. It's a mantra that's strong enough to overcome past injuries. This will be your constant thought today."

And while the thought may not have been constant throughout the day, it definitely resonated often. I kept coming back to the idea of 'retrieving a part of my spirit from the past.' That statement has deep, deep meaning for me.

B.C. (before Conrad -- the relationship from hell) I had a deep sense of spiritual connection. A deep and abiding belief in the miraculous nature of humankind and our universe. I was on the path and shining in its light.

And then, I got lost on the road to hell. One of the most challenging aspects of that journey was the  spiritual rape I experienced. I felt like my very essence, my beliefs, my knowing was ripped away and I struggled to reclaim that aspect of my being that was stolen from me.

Over these past almost nine years since his arrest and my release from that relationship, I have healed and grown and moved beyond the sadness and trauma of those events. But still that sense of caution, that sense of fearing reclaiming my spiritual essence has burbled just beneath the surface of my being One in this universal Love that is All.

I have resisted. I have hesitated to trust the Universe, to give over my will to being One with the One.

Last night at meditation I felt it. I felt the shift, the opening, the knowing, the becoming One. I felt it and knew it and experienced it and danced in the wonder of it and cried in the beauty of its rapturous embrace.

And after the session, when Dal, our guide asked me, "What do you know?", I knew. I knew I am a spiritual being of light. That we are all spiritual beings of light. There were moments in the meditation process (and yes, it was very active!) when I felt my resistance to surrender absolutely pulsing with fear.  And the 'voice' kept calling, "Surrender your will. Surrender." and I kept resisting until I could resist no longer. I had choose. Let go or fall into the darkness. I let go and I danced.

"It was never lost," Dal said when I expressed my sorrow over having lost my spiritual essence through that journey through hell. "Soul is never lost. It is always there, always waiting, always ready for us to quit resisting.

And it was. There. Waiting. Ready. Willing to receive my letting go and surrendering to Love.

Everything lost is found again; everything hurt is healed again.

I came home last night.

And I am joyful.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's all about me -- and that's ok!

On November 18th I was one of 10 speakers at TEDxCalgary. Yesterday, the link to the videos arrived in my Inbox.

The timing was perfect.

Last night, I had two girlfriends coming over to watch "Devil in a Pinstripe Suit", the story of my ride to hell that is part of the documentary series, The Devil You Know.

I was nervous.

The story focuses almost entirely on those dark dismal days of that relationship. It's definitely not a pretty story and I definitely don't look 'so good' in it -- and of course, there's the matter of that thirty pounds that likes to hug my body...

Getting the link to my talk at TEDxCalgary was reassuring. I could show it first -- and talk about how far I've come since those dark days!  bonus!

Except... those thirty pounds still linger.

Do you see the theme here?

I'm overshadowing all that happened, and all that I've done to reclaim my life since those events which tore apart my life and the lives of those I love, with a mere thirty pounds. I'm letting a mere thirty pounds hold me down from revelling in the joy and wonder of having come so far from those moments of despair when all I could really think about was letting go of gravity to fall into the muck and mire at the bottom of a river.

And the Universe smiles and the stars align.

Yesterday, before I found the email with the link in my Inbox, I went for a biofeedback session with a nutritionist and to set-up a food plan that would help me shed the pounds with grace and ease. I'd already shed some of my angst around the thirty just by acknowledging I want to do this... not to make myself 'look' better, but to help myself feel better -- from the inside out. It isn't that I think I look ugly, it is that I feel heavy, sluggish, unfit dragging these extra pounds around.

And so, by the time my girlfriends arrived to watch the documentary, I was feeling less oppressed by my weight and more optimistic about my new regime of taking care of me, from the inside out.

Oh, and as to watching the documentary. It was a good thing to do. It too helped me shed some of the heaviness that has settled in my gut at the thought of sharing that journey with people who know me today and didn't know me then! -- it is ultimately all about the ego isn't it? It's all about -- oh my, will I look bad to them -- not because of the weight, but rather because of what I did/experienced/went through/how stupid I was, yada yada yada. And, if I look bad to them, will they judge me? Will they still love me?

Those tapes, those fears of what will they think/do have nothing to do with who I am or who they are. They are all about what I fear. And what I fear is nothing compared to who I am when I let go of what other people think about me and leap into the joy of knowing -- I am a magnificent human being, a woman of wonder and joy, a fearless woman on the journey of her lifetime -- no matter how much I weigh, or how I look, or what I've done in the past.

I spent the evening last night with two amazing women and it was, in the end, the thing I feared the most -- all about me.

And that was okay.

They had come to make it all about me. they had asked if they could come and watch the documentary. And seriously? A documentary in which I am featured is a story all about me -- lol -- Who was I trying to kid? They had asked to do this and I was trying to ignore the grace and generosity of their gesture by not wanting to make it all about me.

So... here's all about me.  And here's to all about you. Let's all make our lives about ourselves -- and how we can shine most! let's make our stories all about us so that each of us can be our most magnificent selves!

And, here's the TEDxCalgary talk I presented on November 18.


And this is the link to all ten talks -- you'll be inspired!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Dance of Life is always flowing

I went to my CoreConnexion Monday night workshop last night. Have I mentioned before how much I love 'the dance'? Dance is life to me. It moves me -- in oh so many ways. It fills me up. It empties me out.

And last night was all of that and more.

On my A Year of Making a Difference this morning I write about how going to dance required suppleness and flexibility -- which made me happy not only because suppleness is my word for 2012 but also because it reminded me of the importance of taking care of me!

During the session last night the invitation was to move out into the space and then, to move into a smaller space, for all 12 of us dancing to move into one half of the room and then a quarter and to explore how that made us feel. How did we hold our own space while honouring the space of others?

As the space grew smaller I thought of the walls of my 'comfort zone'. Those not so comfortable, yet often impenetrable blocks of invisible steel that keep me playing small, moving carefully, looking out for danger around every corner.

The dance is a reflection of life. In that confined small space we had to flow around each other, shorten our movements, bring in our extensions so that we didn't bump, grind, jostle each other as we danced. Dancing in the small confined space required a keen focus on where the others were, what they were doing and how what they were doing could, or might impact what I was doing if I didn't carefully proscribe my doing to fit their movements.

Like life.

I get inside my comfort zone and carefully maneuver my way around other people, obstacles, ridges and chasms to keep myself from falling over or under or between the cracks. Inside my comfort zone, I tell myself I know that what other people do can't hurt me -- because I'm not doing anything to disturb them. And when I am hurt, as inevitably happens in life, I contract further into that zone where I am neither alive or dead, dancing or moving. That place where, to keep myself safe, I become the walking, breathing dead.

And there's the rub. No matter what I do, inside or outside my comfort zone, I have no control over other people -- their being or their actions in the world. The illusion of safety inside my comfort zone is just that -- an illusion.

I am safest when I am dancing through life, arms and legs extended. Feet pounding to the beat of my heart racing for joy at the freedom and aliveness that comes with being connected to my body, slipping gracefully through the knots where I am interconnected to others.

It was an awesome dance last night. An enlivening experience that brought joy and laughter and peace to my soul and wisdom to my heart.

There are no walls. There is no box. There is no comfort zone.

There is only the Dance of Life. This intricate, delicate and sacred space where each of us step. We can crawl. We can leap. We can soar. And always, we must dance.

Why not step it up? Why not step outside the box of your illusions and get dancing in the flow of life?

Why not just dance and let the steps lead you beyond your comfort zone into life with no holds barred?


Monday, February 6, 2012

Someday is Now Day

As human beings, we like comfort. We like the familiar, the known, the 'I'm doing this because it's all I know how to do. It's all I've ever known."

We are born to hold on, to keep hold of what we knew before we experienced what we know now. Like a balloon filling with air, we try to stuff everything we know into one container and never let it out in the hope, or belief, it will come in handy someday. It will all makes sense, someday. It will all work out, someday.

Someday is now day.

Years ago, when I first started working at a homeless shelter, I started an art program. Every Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, I'd invite clients to come up to the 6th floor multi-purpose room and share the quiet of the space and the joy of painting.

There was one man who sat at a table on the second floor every day and painted beautiful water colours on a small board, his paints on the table beside him while all around him the room buzzed and vibed with activity and commotion.

"Why don't you come up to the multi-purpose room and paint with us," I'd ask him every time I opened the room for painting.

"I'm not ready," he'd reply. "Someday. Soon."

Finally, after one more repeated, "I'm not ready," I asked him if he'd chosen a date when he would be ready.

He shook his head. "No. Not yet."

"Then why don't you just make it today? Why not make today, someday."

And he did and he went on to paint amazing works of art, to write music and songs and poems and to become a valued and integral member of the Possibilities Project, an art-based initiative I developed at the shelter that incorporated the full-spectrum of the arts to provide clients, staff and volunteers an opportunity to explore their human condition and shared experiences through visual and performing arts.

Someday is now.

Someday isn't in the future. It doesn't have enough clarity and substance to last that long.

Someday is now.

If you're struggling with holding on, with not letting go, with not giving up on something that just isn't giving you peace of mind or joy or laughter and love, ask yourself, "Am I holding on for someday?" "Am I hoping for someday to fix my life, change my outlook, move my perspective?"

'Cause if someday is on your calendar somewhere, anywhere, make it today that someday comes true. Make today your release from holding on to waiting, wishing and hoping for someday to come and set you free.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Holding on is not always the answer

So... how's this for getting rather relaxed about blogging every day...

I thought I'd posted my Sunday quote until I went to respond to a commenter and realized... oh my -- I hadn't got there yet! :)

I'm finding without the pressure of having to fit it all in, I'm rather relaxed about fitting anything in!

Here, however, is a quote from Ann Landers I found in my Inbox last week that really resonated in my heart.

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it. -- Ann Landers 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Who's story is it?

I have a story I tell about why/what/when my life became what it is today. About how/what/who is keeping me back from living my best life yet. And, I have a story about the who's the why's, the what's and the ways it's just not possible for me to be/live/experience all I'm meant to.

It's my story and I'm sticking to it. I earned it!

At least, I know the story of my limitations. It fits. It's comfortable (in its discomfort) and it's mine.

Or is it?

Who's story am I living?

When I was a little girl I learned to protect myself from the pains and slings and arrows of life by embracing the lessons I was taught about the world by those around me. The lessons are not our human being's natural state of being, they are all learned, and in many instances, especially those stories that do not serve me well, they are about our limitations, not our possibilities. And in many instances, they were taught to me to keep me 'safe' by teaching me to limit my expectations, my experiences, my belief in all that I am capable of, and worthy of, doing/having/being.

Take my post yesterday about leading a horse to water. That belief translated itself into a limiting belief when I let the underlying message of my powerlessness direct me.

When I move from behind the shadows of that message into living fearlessly in the now of being me, knowing my light is the only light I've got to shine, limiting beliefs take a backseat to my courage to drive into the dark and shine a light on all that I see -- fearlessly, compassionately and lovingly.

It is one of my favourite questions to ask myself when I'm standing in the dark -- Who's story am I living?

And, once I fearlessly face the story-maker truth, I get to ask myself -- what's it going to take to live my own story?

It's the 'what's it going to take' that can be daunting. What will it take for me to move beyond feeling powerless to embracing my power?

What will it take to let go of fear to dance in the fires of fearlessness?

What will it take to write my own story?

It can be scary to let go of the perceived safety of the story we tell to move into living the story of our life lived fearlessly in the light of Love, truth, beauty and authenticity.

But when we do... World. Watch out!

There's no stopping us.

No keeping us down or up or sideways stuck on the wrong side of being our magnificent selves.

There's only us being our most amazing, magnificent, fearless and authentic beings we can be.

And in that truth, the story we tell is one of being perfectly human in all our human imperfections -- and loving ourselves every which way we can.

Once upon a time I had a story that held me down. Today my story holds me up to the scrutiny of my dreams, expressing my heart in everything I do. Today, I am committed to living my story, letting go of limiting beliefs that would have me keep myself down from leaping up for joy in the rapture of now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A song of Love

One of my father's favourite quotes when I was a little girl was, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

Yesterday, thinking about a situation with someone I love and my hesitation to intervene when I knew what they were engaging in was hurting them, that quote came to mind.

What's behind the message, I asked myself.

What's buried in my psyche?

What's the limiting belief?

And then it struck me -- beneath the 'here, let me show you the water. you decide whether or not you drink' is the belief -- I am helpless to affect someone else's behaviour.

I think that's what they call. Bullsh*t!

I can't change what other's do but I am not powerless.

I have a voice.

I have the capacity to use it. To speak up and be heard.

Yet, I let the belief that I can't make someone drink the water keep me from even leading them to the well.

Because the limiting belief is -- what's the point?

It's not my business. It's not up to me to intervene.

Actually. It is.

When I see someone doing something that hurts them, it is not up to me to walk away. It's up to me to step in and intervene -- at least to say something so that they know I see them. I hear them. I feel for them -- and love them.

Love is not inactive.

It is constantly in action. In motion. In doing.

Love is.

It's me who isn't always present to doing what I must to create a world of love -- a world where I don't stand on the sidelines watching someone hurt themselves, or watching someone destroy another, or watching people hurt each other or the world around them.

I may not be able to change the world but I sure can change what I do in it to create well-being all around me. And when I see someone hurting, I have the power to step in and ask, "I see your pain. How can I be of service?"

So dad, I know you're gone from this world but I just wanted you to know, I get it. It isn't about leading anyone to water or forcing them to drink. It is about what I do to create opportunities for them to see and know and feel that we are all connected. We are all in this ocean of life together. We are all drinking of the same well of Love. And if the water isn't sweet, I do have the power to pour my voice into its depths and let it rise up in a song of Love.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Practicing Suppleness

It has been.... one of those days.

A 7:30 am meeting that linked into a 9:30 meeting. An unexpected lunch with C.C.s daughter and an opportunity to help a friend mean I am only now getting back into my office to do some writing.

Which means.... no blog today.

Because... not writing my blog today is an opportunity to practice my word for 2012 -- suppleness.

See you tomorrow!