Scientists warn that humanity is driving our biosphere into imminent collapse (1).
As I scientist, I believe in science, and it has been a struggle for me to accept the science that I know to be true, while staying true to the life path that I have chosen – that of supporting humans to awaken to their innate potential and to the possibility of contributing to planetary transformation.
Yes, we are currently driving our biosphere into imminent collapse, but we are doing so through so many unconscious behaviours and programmed needs that drive us to material gain over soulful satisfaction. What could happen if we wake up to who we really are, to what really matters, and to what we are really capable of? Might we then be consciously motivated to take the actions that need to be taken now to avert planet-wide catastrophe?
The concept of the “knowing field”, on which the Family Constellations therapeutic approach is based, is where scientific fact and my faith in what else might be possible can co-exist.
The knowing field is an energetic field that contains the consciousness of an entire family system. It is thought to be alive, intelligent, and evolving, and that in a family system the knowing field is replicated in every individual – past and present (and future!). Every experience of every individual is felt in, and remembered by, this energetic field, and in this way the unresolved traumas of our ancestors are energetically carried forward into subsequent generations. As these energetic holding patterns are addressed by an individual and resolution is found within the body of that individual, the knowing field is updated, and the positive experience is shared across the individuals in the system.
The concept of our families is usually thought of through the lens of genetic linkages, and as an energy worker I of course see the energetic linkages. Either way you look at it, it becomes quite clear that yes we are a part of our ancestral families, but we are also a part of our human family. We evolved from the same starting place on the one evolutionary branch. That evolutionary branch is connected to another, to another, to another, until we have travelled right back to our roots where we can apply the concept of a family system to this whole earthly creation. We are connected, genetically and energetically, to every living thing on earth (apparently humans and sponges share 70% of their DNA (2). According to Bruce Lipton, developmental biologist and author of The Biology of Belief, we should extend this connection to everything in the entire universe “The Universe is one indivisible, dynamic whole in which energy and matter are so deeply entangled it is impossible to consider them as independent elements.”
If all of humanity shares a knowing field, then we each have a role in the evolving (or devolving) of the collective consciousness. It means that every single person could have an impact on the consciousness of the entire human race.
This isn’t spiritual whitewashing for the sake of my peace of mind. Quantum entanglement – the phenomenon of two particles or objects, energetically linked but physically distanced behaving in the same way is very real (3).
And, yes, the tipping points of climate change are real. And we are getting very close to those, if we haven’t reached one or more already. But equally real are the tipping points of collective consciousness. Apparently it takes just 3.5% of the population to change the world (4)…or to change the world mind perhaps?
It really is time to stay focused. We must face the scientific reality AND double down on our efforts to stay aligned with the knowingness that we are capable of so much more than continuing to unconsciously bound towards our own demise. We must believe in our own possibility. Our survival depends on it.
In the words of Pema Chodron “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
If you are reading this, chances are that like me, there were many times over the past four years that you wished Donald Trump would just go away. Today, November 7th, with the election of new President of the US, I hope that we have learned what we needed to learn from him. Truly, he is the greatest mirror for the collective program of greed, separation, violence, and abhorrent misuse of power that we could have possibly asked for.
That he has been (and still is) one of the most powerful people on the earth at this time is an energy that we have all created. Not just Americans. ALL of us. We are all* active and passive (or in many cases…forced) participants in this collective program, and the energy that we have put into feeding this beast of a system through thousands of years of occupation and oppression, and that we continue to put in by participating in the running of this well-oiled beast, have created this very present moment.
This very present moment that includes a clear road to climate chaos and mass extinction; extreme social inequities across the globe with whole countries like Yemen experiencing extreme famine while in places like Ontario the food that we throw away accounts for something like 8% of global warming; and where white supremacists and neo-Nazis not only still exist, but openly thrive. Of course, these three points are just the tip of the greed and separation iceberg.
We may not like it, but Donald Trump is the perfect mirror for this program that exists inside all of us. Having had four years of having our faces rubbed in our own shit, I really hope that we are done. That now that we have been forced to really see it, we will find that we cannot turn away from it anymore. And that we will now turn our attention very directly and actively towards the changes that we need to make to eradicate this program of greed and separation if we hope to survive. Yes, our lives really do depend on it.
Think about it…would Black Lives have risen up with their roars of ENOUGH IS ENOUGH if it weren’t for the pitchforks of white supremacy jabbing at them so profoundly these past few years? Would the fires of change have been stoked enough under the leadership of Hilary Clinton? Did we need Donald Trump to ensure that it just got too hot to handle?
There is truth in the saying “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” The occupiers created a system of endorsed segregation, enslavement, and the superiority of one-over-all (human and non-human). And although the occupied resisted (and still do), with some more success in some places than in others, at some point even the occupied had to try to join ‘em, atleast to some extent, for their own survival. But now, these people have risen in their power with their voices demanding change. Donald Trump gave them no choice. It just got too hot. And ENOUGH IS ENOUGH they had to say. (AND don’t forget #MeToo also happened with Donald Trump’s energy stoking the flames of that unbearable fire too.)
And so, has it gotten hot enough yet to let the movement continue ripple into all of the areas of our lives that so desperately need change, to continue bring down this system so deeply embedded with such extreme separation? Has it gotten hot enough yet to actually acknowledge the massive systemic changes that are needed to right the extreme imbalances of not only racial and social disparities (and outright violent oppression) but also for the global environmental/eco-separation crisis that is climate change?
I hope so.
And so I say Donald Trump thank you for being the greatest mirror you could possibly have been so that we could all see so clearly all of the ways that we hold this program of greed and separation in our world, and in our very own bodies. I hope that we do not just wash our hands of you, and turn away from this painful program in apathy, neglect and perceived necessity, and return to numbing ourselves out enough so that we can keep living in this pain.
Because truthfully, we can no longer afford to turn away. We have to face the suffering that is inherent in this system of our creation, or we risk taking so much down with us.
I will do my work.
I am not afraid of looking in the mirror.
And you don’t have to be either.
Underneath those layers of violence and separation that have been scratched again and again into our surfaces is a whole lot of love and light, and a deep soul-centered understanding of connection and belonging to this place as an equal part of creation.
But first, we have to stop self-harming, and take the actions that we need to take to help to heal those wounded layers in ourselves and each other. Only then will we be able to step forward in co-creative love, and build a whole new way of being with each other, and the earth.
On July 16th, Greta Thunberg and three of her fellow climate activists launched an open letter (https://climateemergencyeu.org/) demanding EU leaders take measurable, immediate action to genuinely tackle the climate crisis.
The letter’s demands include that the climate emergency is treated like an emergency, and with that comes the immediate halting of all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. The letter also demands that EU member states make ecocide (extensive damage to Earth's ecological systems) an international crime, and that climate policies be put in place that reduce racial, economic, and gender inequality.
Her letter is very timely, given that the first half of 2020 was the second warmest on record (https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v4/). Yep…it’s just getting hotter…and hotter…and hotter. And as the temperatures rise, so does my anger, and I too want to stand up and demand for change.
If she is willing to be the energy to lead the change that we need to demand, are we willing to be the energy to follow?
What is my role and yours, and what can we do?
As a mother, and an “elder” by virtue of my age and hopefully ability to stay grounded, I feel strongly that it is my place is to use my roots and the strength of my age and my experience to participate as fully as I can in altering the destructive course that we are. This means using power of my own, very real outrage, as a force for change by channeling it into constructive activities. Here is what this means to me:
“Even if countries meet commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world is heading for a 3.2 ºC global temperature rise in the next 80 years, leading to even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts.” (1)
We are currently at 1.0 ºC. The Paris Agreement saw nations commit to a safe maximum of 1.5 ºC by 2100. We are on a path to hit 2.0 ºC by 2050 (2), the repercussions of which include:
By 2050 anywhere from 25 million to 1 billion people are expected to be climate migrants (4).
Extracted from a letter (https://climateemergencyeu.org/) by Luisa Neubauer, Greta Thunberg, Anuna de Wever van der Heyden, Adélaïde Charlier, 16 July 2020, to EU leaders and heads of state:
“You must stop pretending that we can solve the climate- and ecological crisis without treating it as a crisis…The world’s planned fossil fuel production by the year 2030 accounts for 120% more than what would be consistent with the 1,5° target…In order to limit global heating to 1,5 degrees, the upcoming months and years are crucial. The clock is ticking. Doing your best is no longer good enough. You must now do the seemingly impossible.”
RESOURCES FOR TAKING ACTION
Indigenous Climate Action : https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/
Extinction Rebellion :https://rebellion.global/
Zero Hour for Youth: http://thisiszerohour.org/
Add Your Name to the Movement:
Face The Climate Emergency, Greta’s Letter to World Leaders: https://climateemergencyeu.org/
National Resources Defense Council: https://www.nrdc.org/demand-climate-action
People’s Demands for Climate Justice: https://www.peoplesdemands.org/
Tips for taking action:
RESOURCES FOR STAYING ROOTED
Almost every morning I walk through some nearby trails in a beautiful forest. The trails are extensive, and I readily get “lost” - although “lost” isn’t quite the right word! I follow the guidance of Spirit, who tells me what way to go, through what feels like an instinctual pulse in my gut. The feeling says “Go this way”.
A couple of weeks ago, I came to a usual crossroads where four ways meet, and was about to go my preferred route which takes me deeper into the forest where more unknown choices emerge, when the voice was clear “No, go that way”.
“That way!?” I said. “But I know what is that way! That part of the trail has been all hacked up by quad bikes, I don’t want to go that way.”
So, I ignored the voice, and tried to go my usual way, but the voice got louder (the feeling in my gut stronger) until I had to turn around.
“Fine”. I said and headed down the quad bike trail.
As I approached where the trail started to get really messy I spotted a side trail I had not noticed before.
“That way”. The voice said.
That way I went, following the voice with every fork of the trail. I soon got quite “lost” in the woods, discovered all kinds of new pathways, enjoyed some beautiful connected moments with the trees, had wonderful conversations with Spirit, and about 90 minutes later emerged from a different trail at those exact same crossroads where I had begun. I laughed out loud of course, as the message was clear.
Without a doubt I know some of the possibilities of following a particular route, but I never know them all.
This is absolutely true for all aspects of life, but we so readily forget that. We decide we know the outcome of a particular action and so make our decision in the moment not on what our gut is urging us to do, but on what our head says makes the most sense. Both aspects have merit, and ideally we use both gut and head together (with a full healthy dose of heart that lets us know, amongst other things, if we are risking harm to others).
What troubles me right now is how much we humans are doing NONE of those things when it comes to the decisions that we are making around climate change (in)action – either the big systemic changes that are necessary or our own personal life choices. We aren’t using our gut instincts that can absolutely sense the danger of our extreme disconnection, nor are we using our intellectual understanding of the problem and the most likely outcome, and certainly we are not engaging our empathic and compassionate connection to our children’s futures either.
Science is telling us the most likely outcome considering the way that we are living and consuming right now would be catastrophic for life on earth (1). Yes, it is just one possibility, and yes, there are many more possibilities that we don’t know; however, that one possibility is getting more and more likely to be the ONLY POSSIBILITY all the time. If we were to listen to our instinctual urgings they would say TAKE ACTION, get off this course. If we were to listen to our intellectual understandings they would say TAKE ACTION, get off this course. But we do neither. Instead, we ignore our heads and our guts and hang the precious futures of our hearts and those of all future generations on the decreasing likelihood that one of the other possible scenarios will play out that will mean we don’t have to change course at all, because suddenly (magically?) the trail has been rerouted and we are on course for a different target.
Technology will save us.
The trees will save us.
Greta will save us.
And recently even…COVID will save us.
Yes, all of those options, and many others, could in theory be possible. Greta could singlehandedly prompt high level political action that would alter the course that we are on. (Sure, she must be…what… nearly 18 years old now. Practically an adult! Of course she can do it. Yes, let’s leave it all up to her.). Maybe we will plant a trillion trees and that will take all the carbon out of the atmosphere (and somehow we can just keep chopping and clearing and cutting to meet our insatiable hunger for development, meat, wood and paper products, mineral exploration, etc. FYI 80,000 acres of tropical rainforest are being lost EVERY DAY. (2)). Researchers and innovators might invent a carbon drawdown technology that could suck it all out of the atmosphere and capture it in some sort of building material. (This is out there by the way…but the social and financial barriers and legislative hoops to jump through to get these technologies into large-scale use means that technological interventions are not the full solution in the decade that we have left to turn things around).
So…COVID! Yes COVID. COVID is shutting down the world, stopping carbon emissions…right? WRONG. In April global carbon emissions were down by 17% from last April, but by now they are back up to within 5% of where they were this time last year (3). So…COVID isn’t going to save us. Oops.
With an average of 3 to 6 degrees of warming predicted by 2100, the truth of the most likely outcome for this path that we are walking is one of catastrophic loss of life on earth (including our own). The longer we take to alter our course the more we limit our possibility to start down other pathways. In fact, Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, recently stated that if we don’t make use of the window of opportunity that COVID has given us, and turn our energy supply and building practices around in the next 6 months, then sustainable climate targets will be completely out of reach. (3)
On this walk we have blindly passed by alternate trail after alternate trail. We might have one or two other options left. Does science know everything? No. And science doesn’t need to know it all to be able to provide us with a pretty good map. But if you aren’t willing to follow your head on this one, then fine. Listen to your gut, it will tell you. We are in extreme danger. This path does not end well, and we’ve got to alter our course, fast.
So as our economy opens up and you return to “normal” think about what that means, and what you can do to be a part of the change. We don’t need all 8 billion of us to engage in order to change the trajectory of our blind stumbling foray along this track, but we do need as many of us onboard as we can get. Just because there’s a lot of momentum going in the wrong direction doesn’t mean there is no hope left…or not yet anyway…but we need every little push towards the right direction we can get. This team needs you too.
On June 16th, 1944, 76 years ago today, 14-year old George Stinney was executed by the electric chair following a 2-hour trial that found him, an African American boy, guilty of murdering two young white girls in South Carolina. His court-assigned lawyer offered no defence, and the all-white jury pronounced him guilty after 10 minutes of deliberation. In 2014 a judicial review overturned his conviction when a court ruled that he had not received a fair trial.
This is a horrific and heartbreaking story, but it is just one of hundreds, no…thousands, of stories of the incredible injustice that people of colour have lived (and died) through in so-called “modern” history.
What the black community is showing us now is how much trauma they have built up inside of themselves, from their own lifetimes and that which they have inherited through the experiences of their ancestors. They were hurt, badly hurt, and now that hurt wants out. The ways that they are choosing to let it out through the loud and vocal expression of their pain are nowhere on scale to that of the violence and cruelty that most of them carry in their ancestral history.
As I witness the rightful unfolding of the rage, despair and frustration by people of colour all over the world, rising up to add their voices to the demand that BLACK LIVES MATTER, I say YES THEY DO, of course they do, they always have, how did we get it so wrong??
Then in myself I feel a whole myriad of things.
I feel extreme empathy towards my fellow human beings that that have experienced so much suffering and cruelty. I feel the deep sadness and disbelief of wanting so much better for our world and wondering how we are ever going to get there. I feel the shame of belonging to a society, and to a group of people, who let skin colour be an indication of “better than”, and who used this one defining feature to excuse the inexcusable.
The truth is a lot of my shame makes a lot of present day sense - I/we have a lot to do to clean up in regards to how we use our skin-color privilege. But some of the outrage being expressed is not about me directly, but about the acts of my ancestors and their cohort throughout history. This means that although some of what is being expressed may not be directly personal, it is my job as a living representative of those that perpetuated inexcusable violence in our history (and in many ways and still do) against people of colour, to hold space for the pain and the anger that is being released right now. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that I allow for my own shame to rise up and spur me on to take positive action in supporting great change, as opposed to letting this shame settle in so deep that I run and hide and turn away from the experience, continuing to contribute passively to the problem.
The suffering must stop. What if it stops here? What if this incredible expression of deeply held trauma, and the powerful rising of a global voice that says NO MORE marks the end of an era that must come to an end if we are to move to a future that includes a unified people, working for a better way for our children. A future that can include a whole lot less shame for the acts of their ancestors if we choose to do right by our children, right now.
It’s April 22, 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Following an oil spill off the coast of California in 1969, which released 3 million gallons of oil into a sensitive coastline area killing thousands of seabirds and marine mammals, a group of activists and concerned citizens initiated that first Earth Day – a day which is now recognized by most nations across the globe.
It is true that for more than fifty years scientists have been sounding the alarm on the impacts of burning fossil fuels on our climate. In a 1967 paper in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the author stated:
“Carbon dioxide released from burning our fossil fuels raises the carbon dioxide content of the air by 0.23% per year. This by-product of our industrial era may eventually have some disturbing consequences, not only in corrosive action: geochemists have predicted that a general warming of our atmosphere, melting of polar caps and rise of the levels of the oceans may be the result.” (A.J. Haagen Smit, 1967. The Chemistry of Atmospheric Pollution. Studies in Conservation Journal, Volume 12.)
It is mind-boggling that 53 years later there is still a space for climate change denial. That the fossil fuel industry still runs our politics and our economy. But, 53 years later, that exists, and here we are….facing the sixth mass extinction and the possibility that much of our planet may become uninhabitable in the coming decades.
I do sometimes give in to the luxury of wallowing in disbelief and rage. I cry and I rant, and I surrender to the grief that is so easy for me to feel. I dedicated my first career in science to trying to educate people on facts of climate change and create momentum for positive change. I am dedicating my current career to supporting the deep healing that so many people need to be able to step in to being their very best selves, in the way that the earth and its inhabitants so badly need. I am very personally invested in creating a different outcome than climate collapse for our beautiful planet and its creatures.
Luckily, there are still so many reasons to not get lost in the sea of despair!
What this pandemic is showing us is that we do actually care about each other. We do actually care whether or not the planet dies or thrives. The news of animal populations rebounding, emissions dropping, and air pollution decreasing, is being celebrated. I am seeing many signs of awe and relief in people everywhere that somehow we have discovered that we can change, and that maybe we actually want to.
Finland is set to go carbon neutral by 2035. In the wonderful week-long Earth Day conference happening this week (wedonthavetime.org) I learned about the Danish energy company Orsted, and how they transformed from being one of the leading players in managing the oil and gas reserves in the North Sea to being ENTIRELY focused on green energy in just 10 years. WOW. The capacity is there. We could do it. We really could.
The manifestation power of the New Moon today offers us the opportunity to really set some clear intentions on what we want to create. As you sit in this moment in history – “The Great Pause” – how will you restart? What do you really want in your life? What do you really want for the world, for the natural world, for the more-than-human beings that we share this planet with? What do you want for your children, for the children? SEE it, FEEL it, SET your compass in that direction, and then just start putting one foot in front of the other.
The only sure way to fail is to not try at all. There is a chance of success. But WE MUST actively create something different. RIGHT NOW. Why not start with this moon. TODAY!
For more on science and spirit, and the opportunity in this crisis, check out my latest podcast with the inspirational Ayana Young.
With the COVID-19 outbreak has come the closure of our meeting spaces and the introduction of strong social distancing measures, and the past few weeks have seen us move into a life that includes a lot less physical interaction with each other. As physical beings, the gifts of our senses are the primary ones through which most of us experience the world, and much of our days are filled with connecting to other people through our touch and our gaze, our close conversation, and our shared physical reality.
The space left by the loss of our daily physical interactions is leading us into interesting new territory, as what I am noticing in myself, and am predicting for other people in the coming days and weeks, is an increase in the use of our extra-sensory abilities.
ESP, or Extra-Sensory Perception, is often referred to as a 6th sense, or when honed, as a psychic power. We all have access to our 6th sense, it’s just that we don’t really use it. The thing about ESP is that the more you use it, the more sensitive you become to detecting that layer of information in your field.
The work that I do is centred around my ability to “feel” into what my clients are experiencing. Sometimes these feelings come to my knowing, through my intuition. Often I experience their feelings and pick up on physical pain or emotional holding through feeling it in my body too (clairempathy).
With my clients, all of this is very conscious. I have created a practice of “leaning in” that allows me to do this detective work. I then “lean out” and leave it all with them, as I guide them through the healing, and eventually out of my healing space when we close the session.
Until I really sank into this work I didn’t realize how much I was predisposed to use my 6th sense to tune into experiences outside of my own for the benefit of others. I now actively practice tuning out when I need to, outside of my practice.
But the past few weeks have presented a new challenge for me, as the whole world (including me) is opening up even more to their own senses beyond the physical, and the airwaves are full of so much information as people reach out to each other in new ways and our individual ESP satellites power up. For the most part, at the moment these new ways of communicating are very much beyond our collective awareness. For me I have noticed that my dreams have been stronger, my intuition is on high, and my body (physical and emotional) has been acting as an even stronger channel for other people’s feelings – sometimes before I even realize I am doing it.
We think we are just reaching out to each other in non-physical ways using tools like Facebook, Zoom, Skype and the phone. But we are doing a lot more than that!
Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. So what does it mean? Well that depends.
If you an empath then now is the time to really use whatever tools you have to spend time noticing what you are picking up on and clearing what is not yours. Protect your psychic space when you need to.
If all of this is new to you then welcome to the club! We need you. We need you to feel outside of yourself. We need you to be tuned into the bigger world around you. To be sensitive to the feelings of the beings that we share this planet with, and indeed to the feelings of the earth as a living being too. So open up to this new way of communicating! Be careful of course, and just like for those people that know they are empaths, remember that you are too (you just maybe don’t know it yet!). Seek guidance if you need it.
For too long we have been enclosed in our own very small worlds, putting our own needs first with minimal thought (or care) about what getting what we want might mean for the rest of the world. But those days are over. We are moving into a time where the only way forward will be a way that includes a lot more empathy for everyone and everything we share the earth with. Just ask your 6th sense, you will “see” this is true!
Want more? Check out my latest podcast with Ayana Young "COVID-19: A Chance to Stop, and Heal?"
Most of us are aware of the physical structures on which our lives are built. The homes we live in, the landscapes that surround us, the bodies that we inhabit. We usually also notice the substance that we create with our minds, and how what we think and imagine can often feel more real than what surrounds us in the material plane. The substance of the creations of our bodies and minds, the forms that surround us both literally and in our imaginations, make up the stage on which we play out our lives. Each day we perform an entire play, and in each moment, every line that we utter and prop that we grab – all these things that we “do” – seem to matter. If to no one else then atleast to ourselves.
But once the play is over…what then? Yes, that day may have included much productivity. Boxes ticked, jobs completed. House cleaned, homework done, bills paid, holiday planned. Structure added or organized within the physical form of our lives. A good day’s work.
What about all the other moments – the ones that often we often savour the most but that aren’t measured by a line crossed off on a to-do list? The friend that we hugged, the picnic with our kids, the glorious sunset we soaked up. Certainly these meaningful moments are what life is all about. Living to experience love, pleasure, creation and joy within the context of compassion and connection to the world around us is a very high state of being. But is that all these moments are? Moments in time that exist only in our memories once they have passed?
I don’t think so. I have come recently to have a very visceral experience of the accumulation of meaningful moments in my life. The feeling is of a structure almost as solid as the couch that sit on as I write this.
I think I was always good at recognizing and creating meaning. I would often find myself in a situation, or planning one, and think hmmm…what could make this EVEN BETTER? And then the picnic would be complete with extra cozy blankets, flasks of tea, spare towels for spills, and candle lanterns for when the sun began to sink. The friend would be hugged that moment longer, words of affection and appreciation expressed. The setting sun would enter my eyes and touch my skin, the surrounding smells filling my nose, the cool evening air caressing my lungs, as I took care to notice it all. When my son was born I upped my game even more, as creating meaning for him gave me a heightened sense of pleasure and achievement at levels that I had not known previously.
Now, this “meaning” of the 46 years I have lived so far, feels like a vibrantly woven tapestry from which I bound my way forward. I feel it as a part of my energy field, a layer that strengthens all the others, and that lends itself in to my present day moments as if to say “Here it is…that beautiful tapestry you’ve been working on…and look…an opportunity to add even more colour! Even more beauty!”. I am enlivened by it. I am strengthened by it. I live from it and in it. I breathe in my past, savour the present, and exhale my future, and every moment the meaning deepens, my heart expands, my gratitude grows. For every pain- and pleasure-filled thread is a part of this creation. Wow.
I have this, and you do too. Just take a meaningful moment right now to have a look at your own tapestry. I bet you will see, truly, you are an artist, and truly, every single coloured thread matters. And every day is an opportunity weave an even more beautiful, even more life-giving, even more meaningful life experience.
*For some great tips of creating meaningful memories check out my recent interview with Meik Wiking, author of "The Art of Making Memories: How to Create and Remember Happy Moments ".
For many people, the new year is an opportunity to reflect on where they have been, where they are at, and where they want to go. New year’s resolutions are thrown about, and some of them land and take root, and some of them don’t, and maybe we make them again the next year, or maybe we don’t.
Like most people, I certainly participate in this activity, as reflection is a very important part of properly digesting the experiences of life and making the most of the learning gained. The learning is a big part of what helps us progress along our path.
However, there are a couple of dangers when in comes to making resolutions. One is that sometimes our resolutions are ego-driven, not spirit-driven, and these can never serve our growth in any way other than on a very superficial plane. These intended outcomes are really driven by the misplaced expectations that we put on ourselves or take on board because we perceive them from other people, or from society in general. A second danger is that even when we tap into a spirit-driven action and “resolve” for a certain outcome, we can become overly fixated on the outcome. As a result we end up with a very narrow view of the path, and so instead of seeing those all important stepping stones towards the highest possible outcome we focus on the route that we think we are supposed to take, making the journey so much more challenging than it needs to be (or even impossible).
As someone who tries, more and more, to live by honouring flow and the direction that the Universe wants me to take, I have been working for some time to set intentions (and make resolutions) while still letting the Universe guide my path. For many years I had the energy to accomplish whatever I set my mind to by sheer will alone, but with age and wisdom comes the beauty of knowing that there is a better way, which is often helpfully accompanied by a decrease in energy to keep on willing things into existence!
So, how do we do this?
The truth is that the Universe REALLY wants us to hear our calling. The Universe wants us to follow the flow of where we are supposed to go. But what the Universe never intended was that we jump into our sailboats, and then promptly neglect to hoist our sails, instead grabbing our paddles to willfully head for the stretch of coastline that we have set our sights on . What if, instead, we put up those sails, caught the wind, adjusted the sails when the wind changed direction, took a break when the sails went slack, checked our charts to make sure that we still wanted to head towards our original destination and that we were indeed still on course, and caught the next gust when the Universe sent it our way? Imagine crossing that stretch of water without having to pick up that paddle – not even once.
Making “resolutions” is important, as is asking the question if they are really divinely guided. If so, then you can trust that the Universe wants you to succeed (when one person follows their flow, we all benefit), and that the next step of your journey will be made available to you. This doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for the outcome to happen, not at all! What it does mean is expanding your view. Take off the blinders. Wait for guidance. When that flash of inspiration happens SEE IT, TRUST IT, FOLLOW IT. You wake up and think “wow I really need to get in touch with that guy I met at that conference.” So do it! Reach out. Don’t let the next though “Oh…no…that’s dumb…he wouldn’t remember me anyway” win! The next stepping stone can be as simple as picking up the phone, or visiting that part of town you’ve always wanted to go to, or googling that thing you’ve always wondered about learning. To get to stepping stone #2 we have to step on #1 first!
I recently interviewed my Law of Attraction coach Karen Luniw for my Possibility Podcast and talking to her reminded me of all of the great tools that she taught me that I still use today, every day! My favorite remains asking the question “What would it take to…?”. This question is an open invitation to the Universe to respond, through the language of inspiration. The answer usually hits me like a flash of lightening “Oh yeah! I need to set a timer for the heat in my meditation room if I want to get up earlier to morning to meditate, a cold room is just not enticing on a winter’s morning.” Or “Yes, of course, if I want to put together a regular newsletter for my clients I better get back to writing regular blog posts.” The very question of “What would it take to…?” is itself an act of taking off the blinders, expanding my view, and giving space in my mind for my knowingness to respond with an answer.
Sometimes the answers don’t come immediately. Sometimes I ask the question and I get nothing. I remain wondering what to do, but with the blinders off I am ready to receive the inspiration when it comes. I later notice the sign in the shop window, or remember that conversation with a work colleague, or find my guitar songbook that I’ve been looking for for months, and each one of those is often the very next step along the path to the outcome that I am seeking.
So this year, try making those resolutions, but know that although your job is to hear the call of the Universe and respond by pointing your ship in that direction, it is not your job to fill the sails…only to catch the wind!
What would it take for you to catch the wind this year?
I spend a lot of time talking about the importance of feeling your feelings. I have been actively practicing holding space for myself to feel my feelings for at least 15 years now, and there are days where the task is still very daunting, even for me.
There are days when I have so much inside, so close to the surface, that I feel acutely agitated, restless, …downright miserable…and all I want to do is distract myself. Like just this very morning, actually. I awoke today, feeling so heavy. This feeling had grown over the last few days, but I had been too busy, and also too sick, to turn my attention to it. I can now see that those suppressed emotional feelings (and some pretty intense full-moon energy) were what had caused my upset tummy and headache, but I couldn’t move much past my acute awareness of the misery of those physical feelings. I knew that I would get to the root of them, I just needed a little space, and Saturday morning is always the perfect time for a feeling-the-feelings date with myself!
But this morning ohhhh I did not want to do it! I practically begged my partner to take me to the mall – and I hate the mall! I wanted to forget about this discomfort as quickly as I could. But luckily for me, he knows me better than to let me talk him into a mall trip, and so I found myself in my meditation room, steadying myself to give space to letting whatever was stuck inside move. E-motions are a terrible beast when they are stuck, but when in motion, ahhh....the relief!
Within 5 minutes of my routine the lock shattered and things were moving. The clamp around my heart tightened and then sprung open, as giant tears of grief and despair flooded through. I moaned, and groaned, and cried. I shook and twisted and collapsed. And cried some more. A few minutes later it had passed, and by the end of my 23 minute routine I was not only feeling light and relieved, but deeply peaceful again. My body was relaxed, my feet were connected to the earth, and my head and heart were clear.
This particular release was about the earth, and what I had read in the news and heard from friends the last few days about the climate change related disasters happening around the world. Each story had made its way into my heart, and was sitting there so heavily. The release doesn’t mean that these stories are “ok” and that I now no longer care about them, not at all, but I no longer feel as if I am carrying the weight of the disasters all on my own. Once I released my grief, and reconnected to the earth, the peace that came in did so with the understanding that just for right now, I am still alive, so is my family, and so is so much on this beautiful planet. Just for right now, there is still so much I don’t understand, and so much that is possible, and so many amazing things happening everywhere. All I have to do is look out my window, and there it is – life…so much life.
None of that makes climate change “ok” but it does give me somewhere to rest. Islands of hope in a sea of despair or vice versa? I’m not sure, and it probably changes depending on the day, but either way there is still ground under my feet and it doesn’t serve anyone if I jump into the water and completely drown.
Suggested practice for feeling your feelings: