HEADING INTO THE HEART

The heart is a funny organ. It is the center of the body, the place where all life comes forward from.  the heart is sustained by our lungs – and is the force behind the distribution of the oxygen and blood necessary for our and organs. The heart is the engine – the machine that keeps it all going.

We are starting to understand that it is important not only to take care of our physical heart – but our spiritual hearts a well; we know now that an uncared for heart can manifest into a thousand different problems. Physical problems like heart attacks and cancer can be directly related to the spiritual and emotional impact of our emotions and choices on the heart.

When I was young and was having problems making a decision my mother would always say “Follow your heart”.   I suppose this meant that she expected there was a great wisdom which resided inside of me, and that if I followed the direction my heart told me to, this would create the best outcome for me.  The thing is, we mostly don’t have any clue as to how to listen to the heart, because we are so busy listening to the mind. The mind tells us all sorts of things.  The problem is, the mind very rarely tells the truth.   It has opinions, judgement and makes decisions based in fear, avoidance and reaction.   The mind tells us we are not capable of a thing, or that we are not worthy of a certain positive outcome. The mind focuses in the past and future and is never ever in the current moment in which you stand.  The mind exists in a constant state of illusion. The world it brings to your awareness is also an illusion. realizing this is like waking up from a very long dream and realizing that in real life – you can fly.

The sound of the heart is silence.  It is emptiness which is in and of itself full.  The feeling of the heart is peace – relaxed and accepting.  Joy and serenity are the results of applying heart knowledge when making choices and interacting with your life. woman-holding-fire-sculpture

Someone with an OPEN HEART is said to be loving, giving, caring and approachable.  A closed heart is someone who is self-protecting, fears vulnerability and probably has allot of ego interference in his or her relationship. someone with a closed heart is difficult to communicate with because they take everything personally. The closed heart shuts out the world in self protection –  and an open heart invites it in fearlessly.

The WAY to open your heart? Act “as if” – from this moment on.  Don’t spend the whole day thinking about all the reasons things aren’t going your way. Don’t spend any time at all thinking about why people aren’t like you want them to be 🙂 Spend LOTS of time just LOOKING…just observe. Watch…yourself and others.

If a chance to be of service presents itself – do it.  Be a good ear, be a hand, be the change you want to see in your community or family.

Some ideas:

* Love without reserve or requirement. Love everyone – but love YOU first.

* Keep energy giving people – let go of energy vampires: Invite people into your life who help your heart feel at ease, happy and accepted and loved unconditionally.  Deter people who are negative energy for you. The needy, the angry and the resentful.  They have their own issues to deal with. Love them – but don’t spend lots of time with them.

* Be of service – lend a hand.   Say a prayer or hold a positive thought for someone you don’t even know – but would like to see be ok.  Random acts of kindness are a big hit with your heart. Do a service for someone every day …but don’t let anyone know. It’s a secret – between you and your heart. Shhhh

* Understand that love doesn’t mean “people pleasing” – love means knowing yourself, setting your boundaries and filling your own cup before turning to fill others.

* Eat well. You already now what this means.  More green – less white.

* Don’t stay angry – use the anger to discover yourself. . Repressed energy will reveal itself in disease.  Talk things out. Find the REAL reason why you’re angry (Hint: anger is fear. Resentment is fear. Find out what you’re afraid of).

*Resentments will kill you. Don’t have them. Resentments are not natural, not healthy, counterproductive, exhausting, distracting and they are completely unnecessary.   Plus – you have a role in each one.  The second you are able to understand what YOUR part in the resentment is…it will POOF away like magic. OK…well maybe not magic 🙂 but it won’t govern you, and that’s the goal.

* Silence – every single day, without exception, you need to stay still for a moment and just be QUIET.  Forget about meditating or any of that – just stay still. Stand there. Don’t move. Just breathe..and feel your heart beating.  Feel your pulse…be with your heart.

*Express yourself creatively – Your heart can be “quieted” through a centering and expression exercise every day. I like journalling. It is a steady foundation for me, a way which I communicate with God as I understand it, and allows me to see myself away from my interior emotions.  A good tool also for sorting out resentments anger and fear.

My next entry will be a real down an dirty look at resentment, anger and the aspects of our lives that cause us to close our hearts.

Until then – I hope you are filled with abundant joy and a sure knowledge of the divinity you are in this life.

It is an honour to share this with you.

~Namaste~

All My Mothers

I was 25 when I became a mother and my mother became a grandmother.  We were both caught by surprise by the whole thing.  I grew enormous in my first pregnancy, and while I waddled around managing a health club the owner plyed me with any food I wanted which mostly included escargot sautéed in tomatoes with garlic.   Many celebrations surrounded this pregnancy, and my partner and I at the time made the quick transition from youth to adulthood.045

This pregnancy was a milestone for many people. It was certainly a first for both my mother and I – this entry into mothering children.  We were just beginning our own relationship – and now we would become a team and raise this child that was growing inside of me.  We have a unique story my mother and I. Most people don`t really understand it – but we do.

I was adopted at 4 days old by my first parents.  I had always felt “proud” of being adopted.  The story I was told was that I had been chosen because I was special. They found me in a  room amongst a hundred  other babies, fell in love with me, wrapped me in the pink blanket I was known to hail with me everywhere and took me home.  I had a lovely childhood, filled with an abundance of people, birthday presents and travel.   Everyone in my life loved me and I became the focus of attention for my large family which included 4 much older sisters and 2 much older brothers.

My siblings were mostly grown and had moved out of the family home. All except my two sisters, one a singer, the other an artist.  For most of my early years, they plied me with their inspiration, taking me with them everywhere. I remember being as young as five years old, when my parents would wake me and bundle me up to g and see my sister sing in beautiful dinner clubs with velvet cushions that felt nice under my cheek as I would curl up on the bench and fall back asleep to my sister’s strong melodic voice.  I was literally weaned on the live music scene.   I began to get on stage at 5, with her tambourine, playing easily and rhythmically to Chatanooga Choo choo.  Those were the days of live disco and excitement in the clubs ran high as I grew older and began to follow her to dance clubs where women wore flashy eye makeup and men wore white pants.  It was a great time to be growing up.

Back home my other sister, the artist, would be my “home ground”, and safe place.  She taught me visual self-expression, taking me to cool places like the YMCA Montreal where she ran an arts and crafts programs for kids,and we got to make masks out of papier-mache, all painted and freaky looking. She introduced me to Swensen`s Ice Cream in Montreal and sang me lullabies.  She taught me how to sing harmonies, always making doing the after dinner dishes fun. And when my parent;s marriage began to fall to pieces, she became my refuge and gave me a home.

I learned about mothering fundamentals with her.  As she had her own children, I would spend many summers and weekends at her place, learning what it was like to have to pay constant attention to small people.  creatively gifted, she would initiate the most amazing projects with the kids and we would spend happy summers under the sprinkler, eating popsicle and watching the kids skip and play hop-scotch on the streets.  Long nights of backgammon, getting my butt kicked in Trivial Pursuit or learning difficult and addictive card games like canasta are all tucked neatly away in my happy memories.

Every life has turning points. One of the biggest ones for me came when at 13 I discovered that one of my four sisters was in fact my biological mother.  This is the part when most people take out a paper and pencil to try to make all the right connections:  My mother is my sister, my nephew and nieces are my cousins and my sister is my mother and my mother is my grandmother, my father is my grandfather and my brothers are my uncles and my sisters are my aunts.  Did you get all that? No? Well don’t feel bad – neither did I for a long time.    So, I just ignored it.

I guess that’s probably the best way to see it at the time.  I chose to continue to maintain the same relationships with people.  Certainly, I reasoned, you don’t have the same relationship with an aunt or uncle as you do a brother or sister? And with my sisters especially since I was so close to them, it was unimaginable for em to have to about     establish some sort of preemptive  distance from them now just because they were really just Aunts?  Aunt seemed less important than they were to me and I couldn’t seem to “downgrade” them.

Most of the people in the family, including my two sisters, did not know my biological history.  It only strikes me now in my adulthood that I had never considered their adjustment to the news and relationships in their own head.  Obviously, this whole “outing” of a big family secret caused some changes.

I was sent to Africa to live with my biological mother where I lived the happiest months in my memory.  My parents meanwhile made arrangements to separate.  My mother moved to Florida soon after I returned from Africa the following year. I was placed in private boarding school. Two years later she died of cancer in Florida.

I graduated and went to university at the young age of 16.  My father was dating again and I had 6 years to spend with an awesome woman what he took up with, She loved big family events and had enough money to spend to have a really great time with all of us, so we would have enormous family gatherings and celebrations for no other reason than just to be together. one year we all went to Florida.  About 10 of the kids (because together we were 12 kids), and my father and his girlfriend. She taught me how to make a chocolate mousse as she had learned at a cooking school in France.  We screwed it up about 5 times but had a terrific time eating the remnants 🙂 We did art with clay with her girls and played football on the beach.  She made my father happy in a way I had never seen him. And when he refused to stop working because he was addicted to it, and she wanted to have a happy free life from work , she broke up with him and taught me about self-respect and putting yourself first in making choices for your life.

My father remarried another woman after her.  A nurse and caretaker, she helped him in his final years happy and peaceful and well cared for.  A quiter person and less inclined to spend time with the children, she probably gave him the time to himself that he needed after so many years of raising children and caring for other people.

At 25 my pregnancy hailed the real onset of my relationship with my biological mother.  After so many years of missing being my mother, she jumped into grand-parenthood with all of her heart and soul – loving and caring for my children as she would have her own.  We were a great team!  She always respected the views I had on motherhood, supported and cared for me during my divorce. She married and he became the my children’s most loving attentive grandfather imagineable. I couldnt imagine anyone else being their grandfather.   She taught me more in the example of her living than anyone could through the wisdom of their words.  The courage to give up a child and then stick around to support it throughout its life, putting your own wishes and desires aside for the best interest of the child – I can;t imagine how much strength she had.  I am at a loss as to what to say about my biological mother.  Right now she has cancer. We are all afraid for her health.  Long ago we decided together that we would “drop the labels”, that labels aren’t important when it comes to people’ relationships.   Our relationship is beyond label and description – it is sister-mother-friend-guide-partner….it goes on. I am so grateful.

How the story ends…or begins again?  Karma – I ended up with seven of my own children.  In the end no big daunting revelatory thought…just that Motherhood has taught me about love.  Perfect unending unconditional love.

Mothers come in many forms.  I believe we pick our mother – or in my case, team of mothers.  They all teach us different important things:

I picked a courageous woman to give birth to me.  I picked a woman who needed to love again to mother me.  I picked a woman whose eyes see the world beautifully to teach me.  I picked a woman who could help me find my voice to guide me. I picked a woman who would believe in me to help me succeed.  I picked a women who would teach me about forgiveness in the end.

See here`s to all of our mothers – the women who have taught us to be the men or women we are: The women who put band aids on our cuts, made our lunches and told us to go to bed.  The women who listened to our stories of teenage angst and tried to stay out of our way as we were finding our own identity.  Here`s to the women who stuck with us when we made choices they could see would cause us pain and misery – and then still listened to us at 2:00 in the morning as we whined about consequences.

Here`s to the mother`s who have helped you find your soulshine.

Happy Mother`s Day.

Namaste

Matters of the Heart –

Lately we have begun to do energetic retreats on my farm where each month we focus on a specific Chakra and work with horses and in nature to reconnect our awareness and understanding to that specific chakra.  Some say that there are seven of these energetic centers in a human body. Other schools of thought have identified many more – but we keep it to the basic seven. We use our understanding of these energetic centers and our more extensive knowledge of equine behaviour, to help people connect back to themselves through horses.  Our horses are pretty special, and each on seems to have its own specific talent with people.

What seems to happen for me is that as I study a particular center,  my life events revolves around the issues that the chakra we are studying brings up. The fourth (current) chakra addresses matters of the heart – the issues of love – and I find myself challenged and riding the wave of events and activities around me.

To bring you up to date – we have explored the first three Chakras.

The first dealing with the basic necessities of life – companionship, food shelter, clothing, a job – this Chakra is very “earth bound” and tends to deal with the most early memories a person has. The ones that teach us about how the world functions.  The memories explored in this Chakra have to do with our parents and the family group we were raised in.

The second Chakra has to do with you creative nature – again an “earthbound” physical chakra.  Here we observed how we work in groups, what our creative styles were and how we could go about in our lives expressing our creativity.  This chakra also deals with out relationship with sex and creation as a sexual process.  Many women in the retreat had never considered their sexual experiences in a way that contributes to their understanding of who they really are. This one lasted the longest – talking around  fire into the wee hours.

The third Chakra dealt with emotions.  I suppose the spiritual goal is to, as they say, become “master” of our emotions, but I am not sure it is possible to be a human and really do that. Even Jesus was supposed to have lost his temper with all of the merchants doing business in a church.  The Buddha was overcome with grief when we saw all the poverty around him.  These are human emotions.  It’s what we do with these emotions that lays within our power. It is not within out power whether or not we have them.  The study of this chakra in nature in encouraged through quiet presence and awareness.  Horses encouraged us to be present with emotion and realizing that emotions can’t kill you but is simply present to allow you to understand yourself in any situation.

And now we have come to the fourth chakra – and issues of the heart and the energy of love.  401410_10150607217758114_693783113_8894729_89771759_n

Historically we are confounded by love. we have complicated it in a way that is amazing to me.  We have different “applications” for love – romance, children, family, friends – we seem to believe there are different forms of it for tailor made for each relationship. Each form of this love is more or less open and vulnerable and giving than the next.  We love conditionally.  This is human nature. We love with expectations, and requirement and need. We love because it is good for us, or because it makes us happy and we feel good.

We pull back our love and close our heart when things don’t go the way we think they should. We withhold love when we fear being emotionally damaged by our vulnerability. We use the idea of love as a weapon to get what we want from others.  We say “I love you” with autonomic regularity, rarely giving consideration to the real meaning of the words.

The fourth Chakra – the energetic center of our “heart” as well as the physical center of our body. It is the bridge between the earth bound and ethereal chakras. The heart is the jumping off place – faith is it progenitor. is where we are coming up to in the next retreat.  It is an issue of love – compassion, empathy. The heart Chakra is the  first portal to the “other-world” – the spiritual eternity every human questions and ponder.  Buddhists and Hindus will tell you that you have access to this paradise of gentle living, here in this lifetime – if only you could give up all of your preconceived notions of right and wrong, and accept the present moment.

The heart has everything to do with the current state of affairs you find yourself in.   The energy of the heart is most present when EGO is sleeping.  HEART and EGO don’t speak the same language, so they don’t really hang out together much.  EGO finds that when HEART speaks, he goes to sleep, quickly bored of the sweet drone of her voice. When HEART is open, SOUL loves to come out and play!  She likes to find other souls and talk with them. SOUL loves to play when the playground is full of love.

In preparing this next retreat, I am driven to better understand what the heart is all about.   In my search for understanding, the Universe seems to be providing me with ways to explore what “conditional” and unconditional love is.  What true love means, and how it fits into my life.  The “feeling” of love with anyone in my life seems to be expanding and I feel a tremendous peace and lack of anxiety about the future – a rare and pleasant state for me.  I am present – with my heart – and find that my thoughts and concerns turn from personal introspection to a compassion and concern for the people in my world.

To better understand…I wrote  poem to share with you.

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WHAT LOVE ISN’T

Love isn’t  being nice to everyone.

Love isn’t letting the world use you as a doormat.

Love doesn’t mean that everyone will like you.

Sometimes the greatest acts of love

cut to the deepest place,

and can change you forever.

And that’s ok.

Love isn’t ice cream on a cone,

or sweet flowers in a vase.

Love is a goodbye,

when hellos are holding you back

Or you suddenly hear your own lie.

Love is an ear,

when the mouth wants to move.

Love is seeing you,

without needing to see myself.

Love isn’t a complicated thing,

It’s all in the heart,

Opening wide –

and suddenly expands…

Creating a new star.

Love is expansion

Holding within it’s own self

the possibility of everything.

~Namaste~

NEXT RETREAT – MAY 19 –