Monday, August 29, 2011

Beauty in the Drum

Woke up with the Beatles singing in my head, with only a fraction of the lyrics but on a permanent spin cycle of repetition. Yay say it’s your birthday…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…well its my birthday too yah…..birthday…take a ch ch ch chance….birthday…
Have I given it to you too now?

My untested belief is that if I can make someone else sing it, it will leave my brain alone. 
I have tried to get numerous people to launch into the chorus. My favorite cranky Starbucks barista would have none of it. I live in the West End where people tell it like it is…clear and direct! It’s my mission in life to get him to crack a smile.

“It’s my birthday,” I say, waiting for my iced Americana, having sworn off lattes for the moment.   It’s the little things, after all.    Change your Starbucks habit, change your life, I always say. Well I don’t but maybe I should start, it seems a likely t- shirt slogan.
“I have the Beatles floating around inside my head…you know the song.”
“How many Beatles dearie? And don’t expect me to get in there with them. My head has voices enough.”
I buy the New York Times and settle in to enjoy some sunshine before heading to the beach for my B- Day BBQ. I feel happy and alive.

My friends are amazing. I am so blessed. A spot was scouted and secured early in the afternoon. Purple balloons marked the spot. I brought metallic beads to hang from the trees and cushions and blankets staked our territory on the dog friendly sands at the water’s edge. The food was tremendous including a cake invented in my honor which rocked my no sugar, no starch world and is now called The Tiara after the glistening crystals that adorned my head for the day.  The best part of any gathering for me is the co –creativity.  Old friends, new friends, each bringing their gift of spirit to celebrate and connect.

I was down pouring ( a term used to describe discreetly hiding wine as you fill glasses since you are not actually allowed to imbibe on the beach) on a rich green velvet cloth that covered a standing drum. I thought, I better not spill, since whoever owns that drum will be so upset. When I received the mahogany drum as a birthday gift I felt tears welling up. I have always wanted to drum and judge myself inadequate.
When I expressed my fears, the friend who was giving me the gift said,” If a person has a heartbeat they can drum.” Then with touching grace our eyes met and connected. “And you dear friend, have a huge heart!” I took a breath and softened, deeply touched.

The sun was beginning to set casting luminous shades of amber rays across the waters. The drumming circle was calling in the distance and we made our way over to join in dancing down the sun. I christened my drum rather shyly, much more comfortable dancing with my body that the externalized rhythm of my hands. I am ok with that for now.  I will grow bold as I continue to dare myself to stretch.

As light faded into dark and we adorned ourselves with glow in the dark bracelets I whispered a silent internal thank you. Even my holiday dog, Roxanne had her paws illuminated with florescent colors. She makes me smile with delight! 

You know, I think the west coast has seeped into my bones when I wasn’t looking.  I feel the energetic roots of nature and the elements, of music and harmony among friends, wrap me in a cocoon of contentment.

I anticipate much laughter as I gaze with pleasure at the coming year of transformation and adventure. And I will follow the advice of the immortal fab four on birthdays and take a “ch ch  ch chance…”

And darn if the song doesn’t begin its repetitive refrain again.

Authentically Yours

Monday, August 22, 2011

You know when you know

It’s now eight weeks since my store has opened and there’s something quite magical going on here.  I’ve opened businesses before and their beginnings were often fraught with really high stress levels, no sleep, delays, financial concerns, you name it …

This time it’s a different story.  Of course, there are many of the same challenges, but they don’t feel so insurmountable.  I’ve realized that it is because right now I'm doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  And the first clue for me about that is that I absolutely love it. 

And the rest of the clues lie in the little things.  Tucked away in the back corner is The Rose Room.  This has been a dream of mine for many years … a place where people can come to surrender.  Sit in peace.  Be heard.  Be seen.  Be acknowledged.  And I have attracted some wonderful people who are able to provide that through intuitive readings.  Personally I love giving readings as well, so this has come to fruition from within, and it feels very much in alignment with who I am.

Last week, a woman walked into the store and asked about readings.  She didn’t know which of the four readers that are available would be the right one for her.  I asked her if there was anything in particular she wanted to focus on (that can help point me in the right direction) but she said no, she just wanted a reading.  For some reason, I knew it needed to be me and found myself telling her that I was the right choice – and I didn’t need to defend my answer either.  It just was.  So we made an appointment for the following day.

We settled into The Rose Room, and part way into the reading I was talking about her children.  She interrupted me to tell me she had lost a son.  Although that was not what prompted her to come for a reading, it was the main reason we were such a good match.  Her son had died from cardiomyopathy, as had mine.  I won’t go into to details, but I can assure you that the both of us got a huge healing from this reading. 

This is not the only time that The Rose Room has served its purpose.  Already there have been many people in for readings with either Natasha Rosewood, Janice Savage, Jean Bonvini, Shana Lee Gibson, or myself. When they leave, they do so with more presence.  It is such a lovely transformation to witness. 

All this is not to ignore the fact that I have a fabulous collection of clothing, art, lovingly-crafted jewellery, and other gifts (thanks to my stable of cool hunters) and I love that part as well.  The beauty of it all just adds to the ambience and the sense that yes, this is a place that is worth visiting.  For many reasons. 

I love what I am doing. 

Authentically yours,


Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Art of Being Known

Breathing in thunderstorms, finding great coffee, visiting with friends and family, and soon, a taste of lake filled cottage life…all these activities are an integral part of my day to day life at the moment. I am in Toronto, my disowned hometown, and land of my raucous and well spent youth. As I travel down memory lane, awake to every nuisance of my past, I translate each feeling into present time awareness and realize how very changeable my inner state is here. I feel a mixture of gratitude and happiness as well as painful queasy swirls as I pass by landmarks from my childhood that vibrate with images of who I was. I cannot help but compare that with who I am now. There is something humbling when one realizes just how unconscious one was…and truly, even though I was always a searcher I can see how very limited my perception was. I used to believe that if people did not see things the same way they were not connected. That thought left me feeling disappointed.

Now I start with the premise that everyone has a different map of reality and no two people do see things exactly the same way. I start with the belief that we are all connected in essence and now when I find mutuality and commonality on a form level I am thrilled.

This brings me to today’s musings on the art of being known. I have a man on my mind, or on my heart and I am damned if I can settle on a geographical name for him. For some reason he is difficult to place that way. I reject Costa Rica since that feels like his past and I am just not landing in any kind of solid resonance in terms of anonymous nicknames. If I was to follow an unbridled spark I would name him Paris, since he seems to have inspired a French  fantasy filled with morning light, intimate connection, shared warm chocolate de pain and café au lait as steamy as the details of a Parisian film noir starring Catherine Deneuve and Yves Montand.

He says he desires to be known, to be understood. He does not really know yet that he has met a person…me….whose skill set and desire for knowing others is far beyond the norm. When he states this yearning, which he seems to feel quite deeply, it excites me. I too after all desire to be known. I don’t doubt my tenacity to keep asking until I get it right. And I no longer make the kind of assumptions that I used to when viewing peoples behavioral choices. These days if I don’t understand I ask. But here is the tricky part. Being free of assumptions and having unlimited curiosity and willingness to stretch to include another’s reality isn’t really enough to know them. That other person, beyond their desire to be known has to be willing to disclose and be transparent. In others words they would have to do their part and supply the information necessary in order to BE KNOWN.

In this case I am confused! I have a variety of interpretations about a number of observations. The answers to my musings could be a, b, c, or d….and really there is not allot I can do about another person’s willingness to share straight up, direct,  personal information….especially of the risky kind…the kind that generates intimacy.

 I also used to think that by modeling disclosure first, it would somehow invite the other person to follow suit. I am not sure that is true anymore either. So I remain honest and willing to answer any and all questions, without taking the lead. Not an easy feat for an over functioning leader type who is used to going full steam forward when my interest is piqued.

This time around I want an unfolding, an experience of relationship opening with ease and gentleness. I desire a person who wants to open as well. This time… Je voudrai transparence, to be the default, not the cherry on top. (Pardon what is possibly grammatically incorrect French.) While such openess  may not be for everyone, it is for me. I feel safe and included, seen and known when transparency is a mainstay instead of just an occasional yummy red bite of dessert afterthought.

Who do I know who has that quality in their relationship…no one.   And yet that doesn’t deter me. If the desire to be known is strong enough then transparency is the key component that increases the likelihood of it happening. I remain committed to The Art of Knowing and Being Known, not just on special occasions but as a way of being that invites depth and oneness all the time.
And I continue to imagine what it might feel like if there are ways of knowing and being known that I haven’t even thought of.

Authentically yours,

Monday, August 8, 2011

The sound of silence

For the past six years or so, I have chosen to take a break from my usual frenetic pace and spend a few days with my meditative friends at a retreat. Most of this hiatus is held in silence and I have grown my appreciation for that state immensely since I first, with much hesitation and trepidation, signed on to shut up.

I remember my first experience as an advanced game of charades, where if I needed something, I would make hand signals to someone else there in the hopes that my needs would be met.  I shudder at my physical loudness by doing that at the time.  I actually mimed “I need to bum a smoke” across the room by pointing sequentially at my eye, my knee, my rear end and then made the universal sign of inhaling a cigarette.  I’m sure you get the picture. (I am ever so grateful to my incredibly patient teacher who did not throw me out back then … thank you …)

During my next few years, I gained a lot of ground and competency in the art of silence where I came to the realization that I wasn’t actually stopping myself from talking, but rather entering a refuge where silence was my comfort “blanky” and I was nestling in for a restorative period where I could recharge my batteries.  Each year I grew more eager to spend time there and more daring as to where I would allow my incessant thoughts to take me.  But what the hell would I do if those thoughts became too unbearable or took me to places that I didn’t believe I had the stamina, strength, or boldness to navigate?  (So far, I have always been able to stay with the program and have been astounded at what one can learn by just listening compassionately to one’s self.)

This year, during one of our initial conversations before we chose silence, the difference of noise and sound was discussed.  It was a lovely distinction that I am still able to work with even though I have returned to the normal hustle and bustle of my daily regimen.  My incessant thoughts are noise.  Someone using a chainsaw off in the distance is sound.  What I learned this time around is that I can have silence any time … it’s my relationship with sound and noise that can allow it.  Although I will continue to make my yearly pilgrimage for some years to come, I don’t have to wait for those few days each year to enjoy that coveted quiet.

I can recall on many occasions throughout my life where I tried to create silence through sensory deprivation (floating in the water with my ears under the surface – especially in the Caribbean!) and savouring those moments as though they were fleeting and rare.  I now am able to have that whenever I wish, and I don’t have to jump in the ocean or use ear plugs to get there.

Must run … I have several new songs I have to learn before Saturday … 


Love Buns

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Can't Think Straight!

Pride weekend is a time of pure unadulterated, playful joy.

Everyone seems far more inclined to smile and say hello, genuinely engage in connection and live in a spirit of frivolity.  For me, being surrounded by people declaring their right to be themselves is like an accelerant that sparks lively conversation and passionate expression.

And to top it all off there are fireworks…collective enjoyment of exploding colors and sound…mmmm…I get turned on by it all. It’s like a volcano of excitement bubbles up in me the whole time. And where else can you see such a plethora of chiseled abs un-retouched by Photoshop!
My friend Jewel and I attend the parade every year wearing matching bedazzled cowboy hats (it’s the only time of year my ‘inner fashion police’ allows me to match). We dance at the beach tents after, in a mosh pit of high energy communion. Well maybe we do more than attend…we PARTICIPATE! Sometimes we dive into the ocean to cool off.  Always, we applaud loudest for the men in Olympian high heeled stilettos as they march down Robson St amidst the cheering fans, this year totaling 640,000.
As you may have gathered, on this blog I share what is currently in my heart or happening in my life. That at times includes my friends and while not all like to be written about, I think if you are pals with a writer it just comes with the territory... as long as you change names to maintain anonymity. With that caveat in mind, Charisma joined us this year. We made her buy a cowboy hat too and are thinking of creating a Pride Tribe, just need a wacky name for our playfully dedicated troop of wayfarers. Of course we are always discussing how to add to our brilliance and have decided that next year we need black corsets and combat boots with flowing lace skirts. I would love to add some black angel wings as well just to get in the mood of temptress but then there is the same dilemma of what to do with those billowy plumes when entering the dance floor ( other than poke someone’s eye out). Charisma already had that problem as she maneuvered the crowd with two Pride flags jutting out of her shoulders like fluttering rainbow wings….with sharp points on the end)

Every year my neighbors decorate the sidewalk in front of our building with rattan lounge chairs, huge straw Palapa umbrellas, coffee tables, potted plants and full size BBQ.  Drinks and appetizers are served and the atmosphere is carnival festive.  We 3 never sat down! Dancing during the entire 2 and a half hour parade was not only a workout but an exercise in fanning the flames of pure unadulterated enthusiasm. A new man (who I meet on Wednesday for the first time, hopefully at a sea side dinner by the outdoor fireplace at Dockside) suggested last week that the currency of exchange between people could become enthusiasm rather than money. If that was how we lived I would truly be a billionaire! And Sunday would have been the day we made our millions. Not to mention new friends, as Jewel teased the clearly straight police man who was working the crowd maintaining order. She softly inquired about his handcuffs and suggestions abounded about putting them to good use. Hey, it’s just that kind of day!
Post parade cocktails are part of the tradition, so after frozen margaritas we followed the music down to the water and into the thickest part of the crowd. There, men and women, gay and straight danced with abandon. It was easy to find yet another friend who had been spinning music on one of the parade's floats, her hot pink boa waving in the shimmering heat. As I watched the dance move her from the inside out, my heart flowed with pleasure and pride at her current day freedom with herself. It is a beautiful honor to witness someone you care about, release themselves.
I must say that the attention we tend to garner in this particular dance arena is always a tad inexplicable to me. Is it our glow, our radiant pleasure rippling out that impacts people? I really don’t know. All I can say is I have never had so many men adore me, tell me to never change, to always be the way I am and to keep shining. And yes, I wondered why heterosexual men don’t croon with the same appreciation!
We bumped and bounced and jumped with hip shaking fierceness, beaming smiles the entire time. I love this kind of freedom. No judgment, no evaluation, simply unconditional acceptance for everyone. Yes, yes, yes…I may be naïve. No doubt that is not all that was going on. But I have to tell you I choose to see this way and when I do, I fly with happiness. I feel connected and I feel our sameness as human beings, as spirits. I do love to bridge that gap between human and spirit. I think that is my calling!
I got a quote today from The Universe that comes daily into my inbox. It said “The great thing about feeling deep, profound, earth shaking love is that you can start with anyone.”
Can you imagine if you lived your life looking through a filter, through eyes that knew that statement to be true? I stay committed to this choice.  And it’s in these times that I can’t think straight.  I FEEL.

Authentically Yours,