Monday, November 23, 2015

The New Normal

I was asked earlier this week if I was to give a Ted Talk what would the topic be.  I realized I could only talk about what was currently alive in me and I was being challenged to get very concrete about my core values and determine whether they were truly non-negotiable. 

The recent tragedy in Paris stuck home, close to my heart. Yet as I reeled from the impact I also asked myself why I had not experienced the same degree of devastation when I read about the earlier strikes in Lebanon? Mere weeks earlier 43 people were killed in the Beirut bombing. Twelve days before that a downed Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula was obliterated, with 244 lives lost.  Why was the world, why was I, responding so strongly with solidarity now? 

I had to ask the hard questions, especially since one of my core values was radical honestly. I couldn’t help but notice how much I knew about the lives lost at the Bataclan Theatre in comparison to what I knew about any of the people hit in Beirut. People blamed the bias of media coverage but was that all? Could it be indicative of some form of cloaked racism? 

I have always stood for sameness and equality and dissolving the concepts of ‘us’ and ‘them’ yet here was some shadow hidden from consciousness that begged for observation. And I didn’t believe I was alone in my blindness.
Everywhere people were reacting!! As I watched, read the news and tuned into the internet, even Facebook posts, I heard everything from downright ignorance to racism and even the supposed spiritually awake expressing conspiracy theories. All seemed to be looking for places to lay blame. 

The more I listened to my soul, the more pain I felt at the division this kind of posturing was provoking. Add in the conversations about the Syrian refuges, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and it seemed fear-based thinking was leading the pack. 

What could I do? What was my part? If there is only love or a cry for love, what, inside myself needed changing or healing in order to act as love would?

I know the only answers worth listening to must come from one’s core. I increased my meditation time and listened with my heart.  When people were crying bullets, generalizing about others and radiating fear, my heart would contract. When others, like the newsfeed of the French dad explaining the terrorist attacks to his six year old son and advocating flowers instead of guns, went viral, my heart softened and stretched to include everyone’s pain. Yes, even the recent perpetrators, young people who everyone labelled monsters. They too made my heart hurt.

Tears came at the oddest moments and the biggest pain was feeling hit with prejudice where I least expected it. Seeing the violence toward Muslims and their places of worship here in Canada made it so clear to me that my tolerance for fear-based actions was zero.

Linking Islam with ISIS is as ludicrous as linking Christianity with the KKK. This is not the time to feed ignorance by playing small and cautious but rather a time to stand for our values and express them in our actions. Even in the privacy of our own thoughts.

I do not profess to have answers. The global situation is complex and there is a great need for accountability, the kind of accountability that admits the mistakes of the past and uses that knowledge to learn and evolve. It is not that much different than our responsibility in human relationships. To the extent that your focus is outside of yourself seeing another as the cause of your feelings, your reactions, to that extent will you be contributing to a fear based world.

We all need to turn inward and bring our shadows to the light. Let our souls be advocates for sameness, inclusion and compassion. We are all being called to ask, what can I do individually and collectively as an ambassador of love. And staying blind, out of the fray, is no longer an option. 

Some call the current climate a war and that may actually be true. A revolution really. An internal revolution. In every reaction, every thought, every opinion we voice, we have a choice and how we choose will determine the experience. 
We are either championing the light or feeding the dark. 

Simple. Pain will always push until vision pulls.

Branded and marked,
Authentically Yours,
Tasha aka Marty

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mommies and Poppies

I’m still digesting the news I received last night that my Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. While she is in relatively good shape mentally, and there is the possibility that she will retain her current level of memory for 6 months to 3 years, it’s still a shock. Oh, the things that have been coursing through my brain since last night are many…

I’m thinking this could be cathartic for me, and possibly healing for some of you to just journey with me for the next few minutes as I try, as best as I can, to capture my stream of consciousness, that is threatening to be a debris torrent.

We all thought Mom was forgetting things because she was still in mourning for her life partner of 60 years.  We thought she was depressed and that she would move through that phase eventually. We all miss Dad. We are just all processing his passing differently and we thought her way was through being stuck in her sadness.

Dad loved, and I mean LOVED poppies.  It was his favourite flower.  Because of that, poppies made my top-ten list as well.  One year I remember collecting poppy seeds in the wild and mailing them to him for a Christmas present. He loved that gift.

November and poppies have always signaled “Lest We Forget” to me.  I can remember as a young girl the smell in the air, that cold, fresh, almost snowy smell that heralded the pinning of a tiny felt poppy on my lapel.  Even before I knew what it meant, I knew it was special and something that needed honouring.

I have always felt patriotic and a deep gratitude for my country.  I know my Mom instilled that in me from a very early age. I cry when we march into an Olympic venue with our red and white colours proudly worn. I cried when Justin Trudeau was announced as our new Prime Minister because of the relief and joy I had, realizing we just got our country back. (I also cried the day I got the rejection letter from Margaret Trudeau saying I didn't make the cut to be Justin's nanny!)

Now, in the wake of this latest news of my Mom, (who ushered me into this world when she was but 19), poppies, November, “Lest We Forget”, all have an even deeper meaning than before. I don’t want to forget.  And it saddens me that she may not be able to hold onto the delicious memories of experiences that she conjured up for us that helped to mold us into healthy souls whose values strongly echo her own.

I love my Mom.  (That one’s for you Susannah!)

Now, more than ever, I am committed to living in the present and enjoying each moment fully.  While I of course will contribute to the decision making regarding her next steps, I don’t want to get embroiled in the “it’s going to be so sad when she can’t remember us any more”… another one of those phrases I can’t bring myself to say out loud.

I want to continue to spend as much time with her as I can.  Quality time. Where I’m helpful and where we are both nourished by each other’s presence.

I’m feeling really sad as I write this and at the same time am making friends with the reality of growing old… something that I’ve considered an enemy for many years. I’m beginning to see a glimmer of how being friends with all this can be so healing and helpful.  (After all, I’m no spring chicken either!)

Mom. You are an amazing woman.  I couldn’t have picked a better person to help me navigate through my life. As you have always been there for me, I am here for you too. 

The next 6 months to 3 years are going to be kickass.  I’m coming over.

With love from your favourite daughter,


P.S.  I remember you used to cry when I would sing this song.  I’m not including it because of that, but because I get it now. See you soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Beyond The Mind the Heart Beats

Placing your hands gently on your heart, whisper, I love you.  I trust you. You are beautiful and you are wise. You beat in harmony with the greater plan of love. You are my guiding light.
Finally the words came! The process of dissolving identity is neither predictable nor necessarily speedy and being in this personal transition has made posting on this blog a tricky matter. Whenever I would have a thought to share with you that explained the process I was in I would no sooner start expressing when I would hear…wait…that’s not quite it…wait.
If this was a dream it would look like this. I am in a vast library with floor to ceiling books, knowledge on every subject, every person, every possibility at my fingertips. The spines of the book can be easily read and I just need to think of a topic or question and a book with the answer lands in my outstretched hands. Except then it would morph, become fluid and change. Nothing is steadfast. Everything is in flux.
I relate this to a dream state because in the past this accessing in the Akashic Records was always less about the mind and more about the intuition. And yet when information, even intuitive is then filtered through the mind and that deep seeded human need to make meaning arises, I am being told that now that too calls for transforming. There are ways of knowing without words, without needing to label and make meaning.
My glorious, dependable, safety mechanism, my mind, is dissolving. This is something cellular, energetic, something else…something without words. Until now.
So when the love song to the heart found me I was ready. How do you learn to trust air…trust nothing…trust flying without wings.
I knew the masculine part of me could not. The action oriented, set a goal, make a plan and follow through part of me could not take this leap of faith.
The sacred feminine was having her day and would not be denied. In this communion, energy would flow…or not…the call for me was always the same, open, release, receive. And trust me it did not always feel simple or clear especially when I was opening to stagnant energy that has been stuck in my system for generations.
Is it over? No idea and I’m pretty sure that question doesn’t matter. I am delighted to say that trusting only love is real is bringing heaven sent messages in the physical world. And oh I like that. Sometimes it feels like loving sweetness, other times like being ravaged by bliss. None of it makes sense and I am completely ok with that. Crazy wild synchronicities are everywhere and I can be with such a wider range of energies without reactivity.
The one place my tolerance has diminished is in my relationship to fear. I can no longer sit with fear, not my own fear, nor the fear in another. Not even for an instant.
I have given permission for my life to become what it wants to be.
Take it away heart… take it away dear soul. My hands are in the air.
Tasha aka Marty

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Getting to know your sister in 200,000 easy steps.

Having just returned from a fantastic trip to the UK with my sister, her husband, and some of their friends, I am eager to preserve the memory of it as best I can.  While photo albums and little mementos will help, the experience of connecting with my sister “Gigio”, is one that will remain at the top of the list.

Her husband and friends all sing in a choir so for the first week, their days were full of rehearsals and Evensong every night at the beautiful Ripon Cathedral. That left Gigio and I (Topo) to our own devices.  And speaking of devices, we both decided to wear our FitBits for the trip to track how many steps we covered on our daily treks.  Turns out, we covered over 83 miles on foot which equated to a lot of talking, musing, and of course, giggling. We are, after all, sisters.

Our family of 5, (my being the eldest, and her being the middle child), was always a very boisterous household – 4 girls and a boy. My memories of our childhood are of an active, happy, healthy, creative, and positive time. What I don’t remember so well is nurturing one-on-one relationships with my siblings.  I am closest to my next sister through our singing, and having our kids at the same time.  She and I definitely stay in touch the most and we have always had a lovely relationship (notwithstanding the teenage arguments we used to have over clothes and boys!).  Each of my siblings and I enjoy each other immensely, but my deeper connection with them didn’t really happen until I moved out west and each sibling visited separately a few times. (I am so blessed that at least one of them always makes a point to be with me on the anniversary of Duncan’s passing… and I am very grateful for that.)

Still, this was different.  We were exploring new outer and inner territory together. We talked about everything from relationships to loss to kids to fashion… you name it… we covered it. What I loved about it was finding out just how much in common we had in terms of our likes and dislikes.  We loved shopping in the same kind of stores, had a similar level of interest in the museum side of the trip (e.g. we didn’t read every single word on every single plaque, but we stopped at the things that interested us and passed by those that didn’t). We thoroughly enjoyed the gardens, taking pictures, and walking until we dropped.  And if that wasn’t enough, we would watch Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë miniseries to round out our British immersion.  And of course, we ended our daily agendas with a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio (a.k.a. Topo Gigio). Hence our new terms of endearment.

What I cherish the most is that we have reached a higher and more sustainable connection than it was before… I feel like I really got to know, understand and love her more deeply. I also got to know my brother-in-law much better and that has been a real treat for me as well.  (We’ve still to come up with a name for him!) And last, but certainly not least, I made some new friends that I know I will see again when I visit back east.

I’ve been home for a week now, and I already want to go back!  We were just getting started! I feel like I have found a new friend. Thank you Gigio for an amazing time. I loved every minute of it.

Feelin’ the love, one step at a time,

Topo  xox

P.S.  For those of you who would revel in a good romp around England, here’s a list of some of the places we visited...