Tag Archives: essential self

The $8 sniff test

Some time ago, I received an email from two different people about a ‘clear and present danger’ to women. Bands of people were lurking in shopping mall parking lots attempting to abduct women. Their ploy, a tiny strip of ether soaked sniff test paper posing as an $8 knock-off of a $20 perfume sample. The warning came with a long, ‘this almost happened to me but I dodged the bullet’ missive from a woman in the police service. I read the text and thought, this is important information to know. In fact, at the top of the email it told me this was very important information to know and I must share it with everyone on my email contact list.

Even more important about the information I received, however, were the questions I pondered before passing it along. I wondered.. what was the likelihood of a little strip of paper containing enough ether to knock me out? I mean, think about the movies you’ve seen. When ether’s applied to knock out a ‘kidnappee’, it comes soaked in a cloth of unknown origins that is held at length against the victim’s mouth and nose. Doesn’t ether have a strong smell? Doesn’t it evaporate in the air? Couldn’t I tell the difference between an $8 perfume knock-off posing as a $20 perfume that is actually ether intended to render me unconscious?

I went on a hunt. Sure enough. The $8 sniff test doesn’t pass the truth or fiction test. It’s an urban myth. Snopes.com-Snatch and Sniff Test

Which brings me back to being aware and conscious. Making choices that celebrate the wonder of my life in freedom.

When I honour myself, honour my freedom and my beautiful life, I am aware of both the dark and light side of living on this complex, magical and mystical planet we call earth. In The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker talks about the need to face reality. What is real and true and actual. An elevator door opens, he writes and when you look inside you see a man who smiles at you. There’s something about him that makes you feel uncomfortable. You hear the voice inside whisper, “Take another elevator.” Your ‘don’t make a scene. Don’t be rude/insensitive/whatever’ voice, says, “Get in. There’s nothing wrong.” What do you do? Heed the voice of observation and wait for the next elevator? Or, get into a steel chamber with a closed door with a stranger?

Listening to myself means not worrying about whether I look rude, silly, fearful or anything else I think lessens me in the eyes of others. When the elevator comes and I choose not to ride with a stranger, I am perfectly okay with my choice. Doesn’t mean I’m paranoid. It means I honour my life and my right to make choices that state clearly and unequivocally, I am free. I have choice. I acknowledge there are risks, I will not put myself at undue risk. I exercise my choice for my own good.

When I was in that relationship that caused so much pain and stress on my life and the lives of those I love, I didn’t honour my life, nor my right to make choices that celebrated my freedom. I continually made choices based on fear, denial, terror, confusion. I made choices based on what one man told me to be true, and never questioned the possibility that it was all fiction. I chose to believe he wouldn’t hurt me, even when the facts so clearly demonstrated, yes he would.

In my denial, I lost sight of the truth. My choices make the difference in my life. Will I choose to celebrate life, or kill off any hope of freedom? Will I open doors to change, or slam them shut in the face of possibility? Will I step into my fear of the unknown, or, will I stay stuck in my denial of what is, fearful of what I cannot see beyond what I know today?

In my life today, I accept with open arms the truth of who I am. I am responsible for me. Back then, I wasn’t willing to accept that. Back then, I wanted to deny the truth. I wanted to avoid taking responsibility for the one life I have total control of how I live. Mine.

That is the joy in my life today. When I do something that holds me back, puts me down, or simply keeps me stuck, I know I’ve made a choice to undermine my beautiful life. It’s up to me to ask the tough questions. (What’s in it for me to do this? What’s the purpose of my living in fear? Why do I believe I deserve to treat myself with disrespect? What do I want more of in my life — and will this get me more, or less, of what I want?…) And, to make better choices. To acknowledge my mistakes. To change my actions. To step in a different direction.

That is the joy of freedom. I have the power to create a beautiful life for myself. It’s up to me to live it up for all I’m worth.

The Swamp and The River

The river is alive and moving because of its banks vs the swamp which we think of as dead, which isn’t entirely true. Do our boundaries be it moral or social, help constrain us and therefore to some degree free us?”

A friend had sent my blog, Freedom Isn’t Free, to someone he knows who had written back to ask the above question.

Their question brought to mind images of swamps and rivers, of muddy waters and smooth, clear sailing. Of flowing effortlessly or slugging it out in the tangled debris rotting away beneath the waters.

What is real? What is assumed? What is movable? What is stagnant?

In my thinking it is all there, all apparent, all present. All times.

It’s where I put my focus that makes the difference.

If the past is the swamp how do I clear it? Or, do I need to be afraid of it in the first place — isn’t the desire to ‘clear it’ part of my fear? What if… like a swamp that plays an evolutionary role in the cycle of life, what is present in the swamp is necessary to be alive in the waters of life flowing today?

When a thought or belief or feeling or memory that no longer serves me falls into the swamp, is its role to become a part of the evolutionary process. Part of the cycle of life that feeds the millions of microbes and microcosms alive beneath the waters. The swamp, like the river, are both necessary for life on earth. Are they both necessary and essential in me?

Perhaps these questions are too deep to ponder this cloudy Vancouver morning as I sit alone in the coffee shop down the street from my daughter’s apartment, the coffee shop I’ve come to each of the past three mornings to write and read and at times just to sit and watch the people and the world around me.

Or, perhaps I tell myself they’re too deep because I don’t really have an answer and I don’t like not having an answer so my habitual response is a la Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I don’t like looking stupid. I don’t like not having the answers when asked a question — which, when you think about it, doesn’t make sense. How can I have the answer to every question. HOw do I learn new things if I don’t explore the answer to things I don’t know?

See, that’s the murky waters of the swamp. The past habitual patterns that once upon a time I devised to keep me safe while navigating the river and its many tributaries of my life.

And perhaps, that is the answer.

The river is always flowing. In the river are the morals and values I live by. The social constructs designed to ‘keep me safe’, yet, when left unexamined, fall into decay, become the swamp that would keep me stuck in the murky depths of living on automatic, living from fear, being afraid of looking beneath the surface. Afraid of beauty and the beast.

It isn’t the banks of the river that keep me safe, or free. It is that as I learn to swim in its life-giving waters, I become one with the course of time digging out the edges, widening the banks, carving new pathways, new eddies and backwaters, always swimming towards the call of the invitation of the wide open sea. And always challenging what I know to be true. Or not.

When we live from a place where the river = love and hold the consciousness of the evolutionary impulse to always create better as our contribution to this human journey we share, then we are always flowing in Love — and the swamp too is Love, it just represents the parts we no longer need to carry along with us if we are to be free to enjoy the waters of life in which we flow without fearing what lies in the swamp, what swim beneath the surface, what lies beyond the banks.

So, at this moment in time, my answer to the question is — Yes. No. Maybe. Sometimes. Always. We are the river and the swamp. We are free to be and become all that is life on earth. All is necessary. All is essential. How we do one thing is how we do all things. Everything is connected. We are all connected. And in our connections, we are part of the evolutionary journey of life — a journey best taken in Love.

And, PS — I’m free to change my mind tomorrow if my thinking deepens, or if I don’t like my answer! 🙂

The Value of Vulnerability — Guest blog

The first time I watched Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Vulnerability was shortly after it appeared in 2010. I was hooked. Gave the link to my daughter. Shared it with everyone I know. Read, The Gift of Imperfection and recommended it with everyone I know.

Today, guest blogger, Ian Munro. shares the value of vulnerability in our lives — not only will it help lower stress, you’ll love yourself and your life a whole lot more!

Thanks Ian for sharing your light so graciously. Thanks for being so vulnerable!

 

The Value of Vulnerability

By Ian Munro

The holiday season is behind us and we are back to our normal work routine. It gave me pause to reflect back on the past several weeks. This year I worked through the break, having taken my vacation earlier in the year. Normally I would find working through the holidays somewhat burdensome but this year was totally different. I found myself using this slower time of the year to have some slow, meaningful conversations with people. With both time and some solitude as the office wasn’t very busy, these conversations often penetrated through a few layers of the normal office shields we wear to protect our essential selves. They were great connections, and I look at them now and see how uncommon it is for us to reveal the true nature of ourselves to each other, especially within a work environment.  To read the rest of Ian’s fabulous article, click here!

The light of evensong makes a difference

I walked beneath the light of the full moon, the air chilly against my skin. Ellie, the wonder pooch, pranced and danced beside me, her tail wagging enthusiastically as she sniffed for scent of gopher, squirrel maybe chipmunk beneath the snow covering the ground.

It was the in-between time. That hour just before darkness falls where dusk draws a silken veil across the sky and tinges the horizon in pink and rosy and golden hues. The time of Vespers, an ancient Catholic ritual of expressing gratitude in the twilight hours.

I walked and soaked in the air and view and quiet of the evensong drawing day to a close.

I walked and silently gave thanks for my day. A day of quiet. A day to work on a project for  my beloved (and I can’t tell you here because he reads here and telling you would spoil the surprise!). A day of sharing a meal with good friends and talking about the Essential Journey and how to translate ‘the knowing’ of our essential selves into service for the world.

“Louise,” my good friend Kerry Parsons sat across from me at lunch and as is her way, asked the questions of her heart. “You go out into the world and do your thing and do it singularly because, that’s what you do.” She glanced around at the other two members of our Essential Journey team. “That’s what we all do. But how do you, how do we, do it collaboratively? How do we enter into the spirit of co-creation and keep it as our collective vision?”

It was a good question. An important one.

How do I move from the ‘Me’ to embracing the ‘We’. How do I ignite possibility through collaborative energy versus singular drive?

I don’t know. I’m learning as I go. It’s evolutionary.

That’s the thing about the evolutionary process. It is constantly evolving. Continually unfolding and growing and emerging.

And I grow with it, emerge, become.

When I was a child I didn’t like team sports. Not because I wasn’t good at them, but rather, because I feared criticism. I feared letting others down. If I just say “I’m not a basketball player, volleyball player…” or whatever the sport was that required me to cooperatively engage in exercising with a collective, then no one will expect me to be part of the team. And in the release from that expectation, my expectations of not being wanted could be ignored.

I never had to challenge my belief — I am unwanted.

It also meant I took up singular sports and those where it was me against an opponent. Running. Skiing.  Racquetball. Tennis. Squash. I could be good at those because I never had to ask if I was wanted on the team, I just needed to turn up and be my best.

Except, being my best also came with mixed messages of childhood. “You think you’re so good.” You think you’re better than everyone else. Don’t get too smart for your britches. Nobody likes someone who always wins.

And so, I began to hide. My light. My drive. My brilliance. I began to hide behind the mediocrity of getting along, getting by, getting it done. Even though there were brief bursts of ‘wow! I can do that!’, I did my own thing — but never to the best of my abilities, always to the best of my belief it was vain and self-serving to shine.

I adapted.

It is the core message of the Essential Journey. We are born into this world with gifts and light and perfection shining. And then, we adapt.

We adapt to fit our family unit. Our circle of friends. Peer pressure, cultural biases, faith dictates, all impact our journey, moulding us into adaptive beings capable of living life and fitting into the norms of our society.

In the Essential Journey we learn to identify our adaptive beliefs and behaviours as we release the essence of the magnificence of our birthright. The brilliant, shining light of who we are born to be in this world of wonder.

The Essential Journey asks, “Who am I when I live up to my higher-self? What can we create through the collaborative energy of the highest expressions of our magnificence?”

Imagine what a world this would be. Imagine the difference we can make, imagine what we can inspire when we let go of living from our adapted selves and allow the full expression of our magnificence to unfold with grace and ease in a world of wonder.

Just imagine.

I walked in the light of evensong and felt gratitude, joy, Love and humility rise within me and all around.

I may not know how to operate in the collaborative but I do know how to allow the process to unfold. In its unfolding, I let go of making it happen to make room for miracles to happen, everywhere, because my life has been an evolutionary journey of Love. And in Love, I know, all things are possible. In Love, miracles happen.