New Year

2017 ended with what felt like gale force winds and stormy skies. It was an interesting year for sure. It showered me with a few blessings, a new place, a new full-time job in a career I thoroughly enjoy, a teenager…
 
And it was wrought with pain and hurt, filled with challenge after challenge that tested my strength on every level. The challenges got worse as the year progressed. Physical and mental health challenges, relationship challenges, that teenager… oh what a challenge that one!! Ending…literally days before Christmas… with the closure of my workplace that had felt like home and the loss of that full-time job that had allowed me the shifts that I had made in my life this year.
 
And the weight of the last few months was almost unbearable. I felt myself suffocating, drowning, barely clinging on… almost ready to quit it all.
 
And so I did what I do when the world starts to spin out of control. I withdrew from the chaos and found the eye in the storm, that quiet place within, from which I watch my life and anchor down the things that are spinning out of control.
 
I took stock of my strengths and reminded myself of who I am.
I replayed the mistakes I made and took notes so I can learn from them and not repeat them.
I flexed my emotional and mental muscles so I don’t get crushed by the weight of those painful emotions and negative thoughts.
 
I am not the storm.
I am not the chaos.
I am not the pain.
 
I am stronger and bigger than all of it. And I am more than capable of overcoming these challenges. Because I never give up. And I will never surrender. I will be the change I want to see.
 
Nothing worth having comes easy, and I have always fought to create the things I want in life. I have learned that the things that I want are worth the effort. And so I begin 2018… a little banged up, a little bruised… but stronger, wiser and more self-aware than I was last year. More determined to chase away the demons that plague me and more solid in my resolve to strengthen myself so that I can weather any storm heading my way.
 
For they will come.
 
And I will be ready.
 
Happy new year.
May we all find the courage to face our demons and the strength to weather the storms that are coming.

What is God?

My 14yo was asking me about God the other day. I was born and raised as a Catholic as was her father, but neither of us practise. I lost faith in the religion, or rather, I never gained faith in it because the priests in Sunday school couldn’t answer my questions.

We had just been taught the part of Bible where they say, “We are all made in the graven image of God,” and my 6yo self at 6:00am on Sunday perked up and asked, “So then God must be a girl and a boy.” It made sense to me, half the people on Earth were females, the other half males (I was too young to know and had not been taught about transgender people as yet) so it made sense that God would be both. The priest however was appalled at my gall and yelled at me and made me leave the class and stand outside in the hallway. I’ve asked similar questions over the years and gotten in just as much trouble.

If God made the universe who made God?
If Jesus was a Jew, why are we Catholic?
If I’ve never even met Adam and Eve, why am I being blamed for their sins? I haven’t even done anything bad yet?

And so on and so on… And I was always sent outside the classroom.

My young mind reasoned, “My math teacher answers my math questions and they make sense, the God teacher is not making sense, I can’t trust him.” And so ended my brief interlude with Catholicism when I was 6 years old and hence began a life long quest for Divine Connection.

I studied religion in university. I found that at their core all religions wanted us to be our best. But the dogma and the ritual and the misinterpretation of the scriptures by man turned me away from all organized religion. The teachings are beautiful, the people who control how it’s interpreted are not always so. They use it to control and manipulte the masses And blame their respective Gods. And in the end it didn’t align with who I was. Every major religion on Earth had used it’s teachings as the justification for war, hate, subjugation of women, persecution and prejudice. I wanted no part of it.

God just couldn’t be like that. It didn’t feel right to me. None of it.

I spent a lot of time pondering my connecting to the Divine. I had one. It was tangible to me. I knew there was a higher power that I was connected to. But I couldn’t define it.

I have always been introspective. Meditation was something that gave me peace from a very young age. It wasn’t meditation in its traditional sense. That didn’t come till later. I find peace and pause in nature. I would sit by the water And just ponder life.

That’s when I gained clarity on what I can comfortably call God.

What if God was not this omnipotent patriarchal figure in the so called heavens judging over us all, waiting to strike us down for bad behaviour?

What if God was just energy that was aware of itself? And its purpose was to understand the extent of itself? And so it fractured into an infinite number of realities and we are just one of those realities? And because we are creative, and aware of ourselves, are we not then also Divine?

What if God was all of us? And our purpose was to recognize our true nature? Our authentic self? That soul that everyone talks about… What if that was God manifested? What if we are all God manifested, living this life to understand the extent of not only our human selves, but reconnect with our Divine selves in the process?

The Void – Part 3

The void I embraced

I started spending more time in the void.

The more I wandered into it the more comfortable I got with it. The more confidence I gained. The braver I became. More resilient. I took my strengths in there with me and I found it easier to explore. I wasn’t the weakling my fear had let me believe I was.

The more I explored the more I uncovered. There was a whole world of information hidden in that darkness. Like buried treasure. More valuable and precious.

I discovered things about myself. About the world I lived in. About how and why I chose to show up and interact with the world the way I did. Little nuggets of wisdom and insight. Little self-truths that let me truly align with myself. And be more authentically me.

But I was also tired. All that exploration is tiring. Mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. And the urge to give up my exploration was strong. The temptation to go back to avoiding it and running from it grew stronger the more tired I got. I could just go back to numbing the pain and changing the channel.

But I chose again to fight that urge to run. I had already gained so much. Why stop now?

So I embraced it. The fear. The tiredness. The emotional overwhelm. All those negative thoughts.

And I found my spiritual self. And connected with my energetic self. And that changed it all. I now had all the tools I needed to conquer that void. With my inner connection stronger than it had ever been, I realised I was more powerful than the void. And that it wasn’t scary anymore, just unknown. But I knew myself now, and that wisdom allowed me to face that unknown without fear. For I knew me.

I discovered my strengths in that embrace. And my weaknesses. I connected with all the many parts of myself who all seemed to have opposing views of me. The voices in my head that were mean and critical. They held beliefs about me. Things about myself that I had no conscious contact with. Beliefs about myself that seemed real, but not founded in reality. They were relentless and innumerable. They threw insults at me and showed me just how cruel I could be to myself. Which was surprising, for I was never that cruel to anyone else. Why was I so hard on myself? Why did I treat myself with such contempt?

I discovered in that embrace that I wasn’t good enough no matter how hard I tried.
I discovered I wanted unconditional love but I wasn’t lovable.
I discovered that I wasn’t worthy and no one cared enough to truly see me.

And then I discovered that was all a lie.

Parts of me believed those lies to be true. And interacted with the world as if they were true. So I settled for less. And was over responsible. And too nice. I sacrificed myself and my needs because parts of me felt like I didn’t deserve to have them met. And other parts felt no one cared enough to meet them.

And then I met the real me. That soul who descended to this earth all those years ago. That authentic me who knew she was love and light. Who lived in confidence and compassion. She knew the lies in my head were not true. She knew it unequivocally. She knew that she deserved the world because she was the world. A piece of the universe manifested. She knew love because she was love. Unconditional love.

I realized in that embrace the extent of my being. The depth of my existence. For so long I believed I was the thoughts in my head. For so long I stayed away from the void because it was scary and evil. But I was none of those things.

I was the witness to those things.

That embrace changed me.
It freed me.
It saved me.

I live more fully now. I connect with myself and the world more consciously since I have more awareness of my subconscious. I know the void and I no longer abhor it. I descend into it frequently… For life has a way of pushing you into the depths of yourself till you triumph over the darkness.

For how can light not triumph over darkness? I am light. Light illuminates the dark dispelling it. I just have to J remember that.

So I pledged to explore that void till it was completely illuminated. Till there was no darkness left. Because I’ve learned that you can’t run from yourself. And if you’re brave enough to face yourself you will be whole, and know love, and be free.

The Void – Part 2

The void I explored

I got tired of avoiding my void at some point in my adolescence. Running away from myself proved to be fruitless and exhausting. I got tired of being scared and haunted by this unknown thing that lived within me. It was scary. It seemed ominous and evil. The pain it emanated was fierce. I was certain it would destroy me. A demon from the underworld sent to devour my innocent soul. And so I was convinced that I needed to protect myself from it at all costs.

But nothing I did worked. It was always there… Looming over me. Ignoring it didn’t work. Avoiding it didn’t work. Pretending it wasn’t there didn’t work. Denying it existed didn’t work. On the contrary it seemed to get bigger… scarier… louder… More maddening.

The exhaustion became unbearable. So I threw in the towel and decided to explore it.

I took a deep breath and I descended into the darkness certain at the time that it would destroy me. Certain that I would not make it out alive.

But I didn’t die.

Instead in the other side of that fear I found wisdom. I gained insight into my soul. I learned that the monsters were of my own creation. I had left them there in the dark at some point in the past when I didn’t know I was strong enough to fight them. I ran from them because they seemed larger than life… But they were in fact a figment of my imagination.

But it was just an illusion. My memory magnified them and made them scarier than they actually were. From that place overlooking the void I only saw my weakness. In my fear I had forgetten about my strengths… And all the ways that I was capable of overcoming those fears and facing those demons.

The more I wandered into my void the more I realised I didn’t have to be afraid of it. It was a painful and scary exploration, but one that resulted in freedom.

Freedom from fear and pain.

And I learned that I like living free of Fear.

The Void – Part 1

The void I avoid

We all have a void on the inside. That dark corner in our psyche that we avoid. Some thing inexplicable and undefined that gnaws at us. That deafening silence. That maddening noise. It looms in the far recesses of our minds and it’s frightening. Not always do we know what it is, but even without naming it, the fear it elicits is real, it’s palpable, often crippling.

We will do anything to try and make it go away. It’s often the motivation behind isolation, addiction, rage or psychosis. The drive to fill the void is so intense we often act without thinking in our rush to satiate it. And as a result we try to fill it with the wrong things, relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, books… Anything to try and quench that thirst. And the void welcomes it all and devours it. It’s insatiable. Seemingly endless. And it just gets bigger.

I used to isolate and drown myself in art and music, seemingly creative hobbies, except that they was compulsively driven. I was a diligent employee, hard working and over responsible. I was obsessively trying to ignore that void. An attempt to quiet that ominous noise within.

It was tiring, that act of avoidance. Some part of me knew I couldn’t keep it up indefinitely. I kept glancing at that void wondering what would happen if I stepped into it? What’s the worst that would happen?

But no matter how many times I contemplated it I couldn’t take that step. I wasn’t ready to face it. It was easier to avoid. And besides I was an artist. And I was rewarded for being a good employee. Why screw that up? So I was obsessively creative. And a workaholic for a while.

I gave into the fear. And I avoided that void at all costs. I kept changing the channel to something else. I kept trying to outrun the thing within me that was chasing me. Drown out the noise in my head.

But what if I could muster enough courage to brave it and explore it? What if I could face that fear and walk into the darkness? What would I find? Is it truly as horrific as I imagine it to be? Or is it conquerable?

 

What is support?

What does it mean to be supportive?

Life threw me a pretty big curve ball this past week…the way life is apt to do. And for a few moments I got caught in my tornado again. That feeling of being tossed about and everything is spinning and you’re trying desperately to hold on, but you can’t find the ground beneath your feet. I felt that panic attack coming on and I did everything in my power to fend it off. I just needed some space from everyone and some quiet time to process it all.

I fought my mind that wanted to just get caught up in the storm and reminded it of what Andrew Kun, a wise teacher of mine once said… “Find the eye of the storm and take refuge there.” (Eternal gratitude for that wisdom Andrew) I don’t think he realizes how much his words have helped me over the years. For I force myself to stand still amidst the chaos that arises and I take stock of what’s flying around and then I start anchoring things down. I create a plan. And as I do… The winds start to die down and the storm abates.

That’s support… Simple words spoken with the intention of giving a different perspective. Not direction. Not obligation. Not instruction. Not judgement. Not trash-talking. But rather an alternate option that I might consider should I choose to. Words that turn into a resource if applied.

I have had friends call and ask what they can do. And there’s really nothing that they can do. But that call is support. That call is often enough… Knowing I’m loved and cared for is support. This is my storm. I have to weather it. But knowing that there is shelter available is comfort enough. They didn’t tell me what they think I should do. They didn’t tell me what they think I did wrong or why the situation was messed up… They just offered to stand there, ready, should I need them for anything.

We often want to be supportive. We don’t like seeing our loved ones hurt. But we offer support from our own perspective for that is what we know. What would we want in this situation? What do we think is supportive? It would be more impactful if we asked them what they needed. Everyone processes life differently. Someone might need a hug. Someone else might need to be left alone. Someone else might want to talk about it. Sometimes we might want to do all three… But at our own pace. When we feel ready.

So if you have a loved one who’s going through a tough time… Be supportive by asking them what they need. And be respectful of that response. If they don’t want your hug when you first offer it, don’t take it personally. You’re supporting them. It’s about what they need, not what you think they need. They may still want that hug… Just at a later time. Just be unconditionally ready for when they do.

Building Healthy Relationships

loveJoin me as I explore the pitfalls that most people encounter in their relationships. This workshop is intended to shed some light on what the common pitfalls are and how to overcome them. It will be educational and interactive so that you can explore some of your own patterns in your relationships.

 

Here are some basic points to highlight some of what will be covered and some tips to help build a healthy relationship.
1. Pay attention to your tone when talking to your partner. Remember even in a moment of anger or during an argument that you love the person that you are with and that love is stronger than anything else.
2. Listen to your partner’s complaints and take them seriously, no matter what they are about. The fact that they are bringing it up to your attention means that they are unhappy about it and it will only be resolved if it is addressed.
3. Be aware of your own faults and triggers, and how they may impact your relationship. Everyone has a back story of their own that creates self-doubt and insecurities. That often gets in the way of a healthy relationship because we respond defensively when we are triggered because we are unaware of our triggers.
4. When you love someone show them, don’t just tell them. That old saying, action speaks louder than words has a lot of merit. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, it’s the small things that count. 5. Remember that love and sex are two sides of the same coin. Make sure that you are actively communicating about your sexual desires and your relationship needs. Maintain a sex life that is satisfying, pleasurable and respectful to both partners.

Spaces are limited so please purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee your spot.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27,2016 AT COMPLETE BALANCE HEALTH CENTRE, 2896 BLOOR ST WEST, TORONTO, ONTARIO. FROM 2:30 PM3:30 PM 

You can purchase tickets for this date via the link below.
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/building-healthy-relationships-workshops-tickets-21212359739

Sunday, February 28, 2016 AT PHYSIOMED VAN MILLS, 1900 FOWLER DRIVE, MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO from 11:00 AM12:00 PM

You can purchase tickets for this date via the link below.
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/building-healthy-relationships-workshops-tickets-21213412889