Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Keeping Christ in Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I started seeing magnets on the backs of cars and signs in front yards that read 'Keep Christ in Christmas".

A good reminder for sure.

Do we know what it means?  I mean REALLY; do we know what it means?

As I listen to friends recount details of horrific holiday shopping excursions it makes me feel like we really don't know how to keep Christ in Christmas.

Christmas isn't about finding the perfect gift.  YOU are the perfect gift. 

Christmas isn't about twinkling lights hung on the house and a fantastically decorated Christmas tree.  YOU are the twinkling lights; YOU are fantastically decorated with a beautiful heart.

I think if Christ was sitting at our dinner tables with us today he would tell us that Christmas is not about him at all.  Christmas isn't about his birth at all and I think he would tell us we've been getting it really really wrong for a while now.  He did not come to this planet (nor did the other thousands of masters and teachers) to become a superstar celebrity.  He didn't come to be put on a pedestal.  He came to give us a message and an example of a life lived in forgiveness.  The story goes, he lived that message right up until his last day on this planet.  Did YOU get the message?

At Christmas we listen to songs about peace on earth; we sing along.  We know all the words.  Then we get in our cars and honk at the first person who cuts us off in traffic.  We get hot and bothered when we have to wait in a long line up at the mall.  We are generous with our pennies when we see those Salvation Army bells but we aren't generous when the cashier makes a mistake on our bill.  We are easily annoyed with our families and we don't take time for ourselves to even breathe.

All of this is exactly the opposite of what keeping Christ in Christmas would look like.

I'm really only using the Christian aspect of this holiday season to make a point here.  The truth is that every Master that has ever walked the planet has given us the same message about how to live life to the fullest.  We just don't all have magnets dedicated to them.  Not that I know of anyway. 

Christ was forgiving.  Christmas is for giving.

I learned this enormous lesson this time last year.  Giving ourselves away brings peace.  It is the peace on earth that we are seeking and it's inside of ourselves.

It makes no difference to me how you celebrate your holiday or how much money you spent on gifts or whether you put up a tree or not.  It makes no difference to me.  What makes a difference to me and to the rest of us is whether or not you are finding peace within yourself.  What makes a difference to me is whether or not you are living out the forgiveness that Christ himself embodied. 

And the only reason why it makes any difference to me is because what you do with yourself you do with me.  What you bring into yourself, you bring into me.  We are here together.  We are IN it together.  You see?  Do you hear the message?  This was Christs message to us.  Compassion, love, forgiveness.  Always to everyone; all ways.  Can you do it?  Can you take the message into you and allow it to begin to blossom?  It's a wonderful thing when you do.  A truly wonderful thing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

End The War

'End the war'.

This is a phrase I use often when my kids have gone over my patience boundary with their verbal abuse of eachother.

Anyone who has children of any age knows that arguments can last forever and ever as long as someone is still willing to engage.  With my boys I've noticed over the years that no one stops the arguing because someone always wants to be right or wants to be the winner of the argument.

When I feel tensions rising in the house and I see someone is about to totally lose it I gently remind them that they have the power to end the war.  If they stop engaging; if they release their need to be right and make their brother wrong they can single-handedly restore peace to the relationship.

And they do.  And it does.

I've used this phrase on myself as well.  There have been times when I've persisted.  Wanting to be right; wanting a different outcome then the one I am staring at.  I have pushed and pushed; trying to make my point and convert someone to my way of believing.  This never works.  The only thing that this behaviour succeeds in doing is starting a war.

If you've ever done this you will notice that even though the other person may not engage or perhaps doesn't even know the war exists; the war has been waged and within your mind the war is very real.

Some of us have imaginary wars going on all of the time.  Wars with people who don't do what we want them to do.  Wars with corporations who have done something against us that we believe is wrong.  Wars with people who we think are better than us, poorer than us, different than us.  We wage wars on drugs, drunk driving, government corruption, food production and disease.  We wage wars on ourselves, our children, our pets and our loved ones.  One wrongdoing; one misstep can send us to war in an instant.

When I look around at the wars currently being waged and at those in our history; at the destruction and loss of life I can't help but notice that I have contributed to that energy by waging wars on others in my own life.  I've become fearful and launched attacks against people thinking that something may be taken from me.

This morning I woke up and out of the blue heard the words 'world peace already exists' in my mind.  My body filled with bliss as these words ran through my head. As soon as I started to question this message I remembered the phrase I use with my kids and myself "end the war". 

It's that simple.  End the war in yourself and you will find that world peace does exist. 

Is it possible that world peace is the same as the sun?  The sun doesn't suddenly disappear just because rain clouds have rolled in.  It's there waiting for the clouds to pass so that it can be seen again.  The same may be true for world peace and inner peace.  It exists despite the war; it exists despite the conflict and chaos.  It exists despite what is happening around us and despite what our eyes can see.

Can you see it?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

And The Answer Is....

Sometimes after I post something on my blog I receive messages from my heart.  Especially if the post was like the one I wrote yesterday!

I was knee deep in self imposed suffering (is there any other kind?) yesterday and wondered why it is we insist on suffering.  Why do we insist on putting ourselves in positions where we are uncomfortable or where we are trying to stuff ourselves into a societal expectation.

I received the answer today.

Want to hear it?

The answer to why we choose to suffer so much is that we cannot know who we are until we experience who we are not.

That's it. We cannot know who we are until we experience who we are not.  And sometimes we will choose suffering to get the point across.

This is one of those Universal 'aha' moments where you feel the weight of the world lifting off your shoulders and you are finally able to take a deep breath and smile.

I love this answer for a few reasons.  It's logical for one.  Secondly, it's simple.  It makes perfect logical and simple sense that in order to know who we are we must first experience who we are not or at the very least who we do not wish to be.

This is an easy thing to remember when you are staring at the person in the check out line who is less than friendly or you witness someone trying to merge into construction traffic while smoking a cigarette and talking on their cell phone.  These behaviours most likely remind you instantly of who you do not want to be.  Get us on our own though and suffering will be the easiest avenue we take to recognize that in ourselves for ourselves.

What is actually hilarious about yesterdays situation is that the entire time I was suffering I knew that I didn't need to.  I knew and still I chose.

Today.  Today I know who I am or at least I have a better idea and I'm feeling a little more comfortable in my own skin. 

So thank you Suffering my old friend for once again showing me that everything is a gift.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Addicted to Suffering

Are you addicted to suffering?

I am....sometimes.

Like today.  I chose suffering when I decided I would sit down and write out my speech for a talk I am presenting next week.  I love public speaking which is weird because I'm a total introvert.  I like to entertain.  Something I've loved to do since I was a little girl and my sister and I would get silly and run into the kitchen and do silly moves and silly things in front of my parents and their friends only to run out again giggling.

So it wasn't the thought of speaking that was creating suffering.  It was the fact that I don't do well with a written script in front of me.  I do really well off the cuff and speaking from my heart.  For some reason every time I am asked to speak I get it in my head that I need to write it all down.  Because well isn't that the 'right' way to do things?  I've learned in the past that it isn't the 'right' thing for me to do but somehow my brain gets fixated on getting it accomplished and convinces me that I will feel better if I have it all written out.  So I write and erase; write and erase.  Enter suffering...  I become increasingly frustrated with myself.  My head and heart start to pound.  My back starts to hurt and I can't think straight anymore.  My pulse and breathing quicken and I am worn out and need a nap and all I have down is 'thank you for the opportunity to.....'.


Suffering...my old friend.  Why are you so comfortable?  Why do I not recognize that you are making me feel like shit about myself?  Why do I entertain you so?

Whether you insist (like I do) on doing things the way other people would prefer you do them or you've been working in a job you hate for years on end or you get caught up in what is happening around the world and sink into the fear of 'what ifs' you will know all too well the suffering I am speaking of.

So why do we insist on suffering?  Do we honestly believe that to suffer is to succeed?  Do we honestly believe that we deserve such treatment from ourselves (because it is only us that causes the suffering)?

Just tonight I was chatting with a friend who has resigned from a job she has hated for a very long time.  She said she felt like she could breathe again.  I like this very much.  I want my friends to be able to breathe.

So if we like feeling like we are able to breathe; why do we hold our breath so much while we suffer?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mind Your Business

Have you ever loved someone so much that you wished they would change who they are because who they are makes you uncomfortable?

You know the loved ones you have in your life who are overweight or still eat meat and you wished they would take better care of themselves and for goodness sakes take up vegetarianism because that's what you did or that's the lifestyle you've chosen and it seems to be working out just fine for you.

Or the ones who are constantly complaining about life or are depressed and you wish they would be grateful for what they have and for goodness sakes start a yoga practice because well that's what you did and yoga completely cured your depression.

Or what about the loved ones who have a hard time holding a job or insist on smoking cigarettes even though they are constantly sick and you wish they would get their act together and see that they are killing themselves slowly with their cigarette addiction.

Have you ever loved someone so much that you wished they would change their behaviour to something more accepting in your eyes?

I have.

Lots of times (and if I'm being honest I still do).

Though I often thought during those moments that my suggestions for supplements, exercise and gratitude were signs (proof) that I loved that person very very much and was showing my unconditional love for them.  I am very aware now that my suggestions were conditions to how much I could love that person and I would bet money that what those people were feeling as I was preaching how they should change their ways was not at all conditional love.  Instead they probably felt inadequate and not good enough for my love.

Unconditional love means unconditional acceptance of every behaviour and choice your loved ones make.

Unconditional love is realizing that just because yoga and veganism for example are your choice; it doesn't have to be the choice of others to maintain health and happiness.

Unconditional love is allowing your loved ones (now this is the hard part) to experience life the way they wish to experience it even and especially when they wish to experience suffering, depression and denial of themselves.

It can sometimes be the hardest thing in the world to see a loved one suffering.  Because we really do love them and we really do want them to be happy.  At the same time the ultimate act of love is allowing them to go through that for themselves.  Taking that away from them or trying to erase it altogether is an act of disrespect to their journey.

I've also heard it said that the only reason we don't like to see someone else suffering is because it reminds us of our own suffering that we've been trying so hard to hide.  Ah, that sounds about right.

Lets do our loved ones a favour and really love them by letting them alone to do and be as they please. 

And if their suffering is uncomfortable to us then maybe it's time to take a look at our own suffering and see if we can apply our own advice to heal ourselves.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Step Away From The Victim

"We can't solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying this and I believe he was absolutely right.

The way I see it is we cannot overcome a challenge if we are believing ourselves to be victimized within it.

Victim minded thoughts and behaviour keep us paralyzed and stuck in a situation that feels like a life sentence in prison with no chance of parole.  We simply cannot see a way out AND to top it off every time we look for help we give the responsibility over to someone else to 'fix' it for us.  This is typical; it is the favourite way for a victim to deal with any situation.  Gripe to someone who you feel can do something about the situation and give them responsibility to handle it.  When that someone doesn't do anything or nothing is resolved it gives you an excuse to pin the blame further away from yourself, continuing the cycle of victimization.

This never works!

The only way to overcome a challenge is to step outside of the 'poor me' attitude that comes along with the victim mindset and remember that you have every right to ask for what you need in life and every right to receive what you need in life.

I was lucky enough to witness a situation where this had been a recurring theme in a clients career.  It seemed he was always coming up against challenges with relationships at work.  He would tell me hes tried everything and nothings worked but the whole time he was placing full responsibility on someone else to get the job done.  Giving them ample time to figure things out and when nothing was resolved it firmed up his belief that he wasn't valued and that no one wanted to help him.

The other day we had a discussion about this cycle; I pointed out various times he had encountered an opportunity to stand in his power and ask for what he needed when he made the choice to hand the power over to someone else.  I also pointed out his passive aggressive attitude towards those who would ask him how things were going.  I suggested ways he could rectify this issue that would show him his true potential and get him the relationship he was looking for.

He emailed today to tell me that he took an opportunity to apologize for his passive aggressive behaviour and calmly discussed the issues at hand and to seek advice in how to handle the situation further.  He then had a conversation with the person who was challenging him.  To make a long story short; much discussion was had and agreements made on how to move forward.  At the end of it all the person who was presenting the challenge thanked my client for coming forward and addressing the situation in manner that he did.

I asked my client how he felt about this resolution and he said it was like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.  He'd been living with the stress, tension and frustration for over a year and he finally had relief.  I pointed out that it sounded like he gave relief to the person he was dealing with as well.

When we continue in a victim cycle we perpetuate the same energy in someone else.  We keep ourselves and others around us imprisoned.

Yes it takes courage to step away from the victimization because whether we are aware or not we may have become defined by our role as victim.  Sometimes we don't even see that we are acting like a victim.  Surely if you are feeling discomfort in a relationship or situation and if you are constantly pinning the blame on another person for the circumstances in your life you are playing the role of victim and it's time to step outside of that and own the power that is yours in a calm assertive, sure of yourself manner.

When you do this the rewards are endless!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Media Love

I love media.  I love the message and opportunity it brings to us. 

I used to watch the news all the time.  I used to get involved in the stories that my television shared with me because it was a rush to feel angry or frustrated or fearful about whatever was happening in the world around me.  To say I used to BELIEVE everything the tube told me then I would bring it into my reality and live it out.

Today I look at every news story as an opportunity to change my perspective or at least look a little closer for the truth.  It's way more fun.

Take Miley Cyrus for instance (oh I hate that I am adding to the blogs about her situation but here I am).  The girl looks like a hot mess doesn't she?  And she's definitely got the panties of women all over the world in a knot over her behaviour at the MTV awards.  My God how on earth could one girl single-handedly destroy all that we women have worked for to become equals in this world (insert sarcasm)???

The trouble is that we believe Miley Cyrus owes us something.  Maybe she owes it to us to show our daughters what 'proper' behaviour in the public eye looks like.  Maybe she owes it to us to keep herself pure and innocent as we are used to seeing her in the beginning of her career.  Maybe she owes it to us to keep herself covered up while she performs on stage.

Or maybe she owes it to us to show us the paradigm we are living in.  The fragile, thin line that we walk as a society that says we want women to have the right to uncover their bodies in public and where we publicly harass another for wearing too little?  Well which is it people?  Do you want women to have the freedom to show their bodies in public or not?  Make your decision?

In ancient civilizations and even in nature (no we are not animals, I know that) you will find dancing more provocative than what you saw on the MTV stage.  If you were to visit African villages undisturbed by media you would find that the children dance almost exactly the way Miley danced (okay maybe not with their tongues hanging out) the other night.  What we tell ourselves is a disgusting display by celebrities is most often a cultural tradition in some parts of the world.  I remember a teacher going off to Africa to build houses and she took videos of the children dancing; she admitted to me that it made her feel very uncomfortable to watch children that age dance in the way they were dancing.

The quote 'you cannot serve two masters' comes to mind when I see situations like this.

I believe that the world is going to show us more and more where we are trying to serve two masters; it's going to challenge our belief systems to the point where we will have no choice but to see things from a different angle.  I believe this is the only way to true heaven on earth. 

The second part of this that I want to mention is that anything that brings up this much discomfort, anger and disgust is worth looking more closely at.  I wasn't personally offended by her performance (I've watched it four times) though I could see that she is very comfortable in her own skin and in her sexuality.  Neither of those things are something I am comfortable with on my own.  Are you?

And I dare say there are many girls who aren't comfortable in their own skin or with their own sexuality.  Could this latest Cyrus stunt be the gateway to a conversation about body image and being comfortable with who we are?  Instead of looking at ways to stop this stuff from hitting our television sets so our precious, young daughters aren't corrupt by it we could turn it into a learning opportunity.  "How do you think Miley feels about her body?  Why do you think she feels that way?"

I know some girls would have reacted in disgust to her behaviour.  I know if I was watching that with my own mother I'd pretend it bothered me too but inside I would most likely be feeling like I wished I could be so secure and open with my body and sexuality.

We live in a miraculous time where we have information and opportunities for growth at every turn.  Why don't we start taking them instead of turning them all into something negative; something to be stopped?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Never Judge A Person By Their Bumper Sticker

I pulled into the gas station yesterday to fill up and pulled up behind a large, black SUV with a HUGE bumper sticker on the rear window that read...



The owner of the vehicle had gone into the store before I arrived on scene and I have to admit I was a little curious who would walk out and claim ownership.  Would it be a big, muscular dude that looked like he was on a killing mission? 

I sat looking at this statement for a number of minutes and even contemplated moving to another line up.  I felt myself becoming agitated and more than a little uncomfortable with these words staring me in the face.

Why would something that has NOTHING to do with me feel like it had EVERYTHING to do with me?

Why do I 'care' what someone has written on their vehicle?  Why does it matter?  It shouldn't...should it?

I thought about this for a minute.  I thought about how I used to be someone who would've gladly stated 'kill your local pedophile'.  Many moons ago I had a great opinion about these sorts of things and the justice that should be laid out for such 'scum of the earth' (to put it in terms I would have used).  It wouldn't have mattered to me if said pedophile was my own brother or husband; 'off with their balls' was the only response to such behaviour.

I thought about the potential impact that driving around with that statement has on the overall energy of yourself and those who you come into contact with. 

I also considered that this statement may have showed up to remind me of personal responsibility.  I'm a firm believer that if we want killing around the world to stop we need to first stop believing that killing at all is a necessary means to an end.

It's not that I support pedophilia (I can just see my inbox now!); it's more that I support compassion as opposed to killing.  I support looking at a situation through eyes of understanding for ALL those involved; not just the victim.  I like to think that one day we humans will recognize that we are entirely capable of much more than we've been given credit for.  Instead of wielding the sword at the first sign of misdeed; we might take a step back and look at the bigger picture before we react.

After some time, the owner of the vehicle emerged from the store with her little boy in tow.  I watched her get angry and struggle with him because he wouldn't get into his car seat at the speed she was looking for.  I watched her cross the back of the vehicle picking up the energy of the words (and possibly the pain) she carries with her.

I couldn't help but send her a blessing.  Maybe one day her heavy burden will be lifted and she will be free.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Don't Forget About Me

I used to think the things that sucked the most about motherhood were the middle of the night puke clean ups; the grocery store temper tantrums or the times the kids decide to pull the fire alarm at Walmart because you are taking too long deciding which pictures of the little darlings you want to hang on your wall for the next hundred years.

I was the kind of mom that would wonder every once in a while; when in hell these kids were going to grow up so I could really start living!

Guess what?

They have grown up.

And it's official. 

THIS is the suckiest part about motherhood.

The part about motherhood where you are called upon to sit at the kitchen table and listen to your oldest son talk about his plans to move out and no matter how much your heart is breaking you smile and tell him how excited you are for his new adventure.

Or the part when you realize that summer break has suddenly become less about how bored they are more about how bored YOU are because no one is around to make day trip plans with.

Or the part where your youngest son drops the bomb and tells you he's just not interested in the family vacation thing anymore and it takes a Starbucks bribe to get him to spend time with you.

Or what about when your family home suddenly becomes a halfway house; only needed for something to eat; a good nights sleep and a hot shower.


Once upon a time I thought this is what I wanted.  Independent children who know what they want and have no problem voicing those desires.

Now I wish I would've raised them to keep their mouths shut and just do what pleases their mother.  Damn.  Hindsight really is 20/20!

So all you moms out there thinking of raising strong independent people.  Stop what you're doing and really think about the consequences.  You may really want them to be independent and to one day go out into the world on their own and totally rock it.  But I'm telling you they'll leave you high and dry!  They won't remember all the times you wiped puke from their mouth at 3am.  They won't remember because they will be so focused on doing what you taught them you will be only a speck in their rearview mirror.

If I could go back ten years and just sit in their presence for an hour I think I'd be happy.  If I could go back and not rush through my daily tasks or feel burdened by all of the motherly jobs I needed to accomplish. 

If I could just go back I would take a moment and whisper 'don't forget about me' in their ears.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Because I Can....

I have to admit something.  I have a crush on Jesus Christ.  It's true. 

I am fascinated by books on the subject of his life.  I have many on my book shelf and have borrowed many from the library.  Understanding more about his message and his life has brought me great peace and clarity in my own life. 

Our world has seen many great teachers; all who came to share the same basic message 'love one another'.  There's just something about Jesus that I resonate deeply with. 

Last December I was in between clients and decided I would stop for a quick latte and relax a bit.  En route to the cafe I got this strange, strong urge to make sure I had my pen and paper with me.  I did.

I got to the cafe ordered my latte and found a quiet spot to hang out.  I took out my pen and paper and started to write.  At first I didn't know what I was writing or why I was writing it; soon tears began to stream down my face; again I had no idea why really.  The words and the message just kept coming without me thinking about what to write.

When my pen stopped and I wiped my eyes I read what I had written.  It was a letter.   A letter of responsibility and apology and truth. 

You see for a few years I've been estranged from my family.  A decision I made in a moment of crisis without thinking of the long term effects or how it would impact my loved ones.  All I knew at the time was I didn't have the tools to cope and I needed to run.  That's it.

Anyway, the letter I wrote that day in December gave it all up. I admitted to my mistakes of which there were many; apologized for them; gave an explanation as to how I was feeling then and why I felt the need to pull away.  The letter outlined what I've learned in the process and that I was willing to take full responsibility for every action, word and negative behaviour of not only myself but the entire situation.  Essentially I was absorbing the entire situation without expectation of forgiveness or reward.  I remember that I did not ask for forgiveness in the letter.

As I read it I wondered where all of this emotion and intensity came from?  Why was I taking full responsibility?  Why did I not feel the need for an outcome?  Where was the pride I had been feeling all those years and the desire to keep myself protected and hidden from the truth?  Where did that go?

I finished with my clients that day and headed home.  Once again a strong urge came over me to photocopy the letter twice and send one copy to my mother and another copy to my sister.  This part made me feel sick to my stomach.  Thoughts kept running through my mind like "what if this is just more fuel for the fire?".  The urge was too strong NOT to follow through with it though and so I did and sent the letters along.  I ripped up the original letter and tossed it in the recycle box.  It was done.

So what does this have to do with my crush on Jesus? 

I began to understand why and where this letter and this taking of responsibility came from.  It came from the teachings of Jesus.  It came from my desire to not be him but to be the best me I can be.  It came from being tired of hiding and tired of the voices in my head feeding me fearful ideas. 

The more I questioned what I did (though doing it made me feel so light and so peaceful) the more I was shown the vision of Jesus nailed to a cross.  The image of that moment and the impact of it's meaning hit me hard.  It sank into my heart.  It felt like Jesus was showing me that I can put myself on a cross; take the sin away; take full responsibility for everyones hurts and still live.  He was showing me that I didn't need to ask for forgiveness because I had already been forgiven; in fact I was forgiven before I even made a mistake. 

I heard Marianne Williamson speak not long ago and she was told a story about a large financial loss she suffered and that her father told her not to worry that she could 'absorb' the loss.  Though my loss wasn't financial I took in her words and realized what she was saying.  We can not only absorb financial loss but we can absorb anything into ourselves.  When we do this, when we take it in and absorb it into our being the energy gets transmuted into light and love and it is set back out into the world as that.

It's taken me a while to write this story out.  Everytime I start it looks too dramatic.  Sometimes it looks blasphemous or arrogant to talk about Jesus in this way.

Regardless, it's how it happened.  It was real.   And I believe it's a message for everyone.   

I've written before about pride and how it keeps you bound to beliefs that don't serve you.  Jesus showed me that pride is nothing more than illusion.  That life is nothing more than illusion.   No one has any more power over you than you believe them to have.  I was so afraid of my family.  I was afraid of their judgements and their words.  At one time I was even afraid for my safety.  I had given them so much power over me and I had forgotten about my own power.

I think we all live on a cross from time to time and we believe that living on that cross means we need to suffer.  The cross for me represents freedom.  It represents forgiveness and absolution.  After I mailed those letters I could see myself nailed to the cross.  I also saw myself not waiting for someone else to remove the nails and bring me down off of it.  I did that myself too.

What Jesus showed me was that I could end this war; even if ending it was for me only.

And I did.  I did end the war.  For myself only.  I did it and I would do it all again....because I can.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

After The Storm

Not everyone is super happy about all of the rain we've been getting this summer.  You can almost bet money on a storm rolling through every other day around here.  Me; I love them.  There is something transforming and life affirming about a good storm.

Last weekend on the way home from picking my son up from a friends house we drove straight into a storm.  The rain and wind made it hard to see where we were driving but once we got through it the sky was gorgeous!  The clouds had silver linings and the sunset was peaking out in between the darker clouds that still hung here and there.

I have a fascination with the sky as it is and lately I find I am welcoming these storms; watching them in awe as the power of the wind throws the rain around.  The lightning stretching out across the sky and the thunder rolling and hitting the deepest part of me.

For me these stormy skies remind me of my own personal power, my emotions and the transforming quality of those emotions.  I feel like the storms are telling me a story about my life.  It's like the sky and the storms and I have developed an intimate relationship this summer.  It's like they are speaking to me.  They are saying "You are not your darkness; just as the sky is not the darkness.  There is power in allowing your darkness to flow and have purpose.  Where there is darkness there is magic and without darkness you will never truly know light."

Just the other night we were walking the dog and we could see the sky change and so we took cover.  The rain came down hard and pounded the walls and windows of the building we were standing in.  We watched the storm pass; listening to the thunder and enjoying the bright flashes of lightning.  Once the rain slowed we continued on our way and as we walked back home there stood a complete double rainbow!  Bright and lovely and magical.  I couldn't help but fall in love with the storm all over again.

Right now I am standing knee deep in a life transition so big it's beyond words sometimes.  Looking at the sky; connecting with the storms gives meaning to what is happening right now with me and I think the same thing would be true for all of us.  That darkness can come and it can do it's thing but it doesn't negate the goodness within us.  The dark doesn't take the light away it merely covers it up for a time.  The truth of life is that without the storms we don't get silver linings in fluffy clouds.  We don't get the rainbows.  Without the darkness we don't get the glimpses of magic. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fly Away

If I had to choose between fight, flight and freeze; I would have to say I'm definitely a flight risk.

When the going gets tough or I'm feeling discouraged, alone and afraid; I fly.

This is how I was feeling last night.

It's how I'm feeling again this morning.

I recognize that I really only choose flight when I'm dealing with emotions that I don't want to entertain.  I run to the nearest Twinkie or engage in Facebook marathons.  I numb out.  I run from the emotion. 

This has always been a theme for me and the awareness of it makes it that much more painful right now.

So in a recent moment of wanting to run I stopped myself in the middle of all of the excuses I could use to make a case for my escaping my commitment and reminded myself that there is a bigger plan that I can't and probably won't see the reason for for days, weeks or even months.  I reminded myself that where I have decided to be right now (as discouraged as I may feel in the moment) is right where I need to be and that this now is going to lead to the next one and so on and so on.  All of these now moments are leading me to something less discouraging.

It's easy to forget in my discouragement that there is a purpose to this life and all of the decisions I make within it are experiences for growth.  I forget that the divine plan can sometimes take years to put together and in the meantime we all need to do our part in that plan.

I heard the words 'hang tight something good is happening' as my head hit the pillow last night.  It made me smile and cry at the same time.

Some times things are hard.  Some times they are only hard because they bring up so much shitty emotion that we've tried desperately to choke down for so long.  Some times you gotta get through the hard to appreciate the easy. 

I'm making a note to myself to appreciate the easy.  Maybe then the hard won't feel so bad.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Prisoners R Us

I can't tell you how many times I've felt like a prisoner of life.  Whether it was a job I hated or a relationship that was less than perfect; there have been times when I've felt like Life was the Warden and I was wearing bright orange.

Have you ever felt like this?  Like your hands are tied and there's nowhere for you to run.

In the past I would've taken this feeling and used it to blame others.  Either I couldn't get out of the job because my husband 'wouldn't let me' or I was in an imperfect relationship because the other person was needy and I wouldn't want to upset them by leaving.  Whatever the situation; whatever the frustration the feeling of being a prisoner always put me in a space of blame.

What I've found out through the process of becoming aware of myself is that this feeling of being imprisoned by life doesn't show up because somebody wronged me; it comes from a fear of making the wrong choices.  Every time I have trouble making a decision for fear that it will be the wrong decision I wind up feeling stuck, unmotivated, depressed and frustrated.

You see I want my decisions to bring joy, peace and prosperity....always.  I struggled with a decision just last month; I wasn't having fun doing the things I was doing in my business and needed to shift the energy so that things could flow more smoothly.  I was feeling run down and burnt out and yet making the choice to step out of services that make money was a very hard decision (in my mind it was a decision that clearly did not promote prosperity!)  It was also difficult to tell clients that I was no longer offering services in the capacity that I used to (letting people down; also not on my agenda!) 

The funny thing is and what I realize now is that all of my decisions have brought joy, peace and prosperity; not immediately but eventually.  Every single one of them from the time I was a young girl to now have all worked out beautifully.  Looking back at that and seeing that truth opened me up to discover that no decision is ever a mistake.  It's impossible for it to be.

This is an important breakthrough to get if you are someone like me who has struggled with decision making or if you feel like a prisoner to life because of your circumstances.

There is something I heard a number of years ago and I can't remember who said it.  But it goes like this:  "The Universe responds to action.  If no action is taken, no response is had.  When we step into action even if it is a baby step the Universe responds and magic starts to happen."

I know this is a truth in my life.  The only reason I have ever felt imprisoned is because I was refusing to take action.  The minute I take a step or set an intention that is when the magic happens.

So we're not really prisoners of life.  If anything life is a prisoner of us!  We are the wardens of our own world.  We hold the keys to our shackles and if we look really closely the doors to our cells aren't even locked.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Strange Feeling

This week as we spent time at our cottage in Northern Ontario it dawned on me that my hubby and I are entering into that time of our life when we will be vacationing more and more on our own.  With the boys getting older and their priorities focused on making money and spending time with friends we found ourselves begging our youngest to spend his last morsels of childhood with us on vacation this year.

I suppose what lures my hubby and I to the cottage just doesn't turn the kids on anymore (ie. no internet, hydro or cell service).  Add to that the youngest two have taken up long boarding and the bush roads are no place for wheels smaller than what the pickup truck has to offer. 

As I thought about this one morning during the week; I felt my stomach flip.  Where did the time go?  How did this happen?  Will I be able to vacation without any of my kids?

My youngest son was three years old when we purchased our cottage.  I have a picture of the three boys playing on the couch; their toothless smiles stretching from ear to ear.  They used to love playing on the 'beach' (okay it's a boat launch, but there IS sand so technically......); catching tadpoles and making little stone castles for the baby tree frogs.  They used to love to go out fishing though it ended up being a dance off or a fight about who was in they way of who; neither of which was conducive to catching fish.

All of this tripping down memory lane was emotional for me.  Of course.  It was also gratifying to think of all of the memories we've made at our home away from home.  It's easy sometimes to forget the good things when we are staring down major change.  Hubby and I talked about how it felt to be in this phase of our life; what our future might look like and how we could best use the time between now and the boys having families of their own to make our cottage more user friendly for more Merritts down the road. 

It was comforting to have that conversation; to know that something else is coming for us and that we will be okay and even if I have moments of not being okay that I will have someone standing next to me to hold my hand and hug me through those moments.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Easing Our Childrens Minds

My boys are showing me just how scary life looks through their eyes sometimes.  I had forgotten how scary growing up really is and in my busy all about me sometimes lifestyle I forget to stop and ask them where they are and if they need any clarification or guidance.

This morning my sons overheard a conversation between my husband and I about career and lifestyle changes in order to simplify our lives and bring us more happiness and greater well being.  Career and lifestyle changes that look valid and normal to the 40 year old eye look and sound very different to the eyes and ears of our children.

The conversation my son overheard sent him into a fit of fear and he got really angry with us for making changes that woud affect him and create a situation where he would have to find his own transportation (he has spent a year going to school and working using my car).  His feeling of not being ready to pay for his own transportation brought him to express in anger and frustration that 'if only mom would get a real job our lives would be different'.

We've had this discussion (argument) enough times in this household that it no longer hits the nerve that it used to for me.  Thankfully.  But it did offer up an opportunity for a heart to heart with my son.

As my son stormed off to his room to sulk; I followed him and sat down to ask him what was bothering him about the conversation he overheard.  His perception is that we are poor because we live on a strict budget and now we are discussing paycuts and downsizing our vehicle options in order to simplify our budget even more.  If he has to purchase his own vehicle it means one more step into the world of adult life where he feels unprepared.  It means greater responsibility and no room (in his mind) for error.

I explained that the ideas we had when we were in our twenties are nothing like the ones we have now.  At forty and forty six we see life differently and what was important twenty years ago, no longer holds value for us.  We want a simple life.  We want peace.  We want wellness.  We want to live in a way that makes us happy and sometimes that happiness comes at a financial cost but in the long run it is the better choice to make for mental and emotional well being.

The more I talked to him about the situation and explained that we don't 'have' to make the decisions we are making; that we are making them in a space of comfort and peacefulness the more I could see he was 'getting it'.  He was starting to understand that there is nothing to fear, that in fact that what he sees is lack is actually abundance that he didn't know about.

It is so easy to forget that our children are seeing life through their emotional filters and through their own unique perspective.  They carry guilt, shame and fear that we sometimes can't see.  They are overhearing conversations and creating their own story with the bits and pieces they are taking in. 

My oldest son has anxiety surrounding growing up and the responsibilities that brings (naturally!).  Giving him new ways to look at things and laying things out step by step for him make it easier to make choices that are more healthy than the ones he would make out of fear.  When our kids are younger we teach them how to do things step by step.  When they become teens or young adults we expect them to know how to do what they need to do when they don't.  They are facing experiences that up until now we as parents have always taken care of.

After our discussion, he got dressed and said "I'm going to pick up my buddy and we're going to go look at some cars".  He's excited all of a sudden.  He's got a plan in mind and he understands that he has support through the next phase of his growth because I am going to help him move through the experience and help him trust that it is going to be a positive one.

I was so filled with love for our relationship as he walked out the door.  I was so filled with gratitude that I have grown into the kind of mom that doesn't take my childrens fear and anxiety personally; that I can see beyond it so that I can help them understand themselves a little better.

My son is no longer afraid of the decisions my husband and I are making because he understands that we aren't making them because we NEED to.  We are making them because we WANT to.  When we do this there is power and we teach our children how to make their decisions from the same place. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Could Be Wrong

When was the last time you heard those words come from your mouth or the mouth of another?

I bet it doesn't happen often.

As humans we fight tooth and nail to defend our beliefs, ideals and perspectives.

Not one of them is the complete truth.

And yet we fight for them anyway.

I wonder what would happen if in every conversation where you found yourself at odds with a fellow human you graciously admitted 'I could be wrong'.

I think it was Byron Katie that said we need to make room for the possibility that we are wrong; that in this willingness lies freedom.

Ask anybody any question at all and you will get the answer from someone who believes that they have the right answer; that they know the truth; that their belief is the only one.

Wars are fought for beliefs.  Consumerism is driven by beliefs.  Money doesn't make the world go round; beliefs and our willingness to do what it takes to uphold them does.

I've realized over the past few months that taking a good hard look at where you are and what's not working takes a strong willingness to admit that you were wrong about something.

It may be the greatest act of self love; maturity and grace.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Thrill of Spring

This time of year always reminds me of my dad. 

Not only was he the master gardener in my life growing up but he was the only person I knew who could pick out asparagus growing on the side of the road from the drivers seat of his Dodge pick up going 80km/hour!

Today I found myself (as I quite often do this time of year) trying to pick out the bulky stalks myself.  I've never been able to see it before it grows tall and goes to seed.  My response to finding it too late is always 'shit!'; knowing full well I will have to wait a full year to try again.  I feel like it would be a triumph of sorts if I did; like somehow my dad would be watching me and saying 'that's my girl'. 

As I drove down back country roads today I remembered his green handled paring knife that he kept in the glove box of his truck for just the right moment when he'd land some asparagus in his sights.  He barely had that truck stopped and in park before he was out of the drivers seat and into the ditch bank chopping down what he could of the green gold.

It was like a sport to him.

Every piece of asparagus the gold medal.

Actually I never really remember a destination on those country road drives.  Maybe we were just on the hunt for asparagus.  I do remember the windows rolled down, the breeze in my face and the sound of his knee smacking country music blaring from his truck speakers; Willie Nelson maybe or Stompin' Tom Connors.  He would sing and whoop and hollar like he was on top of the world.

I think spring was my dads favourite season.  It's when he'd get his garden growing (maybe the biggest garden in town at the time; definitely the biggest crop of rhubarb!).  He'd spend hours digging and hoeing and watering that garden, all summer long; beer(s) in hand.  It was his baby; his pride and joy.

It's when I'm in my own veggie gardens; planning and digging in the dirt that I feel the closest to the spirit of my father.

That's the real thrill of spring for me.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Humbled Beyond Words

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at a local high school today.

The topic?  The power of your thoughts on yourself, others and the world.

The information shared never gets old for me; maybe it's because I am in front of a new group of people each time or maybe because I am reminded again and again of the personal power that we each possess to create a better life and a better world to live in.

As I stood in front of each class today I was humbled beyond words to be standing in front of them.

Their 'beingness' reached into my heart and whispered "we are somebody". 


I was honoured to be standing in front of our future government officials, doctors, lawyers, teachers, parents, etc.  These young adults are our future.  They deserve our undivided attention.  They deserve to be given the tools they are going to need to walk confidently into their futures.

To be chosen; to be invited into their learning environment to provide them with a piece of the puzzle was a great gift to me.  Even if that piece of the puzzle starts off like so many great things do; as a tiny seed that was implanted into their hearts and minds.  That's enough for me.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Love As Best You Can

This week I am in Ottawa with hubby.

I've been roaming the city while he's been stuck enjoying a water treatment convention.

This morning I was privileged enough to spend time chatting over tea with a beautiful cousin that I haven't seen in thirteen years (where does time go anyway?).  It was so nice to be in her presence, to hear a bit of her story and to laugh with eachother.

As I was heading to the park with my lunch after my morning tea visit I came upon a family that made me smile. 

Dad was pushing the stroller, Mom was helping lift the front portion up the stairs we were climbing; grandma and big sister were walking a few steps ahead.  As I approached them I heard that Mom and Dad were having a argument discussion about how they were going about this task; who was doing what and who needed to do that what better.  I got up a little further and heard big sister (who was about 3 years old) say 'only two more steps to go mom and dad'. 

Oh her sweet little voice.  Brightly reassuring them both that they would only have to endure the drama of getting the stroller up the stairs for only a few more seconds. 

In that moment I wanted to give her a big hug. 

I wondered if mom and dad heard her or if they were too busy inside of their own story to take in what was being offered.  I know as an adult who has been there and done that, that the stairs weren't the issue.  The pain and reason for the bickering has roots far deeper than the moment they were in.  And still I wanted to turn to them and say 'Love eachother as best you can'.  I wanted them to hear their daughters message that she so desperately wants for them to get along and see that obstacles truly are temporary. 

This little girl is like the wise guru on the mountain top; she has the miracle cure to what ails them in her flower lined pocket.

This little peace keeper.  I wanted to enlist her on my 'team' of love warriors.

She was gone out of my experience just as quickly as she came; but that doesn't mean her message has left my heart.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Prayer Cleanse

Spring is here and it seems everywhere you look people are in the mood for cleansing.

I myself could use a good detoxification right about now AND that realization got me thinking that it may be that my prayer practice could use a good detox.  I've gotten a little whiney with my prayers lately; so I think it's high time I did something about that.

So, I'm going on a prayer cleanse.

For the next thirty days the only prayer I will be offering up to the Big Guy is 'Thank You'.

This idea makes my stomach flutter.  Can I do it?  Will I have the will power to get through the next 30 days? 

I sure hope so.

Because there is nothing like 30 days of gratitude to get the life pipes cleaned out.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Whisper Of Our Truest Self

Every once in a while I find myself in a frenzy of needing to 'find' myself.  As if somehow when I wasn't looking my 'self' went missing and left me with a gaping hole of nothingness.  In this realization I start to panic instantly. 

Oh my God!  Where am I?  What am I?  I need to do something....  Don't I?  I need to find myself so I can do the something I am meant to do and then I will be happy and free and I will be so happy and free that my 'self' won't go missing again!!!!

I begin to push myself into the mold of who I believe I should be and what would be acceptable to the rest of the world.  I push myself into expectations that I don't fit into.  The happiness and freedom that I experience in this space is fleeting.  It's here one day and gone the next.  And like any good junkie I push forward looking for my next 'fix'.

This behaviour.  This unconscious behaviour keeps me living in a cycle where my only purpose is avoiding the emptiness; avoiding the nothingness that I know lives inside of me and no matter how hard I try I cannot escape it.

How do you escape nothingness if it is a part of you?  And if it's a part of you is it something you are supposed to escape or is it something you can embrace and love?

In a world that says 'keep moving forward', 'push past the pain', 'success is what you are here for'; it is difficult to consciously embrace the nothingness.  We aren't taught that there is a place inside of us that holds the secret to life.  We aren't taught that boredom is good.  We aren't taught to embrace the moments where we fear if it were our last we would have accomplished nothing in this lifetime and would have ultimately failed as a human being.

We are taught that if you feel 'down' and 'depressed' then you need medication.  We are taught that if you have no drive in life it must be the fault of someone or something not making you happy and you must find out what that is or at the very best begin to blame everything around you in an attempt to claw your way out of the nothingness.

Here is my observation today.  This nothingness that lives within us, in which we are a large part of.  I believe that it aches to be a present force in our life.  I believe that it is with the embracing of the nothingness that our truth lies and our unbounding ability to love resides.  I believe that we will never ever escape the hamster wheel we call life and all of it's materialistic trappings if we don't give our nothingness a few minutes of our time when we find ourselves connected with it. 

That connection isn't a mistake and it's not a chance happening.  It's the whisper of our truest self asking us to be courageous enough to play where there is nothing but space.  And in that space we are whole.....again.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Power Of Words

A couple of nights ago I was doing some reflecting and writing in my journal.  In a moment of pure self loathing I wrote that I was feeling particularly useless and that my life had no meaning...

The next morning I woke up feeling pretty good.  I got Ben out of bed and ran down to the shower to get ready for my jam packed day.  As I was heading from the bathroom into the bedroom I stooped down to pet the dog and step over her at the same time and in that moment something in my back snapped and I felt like I was going to pass out.

I immediately sat myself down on the floor in what seemed the only position my body could handle without inducing more pain.

There I was; stuck on the floor, totally naked.  Totally useless.

I could hear the Universe laughing as I tried to figure out a way to get up and carry on with my day even though the pain in my lower back had begun to radiate down my legs.  Just how was I going to drive myself from client to client?  Just how was I going to facilitate the mom and tot breathing session?

In that moment I realized exactly what I had done.  I realized the power of my words.

Writing the words 'I feel so useless' was a prayer.  In fact, every time we write, say or think anything it is a prayer.  It is a request for an experience.  In this instance, I had prayed for the experience of being useless.  Since I thought I already was, then it seemed appropriate to have the experience of it.

So here I am my back still in pain.  I'm sure anyone who has had back pain knows how restricted you are.  The things I normally do without thinking; without appreciation for the muscles in my body and how they all have to be strong and work together to make things happen are now things I am having great struggle to accomplish.

And at the same time I have to laugh.  I have to love this experience because I called it into being with my prayer.

I must in this moment realize that even as I sit here unable to easily do what it is I want to do I am still very powerful, very much useful because it is my thoughts that create.  It is the words that I speak and think and write that are the words that will create my life experience.

My actions are my prayers in motion.  Ultimately, though it is my prayers that matter.

What are your prayers?  What are your words that you have been speaking lately?  Are they something you want to experience?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mending Fences

Last fall a couple of our fence posts started to give way.  Hubby put some braces in place to keep the fence standing through the winter and yesterdays weather gave us an opportunity to take a closer look at what needed to be done to fix the posts.

As my husband began to dig, I found myself daydreaming about a yard without a fence.  The way it used to be when I was a kid.  An entire neighbourhood without a fence in sight.

Ahhhh, the memories of being able to run from one end of town to the next, through the backyards of folks that have known my family for eons.

I wanted to run over to the neighbours house right then and present them with the idea of 'open concept' backyard living.  Imagine the cost and time savings (lets be honest we're going to have to start replacing ALL of those fence posts sooner or later).  No more long grass growing up under the fence and not being able to fully see the person you are speaking to on the other side.  I even imagine sharing gardens; helping eachother cultivate, weed and harvest the bounty.  I envision our dogs playing with one another and creating an extended family of their own.  Neighbours helping eachother.  Without fences to keep us separate you can see what your neighbours are up to and what they could use a hand with. 

I feel like we're too preoccupied with barriers and boundaries these days.  About how to keep people out of our business.  Keep our privacy private.  Fences keep us from engaging with one another. 

Without fences, your neighbours become a part of your family.  You hear the arguments, you hear the love.  You co-experience their grief and their joy. 

The thought crosses my mind when I see a house that has been abandoned and taken over by the banks.  I wonder if we took down the fences, welcomed our neighbours onto 'our' land, became connected if houses would stop being abandoned.  If we could somehow create an energy in our communities that enabled even those who struggle to make ends meet to create more abundance in their life so they could stay in the house and neighbourhood that they loved.

Back in the day you never heard of anyone losing their home.  It may be because we were better with our money but it may also be because back in the day we lived in communities, not just homes.  We lived amongst friends, not strangers (and if you were a stranger you weren't one for long).

What if we lived in a world where there were no fences?  I wonder what life would look like if we lived with open concept backyards again.  Connected and conjoined instead of separate and boxed in.

I wonder if we would all start feeling like we belong instead of like we are being 'kept out'.  I wonder how many people dream of 'open concept' backyard living like I do? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm so very sorry.....

When I went to see Neale Donald Walsch speak a couple of months ago he did something that made my heart leap.  He approached a woman in the audience who was ethnically diverse, raised in a Baptist church and whose race had suffered much ridicule within society.

I remember he approached her, held her hand, looked her right in the eyes and apologized for the insensitivity of humanity.  He, on behalf of those who had persecuted her and her race, apologized from the depths of his heart.

It was a beautiful, moving and powerful sight.

Imagine taking on the responsibility of humanity and apologizing.  We don't think of doing this do we?  We are always caught up in whose fault it is and who is responsible for making it right and apologizing.  Mr. Walsch didn't need permission from others to do this.  He didn't seek a reward or prize for his efforts.  No.  He simply offered what was in his heart.  What really I believe is in every one of our hearts if only we could find it underneath the clutter of pain we have built up.

His words and actions were brought to mind this week and particularly this morning as I spoke with a friend about finding the courage to disengage from a relationship that was toxic to her.

We want so much to be accepted and loved by others.  And sometimes when we don't receive that acceptance and love we become angry; sometimes we become driven to prove people wrong in their assumption of us and almost always we seek to find others who will support us in our pain.  In all of this inner activity of the mind we can forget where we ARE accepted and loved in our lives.  We can forget to check in and see where it is that anger is coming from.  In cases like relationships often our anger is based in fear of rejection and abandonment.

Anger seeks to change circumstances, control others so that we get the outcome that would make us feel more comfortable with ourselves.  Acknowledging that there is a fear associated with the anger creates a space for healing and understanding.  It is much easier to forgive from a place of understanding than from a place of control.

I believe it's a beautiful idea to offer love and apologies on behalf of humanity as a whole.  For most of us in our journey through pain it would not matter where the apology or the acceptance came from, just that it did!  And so here I offer just that.  For those of you who have been begging for an apology from someone who is unable to offer it at this time, please accept this as a bridge to take you to the next step in your journey.  Please know that you are loved and valued beyond anything your imagination could come up with. 

"I am so very sorry, from the deepest depths of my being that you have had to endure pain and suffering at the hands of another human being.  I am so sorry that anothers words and behaviours have been hurtful to you and caused you emotional, mental or physical pain.  You are a being created of love, just as all beings are.  One day there will be an opening and pouring out of that love, we will one day understand the reason for all of this pain.  For now I offer you this apology and the love that I send along with it so that it may heal your heart and show you that you are not alone, that you are accepted, you are worthy."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Divine Recipe

Want the secret divine recipe to a happy life?

Of course you do.

Here it is.

Forgiveness & Gratitude.

Mix the two together liberally and what you get is a divine recipe for happiness and authenticity.

Oh!  This might not be what you were hoping for.  Unfortunately, botox and liposuction aren't the recipe for happiness.  Neither is winning the lottery or marrying your soulmate.

Years ago I would have never thought that I could forgive someone and then be grateful for their presence in my life.  It would have never occurred to me to forgive something or someone immediately for any action 'against' me.  It certainly never would have been an option to be grateful for them!  That would have been an incredible stretch for me.  I used to believe that I was doing the best I could and that anyone who had a problem with that was trying to bring me down or damage me in some way.

Over the last few years though I've had excellent opportunities to use forgiveness and gratitude together on larger relationship issues and lately I've come to use them on every tiny issue that creeps in that has the potential to be blown out of proportion and land me in victimville for a week or more. 

I'm here to tell you that without a doubt these two gifts are something no human being should live without.

What I find so magical about them is that they are the kinds of things you can do even if you don't feel like doing them at first, even if you don't think there is going to be a 'payoff'. 

We know that with reactions like blame, shame, resentment and anger we get an instant payoff emotionally.  There is a rush of adrenaline, we rally the support of our friends and get them on board with the story.  These are all instant gratification reactions.

With forgiveness and gratitude the payoff is more subtle.

The reason why you don't have to actually feel like you are in the forgiving or grateful mood is because just by setting the intention to forgive and be grateful you are opening your heart to the most Holy Love.  And when we open the heart to the most Holy Love things start to happen magically.

I remember at first using forgiveness without gratitude (I didn't know they belonged together).  It took me a long time to feel forgiving on a conscious level even though I was aware that somewhere in my being I longed to be.  Then I started using gratitude.  This is when things started to get really fun.

I actually have had moments where I've asked myself "What is wrong with you?  Why aren't you reacting to this?"  I am also very surprised when someone apologizes to me for something they feel they did wrong because...well...the thought doesn't usually cross my mind anymore. 

I didn't consciously set out to erase any need to react.  I think what started to happen was that my inner need to forgive and be grateful began to overtake my need to be right or to be heard or even to be loved.  I believe that when we offer forgiveness to another and then we flood ourselves with gratitude for having had the experience we are an open channel for Holy Love and so then acceptance, love and connection are automatic.

I believe that forgiveness and gratitude are the divine recipe for erasing fear.  Whether your fears are surrounding finances, career, relationships or health.  Forgiveness and gratitude are the healing forces that take your current circumstances, whatever they may be and turn them into something greater, impactful and positive.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Biggest Challenge

Sometimes I think my biggest challenge is accepting Gods love.

This might sound like no challenge at all but in a world where we are bombarded by messages of 'not good enough' or how we need to change ourselves to become attractive and loveable or that we need to set goals in order to achieve something grander than what we are and what we have now; you can see that something as simple as receiving Gods love becomes a little more complicated.

How can I trust that He really loves me despite how broken and flawed I am?

I mean can't He see that I flub my words and I forget what I'm supposed to say almost every time He gives me an opportunity to speak (whether I write it all out first or not)?

Doesn't He know that I hate to cook; that if I had it my way I'd nap every afternoon and pay someone to do my housework if given the chance?  Does God love the lazy me?

Does God love the me that sometimes wants to shout out 'What the  F*ck?' when I'm frustrated?

Does God love the me that sometimes becomes jealous of what another has or upset that someone has broken my heart?

Does God love the me that doesn't know what the hell she is doing here?!

Does He?

I believe He does.  In fact I know He does because for the last few months and especially the last few days God has been whispering His love in my ear, bringing me to tears and embracing me with His love.

And He is doing this, not because something has happened to me but because He knows how badly I want to receive His grace and how badly I fear I don't deserve it.

He's been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that I reach the point in time when I will trust His love for me, sooner instead of later.  Not because He has to but because He wants to.

And I know the same thing is true for anyone else with this same challenge.

Here is my message for you.  Put down the perfection, step away from the control freak attitude.  Take a deep breath and know that God is standing in your corner before you say a word.  Before you need Him, before you think to ask Him for anything; He is there for you.  His love for you is overflowing. 

If you are seeking Gods love know that Gods love is also seeking you.  I believe it is in the moment that you release the guilt of feeling 'not good enough' that that love flows into your life in a tidal wave of power you have never experienced in your lifetime and you will never experience again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Trouble With Life

Is that sometimes it's not YOUR life you are living.

Some of our behaviours, fears, worries and beliefs came from someone else.  They were placed inside of our psyche at a certain day and time and we decided to adopt them as our own.  In fact, most of what you believe came from someone else's view of reality.

I was thinking about this as I brushed my teeth this morning.  I remember my dad making a comment when I made the decision to quit my full time job and stay at home with my boys.  Let's just say his idea of stay at home motherhood wasn't favorable despite the fact that my own mother had stayed at home with us practically my entire childhood.

In that moment I was in a space of vulnerability.  I was making a big decision for myself and my family, feeling a little bit of discomfort about it (would it work?  could we survive financially?) and in that same moment I was being offered an opinion about my decision from someone outside of myself who had their own belief system about my decision.  I believe because of my vulnerability I took his statement to heart and created a belief surrounding my decision to be a stay at home mother.  If I had been in a more stable and strong phase of my life I might have dismissed it altogether as something that he needed to deal with himself.  Unfortunately, I was still living my life to please others and so his opinion made a great impact on me.

I decided to spend 14 years feeling undervalued, underappreciated and unproductive to society.

I think we do this to ourselves all of the time.  We ask for someone else's opinion about what we should do with our life situation when we are most unsure and most vulnerable.  What's interesting is that the other person you are asking is most likely being guided by a belief system that they themselves received from another person who had their belief system handed to them by outside sources as well!

Do you see the cycle here?

What I have learned over the past few years is that the only thing required to make a giant leap forward in life is not to accept someone else's idea of what we should do and be; but in those moments when we are feeling the need to go out and ask someone else; to allow ourselves enough quiet time to realize that the only opinion that matters is the one that is in our own heart.  This requires huge amounts of trust in ourselves (something we may have been told we shouldn't do).

The world around us is changing more rapidly than it ever has before.  Our beliefs are being challenged everywhere we turn.  Our security in what we thought we knew about life is slipping away and the 'denial' rug is being pulled out from underneath of us.

It's a good time to breathe and reflect upon what it is we wish to hold onto and what would best serve us if it was released.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

God Always Gives You More

Have you ever tested God?

You know.  Say a prayer; ask for something outrageous or ridiculous and then wait to see if He is going to deliver?

I kind of did this yesterday.

I woke up and said a prayer.  My thoughts and worries focused on money (specifically the lack thereof), I began to pray for $400.

Now that I see this in print it makes me want to laugh out loud.


A miniscule amount of money that I believed would create a feeling of contentedness (or at the very least help me pay the vet bill).

I prayed.  Then I forgot all about it.

I went about my day the same as always.  I had a client in the morning and then I wanted to finish up the paint job in the basement.

While I was busily applying the second coat of paint on my basement walls; it happened.

God gave me a million dollars.

Well, at least it felt like He gave me a million dollars.

Which is WAY more than the $400 I had asked for.  BONUS!

How?  I received a call from a dear friend to say that his recent MRI for a brain tumour showed 'marked improvement' since his last MRI in December.

I was ecstatic.  In fact, I could hardly breathe.

I expect that this is how it feels to learn you have just won the lottery.

Did you know that $400 in physical, cold hard cash in your hands is NOTHING compared to the feeling of receiving a phonecall that someone is conquering cancer?

Did you know that when you receive information like that you forget that you even needed $400?

I took in the lesson of this moment.  I danced.  I whooped and hollered.  I cried tears of joy.  I thanked God for the answered prayer and for always giving me more than I ask for.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In IT....

This post by my friend Darlene Gudrie Butts over at The Promise struck a chord today.

I wanted to reply to her post and then once I got started I realized that what I really needed to do was create a post of my own (it would have been at least a page long reply!).  For the first time in a long time I am able to articulate in words what I feel in my body.

So here it is.

As I sit everyday in meditation, whether for five minutes of fifteen; I am filled with a desire so strong that it can only be the call of God to be of service.

The feeling that all things are possible.  That every single message that I have heard in the past month has been leading me to this moment.  My heart beats wildly and I feel like I can move mountains.

Then my meditation time ends and I look around me at the world and wonder 'Me?' and 'Can I?' 

I feel like I am dancing on a very thin line and if I make the slightest move to the right or left I will be in IT, fully in IT. 

The IT that God has always known I was purposed for.  The IT that feels so radical and thrilling that it most surely should be reserved for someone with more fame or fortune or success than little old me.  Maybe He's got the wrong Jennifer Merritt...  That MUST be it.

The truth of the matter is that I am scared.  I do know what will happen if I present this IT and I live it with all of my being.  I know the impact it will have and the time that we are living in at this moment is ripe with possibility and my head spins and my knees wobble.  I've always said I would never bungee jump or parachute from a plane and here God has me contemplating something I view as being very similar to both of those crazy stunts!  My heart is already in my throat.  Where did I put that barf bag?

If I take the step, if I do this consciously I know it will feel like a free fall.  I will have left behind all of my fear, expectations and doubt and I will be flying on the winds of Gods breath.  I will have trusted just enough to set things in motion.

I will have trusted that I have been purposed for something magnificent.  I will have trusted in Gods love and faith in me.

Oh boy.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Quest

I love a good quest.  I imagine myself riding a horse with my shining armor on.  My sword at my side, off to slay the dragon. 

My quest?

To find forgiveness in every single act that would normally bring about emotional unrest.

I've been reading that in a perfect Universe such as the one we live in that there is no need for forgiveness.  Nothing is out of place and so there is nothing to forgive.

But it's been my human experience that certain things push buttons, cause emotional upset and sometimes bind us to an experience of victimization.  As a human being experiencing life it seems  that I am experiencing opportunities to find forgiveness.

Whenever I have applied forgiveness in the past, it was accompanied by a deep realization that the person I am really forgiving is myself (there is a laundry list of things I feel I need forgiveness for) and that in doing that I am releasing expectations, embracing my human-ness and opening the door for someone else to do the same.

I'm curious what would happen to life as I know it, if instead of getting caught up in the tide of emotion and fear I took a step back and applied forgiveness to every single situation.  Not just the situations that I myself am involved in but EVERY situation.
Does it matter if I offer forgiveness to someone who has upset my friend?  Does it matter if I offer forgiveness to a total stranger living thousands of miles away who has shown up in the newspaper because of some horrible mistake they have made?  I wonder.

I wonder what the impact on humanity will be if just one of us decides that forgiveness should be an automatic response to everything we would normally view as 'bad'.

It has become apparent to me that forgiveness may very well be the key to connectivity.  If the majority of us are walking around with even the slightest regret that we feel we need forgiveness for we are resisting and blocking connectivity.  How can I possibly connect to another human on the deepest level possible when I am sitting on a mountain of regret, shame and guilt?

Yesterday I posted a blog about forgiving a particular situation.  In the moment that I thought of the words and wrote them down I instantly felt connected to the energy of this person I was offering forgiveness to.  Now, I don't know the person, I don't even know their name; nor do I have all of the details of the circumstances.  I only knew that many people were upset and I thought "well, this is your quest, try it out".  So I did.

The connectivity was instantaneous!

Just one small change in the way we view our lives and in the way we decide how we are going to be the change we want to see in the world can shift everything.

As Panache Desai is quoted as saying "just one person who reaches or acknowledges their full potential can shift the energy of 7.2 billion people". 

We are all connected.

Let the magic begin!


Monday, February 25, 2013

To You

To you; the teacher that made headlines this weekend after the prank you pulled on your grade 8 students.

What an opportunity you have given us.  To find acceptance within ourselves for our own faults.  To find forgiveness in you because we long for forgiveness of ourselves.

I apologize to you for the words and actions of those who feel that they have lived a life of perfection that they feel the need to be judge and jury in this situation.

I apologize to you because humanity has lost it's mind and the only reason why anyone would ever create such a harsh and negative spin around your story is because they themselves feel as though they deserve the harsh and negative for their own past behaviours.

I can't imagine what your life was like this weekend.  The emails, the editorials, the social media bashing.  The sleepless nights. 

I hope you had at least one person, one friend or one stranger tell you that it's going to be okay.

I think of you today as you put one foot in front of the other; as you walk into your workplace, unsure of what you will encounter.

My heart and my prayers are with you because I have been where you are.  I have made mistakes and misjudgements.  I have asked for forgiveness and been denied.  I am tired of living in a world where one little misstep creates judgement, guilt and shame.  I am tired of everyone waiting on baited breath for someone else to mess up so that it gives them the opportunity to shift their focus onto something other than themselves for a moment.

Thankfully, you are only this weeks news.  Someone else will come along and take your place.  Poor soul.

It's laughable that the very people shaming you for what they are calling an act of 'bullying' cannot recognize the role they are playing in perpetuating that cycle.

It's laughable that we could ever stand in judgement of another being on this planet when we are all just trying to survive, moment by moment.

I wonder when we will all wake up and realize that this world will not change unless we begin to change our reactions to these types of situations.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Obsession....

"How you look at things is a choice you make.  It is a Free Will Choice that defines who you are and who you wish to be, and how you wish to experience yourself.  You can change your perspective in any situation by changing your mind about how you want to look at it.  You can decide what you want to see, and then, having placed it there, you will find it there."  ~ Neale Donald Walsch

These statements always make me giggle and shout 'Holy Shit!'

What would your life look like if you took this information on as your foundation?

I know what my life has looked like in the past few years that I've been obsessed with this concept!  It looks like forgiveness, empowerment, trust and wisdom.

It never ceases to amaze me the feeling I get when I read the words "You can decide what you want to see, and then, having placed it there, you will find it there."

Do you know how many people on this planet are suffering from the very idea that they have no control over their life?  I used to be one of those sufferers who played the mantra 'oh whoa is me' in my head day after day, year after year.

To understand and embrace the power behind the knowledge that WE ARE CHOOSING OUR CURRENT REALITY AND WE CAN CHOOSE A VERY DIFFERENT REALITY AT ANY MOMENT is the secret to a life fulfilled.

When we believe that we cannot choose, we believe ultimately that we are victims of a life that doesn't care about us.  This is a lie.

I hated living my life as a victim.  I hated the sadness, the confusion, the consistent fog that I walked around in.

Some might say they don't know how to make a new choice or that there are just too many bad things that have happened in the past for them to believe that a new choice could make any difference.  Some might say that this idea is too 'simple' to be effective.  That I'm crazy.

To those and the many others with all kinds of other arguments I say:  Do It!  Have the courage to laugh at the uncomfortable, love at the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable.

Ask yourself this question:  What do I have to lose?

Then ask yourself this question:  What do I have to gain?


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coming Unhooked

I am a sugar addict.

I've been in denial for quite some time about my addiction. Telling myself that the odd Timmies double double with a french vanilla shot and having to dip my apple slices into peanut butter wasn't about my addiction, it was about 'treating myself' to something yummy.

I should be allowed to pick up a Chai Tea latte after my hard work at the grocery store and eat dark chocolate for medicinal purposes (it really does relieve mood swings due to PMS! I swear!) right?

Yesterday I hit an all time low. I enjoyed an orange and two pieces of toast for breakfast, then I binged on cookies, banana bread, brownies, chocolate candies, chips, cheddar cheese popcorn and boneless chicken wings dipped in sweet and sour sauce.

This morning I woke up with a sugar hang over.

I have no energy today and I have a massive headache!

That's it!

I'm done.

I'm giving up sugar for good! I'm taking back my power! I want my life back!

This will be interesting for me. I always thought 'death by chocolate' would be a very happy way to go....

Stay tuned........

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Flutter in my Heart (and Stomach!)

My heart (and stomach) have been fluttering all day.

I woke up this morning and drove my son to school.  His comment "I wish we could just move to California or something" alerted me to the ensuing drama.

"You just want to move to California so you can longboard" I repled.

"No actually, I want to get away from some of the kids in this town".

This is when the drama arrived.

Right after Evan was assaulted last year I was pretty diligent about asking how things were going with the kids at school without trying to be nosey or overbearing.  After many "things are good and no one seems to be retaliating or causing any further trouble" I let it go.  I gave him space in the hopes that 'normalcy' (if there is such a thing) could return.

This morning I could feel his energy change.  He was agitated.  And hey!  Just why was he asking to be driven to school all of a sudden and waiting until the last possible minute to ask?  Hmmmm...

I did what I could within the 20 foot drive to the school driveway to get some information out of him.  I explained that he would have to go to the VP and discuss what's happening, if nothing comes from that talk I would step in but I wanted him to take the initiative.

It was the quiet time on the drive back home that changed my mind.

I'm tired of bullying.  I'm tired of boys and girls thinking it's okay to knock someone down because of their hair, popularity, lifestyle choices, etc.  I'm tired of violence and verbal abuse in our children's lives.  I'm tired of my son feeling like he needs to be on alert because someone wants to kick his ass.

So I called the school myself, left a message.

Then I called the local OPP.  They were involved and very helpful with Evan last year and with this boy having been involved in the situation last year I felt I needed some guidance as to what my next steps are.

Within an hour I had an officer at my door wanting to chat about what was happening.  It didn't matter that there had not been any physical violence and that I was pretty much going on my son's emotional state and what little information I got out of him on the way to school.

I'm told that the school is monitoring the situation.  The other boy has not been spoken to or alerted (at this point).  They don't believe there is a threat because the intimidation isn't consistent and it seems a lot of it is hearsay (you know, one kid tells another kid that that kid wants to kick your kids ass).

For a moment today I felt stupid for 'over reacting'.  I felt stupid for involving the authorities.  I felt like I was being over protective and silly. 

That moment was annihilated when my son called for a ride home from school.  He said "Mom, I just feel like something is going to happen, I don't know what and I don't know when but I don't feel safe walking to and from school if I'm not in a large group of friends".  I trust my kids intuition. 

He is literally formulating his walk home everyday, making sure he has friends to walk with and that he won't be alone.

Do you have to do that when you go somewhere?  I know I don't!

No.  My feelings of over reaction were just ego wanting to keep me in my small, shrunken state.  I'm not staying put.  My son and every other child who has been challenged by bullies desires the right to stand in their power, stand in the knowing that their safety and well being is priority number one in someone's life and that it doesn't matter how old or young you are, you have the power to make things right in your world.

I love having these experiences with my children.  Every once in a while they remind me of my place on this planet and they show me what can be done when you are passionate about creating change.

I don't know what will come of this situation today but I am glad I embraced the opportunity to move forward and take a stand.  I think it's important to model this behaviour for our kids even if we have to do it with a flutter in our heart (and stomach).