Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a week of good energy......

A few weeks ago, I had my tea leaves read.  It was a spontaneous reading one night when I showed up at my friend's house up the hill from me in need of some TLC and a glass or two of wine.  My friend, who has been an unconditionally loving angel to me, whose taken me under her wing and returned me to church..........this lost waif....... and has dried my tears on several occasions this spring, made me dinner, and poured the wine once again and let me talk. 

Her Mom, Joyce was there........ a beautiful woman in her 80's whom I've always had a strong bond with.  She reads tea leaves, tarot cards, and numerology.  So, on the spur of the moment, I told her I was in need of a reading.....I wanted to know what was in my future.    Before i knew it, I was sipping on tea wondering what the leaves would reveal.

Even though Joyce was aware of the turmoil happening in my life, when she does a reading, she goes so fast and is so minutely thorough that there is no way she is reflecting back on any information she is already aware of.  It's hard to explain.  Suffice to say, she gets into the tea leaf reading zone.

There is a process to this.  The tea is made with loose leaves.  You must drink it all and try not to leave any liquid behind.  Once you've consumed it, you turn the tea cup upside down on a plate and turn the cup around three times.  Joyce then lifts the cup up and turns it right side up.  Whatever liquid and leaves are left on the plate signify tears and issues that need to be resolved. She then promptly begins to describe what she is "seeing..." both on the plate and in the tea cup in detail that simply blows the mind.  What a gift she has.  It is so cool.

Of course there are general statements, but what always gets me pulled into the otherworldly aspect of anything psychic like this are the seemingly small points she mentions....... and the things that are repetitive in the read.  This time through, she kept going back to information about my daughter..... how she is handling her parent's marriage break up, how her year will unfold, how she will resolve her conflictual feelings etc.  I have no doubt Joyce's description with all the small details will be the structure of my daughter will come to resolution about her new life.  In fact, many of the details have happened...... obvious through a few recent conversations with her.  Uncanny.

Joyce described my summer, highlighting a few important events........ people I will meet, trips I may take......... she told me I will be spending time in Nova Scotia, which at the time seemed completely out of the question because I had no intention of visiting my beloved Spencer's Island this summer.  It would be too painful and the whole area is ancestrally connected to my ex-husband's side of the family.  Now that is a strong possibility as well as a few other opportunities to go exploring that province.  Weird.

She also described how this summer will be an awakening for me.......... transformational as well as healing.  That sounds pretty general, but the details she provided narrowed it down to key connections I will make and what they mean in the greater scheme of things. I could feel this strange sensation in the pit of my stomach that was replacing the standard dread I had been having for breakfast every morning for two months.... excitement....??  maybe....

As Joyce continued with her predictions, I jotted them down..........asked questions for clarification and generally got into the whole thing.

Out of the 15 or so predictions she made, 6 have already occured.  2 of them happened the day after the reading.......  The other 4 have made their presence known just in the past week alone.

Its not that I am manipulating anything.  I havent gone out of my way to make them up as I go.  They just seem to be showing up...... on cue!  Its funny, I have been so busy juggling many tasks, wearing many hats that I havent kept the details of Joyce's reading in my head.  But, when one happens, BADABING!  A light bulb goes on.  I remember her predictions and it stops me in my tracks laughing.

An awakening this summer?  Summer started early.  So did the awakening.  It began with a re-emergence of  faith, and continued to travel down a new footpath which has brought people connection surprises I didn't expect and opportunities I had no inkling would be in my destiny.  Some of these surprises have occured because I found the guts to stick my neck out........ to accept an invitation when I may have in the past excused myself and not gone.

Sometimes it has happened because I let go of regular time restraints and allowed a friendship I always knew was there for the blossoming to be fed by some conversational fun.....good sharing stuff.  Sometimes it happened because I said no instead of yes, or I said yes instead of no.  Some of it is happening because I am reflecting on what it is that I want and how am I going to make it happen?  What is important in my life right now? And if a strange and beautiful invitation arrives at my door, do I embrace it or do I hide away and protect myself from any more hurt?

Now that summer has officially arrived.......school is out.......College graduation was celebrated tonight.......... I told a friend today that I am awake for the first time in 10 years.  And as soon as the statement left me......a little light went on!  BadaBING!  

It has been a week of good energy.  Good energy.  Not the kind of energy I expected.  It's not the zippy kind......... its the "I'm alive" kind.   Good thing I have my new sexy party dress on.  Gotta be prepared for the dance.  Maybe even a dance across the waters..... 

Hey Spirit......here I am.......

Recently, I read a "once upon a time long ago" fable about an Explorer who was travelling through unchartered territory.  He was obsessed and determined to be the first to forge into the mysterious unknown.  He gathered his belongings and hired three local tribesmen to be his Guides. 

They set out at daybreak on the first morning with a pace that hardly allowed time to eat a meal or to really look around at the new surroundings.  They walked until it was dark and set up camp.  The second day, the pace increased.  The Explorer kept looking forward slashing his way through the bush and missing out on the landscape, the vistas when the forests opened up.  He blindly walked right past a glorious waterfall cascading down from a spring fed stream....... The Guides kept up, carried his belongings, gave him water and food when he needed it.  This type of journey wasn't something they understood or were familiar with.  What was this Explorer searching for???

On the third morning just before dawn, the Explorer dressed and ready for another day of crazed travelling,  called to his Guides to tell them it was time to move on.  But the Guides remained sitting still.  With more agression in his voice, he demanded that they get up.  It was time to move on.  But, the Guides refused to move.  

"Why aren't you respecting my direction?" asked the Explorer

"We can't leave here," said one of the Guides acting at the spokesman."  "We must remain here so that our spirits can catch up to us."  

That's exactly how I feel.  I need to sit still and let my spirit catch up to me.  Does anyone else feel like that? 

To describe the pace of my life...........emotionally, physically, spiritually.... since March as a whirlwind seems like an understatement.  As much as I have taken time to be still, to reflect and to do all the things I need to do to let go of the poisonous feelings caused by the hurt, and as much as I get up every day with the determination to take it slowly.......   life doesn't work that way..... especially the one I seem to be leading!  

Leading?  NOT!  Well, OK, I take full responsibility for the choices I make and for many of the situations I find myself in, which is admittedly fed by my insatiable curiosity and hunger for learning and experiencing new things.  Granted,  I have had the blessed fortune to have experienced unbelievable life affirming, happenings that continue to be illuminating, challenging, and FUN, I am drained.  Exhausted.  To use a British term............. I am shattered.   Gobsmacked too!  I know that doesn't mean tired, but I love that word and I do feel it as well.  Absolutely fucking Gobsmacked by how my life seems to be evolving.  BRING IT ON!

I am in a good place.........no more shock in my system. That electricity jolting is gone.  I sat in the grief of my pain and shock............confronted it, cried in it, raged, swore, and blown my nose in it.  I've spent many nights pacing, writing, crying, laughing, reflecting, tossing and turning, praying, bargaining, denying, depressing, talking, sharing, listening, working, processing.  I have pushed through bad dreams, visual pictures in my head......felt such emotional pain especially some mornings when I wake up and realize that my marriage is no more.  Done.  Kaput.  Failed.  This has softened...... the hardness of reality has softened. 

I am now in a place where I feel lighter, where I am unstuck, where the blessings are so abundant!  My voice is back.  My inner strength is blazing in light!  I am strong for my kids.  I am strong for myself.  I am beginning to feel pretty again.  Even sexy.  Can I say that?  I havent felt sexy in a long long time. To quote that weird song about Gretzky being played ad nauseum on CBC Radio 2?  "Pretty bloody sexy, pretty bloody sexy....!"  ;) 

To be HERE right now in this amazing frame of mind and heart?  It is through much hard work and unbelievable unconditional support in order to let go of it...... this is why I am so damn tired.  I know there are many upheavals ahead, including a symbolic one this weekend when someone moves to town, just up the road for God's sake, I believe I am much more balanced than I expected to be at this point in the separation.  Still, I ask myself..........what the hell is that all about?  Why so close to the neighbourhood?  eeeewwwww!  Whatever.  I'm not a cat. I will not spray the territory.  But, for God's sake, this is a very large country!

There are many many events and situations I have no control over.  I may question it and wonder every now and then if God is just playing games again, I'm alright with that.  Surrendering is empowering as well as humbling. On the other hand, there are many many events I do have some control over.  If I continue to be aware of my own needs and those of my children, I will be just fine, and have some fun while I'm at it.  

In the meantime............what I need?  Time to rest, sleep, jump out of routine and let my Spirit catch up to me.  And that's what I plan to do........... let the wind carry my spirit across the waters, up  through the front door, down the hall and into my beautiful blue bedroom where I will waiting........

Let the universe unfold as it should.  Let it carry me in my Chestnut canoe (I wish!)  down through the river currents without once having to use a hard "C" stroke. 

Hey Spirit?  Come over and let's dance.  I'll be waiting........... the music is on and the wine is chilling.  I think you're gonna enjoy this place I call home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Found Blessings

Today, I stood up at the front of St. Paul's United church and delivered the Sunday service message.   As I stood up there, I felt grounded and centred, mostly due to the loving support of my friends and family, some of whom were there sitting in the pews smiling up at me throughout it all.  I absolutely LOVED looking up to the balcony and seeing my son looking down on me smiling.  He knows now that his Momma has her strength back.    My daughter left for summer camp yesterday so she wasn't there but I know she was thinking of me and I her. 

The whole process has been spiritually enhancing beyond my expectations.  It allowed me to travel beyond the line on my horizon to a place I have never visited.  I have "lived" outside of my comfort zone for over a week trying to "get it right......."  and it wasn't until 2 o'clock this morning when I found myself standing in my kitchen practising reading the last version I had just completed with enough energy to light up the street!  

I could write a whole blog post on the process... and how it was intertwined with a whole bunch of other "happenings" that have occured over the past two weeks.....work, home and play stuff.  What a TRIP!  Life has a way of pulling you back up onto your feet in the heat of adversity and kissing you with affirmation and love from the most interesting places.  It has been a week of good energy.  Good strong life affirming energy on all levels.  

I have so much I want to write about....... however that will wait........ for now I want to post my sermon to share.   

PS.......to everyone who has emailed me, checked on me, phoned me, and sent me their kind wishes and prayers....... thank you, thank you.  Know that you were all with me today.  I felt your presence strongly.  I really did.  I sure wasn't up there alone. 


Found Blessings.

This morning, I would like to begin by reading a blessing written by John O'Donohue.   It's from his book, Bless the Space Between Us.  For the past couple of months I have read it aloud to myself every morning.  It has given me strength and focus to start a new day.  Today,  share it with you......

I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch
Eternity of soul, 
Urgency of thought
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.

May I live this day

Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word, 
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought, 
Generous in love.........

God’s abundance.  How do you define that?  It seems like such an easy concept to explain doesn’t it?  Personally, I found it was almost too big to harness. There are SO many paths one can journey on to seek out the meaning….. meandering paths of thought FULL ideas.  

As I prepared what I wanted to share with you today, I searched for it through many angles…from a theoretical perspective as well as one that was faith based ….. I looked at it through the lens of a Mom as well as the other roles I am in my life.  I looked at it through the eyes of a writer too.  And I have to admit, that the more I thought about it,  the more I wrote about Abundance.  Then I would lose myself in the harvesting of treasures AND would write MORE.   

It kind of overwhelmed me.  Which actually made me laugh because I found myself overwhelmed by abundance.  A little ironic don’t you think?   I probably have enough written down for a book!  Who knows?  Maybe I’m onto something.  

But that’s for another day.  Today, I humbly stand up here, as a human being who has been given the gift of spiritual learning through the process of reflection and contemplation, through many discussions with friends and family…..inside spiritually quiet times when I was able to see all of the “found blessings” that make my cup runneth over. Daily.  It’s been a beautifully challenging experience.  I feel richer for it.  

Throughout most of internal travels however, I was missing the key ingredient because I was being too fancy with my brain and it was making me too wordy. Too much thinking, the people in my life say …. I think too much. 

Yesterday, I took a trip to a place tucked into the woods near Norton.  Smith’s Falls.  It was beautiful.  The walk through the woods filled me with a sense of peace.  When I reached my destination…. At the bottom of this resplendent waterfalls, I sat down on a rock and looked up to the top of the gorge where the sun filtered through the pine and sparkling on the tumbling water rushing down the rocks in a formation of its own making. Automatically, I found my breath.  I slowed down, mind and body and let abundance find me.  In a matter of moments….. connected to nature and God’s beauty…..

I realized that….

Abundance is the collection of bountiful feelings we experience when connecting with nature and with others in a way that provides us with the nutritious gift of grace.

It’s about learning how to open your senses to a new awareness that no matter what may be happening in your life, or what you are observing God provides these gifts as blessings.  Bread for the journey is bountiful.  It is up to us to share the fullness of our hearts.  

It’s about recognizing all that we have to give and receive is more than enough and then some!  Just like the story of the fishes and the loaves.  There were twelve full baskets left over!  We have much to give……and then some.  

Jean Vanier, who lives his values and beliefs every day through the L’Arche community where he resides, wrote an amazing thought provoking book called Becoming Human…… In it he explains….  "When we tell stories, we touch hearts. If we talk about theories and speak about ideas, the mind may assimilate them but the heart remains untouched. It is the story of a specific person that is the way to the heart."  I firmly believe he’s onto something!   This is the gift of abundance.

Heart stories……. Connecting….. feeling loved, significant, humbled, affirmed, forgiven, listened to…….. Think about how you feel when someone really and truly listens to you…. From their heart.  Is that not abundance?  Think about how you feel when you are able to put aside all the busy demands, the list of TO DO’s….. when You are able to give your full attention to someone in need…… to listen.  From your heart. What a learning gift.  A simple human gift, which opens our eyes to the faces of God.  

As a counsellor and facilitator, I have been blessed with the opportunity to connect with many hearts.  I’m a storykeeper.  As a person who loves to write and to interact with others, I am a storyteller.  Both sides of the coin.  I can’t tell you how many times I have met with someone in their home, in my office, in the hospital, in a coffee shop and was left feeling enriched beyond words.  As a human being, I too have been blessed with many people in my life who listen to my stories too, and the same feeling abounds.  We share.  We tune into abundance and we are changed forever.  

Not long ago, I had the privilege of sitting in a hospital room with a young man who was dying of Crohn's disease. I was shocked at how skeletal he was.... how unbelievably sick he had been since I had first met him a few years back. His energy was very low. His lips parched and dry because he was receiving all his nutrients and food through a tube in his stomach. He was too weak to digest it any other way. In the hospital for 4 months at the time of our meeting, he had suffered through 3 painful surgeries and admitted that he didn't know if he had the strength to go through another..... another had been scheduled.

At first, I didn't know if he could physically handle my visit, but I was there to help him get some extra money by applying for a disability pension.  He needed the money and greeted me with as much energy as he could conjure up.
This man was a preacher.   Before he fell too ill, he’d led a parish church in a rural area in Northern New Brunswick.  Despite the constant pain and ill health,  his faith was still very much intact.

He spoke of the kindness of the hospital staff......how they arranged for a private room for him even though he didn't necessarily qualify. He lit up when he talked about his best friend, who had been visiting when I arrived and praying quietly with him....how they had studied together to be preachers....how they used to go fishing together. He talked about how blessed he was to have three children and how heartbreaking it was for him to realize that he probably wouldn’t  be around to see them grow up to be adults. He pointed out the flowers that arrived in the middle of a snowstorm the day before (a little miracle he called it.) He smiled broadly. 

He then lamented on how much he missed the ulimate freedom of going for a drive into the country all by himself. And as he reflected....as this man with such poor health, and with no money reflected....he told me how rich he was in so many ways.

2 hours later, I left his hospital room far richer too than I had been when I arrived. I left with the sound of rural parish church bell ringing inside.  A heart connection. They never fade. 

Father Henri Nouwen who also lived in a L’Arche Community wrote about the diversity of people comparing us to mosaic stones. Each one of us is represented by a tiny piece of colour, beautiful on its own, but much more revealing of the face of God when seen as a design together. 

Our community lives and breathes suffering and struggle. It lives and breathes love and compassion. It displays the faces of humanity, shaded by the lined scars of adversity....and a longing for connection and validation between human beings.  Community, he writes, is "where humility and glory touch." And to me, that is where prosperity dwells. You see it abundantly in the welfare office where I worked for many years. Out in the margins I saw, heard, felt and was deeply moved by humility and glory touching.  

A couple of summers ago, I was inspired to write a story poem about a scene I witnessed  in the alley by the Community Kitchen as I sat in my car.   I was the only one who saw it unfold.  I listened with my EYES and I knew in an instant I was richer for the experience.  

A scene from an alley 
Under puddle grey skies they emerge,
in large numbers
filing out through the heavy metal door
lighting up in unison --
An after dinner toke on a full stomach.
The best tasting cigarette of the day
besides the first one with morning coffee.
But sometimes there's no sweet aromatic coffee.
It's made from grains of yesterday
Bitter tar-like substance from the bottom of an urn.  
Sometimes morning begins
starring at the underbelly of a bridge
in backbreaking pain,
where no coffee is brewing
where the only smoke is a discarded butt. 
Sometimes morning begins in
a sock stinking room shared by 10 damp strangers
Shivering under an unknown blanket,
worn and used by others prickly and unwelcoming transience.
Coffee there is weakly tepid
Served in a stained unfamiliar mug. 

At first glance, I see
Weather worn faces seemingly the same
Dazed, angry, bone weary aged.
Empty discards in oversized pants from Sally Ann
in threadbare shirts, wrinkled from sleep
tattered, torn faded colour 
Surrendered souls
Who have seen the bottom of a bottle of cheap whiskey many times
Who have felt the biting winter winds many times
and know it feels the same as the hard slap from the back of a hand.
They've felt them both and know they are the same. 
Strangers lost in a fog of mental illness, no luck, abuse and a lifelong hangover.
Numbed on the bare boned skinned knee open wound existence. 
But tonight,
as they emerge and converge for an after dinner smoke
Gathering in an puddle filled alley
hidden by a brick building,
where the shelter and the kitchen
make it a meaningful destination,
I look again and see some familiar faces.
People who have visited me in my office.
Human beings I have seen around town.
The man with the marionette monkey
who makes it dance for money every Saturday at the market.
The woman who collects bottles and cans from the dumpster behind my office building
The mom and her two kids whom I've shared a coffee chat with in her home.
The guy who sleeps on the bench in the park downtown
A few whose names I don't know,
but have seen in the lobby of the welfare office
.Many I don't recognize.
Many are lost in a schizophrenic fog.
Some gather together to talk, while others stay within themselves
lost in the periphery of the marginalized.
Marginalized by the marginalized.
Our society breathes hierarchy like dragon's breath
One small statured man walks gingerly and awkward
trying to pretend he isn't completely drunk
Another with a shaved head whose eyes dart in paranoia paces.
And another, and another............same look.......same space....
Sober --stark, real, cold, wet reality. Who wants sober? 
I change the lens I am using in a blink
I change my gaze and what do I see… 
Right in the middle of this ragamuffin group?
Is a little boy
about 4 years old
with a red ballcap
and red crocs on his feet
glides by on his scooter.
Whoosh............his colourful presence
Like a taste of watermelon on a hot day. 
In and out he sails,
splashing through the grey sky puddles
twisting and turning his scooter
past the sad adult faces too hurt to pay attention
Oblivious to his joy
He oblivious (maybe) to their sorrow.
The scooter skids and the little boy yelps.
All eyes turn to him.
His mother, incapacitated by a full leg cast lurches forward
Her maternal response stymied by immobility.
Her face shows concern.  Love.  Fear. Her boy needs her. 
Out of the blue…….
A found blessing friendly face intervenes.
He tends to the little boy,
then with a twinkle of dare, he playfully takes the scooter
and turns the scene into a circus romp. 
He's a smiling clown makes the little boy laugh from his belly
His scraped knee forgotton as he watches this man balance on a wee scooter…
Those worn out adults on the sidelines, thirsty for relief begin to cheer on the clown.
Set in the midst of grey puddle despair
A community of smiles grin the grace of abundance.
It left me wondering if Jesus was close by taking it all in.
I think He was.
He always is, isn’t he? 
Out in the margins, where true prosperity dwells,
Where humility and glory touch?
Jesus is there taking it all in.
The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”   This includes both sides of the coin……. having the chance to spill out a slice of your story to someone who is listening with their whole being and being the receiver of a human story as you listen with your whole being.  Human stories.  Heart connections.  As the extension of God’s love, we have it to give and then some.  And when we do, our whole community prospers.  

This week, I hope you have a chance to see abundance from a new angle…. And to feel the fullness of its discovery.  May you listen and be listened to as you share a slice of your stories.  From the heart, where treasures dwells.  May you find the blessing of discovery gazing into the eyes of another face of God in your life.  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Prayer for the Times..

I was asked to write and to lead the congregation in "Prayer for the Times" today at St. Paul's United Church.  It is part of the weekly service.  My dear friend Andrea organized the whole service and delivered the sermon.  She did a beautiful job.  I'm so proud of her.....  she has been my angel this spring. 

The feeling of standing up at the front of the church was humbling and empowering at the same time.  I could hear my own voice and it felt strong.  Strong.  I think my voice is back.  It has a different timbre to it.... perhaps its all that whiskey i've been consuming?  Kidding!   

It was a very special moment and I'm grateful to have been asked to play a role.

Here is my prayer.... the words and thoughts are a culmination of what I have been thinking and writing about recently.   I'm posting it for my loving friend Rick.  When I got home from church, there was a message that his Mom had passed away last night.  Rick and Sheila?  I love you both...... and wish I could be there to help you with ALL that you are feeling.   And know we are just a finger tip touch away from one another.  xx


Let us take a moment to be still together and take in a collective deep breath............

Hello dear God.

As we stand here before You with refreshed breath of Your Spirit, we give our heartfelt thanks for the gifts you provide every single day... those simple extraordinary offerings we sometimes miss in the flurry busyness of our lives.  Today, we stand in stillness reflecting upon our own lessons knowing that, like renewal, growth is conceived in the heart of discontent, fed by the inner light of silent conversations with you God, until it breaks through the clay of our blended souls.  

We share the same feelings, and many of us share the same happiness and heartbreak.  This is what blends our souls in a spiritual sense of oneness.  We all know the feeling of hungry hope.  You have provided us with this gift, God.  Hope, you have taught us, is a companion of a broken spirit.  It is the oxygen in the breeze that caresses our restless sufferings with tenderness.  Hope reminds renewal to be patient with its re-emerging and to know that most of our personal growth will be invisible to the outward glance, but colourfully recognizable when we gaze inwardly to speak to You. 

Through suffering God, we are learning to surrender.  Through surrendering, we are learning how connected we are to a greater Realm. And it is through our connection with you and with one another, we begin to feel loved in a much different way than perhaps we have ever felt before. 

Forgive us dear God, for we are often slow to catch on because we tend to veer out into the wild and lose our way busy trying to deal with the events life throws at us.  Please help us remember that what may feel overwhelming shifts our gaze and offers us a glimpse of a field of diamonds off in the distance..... those tantalizing sparkling gems with winking twinkling c'mons that have the power to awaken our hunger for enlightenment, and to tickle our parched thirsts for a drop of understanding.

Please remind us God that renewal doesn't occur because of one event.  It may be the spark that ignites the change in direction, but it is not the conclusion.  Rather, it is the impetus set in the clay of our blended souls..... the foundation we rely on for support as we ride the waves of change, one wave at a time.

Please remind us God that renewal in all of its diamond splendour is simply our crooked journey signmarked by our recognition of love dressed in complicated life riddles.  Eventually it leads us to a place we can call home.  We must walk unprotected, barefooted..... pierced by the nettles and thorns of suffering that scracth and sting....... that leave pockmarked scars on our flesh.  

With your Guidance God, we will learn to walk aided and unaided........ to take risks while learning as much from our hurts as we do our triumphs, while reaching out to give while being open to receiving gifts we are offered.  By so doing, we learn that the clay of blended souls we walk upon?  We are a part of that clay.  We belong to a universe who shares the same feelings, who thrive and survive, who suffer and feel joy, who nurture and are nurtured by one another.

Renewal may be conceived inside the heart of discontent, but the light of its darkness seems to shed Your rays on our gardens, inside our homes, waiting to be discovered.  As pilgrims dear God, guide us when we are too surprised by the answers to those life riddles.  Teach us that this is where awareness resides.  This is where growth lives.  This is where we come together to feel peace.  

May we all walk in peace with you and with one another today.  The first day of summer is almost here.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

spirit blooms

 A spirit gift captured me when I wasn't looking.  Carried by a gentle breeze, this beautiful bloom waited until the heaviness of my heart lifted and left a tender kiss on my forehead.  Even now,  I feel its fragrant touch radiate under my skin like a rippling wave of knowing it was just what I needed.  
Can you hear the faint echo of ancestral music tiptoeing around the moon? I can.  It plays a song from my roots as it showers down from the night sky....a familiar tune I have longed to hear again.  

It feels like summer.  Solstice is just around the corner.  Let it be a season of simple gifts.  That's what the happiness part of life is made of.  Tender kisses and simple gifts from spirit blooms.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where your treasure is, there is your heart also.........

"Gloria's Poppy."
Now poster size, 
this umbrella beauty is framed and hangs 
above my bed to protect me from storms 

Hi there!  I can't believe how little I've been blogging.  I've been writing, but not on this site.  I seem to be finding new avenues to explore, and I'm enjoying all of them...... one on one communications as well as journaling.  It feels like right now, much of what I want to share I want to share with one person at a time.  The written conversations as well as the face to face ones have been rich in emotional texture.... good heart opening stuff, which has left me feeling a sense of prosperity deeper than I have felt in years.  

Whether its been in a canoe (yes, I've been paddling...and will go again soon), around my little campfire pit in my backyard.......whether its been long rambling laughter filled conversations on the phone late into the night, or beautiful sharing of hearts through fingertip touching internet style, it's all been healing,  life affirming.  The strength of my friendships with both family and friends has deepened too,for all of us.  Not just me.   Vulnerability does have its up side.  You tend to get to a place where you really don't give a rat's ass what you say and you say what you mean with an honesty far away from shadows. 

Meaningfully beyond, beyond the daily doses of chatty surface stuff.

Every single day brings forth a cornucopia of life events and connections with surprising twists and turns, most of which has a dash of absurdist hilarity, a doppling of doubt, a wallop of reality, and a softening of heart. Feelings and thoughts are stirred inside me as I dwell in this fantastic emotionally driven place of inner creative flow. I know that when I have time to capture some of its wondrous essence, I may just have myself an interesting book written. 

The shock has lifted.  I was hesitant to believe it, but it has.  That's not to say I'm not sad and angry still.  Sadness grabs hold of me at the most inopportune times.  Anger sometimes seeps out of me like a viper and I try my best not to direct it at anyone.  When it hits........ I sing the song from Finding Nemo when Dory calls Nemo "Mr Grumpy Gills..."

Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming.......

I'm not startled anymore.  My house isn't startled anymore.  Most importantly, my children aren't startled anymore.  Big emotions still, of course, but no startling.  We are in good shape to enter into the summer vacation months.  This was one goal I had for them.  I wanted them to have time to gather their strength while finding their footing again.  I am inspired by their resiliency and their ability to process the life altering changes thrown at them, knowing they are loved, loved, loved.  I am blessed to learn from them and to lead them as their resilient Momma.

I also have learned that the universe certainly does look after you if you allow it to.  I didn't believe this. I thought it was some new age tired mantra crock  set up to convince you to be irresponsible of actions and thoughts.  It's funny, the more resentful I became that I didn't feel a sense of equality and balance in my marriage, the more shut down I was from the possibility that this feeling could come from another place.... that the universe will  look after you.  Its not like you're there for a free ride.  Far from it, but there comes a point when surrendering up one's control panel and letting go of the "stuff" that seemed so damn important at the time can produce a sense of freedom that literally makes the air thin and beautiful refreshing.  

In so doing, I'm taking new steps I never thought I would.  I'm seeking out as well as receiving newness.  Change is being embraced.  The winds are bringing them to me and I like the look and feel of the new breezes.  Who knows where it will lead.  Who knows where I will land?  It doesn't matter the destination right now.  What matters is that I am surrounded by love, concern, and such beautiful encouragement that I can't help but smile more.  The treasures are felt inside the heart, abundantly. 

I have returned to poetic words of John O'Donohue.  His blessings ARE a blessing.  Reading his prose, particularly in his book Anam Cara, I feel like I'm reading it for the first time.  Why?  Because my gaze has changed.  The lens I am fitted with right now is flexible and colourful.  This morning I read this again.... 

"The state of one's heart inevitably shapes one's life; it is ultimately the place where everything is decided.
  • A courageous heart will go forth and engage with life despite confusion and fear
  • A fearful heart will be hesitant and will tend to hold back
  • A heavy heart will make for a gloomy, unlived life
  • A compassionate heart need never carry burden of judgment
  • A forgiving heart knows the art of liberation
  • A loving heart awakens the spirit of possibility and engagement of others."

Today, I believe I have found my courageous heart.  There is no doubt in my mind that I am where I am because of the compassionate and loving hearts who have surrounded me with their light.  God dwells in our hearts.  As Father O'Donohue states........ "the heart is the divine sanctuary...."  How rich we are to carry that in us.  

Hey!  Here I am................and I feel fine. xxx

Friday, June 11, 2010

Somebody Closer.....

I wrote most of these lyrics last year, and have always wanted to finish the piece.  Interestingly, I tried on several occasions to get it right.  But, the circumstances and my headspace would allow for it.  Until now.  
You know, I think we all have a yearning kind of love song inside our souls..... maybe even more than one.  we'll see.  

My Somebody Closer

Just poured a second cup of coffee,
Waiting for the dawn
I'm filled with haunting memories
In the body of our song
Of a day so long forgotten
In the rippling of the years
I'm lost in your soft expression
Trying to hold back my tears.
Can you be my somebody closer
Instead of a figment in my dreams
Or will you haunt my waking everyday
Your laughing eyes unseen
I want to live out our memories
Our love captured in the breeze
This is my early morning yearning
Please set my heart at ease.
We walked away in silence
too young to see ahead
No fairy tale ending binds us
Our separate ways instead
Yet through the fog of lonely
I see your shadow on my soul
I'm aching for your fingers touch
Your roughworn hand to hold.
Can you be my somebody closer
Instead of a figment in my dreams
Or will you haunt my waking everyday
Your laughing eyes unseen
I want to live out our memories
Our love captured in the breeze
This is my early morning yearning
Please set my heart at ease. 
On days when I am busy
On days when peace alights
I feel a stirring you're still near me
Like you're just within my sights
Then, I look up and all around me
Your real presence isn't true
Our lives unfolded separately 
Yet my heart's still yearns for you.
Can you be my somebody closer
Instead of a figment in my dreams
Or will you haunt my waking everyday
Your laughing eyes unseen
I want to live out our memories
Our love captured in the breeze
This is my early morning yearning
Please set my heart at ease. 

Monday, June 07, 2010


Renewal is conceived in the heart of discontent. It begins to grow by the inner light of silent conversations with God until it breaks through the clay of blended souls.  

Hungry hope is its companion as is a broken spirit enraptured by the Holy one, whose breezes caress  the restless suffering with tender knowing.  Hope reminds Renewal to be patient with its re-emerging and to know that most of its growth will be invisible to the outward glance, but colourfully recognizable when the human who hosts it gazes inwardly.  

Through suffering we learn to surrender.  Through surrendering, we learn how connected we are to a greater realm.  Through  connection, we begin to feel loved in much different way than perhaps we have ever felt before. 

What may feel that an epochal event that shifts our gaze and FEELS like renewal  is merely a glimpse of a field of diamonds off in the distance.   Those tantalizing sparkling gems with winkly twinkle c'mons  have the power to awaken our hunger for enlightenment, to tickle our parched thirsts for a drop of understanding.  

But, Renewal doesn't occur because of one event.  It may be the spark that ignites the change in direction, but it is not the conclusion.  It may be the impetus set in the clay of blended souls...... the foundation we rely on for support as we ride the waves of change by taking one step at a time.  

Renewal in all of its diamond splendour is simply our crooked journey signmarked by our recognition of love dressed in complicated life riddles.  Eventually it leads us to a place we can call home.  To get to the field, we must walk unprotected, barefooted pierced by the nettles and thorns of suffering that scratch and sting.......that leave pockmarked scars on our flesh. 

We must walk aided and unaided.......taking risks, learning as much from our hurts as we do our triumphs, reaching out to give while being open to receiving the gifts we are offered.  By so doing, we learn that the clay of blended souls we walk upon?  We are a part of that clay.  We belong to a universe who shares the same feelings, who thrive and survive, who suffer and feel joy...... who nurture and are nurtured by one another. 

Renewal may be conceived inside the heart of discontent, but the light of its darkness seems to always shed rays on a garden of hope, inside the home, waiting to be discovered.   As pilgrims, let us continue to be surprised by the answers to the riddles......... those "love in riddles," for this is where our awareness resides.  Don't forget to tuck in a dash or two of humour into that journey knapsack of yours too.

PS.  Pip?  My first attempt at "transposing" the article you sent me. Let me know what you think........ xx

Thursday, June 03, 2010

silence never felt so calm........

Silence has many layered meanings before you can reach what John O'Donohue described as the intimate innocence of the soul.  So what does it look like? This is how I envision it.

The outer layer shivers in shyness. It has a self-conscious blush to it. You yearn for interruptions to break away from the discomfort emanating from the unsettled vibes.

The next layer still is trapped in doubtful uneasiness. Thoughts come tumbling out in unspoken questions.  "What can I say to fill in the silence?"  "I wonder what others around me are thinking?" "How can I avoid this discomfort?" This silence chatters loudly.  The noise!  The blasted bleating noise! It's almost like it gets louder before any attempt at inner calm can be reached.  Once the energy reverberates enough, a resolution of surrendering to allowing the silence to seep in through the cracks begins to form from the sense of vulnerability created by the discomfort.  Self talk helps this along.  Breathing helps this along.  Being physically still lowers the volume. 

The third layer is a stepping away from the noise, though it can be heard in the murmuring echoes. But it definitely is a marked change.  Muscles unclench and much of what has stalled you drops away.  The mind spills and empties making room for a cotton softness to form along the perimeter that will both absorb interference as well as catch the affirmation of the Spirit.
This silence is where stillness begins, in the drumming reflections. Every now and then you can hear a reflective pongbong, like the sound of a stone thrown into a pond. 

Ease is coming ...... the stone has to settle ........ the stone has to settle.... The senses heighten and slowly begin to turn inward. Hesitation waxes and wanes as the gap between the third and fourth layer are transitioned.

The fourth layer of silence is found in the lapping of the pond ripples, which return to repeat like a visual mantra.  Mesmerizing, its surface holds us in a trance as the eyes gaze inside the deep welling place. It is there where a sense of vulnerable brokenness finds some comforting light……it is where you feel the most honest and strong while looking at the shadowy reflections of life’s realities.

The fifth layer brings a harmonic meditation........a kneeling thinness of even breathing, where palpitations are replaced by cradle comfort rocking to a welcoming hymn hummed like a lullaby. Breathing becomes the focus.  Breathing becomes the focus as you slip into a moment of assurance of grace.

It was stated by Meister Eckhart......"no one knows what the soul is. but, what we do know is the soul is where God works compassion...." I'm wondering if our deepest compassion for recognizing and accepting our imperfections as well as those in others can only truly happen when we find the courage to peel away the layers of silence, past the point of the loud pings and into the sanctity of a hymn.   

It can be a tearful process.  It's not often easy.  One never knows what is laying heavily in the dusty corners of our memories.  But, that's alright.  Tears are not something to be afraid of.  If there is anything I have learned during this emotional wavelength, it is that in order to fully let go of the bitter taste and the unrelenting hurt from betrayal, you have to go through the process.  

Avoid it, and you'll never heal.  Deny it, and it will physically eat you up from the inside out. Ignore it and you will never be able to visit the holy space in your soul where God works compassion.  And if you can't make it there......... to a place where silence is soothing, you will never be able to express your own compassion  as brilliantly as you are capable. And if you can't express it, you will forever be entangled in the host of fears and failures we all carry as burdens.

The courage to peel away the layers allows us to breathe air refreshened with love.  It is the best medicine for eventually reacquainting yourself with your self-worth.  Gotta go through the uglies and the pain of rejection first.

Now if I could only move more freely beyond the constant re-hashing of old scenarios and the chattering of both the spoken and the unspoken, I know I would feel better.  Create silence in the mind, peace will flourish in the soul.

Time, time, time.......... I long for that calm.....

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

a paddle

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it but do not know where it comes from and where it is going,  So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

I re-acquainted myself with the J-stroke on the weekend as I sat in the stern of a canoe and paddled along the waters near Keswick Ridge.  The blustery winds waxed and waned, allowing us to challenge our skills a bit,  but also offering us contemplative pulling through the water of glass. The wind blows where it wishes.
We paddled across the channel towards an island.  As we moved closer,  the view we once had altered completely.  What looked like a large island was in fact a grouping of small ones with inviting inlets to glide through.  Our options were plenty as we circled the circumference.

Instead of remaining in that vicinity, we chose to continue across the body of water to what initially looked like a stretch of land.  As we glided closer, an opening appeared which took us into a cove uninhabited by humans.  The conifers and deciduous trees stood along the shoreline like a welcoming sentry.  The shades of green....... spring green newness, were abundant.  The textures of evergreen needles and lush leaves were visibly etched on the landscape. It allowed us the ability to recognize the beauty of each unique tree stand.  

We continued paddling until we found one source, a water rippling brook which fed into the headpond....

For two hours the winds reminded of a Spirit.   Nature thrives in Its beauty.  We thrive within nature.  It's a symbiotic relationship we have.  From this relationship we learn to see life from different angles.  We are given the gift of reframing, reflecting, reviewing and then throwing some of our old thoughts and feelings right out into this wind.  While we do that, we absorb the holiness of the windSpirit's essence.....through our hair, on our skin, touching our faces with awareness.

As we turned the canoe around and began to paddle back to where we started, we saw just how much our view had shifted.  Small shifts....little journeys.  Accompanied by the wind. 

Vision over visibility....... helped by the spirit of the winds, and the J-stroke.