Monday, August 27, 2012

Bring on the change....

In two more sleeps I will be flying to Texas in order to drive home with my mother in law and what is left of her belongings.

Two months ago she and I were on the phone having a conversation about her life, the changes that were coming with her career and how tired she was getting.  I could feel the corner of impossibility that she had convinced herself she was in and I immediately offered for her to come and live with us.

Instant relief.  A divine gift.  A simple solution to what seemed an impossible situation.

This wasn't a shock to us.  My husband has always felt we'd be taking in at least one of our parents at some point.  Thankfully we have been blessed with a home that has plenty of space to accommodate such a change.

The past two months I have felt steadfast in the decision and preparations.  I had so much fun choosing a color for her bedroom and getting the carpets cleaned and ready for her arrival.  Each week brought new 'issues' on her end, repairs to her house, unexpected shoulder surgery.  All in all I think things have gone very well for a transition as big as this one (well, from my persepective anyway)..

Her house has sold quickly and she was able to get rid of most of her belongings at a yard sale.

To make things a little bit more comfortable for her, I've set out some new ground rules for the boys.  Things like "close the door when you are in the bathroom taking a pee" and "chillax on the 'F' word use while playing Xbox".  You know the really important things that there should be rules about!

Other than that we should be good to go.

This transition, this change for my family is just one more experience for us to learn from.  From moment one I have felt as though this is a time of tremendous healing and growth for everyone involved.  I feel at peace knowing that my family is able to do this for someone we love, to take a burden and help them release it.  I love that we are showing our children how to do this (one day I might need a place to stay!)

I've gotten all sorts of advice (and wide eyed looks of shock) from my friends.  All of which I took in with a smile.  It is hard to explain the sense of peace I have inside of me about this transition, most people assumed it was something that was forced upon us.  Nothing is further from the truth.  This is a voluntary act of love.  In fact, it is an answer to my prayers.  I've learned long ago that if you are going to pray bold prayers you must step up and accept the bold answer!

Of course, there may be other issues or burdens that will come about (no doubt...this is life on earth afterall) and some emotional and physical adjustments to be made by all but I've been through enough in this life to know that I will survive them all and not only will I survive, but I will buy the t-shirt and wear it proudly :)

If anything this experience will make for some fantastic blog posts (sorry Mum, I'll try to be gentle){insert evil laugh}.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

We are all in this together

I have a confession to make.

I have done some not so nice things in my life.  I've spoken some not so nice words.  I've assumed some not so nice things about people and circumstances.  I've thrown people out of my life like last weeks leftovers.  I've blamed, I've ashamed, I've guilted and I've angered.

I've sometimes treated my loved ones like they were monsters.

My pride has kept me from seeing the truth.  My ego has kept me from taking responsibility for the hurt I've caused.

We could say 'oh it's okay, we ALL do that'.  But that would be no excuse for me.  I don't want to be like everyone else.  I want to be like me.  I want to hold myself to a higher standard of living.  I want to come into everything I do and into every relationship I have with compassion and love.

The past couple of months have been a real eye opener for me.  I believe this process of 'awakening' (for lack of a better term) has been going on for quite some time and it's really only just recently that I seem to be absorbing and 'getting' the idea of love, peace and forgiveness.

We all have people in our life and circumstances in our past that we hold onto.  Those who I've hurt in the past might feel the need to define me by that past for as long as we all shall live. And for a number of years I've done just that to them.  Keeping them on a line of 'debt', expecting repayment, my pride continuing to nag at me that it is important to be 'right' all the time.

What a miserable way to exist.  They are not their past and neither am I.

In fact, over the past two months my heart has opened up to the realization that this behaviour has created a veritable hell on earth and I am no longer able to play the game.

This behaviour of holding people responsible for their past, many years after the incident has taken place serves no one.  I should know.  I severed ties with my family because of belt buckles. 

You heard me.  Belt buckles.

At the time I thought I was justified.  I thought I was right to be angry.  I thought that someone should come and bow down to me and ask forgiveness.  (See what thinking can do to you?)  So, I have no relationship with my family based on belt buckles.  Then belt buckles morphed into past hurtful words and actions, and so on and so forth (you get the picture).

Who on earth did I think I was?

I hadn't once in my insane grudge holding think of the other people involved or what they might be struggling with.  I was completely and utterly compassionless, self centered and mind blowingly full of ego!

Interesting thing...  At the time I thought I was spiritual...  lmfao!  At the time I was filled with so much of myself that I thought I was the right one and they were the wrong ones.

What I have learned with the help of Spirit is that no one is right and no one is wrong.  We are all literally insane.  We all literally do not know what we do to eachother.  We cannot see the tremendous impact that our insistence on keeping the past in the present has on our lives and the lives of the people around us. 

But that can change.  We can be willing to see it and we can be willing to forgive ourselves for doing what we did not know was so damaging.

The key to changing this around for ourselves lie in the courage to take a deeper look at where we may be the ones causing the issue in the first place, then to have the strength to forgive each and every thing we feel we have done to contribute to the pain of the people in our lives and ultimately in the world.

As I write this I am filled with deep emotion.  I know that this 'confession' has to happen for something to change in my life.  I am ready to make amends for all that I have done to contribute to sadness and hurt in this world.

Are you ready to make your own confession?  You won't be alone.  I will be right here beside you, walking the path as well.

Because, really we are all in this together.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Keep Showing Up!

If there's one thing I've learned in my journey, it's to keep showing up.

Nothing will happen in your life if you don't say 'bring it on' to a few tough things.

I know lots of people that want something different for themselves and yet they sit on their hands and swallow their words all the time.

I remember being totally miserable in my life.  I hated where I lived, I blamed my husband for my depressed outlook on life (isn't it always the husbands fault?), I had issues with my kids and my kids had issues with me.  I was stressed about finances and just about everything else back in those days.

Back then I would just blame everyone and everything around me.

I didn't know enough to 'show up' for myself and try to change things.  I thought everyone around me needed to be the ones to change.

I know  differently today.  And everyday I make it a point to show up, do something to bring what I want to fruition.

I thought about this topic today, as I was offered an opportunity through my artwork.  The beautiful soul across from me was so excited about the vision she was having and said to me "do you think you'd be interested in doing this?"  I didn't have to think twice about it.  I said 'yes' right away.  When it comes to my artwork the answer 'yes' is at the top of my reply list.  So far I have witnessed this new found gift grow and evolve into something magical, and all because I say 'yes' to every opportunity that my artwork offers to me.

It's not a coincidence that I'm experiencing this, the fact is that if we all just show up and say 'yes' to new opportunities then the Universe is more apt to bring you what you are needing in order to experience positive change in your life.

So what have you been wishing for?

More money?  Better relationships with your kids?  More intimacy with your spouse?  Career change?

Making a change in any of these, will mean showing up.  Take a step, even if it's a bit of a risk.  Even if you don't know for sure if it will work out.  You must take some sort of action for the Universe to know that you are serious about wanting change.

Earlier in the month I applied for a full time position at the local hardware store.  Do I want to work full time?  Not really.  But I have been asking the Universe for the opportunity to create a more steady and stable income that my family can rely on each month.  If I ask for it, then I have to be willing to show up when the Universe puts a 'help wanted' sign in my face.  So I applied.  I put out my best resume and wrote the most endearing cover letter explaining why I would be such an amazing asset to their establishment.

The other day I noticed that they've taken the 'help wanted' sign out of the window and every day I ask the boys if there are any messages from anyone wanting to hire me.  Nothing.

Have I received extra money over the past month?  Yep.  Sometimes it comes as a Reiki client, sometimes it comes as an order for a drawing.  And sometimes it comes on my husbands paycheque.  It doesn't matter where it's coming from really.  It matters only that it's coming.

I used to be someone who would cry herself to sleep over money.  I'd worry and fret and call my financial planner and cry into the phone about my worrying and fretting. 

Did you know that worrying, fretting and crying don't result in money coming in?  Did you know that none of those things are equal to showing up?

My point?  If you want change, show up.  If you want things to be different, show up.  Don't complain about the change you wish for.  Don't blame the need for change on anyone.  Take the bull by the horns and 'git 'er done!'.

Stepping up and showing up will be the best thing you've ever done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love Fest

I love a good challenge.

Sometimes I purposefully place myself in a challenging situation to see how I will react.  You know, kind of as a test to gauge where I am on my path and if anything I've learned has stuck inside this crazy brain of mine.

One thing I've been doing on purpose lately is to really look at the people I encounter with love {yes, even the guy in traffic that insists on shooting me the finger as he passes by}, instead of the usual fly by the seat of my pants judgement I'm so used to practicing {oh don't be like that, you know we all do it!}

At first it was difficult.  To look directly in the face of someone {usually a stranger} and say to yourself "I see only love in this face".  I wondered why it was so difficult, then realized that when I am saying this to someone, I am also saying it to myself {and we all know self love is a serious hot button for most people, myself included}.  Eventually though as time has gone on, I have found it has become mostly automatic AND I have noticed the residual effect of extreme joy welling up inside of me when I practice.

What's interesting about this little challenge is that I am starting to see huge judgement everywhere, like all of a sudden someone has pulled out a magnifying glass and you can't escape even the slightest sound of judgement.

I haven't perfected my practice.  Obviously.  This is one of those long roads and ego {like it does}will always draw me back into it's insanity as a way of giving me more reference points.  But the magnifying glass has been drawn on me as well.  As soon as I find myself in a position of judgement I find I am placed in a position of seeing what is happening as a third party.  Almost like watching a movie play out in front of me.

It's a serious trip!

Here's the greatest part.  No sooner do I see how I am contributing and where I am about to judge, when I am given an opportunity to stop.  I think maybe the practice of purposefully seeing love in everyone has opened up this space inside of me that now gives me a chance to make a change before the judgement is released out into the world.

So, why am I sharing this?  Why do I think you would care?

Well, I think we are all walking around tired of the way life is heading.  I think we are all tired of the politics, the competition and the lies that we tell ourselves everyday just to get through one more moment of insanity.

What if each of us decided to purposefully look into the face of everyone we lay our eyes on and affirm that we see only love? 

What would our lives look like then?  Imagine the gossip that would erupt if everyone we saw was love?

I can just hear the buzz in the coffee shops now....  "Oh my goodness I saw the most loving woman the other day with the most beautiful eyes and kind smile.  I feel like everywhere I look is beauty and that I am in some kind of amazing dream! Everyone I encounter is friendly and helpful and just so full of love.  It makes me feel so warm inside."  "Well, then you're just never going to guess what happened to me the other day......blah, blah, blah amazing....blah, blah, blah incredible loving feeling.....blah, blah, blah just the greatest day of my life.......".

You get the picture.

So why not challenge yourself to a little love fest of your own and see the changes it will inspire in you?

**WARNING:  Seeing in love in others is seriously addictive and may lead to feelings of extreme joy and the strong need for random acts of kindness. **

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Word About Bullying.....

With the start of a new school year fast approaching, there are no doubt millions of kids with one thing on their mind.

Summer vacation offers kids a reprieve from the daily abuse they suffer at the hands of a playground bully.  When vacation winds down the anxiety and stress of a new school year and the thought of enduring bullying behaviour starts to take it's toll.

I woke up this morning wondering why it is that bullying has become such a widespread problem.  Despite highly recommended anti-bullying programs being implemented in the school system and a brand new law against bullying we are seeing bullying behaviour sky rocket and explode!

Why is this?

Here's my theory.

We don't teach our children self love.  We teach them how to strive for higher grades, become the best at the sport or art of their choice.  We constantly put emphasis on the exterior instead of focusing them inward.  Our children are suffering from self love deficiency. 

In my mind the bully and the bullied are both the same.  They are both experiencing a disconnect from their loving nature.  The only difference is how they handle it and how that disconnect manifests for each of them.

I have read all kinds of reports and research that say that a child who bullies does not have a low self esteem.  And that there really isn't any explanation for the behaviour, except maybe that it is just kids being kids.

I've also read many thoughts on what people think children should do in a bullying situation and what parents should teach their kids in order to avoid bullying altogether.

None of the suggestions include reinforcing the need for love and compassion with self and with others.

Last February when my son was attacked while walking home from school, I made sure to empower him by taking him to the OPP station to report the incident (allowing him to place the responsibility of resolution in the hands of an authoritative figure brought deep relief).  Then we discussed how sad it was that the boy who provoked the attack felt the need to do so and how much his behaviour indicated how much he did not love himself.  Because if he loved and valued himself he might never think to devalue someone else.  My son never fought his attacker, he thankfully walked away unharmed and did not suffer from any post traumatic stress.

Despite being the 'victim' of the attack.  My son understood what I was telling him and he was able to look at this bully with compassion instead of anger or even fear.  I also explained to him the power within his decision for non-violence.
In my opinion I believe if we teach our children about self love and compassion we will see a decrease in the number of bullying incidents.  Why?  Because when your child is secure in himself there is no need to take offense.  The bully can say and do what they like but if your child is wholely secure in themselves there is no need for it to go further than the initial act of something being said or done. 

The other half of this is that at some point very soon we as parents/guardians need to realize that we aren't just raising our kids, we are raising our future and we need to reconcile what we want that future to look like.  In reinforcing compassion and self love you are reinforcing your child's natural leadership qualities so that they can then lead by example.

Imagine what our world would look like if it were filled with confident, compassionate and loving people?  We can hope for the best or we can take action towards fulfilling that image.

This isn't about excessive praise or coddling your child.  It's about helping them see situations through more compassionate, empathetic eyes.   This is their natural gift (just as it is ours), it isn't hard to show your child how to be compassionate.  This is who they want to be because it is what feels good to them.

There are countless opportunities to practice this each and every day.  Our children are hyper aware of the world around them, even if they don't watch or read the news, they know that there is chaos and mayhem in this world.  Use various news stories as a catapult for compassionate conversation.

I've even used our daily interactions with eachother as a way to emphasize compassion.  Afterall, families are our greatest teaching aids and something is always popping up that makes an excellent lesson.

Now is the perfect time to get started in this practice. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Enough Already!

Lately I've been SUPER sensitive to the pain we inflict on others based on our past experiences with them.

I'm no saint.  I know that I've inflicted some major pain on people that I love for the sake of keeping the past alive and well in my mind.  And I'm working to better myself in that department.

Today, I believe there is a better way to live and to relate to the people we love and to those who are new to our life experience.

It fascinates me the powerful pull that the past has.  One little issue arises and BOOM! there we are standing in 1995 reliving a scene in our minds and finding cause to react in order to protect ourselves from experiencing that pain again.

Recently, during a conversation with a friend.  I heard all about the frustration she was feeling with regards to a family member.  She was spewing (and yes the word spewing is appropriate and not at all an exaggeration) all kinds of stuff about their relationship.  All of it was related to their past experiences.  None of it was relevant to what was happening in my friends life today.  She became visibly upset, her body language changed, her voice changed and she was on the verge of tears.

I know we can all relate to this story.  That's why I'm sharing it.

But there is a different way to look at this persons situation.  In fact, if we want to live in a different world then the one we are seeing today, we MUST look at things a different way.

What I know to be true is the past is no longer in existence.  And so nothing that was upsetting to this woman even exists, except in her own mind; in the vault marked 'past hurts'.

Now, what if we looked at the family member that she is so frustrated with.  Can we see that perspective for a moment?  Can we see that this family member loves and cherishes this woman and if she knew there was this much hurt being inflicted she would be empathic towards her?  Can we see that both of these people in this situation are loving beings who only want to be loved and whose only purpose on this planet is to love?

Can we see that?

I don't know about anyone else, but I am SO done with the pain.  I am done seeing people for who they once were and I am more than willing to open my heart and to see them as they are now.  It's not always easy, I am well versed in 'judge and jury'.  Though I do know that when one opens their heart and is willing to take a step forward in their evolution; miracles happen.

I'm ready for some miracles.  Are you?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness

Years ago, while sitting in a restaurant enjoying a Christmas dinner, sharing my newest adventures with two of my closest friends; one of them piped up and said "You are trying way too hard to be happy."

I was instantly offended by her comment.  Especially since at that time she was researching how to make cheese from horse milk and wouldn't stop until she had acquired an old church in the area and turned it into a specialty cheese shop!  It was her 'I'll be happy when...' story.

I thought to myself "Who are YOU to be judging MY pursuit of happiness?"

I mean who was she to tell me that reading every self book in the book store, scheduling intimacy with my husband to make sure I was hitting the weekly quota and being so absorbed in the cleanliness of my house that I barely saw life passing me by; was a bad thing?

That moment has since become something I reflect upon if I need an instant smile.

What I didn't know then was that my friend was telling me the truth.  I WAS trying too hard to be happy!  And the real kicker was that everything I was doing wasn't working!  I was more worried than ever, more panicked than ever, more miserable than ever!  I hated my life.

I had all kinds of criteria for what happiness looked like and what you needed to do to acquire it.  And as much as it was my pursuit of happiness it was also a fear of being imperfect.  And so happiness continued to elude me.

What I didn't know then about happiness is that it isn't something you strive for.  It isn't a goal to be achieved.  It's something that is already here, right now, in our lives.  We just need to open our eyes and see it.

Every situation you are in has two sides to it.  The positive side and the negative side.  Every situation is perfectly balanced in both because you have an equal choice to choose one or the other at any given moment.

That's the part I didn't understand.

I thought complaining about how things weren't working was the way to change them!  I thought sacrificing my own needs for someone else's happiness was the way to create more happiness in myself!

Both of those approaches are not true.

What is true is that each of us holds the power in every situation to have that situation enrich our lives (instead of destroy it).

The questions I ask myself when I am staring straight into any situation that has the potential to derail me and send me back into my old ways are "What is good about this situation?" or "How can I bring love into this situation?"

Every single time I allow myself the space to contemplate these questions I always feel less burdened by whatever is happening.  We all have the ability to do this, if we just slow ourselves down enough to ask the questions instead of reacting instantaneously to whatever is happening around us.

Some of our reactions are hardwired into our brains so learning to slow down does take some practice.  But it is well worth it.

So, my pursuit of happiness has changed.  Instead of looking outside of myself for it, I allow myself to look within and to see the automatic happiness that comes with each and every situation no matter how dire or how tragic it may seem on the outside.  This is where true happiness is, it's not a happiness that can be broken or taken away from you.  No part of who you are can ever be taken from you.