Tuesday, July 30, 2013

" Bully ... "

She takes the long way home
Fighting her emotions
She's a loner but tonight
She won't go unnoticed
If she can't remember when
She loses her temper
Nobody knows her but tonight
The silence is over ...

Blame the family
Blame the bully
Blame it on me

~ Three Days Grace ~ Bully ~ 

I’ve heard the expression “hurt people hurt people” but I really didn’t understand it until recently.  Hurt people’s behaviour is rooted into their own emotional wounds and can turn them into bullies.

You see, a hurt person or bully, pretends to be a victim in order to manipulate others.  They gain the compliance of other nave, compassionate people.  They exaggerate their pain, suffering and impact of others on them.  They replay their pain and never seem to get over things.  They say they are tired of doing all the compromising and suggest others are always ganging up on them.  They do all this because they hurt and so they want others to hurt. 

I suspect if we are honest with ourselves, most of us can identify moments when we acted thoughtlessly from a place of sorrow or anger.  Most of us have felt pain burning like a hot coal in our hands, and felt desperate to unload it, somehow, somewhere.  We have a right to set boundaries and communicate when something is not okay. But the world is a better place when we choose to do that from a place of love and compassion, instead of righteousness and judgment.  

Often we don’t mean to hurt each other ... we just don’t know how to stop hurting ourselves.  So how do we help hurt people and prevent the cycle from repeating itself?

The best way is not to just ignore the offense and silently hold a grudge, or to pretend the offense never happened because neither of those help heal the offender.  Rather it can be seen as a passive-aggressive way of condoning hurtful behaviour.  So instead, making the effort to aid in the healing of that person could enrich their life, and prepare them to be a healthier contributor for the future.

The irony is that what they need the most is LOVE ...

Personally, what I am learning is to first allow myself the grace to know that however the offense made me feel, that my reaction is perfectly okay.  Feeling hurt is good rather than suppressing my emotions.  I need to give my emotions freedom to exist and instead of trying to fix the situation while it is still raw.

Next is forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness ... and this takes time.  I realized that when I was ready to open my heart to forgiveness, miracles follow.  And forgiveness is not conditional on the offender’s willingness to make amends.  For me, this was HUGE because forgiveness is NOT two ways or a trade.  They owe me nothing because forgiving someone doesn’t let them off the hook but off of my hook.  So accept the apology you never got.

As time has passed, I have been able to look at hurtful situations and figure out why, specifically, these offenses were so hurtful.  It is important that I can explain how the other person’s words or actions affected me.  This helps me establish boundaries and hopefully prevent it from happening again.  

And probably the most important lesson learned is to release the situation.  Just as the offender owes me nothing, I owe them nothing.  I decide if they will be allowed back in my life.  They decide if they want to heal themselves.  My only responsibility is to take care of me and remove myself from the situation entirely if I so desire.

I was the type of person who allowed herself to be hurt over and over again, because I was too afraid to upset the offender to risk pushing for healing.  I have learned along the way that I can’t sacrifice my emotional health so that someone else doesn’t have to bear the responsibility of their behaviour.  

It takes understanding that even with the relationships we value the most, we might just be one small brick in the path to that person’s restoration, and never actually see the person fully restored and emotionally healthy.  Healing needs to happen ... and it is important for each of us to do our part, regardless of whether or not we get to see the healing through to it end. 

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes 
to you when you take nothing personally ~Don Miguel Ruiz 

Monday, July 29, 2013

" Let The Music Heal You Soul ... "

Oh if someone plays piano with some simple chords
So melodic and endearing too
And oh if someone plays guitar with the old piano
And maybe you can hear them sing
Music gives you happiness or sadness
But it also heals your soul ...

Oh yeah
Let the music heal you soul
Let the music take control
Let the music heal you soul

~ Backstreet Boys ~ Let The Music Heal Your Soul ~

We had the wonderful opportunity to experience great musicianship at the Calgary Folk Music Festival.  These past four days, “a village fifty thousand strong writes their stories on the warm summer breeze and brims with the joyous sounds of musical exploration, community and inspiration.  It’s an aural adventure; sweet and edgy, evolving and unpredictable ...”

And how sweet it was.  Usually a sold out event, about 20,000 music lovers make their way down to our inner city island in hopes their senses will allow them to experience the outside world more fully, reaching deeply into the soul.

We heard music from the world ... that was soothing and energizing.  And with it’s universal appeal, we enjoyed it without needing to know the language in which it was composed. 

You see, as human beings, we desire a lot more from our senses than the basic function of our five.  We want to be touched by the beauty of an enchanting melody and absorbed by mesmerizing art.

And the human ability to hear music at its basic function, is pretty awesome.  Waves of energy travel through the air and tickle our ear, creating a vibration that is transmitted through the ear and then via a nerve to the brain, which then compiles the information to create a beautiful melody in our head. Even more remarkable is the reality that music vibration also creates an emotional and physiological response in us.

There is a connection between music and consciousness.  Music heals as us.  Music affects our process and our emotions.  For some it induces a state of relaxation.  For others it increases well-being, which may make us more receptive to recovery.  This is because we are vibrational beings, with currents coursing through us, projecting outward, tuned to different frequencies.  We are like individual tuning forks with a symphony playing within our bodies all the time ... our chakras, organs and brain waves all resonate to particularly frequencies.

Personally, music has the ability to fulfil a psychological need at that particular point.  And although I had to prepare my meals, my medications, once I was present, I was able to forget for a wee while about anything that had to do with doctors, tests, schedules and cancer.  Music has a way of stirring my innermost feelings and all my senses ... it taps into parts unlike anything else ... it is a prescription for healing my mind.

There is one beautiful moment I witness during these past four days, I want to share with you.  A father who had his handicapped son in a wheelchair, sang to him and eventually lifted him into his arms and danced with him.  His son was elated making loud sounds of joy.  It made me realize that for the only two moments we have, hear and now, is what you make of it.  That’s it, pretty darn simple.  

“ Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy ...”
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

I surrendered to the music that played upon us, allowing everything in my being to take on the rhythmic pattern, cycle and pulse it so naturally desires ... forever grateful for the experience ...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

" Birthday Lyrics ... "

We gonna come together, we gonna celebrate
We gonna gather round, like it's your birthday
I don't wanna know, just what I'm gonna do
I don't care where your going, I'm coming along with you

We gonna come together, we gonna celebrate
We gonna gather round, like it's your birthday
I don't wanna know, just what I'm gonna do
I don't care where your going, I'm coming along with you

~ Kings Of Leon ~ Birthday Lyrics ~

Well made it ... another year older.  Yes just celebrated a birthday yesterday and in my book, birthdays are a BIG DEAL!  Sure this may make me sound juvenile because we are “suppose” to outgrow making a fuss over birthdays.  But seriously, since when have I done what I am “suppose” to do?

I think people make less of deal about their birthdays because they usually don’t turn out as planned ... expectations are high and they rarely seem to be met.  They’ve had friends and family forget or they’ve forgotten special days of others.  Which leads to cynicism ... it’s just another day.

For me, I believe the magic of birthdays.  I count down and eagerly wait.  And when it arrives I treasure the people who make mine special ... and it was special again this year.

Oh and it has nothing to do with presents ... it has to do with presence.  The presence of others who took a moment to remember and express themselves.  And love is all we need, whether we are 4 or 44, we are all treasures and especially on our birthdays, we get reminded just in case we forget.

For me, birthdays are a beginning.  A momentous occasion, a window to the chance of a lifetime.  A chance to fulfill your unique mission.  A day to hear “thanks for being here today and being you, because you are great just as you are”.  

For me, birthdays teach the concept of rebirth because no matter how things were or are, we always have the capacity to try again.  Consider it a refresher, a chance for regeneration.

For me, birthdays are great because I still have one.  Another day on this Earth to live and love.  To reflect with a little more wisdom, a little more confidence and perhaps a few accomplishments ... a perspective, knowing what is trivial and what really matters.

So birthdays are and will continue to matter to me because well the alternative is just not that exciting is it?

It takes a long time to become young ~ Pablo Picasso

Sunday, July 21, 2013

" Macho Insecurity ... "

Name one thing on earth lower than a tough guy
Who talks with his fists instead of using his head ...
Behind the muscle mask is a scared little boy 
called Macho insecurity ...
Macho insecurity
'Cause you can't stand yourself 

Why do you want people to be so afraid of you?
Why are you so scared of anything that's different?
No one's ever there when you need friends
You wonder why:
It's 'cause you take yourself so seriously
But being such a clown
Gives the rest of us the right to laugh
At your Macho Insecurity
'Cause you can't stand yourself

~ Dead Kennedys ~ Macho Insecurity ~

Insecurity robs our life and relationships of zest.  
Insecurity makes us approach everything in a self-conscious, defensive and anxious way.  
Insecurity alters feelings of gratitude, satisfaction and happiness.  
Insecurity covers our lives with a dark shadow of struggle and doubt.  

With all this in mind, why are we still insecure?

To answer this we have to understand insecurity, mainly where it comes from.  I believe it comes from lack of self-love and faith, because even though it may appear to be about money, looks or relationships, it’s root cause is lack of self-love.  Also, self-pity plays a huge factor.  When you are insecure, you don’t feel worthy and therefore you constantly pacify your ego through reassurances and special attention.

And macho insecurity is rooted in fear of loss.  It is extreme.  When you are unable to depend on yourself, you create unhealthy dependencies with others ... they become your source of strength and meaning.  Yet such support systems can cause pain because you have given up your control to another person.  Oddly this power dynamic causes you to feel weak and hence, insecure.

But we are not born insecure, so where does it come from?

Some feel that it factors such as an unstable childhood, rigid and critical upbringing, over-achieving siblings, painful life events and lack of guidance all contribute to an insecure mindset.

So how can you cope with insecurity?

By opening up and sharing your inner fears.  Many people are scared of being vulnerable.  Yet by stopping the cycle of mitigating our insecurities with external reassurances, express yourself.

By finding inner stillness.  Through meditation you can begin to slowly release tensions and anxiety, you can begin to find your core ... calm and divine.

By surrendering and letting go of outcomes.  When you let go of your fears you can live with faith that what is to be will be.  We are merely floating down the river without oars believing the current beneath us will carry us to our ultimate destination.

By separating reality from fear.  When we operate from insecurities, we operate from a place that is built on fantasy, not reality.  Use your rational and ask if your fear based on evidence and where it stems from.

Insecurity dissolves when we discover our own power, strengths and realize nothing external can fulfill our needs.  Our inner life is independent of others and when we find inner peace the desperate need for others disappears.  They become a part of our life, not life itself.  

Strive for a healthy relationship with oneself ... one in which you can express yourself, be open and vulnerable and ultimately surrender your fears to the Divine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

" Stages ... "

I ain't got a single thing to do.
It happened before I knew what was going on.
I fell out and knew that I was gone.
Stages keep on changing,
stages rearranging love ...

I wouldn't have it any other way.
Tell me it's for real and let me know
why does lovin' have to come and go.
Stages keep on changing,
stages rearranging love.

~ ZZ Top ~ Stages ~

I find myself in an interesting space when asked “what stage are you?”.  Do I answer the stage of my diagnosis, the stage of my emotions or the stage of my healing.  I guess it is safe to assume that most are referring the “illness”.  Yet for me, my answer is around emotions and healing because that is where I think my focus should be.

As I move along my healing journey, I am learning how quickly my emotions can destabilize which trigger feelings of insecurity and a greater loss of control.  I am learning how chaos, confusion and even symptoms of depression arise ... and I am learning on their presence mean healing is taking place.  Ironic isn’t it?  Yet like much of life, it is a universal process that allows one to learn that this very chaos is very necessary.

For me, illness is where I must let go of my identity as a “sick” person and embrace my life as a healthy person ...

Thanks to my primary health practitioner and meditation teacher, I have learned that stages of healing can be felt on many levels of your being ... physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.  And since we are all unique, and cope differently, the sequence of stages (below) vary ... but we do move in and out of each at our own pace ... taking days, months or even years.  Positive or negative, the need for healing allows the old identity to make way for the new.

Shock ~ sudden crisis, trauma, uncontrollable loss, emotional numbness, disbelief and or the inability to mentally comprehend the situation

Denial ~ life seems unreal, sense of “this cannot be happening”, time to fully comprehend what is occurring, safety mechanism designed to stop you from losing control

Pain ~ anger, frustration, resentment and even envy, asking “why me”, feelings of desperation, unfairness and unjust, 

Bargaining ~ due to feelings of guilt, you give up something, make a sacrifice or dedicate your life to servicing hoping that things will right themselves, a subconscious way of balancing out the scales

Depression ~ feelings of can’t do this anymore, can’t go on or what is the point?, spirit is low, losing hope, despair, feeling defeated, lack of motivation and enthusiasm

Surrender ~ resignation to the situation which allows acceptance, practicing letting go of things in your life that are not as important, provides relief because you release the resistance and stress associated with it

Recovery and Reconstruction ~ after you surrender and accept your situation, you are ready to take responsibility of your life and how you feel once again, you have the ability to express yourself fully, you begin to learn who you are and you like what you see

Rebirth and Renewal ~ ready to change your life so you can start again, encouraged by your progress and may feel the need to go on a retreat to get to know yourself even better

Moving on ~ coming out of a time of loss and change from what you had to leave behind, you attract new and excitement into your life ... your new life.

You don't have to have an illness to identify with the above.  Life is full of stages which allows us all to go through small or large healing processes.  And every stages has its place on the road to recovering your true self, soul and spirit.  I have found that you can find your way back home, but now, I am different because my difficult experiences and the subsequent strengths and resources developed have transformed me.

So where do I go from here ... to the present.  I have to challenge myself to not look too far backward or too far forward.  I have learned that losses are not a good reason for living anymore.  And I know that my diagnosis does not diminish my humanity.

May we all strive to live in the moment with consciousness, patience, compassion and appreciation for each other, in spite of all the pain of our losses ...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

" Desired Constellation ... "

It's slippery when 
Your sense of justice 
Murmurs underneath 
And is asking you:
How am I going to make it right? 

With a palm full of stars 
I throw them like dice
I shake them like dice
And throw them on the table 
Until the desired constellation appears 

And I ask myself:
How am I going to make it right?
And you hear
How am I going to make it right?

~ Bjork ~ Desired Constellation ~

Is your desire to change greater than your desire to stay the same?  May be an odd question because similar to the majority of the people alive, there seems always have something you want to change.

Think about it ... the way you look, your health, your income, your career, a specific behaviour, where you live, some relationships ... If we are truly honest with ourselves, we would say yes to one of the aforementioned.

So what brings this desire to change?  Perhaps there is need to grow, to contribute, due to fear or personal dissatisfaction, or maybe it ego.  Whatever the reasons, there comes a time in our lives that we either choose to change or change is pressed upon us.  Life is dynamic and sometimes we just have to keep up.

Okay so far so good ... but how do you get the change you want?  By making the effort to KNOW what you want.  And if it sounds so easy then why do most people struggle?

Lack of clarity .... It is about being very clear regarding your desires.  It is easy to complain about what is wrong, and when we focus on problems, we get more problems.  But when we focus on possibilities, we get opportunities.  

I have learned to release the energy of finding fault and take up the energy of imagination.  I mentally play out ways “it” may change which allows me to venture a little way past “it” into the outrageous options.  Maybe I am a dreamer, maybe it is silly ... yet I become intrigued, curious and feel a bit lighter.  

The best advice I got was don’t think, just allow and observe.
And initially this was difficult.  I had a a sense of wanting to control the outcome.  But I found out this is outlining and universe supports my actions more readily if I remove all the conditions I bring with it.

Embrace you inner child.  Allow the preferences to form in your consciousness so that eventually they become clear enough to describe in words.  Start thinking of a solution you prefer and ask what would be better?  Continue this process until you’ve visualized a situation you can’t imagine a way to top.  This lets everyone and everything around you deliver exactly what you want.

I have found that my ability to soar often depends on pushing back against something I don’t want.  The more specific I am about what doesn’t work, the clearer I can make our desire.  And for me, this outweighs my desire to stay the same ...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

" So-Called Chaos ... "

Heartburn and headaches and soon-to-be ulcers
Compulsive yearnings non-stop to please others ...

Line towing, and helping, expectations up to living
Inside box obeying, inside line coloring ...

I want to invite this so called chaos, 
that you'd think I dare not be
I want to be weightless, 
flying through the air
I want to drop all these limitations and 
return to what I was born to be

~ Alanis Morissette ~ So-Called Chaos ~

Everyday Chaos.  I use to think that is what described life and how it was spent.  The real world going in and out of focus, entirely affected by my emotions, senses and desires.  Thinking I could cope, thinking I could manage ... and then feeling overwhelmed, disenchanted and disconnected from my actual experience of living.  

Limbo land and the paralysis it brings by what you perceive as a complication, an uncertainty, unpredictable in nature and full of shock and surprises.  Personally, at times the more I thought about trying to plan my future, the more stressed and anxious I would become.  Stress had become the new norm and anxiety my new best friend.  

Everyday chaos is unsettling so it is natural to want to do something, anything  to ease the pain or escape the discomfort.  Yet when your thoughts are muddled and your emotions control you, your decisions don’t reflect the rational thinking you are capable of.  And so you are driven by chaos.

And what brings chaos ... the turbulence of change.  It is a state of foggy thinking, out of focus, physical stress and emotions that are different from what is considered typical.

Only when I allowed faith and knowledge of my authentic self to clear the way, 
I moved through this physical experience ...

In the midst of chaos, I learned a strategy that seems to work ... not to do anything that I couldn’t undo ... not to make any irreversible decisions I might regret later.  Some view it as denial, others as insanity.  But for me, it is far preferable to wait till the chaos diminishes before taking action.

I have learned that no matter how bad chaos is in the moment, I feel better once I stop and live in the gap ... the gap between what has happened and what I am going to do about it.  I need to put off doing “something” about it to avoid having serious repercussions.  In the past, my reaction to chaos has had consequences I regret. 

Now I consciously scatter fragments of anxiety and fear.  Now I consciously give no power to the chaos outside of me.  Now I consciously remind myself that the present moment is all that is, all that will ever be.  Now I consciously embrace the NOW and just be.

You control you mind, your mind does not control you.  Knowing how to deal with uncertainty is fully realizing that life has always been unpredictable and full of chaos.  Life can be complicated and fast.   Life is impermanence and imperfect.  My life is no more or less than anyone elses and things have a way of working out in the end ... and so it is.

live in divine chaos, 
embrace it, 
forgive yourself, 
breathe, and enjoy the ride

Monday, July 1, 2013

" In A Big Country ... "

And in a big country, dreams stay with you,
Like a lover's voice, fires the mountainside..
Stay alive..
So take that look out of here, it doesn't fit you.
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded ...

Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered ...
I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..

~ Big Country ~ In A Big Country ~

O Canada ... the true north, strong and free.  Today the nation we live in is celebrating Canada Day.  The anniversary of July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire.  Most communities host organized celebrations such as parades, carnivals, festivals, BBQ, fireworks and free musical concerts.  Add the maple leaf on our flag as the national symbol of Canada, summer and national pride are a heady mix.

Each Canadian will respond differently as to what this day means to them and why they are celebrating.  Yet perhaps the most important feature is our diversity.  The various outlooks and beliefs that make this country.

Most Canadians come from somewhere else, or their parents or grandparents did.  Just go back a few generations to see that Canadians are from all over the world.  Truly a nation of immigrants which defines us.

And we may have a solid foundation, but our backgrounds, our  values, our language and our faiths mix together to make us a very complex group.  And this is what binds us together, the very acceptance of this cornucopia of cultures, prospectives and attitudes.

So we may not have the same ancestors and we may not have a president, but we are more than a beer ad.  We are Canadian because our country allows us to be whoever we want to be.  We have freedom to express our individuality, whether that means wearing a turban in the RCMP or on the soccer field.  

Interestingly, some find it frustrating ... the lack of definitive identity in their eyes.  But being hard to define IS what defines us.  A nation that embraces differences of opinion regarding every aspect of how we choose to live because Canadians understand that diversity means celebration and not repression.  This is the nation that allows us to be good with who we are.  This is the nation that celebrates today.