Love. Sweet Love.

This morning I cried. I cried and let my tears fall unchecked by thoughts of why I needed to stop and pull myself together.

These tears do not pull me down. They do not pull me apart.
They set me free.

Free to love myself and all the world. Free to love these tears of sorrow, of grief, of sadness, of anxiety, of fear.

These tears are for me, for you, for our city, country, world.
They are tears for all humankind as we journey together while staying apart, through this pandemic that is radically changing the world as we knew. They are tears for heartbeats stopped and lives slipping away as the world keeps turning and the virus keeps spreading.

Last night, on a zoom call with a couple of friends, I mentioned how I was struggling to stay positive.

Well, you can’t be positive all the time, one of my friends suggested.

She’s right.

There is no virtual wall of positivity strong enough to keep my emotions dammed up. They must be released. Tears are the pathway to my heart beating free of fear.

Fearlessly breathing with all my heart, I find myself drawn by courage to ask, “What does the world need now?”

This morning I cried and allowed my tears to flow freely. In their release, my heart opened and I flowed freely into the sacred intimacy of the moment, without fear, without trepidation. Embraced by the sacredness of ‘the now’, my tears washed down my cheeks and I sank into the deep still waters of life flowing around and within me.

It was there that the answer to my tears arose.  “What the world needs now, is Love. Sweet Love.”

In this crazy-messed up, virus-bewildered world, there is so little I can give or do to relieve the pressure we all feel in this time of Covid-19.

And so, I give all that I can. Love.

I give you Love.

I have Love for you.

It is the only medicine I can carry into the darkness of these days where uncertainty grapples with my peace of mind as I struggle to find my balance in the turmoil of the unknown.

Love.

It is all that I have to share with those who are sick, those who have lost someone they love, those who are struggling to save lives, to care for lives, to take care of all of us sequestered in solitude in our homes.

Love is all I can give those who are scared. Lonely. Fearful of their next breath. Fearful of their next touch.

Love.

I give you my Love this morning. I give you my Love, always.

It may not stop this virus from sweeping across our planet, but Love is the only thing that can transform the fear that stalks our every breath into something we can hold onto so that we can all breathe freely.

Love. Sweet Love.

Namaste.

_________________________

Prepare for the worst. Plan for the best.

A Woman’s Guide To Risk Management In A Time Of Covid.

As I luxuriated in the bath and let the warm water wash over my body, the thought came to me that there are things I need to take care of, just in case…

You know, those thoughts and questions of “What if…” that pop into your head when you’re trying to soak in the pleasure of the moment.

Questions like, “What if I ‘get it’ and have to go to hospital?” To which the answer that immediately rose to the surface was, “I’d better shave my legs and armpits.”

Yeah. I know. Deep.

As a communications professional, I spent a great deal of my career preparing risk management guidelines and responses to be prepared for perceived risks cascading into real events.

Risk management isn’t about lobbying for the worst to happen. It’s about acknowledging what is the worst that could happen and then preparing ‘what if…’ responses. Responses that allow you to focus on supporting the best outcome in a time of crisis when time is limited and measured, calm responses critical.

So, in an effort to ‘be prepared’ I’ve put pen to paper to give you a quick reference guide on how to be prepared for the worst, plan for the best and always have hope of a good outcome.

  1. As already noted – shave those legs and armpits (unless of course you haven’t succumbed to the societal (and the fashion industry’s) pressure to divest legs and armpits of hair – in which case, I tip my razor blade to you. I’m not there yet. This old girl is too inculcated in the lore of smooth legs to let it all grow out. Given my predisposition for hairless appendages, I know it sounds vain, but really, the thought of lying in a hospital bed, fighting for my life while also fighting the critter in my head who wants to remind me, “You shoulda shaved those armpits lady! You look as mangy as a bear coming out of hibernation.”, is just, well, too daunting to think about. And yes.  I know. The critter knows no boundaries.
  2. Skip the make-up. Let’s face it. Au naturel is the way to go when facing a pandemic and a bevy of doctors and nurses fighting for your life. Mascara streaks. Lipstick stains. Au naturel lets everyone see your true colour shining!
  3. My mother, who was always prepared for the worst that could happen, used to counsel me to, “Always wear clean underwear.”  In her wisdom, accidents were always out there, waiting to happen. In the case of a pandemic, you never know when or if you’ll ‘get it’. So, wear those lacy undies tucked away for a romantic getaway. Wear that flirty bra. While it won’t make a lot of difference to the tired medical teams rushing to your care, it will lift your spirits up knowing that you are showing off your best from the inside out.
  4. Make sure you’ve got two or three of your best nighties, pajamas (whatever you wear to sleep in) clean at all times. If you sleep in the buff, consider investing in a couple of nice-looking nighttime ensembles. Nothing too flimsy or flirty, of course. Leaving nothing to the imagination is not good hospital etiquette. Looking your best, even when you’re feeling your worst does a lot for your mental health. And being prepared for recovery keeps you looking on the right side of life.

So, now that we’ve got the frivolous taken care of… if you live alone and have pets, make sure you’ve got a backup plan for their short and longterm care. Yeah. I know. It sounds morbid to plan for longterm housing for your beloved fur babies but that’s why you do it. You love them and want to ensure their well-being no matter what happens to you. Remember – prepare for the worst, plan for the best – and never give up hope.

Some other important and pressing things you need to do in a pandemic are to ensure you have a support team in place. If you live alone, do you have someone you call daily to check-in with?  We humans are designed for contact and connection. We’re herd animals. So keeping your connections alive during this time of social distancing and sequestered solitude is vital.

On a more practical yet essential level, one of the most important items on the list is to ensure your affairs are in order. Like your Will and Personal Directive.  Imagine someone else having to make decisions on your behalf not knowing what your wishes are. Not cool. For those taking care of your interests should you be unable to make your own decisions, your Personal Directive removes the anxiety and stress on what to do to protect your interests and honour your wishes with grace-filled compassion,

In these days of a virus sweeping away the world as we know it, being prepared for the worst that could happen leaves us free to treasure this moment right now in all its exquisite beauty without worry clouding our mind. It creates space for our hearts to beat freely and our imaginations to stretch into possibilities of how we can create better in the world, now and when this virus has passed. It sets us free to never give up on hope.

Namaste.

 

We are at home now.

There was a time, before this time we’re in, when it seemed like time was moving too quickly.

A time when it felt as if, like the limit on my credit card, the closer I got to day’s end, the faster time disappeared into thin air leaving me with nothing to account for all the time I’d spent dreaming of more time to spend in the light of day.

Alone in the dark night of my soul’s yearning for more time, I counted the minutes until I could rise up again and begin chasing the moments of time passing by.

And then, one day, it felt like time stopped and the world stopped with it and we crashed into the realization that we were trapped on this planet Earth holding tight to its orbit spinning around the sun. When it felt like in one global exhale, we had all run out of time because we had to face the reality of the invisible enemy amongst us spinning a web of destruction around the globe. We were its unintentional hosts and our human connection was passing it hand to hand, threatening our loved ones and tearing our world apart.

Horrified that we were its carriers, we bowed beneath the crashing waves of panic that washed over us. Adrift in a sea of fear, we retreated from the onslaught of this invisible enemy and ran for our lives.

The enemy didn’t care where we ran. It followed us everywhere. It stalked us where ever we went. When we hoarded supplies, when we boarded aircraft, when we sailed on ships across the ocean blue. It didn’t care for our political persuasions or religious leanings, the colour of our skin, our economic excesses or poverty. It only cared about its own survival.

Under the relentlessness of its incursion into our lives, we were forced to disconnect from the world we knew so well and find our way back, back to the place our stories began, home.

We are home now. Home amidst the chaos of our lives disrupted by this global disruption. Struggling to fit the pieces together. Struggling to keep ourselves and each other afloat as the waves keep crashing against the shores of our fear we will be overcome by this enemy we cannot see with the naked eye but know is there, waiting.

We are home now, struggling to hold onto hope. Struggling to find our way through the fear we will not have a world to return to.

In the midst of all the uncertainty, we struggle to create daily routines, balancing the needs of children out of school with the demands of working from home. Juggling daily needs of normal life with caring for ourselves, our families and elderly parents and others who rely on us to support them. All while trying to keep our distance while searching for peace of mind amidst the constant barrage of news we cannot stop watching.

We struggle and we remind ourselves. Again and again. This too shall pass. We are at home now. Those of us privileged enough to have a place to call home. We are at home. Safe. Distanced yet not apart. Doing our part to put a stop to the enemy’s invasion into our daily lives. This enemy that does not respect borders, or laws, or our human existence.

We are at home. May we all say a prayer for those who don’t have a place to call home and call out urgently to our leaders to create pathways so that they too may know the safety of home.

The streets of our cities are emptied out. The air is silent of horns blaring and engines roaring. The skies are clear of jet streams trailing off towards the far horizon. The forests are filled with songbirds singing. The rivers are running clear. The fish are returning home.

Mother Earth is catching her breath in this interlude of time where all humanity is taking shelter from this enemy that would attack wherever two or more of us are gathered.

We are at home now. Biding time until the danger passes and we can once again gather with family and friends, and walk along streets crowded with our neighbours and gather together in public places and places of worship and wilderness, and places of song and dance and theatre and art and food and wine and play and laughter and joy. Where we can celebrate fearlessly together, this one, precious, beautiful thing called life on this planet Earth we call home.

We are one planet. One human race.

In this time that feels like no other time we have ever witnessed, in this time where the numbers climb and we watch breathlessly for the curve to flatten and the deaths to abate and the fear to die down, let’s each of us light a candle and say a prayer for those who have lost the fight and those who are still fighting to stay alive. Let us say a prayer for those who are standing at the frontlines saving lives and those who are leaving their homes to ensure we can stay home in comfort. Let us say a prayer and give thanks for their sacrifices. We are strong because they stand between us and this enemy. They give us hope.

This too shall pass. This solitude at home. This social distancing that invites us to stand united yet apart.

This too shall pass.

In this time of its passing, let’s join our hands together to encircle all the globe. Let us rise up as one and call one another home, home to the heart of our humanity beating in harmony for all the world to hear how, in the face of this enemy, we came together as one human race to live in peace, harmony and Love on this beautiful planet that is our home.

Namaste.

Can we? Will we? Let Love Lead?

 

No. 60 #ShePersisted Series

In the spring of 2017, when Senator Elizabeth Warren was shut down in the Senate with Mitch McConnell’s statement, “She was told. She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.” I felt the rising up of something deep and primordial within me.

Silent for so long, I wanted to express myself. To speak to how that comment rippled down through the cells of my body, tearing apart my DNA, awakening forgotten moments of being put down, shut up and shut out by ‘the patriarchy’.

I put ‘patriarchy’ in quotation marks because I do not want you to think that I am targeting men. I am speaking of a systemic, insipid idea that has been woven into the fabric of our society, threaded through our DNA, our psyches, our lives. It is an old idea. So old, so inculcated into our human being that we don’t see it as distinct and separate from our human condition, we see it as part of who we are and how we are in the world.

Sometimes, we brush it away with comments of “Oh that’s just the way it is.” or, “You should be grateful. There are a lot of women in this world who do not have the privileges and rights you do.” Or, “Hey it could be worse! You could be…[and then we name some other being whose journey is even more fraught with peril than women’s rights.]” As if gratitude for being reluctantly granted the right to ‘being treated as equal’ will somehow wash away the blood, sweat and tears women have shed in their fight to gain a foothold in a man’s world they helped create.

The idea is simple. Men, as in the male of our species, know what to do because they have the power and the moral authority to control the world. It’s not that they want to. It’s just the way it’s always been. To maintain the balance of life on earth, all we womenfolk have to do is be grateful for what they give us and not rock the boat, too much.

Please, don’t jump all over me for stating this. As I said, I am not targeting men. I am shining a light on what that moment when Elizabeth Warren was shut down in the Senate, awoke in me.

The need, no the imperative, that I speak up. Rise up. Give up pretending I’m okay with the status quo. That I’m down with buying into the moral imperative of giving women a place at the table as long as ‘they’ get to dole out the number of seats in equal proportion to their assessment of what is right for mankind.

Discrimination, segregation, economic disadvantaging/control, sexualization of the feminine form, acts of violence perpetrated on the feminine form and on humanity, limiting or denying the rights of individuals because of their colour, sexual identity, creed, economic status… are subtle even in their overtness.

And so, I began the #ShePersisted series of paintings. My intent had been to create one or two and then move on.

Three years later, the muse keeps flowing with thoughts and ideas, the series voice still pushes at my creative expression, insisting on her right to be heard.

So, I heed her.

With the advent of Covid-19, she is becoming more insistent that we let go of our fear, our clamouring for more, our incessant building of bigger and better to the benefit of the few. She is calling out for all of us to give into the simple yet profound belief that Love is the answer.

No one person can lead the way out of this crisis. No one person has the answers.

We are, this entire planet made up of over 7+ billion humans and billions upon billions of animals and flowing rivers and oceans, icebergs and boreal forests and jungles and deserts, mountains and valleys, hills and plains. We are all spinning together in space, held fast to this place we call home by the gravity that holds us up. We are woven together by our one shared human condition.

Can we. Will we. Choose Love over Fear?

Can we. Will we. Let Love Lead?

________________

The series can be viewed HERE.

Thank you again, Miriam, for the inspiration for Let Love Lead.

 

 

Let us be like a butterfly…

There was once a little girl who was afraid of colour. To see the golden yellow of the sun, or the deep green velvet of the forest, or the vibrant hues of the garden filled her heart with fear.

Terrified of all the colour in the world, she walked through each day with her eyes squinted against the onslaught of beauty that she could not witness. Fearful of the world of colour  that bombarded her senses with every glance, she covered her ears to the songs of enchantment all around and cowered beneath the belief that she was right to cling to her fears.

“Give me black and white,” she pleaded in the darkness of her mind.

And the world closed in around her until all she saw were the shadows between the colours of the world.

I wrote the story above several years ago. It had appeared in my meditation, tendrils of thoughts whispering their away into substance.  When I opened my eyes and let the words flow, they found their substance on the page and formed themselves into story.

It is what I find most enlivening and mystical about the creative process. When I stop squinting my eyes, when I stop fearing what might be, or not be, magic and wonder happens.

When I fear, when I force or try to push the muse into a container, to direct her into this way or that, the wonder disappears and I am left feeling left out, apart, and let down, telling myself, there is no magic. There is no mystery. there is no possibility of beauty rescuing the light from the darkness.

In fear, I fall into that place where all I see is what I fear. Where all I know is what I expect to be; the mundane, the same as, the predictability of my life lived in the comfort of the darkness I crave when I let go of seeing the light in everything and everyone.

In my studio, immersed in the creative process, the world falls away into that place where all I know, all I sense, is its beauty. In that space, with my music playing, candle burning and my fingers splattered with paint, there is no world out there, there is no war, no famine, no hurricanes and definitely no virus taking the world hostage.

There is only the muse and me. Connected. Committed. Creative. And in that connection, I become part of the flow of the essential essence of the Universe. I am one with life. One creative expression flowing with the expressions of all the world around me.

In these days where a virus is shutting us into our homes and keeping us at safe but constrained, distance from one another, connecting to our creative core, expressing our gratitude in songs of joy and messages of hope, is vital to our well-being.

We are the ones who must create the path for the world to survive this viral onslaught. We can only do that together.

Staying home, keeping our distance, washing our hands, matters. To ourselves, our loved ones, friends, community. It matters to the world.

It also matters that we stay connected to the beauty, the wonder and awe of the world within ourselves and all around us. It matters that we share our best to create better for all the world.

Imagine…

We are each a butterfly fluttering our wings to create a tsunami of well-being around the world.

When we flutter our wings as one, we create One world of possibility, hope, beauty and Love.

Emotional Self-Care. Say what?

In times of high stress, self-care is essential. But, self-care is not just about doing the things that keep you entertained, active, your body fit and beautiful, and your mind interested in life and everyone around you. It’s not just about keeping ‘the body’ healthy and in good working order and ‘the thinking mind’ engaged. It’s about ensuring the whole body — the physical, mental and emotional, and spiritual self – is honoured as a collective. It’s about ensuring you are promoting well-being in all of you as a whole – from how you express yourself through your words, acts and deeds, in your thoughts and in your relationships. And, how you respond to your emotions and feelings.

When forced, as Covid-19 is doing, to change our social ways of being together, to self-isolate and draw away from human contact, it is only natural that our emotions can feel like they are all over the map. There’s no guidebook on how to do this and there is no one single human being on this planet who has done it before.

We are one human race learning how to navigate these waters together.

This is the first time for all 7+billion of us.

And our emotions are with us. They are part of us and how well we take care of them will be reflected in how we respond to the day-to-day of this crisis: Healthily. Unhealthily. Lovingly. Cruelly. Kindly. Unjustly…

Right now, there are people feeling scared, stressed, anxious, alone, frightened, cowardly, confused, bitter, resentful, resistant, sad, depressed, bombastic, arrogant, flippant, distanced, hopeless, helpless, alone… These are all natural responses to change and the unknown. To crisis and stress. To what is happening in the world right now.

It isn’t what we’re feeling that makes our world better, or worse. It’s honouring and expressing our feelings and emotions in ways that create harmony, peace, kindness, joy, love within us and all around us, that will create the change we want to see in the world.

Being able to name our emotions is the first step in honouring them.

Ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? In this moment? What am I willing to acknowledge as present? What am I avoiding?

See, I can acknowledge that I am feeling calm, present, happy even.

However, because I have a life-long aversion to admitting I am feeling sad, scared, confused… I like to avoid those emotions. When I was a little girl ‘being happy’ was how I avoided feeling sad, scared, confused by all that was going on in the world around me. I remember my father saying, “You’d better be happy! You’ve got a roof over your head, food on the table, clothes. You have no right to be sad.”

Do you think that messaging still plays out in my life today?

If I don’t take good care of my emotional self, if I do not honour ALL that I am feeling, it most definitely does — and believe me, when I am not paying attention to all my feelings and honouring them in life-giving ways, my expression of those messages is not very pretty!

There are many ways to take care of your emotional well-being.

Meditation. Breathing. Being in nature. Holding silence as a gift. Art-making. Reading. Spending time with a loved one. Talking with a friend.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help you find your emotional balance and keep you from tearing up your world.

But, in those moments when something in the here and now triggers a response from way back when we were children learning to cope with things in our world that frightened, confused, hurt us, we need to step up and get accountable for our responses.

In those moments, it is imperative to BREATHE. Slow down. BREATHE.

In those moments, you can even close your eyes when you breathe, just for a moment. BREATHE.

In those moments, one of the things that I do is I touch where my heart is with my right hand as I BREATHE.

Sometimes, I look away from whomever I’m engaged with (just for a moment) and then, return my eyes to look deeply into theirs.

Sometimes, I ask the other person to BREATHE with me. To look into my eyes as I look into theirs.

And I BREATHE.

I know how easy it is to want to take flight or fight in those moments.

BREATHE.

I know how the thinking mind wants to take over and ensure we tell the other person why it’s all their fault, how they are wrong, how they are….

Before you say anything to the other, repeat silently to yourself,:

Like me, you are struggling to cope with the unkown and stress of all that is going on.

Like me, you are feeling feelings you cannot name.

Like me, you have been scared by all of this.

Like me, you have been confused by all of this.

Like me, you are learning how to navigate all of this for the very first time.

Like me, you want to live.

Like me, you want to protect those you love and yourself, from this virus.

Like me, you’re not sure you can.

Like me, you are feeling lost, frightened and very very concerned about what the future will hold.

And then, ask yourself, “What can I do right now to create better in this situation?

What can I do to build a bridge of compassion and love between our hearts?

And then…. do that. Do that one thing you can think of that will bring you closer, not drive you apart.

And after you’ve done that one thing, do the next one thing and then the next.

Always building bridges of compassion and love.

Always drawing closer.

Always expressing your emotions in ways that do not destroy the feelings of love and joy, harmony and grace you want to have fill up your world.

Namaste

 

 

Sequestered in Solitude

 

It is light outside when I awaken. Night has slipped away and I have slept through its departure.

Day has begun.

I am grateful.

For the past several mornings I have been unable to sleep beyond 4am. The days grow tiring with little sleep the night before.

Yesterday, I napped in the afternoon.

A gift. A respite. A welcome interlude in my day.

The rhythm of my day has not changed much with the ‘stay home’ order. Something has shifted within me though. It’s as though, without the freedom to come and go, a restlessness invades.  A teenage angst stirs. ‘No one tells me what to do’ the voice of years past declares inside my head.

And I want to heed it. I want to say, ‘Hell ya. You got that right.”

I ignore it.

It gets louder. “This is ridiculous. It won’t hurt just to go to the grocery store, or wander around the mall.

I keep ignoring it.

It doesn’t like that. It raises its voice. “You are such a goodie-two-shoes. You know, that’s what they called you in high school. Ya. Goodie-two-shoes. Little Miss I’m so perfect I don’t even know there’s another side of right called wrong.”

I catch myself thinking about stopping at the grocery store on the way home from the park with Beaumont.

I quit taking my wallet with me.

We have been sequestered in solitude for 21 days now. Ever since my mother’s celebration of life and our family members returned home. We dropped them off at the airport, drove home in separate vehicles and when my beloved and I walked back into the house we knew what we had to do. He has a medical condition that puts him at the top of the ‘at risk’ chart of potential suspects. We knew we had to stay home. We could not risk his health and well-being to this virus slithering through the shadows waiting to infiltrate through any crack in our defenses. It does not respect the sanctity of human life. We must take care.

And the teenaged angst rises up, “But you’re not sick. You’re just old and chicken.”

I ignore the sting of its words and its reminder of the fact I fit into the ‘seniors category’.

I’m still struggling with that one. It’s been one and a half years since I slipped over that societal border of middle age to senior. I like being a woman of this distinctive age, I just don’t like the label. Senior.

The teenager quickly grasps at this new opportunity to stick it to me, “If you weren’t so old you’d be out there doing things instead of sitting in here doing nothing.”

I want to refute its insistence I am doing nothing. I want to fight back. Ward off its declaration of my uselessness with words of my own. I want to set it straight.

And then I remember the advice I’d been given when my daughters were teens, “Do not fight back. Step closer.”

I take a gentle breath and step into the hard edges of my teenaged angst. “I hear you. I hear your fear. Your worry that the world will end and you will never get a chance to live. I hear you.”

The voice quietens. It stops to take in a breath and in that gap between words and breath, I wrap my arms around my own self and say, “It’s okay. You’re okay. You’re doing the right thing.”

And my teenage angst and I embrace one another and together, we cry.

It’s okay, I whisper to the one inside who wants to rise up and rail against all that is going on, all that it cannot change, all that it cannot do.  It’s okay.

And we cry. Together.

Tears are my prayer for well-being in all the world today. It is good to cry for the world. There is so little I can do to make it different. My tears are my offering that wash away my fear. In the cleansing wake of their falling, Love flows freely.

It’s okay.

That tightness in your chest. That restlessness. That angst and listlessness. It’s okay. It’s just fear crying out for release.

Where there is fear, love is also present. All you need to feel its gentle breath and healing touch is to let your tears wash away your fear so Love can flow freely.

Namaste.

__________________________________

It was one month ago today that my mother took her last breath.

On our family zoom call on Sunday, my sisters and daughters and I were talking about how grateful we are that we had that time with her. That her last days were not spent under the social distancing necessary to fight the spread of Covid-19.

We are so grateful.

This morning, my tears and prayers are for all those families who cannot be with their loved ones who lay in isolation, who cannot say good-bye, surrounded by their families and friends.

This morning, I light a candle and send you my prayers for peace and gentleness of heart so that you may stand, strong of back, as you weather your burdens of loss sequestered in solitude.

May peace be with you.

There ain’t no virtue in being a martyr

No. 59 #ShePersisted Series

When I was a little girl, I thought it was my job to make my mom happy.

I sucked at it.

Not understanding why she cried so much and why she sometimes threatened to take her own life in front of us children, I did everything I could to make her laugh, to (literally) take the knife out of her hand. Mostly I made her cry. I didn’t realize I was not responsible to lift the cloud of dark depression (which as a child I had no name for) that permeated her essence.

I wasn’t that powerful.

I tell you this because in times of extreme stress, and you gotta admit, this pandemic qualifies as that, those childhood messages can rear up and undermine our well-being, our sense of self, our way of being in the world, if we don’t get conscious of our own ‘stuff’.

We’ve got to take care of ourselves.

And part of good self-care is being conscious of the things we are doing, including the unconscious/buried/hidden internal messages our psyche’s are acting out on from our ‘lizard brains’, that do not serve us well in the here and now.

Like believing I could save my mom.

Over the years and circumstances of my life, that child’s thinking turned into an adult belief that it is my job to save the world. That there is something I need to be doing to raise civilization up, to stop the tears, the pain, the suffering. But, (and here’s the kicker) because I couldn’t do it as a child for my mom, I also have a darker side of that belief; the self-defeating, self-annihilating belief that, no matter what I do, it won’t matter. Because, and this is the child’s thinking infiltrating my adult mind which knows it isn’t true but struggles in times of stress to soothe the child’s cries of, “I don’t matter”. “Why bother?” “Whatever I do won’t make a difference anyway.”

Now, I have spent my adult life working on healing those childhood wounds and fears. As Virginia Slims ads used to say, “You’ve come a long way baby”.  But, just like the virtues of the cigarettes those ads used to extoll, in times of distress, we are all at risk of falling back to default positions in order to cope. For me, one of those defaults is the good old depressing, martyr’s role. Unfortunately, there’s no virtue in playing the martyr unless you want to be a saint.

Ha!  Did I mention that the meaning of ‘Louise’ is ‘Saviouress of the world”?  Actually, Louise means, ‘protectress of the people’, so close, right?

I think I may have taken myself and the meaning of my name a tad too seriously. But hey! You can call me Saint Louise if you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I am laughing at myself this morning, looking at my hubris and throwing my hands up in the air as I exclaim, “Oh my look at me being so human! How fascinating!”

The fact is, I am sharing this because understanding where my shadow self is at play, keeps me grounded in the truth. I am not powerful enough to save the world. I am powerful enough to change my world. To create light and beauty in my world, to share my gifts with a generous heart and to create ripples of better all around me.

To do that, I must take care of myself so that I can then give back to others from a place of compassion, generosity and Love.

I know, deep within me, that I am not here to save the world. I am here to save myself from my thinking I am here to save the world. (That one made me smile so I’m leaving it as is).

So, here’s the deal. I tell you all this because I have been feeling the weight of this crisis, wanting to do more, feeling powerless, helpless, useless. I have been struggling to find my way through the dark, alone.

I am not alone. We are all in this together. We are all connected. This is all our one world, one planet, one humanity.

It’s just sometimes, when I’m not taking good care of myself by loving myself through the darkness, I can get trapped in believing I’m all alone. I don’t matter. I can never do enough.

I know that when I’m willing to embrace my truth with compassion and love, be it my light shining or a dark shadow looming, I am free of my childhood driven fear that I will never matter. I will never make a difference. I have no worth.

We all matter. We all make a difference. We all have worth.

And here’s the deal.  Remember at the beginning of this (long) post, I said in the context of saving my mother, “I wasn’t that powerful”?

Well, when we take care of ourselves, when we heed the voices rising up out of the dark past and lovingly embrace their fears, their angst, their belief there’s nothing we can do, we are taking really good care of ourselves. Because, in acknowledging their presence, they feel safe enough to return to the past and we become free to be here in the present, in all our light, beauty, and love.

And in that place, we are powerful enough to live from our magnificence, so that together we can create a better world for everyone.

Namaste.

(And yup. She’s a long one this morning. I thank you for reading through to the end. I thank you for shining your light on my path. I thank you for being you.)

 

 

Let Love Lead

It is early morning. I cannot sleep.

I wander into the living room. Turn on my desk lamp. Light the candle  I light every morning.

Beaumont, the Sheepadoodle, raises his head from where he is asleep on the chaise beside my desk. I give him a pat. He lowers his head and closes his eyes.

I leave my desk where it sits in front of the window looking out over the river. I walk around the island, into the kitchen area. Turn on the cappuccino machine. Fill the receptacle with water.

I pull out the coffee grinder from the drawer beneath the window at the far end of the kitchen. It looks out onto our front doorstep. It is dark out there. No view of a streetlight shimmering on the river’s surface. No flash of a car’s lights crossing the bridge.

I pull out the jar of coffee beans. The grinder. I place them on the counter, measure out the beans and press down on the lid. The noise of the grinder startles Beau. He lifts his head. He watches me. Slowly rises off the chaise. Stretches and comes to stand beside me in the kitchen. I scratch behind one of his ears. He leans against my leg.

I ask if he wants to go out. He cocks his head to one side.

I move to the front door. Gather his leash which lays on top of the wicker basket that holds his towel, ball, and other doggy paraphernalia.

I throw a coat on over my pyjamas. Exchange my slippers for slip-on boots and head outside.

Beaumont hesitates for a moment on the top step. He stretches his head towards the river. Listening.

I listen with him.

In the quiet, I hear the river flowing, its gurgling sounds a welcome whisper in the dark.

On a strip of gravel that I cannot see but know lies in the river’s path, geese honk in the pre-dawn dark.

I wonder if they can find their way when there is no light.

We move off the stairs towards the road at the end of the walk. I stand in the crisp, cool air of morning not yet broken. Beau sniffs and snuffles in the frost-covered grass.

Morning has not yet awoken. Darkness rests easy in my corner of the world.

I have not read the news today. Have not yet scrolled through interminable accounts of the rising number of cases and deaths, of losses and grief. Of what’s happening where. Of measures taken. Steps missed. Decisions made. Changes unfolding.

I have not yet opened myself up to the tug of despair. The tears I am afraid to unleash for fear they will not stop. The wish I could do more, do anything to stop the infiltration of this virus infecting the world. To do something to ease the fear and panic. To soothe a troubled soul.

I breathe.

I am not ready to face the day filled with facts and stories of a virus taking the world hostage. There will be time enough for reality to rise up and stun me with the shrill cry of its presence.

For now, I breathe into the gentle awakening of dawn’s light pushing back against the dark.

In the stillness of the morning, I stretch my arms above my head and welcome in the light creeping into the night.

We are billions of little rowboats struggling to find our way, together, through these uncharted waters.

We are billions of voices and stories, eyes and hands, hearts and feet pounding a path to a better tomorrow. Together.

May we all find the courage to row as One.

And I dip my oar into the waters and begin to row.

And the waters part and I find myself moving with the water’s flow as the sun breaks across the distant horizon.

Light pushes back the dark and turns the sky rose and gold and blue.

I dip my oar into the river and am reminded that it is love that connects us. Love that supports us. Love that leads the way.

Let us row together. Let us Let Love Lead.

________________

Thank you Miriam of My Window for the inspiration for Let Love Lead.  (Sometimes, the words flow first. Sometimes, the painting.)

At all times, Love Flows.  Love leads.

Painting will follow. ❤

Stay Calm And Knead On! (A SWB post)

Me:   Beau. What are you doing?

Beaumont:  Watching you.

Me:  What on earth for?

Beau:  Because the earth needs me to do it.

Me:   Ummm…. I’m confused. Why does the earth need you to watch me?

Beau:  Because the earth needs its hoomans to stay calm and keeping humans calm is a dawg’s most important job right now and I’m doing my job.

Me:  By watching me?

Beau:   I’m a watch dog. Right?

__________________________  To read the rest, please join Beaumont on his blog:  Sundays with Beaumont  Click HERE.

 

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And… last week I forgot to post Beau’s blog here– he’s a tad ticked with me, but hey! Better late than never.

A conversation where Beau gets confused between pandemic and panda’s running loose.

Panda What?  Click here to read the blog.