Monday, May 25, 2020

Hearing the call, what is waiting to be born

This period of confinement due to the corona virus shutdown around the world is a challenging time for some, and a blessing for others.

If you are struggling to make ends meet, going crazy working at home while your children also need attention, I get it. I have the greatest sympathy (having been a writer who worked at home while my children were young).

But if you find yourself with some extra down time, and have managed to meet all your basic needs for shelter, food, safety, love and belonging, perhaps you are feeling the call for finding a deeper meaning and purpose.

Especially during the mid-life transition,  there is often a call to transformation, to reinvention. This is not so much a mid-life crisis involving little red sports cars as it is a sense of dissatisfaction, of wanting something more, of longing to get in touch with a deeper, soulful part of self. Or of finding meaning and being able to give back to the world.

Personally, I felt it most strongly during menopause, where everything I had done from age 30 to 49 began to drift away. I had been writing and publishing poetry, actively involved in the writing community doing readings and volunteering with the League of poets and local writers' organization, when I suddenly lost interest. I had two teens entering puberty at the same time as my hormones were rising, so the hot flash clash was part of this issue.

But I remember going to a week long writers' retreat and discovering over the course of that time that my true interest was not in belonging to a literary group. I wanted to reach out to women like me, mothers who were at home, part-time or full-time and trying to find their creative flow. I was not motivated by literary prizes as much as getting together with a circle of women and exploring our needs, our themes, our angst and our blessings. My women's circle became a sacred space for me to feel seen and heard.

The Creative Circle I was teaching from home sustained and fed me, as well as providing support for other women for about ten years, but then it happened again, I heard the call to reinvent myself. Maybe because I had been giving and supporting others all my life, as a eldest daughter, mother, and teacher, my well was a bit empty. I wondered how I could continue to serve while taking care of myself and feeding my soul. I took a year long course on Rites of Passage and how to create rituals so I could incorporate that on retreats with my circle of women and also celebrate their turning fifty.
But soon I was 60 and menopause long past. I was not an elder yet, nor a grandmother. Who was I now? What did I really want to do with my wild and precious life? I did what I often do when in a period of not knowing, I left for two weeks on a pilgrimage to Ireland visiting various sacred sites of the goddess with a Celtic Shaman. During a drumming ritual and ceremony, she helped remind me that my creative center was calling out for me to nourish it with something just for me. I came back still reluctant to stop leading workshops.

I was, however, keenly interested in my mother's ancestors from Ireland. How had my great grandmother's voices been shut down, and how could I dialogue with their stories of anxiety, depression and other challenges, and learn more about my own? I began writing a memoir, using letters and information from my mother, my maternal aunts, and a memoir written by a great-aunt about her life in the early years of the 20th century. I lost my mother recently, at age 89, and feel a need to get back to that writing and expand it.

All this to say, my life pattern since my mid-forties has been one of frequent reinvention, new projects, studying with teachers and travelling on pilgrimages, but above all, seeking to listen to the inner call and follow my intuition. Honing the feminine side and listening to my intuition may have been the real goal all along, rather than changing my role, giving myself a new job to do, or even a new book to write.

This call to finding our core values or selves, and honour our inner depths, may lead us to leave behind certain roles or aspects of our selves. We may feel disoriented or lost in the maze of choices available to us and not know what we really want. I know many women in my circle have gone through this in their late forties and fifties.

What I have found is that creative process has been so helpful - whether it's by using journal writing, taking a class on fairy tales and myth, using ritual and ceremony, or making collages and using the symbolic language of images, we need to find a way to go beyond our rational selves, and get back in touch with our deeper longing.

This inner voice is often covered over by the outer world of busyness, or by guilt of not being seen as productive - which makes this confinement period a great gift - we may have less structured work time, more silence, more alone time, and more opportunity to reflect, and get a clearer picture of what the elements calling out to us are. If we choose to, of course. There is always the option to pig out on ice cream and chocolate, binge-watch shows on Netflix and zone out, which I also have resorted to over the past two months. Right now my hunger is for something real, something deep and authentic, and perhaps you feel that way too.

What I want to offer you is a path to regain strength and serenity from simple practices that help to tend the soul, listen to your heart, and find where your life is calling you. Sorting and sifting, like Psyche in the underworld sorting peas and beans, is an essential task. Making peace with the past, embracing all the parts of us, the fabulous and the flawed, are also important mid-life tasks.

Life is a process of growth and change. Little by little, we find new versions of ourselves waking up, or older versions and dreams we had forgotten being revealed. Paying attention to our lives requires we grow out of the limited awareness of ourselves as merely the 'roles' we play.  Learning that our struggles and challenges are great teachers, and that we have hidden allies on our side, will help us discover our dreams, our loves and fears and bring new self-awareness, as Bud Harris, the author of Sacred Selfishness says. SoulCollage(R) and journaling have both helped me redefine who I am, embrace all the parts of myself, the fabulous and the flawed with greater self-compassion.

I hope to offer an on-line class coming soon which will help us remember What Wants to be Born in You. It is never too late to dig deep and hear the call.

See my website for more information about what I offer and sign up for my newsletter so you can find out when this class will begin.  Coming Soon! at an affordable rate, in an on-line format, from the comfort of your living room or bedroom, a circle of support created with you in mind.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

How Corona-Quarantine is a Descent Motif

I am reminded today that this pivotal moment has archetypal overtones and not just because it reminds us of the Black Death, or the Plague in the middle ages. It brings me back to a class I have taught several times called The Heroine’s Journey – based on Joseph Campbell’s mythological studies of the structure of archetypal stories.

Right now, in 2020, we are experiencing a huge disorientation from the shutdown and fears generated by the global corona virus pandemic. Suddenly we are realizing it’s not going away in a matter of days or weeks, but probably months. Despite watching for clues from the pundits on TV every day, the future remains unclear. We are living with the Unknown every day. We have fallen through the rabbit hole.

In other words, we have stepped into a fairy tale or myth  – we have stepped across a threshold into the unknown, just as the hero or heroine does in myth – they leave the known world and are faced with a new landscape, one in which their bearings are thrown off. Nothing works the way it should. Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Persephone in the Underworld.

For most of us, there is no office to go to, no clients to see, the kids are at home, not in school, there is the prospect of illness and a sense of danger from the virus keeping us on high alert. Even shopping for food has become fraught with danger. Our adrenal glands – the defenders – are on the ready for fight, flight or freeze. Borders have been closed, we can't escape to the country cottage. Some people have family in the hospital – like me - my 89-year-old mother who went in for emergency gall bladder surgery a few days ago, now has pneumonia. We are not sure when or if she can even come home.

So what does the heroine do? She takes a deep breath, and looks for her Allies so she can face her Challengers – but first she must name these challengers – it helps to Name them and Claim them,  perhaps by writing them down. That's where we begin on this quest motif.

Allies: Whimsical bear with Butterfly, Spirit Bear brings Hope 

Check in with yourself. How am I feeling? What is off kilter? Am I sleeping and eating well? Am I getting enough support or do I feel alone and helpless? Are my childhood traumas of not being seen and heard coming to the fore? How am I getting help? Who can I call on, and what are my inner strengths? Who can I count on for help?

In my Heroine’s Journey class, after the students found and named their Allies and Challengers, I had them imagine a deep cave full of crystals which they entered in a visualization, and searched for 3 tools – three aspects or qualities that they could draw on – for example, patience, courage, a brave heart. Or symbols that represented that – a rose, a pot of herbal medicine, a sword.

Do not under estimate the power of your imagination. Our psyche loves to work with images, and uses metaphor and symbol to communicate with our conscious self. You could do this work with painting, drawing or collaging in an art journal.

In our class, we made SoulCollage® cards for our Allies, and our Challengers, using cut out images chosen intuitively from magazines. I also suggested they make a Protector card – to call up an image of their most powerful defender, Warrior Ally or Angel of light they could picture, or maybe a strong animal guide, someone to have on your side, to have your back.

Warrior with Wolf Energy & Medicine Bundle 

Once the allies were found and met, the tools gathered, we began the descent, well equipped and less fearful. The descent to the abyss is never our favorite part of the journey. It may feel like entering a dark night of the soul. But again, using imagery, imagine a caterpillar's transformation - first it has to  spin its cocoon and sleep for a while. Did you know that before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, she actually dissolves into a liquid mass of cells and then regrows into a butterfly with gorgeous wings? That is the transformation and turning point part of the journey.

But where we are at right now is more likely in the cocoon phase, or bug soup of uncertainty – outwardly we are facing the challenges of a new life schedule, or we may have settled into a rhythm of working from home, studying and staying at home, fighting off germs by washing hands frequently. But the inner mood may be dark – we may feel hopelessness setting in. The frequent depressing news reports about the number of deaths, the number of infected, not just in our town or city, our province or state, but in our country, and the whole world – its all a bit staggering.

How do we get through the Bug Soup phase? By allowing, accepting, and trusting the power of the dark to soothe us and rock us and hold us. By being grounded in our bodies, and in touch with our intuitive knowing. This is the power of the inner Feminine, the earth mother, if you like. Imagine you are being held, soothed, coddled and sung to.

SoulCollage(R) card: Home and Hearth 

Perhaps you are like me and are trying to stick to a routine, or perhaps you are dealing with troubled clients and feeling maxed out like my husband, who is a financial adviser. This is there the wisdom of the feminine comes in – that we can give ourselves time every day to sink down into our bodies and feel what we feel. That we breathe into it and allow the allies of Stillness, Surrender, and Simplicity to guide us. That we acknowledge how we feel, and reach for what will truly help us – meditation, soothing music, yoga, stretching, chicken soup, homemade chocolate chip cookies. The main thing is – our old way of keeping busy will no longer work, or may help for a little while, but it feels like a temporary fix. Powering through will not help in the long run. We need the soft power of the deep feminine, the inner knowing, a calming Presence to see us through.

A suggestion for a new way of getting through this challenge, on this weird new journey, is to find a more yin way – be receptive, gentle, inward, reflective. Rooting ourselves and grounding, moving slowly, taking deep breaths, watching the sky, listening to birds, keeping true to the rhythm of our body which is in need of more sleep, more rest, more exercise (but not strenuous), more self-care. Be gentle in the cocoon phase.

Rest and Self-Care, Comforting Rituals 

I’d like to reassure you that just like in the myths and fairy tales there will be a happy ending. Know that like in every Hero’s Journey, after the descent into the abyss, there is a turning point –a moment of Hallelujah! a moment where your fears and tears turn into hope and jubilation. It may be a small moment, a sick person turning the corner and feeling well, a child returning from Europe and entering safe quarantine at home, a husband coming out of quarantine to rejoin his family, a collective moment of gratitude for the marvelous generosity of  human beings who are helping us survive in hospitals, clinics, grocery stores and food production as people sing and clap in the streets and on their balconies. Whatever it is, we give thanks for new learning, for new growth, for transformation of hopelessness into Hope.

The Return or end part of the journey involves a return to life, it is a natural part of the cycle, like Spring after Winter; it’s a rebirth or resurrection. A major part of the rebirth or recovery, is that you have now been gifted with new knowledge to take home with you, and share with the world. You will receive the gifts of the depth work you have done. Then, in gratitude, you can give thanks for the difficult lessons learned, and the revelation that the inner strength, the courage you needed was there all along, and the patience was there too.

When this is all over, how ever many months from now that will be, we will truly give thanks. I know I will appreciate those hugs and kisses, those handshakes and greetings, the physical closeness of my adult children, siblings and friends SO much more. In this time of trials and uncertainty, have faith that the journey will wind around to its conclusion, and then of course, a new beginning, another journey begins.

May we all be a little bit wiser by then, a little more compassionate with ourselves and others, and in the meantime, hold ourselves with love and acceptance during this adventure.

If this speaks to you, here is an exercise you can do: 

In the myth I used as the basis for my class, the Sumerian goddess Inanna, Queen of Heaven, decides to go down into the underworld (hers is the first written archetypal descent and rebirth story).  On her way down, at each gate she is stripped bare of every worldly power, all the symbols of her persona as Queen of Heaven – her headdress or crown, her breastplate and armour, her lapis lazuli staff or measuring rod, her jewels and her robe or dress. She arrives down there naked and vulnerable before the eyes of Goddess of the Underworld, her sister Ereshkigal, who looks at her with the eyes of death. Inanna’s corpse hangs on a hook for 3 days until her assistant raises a hue and cry and the gods send some little creatures representing the water and food of life to come and resurrect Inanna.  She rises again with new knowledge, the powers of the Underworld and of Heaven are hers.

Corona Virus Quarantine: Sheltering in Place 

I asked my students, what they needed to let go on the descent (while in the bug soup stage), like Inanna, or what has been stripped from them.

Here is what I had to let go on my descent:

The shitty shoulds – the good girl, the perfectionist, the inner critic voices that tell I am not doing enough, I am never enough. I should be less selfish, be better, help the world more, do more.

Fear of change, of this new thing coming into being, of the unknown future; paralysis.

Impatience – the pressure from my Yang inner masculine side – to be productive at all costs. To not stop. To keep working harder. It’s hard for me to tread water, stay in place, not go anywhere. Everything is on hold.

Doubt and hesitation – second guessing, not trusting my intuition, that inner voice of wisdom that works spontaneously. The more I listen, the stronger it gets.

Anxiety about putting everything off till later. I need to accept that I don’t have the head space right now to write a book, research a new project, prepare an online class. Patience with myself is required. Deep breaths, my allies are also anti-anxiety herbs….calming tinctures, tulsi tea, chill pills.

Do you  also feel like this is a time of transition that could lead to a transformation?

Name your allies and challengers - make a list.

What do you need to let go of in this descent period? What is being stripped away?

What are some of the hidden gifts you may receive?

I hope putting this into an archetypal journey context has helped you. I may look at offering this course again on-line, once my bug soup phase is ended…

 much peace to you,

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Corona Quarantine Update

SoulCollage(R) card: Home and Hearth

It’s a blast to be at home full-time, isn’t it? I feel safe, protected, not too lonely cause of Skype, Zoom and whatever tools to stay connected. 

But what a drag to have all my outside classes for the next two months cancelled! I planned, prepared and wrote scripts for retreats and workshops; I booked rooms and paid deposits and advertised like crazy; I made videos to promote my retreat, communicated with people who were interested in SoulCollage® training, workshops and intros like never before….all to have it be postponed due to this beep-beep virus. I will be writing a newsletter soon, once I have some new dates to announce.

Hey, but on the bright side, Jacques and I got some singing done. My hubby and I are half of Silk Sky Band and we love singing acoustic duets together. I love harmonizing with him (36 years ago, that's how we met!) He works from home since the past two weeks, and is loving it - working without having to deal with traffic, without constant interruptions, but he also spends a lot of draining time on phone calls with nervous clients. It’s been a rocky road for the market and investors.

At least we have each other – right? I have three sisters and two brothers who are single and I can sympathize. We went to Florida one week, then two weeks together at home, three meals a day, evenings binge watching Netflix on the couch, getting out to walk the dog together…until she had a little back pain episode two days ago; her legs just gave out on her briefly and she couldn’t get up - she lay there making a horrendous noise for a minute until we got her into her crate and then to the vet. She’s better now,  on more pain medication, as well as her heart medication, and yeah, at 15 she’s probably reached her best by date. Poor little Mollie, our Shiztu-Bichon mix, little cutie, who still gets heads turning when we walk with her, is not going to have any long walks for two weeks. She is good company, if quiet these days.

All this down time - what to do? I don’t know how productive you all are. But I can’t seem to concentrate. I thought this quiet time would help me reflect and focus on my writing. Hmmm, instead what I find is that every two days my anxiety amps up, and I need to do something like lie on the floor and breathe, or watch a video with some EFT, or take a chill pill. Especially if I have to go out somewhere, with gloves and mask, to pick up groceries or get to the notary to sign the closing on our new hobby farm! I feel like I should be overjoyed to get outside, but instead I’m even more nervous.

There are so many unknowns, and for a control freak like myself, probably traumatized in childhood from growing up in an alcoholic environment with tons of unexpected, unpredictable little crisis’s popping up, these unknowns are a little bit scary.  See, that little ball of worry in my tummy, it comes from past experiences and rushes up to greet me in this new crisis.

Anyways, I keep active, and creative and love making SoulCollage® cards and collages in my art journal. However, my brain is too full of worry to calm down and write creatively. I'm giving myself a pass on that one. And I am reading a lot instead. I have read four or five novels in the past two weeks (I know, I’m a speed reader). Good thing Amazon and Chapters deliver!

As for family, I keep in touch with our almost 30-year-old son and his wife, and our 27-year-old daughter by Facetime and their favorite app HouseParty. 

SoulCollage(R) card: Touch me through the Screen

We call or email with siblings and my 89 year old mom,, we see neighbours walk by and occasionally stop and chat at a good six foot distance. (the local policemen drive by on motorcycles checking out the parks and gathering places). We do not feel isolated, yet,  and we do have a pretty scenic view of the St Lawrence where it widens out into Lac St Louis, right in back of the house; barring any spring floods, with all the recent Geese flocking here on the ice floes, it’s been very peaceful.

My relationship with the wild world is increasing. Definitely gonna make a card for those Canada Geese because they are good guardians and companions.

The most fun thing we’ve done so far, besides making popcorn and watching the show Sex Education (a hoot!) on Netflix, is do some singing and post it on Facebook. We received a lot of good feedback, so I put two songs up on my YouTube channel. That’s a first! Life is Beautiful!

We also shared some of our favorite songs on a new playlist on Spotify called Corona Congeé (means Corona holiday), with some uplifting, heart-full and happy songs.  It's public.  One of them is by Alison Kraus and James Taylor (two of our faves) doing “How’s the world treating you?” 

So that’s my question for today, How is the isolation-stay-at-home sheltering in place working for you?

Love and hugs, toodles


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

corona quarantine song LifeisBeautiful

We sang this last Saturday during our Corona Quarantine
Am uploading a few such songs to my YouTube channel

Enjoy and spread the Love and Light!

Music heals,

Life is Beautiful, by Keb Mo

Jacques & Jenn

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Good News: Spring Equinox and Canada Geese Return

If you haven't noticed, but I'm sure you have, there is only news about the coronovirus on the tele, radio and in the newspapers. Everything else has shrunk to invisibility.

Today, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, the breaking news is that Spring has sprung, the geese are returning in grand conflagrations, honking all night outside my window. We have a front row seat, or should I say, a back yard seat, to this glorious gathering - no social distancing is being practiced and the rules of isolation do not apply.

It makes my heart glad to see and hear them. I saw my first robin as well, and a few cardinals have been peeping and piu-ing all week. On my walks along the Lakeshore (part bike path, part pedestrian and only one lane for cars), I have never seen so many kids on bikes, skateboards, scooters, and loads of happy smiling faces glad to get outdoors after a long Canadian winter, and despite much self-isolation and quarantine. I heard one mom say, no dear we won't go down the boat ramp to see the geese, there are too many people. We are all respecting our 1 metre (or is it 2?) distances.

But what a glorious thing, despite the terror, confusion and tumult of health crisis, economic crisis and lock-down everywhere imaginable (except apparently on Florida March break beaches!), we are thriving and surviving.

Now I know my neighbourhood is mostly protected from financial hardships - my husband is working from home but his salary is not affected. Others I know who are self-employed fitness instructors, yoga instructors, workshop leaders like myself, and airline attendants who are laid off, are not so lucky because all gyms are closed, schools and universities may be closed for the term, and nobody is getting massaged, or trained or even treated at the osteopath.

So inspite of this gloomy scenario, I do feel better today, on day 7 of our quarantine. It may be the chill pill I took to help rid me of anxiety attack this morning...but hey, whatever helps you stay calm, I say. Yoga, meditation, listening to soothing music, and yes, creativity! I have made four SoulCollage(R) cards since Monday, done several readings, in groups on Zoom and alone at home. And journaled to keep my heart happy. Art journaling is another passtime that brings me into flow and serenity. My poor hubby is caught up in the financial crisis, holding his clients' hands and trying to reassure them all is not lost. So I am really aware that these are troubled times.

I took a short video of the geese and put it on both my Facebook pages, if you want to get a taste of spring. Get outside and celebrate the return of the light.

It won't stay dire forever. Keep hope alive.

SoulCollage(R) card: Coronovirus pandemic panic 
I am one who is too aware of all the social media posts and warnings.
I am one who seeks balance in this tipsy turvy time.
I seek to switch my focus to what is well in the world.

I am one who is dealing with the isolation well.
I feel calm and at peace, if a bit lonely.
Social distancing and solituded are my natural habitat.
but I do miss my 'school' of fish, retreats and workshops.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Transitions: how to take care of your self when you hit a rough patch

When I hit a rough patch, I usually have two choices: to call on the Warrior, the get up and go survivor who keeps on keeping on, or to call on the Caretaker archetype, the soft, soothing one who wants to fall back into bed with a cozy blanket and have a nap.

I am a stubborn mix of both, Warrior and Caretaker.

It must stem from the way I was raised - I was brought up an army captain Dad, who was an engineer, a planner and builder,  a competitive guy who loved sports and worked hard.

He brought us out into the woods to chop down our own Christmas tree and if we complained our feet were cold he would encourage us to stamp our feet and clap our hands. He got us out the door (almost on time) every Sunday, to mass at 11:00 am  in spite of my mom’s dawdling or purposeful resistance to getting ready on time. He was a leader, a manager, a pusher and a striver. He got things done and he taught us to do the same – shine your shoes, iron your clothes, stand up straight, eat everything on your plate and don’t whine!

My dad would push me to compete in races even when I just knew my wee little legs wouldn’t go as fast on skates as the other kids. “I can’t” was my motto. Yet I loved winning at cards, and I was often left “in charge” of my younger siblings. He was my hero in spite of everything.

My mom was an alcoholic in recovery for most of my life, and as a young mother she was quickly overwhelmed by having eight kids in ten years, one after the other. She was a beautiful, bohemian spirit at heart who would have made a great writer or journalist but instead worked as a secretary and got married at age 21 (1953). She was brought up Catholic, so no birth control was allowed. She cried easily, used the fly swatter to keep us in line, but had a kind, generous heart, loved telling stories and at the bottom was a good caretaker, making us ginger ale and orange juice fizzy drinks when we had measles, mumps, scarlet fever, or chicken pox….imagine four little girls all sick at the same time, nestled in our bunkbeds with the blinds drawn, and her running up and down the narrow stairs in that 3-bedroom house in the country where the pipes froze often in winter. We lived there until I was twelve.

All that to say, I grew up a feminist in my teens, believing she was the weak one, seemingly pushed around by her stronger, bully husband. She was a homemaker, not a role model for me, not a ‘success’ in the outer world – yet, she is still here, a survivor at 89, and he died at 83….she, who can barely digest anything and weighs 90 lbs, has all kinds of health issues from depression to IBS and a heart valve, still smokes, and still survives.  Who am I to call her weak?

She was the one who sang to us, Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. If we were feeling sorry for ourselves, or whimpering, she’d sing, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m going to the garden to eat worms.” We didn’t cry much in front of her. She grew up in the depression and lived through WWII so she learned a thing or two about Keeping On.

So I am definitely on the fence about how to treat myself in a rough patch - not sure how I feel about this self-compassion thing everybody touts in the yoga and Buddhist community. I am a big proponent of self-care, self-love, and kindness, theoretically. But is it self pity? If I'm truthful with myself, I have a harsh inner critic, nourished and watered from childhood by the belief in Strength, Courage, Soldiering On with the battle.  I hate whiners. Those who fail, are doomed. Those who give up, die. It’s like I am living with WWII forever in my head. The photos and articles on the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz drum it in to us – to survive, you have to resist, you have to believe, you have to fight. Never surrender.

Warrior Courage with Cougar Protector

I’m lying in yoga class when this insight comes to me. I want to stay in assisted child-pose for another twenty minutes. I want restorative yoga, not strength building, ab-crunching plank pose. Yet, I also want that muscle strength so that when I do downward dog or sun salutation, I can lift myself with ease. 

Where is the middle ground, where I can be strong and soft at the same time? Without fear of collapsing like my mother into a depressive, hoarding mess, (she survives, but she lives in a very disorganized house), or becoming too strident and harsh, in army captain mode, pushing myself beyond my limits all the time, feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.

Caretaker Archetype

So that is my question this morning and I don’t have the answer. I do not want to fall into self-pity, but I also recognize the signs of frozen emotion and know that not allowing myself to cry is not the answer either.

As I lay there, tearing up in corpse pose, (the best recompense of a tough yoga class) the feeling of Presence overcame me. A feeling of a soft, loving power greater than me, a light inside, a feeling I cannot describe. In that moment, everything was ok. All was well. I wanted to stay there longer and soak it up.

Maybe that is the middle ground I seek.

When the struggle quiets down, when the noise in the head calms, when the body lies still. But now, class is over, it’s up and at em, ready to carry that Peace into my day, like a Peace Warrior fighting with calm, reminding myself to simply be Present, Curious, Aware, self-compassionate, and kind to others as well. Let the tears fall, too.

For we are all fighting a hard battle, inside – and we must be kind not only to others, but to ourselves.