ROUND FOUR: THE AWESOMENESS OF NOTHING

ROUND FOUR: The Awesomeness of Nothing

Round four folks –  both EGO and SOUL are having a little nap today.  These are the days when my mind goes to sleep and I celebrate doing NOTHING.  By not trying to do it all,  I feel the quiet hum of peace wash warmly over my chest.  Days like this are important.  We can’t always be ON, even if SOUL is out front.  It is true that when SOUL is out and EGO is not, I am more energize, creative and excited about my life.  But there are times for quiet, for reconnecting inside myself -for DOING NOTHING –  to which I dedicate today.

Doing nothing isn’t as easy as it sounds for some of us. No thinking, no fear, no negative self-deprecating thoughts, no future projecting; it is time for quiet. Shhhh….the world won’t fall apart if you’re not thinking it into the way you believe it should be. bubble-baths-good-for-skin-1

I feel SOUL beside me, like a steady companion, patiently awaiting my attention.  I know the minute I give it to her, in meditation, prayer or creativity,  she will transport me to some other miraculous inspiration.  But for now – just for today, I am peaceful and happy, unafraid and equally unmotivated to do anything but nothing.   It is a day to just BE.

My husband came home the other night to find me sitting in a chair.

He said “what are you doing??” Since he is use to seeing me either springing into action or laying half dead with exhaustion.

“I am just doing nothing”. I smiled at him.

” Are you ok? What do you mean “nothing” did something happen?” his questions come at me in a concerned barrage of machine-gun fire queries.

I smile at how much he loves me.

“I mean, I am sitting here, and not meditating, not praying, not thinking – not nuthin…I am doing NOTHING”.

He looks a little baffled, but shuffles out of the bedroom leaving me for my five more minutes of mandatory nothing.

04_rider_on_the_stormBeing overly active in our lives gets to be a bad habit. It creates chaos. You train yourself and those around you to become habituated to constant motion, thought activity and action. NO one can sustain this their entire lives!  The body has to rest, and if you’re like me, even sleep isn’t rest.  I travel, save animals, put out fires, handle floods, fire, famine…craziness. My sleep is better than TV.  Last night I had meteors raining down on the farm and I was saving children and dogs.  Sleep is not restful for me.  I think SOUL has a whole other life going on while my body is asleep.  Then when I am awake, even if my body is still, I think. I think and think and think about everything. I realize that if I’m thinking about a thing it doesn’t actually mean I’m doing something about it, right? Wow…only took me half a century for that one.

From my waking moment to the minute I put my head down to sleep, inevitably, I am active.  I am fixing solving, planning, doing, running.  I get up and go…and go,…and go. It’s a bad habit borne of being raised in a  family that put a high value on how active you were.  If you were doing – then you were useful. Not doing meant laziness, to which few sins could compare.  Breaking bad habits takes conscious decisions to make a different choice about what to do with the minute you are existing in right now.  Becoming aware of the [patterns and habits we are taught from infancy, the most pervasive of which are the ones which are not spoken, but exemplified, is a part of growing up and becoming your own person.  

This kind of programming had me believing that if I wasn’t like a “June Cleaver” 50′s mom, while I was upholding a  singing career, running a barn full of horses and managing my home – then I was a failure.  Stopping and doing NOTHING helps me realize how wacko this kind of unconscious thinking can make me.

I fight the habitual urge to get up and do laundry, read a book, clean a floor or yell at my teenagers for making another catastrophic mess in the living room.   I instead  choose not to care for that moment, simply not to care. The mess will still be there, the bills will (unfortunately) wait for me to struggle to pay for them.  I can just be for a while. When thoughts of worries, unpaid bills, how will I handle next week, what is going to happen to my mom…stuff…came up in my mind, I just reminded EGO that for a little while, we were just going to do NOTHING.  I reminded myself that the world would not fall apart if I wasn’t directing traffic for fifteen minutes.

I am not meditating.  Meditation holds within itself another kind of intention; purpose to reconnect to our spiritual energetic centers. I’m not looking to do anything that fancy right now.  I am doing nothing. and when I am compelled to do something, I once again give myself permission to be slack, loose and I fall easily into peace.

I stand up renewed and ready for the next leg of my day.  I feel my shoulders softer, my belly less tense and my smile comes more easily and less contrived.  I could get used to this “doing nothing”.  Try it – I promise you’ll like it.

~Namaste~

UPDATE: The past four rounds have been up and down. Ego wining the first round clearly, SOUL making a slow but steady come back. EGO could make a come back next week as real life events and stress management become of key importance.  I will need SOUL to be rested and ready to come out fighting…on Monday.  For now, our score remains at: EGO – 1 SOUL 3

Back to Nature~ Back to Creative

Most of the people I meet in my life who express unhappiness with their lives seem to suffer from one form or another of “expectation disorder”; they expect the world the be different from how it actually is.  Resistance to the reality of  current circumstances in this time and place is the cause of every illness they suffer.  Once they begin to realize that unhappiness is an integral and eventually unnecessary part part of the human experience,  to have these encounters with inner imbalance; they see that disharmony is only a vehicle to achieving conscious harmony. Since our entire “real job” on earth is to discover our most basic Inner Nature at an integral level then it is safe to conclude that UNhappiness is merely a directional indicator towards happiness.  Unhappiness is the emotion of your soul’s longing; the deepest desire of your creative self.  It is the answer to the question:

“If I had all the time and resources in the world, what would I do with myself?”

People are becoming more and more aware of themselves. Religions are falling away, not because we are winning some great war against radical oppression, but because people are waking up to their own inner sense of what is right and what is wrong, and that inner sense is beginning to have a stronger voice than the fear based teachings of the major religions. Where religion has taught separation, individual awakening is teaching connectivity.  It has become apparent and obvious that there is a sense of balance and reliability even in the ever-changing universe we live in; undoubtedly there is a balance that is achieved beyond the scope of our reasoning.

And that is the crux of it; the age of reason is falling and the age of intuition is emerging at lightening speed!

Our cultures are confused. WE are confused.  We were taught many things that no longer jive with the truth of what we know to be the reality of our world today.  Many of us were raised by parents who came from warring eras; times long past for countries’ like Canada who have given rise to an entire generation of children who have not had to experience the rigours of war on our home territory.  Hearing about war on the news or internet is a far cry from actually have to experience the basic threat of war to human nature.  In our confusion some of us still think we need to focus on the things our parents taught us were important to focus on.  People that do jobs that they hate do so only because they have another need which they feel is more important to fulfill than personal happiness.  Sometimes these are very important needs such as food, clothing or shelter.  Other times, these needs evolve into greed, and cultures such as the North Americans seemed enraptured by the need for MORE, needs which stretch immensely past the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.   The further away a culture gets from nature, the further it gets from the arts. The further a culture gets from nature it also follows then that the further a culture gets from its reliance upon nature to survive, the more misunderstanding it becomes of the role that nature is provided to us to play.  We rel;y on governmentm, corporations and the big think tanks to give us our basic needs, then we berate them when we feels unduly controlled by them, when in FACT we are giving them the tools with which to control us. We are giving them our basic needs. We want more “false items” to fill our needs because we no longer know how to fill tem ourselves and so we seek errantly. This is when cultures become disrespectful of nature, using her resources with wild abandon, for the sole purpose of creating greater comfort and ease of living for itself.  Soon, cultures were so wrapped up in this pursuit of “false happiness” or finite and illusory comfort, that they forgot to pay attention to where their resources for all this comfort were coming from, and they began to run out.

The way we make decisions as a culture is very much like a human making a choice for himself.  We do the things we think we need to do because we want to fulfill BASE needs but we forget ourselves in the process and become resentful and hateful towards ourselves and one another.

I know quite a few “starving artists”, as you may call them.  They may often discuss not having some of the basics we some of us take for granted but amongst these people it is very rare to find someone who complains of feeling “unfulfilled” or “unhappy” while they are working.   There seems to be however a sense in our culture that if you ar doing what you love, if it is pure creativity like art or music or writing for example, if it holds no other purpose other than the expression of yet another viewpoint of how to look at this life, then it hold no value.  Those aciotives which lie beyond ‘reason”.  things that lie beyond reaons threaten the false perception of the immutablity of the reaonsing mind. We will feel many uncomfortable growing pains as people become more and more accustomed to the emerging creative consciousness. Still, Society does not compensate its artists. Rather it firsts condemns them as errant members of society, unproductive and illogical.  ironically. This sense of isolation and “differentness” often lends its own contribution to the creation of something new.  It’s the “outside the box” thinkers that revolutionize our world, certainly not those of us who can only repeat the thoughts and ideas that were passed along to us by others.  Those things have already been thought up.  The fact is, that it is only through positive forward creativity have we compelled ourselves to continue to understand more.  Society should recognize the need to more highly compensate the artists to facilitate their individual ability to imagine our evolution forward. Instead, we have it all backwards.  We continue to pump all of our conscious energy and misguided goals into things that not only do not work for us, but their mere existence are causing us to commit slow suicide.  Not only do we create these things (nuclear weapons, cigarettes), but we allow ourselves to believe they can do something other than kill us.  And yet, here is where we are placing our energy; into creating drugs and weapons and every manner of thing which can divert our attention away from our own personal creativity.

Let’s face it…we rely on each other way too much.  We rely on the government to think for us, we rely on corporations to feed us, give us money, provide food, house us, educate our children.  There is nothing we decide for ourselves anymore. We have become a culture of sightless drones.  We don'[t know how to cut our own hair, let alone find food if we were placed in a position of having to eat without having access to prepackaged meals.  We would be lost, if even one or two of our most basic amenities would disappear; such as electricity and fresh running water.  But nearly 60% of the world’s people do not have access to this two things.  We have become clearly incapable of fulfilling our own basic needs.  Is this a manner of de-volution?  How many of us would truly be capable of killing an animal for food?  Personally if placed in the position, I would become a vegan right quick.  It would seem like the right moral decision since I cannot envision myself slicing anything’s throat in order to provide me with nutrition; but then again, I have never been that hungry.

But this mutual co-reliance also has some very important beneficial effects.  relying upon each other for all of our resources as we have certainly begun to do over the past 300 years causes us to be more motivated to seek solutions for the global predicaments we now find ourselves in.  It also allows us more time for study and understanding.  Just like in Marlow’s hierarchy of needs, humanity is also beginning to rise above needing to meet basic needs (in some lucky parts of the world) and is reaching a greater understanding on a different level.

Closet Artist Sketch Number 2: Akashic Library

She sits by a fire as I gaze in the window.  This sketch is from a dream I had.  I believe it to be something like my Akashic Library if you have ever heard of such a thing.  The story goes that the Akashic Library hold all of the scrolls which contain your life experiences.  Each person has their own books(s) in the library and the soul is the access point for the knowledge contained within  the scrolls.  Apparently through diligent enough spiritual practice you can attain a state of meditation which allows you to both interact with your soul in the Library, and to gain knowledge from the contents of the scroll. So, this is my Akashic library, where one day I hope not to be an observer standing outside the window in the cold, but find the key to enter in and spend some time with my self. Looking back at this sketch I find the library looks very small. Maybe it just needs some time and more experiences to grow. 

“PROJECT DELEGATION FOR PEACE”…

I think that turning 45 has had the greatest impact on me than any other age has.  Not in a bad way…in some very good ways in fact.  For example, lately I have begun delegating.  I used to joke that it took 4 people to replace me when I would go on vacation with John. But I think part of me also got off on the “irreplaceable me” image I had of myself.  That somehow I was so important because I made decisions which cause me to fill my plate soooo high, that no real life human being could ever keep up with what I could do. Irreplaceable me.

But something about 40 started me on this path of desire to get very real with myself. Not that I started thinking about mortality and all of that, you’ll never convince me that death is real, I know way too much for that illusion now.  But what I began thinking was how full of shit I had been most of my adult life.  Suddenly it started dawning on me that I could choose to be a very honest person without losing any part of myself.  Maybe there is something about 40’s which makes us more fearless, and more able to enact change in our lives based on some of the lessons we have already learned.

In our 40’s we are young enough mostly to have the energy to create great changes in our lives.  “Living Happily Ever After” is still possible if we are not satisfied with how we feel in the current situations in our lives.  Later on though I found myself realizing more and more how much value I placed on the opinion of other people about me.  Now that I think about it, that’s incredibly narcissistic, even thinking that people have enough spare time in their lives to even have an opinion about me is extreme.  But to make decisions based on this illusion of opinion is practically insane.

So, lately the balance between family, farm, 3 bands, relationships, sickness in family, new boarders in, old friends back in play, new career opportunities, songwriting, recording, rehearsing, physical challenges on farm, behavior issues with animals and kids, ok…I could go on, but let’s say, it’s been a helluva start to 2012.   I needed help but was somehow incapable of asking for it, I understand now because deeply buried inside me was a belief that if I delegated some of my responsibilities to the people in my life for whom I was starting to get resentments because they would stand still while I ran around “doing everything”, that they would think I was less valuable…not enough, unless I was doing all those things.

That’s a pretty brutal way to make decisions about the things that should be important to me or not.

Delegating as one would have it actually leaves me some time and space to include myself on my list of things to take care of in a day.  And hell, every once in a while I take a day where I am the only thing written on that list.  I really think that partly that my bio mom’s cancer (and one day I may kick myself for saying this), has been a blessing.  For a brief period of time there was this real shift in the relationships of everyone in my family. Everyone started paying abit more attention to one another, there was a sense of community.  Many of us chose to get real very fast. We dropped all pretenses and pretending of whatever it was we were holding on to, were motivated to quickly forgive the small transgressions which we allow to become overblown as years went by, like festering wounds.  Then we even tried in all our own ways to support each other and find some balance in what we could do and what we couldn’t do.  It was a strengthening exercise in spiritual stamina, and I find I have come out the other side of it more solid in my center.

I suppose this kind of centering creates in us an awareness of our own individual essential needs.  I knew that the most important thing was for me to be strong for my family, and I also knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that if I didn’t do a quick right turn on my thinking and perceptions I was going to be good for no one.  I knew certainly that the best and only place I could in fact find any fast track to change was within myself and that this meant getting to understand myself without judgment.  Let me tell you that took a while, but most often now I am in the place where I can be much more objective about the choices I am making; meaning not always dragging the past into everything I do, but that took some time and tremendous challenges were overcome.

This brings me back to delegating.  So all of a sudden this more “objective” awareness allows me to become starkly aware of my “superwoman” image which a part of me must think is so “valuable” (and therefore means I am ENOUGH) or why else would I continuously ignore the wise counsel of friends and family who know me, love me and care enough to tell me I am insane and am going to kill myself with all the ways I push myself beyond my limits.  “Limits?” I scoff at them secretly in the unheard places of my mind. I’m really getting a strong sense that they are not really as impressed with my martyrdom as I am.

I have now become a one-job woman. I have delegated entire days off so I can take the time to do the things I do. We are not after all put on earth simply to wake, work and sleep. There is a whole life to be lived outside of that.  Now I can spend time working on the book, my songs, or even (gasp) ride some of those horses I deplete all of my energy caring for.  I was told a long time ago by an old horse farmer that the very WORST thing I could ever do for my riding was to get my own horse farm.  I know what he means. But I still plan on finding a way for that not to be my reality.

I find that my “resentments” are melting away because I don’t feel harassed and pushed and pulled by the constant responsibility and workload that stared at me day after day.  I got to say…it’s an enormous relief.  Although I love my work and all the things I do, no one can be happy spreading themselves that thin and running on everyone else’s schedules.

My friends and family don’t tell me I am nuts as much today…they’re too busy doing my other three jobs, perhaps slightly regretting the truth they pointed out to me.

And today I am trying out day 1 of “project delegation”, under a sunny sky and the promise of more days just like this one.

Peace

DREAM ON~

“I am on an airplane high in a night sky.  I see the stars out my window and I am thinking about how clear and perfect and CLOSE they look.  I notice benignly that there is no one on the plane with me. I am enjoying the peace and silence.  I can also feel that my horse is somewhere on board and that makes me happy.  I feel secure and relaxed.

Up ahead I see a sudden flurry of activity in the captain’s cabin. The door is slightly ajar obviously unbeknownst to the participants of the argument not meant to be seen by a passenger in the cabin.  The flight attendant suddenly stops arguing with the captain when she spots me looking at her and her shoulders slump.  She looks to the captain for approval do something and she begins to walk towards me.  I can tell that something terrible has happened by the look on her face.  I feel an intuitive understanding that I am about to die on this airplane. We are going to blow up…I can just tell.

It happens fast; I have no time to become afraid in my consciousness. I don’t recall any noise, just a silent whoosh as the flames erupt behind the form walking towards me.  I see her evaporate as fast as one blink take. She is there, a black shadow moving slowly toward me, shoulders slumped i frank resignation to our fate. The next blink she is gone, consumed in a nanosecond. But time slows for me now and the flames look somehow beautiful, rolling towards me in a soft nearly inviting cascade. I am not afraid. I look down at my arms and time is now at a snail’s pace; I watch the hair curl on my forearms feel a rush of heat as I evaporate and become something else, somewhere else. I am something I have always been.

I am in a new place now; somewhere both familiar and foreign at once.  I struggle to “understand” this white room, made of light it seems, except for one door which is grey and seems an anomaly in this peaceful clean place. There is even a part of my lucid mind already searching for a meaning in something so psychologically obvious and basic as standing feeling formless in a white room with two doors; one white and nearly indiscernible and one grey to which I have absolutely no affinity.   But there is also a part of me that knows enough to tell my mind to shut up and allow me the opportunity of just experiencing this place, which is really no “place” at all.

I decide to move towards the white door feeling suddenly quite fearless and free. I push on it and it swings wide revealing a breathtakingly beautiful canvas of nature before me.  It was everything I loved revealed to me all at once.  Hills and valleys and rivers, animals and colours and birds.  Incredible huge mountains surrounded this place like a protective shawl.  Their bases all enrobed in perfect shades of green, lush valleys and sapphire blue lakes which dot the landscape. I am standing so high and yet I can see everything so clearly;  this is an amazing feeling.

I can “feel” everyone’s communication like nothing that we say or do is separate and it all occurs at this moment because there simply is no other moment.  All of this is The Truth, and anything else is an illusion we are able to create. I feel everything and everyone all at once.  There is such joy in my heart!  I can see now that nothing happens alone or separately from a great design and I am very much a part of the great design, as is everything that is alive.  I feel The All. 

“What the hell is The All?” I ask myself. 

Whatever it is, I think if I step off this escarpment I will fall “into the All””, I think to myself.  Dude that’s crazy.

First of all I know I’m dreaming, so I keep having to push at my ego mind to stop analyzing this dream even while I am asleep.  Secondly I am beginning to feel like when I was a little kid and everything in my world revolved around experiencing new things.  I loved that time, where it was ok to fall and play and enjoy.  I just want to jump out,,,and so I do.

I am not surprised that I can fly.  It’s beautiful here.  The air is perfect and I suddenly understand that there is no time where I am.  This is just free. It is the everything of everythings and it is giving me a “break”, this is how I feel, although it makes no sense to my “rational mind” now or even later after I analyze my dream.

So, I decide once again to just flow with this experience.  I let myself enjoy the JOY I felt, just looking around and BEING in the world, instead of participating in it.  I feel such love flow through me.  There is a little farmer down there with his sheep and other animals.  He is slightly aware of me but not so much.  Maybe he thinks I am a cloud?

I know I have to go back to the room eventually, but because there is no time I know I can continue to enjoy this “rejoining” feeling I was having for as long as I need to “re-member”.   I continue to fly peacefully just breathing until I am compelled to return.  I appear suddenly at what seems to be another door. The room is not big per se, but seems to accommodate the possibility of everything.  Suddenly to my left I see a small tent with a bevy of women milling about within.  At a table which is positioned under an exterior awning made of old school materials like burlap and ancient polished wood are two women.

The one to my left stands to greet me and I suddenly know she was my grandmother in life.  She explains that she and the other women are the keepers and creators of these incredible boxes meant to keep their ancestors memories well for future review. 

“So if my understanding is right, our experiences come down to snippets kept in a secret box which you review with your dead ancestors after you return to that energetic plain?

My grandmother, now about 30 years old dressed in a beautiful soft brown handmade pioneer dress with an overskirt dotted with little brown and beige roses.  She is explaining to me that it is not yet time for me to see my box but that when the time came she would be there as would my mother. Part of me really understands that I am not yet finished filling my box,. But I can’t ignore the slight tug in my heart that I realize I am not here to stay in this peaceful place.  I was only visiting.

I see a man in front of me. He has the most amazing smiling blue eyes.  It seems he is someone I know, but I just can’t place him from anywhere.  He looks like a real old school hippy; brown shoulder length hair, a flannel shirt with a tattered sleeveless green army vest over top.  Ratty jeans and a tattoo of a fish hooking his lip on his bottom lower lip and chin.  A real hippy with a sense of humor. 

Strangely enough he is pushing a baby carriage. In the way that we seems to communicate here (with no words, there is just a flow of thought and comprehension which occurs that is unimpeded by language, if that makes any sense.  He “asks me” to follow him, imparting to me that he has something to “teach me”, so I bid my grandmother farewell knowing that I will see her again (I am not sad, which almost surprises me), and follow the man.  He takes me and the baby carriage onto a bus, like a big cushy greyhound.  I sit in a chair beside him and he begins to play with the baby in the baby carriage, just making faces and being silly, which cracks the kid up.  Suddenly the baby begins to laugh and I feel it; I feel what God sounds like.  It is extraordinary – like angels singing. 

He stops and says that I have learned what I came to learn here and must now return.  As we are walking back to the room I notice I can’t “see” him anymore.  I can’t really “see” me either though.  But he responds to me clearly in my mind that he is always near me because he IS me…we are the same. Now I can feel him again, his warm presence steady by my side and I begin to understand what he means by this. 

Suddenly I am alone in this room, and behind me I hear a conveyor.  My son comes up and looks at me slightly confused. I convey to hi in the manner that we “speak” in this place where he is, and he goes to the door and waves to me.  I know we will see each other soon and I am happy to see him so free.

Next my husband arrives, on a conveyor like mechanism to my left.  He arrives naked and confused. I go to him and explain what has happened and where he is.  He is afraid and so I put my arms around him and we melt together.

I awaken and see the world anew.

 

 

 

 

Where to begin…?

Well I’m not sure where to start back into this discussion I’m having with no one and everyone all at once.  Things change sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly…but inevitably we can anticipate that everything will change.  In the past few week my life has made a rapid turn around in a way that I find hard to even conceive of.  In fact I’m almost afraid that if I look at it too closely, I will analyze away the joy and levity I feel in my heart.  But, it is not my nature to let things just emerge; hopefully one day it will be.

An old friend of my husband;s and I has come back to town. The person that originally brought us into the world of professional music and who inspired me to stretch beyond my self-imposed limitations quite regularly. he seems to think we’re doing him  a favour by letting him stay with us while he gets on his feet, but I think the whole thing is quite reciprocal.  He is helping us get past a few hurdles we seems to have gotten stuck at.  He is equally close to us both so the balance in the house right now is very nice. It seems all the kids are on their best behaviour because he doesn;t have any kids and he will talk to them like adults and he has adult expectations of them, which is making us raise the bar a little around here. It’s about time.

And I’m not saying everything is perfect. It was a little tough the first few days. he was very self-absorbed, trying to “find himself”, that the diatribe of past reflections became a bit much, but I have to remember that i was certainly in that place at one time as anyone who chooses to listen to the voice within knows is the first step to understanding the bigger picture.

But this is change.  It doesn;t have to be bad all the time; it’s about time I figured that out too.

My mother ended her chemo and radiation yesterday. Another huge WOW. That was a terrifying experience for us all.  There were sooo many people praying for her and directing their positive healing energy towards her that surely she benefited. Case in point: She didn’t lose her hair or become sick even after 6 weeks of seriously intensive chemotherapy and radiation.  This is an act of Grace of which I could never be unconvinced.  We joke that she didn’t even get the only real “benefit” of cancer, which was to lose weight.  She gained 50 pounds in the process…thinking that since she was going to be at a point in the future where she would not want to eat (like it shows in all the movies) then she was going to let her appetites run freely and fill herself up so she wouldn’t become too thin. But, she never got thinner.  The doctor’s loved it, she admitted wasn’t a big fan, but could live with it deciding that her health would become her number one priority after the treatments and their effects abated.  Pretty awesome lady.

Then there is change number three; his name is Archie.  His SPCA description said that he had belonged to a street girl for 5 years and therefore was extremely well socialized.  They said that Archie was a truly exceptional dog and they were looking for a special kind of home for him. I don’t know what it was that made me jump on that dog but there I was writing a little considered response to the Kijiji Ad – and please believe me when I tell you I was NOT in the market for a dog.  This just happened.

So the people write me back. Because of Archie'[s breed type, pit Bull, there is a special organization of folks, all volunteers, who work together as experienced trainers and handlers of pit bulls to try to change what they claim to be our misperceptions about the breed.

“Well”, I think, “this is all nice,  but I have enough crusades and I really don’t feel like taking on another.  So please count me out. ”

And yet my actions are not listening to my fear response.  I feel as though I will continue forward with this as long as the process is easy; as long as the road presents itself to me.  I would not force it or try to imply my will in this, which was clearly that I was not in the mood for any more CHANGE in my life.  But there it was. I tried to have faith that i would not be given more than I could handle. I realize that we don’t choose when we’re called to do something, even if we don’t know why.  We can ignore it, but we’ll just get called in a different way and maybe with greater challenge.  Also, it felt like an opportunity to try to “practice my faith” about how the Universe functions in relation to positive forward moving intention.  It was like my own private metaphysical science test.

First I ahve learned the really get honest about my own intentions.  Am I pulling a “Mary Pooppins ” with a person or animal, as I have in the past, to try and take the spot light off my own interior responsibilty to dealing with life on life’s terms? I had to check my intentions as well. Why was I attracted to this miserable looking sad skinny pit bull> For God’s sake! I have spent most of my life terrified of dogs.  I had one try and surgically rearrange my own when i was a young girl and have never quite shook the fear.  But Archie wasn’t in that category.  A part of me felt as though I couldn’t understand why Archie was living somewhere else; that he should just come home now.

The first tests came when I decided to fill in the adoption form for fun. I sent in short humorous answers, some of the questions being clearly for new dog owners.  I was surprised at the immediate response, so I relayed a message back and we opened a dialogue about Archie.   I expressed my concerns openly and honestly and Irina would respond with intelligent answers that made sense.

The day I had planned for a visit to the SPCA (I was dreading that in a big way), I ran out of steam and they had an emergency come up.  It was cancelled but we rescheduled.  I thought that maybe this was the sign that i was not going to have to adjust to a new “being” in my house.  I would avoid a change and I felt relieved.  But instead, I received an email shortly after saying that the volunteers had seen the website for our farm and were really eager to bring the dog to us and do the home visit at the some time.  I liked their tenacity and vigilance about ensuring proper dog/environment fit.  I was also grateful not to have to introduce a city born street dog to my farm animals without capable experienced handlers around if something went awry.  If Archie was going to have a chance he would have to display the utmost gentleness with people, especially when he greeted them.   I could feel we were all a little nervous as I’m sure Archie could as well. But he passed the tests of all of our keen observing eyes with flying colours.  Kids surrounded him and touched him all over and he only showed signs of raputurous joy.  Very gentle not move so as not to knock anyone over, I watched as Archie soaked in the love like a very dry sponge.  It was lovely to see.

But everyone (even dogs) has an issue and Archie’s issue seems to be cats.  He almost gave Kahlua, our very old declawed (she came like that) house cat, an aneurism his first night on his sleep over.  I have not seen her in 6 days now but the kids and Graham assure me that she is upstairs, alive and well cared for.  They feed her and change her litter every day.  Archie and I will have to work on the cat issue.  He just sees them as big fun play things until they fight back.

Archie has slid into our house with near effortless ease.  We had too much activity the few days after he came and he became quite unsettled. His worse behaviour was pacing and not finding a soft place to snore.

Archie snores, and smiles and talks like a parrot.  he grumbles and when he’s really happy he nearly purrs.

When unhappy (which is whenever I or my husband leaves) Archie “tweets” like a bird.  We still haven’t gotten over how funny that is.  Our friend Archie is very vocal.

Each one of us have taken things out of his mouth, in mid chew, and he never makes a sound. He only talks when he’s very very happy.

Jake has taken to him happily. They play like “real men” and when called down they both settle.  It’s lovely to have two dogs who listen so well that i don’t have to worry about them hurting each other.

Jake is better exercised with Archie around, that’s for sure.

Archie was lame for one day last weekend,. I think he pulled his stifle wrestling with Jake the enormous black lab/mastiff cross in the deep deep snow.

Archie has been quite a change.  I didn’t sleep my second night thinking he was going to kill Kahlua, but then the next day one of the barn cats practically walked over his face and he did nothing.  I can see that it’s not an unmanageable problem and so I begin to relax.

Relaxing is good.

The dogs are balanced, having Graham around is nice for someone to talk to about things you don’t talk to everyone about.  Everyone needs a friend like that. And Archie, well he can be found faithfully snoring on his “Archie Bunker chair” which he adopted his first night home and has claimed as his own from the get go.

Welcome home Archie.

CLOSET ART PIECE NUMBER 1: MOTHER EARTH

This is my first sketch…

I am one of those real-life hippies I suppose, who is coming to terms with an idea that the world is undergoing a great global shift in consciousness. Many of us are finding that our minds are opening much faster to new ideas, that we are connecting on 6th sense level through intuition, coincidences and synchronicity like never before.  This sketch represents that belief in me.  Her mouth is (poorly :)) made of a guitar symbolizing my belief that music is the voice of the planet. SHE comprises the planet actually.  On her left you’ll see something that looks like a big ear, which is symbolic of the Divine always listening.  Of course this sketch really emphasize the “Creative female Divine” which to tell you the truth I have not explored feminist religion all that much. Much relationship with God as it is is really beyond needing to believe in It Him her whatever in any physical form.

Her “Figure” as we say in french is really made up of as many types of geographical landscapes that I could contrive within her form.

Over her head lies the sun and ultimate representation of Divine guidance.

Her one and only eye is all she needs, being her sixth emergent sense. the clouds over her represent her ego and the always potential darkness that can come if she isn’t diligent. Maybe that’s about my depression.

Now that I think of it…

She began by the box in the middle of her face, then sort of exploded outwards in fantastic shifts of light and different kinds of shapes that really make me think of water…like a lake flowing by very quickly through her.  Mother earth. Something like that.

Maybe that’s what I’ll call this one…Mother Earth.

CLOSET ARTIST…

So, I have to admit something: I am a closet artist.  Shhhh…I never call myself that in public. Kind of like when people ask me what I do in life and really what I do is write and yet I would never describe myself as a writer to them.  It’s just not how I see myself.

But then tonight I did the strangest thing. I was Facebooking (is that actually an acceptible verb now?) with my young cousin Jenna, who seems to share at only 12 young years old the same passions I did for horses ( and all animals) and writing, so we are becoming fast friends. I gave her one of my horses to ride and take care of because well…because if I was a 12 year old girl with a distant cousins with a horse farm, I would sure be praying to Jesus or Shiva or Zeus even for a horse to magically appear for me!  I would have tried it all! And I could sense she was like me. Why not make my dreams come true for someone else. Mine are all here anyways 🙂

So, in my conversations with her, we begin to talk about writing and other forms of creative stuff we do, and she tells me about her drawings; Unicorns, butterflies and beautiful things…ahhh I remember those days.

So for fun I decided to take some pictures of my sketches to show her old people still do art heh :).  I downloaded them from my annoying blackberry onto my desktop and tadaa…all of a sudden through the magic of technology MY ART was staring at me right in the face on this ENORMOUS computer screen.  My head said:

“Ew”. That was all I heard.

At first I only heard all the negative  judgement in my head.  A snap reaction born of habit…that I fully intend to dump in the muck pile for all it’s worth. But the feeling inside me looking at those pictures I had sketched out really quite recently was quite horrible.  There was an awful lot of emotion in those drawings, and frankly it’s one thing to feel it, and quite another to stare it in the face.  Maybe my brain just didn’t like how it perhaps “re-felt” the events that cause me to draw these dreamscapes. Really I don’t know, and my older age 🙂 is teaching me to stop analyzing everything all the time. Just SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE. Man…I have been so busy in my head. Then I started thinking about Jenna’s happy unicorn and noseless women, and concluded that I had become very dark and unchildlike. In those first moments I really was seeing all that I felt I had lost. My youth, my “joie de vivre” and my panache and ability in drawing “care Bears and such.  Where had all the flowers gone?

My sketches looked eerie and frankly, insane.  I have always admires the “dream artists” as I call them, van Gogh, Dahli, Picasso etc…they were right up my alley. My favourite writer when I was young? Yup you guessed it…Edgar Allen Poe.  The Raven himself. Man I was dramatic.

But now, I look at these sketches and I see the same penchant for dreams and fantasy, but I firgure these pictures probably tell me as much or more about myself than my writing can.  Aince I believe it is our ultimate duty in life (the only one really) to figure ourselves out so we can be of greates use to each other, then I figured I’d better get objective and less critical about my art and start top use it as the tool it as meant for by god.  That’sd it…simple. And my6 perception immediately shifted.

All of a sudden I began to see shapes and landscapes emerging where I know I didn’t consciously intend them as I was drawing. Suddenly I saw purpose and feeling and emotion all wrapped up in little lines that spoke of some pretty interesting ideas.

I was loving this art!

So, then I DARED myself.

The little conversation in my head went somethign like this…

“Um Jo, put it on your blog. Maybe someone else will like it too?” Said Big Me

“Are you kidding!  Then people might SEE it. Gawd.” Replied Little Me with an over the shoulder, “you’re an idiot” back glance.

“It’s a visual expression…it does no good just being throw away by you in your 6 month “clean ups” as you call them.  Just post them and write about why you drew them.  Then they are at least useful to someone”.

“Ahh I get it”, said Little Me. Right.

So, I’m posting these sketches and trying to unravel abit more of my own mystery.

Peace ~

Bridges to Dreams

I think dreams come true because we want them to come true.  They don’t fall into your lap or suddenly appear unbeknownst to you. Dreams that are beneficial not only to you but to the world around you in some way, that are good for other people or the environment  are always assisted by the Universe through coincidence and synchronicity.

As we get older we begin to edit our dreams.  I notice I dream smaller now…more cautiously. But when I was young my entire focus was on getting a horse and living on a farm. At 45 I find that is exactly where I am.  It was a determined dream.  I always ended my wish for those thigns in my life with a very heartfelt addendum to God: If you give me my farm, I PROMISE I will do something good with it.  This was our deal, and I have kept it to the best of my ability. Today my farm runs as a refuge and retraining center. We do equine retreats to help people reconnect to nature and spend a great deal of time imparting the importance of communication and relationship with the animals we use as our sporting partners and workmates.  I am happy with our deal, but this year I fully intend to take out all the stops and step it up.  I have big dreams that have come true…and I am just realizing it!

If you think back to when you were young, maybe ten years old, can you remember what it is you always wanted to be? What was it that you wished for on your birthday cake?

Like many young horse-crazy girls, i wanted a horse my entire life. I’m certain that I was emitted from the womb wanting a life with horses.  They are in my blood. I was even born in September 1966 which is the year of the fire horse. I made the same wish every on birthday cake until i was 20.

“I want a horse”.

I would pray that when I woke up the morning of my birthday somehow miraculously there would be a perfect pony standing under the maple tree at our house in Dorval.  I would hop on his perfect horse and go visit all of my friends.  This recurrent day-dream was the subject of my fantasies every year from the first memories I recall. one year I remember getting my helmet and boots.  It was about as close as I could get to a horse in Dorval.

My sympathetic parents sent me to riding camp every year and from when I was 19 and got my first car, those boots stayed parked in my trunk in the hopes that I would randomly meet someone with a horse who would invite me to go ride with them.  Funny enough, that actually happened, and when I was 21 I sold everything and bought Harmony, my first horse.  I was as inexperienced a horse person as anyone could be.  I had a basic knowledge of riding and care from the affluent camps I had been fortunate enough attend, but the best knowledge I got was from an old polish Calvary captain who really won my heart one night when he caught me sneaking a cigarette at 12 years old out behind his barn. In a thick Polish accent he reprimanded me, told me to put out my cigarette and meet him henceforth in his study.  This was terrifying.  My father had sent me to the Captain Wiazowski riding school, and I felt like I had entered purgatory.  His rules were strict, his demands vocal and I was in a teenage time of turmoil where I just wanted to be left alone to melt into the wallpaper.

The Captain would have none of it and I soon found myself standing in his office stoic and quiet in front of his dark wood enormous work desk, my head bent and staring at his big bronze polish horse statues and shelves and shelves of books. A green and brass lamp on the desk was all the light we had. It was eerie and terrifying. Surely he was going to tell me he was sending me home, for the rule I had broken was all but cardinal. Instead he told me to sit down and have a cigarette.  At first I thought he was joking, and so I just stood silently waiting for his next words of admonishment.  Instead he repeated to me loudly as though I may be a little deaf,

“Seet down and smoke”.

“What?” I asked again.

he looked at me with a raised eyebrow as if he felt I was defying him.  The fog lifted and I sat down.

“But I don’t want to smoke”, I said to him.

“I won’t do it again”, I promised, dreading with every fiber of my being the phone call he would inevitably make to my father resulting in causing him further disappointment in me. I was not exactly the easiest teenager to live with.

“SMOKE”, he snapped at me in his most  Captain authority voice.

I fumbled in my damp barn jacket for my cigarettes and matches I had stolen from the kitchen.  He saw this and raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

Fine, I’ll just do it – I decided defiantly.

“Don’t go back there to smoke ever again.” he said finally after a few uncomfortable moments of considered glaring silence.

“ok”, I bowed my head praying for it to be over.

“Every night, after supper, you come smoke in here. After you clean the kitchen with Terry and rake the ring”.

“Rake the ring every night? We never do the ring every night!” I complained as if there should be some rule of fairness applied to the levity of the punishment.  But he knew exactly what he was doing. The Captain had commanded large mounted Calvary troops in Poland and held back the Nazi’s when they came across to Poland on their tanks he faced them on his horse. When Poland fell he travelled with his horses and men on boats and across the sea to go and fight them in France.  The had won 3 medals of honour and valour from three different countries, and had been teaching children since he landed in Canada in 1954.  This was a rare man I was going to scare or manipulate very easily.

From then on, every night, after enduring my duties I would stand uncomfortably while the Captain would wait for me to go into his office.  The first night was horrible.  I lit my cigarette and had no clue what to talk about to this old crotchety man; the silence was truly deafening.  Then he started to ask me questions. The smoking issue was never again discussed.  So began a dialogue with someone in a way I had never experienced before. he asked me questions, and seemed truly interested in what I had to say about things.  he believed that children had a take on how the world was doing, and he would value what i said.  It evolved in a way that i became curious and started asking him questions too.  The Captain changed also in my perception from  “crotchety old man” to trusted teacher.

My riding changed then too.  I trusted him implicitly even when he would tell me to do something on my horse which I felt completely incapable of doing; if he believed I could, then I just would.  Learning to follow in this way made a tremendous contribution to the way  teach riding.   My father always said “you have to learn to follow before you can lead”.

I won the entire horse show that year.  I always thought that Anne was a much better rider than I was. She had flair and seemed unafraid and daring in ways I could never imagine.  But ultimately I won because of my joy in the moment of riding.  I don’t remember the class, but I do remember how my horse felt, his gliding trot along the long side of the arena.  It was the first time I had really relaxed and let my horse move forward with no inhibition.  It was a glorious feeling.

The Captain taught me that a good teacher is someone who helps you find a way to let the animals guide your learning, like the captain did for me.  He helped me define a vision for my life just because he was someone whom I respected and he respected me back in a way I understood and that contributed to my understanding of my life.

This new year, I am here on my beautiful farm and I can’t help but acknowledge that it is the small moments in life that create the bridges to the bigger dreams.

LIFE GOALS or what?

Setting goals is an important human task.  I heard somewhere that only 3% of North American’s polled have set goals.  I don’t believe there is any coincidence between the percentage of people who hold most of the worlds wealth and this statistic.  During the New year season making “resolutions” is a popular concept.  New Years is viewed as a time of restarting, a jumping off place.  You can choose to loose weight, quit smoking, drop your current relationship, move to a new city, change jobs or decide to take that long awaited art course. A New Year’s resolution always has in mind some form of self improvement, but most of the time we are trying to improve upon some aspect of ourselves which is only a symptom of a larger issue. The word “resolution” sound harsh and determined. And unless we know why we are making the change or why we underwent the damaging behaviour that leads to the need for change in the first polace, the change will only be temporary.

You can resolve to quit smoking, go to the gym, loose 20 p0unds and spend more time with your kids, but until an action is taken, it’s just another reason for you to feel guilty about not doing the things you should be doing to take care of yourself.  Until you understand why you have self defeating behaviours, trying to change them all you want wil only create more disappointment and guilt.  I have never made a life goal list, but I am going to start one here online.  I hope others join me.  I don’t believe a business can be successful without a set of long and short term goals. It is certain that any life can benefit from setting and focusing on positive forward moving goals.

Goals are best if they have a focused effect that brings somethign good not only to your life, but to other lives as well.  For example, one of my goals is to train horses in Costa Rica.  This benefits me by expanding my knowledge and gives me work to do that I love as well as providing a more humane taining method to a place that only knows very harsh methodology in horse training.   This is one of my BIG goals.  I have smaller goals too, like rearranging my bedroom closet because it is a ridiculous mess.

When I started writring this list I was stuned at how little I had for it. Surely I must WANT something for my life?

I also realized that had I written this list 30 years ago, i would find that many of my goals have been achieved…so my list includes life goals that I have actually achieved:

1- get my own horse (my lifelong dream..now I have 7)

2- live on a  farm (I love my farm 🙂

3- Hvae a great dog

4- have seven kids

5- geta university degree

6- Get married to someone I am really good friends with

7- become a musician

8- teach

9- learn how to ride a motorcycle

10- have a horse refuge anmd work with refuge animals

11- Scuba dive

12- Write a fiction novel for teens

13– Travel back to africa to teach and do volunteer work

14- Horse training in Costa rica

15- Clean my bedroom closet

16- Write and produce a solo album

17- Play the Blues Festival in Montreal with SoulFusion

18-  Ride Otis all the way to Hudson on manson safely

19- Create trails on the farm

20- Fall in love deeply and truly – soul to soul

21- Have an arena at willowcreek by the fall 2012

22- One Mind: A Guide to Emerging Global Consciousness completed and published in 2012

23- Finish bedroom bathroom

24- Make Stables self sustaining by growing teaching and boarding business

25-

This will continue as the year goes on.  I am happy to say I have achieved many of these, and I am looking forward to adding on to it as time goes by.