Monday, July 25, 2011

Batman and the miraculous child

I was all set.  My first few days off in six weeks.  Bags packed.  CD cued in my car stereo for three uninterrupted hours of rehearsal as I drove to Merritt to perform with my friend Karen and some of the Trooper band members. Nervous?  You bet.  Excited?  You know it.  I just had to have those three hours of “me-time” to get my lyrics under my belt so I could relax and enjoy being a part of the show.  Then the phonecall – could I bring Karen’s four-year-old son with me as last minute changes necessitated his being with her instead of his father and she had already left for Merritt a few days earlier. At first I felt this dread… I hadn’t spent three hours with a four-year-old in years.  I was going to miss out on my coveted practice time.  And I still ache for the days spent with my own adorable, little Duncan.  I wanted to say no but deep down inside a wiser voice reassured me that this was a gift.  And who was I to refuse it, no matter how it was wrapped?

So off we went.  The two of us.  In no time at all, we had assumed our roles.  He was definitely Batman and I was his sidekick, Robin. I slipped effortlessly into his game, and reveled in the joy that I could have a fun-filled three hours with a little guy who knew nothing of my reservations and fear and could have unfettered fun and laughter with someone he hardly knew.  It was lovely.  I was given a chance to be totally present for him and heal some of those pieces where I hadn’t been totally present with Duncan or Sean at that same age.  What a gift it was indeed.  Thank you, little Dylan.  I will never forget that trip. (He also helped me remember the times that I had been very present with my boys, and that was incredibly validating for me as I am absolutely my worst critic when it comes to how good a mother I was/am…).

As it happened, Karen and I changed our minds about some of the lyrics that I would be singing so I needed to refresh my memory of a verse with the words “Took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana”. As many of you know, I always carry a red bandana with me as my Duncan talisman when I am performing.  But it wasn’t dirty.  I have always kept that bandana safe and sound because I never want to wash it.  Karen happened to get some dirt on her legs just before we went on stage and we were looking everywhere for a cloth to wipe off the grime.  I grabbed that bandana, and some bottled water – you can guess the rest – Duncan was there in spirit to help us just before show time.  (And I still will never wash that bandana.)  Thank you Karen for that moment.  It was so deeply meaningful to me.

And then I met Ijaaz.  Again, my wiser voice urged me to pay attention to this little eight-year-old East Indian boy.  He came into my store the other day with a couple of his family members (uncle and sister perhaps) and walked up to the counter.  He had the most beautiful, deep-brown eyes, and I immediately wanted to learn more about him.  He and his uncle both drew a card from my little bowl of “Be the Change” cards.  I asked him what his was and he said “teaching”.  He thought he had drawn the wrong card as it was his uncle who was a teacher.  I asked him his name.  “Ijaaz”, he said.  I asked him if it had a special meaning and he said “miraculous”.  His uncle told me that he was a little being who really wanted to be on this earth and suffered many trials and tribulations on his journey getting here. I turned to Ijaaz and told him that I thought he had actually picked the perfect card for him.  We exchanged knowing smiles and then he left.  Although he lives in Calgary, I know I will see him again.  That was a few days ago.  I still feel the warmth of that encounter.  He is already teaching.

What I am finding these days are opportunities to open up to where I have unconsciously kept myself “apart from”.  (I know, you are not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, but tonight it is something, up with which I shall put…).

This is good fodder as I leave for my yearly retreat where I can meditate, enter into silence for a few days, eat and sleep well, and recharge my batteries for my next adventures in life.

(I’ll call you when I get back Marty as you and I have much more to explore! It was great seeing you today.  Thank you for the white roses and the baby’s breath.  You know how much that means to me.)

With love and gratitude,


Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction has been getting a fair bit of attention in metaphysical circles especially since The Secret. While there is much about it all that resonates with me I also have a few beefs or places of disagreement. I am writing about it today to solidify my thoughts and anchor myself in what rings true for me.

Life has been good of late, new career openings, lots of pleasure, a few great guys I am getting to know, and I have opened to working with energy and vibration in a new way, a less cognitive, more intuitive way….hence the re examination of the Law of Attraction. I have always known that passionate desire is the invitation that calls what you want to attract into your life. Desire is easy for me to access. In all the adventures that Buns and I have had desire is a motivating factor…desire for fun, for expansion, for learning, for co-creativity…they all translate into a juicy joyful feeling in my body. When Buns and I set out to adventure, in setting a course for authenticity these other elements naturally appear.

Desire will resonate differrently for each individual. For me it generates joy, perhaps for you its a sense of peace or freedom or wholeness. What is important is to know what feelings arise in you when you imagine having what you want, when you act as if it is here right NOW. That feeling vibrates not only within one’s own body but out into the universe and is essential to the art of manifesting.  It is the spark, the accelerant that the law of attraction,’ like attracts like’ will respond to.
If you say you want something and then focus on how you are not receiving it, or doubt that you ever will, then that is a sure fire way to make certain that you do not receive it. Doubt attracts doubt, fear attracts fear, and worry attracts worry. Here is where we ultimately have the power to either encourage the process or sabotage it! The calling is to feel and generate the vibration inside ourselves, to live as if what you want is already here. In truth it is! The feeling that you would experience in having what you want is available to you in THIS moment. It’s our ego talking when we say; oh… once I get this or that, him or her, THEN I will be happy. Honestly if we keep taking counsel from our egos we will never be happy or satisfied. There will always be another thing, him or her, this or that, that you will think you need to be happy. Picture that carrot dangling at the end of the stick.  So the realization that it is not the thing that brings you joy, but your joy that attracts circumstances that resonate with that vibration, is important to understand.

When we describe our reality as if there is a lack or absence of what we want,  we literally create a vibration that cannot be matched with anything other than lack or absence. It’s like the phrase from A Course in Miracles “you cannot be in love and in control at the same time”. Well you cannot be feeling your lack of something and attract the 'something' you desire into your life at the same time.

So we ask for what we want, and paint a picture of it in order to feel the state it would bring us. This, in and of itself is pleasurable. Make that lover so real you can hear their voice, feel their arms around you and allow the feeling to rise up that matches that open hearted experience. If it’s a certain kind of home you desire, imagine what it will feel like when you open that front door, walk in and feast your senses on this sanctuary of yours. What does it smell like? What are the sounds you hear as you sit by the glow of your fireplace and nourish yourself reading a book, perhaps sipping a glass of rich ruby Syrah? Dream away without attachment, enjoying the process that your creative unconscious mind is offering. It’s less expensive than going to the movies and you get to cast yourself in the lead role. You get to generate all the wonderful feelings that living this way awakens in you.

So far so good, but our ego mind is not a patient and trusting aspect of ourselves. If the universe doesn’t deliver quickly enough we start to get vigilant and obsessive. We shift from this channel of pleasurable imagining and dreaming and onto a conscious mind channel full of doubt. Our ego is constantly on the alert for signs of failure and weakness and happy to re-enforce the belief that you need what you are imagining in order to be happy. And now it looks like you will never get it. And really, says the ego, without it you will never be complete.   Once those thoughts begin you are no longer radiating pleasure and joy. This is your part in aborting the creative process and instead creating a gap or chasm that makes the delivery of your desire impossible.

When you say, I need ‘it’, I don’t have it and without it I won’t be content then you are making your happiness dependent on an ‘it’ outside of yourself. That kind of thinking is out of alignment with universal law. The truth is you already have ‘it’. You proved that to yourself when you allowed your creative self to dream the details of your longing and feel the corresponding feelings that arose. You are whole and complete and have the ability to feel whatever feeling you like. Why would one choose to do anything other than live in a way that raises the feelings one values most? Why would we ascribe those feelings as if they belonged to anything outside of ourselves? I find it so important to keep reminding myself that the ‘it’ doesn’t deliver me joy. It’s my feeling joy that calls the universe’s expression to meet me. This metaphysical reality is totally opposite from what our ego would tell us.

Logically then as I act from joy and vibrate at that frequency, I am having fun. The universe loves fun and brings you more of it in chance encounters, or the oddest synchronicity.  Manifesting isn’t so much a complicated process as one that calls for trust and non attachment and the knowing that you are not waiting for anything. You are living fully connected with your core essence in the now. So you ask for something, you answer with a vibration and feeling generated from source deep within yourself and then you stay open to receiving. You train yourself to do this and glory in the knowing that “you cannot be less than you have become”.  What a great way to live life!

And here is my little beef with The Secret or interpretations of The Law of Attraction that says there is something you are doing wrong if you do not have the exact picture of what you want. It is about the assumption that you are the sole creator involved in this process.

 Here I differ. I know I am not the only player on this stage. There is a universal force at work that complements what I desire, listens and also delivers in ways that I could not possibly comprehend or come up with. That’s the beauty of the universe, the element of surprise and its inherent co-creativity with your own heart's longing. I like this knowing. I do not want to align with the notion from childhood that I can wish things into being by the solo power of my thoughts. That feels somewhat narcissistic to me.

I align with taking 100% responsibility for my part, to generate a vibration of what my heart’s desire would bring me, and live it right NOW!  I open to being surprised and non attached and surrender to the complete trust that everything is unfolding with my best interests at heart. I stay open to the form my heart’s desire may arrive in and I have fun! It’s hard to have fun when you are feeling impatient or feeling a lack. It is far more in alignment with universal law to live fulfilled, curious and flexible to the unfolding that you are part of, yet knowing you are not the only one playing.
 It’s like the dance metaphor that keeps coming up for me. I am not living this life and dancing solo. I am not alone here energetically. When we open to this field of knowing we increase our ability to have human interactions, good ones and challenging ones, that we are able to utilize as conductors toward self- realization.

I LOVE this dance!  Cha Cha anyone?  Buns, we really need to set our next play date!

Authentically Yours,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Live with no time out

I first read this quote by Simone de Beauvoir about a year ago and was quite struck by how much it resonated with me.  What really surfaced as I held its wisdom in my consciousness was that I, in fact, had made quite an art out of living with lots of time out.  When I worked, I worked.  When I played, I played.  And ne’er did the twain e’er meet.

Then, during my cherished two and a half hours each week (my Wednesday-night class) we started to work with evolving ourselves during a time when things are going relatively well vs. using strife, discomfort, pain, grief – find your personal favourite –  to ignite a further maturation or integration of healthy states of being.  It was quite an awakening for me, as I had fully embraced using the painful parts of my life as catalysts for growth.

And equally so, I had fully subscribed to taking time off, which in actuality was a complete disconnect from all that I had accomplished during my years of meditation.  I hadn’t yet come to value what growth I could experience during times of relative ease.

So now I find myself living in one of those times (you know, those kinds of times that you fondly reminisce about… “those were the days”, or some such sigh of wistful recollection).  My new business has been launched successfully (she said with cautious optimism), I am about to perform an opening set for a well-known Canadian rock band (and this has definitely been on my bucket list for years), and I am surrounded by fantastic and supportive friends and family – life is good.  So why should I bother to rock the boat and keep “working”?  I’d always heard, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I need to begin at the beginning.  Just decide that I want to continue to grow.  Recognize that when I drop it, it is a monumental task to pick up where I left off.  I’m learning what active rest is.  I’m learning what it is to work seven days a week, willingly, and still have the time to play.

It’s times like these that are so easily looked over (read wasted) in terms of exploring deeper areas of personal enlightenment. In some ways it seems to take more of a self-igniting than if pain were the impetus.  It’s the self-ignition that sparks me (if you’ll pardon the pun).  I’m quite enjoying sitting with this notion.  And I don’t for a minute believe it will all go swimmingly from hereon in.  What I do know is that I can have a better relationship with “what is” and that, to me, is a priceless gift.

Love Buns

Monday, July 4, 2011

In the Waves

On Sundays, I am particularly fond of two things; rich, creamy lattes in bed reading the Sunday New York Times (shared crossword, a plus) or…I like to dance. I call dancing my church, my form of meditation. Ecstatic free-style movement that while following a wave of musical rhythm only calls for one thing from each person in the gloriously open space I dance in…authenticity. is a perfect place to explore, accept, invite and make contact with oneself. The body knows when you are not being fully present, fully alive and fully honest. It’s hard, impossible actually, to fake dance. It’s an expression of your essence moment to moment, spark to spark and today I revel in the glorious fact that my desire to share the dance authentically and deeply is so clear and strong.  Desire is my fuel and always connects me to my authentic self.

My friend called me this Sunday morning to say she couldn’t make it to dance. She wasn’t feeling well, not contagious sick, just not quite right either. Our conversation reflected what I find most important about this body practice and that is that you don’t just go dance when you feel happy and joyful, you also go and dance when you feel sad or tired or lacking in resources. You make a commitment to dance whatever you are feeling. If you can take any preconceived notion of how something should look or feel out of the equation you invite a kind of co-creativity with the universe that includes your human experience, includes ALL feelings AND opens you to the divine inside yourself. I do not know how to reach that place in me unless I honor what is in the present moment. For me everything is included and that devotion to present time experience is not for the faint of heart.

 Our talk inspired a big yes from my friend…let's call her Jewel because she is such a treasure. So Jewel came and danced her feelings…danced her aches and pains, danced herself open, by being with her body honestly, letting it express in any way it wanted to. The beauty in all this is in listening to one’s own inner rhythm. Most people don’t.  They override their body’s information, especially if they don’t like what they are feeling. It takes practice to allow all feelings, to remain curious about them but not identified AS them. To say …wow...I feel rage, fire in my belly and I will breath into it, be accountable for it and let it pass and shift into whatever is next. It takes courage to not attribute ones feeling to another person and hold them hostage for one’s own experience. And as frightening as some feelings might be to feel full out, (helplessness for instance is not high on my hit parade), the very worst feeling in the world for me is not feeling at all…numb. It’s like the lights got turned off and no one is home.

Our culture delivers a mandate that it’s best to ignore feelings or at the very least evaluate them and get rid of the bad, only feel the good.  We have gotten messages from our families that we still follow dictating which feelings are acceptable and which are not. This is all quite crazy making to a child since a child cannot NOT feel. Their thinking brain doesn’t even develop until around the age of 7.  Saying don’t feel angry, or stop that crying to a child is like saying don’t exist and that is why so many people do not trust their own bodies. If they lived inside their bodies and felt all their feelings they would also feel their original childhood loss and the pain of what they made up about themselves when they were unable to follow the rules of their family system.

My choice and I think it is one that leads to an experience of pure acceptance is to invite all feelings knowing that when I do, I move through them with  grace and ease. I do not identify as the feeling, I simply have it. And with dance I include the physical expression of it. Now here is where it gets tricky for me. On my own I do this with ease.  I open to whatever comes up inside me, breathe, sit with it and it transforms. At the dance I close my eyes and do the same, waiting for the impulse inside that ignites and propels my body into motion.  That means letting go of any fixed idea of what the dance should look like and instead anchoring in simply being true. I won’t move if I don’t FEEL it. I stop and enter myself even more deeply to find that divine spark that is always there in the midst of chaos.  This is self awareness, and with practice can be mastered. The tricky part… relationship. Whether it’s a friendship or a lover, verbal or through dance, a whole other paradigm emerges when you are called to consider another person’s reality as well as your own.

My learning at the moment is around what happens inside me when I express my feelings verbally and the other person does not want to hear, see or receive them. In my head I know its fine, I can give them space to do what they need to do and that their reaction means nothing about me. In my heart I feel the desire for the kind of exchange that I have far less experience with…mutual, unconditional acceptance: human to human.
Spirit to spirit I feel oneness with everyone.
Human to human (and I believe we are here to include the human not avoid it) it gets somewhat murkier.

Humans are reactive, humans are messy, humans make mistakes and that will always complicate things.  I am still in the process of acknowledging that deep acceptance is one of my core values and holds a key that opens me to intimacy. I commit to being the kind of person who can offer it more times than not and I certainly desire to experience it. For me it’s not a just a solo process. Self awareness calls for discipline that one can manage and monitor. In relationship there is my part and the variable…another human being with their own set of needs and reality. Together we create either harmony and union or a cacophony of hell. Mastery in relationship is a far more complicated matter.

We have an altar at Divine Dance that changes weekly and often touches my core. Today it was watery and blue. There was a picture of women frolicking in massive waves, naked and free in the depth of unchartered water. The tail of a cruise ship was just passing out of frame as if the women had abandoned ship, thrown caution to the winds and plunged into the unpredictable depths of the unknown sea. For me, the moment of risking sharing a feeling with another person when it might be perceived as negative is like that dive into the dark vastness of the ocean. There is freedom in it yet also fear.

This is my current curriculum.  It’s hard when I experience my feelings impacting someone in a way that upsets them. I hurt when my feelings are interpreted and walls go up in response. I immediately want to contain my feelings or shift them and yet I know that for me the expression and reception around feeling is my path to intimacy. Clamming up would be like getting back on the cruise ship. That big stable boat is like an unexamined relation-ship…you may not feel the waves anymore but that doesn’t mean they are not there…churning up the waters just below the surface.

In the midst of our iridescent altar today, nestled amongst the waves of shimmery fabric was a large blue crystal. Midway thru the dance I was inspired to touch it…cool…glassy almost wet. While music swayed my hips in rhythmic waves I reached out and felt its smooth geometric face and then touched my throat. I allowed my desire for expression to be felt.  Impulse continued to move me as I brushed my hand up between my eyes to the chakra of intuition and it dawned on me with a zap of electrical charge that my intuition speaks to me when I speak out loud. That may be based on childhood wounds, a place with little sound or human connection and yet it is in fact a truth for me, how I am wired. Instead of seeing that as a limitation I could choose to see it as information and accept this awareness with the same grace that I endeavor to accept all the idiosyncrasies I discover about myself and others. Words and tone are very important to me. 
I discover myself when I speak out loud. I understand another when they articulate their inner world out loud. Some will like that. Others will not.
The dance will go on regardless as we learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe that’s the great mystery, the ambiguity of human interaction.

One step forward… two back, one to the side, lean into real, chaos, stillness,  a gesture to soothe, a moment of bliss, false note, breathing, feeling one’s edges, joining, defining, locating…LETTING GO…and on and on.

Life may seem safe on that cruise ship, stable and habitually solid…until you hit an iceberg.

 I choose the waves, the depths and learning to expand and let go to the ever-present music. The key note as my anchor is to remember that ‘I am ok’ no matter what tune is playing. Or not playing.

And, one can have preferences. I prefer dancing out loud and in unison! It keeps me honest.