Jelaluddin Rumi, the 13th century mystic poet, was truly one of the most passionate and profound poets in history. These hundreds of years later, his poems and quotes still find their way into the fabric of our world, still striking chords with those that read or hear them. Still leaving people wondering what the intention of a particular quote may have been. One of my favorites is this one...
"Out beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field.
I will meet you there." Rumi
As with many of his quotes, there is still much debate of what he was referring in his poetry. With this quote, I like to think he means that there is a place where our limited beliefs and ideas on what is right and wrong are no longer important. A place where we can communicate with each other. A place where we can leave our conditioning and old understanding behind, drop our defenses and open our hearts. A place where there is hope for reconciliation and mutual understanding. A place where the first seeds of forgiveness can be sown.
In working with people through the Grief Recovery Method, although forgiveness is one of the three components of completion, it can be one of the most difficult concepts for people to understand. Through time, we have confused forgiveness with condoning an act or event that impacted our hearts in a painful way. We believe that if we forgive another, we are trivializing the pain that they caused us. We feel that we are letting them off the hook for something horrible that they did, and accept that their actions were okay. That is not forgiveness.
The definition of forgiveness in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines forgiving as "to cease to feel resentment against." When we think about forgiveness in those terms, we begin to understand that continuing to harbor the resentment and anger towards someone who offended us begins to limit and restrict our own ability to move forward and participate fully in the life we are living today. That anger and pain continues to resurface and invade our life whenever something stimulates the memory of the event and the hurtful emotions that are attached to it. We continue to hurt ourselves because we hold on to the hope of an apology...an acknowledgement...or some sort of retribution for what was done to us. We continue to hope for a different or better yesterday when all we really have the power to do is the ground work for a better tomorrow.
As people slowly come to realize the definition of forgiveness and to understand that we forgive in order to reacquire our own sense of well being and joy, you see the change begin. That subtle shift where the anger starts to lessen, where the painful lines of hurt begin to soften a little and a different view of the world begins to seep in. It is beautiful to be part of and to witness. It is more amazing to experience within one's self.
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong."
When Gandhi said forgiveness is an attribute of the strong, he understood that forgiveness is hard work. It takes intention, and commitment and it takes a strong person who is willing to revisit the pain of the past and make a decision to let that pain go. It takes a willingness to let go of the hold that the past has on them, and build up from where they are today, without the pain of the memory dragging them back down.
Often, the act of forgiving opens up the possibility of looking at the event through different eyes. When you forgive and set aside the pain, there can be an new awareness develop as well. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes the event was so horrific, that the perpetrator can only be viewed as evil. Again, your forgiveness of them does not take away from who they are or what they did, it is solely to relieve your heart of the pain that it has carried.
But every now and then, I see Rumi's quote come into play. 'Out beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I will meet you there' Every now and then, by making the conscious decision to take the action that is forgiveness, we open our hearts up to something more. Sometimes in forgiveness we see what happened, or what was said, was a difference of beliefs, education, life skills or upbringing. It was not necessarily a matter of right doing or wrong doing, but rather a difference in understanding as a result our individual beliefs or stories, based on what others might have believed to be true at the time. Sometimes, if we can drop that view of rightness or wrongness...we can see the field beyond. And in that field, there is hope and possibility. In that field, by planting the seeds of forgiveness, there lies the potential for growth, reconciliation and a softer, kinder world than the one we often see today. In that field lies the opportunity to seed change.
I don’t even know where to start…because there is no beginning, and no ending to the story that is unfolding ….the story that is my life right now, right here…so how do I explain things.
As I shared with you in earlier posts, decisions were made. BIG decisions, that resulted in my beloved and I moving from our comfort zone in Manitoba, living life as semi-retired farmers…to our new life here in Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.
None of it came easily. In the course of six months we made six trips across the prairies to move what was most important to our hearts here to the Island that promised us we’d find a sense of home and belonging. Six trips!!! At times, I cannot even believe we have traveled that much in an effort to be stable…it becomes an oxymoron of sorts…jumbo shrimp..running to be still. It’s been just a little bit crazy, but crazy we are, so here we are, finally taking a moment to catch our breath now. But in the stillness, the questions continue to abound.
Our Qualicum Beach home is now all but established. Yes, there are nooks, crannies and corners that need just a little ‘something more’ to be right…something that our Kijiji shopping and chasing has not yet provided, but all the essentials of that which we’re content to call ‘home’ has been established. The ‘little things’ that are missing will come with time. Example…a lamp in the living room. Until tonight…4 months post-possession, I have not really found it a problem that we don’t have any lamp/ lights in our home…besides those which are hard wired into the walls and ceilings. But tonight…as my beloved wanted to watch an action movie…my heart’s choice was to just take out my ‘Stress Relieving Coloring Book” and well…Color…but because we hadn’t made that little inconsequential purchase of a lamp I couldn’t. Another reminder of the little things that have a big impact. We will get there.
Four months into our transition, there are still as many questions as there are answers. With that, I have found that I need to live in the questions…because I know the answer will come eventually…and if I strain myself to know it, I may push myself beyond what I’m able to appreciate and understand at this point…so I live in the questions.
Here are a sampling of them….
So…tonight, as I sit here on a lazy Sunday evening , my desire to reflect is as strong as ever. I think about the quote I read about "the comfort zone being a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there." Maybe it was just time to grow again.
This last couple of days have been the first that we’ve been able to just sit back and be without the need to travel east to clean up old business, or explore things here with company and friends. I’ve spent time out on the deck off the dining room that now has the beautiful ‘roof’ that our son Bill built when he came to visit with his family. As I listen to the sounds of the crickets in the distance, I love that I can sit and do that without the challenge of Manitoba Mosquitoes or West Coast rain…because that’s the way we’ve set things up. Intentional Paradise. I can sit for hours listing to the cricket in the distance…and just do that, without having to defend myself from the elements that would dictate …and ruin…my evening hours back on the prairies.
I am learning the benefits of just embracing a ‘Pooh’ day…spending time in the hammock that my beloved has anchored for me out in the trees beyond the yard…listening to the birds…and the insects…and the world go by…recognizing that yes, it’s a very good day…just because it is a very good day.
I am embracing the fact that I moved to this place because of its proximity to Spider Lake and all that that offered…and as I drove myself here on our initial move…Bob Seger was definitely singing ‘Let’s all Go to Spider Lake’…even though musical intellect says he was singing ‘Fire Lake’…that is not what my heart heard. So with that, I have finally given myself permission to just spend time at Spider Lake…with my man…with my camera…with my dog...in a kayak…and most important…with Spirit…make cruising those waters a priority. For no other reason than that the water is there…and so am I. What an incredible concept. What a gift, what a treasure of being.
So I will end things there for now…. living in the questions, and knowing there are no definite answers…. embracing the reality that that is okay. What I know for sure is that the answer will unfold when the time comes. For now, I know in my heart I have made the decisions to be here because this is where I am meant to be. The bigger reason for that is not for me to understand right now… but that’s okay. I know I am where I need to be, with who I need to be, loving all I am meant to be for now…..and that makes all of this perfect.
What questions do you find yourself living in at this time? What changes have you made that are leaving you a little afraid...a little nervous as to whether you're moving in the right direction in your life? What tools would help you to sort through those questions? Maybe I can help!
We are on the road. Somewhere in between Swift Current and the Saskatchewan border, on what is now our 3rd trip across Canada in three months. But it’s all good, the little voices in the back seat keep asking if we’re still going to BC as it’s taken so long, and this is only the second day of our travels! Yes, we are still going to BC, this time with two of our grandsons and our daughter, so that they can explore our new home and community, on a short vacation before she begins her new career nursing.
This trip is stage three of our move from Lavenham, Manitoba to Qualicum Beach, BC, and what an adventure the last 4 months have been. We can’t even say for sure what spurred it, although moving west has been part of a thousand conversations over the last many years, the topic came up again somehow in January, probably triggered by a short blast of -40 Manitoba weather, and within weeks we were in the car heading west to look at properties. We found the perfect one, went home, sold the farm, began the purging and packing and here we are…still unable to believe that we are making the transition after all the years of talking about it, we are finally taking action.
The move for me has been a huge process of letting go of things and ideas that I never expected that I would. I know that it’s been something that I’ve been wanting to do, and in fact working at in small, defined ways. For example, the way we’ve changed our Christmas giving, to parting with meaningful items and sharing the story of their meaning. The tiny bits of organizing I’ve been able to do after reading ‘The Life changing Magic of Tidying up’, certainly not perfecting her method, but managing to have done several of the steps outlined, which did make the moving process easier. Then also, there is the dream I’ve had of simplifying my surroundings, ever since the winter we spent on Salt Spring Island in 2009.
That winter we’d rented a small, two bedroom shack along Walker’s Hook, and spent the months there with the most minimal selection of items. 4 plates, cups, and bowls. A two person table and chairs. Just a handful of pictures of family and friends to connect us to our roots at home. I remember hoping that when we returned to the prairies, I could do the same and simplify my surroundings from the storage of 5 generations worth of ‘stuff’ to a collection of things that I found beauty or joy in. However, within days of returning home, my Mom got her cancer diagnosis, and instead 5 weeks later I began the process of sorting and storing her life.
So now, here we are. Six years later, taking the leap that our hearts tell us is our next step, but our minds still keep us questioning. Are we doing the right thing? Why do we want to leave the place that we do love, where the majority of our friends, family and histories live? What is pulling us towards such a big change at this stage of our lives? Yes, the mind has a thousand questions that it keeps throwing at us, but our hearts still say just do it.
Back on the road with another load of the things that we do want to keep in our new home and our new lives, and a second round of the purging behind us on the prairies we move ourselves forward. It isn’t easy by any means. So many things I’ve held on to because I believed it was what I should do for the sake of my parents, my deceased loved ones, my old life. But what I have come to realize is that even though there are things that I do like and indeed loved at one time, this new home of ours is different. I want it to be open, and welcoming and full of the things that we have chosen because we love them. Not just all the things that were passed down to us by others in hopes that we would give them a home for the full of our lives. That to me has been one of the toughest things. Letting go of the self-imposed sense of responsibility that I have felt I needed to be the one to do that. To keep ‘others’ treasures and hold them sacred for their sake, not for my own. To let go.
It’s been interesting, and freeing and hard, but it’s happening. I’ve had to ask myself some big questions. If something happens to me on the other side of the country, who would I want this item to go to, and what are the chances it would be returned to the prairies by someone else? Do I need to keep the semi-annual gifts of birthdays and Christmases received from family and friends over the course of 40-50 years, or can I choose just one or two that I absolutely love the best to hold onto and remind me of the relationship? Do I need those dozens of pictures on the walls with memories and messages, or can I take pictures of them and find another way to display them, maybe by Pinning them or getting a digital frame that can display all of them in their own time for a period? Often asking myself ‘does this item bring me joy in memory of a lost one, or a sense of sadness in the loss?' One of the big questions has been, who am I holding onto this for? In many cases, my home became a storage place for things that are not even mine to worry about, but for some reason I took on that role. Again…time to let go.
So slowly but surely I have. Even having participated in the “Grief Recovery Certification Training” was one more positive steps forward in letting go. I was more clearly able to see of some things that I know have held me in place for longer than I would have chosen to be had I been more honest with myself sooner. That has been a very good thing for me, and my hope is that now I am better equipped myself, I can help others who have also been held back by the pain grief can cause.
As we travel along with each other, our new companion dog FeeBee, our 2 grandsons and our daughter, I am enjoying that feeling of freedom and looking forward to the next steps on this journey. I have also begun to realize more deeply that home is where my heart is, and it doesn’t have to be in one fixed address. Home is overlooking the Assiniboine Valley from our little cabin/campground when we are back at Lavenham. It’s also smelling the wonderful cedar and evergreens when I step out on the deck at our new place on Spider Lake Road. And it’s in this truck, right now, right here with some of the people I love most in the world.
"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You don't blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the President. You realize that you control your own destiny." ~Albert Ellis
How many years do we waste blaming others for the choices we've made and the circumstances we find ourselves in. One of the first steps forward in towards any change is to realize the control that we do have...then to embrace it!
If you have ever explored my partners/associates page, you'll know that for the last five years I have worked in partnership with Mark McGregor, helping with leadership trainings, coaching, resource creation and his book ‘Being on Mission’.
I have known Mark since we started high school together in 1974, so yes, it’s been a while! In most of the years between when we graduated from MCI in 1978, and July, 2010, we have had very little contact with each other. But time works her magic, and the world brings us the people we need to reconnect with and the lessons we need to learn in due time.
I am one of the ones that said over and over to him that there must be a simpler way of explaining his principles than to go through the work of building a story in which to share them. The process of writing that story, the book ‘Being on Mission’ was in it’s 10th year, and umpteenth revision, and people were waiting!
I, like others around him felt that if he wanted to tell a story, the story of his own life would be so powerful! That story of a kid growing up in MacGregor, Manitoba with the NHL dream in his heart, but the slow death of his father to cancer sidelining that dream when we were 17. The completion of his education degree before the call that took him to play hockey in Europe. Not the NHL he had so long dreamed of, but the next best thing! The life that he and his wife Faye have built over the course of the last 30 year in the raising of two world class athletes in their children Ryan and Kaitlyn. Of building the international leadership business from the ground up. Of the training centres he now has around the world, teaching his principles and his coaching techniques to enhance the skills of other leaders around the world.
But Mark would hear none of that. Instead, he maintained and shared his belief in the power of story to teach, and looking back today, seeing the feedback and the impact of ‘Being on Mission’ i think I finally understand.
'Being on Mission' is the story of Michael Weber. Michael is an ordinary man, a person like you or I, who gets caught up in the expectations and challenges of corporate life, too often at the expense of all that we hold dear. Michael, in his effort to rise to the top of the ladder in his sales business, does so at the expense of his marriage, his health and his integrity. Also, like many of us, he only sees the damage he has done to himself and others when he has a life altering and near death accident. How often is it something that is that devastating happening before we begin to wake up to what is most important?
Michael works throughout the book to rebuild his life, learning lesson after lesson through role models and mentors that come into his life. He experiences a leadership seminar that teaches many of the common sense things that his long time friends have been trying to share with him. He begins to see the bigger picture in life, the reality that a vision remains but a dream if we do not take the steps and do the actions that will create change in our lives. As Mark repeatedly tells us, ‘to know and not to do, is really not to know.’
Throughout Michael's journey, in ‘Being on Mission’ we have to opportunity to experience one of Mark’s leadership seminars through the character of Gregory Marks. We get to learn and participate in activities and discover tools that will help us to see our vision and be on mission for ourselves through tools like the ‘My True Calling’ tool, or the 'Social Roles mapping'. There are pearls of wisdom and messages throughout the book that leave us thinking more deeply about what is truly important to us, forcing us to ask the question, how do I want to be remembered? What will my legacy be? Am i making a living, or am i making a life? All necessary, although scary questions that we need to explore, but often don’t until tragedy alters the trajectory of our lives.
I’m honoured and thrilled to have been part of the process for the past several years, and I believe in the principles and messages that Mark shares through the book. I have been his student myself since we began our work together in 2011, just as the story and lessons in my life has made him a student of mine. That is life, isn’t it! Exploring the lessons and learnings that we each have to share, taking what makes sense to us and imbedding it in our own lives, questioning new or different ideas so that we too may begin to broaden our understanding and our belief system of what might be possible in our life. I have experienced the benefits of his 10 Principles of Leadership and Life, and have seen the positive outcomes that embracing them have made in my life. I believe that those principles will have an impact on your life as well, and hope that as you work towards being your own best self, exploring what your own deepest purpose and mission in life might be, and creating a vision that will lead you to that, that you’ll give ‘Being on Mission’ a read. I believe 'Being on Mission' it is a powerful leadership book that will make a difference in your life, and in the lives of those around you!!
'Being On Mission' is now available in paperback, Kindle and as an audio book on Audible.
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If you know anything about me, you know that I am no stranger to grief. Grief and I have travelled this road we call life together more times than I care to remember. At times, as we've journeyed, grief has been the one in the driver's seat. At other times, I have managed to take the wheel. The thing to remember, is that at any time, the roles can once again switch. They have many times, and in the reality of life's context, they will continue to do so.
When I use the word 'grief', I am not just talking about the grief caused by experiencing the death of someone I loved, although it has arrived as a result of that too many times. Grief comes wearing many masks. There's the grief that comes with the end of a long term relationship, whether it was amicable or not. There's the grief that comes with loss of trust, as when our faith is placed in the hands of another only to be lost or disregarded. There is the grief that comes with changes in life such as moves, employment changes or the end of long term friendships. There is the grief that can come when medical issues change our lives in ways that were not expected or foreseen. Grief comes to us with the loss of beloved pets, divorce and bankruptcy. Grief comes to all of us....he/she is the universal equalizer that all of use will see ourselves faced with at one point or another. So knowing that, how do we prepare ourselves to deal with grief?
Looking back over my life, I realize there are very few sources of grief that I have not experienced in my time, and for the most part have felt I've managed it fairly well through the years... or so I thought. So a couple of years ago, when a friend asked me if I could help a friend who was struggling with the loss of a child, just as I had, I looked at options that might help me help her, and at that time I discovered the Grief Recovery Method.
I bought the book, and signed up for a training that was being offered in Winnipeg to get my certification to be a specialist. I read the book, and readied myself for the course, but at the last minute the training was cancelled due to lack of registration. I continued to read the book, and even though the book does tell you that reading without action will do nothing, I simply read...no actions taken. I read to understand the method, but I did not do the needed work.
Fast forward 3 years, and while driving across the country in our move from Manitoba to British Columbia, I get an email from the Grief Recovery Institute that once again caught my attention and triggered my interest in looking further at the opportunity to train once more. As luck would have it, while we were only taking possession of our new home on April 15th, the training would be in Vancouver on April 21. The timing wasn't the greatest, but the opportunity couldn't be missed, so I plunged in.
One of the greatest things about the training is that as participants who are there to learn, experience and grow, we must go through the process and take all the necessary steps to complete a loss we've experienced, so that we can move forward ourselves, better able to help those that come to us for recovery.
I surprised myself by choosing to work on the loss of my first husband, Greg, rather than the loss of my son Shane, that in honesty, I felt would be my focus. I wasn't sure that I would find much that I needed completion on, as Greg's 18 month battle with cancer left us more than enough time to say the things that needed to be said to each other.
But in working through the method, and completing the communication that is so often the source of grief, I came to the realization that there were still many unfinished conversations. Surprisingly, through the process, I became aware of many things that I hadn't addressed for myself either during our marriage or in the years after his death.
When faced with the loss of a loved one, too often we either end to enshrine the person we lost, or demonize them...never seeing the true balance and reality of the relationship we lived with. I see now that in this situation, mine was a case of 'enshrinement'. The GRM supported me to see that relationship in a more holistic way.
It was both an eye opening and heart opening experience, that has brought me to a clearer, more settled and happier place than I have been in the last 15 years, and the completion freed me from things that I hadn't even realized were holding me back.
After going through my own loss history graph, then having chosen Greg, going through our relationship graph....I found that I had both many things that I felt the need to apologize for...but just as many things I needed to be able to forgive for.... That was truly an unexpected outcome in a situation where I really had 'enshrined' him for the past 15 years.
To be able to look at our relationship and our life together openly and say...'I apologize for....not better understanding the reality of life for someone living with a bi-polar diagnosis....for the amount of time that my focus on our son's needs took away from yours...for pushing your boundaries of comfort further than you were able to accept...
Then the forgiveness....that was harder! I forgive you for...not giving me the detailed answers to questions that we both knew would be issues for me moving forward..ie water, hydro...and on. For leaving me to explain your final bequest decisions..decisions that I understood through our conversations..but that I should not have had to be the one left to explain to others..nor should I have had to live with the fallout from.... that. Forgiveness for the unspoken pressure to live your dream for a future that you wouldn't be here to experience...but a dream that was not mine, but rather yours.
But after the apologies and the forgiveness that defines the process, comes the 'SES"...Significant Emotional Statements....and I won't go into all of those...but suffice it to say, they did go on and on. Having truly seen his downfalls as well as my own, I also say the picture of the life that was our's, in all it's magnificent glory. and its challenges. there are not words to describe that.
In having gone through that and completed what I had to so I could become certified to help other's work through their own losses, I know first hand the benefits of spending the time and taking the action steps necessary to move ourselves forward can move our lives forward. In experiencing the changes and growth in myself having completed just one loss, I am excited to see what other possibilities will open up as I continue to work through and complete the losses that have caused me to experience grief throughout my life.
If you suspect that grief may be holding you back from living your life more fully and joyfully, this process could be a first step to your own healing and recovery. Remember, grief is the normal and natural emotional response to loss, but most of the information we’ve learned about dealing with loss is intellectual. Effective Grief Recovery must deal with your broken heart, which requires emotional support instead of intellectual explanations. Let me help you begin to heal your own broken heart.
The #Future starts today, not tomorrow. How often do we forget that?
How many times to we put off doing the things that we most love, spending time with the people we most love, pursuing the passions that we most love believing that we don't have time today. Thinking that tomorrow the time needed will magically appear and we'll get at things then.
But the old saying goes, tomorrow never comes, and it's true isn't it. Tomorrow turns into another busy today, where the same reasons and excuses hold us back from doing what calls to our spirits.
With that in mind then, what are you going to do today, that will take you a step closer to the dream that lights the fire in your heart? What will move you in the direction of living a more full and passionate life? What you've always imagined your best self to be? You owe it to yourself to do something today...don't put it off until tomorrow.
It struck me this morning, in fact about ten minutes ago, that my own self talk and demands were causing my heart rate to rise and a certain level of anxiety to peak. I was rushing around the house (well, my version of rushing anyways :) ) having loaded the washer and the dryer, gone through the mental list of supper options, brushed my teeth and washed my face, and prepared my home office through my own series of rituals to get ready for my days start. As I reminded myself I had to settle down at my desk and tackle the next item on this week's to-do list, another part of my brain was complaining that I so wanted to write! In fact I realized I was beginning to feel angry that I had words in my head and thoughts on my mind that I needed to take time to get onto the written page, but by the time I finished going through the bills and emails and expectations of those on the other side of that computer screen, the energy and most likely the desire would be gone. Those ideas would be silenced for another day....and would likely moved on...because I didn't take the time needed to honour them and get them onto the written page.
Then it hit me, in the midst of the frustration of what wasn't going to happen, as i realized that there is not one soul here that is telling me that those are the things I must do first....except me! I am the one putting the pressure on myself about what needs to be done when and for who. I am the one that is prioritizing the needs and once again putting my own at the bottom of that list of priorities. I am the one that is saying what this day's accomplishments needs to entail for it to be successful. I am the one who is creating the frustration and the raised heart rate and the agenda of what needs to be done when. And with that sudden realization I stopped, turned around and left my office, grabbed my laptop and moved to my writing corner.
So here I am. And as I sit here, I have to keep asking myself why it is that I continue to do that to myself? Why do all of us continue to put those pressures of what is most important on our allotted time, when the reality is that feeding our spirits and our souls is the truly important work. Exploring what it is that is making us tick and feel joy and provide contentment and peace is the truly important work. What things will allow us to be our best selves and fulfill our highest purpose in this world as we continue on this journey is the truly important work. But it's not the work we do is it? It's not the work that we put first on our daily schedules or at the beginning of any list.
The truly important work is the work that we leave at the bottom of the pile, for when everything else is finished and we can tell the world outside we accomplished something that they can see as a 'result', while inside the work that calls to us lays dormant and unexpressed because all of our best energy and effort was put into the other stuff. Our creativity and our heart's desires are twisted into something else that allows us to do that which is expected by the outside world. Then, at the end of the day, when we finally do allow ourselves to move into the things we want to do, the time and effort needed to put that creativity back into its original form, the form that will allow us to grow and thrive, is too much work to be accomplished on this day. We are tired, and spent so we put it off until tomorrow, and instead zone out for the remaining hours of the days through getting lost in the television, or the surfing or whatever mundane actions quiet the frustrated spirit inside of us that is asking why it was hushed and put on hold yet again.
So this morning, instead of listening to the side of my brain that was pushing me towards that to-do list, I chose instead to listen to that little voice that was calling for me to pay attention to my heart instead. I am so glad I did. I feel my breathing beginning to slow again and my deeper self saying thank you, as these words pour forth onto the page.
Don't get me wrong. I know as well as anyone what needs to be done in a day. I know those bills need to get paid, that the chores need to be done, that the work that makes this life possible and affordable has to be taken care of. I know that family needs to be supported and loved and acknowledged. I know that. But what I have to remind myself of, and maybe you do as well, is that we have a choice and the control over how it is that we get those things done. I know I do...but I forget that, even with all my education, and experience and even my teaching others....I know that, and from time to time I forget. We all forget that the only one in control of us, our activities and our decisions is... well...us!
My scenario was that I told myself I have to do these things and do them now. After all, we had the time away embracing our desire to spend time on the coast, feeding our souls, so now that I'm home I need to put all that behind, buckle down, do the catch up work. Forget about what it is that I need to do to feel that same sense of peace and joy I feel when I can travel until what's sitting on my desk is done.
But that's crazy! I haven't spent the last years of my life making all I do portable only to be on lock-down when I return home! I haven't followed my passions for travel and writing and photography only to push it onto the back burner when I return to the 'real world' that is my life! This real world is my life, and it should be just as vibrant, and nourishing and spirit nurturing as time away is! So why do I not make it so? Why do I let it become mundane and routine and lost in a creative void instead of embracing the knowledge that this is it? This is the work of my life...sharing my experience, and my passions and my dreams from where ever I am at any given moment.
I know that maybe, because of the way I've worked to design my days, I have a different flexibility than another who has a more typical job that requires a daily trip to the office or another structure that provides the income that makes one's world go round. In that way it may be easier for me to go from my 'working' space to my 'writing' space with a simple spin on the heel. I'm 'lucky' I know, I've worked so hard to be this 'lucky' and I embrace it wholeheartedly. But you have choice too! Yes, you may have to be in that building from nine to five, and once you're home your energy for what feeds your soul is sapped... but what if you were to wake up a half hour earlier in the day and feed it then? What if instead of the radio on the commute to that place you listened to books or podcasts that fed that desire for deeper knowledge or learning? What if your lunch hours were spent taking care of your body and spirit in ways other than just feeding it...but maybe meditating, walking, yoga? Couldn't that be a possibility?
There are countless ways that we can work what's important into our days, but we have to do that. No one is going to do that for us. No one else is going to suggest that you put 'their' stuff on hold while you take care of your own. That isn't how this world of ours works I'm afraid. But that's okay, because we have choice and control and the ability to use it...but only if we decide to.
I feel so much better already! Now, when I head back to the 'other' room, I head back feeling content that I took time for me. I've had my moment, I can blow out the candle and let the incense burn itself out (some of my own writing rituals), reopen the blind and head into what also needs to get done, knowing that the voice inside me is content and happy that it was listened to. I can also remind myself that tomorrow I have the same choice. Tomorrow I can start my day with spending an hour on the guitar... or going through some of the thousands of photos I want to work on...or writing another chapter in a book thats living inside me. I can choose to make these things a priority. I can choose!
And so can you. Believe it or not, in this moment in time, so can you. It doesn't have to be a big, cumbersome all day event. It can be one little thing that lets that little voice of longing be heard.
What can you do today that will make your spirit feel listened to and supported on this journey? Maybe you should go and do that.
Yesterday was a perfect day. I had no idea that it was going to be when it started out. In fact in the morning I was a little miffed that I had to go to Treherne with Cecil when he went for lab work. I'd gone to Portage the day before to get a criminal record check, only to be told there that I had to get it in my own area, the Treherne office. So I begrudgingly headed into town with him.
As we got that done, we headed on a drive to Elm Creek to pick up the tarp for the boat, then had lunch in St. Claude and headed for home. It was a beautiful, sunny day, the first we've had for ages with all the smoke that has filled our skies from the wildfires across the country. I decided if I was going to get any pictures of the canola fields that were in bloom, today would be the day, as the smoke and haze is supposed to come back in the next day or so.
When we got home, we both decided that we'd go to our day's projects on the quads. He would ride with me to the field I wanted to photograph, and then we'd carry on in our separate directions. I'd intended to just go to the one field and head for home...but I got sidetracked. More than sidetracked...I got lost in the day...and it was glorious.
I ended up going from one field to another up along PR242. Then headed for home past Mom and Dad's old place. Some of the back-roads I took were so overgrown with clover, you could barely see the trail through, but the sweet smell of the clover was captivating. I'd forgotten how those sights and smells can take you away from your everyday into something magical.
I made stop after stop, turning of the quad, listening to the sounds around me and photographing the wild flowers in the ditches. As I was about to head for home, I ran into a neighbor that told me the pink lady-slippers were in bloom over by the cemetery, so I changed directions again and headed off in search of them, the wind in my hair, the dragonflies surrounding me.
In the end, four hours just disappeared. I never once took my cell phone out of my bag to check for messages, or Facebook or anything else. The time was just mine, capturing the beauty of nature, preserving it's magnificence digitally for days to come when that kind of escape might not be possible.
Back at home, I had to reflect on why I don't allow myself to do that more often than I do. Our days of summer are so limited. Our days are limited, period. Why not grab on to those moments when they appear and go be with nature, with no regrets or excuses..to yourself or others.
I look at all that is going on in the world. All the pain, the wars, the anger. I wonder when was the last time, if ever, that some people have had the opportunity to be lost in the timelessness that I was blessed with yesterday. Have the had the chance to sit in the grass, stare at the sky, explore the wildflowers and just breathe. Even more important...Just BE. If people had more opportunities to commune with Mother Earth, would there be that anger and disconnect that is so prevalent today? I don't thing so, and I know that it's not easy or possible for everyone. Most of the world does not live in the boon-docks as I do...but what if they could find a way to just spend some time away from it all. All the noise, all the buildings, all the other people who are also in that space. I wonder and I wish that opportunity for all, just every now and then.
Have you ever read Mitch Albom’s ‘The Five People you Meet in Heaven’? Its one of my favourite books…well, maybe I should really say most of his books are ‘one of my’ favourites! But that one I love, mostly because in it Mitch proposes that heaven will be whatever we really, really want it to be, based on our life experience, our favourite moments and places, and what our perfect place would be. What a wonderful idea!
What is most incredible about is is how blessed I am that I am living in my heaven as I write. I’ve always loved and cherished this little nook in the world, but every year I think I cherish it more. We’ve created a little campground, up on the hill, in back of the main yard. It’s got the most beautiful sunsets over the Assiniboine River Valley. It’s so quiet, you could literally hear a pin drop, except when the generator is running to charge up the batteries in the 5th wheel. When it’s off, there isn’t a sound. Not the hum of a furnace, or traffic, or anything. What there is are birds, insects, the gentle breeze and occasionally the howl of coyotes in the distance.
We put our camper up here early in the year, and take advantage of as many moments as we can. I can tether my cell to get a little wifi reception, to work on things that I’m passionate about pursuing. The cell phone might ring, but most times not. And for the most part it is absolute, blissful peace and tranquility. It feeds my soul and nourishes my spirit like nothing else seems to be able to do. Time at the ocean comes close, but that always comes at a cost…the price of energy expended to share that space with the hundreds of other people who have chosen that as their get away of choice. This is different. This is ours, and the only other people that might be here in this little niche are those we’ve invited to embrace this with us.
I like the camper, because that is ‘my space’. Cecil prefers the quiet and the rustic life he can enjoy in his cabin, just feet away from where our camper is sitting. On the deck of the cabin, we’ve got the greatest swing that was given to us by friends who were moving and decided not to take it with them. We can sit and swing and just stare out into the beauty of the valley for hours, without the need for a word to be spoken. Just drinking in the beauty and the quiet that is this place.
We all need that ‘place’ that is ours to go to. To gather our spirits, reboot and reenergize our souls and ground ourselves for all that the world throws at us. I know how lucky I am to have this, and hope that you have a place of your own that does that for you. It doesn’t have to be large, or remote or even space that is your own, if it’s somewhere that allows you to breathe more deeply and connect more solidly with the source of what keeps you going day after day. If you don’t have that space for you….you need to find one. Honor yourself by making finding that space that is yours a priority, not something that you’ll do one day. Something you will do now, before the world pulls any more from you that you don’t have a chance to replenish.
Some people are pulled to nature, as I am. Others find that in a sacred building, a sanctuary, a coffee house that affords them a corner to themselves, or a museum. It can be on a bench along a small strip of greenspace, or a walkway along the water’s edge. It can be whatever your idea of Heaven might be, even if it’s a sacred space you’ve created in your own home that is yours to go to and be undisturbed for the time needed to replenish yourself. The where is as individual as each of us are, but the need to find this and gift it to ourselves is universal. Have you found your little peace of ‘heaven’ here on earth that nourishes you? If not, what are you waiting for….because you know it’s waiting for you.
It takes time and energy to become who we truly are! In life, so many things can get in the way of our figuring that out..but the time comes in each of our lives where we need to be able to do that if we're going to live happy fulfilling lives that are authentic reflections of our best selves. These are just things I've learned along the way. I hope that they might help you in your own journey into being Truly You!