Monday, October 31, 2011

Living a Mid-Atlantic Life

OK – I have been learning a lot about slowing down this past year. So much so that I have really let my blogging go by the wayside. Travelling back and forth between Canada and the UK has meant that taking the time to think, ponder and create has been at a minimum. Today, the last day of the month and Halloween got me thinking that the year is almost out and that perhaps now would be a good time to reflect on how things have gone so far. On the one hand; I have definitely slowed down in many ways. On the other hand, my life has been divided between two continents. Moving between these different cultures, different friends, different everything has meant that being slowed down has made it possible for me to stay focused and be in the flow of the moment. Perhaps that is the real reward for being slowed down; there is time to notice and pay attention to the events of life and to be open to what life is trying to give you. Often when I was impatient for things to happen and trying to move them along myself, through force of will and pushing the river, nothing actually happened. How ironic to now see that by slowing down to the speed of life, I have actually created way more in my life. More fun, more opportunities, more connections and way more time to enjoy them all. It was a year ago in November that the book 'Slowing Down to the Speed of Life' literally fell of the shelf and into my lap. I took it as a message and one that I did pay attention to. Now, a year later, all I can say is Wow – what a miracle and what magic has happened in my life since then. On Friday I leave again for the UK. Work, opportunities and fun beckons and I am ready for it all. The past year has been great and I'm pretty excited to see what this next year has in store. Finally learning that life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's Next for London?

Traveling throughout the UK this summer has been a real eye opener. From the Canals of the Midlands to the Eden Project in Cornwall and most recently, to the woodlands of the Loch's in Scotland; we have experienced so much that is really wonderful and beautiful about the United Kingdom. Having said that; united is not a word that I would use to describe this place. Tribal is a word that comes to mind most often and it also explains the solutions that have been used to resolve economic and social issues of deprivation and hopelessness that have been the hallmarks of these areas in the past. Not so now; all of these areas have been rejuvenated through creative and positive change brought about in the communities themselves. The canals have been invested in and championed by individuals who understand that this water system offers more than just a transportation system for commercial purposes. The canals are now home to many people who have opted for a lifestyle of simplicity and fulfillment. They are not living on their boats because they feel 'hard done by'; they live on their boats because it is joyful and a shear pleasure as we discovered for ourselves. Cornwall has fostered the most amazing regeneration project that I have ever seen. The Eden project is a miracle of positive growth through transformation of a once ugly blight on the countryside. It is now an oasis, a garden of Eden that attracts people in the thousands on a daily basis. A forum to educate but also an attraction that provides a healthy and inspiring example of what community can do to generate work and provide a positive solution to the environmental crisis that we face. A true win/win proposition of ever there was one. Loch Ard in Scotland an area called the Trossachs just north of Glasgow also provides an educational and inspiring eco friendly tourist attraction. They work hard in this little area to ensure that you don't leave Scotland thinking it is just a place of mist and grey clouds. Enterprise is everywhere as is their history that is kept alive because of the individuals who live there and ensure that the stories of Rob Roy and William Wallace are as relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago. All of these places have sparked economic rejuvenation by their own enterprise. They have taken the bull by the horns – led by incredible and dedicated visionaries – and made something of their communities. The London area which has been most badly hit by the riots and looting of late could definitely benefit from it's own 'Eden Project.' The social unrest has been building for a very long time; lack of jobs, lack of opportunity, urban decay and the general malaise that occurs when people feel bereft of hope and inspiration. Entitlement has been the disease that has most deeply eroded the social fabric here. The idea that these kids felt 'entitled' to expensive trainers, flat screen tv's and computers are more alarming than the fact that they did what they did. The government can no longer afford this social experiment; and it is about time too. It has turned whole generations of people into welfare queens and kings who see the government as the answer to their problems. The truth is that in any society the solutions are not going to come from the government; they are part of the problem. The solutions will need to come from the community and from a vision for the community that can transcend the current state of moral, emotional and financial decay. Maybe London can be transformed and become the next Eden Project?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slowing down to the speed of the Canals

Life has been a bit of an adventure of late and the blog has definitely fallen through the cracks. I have written a few but connecting to the internet has been the biggest challenge. This started when we decided to have a bit of a break in France after I had some work to do in the UK. Seemed like a great idea and it was a good idea and a grand adventure.

The challenge comes with fitting our lifestyle into a French lifestyle; being wired to the internet is not a priority in France. So moving into the way of life in France meant adjusting as best we could to an hour a day to cover off essential emails (client communications and coaching) and the more fun and frivolous stuff – Facebook and blogging – went by the wayside.

Our time in France prepared us perfectly for a week on the canals in England. In previous blogs I have written about the whole idea of 'slowing down' as perhaps a direction that would be worthwhile for me to pursue. Ambling through the waterways around the Trent and Mersey Canal system has been amazingly instructive around getting into a slower pace. The river winds and bends, the ducks seek out food from the many canal boaters and we converse at night over a glass of wine in the pubs that spot this incredible system of waterways.

The system is over two hundred years old and originates with the Industrial revolution as a way to transport goods throughout the UK. We travel no more than a few miles a day; stopping along the way to open and close the locks and meet our fellow boaters who are unerringly helpful at showing us newbies how it all works. It is a pleasant and most enjoyable lifestyle; one that I could get used to.

We had friends with us over the weekend assisting with the locks and generally helping us to adjust to our life on the canals. Outgoing and greeting everyone on the canals, they helped us to understand that this is a very different way of life. Completely off the grid, no one is a stranger and everyone is pursuing their own personal adventure. By the look of the people we have met, they are a pretty darned happy bunch. Free of the cares and worries of owning a home or a car, they cruise the rivers and make each new mooring their home for the night. Peripitatic to the extreme and yet the joy and sense of freedom these people experience is visible on their faces.

Today would have been my Mother's 90th birthday. She passed away 6 years ago and I think about her every day and wish that I could share this adventure with her. I also know that she would be pretty pleased that I am finally learning how to relax and slow down. My Mom was a bit of a master at the art of relaxing; she didn't pass that particular gene onto me.

Happy Birthday Mom; slowing down and learning to relax is my gift to you today.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The End of an Era

My Father-in-law passed away this week at the age of 93. He was a lovely man and I will miss him. He had a warm and charming manner and was a true English gentleman in his Harris tweeds and cap. At 93 he survived and served in World War 11 and would often regale us with his stories about the war. I would listen to these stories with rapt interest until, like my husband, I could just about tell them for him. He did tend to review and live in the past with increasing frequency, in the past several years, as his memory became more fragile and eventually faded entirely.

In many ways, his passing was a blessing for him; I can't imagine that he would have wanted to continue with his health failing at every turn. The final straw was a broken hip that happened two weeks ago. The subsequent surgery left him weak, vulnerable and open to the chest infection that appears to have taken him away.

The loss of any close member of a family is difficult, no matter what the person's age or state of health. There is a 'life force' that we all bring that will be missed when we are gone. Strangely, we don't really get to understand what the essence of a person is until it isn't present on the planet.

It is easy to take our families for granted and assume they will be there forever. For my husband, having a Father in his life for all of his 65 years is pretty amazing. He is already an Old Age Pensioner and has never known a time in his life when his father wasn't there.

One of the most difficult parts of loss is the conflict of emotions that emerge; grief and sadness mixed with feelings of relief that the tension and wonder is finally over.

Family relationships are complicated and made more so when the parents are gone. Most siblings don't know how to be with each other without the parents as a point of reference point. The uncertainty, the vacuum and the unknown are what we face over the next few weeks as we travel back to England to complete this journey.

While it may be the end of an era; it is also a new beginning that we can shape as we like.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A question about Leadership

Travels are over – at least for a little while – and I'm back enjoying the serenity and peacefulness that is our life by the River. While the weather has been less than springlike; it has been great to be home and to see my friends again. Back to walking on the beach and catching up on the current news.

Canada is in the midst of a federal election right now and it seems for the second time in less than a year our community is going through election fever. An important time to consider how we want our country to be led over the next several (we hope) years. These are challenging times right now and it will take many people with a strong sense of purpose and vision to accept this challenge and lead this country with commitment and heart.

Leadership is an illusive quality in our political mosaic here in Canada. Many people want control and even more want power but how many really want to lead? And, if they do want to lead, where the heck are they taking us? These are questions that are worth asking yourself as you listen to the speeches and the rallying cries of the candidates.

Watching CNN on the weekend, I was inspired by an article that appeared to be written by Author Y (who turns out to be the joint chiefs of staff in the Pentagon.)

John Norris discusses this article in 'Foreign Policy' and quotes the article within the context of funding:

"Courageously, the authors make the case that America continues to rely far too heavily on its military as the primary tool for how it engages the world. Instead of simply pumping more and more dollars into defense, the narrative argues:

'By investing energy, talent, and dollars now in the education and training of young Americans -- the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members, and parents, of tomorrow -- we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future. Our first investment priority, then, is intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America's youth. "

That for me is leadership and coming from the Pentagon no less.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The North South Divide

Life has been hectic recently – up to Newcastle, over to Richmond, down to Sheffield then back into London. I enjoy the different landscapes of these parts of England; each has its own unique and lovely energy.

Newcastle is a bit of homeland; my mother, grandmother and great grandmother are all from South Shields (which is the Newcastle area). I enjoy visiting this part of the world even though I often don't understand a word they say. A Geordie accent is something quite amazing to behold; almost like a secret language only knowable to the initiated. I first encountered the Geordie lingo when my grandmother was chatting with a Geordie friend and slipped very easily and quickly into the almost indecipherable language that is from these parts.

Reassuring is how it feels to be in the North of England; familiar, friendly, forthright and honest. These are qualities that have often been attributed to me by my family and not always in a positive and encouraging way. The qualities of northerners can grate on the rest of England and certainly the more subdued Southerners are often quite affronted by their Northern brethren. I, however, enjoy the frankness and the honesty; it sits very well with me.

Today I had a wander around the Kings Road in Chelsea and thoroughly enjoyed this part of London. It isn't an area that I go to frequently but on the advisement of a friend, I thought I would go and partake of the excellent shopping and also enjoy the sunshine and the warmth of the spring day. After my experiences in the north and the work that I enjoyed last week and on the weekend, it was lovely to have an afternoon to meander about and just take in the sights and sounds of London.

My awareness of the North South divide is never more acute than when I have the opportunity to spend some time up north and then immerse myself in London; the homeland of my father, grandfather and great grandfather; a completely different experience of England. London is fast, vibrant, multicultural and anonymous. A person can get seriously lost here and no one would notice. This is also an aspect of me that fits very well in my psyche.

Bringing the divide together is the balance that I seek.
Geographies of England: The North-South Divide, Material and Imagined (Cambridge Studies in Historical Geography)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rock Your 'Asanas' Yoga

So what else does a person do in South London on a Saturday night but engage in heavy metal yoga. No kidding, rock music, light show and heavy breathing; all part of the 'yoga' experience that my friend and I participated in on Saturday. Followed by a lentil curry and a glass of wine; they do things differently over here.

It was a bit odd for me – to say the least – and yet, I cannot argue with the positive effects that I have felt since doing this 'extreme sport' yoga. I of the 'Nordic Walking' persuasion and occasional yoga aficionado feel incredibly energized and dare I say it, quite changed as a result of this experience.

I had no idea what I was getting into when my very good friend of many years asked me if I'd like to join her in a yoga class on Saturday night. I thought, sure, I love yoga, really miss doing it and hey, what a fun way to hang out and spend time together.

There wasn't a whole lot of information about the night just that it was yoga and then a veggie meal. When I arrived in the yoga room I was somewhat startled to see two dj's and a huge table for spinning discs and a light show being set up. Well, a few minutes later, 35 bodies proceeded to chant, stretch, downward dog and shake our shakti's. Whoa – not what I was expecting at all.

When I shared this experience with my son over our 'Mother's Day' lunch on Sunday (yes, they have a different day than Canada) he burst out laughing and said that it reminded him of an episode of the 'Peep Show' which is shot in South London – 'Rainbow Rhythms.' Later that night he put the episode on the tv for me to watch. What was hilariously funny for me was the degree to which my Saturday night mimicked this episode. It isn't a natural thing to blend yoga – quiet meditative practice – with loud rocking music and a light show.

I am a bit of a purist when it comes to yoga; I like it quiet, meditative, relaxing and to be honest, not that sweaty. If I tell you that 'Shavason' is my favourite position (the corpse pose) it will probably tell you a lot about my level of activity in yoga. So having such a wildly physical yoga experience was, for me, a uniquely South London experience.

Fusing South London and Yoga; the beginning of change indeed.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back in the UK

The past week has flown by and I'm somewhat bemused as to how I have managed to go this long without doing the blog. Normally, it is something that I sit down and do without a huge amount of pre-thought. It tends to flow from my current experiences and thoughts.

Not so much this past week. Perhaps because it has been a week of huge change; just prior to leaving for the UK I heard from my very dear friend that her uncle had passed away on the Tuesday evening. This was a bit of a shock thought not a huge surprise. Her uncle had been very ill with brain cancer for a number of months. We had given him Reiki in January and the message was clear; 'your life is in your hands.'

This is the reality of life and cancer; ultimately, the decision to live or die rests with the individual. No one can really say or declare that someone is 'terminal' or that they will live. Our souls are our own and it is our decision. This isn't an easy concept to understand because for all the world a friend or family member appear to have the desire to live and in fact, will espouse that point of view openly and with great inner conviction. This indeed was the case for my friend's uncle. He did believe he would live.

So my trip to the UK was overshadowed by his passing and yet, it has given me a lot of fuel for thought and introspection. We really do not know when our passing will be. Our only real option is to our live our life as consciously and with as much love and gratitude as possible.

This feeling of gratitude has been with me throughout the past week. I am grateful to be in the UK with my friends and family. To have this time to be together and to also have the opportunities I have to work and do what I love to do.

I truly am blessed and grateful that I am able to live the life that I am living right now. I understand at a very deep level that this time here is very brief indeed and to appreciate the many gifts that I have received already.

Feeling blessed and trusting I am where I need to be.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Beginnings

Spring has always been one of my favourite seasons and never more so than after the winter we have had here at the 'Beach.' Winter has been relentless; snow, ice, wind and freezing temperatures have all combined to make this a very challenging place for me to be. I prefer the temperate climate of Vancouver and London.

This past weekend has been an especially significant weekend with a massively huge full moon waking and shaking everything in it's path. That's what a full moon does; it wakes people up by stirring the emotional body and getting things activated. People feel a little crazy and with everything going on in the world, it isn't hard to understand why crazy seems to be the current emotional flavour of the month.

I chose this past weekend to hold a Reiki Level 1 class. My thinking was that with all this powerful energy arriving this weekend, it would be a perfect time to hold a class. To integrate the energy of the moon and the equinox with the assistance of the Reiki energy seemed like a good plan. The word 'Reiki' means 'Universal Life Force Energy' which is essentially the same energy that holds the moon in the sky, keeps the sun where it is meant to be and runs through our energy systems; it is all the same stuff.

Connecting with the energy of Reiki has been a 21 year relationship that never ceases to surprise and amaze me. I met the husband soon after doing Reiki; it was as if our souls could finally see each other and recognize who we were. My interest in 'Soul Mates' was cultivated and deepened through my relationship with Reiki. Curiosity about this thing called 'Soul' and where does one find a 'Mate' that matches your soul?

And here I am again, bemused and aware that once again this powerful force is taking me on yet another journey. I leave again for the UK this Friday and I am holding the vision to teach a Reiki class while I am there. My two worlds of 'corporate' training and 'spiritual' training are coming together, just like me.

I think that the world and I are in for an incredible ride.

Reiki: Hawayo Takata's StoryReiki: Hawayo Takata's Story

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Aftermath of the Earth Shifts

It may be too soon to speak of this being the 'aftermath' but I'm going to risk it for the sake of addressing what I think is an important part of this whole horrible crisis in Japan.  Thousands of people are either dead or missing – thousands more injured; this is the real aftermath; loss, grief and the prospect of a very slow recovery.

It leaves me with the very big question; what can I do to help?  How do I relieve the genuine sense of hopelessness and helplessness that this type of crisis evokes in me?  I don't think it is a coincidence that I have spent most of this weekend at my computer trying to come up with a creative solution to an issue we have faced since we moved back to Canada.  How do we get our youth leadership programme off the ground?

We are in the business of training, development and fundamentally; leadership education.  We have worked with young people and understand some of the issues they face.  Each time we experience a crisis like the one recently in Japan, I feel strongly drawn to do something about this leadership gap that exists in our society today.  We have worked with adults but in my heart I know that it is the kids who need the support.  This level of change has got to be traumatic for them; what hope do they see for themselves as the world appears to be crumbling before their eyes?

I am now pursuing all avenues of marketing to see what I can do to generate the financial support that we need to do this work.  I have gone up many dead ends this weekend and gained some knowledge about many different 'portals' that offer opportunities to raise funds online.  It is all very confusing and it will take time to sort out what will work and what can be left behind.

Spending this time focusing on what I can do, helped me to ease the pain of what I simply couldn't do; I couldn't make the pain of loss and grief that the Japanese people are feeling go away.  What I can do, is focus on my vision and do what I can do to make a difference here and with my friends and my family.

My hunch is that everyone has been deeply touched somehow with the events in Japan.  How we move forward from here is going to be a very individual thing.  For some people it will be a donation, for others, committed action to do more in these devastated areas and for others,  it will be a greater commitment to move forward with courage and determination to provide solutions that will hopefully lead to a deeper level of understanding and compassion for who we are on this very fragile and currently, very volatile, planet.

The shift has only just begun.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Earth is Shifting

I woke up this morning to the news of a devastating earthquake and Tsunami in Japan that is working its way across the Pacific to Hawaii and then the coast of Canada and the US. For me, this is very close to home. I lived in Vancouver and on the Island for many years and have spent a lot of time in California; these are places that are also home to me. It is difficult to believe that these areas are going to be affected. My heart is in my throat as I think about the people who I know and love and who are currently under threat. I am praying that the effects will be minimal and that my friends and family will be safe.
As a planet, we are only just coming to grips with the disaster in New Zealand, followed by the flooding in Australia and then the earthquakes in Chile – how can we comprehend the enormity of these shifts that the earth is going through? I think in some ways, I'm a bit numb to the possibility of what might happen here. This is very close to home indeed.
We have been given warnings for years that the earth is shifting; shaking off the effects of our abuse and neglect over the many years. As a sentient being, mother earth feels as much pain for our bad behaviour as any mother does when observing the self destructive habits of her children. It hurts and eventually, the hurt comes out as grief and a massive healing process. This is what we are experiencing right now and so many of us are being affected in a truly horrendous way.
As the earth shifts, we are being awakened to our own inner grief and pain. The opportunity is to observe, reflect and to be accountable for our own emotional distress. It is easy to look outside ourselves and say that it isn't about me – it's happening over there – but this is no longer possible or true. We are all responsible and it is time to take a stand and own our part.
The earth shifts aren't going to stop any time soon; in fact they are going to get stronger and louder. This is a wake up call on a major scale and like any mother who wants her children to wake up, she is being a bit of a nag – annoying really – but it must be done.
As the earth shifts; so do we. Are you ready?

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Five Tips to Creating a Successful Relationship

Relationships appear to be a source of trauma and pain for a lot of people. I have had my fair share of difficulties – it has also been the subject of my ongoing research. 'Complicated' is how most people describe their relationship status on Facebook. How come relationships are so complicated? I think it may be that we make them complicated by not understanding some of the rules about relationships.
So, here are my five tips for creating a successful relationship, in no apparent order:
1) Tell yourself the truth about why you want this relationship. Ok – I started with the tough one but the most important one. What motivated you to get into the relationship in the first place? For some – that's easy – I fell in love. Hm – think about that – fell (kind of unstable and a bit slidey there) in (into what?) love (whatever that means). A difficult place to make a choice from – sliding into God knows what.
2) Understand that the person you are in a relationship is going to mirror some of the worst aspects of you – for your enjoyment and edification. Pretty funny huh? You start a relationship with someone and then before you know it – wow – where did that come from? I don't know this person – a complete personality change. Well, actually, it's all a bit of a game calling 'mirror, mirror on the wall' – and we know how that went for Snow White. One moment – fast asleep – the next – woken with a kiss by Prince Charming. The End. Ever wonder what happened after the kiss? Yep, it's called the beginning of the relationship.
3) Forgive yourself on a daily basis for making the first two mistakes; choosing badly and not liking what you see in the mirror. A bit harsh but it will get better, especially as you embrace the humility to accept that you are human and that as a human being, you are naturally flawed. If you start forgiving yourself now, you will be well ahead and ready for number 4.
4) Accept that there are no greener pastures. Where did you hear this before? It is true, we take our 'brown' with us and turn those lovely greener pastures to the same yecky brown that we left behind. The truth is, we take ourselves wherever we go and if we have 'brown' inside of us, it will still be there even if we move on to Prince or Princess Charming No. 2 or 3.
5) Love yourself exactly as you are. In the end, this is the main relationship that you are having while you are here on planet earth. The other folks at the party are just here to help you see yourself better and love yourself – warts and all.
Relationships aren't complicated but we sure are.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Wisdom of the Hula Ring

This week has been seismic on many levels. I started out the week in a bit of emotional overflow; experienced a massive adjustment and now ending the week with a whole lot more clarity, opportunities and magic in my life.

The more I release and let go of what no longer serves me; be it emotional baggage or personal baggage, the more I can open to receive what is wanting to come to me. While I'm stuck, nothing can be manifest in my world in any meaningful way.

Flowing with life has been a theme for me lately; allowing myself to slow down and to be in the moment. Not easy for a major doer like me but I'm getting better at it, as I realize that my results improve the more I slow down and allow things to take their natural course.

I have been accused of pushing the river by the husband who definitely has a different pace to me. Since we live next to the river I have a daily reminder of just how useless it is to push a river. Never-the-less, I am often guilty as charged and frustrated by this tendency.

Recently, I purchased a Hula Ring (weighted Hula Hoop) in a fit of 'let's get rid of the belly fat and try something different.' It wasn't long after using the magic hoop that I realized it had some more benefits that I could not have anticipated.

For instance, when I feel impatient, tempted to push a river and move something along before it's ready; I have a new displacement activity that replaces the tendency to act before I'm really ready. The other benefits are that it helps me keep warm, keeps my energy moving and as a kinesthetic learner this is essential for processing information and generating ideas. It has the added benefit of keeping me in the flow; if I don't know what to do I grab the Hula Ring.

The husband is also enjoying the visual of me trying to keep the hoop up; I am evidently very amusing and while he doesn't laugh openly, the smile on his face tells me that I look pretty hilarious.

Hilarious I might be but wisdom is starting to emerge.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Needing an Emotional Adjustment

If last week was up and down, this week has been a bit slidey – or kinda sideways as it were. Deep feelings have been emerging; residues of stuff that has been lurking about in my psyche for a while. I don't usually blog about this kind of stuff but it was rather interesting, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Where do I begin and how do I describe this whole process. I have spent the past 25 years of my life in the process of really understanding what it takes to move forward. What keeps us stuck and why it is in fact important to keep moving; to be in the flow of life as opposed to at the effect of and in resistance to life.

So, this is not new territory for me and yet, I have found myself feeling stuck and very challenged around moving myself forward. Normally, this is quite a simple process for me; I figure out what I want, what needs to shift to do that and then bingo, bango – I'm there. I have been testing this technology for a long time and I know it works.

Why, then I ask, have I been stuck? This is a good question and one that I am only now getting to the bottom of. Apparently, I have been holding on to old residues of emotional baggage that extends back to my parent's passing. Grief – frozen in my body and the accompanying despair and apathy – strong words I know – have been keeping me stuck.

I live now in a home that is filled with my parent's memorabilia. Not everything they owned – I have let go of a lot – but there are still memories and pieces of their energy in our home. In some ways, it has been very comforting but in other ways, it has been a daily reminder of what I am missing.

Releasing this grief and letting go of the past has been my process of late. Not pretty and not fun – let me tell you. I have required the services of my husband who has sat with me, listened and helped me through this in what now seems a remarkably short period of time.

The grief may not be all gone but it has indeed been cracked – it is no longer a piece of frozen emotional residue in my body keeping me stuck; it is now a flowing emotional river of love and gratitude to the parents who raised me and loved me.

Moving forward now with emotional clarity and blessed relief.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Riding the Wave

This week has been very up and down in many ways. Weather wise we have gone from balmy to freezing and back again. Emotionally, I have felt pretty up and down myself. Just when I think that I have made a breakthrough and know exactly what I'm supposed to do; the perceived clarity seems to just collapse all around me. This is a very uncomfortable place for me to be.

The current emotional and energetic wave that is moving through our planet is having quite a dramatic impact on me. All these major changes; from Egypt to Libya and then the earthquake in New Zealand are almost too much for me to comprehend and process. One moment I'm feeling quite euphoric for the Middle East and the breakup of the authoritarian structures there and the next I'm quite muddled and disturbed by the disaster that is Libya and then New Zealand.

I have also been challenged by the husband to bring some focus in my life as to what it is that I want to 'be' in the world. In other words, what am I in the process of becoming? A very good question indeed and one for which I didn't have an answer.

I spend a lot of time keeping abreast of what is going on in the world and collecting data and ideas from Facebook. The world of social media has been buzzing this week and I have worked very hard to keep up. What I haven't done much of though is my own work. Which lead me back to the question, what is it that I want to be?

Then it hit me; like a ton of bricks. What I want to be and what I am becoming is a Light Worker. What does that mean, Light Worker? Well, what it means for me is that it doesn't really matter what I 'do' in my life – what I 'be' is a bringer of light – knowledge, information and the ability to 'lighten' people up.

This was truly a revelation for me. I know that some of my friends and Reiki students are probably laughing at this point – like you didn't know? Well, yes and no, it didn't really seem like a profession.

Never-the-less, it is who I Am.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Family Day

Last week it was Valentines Day and today is 'Family Day', well, at least here in Ontario it is. These things do tend to go together; first you fall in love and then you have a family. At least, that's how it used to be.

I love the idea of 'Family Day' - a day to be with the family and enjoy each other's company but my experience with the reality is that this isn't always the case. Having family together – especially if you have teenagers – can be quite a painful and uncomfortable experience.

Our family unit of four went to Prague one year for Christmas. While we did have a fantastic time it was mainly due to three things; 1) the sons had a separate room from ours 2) they largely did what they wanted and 3) they weren't teenagers any more. I knew we were in for an interesting holiday when I handed our passports in at the check-in desk at Gatwick; none of us had the same last name. For reasons that aren't worth going into here, my passport was still in my maiden name and my sons don't share the same name. The woman looked at our passports and then looked at the four of us with a very quizzical look. I said, 'yes, we are a family – a very modern family – we all have our own identity.'

Since the husband and I got together over 20 years ago, we have formed and reformed our family around the different people who are a part of it. The husband coined the phrase 'unit' when we were first together. Given our unusual set up; unit works for us. Over the years, the sons have brought many people into our lives; some have lived with us for a period of time others just for a few weeks. As we have lived together we have found a rhythm and a way to be a 'unit' that has not only worked for us but it seems to work well for those who are a part of our unit.

The reality of our 'unit' is that we are all very far flung and so when we do connect, it is usually for a period of time that then becomes a 'holiday.' It doesn't always run smoothly – to say the least. In fact, 'National Lampoon's Vacation (Christmas and European) comes to mind for some of these gatherings. The real humour of these movies is the degree to which they so accurately mirror real life. There is a fine line between comedy and tragedy; which just about sums up the family holiday.

Happy Family Day – from Our Unit to yours.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Soul Mate Conundrum

Valentines week is coming to an end and I was thinking that it might be a good time to offer up some of my thoughts and ideas on the 'Soul Mate' relationship. A number of years ago I wrote a very brief book on Soul Mates. It was in the very early days of my relationship with the husband and to be perfectly honest, I really didn't have a clue what it was about. Not that I am so super wise now, but 20 years on, I feel like I can at least offer my two cents worth.

So, why do I call it a conundrum, you ask? Good question and I will do my best to answer without creating too much confusion. The conundrum is that a Soul Mate Relationship has been romanticized so much in books, songs, magazines and the media that the reality is often a complete and total shock to the individuals involved.

The words 'you complete me' have become synonymous with the ideal soul mate relationship and to a degree it's true. It is like two parts fitting together to make a whole but the challenging bit is that each of you are coming together to make two wholes – not two halves into a whole. This is where the challenge begins.

Looking into the face of your mate is like looking at the part of yourself that you don't completely know and may not be completely in love with either. It takes a huge amount of maturity, honesty and humility to look into this mirror and tell the truth about what you see. The part you don't quite love about the other is really the part you don't love about you.

So, this is the 'Soul Mate' conundrum – we want to so much to fall in love and feel complete but what we get is the opportunity to love ourselves as we are and thereby, feel and be complete. This can get a bit confusing – as I mentioned at the beginning – so bear with me if you are feeling a bit lost.

The mate to your soul is the feminine or masculine aspect of you – the part you may not be paying a whole lot of attention to. That is why it can look unfamiliar and at times, rather unpleasant. If you think about some of the really famous 'Soul Mate' relationships – think Liz Taylor and Richard Burton – not always a pleasant picture. They were famous for their raging fights and breakups – as well as for their deep love and marriages. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em – is a bit of what it feels like.

T'is a conundrum alright and one that I find myself learning to love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

As Time Goes By

I thought that it would be a good idea to wait until after Valentines Day to do my blog. The day can be fraught with so much expectation – especially for those of us in a relationship. Serious pressure to have something so fragile as a 'relationship' put through the very sharp focus of a 'Valentines Day' lens.

It wasn't too surprising then to read in the newspaper on the weekend that this is also a very busy time of the year for Private Investigators checking up on the 'fidelity' of their clients spouse. It appears that some people can't help but celebrate this day with their spouse and mistress – a bit of a gamble apparently, since it's a pretty easy catch.

For the rest of us, it is a useful time of the year to put some focus on the relationship – not limit it to commercials – and to appreciate the person who you have promised to share your life with – come hell or high water. So it is with this spirit of focus and appreciation that I started off Valentines Day with the husband.

It began with me asking for some help from him. He has recently become a bit of an expert in helping me with what we have termed 'emotional adjustments.' As a very tuned in male he has become adept at helping me sort through my emotional road map – which can get very tangled.

We chatted for a bit about various little issues that I was grappling with and then he hit the nail on the head by observing that I 'must feel quite overwhelmed at times by the onslaught of humanity – being such a sensitive and open person – no wonder you need to withdraw and remove yourself at times.' It was the best gift I could possibly receive, being seen and understood for who I am and how I am.

Later that night, we watched Casablanca – one of my favourite movies. I have seen it many times and I often have watched it, hoping the ending would be different. Yet, I think that what I most love about Casablanca is how Rick really does understand Illsa – and loves her enough to let her go and do what she needs to do.

Rick knew what he was doing when he said, 'here's looking at you kid!'

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home in Wasaga Beach

I have been back home in Wasaga Beach almost a week now and once again, it's back to the life that I live here in a small beach community and for now, a freezing cold community.

It's been a busy week with lots of networking; the Wasaga Beach Women's Business Association dinner meeting on Tuesday and this morning, our Chamber's Breakfast at the Beach. We rely on these events to give us opportunities to meet new people and to promote our business. Without these kinds of events it would be very difficult to do business and to meet and connect with people. Most of the friends I have here I met at networking events.

As a founding member of the 'Breakfast at the Beach' networking committee, I feel a certain amount of pride and satisfaction that these mornings are as well attended as they are. The speakers are interesting and informative and it keeps a lively discussion and energy going in the community; whether we all agree with each other or not.

In fact, I'm certain that many of us do not share a common view on many issues within the Town. Debate was heated during the recent Mayoral election and it appears to continue to this day. While it would be 'nice' if we all agreed and held the same point of view; it isn't healthy or good for a community to do that. Debate and opposing opinions is what keeps our Town honest and our citizens engaged.

Our speaker this morning was from the very new 'Youth Centre' in town and she spoke about her vision for the youth. She felt that it was vital that they play a role in the community and that when they do leave for their education – and leave they must, since we don't have a high school – that they do come back willing and eager to contribute their youthful energy and knowledge back into the Town.

This is the challenge that every small town faces and is a particular hurdle for our little 'beach town.' While we offer lots of fun in the sun in the summer; there is very little to keep people here throughout the colder months of the year.

There are important decisions to be made if we are going to attract and keep our young people interested in the smaller towns and communities in our country. We need to offer them something more than a pleasant and healthy lifestyle to enjoy; we need to offer them opportunities to contribute their ideas and a place to do that.

Change isn't easy for those of us who are nearing that stage of our life where we want more stability and less change. Never-the-less, change is what we are all in for. The world is experiencing unprecedented change and our youth are getting prepared to take our place in this swiftly spinning planet. The question is, have we prepared them well enough to succeed in that job? And, are we ready to let go and take our place as the wise elders?

Elders we may be; wise, well that's another story.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm leaving on a Jet Plane

It's time to go and tomorrow I leave the UK. The work is complete, friends have been seen and fun has generally been had. I will miss England – as I always do – but know that I will be back very soon. This is my home – or at least one of my homes – and it is very dear to me.

I spent the day in London yesterday catching up with an old friend and colleague over a very long and chatty lunch. He is training to be a psychotherapist now and is finding many new insights and understandings around his life and everything flowing through it. We worked together for many years in London and still do on occasion. He turns 50 this year and is already thinking and talking about when he and his son will move down to Dorset to be closer to the love of his life.

The plans for his psychotherapy career are based on making this move. Retiring into a more sedate and peaceful existence with a few clients a day to support himself and keep in the 'personal development' loop. His happiness with his plans and with his current life was visible and plain to see.

From lunch, I moved on to dinner with an acquaintance who is becoming a friend. We met a few years ago through a mutual interest in the 'Indigo' phenomena and she contacted me and others in the group about getting together. She had spent a year traveling around the world and was eager to talk about her adventure.

She shared with me the amazing times she had in South America and how Columbia and Bolivia were so warm and welcoming. Her excitement at speaking to a Mayan who confirmed for her that 2012 wasn't the end of the world at all – didn't really know what all the fuss was about. We discussed how 2012 was likely to be more of a 'new beginning' as opposed to a colossal ending.

I enjoyed sharing in her enthusiasm and excitement at spending a year moving around the world, meeting fellow travelers and not feeling the least bit afraid. She was still itchy to be on her way again and had in fact just come back from 5 days in Spain. I understand how she feels; the travel bug is a very addictive infection.

For this reason, I'm looking forward to going home – to my other home in Wasaga Beach. It is there that I get to have the serenity and peacefulness that helps me to contemplate and envision my next adventure.

Life is joyful and fun living from purpose and vision.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time to Rest

Today is the end of the second week for me in the UK. It has been a busy week with lots of travel, meetings and work. Now it's time to rest a bit and prepare for next week. Rest is an important part of the cycle and I'm definitely feeling the need right now to take it a bit easy after traveling up and down the country by train. This in itself wouldn't be too bad but I carry all my stuff with me as I go. I'm making a mental note to myself: must travel lighter.

This seems to be the story of my travel existence. I love to travel and love to have all my most important things with me; like books, camera, phones, computer and my comfy crocs. It all seems reasonable while I'm packing and considering what I need and what I don't need. Yet, when I'm hauling this stuff up and down the stairs of the train stations and tube stations, it does all seem a bit silly.

Do I really need all these books? Have I taken many pictures lately? Can I live without my computer? Sadly, the answer to all these questions is no, no and no! It is a fact of my life that I don't seem able to let go of my main sources of expression and communication. I love my books for the moments when I need some inspiration or new ideas to consider. The camera is for capturing special moments that I want to remember. The computer, well the computer is my lifeline. I don't know what I'd do without it.

Yet, this time of rest is asking me to forgo all of these and to just be. Let it all go – it's the end of the week and it's time to digest and then release in preparation for another week.

My work as a trainer is quite interesting in that regard as well. I see different people in every programme that I lead. After each course, the delegates rate me on a scale of 1-4 – 1- being excellent and 4 being poor. My ratings are always pretty good – nothing to complain about – but I'm aware that each course I lead is a fresh opportunity for me and the delegates. I don't get to rest on my laurels and say, hey, you should have seen me last week, I was really good – but ah, sorry about this week.

That isn't how it works in my world. In my world, I am creating it newly every time I step into a training room. I'm new and so are the delegates. A fresh opportunity to have a completely different experience and to embrace what life is offering right now.

And right now, it's time to rest.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Time out with Friends in Sheffield

Arrived last night in Sheffield and immediately felt myself relax and move into the energy of the north. The great north south divide lives inside of me; a father from the south and a mother from the north. I sometimes feel the push pull and yet, I always enjoy being in both places and for completely different reasons.

I was working in the London area Thursday and then took the train to Kings Cross St. Pancras for dinner and then the train to Sheffield. The contrast could not be more extreme. Dinner at Carluccio's in St. Pancras station was a lovely treat and the atmosphere was lively and full of people on the go. It is difficult not to completely love London at St. Pancras; the station where Harry Potter goes through the wall to get to the train to get to Hogwart. All magical and fantastic adventures start here.

I felt a little like Harry Potter last night getting on the train for Sheffield and being greeted by my friend at the end of the line. Sheffield is one of the places that defies the stereotype. When you mention Sheffield most people immediately think of either cutlery or 'The Full Monty.' For me, Sheffield is a place where I feel completely at home and totally welcomed.

I think it must be my northern roots (perhaps only British readers can understand this) but the part of me that is a northerner and happy about it, rests very comfortably in the warmth of the embrace.

This weekend my two friends and I will connect through meditation, Reiki and of course a few glasses of wine and a hot tub. We are blessed to have a friend who has the amazing good sense to have a house with an indoor pool, sauna and an outdoor hot tub. It is a home that is just made for relaxing, fun and healing and I feel totally blessed to be here.

Our connection is a real 'soul mate' connection and we often discuss how fortunate we are to have our friendship and also to have these opportunities to meet up and spend this time together. This particular occasion almost didn't happen. I was a bit on the fence until my friend said that her uncle (who is more like a brother) has cancer and she thought it might be good if we could give him a treatment.

For me, that was the sign that I needed to make the trip. It is never a hardship but I am aware that when I am on a bit of a time and money budget, certain decisions need to go through the filter and meet more than one criteria. Our friendship is important but more important is the healing power that the three of us know we have when we focus our energy and our intention.

Soul friends are the most healing friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back in the UK

I landed in the UK this morning and haven't slept much at all. Too buzzy from the trip and the caffeine that I rather foolishly drank when I arrived. It seemed like a good idea but now I just feel very tired and incapable of sleeping.

The funny thing with being back in the UK is that when I arrive, I don't feel like a visitor at all, it all feels so very normal. On the train at Gatwick to East Croydon and following a routine that is so familiar and so comfortable, it's kind of odd. I haven't lived here for 3 ½ years and yet, I feel like I do still live here.

Just had a chat with my friend in Sheffield; planning to see her and another friend this weekend. We saw each other in the summer as well and when we talk, we pick up from where we left off without missing a beat. It is these relationships and my complete confidence and comfort in these friendships that helps me to feel so totally at home here.

I feel very fortunate and truly blessed to be able to make this trip and to continue to do work over here. I love the training work that I do in the UK, it is always a bit of a challenge (which I like) but mostly it is fun and rewarding.

Having time with my son and his new bride is also a particular joy for me. They have moved into their new digs – free of all the bachelor energy that practically oozed out of the previous flat – and the d├ęcor bears the stamp of their combined decision making. No longer a home for wayward young men; it is now the residence of a married couple.

All these changes and events have gone on while I was away having my life in Canada. Now I am here, having my life in the UK; catching up with the news and picking up on where the wind is blowing this time around. For now, the wind is just blowing and the rain is coming down on what is described in the papers as 'the most depressing day of the year.' Well, it may be for some people but not for me.

Today, I arrived back home and I'm happy to be here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just for today, do not worry

Week 2 of the New Year and funnily enough, it's time to let go already. Let go of last week, let go of last year, let go of how I think life ought to be right now. Thinking of the Reiki Precepts and focused on the first one - Just for Today, Do Not Worry.

Taught my first Reiki Level 1 class in a very long time this past weekend and it was wonderful connecting with the energy of Reiki. Reiki = Universal Life Force Energy. A magical and wonderful energy – well hey, it is 'the' energy that runs through every living being – including the stars, the sun, the moon and every planet in the universe.

On the one hand – such a very simple and basic practice – and yet, it is magic in motion and very hard to define and explain. I spent the weekend trying to both keep it simple and also to express how amazing and profound the energy of Reiki is.

Which leads me to today – creating a new week and opening up to the infinite possibilities of what can be manifest. In order to do this, I need to let go of the past and all the limitations that I have imposed on myself.

Letting go requires a lot of awareness and with all honesty, a lot of courage and guts. I think sometimes, I underestimate how tough it is to do this. Some things are easier said than done; letting go is one of those things.

So what I'm going to do is let go and I'm not going to worry if I'm doing it right or doing it at all. Just for today, I'm going to be accepting and gentle with myself as I let go of the past and let go of all my very imperfect ways of being in the world.

And – just for today, I'm not going to worry.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What are you attracting in 2011?

Week one of the New Year is just finishing up and my question is – what are you attracting? If we think of ourselves as little magnets that go out in the world and bring to ourselves those things that we most desire – then what we have is what we desire, right?

We can only really attract into our life that which we believe with all our hearts that we desire and deserve and if we aren't creating what we want then we are likely creating and attracting what we think we deserve.

Maybe the magnet needs a bit of buffing. Clearing away the debris and the clutter can be a needful thing. The clutter starts in our mind and then moves to other parts of our being where it hits our magnet and starts to make things a bit fuzzy. Without a clear intention that starts in our heart, moves to our head and then rests firmly in our gut, we are unlikely to attract what we desire.

This week has been a week full of useful activity; joyful walks in the snow, meetings with interesting people and having lots of fun. It has also been a great week of moving all my intentions for the year forward. What I have noticed is that it has been very clear for me what my priorities are and therefore what I have made important and focused on.

This weekend I am teaching the first Reiki class for many years. I didn't intentionally stop teaching Reiki; it just never really came up as a priority. I love Reiki and use it on myself and my family all the time. I always consider it a huge honour to teach a class and when they emerge, it is a gift.

For me this is a lovely way to end a week that has been full and exciting. It also happens to be my son's 31st birthday today. How appropriate to be sitting in a Reiki circle with this beautiful energy 31 years after my life was changed for ever by the gift that is my son.

Attracting such gifts is a fine start to 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Soul Speak

The first day back after New Years and things are starting off with a bang. After the solstice lunar eclipse on the full moon two weeks ago; we now have a solar eclipse for the new moon and the New Year. Auspicious, timely and a truly positive kick up the backside to get on with it and make 2011 the best year of your life.

If that is the case, why did I call this particular blog 'Soul Speak?' Good question and the answer is because it is through listening to the quiet voice of our soul that we will receive the direction and guidance that we need to hear in order to best use this cosmic smack.

For most of us, myself included, the voice of the ego is the loudest voice that we listen to in our head. The voice of the ego says 'go on, get out there, make a difference, be big, be bold, be seen and most of all be fearless.' This voice, however, doesn't have a clue about what that might look like and also, how to do it.

It is the little voice of your soul that is the wiser voice; the voice that understands that small steps taken consistently towards a vision is more likely to happen than big steps taken in a random and inconsistent manner.

Slowing down, letting go and becoming still is the key to hearing the quiet voice. This is the voice of your soul; this is the voice that knows what you need to make this year the very best year that it can possibly be. You may be surprised by what it has to say; it may not be 'big, bold and fabulous' it may be all about 'small, curious and patient.'

If we have spent a lifetime ignoring the stillness of a quiet murmur from within we can't expect the voice to have strength or power at the first signal that we are paying attention. The way to coax it out and give it strength is by listening. Listening is emotional oxygen and there is nothing that needs it more than our own soul.

Soul speak – the language of 2011.