This post is predominantly from the perspective of an aging female, so to my male readers, I apologize in advance.
I'm at an age where I have begun the tedious and meaningful task of unloading. Unloading unwanted and material items that I have no connection to or need for. Unburdening of things, people, situations and, well... body parts even, that no longer serve a purpose.
Before you think I've gone off my rocker and am into some weird cult fetish, let me assure you this was a very common reality among women in their early to late fifties... the hysterectomy.
I will say, to give some background, that I loved being pregnant. I was enthralled with the fascinating creation of another tiny perfect human from my self-perceived imperfections. How could that be possible? I knew the moment I conceived as well.. I could spiritually 'feel' that moment and I knew that something amazing had just transpired.... maybe due in part to my strong intuition and how tuned in I am with my physical being, but I can distinctly recall the feeling of that moment in time, even today.
The following months of pregnancy were blissful, for the most part. I had the typical rough patches that most women face with nausea and mood swings, but overall, people would constantly gush about how I 'positively glowed' during these months. And I truly felt like I did. The birthing process was a little rough, I must say, and I certainly had my share of issues that haunt me to this day, but the result of these perfectly honed tiny humans being a result of all that glory, was breathtaking. Then the days were filled with nothing but motherly duties: I loved every moment of it, through the sleepless nights, the incessant chatter and questions that seemingly never had the right answer, the tears, the arguments, the heartbreak as they grew and experienced life on their own. Through all of the journey's with each of my children, you grow, you grieve, you win, you lose, you discover, you remember, you wish, and you hope. Mostly though, you just Love. Endless, self-less Love, in its purest form.
So when the time came to deal with some physical issues that have plagued me for years as a result of bearing children, I was eager to have the problem dealt with and 'solved'.. sure, remove my uterus.. who needs it anymore? Pfft... done with that! Let's renovate the basement!
Well, surprisingly for me, it has been quite emotional, as well as highly uncomfortable. The procedure itself was complex as more than one was done at the same time, but overall, I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy, leaving my ovaries in place. It's been a week since the procedure was done, and I have four small wounds on and around my belly which represent that... but also look like stab wounds. And I feel like I've been stabbed and violated on a whole new level. I'm surprised at how attached I was to my femininity, having always been a strong, fiercely independent woman, a tomboy at heart, a rebel, a warrior.... but truly just a big ole softy. I feel like the vault door has been slammed and welded shut. My kids are all out of the house, I have limited contact with them in their busy lives, and I feel like the one part of me that was so critical in their existence has been forever erased. I can't explain how I feel really, other than profoundly sad. I keep telling myself its due to the level of discomfort, and that I haven't been sleeping well, but dammit, no! It's not that at all! I actually think I MISS my uterus!
The experience has forced me into a lot of introspection.. what makes me feel so sad? Why would a problematic uterus be such a big deal to have it removed?
I think I figured it out: for me, having the love of a partner to want to create children with them was a BIG deal. I was the girl who never wanted children. Nope. Not for me. But then life happened and my head strong ways began to shift and change, and whammo! Before I knew it, I was talking marriage and children with a man who I SWORE was my soulmate. When that all fell apart 11 years later, I was devastated, and then to have the next "one" last only four years after the birth of my son, more loss and devastation. There is a large part of me which still struggles to unconditionally accept and love the parts of me that didn't live up to my own expectations, and part of that was being able to provide the perfect "Ozzie and Harriette" lifestyle for my children, even though they are very beautiful, well balanced and amazing souls.. I feel I somehow failed to give them what I wanted to..what my vision of a family was.. I did not complete the Mission successfully.
Fast forward to this week, I consent to the renovations, thinking I was doing the body some good. Perhaps, but not the soul.. my soul is still grieving the loss of my initial intentions with my children. Life turned out very differently than I had planned, and I have a lot of regrets about that. This has really driven home that Time Passes.. it does not care about trivialities or how we feel, or what our plan was, it just continues to pass, morphing into something completely new without hesitation. So
Much of life is spent rushing around getting things done. We have routines that include our work schedules, that of children and partners, family, extracurricular activities, and menial tasks that some feel are mundane. During these moments of 'living', however, do we think about why we are doing these things on a deeper level? What purpose does it serve? Will it mean anything at the end of my days when I'm lying on my death bed? Will I have regrets? Did I leave anything out? Did I do something I regret? Did I not do something that I regret even more?
Living life to the fullest is an art. It requires an on-going level of mindfulness that our busy lives often don't make room for. Fostering and establishing a discipline of mindfulness within our life-choices takes practice and some courage. There is no easy path in adopting a new way of thinking. It will feel awkward and unnatural at first, but I believe that if we could all just become more skilled at this, life would be easier for all.
So where does one look at gaining new mindfulness skills in order to apply them to life, and what the heck does this have to do with dying?
Let's start with death. Death is an ending of something that once was. It marks the end point of that specific event, but also the beginning point of something new to begin. It is infinite and universal. When we possess an organic form, such as a human body, this means we cease to exist on this plane in the visible form. Some people believe we continue to exist as energy in another form, others believe that once you are dead, there is nothing else. I'm not here to negate your beliefs, but rather, have you think about how you live to prepare for dying.
From the moment of conception, in essence, we are dying. The very phases of creation propels us towards the inevitable demise at the end of this all: death. So as we age, as we continue along this path we call life, we are actually passengers on the road trip to death. Giving that some thought, I'm sure we can all think of a thing or two that we don't want to be burdened with when we reach the end of the line: guilt, remorse, feeling incomplete or unfulfilled, filled with doubts, or worse, riddled with fear.
So how does one live a life filled with happiness and love, feeling fulfilled and complete, having no regrets carried through to the end, if you are having to think about death? Simple. You aren't going to worry your life away thinking about your ultimate demise, instead, you are going to think about your life as if this is the only one you have. Think of it as one big art class: you have been given an unknown amount of time to create something spectacular, the catch is you never know when the class bell is going to ring, and your time will be up. So what will your strategy be? Will you waste precious time wallowing in self-doubt, or will you just go with the first thoughts that pop into your head, driven by your desires to create something beautiful, and then make the most of your time to work towards completing as much as you can, in the most efficient, effective manner possible? Remember, every little moment in life is either adding to your project, or taking you away from it. That is the lens we must adopt in order to reach self actualization at the end of our journey. This is the first of two steps: Developing a Legacy. . What will you be remembered for? Will you be the one that always made the best use of your time, serving your higher good (your art project) at all times?
The second step is Enacting the Plan. This is the phase in which mindfulness needs to be on-point. We develop this by listening more than we speak, and when we do listen, we listen to understand, not react. We learn this by spending time with Self and exploring that inner being that is driven by either craving or aversion . What makes you make the decisions you do? Is it fear based, or driven by craving? When we seek to understand what emotions drive us forward, we can quickly learn to be selective in which ones we allow ourselves to be our stepping stone forward: this is mindfulness. We also achieve our enacting when we purposefully work our plan or legacy. Keep your eye on the prize and don't allow yourself to get distracted. This will quickly become your adopted personality trait: perseverance, tenacity, fortitude, resilience.. nothing will be able to sway you for long from staying your course.
Some daily practices that help foster mindfulness are the commonly known biggies: meditation and exercises that allow you to be fully present in your body, mindful of only the body in that movement or moment; such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, weight lifting (where you are paying attention to every movement and proper form). Making these forms of exercise is not only physically healthy, but mentally so. Make these part of your regular, daily routine and you will soon realize you need them as much as you need your coffee in the morning :)
Another daily practice which may not seem so easy, is 'the pause'. This is where you learn to pause before answering, before acting or reacting, or before making a decision. Let a situation, question or event sit with you for a while before responding. This pause allows us to ask "How is this making me feel? Why do I feel this way? What is the best way to respond/decide/answer/act in this moment that will benefit my Legacy?" This act alone can keep you in the flow of good Karma and allow you to blissfully and gracefully advance through life with no regrets. Keep a diary or journal on your progress. Start this process with the very first page outlining what your goals are.
Remember: "A dream becomes a goal, the moment you write it down. A goal becomes a plan the moment you break it down into doable steps. A plan becomes a reality only when you take action".~Marshall Sylver
Live your best life. Set your legacy and strive to achieve that day by day. If your words and actions were wearable on your skin, would you be proud or ashamed when you reach the finish line?
We've all done it: complain. It's easy to find something to complain about.. noise, traffic, prices, rudeness and intolerance, politics, expectations.. the list is endless.
Having the fortitude to change your environment, therefore eliminating the urge to complain, is not always easy. Sometime it means standing up and having a voice against others which may be intimidating. Sometimes it means some quiet reflection and introspection. It means relocating physically, spiritually or emotionally. It means making change, which can be unsettling.
When we complain we often become complacent in actions. The complaint is usually to gain a sympathetic audience so that we feel validated in our emotions. Maybe the complaint is not really justified: perhaps ego is at play and is seeking an irrational selfish outcome; if so, then this complaint is not about the issue that the mind wants to believe it is, but rather, it is about Self. But what if we were to proactively complain? Instead of seeking a sympathetic audience, we target our complaints in a respectful manner to those who can exact change: the changents: agents of change. Don't have one? Then become one!
It is becoming increasingly clear as we watch the world around us implode, that we need to start using our voice in a more productive manner. We need to choose our battles wisely, and make our complaints meaningful and goal directed. Most of us have become uncomfortably numb to the fact that we all have the power to make change happen: it is not reserved for a different breed of mankind, the rich, the priviledged, or those from a specific race, religion or social group. When voices unit, anything is possible. We do not have the right to passively sit back and do nothing, while actively complaining about things we don't feel comfortable with. We are all products of greater good than that. We are creators, equally valued for our part in making anything possible. It is our birthright to create the best environment we can for our entire race.
The greatest gift to our planet is to love ourselves enough to want the best for all of us.
Start small if it intimidates you.. what can you do in your workplace, your community, your schools, your social groups, that can set the wheels of motion into play and make the changes necessary to eliminate the negative energy that comes with complaining?
Start a group for like-minded individuals, or join one that already exists. Maintain a level head and an open heart. Be open to discussion, differing opinions and resistance. Arming yourself with well-researched and intelligent information will always be heard long before profanities, yelling, and degradation. Maintain self-respect and keep your moral compass in check. This might take some disconnecting from sensitive issues for a while: start by asking yourself 'What is it that I want to achieve?'
Does this desire feed Ego or the greater good? Re-approach and plan once you are clear in your heart as to what this means for you.
Sometimes pondering our emotional reactions to our environment can teach us more about who we are. Chose who you want to be, carefully. We have a world of small eyes watching what we do: model with care and thought. We need the generations to come to be well-equipped with emotional intelligence to carry the changes through. We owe it to our children.
Change is inevitable, we all know that. Some change is expected, like starting a family or a new job, while others are more spontaneous and sometimes with a flair of exuberance or un-curtailed excitement, such as a chance meeting with someone who changes the course of your life, or perhaps your career, jettisoning you into a new position that you never even dreamed possible.
Changes for me, of late, have been plenty. Upheaval of my life on an Island that I truly adored, to return to the city to live with a new life partner. A change in job positions, within a new Health Authority, and a change from sleepy rural island life to the bustle of big city life.
Stress for me was at an all-time high: I cherish my roots planted deeply in the ground.. familiarity and stability are precious to me. I came away from all this change just two short months ago, with some new grey hairs, and a little more insight into the organic "me".. things that define the outer edges of my comfort zone, and things that I am not willing to settle less on, and areas that I'm willing to compromise in fairness, considering my own well being first and foremost.
Perhaps this is a place of contemplation or self-realization that comes with age. I also reached a milestone birthday this year, turning the big 5-0; I find myself spending more thought-time in making comparisons to the 'then and now" part of my thinking process. I am able to compare how I would have felt/reacted/made decisions on an older version (chronologically younger) of Me, and the part of Me today that has more wisdom-infused thoughts and demeanor.
Are we meant to get to a place where we psychologically recognize that we are aging gracefully? That we've likely begun to peak in our intellectual performances, and that we have learned some valuable life lessons along the way that continues to provide frameworks around much of how we handle things, such as change? Or are we meant to glide through life as we age, oblivious to the process, and then wake up one day in an extended care facility where we no longer remember anyone, but we have the tenacity to wonder what the hell happened to our lives?
Some key realizations have come to settle solidly in my mind: I know without a doubt the answer to a few of the questions I had about my life: I know what direction I want my career to go in; I know where I want to live and what my goals are for a home to call my own. I know that even these recent changes will change yet again, and that's okay. I know that by allowing the Universe to provide me with exactly what I need at the right time, that I will always be "okay'.
There comes great peace when you realize that you can just accept what life offers you, and eventually you will understand the reasons why things transpire as they do.
With this recent bout of changes, I've also come to appreciate the simplicity of my life. I have de-cluttered, de-materialized and downsized a tremendous amount, and with that, came a feeling of freedom and weightlessness that is extremely satisfying. Tied to this is a deep desire to have my own space honored and cherished.. a level of self-care that I've never really considered in the past.
I know what I want for the next 50 years of my life, and as long as the sun is in my eyes, and my feet planted firmly on the ground, anywhere that I am, I know that I can accomplish what I need and desire to do.
My wish is only to have my children meet the latter half of their lives with the same level of wisdom, or better.
I've excitedly been awaiting the time in June where I get to immerse myself into the healing arts for a full 10 day Mentorship camp with some amazing healers that have come into my life. Camp Indralaya is situated in the beautiful Orcas Islands of the Pacific, just off the coast of the US, south of Victoria on Vancouver Island. For 10 days I get the opportunity to not only practice my own craft, but learn further from some of the best TT healers there are in North America.
This is the year for me where I extend and concentrate my energies into my healing arts and expand my conscious learning to promote the release of the unconscious knowledge that I am re-membering now at this stage of life.
I am especially looking forward to escaping the distractions in life that often pull me away from this work that I do. Being caught up in having to 'work' for a living and the busy-ness that often accompanies that, I have experienced some moments of guilt lately that I have not been able to devote as much time as I would like to my craft.
Now that my formal training for my nursing career is out of the way, I am eager to get going on all the plans that I have surrounding how to meld the holistic part of me into the professional nursing career. I have so many ideas; creative energy that abounds inside my heart and head that needs to be released. The time is coming and I'm so excited to watch it all manifest before my eyes.
Camp Indralaya really signifies so much more to me than a 10 day workshop and mentoring program. It also affirms that I have been accepted into a group of highly regarded and professional healers that have an amazing reputation and rapport within the medical community as well as the healing community. It also confirms that I am in possession of the skills and talent that warrant belonging to this group. It also means that I have a group of beautiful individuals that are part of a new family for me.. and from their experiences and their lives, further opportunities, friendships and lessons are all waiting to be discovered. It's like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.. I stand on the outside of that dark hole, not knowing what I will find on the other side, but knowing that there is magic in that place.
~ Love and light
Having survived through the chaos loving a beautiful soul/struggling addict, I found this video which portrays the life of chaos perfectly in under 3 minutes. Although this man still struggles with his addiction on his own journey, I pray for him everyday and the love that I have for him as a person hasn't wavered. I hope that all those who have lost someone to the insidious grips of addiction find this as equally poignant and moving as I did.
~Love and Light
When my last relationship ended, I was left with not only a huge house load of painful memories, but some of his 'unwanted' pieces of personal belongings. One of these was a hot-pink dresser that was in very ill-repair that had belonged to his young daughter. We had rescued it from going to the dump with the intention of re-doing it for her again. That never happened, and it ended up being a big pink reminder of a life that never transpired.
The dresser became my Kryptonite: even looking at it brought me to tears, but I really liked the 'shape' of the dresser. My initial thought was to finish the dresser and to deliver it to his ex with the intention of giving it back to his daughter..
What I decided to do instead was to embrace the painful memories and work through them while I worked on the dresser, refinishing it to be a TV stand and storage for my artwork and craft supplies. At first I was uncomfortable as I ruminated about my lost relationship while I began the stripping and sanding process.. what I found though, was that I was able to understand these feelings from an objective point of view as the physical attention to the task at hand was actually keeping me grounded. It was very cathartic and from the release of emotions that came simply from a deeper understanding of not only our 'relationship', but the role we each played, and the emotions that were present, I was able to lift the veil to reveal what lay underneath; exposed slowly along with what the layers of stripped paint were revealing.
Ironically, what I discovered was that what was underneath was not of great value.. this goes for both the dresser and my relationship.. both were built on a cheap foundation and covered up with superficial facades.
I've been taking my time with this old dresser. It is not solid wood and has layers of veneer that are in rough shape. I know that if I patch it properly with some good products that come from a solid understanding of repair, I can still create a piece that not only looks good esthetically, but will be functional as well.. it will serve a purpose.
My relationship is now understood the same way. With this process, I was able to peel away the layers of deception to expose what really lay underneath, and it wasn't easy to look at. This took some courage to admit to what was my stuff and what was his. It meant being authentic and standing in my truth, understanding that which I had no control over, and letting the universe deal with that energy naturally on its own. It meant I had to take a back seat to the human experience and go deeper in my understanding, and find the appreciation that existed there. And I found it.
This old, cheaply made dresser has a style of its own. It may not be perfect or of high quality, but it is functional and does what its supposed to do... act as a vessel of storage for expressions of my emotions.
Here's to making new memories and up-cycling the old painful ones.
~ Love and light
Mother Earth is an amazing spectacle of miracles in every form... whether the lighting, the flora and fauna, the scenery, the natural wonders. There is something innately soothing about being connected to the outdoors, and if you've ever heard of Earthing, you will understand why this is. There is a natural exchange of ions that occurs from the earth into our bodies through our feet, etc when we stand on the 'earth'.. the earth helps to balance out the negative ions in our bodies, leading to a healthier internal environment; truly becoming 'grounded'. Science has backed these claims and we know the importance of this connection.
Disease and strife have increased steadily as we've encompassed our selves in concrete jungles: cities. We've 'disconnected' ourselves from our healthy earth by placing man-made materials between us and the earth's surface: asphalt, concrete, floors, linoleum, metal, the soles of our shoes.. all of these, a barrier between the natural, and necessary flow of energy between us and the earth.
I saw an article the other day and was rendered speechless by what it said... it was a survey to find out whether Vancouverites (in Vancouver, Canada) were for or against having WiFi available in parks around the lower mainland.. surprising amounts of people were for the idea! I was stunned! The idea of filling our few natural remaining spaces with radiation waves is so appalling, but even more so, that the majority don't seem to care what we're exposing ourselves to, as well as the flora and fauna in our warped desire to stay technologically 'connected' 24/7.
The true connection that we should be discussing is one that is void of technology, harmful waves of radiation from WiFi, cell phone towers, microwaves, Televisions and computers. It is one thing to honor the advancement of the human existence and our ability to create amazing technologies, but we must find a balance between greed and need, from a holistic perspective.
For more on the importance of Earthing, visit the Earthing Institute online.
When people think of forgiveness, they often relate it to the act of forgiving another person who may have slighted them or mistreated them in some way. Where the true power of forgiveness can be felt, however, is in the ability to forgive one's self for thoughts that bind them to unhealthy habits, fears or beliefs, or even forgiving 'God' or your Higher Power for events or situations that were never in your control.
Forgiveness is an act that defies our nature to be defensive; in and of itself, these defensive behaviours served us well when Sabre Toothed tigers were lurking around outside the cave front, threatening to eat our food and our children, but in today's day and age, these reactive behaviours no longer service us. What we have evolved to requires a much more evolved way of thinking, and part of that thinking process is the refined art of forgiving.
To forgive is to let go of any expectations that the past once held for you. Forgiving means that acceptance takes its place; accepting that one is powerless to change that which one cannot change, and to accept all that is with love and trust that all is exactly as it is meant to be.
This is a really hard concept to wrap our primitively wired brain around; exponentially perplexing when there is emotional attachment to other beings involved.
Trying to remove one's Self from the equation of wrong-doings and reactions takes much insight, reflection and introspection. These are skills that we should be focusing on in our hectic, busy, materialistic and consumer-driven lifestyles, and teaching our children, who face a rapidly changing future for their children and their grandchildren. Focusing on that which we can control releases us from being imprisoned by that which we cannot. Acknowledging things that we are unhappy about or dissatisfied with is healthy, but dwelling there and obsessing or ruminating about something that one has no control over is a waste of perfectly good energy that could be used to manifest some amazing miracles into one's life.
The most profound thing about forgiveness is that it is comprised of the exact same energy that the manifestation of hate, revenge, and anger are borne from; so now ,knowing that, if one had a choice of taking that one seed, and just through conscious choice, growing an apple tree or a thistle weed, why would you not choose to grow the apple tree?
Approaching life with a heart open and filled with love is how these seemingly impossible changes to our concrete ways of old-thinking miraculously occur. This starts with an awareness of the negative thought train that starts in the brain. Once that can be immediately identified, the brakes can be applied before that train runs out of control and derails into a twisted, ugly mess.
Choosing to be content and peace-filled counterbalances the busy lives in which we all live. Making conscious choices in how we perceive events in our life is the starting point to manifesting these choices. It isn't long after that the body and the brain will prefer the 'feel good moments' that come with those thoughts, and automatically want to go there, naturally, on their own. It's a journey worth traveling and a healthy lifestyle change that would do the world some good.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Supportive Energy Therapy Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, Chartered Herbalist, AcuDetox Specialist, Personal Trainer, Entrepreneur, mom of three..
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