Heartsick and Heart Full

I don’t watch the news. Ever. It’s too negative, upsetting, fear-filled and depressing. Occasionally I see a clip that someone has posted to Facebook. But never a full broadcast.

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly NOW. Love mercy NOW. Walk humbly NOW. You are not obligated to complete the work but neither are you free to abandon it.” -TalmudThat doesn’t mean I’m out of touch, at least not completely. I get some local news on the radio. And, of course, the big events I hear about on Facebook. Especially when there is a series of horrifying events all in a short time span.

You see, I have a lot of friends who are social activists. I’m grateful, honestly. I learn a lot from them, especially about how to be more sensitive to other people’s experiences.

With the recent killings in the US – the Pulse Nightclub, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and police officers in Dallas (and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of atrocities going on in other parts of the world) – the activists on my list are very busy and very vocal. And I’m glad. Because too many times in the past people have been murdered unjustly. Because they happened to be born with more melanin in their skin. Or because they loved someone of the same gender.

By the luck of the draw, or fate, or who knows why, I happened to be born a pale-skinned female heterosexual. I’m not at the very top of the privilege food chain, but I’m pretty darn close. The only ones who outrank me are white heterosexual males in general, and white heterosexual males and females who were born to wealthy families.

I was painfully aware of my privilege this week when I was stopped at a road check. After answering only a couple of questions, I was on my way, with very little hassle. I couldn’t help but wonder how differently that experience might have been if I had been born Black, or, in my area, Native American. Would I have been allowed through as easily? Or would I have been pulled over and questioned more thoroughly? Or abusively?

It’s unfortunate that we need movements like Black Lives Matter and Pride Festivals. It would be so wonderful if we were all loved and loving, accepted and accepting, empowered and empowering. That’s not the case. Gender, race, sexuality and religious beliefs still divide us, and some still think there is a “better than”.

Events such as these hurt my heart. It is hard to observe the hate and fear and violence that so many still live with on a daily, hourly basis. It is even harder to put myself in the shoes of someone who lives in constant fear of being injured or killed because of the things that make them individuals. The pain is overwhelming.

We can’t let the pain stop us, though. At times like this, it is even MORE important to find beauty and good in the world. Not to escape from the pain, in spite of the pain. Because beauty and good are what will keep us going. Finding the beauty and finding the good help us to heal.

This weekend I volunteered at Vancouver Island Music Fest. I saw people pay it forward to strangers, by gifting their unused ticket to the next person who came to buy one, without having any idea who that person might be. I received kindness from a couple who had extra chairs, and let me use one instead of sitting on the ground. I experienced beauty in listening to music performed by people who are both talented and skilled.

Did the music make the pain go away? Not entirely. But it helped me experience beauty and kindness and good, and that fills my heart.

Blessings,

Mary

Heart Full

Thank you to everyone who has reached out in the last little while, sending supportive messages and energy and encouragement. I was really on the mend already by the time I wrote last week – the worst was over. And it was wonderful to receive your comments. Thank you.

My-Heart-is-FullUnfortunately, I am not able to share details of the drama in my personal life. Those who know me personally are aware of the situation, and maybe one day I will be able to share what has been happening. I can share that my family life is good.

Progress has been made, though resolution is still some ways off, as is healing. I keep having to remind myself that things didn’t get this way overnight, so they are not going to be resolved overnight.

My mind still blows things out of proportion, for example, when plans change unexpectedly. For example, last night I received an email that I had been expecting earlier, and it threw off my evening plans. It took me a while to calm down. I still want to escape and just watch Netflix or sew.

That said, I am having more positive moments. I am slowly feeling more social, or at east less anti-social. I met with a counselor last week, and he was able to help me to find some good insights. I’ve even started creating again. I’ve got a Celtic knot purse on the go, and another one planned as well as a couple of sweater coats on the go.

And, of course, I’ve got rehearsals for Spring Mysteries Festival to keep me busy. (You can still register at the Early Bird rate until January 31st!) Yes, it is time to journey to Eleusis again.

Anyway, I reassure you all that I am on the mend. Thank you for helping fill my heart. I really appreciate it!

Blessings,

Mary

 

On the Road to Health(ier)

Quite often, I take my health for granted. Sure, I deal with pain on a fairly regular basis. Some days are worse than others. And for the most part, I’m able to live my life and do the things that I want to do. I rarely let pain stop me.

green smoothieI don’t often get sick. At least, I would have said that a year ago. Since a gallbladder attack took me to the emergency room last fall, suddenly I’ve been giving a lot more attention to my health! (I’m being very intentional with my language here: I’m not claiming the gallbladder attack as “mine”, and I am giving attention rather than paying attention.)

After the attack, I was told that I would need surgery to have my gallbladder removed. That just didn’t sit right with me. I did some research, and got a second opinion. I’ve been seeing an ND, a Naturopath. We found several other issues we’ve been addressing, which affirmed for me that the gallbladder issue wasn’t the core of the problem.

We’ve addressed thyroid challenges, and low iron. Each time we find something, and improve on it, my energy improves. For a while. Then it dips again. I’m just starting to come out of another such dip.

What does that look like? Well, for me, it means having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. More than just a “five more minutes, please” kind of hard time. It’s full on conversations in my head about how it’s time to get up. Now. Move body. No, really. Move. Get up. Get up. GET UP!

It’s wanting to take a nap. Frequently. 10 am and 2 pm would be a good start. And 5 pm. Do I have to get up?

It’s falling asleep during my meditation. Every. Day.

It’s wanting to exercise, knowing that exercise is necessary and helpful, and I actually enjoy doing yoga, and not being able to actually move my body to do it. The extra hour of sleep is vitally more important than the yoga. Or even a walk. Mostly because I can’t nap.

It’s being in more pain than is usual. My body aches. It hurts to stay in bed, and it hurts to get up and move.

It’s falling back on caffeine and sugar to get me through the day.

None of this is what I would consider “normal” for me. When I’m feeling good, I have energy. I wake up before my alarm goes off. I don’t really have a problem getting out of bed. (Maybe one snooze.) I am able to meditate without falling asleep. I have a lull in energy mid-afternoon, maybe, and I get through it pretty easily. My pain levels are manageable.

I’m working on reducing my stress levels, both mentally and physically. I started making green smoothies for my lunch at work, and I have to say I’ve definitely had more energy this week. My pain levels are going down. I know I’m getting WAY more vegetable servings than I normally would. Along with following the recommendations of my ND, I feel that I am on the road to becoming healthier once again. And I love that it is not due to pharmaceuticals. (Oh, and my kids like it, too! Who knew?)

What are some of the things that you do to maintain your health?

Blessings,

Mary

There is Strength in Vulnerability

Most people think that being vulnerable means you are weak. Our society shows us over and over that the strong prey on the weak. If you show any signs of vulnerability, any cracks in your armor, someone bigger and stronger will exploit those cracks to their advantage.

Yet my experience has been that being vulnerable is actually a way of being strong, of being courageous.

Let me give you an example.

Me on the hike on the way in to the waterfall, with ginger flowers in my hair.

Me on the hike on the way in to the waterfall, with ginger flowers in my hair.

Several years ago, when I went on my first retreat with The Peaceful Woman, we had hiked in to a beautiful waterfall. There was a deep pool, and the cool water was exceptionally refreshing after the heat of the hike in. There were several women who chose to go topless in the pool, and our guides made sure that our group was safe – there were no other tourists around.

I was in my bathing suit, uncomfortable about disrobing, even under cover of the water. As more time passed, though, I began to work up my courage. I stood on a ledge in the flow of the fall, letting the water cleanse and heal me. I asked one of the leaders to take a picture of me in the falls, as I had recently written Healing Waterfall Guided Meditation.

My bathing suit at the time was black. A picture of a very white me in a black swimsuit against black lava rock would not likely come out well.

And then an image came into my mind – a Goddess with arms up-stretched, receiving the healing pouring down from above. Here was an opportunity for me to push my comfort zone in a safe and supportive space. I swam in the water, and in my fear for quite some time. Finally, I worked up the courage and asked our facilitator if she would take a picture of me standing in the falls in a Goddess pose. Without the bathing suit.

Floating in the waterfall pool

Floating in the waterfall pool

I explained how uncomfortable it was for me, and she was very understanding. I managed to get my suit off in the pool, so that no one would see my ugly body – at least that’s what I thought of it. And then I had to wait my turn for the ledge, while doing my best not to chicken out.

The moment arrived, I gathered my courage, and pushed up onto the ledge. There wasn’t a lot of room, so I couldn’t stand with my arms up for very long before diving back into the pool. It was a relief to be back in the water, covered up once again.

Everyone else in the group told me how beautiful I was. And then they all took turns posing in the falls, in the nude. By being vulnerable and stepping outside my comfort zone, I inspired others to do the same – including one woman who was very afraid of the water. She allowed us to float her across the pool, so she could take her turn in the falls.

I’m finding the same thing working with Aphrodite. I’m being open and vulnerable about my body image, and my mixed feelings about sexiness and sexuality, and I’m hearing from others that they have experienced similar things. Some people are further on the path, and have reached out with tools that have helped them be more comfortable in their bodies, while others are taking inspiration and beginning their own healing journeys.

I’m not in a place of total acceptance and comfort yet. There are days I wake up and look in the mirror, and I think, “Look at that beautiful, curvy body!” And there are other days that I look in the mirror and all I can see is the rolls of fat that I wish weren’t there.

That just means I have to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Like Marianne Williamson says,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

So go ahead. Be vulnerable. And above all, love yourself…just as you are.

Blessings,

Mary

“Mending all torn threads…”

I’ve been doing a lot of mending lately, both literally and metaphorically.

mending the heartA few weeks ago, I changed my morning routine so that I am getting up even earlier than I was previously, so that I can do yoga three days a week. I needed to add more physical activity back into my routine. At the end of the DVD routine I use, there is a section of relaxation and guided meditation. One of the lines that has always stood out for me is “mending all torn threads…” I imagine a golden light flowing through my body and fusing all the sore muscles back together, healing all the pain. That line has been strongly on my mind the past few days.

Yesterday, I did actual mending, sewing up all the torn clothing on my mending pile, making things new and useable again.

I’ve also been supporting the people around me mend their lives. I’ve mentioned that a lot of my friends have been ill recently. One of my friends had surgery a few weeks ago to mend a hernia, and another one had surgery last week to mend tears in her heart.

Last night I spent several hours in the emergency room with another friend who has been in a lot of pain for about three weeks, helping to advocate for her to get the help she needs so that she can mend.

The other thing I’ve been helping to mend is communication, between friends and also a bit with my husband. Hurt feelings can be more difficult to mend than hurt bodies. Once trust is broken, it takes more than a needle and thread, more than an apology to fix the damage. It takes time, and honesty and open dialogue.

The problem is, when you are hurting, it can be really hard to communicate openly, because the pain makes it so you don’t want to listen to what the other person has to say. And listening is a key part of communication.

To truly listen, you have to put aside ideas of right and wrong. You have to quiet the voices in your mind that keep telling you how horrible the other person is, or what an awful thing it was that they did to you. (Meditation is great for that.) You have to give up being the victim, the one that had no control over what was happening to you. You have to stop planning the conversation in your head and stop formulating your response while the other person is speaking.

It takes being grounded and fully present to what is going on in this moment now. And opening your (wounded) heart to hear what is or was going on for the other person. Because chances are, they are hurting just as much as you are.

Here’s to mending- both physical and emotional.

Blessings,

Mary

@ @ @ ? ? ? ? ? @ @ @

PS. If you would like some help healing your broken heart or broken communication, I’d be happy to help. Contact me about life coaching.

Never Underestimate the Power of Rest

As some of you know, I had surgery a week and a half ago, and I’ve been resting and recovering since then. Well, recovering anyway. Last week was the final week of school and after school activities for my boys before Christmas, so there were Christmas parties and concerts. And, of course, all happening in the same 24 hour period!

Woman MeditatingI forget how much rest my body needs to facilitate healing. Tuesday and Wednesday were the worst. Tuesday I was only busy first thing in the morning, and then in the evening, but I didn’t take a nap that afternoon. I was so exhausted when the boys’ activities were finally over for the evening, I couldn’t wait to get into bed. I think it was 8:00 pm.

I was able to sleep in some on Wednesday before heading out to the different schools to participate in each child’s Christmas concert/crafts. As it was, I had to miss the oldest’s talent show because it was at the same time as the activities at the younger two’s school.  Again, after bouncing between classrooms trying to give each child my attention, I was exhausted.

This past week I have done a lot of sleeping, a lot of meditation, and a lot of self-Reiki. Some of it must have paid off, because the surgeon said there was less bruising than he has seen. I think that may also be thanks to the many others who sent me Reiki and healing during and right after my surgery. (Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!)

I’m still caught up in the whirlwind of activities that come with the holiday season, and having a little boy’s birthday this week. But I am doing my best to not overplan my time off, so that I can get as much rest as possible. I plan to start the new year rested, healed and as healthy as I can! (Easier said than done sometimes, in a house with 3 young boys! LOL!)

Blessings,

Mary

The Art of Recieving

This week I had coaching sessions with three different clients, from three different parts of North America.  All of them had experience in the healing arts, and were either working to, or wanted to, earn income using these skills. And each of them had challenges receiving money for their healing gifts.

My energy-work teachers told me there has to be some sort of energy exchange whenever I do healing.  Sometimes, the energy exchange can be as simple as a heartfelt thanks.  It could be something that is done in trade, for example, cooking a meal for me.  Or it could be money.  Because money is just another form of energy.

Give-Receive CycleIn several different courses I have taken, the teacher has had the room raise their hands if they are comfortable giving help to others.  Almost everyone in the room usuallt raises their hand.  Then the teacher asks how many of us are comfortable receiving help from others.  The number of people raising their hand is far less.

Our society teaches us that, “It is better to give than to receive.”  (I’ve been told that the original quote is, “It is better to be in a position to give, than be in a position where you need to receive.” I haven’t been able to verify that, but I like it!)

But if all of us are giving all the time, who is receiving?  And if I do not receive when someone else is giving, then I am robbing them of the pleasure of giving.

So how can we become more comfortable with receiving?

Practice.  Start with receiving compliments without diminishing them, or immediately giving one in return.  Let it land, and just say thank you! If you have to, give yourself compliments by saying them into the mirror. As you get better at receiving compliments, it will become easier to receive gifts, and money.

In conversation, be fully present with what the other person is saying.  Take your time before replying, and don’t plan your response in advance.  I know for myself this one can be challenging.  My mind likes to get ahead and think about what I’m going to say, or how I am going to answer. Don’t worry, the right words will always come, and the other person will appreciate having the opportunity to truly be heard.

Tell yourself you are worth it!  Many times I have found that a difficulty in receiving, especially money, comes from a feeling of unworthiness.  And if no one else has said it, I will tell you that you are absolutely, definitely, 100% deserving! (Just say thank you, and receive it!)

The bonus of practicing the art of receiving is that you will have more and more to give!

Where else in your life can you practice the art of receiving?

Blessings,

Mary

12 Steps to Help You to Relax, Heal & Commune With Nature

Posted by Julie Griffin in Hypnosis on January 17th, 2010

Scores of books and articles have been written on the benefits of physical relaxation. There are many things that you can do to prompt your body to relax, including spending time outside in nature.

If you enjoy self-hypnosis and guided meditation, the following steps will help you get the most out of any time that you spend in nature. You can add your own thoughts and imagery to these steps, to make the process more personally meaningful.

You can read the 12 steps here…

Blessings,

Mary

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download Creating Sacred Space for free!
And keep your eyes out for another meditation available for download soon!

Auntie Lyn’s Raw Breakfast

Last week I mentioned my raw breakfast, so I thought I would share the recipe and some of the benefits.

This raw breakfast recipe is a very simple way to shed those extra pounds and get down to your ideal weight. My Auntie Lyn told me about it several times, but I always shrugged it off. To be honest, it didn’t sound very tasty!

Now I eat it every morning (at least when I remember to start it).  I’ve lost 10 pounds, and kept it off, without changing my diet or exercising any more than I did before. I get tons of compliments on how great I look! And it is simple.  The hardest part is remembering to start it before bed.

Here’s what you need to make your raw breakfast:
• one handful of raw seeds (I use a mixture of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)
• 4-5 raw nuts (like almonds or cashews)
• 1/3 cup raw oats (that’s the long-cooking oats)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least an hour, overnight is better.

IMPORTANT! DRAIN BEFORE EATING!

I try to use organic ingredients when I can, because I don’t like the thought of having extra chemicals with my breakfast.

I know, it may not sound great, but you get used to it. When I first started eating it, I threw in some dried cranberries for zip. After a month or so, I started using bee pollen instead of the cranberries. Now I sprinkle some cinnamon on it, and throw in some fresh or frozen fruit.

So what are the benefits of a raw breakfast, and why does it help you lose weight?

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds have been used throughout history to enhance energy – a great reason to have them as part of your raw breakfast! Who can’t use extra energy in the morning?

Native Americans and other herbalists have used sunflower seeds as a diuretic, for constipation, chest pain, or ulcers, to treat worms, and to improve eyesight. Recently, they have been recommended for use for people with high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems with good success.

Raw sunflower seeds are higher in nutrition than roasted and definitely better than salted seeds. Raw sunflower seeds are very high in potassium and low in sodium, a balance sorely needed by most of us these days with so many salty foods available. One cup of sunflower seeds contains more than 1,300 mg of potassium and only 4 mg of sodium. This is likely very helpful as a diuretic or for people who already take diuretics, to help replace some potassium. The high amount of oil in sunflower seeds as polyunsaturated fats, essential linoleic acid, and vitamin E is also helpful in reducing cholesterol levels and improving or preventing cardiovascular disease.

When sunflower seeds (or any raw nuts or seeds) are soaked overnight, it makes them more digestible and alkaline-forming. Essentially, soaking starts the sprouting process, or bio-activates them, and makes the nutrients more available to your body. I’ll talk more about the importance of alkalinity on another page.

Pumpkin Seeds

These are best known for their concentration of zinc and their use in the treatment and prevention of male prostate problems. Pumpkin seeds have also been used in treatment of intestinal worms. They are good source of protein and contain a good balance of amino acids. Their fat content, mostly unsaturated, is over 50 percent of the seeds.

Raw pumpkin seeds are also very high in iron, calcium and phosphorus, with some magnesium and copper. Like sunflower seeds, they also contain vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and so the two make a good mix in the raw breakfast. There is a mix of B vitamins, with niacin being the richest.

Almonds

When raw almonds are the first thing in your stomach after arising, they set the hydrochloric acid tolerance for the day, providing all-day protein digestion. When almonds are eaten first as part of your raw breakfast, they are efficiently digested since stomach acids are concentrated after the nightly fast. (If you leave hydrochloric acid alone in your stomach, the saliva and hydrochloric acid would become toxic.) In other words, almonds have an alkalizing effect on the body.

When soaked, raw almonds act as protein plus nitrogen. This protein helps your blood sugar stabilize throughout the rest of the day. Eat one almond per ten pounds of body weight, more if you want to gain weight and less if you want to lose weight.

The flavonoids found in almond skins team up with the vitamin E found in their meat to more than double the antioxidant punch. Twenty potent antioxidant flavonoids were identified in almond skins, some of which are well known as major contributors to the health benefits derived from other foods, such as the catechins found in green tea, and naringenin, which is found in grapefruit.

Oats

Low in fat and high in fibre, oats have a low glycaemic index (GI) that ensures a slow and sustained release of energy. Oats are also rich in vitamin B6, which is believed to help guard against depression. They are also an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber and thiamin. They contain antioxidants that are believed to protect the circulatory system from diseases such as arteriosclerosis, which affects the arterial blood vessel.

Soaking the raw oats, just like with the raw nuts and seeds, makes them easier to digest, and makes the nutrients more available to your body.

On top of all this, here’s what the American Cancer Society has to say about the benefits of oats:

1. Insoluble fiber’s cancer-fighting properties are due to the fact that it attacks certain bile acids, reducing their toxicity.

2. Soluble fiber may reduce LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol. LDL is bad; HDL is good.

3. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion of starch. This may be beneficial to diabetics because, when you slow down the digestion of starch, you avoid the sharp rises in your blood sugar level that usually occur following a meal.

4. It has been found that those who eat more oats are less likely to develop heart disease, a disease that is currently widespread in the United States.

5. The phytochemicals in oat may also have cancer-fighting properties.

6. Oats are a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oats are also a good source of protein.

***************************

There you have it. I may not be a raw foodist, but I am sold on the raw breakfast!

Blessings,

Mary