Monday, December 09, 2013

"As you think, so ye shall be....."

 
 
"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in the common hours."
Thoreau 
 
There is an intuitive place where thinking and feeling find one another and form a moment of unexpected focus. No words can match this "felt sense..." Instead, what you're left with is a vision........a picture or a symbol representing a personal dream or an obstacle in the way of fulfilling that dream. And if you were to take that initial vision a few steps beyond, it just may lead you to a vista beyond the line in the horizon.........to a place where the panoramic view is unlimited.
Our thoughts always seem to have boundaries........or perhaps it is just our inhibitions getting in the way of broadening the possibility of where our imagination can take us. We continue to step in a patterned mode, continuously repeating the same moves, the same actions even if we languish in a spiral going nowhere. Why? Because its comfortable. We are comfort seekers rather than wilderness seekers. Despite our awareness of what our needs are, or what our dreams look like, we rest easy within the confines of our bordered thinking....

Jesus said......."As you think, so ye shall be............"

Hidden potential.......what is yours? What are the changes and challenges which block you from responding to your gifts? What are you willing to do in order to reveal your hidden potential...in order to dream big? What do you need to nurture in order to move into the direction of what it is you want? How do we feed our thoughts with the passion we so often withold?

When was the last time you allowed your thinking to blend with your feelings to stretch yourself beyond the boundaries you have purposefully set up to protect yourself from escaping the tame and embracing the wild side? When we allow ourselves to focus on this type of travel, we experience the "felt sensing" moment where wisdom taps us on the temple.... where we transform into a spiritual being having a human experience.

Transformation......such a loaded word isn't it? I used to think it was an stand alone event which happened to some people connected to their religion and church. What i realize now is that transformation is an evolutionary process which may or may not be formalized through organized religion. It's a lifelong unfurling of personal growth and not a true destination endpoint. It is the type of journey which allows one to move beyond the boundaries of our defined self, of our form to advance beyond what we already know to meet, as Thoreau describes...."a success unexpected in common hours."

Eternal, infinite and life changing...this is what transformation is all about. If you are willing to be open to going beyond the original field of dreams and focusing on the place inside where the merging happens, you just never know where your intuitive nature will lead you....to a place of discomfort. To a place where uncertainty feels like your life undressed. To a place where the words are few but the dreams are open ended.....

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wind Messages



Another restless night as the wind outside whipped up storm clouded confusion. It was a persistently lonely howl on a moonless planet that managed to push in between the souls who tossed and turned as they wrestled with their dreams. The wind encased them, stripping away any sense of connectivity to one another.....like coffins separated by walls of dirt. It felt like eternity soaked into one long, long night.

Darkness finally turned into daybreak. It was a daybreak, however, without an end to the elements speaking in anger. No lipstick sunrise on the horizon, only the welcoming of grey laden skies weeping in grief with no end in sight. The wind was winning over humanity. Dominance laced with growling moans of lost ghosts demanding refuge, it wailed in pain. 

She lay in bed listening to the howls caught in the abandoned branches stripped of green light and realized that her own thoughts and feelings surged inside her with as much ferosity as the wind. Thorns cut into her own clenched aches like a harmonious dirge. Without hesitation, the winds outside upped the ante slamming gusts of rain against the side of the house. Like it was responding to her thoughts, the wind challenged this very idea that this women's ache equalled the wrath of the wind. It shook the foundation of the house, splaying painful torrents against the windows. It lifted the soggy leaves and broken discards up into the air with sorrowful wailing gales from the lost souls. 

"I dare you," the wind shouted....."I dare you to believe your wrath is more powerful than my own." 
"I DARE YOU to show me!" 


Alarmed by the very idea that the wind was speaking to her, the woman's eyes popped open. It was challenging her to what? A dual of sorts? She was too tired......too exhausted to find the energy to respond. Her internal wanderings fed by her own indecisions, anger, frustration and tears of loss and what might have beens provoked the desire to simply pull the covers up over her head and drown out the mighty boastful wind. But, she was stronger than that and never ever stepped away from a challenge. In no time, she was dressed and out the door as she pulled on her rain slicker to go for a walk into the wind. 

Determined, she marched right into it's eye, up the hill to the fields flooded with new rain and muck, her soul clenched anger feeding her the energy she needed. 

The wind beat her back, but she persisted to push through it's wrath as it wrapped around her body, making her coat flap behind, making her face pull in it's rapture. Her hair quickly became drenched; her shoes muddied in the mixture of cloudspills and wet clay. At first her own thoughts bellowed back at the wind..............rage against rage............sorrow bumping into sorrow......pain pushing pain..... her own torrent of tears spilled with the rain.

Why is life so difficult, she asked? Why do I have to suffer so much when I know what I want? Why can't the happiness and not the struggle be the gift from God? The wind spitwhistled through her, filling her ears with sound as she trudged up the hill. Before she knew it though, she found herself standing at the top of the hill overlooking the swollen river, angry in it's own right, flowing like a large belch of brown sludge. The canopy of trees surrounding the field were bent in mercy as their roots held on in frightful hope. She was surrounded by the nature which normally acted as a refuge. Today, however they seemed to be fighting their own battles. Or maybe, they fought alongside her?

She took it all in, surveyed the landscape held ransom to the vengeful wind, and suddenly found her internal noise was being buffered by what seemed like the groans of a thousand ghosts, in much more pain than she had ever suffered. Their pain became hers. Her pain then molded into theirs and soon she realized that though she was standing in the field defiantly all alone, she was part of the swooning forces of nature. A thought entered her muddled head. 

Someone had once told her that all it takes is to look at one grain of sand and one would know the glory of creation. One grain of sand she thought, as she acknowledged the fury churning in the river down below, and the wind all around her. One grain of sand held the mystery. And with that one thought the wind turn into gusts. It stopped it's incessant bellowing and took a breath. In between the gusts, when there were minute lulls, the wind's loud voice turned into a whisper which echoed one word over and over again like a mantra ..... repent .....repent.... repent. Then it would kick back into a gale. 

She heard it clearly......... repent....... ask for forgiveness......... feel the shame and guilt and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness for what she wondered? The world blasted against me, what do I have to do with how this forsaken life has unfolded? I have tried and tried to do what is right, what I believed was my responsibility. I have lived as best as I could up to the standards expected of me, and yet I am constantly let down, diminished, abandoned, rejected.Why should I repent for God's sake??? What do I have to repent??? I just want to be recognized for who I am and not rejected or left on the sidelines.


"Humility," the wind responded....."Defiance. Not relinquishing your strong desire to control the forces instead of realizing you are one with them. A speck of sand may seem inconsequential at first glance, but it holds the mystery of all of creation. A speck of sand washed up onto a shoreline has surrendered to the elements and has allowed itself to be validated as one of many. No one is more special than anyone else. No grain of sand feels special. It is simply part of the universe, as you are. A speck of sand and YOU are one in the same." 

This message brought her to her knees with realization. She was using too much defiant force while brushing back the people and the forces who were in her life to befriend her. Rather than accept herself for who she was, she constantly fought back. In so doing, she left people in her wake feeling threatened by her yearnings. Shame washed over her as new awareness pressed on her temples. "Destiny cannot be thwarted it pulsed. Destiny cannot be altered no matter how hard you try to manipulated the circumstances it pounded. You have the strength to help overcome some day, but it will only happen if you trust that life will unfold as it should. Trust the universe it tapped...."

A tentative enlightenment crept in as she fell into a heap on the ground. She thought about all the winds she chased after......all the causes she fought in what she had considered were good deeds. She thought of the people in her life who mattered, the moments in her life which mattered. The pictures played quickly through her mind and then came to a sudden halt when she finally realized that the world wasn't an "us against them scenario." Rather, it was a single solitary oneness.....the essence of all that she was made of was an accumulation of the past which was held in the ground she knelt upon. The future which was held in the hands of God. At that moment, she looked up into the skies and let the rain wash over her. A cleansing baptism. 

Time lost meaning as she knelt in the thinness of the moment. A surrendering sense of peace enveloped her spirit as she spoke the humbling words....."please forgive me, please forgive me....."  The wind took a breath.  It seemed to stop for one whispering second, then returned.  Only this time, she felt its support.......

Soaked, tired and vulnerable with a twinge of empowered, she pulled herself up, turned her back to the wind and let it carry her down the hill to her home.  She couldn't wait to put the kettle on to make herself a hot cup of tea......tonic for her soul. It was time to restart the day with a new set of eyes. It was time to give thanks. It was time to let it be.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

its why the light gets in........


If we live a life with our eyes closed, our personal faults may remain dark unchartered caverns. Who wants to submit to a feeling of disappointment over the frightening imperfection? Who wants to love a pock-marked character blemish  when all around us the message pronounces that only polished beauty matters?  Who wants to admittedly reveal a fault when it completely alters the way we view ourselves? And once is it uncovered, how do you overcome the shameful ugliness of it? Rationalizations? Stories of how the scar came to be? 

Deny, deny, turn a blind eye......

There are many mirrors in our  homes, but when was the last time you REALLY looked at yourself in one? Like me, do you just take a fleeting glance simply to make sure you don't have spinach in your teeth, or that your hair isn't sticking up like Alfalfa? It's a habit. I could be standing in front of the mirror for a good 20 mintues blow drying my hair, putting on my make up and brushing my teeth in the morning and still not REALLY look at me. I'd prefer to keep the picture I have of myself as a vibrant person in her early 20's than recognize that this was a long time ago.  Why the aversion? 

I'm only fooling myself.  Who am I kidding? No one else sees me that way anymore and no one seems to shy away from me because i look the way i do, why would I continue not to look more deeply?  I want to hold onto my perception of beauty. 

When I conciously have a looksee.........when I register the reflection of who I am now, a woman in her 50's,  my initial reaction is one of shock and awe. WHO is that person looking back at me? Where did that young woman go..........the one whose face was thinner and wrinkle free.........the one who used to have smaller perky breasts and not ones stretched by nursing two babies, and marked by surgery ............the one without the stretch marks and a tiny scar on her belly? When did her skin lose some of it's elasticity all over? And what's with the extra skin on the eyelids?  Is this me? It is me.......... Me.  

What about the faults found within? The scars and fissures from experience.  Some  are more visible to others than to ourselves and for the same reasons. We try so hard not to recognize our own scars for fear of being rejected. We'd rather remain blind. Our fault lines, like the ones found under the surface of the earth, our gaping holes like the ones found in old apple trees leave us trembling with the very idea that it may be the thing that turns off the people around us. What if they find out we aren't perfect? Will they stop loving us? 

So, we keep ourselves in the dark. In the dark......where light is absorbed. 

Our awareness of ourselves, of how we interact with the world around us increases as we get older, mostly because of the experiences we have accumulated along the way. This makes sense. The farther we skip, jump, run, walk, limp, crawl, roll down the path of life, we collect a whole bunch of things to put in our backpack. Though awareness is always sprinkled with enlightenment which accompanies learning, it sometimes isn't satisfying because, well..........it may be really ugly. It may be hard to swallow.  The cracks, the fissures, the bumps, scars and scratches on the surface may not be as pretty or handsome as we want to be. 

Leonard Cohen, that craggy old beautiful man sings in his song, Anthem:
The birds they sang 
at the break of day
Start again 
I heard them say 
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be. 



Cohen understood the importance of letting go and acceptance of our selves, our accumulated beauty.  He also had the insight to realize that perhaps our very own fault lines weren't just ornaments to wear or to try to hide in the closet. They have a purpose........ 

Ring the bells 
that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 

No perfect offerings...... Only offerings uniquely cracked. Is this how God's reassuring light can get into us? Perhaps we accumulate these experiential openings, cracks, wrinkles and fissures......those bumpy scars to let in God's love. Perhaps those same ugly marks where light is absorbed is the access God uses to fill us with the truth of real love? With the enlightenment that allows us to radiate our authentic beauty? And if we feel this wildly unconditional love, will this not lead us to understanding the mystery of what is most important in life? How beautiful is that?

Somedays though, I still wish those breasts were still a bit perky!  Somedays.  Most days, I let my personality radiate the perky.  





Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Minstrel


Happy Easter!  Here is a story I wrote after imagining Jesus as a Minstrel.  I share it with YOU!  



The Minstrel

The Minstrel arrived unannounced into the valley with the first warm breeze of spring. Carrying his fiddle and his battered old leather bag strapped over his shoulder resting on his hip, he made his way to the sandy shoreline of the river to set up a respite camp. Quietly, he lifted his bag over his head and laid it against a log and went off to gather some firewood. 

It had been a while since he had eaten anything. His hunger made him cold. It bit into his loneliness which fortunately he rarely felt. But when it did slip under his skin, it wandered aimlessly until it found the dark ring in his soul. In moments like these, he longed for a warm place to call his own. But he knew himself well enough that his feet were made for wandering and his place he called his own were the wide open spaces. The ability to bring joy to others on his journey with his music kept the loneliness at bay most of the time. 
In no time, a small cooking fire was established and his pot filled with soup given to him by a farmer's wife from the village up river was warming up. He took his other pot and scooped some river water to boil for tea. As he waited, he picked up his fiddle and began to play the quiet tune he savoured as a tribute to his true love. He never shared this one with anyone else. It was his prayer, his meditation he held close to his heart.

Soon the soup was hot and ready to eat and he set his fiddle off to the side. As he was digging in his leather bag in search of his spoon, two young boys, just on the cusp of manhood, had made their way down the path to the shoreline carrying offerings for the stranger. One was carrying homemade bread and the other was carrying more firewood. Like everyone in the village, they had watched the man set up his camp with keen suspicion. No one new had been through the village since the summer before.....the intrigue stirred their curiosity and piqued their interest. It was decided that they would represent the villagers, to welcome the stranger but also to find out who he was. The minstrel looked up at the two young men and smiled.
"Greetings to you," he said as he looked directly at them.
"Welcome to our village," the young brothers expressed.Have you travelled far?"

"I have travelled far and wide in my life, but today only from the next village. What are your names," the Minstrel asked.
"I'm Simon and this is my brother Andrew. We have brought you some bread to go with your soup and some more firewood."

"Thank you. My name is Joshua, and after I've finished my meal, I will play you a song if you'd like."
They nodded and smiled and sat down on the log beside the Minstrel, and began asking him many questions about his travels. It was such a different life, so foreign to them but it stirred a secret lust for adventure neither had ever shared with each other. As the fresh bread and soup restored his energy and the sweet tea warmed him up, the Minstrel became more animated and more descriptive. 
Simon and Andrew were pulled right into the grand stories as they fed the fire with more and more sticks until it was blazing and snapping sparks high up into the sky. It was a spectacular blaze which threw off heat and seemed to melt away the inhibitions of winter's damp thaw. Pretty soon, their own closely held stories and yearnings were shared with their new friend and Joshua was intrigued to by their engaging ability to express themselves. He could feel Simon and Andrew's desire to learn the life of a wanderer and wondered if he had finally found the two he could mentor. It was a fleeting thought as he listened to their youthful exuberance and knew they were too young yet to take to the road to learn life as it unfolds. Maybe one day.... It was nice to feel a sense of brotherhood with his two new acquaintances and it left him feeling hopeful that perhaps his own stories would be passed on after he was unable to do so. 
As twilight beckoned, the Minstrel grabbed his fiddle, stood up beside the bonfire and began to play lively tunes that swirled in the engaging smoke, captured and broadcasted beyond the shoreline. He could feel himself move into a place where the music poured out of him like he was the vessel passing on ancient hymns. They came from some place holy and whole, and he loved visiting there. Pretty soon, the villagers, who had been watching the scene unfold had grabbed their coats and headed down to the shoreline to join the three in an impromptu celebration of all things good. 
It was the tonic they yearned for in the dead of winter when fatigue made their arms too heavy to wipe away those burdensome blues. Smiles all around as the music began to touch their cloaked spirits. For a moment in time, the sacred truth of their unmet dreams was replaced with a fullness of time, brushed by a tenderness only felt in the gathering of ancestry. Eternity seemed possible to hold in the palm of your hand. 
Simon and Andrew remained captivated by this man named Joshua whose magical gifts enlightened the villagers by resurrecting their light heartedness again. Secretly they longed to sneak off and join him but they knew the timing wasn't quite right. Maybe, they thought....maybe one day he will become their teacher. But, it wasn't the time to be contemplating beyond the grand sense of life affirmed happening in a circle around the fire. The Minstrel played on....sometimes he stopped and told a story about love and forgiveness.....sometimes he changed the tempo and played a lament that seemed soaked in the rain of tears usually lost in the faraway eyes of longing. And then before the mood altered permanently, Joshua would strike his bow with a high step piece and everyone would return to comraderie and lightness. The brothers felt a sense of freedom in their spirits like they had never felt before....it was a revelation to them.
Night grew darker.......and the folks in the village began to leave one by one until the Minstrel, Simon and Andrew were the only ones left. Up the hill from the shoreline, the windows in the homes began to light up with the soft glow of lanterns. Woodsmoke curled up from the chimneys. It looked so beautiful and it warmed Joshua's heart to know that everyone in the village were safely inside and on their way to possibly finding a more restful sleep than before. He too was tired. It had been a long day and he needed to seek refuge in his own slumber. One of the villagers offered a place by their woodstove and he planned to take them up on it after he packed up his bag and fiddle and doused the fire. 
Simon and Andrew had stayed behind to ask the Minstrel if they could go with him the next day....if they could learn how to be minstrels......but before they could find the words, Joshua looked up at them and smiled.
"One day," he said. "One day, I will come for you............when the time is right. I will teach you my stories, and help you with the hymns....I will offer you my knowledge and give you my blessing to carry you forward on my behalf. When the time is right. For now, help your village to continue to show love .....to be there for one another. Learn from your elders, and be kind to each other."  

Joshua continued, "You are more lucky than you know to have a brother to cherish and to share your dreams with. I hope you will always remain the best of friends. So, for now....I wish you a fond goodnight. I promise I will come for you when time is ready." 
With that, the Minstrel walked up the path to the house on the hill where he would rest for the night. Tomorrow, a new village.......and a chance to bring peace and love through his stories and his music. It is what he does....it is why he is who he is.....a holy troubadour named Joshua.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

meaning when you least expect it..........



How often do you ask yourself........ "What does this mean?"  Or  "What can the meaning be?" Admittedly, I ask it too much.  In counselling sessions, of course, when I am making an attempt to clarify the issues a person has presented.  While reading mystery novels when I am seeking out cues to figure out who did the dirty deed.  When I'm watching a good movie and want to know more of the character plot.   In my own life, when something happens and I long to know........

Its the last action that trips me up too many times. If you let it the "whys" take over, finding the meaning of events/actions can turn into a full time navel gazing, inner soul searching job that can leave you paralzyed to move forward, stuck in some kind of metaphysical time warp and confused.   Unless you are a full fledged mystic, not only do you not have time to pursue the cause and effect of life's escapades, you don't even have the tools or the spiritual grounding to attempt it!   At least I don't.

True meaning........ is not tied to expectations.  It isn't a forward thinking process.  Though, I tend to create meaning before it even has time to blossom into knowledge which in turn feeds wisdom.  Meaning needs an open minded patience to let it rise above expectations.

On Christmas Eve, my kids and I attended the service at the same church I was baptised, confirmed and married in. An integral part of my early life, I had spent hours and hours as a teenager roaming the halls and hanging out with friends.  It was the first time I had taken them to this church as we live in a different city.  It was the first time I was attending the Christmas Eve service in 25 years, four days before my wedding day.

BIG meaning eh? FULL of meaning.  I was looking forward to being there........ taking part......... feeling the whole experience fully.  I felt cautious too over how it would affect me emotionally and how I would respond to it.  Though, I didn't spend much time thinking about who would be there that I may know from my past, I DID wonder how I was going to feel sitting in the pew as a single person, a single Mom home for the holidays.  I had preconceived expectations wrapped up in a shiny bow of big preconceived meaning.

Of course, it didn't pan out that way.  The tingliness never surfaced. The big emotional messagers were far away from my touch.  A few memories did pop up but they didn't leave me feeling overwhelmed.  Soft memories of time gone by.  I felt completely comfortable surrounded by the familiarity of this church. I didn't see a soul I recognized. However, that  sense of belonging touched me simply because of all the good memories I had tucked away.   The Christmas Eve service had no real heart tugging meaning to us because it was simply a re-telling of the story of the birth of Jesus done by the children in the congregation.  It was cute.  It was fluffy. We sang along as the proud parents rushed up to take photos of their little angels and shephards.  But, that was it.  A 1/2 hour assembly that felt like we had popped into a school play by mistake.

The big meaning I had expected evaporated into a good laugh at my own imaginative expectations.  I wasn't disappointed.  Instead, I left Port Nelson United Church with a good lesson laughing at my son who did his very best to sing off key in order to make his sister and I lose our composure during the assembly. Instead, I left realizing AGAIN that I do not control any meaningful outcome BEFORE it occurs.  Instead, I left feeling like I had experienced a light hearted moment with my two "growing up" children.

It is now the end of March and that moment has stuck with me.  This big lesson from a half hour of attending  a church service on Christmas Eve...... the lesson of leaving "meaning" to work itself out rather than trying to control an outcome (like I have that superpower) continues to linger.  Meaning truly needs an open minded patience to let it rise above expectations.  

There have been many big and small life events since then when I  have found myself pondering "the whys" before they have had a chance to ferment.  All good opportunities to catch these thoughts in a mind net labelled........ 

Let it become........ 
You may know one day....or not.
It's not about you.... 
What will be.......
Give it up to God....
You may never know.....
It's life unfolding.....
Go with it...........

Meaning brings lessons when you least expect them...... 





 






Sunday, March 10, 2013

a little rambling before we spring ahead.........




It used to be that the words flew out of my fingertips faster than a lightflicker. Now, if I am able to capture a whisper of a thought, I'm lucky.  Has my muse shrivelled down to a mere facebook status update?  Has it flown the coop and turned itself into a fainting Twitter tweet?  It seems so.  But, I think it has just taken a very long hibernation........ one that  simply could not be jousted, jiggled, or jibberjabbed awake.  My muse went dormant for its own unexplainable reasons.  

I know my reasons.......... I let it slip.  I let the time that I had dedicated to writing slip into the vortex of lost opportunities.  My meanderings were left unharnessed.  My wanderings unwritten. Then, the meanderings and wanderings grew as I grew farther away from this beloved blog space.  They grew and grew and grew like choking weeds............ so big and lush that I didn't know (still don't) how to tame them enough to capture them creatively.  

So, I have decided to start to chew on them. Those darn wordy weeds.  As a way to reflect.  As a tact to understand all that I have seen, heard, felt, experienced this winter.  This year actually.  I've also tried to figure out what has truly stopped the outpouring of writing I so enjoyed.  Are the feelings too sharp?  Are the events too many?  

Let's start the flow............ and see where it leads........... unleashed masticating. I promise I won't let anything spit out at you! 

A big lesson I've learned this year is what it is like to feel the intensity of loneliness.  As someone who has the blessing of having many caring people in my life, and as a person who is surrounded by others day in and out in my work, it seemed to me unfathomable that I would ever feel so lonely.  Yet, I found myself getting in my car on Friday after work many times feeling a sense of foreboding loneliness that literally knocked me flat.  Flat energy, flattened ideas, BIG unrelenting tears ....and a lack of confidence to do anything but sit it out.  Even when I was invited to attend an event, go to a friend's house, go have a glass of wine with a friend, try yoga, go drumming, attend church........ ANYTHING.......... I couldn't push myself up and out the door.  Even though in my head it would have been the best thing to do......... I couldn't do it.  Instead, I wallowed in all the anxious things that overwhelmed me rather than put myself in a situation that had the potential losing control over my very raw emotions.  

Loneliness is the Master of depression.  Together, they are the S&M of mind fucking. 

Having admitted that, I also have to admit that I frigging earned it. Wave upon wave of grey sky storms came  and went......... all of which I had no control over, except to respond and help my little family respond when I could. Many days, it left me running for cover.  To sit in the loneliness. Silent.  Like millions of others.  As much as I felt sorry for the lonely people out there, I felt a kinship too.  It is a strange planet to visit. Lonely Planet.  But, I believe, and did so as I experienced arching my back into it, that it was my turn to feel it, breathe it, live it..... knowing full well that it would eventually be conquered by new light.  With help. 

In the meantime, there was no praying.  It was not in me. I didn't attend church services. I didn't complete any tasks around the house except if watching all of the Storage Wars episodes a task then I completed something.  Stillness didn't visit, though I sat quietly.  It was more like a chaotic rumbling inside that played games in my head.  Drama without end.  Tears that seemed eternal.  I could not concentrate except when I really had to in my job as a counsellor. I put ALL my focus on counselling.  As much as I starred in the role of Wounded Healer, I did it well!   Then, when I came home, I was drained.  Completely.  I just couldn't fuel up fast enough.  Christmas was a blur.  I was too exhausted to fully take part, though I did the best I could.  Then, I crashed.  For a week and looked after myself. 

Loneliness teaches you patience in a twisted manner.  Loneliness teaches you to dig deep inside for that chord of hope.  Loneliness tests your beliefs while manipulating your thoughts.  It introduces you to a whole world captured in a liminal purgatory......... just before dawn. Loneliness is an all encompassing, wind whistling, foul mouthed apparition that takes up a lot of room in and around you. 

I pushed back and at times sat back.  Every week, I forced myself to attend a guided meditation, Since I couldn't seem to meditate on my own, this helped me on so many levels........ it has become a place of safe processing, of re-learning how to breathe, how to develop self discipline, of letting go of some of those emotions caught in my gut and in my muscles.  It helped.  It carries on.   Talk therapy helped too.  With a person whom I admire and trust.  No judgement............. just a chance to purge my unsolicited thoughts and feelings........... a way to regain my zip.  

A turning point came just before Christmas when life's events and worries were peaking............. I was in such a state that my therapist sat me on the floor.  She sat down behind me and put her back to me.  Then she told me to "take her energy........."  What a gift!!!   I sat there for a long time just breathing....... catching my breath.......... trying to rid myself of the loneliness that had settled in my heart.   It was the best gift I received last Christmas.   Another person's energy when I needed it the most.  When the session was just about over, she said to me............ "when you pull away from me, inhale deeply.  Take it all......."  So, I did.  With gratitude.  I saw her at the grocery store a couple of days later....... still feeling the renewed energy she had gifted to me and strolled right up to her and gave her a hug in the check out line. 

One day in February, I woke up and things had subsided.  Little by little, ideas began to push thru the winter frost.  Pent up energy knocked on the door. Out of the blue,  I had a call from an acquaintance who offers yoga classes.  I had hoped to sign up a full year ago and it never worked out.  She asked me if I would be interested to start right away.  I said yes as I contemplated on how nothing is really "out of the blue." 

Yoga.  I don't know why I had never tried this before.  But, as I stretched and followed her directions on that first night, I felt like it was a natural process I had a kinship to.  Someone asked me what kind of Yoga it was.......... I answered "good Yoga".......  I have no idea.  Like my way of worshipping and of learning about my faith, it has no category.  It is just good for me.  I guess.  This Yoga fits me.  

At the end of the first session, where I was taught to massage my limbs and feet, as I learned the basics of stretching and moving, it ended with a quiet meditative comforting moment of laying on a mat in front of a burning woodstove.  As I laid there with a sense of peace I hadn't felt in over a year, I realized that it was the first time I had felt connected to my body. My head and heart was reconnecting to this body of mine that had  betrayed me last year......... that went through three surgeries, a bunch of radiation, and then a stomach bloating after my appendix was removed that went on and on and on for months due to stress.  

This body I was so angry with began to cooperate with my head and heart.  The first time.  I also realize that my breast, which is intact and only has a small scar had stopped radiating heat.  It had been a whole year since radiation.......... since I laid in that same pose on an altar in the hospital.    It all came flooding back to me. 

Tears silently slipped down the sides of my face........ cleansing and rebirth had begun.  The loneliness, which I had originally assumed was caused by not having a partner/lover in my life.......... being alone in this world with too many overwhelming tasks to attend to did not formulate from those reasons. It had to do with the inside of me.   It was because I had lost confidence in my body working properly.  I had disconnected from my self.  Lost my belief that I was beautiful.  Lost my belief that I was worthy and loved. 

Once it started lifting, I could feel myself hitting my stride again.  I'm more clear headed.  I'm ready to tackle the outside world more often.  I'm ready to lead others through meditation, through their own process of healing.  I'm back at church attending services I want to be a part of.  Ideas are not so wieldly.  Instead, they are unravelling from the weeds so I can pluck them out readily.   

Loneliness may be a place in our psyche where our personal narrative becomes entangled in missed opportunities.  It may be a state of mind that dances with despair.  But, it is also a place where creativity, new strength and new positive narratives percolate.  To know it doesn't last allows one to sit in it for a while..... and wonder........... what is it all about?  

As I write this, we are changing the clocks............ springing forward into the upside of old man winter.  Its a good time to empty ourselves of that wind whistling lonely to leave a deep pocket to be replenished with love  and the desire to plant a new garden. 

I'm ready to spring forward ................ are you? 
  

Monday, December 31, 2012

Flight..........



As usual, I was awake this morning before the light emerged over the horizon.  I love that time of day for so many reasons, all of which unfold from a wakening stretch, a new breath, a re-emergence of sight and sound.  Intuitive sounds.  Familiar surroundings.  A friendly stirring of security gravitating from the grounding of my roots.  My senses, accompanied by new day realization lead me to wonder..... "What will become?"

While the kettle revved up,  I stood by my living room window to look out at the view I am blessed to call my own. At first, I could barely catch a glimpse.  Then, the sky began to lighten and a sliver of dawn peaked up over the curtain as the liminal transition evolved.  In front of me.......gentle sloping farmland, barns and homes under fading streetlights; evergreenery and leafless maples, birch, oak..... snow-nestled limbs and branches; and the river.  Oh, the river..... flowing constantly under the film of ice.  

Hello valley.  Good morning river.........

I can't find the words to describe the impact the Saint John river has had on me over the years I've lived in this home. Especially during the most recent years when I have been stuck in emotional ruts up to my chinney chin chin!  Reassuring, challenging my thinking......... demanding that I stop and look and listen to what is happening inside me. Embracing. Inviting me to look outward to wonder what is happening inside others. It makes me feel like I'm not alone, even at the loneliest dips.  It ties me to a community, to a sense of continuity especially on days when nothing seemed to connect.  It invites me to belong to a bigger world beyond ........ beyond.  It flows east ......... like my thoughts of becoming ....... towards the bed where the sun sleeps and rises again.  Rise again.  And again.  I wonder.  How it heals.  

This morning, my neighbourhood woke up to a wonderland of winter's finest.  40 centimetres of snow fell in one day.  All that was left was the wind tunnelling down the river like logs in a chute. Howling with such brutal strength reminding with every menacing whistle, it's power was serious enough to knock out ours.  It was a stark contradiction to the tranquil vista in front of me.  Off to the right, birds began to emerge from the distance.  Jet black...... poking through the openings in the sky.  Dozens and dozens, all the same colour dispersing into the howling windy gusts.  Gymnastic tumblers with wings!  

The "dawn and dusk" birds, who migrate on the same flight path every day from the University in town to somewhere up river and back again, were my entertainment as I welcomed a new becoming.  I hadn't noticed them recently.  My attention always seemed to be elsewhere.  But, there they were again.  I stood in awe as they pitched and plummeted in all directions, as they fought to find sleeves of windpockets to move forward  to their eventual destination.....be-yonder.   

My first impression of being entertained by them quickly morphed into recognizing the struggle they were exhibiting as they defied the elements that pummelled their attempts to proceed.  Somehow, these little black birds managed.  Despite the stormy odds, they were succeeding.  

How?  I watched more closely.  

Up and down they soared.  They flew in sideway zigzags with no planned pattern or flock to help them. Every bird was on their own to figure out how to take on the wind, how to tackle the journey.  The idea of staying put rather than taking flight was not a consideration.  Individually, they fought back with surges of energy when the timing was right, and then would tap into a surrendering glide when the gale opened up like a slide. One wing flap at a time.........  It must've been so exhausting!  

On a calm day, these birds fly in scores of dozens, like a crowd emerging from a subway exit during rush hour.  Today, there was no mirage of solidarity.  Despite what it looked like, however, I believe they instinctively garnered motivation from one another to make headway.  Just like humans.  We may feel like we are alone against life's elements.  We are alone in the ultimate struggles........ no one can do it for us.  But, we too instinctively gain strength to claw forward by the people in our lives and by the stories we hear of others.  

I have flown through so many storms this year.  Some larger than others.  For a period of time, it felt like a storm a week.  It took its toll on my energy and my health.  There were days when exhaustion would hit me like a wall of wind and I couldn't find one of those windpockets to slip into.  On the most trying days, I went silent.  My writing dried up.  I was afraid to write because I didn't know how to catch the words as they scattered in sideway zigzags.   There were too many of them, all tied to too many stories.  I couldn't sit still. I couldn't settle down.  Too much drama. So much that it peaked at embarrassing levels and depleted my resources.   Every time I thought the storm was over, another one landed overhead.  For months and months. 

This morning, a new thought emerged as I watched the birds.  The year is over.  A new one is about to begin.  I have reached a destination despite the obstacles, in spite of myself!!!  Humour intact.  Health restored. A roof over my head.  Two amazing kids who have had their fair share of shocks and storms this year as well.  Enough radiation to painfully peel the skin off my breast and to leave a constant warmth as a reminder.  Appendix-free. Loved. An unpredicted heartbreak that left me on my knees with a continuing deeply felt lesson on loneliness. Confidence drained. Confidence renewed.  Divorced with a few new scars on the inside and outside.  Free. 

New friendships kindled.  Old friendships rekindled.  Phenomenal conversations about love, loss, yearnings, dreams, commonalities, ideas, emotions, fears, truths and lies.  Spirit renewed.  Faith challenged.  Loneliness understood.  Learning to let go of the controls........ Trusting others to help me heal and re-heal.  

I pushed through........... with much help.  On my own.  Like a blackbird.  Wings ready to take flight no matter what is in store.  

Welcome 2013.  Let it unfold in the glory of becoming!