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:
When did we start teaching our men to externalize their feminine? To put the responsibility for transforming their emotions outside of themselves, onto the women in their lives?
We are each equal parts masculine and feminine. Penis or vagina, neither or both, you are half masculine and half feminine. These ultimate archetypal energies play out through us in essential ways, every day.
The feminine is the energy of creative inspiration and flow. She is the nurturer and nourisher, the one who sees the big picture, and understands just what is needed to keep things moving. She is energy in motion (E-MOTION). She is the part of us from which physical manifestation can arise as it is her through which the birth of an idea flows in the first place. Without her, and her understanding of the necessary gestational period for any seed, no ideas – indeed no creation at all – would ever be birthed in to the world.
The masculine is the energy of forward motion and form. He is the one that moves the pen across the page, the paint across the board, the dance across the stage. He hears the whispers of the feminine and brings her ideas in to form. He is the protector, the leader, the one who paves the way. If he is listening to her, he then KNOWS the way, and will get us there safely while serving flow and the highest good of all things. If he is not, he chooses the way based on what he thinks he knows, risks vs rewards, and what he can see in his physical world, what will serve him and those in his tribe - even if it comes at the great expense of others.
History has often called on this aspect of the masculine as we have asked our men to push the whisperings of their feminine so far aside that their masculine can carry out terrible acts, at any cost to anyone and anything outside of the tribe/belief system.
Outside of war, which is the suppression of the feminine to the extreme, every day, everywhere, men are widely taught to externalize their own feminine. To put their emotional needs outside of themselves, and to make the women in their world do this work for them. I have seen so many women in my practice that are exhausted from living with men who project all their emotional stagnancy, their unresolved trauma, outwards, in angry outbursts, sulky tantrums, shaming and blaming. These women absorb all of this, and do their very best to transform it. Women are taught that is their role. That part of being the nurturer means taking care of everybody else’s shit.
And herein lies the big issue that is wreaking havoc in our world.
The masculine took over the world at some point in our history. Some think it was the doing of organized religion, a structure that believed that form, control and unquestioning loyalty would be threatened by the unpredictable movements of energy in unconstrained motion (an aspect of the feminine). When the feminine is really allowed to move anything can happen – we see that in the incredible beauty, intricacy and power of Mother Nature. And as a woman who feels like she is desperately holding on to a flailing fire hose blasting out water at full force when emotions move through her, I get it why it’s scary if you don’t understand it. Feminine energy is powerful, and when it flows, you just have to give it room. It is the energy of transformation and transformation is powerful stuff. I understand why this energy would seem so terrifying to a group of people who generation after generation are taught less and less about how to allow for, and move with, this flow, and taught more and more that it should be dammed up. Who are taught that allowing this energy of the feminine the space to flow as it wants (and needs) to comes at the expense to what we should value most – structure, predictability, form, control, and steady material gain.
So, the feminine was persecuted, actively. It still is. Our whole way of living is largely in pursuit of feminine persecution STILL. We try to dominate nature, build form and structure over flow. We take from our Mother Earth, expecting her to just keep on giving. And what do we give back? Our shit. We project our shit all over the place and expect her to keep on transforming it. We spew our garbage in to her water, her soil and her skies and expect that she will take care of it and offer us back unending nourishment.
And guess what? She’s exhausted. She’s depleted. And she’s covered in shit.
So what to do?
Just like our dear Earth, no longer is it the job of those who best carry the feminine (and often this is women, but not always) to transform all the shit. It is time to say NO to being a dumping ground. It’s not the job of your feminine to take on and transform everyone else’s stuff.
Then take it one step further. If you are a human being that understands how to allow for the flow of the feminine do not hide your ability to transform energy. Be a model for the people in your life. Be a model for the men, who have been so poorly taught how to hold their own feminine – moreover they were taught the opposite, how to reject her, how to shame her if she was visible in other men. We need to show them that they are safe to express their sorrows. We need to show our young men how to safely and cleanly express their anger before it twists up inside and becomes rage.
Emotional transformation really is a dying art, and if you have this gift you need to start unashamedly allowing for this flow. For YOUR flow. This means taking responsibility for your actions and the resulting emotional by-products, and being that guiding light for others to learn to the do the same.
What is happening on the Earth right now is a reflection of what is happening inside our own bodies. It is time to clear your emotional backlog, to stop trying to get someone else to do it for you, and to stop serving this twisted way by being the one who endlessly takes it.
This is a big part of what is needed to allow for a planetary energetic shift, and an even bigger part of simply gaining personal strength, finding joy and well-being, and resolving conflict in both your inner, and your outer, worlds.
Why is this topic so important? Read more about Climate Change and the UN report on global warming that gives us until 2030 to sort it out.
In October, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered a stark warning on the consequences of unchecked global warming and the fate of our planet if we don’t act immediately. Their recent report tells us that there must be “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” if we are to avoid catastrophic (aka life-threatening) global warming.
This is not a futuristic scenario. This is the NOW scenario. 91 of the world’s top climate scientists from 40 different countries tell us that we have just 12 years…well actually 11 now…to turn things around. If we don’t get things on the right track by 2030 there is no more time left. There will be nothing we can do to stop runaway global warming and the havoc that will bring.
Undoubtably this is the biggest challenge that modern society will have faced in the two hundred or so years that we have dominated the earth. Unfortunately, it comes at a time where we couldn’t be more ill-prepared as individuals, in so many ways. Most of us are increasingly overwhelmed by work-life stressors, undernourished in terms of good food and solid rest, and often incapacitated by the day-to-day responsibilities of a way of life that seems to demand that we do more and more and more, all the time.
How can we take action on tackling the biggest problem known to humankind (that of the very survival of our species) when we can barely get through the to-do list of one ordinary day? How can we look this challenge in the eye when we don’t even know who we are looking at in the mirror anymore? How do we turn our attention to this crisis when our systems are already so jacked up in a flight-or-fight response from an increasing load of stressors that just never seem to clear?
These are very important questions. Because if there ever was a time to do some internal housework, it is now. Over the next decade we are going to be asked to take action in a myriad of ways, including at the most basic level that of simply being able to stay present and take in the information as it comes at us, as opposed to shutting down from overwhelm - or indeed from overwhelm-induced apathy as I see more and more often.
Luckily for all of us, we don’t have to clean up our internal garbage all by ourselves. Energy work can help you identify and heal where you are stuck in emotional holdings and stressful behaviours, and support you to become the biggest, fullest, most capable manifestation of your own self. Our negative patterns that cause us to turn inward, run-away, or become acutely stressed may run deep, but just because we spend a lifetime embedding these behaviours and accumulating energetic debris doesn’t mean it will take another lifetime to clear and change. You are just like a bucket that slowly fills drop by drop with water. You don’t have to empty the bucket one drop at a time. And just like that bucket, when you are an empty vessel you are much more capable of carrying the occasional load.
If you are feeling like that full bucket it is time to take action. Not only will you be more able to face the daily challenges of life, but also be in a much better position to move into whatever the future holds for us.
You can join me in an upcoming workshop that I have put together to support individuals and groups on the subject of climate change trauma. I will also be giving an introduction to this work at the upcoming Kingston Climate Change Symposium hosted by Sustainable Kingston, on January 17th at the Grand Theatre. The first mini-workshop will be held at KIHC on Wednesday February 13th, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Contact me to register.