Sunday, October 30, 2011

Are you wearing your mask?

After all, ’tis the season … I’m still trying to get the last vestiges of make-up off from last night’s frivolities!

I’m also reliving my recent visit to Ontario to see my Mom and Dad, three sisters and brother, and the rest of the gang. It was a wonderfully wholesome trip – ranging from big family meals, to picking pumpkins at my brother’s farm, to raking leaves (using the Belvedere Flick* method), to playing music until the wee hours of the morning. It seems to me that each visit is better than the last and I am wondering why that is.  At first I thought it was because of something that my family was doing “for” me and then I realized it is actually my doing (or rather, being).  Every time I visit, I allow more of the undefended “me” to show up, and risk having them know me for who I really am – not that “warts and all” type of revealing, but rather one of “I am more and more aligned with my essential Self” where I don’t need to make excuses, defend, or justify myself.  I am comfortable in my own skin, and so they can be comfortable with me. 

At the same time, as I continue to be more often, I am more apt to notice where others still hide or defend their position of who they want us to think they are.  They are not necessarily doing this consciously of course, but I do recognize it now more readily.  It was interesting talking to one of my sisters about it … she happened to mention that one of her friends had made a disparaging remark to her and I could tell it had hurt her feelings.  I gently suggested that perhaps the remark had more to do with her friend than her.  I invited her to look underneath her friend’s mask, as it were, and see if she could see something different.  What was her friend really saying?  What was she throwing out at my sister to ward off any discovery my sister might make about her?  In the end, while she was pretty entrenched in her hurt, it was an opportunity for me to model what I espouse … truth.  Or at the very least, getting to it. Although it may not have registered as an epic moment for my sister, for me it was a tiny but significant stand that I took as me.  I was naming “what is” neutrally and with the potential of healing a hurt or educating another person about me.

So what was my disguise last night?  (Yes, I can hear you wondering.) Well, I didn’t wear a mask but I did use copious amounts of eyeliner and mascara and hairspray and went as a reasonable facsimile of Stevie Nicks.  And yes, I sang a Stevie song (Landslide), and then settled in to watch everyone else revel in their masquerades.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Authentically yours,


*a wrist action used with the rake to cause said leaves to jump from the lawn onto the tarp.  Originally developed by the landowners of Belvedere Place, it has become a trademark move.  (I'm thinking it would make a great band name ... just think ... "Live at the Orpheum!  The Belvedere Flick!  One night only!)  Okay.  I'll stop now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catching my Breath

Have you ever noticed that when you truly surrender to what is, stop trying to get or grasp, trust that all is well and that everything occurring has your best interest at heart, then, the very things you want, seem to effortlessly navigate themselves toward you?
I imagine floating down a river, the current is the universal force for expansion with a creative knowledge all its own. While the river is connected to source any attempt to figure it out is like stepping outside of the river and examining it under a microscope. You may identify its parts but never feel the enormity of its loving force because your perception of connection with the whole has been severed.
But back into the river …

As I float, I reach overhead…arms akimbo…languishing in the stretch of the present moment. If I was to make a sound it could be the ahhhh of exhaling, of letting go. And this is not navel gazing for the sake of navel gazing! The river is going someplace.  I am called to action but it is the action of the conscious, soft-hearted warrior.

 My definition of warrior is a person who hunts their own heart. To me this is a lifelong task, easier on some days, harder on others, but always with the intention to extend love to others AND to myself.
Just having this knowledge that we are called to surrender to the deep wisdom of our own hearts in every present moment doesn’t mean it happens. But what can occur consistently is acceptance, so that even if you follow a contraction, negative thought, limiting belief or get reactive, even then, grace is waiting for you.

 Grace is always waiting to envelope you and simply accept you in all your humanness. It’s only call is to invite you back into the river, back into connection with yourself and to the knowing that you are and always have been, always will be, connected to source.  When you connect to source inside yourself you are connected to source inside everyone. That is the energetic web that ripples out and joins us all. The realization, the choice, the ability to see the beauty in loving our flawed humanity this way, is breathtaking.

 I have set a pretty high bar for myself in terms of ethics and behavior.  I am learning to include acceptance and tolerance for myself and others when I miss the mark. Accountability for mistakes, now that’s important, that is in the flow of the river. Criticizing oneself or others for making mistakes, interpreting them and making assumptions about what they mean, well that is definitely on the banks of the river and sets you up for an experience of separation and feeling not good enough.

You do feel separate when you view the river from its banks… and yet who choose to step out?

Candace Pert, who wrote a book called ‘The Molecules of Emotion’, is a neurophysicist who talks about the body/mind connection. She describes how information is exchanged between the brain and the body through various information substances called peptides. These peptides fit into our cells like a key into a lock and then a message is sent to the receptor on the cell itself, moving eventually to the brain and consciousness. There are specific peptides for every emotion. This is huge! It means that it is not our will, our conscious mind that has direct power over the body but that it is the emotions forming this network between mind and body that influences both. 

All this sensory information undergoes a filtering process that governs what we pay attention to; it’s determined by the quantity and quality of the receptors. And guess what, while there are many receptors for emotion in certain areas of the brain they are also found throughout the body and in all the organs and also in large concentration in the belly, just below the second chakra. Those of you into energy centers know that the second chakra is the home for all our human feelings. Can you tell I am excited!

I would love to weave this science back to the metaphor of the river. Life will always evolve. Changes happen, circumstances produce various levels of anxiety and that is when all our defenses want to kick in. If you choose to feel the feelings under the sensation of your anxiety or defense from an accepting state of curiosity, then you are re-wiring yourself. You are creating new networks inside your body that will increase your ability to have choices about how you view your experience AND what you feel about it.

You can choose the meaning you attach to an experience and while you can’t control feelings, if you actually let yourself just have them, they will come and go without drama or getting stuck. It’s the thoughts, the interpretation you make about the feelings and what they mean that creates more and more peptides of the reactive feelings themselves. For instance feeling angry and then judging yourself as bad for feeling angry creates a causal loop that contributes to the creation of more anger peptides. And yet, deciding which feelings are good and which are bad, is not the answer. Feeling them without interpretation or blaming yourself or anyone else, is essential to accepting them and inviting flow.

You can have your feelings, you are NOT your feelings. You can have your thoughts, you are NOT your thoughts. When you breathe into what is, in the body and stop attributing it to something outside yourself, then you can relax and accept. That state of grace automatically shifts the feeling (how can it not) and that shifting creates wiring, pathways and more peptides that will enhance your life experience. You are in the flow, not working at fixing a flow that is designed to support you. 

As I invite the feeling of inner connectedness I am inviting alignment with creation and then so many opportunities flow toward me it’s impossible to not notice and make the correlation. Surrender to what is, life feels great…fight it, control it, judge it and end up anxious, exhausted and depleted. That’s a BIG current you are taking on…choosing to try to manage. Far easier to go with it and get curious about where it will take you.

 Certainly in my experience I tend to move toward places I hadn’t even yet thought of. That’s exciting. And doesn’t feel like work at all.

While outside the river, which is my body and home, the perception of my separateness is heightened. In the river, I can anchor to a sense of deep remembering that is always supportive and inclusive.

One of my favorite thoughts that lives only in the river is ‘Who knows if this is good or this is bad?’  Breathing into that thought, opening to not knowing the answer but trusting what will unfold, will lead to delightful and synchronistic events and encounters. It is the body invitation, like a prayer, that invites more flow.

 In essence this is the theme for Buns and Marty’s adventures. Invite the unfolding and the creative force of the universe, while floating in our rivers, unique individuals, yet both connected to source.

The water is soooo delicious when felt this way. I guess I am saying I am so delicious when felt this way.

See you at home.

Authentically Yours,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I think I’m back.

People who have known me for a long time associate me with cooking.  With a passion.  I used to love throwing big dinner parties, often with a theme, and always choosing recipes I had never made before because for me, that was living on the edge.  I also liked inviting combinations of people that you wouldn’t normally see together.  It always made for lively evenings full of provocative conversation and occasionally unlikely friendships would be forged.

Since Duncan passed away though, my druthers for hosting anything involving this type of effort waned dramatically.  I think part of it was, I didn’t have the energy for it and part of it was, while I used to enjoy spending a whole day by myself getting ready for these soirées, I was avoiding spending long periods of time on my own, where the lingering sadness of his departure would take centre stage in my mind, and I didn’t want to invite that into my day.

In the past three years, I have happily been involved in others’ get-togethers and I would don my apron and cook to my heart’s content in their company and in their kitchens.  In a way, I had gone back to putting training wheels on my bike, and up until now was reluctant to take them off.

Something happened this Thanksgiving.  All of a sudden my old penchant for going all out came back.  I was offered my friend’s beach house (with a full kitchen and a beautiful dining room overlooking the ocean), and I went to work.  I had my son Sean and his partner, her sister and partner, a surprise guest that my son brought (turned out to be my nephew freshly landed from Toronto), three of my single girlfriends, and two “orphan” guys who I knew would appreciate a home-cooked meal.  I had a great time puttering at the stove, creating the ambience, wrapping little surprise gifts for everyone, and at complete peace with being alone, doing what I love to do.  With Duncan at my side, buoying me in spirit, I was in heaven.  With Sean sitting with me at dinner, being his usual funny and charismatic self, I was a pretty happy Mom and friend.

I have a great life.  I am so thankful.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


YES is such a powerful word. Yes is movement, affirmation, invitation. Yes is a promise to hope and open to possibility….even and especially, when you are stepping into the unknown. Yes is a demonstration of faith that there is inherent good in every choice if you fully embrace its learnings.

I am noticing that as I make space in myself by allowing emotions and revelations to arise, as I, without judgment release them, invitations present themselves in front of me, fluttering like flags. They are not solid opportunities to co-create until I say YES. That is the interesting part to me.

If you allow your mind to dictate what you say yes to, you could get paralyzed in the fear of not knowing all the steps. Ego mind loves to know the steps in advance. If you listen to the heart, say yes based on desire, then you are called to take one step at a time, each appearing only after you have stepped into the next new spot. It’s like the view changes as you move forward and you can only see your next choice of possibility clearly, from that new vantage point.

So here I am with my focus on how to express all my gifts, to ripple them out into the world, to co-create fulfilling possibilities that not only generate excitement but income as well and I can only hear the word YES.
Yes to trusting people, yes to trusting myself, yes to trusting that what I have to give will be received by those who are wanting to receive it and yes even to the fear or feelings that are uncomfortable. I know this all sounds very vague but for me it’s real. I promise to supply more details as what I am saying yes to moves into concrete form. For the moment I wanted to share the awareness around how it makes me feel to be stretching beyond my comfort zone in my professional work.

I have posted a lot about doing this personally and it’s so clear to me that I can no longer separate the personal from the professional. I am called to relate to people that I am to work with in the same vein that I relate to friends or lovers….sharing depth of spirit, values and vision.

Yikes…the plot grows thicker. While to my ego mind it may seem that I am really narrowing my playing field in this attempt at such precise mutuality, to my heart and soul it is a liquid honey.
 Surrounding oneself with a like minded tribe committed to a similar path only makes sense, at least  if I am to feel ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ And oh, I so love to feel that. Whether it’s two people in intimacy stretching for a glimpse of divine union or a group of co-workers who agree to live with radical honesty in both professional and personal situations, the desire for this depth of connection and integrity fills my every cell.

Feeling the WE is so exciting to me!

I am currently working with a part in myself I am not so crazy about. I was talking to Buns a few weeks ago about it, tracking my judgment of this energy in me and she asked about my father. The feeling in me is a kind of sharp toned urgency when I am late or feeling responsible for many details, many people, as if the fate of the world is on my shoulders. In those moments my tone can be abrupt and hold an almost military ‘listen up ‘ kind of quality. Now it is great skill when called for. It is what allows me to pull together a crowd and hold space for hundreds of people. And it’s totally fantastic when there is a crisis or state of emergency. I have no problem leading and I can lead big but there are moments when this skill kicks in and I begin to organize people and it’s entirely NOT necessary.

 My dad had a short fuse, a loud booming voice that scared people and often even made them cry. I was always determined to never be like that. I have always said to those closest to me, that one of the most important things for me is that they know I would NEVER hurt them on purpose. And now, here I was in touch with how my version of that same energy that was in my dad was impacting people in my life. It wasn’t pretty and yet I would never understand the energy in me if I didn’t understand it in him!
 Here is the cool thing about revelations, once you connect the dots and the light goes on, it’s like a ton of information floods in. As a deep sadness welled up in me I saw my dad in the war, 16 years old, just a kid really and he was in a state of crisis…panic. His buddies were racing ahead as bullets rained on them. They were to move as a unit, Dad tried to gather up equipment, he lagged behind.
They died, he didn’t.

The psyche is a wonderful thing. It will create a guard, a defense to ensure you never feel the pain of the original wounding. In my dad’s story his feelings would have been helplessness…powerlessness…guilt, all based on a sense of failure and ultimately a belief that he was somehow responsible. He created a guard that sounded like a dictator to keep things and people in check, in order to never feel those feelings again.  My dad died years ago yet the feelings live on…in me!

Those same feelings are wired into my body memory. That’s how it goes. The losses that our family does not feel and grieve and heal are systemically transmitted to future generations. This can go back one generation or several, all the way to ancient ancestors. If you do not grieve fully your losses, they will be passed on.

The value of opening to this knowledge is that when you do, you can feel what they could not and actually stop the defense pattern from being passed on. The defense pattern here was that sharp barking voice telling people what to do. I thought my dad was mean and a rage-aholic. I could feel now what was driving that defensive posture. I felt such compassion for him.  That was huge for me. Understanding and forgiving my dad, loving the helplessness in me and forgiving myself, knowing it was not at all who I was but rather what I was carrying, created such space inside me, I felt serenely emptied. A deep kind of peace.

Allow everything inside to come up, feel everything, forgive it all and let go…YES.

And now all these very cool opportunities are appearing waiting for the word to come in.
My yes comes with an anchor to MY essence and values.

I know as I let go of old wiring, ancestral wiring, I create space for magnificent possibilities. I can choose what to replace the old program with. And I continue to learn to love a part of me that holds this feeling of helplessness. I am not quite finished but I don’t have to hide it from myself any longer.

Helplessness and powerlessness are not a sign of weakness. Feeling those feelings is one of the strongest things I have ever done. I am feeling what my dad could not, and I gratefully let it all go with ease.


Authentically Yours,