Naked -Wise Project 2018- #TenaciousTuesday

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Last week I wrote about a workshop that was gifted to me called the Gift, facilitated by Integrity Workshops here in Edmonton. I was really excited about the tools I had gathered to move forward with me on my journey and how I was committed to setting clear intentions, standing in my own personal integrity and being in charge of the experiences I wanted to have in my life. I was expecting to have a much different week, but I experienced a great deal of discomfort, sadness and emotional mood swings. It wasn’t till late last night that I was able to see the gifts amid my struggle.

I have been struggling with something in my personal life that has taken up a good chunk of my head space and after finally reaching out to a trusted friend for some much-needed perspective I felt a bit renewed but at bedtime the monkeys in my head were talking very loudly and I found myself being bullied into feeling bad about myself because what I see as fearless tenacity, society often refers to as crazy, brazen and entitled. How dare I ask for the things I want, how dare I fight for them, how dare I expect them? They say I am messy with all my wants and all of my feelings. I am supposed to take what I get and smile and say thank you. Do not ask for more, that is rude. Why would I imagine that I am deserving of all these things? What makes me so special? I am just a foolish woman, outrageous, irrational, way too wild to fit into civil society.

How dare I?

How dare I not?

I decided to do a guided meditation before bed to quiet the noise and it was something Deepak Chopra said that that soothed my soul “If you want love in your life you need to give love, if you want kindness in your life you need to give kindness….” This was not new knowledge for me at all but in that moment, it was an affirmation.

Society would like us to believe that we only love people that love us back, we are only kind to people who are kind back. It is no wonder that we are living in a time of political unrest, an us vs. them society. We withhold the healing power of love and kindness because of the expectations we hold that we give to receive.

In that moment I realized that in my week of discomfort I was receiving the greatest gift. The unconscious was becoming conscious. I was becoming aware of the old vows, contracts, promises and beliefs that kept me small, that kept me quiet and most of all kept me from growing and giving the best of myself for fear of appearing”too much”. My self saboteur is a mean bully and has always been there whispering in the quiet corners of my mind, but I was somewhat powerless her when I was not fully conscious of her. Now as she roared at me, I hollered back.

One of our most paramount misconceptions I have had is that life is happening to us when in fact life is happening through us. There is a responsibility in that. Everyday we talk about wanting change, but we declare ourselves powerless. I think one of our greatest fears is realizing that we are indeed very powerful. We hold these outdated beliefs about the world around us and our automatic default is to follow along instead of lead. When we heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our lineage; mothers, fathers, grandmothers. Many of us come from backgrounds of generational trauma, abuse, addiction, poverty or some sort of struggle. Healing is not comfortable or convenient, but it is a fierce catalyst in living a beautiful life and it is an amazing gift to give to future generations. There is a formidable amount of power in that. What we create in our own lives not only matters now, it will matter to our sons, daughters, grandchildren and on and on. To say we are powerless is really just shunning our responsibility and in some instances we pretend not to know because we perceive it as easier. We choose to go through the motions three hundred and sixty-five days a year and call it a life. That will not be my choice. When you know, you cannot un-know.

“No matter who our ancestors are, our own personal and monumental task is to become the best person that we can possibly be – someone in whom our own descendants in times to come can take great pride and find inspiration.”
~ Laurence Overmire

I believe people are inherently good, we come into the world that way at least and we also carry the beliefs, attachments, contracts and vows of our fore families and possibly past lives if you are a believer of such. Add on to this our own learned beliefs, behaviors, traumas and struggles there is rightfully a whole lot of shit in our piles. Now pile on expectations, media and societal norms and we feel the need to constantly hide who we truly are to fit a mold that was not made for us. We are told how to dress, how to act, how to get the job, get the girl/guy, appear ten pounds thinner, enhance our breasts and diminish our free thinking. Love, kindness and vulnerability are things the world needs to survive but we are taught that they are weaknesses. They will hurt us. So we suit up in our protective armor daily and call it “being strong” We shun human connection, the very thing that can heal our world.
If we don’t do the work, if we feel powerless, who will step up? Who will we allow to lead us and where we they lead us to?

None of us are safe from what is happening in the world right now. Hate and division is killing people at an alarming rate.

When you know, like I do, it is the end of denial and as I said it comes with a fair bit of responsibility and this almost insane need to be honest, not just with myself but with others. It may not bring me the victory in any popularity contests, but it will help me reclaim power over my own life, heal and transmute old wounds that have been carried forward generationally and alter the path for myself and my family going forward, interrupting generations of trauma and struggle that created restraints, beliefs and blocks. That is how an entire lineage progresses. There is no denying how fucking powerful that is and no amount of noise in my head can convince me otherwise.

When I am not standing in love; love for myself, for others, for creation, for the world, I am sitting in fear. Fear keeps me small and insignificant, it keeps me from taking risks and having the joyful experiences I want to have in my life.

Am I too much? Am I bold? Am I brazen? Am I entitled? Do I want too much? Do I expect too much?

DAMN RIGHT I DO!!!

I am learning to trust in myself and the work I am doing in the world.

I feel a bit like I am standing here naked, stripped of all I once believed to be true. Stripped of vows and contracts and burdens that were bestowed upon me unknowingly. I stand here naked yet more powerful than I ever thought imaginable.

I am expanding, learning to fill my space and to stop hiding behind fears, insecurities and outdated beliefs. I am worthy and what I bring to the table is valuable. I am doing work that is challenging me and it makes me question everything and even when it is hard and everything feels awful I keep showing up, heart open and vulnerable. My  courage and strength surprises me.

The noise I now hear is my ancestors cheering for me. My passion and desire is needed.

Find your power. Stand in your integrity. Create the life you want.

xo

“here’s to being your ancestors’s wildest dream”

~ evyan whitney

 

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SO WHAT (I’m Still A Rockstar!) Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I had an uncomfortably amazing experience this weekend at a course called the Gift through Integrity Seminars designed to help me (and others) identify and break down barriers that prevent change and keep me from leading my best life both personally and professionally. I was interested in learning how to establish and support inspiring relationships at home, at work and in my community.  Though I could personally identify areas like ego, vulnerability and trust as some of the limiting dynamics that create obstacles in my relationships,  I actually went in very unaware of some of the automatic boundaries I put in place to discourage new connections.

For those of you who know me, you probably would never describe me as shy or introverted and you might possibly be surprised to learn that I have discovered that I have developed some habits that may say otherwise. I walked into a room of thirty strangers and I felt small and more than a little bit scared. Those old beliefs of “am I enough?” ran through my mind at lightning speed. When I am communicating with my tribe I often feel like a bit of a badass, completely at one with myself and confident in who I am and also wide open to learn from the empowering and resilient people I have called into my life. In a room full of strangers I felt none of that, however, what I recognized immediately in the discomfort is that I was being gifted the amazing opportunity to grow and expand and free myself of the restraints of my outdated belief system.

My late husband Kirk was a huge presence in every life he touched. He was not a large man physically but he took up a great deal of space in the world. He was loud and loved to be the center of attention. His sister made a comment to me a short time after his death that I was funny but she had never noticed, it was attributed to me being around Kirk for several years and he was very funny.  I always knew it was more than that.  I was always funny and I became accustomed to standing stage side and being my husbands support. I shrunk to fit into the spaces that were left over. I was shocked to learn about a year before I lost Kirk to the devastating affects of depression, trauma and anxiety that he always felt alone in a room full of people. The person who myself and many others came to know and love as the “life of the party” struggled immensely in a room full of people, feeling completely alone and even talking about it made him cringe. His need to be loud and seen and heard stemmed from a great deal of fear and anxiety. I allowed myself to adapt to being in the background and after his death it was challenging to step into my own, expand and fill my space in the world.

“Change is inevitable.

Growth is optional.”

`John Maxwell

 

Standing in a room full of thirty strangers I could feel myself shrinking into the space and attempting to become invisible. So many times I have declared my need to be seen and heard and I found myself in the opposite position and though  I didn’t like it, it gave me a tangible place to launch from.

I was enamored with our facilitator Rae-ann, she is sharp as a tack, a powerful influence(r), and has the ability to cut through bullshit in seconds. I always say that the words we use matter so I was captivated by her ability to quickly point out how often myself and my course mates were using words like but and talking in the third person to diminish the impact of our words. She became our anchor in a storm of emotions that if left unattended may have had the ability to sink us. Her sharp intuition and commitment to redirecting us when we faltered encouraged us on a path of progression and expansion.

There were times that I deliberately chose to sit back and listen, I feel that we don’t always learn a lot from talking but we can benefit a great deal from listening to the experiences of others. Listening is progress for me as I spent a great deal of my life listening only with the intent to reply. Listening to learn is a bit of a super power.

I tasked myself this past weekend to notice the areas where I was experiencing discomfort. I was in a state of discovery and better yet rediscovery and that disquiet was an advantage that would quickly lead me to my areas of resistance so that I could make the conscious choice to make space for new possibilities.

“We cannot become what we want to by remaining what we are.”

~Max Depree

I have chosen to recommit to standing in my integrity and to set clear intentions about the types of experiences that I want to create in my life.

The thirty strangers that joined me in that room were and will continue to be an integral part of my healing, ascension and growth. Their inspiring stories, wisdom, fearlessness and energy have given me new purpose.

I have made mistakes. I have not gotten that thing I really wanted. I have pushed when I should have pulled and pulled when I should have pushed. I have sabotaged myself and my happiness on more than one occasion. I have under valued myself. I have chosen comfort over connection. I have limited myself with beliefs I didn’t even know I had.

So What!

I’m still a Rockstar.

In the words of Rae-Ann Wood Shchatz “Now what?”

It is what I do now that matters.

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Don’t Dream it’s over- Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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When I was a little girl a rose was always a symbol of love to me. I lost my Dad to a heart attack at 39 years young, but he had a red rose tattooed on his arm with his and my moms’ names.

I have always loved roses, especially the wild pink roses that grew near my grandmother’s house. I love to look at photographs of roses, no two the same but each delicately exquisite, stunning and alluring. I learned pretty quickly that they were surrounded by sharp thorns, and many times as a child I would prick my fingers or hands while attempting to pick the perfect rose but even though when grasped they would draw pain, the rose held so much beauty and significance to me that the thorns would not keep me from them, much like love.

Like a rose, love should be cherished, cared for and nurtured. All love is beautiful in its own way and like the rose, some love matures and expands in the summer heat, only to fade and lie dormant when the frost comes. The thorns we bear strengthen us, allowing us to see just how precious and tenuous love is.

Love can make us radiant with joy but a love lost can leave us depleted and struggling.

Several years ago I planted rose bushes all along the side of my hose, I imagined my children and their children enjoying them the way I did as a child at my grandmother’s house, making bouquets and homemade perfumes and relishing their wild scent. They dislike them, the bushes have grown large and they feel attacked by the thorns but one day I suspect that they will come to appreciate their resilience and the things their beauty expresses such as promise, hope and new beginnings. They are teenagers so they are well aware of the traits the thorns represent, loss, defense and thoughtlessness. The rose is subtle and the thorns offer it a bit of protection but some people will never get to experience the true splendor of the rose simply because of the annoying thorns.

As humans we have our own thorns, we often protect ourselves from being seen and loved for all that we are because we keep parts of us inaccessible.

Our fears have fears and we put all of our outer beauty on display while protecting the parts of us that we feel will keep us safe.

The summer after my husband passed away I had almost completely lost interest in my roses and any and all of the pretty flowers around my house that once brought me such easy joy. Nature took care of them without my unsteady hand but I was doing dishes one day in the fall and glanced out the window at the bushes. We had already had snow and the last of the leaves had abandoned the trees but this particular day was abundant with sunshine and it held the promise of something new. I noticed a lone yellow rose stretched towards the beaming sun, basking in its glow, looking as healthy and vital as a spring daisy. I dropped what I was doing and went out to inspect it and take a picture. In the days and weeks to come I inspected it often and it became a bit of enigma to me. I had completely neglected that rose, failing to provide it with my love or care; and nature had been merciless yet despite its bleak circumstances that yellow rose seemed unaffected and continued to spread joy and delight. At a certain point I lost track of the rose but I do recall going out in the middle of a snowstorm to snap a picture and it still shone bright, its stem had grown long, catapulting it away from the rest of the bush and leaving it without the protection of thorns. I was allowed to admire it, smell it and touch it without the worry of pain. It seemed like a small thing but that single yellow rose that was able to grow and shine, regardless of the surrounding conditions spoke to my heart.

We have a lot to learn from nature.

“Beauty and seduction, I believe, is nature’s tool for survival, because we will protect what we fall in love with. Louie Schwartzberg”

 

In the past several weeks I have had some growing discomfort surrounding the subject of fears, insecurities and relationships. In a conversation with a friend on the weekend I revealed that maybe I did not have my shit together as much as I imagined because I started to realize that there are areas that I struggle with and when I see others building imaginary castles around their hearts and living from their ego instead of their soul it suddenly became like a mirror for me and I started to see that the very things I didn’t want for myself were being reflected back at me.

 

Our egos would have us believe that love is a trap, but it will also make us feel that we are incomplete without the love of another. Ego believes that love is a dangerous game; it threatens us because conflict and rejection can cause us great hurt. So can commitment, surrender, and trust. Great pleasure is a huge threat to ego. A great love is just too much for ego to handle, it feels intimidating and when the idea of love begins to steadily rise the ego acts out of discomfort in ugly ways because it knows, there is no room for ego when love rules our hearts.

 

Love lures us towards goodness, encouraging us to be kind and sensitive at all times. When acting from love we create beauty and joy always.

 

True love is fire. It begins when two sparks unite and it rises in our hearts beginning a slow burn that gradually melts away disconnection, walls and space. When two souls come together in pure love we become very aware of the effects of our connection. Not only are we affected, the space between us becomes electric and our flames spread like wildfire, touching everything around it.

The fire of love and desire needs fuel to continue to burn and constant care is needed to tend that fire.

 

I recently went to a workshop about the benefits of pure silver and the doctor that was giving the talk said that if you want to purify silver you need to put it into the hottest part of the fire and the impurities will steadily melt away, leaving you with the purest form of silver. Amazingly LOVE does the same thing with us, when we allow ourselves to be exposed to the purest fire of love, it will burn all of our defenses away, leaving everything that we are not in ashes and exposing the purest version of ourselves.  A vulnerable, courageous and authentic human being.

No way says ego.

No friggin way!

Ego views this as a catastrophe and will pull out all the stops to maintain the person it thinks you are. This push/pull creates all kinds of fears surrounding trust and doubt, even using the past to take fuel away from the fire. Dangling things like freedom and individuality in front of you like a choice, as if you can only have one or the other.

Just as the rose needs roots to grow, so does love, we need to be rooted in one another , and most importantly firmly in ourselves so that we can continue to grow and bloom continually, giving weight to all that we are as individuals while complimenting the beautifully unique qualities of our partners. Maintaining our individuality is not only compatible to unity, I think it is essential for a healthy union.

At the beginning of our love affairs we create a private space where sparks fly and everything is sacred. Eventually as the fire in us begins to grow we expose our love to the elements and that is when things get interesting. We let the world in and all of the sudden, everything changes. Sometimes that it is an amazing thing and sometimes it is not but not all loves are meant to last forever.

All love is meant to teach us in some way. When we lose love we often feel like we have failed somehow and the truth is love is not a losing game. If we truly loved another human being, the memory in that, the experiences and the growth from that will live inside us forever, long after our hearts are stitched back together and our tears have dried up.

Love and ego will be a constant battle in our lives and will affect all of our relationships. Offering the truest version of ourselves to another, whether it is in friendship or romance, with no guarantee of anything in return is really scary. We will struggle with it and sometimes we will get it all wrong but we are trying and that makes us wonderfully human and perfectly flawed.

The choice to love and be loved is a courageous one that can take us on magnificent journeys if we allow.

 

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

 

~Crowded House

 

You’ve got a friend- Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I love people that understand their place in the universe, that embrace their darkness and nurture their light. They hold all of themselves in high esteem and understand that all of the struggle, tragedy and despair that helped them to evolve is not something to hang onto but something to grow from. What transpires when a person learns to love themselves where they are and understand the vulnerable yet beautiful nature of dualism is something amazing to witness. Those are the people that make the best of friends because they support, challenge and love you, just as you are. They have no need to change you or to hurt you. They inspire you with their honesty and resilience and even if they are not where they would like to be on their journey, they have no interest in pulling you backwards so they can catch up. Those are the most authentic of all friendships and if you have even one of them you are blessed. Cultivate and develop a kind, supportive and loving relationship with yourself and the right people will come into your life. Friends get to see the very best of us and the very worst of us but the most incredible thing is to have friends who actually see us.

Friends come and go, it is reality. I used to say it was a sad reality but that is not always the case. Some relationships are not meant to last forever and some simply shouldn’t. The beautiful thing about aging and maturing is continuing to learn, evolve and grow and the realization that not everyone belongs in your life and that is OK. The people that are meant to be in your life will be, always, at some point, if they are meant for you. No friendship is an accident, all friendship teach us in some way if we are open to the lesson.

“No friendship is an accident.” – O. Henry

I think of the friendships that we attract throughout our lives and why and what we get from them and how when we are not in a good place with ourselves we vibrate at a lower frequency and we attract the same into our lives.

I was talking with a friend of mine this morning. We have been friends for ten years but things have not always been easy for us. Though we experienced some of the best times of our lives together we also were experiencing struggles. We struggled as mothers, as friends as women and as wives. There were times in our friendship that we were split wide open and I think we sort of fed of the mad toxicity of it all, pasting band aids on each others gaping wounds and calling it friendship. It wasn’t healthy and at a certain point our journeys continued down separate paths, crossing several times but always with a bit of trepidation. When tragedy struck my friend dropped everything to just be with me. My people came, my people reached out and the one thing I realized in the last little while is that the reason her and I found our way back together is that even when we did not love ourselves enough to want or demand the very best for ourselves we always wished the very best for each other. We supported each other even if at times we did so quietly from afar and I think we needed that time to reflect inward and invest in ourselves.

As we grow our friendships either evolve or they do not. I have a very eclectic group of people that I call my friends, people that celebrate my victories and hold my hand when I am defeated, that love me, understand me and challenge me and never want or expect me to be anything but me. I feel like I am at this point in my life that it feels really good to not worry who is with me or against me and to know for certain that the “my people’ only want the best for me always and I for them. When they talk behind my back it is too share share my triumphs, and that is a great feeling.

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” – Henry David Thoreau

I know I am a lot, to my friends, thank you…truly. The last several years have been difficult for me and I am in a place where I am finding myself, spreading my wings and seeking freedom and joy and authentic connections.

Connections are important, we do not need a large group of friends but it is important to foster connections with people that allow us to be ourselves but also gently encourage us out of our comfort zone.

I have thought a lot about what it means to be a good friend and I admit that there are times that I have been a terrible friend. I was a shitty friend to myself and others.  There are very simple rules to relationships that encourage all of the important things that make them thrive. The fantastic Brene Brown calls it BRAVING and it is an easy reminder for all of us.

To all my friends and frenemies have a fantastic day. Xo

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Waves -Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

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I had a conversation with a friend the other day that has been facing a serious health battle; she was not only facing her battle with magnanimous grace she had made the decision to live every single day to the fullest. I am so proud of her and many other of my old friends who are facing the blackness of grief and trauma and those that are struggling with their health and facing their own mortality, what I am seeing time and time again is though we have been dealt unimaginable circumstances the universe has also handed us a gift and in that gift is a wisdom that perhaps we were just not ready to see before. There is nothing like tragedy to make you see things in an entirely new way. Life itself is a gift but we rush through the most important moments, always planning for the future or stuck in those places in the past that ripped our souls out, that taught us to be small and fearful, to doubt ourselves and to obey old vows and commitments that have been handed down for generation upon generation, that keep us sick and bound. I remember as young children everything I told my girls they would say “but why?”

It was incredibly irritating and I usually gave the customary answer that had been handed down among generations of mothers “because I said so”

At some point in adulthood we stop challenging the social and political norms and we follow along like good little soldiers with a little voice in the back of our minds. “mama said be polite, mama said be a lady, mama said don’t get my clothes dirty.”

We stop asking “but why” and we allow life to move us along.

For me, when tragedy hit I was so fucking terrified. My husband was my rock and facing a life without him had me panic stricken but loss brings with it a certain understanding of the world, a thoughtful consideration of the seemingly unpredictable ebbs and flows of life; that move us, cleanse us and guide us.

There is sadness in saying goodbye not just to our loved ones but to all that we believed would be our lives,  just as there is sadness in saying goodbye to the breathtaking magic and fearlessness of youth. Moments, memories and days we thought would never end slip through our fingers; like the sand we packed in our hands at the beach as children and the tighter we held on the more it seeped through the cracks.

It hadn’t yet occurred to us that we would run out of time or that the transient nature of life came with a reckoning so we lived without a fear of dying.

The thing with being a kid is that most of us didn’t know devastating loss and we hadn’t yet been faced with the impermanence of life. We hadn’t said our final goodbyes in hospital rooms our spoken heartfelt thoughts about our loved ones in eulogies. It hadn’t yet occurred to us that we would run out of time or that the transient nature of life came with a reckoning. The beauty in that is that we lived without a fear of dying.

I remember when I lost Kirk there were days that I was overcome with an irrational fear of evanescence. I believed that if I allowed myself to heal and to move forward then his memory and essence would rapidly fade. I wish I could come up with something to say to make everyone that will inevitably face loss understand, that that fear could not have been further from reality. As I began to allow myself to inch forward I began to see Kirk in a whole new way, not his death or the tragic illness that ripped him from us but as a quintessential life, something that could and would always transcend time and space to guide and support me. My memories of him are vivid and though the moments of struggle and fear we faced have insignificance now, it is the laughter and the stolen moments of candor and abandon that live in around me and propel me forward.

The wisdom that tragedy gives us is that we should all live in the wonder of youth.

I will not follow the rules that someone else made and call it living. I will not live to please everyone but myself; I will not rush through my life as if it is a race to my death. I will not allow the death of my great love to be the thing that cripples me and drains me of life little by little until I die. I will let love and death be my teachers; those things that remind me to live big, to laugh and to always choose love. The wisdom that tragedy gives us is that we should all live in the wonder of youth. Calamity knows no prejudice, at some point it will bring us all to our knees, it will not leave us unchanged but we should never allow it to diminish us.

Life, love, loss; it comes and goes in waves.