Category Archives: Essential Journey

Adults are Messy

Art Journal – mixed media on watercolour paper
7 x 12

I know. I know. It’s not the adults. It’s life.

Yeah. Well… while that may be true — that life is messy — so are we, the adults living it.

Think about it.

We come into this world, these perfect beings of love. Vulnerable. Naked. Divinely beautiful. Defenseless.

We carry with us only two things, a fear of falling (removal of support) and a fear of loud noises.

The rest… well, those hopes and dreams, yearnings and possibilities, concepts of who we are — limiting beliefs and full potentials… those are all constructed by the adults in our life. We don’t carry them with us when we come into this world. We pick them up on our journey.

Which means, we’re often picking up other people’s expectations of us.

And then, we forget to let them go (or don’t know how) and end up living our lives as if what other people think of us, or expect of us, is most important.

See. Adults are the messy ones.

The question is… What are we willing to do about it?

Getting over our messy is messy business.

It takes a whole lot of patience, compassion, self-care and… the thing most of us struggle with, self-love.

It’s to be expected we struggle with it. We’ve spent so much time picking up the pieces we think other people want us to carry or think will make them happy if we carry them, we don’t really know who we are.

Note the lack of ‘forgotten who we are’ in that statement? Yup. It’s not there. That’s because to forget something we have to have had it in the first place.

And yup. That sentence includes a past perfect – past participle of the verb (I think). See, my remembrance of those English classes where I learned all about present and past perfect and participles and tenses was a long time ago. Using them correctly today is sometimes challenging.

But here’s the thing. I don’t remember ever being taught about self-love. Which means, it was never high on my list of lifeskills in my early adulting days. Which is another way of saying, I wasn’t carrying it from my teen years when I stepped across the threshold into adulting.

And that’s where adults come from. Teenagers.

Yup. Those angst-ridden, surly, defiant, ego-centric, life-defying, boundary testing teens were us before we became ‘adult’.

So then we ‘grew up’, and granted we got smarter about a lot of things we studied so that we could have jobs and build careers and maybe even change the world. The thing we didn’t necessarily get smarter about? You guessed it —  this thing called being ourselves without the mess we’ve carried with us.

And that my friends leads to the statement… adults are messy.

Here’s the thing though. We don’t have to stay messy.

It takes… (go back up ten paragraphs)… patience, compassion, self-care and… self-Love.

We gotta love ourselves through the messy to get to the juicy.

To love ourselves through the messy, we have to be willing to stand in it without employing the arsenal of tactics we’ve developed to avoid getting all messed up by our messy. You know. The running away, hiding out or simply ducking every rough spot we come upon with things like anger, self-deprecation, tears, avoidance, fake smiling, appeasment, building walls, and the list goes on.

Tomorrow afternoon, a group of people will walk into a room designed to support them through the gateway into living their lives free of ‘the messy’.

Choices Seminars begins tomorrow and for those walking into that room, either as coaches or as trainees, the gifts are immeasurable. The value infinite.

And believe me, the work is not easy but stepping into living life on your terms with joy, love, compassion and grace as your constant companions (even when you mess up) is worth giving up a lifetime of making messes because you’re living your life by other people’s expectations.

‘Cause let’s face it. It’s a whole lot easier to clean up your mess when your foundation is built on Love.

I won’t be in the room coaching this month as I am taking care of me. I deserve to live a juicy life which means, when I bump into a messy place within, it deserves my full loving attention. I’m worth it.

For those in the room, there’s one thing I know for sure they’re going to find and that’s the thing the world (and each of us) needs more of… Love.

Check it out! You deserve it!

And, in case you’ve forgotten, you’re worth Loving with all your heart and soul.

Love Never Gives Up (A Haiku — Day 18: 30 Day Art Project)

 

Hearts break without sound
Tears falling blinded by snow.
Seeds yearn for spring’s warmth.

Love never gives up.

Sometimes, we give up on love or believe it isn’t present, or that it doesn’t care to be with us.

Love is always present. Love is always caring for and with us.

We need to care for ourselves to know its power, to experience its majesty, to be free to Love.

Playing in the tender sweet bliss of divine surrender

I played with shape, colour and Washi Tape yesterday.

It was pure fun.

Sometimes, my “I am an adult and adults don’t do that…” belief (combined with my fear of making mistakes) makes me want to do things to fit in with the way I think others want me to be.

Sometimes, it gets in the way of my letting go of the limiting belief I must have all the answers for whatever is going on in the world around me. I do not have all the answers for anyone but myself. And, while at times I might think it would be easier if someone out there had all the answers for me, the beautiful truth is, my answers all live within my heart. To know my truth, to live my life for all I’m worth, I must be willing to dive deep into my heart and stand true and firm in my own light.

In Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown writes,

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”

I may or may not have been indulging in a little bit of self-evaluation recently and coming up short on my assessments of myself.

In playing through the angst yesterday, I let go of evaluating myself as falling short of others expectations and released my unloving habit of repeating what others tell me they think of me as my truth. I surrendered my search for confirmation I do not fit in and dove deep into my right to be myself in all that I am.

Yesterday I played and in my play I was reminded of my wild heart’s yearning to dance and laugh and sing and throw itself into the air with joyful abandon and fly on moonbeams of rainbow colours cascading into the open arms of Love.

In Love, all that is on my path is Love. The rest is just…. stuff. No judgment. No labelling. No making a list of defects. No calling myself out. It’s all just stuff.

And in falling into the open arms of Love, I felt my heart stir in wild anticipation of having room to breathe and grow its roots deeper into the creative essence at the core of my being me.

I played yesterday. It was pure delight imbued with the tender sweet bliss of divine surrender.

 

Namaste.

 

 

What’s in the foreground of your life?

I am creating a picture with words on my computer. Parts of what I create I want in the foreground. Others I want to “Send to the back”.

I press a button.

If only life were so simple. If only all it took to keep the important things in the foreground of my life were to press a button.

Maybe it is!

What’s in the foreground of your life?

For me, some of the big ticket items in my foreground are my family and spending time with those I love, (especially my grandson as I am doing right now), continually strengthening and deepening my marriage, being actively creative, sharing kindness and inspiring others to do the same, and savouring the ‘little moments’ of life through time in nature and time alone are all foreground focuses.

The stuff. The little things that irritate me, world politics, cars, sports’ scores, drama — all of these are background things.

When I view the things that fill my life, and my days, through the perspective of what’s in the foreground versus background, I can see where my values lie, and where I am living true to my values.

It’s so easy to get off track. To put my focus on things that deplete me, rather than those that fill me up and inspire me to live fully in the moment.

Yesterday, as I was checking my bag in at the Air Canada desk, the automatic luggage checker-iner conveyors stopped. The attendant informed the lines of people waiting at the various machines that they’d be back on shortly.

There was lots of grumbling.

The woman in front of me turned around, looked at me, gave a heavy sigh and said, “Just like Air Canada to have systems that don’t work.”

I smiled at her and said, “Oh I’ve flown other airlines. I think it’s the conveyor system technology. I’ve often encountered problems.”

The woman was adamant. “No. It’s Air Canada,” she insisted. “You know their motto right?” And she went on to repeat a not very complimentary statement about the company. “They’re only happy when their customers are unhappy.”

Just then, the attendant came and directed us to the desks on the other side of the aisle where Air Canada staff were waiting to check-in business class flyers.

I was grateful.

I might have said something I’d regret to the woman in front of me if we hadn’t moved right then.

See, we have old stories that have lived long past their due date. Like the story that Air Canada only wants to make its customers unhappy.

I definitely didn’t experience that yesterday. In fact, yesterday, when I went to get my baggage tag and realized my husband had forgotten to pay for my bag when he booked my flight, the attendant stopped to help me as the machine wasn’t accepting credit cards at that moment (it was a minor glitch that could have cost me lots of time). “I don’t want to have to make you go all the way through the check-in line,” she told me. “Come with me to the desk at customer service and I’ll process it there.”

She made my life easier and me much happier with her good service.

We all have stories that don’t work in our lives because their expiry date is long past. Yet, often, we hold those stories in the foreground in the belief that their ‘truth’ is our truth today.

I used to have a story about my birth that caused me pain every time I told it, even though I pretended it was funny when I did. I had to stop telling that story by reframing it to something more loving to ease the ache that story created in my heart.

It was an act of kindness to myself, something I value greatly along with creating joy and sharing love. Sharing that story didn’t create any of that in my life, yet, there I was holding it in the foreground, reminding myself every day of a deeply seated inner ‘trauma belief’ that was formed in childhood — not because it was true, but rather, because I didn’t understand the story my parents told about my arrival on this earth. (My father lost a case of beer and $20 when I was born because I wasn’t a boy and my mother wanted me to be born on the day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, not 9th.)

Somewhere in my past, I created an internal translation of that story to mean I was a disappointment and wasn’t wanted in my family.

And I know, in the here and now and the beauty of today, that isn’t true, never was.

It is up to me to recognize whether the stories I tell on myself are creating joy, kindness, love in my life, or not. and when they’re not, to recognize that the story isn’t working for me anymore — it’s past its expiry date and needs to be reframed.

And while it may take more than just pressing a button to send it to the background, it’s worth the effort.

Because, when I fill my foreground with what matters most to me in my life, my world is filled with wonder and beauty and Love.

Namaste.

 

 

 

Separate from Love (Day 9 – 30 Day Art Project)

It is not Love that separates from us, but us who build the walls that keep our hearts separate.

We go through life, experiencing all it has to offer, without always knowing how to cope or deal with what is on our plate. In our journey, the things that happen can create feelings we sometimes don’t know what to do with. And so, we dam them up, block them in, hoping that by ignoring or denything their presence, we will not feel the hurts and pains of life and will come out unscathed.

Life is an experiential journey and we are emotional beings.

Letting emotions flow does not come naturally to us. We want to hold on. To pretend the emotions don’t exist. In our struggle to deal with what we do not understand, or the things that hurt us, we forget (or don’t know how) to release what we do not need from the gentle confines of the heart so we can breathe freely.

The heart holds on to many things; Love, laughter, joy. Memories. Hopes. Dreams.

The heart also holds things that make it heavy. Sorrows. Regrets. Pain. Loss. Grief. Dreams unlived. Hopes forgotten. Memories that have dried into seeds of bitterness.

The heavier the heart becomes, the more we separate ourselves from Love.

We each have the power to choose to break free of that which holds us separate.

It is a moment by moment, day by day choice to begin again, every single day, to choose Love. To choose to let go of the bitterness that separates us from Love.

It is a choice.

Just for this moment, take a deep breath. In. Out. In. Out.

Imagine… Forgiveness is a river supporting you. You float freely on its gentle surface. It flows freely all around you. You feel safe.

Now invite Love. Joy. Contentment. Happiness. Freedom… to join you.

Breathe in….

Breathe out…

Savour each moment of swimming in the beautiful, warm waters of forgiveness.

Again,

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Your are safe in the river of forgiveness. Your body is buoyed up by your conscious decision to choose, Love….

Don’t think. Just choose.

Let it be.

Begin again.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Begin again.

And as you breathe. So it is.

 

 

Dandelion Dreams (Day 8 – 30 day art project)

Day 8 dandelion love

Years ago, a very dear friend shared a poem she’d written for her sister. “It reminds me of you,” she said, commenting on my tendency to be tenacious, to seldom give up and to keep growing, even in the midst of trauma and turmoil.

Her poem lead to the title of my book, “The Dandelion Spirit.” — It’s the true life fairytale of falling into love with a man I thought was Prince Charming only to awaken on the road to hell, dancing with the Prince of Darkness. By the end of that journey, I had given up on me, given up on my life and even given up on my life with my daughters. It took a big miracle (it included a blue and white police car) and then many, many every day miracles for me to grow out of that darkness to live the life of my dreams today. This beautiful life where I am totally in love with me, myself and I and everyone in my world. And btw, being in love with me, myself and I means loving that woman who got so lost on the road to hell, she deserted her daughters and wanted to end her own life every day.

But, back to dandelions…

I love dandelions. I think they get a bad rap.

Accused of being weeds. Torn out of the gound by their roots. Poisoned. Mowed over. Cemented over. And still, they grow. Up through the cracks. In wild places. In backyards. No matter what we do to them, dandelions persevere. Because, for the dandelion, there is only one thing to do. To fly free with the wind and plant themselves wherever they land.

Like Love.

No matter how hard we try to deny its presence, or ignore its call for us to let down our guard, step out from behind our walls, Love perseveres. In the darkness. In the light. At the edges of our sorrow, and in the depths of our grief, Love is always there, as radiant as sunshine hiding behind grey clouds.

And though we may yell and scream at it for stealing away the ones we love or for piercing our hearts in what feels like all the wrong places, Love never screams back. It simply keeps on flowing and calling us to fly free of the hurts and pains of life’s journey so that we can dance in the sunlight of our own radiance and be our own unique expression of Love.

May we all be like the dandelion and fly free on the wind’s of Love to dance on moonbeams and sunstreaks streaming in through the open windows of our heart.

Namaste.

Falling Into the Arms of Love (Day 3 – 30 Day Art Project)

Whispers Day 3One of the challenges/opportunities of the 30 Day Art Project is to create a piece within a specified timeframe. Now, I must clarify — the timeframe is arbitrary. But it is important.

I have a tendency to ‘overthink’ (ok it’s more than a ‘tendency’ it’s an affinity/habit). Overthinking in creative practice can lead to over-working a piece, burying its true message under layers and layers of ‘stuff’. It’s also highly possible overthinking in life can lead to over-everythinging which results in burying our hearts beneath all the stuff we layer on in the misguided belief ‘the stuff’ will protect us from getting hurt, feeling sad, knowing grief.

In this piece, I kept to the timeframe of 30 minutes.

It was hard.

I wanted to go back into the piece. To add, delete, change, rework it. But, at 30 minutes, I had to step away. To accept it was done.

And that’s where the real challenge presented itself. I didn’t want to share it. It’s not my best work. It’s not quite right. It’s not…. blah. blah. blah.

My critter/ego mind had a heyday with rationalizing why I should just scrap this piece entirely and start all over again. Or better yet, layer on top of it enough stuff so ‘the beautiful mess’ was hidden so that only what I wanted people to see would be revealed.

My inner voice of wise counsel whispered her wisdom lovingly into my heart, “It’s not about the quality of the piece,” she murmured. “It’s about committing to the process. About learning the art of letting go of ‘perfection’ to delve into the spirtual nature of your creation.”

I was surprised by her comment about ‘the spiritual nature of your creation.” How does creating in a timeframe open me up to that? I wondered. (Or perhaps it was the critter/ego mind expressing its skeptical nature.)

Which is when the truth opened itself up in the light of awareness.

Being present to the canvas (and life) is not a perfect process. It’s not even all that predictable a one. Being present to and with everything is about presence. My presence. Your presence. It’s about our willingness to be real, unadorned, unfiltered, actually present without all the accoutrements of life and our beliefs of who we are cluttering our minds with stories of how we ‘should’ be and how our lives should unfold.

And, it’s about honouring the presence of others, seeing the holy and sacred in one another and celebrating the goodness at the heart of our human essence.

In our presence, the holy nature of our divine essence is revealed through our vulnerability. Vulnerable, we are seen. We are known. We are beloved. In our vulnerability, we live in the joy of being beautifully, perfectly human, in all our holy imperfections, all our humanness, all our beautiful mess.

And that’s where we find ourselves falling into the arms of Love, always.

And that’s where Love catches us, always.

Namaste