Friday, February 19, 2010

In the Stillness of Retreat

In the stillness of this moment, I am peace.

I'm listening to a Retreat music CD, taking a few moments to prepare for a retreat March 14 that I will lead at H-OM yoga studio in Hudson, Quebec.

This music is gently rocking me into a feeling of peace, like a lullabye, coming to a slower breathing rate, in spite of the frantic pace of the morning, trying to pack, make lists, prepare for a 2 week vacation in Turks & Caicos (yes, I am so lucky!).

I am waiting, I allow myself to wait, 
I am waiting, I allow myself to wait.
My life's been moving , way too fast
I need to stop and take a breath
to see what the Lord wants me to do
so for now I wait and I listen....

Wish I could post the music too, it's very relaxing and soothing piano and voice.

Just wanted to leave you with a reminder to Breathe, Listen, Wait, Rest...if you are in transition, if you are impatient to start something new, if you are leaving something behind, if you are just crazy busy and don't know when you'll get a break.....Take One Now.   

"I will only go as fast as the slowest part of me....I hold myself like a newborn baby child."

Don't wait for a break down, a broken leg, or a break-up to push you into Self-Care mode.  Be gentle with yourself, with your tender heart, now, today, this moment.

You are precious, valuable and loved :)

take good care,

music cd available from A Woman's Way  www.awoman's
or for the music from A Retreat of My Own

Friday, February 12, 2010

Being Present and Belonging

“The shortest distance in the world is the one between you and yourself.” John O’Donohue

Even though the above statement is true, the loneliness I can experience being estranged from my own Presence is the loneliest feeling in the world. Even if I am somewhat connected to others, if I am not connected to mySelf, I don’t feel as deep a connection to the others.

Sometimes it can feel like I’m miles away from myself when I am not really present, like a divided self living in one body. That feeling of being lonely, even in a crowd, of not belonging anywhere, is a feeling of not being connected. We are lonely for ourselves, essentially. We are longing to meet face to face with that inner Friend, to see our own face in a mirror of calm. This meeting brings a feeling of immense satisfaction, serenity and peace.

When I am self-aware, or present and conscious, not in the psychological sense, but in the way of being present inside or mindful, then  I am also aware of the inner observer watching and listening, stepping back from thought and mind’s chatter. Through meditation, through looking at myself in the mirror within, comes a stillness of the mind that also brings a feeling of being with a larger Presence. I feel a oneness with myself (and my Self) that does not come from reading a book or staring at a candle. It feels like the two halves have been united, there’s a wholeness about me.

How does my own lack of connection manifest? On a daily basis, I work alone. I am in my home, writing, reading, and surfing the web on different topics or blogging about what interests me. Sometimes I am working on a book project or poetry. But mostly I am alone all day, except for my dog and cats, and occasional hungry teenagers ravaging the kitchen for food. Craving human connection, I wait for my email box to fill up with replies to emails I have sent, or information, or replies to blog posts, or replies to replies I have left on other blogs – some days I wonder, why is the world so silent? Having nothing new in my inbox is a sad feeling.  When there is mail, it's like a confirmation that I am here, and someone is responding to me. 

 I feel such a longing for belonging – for finding my tribe, for meeting like-minded women who are a bit windy mouthed as I am, who want to hash things out, research, search again, find all the alleys and byways and tributaries of subjects of interest, about our sexuality, about our need for presence, and peace, about mid life and menopause, about independence and starting anew, about creativity and compulsivity .... about life in general. But I know that ultimately, I need to love being with myself, and then I will love even more being with everyone else.

I fill my need for presence and connection in different ways. I meditate, I practise yoga. I have a bi-monthly women’s circle meeting with cherished friends. I teach occasionally, to get out of the house. Mostly I am a bit of a hermit, but a hermit with an email habit.  I love to get emails from people. So if you’re reading this blog, please send me a comment.

Love to hear from you,
Ps Happy Valentine’s Day

also blogging at Owning Pink (see sidebar)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dreams and Visions

"The heart of all creativity is the awakening and flowering of individuality. The mystery and magic of being an individual is to love life in response to the deep call within, the call to become who we were dreamed to be...the divine blueprint of the soul. This is where true freedom awaits us. the poise of the soul at one with a life which honours and engages its creative possibility."  from Beauty, by John O'Donohue

Over the weekend I was inspired to sit down with my journal and start to draw up plans for a dream of mine: a retreat centre where I could offer journal writing classes, have yoga teachers do classes in the morning, have a place to show videos from Words of Peace ( and offer a haven or shelter from the turmoil without and within.

The crazy thing is, I am taking steps to find partners to help me find that perfect Oasis somewhere near where I live.

The beauty of retreating is that you get to step out of the busy activity and hectic pace of your life and slow down to the rhythm of your soul, the pace your body can breath and feel relaxed in.  The downside is that most retreat centres are far away.  I envision a center close by, in a quiet neighbourhood, with a big sunny room for stretching the body in, and a comfortable sitting room for watching inspiring videos, and an office upstairs for me.

People with busy lives who can't leave the city (moms with small children for example), could get away for a mini-retreat of a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  Women who work could take an afternoon for themselves once a month, a kind of mini-sabbath or rest day.

Why I like the quote above from Beauty is that I have been listening to this inner calling for a while now (a long while) without being able to envision it as something concrete that could happen now.  It remained in the realm of dream of the future, or someday it may happen.  I did not believe enough, or it was not time for it, simply. 
It's wonderful to feel things are moving towards realizing that dream, even if only by baby steps, spreading my wings, taking short flights over the terrain, asking the Creative Power for the strength and clarity to fulfill the vision, accepting my role as an individual responding to the call.

happy Monday,

Friday, February 05, 2010

Journalling the Journey

So, without making a resolution for the new year (because I don't believe in them), I did silently decide to use my journal as a tool for self discovery more often and without sticking to a strict schedule, I have been making time to write every morning, for as long as I can.

The question (I wrote questing) I have been posing in my journal for the longest time is about where my passion lay, what project would ignite a fire in my heart and get me moving. I lead occasional retreats, I teach occasionally, I work on my own writing sporadically, but no one thing was calling me.

Then I began writing with the Writing down Your Soul book by Janet Conner, and asking my higher self or Spirit, what do I love? What do I want to manifest (I know, I always ask this question and have written about it before, but it's been a long transition to acceptance)?

The answer is never far away, is it? Through journalling, and through some astrological help from my sister Sue, I did get some clarity. What I was resisting (and journalling about) was that this is a time for rest, for renewal, for getting in touch with the power of Presence, which is what I want to encourage in others.  In other words, it has been a time of putting into practice what I preach.  And my impatience to have a new project was preventing me from enjoying this beautiful present moment. I kept journalling about where I was headed, always looking into the future.

Transitions are always (or usually) uncomfortable. You close one door, then look for the other to open. Sometimes, as Joan Borysenko ( put it in a workshop I attended, you stand in the hallway, in limbo, waiting for that other door to present itself.

Journalling is a way of promoting patience with the process, asking the questions, receiving guidance, and hopefully being present and compassionate with yourself until clarity comes.  You know how it works when you've been waiting for a bus forever, and just when you are about to give up and find another way, the bus arrives? Or just when you think you're on the wrong road, this highway is going nowhere, a sign appears that your destination is near.

Journally for me has been a kind of navigational system, helping me link up with the satellite of higher intelligence within me.  A higher wisdom does come through, will come through, if you keep asking the question and stay open.  Listen for your dreams too, for they hold clues to your deeper awareness, what's going on beneath the surface life you are wading in.

Isn't it amazing that all this time, journal writing classes have been my part-time job, but I didn't consider it a major passion.  But it has been reignited in me as a way to reach women, to provide a safe space and support for their own wisdom to unfold. And a way to teach the thing I need to learn the most. The thing I was looking for was right under my nose (isn't it always?)


Monday, February 01, 2010

Extreme Self Care Challenge: Learning to ask for help

I picked up a book randomly off the shelf today, looking for guidance, and it was this one: The Art of Extreme Self Care by Cheryl Richardson (

The message jumped out at me: "The goal is to practice letting go so others can take the wheel."

She devised a list of Things you can do to support Me for her husband, so she would feel less overwhelmed. "You cannot manage you home, care for your personal needs, honor your emotional and physical health, be successful at work, or be the kind of parent you hope to be without the support of others. Period."

Uh-oh, I already know I'm not good at delegating, although I've been practising. I am such a control freak!

Negotiating is not one of my strong points - I'd rather do it myself than nag someone to do chores. Or let the door stay closed on a messy teenager's room. (are those clean clothes mixed in with dirty ones on the floor?)

So, letting go, hmmm.

We start by thinking about how many items will go on the list and where we will leave it.  On the kitchen counter beside the peanut butter stains and sesame seed crumbs near the toaster?  they usually go there....

when would you like to have these items done by? (a deadline is essential - is tomorrow midnight ok?)

what should your support person do when he or she can't meet a deadline? (sounds like a back-up plan)

who will ultimately be in charge if more help is needed? (well, I could always enlist Daddy to get in there and do the dishes if the kids wimp out on me)

Be sure to give your support person permission to let you know when you're trying to take back control (oh you mean, last night, when Hubby was cooking supper and I came back in with my winter coat on as I was leaving for quartet practice, and tried to tell him how to strain the gunk out of the chicken sauce he was making?)

It's very important to let him or her make mistakes (like those green t-shirts that used to be white, before K decided to wash her coloureds and whites together)

Keep in mind that just because something isn't done your way, it doesn't mean it's wrong. (no, but I can't be asked to fix it later either)

When given room to breathe, people generally bring their best selves to the task at hand (or let the dirty clothes lie on the floor until next week).

Good luck with delegating and asking for help.  I can see I have my work cut out for me with this letting go stuff.