Tag Archives: the essential journey

Are you willing to practice being magnificent?

Years ago, while teaching a self-esteem course at a homeless shelter, I asked the 12 or so men gathered in the room ‘what kind of man do you want to be?’.

Across from me, at the far end of the boardroom table sat a tall, handsome man who had once been forced to become a child soldier in his homeland. “I want to be a proud man,” he said. “But how can that be possible when I have done so many horrible things?” he asked.

“Do you want to keep doing those things or things of which you’re proud?” I asked him.

And he replied, “Of course I want to do things I’m proud of. But I see me only as that bad man.”

“What if I told you I see you as a magnificent human being?”

He flashed me a big smile and said, “I’d say you need better glasses.”

I laughed at his joke and I told him my glasses were okay. What if, it was just the lens through which he was looking at himself that needed adjusting?

The whole class listened intently to our conversation, with several others chiming in that there was no hope that anyone would ever see them as magnificent.

What if the first step isn’t for others to see you as magnificent but rather that you do? I asked.

I invited everyone around the table to close their eyes, for just a moment, and imagine that they truly were magnificent. Sit tall, I encouraged. Breathe into being and feeling and knowing you are magnificent. Be that.

And for a moment, 12 men closed their eyes, sat tall and breathed into their magnificence.

It was trans-formative.

Facial features relaxed. Their breathing slowed. Small smiles of recognition appeared on some of their faces.

After a moment, I invited them to open their eyes and asked, “Could you feel it? Could you feel your magnificence?”

And everyone in that room agreed. Yes they could.

Then it exists within you, I told them.

Now, imagine that we connect through our magnificence. Imagine that our magnificence is the thing we carry out into the world and share.

Would your world be different?

Yes, they all murmured.

Magnificence exists within each of us. It is who we are born as, and to be.

And then, life happens, we forget our birthright and start living in the narrow corridors of the hurtful things we’ve experienced, done, and seen that we tell ourselves define us. Limit us. Are us.

It’s not true.

The things that happened, including the past, does not define us. We do. In the here and now.

And in the here and now is where we can begin to practice letting go of our limiting beliefs and breathing into celebrating our magnificence.

Those beliefs were founded in the past because those were the things we were taught, forced to learn, forced to endure because the world around us didn’t know how to celebrate our magnificence, or its own.

Those are the beliefs that keep us playing into our limitations and living small today.

Just for today, practice breathing into your magnificence. Imagine your entire being is imbued with the beauty and wonder and awe that is you when you let go of living out the learned patterns of mediocrity that have kept you trapped in forgetting the magnificence of who you are born to be.

And in your magnificence, imagine that you are a divine expression of grace. That you are… Love.

Breathe and Be. Breathe and Be.

And so it is.

Truth is not a weapon.

Truth is not a weapon I wield like a sword, chopping down those who oppose me.

Truth is where I stand in my heart, allowing all things to be as all things are, without the need to make all things be my truth.

 

So often, we believe to have our truth heard, we must speak above others, drowning out their voices so only ours remains.

That is not truth-speaking.

For our truth to be heard, we must speak it in peace. Using our words kindly to create space for someone else to hear us, and for us to hear them.

Sometimes, truth can hurt. But it hurts much less when we take care to speak our truth with compassion, giving care to how the other will feel when the words we speak stand between us.

Are our words a barrier or a bridge?

Are they a minefield of discord or filled with a desire to find common ground?

Do our words pierce like an arrow or open minds to understanding one another’s hearts?

I was at a meeting yesterday where two years ago, the same people sitting around the table sat on opposite sides of the fence. To find common ground, we had to make room for all truths to stand without judgement. We had to allow space for our opposing views to be heard without fear of being drowned out in the anger and fear of our differing perspectives and understanding of what had happened. We had to listen to what ‘the other’ had to say about what had gone wrong, and what wasn’t working without denying the truth of what was said.

In the process, we found room for all our views to co-exist. We found strength to bridge the gaps between our differing views to create a better everyone could live with and within.

There is truth in everything, yet not all things are true.

It is true, there is war in the world. Yet, the whole world is not engaged in war.

It is true, there is discrimination in the world. Yet, discrimination does not rule the whole world.

It is true, there is poverty. Yet, poverty is not true for everyone.

Until we hear all things without fearing ‘the truth’ of all things, we will not find the path to see and hear and feel what is true without fearing the other’s truth will prevail, take over, overcome what is true in our world.

Until we speak our truth, in peace, allowing love and compassion to soothe our words, our truth will be viewed by someone as untrue or unkind.

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”  ― Warren W. Wiersbe

Until our truth becomes the ground upon which we stand in love and harmony, our truth will be the weapon others use to stand apart.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

What is the more I seek?

I found a question seeking me this morning. It came to me as I sat in the quiet of meditation, allowing the stillness to embrace me.

I hadn’t entered my meditation with a question. I had entered with the desire only to seek the quiet, the stillness, the sense of being in the oneness of the moment.

And in that moment, a question I had not seen in the morning light awoke within me.

Writing here every morning has a purpose. It is my place to ground, to find my center, to reach out to others and share the beauty and joy and complexities and contradictions I experience in the world around me and to illuminate the path of being light within the world.

After having taken breaks from this place, I know this place strengthens and enlightens my daily journey.

Yet, something has been unaligned, off-kilter. I could feel it shimmering at the edges of my consciousness, even if I could not see its details.

Yesterday, I spoke with a friend who, after hearing of my year of writing C.C. a love poem a day, decided two months ago to commit to writing her husband a love poem a day for a year.

“It has changed everything,” she told me yesterday. “He’s not a very sentimental kind of guy but he loves my poems and I love writing them for him.”

We chatted more about the power of ritual, the power of committing to doing something for someone simply for the joy of doing, of opening each day with a poem of love, and how, in the simple act of writing of love, love deepens.

And the question began its journey from the edges of my consciousness to the center of my being present.

It is the question I did not know I was seeking yet appeared as I settled into the silence this morning. “What is the more I seek?”

The beauty of the question is, the answer is not clear. It doesn’t need to be. The journey is in its exploration.

What is the more I seek?

My life is full. Rich. Complete.

The more I seek is not out there in the world. It is not more stuff, more power, more fame, more acclaim.

The more is within me.

To be explored. To be divined. To be experienced.

To begin.

To begin, I must allow myself to sink into the question. To delve into the unknown I cannot know until I release all I do know, or tell myself I know, about surrender, hope, faith, mystery, loss, God, and the power of love.

I must surrender my knowing to allow space for the unknown to arise.

I must give up my answers to give rise to the questions.

And so I begin.

Again.

I begin to allow the question to become my north star guiding me home to that place within where the more I seek is all I become in the journey.

I don’t know the answer.

I don’t know what the journey will look like, or what will transpire. I do know that as I set off into my day today, I carry with me the question, “What is the more I seek?”

to create in the world.

to make better for others.

to deepen love.

to connect hearts.

to open minds.

to allow love in and out with every breath.

What is the more I seek?

For the next few weeks I shall be exploring surrender, hope, faith, mystery, loss, God, and the power of love.

What it means to surrender, to have hope, to know faith, to enter into mystery, to experience loss, to feel God’s breath, the breathe into the divine, to dance with spirit, and to fully embrace the power of love.

I am excited about the journey. I shall be using visual and written art forms in my exploration and sharing my discoveries here.

I’m curious to see what arises. I’m curious to see what I discover the more I seek the unknown.

You are where love will find you. always. completely. forever.

IMG_5492There is no edge to love. No line that marks its beginning and its end. There is only the sea. The vast, limitless waters where love flows free of the boundaries we set to mark its territory.

Try to hold love in a cup and it will flow over the edges the minute you put your hand within.

Tie love to a fencepost and it will untangle itself from the rope and run free as the wind.

You cannot contain or tie up love.

Love is limitless. Forever. It knows no ends.

It does not come to her and not him. To them and not me.

Love doesn’t judge who it visits. It arrives unbidden because love never left, even when you slammed the door on love’s presence.

Love simply is.

Here. There. Everywhere.

Love is.

All. Completely. Everything.

It is we who measure love. We take out our yardsticks of life and count the moments we felt, or missed out on love and recount all the reasons why we are lacking in its worth.

We tally up the hurts and bruises, twist the arrows and knives that have pierced our hearts, and call love all kinds of names it does not know. Lacking, lying, untrustworthy, invisible.

And still, no matter how we measure it or what we call it, love keeps flowing. Love keeps being what it is because love can be nothing other than itself.

There is no edge to love but there are limits to our capacity to be open and present to love. And in our fear love is not enough, we close off parts of our hearts telling ourselves that love hurts, or harms or kills.

Love doesn’t hurt just as guns don’t kill without a human to pull the trigger. We do. We the human beings who live within the sea of love flowing all around, frantically grasping onto any support to keep ourselves from drowning, we are the hurting and the hurters. We are the limiters of love. The ones who dole it out in measured drops for fear there will not be enough to fill the ocean of need within our hearts.

And in our frantic scramble to hold on to what we believe is not enough, will never be enough, we hurt one another. We do ourselves harm. In our fear of swimming freely we cramp up and stop breathing deeply. In the shallowness of our breath, we lose the freedom to live fearlessly in love’s flow and die, one breath at a time, of starvation.

There is no edge to love. Just breathe, deeply, and you will find yourself in its embrace. Just breathe, slowly, and let yourself go, let go. There is no need to hold on to love. It isn’t going anywhere but where you are because where you are is where love finds you. Always. Completely. Forever.

With All My Heart

There is a civility to life here on the west coast. A politeness that superimposes itself on everyday living, infusing each breath with ease.

Unless you’re a driver, or pedestrian or anywhere near a thoroughfare — but that’s a whole other story.

Heck, even the buses are polite in Vancouver. When out of service their electronic banner doesn’t just read “Out of Service”. The story of their status begins with “Sorry”

See what I mean. Polite.

And see, there it is again. Story.

Story is everywhere. I’m writing a story right here, right now. Sharing with you the story of my life, of where I’m at in this moment, how my story is unfolding for me right now.

Perhaps you can see the chips in the wood of the round table I’m sitting at in the coffee shop down the street from my daughter’s apartment. Can you hear the music? A blend of Indie and folk? Pleasant. A slice of thought-provoking lyrics, just not too harsh for awakening minds to hear on this cloudy west coast morning. Can you see the two men chatting at the table by the window. Grey-haired salt and pepper man standing beside bald man in black. I wonder if salt and pepper regrets his decision to step over and say hello. He keeps trying to interject some positivity into the story of woe the man in black is telling him about how ‘bad it can be’. I hear them both. I know there are multiple sides to every story. Many dimensions to the same situation. And in the end, they are just stories we tell ourselves and each other.

Story.

Those two men are wrapped up in theirs. Each with a different perspective. Each with their own POV of how life is meant to be, really is and can be, or can’t possibly become depending upon the ground on which they stand.

Yesterday, as I walked back from the SeaWall a man approached me. Toothless grin. Orange hair rising in messy spikes from above a furrowed brow. He was dressed in a long down coat, clean, no tears. It was the shoes that gave him away. Tattered runners, the logo long since worn away. The laces long since disappeared.

“Oh thank you for stopping,” he said as he stood in front of me.

I hadn’t really had a choice. He had planted himself directly in my path on a narrow part of the pathway.

And he went on to tell me his story of arriving in from Australia in the early hours of the morning. Of sleeping in the lobby of a posh hotel as they searched for his luggage, his lost passport, missing wallet.

He showed me the tattoo on his arm. A kangaroo with the words, “Down Under Is Tops”, printed in black.

He told me how I reminded him of his mom. Kind eyes with a koala bear in their light. That one confused me but I wasn’t about to ask for clarification. He shook and jittered as he talked. His hands flying around his head as if shooing away pesky Australian flies.

I don’t shake because I’m a junkie, he said. I’ve got MS. And he told me how he needed to get out of town. How he couldn’t take it anymore. Tears welled up in his eyes. Rolled down his cheeks.

Please help me, he pleaded.

I offered to take him somewhere he could get help. (a shelter, a drop in centre where he could get help. Maybe even a place to clean up and… change his story.)

He shook his head vehemently.

No. No. No.

I need $48.00 to get out of town.

I sighed and gave him a gentle smile and shook my head. I can’t do that. Give you money.

There’s a bank machine downstairs in the building, over there. And he pointed to the left of where we stood.

I’m not prepared to do that.

And his shoulders slumped as he realized I wasn’t buying his story.

Story. It is everywhere.

A man at the Art Gallery tells me how he doesn’t take phone calls anymore. Text me. Email me. But please don’t phone me. I wonder what’s his story.

I walk past the Coal Harbour Community Centre and watch a group of mostly women bend and stretch and lean into downward dogs and stand up to welcome in the sun (it didn’t work — it rained most of the day) and I pass people walking dogs and riding bicycles and hear the flap flap flap of joggers shoes running past me on the wet pavement. Carrying their stories with them. Bending them. Shifting them. MOving them along.

I sit and sip a Chai Latte in a coffee shop overlooking the harbour and hear the metal on metal chatter of boats bobbing, a float plane’s engine revving up in the distance. I walk past a public garden space and hear the sound of a shovel as a man tenderly prepares the earth for spring flowers. I walk along and overhear a woman on her cell phone laughing as she tells her listener, “He wants a divorce he can have one. But if he’s driving away in a Porsche so am I.”

I listen to my daughter share her story of dreaming and waking up and seeing life in a whole new perspective as I sit over lunch with her sharing a glass of wine and an assortment of Greek dips. Later, we sit in an oyster bar and laugh and chat and share another glass of wine (Prosecco this time) and chat with our waiter who is from Saskatoon. He’s an actor here, but somewhere within him that prairie boy still yearns for the wide open spaces and clear blue skies of his home, that place where his mom and dad still live. And as we leave, we fall into the lyrical notes of the voice of the man giving us directions and sigh deeply into the sensual textures of his words. His Irish accent lures me into remembering the stories of a distant green island where my roots run deep into the earth of my father’s Irish ancestors.

An then, we join 30,000 people, mostly women, to hear a woman share the stories of her journey out of the poverty of rural Mississippi onto a global stage where her story of the redemptive power of forgiveness and gratitude reigns supreme.

Oprah rocked the house last night. She moved about the stage, sharing stories, sharing laughs, connecting. The dots and so much more. Connecting hearts and igniting minds to the majesty, the wonder, the amazing grace of being alive.

Who are you? she asked and my answer was right there. I’ve known it for some time now. I’ve felt its call rising within me, stirring me up, igniting my passion to be present, alive and inspired in this moment right now.

I am the divine expression of God’s amazing grace.

And in that answer I will do as Oprah suggests. I will live my truth with every breath, with every act, word, thought. I will be who I am with all my heart.

Namaste

Living from our essential essence makes a difference

I love magical evenings and last nights gathering for The Essential Journey teachings by the magnificent Kerry Parsons was just that — a magical evening.

For several months I have worked with Kerry, Howard and Ian Munro on co-creating a generative alliance of new-thought leadership called, The Centre for Conscious Living. Last night, Kerry presented the foundational teachings of the alliance to a group of friends/supporters/interested on-lookers. Those who have been coached through Kerry’s gifts experience the Journey in action. For many in the room, however, this journey was new. A virginal landscape of new-thought leading to the limitless possibilities of living life from the core of our essential selves. That place where we are as we are born — magnificent, radiant, brilliant, divine…

When I became a mother there was one thing I knew for sure I wanted to instill in my daughters hearts and beings — that they are at their very core, ‘magnificent’. Their behaviour was not, is not, who they are. It is a reflection of where they are at, how they are interpreting the world, and where they are standing in that interpretation. You can change behaviour, you cannot change who you are at your core — because, no matter what they did or were doing, who they/we are was never diminished. Can never be changed.

We are magnificent.

It is a truth I can remember holding from a very young age. It didn’t matter what was happening around me. Through chaos, parental fights and sibling rivalries. I knew, deep, deep within me that we were all ‘good’. It was our behaviour that was sometimes optional.

Of course, as a child, I struggled to align the goodness I knew lived within me with the craziness of the world around me. And in my struggle to make sense of my world, to fit in, to be part of the community of my birth, I adapted. I re-wired my thinking to accommodate what was happening in my world so I wouldn’t feel so out of step with everyone around me. That re-wiring helped me survive because that’s what the adaptive journey is all about. Survival. It is a basic instinct. A core imperative of the life impulse.

Challenge is, in my adaptations, I began to behave in ways that pushed back my feelings of unease so that I wouldn’t have to constantly struggle against thoughts of “I am unworthy’, I am bad, I am not enough’ by proving, I am worthy. I am good. I am enough.

And then  I became a mother and I knew, I could not, would not allow my daughters to believe anything other than the truth — they are magnificent miracles of life.

And again I struggled. I am not that powerful that I can change the world I told myself as I fought to get the world around them to quit saying, “What a good girl,” if they did something ‘good’.  Please don’t make their behaviour about who they are, I asked. Again and again. 🙂  (old habits die hard) Who they are is separate and distinct from their behaviour I insisted. They are fundamentally ‘good’. I want to deal with behaviour. I never want to question their inherent ‘goodness’.

It was a tough road but I was determined to hold my course.

My daughters are young women now and they know, in their core, that they are magnificent. Sure, they still like to tease me about withdrawing them from a playschool because the teacher insisted on calling them, ‘good girls’, or bad girls depending upon the circumstances. And, they love to tell the story of my storming into a math teachers class to confront him on calling one of them out about a messed up math book. But in their hearts, they know the truth — they are magnificent.

In my mother’s heart I know it is the greatest gift I could have given them. To know they are beautiful, radiant, brilliant, magnificent. To know this world is all our world. It is not a world divided. It is one world and it is all our planet. By living our magnificence, we can create a world for all of us, this one humanity we share in, to live from the truth of our shared experience of our essential selves.

We are all magnificent.

From the place of knowing our magnificence, all things are possible. Operating from possibility, we make a difference that radiates out into the world in Love, Joy, Peace and Harmony.

Namaste.