a compassionate february

I have been waiting for February. February feels like fresh air and moving forward. Not ‘moving forward’ as in doing a bunch of things; in fact, as I write these words, I feel utterly exhausted. I can barely grasp the gravity of what’s happening in the U.S., and the tragedy of the Quebec mosque shootings. It’s all slammed me in a way I wasn’t expecting.

Which is why I’m taking extra care to be aware of, and conserve, my energy as much as possible. 2016 brought into sharp focus the consequences of not honouring my energy. So much of my attention was directed outward, and I felt the severe financial, emotional, and spiritual impact. What I thought made me feel good was actually draining my life force, slowly but surely. By the end of 2016, I was running on empty.

It’s hard to imagine 2017 being more intense than last year – but it likely will be. How are we going to handle it? I don’t tune in to social media or the news, but that’s not necessarily the solution. This isn’t a time to bury my head in the sand. (It wouldn’t work anyway; I’d still feel what’s going on globally. We are interconnected.)

purple-tulips

January was about wrapping up loose ends and completing, or moving forward with, projects and commitments I’d procrastinated on. At times it felt like a bit of a slog…but I’m glad I took care of these things, because the more I clear the energetic cobwebs, the greater space I have within. And the better equipped I am to handle what 2017 will bring. The good, the bad, and the ugly/beautiful.

On another note – or maybe it’s completely related – I recently attended some mental health training sessions as part of my new job. Though I registered in these courses to assist those I work with, the training unexpectedly helped me on a very personal level. Not only did I come away with a greater empathy and understanding for those with mental health issues, I felt self-compassion and insight into my own journey.

We never know what’s going on in someone’s interior world. Our assumptions, wounds, and projections are so strong that we can completely miss the humanity in another (and in ourselves). These past few weeks I’ve realized that I often assume others are ‘okay’, when maybe they’re really not. This all feels very timely and relevant to the world stage.

Many of us are grieving. Collective healing begins with self-compassion; when we acknowledge our own vulnerability, we recognize it in those around us. Compassion dissolves our hardened walls. When we cut out the superfluous ’stuff’ of our lives, we draw on our inner resources and share them with others. We become creative in totally new ways…creative with people, love, and relationships. We become leaders in our own lives.

Reaching out to others is courageous; it’s much more comfortable to stay in our cozy little spaces. But withdrawal and isolation won’t work. Our survival as a species – if that’s what we want – hinges on the awareness that we need each other, now more than ever. Baby steps quickly become leaps and bounds. Compassion is the way.

I wish everyone a peaceful February.

my fiction put me in debt

My first guest blog post, as featured on A Holistic Journey.

A Holistic Journey

Last week my father told me that his local Safeway had closed down, soon to be replaced with a Whole Foods. Normally this news would’ve tickled me – I’m a Whole Foods addict – but I was inexplicably sad. He now scans the weekly store flyers and shops the best deals.

Why did this conversation leave me feeling so tender, so emotional? I realized it was the first time I thought, I want to be like that. Like my father. Careful, methodical. Good with money.

The money story has always been big for me. As a small child I constantly compared myself to others – me often holding the short end of the stick. Everyone else got the best toys, the best food (hot dogs and sugary cereals), the best clothes. I got a dad who seemed to say ‘no’ to everything.

It made me angry. It made me…

View original post 334 more words

releasing my debt

This seems to be the summer of saying what I need to say, no matter how terrified I am to say it.

A couple of weeks ago, it was calling my family members and acknowledging how I truly felt about…everything.

I’ve long played the role of the ‘good’ daughter, not wanting to make waves or hurt or offend anyone. But because I couldn’t express all parts of myself – the darker, more unpleasant things – I kept them within. And there was a lurking, hard resentment building as a result.

I’m getting that when I feel such resentment towards people, they know it on some level. They feel it. And no amount of smiles or sunny disposition can cover it up. And that hiding, that suppressing, is way more harmful (to everyone) than expressing myself outright.

When I shared with my family that I had blamed and resented them for things from the past, it was said with such a desire for love, peace, and harmony with them in the NOW. And they could actually feel that, because in that moment I was expressing all of me. They could feel that authenticity and, in turn, they welcomed what I said with love.

It’s the time to stop playing roles, and live who we CREATE ourselves to be. Not who we, or others, have thought we are. I feel that a huge weight’s been lifted from my shoulders. Like something that was struggling to get out of me is finally releasing.

***

A few nights ago I did something that I never thought I could do. I told a group of 30+ people about my financial debt. I gave them the breakdown of how much I owe, and to whom. I stated the total amount.

My money situation has always been my ‘dirty little secret’. The thing I’ve keep hidden. The shame has kinda paralyzed me. It’s the story I’ve allowed to rule my life.

I revealed all this on a coaching/leadership call as part of a workshop series I’m doing on integrity (an extension of the Landmark workshop I did a couple of weeks ago). Now that I won’t be receiving a regular paycheque – I’m starting school next week – it is time to really clean up the money stuff.

It’s not that being in debt equals a lack of ‘integrity’ as most people define the word, i.e., integrity in the ‘moral’ sense. It’s more that the stories we have about ourselves (because of our financial debt) reinforce our feelings of shame and powerlessness.

Integrity is wholeness and completeness. Powerlessness and shame are not.

If my underlying feeling is that ‘I have no willpower’…how empowering is that?! No wonder most of our efforts end in self-sabotage!

My debt had become loaded with so much. It was weighing me down. Being able to share the numbers with a group of relative strangers, especially those I couldn’t see, was…well, I can’t say it felt good at the time.

But – in the hours leading up to that call, I couldn’t wait to get it off my chest. And now, knowing that once again I’ve had a conversation and spoken words I would have never fathomed speaking just a short time ago, I’m feeling lighter. Seeing those numbers as ‘what is’, and not a negative reflection of me.

I know that more and more of these conversations are possible. And it’s those conversations that facilitate real transformation.

It’s like I’m pushing myself to see how far I can go. How much I can trust people. Ultimately, it’s showing me that I feel safe with myself. Knowing my world will not fall apart when I say what hasn’t been said before. Love will still be there.

Boundaries are good. Barricades are not. I’d isolated myself in many ways, and gotten used to going at it alone.

This sharing feels good. It’s kind of addictive. It’s letting life in.

the power of the women’s circle

Today is the final day of a 3-day sacred women’s circle I’m part of. I didn’t even know about the event until just a few days ago. It popped up on my Facebook wall (on the Full Moon, hmmm) and, despite my recent resolve to not spend money on retreats and workshops for the next little while, I knew immediately that I had to go. Not only would I be connecting with women in my own city, we would be learning the steps to facilitate our own women’s circles – gatherings where women come together to connect with each other deeply and authentically.

josephine wall, 'spirit of flight'

josephine wall, ‘spirit of flight’

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of leading women’s circles, so I trusted the divine timing at play and signed myself up before the doubting inner voice could talk me out of it.

After two days, what I know is this:

Few things are more powerful than women coming together in sacred circle to heal (individually and collectively).

Women can really go there when held in a trusting environment. Our emotional depth and our capacity to self-express makes my head spin (in a good way)!

It feels amazing to sit with a group of conscious women and feel truly seen and heard. Feeling that total acceptance is like coming Home. When judgment does come up, it is usually acknowledged (internally or externally), and dealt with.

-When women create sacred space with intention, magic happens. I mean real, palpable magic. The energy is electric. The power we can tap into when we are united is astounding.

I live two different lives: the one I present to the outside world, and the one in circle. In sacred space with my soul sisters (yes, even those I’ve only met two days ago!), I can relax and be truly Me, with no pretense. I can say things I would never ‘normally’ say out loud. Women can allow this for each other. It is possible. And when it happens, it is fucking amazing.

-Our society is set up such that women are often in judgment and competition with each other. It’s ingrained in most of us, and it takes constant conscious awareness to override this programming. Not an easy task when our triggers get activated and the pain runs so deep – not only in our present life experience, but in our ancestors/genes (DNA).

It is what it is for now, and it’s much more manageable when we have support and can see the bigger picture.

Women are waking up. And a lot of us really want men to be along for the ride, by our side, the Divine Masculine to our Divine Feminine. Both men and women can rise to a level of greatness that Planet Earth has not yet seen. The road to get there is not for the faint of heart…but it’s OH-SO-WORTH waiting for!)

***

I didn’t know the importance of authentic connection with women, or how much I needed it, till I experienced it for the first time a few years ago. A whole new world opened up.

This is where the Divine Feminine happens – when women gather together with the intention to awaken her. She is found in the real, raw, uncomfortable, deep, soulful, exhilarating, hilarious gatherings of women in our communities, in our backyards. The effects of those gatherings ripple out and transform all.

I’m driven to do this work…it’s exhausting and out of my comfort zone, it’s messy, and it brings up a lot of unpleasant stuff. I certainly can’t say it’s fun. But I feel alive when I’m doing it. I feel I’m tapping into something so Real in the midst of a grand illusion. This stuff matters. And I want more of it in my life.

And so it is.

musings on blogging

Is anyone else experiencing time flying by at warp speed?  I haven’t blogged in a while, but a niggling internal voice has been reminding me daily…It’s time for your next post!

Actually, I don’t know if ‘niggling’ is the right word.  Blogging has been an awesome addition to my life these past few months. So maybe it’s time to reflect on this wonderful WordPress world, and muse on the questions it’s raised for me.

First: Why does a private person want to share their innermost thoughts so publicly?  I consider myself quite introverted, so it’s interesting that I’m relatively comfortable expressing myself so openly in this forum. Sure, there is some detachment on the web, in that it’s mostly ‘strangers’ reading my words.  But even this is changing as friends and family discover my blog, and strangers become friends. As my worlds merge, I question why I’m not very forthcoming with those supposedly closest to me. Why have I been resistant to them knowing the ‘real’ me?  I guess I can’t hide for much longer!  The word is spreading.

the blog station

the blog station

Inspiration strikes when I’m not near a computer.  And that’s ok. I like to walk.  Everywhere.  And ideas often stream through me during this time.  I’m not one to whip out my iPhone to take notes (it majorly interrupts my flow), so I’ve come to enjoy the feeling of being inspired, and allowing it to imprint upon me…trusting that I can tap into it when needed.  When I stress about losing ideas, it introduces resistance to the whole blogging process. And then it becomes less enjoyable for me.

Blogging makes me accountable.  But not too accountable. There’s something about declaring your hopes and dreams to the entire world that makes them more real.  This is a great motivator, but also requires patience and compassion for myself.  If I change my mind, or don’t follow through with something I write, it’s okay. Things are always in flux and, especially as I refine and tweak my desires, I must allow myself that flexibility.

Redefining blogging etiquette.  For example, how often should I blog?  There are lots of great blogging resources out there, many of which stress the importance of regular, frequent posting.  But I need to develop my own protocol (i.e., one with no rules).  Some weeks, the inspiration flows mightily and I have so many ideas I can barely keep up. Other times – I got nothing.  I know this is pretty common amongst bloggers…but I personally don’t have a stockpile of posts ready to draw on when my writing well runs dry (as the experts recommend)!

But there are dry spells, and there’s procrastination.  Even when I have a great idea in mind, and time to write, I’ll sit on it.  Why?  The possibility – the potential – that something amazing is within me is sometimes more preferable than attempting to articulate it, and not properly capturing its essence.    In other words, it’s the fear of failure – a pattern I see operating in other areas of my life.  Thankfully, this tendency is shifting as I shine more light on it (with some help from Abraham-Hicks, of course).  But it prompts me to ask:

Who am I writing for?  I started this blog as an avenue of self-expression.  I’m happy others have discovered, and found resonance with, my words.  But at times I’m very aware that others are reading.  And I have to remind myself of the primary reason for my writing: to authentically express myself.  Not to write what I think will make me likable, not to gain stats, not to make sure the post is the ‘right’ number of words so as to not deter readers.

this has nothing to do with this post; i'm just obsessed with taking pictures of ducks

this has nothing to do with this post; i’m just obsessed with taking pictures of ducks

I sometimes view blogging as a conversation between me and my higher self (something I read on another blog), which has its own value on my journey of self-discovery and speaking my truth.  As soon as I stray from authenticity – when I slip into ego, when I make it about others and not me – I’m not in integrity and alignment.

And yet – it is undeniable that the interaction with others is what makes blogging so great!  Which brings me to…

Why I am I doing this?  Quite simply, because it feels good. And it’s fun.  After years of over-analyzing/processing/questioning, and generally feeling very stuck, I’m learning that life is about cultivating more fun, joy, and lightness whenever and wherever I can.  And when I focus on all the amazing people I’ve ‘met’ all over the world, and the ideas that have been generated and shared, I see blogging as one creative means for achieving these positive states.

***

I imagine Earth as a globe with little points of light everywhere, more being lit every second, with like-minded bloggers connecting and networking and charging up the whole planet.

Consciousness is exciting.  Writing is exciting.  Connection is exciting.  Self-expression is exciting!

I’m so glad I took the plunge and wrote that first post (almost) six months ago.

Thank you for reading!

an accidental smile

lately i have found myself accidentally smiling at people.  i’ll be walking down the street, lost in my own reverie, and when i look up my automatic reaction is to smile at the person walking past.  on these occasions my response surprises even me, as the smile seems to bypass any mental thought process…and anything that bypasses my hyperactive mind is quite the feat indeed.

however, even more pleasantly surprising is the reaction i get.  most of the time…people actually smile back!

whenever this seemingly small exchange occurs, my heart smiles too.  it never fails to amaze me how such a fleeting interaction between two complete strangers can  so genuinely and swiftly energize my spirit.

so i ask myself: why don’t i do it more often?

some people have a naturally sunny disposition and walking around with a smile is usual for them.  i, however, lean toward the more pensive, and having a big grin plastered across my face seems not only unnatural but kind of silly.  also, i live in a city where people are generally regarded as reserved and (especially this time of year) tend to huddle to themselves.  this does make the whole smiling-at-people thing a little more challenging.

but these are cop-outs and i know it and there’s more to it than that.

i sometimes go about my day in an almost-defensive mode, seizing up those around me, on the lookout for any perceived danger.  most of the time this is unconscious, and a means of protecting my heart.  but protecting it from what, exactly?  what am i afraid will happen if i let the armour down?

am i scared that if i smile at someone, they won’t smile back?   is the possibly of rejection so painful that i (we) shut myself off from anything that could trigger it?  i won’t go into old rejection wounds here; i’m kinda done with that.  suffice it to say that this MO is really just my lizard brain on autopilot, and it’s time for me to consciously take the wheel (or whatever it is that pilots use to fly).  it’s time to actively create the society i want to live in. even if others don’t seem to be on the same page.

dramatic as it sounds…a smile from a stranger, if only for a second, gives me hope in my fellow neighbor, and thus in humanity.  and seconds add up.

i accidentally smiled at someone today.  and i made it an experiment to smile at whoever passed me by after that.  guess what?  it was amazing.  pretty much everyone smiled back! i even got a couple of hello’s!

just thinking about it puts a silly grin on my face.