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Monday, 29 October 2012

The Art of Forgiveness

"Revenge, anger, and hatred are exceedingly low energies that keep you from matching up with the attributes of the universal force. A simple thought of forgiveness toward anyone who might have angered you in the past will raise you to the level of Spirit and aid you in your individual intentions. Forgiveness is really an act of letting go. We can do this letting go without even encountering the person we want to forgive. This is one of the most healing things you can do."

~ Wayne Dyer

Lately I spend a lot of time contemplating my intentions and committing to what it means to act in accordance with those intentions. This past summer has been nothing short of magical. This whole year in fact. I am aware of feeling like I am in an accelerated period of growth and manifestation. As my plans become more clear to me and my new business plan unfolds, I am reflective and excited at the same time. I have come to a new level of clarity with myself. In the recent past I've spent a lot of time (and energy) clearing my home, my mind and my life of people, and things that are no longer aligned with my highest goals. It has been an interesting and, at times, heart wrenching process.

Through that I've come to realize the internal work we do with ourselves, often in silence in the privacy of our own minds and hearts, is so much more important than trying to stay in unfulfilling relationships and job positions, or inviting those who have harmed you back into your life because you feel obligated to. Compassion and the fine Art of Forgiveness - both of yourself and others, does NOT mean you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, lied to or disrespected. It also doesn't mean you keep people around you because you pity them or think it somehow more "spiritual" to allow them in your life as they continue to harm you.

 Gandhi said it eloquently when he said "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong."

Forgiveness truly frees you, heals your body and your mind and opens up endless avenues for wealth, health and support. Forgiveness is an act of trust. It is detaching from the drama or the discord enough to recognize that - life goes on. And as it does, you can live it joyfully, playfully, or you can live it bitter and contracted. The choice, really, is yours.

It sometimes means that we do our best to understand and forgive the things that upset or disappoint us by remembering everyone is doing the best they can with the knowledge they possess. That's it. And through the dance of interconnectedness, as people move in and out of our lives, we can decide if we are in alignment enough to continue to foster the relationship. As for the past? Well - it's just that...past. Done. Over. It is YOU who keeps it alive by continuing to dwell on something which no longer exists. One thing I know for certain is that there is a fantastic mystery that surrounds each of us that somehow always maintains balance. That has never been more apparent to me than it is right now. Somehow, even in the most confusing darkest moments, a light will come to guide the way. So - walk through the doors that open to you. With child-like curiosity  let yourself be fascinated and intrigued by the process.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Giving Thanks

After one of the most beautiful and exquisite summers on memory the air has gradually cooled and the landscape has come alive with the richness of Autumn. The countryside is a wash of crimson, orange and yellow and we are now in the throws of one of the loveliest Falls that I can remember in Southern Ontario. This is the time for family, friends, food and fellowship. A time when we are all getting together to enjoy each other's company, have a few laughs and celebrate the bounty of the season with some incredible feasts and quality time with our loved ones. 

The energy in the air begins to change around here in the Fall. Quite noticeably. Fall is a busy time as the farmers harvests abound, the cooler nights have us indoors more and you can feel a coziness that no other season quite compares to. My fridge is full to overflowing with some of the freshest local produce and all I want to do is cook and entertain friends. It's a festive time.

There is much to give thanks for this Thanksgiving. So so much. Looking back on 2012 it's been a pretty wild ride. Unlike the stagnancy of last year, things are moving quickly and changing so rapidly it's sometimes hard to keep up! There's a vitality, an aliveness, to this year that has been very exciting. A little unnerving at times, but definitely thrilling. It feels to me as if there's an electricity in the air, an unseen power that seems to take thoughts and materialize them into reality with lightening quick speed. More than ever I am aware of the power that's available to us when we live mindfully and turn our attention to our wildest dreams - all the things that have seemed out of reach, impossible even, feel so much more accessible this year. The magnitude of that keeps me up at night as I sometimes find it difficult to slow myself down. There is so much I wish to create!

I give Thanks this Thanksgiving to my wonderful family that is a never ending source of strength and comfort for me. I am so blessed by your unconditional love. My niece Nika, is an endless source of joy and humor and I give Thanks for her innocence and the hope I see in my family's eyes when she is around. I give Thanks to my friends who, as you guys know, are an extension of my family. My soul sisters and my brothas from different muthas - you keep me grounded. Thank you for your support and for not letting me slip off the edge when the darkness comes. You know who you are and I am so grateful to have you in my life. And as cliche as it sounds - I think it's great that this building has turned into a scene from "Singles". It's reassuring to know that my Besties are just a few doors away. 

 I give Thanks to this wonderful lil' town that I call home. The Farmers Markets, the orchards, the safety, the picturesque Norman Rockwell-y-ness of it all, and just enough nightlife to give us all something to talk about in the morning. Ah the hilarity! I give Thanks to the couple of you who have broken my heart this year. I never really wanted you to go. And you know that I would be the last to let you know that. But thank you for helping me to soften into my vulnerability enough to discover what I truly want. Thank you for reminding me what my vision of a real man actually is and for helping me realize that I will never, ever settle for less than the love that I am willing and ready to give.

I give Thanks to The Good Earth and to Nicolette Novak for being a truly inspirational woman. A woman who has had the courage to unabashedly follow her passion, opening her heart and her home, creating a sanctuary for all to enjoy. I love going to the farm (the FunnyFarm as I now refer to it) as it reminds me of my Grandparents home in the country where I would spend summers gardening, playing with frogs, fishing, picking fiddleheads.

 My lil' "part time job" there has been an unexpectedly heart opening experience. Even though the chickens think they're dogs, the dogs think they're people and the staff is all a little left of center - I am so amused every day at how much I learn there. Working there inspires me to follow my own passion and makes it seem possible to create the life I long for. My job there this year has afforded me the great opportunity to meet some of the loveliest people I've met in a LONG time and to be surrounded by some of the finest wines and culinary offerings this area has to offer. It's a joy and a pleasure to work in an environment with zero pretentiousness where I feel refreshingly normal amidst the silliness and the quirkiness of my co workers. 

I give Thanks for the miracle of my body, my ability to move freely, to feel, to heal. I give Thanks for my Yoga Practice for being somewhere to turn when nothing else makes sense and for being the compass within me that guides me at every twist and turn. Thank you, humbly, to all my Teachers, to their Teachers, and to the Teachings themselves that continue to come alive in my life. What a blessing this practice has been. I humbly bow to all of you who have guided me to the deepest depths only to reveal to me there is still so much yet to discover.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Is it Me?? It must be this place....

Sometimes I get frustrated with "this place".

I get annoyed at the aggressive drivers, the litter-ers, all the cigarette smokers. I feel anxious about the winters, and the cold, and the months of darkness, and the ice. I get irritated, occasionally, about some of the shenanigans that go on in the evening hours at some of the local pubs in this small town of mine. I get tired of hearing the same ol' stories about the same ol' drama about so-and-so drinking too much and getting all gnarly and rude and simply not acting their age. I get mildly peeved about trying to do my groceries in peace and, on occasion, running into snotty, rude, judgmental, (usually) ladies who want to tell me all about their wondrous PhD's and ask incredibly condescending questions about exactly "where my business is going now?" Yes. It's true. There are certain days when I flop on my couch at the end of the day feeling nothing less than totally.....Done.

And I wonder - where else can I go? How can I "get away" from all these annoyances? I fantasize about packing a bag and fleeing town. Just getting on the next bus and....starting again. Somewhere new. Somewhere exotic and fun. Somewhere no one knows me and I can just...recreate myself! The funny part? That was, literally, most of my twenties. I never allowed myself to accumulate too many possessions. Just in case I decided to leave. It actually became an ongoing joke with people who knew me well. They'd joust about "a lover in every port" and "Oh Heather's got her running shoes on again!".

Now, after years of travelling and touring here and there - from coast to coast,and country to country, I realize that wherever you go...there you are. Truly. It doesn't matter how many times I displaced myself. I would meet the same people, see the same social impressions repeating, feel the same silly ways about myself. But at first it would look different. I would be captivated by how new and intriguing it all was. Only to eventually unveil itself as the same patterns I've always seen; always known. Different faces, different names. But quite the same patterns.

It wasn't until I realized the common denominator in all the ups and all the downs in my life was...well... me. It's all me. When I started working on MYSELF, taking full responsibility for my actions and my words...that's when I started to see the every day things taking on a whole new life. It became fascinating instead of aggravating. I started to feel real joy. Real hope that I actually have the power to do whatever I want to. And I can do it MY way, with compassion, with humor, with respect to myself and those around me.

In the unfolding of recent events I have noticed many people approaching life with a subtle defensive aggression. Like they're always ready to bite someone's head off or throw a tantrum. Or like they are some how "entitled" to something better. Those same people are the ones who "just can't understand" why they're having problems with people at work, or why none of their family truly knows them, or why certain situations seem to "always happen to them". Not realizing what it is that THEY, THEMSELVES who are actually putting that out into the Universe, every single day - with the words they speak, the lies they tell, the things they hide, the choices they make that encourage reactions, opinions, and responses from the world around them.

Oscar Wilde said it wonderfully when he announced " should never do anything one cannot talk about after dinner." A true Lover Of Life, I think Mr Wilde speaks a lot of wisdom. Everything we are, everything we do we should be able to own, fully. If we cannot; if who we are pretending to be causes the need to run away, or lie, or get trapped in cycles of cheating, pretense and suffering - it MUST be re-examined. Having known both - a life of wonder, filled with love, comfort, ease is so much healthier in all ways than a life of stagnancy and depression. Or worse - a life clouded by the constant need to numb or alter yourself with drugs, pills, alcohol and anything else you can find from keeping you from your own vulnerability, your own true strength. Why do so many of us fear our own strength? Our success? I can't quite figure that out. Is it the responsibility it carries? The unknown? The fear we might not be able to "keep that up"?

If we are given the choice to live - happy, impassioned, glorified....why choose the ugliness of lies, deceit and  pretense? Do as you wish. But embrace your choices. It's cool if you need to be angry for a while. Go right ahead. Rage. Feel that. But then be done with it. Let that energy move through you. If it isn't, and you find yourself stuck in it, ask yourself - what needs to happen so I can move through this? Get moving! Move your body, express yourself, find an outlet. Help it MOVE THROUGH.  If you need to wallow for a time - do it! Go ahead. Indulge in some wallowing. Lie around, brooding, watching reruns of bad tv. Go right ahead and fully embrace the wallow. But recognize this - emotions are meant to be exactly what they are - alive moving energies. Constantly changing. Just like the breath moving in and out, circling life through your body. Like the passing clouds in the sky - eventually revealing the sun again. Getting stuck, holding on too long, is much the same as trying to build a home on quicksand. Everything just keeps getting sucked under. Exhausting.

I believe I will always have a somewhat Gypsy Spirit. I like to travel. I like to be in motion. But now I'd much rather travel with an open heart, ready to experience love, abundance, joy, adventure in whatever way I can. My days of running away disguised as travelling are over. It's funny how powerful those silent intentions can be. Setting out into your day with an attitude of "I'm ready for love. I'm ready to celebrate." Or -" I Humbly Acknowledge My Fear(s) and today i will walk through my day one step at a time"...brings so much back.

 Suddenly your silent intention begins to shift, subtly at first, how you act, react and all you perceive. And breath by breath things transform in the most amazing ways. But what IS your intention? What are you waking up for? Do you know? How do you want it to be?  To Feel? To Look? Begin there.