Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peaceful Holidays to You

In the quiet stillness of a snowy morning, in the calm before the storm of Christmas day, before the unwrapped presents litter the floor and the smell of turkey wafting from the oven, I allow myself to rest.

In the busy finished shopping days and wrapping wrapping Christmas Rap wrapping days, I allow myself to sit in stillness.

In the baking, roasting, cooking prep days of thawing and stirring and toasting nuts, I slow down and allow myself to take a breath.

What does your heart want to feel today?

What does your love of sharing the feasting and giving and drinking with family need you to do to stay open?

What do you need to really Feel like Christmas today?

Enjoy this spirit-filled time, allow yourself the gift of presence
today, tomorrow and all through the New Year.

nameste and Merry Holidays
a peaceful New Year to you


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Love being a Girl TED talk in India

This is an incredible video - please watch and be inspired!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress

It's countdown time - less than two weeks until December 25. How can you enjoy yourself during this mad rush to get all the shopping, baking, cooking, wrapping, parties etc done? Start here:
  1. Remember, you’re only human; discover on-line shopping. Get it delivered.
  2. Trying to be everywhere at once is impossible. Do one thing at a time.
  3. Relax and breathe; be happy with getting less done in one day.
  4. Enlist the elves and ask for help: don’t allow yourself to be spread too thin.
  5. Rediscover the word "no" and say it meaningfully.
  6. Make space for yourself on the agenda, and not just a pedicure.
  7. Allow yourself some down time to do nothing when you need to.
  8. How can you make “less is more” work for you?
  9. Simplify, re-use, re-gift; scale down the celebration.
  10. Never compare or contrast yourself with what your best friend is doing. This is your Holiday Time.

"You do not owe anyone your time. When you realize that, others will respect your time much more." – Martha Beck. 

Inspired by a list found on the Flourishing

Happy Holidays


Friday, December 10, 2010

Sacred task of honouring Self

So you may have read the blurb above about the sacred task of being a woman, honouring the feminine. But what does it mean?

If you browse this blog and the labels/titles of pieces written, you may see a theme emerging.  My interest in finding out what the feminine is started years ago, before the birth of my two children (now 18 and 20). But it has been a slow unfolding to really make all the links, put it all together. I don't have any great theories about it all, but I know it has a lot to do with Slowing Down, honouring my feminine intuition, listening to the very subtle inner coach inside who whispers more than yells, and sometimes sends messages through the body, like this frozen shoulder I'm dealing with, or a broken leg (10 years ago).  That broken leg really lead me on a search for understanding the mind-body connection, and a desire to listen in more honestly to my self-talk. I was stuck, immobile and had to ask for help.  I spent a lot of time with myself and my journal.

Where do we start to honour the Self? The only place we always have with us, by sitting and grounding, and getting in touch with our breath, with centering, and calming the nervous flutter and the outside noise. By getting quiet, and trusting that voice that calls for Rest.

It takes a great deal of courage, and a lot of chutzpah to put yourself on the agenda. To push away all the items on your to-do list that make you feel worthy, useful, dutiful, responsible, self-less, and take time for Just You, for your creativity, for your sanity, for your inner peace, for your sense of balance.

Why wait till the body forces you to slow down, is the question. Listen to the gentle urgings to treat yourself with tenderness and compassion instead of pushing, striving, and running over your Self with steel-toed boots.

It isn't about what you do, as Jen Louden put it recently in an interview with Amy Bloom, but more about a shift in mental attitude.

Get in touch with the desire to be present, to be with yourself, to be your own best Companion. And feel a sigh of relief as you do.  Come home to your Self.

Welcome home.


Monday, December 06, 2010


Eavan Boland

My window pearls wet.
The bare rowan tree
berries rain.

I can see
from where I stand
a woman hunkering--
her busy hand
worrying a child's face,

working a nappy liner
over his sticky, loud
round of a mouth.

Her hand's a cloud
across his face, making light and rain,
smiles and a frown,
a smile again.

She jockeys him to her hip,
pockets the nappy liner,
collars rain on her nape
and moves away,

but my mind stays fixed:
if I could only decline her--
lost noun
out of context,
stray figure of speech--
from this rainy street

again to her roots,
she might teach me
a new language:

to he a sibyl,
able to sing the past
in pure syllables,
limning hymns sung
to belly wheat or a woman

able to speak at last
my mother tongue.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Treading Air like a Seagull

You should see them r ight now - if I was handy with the camera I'd show you - they are hovering in heavy winds right at the shoreline, waiting for fish, I guess, and holding their wings steady, flapping, falling, rising, essentially in the same spot. 4 of them with white tail feathers and grey wings, playing with the wind.

What I was thinking of earlier this morning was the way the dark brooding skies and white-capped grey water were cut by a bar of light just between the tree tops and clouds. Now that light is gone, and we're moving towards more darkness.

What I was thinking of last week (and re-reading today) was the way the rain floods down the zinc roof and pools on the black earth in the empty flower beds. It overflows the gutters so that it feels like water is dripping from everywhere - the grey of the lake and the grey of the sky are depressing, if I allow it, but since the weather is unusually mild for November it isn't so bad. It's the lack of light and sunshine in winter, that gets me down.

What boosts my energy, mood and immune system - as we head into the dark season - is seeing wonderful white Christmas lights wrapped around the trees in my front yard, and along the outline of the house, transforming it into a fairy-lit land. It finally occurs to me tht we decorate this way because we need the light; it feeds us and since we're still scaredy cats most of us, even adults, and don't like the darkness in winter, we  leave the lights on to comfort ourselves.  Divali, Christmas, Hanukkah candles, it's all about lighting a lamp against the dark.

I am thinking of Christmas also in terms of having to prepare the house, decorate, make food - comfort food to welcome the family hordes and the brand new baby we all are looking forward to seeing, and hopefully to hold - all 28 of us. What will that be like? First Christmas also without Jacqueline, Ninine, great-grandma for the first time, who passed away this July.

In the meantime, I am treading air in time and space, like the seagulls, healing a sore shoulder, resting and napping more than usual, waiting for the creative Festive energy to brighten me up again.

To follow my own advice, I must go with the flow, even in the down times, and accept the resting is needed. The only way out and up is to go down and in.


Monday, November 22, 2010

What do you want?

"Begin doing what you want to do now, we are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-
and melting like a snowflake."  Marie Beyon Ray

What I want

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

–Mary Oliver

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing with Natalie Goldberg

OK, many of you have read the book. Many of you are practitioners already. For those of you already familiar with the books, I thought I knew what timed writing was all about, having read Wild Mind and Writing down the Bones. I had even taught the exercises in my journal writing classes.

But this weekend at Kripalu, amongst 149 other participants, I learned the discipline of putting it into practise.  Writing is a physical activity, as Natalie often says, and a lot of elbow grease goes into a writing workshop with these repeated 10 minute exercises.  (With a frozen shoulder and irritated nerve in my writing arm, this was a challenge). Natalie would often begin by having us sit for a while in silence, or listening to a song mindfully, then throw us a topic and say Go!

The second part of this discipline was to read one of our short pieces out loud, either to the whole group (some lucky souls did this, shivering in their boots though they may have been, tearful or brave or sans breath). Or more often, in a smaller group of three or four, we read to each other.  In either case, it was very powerful.  No comments, not a workshop, no good or bad. Just listening. Many many healing stories were unlocked this weekend. I felt like just being there amongst these writers we were opening up a vast ear-tunnel to the Universe, with deep truths funneled up to the Compassionate Ear above (or below, or within, who knows).

Some of the prompts were from her book, Old Friend from Far Away. One of the prompts that got me really going was given on the last day, What do you really want to write about?

It sounds so obvious, but after spending all day Saturday writing, exploring the topics that lead to memory and stories and revealed some of the old weights I still carry - it became more and more clear just what my Voice wanted to say. I was given permission to write the worst crap in Massachusetts this weekend, plus I was encouraged to say what I really wanted to say, no matter what. No good, no bad, as Natalie put it so often.  Just listen wholeheartedly, with your whole body. Study the mind....

I hope if you ever want to write you will look up Natalie Goldberg. Her methods are simple but very powerful.  I feel like I grew a backbone this weekend, cleared a space for my truth to be told. No matter what is popular, who is listening, what is going on around me, I learned to fall in love with my particular story and the telling of it, ten minutes by ten minutes....

ps Kripalu is offering another session with her in May.

See her website for details on her workshop schedule or book orders. (

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Pomegranites growing on a tree, Tuscany

There is no limit to the amount of good advice we are receiving every day through emails, internet, new books out on Self-Healing and Finding more Joy.

But this line caught my eye: going on regular rampages of Appreciation.

I guess it's like Random Acts of Kindness - you don't plan it, you just let yourself loose once in a while, instead of a rant on how awful the world is, the corruption of politicans and the high divorce rate, how rude teens are, etc etc.

What would get me started?

I just love the colour yellow beaming down from a maple tree even this late in November. I love the singular loon circulating on the lake in front of my window. I so appreciate the colour red in all the circulars I get in the mailbox, and on the pomegranites in the Auberge we visited in Tuscany. The silence of the empty trees on the island, shorn of colour, standing, waiting, expecting winter. I especially enjoy entering that silence within, allowing serenity to feel the emptiness. I appreciate the breath that fills my lungs, another day. I love greeting my husband after a long day of work, when we meet in the kitchen and I call out "Daddy's home!" and the dog and cats come running. I appreciate the few times we all have supper together, now that my big girl is working and teaching dance most evenings.

What would send you on a rampage?


Friday, November 05, 2010

In Praise of pasta, passion and feeling good

Flicking around in the web universe are some awesome little video clips from a man who has perfected the art of speaking about feeling, about passion, about being human.

Here is a little 7 minute clip worth watching.

nameste, have a happy November 5

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What if a woman listened to herself?

“What if a woman trusted her own tears enough to listen to them, to make real changes in her individual schedule, and to see if those changes spread to her office, her committee, her religious group? What if she trusted her anger, her irritation, her illness, even her depression, as signs that her own life was calling to her?

What if a woman allowed herself to leave a mode of doing that does not nourish her, that actively makes her unhappy? What if it were not so difficult? If her upbringing had not sought to teach her to be dutiful, moral, caring, giving, helpful, productive and loving…at all all others. ….it is often finally a woman’s own pain and sadness that make her change her life. Finally, it is impossible to deny her feelings any longer.”   

From Circle of Stones, Judith Duerk, Woman’s Journey to Herself

Yes, what if I listened to myself?

Get off the computer and take a walk with the dog. Give myself more creative loafing time, more timelessness, more experience of the timeless, without schedules and appointments and frantic rushing. What if I pencilled in come creative loafing time on my agenda? what if I made an artist date with my camera and the tree bark I love to take photos of?

What if I sat on the lawn chair and stared at the lake?

Now is the moment!

ps teaching what I need to learn, as Suzy put it today. That's why I am blogging and writing and teaching writing classes and leading retreats....I so need to learn/feel the value of 'me' time, down time, slow sacred space time.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dear Reader

I was flummoxed by a pain in the neck. I was running and getting things done and doing errands and being productive and crossing things off my list and typing away at 100 words  a minute...feeling productive and 'good'.

And yet every night I've been lying in bed with this chronic pain in the neck and shoulders and even seventeen appointments with a chiropracter/naturopath and a physio therapist and umpteen other kinds of treatment (yes, osteopathy) are not making it go away.

An MRI is scheduled, an xray shows arthritis, inflammation, bone spurs...damage from a ski-doo accident when I was thirteen and really banged my spine. And yet, I have to wonder, what's behind this pain in the neck?

Dear Reader in meditaton this morning I felt so close to giving up all the 'busy-ness' that makes me feel useful. I felt so close to the soft understanding that the world needs our/my soft participation in the Slow feminine, in the inner connectedness to the sentient earth, to the sentient beings around me, more than it needs me to be busy.

I feel, now, looking out at the clouds zooming by over the lake amidst rain and dark grey water, that I have been living from the outside in for too long.  My neck is asking me to stop, take stock and ultimately, say, I give up. I surrender. Please show me how to trust this soft inner place where I am not divided in two, body and mind, heart and head.

I want to be a channel for peace, I wrote in my bucket list.  OK, so be careful what you ask for.

Being and living consciously cannot be watchwords or just talk, is my feeling this morning.  LIving from the inside out - what would that feel like? It's been my mantra or 'tag line' for so's been what I believe in. But can I really live inside it?  Yes, oh yes, I can. Becaue the pain in the neck is crushing my resistance.

Dear reader, I am writing this today to remind myself that life is a great teacher.  That the lessons are all from love.  That my calling, as Jennifer Louden put it so well in her facebook notes, is calling me to be true to myself, not just for me, but for the transformation of all of us.  Each one of us can answer the call within to be true to ourselves, and it will change the world.  The change we want to see, we have to be....slowly, gently, with compassion and kindess, we can listen to the call.

We suffer when we disengage from the journey of discovery. Explore that inner listening, and let yourself be guided towards more opening, more truth, more being at peace with yourself, less 'keeping busy' to feel useful.

my thoughts on a rainy day
from inside

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finding my Voice in the Silence

It's ironic that in listening to the silence, I find my Voice.

I've been journaling and writing and leading classes on journal writing around this theme. But it just hit me this morning as I read this piece I copied from Heart of the Matter newsletter  by Mark Silver.

Silence is not the absence of noise, it is an active presence. If you listen with your heart, you can taste it. Take a moment now and listen for it in your heart.

Under the noise, behind, within the noise, there is a silent presence. It's palpable.
Don't try to grab it. Don't try to hold onto it. Instead, invite it in. Give it permission to take over everything within you, to push aside the noise, to fill you up.
Whatever noise is taking up your attention in this moment, kids, music, Twitter, notice it. Notice all the noise in your space. Take a minute to focus in on each one.
Next, in your heart say "No." If you like you can try the phrase "La ilaha illa'llah," which is pronounced pretty much like it reads. You're not resisting the noise, just acknowledging that all of that hubbub is not the truth.
Third, feel the longing in your heart for silence. Let the longing deepen.

Finally, ask in your heart for help in tasting the silence that is there and allowing it to flood in. Give permission to the silence to master you, to be your anchor.

Now, to some of you this  may seem counterintuitive, but this is how I get in touch with my inner voice, my own wisdom, and my real heart's longing to be whatever I can be. I listen to the silence.

I've spent the last year journalling about the direction I want my life to take, in terms of working with women on retreats or classes, writing and blogging, and this is what appeared finally from out of the void, as My Theme: Finding my Voice.

I can't say it's all that original, but when I look back at my life story, from early beginnings in a large family of eight, to singing like a shy little sparrow in grade school, hiding in my room to play guitar in my teens, coming out of the bedroom to sing for others in my twenties and even write my own songs, to meeting my husband as a new 'guitarist' who could play bar chords so I could sing the songs I loved, to singing to my children when they were little to calm them, entertain them or divert them, to singing in a duo with my husband occasionally today, and performing in public with a barbershop quartet and chorus by night....

I am finding my Voice.

Through writing poetry in my teens, keeping a diary of sorts since around the time I met Jacques 26 years ago, to first applying to a Creative writing program with a very sentimental manuscript of poems, to finally 10 years later publishing a book of poems and birth journal (part of my Master's thesis in Creative Writing), to recording a CD of poems and one with friend and cellist Kim Gosselin, to leading workshops on the Feminine, the Body, and now one called Charting your Journey, through publishing short stories and poems about my own journey and about meditation, menopause, teen sexuality, and every Taboo topic that my mind wants to keep silent and ashamed....I am Finding my Voice.

There, I think I've said it.

I have also been inspired by Janet Quinn's book I am A Woman Finding my Voice, and by Janet Connor's Writing down the Soul, to mention just a few books I love.

I am very excited about attending a workshop with Natalie Goldberg at Kripalu this November too, on Memoir writing, since the Voice keeps leading me back to my own stories.

And another wonderful on-line resource is for finding writing workshops and mentors.

So try practising letting the silence be your teacher, and let it help you find Your Voice.Then write, sing, dance it out into the World. Share your Voice, for the world would be a much too silent place if only the best song birds opened their throats and sang (paraphrased from a famous author).


Bask until the silence leaves. Rinse, repeat if desired.

Let the silence master you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Home made Retreat

Watching the sun rise over tree tops and leaves gently rustling in the slight breeze - I am ecstatic to be up here in St-Sauveur at my retreat house/chalet, playing house, placing dishes in cupboards, folding sheets and making beds.  It feels like this is 'my own' house, somehow, just for me. Perhaps because I have come up here alone, to honour my work.

It has been decorated simply, white curtains, pine walls, wood floors. It feels homey yet very bare, the way I like it, just add a rug and a few chairs and it will be perfect (we bought it partly furnished, table and couch, beds in place).

I especially love the silence. A good place to meditate, write, prepare my class in.  Yes! a whole day without telephone, email, disruptions, to concentrate on my work. If I can do this once a week it will be so amazing. I am very fed up of schedules and being busy. Am I finally ready to listen in and follow my inner guide? Unplug from the busy world?

What can I hear by listening in, trusting the silence, instead of fearing the emptiness?

Later, I lay outside on a blanket and rested my sore shoulders in the sun. Wearing a brace on right forearm because of irritated nerves from too much typing, lifting, overwork.

Sigh, I want to write and my body is saying, rest. This chalet will be a place for both.

Enter the silence....


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Birthing as Heroic Task

Labour Day weekend brought many parties for us this weekend. Yesterday was Le Bouilli, a traditional harvest supper with loads of vegetables and beef cooked slowly in a huge pot at my brother-in-law's place. The whole family (or almost) was there, including two pregnant nieces. Naturally, the conversation turned towards the coming birth of one of them, due in October.

My childbirth experiences were very different one from the other, and I don't believe in frightening future mother's by telling them in great detail what I went through.  (The second child was born in the car, ten minutes away from the hospital).  But I do clearly remember the labour, the physical work and concentration required of Labour, and the total focus it required of me, and when I began to talk about it, it brought me back to the words of Joseph Campbell, who said giving birth and becoming a mother is a woman's heroic task.

Just like a warrior must focus his mind and conquer his fears before battle, a new mother giving birth brings all of her self to the task. All her courage, all her strength and energy are required.  She does need help and encouragement, yes, the nurses and doulah or companions, her husband can help her remember to breathe, but it is the inner work that gets done that is important, from the quality of her surrender and trust in the body's processes (and the more knowledge of these processes the better), to the letting go of fears of not being capable of passing this threshold.  The journey is dangerous, as the forces within move the baby out into the world from his watery womb space, forcing him to cross the threshold into life outside the safety of his mother's enclosure.  She will be turned inside out too, and perhaps lose all sense of separateness with the world.  All her senses will awaken, and sharpen once he is born, whetted by the cries of her baby, and nothing will ever be the same. It is a spiritual birth of the mother, as well as the physical birth of the child, as they journey together through that tunnel.

For the first few days, if she allows it, she will feel at one with her baby, this being from another planet who has slipped like a fish through her legs.  His eyes will be her mirror, his pain will be her pain. As she tunes into his needs and feels the milk tingle in her breasts even before he wakes, she will either accept or resist this intrusion, this call to selflessness, this giving over of the self to a larger need.

It will be the hardet (or the easiest) thing she will ever do, has ever done.  To give her self to the needs of the vulnerable tyrant at her breast, as they both navigate new territory, and learn how to find contentment and ease together.  What can prepare her?  Focus, concentration, rest, inner strength, conscious letting go of expectations...of fear, of anxiety - allowing life to hold them both in its arms.

To fight this great battle for life by letting go, by surrendering, is kind of  conumdrum. But that's what it takes.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cultivating a practice for self-care

Why is it so hard to attend to our Inner Garden? To nourish ourselves on an inner level, to keep our commitments to ourselves to practice good self-care? The feedback I got from my last retreat brought this up - how can I continue to make time for myself, and why is it so hard?

Like eating your cereal every morning or brushing your teeth, nourishing your inner needs is a practice. It’s not something you can just think about once in a while, or muse about while on vacation.  It is a daily practice that you build into your life.

Whether you decide that the best way to nourish your inner garden is to surround yourself with beautiful plants, move to a house by the water, write in your journal every morning, or do yoga on a regular basis, the important thing is that you follow through with a commitment to yourself. But how do we do this?

It’s easy to be lead by the outside demands, by the crazy whirlwind of activity, work, children, hobbies and responsibilities to others we need to fulfill. There's never enough time, we moan. But we often don’t even put ourselves on the list. Start by asking, in what area is your commitment to self-care lacking? Make a list of what is missing to create balance – is it a spiritual need, a physical need, an emotional need? Where do you feel supported and fulfilled, and where do you feel less ‘full’?

For instance, if I look at my own life, I have a few checks and balances. On the inner garden side, I have had a long standing practice of sitting meditation, every morning for over 30 years. I began to do yoga about 16 years ago, and that part still feels really good. But my self-care on the physical side is not ideal – I lack cardio exercise, I huff and puff going up hills, so I know I can treat my body better by getting out and walking briskly more often, or getting on that elliptical machine hidden in the basement. It feels good when I do it. So I will concentrate on remembering how good it feels to move my body. And how lousy it feels to be the last one up the hill.

My eating habits are pretty healthy. Check. But my commitment to my writing needs more ummph. I let it slide, I do laundry, check emails, write to friends on Facebook, basically, I work without a deadline so no projects are getting to the finished piile. For instance, the interview transcrips are on hold, while I stare at the tape recorder sitting on my desk and fill my day with other 'to do's. My poetry manuscript I have been working on sporadically, when I have time.  I don’t know why I can’t make this a priority, but I think it's about believing in my own work enough to get doing it. The best solution for me will be to carve out a regular work time and not take phone calls or read emails during that time. This is a weak muscle that also needs exercise.

One way to increase your commitment to self care is to write about it in your journal. This too demands a commitment however. There will always be something in the way, something important calling your attention. A phone call, an email, a needy child, a volunteer project, a committee meeting....lack of sleep will make you sleep in and miss your appointed writing time. But if you’ve decided that you want to be more self-aware, if your intention is to be curious about your inner workings and understand your stresses, your joys, your obstacles and your achievements, writing in your journal is a very useful tool. Knowing that you will be pleased with the encounter with the Self could be the motivation you need to sit down and do it. 

Don’t let not knowing what to write about be another hurdle. If you don’t know where to start, begin with a question. What do I need to think about today? What is bothering me, causing me lack of sleep? What scenario am I rehashing in my head? What guidance am I looking for? Or simply make a list – things I am happy about, things I am dissatisfied with, people I love to be with, things that drive me crazy, ways I can take better care of my inner garden....and write. Finding a teacher and taking a class is a good way to get started, to find motivation and inspiration for things to write about, and to start a regular schedule.

With practice, you develop a thirst for the good feeling movement, meditation, or journal writing brings to your body. You develop a feeling of calm inner peace by focussing inside. Nourish that desire for peace, let it guide you towards more and more inner work.

Pay attention to how it feels, does it make you feel good? That’s what will strengthen the muscle, to correlate the feeling you get, in the moment.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Monday

I have said it before, and I'll say it again....don't listen to the Negative Self-Talk that Weary Monday morning drivels in your ear. 

It took me a couple of hours to shake off the apres-weekend fatigue, travelling, wine, good company for sure, but Monday morning it was hard to get moving.

If I listened to what my inner Critic/unfriendly inner shadow voice was whispering, I was headed for the dumps, no good, no energy, no mojo, no creativity, ready to give up on myself completely.

Fortunately, I put on some soothing Reiki music, did some yogic stretches, and drank a good cup of expresso, then after lunch I had an amazing appointment with my local chiropractor and healer who cracked a few vertebrae and got me cracking!

By mid-afternoon, I had started to shake off the fog and felt my normal self again, that is, I got out the files that needed looking at, wrote the newsletter I needed to write, and looked at my fall course work.  Ah Mondays.  They're not all the same, thank goodness, but today, it was hard to remember that the Inner Critic loves to kick me when I'm down. And that I should never ever respond or react as if that is my reality.

Anyway, it's Monday night now. Phew! I can go to bed early (now that I've watched all 3 taped episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, which kept me up late till midnight Sunday). Sweet dreams and happy Tuesday.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Divine feminine and all that

Facebook turns up so many interesting leads - I was checking it out this morning, clicking on people's links, and found an article written in Huffington Post by a guy named Arjuna, about the deep sense of worship for his wife, embodying the Divine Feminine, and his process for peeling back the layers, going deeper in relationship.

Another woman, author of Writing down the Soul, asked on her facebook link, what about the Divine Masculine? Which is always a funny sounding question because we've been trained and enforced, it's practically encoded in our DNA, at least in a traditional way, to be in relation to a Divine Masculine in the form of G-O-D.  Yahweh, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, MOhammed, Allah, hmmmm they all have that in common.

But something else came up for me, immediately. The delicious feeling I had the other night, while I was dozing, half-asleep, spread out on the bed in my little cotton nightgown, and my significant other crept into the room and moved his warm hands up and down the length of my body, squeezing the rounder bits and cressing the long back muscles. I was enjoying the tingling sensations, but still half asleep, not really roused or aroused yet.  Then he left to go change a light bulb outside, and walk the dog! leaving me in a state of anticipation for that meeting between the masculine and feminine....

here's the thing - what is divine defies description, it is 'other' yet it is familiar. It happens in trance, in meditation, in slow motion, in heightened states, in sixth senses and higher chakras.....words can't describe it. So maybe, what is meant by 'divine masculine' or feminine is just that....a place where words can't take us, but where souls meet, and touch, inside of bodies, melting our boundaries and separateness.

I don't worship that, but I adore it. I mean, I really love it when that happens. That merging that I can un-merge from. When we loosen our tight little baggage and just float in sensation together.  When we get all primal, animal, grounded ino ur bodies, and yet transcend them too. This morning I woke up with a Beatles song in my head, 'Imagine I'm in love with you, it's easy cause I know...." and then I stretched, jumped in the shower singing and remembered, oh yeah, we made love last night.  I fell asleep so satisfied, with a deep inner smile.

That union is not the same as the so-called 'divine union' of my soul with the larger Soul/Creator whatever you want to call it, that doesn't need two bodies to transport me. But it is pretty damn transcendent.

I think we're hard wired for that stuff.

have a great humid hot August dog-days kind of day,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Value of Retreats

Yesterday was the Cultivating Your Inner Garden Retreat, at my home.  Eight women joined me to create a wonderful space of inner focus and exploration.

A retreat is a funny thing. On the outside it doesn't look like much is happening. But for the mind, it can be like a pressure cooker; asked to reflect on a question in silence, it can seek to run like quicksilver or mercury - when you press on it it scatters in a hundred different directions. Or it can settle and center in the breathing body, thoughts mesmerized by the soothing rhythm or the soughing of wind in the leaves. Nature can soothe, like lapping water on the dock, or soft music: combine the two with a journal, some yoga and walking, an inspiring quote, and voila - a sacred space is created. Ritual also does this, by repeating a song or phrase, lighting a candle flame, walking in a labyrinth towards the center, ancient routines to entrain the wild horses, corral the mind into a focussed pattern.

What do we gain? a heat or pressure is created, and something shifts. Sometimes it's seismic, sometimes subtle, but we gain clarity or understand a problem in a new way. We may feel like nothing has happened on the surface, but clarity, like a strong focussed beam of light has just lit up a dark corner, illuminated an area of shadow.

If we are gentle with ourselves and trusting of the process, a retreat can be restful, rejuvenating, relaxing, even while we are focussed inwards. It does take effort to stay inside the container provided by a retreat. The container is created by the structure of the day, by the respect of the retreatants for the focus and concentration required - by the ritual activity or by the relaxed interior gaze of the questions posed in our journalling.

Time spent on retreat stretches, loses its shape, becomes eternal for a moment - then elastic, returns.

How to follow up on a retreat and put into practice the learnings made?  Take baby steps, give yourself reminders to stop and breathe; regular practise is built over time by paying daily attention to our need. For instance, I need peace and quiet to reflect, so I build a time in my scheudle for meditation and writing, even if only fifteen minutes a day. I post reminders to myself on my mirror, and I write affirmations to help strengthen my resolve to be kind to myself.  I practise paying attention, slowing down when I feel the rushing happening. I don't expect to transform myself overnight, but I listen to the impulse, the desire for peace, the desire for soul food.  I pay attention to my hunger, and I feed it.

I am worthy of taking care of my inner needs, as well as my physical ones.
I deserve to experience this peace of mind.
I allow myself to take all the time I need.

Jenn, retreat leader

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Cultivate your Inner garden

I've been reading up on materials for a retreat coming up, about what fertilizes your soul, and have serendipitously also found a number of good books at a local used book store.

Woman, Earth and Spirit, The Feminine Symbol and Myth by Helen Luke is full of wonderful understanding about the creative feminine spirit.

Too often we align ourselves with the outer values of the work force; production, performing, success and goal making drive us forward until we hit the wall of exhaustion.  Luke would say this is because we don't value the feminine values of receiving, openness, holding space. The feminine fertilizes in the dark space where the seed lies in the earth, receiving nourishment, light and water and heat from above. It is the earth's nature to foster growth in the dark so that the seed may reach up to the light. This inner fertilizing of our soul growth is as important as the creative output phase.

The soul needs tranquility, and rest, not only fire; inner cultivation occurs in the darkness by resting, finding completeness and wholeness from within.  "The way back and down to those springs [water of life] and to the roots of the tree is likewise the way on and up to the spirit of air and fire in the vaults of heaven." Luke

If we don't give ourselves time to rest and be still, to listen within, due to the pressure to perform and feel worthy, then we "scorch our inner garden with the destructive fire".  We burn up, we burn out. We feel dry and empty.

So to find the fertilizing power you need, think about what elements you need to help you rest and go within.

Think about going on retreat, or making yourself a mini-retreat for an hour or two, by unplugging the phone, the computer and emails. Even over lunchtime, you can make a mini-retreat by walking outside in the sunshine, finding a shady tree to sit under, reflecting on the Waters of life that nourish you and what they may be.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Summer Time

Good morning from the Cafe Aurora!

I have no internet connection at home, until my power supply cord arrives in the mail, so here I am at a cafe having a late breakfast and writing to you.

Had a great poetry reading the other night, reading a very emotionally strong and resonant poem, Birth and Death Mother. At least three people asked me for a copy, but since it's been sent to a poetry contest, I will hold off on publishing it here.

Summer time, day after Canada Day (see overthetopquartet blog next door for picture of our new shoes), singing with the quartet is fun and light-hearted, but I must confess I am glad to take a summer break.

I am taking a very inspiring retreat coaching class with Helene Van Mannen, (look her up on facebook). Very very packed with good information, and I will be experimenting with retreats at my place this summer. We have a winning combination: the lake nearby, the big deck to do yoga flow on, a hot tub to relax those tense muscles, and an awesome group of women to share with.

It's becoming clearer than ever that this work is what is calling my heart, as well as journal writing classes for women.For those who have patiently followed my blog, in all its questing for meaningful work and where to put my focus, this is good news. No more whining and complaining from me about how lost I feel, OK?

It's been a long haul, I've had to be patient, and so I give all you fellow seekers in mid-life this advice: hang in there, write down your soul in your journal, keep asking the questions and listening to the answers from within, take chances and when you hear a call, answer it. Take baby steps and grow your confidence, and find an unconditional support person who loves you and will encourage you to say Yes when the call comes.

have a great long weekend,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice and upheaval

My sister Sue is blogging about astrology at the blog link above. If you are curious about the Summer Solstice, the coming full moon and the eclipse about to hit us soon, and the effects it has on the inner and outer landscape, check it out.

There is lots going on in my household. Daughter, 18, just back from Germany is taking off to Quebec City for two days (have a safe drive in the rain Caitie!) to celebrate St-Jean Baptiste Day with friends on the Plains of Abraham (an historic battle field if you don't know).

Julien and his dad are off to Bonventure in the Gaspe for salmon fishing trip with their brothers, cousins, uncles, 'les gars', a male bonding tradition every June 23.

So I will be musing by myself, reflecting on the five day Rotary International Convention and the booth that I helped build and volunteered at for 3 days. So many connections with people thirsty to serve, ready to help the world with clean water, nutritious food and disaster relief efforts. Very inspiring those Rotarians.

Maybe I'll even get a chance to work on my Retreat Coaching teleclass homework....building better retreats to offer in the fall of 2010.

Maybe sometime this summer I'll open up my journal and begin to write down my soul.....listening into the the inner voice and letting it have free rein, without censoring it.

Maybe I'll find some time to play....and I definitely will make myself a retreat at Kripalu in July, with my buddy Brigitte.

Alors....happy solstice.

nameste, musemother

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Productivity Trap

Big article in the Globe & Mail this morning about how many families don't have time to eat and play together, but are constantly running from work to soccer games to caring for aging parents - they quote statistics about the low number of times a family sits down with a teen son or daughter to eat dinner.

Wellbeing is the rubrique it falls under, in the report to come out Tuesday from the Canadian Index of Wellbeing called Caught in the Time Crunch: Time Use, Leisure and Culture in Canada.

"Canada has become a society operating 24 hours a day and, as a result, more people are working odd hours – weekends, nights, rotating shifts. That has cut into the time they would normally spend with their spouses and their children and doing the things they really like to do. And that can lead to burnout.

“If we are on this treadmill, we will end up being less productive, less contributing to society, less knowledgeable,” said Roy Romanow, the former Saskatchewan premier who is the chair of the Index of Wellbeing’s advisory board. “And therefore, not only is our well-being being affected, but so might our productivity be affected.”

One in five Canadian adults reports being caught in a time crunch, with slightly more women than men saying they feel like they are perpetually under the gun."

Women are often the caregivers in the family, and so their workload is the highest, and their leisure time the lowest. Of course, we women are sometimes bred into this role and see it as natural. We have a hard time taking time for ourselves on a regular basis.
Down time, slowing down time, self-care, time to do nothing at all and just veg, this is what prevents burn-out and in the end increases our productivity. All farmers know (or used to) that letting a field lie fallow for a year was necessary to allow the earth to rest and recuperate from all the nutrients going into a crop, and rebuild the soil quality for next year.  Creative artists also know that there is a cycle to creativity, and fallow times or 'off times' are needed to foster it. Creative loafing is a term that speaks to this.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is play with your blocks, a sand-pile, playdoh, or get into your right brain a little and stop thinking. Sometimes brainstorms come to you while you're just waking up from a nap in a hammock or staring at clouds.

Why don't we allow ourselves this down time or loafing time?  The productivity trap catches us all in its snare.  We are constantly running to catch up, to get everything done in one day.  We get addicted to the adrenaline rush of being busy, always reachable by phone, email or blackberry.  We keep running on the treadmill like rodents to keep up with our house payments, education bills, repairs on the car, and we tend to value less activities that feed the soul, like art, music, poetry, picnics. We see them as extras that are the first thing to go when life becomes too busy.

I think our world is being pushed to the edge of this productivity mode.  Don't wait until illness or burn-out forces you to take a break. Schedule a break into your agenda today. Give yourself more time off, time to be unplugged, time to appreciate the little moments of peace that come your way.  Summer is here, in the northwestern hemisphere.  Time to play, time to get outside, time to lie on the grass and count clouds. Just for a little bit. 

Play catch up with your soul, listen to its longing for peace, tranquility, its desire for recognition.  Slow down to the slowest part of you for at least part of your day, every day.

You'll be doing your family a favour, your community a favour, by being less likely to fall off the treadmill.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

How a Good Night's Sleep can Change Everything

Monday I woke up feeling sick, so I slept in an extra hour, meditated lying down (risky, I know) to prevent dizziness, purposely didn't get on the computer until after a shower and time outside with my journal. I  did reply to a few emails and managed to get some laundry done, walk the dog, do groceries, but mostly it felt like a low-key go slow kind of day.  I even made some medicinal tea (soy bancha ginger) and quinoa flake porridge to heal the intestinal upset, and found the time to make a nice supper. 

The day went smoothly enoug, as I slowed down, took time to take care of myself.  I even had the energy to try out a new red wine/rose sauce for chicken in spite of my lack of appetite.  I just didn't push myself to 'get things done', and things happened at their own pace. I also lay for 20 minutes with my hubby's head in my arms at the end of the day, comforting him for a hard day - one of those where everything you do goes wrong - soothed his forehead, all the while thinking - because I took care of me today, I am in a healthy space to give out and take care of him.

I was in bed at 9:30 with a book, and slept deeply.

Then, bing, Tuesday morning I woke up and my energy was back. The headache and tummy ache were gone. I felt tons better.  Ready to sort out my daughter's messy room (while she's travelling in Europe), do more laundry (my son is a bit overwhelmed with the laundry baskets piling up, as he's working). I got an agenda going, replied to emails, and sat down to write in my journal, all before 10.00 a.m. 

Sometimes a good night's rest changes everything.

Also, when my heart is in a good space and I am gentle with myself, a healing presence is all I have to offer.  When I rush out every night, leave them to reheat a frozen dinner, they can survive, but the love is not the same as in a home-cooked meal lovingly prepared.

I still want to do that whenever I can (at least 3 or 4 nights out of 7). And teach them to prepare healthy meals as well, of course.

The value of a calm, centered caretaker in the home, whether male or female, cannot be underestimated.  I hope you dads at home that follow this blog will send me your own stories of how taking care of yourself helps you take care of your loved ones.

have a great day,

Monday, May 31, 2010

The worth of a woman's work

"Consider a woman in Somalia who rises early to walk two miles to the nearest well to get water for her family, rturns to feed her children and ready them for school, spends the morning working the soil of the family garden, the afternoon tending to the sick and infirm of her village, then in the event cooks and mends clothing and sings songs to her tired children and makes love with her husband. As measurd by the G.D.P. this woman has no value. She is useless; a drain on the nation's wealth."

What is the true measure of the wealth of a nation? It's a good question, posed by the author of Sabbath, Wayne Muller.

When we create art, when we create beauty in our surroundings, when we experience joy and good health, when we measure our lives not only by the money we earn for 'producing' but for the presence of love, beauty, health and harmony around us, it is perhaps not measurable on any economic index.

Or is it?

We are learning to value clean water and healthy fish stocks, after the mess of the BP Oil Spill. We are putting a monetary value on the education of girls in Africa. We can also learn to value our time for just being, for tuning into our inner peace, for experiencing good health mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

Know that the effort towards valuing our work in creating a peaceful environment for our families begins with each one of us. I begin by placing value on my work as a woman working in the home.

I place value on the work I do of writing poems and inspiring blogs.
I value my contribution to the human race as a singer and entertainer.

I may be a semi-professional at a lot of things, meaning I don't get paid much for it, if anything, but  my worth as a woman is priceless.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Enjoying the Rest

Remember that wonderful man I mentioned I had shared a life with? well it was 26 years on May 19. We are headed off downtown, sans enfants, to have supper and stay in a fancy schmancy hotel in Old Montreal, get a massage first, and relax....and celebrate those 26 years, (which we take 5 at a time).

C'est le weekend! as they say in Montreal. And a three-day one in Canada.

Sigh....looking at my back yard and the lake, there are 2 deck chairs sitting on the dock, just waiting for two bodies to sit down in them.

Tomorrow I have a singing engagement in Vankleek Hill at 9:30 in the morning.....with the chorus, so better not to stay up too late over that romantic dinner.  Then after singing, home to watch the Hockey Game (we won last night, oh my god!) and perhaps sit under the stars on that dock.

enjoy this lovely period of recreation and rest,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Follow your bliss

Just found a box of candles I had ordered from zena moon and the one scented with strawberry says, Follow your Bliss.

I love that quote from Joseph Campbell, and the meaning behind it - do what you love and the money will follow.  It means taking risks, or feeling your way out of the comfort zone, often, stretching yourself into a new space, using your imagination.

But think how your life would be without it? Once I got some help in visualizing this from a counsellor. She had me imagine myself leading retreats, the faces on the women after finishing a restful creative retreat, the thanks they gave me, the way I felt. Then she had me imagine down the road a ways, perhaps a book tour, or a publicity tour of some kind, opening up the country, then the continent, perhaps the world to my retreats.

At the end of five minutes of visualization, I felt energized, alive, happy, fulfilled.

Then she had me imagine the opposite: if I stayed where I was, doing what I was, hiding my light, not sharing it with the world, cooped up in my little room, in a funk of mild depression.  What did it feel like in my body? my shoulders sagged, and my head drooped. Five years down the road, I was more anxious, withdrawn, depressed, and my health was deteriorating.  I had no energy, no vitality.  I surprised myself in seeing my mother's body in this future.  That's how she looks now.  A person who so gave herself to what was expected of her, that she lost herself somewhere along the way. I could see myself ending up bitter, tired, unwell, battling fatigue and depression.

Back to that candle - the sticker's on zena moon candles always have great quotes. This one says,
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it., Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."  Friedrich Nietzche.

Wow! I want to feel alive, that's what I want.

happy May, spring of all possibilities

Monday, May 03, 2010

Gentling the Woman's Soul

Listening to a wonderful CD this morning, by Karen Drucker, A Retreat of my Own.

Monday mornings are retreat time for me. I like to light a candle, (don't turn the computer on or read emails till afterwards), play soothing music, and treat myself tenderly.

Yoga stretches, pigeon pose for my hips, downward dog for my hamstrings, shoulder rolls, whatever can move me into my body and into receptive mode.

Then I worked on my retreat schedule for the New Moon retreat upcoming.

Oddly enough, at my chiro/naturopath appointment later that morning, the subject of Receiving came up.  She was getting that I had some energetic blockages around being kind to myself, taking care of me. And we cleared some old baggage (stored in the body since a very early age, and reinforced with time as a belief system).  I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say, I had no conscious awareness that these issues were still so strong in me.  Since I lead retreats and blog about self-care, I assumed I knew how to take care of myself.  I eat well, I live well, and I even allow myself a massage once or twice a year (hah!).

Anyway, the upshot of my morning, is that I am now willing to receive. I am ready to make room for myself in the busy schedule,  and I am willing to be taken care of. There, I said it.  Not so hard really, but words alone are not enough.

I welcome you all to consider how you can be more gentle with yourself today, strive less, push yourself less, make room for the heart and breath, and really allow the beauty you are to be what you love.

Baby steps.....

ps check out the link below

Good News from Imagine a Woman International: May 3, 2010

This year the Imagine a Woman poem is celebrating its 15th year anniversary with a new website and new programs and opportunities for personal growth and professional enhancement. You're invited to the launch of the IAW WomanSpirit Empowerment Program, today May 3, with free inspirational gifts and complimentary coaching at We'll be celebrating WomanSpirit all week so get your party clothes on, invite your friends, and come on over.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mothering Myself

I am planning a retreat, and in that mode of research for articles, exercises, inspiration. Ran into book store and picked up a pile of books, one of them being The Mother Factor. I did not buy it but perused it, looking at its chapter headings and diving in occasionally.

Mothering has such deep currents for me. Being mothered by a loving mother, also a sometimes violent and frustrated mother, often negligent and preoccupied with her addictions, has left a legacy, for sure.

I can see myself in the child the author describes who is too easily offended at criticism, who needs to rescue others, who reads others emotional needs superbly and feels responsible for other's feelings - under the heading of Unpredictable Mother, yes, that would describe it.

How can I mother myself, give myself nurturance, feed the child that was feeling abandoned and unloved some of the time, or left to hold the fort at too young an age?

It is such an important issue for me since I have been mothering two children. That goes without saying. But hitting menopause, it also became evident that the stresses and emotional baggage were like sparks to the fire of hormonal imbalance.  It became necessary to find a bucket of water to douse these sparks, or at least, uncover why they are still smouldering.

Loving kindness, compassion, understanding, all those huge words with Huge Meanings, are only accomplishable in little moments, in one on one's, in how I feed myself, allow enough rest time, provide fun and playful activities, rock my angry child inside, soothe the hurt and not beat myself up with blame.

Mothering myself would involve liking myself enough to take care of me.  Understanding my unconscious reasons for ignoring my own needs enough to start doing something about it.

I invite all unmothered or imperfectly mothered readers to stop for a moment, before Mother's Day, and think of serious ways of taking care of your own unmothered self, by mothering your self.  Little crooning lullabies, soft music, hush now, sweet child, rest, rock yourself to sleep. Here is something good for you to eat.....

try it


Monday, April 26, 2010

5 Things I Can Imagine Myself Doing Tonight

Hockey is drawing to a close, but tonight is perhaps the last game with the Canadiens in Montreal, and my hubby has got great tickets, so guess where he is?

That lead me to my computer after an early supper, K out dancing in class, J working on school projects, and me by my lonesome....wondering what to do?

Should I rent a video (walk over to the video rental sstore in the village and give the dog and I some exercise?), catch up on severeal movies listed in the Rolling Stone magazine article I'm reading on Glee (A Mnighty Wind, Best in Show), The Fugitive are mentioned and I've only seen one of those


sit down and write a poem about the 2 fire trucks in front of my house, and the 4 fireman down by the water on the boat ramp with binoculars, and the 2 police boats out on the water near Docker's Island rescuing somebody?


read Facebook and update my profile page (already done) and click on all the links on my home page from friends who have posted videos, photos, smart and clever sayings...funny quotes, inspiring messages...


start a new Diana Gabaldon book, after finishing (finally!) the Fiery Cross - I have never taken so long to really get into a book, but the end was packed full of action


watch TV?  (nothing much on though, and I hate watching TV unless it's a good movie)

Which 5 things would you do if you had a free evening to goof off?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One day at a time

One day at a time, one goal at a time, taking little steps out of overwhelm ...

Today, after meditating, I jumped up to read my emails - first mistake.  Should have written in my journal first, as usual. So the list of things to do got bigger very quickly.  Took out my journal and began to write down all my commitments, various volunteer things I've taken on, committees, raffle prizes, fundraising, chorus activities, board meeting notes to write up, and way at the bottom of the list was Writing. Stories. Poems. Even below that was, take care of self.

Sigh, it was 10:30 before I took a shower (advantage of working at home in my pyjamas).

Sudden mini-panic attack and dizziness - deep breath out, slow breath in.

Ok - since the list is overwhelming, I thought spring cleaning would work better. Guests coming this week, so strip the guest room bed, wash all the kids sheets, pillowcases, the king size bed....a mountain of white sheets on the floor outside the laundry room.

Dash outside after lunch for a quick walk up Alan Hill with Mollie - ah, once outside the door the bright green of new buds, the star magnolia blossoms, the smell of grass and old fall leaves underfoot welcomed me back to "ground center".  Breathing in the smells with Mollie, as she ran from muddy path to boggy grass. All the new shoots and little yellow and blue flowers calmed my mind.

Back to the house, and computer, emails, notes to type up - bing bang got em all done. And suddenly at 2:00, 3 teen girls took over the kitchen, cooking up snacks and cutting each other's I escaped to my room to edit that story.

This has been one hell of a day, started out rocky, ending up satisfying - I got one story rewritten, copied and into an envelope for a writing contest. Made a rehearsal plan for my quartet and helped solve a last minute hosting change for the women's circle....little emergencies that had me stymied and panicked this morning got resolved.

I credit the laundry.  When I need to focus, it helps to put one foot in front of the other and just do something useful. Clean a room or a closet, empty a desk drawer and sort it. File stuff where it belongs. Fold sheets and make the beds. Must be that Feng Shui of the soul tip I learned last week...

have a great week
ps singing this week at the Yellow Door coffeehouse with Over the Top

Monday, April 12, 2010

Making Space for the Heart

How confusing to live in the 21st century and wonder about who I am...

Lately I learned a bit about numerology and discovered I am a number 7, a bit of a seeker, hermit, deep thinker type which didn't surprise me too much. Add that to my zodiac sign of Scorpio and my Chinese sign of Horse, and the picture rounds out a little more.

This should be enough for my curious mind, but always the seeker, I am open to finding inspiration from many sources and through my facebook page and Owning Pink web network, I've been exposed to several life coaches and their approaches for how to learn more about What I Love, What I want to Do, Who I Am.

One insists we need to Feng Shui our souls, declutter and do a 7-day cleanse; another encourages me to find my Inner Organizer, another would like me to discover my life purpose through buying her book on Career change, yet another website for women's retreats invites me to manifest the life of my dreams and attend a tele-workshop with a coach. The line that appealed to me most was from the comfort queen:  a link about Freedom from Self Improvement, by Jennifer Louden at

So what is a girl to do, when she thinks she has an inspiring word or two to share, a possible book to launch and a desire to help women find themselves, yet an overwhelming desire to stop looking outside herself for the answers? And a definite overwhelm with Self-Improvement....

If, as a Globe and Mail article recently stated, we really do get wiser as we get older, then accessing that inner wisdom should be second nature, shouldn't it? 

Can I turn off the outside influences just for one day, or one week, and listen to my own inner voice? can I show up for my journal in the mornings (yes, another prompt from The Artists Way author Julia Cameron), and access my soul (Writing down your soul, another guidebook)?

The answers often come when it's calm, when I'm resting or meditating, when I've put a kabosh on the rushing, urgent email and phoning, and busy taskmaster Self.

The answers come when I make space for them, offer my listening hear to their whisper. When I invite them in.

Hold space for your heart to speak to you today.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Life Partners

A pair of mallard ducks just drifted past my window on the lake, and somehow it reminds me of my life partner and husband.

You've read the stories of geese who mate for life, and how they follow each other - if one is injured or takes a rest during their long migration, the other one follows.  And how they take turns leading the V shaped flock so that no one bird has to fight the headwinds alone all the time.

Partners for life - it used to scare me, before we got married 25, almost 26 years ago (May 19, 1984).  We lived together in an apartment for a while, just to stop the crazy making back and forth in the mornings, getting changed for work at two different places after spending the night together.

Marriage was on the agenda, and I was promoting it, oh yes. But secretly, I was struggling with the idea of 'eternity' and 'forever', all those diamond ring ads boast about.

Forever seemed too long to make a commitment, even if we were head over heels in love.  So I came up with a plan that I had devised in a high school social sciences project: 5 year contracts.  We would renew our vows or contract if you like, every 5 years.  That way I could manage a smaller chunk of eternity at a time. It made it seem more manageable.

5 contracts later, it seems to be still working.  Through miscarriages and loss, through going back to school (both of us, one at a time), through babies, strollers, sleepless nights and now teenage years, through stresses and strains and midlife restlessness and even through menopause and andropause, we are still drifting together down the current like that pair of mallard ducks.

I'd like to thank my life partner for just being there, for kissing me on the back of the neck every morning on his way to the office, for bringing me into such a wide and love-filled family, for helping me prepare an Easter brunch that lasted till dinner last night and beyond, for playing music with me, for being in harmonious synchronicity most of the time, and for just being who he is, a loveable guy.

back to work people,