Being Impeccable: Communicating With Nature

Fifth Chakra: By Josee Brault
WillowCreek Stables Nature Retreat
Throat – VISHUDDA
Sanskrit Name Vishudha Chakra
Color Blue
Symbol A lotus flower with sixteen petals
Element Sound
Verb To speak
Location At the base of the throat
Gland Thyroid gland
Sense Hearing
Mantra Ham
Physical Body Areas Governed Thyroid gland, throat, ears, parathyroid gland, trachea, neck and shoulders, esophagus, vocal cords, cervical vertebrae of the spine, mouth, teeth and gums
Emotions Governed Self expression, creativity, communication, self knowledge, faith, trustfulness, honesty; connected to our career.
Gemstones Lapis, turquoise, azurite, blue topaz
Essential Oils Frankincense, eucalyptus
Lessons to Learn To speak the truth and to be heard, to hear the truth from others

Each chakra can be studied explored and experienced using a variety of techniques. At WillowCreek Nature Retreat we use conceptual awareness combined with the presence and energy of horses to bring the awareness of these issues surrounding each chakra to you.
The Vishuddha – or throat chakra – is the area of the body we focus on when we are becoming aware of how we express ourselves, how we communicate our needs, our creativity and our personal boundaries. For most people, the challenges of each chakra as they ascend the body become increasingly complex. The horses will become more and more of a useful tool in identifying the issues you find surrounding this area as we go up in the chakras.
jo n otisCommunicating to a horse is a very specific thing. Being able to take this understanding out into your human relationships is the benefit working with conscious contact and engaged communication methods. Horses, amongst themselves, have a constant an ancient exchange of language and expression that we are only partly aware of. Each movement of a horse’s body is reactive, instinctive and meant to communicate a larger message to the herd it lives within. A horse is a prey animal, therefore can only survive if the herd is strong and communicating well together. There is strength in numbers and each horse has a role, assigned by the herd which benefits the protection and health of the group as a whole. Like a family. Learning how to exist in groups and express our needs is an important lesson shown to us by the horse and emphasized by a focus on the throat chakra.
One of the exercises you will be asked to participate is observation and roles in the herd. Bring a sketch pad is you’d like to do some expressive drawing while observing. Sketching (even if you don’t think you’re good at it!) increases our awareness of detail and subtlety.
Miguel Ruiz in the Four Agreements says we should be “impeccable” with our words. This doesn’t only mean not lying, it means being honest, which is an entirely different thing. Being honest means that you are first aware of your own motivations in a communication. Honest in this case is a harder proposal because we are rarely engaged enough with ourselves to know our own mind when we are reacting or making choices in our human relationships.
Awareness, conscious interchange and emotional recognition…de473-request
Body Communication:
When you enter into an interchange at whatever level with a horse, you are compelled to be first aware of what you are intending to communicate. What do you want form the horse? What is your intention? What are you looking to experience? Maybe you are going to brush the horse, and so when entering the horse’s space, you are first conscious of being respectful of its hind legs and its enormous size vis-a-vis the position of its body. You are aware of the horse’s ears and what they are telling you about her state of mind. We are forced into awareness with horses because of their daunting size and mysterious communication. Often in a communication with a human, we tend to be less aware and less present of where the other person is at before we enter into an exchange – less mindful of the individual. Observation of body language in horses, even just time spent sitting on a chair, observing behaviour of the herd in the paddock, can significantly increase your sensitivity to the body communication of humans. Horses and humans communicate with their bodies mostly unintentionally and unconsciously. Horses are governed by the innate need to survive.
Responsibility:
With horses, we have a responsibility to be clear and present with our communications. Sometimes, before people really understand the horse-human relationship, they may take a horse’s aloof or flight reaction personally. If you make a demand on a horse, and the horse’s reaction is “negative”, then you must find another way to communicate the need to the horse. This is clear and uncomplicated.
But, with a human, if you are setting a boundary or asking something in a communication and not getting what you want maybe you walk away? Maybe you place the responsibility for properly understanding the communication on the listener and not the communicator?
When I am teaching a student and they tell me that “my horse isn’t listening to me”, I always repeat the adage that was always told me to…
It’s never the horse – it’s always the rider.
I compel student to reassess HOW they are asking their horse for whatever action they require. I assure you, a horse will give you want you want, if it is reasonable and you are asking properly.

This is mostly true for the people in our lives.
There are three things we and horses communicate every day:
1- Needs
2- Boundaries
3- Emotions

Sometimes we have to have difficult conversations – with our humans and with our horses.
Horses live in the present moment. Maybe you need to ask something of your horse that he does not enjoy, and you know he doesn’t enjoy it but it has to be done, like hosing a sore leg in the case of a horse that is hose shy. If something is good for someone, we are not so much concerned with the negative reaction as we are with their care and health.
In the case of communication with humans, we often concern ourselves with the thing that is most out of our control – their reaction.

You are not in charge of another person’s reaction to what you say.

However, you are in control of the meaning and intention and motivation behind what you communicate through a diligent attention paid to awareness and being honest inside yourself about why you say and do what you do. And remember what horses teach us – communication isn’t only in what you say out loud – there are many subtleties. This means be aware of how you use your words, your body and your mind – watch the effect they have on the world around you. Understand the need you have for boundaries and respect yourself – because if you don’t – you’ll surely get your toes stepped on.
All of nature functions in this paradigm. The paradigm of Perfect Balance – which is what we are trying to achieve wehn we begin to explore Chakras and other esoteric teaching.


In this exploration you are doing inside yourself you will find how much you are nature – and how nature can be the most essential aspect in bringing you back to your rightful balanced happy creative loving self.

The issue of communication and boundaries is a lifelong process.

Enjoy the ride.
Namaste

LEAVING OZ…

730Three months have passed, and now we are at T – 24 hours about before we leave.  It’s Wednesday here in Australia where back home it’s Tuesday.  I wonder how long it will take me to flip my hours again…14 of them. ugh.
I suppose I have some “end of vacation” anxiety except I don’t because we are going to Cayman first for ten days to relax and adapt to the time change.  Wow…how did my life get like this?

Its like I have been surrounded by unearned privileged and opportunity my whole life, traveling around seeing the planet.  I wonder if that is part of my soul-contract – to have these experiences for a reason – i am supposed to do something or learn something from it all.

I have seen England, Scotland, Spain a couple of times, Africa – just the west and north, America (have driven most of it including Alaska), i was in China the first year it opened its doors to tourists, Japan, Hong Kong, South America, Honduras (Rowtan), Costa Rica, Australia, Curacao – all over the globe and yes, I really do know how lucky I am. I have not ever taken one second for granted, even as a child I knew this.

Each foray out into other places always adds to layer of what i understand.  but the basic conclusion is always the same – people are generally nice and good and everyone is looking for the same thing, no matter wearthhere you travel.  Peace, some security, a roof, a decent meal, family, education for children, clean water.  From China, to Honduras and Africa, I have seen conditions that maybe we back home would call “poor” in our first world technologically driven experience, but in reality, poverty should be measured according to Happiness not consumer capacity.  I have seen families who sleep in one room and who live on floors made of the sand of the beach, whose walls are simple aluminium sheets riveted together that shake in the winds of seasonal storms. But they are happy. The kids, cousins brothers and sisters all playing together on the beach while the parents prepare the fish they caught that day.  Once the family has been provided for for the day, there isn’t much else to do but family chores, which the family does together.  Teenagers in these cultures seem to have much fewer behavioural issues due to low self esteem – because they have a role, a place and a purpose. They are important – everyone is in these families. There is a balance, from the smallest person to the biggest, that contributes to the happiness of each day for the family. If one person doesn’t perform their role, everyone suffers.  For kids, responsibility to the whole family makes them feel important, and think outside of themselves giving them a wider view of the world and their place in it.

Australia is very much like Canada.  Politically, we are equally disappointed in our federal and state/provincial governments.  However here I see that the government is MUCH more visible to the public. Tony Abbott may be an arse, but he is an arse on TV visible all over the place.  Our Prime Minister – Stephen what’s-his-face – is invisible and making some very small minded decisions while we are all sleeping.  It’s really obvious that neither system can survive in its current state. eventually, people are bound to get pissed off and demand better communication and decision making elements.  It is obvious when you travel that the world is reaching a tipping point in all sorts of areas.

Ecologically we all know we have already tipped and are falling over from one side to another like a catamaran on 12 foot swells, sort of out of control but still able to walk around.  It may be hard to tip a boat – but once it is tipped, its really impossible to turn it back again.

It is clear when you travel that the weather systems of the world have changed intensely.  Its kind of  new thing that now everywhere you travel talk of how bad the weather is becoming globally is pretty much a first line conversation, especially amongst naturalists and divers.   When I was young and would travel, a storm or other form of extreme weather was rare and newsworthy. now it is obvious and daily.  In Australia, I can see the center of the continent has been absolutely ravaged by the desert over the past 25 years.  In fact, over the past five years Australia has been surviving some devastating drought conditions, restricting water for use an for consumption. Some places, like french island, don’t have any fresh water at all. Desalinization is the new click word.

Every continent has its issues both ecologically and economically. Socially, we all seem to be facing the same things, in different forms, but in all cases, the spiritual conversation is stepping up.  Religion or lack of religion is always  problem.  It’s never a positive thing anymore. I don’t think it has been for many hundreds of years in fact. Ironically though everywhere I travel and for the past seven years I have had incredible numbers of conversations with people who speak about things in much more spiritual terms. There is a wonderful absence of small talk and space filling – much more content, connection an communication.  Religion is morphing into a common spiritual language that we are able to share that goes beyond the institutions that are, quite literally “man” made.  The powerful female energy is showing up all over the planet, and men and women are finding a more sincere fellowship through this more open ere we are at in our evolutionary process.

I asked my husband if it’s just because of the fact that I am “super hippie” that attracts this kind of conversation, but even he believes there is a very visible shift in the global consciousness and awareness – it’s not just me 😉 .

Australia is like Canada on the flip side of the world in many ways.  Many of their major cities and the businesses are dominated by Caucasian people of British Heritage. Very much like Montreal Melbourne is filled with multiculturalism.  It is inviting to tourists, easy to travel, safe and full of interesting things to see, like parks and gardens, museums and outdoor exhibitions and a constant stream of live music.  Melbourne and, from what i saw, Australia in general is a musical place.  It is not difficult to find live local music venues every where you travel. Music here is a family event, and one of the most popular musical days of the week is Sunday afternoons, where all over Australia it seem people bring out the families, and the parents get half looped and dance with the kids to a variety of musical styles.

One musical style I did not hear a constant stream of here was blues.  Two things to say about that – one is Montreal is a much “blacker” culture than Melbourne. i was even told once that blues is black – and I would never be able to get it right. Even more than in Montreal though, there is a “whiteness” here – if I can call it that and really not to insult anyone, but I know you understand – that makes for some good rock, really beautiful folk and alternative, we even saw some jaw dropping R&B – but the blues was pretty sparse, unless you are one of those that considers Led Zeppelin blues – which I don’t.

Learning a new place through its music and musicians has been the most eye opening of all my life experiences.  I mean, everywhere I travel, I have always brought a guitar with me. Guitars are magical door-openers when you are out in the world. Anywhere I would be with a guitar strapped to my back, people would talk to me. It is a door opener and a fantastic social lubricant.  But never before have I had a chance to use my guitar to actual jump INTO a culture and be “local”.  I knew this was something I would always be grateful for when my new friend Jaci a local jam enthusiast and my instant friend had us scheduled for playing music 4-6 times a week.  I didn’t have time to get home sick! – I had to rehearse and especially get my mind back into originals because, in Australia, that seems to be what people ask for!  This is totally a reverse of the experiences I have back home where we tend to get lots of requests for old classic standards.  Amazingly not ONE PERSON asked me to do a Janis Joplin imitation while I was here – I think I sang Bobby McGee ONCE in three months.  However, I DID get asked every time for originals – which always shocked and amazed me, happily of course. Its nice to know people are open to new things and they like a message you are singing about. For a musician, that feeling can be better than money.

I loved Australia – it feels like home except for the stark absence of my children animals friends…yup it’s time for me to go home.

I have met some amazing people here – certainly members of my soul family.

I even met my guru here.  Figures, I get truck driver talking, ex-commando soldier eco-farming sustainable zen guy. Actually – it does figure, but I never could have imagined such a thing to be possible.  Someone that seems to be hand crafted just for me to be able to hear what he says.

Australia has shown me again that the universe has a plan – and I am definitely in the game.  Even when I think something makes NO sense.. just have to wait and most often what began as completely impossible – makes perfect sense in the end.

Happily and with gratitude…wishing you a beautiful day anywhere you are on our beautiful planet.

Walking Myself Home…

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We are all just walking each other home… Ram Dass

I have been away from home for a very long time now and suddenly so soon I will be going home changed – and to a changed world.

Leaving my life and everything which is familiar to me for three months has been a complete total perspective overhaul. Like an uprooting I had the chance to experience total physical detachment from everything that I thought defined me. My role with my children & grandchildren, home, farm, , music, friends, family, animals, routine, work, roles I played – all gone in a day.  The first few weeks in Australia were very difficult. I saw clearly how much I was attached to things, people, events and roles as a part of my identity. My mind was filled and busy with the loss of what seemed like my entire life; my activities, my animals, my family, my possessions. All aspects of daily life that create the illusion of constancy and predictability. But of course what I quickly came to see was that everywhere I am is home – and absolutely everything changes.  It does not stop because I am not there.

The first few mornings I would wake nearly choking with tears from dreams about my dogs. They were my constant garden.jpgcompanions and who I had spent all of my time, literally each day and night with for so many years. Now I was going to a life that would not include animals at all. In fact, in my frantic need to have alive beings in my life – the very first day we got to our temporary house in St. Andrew’s Beach, I ran out and bought goldfish to add to the planter pot outside, that the previous tenants had left a couple of fish to fend for themselves in when they left for England. Maybe I was unreasonably sad that the goldfish had been abandoned, feeling like my dogs and family may feel also abandoned I was transferring all this onto those little fish. It is quite a thing going into a world where you own nothing, you have no identity, you have no resources or friends, you don’t even have any idea what things look like at the grocery store.world

I reflect on this memory now as I prepare to leave Australia and return to my life back in Canada. Things have changed while I have been away. I have changed, my home has changed – and everything seems to continue. Some of my family has been altered by sad or happy circumstance. My daughter got her new house – I am excited to see it. My other daughter is moving out, I am so happy to see many of my children moving forward making happy and healthy decisions for themselves. There were also very sad changes, like my beautiful lovable but damaged dog who was put down because he became dangerously aggressive. This was a tremendously difficult decision being so far away from home but we had to to keep everyone safe. There were many eternally long moments I couldn’t have felt farther from home had we been stationed on Mars. There are spaces now at home where beings I loved lived – spaces that I will not fill, but allow to stay open and remember that everythin changes, everything passes. I was lucky to have loved and been loved.

I also discovered unparalleled joys here. The ocean only a step away, watching surfers at high tide even in winter! Taking walks in the crisp air, feeling alive and healthy.  We are very lucky as musicians because seeing a new country most intimately through the eyes of a creative community first of all is a very privileged experience.  In the Australian musician’s  world, the minute you are a “muso” you are accepted and adopted into an intimate community of fellow songsters,, like a brotherhood or sisterhood of instant accepta11350599_10155632186740230_2302447888521334965_nnce. In other words we didn’t feel out of place here for very long – maybe minutes?

11393274_895168143883330_4051353142485001403_nWe literally got to know Australia through its music and musicians – and what a beautiful creative place it is! Music seems to drip off the streets. It is never hard to find a live local venue for music lovers in this country – people play seven days a week.  Communities are created through music, and we found ourselves very quickly adopted and loved by the strong community of players we met from all over.  Friendships sprang up that will be life long.

There have been challenges to match the joys of this experience For example, maybe you as a Canadian or American would snicker smugly like we did at the idea of an “Australian Winter” . How bad can it be, right? During our first days staying in town before we arrived at our house torrential rain fell in sheets, and Australians in denial ran around in shorts, sandals and woolly hats. I reflected bleakly on my “denial packing” with my suitcase absent of reasonable things like sweaters and jeans, filled with 6 sun dresses two pairs of shorts and sun tan lotion. What was I thinking?imagesWIKV4DU8

I have to say though as a Canadian in Australia, and since so much of our lives and culture are surrounded by ice and snow, observing how another country experiences winter was really fascinating. In Australia, for example “winter”, is when the weather goes from +35 every day on the coastal lines, and to +45 in the interior to +8 to +13 on average days in July and august – the winter months. Horses are blanketed at temperatures as balmy as +13 with a full body fall or winter light sheet, even neck coverings. When I first arrived and saw this I was amazed. Somehow it seemed ridiculous. At home we START to blanket at -10. But I learned over time what the theory of relativity really means. Going from a long summer of +40 to these 30 degree drops in temperature, horses shivered and really were much more sensitive. The other interesting difference was that simply because of the desert like sandy loam and flora in Australia, the hay that is provided for the horses is really just a past time, with a near zero protein content. Most horses are fed grain daily to supplement, 12 months of the year.

Winter here presents has similar challenges to those back home as well. For example, reclusiveness as there are often periods of days, or even weeks where we can spend less than an hour outside each day. It was with a measure of “bravado” tucked under my belt that I ventured out frequently,  properly dressed for the Australian winter and quickly discovered that everything is relative and once your body adapts to the climate, then the feeling of cold quickly adapts to your lowered resistance. I was almost embarrassed to say i was cold – I WAS Canadian after all!11391650_10153287440980042_5572788582338282783_n

There are great benefits to winter though- admittedly, I walked the depths of the local national park way more safely than at any other time of the year since snakes don’t move one inch in the winter and spiders are also on their down time. So if you don’t enjoy the 1532 species of things that can kill you in Australia, I recommend highly to come during the winter season.

Another glorious upside of being in Australia in the winter means no one else wants to be here either, so there were no tourists no line ups no traffic – it was gloriously free open and clear. And being here with locals rather than tourists really gave us an opportunity to develop sincere friendships and live the real life of an Australian for the short time we had. No matter where you travel, there is always a sense of wariness and small resentment of tourists and outsiders. This wariness that dissolves with familiarity over time. Australia is a nation filled with incredibly friendly people however, and for us, this familiarity arrived within just a couple of weeks when all of a sudden we had a social circle, a community of musicians, friends, places to go things to do and see.

The fact is, Australians love Canadians and vice versa. We seem to view each other as twin nations – both having suffered under the complexities of British Colonial rule at some point in history, like historical survivors in our similar methods of declarations of independence. Maybe this is why we are strict about our identities: Canadians prefer not to be confused with being American, and Australians prefer not to be confused with being British. We like the same foods, and admittedly, Australia rocks seafood if you’re into that. Fresh fish every day mostly for us really had an amazing positive effect on our health. Eating like a tourist every day did not however – and quitting smoking in conjunction with that just added a few more pounds of me to love I suppose 🙂

I learned what’s important to me in Australia. In Australia, nothing was mine. Not even my clothing, which I bought second hand at a few of the popular “Op Shops” – or Opportunity Shops. My house wasn’t mine, the neighbourhood I lived in was unfamiliar, the people and sounds all around me unfamiliar. Now I feel like a “citizen of planet earth” no so attached to one place or one set of circumstances.

11251270_10155679982785230_2023934480940527069_nI have seriously considered the fact that maybe I should be a little perturbed that my “world” seems to run very well without me – but I’m not. The farm is fine, kids are fine, everyone seems healthy, well cared for – no one seems even remotely close to being as affected by my absence as I do.
What a tremendous opportunity for anyone to be able to step out and see that things still move along quite nicely without them! Seeing this has given me an incredible sense of freedom and a little bit of a “victorious” feeling in my heart because it was my “plan” all along to create a place that could continue without me, and more importantly it was incredibly important to me that my children grow up to be independent, self loving, capable humans, and that is what has in fact happened.

11700800_10153005450391476_7402647550266972577_nNow after three months of absence, I will take a LONG journey to return home. First stopping off for sunshine and some summer, which we have not seen since last September, I hope that the sun will work its magic to sew together the conclusions and understanding I have garnered from this three month journey.

And so I will go home to a place I do not know, with a renewed sense of self and a future that I am, as usual, completely oblivious to. I’d say that’s just – S.N.A.F.U.

Peace

F.L.Y. Away Home

Arguably, the worst scenario for a parent is having a child who does not love themselves.  As a way to help me find some form of self-love and belay the devastating effects of depression in my early life, my mother would urge me as a self-love exercise to stand in front of a mirror and declare out loud to my own self “I love you” ten times every day, but I was never able to do it. It felt like just a lie – too much bullshit that was for me incredibly uncomfortable.  As a seriously rebellious teenager, everything about me felt wrong – I definitely wasn’t fitting into the `recommended mold`of thinking and behaving that my family and culture were teaching me.  At that time,  I could barely make eye contact with myself in the mirror without feeling completely ridiculous. I told her she was way over the top when she suggested I do this exercise naked – holy hell! I couldn’t even wear a parka and feel insulated enough from the accusing gaze of my own eyes.  The eyes that said – if she really knew me inside she wouldn’t love me so much. The eyes that said – you really are just a selfish bitch – useless, ugly, incapable, looser.
Now, let’s face it. If someone would have come up to me and actually said those things, it would have gone very badly for them. In general we would never allow someone to speak as badly to us as we do to ourselves. For many people often these thoughts run as a pervasive dialogue back and forth through the mind without even conscious recognition. Like a fire burning you from the inside out. Eventually, if you don’t get a handle on whats happening in the mind, it will leave you in cinders.

You’ll be making dinner or doing something equally mundane and there is a white noise of dialogue happening just a breath out of reach of your aware mind – so you feel terrible without knowing why.

This familiar “background noise” is a pandemic in Western women’s culture.
Vapid feelings of not-enough-itis. A belief that even if you are doing everything you can be, it is not ever going to be enough.

Like so many others, I suffered from depression and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and self reproach in such a way that actually became life threatening. But like my mother, I also have children who mean everything to me and seeing them have strong sense of self worth is the most important thing to me.  But you can`t teach what you don`t know and I certainly knew I couldn’t teach what I didn’t have inside me in the first place. Learning to love myself was initiated by my deep love for my children. Ironically, this lesson meant that I needed to become very “centered in self” by putting my needs first, dropping relationships and activities that were causing me to feel unhappy and were energy depleting, unbalanced or interfering with what I consider to be most important – my personal sense of serenity. Energy zapping relationships began to fall away once my focus shifted. This is necessary since our relationships reflect our intended focus of our lives, and so when focus changes, so does your circle.

When my children arrived at young adulthood, I was somehow set free of my daily responsibilities for a period of time – the universe shifted and supported my need to be able to stand in front of that mirror and say I LOVE YOU – to my own face. But 30 years later – I still couldn’t do it. I thought maybe moving to the other side of the planet would help…but there could be no distance between me and what I perceived as my “problems” – since my problems seemed to follow me everywhere. Wherever I went…there I was!

Geographical distance aside, I discovered that everything I thought was wrong with me at home – still existed in some form on the other side of the world. How could this be? I didn’t have the door knocking, phone ringing, email buzzing chaos of my home life – and yet I still felt the same background droning stream of unhappiness. I quickly saw that it wasn’t “life” that caused me problems, but the way my mind worked with my life. The “problem” was my mind.

The mind is a funny thing. Essentially, there are two ways to look at your mind. First, it can become “who you are” – so, whatever you think you will believe. The mind is the mouth piece for the ego. It tells you all sorts of things, based on unconscious assumptions and over layered old beliefs that you have not yet taken out for inspection to reassess their current validity.
The mind is a history book – it has never existed in the present, and only can access the past as reference for a current situation.
The mind is exhausting – it doesn’t need sleep and if you participate in any way with its games, it will keep you up all night too.
The mind is the center of fear. It is the place that speaks in hushed tones in the quiet recesses of your receptive places to tell you how things wont work out, how you cant do it, how small you are – incapable inadequate.
The mind exists on the left hemisphere of the brain. It doesn’t like to play with the right hemisphere – the land of creativity and love.
The mind tells you pursuing your hearts desire – your true creative calling whispering seductively in the right side of your brain – is not enough. That you can’t “survive” and should be “more realistic”. Maybe the mind is your parents talking? Maybe it is a teacher in school who had nothing better to do than to tell you that you weren’t smart enough? Maybe its the voice of an abusive relationship long since put aside but still following you to bed at night.
Whatever the mind is doing, the mind is not WHO YOU ARE. In other words – what you think is not who you are! But, it will govern every part of you, define you to yourself which effectively governs the choices you will make, in accordance with what you believe about yourself.

Now that you know about this “secret mind” – sit with it for a second and really listen. Shhhh….do this often every day. Taking moment to just stand still and listen. Don`t judge…just listen.

You will hear your thoughts, don’t be afraid of them They cant do anything to you unless you take them seriously. Maybe you are thinking about mundane things like dinner, groceries, watch a show, go on face book, practice music, draw a picture, get a job pay your taxes. Maybe it is reflecting on how your day went – You didn’t do enough, you did that wrong, you are too ugly for him! You are too stupid for that class. Don’t write a book – you are worthless and have nothing to say…
Any of this sound familiar?
That’s because the bullshit spewed by the mind is universal and make no mistake – its only mission is to stop you in your tracks!  It always tries to play on inhibiting you from finding your greatest creative potential in this life. Ironic since that is your only purpose by being here in this life – to find out what turns your inner light on.
The mind is a dark shield over the great light of your amazing beautiful heart.
The mind is also your dear friend. Your very best FRENEMY! You know that we couldn’t even understand what day time was without having the comparative experience of night time. So, the mind is your `night time`and your heart and intuition is your day time.

The truth is though, to love yourself there are very important basics:


1- LOVE EVERY PART OF YOURSELF –

Make LOVING YOURSELF the prime directive of each new day! Including your mind. You have to love every part of yourself; the good, the bad and the ugly. So, the mind is also a friend – because emotions translate to us what our needs are and the mind is what initiates the action of fulfilling the need. It can be a great ally and can help you navigate the waters of this human existence quite effectively, as long as you don’t let it run as background noise, and only allowing it to come forward and be a part of choice making when you have scanned it with your powerful intuition. Only then can it be part of your decision making process and choices.
2- APPRECIATE OPPOSITES The mind shows you what you don’t want – you DO want. No one wants self hatred, feeling depressed and self recriminating, guilt, sadness, powerlessness, self reproach, unforgivable. No one wants to feel like this. These negative emotions only come when we are a- not mindful or present and b- have unresolved and unaccepted issues. So, the mind is beneficial because sometimes we learn best by opposites. If I say “I want to be happy and not feel depressed when I wake in the morning”, it is obvious that the first issue that must be addressed is the mind. I can take the thoughts that Mind produces and use them as pointers or prompts to show me what my unconscious mind is prattling on about. Then I can make choices based on the present and not on past resentments, sadness, unresolved sadness, grief or whatever other illusion helps me to make more self-loving choices.

3- LOOSE CONDEMNING JUDGMENT of EVERYTHING.  stop telling yourself negative things. In fact stop telling anyone negative things.  Drop complaining, criticizing from your daily experience.  try it! For one day, don`t criticize ANYTHING. Not in your head and not out loud. I’m not saying loose your `discernment` – for example we all need to `discern`who is good for us to be around and who is not. Deciding someone or something is not for you is not a negative judgement on a person, or situation – it is you using your god given ability to figure out what gives you energy – and what takes it away.  The going rule is if it makes you feel good and harms no one – then go for it!  If it makes you feel crappy and causes you harm – RUN DON’T WALK. And don’t think because someone is related to you by blood they are exempt from this personal discernment.  Very often it is those blood relationships that have been intimately connected to your misguided programming.  No one is more important than your own peace of mind.
4- DO IT ANYWAYS; How many times I have spoken with a woman on this topic, of self care, of putting herself before her kids and husband and friends, of filling her own cup – only to be faced with the same objection each time. Somehow women have gotten it into their minds that if they put themselves in a martyring self sacrificing position by being mindful of everyone else’s needs and slowly but sure disconnecting from their own – that this is effective parenting and marital life. Somehow this martyr attitude is to be congratulated in our culture, producing more depressed women and men than at any other time in history. Self sacrificing yourself is the most ineffective way of manifesting happiness either for you or for your family. The only way for balance and happiness is to put yourself first. Imagine being able to teach this to your kids through example so that when they grow into they will be able to find happiness inside themselves by your good example and wont feel the need to look outside, in relationships, jobs, drugs and alcohol to fill their lonely spaces. They wont have any. People who love themselves are never lonely – they always have great company! I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to enjoy their own company.

Martyrs are professional victims. Quit this job – it does no one any good.

So many women are superb at running around doing things for everyone else, they like to direct the show, giving advice out like lollipops. They are “on” when there is a disaster. However, left to time on their own, in their own mind, or given an opportunity to fulfill their own happiness they will stand mutely and confounded. Their purpose has become defined by the role they play for everyone else.

YOUR OPINION ABOUT YOURSELF IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYONE ELSE’S
First, if you are one of these martyrdom superheroes who sacrifice all for family, husband, wife children job – let me tell you what a terrible burden you place on everyone you claim to love. Since you have conceived that your happiness is so intertwined with their happiness – have you considered that you are only teaching them an unreasonable and unrealistic responsibility?
In fact the truth is, self sacrificing by putting your needs and personal balance aside for others is a very effective and manipulative way of staying in a victim mentality. And I have never met a happy or successful victim.

“I do it all for you!” screams the angry husband after he had not seen his family for six weeks.
“I live for my family”, says the exhausted wife.
“I study for my parents” says the approval seeking teenager
“I hate my job – but I have a family to support”,
No one ever got anywhere like this.
“I live for my children” –
really? One day they will not be living for you – what will you do then?

Fill yourself – only THEN do you have anything REAL to offer.

YOU CAN BE SO WEALTHY! While in Africa I noticed that children were never burdens, but an integral part of the daily joy and work of each village. Small children would gather firewood with their mothers, while fathers stayed around the village doing other work. Afternoons are spent all together, doing the things that need to be done for the good of the community.
Do you think women in an African village part of such a community have self esteem issues?
No they don’t because people who live near nature and on the land of the world know how divinely miraculous their existence is. There is no false humility or martyrdom – there is balance and communal joy.
I would like to see this effect wash over north America. We are very very poor compared to many of these nations.

In North America we have learned from television, radio and other forms of popular culture what is to be important to us as members of our own communiti4es. \the problems is – none of it is effective in promoting greater personal happiness. We very often hold the opinions of our community, friends or family as MUCH more important than our own.
This must stop.
It is critical for you to become aware of how much importance you have placed on what others think of you and your choices.
No one is more important that YOU.
And frankly, not even your closest partner, sister friend, husband, parent – not ONE OF THEM can understand why you do what you do and what is best for you.
You have full responsibility – and full FREEDOM.

Your happiness is none of anyone’s business.
So, if you\re waiting for the perfect man, woman, job, education, geographical cure, substance anything outside of yourself to bring you that contended feeling – you’re going to wait forever because it doesn’t exist.
You think if you could fall in love it would all be OK?
If you made more money and didn’t have to worry about paying your bills it would all be ok?
Maybe if you didn’t have a terrible illness it would all be ok?
But it wouldn’t.
The only way anything is ever OK is in the way you think about it – and how your mind processes it.

BUT YOU’RE NOT LISTENING ARE YOU?

The thing is, everyone can give you advice – but in your mind you think what you have gone through is unique, what you are doing is “different” – that maybe what I am saying here is applicable to everyone else – but not you! You have suffered more, you have more problems, you have secrets or some magical need that no other human on the planet can relate to.

That was what my mind said when my mom asked me to stand in front of that mirror…
Yeah – you wouldn’t love me so much if you knew what a mess I was.

Make no mistakes – your mind is a liar.
Do you like Liars? Are you usually close intimate friends with liars? Do you take their advice? Hang out with them?
Or do you prefer to be around others who are positive, and honest and who have an open heart?

It’s important if you are reading this that it be useful – not just esoteric blah blah. There are good writers in the world, and nothing I can say here is really unique – but I do want it to be useable.

Suggestions for self love:
– Say it in your head, first thing every morning, repeat and repeat
” I love myself, I am wonderful, I am fantastic, I am beautiful I am perfect and I am divine” – just do it. You don’t have to believe it – do it anyways.
– Remember to put yourself and your amazing talents and availability when reviewing your gratitude of the day! “I am so grateful I can play guitar and have so much fun with people!”
– Keep in mind that the “mind talk” is your ego – the ego seeks to separate you from everything that is alive – this is ALSO necessary since you wouldn’t fully understand how we are all the same living thing – if you did not at once feel separate. Its part of how we humans learn.
– Develop a practice of gratitude. For example, write ten things you are grateful for each day in your journal, or upon awakening just list 5 or ten things you are grateful for before getting out of bed. This can help start your day off on a more vibrant note.
– NEVER EVER speak ill of yourself out loud. If you do, tell yourself you are very sorry. Go buy yourself an ice cream.
– Don’t try to be perfect – you already are.
– Hang around self loving people


Just like the other 7 billion of us on this planet, we are all on the path towards self love. I doubt any of us can ever perfect it. Change comes slowly, but if you stick to it, it will come. You’ll see it in small moments
It is clear that the more I have learned to love who I am, despite anyone’s opinion thoughts or bad teaching – the more I am able to feel great love in my heart for other people, other places, situations, the world, the planet.
This “self focus” isn’t just a nice idea to make you happy – it is a CRITICAL idea necessary for the healing of the entire planet. It makes sense – the more one person is able to connect with themselves them more they will connect with the earth around them. Love of self necessarily flows into everything around – the people, animals, plants. People who love themselves don’t become terrorists, don’t have jobs creating bombs, don’t become alcoholics and addicts, don’ spend all their waking hours judging themselves and others. People who love themselves are warriors brave in their journey, courageous to change the mindset of how they have been taught to perceive the world through the filter of their frenemy – the mind.

Become friends with yourself – I’d love to meet YOU!

Namaste

YOU ARE ENOUGH!

loveWe all know there is a difference between religion and spirituality in that religion is a way of thinking, and spirituality is a way of life.

The way you come to have a spiritual life is by willingness – a willingness to move within the parameters of something which can never be fully understood by the human mind – capable of 10% functionality in the best case scenario.  There are things that must be felt and understood at a level that far surpasses the limitations of human cognitive comprehension – or – 5 sensory comprehension.   The reason why twelve step programs work is because they help to facilitate a mystical experience in individuals willing (by imposed circumstance) to keep their minds open and see the world in a different more connected way. The twelfth step is the connecting point where the individual brings their experiences to share and contribute to the larger community. In effect, twelve step programs are a working applied model of methodology steps am processes for expanding global consciousness.  It is no mistake that the founder of this movement was influenced greatly by his use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD – used in those tiems as experimental treatment for bi-polar and other emotional “disorders”.

How do you arrive at a spiritual view of life?  Usually the hardest way possible. For some it happens like it did for me; a mystical experience as a lucid dream.  And like most people who have these types of experiences, they originate from emotional pain and an absolute requirement to give up personal will and fully surrender. I am convinced that people who commit suicide are a second away from a moment of enlightenment that would lead them to understand that all pain in life is a gift of potentiality. In my case, this experience encompassed a momentary timeless connection with an extremely loving eternal source. A shifting of all I understood to be “true” in the world occurred. I was reminded and shown where we all come from and where we are all heading back to – where we have never really left. As a result of this experience I came to understand things in my own terms; God, our life, the reason for us, our world and the time we spend in life – in a very different and beautiful way.

I love and reject equally all religions.
I love all religions because they always have something to teach me ~  I reject all religions because I believe God has no rules

For example: The reason I Am not Christian is because Christianity teaches us that God is an entity outside, separate and apart from us – like a temperamental, condemning judging presence. I simply did not feel this was the truth in my heart.

The reason that I Am Christian is because the fundamental politics-aside teaching of the religion are that God lives within us and the purpose of our lives is to be kind to one another and of service with whatever gifts we were endowed with when we were born. This sounds like Truth to me. Most religions and spiritual ideologies carry the same message: The Golden Rule – Do Unto Others.

We are born with understanding of our divinity. I think children have an inherent knowledge of their own divinity and that we as a culture work very hard to eliminate it before we send them off into their lives. Even our religions all teach that God prefers certain people to others, depending on their behaviour or who they are. So, instead of God being used to teach children about their personal power, we have structured religions to empower conformity and disempower creativity and unique expression. Until recently I think most people have remained relatively unaware of the impact of this in their lives. Something like social neutralisation, making large masses of people easier to control, I suppose.

Questioning religious authority has never been greatly encouraged. Questions seemed to indicate a gap in faith- which was, in our church, unacceptable – shameful even. Raised catholic, I remember asking the priest why I had to “talk to the vice president( Jesus) rather than straight to the CEO (God)”. Not having a ready answer – Father Fitzpatrick was not impressed. My question was considered indolent and rebellious.I was made to go to Sunday school and write out the ten commandments over and over until I could recite them by heart. Soon after I was sent to a convent where my inability to be able to process what they were trying to teach caused me a very short three week stay before even the nuns had to admit that this was not where I would ever fit in. I was only eight years old at the time, but something inside me clearly knew the difference between true and untrue.

I never really mistook the God of judgement and church for the God I knew inside myself. But I explored every conceivable avenue from paganism, Wicca, to Judaism, Jainism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and mythical folk tales from many originating cultures. I discovered that the bottom line of each of the serious religions is the same– divinity lies within the soul-space ofeach individual.The key to understanding this is self discovery through study of major religions and spiritual practices. where you put your mind– your life will follow. I do not consider Satanism or Wicca even a serious religion as they seek to control the uncontrollable and manifest wants and greed– this is not spiritual living. It is simply a slower route towards self discovery.

As my awareness grew in study things started to happen more and more in practice.  Synchronicities, coincidences, inexplicable congruencies.  One day I began to actually pay attention and respond consciously to unconscious signals. I had deep and moving conversations with people…and I really started to HEAR them. In most cases I learned to identify what FEAR looked like and I saw it clearly through them, in myself. Fear, I concluded, was the opposite of love – and living in a state of love was a much happier way to live.

I discovered that people can choose to handle life’s inevitable pains in one of two ways: They can either grow or they can shrink by it.A difficult experience can kick you into high gear and you can be motivated to  make extraordinary changes in your life which place you closer to the life path your soul intends. Or you can avoid it (meaning the emotions of the difficult situation) and fill the empty spaces in you with false comforts and temporary fixes, and stay stuck in the misery that is all in your head. Misery comes only from not accepting something for exactly how it is.

Sometimes our thoughts, as captain of team ego, lead the way in moving us from soul choices to fear choices…
The soul is the part of us which IS God. Not God apart…God inside.
Once you live with the possibility that you don’t need to have a relationship with GOD – but one with YOURSELF in order to feel happy and balanced in all circumstances, your choices can’t help but change.Once you fully process the implications thatyou are an EXPERIENCE that God is having, you will find that necessarily things around you change. You make conscious choices, not based on fear, guilt and remorse, but based on solid self knowledge and boundless love.

God has ALL the knowledge, but we both know that knowledge and actually LIVING something is very very different.

We are THE LIFE and the THOUGHT and WISDOM of God.
We are God.
And every life is incredible.

The great pay-off for all the psychological work we do is that your perception of your past and “troubles” will completely change. You will see that really you had NO TROUBLES!! They were just experiences – and the experiences you had were directly related to what you were calling into your life.You will begin to loose your sense of “right and wrong” and “good and bad”. Guilt and self reproach will melt away in the light of consciousness.
Self Forgiveness will come more easily and more necessarily.
Maya Angelou always says “If you would have known better – you would have done better!”
This is true.
All guilt, anger, resentment, fear and jealousy melts away.

This is my experience only…
Even the depression I had suffered with most of my life since young adulthood suddenly lost its hold on me. This all happened not in a day, but over progression and a continued desire to keep experiencing whatever life threw at me in a way that was geared towards understanding myself – not changing the way the world worked or the people in my life thought. I knew my days of trying to change the unchangeable were coming to a close. What a relief!

I began to melt away – I began to lose my “self-identity”.
For example, in the past I had been a very strong political idealist. I have a university degree in Political Science and a great deal of my identity was based on how smart I could sound when I was telling you my opinion about everything. And I had many opinions and felt passionately aligned with many concepts. When talking about these things, my heart would beat faster, my palms would sweat, it would become a competition of who could outsmart who – and who could get the “killing shot” thought in that would nullify the validity of the other person’s argument. One day, I didn’t care about anyone opinions, and I didn’t really have many of my own left. A few, maybe healthy opinions, like those based on my intuitive feelings about people causing me to make choices about who I do and don’t spend time with. And even after having been born raised and weaned on politics in volatile eastern French Canada with my family and very involved father, I found I no longer even had an attachment to my nationality. I wasn’t Canadian, or white, or female or a mother or a wife… I was just ME. Not me woman, or me Canadian or me mother or me wife – just ME. And for once…that seemed to be ENOUGH.

Please let me tell you what I have learned about SOUL MATES!!

Soul mates are not nice happy fluffy loving…big moment of romance, candlelight and sparkly stars…la la la…easy love people.
Nope.
Soul mates can be the ones that tear you to BITS.
They cause your soul BE PRESENT by WAKING IT UP and pushing the ego aside just long enough for you to hear clearly how it feels to listen to your most inner self. They blast open spaces in you, and sometimes the process is abit shaky, but nothing much changes in stasis. The work is worth it because in the end , you find YOU. And that’s the best part. All worth it 🙂

Everyone goes through this to some extent. The difference in the journey is what direction they decide to take when the inevitable difficulties in life rear their heads. That’s where “free will” comes in and sometimes that much freedom can cause us to question and feeling alone. It’s part of the human process…akin to the “walk in the desert”…etc.

Your points of reference for spiritual connection that worked in the past…may no longer be working for you. I think it may be sometimes even more difficult for people who had strong religious ties to find the true feeling of God within themselves than it is for an agnostic or atheist who is expecting very little or nothing from the divine.
The bible was an important book, but needs to be read with some intelligence and awareness. Not blindly and fearfully. It seems that the Bible has been a game of “pick and choose” since the very beginning.

Did you know that there were many gospels hidden away because they didn’t fit in with the MALE dominated ideology of the church…(EG: Nicaean Counsel 367ad and 368ad consisted only of and handful of wealthy male Cardinals. Any gospel which gave women power or individuals self governance over their relationship with God were dismissed and put in a cave in Nag Hamadi Egypt. Later to be discovered only in 1947 as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Catholic Church took until 1967 to acknowledge their authenticity, finally renouncing its incorrect claim that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, changing the course of how and why women are viewed the way they are in history forever.  If this sparks interest in you, I recommend you look up the “Gospel of Mary Magdalene” and read it for yourself to expand your current idea of the Bible story. All holy books though, have been misused by man to control the minds and hearts of the masses. The current planetary shift in consciousness energy is causing the individual heart to break loose of the limitations imparted on us for so many millenia. It is a necessary step forward and the only logical way to move ahead and past our current violent and ecologically self absorbed mindset.

And if you’re in a bad place REMEMBER!!

You haven’t lost God…you have just lost your sense of SELF for a little while.
Be ok with whatever place you stand in. Just be WONDERFUL YOU!!

And don’t be HUMBLE about that! Peacocks aren’t HUMBLE…they strut their stuff unabashedly. 🙂

NOTHING in the universe has EVER been made exactly like YOU.
You have unique talents gifts and abilities which are designed SPECIFICALLY to work in some way towards your personal ability to work on God’s behalf in this life.
That’s all.

It’s not even COMPLICATED!!

But religion made it seem VERY complicated. And ridiculous at times.

Timothy 2:12 says women are not allowed to teach about God in church and never to men.
Please. Who believes such nonsense.
Women are the creators of people!
We need to find the God within ourselves to HEAL this planet.
And rememeber:
We are ALWAYS changing.
Relationships go stale in energy – sometimes quickly for some people who are not settled in themselves. People look for FRESH energy – that’s where affairs come in.
But if you are lucky you learn that there are NO special relationships…there are no LOVES higher than the ultimate love and it is POSSIBLE to be in LOVE and not rely on a poor faulty human to fill what you need inside yourself. We have to learn to fill the spaces inside of ourselves with the resources around us. Imagine!! Love, sex, security, friendship, intellectual exchange, creative inspiration –
THESE are fundamentally important to growth and development and spiritual expression.

You are not your thoughts.
You are not your body.
YOU are not your emotions
YOU are not your actions
YOU are not your past
YOU are not your relationship

Get it?
YOU just are!
A beautiful empty space – a container – full of unbelievable untapped potential! YOU are the listener of your thoughts, the thinker of your mind…that place behind the obvious out front you – is your essence. That’s your soul. Quiet, waiting. You don’t need to “believe” in it, you don’t need to do anything…you can just BE for your soul…and that is ENOUGH.

God made us all ENOUGH.

~Namaste~