new shoots in the dark

In my part of the world, summer has taken a while to show up. It’s now here in full force: temperatures are high, and wildfires are burning all over the province. A smoky haze envelops my city, where there should be blue sky. Tonight is a full moon, and later this month a total solar eclipse, partially visible from where I live.

What does all this mean? Nothing, maybe. At one time I would’ve written about this as a chance to burn away what no longer serves us individually and collectively. The heat is kicking up tension, the smoke obscuring the path, the full moon marking the opportunity for completion.

Perhaps this is true, but I can’t say anything with certainty. On one hand it seems things are too unpredictable, on the other I feel completely stagnated. I’m noticing a chronic, underlying disgruntlement, triggered more often these days. I am impatient and anxious much of the time.

a smoky, hazy sky

It’s been on my radar to write an updated ‘About’ page. Mystic, wanderer, tantric, yogi… would I still describe myself this way? Possibly. But these words have formed an identity, an image, that no longer fits. Defining myself as ‘spiritual’, however earnest and sincere my intentions, has also – in some ways – disconnected me from others.

For a long time, I perceived the dominant, external reality as negative, and feared that focusing on this negative would only reinforce it, thus bringing more of it into my life. (The Law of Attraction.) I didn’t watch the news, and I unplugged from most social media. It was important to focus on the light.

But did it make me a happier person? No.

Because resisting something only strengthens it.

Because fearing negativity, and suppressing that fear, takes a lot of energy.

Because we are all connected, and living in a bubble doesn’t work.

Thanks to Leigh for sharing a recent Oprah interview with author and speaker Charles Eisenstein. Oprah and Charles discuss that hate is a ‘bodyguard’ for grief. The low-level suffering many of us experience is due to profound disconnection from our communities. Everything that’s happening to the world is happening to us….and we’ve numbed ourselves to the feeling – the knowing – that we’re all connected.

If we are evolving into a more conscious and empathic species, it’s important to know what’s going on with the rest of humanity. I want my feet on the ground, aware of what’s happening on (and to) the planet. I want my eyes opened where I’ve previously shielded them. We hold light where we can; but we also allow ourselves to feel the darkness. This can open the doors to empathy.

We’re all co-writers in this planetary script. Oprah and Charles discuss that we will hold on to our stories the hardest just before they completely collapse. This is happening on a mass scale. Where do I see my own beliefs playing out on the global stage? My stories have shaped my life, and it’s difficult to let some of them go. But they hold a me-against-the-world slant, and I don’t want to tell that tale anymore.

No matter who we are, we’ve inherited ancestral beliefs, religious conditioning, tribal fears and shames, and a collective worldview that for the most part stems from division and separation. Creating a new story is a massive undertaking.

I know so many kind and caring people who do their best to live in integrity and harmony with the natural world. They work hard every day to live by their values and take personal responsibility for their actions. I am inspired by them, and want to learn more from them. They give me hope that seeds of empathy and compassion are being planted in what appears to be the darkest of days.

Perhaps this moon is indeed a fortuitous time to end one chapter and begin writing the next.

why canada’s new leader matters

Canada is abuzz with the recent election of its new Prime Minister, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. I’m not sure if this made major headlines outside the country, but from my perspective, it is a huge deal.

I don’t follow politics closely; though I understand each party’s basic platform, I generally stay away from the news and mass media. However, I do know what I feel, and that is deep gratitude that my fellow Canadians came out in record numbers to exercise their right to vote – to say NO MORE to a right-wing government rooted in separation, fear, and division.

This post comes from my heart. I won’t say a lot about the politics of Canada’s exiting Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Only that when he was first elected, I felt a profound sense of dread and foreboding, which intensified when he was re-elected in 2011. It saddened me that his win reflected the dominant vibe of my country. Regardless of whether or not the majority of Canadians actually wanted him to win (and various factors indicated they didn’t), the election results were our collective responsibility.

Beautiful red October leaves

Beautiful red October leaves

A couple of years ago, I sat with my cosmically plugged-in friend AM at a coffeeshop in Vancouver. We shared our dismal feelings that our beloved Canada was changing right before our eyes under a repressive, conservative regime. At the time the 2015 election seemed so far away and we shuddered to think what could happen in the meantime. But we knew we could not slip into passivity. I’ll never forget that conversation, because it seemed so much bigger than the two of us.

In the days leading up to last week’s election, the momentum in the air was palpable. It wasn’t about a particular candidate, it was about the masses coming to life: sensing the possibility for change, and feeling the power to create it.

I may be painting Stephen Harper as the enemy, and that’s not my intention. His government’s actions throughout the last 9+ years have prompted me to examine those places in myself where I’ve identified with their patriarchal, traditionalist views. I’m able to see where I’ve been apathetic to important issues. Harper’s initiative to ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab in certain situations triggered my own conflicts with being Muslim. I can’t point fingers. In doing so, I take the responsibility off myself and my contribution to the whole.

That said – enough is enough.

I know it’s far too early to be over-confident about Canada’s progressive new leadership. I know that no political party is perfect and that many politicians never follow through on their promises. I’m not envisioning Canada as a golden age utopia that Trudeau will restore in the next four years (ok, maybe I’m fantasizing about that one a little).

I know that Canada wasn’t perfect pre-Harper, that Trudeau himself has supported controversial bills, and that politics is ultimately another duality-based game. I know that many Canadians are not happy about this decision.

But I love the fact that our new Prime Minister identifies as a feminist. I love that he brings youth, energy, and vitality to the political arena. I love that the woman by his side, his loving wife Sophie, understands that “Humanity longs for more compassion, more emotional intelligence, and less ‘ego-driven’ super powers.” I love that Canada’s Parliament now has a higher than ever number of Indigenous members (and hopefully many more leaders to come), and will soon have equal gender representation.

Canada’s new leadership matters to me because it represents something much greater: a shift in consciousness towards more balance, harmony, and inclusion. I hope with all my heart that Trudeau follows through on his promises. But it’s up to all Canadians to build a more compassionate, caring Canada. We are that powerful.