Archive for the ‘Holy Work’ Category

Awakening; what that means for me in 2019

This year has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. My new normal has settled in but things have not been the same since my depression 3 years ago. I am no longer depressed, or should I say, I have been coming out the other side for the last year but things are very different for me as I navigate my world again.

3 years ago a perfect storm of many painful events came into my life including health issues, loss of some mobility and the loss of a brother were just a few of many others that seem to come all together in a few short months of each other. At the end of it all, I found myself depressed. It took me months of sitting around watching TV for hours, isolating myself and gaining 40 lbs before I started to come up for air and realize it. I was completely numb.

Slowly over the last two years I have brought myself to a new place where I finally feel hope some days about my future again. I even feel joy and peace at times again, two things that had eluded me.

Retrospectively I now have come to understand why this happened and as I process these past three years I realize that without that perfect storm of events I would have not broken open as Elizabeth Lesser speaks about “If we do not suffer a loss all the way to the end, it will wait for us. It won’t just dissipate and disappear. Rather, it will fester, and we will experience its sorrow later, in stranger forms.” 
― Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

I have spent most of my years understanding and processing my childhood; to make sense of it, forgive and let it go. For the most part I had done an amazing job and up until the perfect storm  I was at a wonderful place in my life. As  I recently wrote this to my spiritual director  “Or at least  I had healed to a deep enough layer to hang peacefully out in for a while. It really was blissfully delicious.” 

In resent months with the help of my spiritual director I have come to understand finally what that time in my life was about.  She recommended  two books. I have had a handful of books (sorry for the cliché) that “have changed my life” and these both have done just that. The first one I will talk about today called “Complex PTSD, form Surviving to Thriving” by Pete Walker.

I realize all these years of my healing journey I have been gathering pieces of the puzzle of my life. All that I had uncovered the first 30 years of my adult life was the foundation to help me go deeper into my healing now in a more powerful way. I have found so many pieces yet I had not been able to fit them all together into a complete picture of the real me in the way that I have longed for. The perfect storm was the only way I was going to be able to be broken open enough to go deeper. This book helped me understand my childhood wounds that made all the other work I have done healing finely make sense. The full picture of what growing up in the first 7 years of my life  with a violent father can do to the psyche and how it creates a life time of complex PTST.  As Fr. Richard Rohr says  “If the pain of your story is not transformed it will be transmitted”  I have transmitted a lot of pain onto myself especially since my depression.

I finally have embraced self- compassion again after these three years of struggling because I could not understand why I was here after all the work I had done.

2019 I want to be the year of self-compassion and awareness. To gently move into my life again with more honesty with myself and others.  Waking up is not easy, but I have dedicated my life to this endeavour.

As Michael Singer in his book ‘The Untethered Soul says ” So there are two ways you can live: you can devote your life to staying in your comfort zone, or you can work on your freedom.”

My journey has been about uncovering freedom, I have had slivers of time when I felt its embrace. I had simply become too comfortable in the last layer of healing I had found. Life’s challenges give us an opportunity for growth. It just took me a while to remember this once again.

This picture was given to me by a friend who says it reminded her of me.  This coming year I want to bring that part out more and embrace my life with more freedom. I see in her the carefree little girl that I was never allowed to be.  The beautiful little red head that is full of life!

Get Ready For The Thank You Dance!

Week 5. Walking theTalk

This morning I realized how much more I still need to do to move in the direction of walking my talk.  Luckily I have learned that we are human and perfection is not attainable phewwww! That was a relief when I finally gave in to that one! :)  On the other hand I also know that I have chosen to live a life that is always evolving.

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” Michael J Fox

I realize my passion is living naturally.  This means many things to me; using as little artificial ingredients in my food, cleaning and personal care products as possible and living as authentically as possible.  Often it is said that those who chose to teach are the ones who need the message the most and this is true for me.  As a coach I am, teaching, supporting and holding a safe space for people to make changes in their lives.  I have the best job in the world because I get to be inspired by others as they step into new and exciting possibilities for their lives.

All that being said I love this new journey of discovery with my body, I feel more present and alive most days then I have for a while.  I am listening to my body more often and have created some wonderful spiritual practices that feed both my body and my soul.  However everyday life is scattered and I am not in a very good routine for daily stuff like housework, cooking, office work etc.   Working from home is wonderful for the most part but a disciplined day is hard for me but so much more necessarily.

This week it will be about implementing a plan for one afternoon a week for lots of cooking so I can freeze for “quote” fast food  :) .  This is so important for especially those crazy days when it is to easy to either not eat or eat something that is not nourishing.  Like the other day a big  bag of chips I had bought for my grandchildren when they visit! Also plan one afternoon for making all my natural cleaning and personal care products.  I tend to run out of things ( like face and body lotion 5 days ago  eeeek ) and then have to scramble to make some.  I want to honor my body and spirit more by being prepared and organized more.

Is there something you need to implement to make your life more organized and reflect more of your own values? Find ways this week to walk more of your talk.

walk the talk

 

Week 4: Bringing Spirituality back to the table.

Most of us whether we have a weight problem or not are going through life without really feeling our body or the cues it give us.  This is true of emotions that we simply ignore or stuff away with food or when we eat long after we are full because we have lost the art of checking in to “feel” if we are full yet, or cramming in food with no nutritional value because we are “too busy”. There are many socially accepted ideas of the modern world when it comes to taking in nourishment and one of them is eating on the run.  All these add up to being very disconnected to our body’s ability to maximize its ability to create health and wellness even with the most nutritional food.

We are losing the spiritual connectedness of food and our body.  Most spiritual and religious traditions place a high value on food and eating practices. I believe this is  missing today. For example in Buddhism it is very  important to be mindful when eating.  We all know it is important to slow down but they take this deeper and much more spiritually. They believe that while eating one should reflect on the people whose labour it took to grow and harvest the food, to set aside any negative feelings towards others etc. We are also mostly familiar with the practice of saying grace before a meal. Many religions believe only in eating kosher food as a way of knowing the food especially animals were deeply respected before they consume them.

I am rereading Marc David’s book again “Nourishing Wisdom “.  In Chapter one  he writes “Placed within a spiritual context. The ultimate goal of any dietary philosophy is to take us fully into the body, and beyond the body. That is, by taking us fully into the body our dietary system must enable us to experience the maximum physical benefits of food-good health, the delight of eating, and the fulfillment of nutrient needs.”

We do not need to be religious to understand the wisdom of these practices.  Our digestion is best when we are peaceful and calm. Our body is made from energy and the food we eat gives us energy so it makes sense to create an atmosphere of respect and mindfulness.   We are not meant to eat fast while thinking about a thousand other things, or while watching TV or driving which many of us do( me included).  However I have in the last year implemented more times now at the table, where I set the table nicely with either a candle or with flowers.  I use beautiful dishes and begin with saying grace more often and then taking my time enjoying every bite.

Even with foods that are not as nutritious like when I crave a chocolate bar, (I do on my cycle a lot :) ) I do my best to eat mindfully.  One of my favorite ways to do this is with my favourite cup of hot herbal tea. I also buy a fair trade organic bar and eat it one block at a time!! Yummmmm, I savor every bite! I truly have come to believe that it is not just what we eat that is important but how we eat.

What can you do starting this week to bring more spirituality to the table?

table

 

Week 3. My True North

I know this for sure for me my weight is not the excuse that holds me back from fully being present in my life; it’s what the weight silently clings to that is the true reflection and reason for not living life to the fullest.  My life is wonderful and full even now but there is so much more I am waiting to step into.

Extra weight manifested on my body through the years as a protection of sorts; a way to bury the inner turmoil and pain.  In time I realized that these excess cells created containers to hold rage, judgement, self-hatred, self-righteousness and many other dark shadows that I was not willing to see at first.  These cells also contain feelings and emotions that when I was a very little girl was not safe to feel and got tucked away.  Over 25 years ago I began the journey of bringing healing and light to these one by one and even managed to release about 60 lbs permanently but somehow each time I would reach a certain size it  seems to create fear in me and I have been bouncing back and forth up 20lbs down 20lbs ever since.

I also came to understood that even the scale was a kind of addiction that somehow I was allowing to measured my worth.   I decided to weigh myself only a few times a year and have found this very freeing.   I have discovered that it is our innate intuitive inner knowing that is buried by so many outside messages from childhood and society  that our “true north” or authentic self becomes buried and essentially seems impossible to find.  We were designed so that our body knows what is needed to maintain health and wellness.  Sadly a multi-million dollar diet and exercise industry has been built around us and tells us to look everywhere but within.  Very few messages anywhere direct us inside to listen deeply to our soul and body.   In our bodies is the wisdom and ability to release weight by entering into the inner most shadows of our soul but only with the willingness to listen and act with kindness, love and compassion.

I have been now over 2 months focusing inward on this journey once again and this week was a true test as things came into my life that were a struggle, instead of turning to food I found myself staying really present to the feelings no matter how uncomfortable they were.  I celebrate this week that I chose FAITH over FEAR most times and have curiosity and compassion for the other times.  I am beginning to hear and experience once again my true North.  As I stay present to “what is” in my life, no matter what, I find it easier and easier to eat well and connect to my body.

I am spending most mornings now outside on Mother Earth in meditation an hour before sunrise and as well as qigong in the evenings outside most nights before sunset and feel more grounded again.   I am also walking 40 min at least 5 times a week.  My clothes are feeling loose once again and I am beginning to have more energy during the day.  I feel that my meditation, movement and prayer practice along with daily journaling is more important than ever to support me over the next while as I release the rest of my extra weight.  Inevitable I will reach that size again and fear may bubble up and this time I want to be ready.

What grounds you and keeps you pointing to your TRUE NORTH or your authentic true self?  You know, those times when we feel peaceful even when chaos is around us, when we act with clarity and integrity for our own well-being and others, When we feel comfortable in our own skin.   If it’s been to long since you last felt any of these, now is the perfect time to rediscover by finding  a practice that feels right for you. When we embrace these practices with our whole heart, make them a priority, they bring us back home, home to ourselves.

north star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

faith or fear

 

 

Week 2. My Holy Work.

I call the work of releasing my weight Holy work, here I will journal weekly as I embrace a new level of freedom. Outside of my weight, I have managed in the last few years to heal and integrate so much of my past and in almost every other area in my life I feel deliciously content.  In many ways I feel whole and excited and present about most of life.

Today I started the day with siting outside for forty minutes to meditate.  It was cold and a bit windy and my mind kept wondering.  In the last few weeks I have seriously contemplated my health and wellness.  I have had some heath issues come up this winter that  have forced me to look deep inside and past my denial. Denial is always a way to hide our fears, to look away from what is need to be seen most.  Our deepest Fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” Marianne Williamson. One of my favorite quotes and authors.

Most of my adult life has been an education in healthy eating, I prided myself raising our children on mostly whole nutritious organic food, growing a nice organic garden and green house, mostly herbal medicine yet over the years my weight escalated.  I realize it was a numbing of past traumas, a way to live my life without really looking to deeply inside.  Food was that one place as a child I could translate into feeling safe if only in the illusionary moment.   This was the only comfort that felt stable in my childhood and the nero pathways were ingrained pretty deep by the time I was an adult.

About twenty years ago I read a book by Marc David called “Nourishing Wisdom “that literally changed my entire thoughts about my body and weight issues and although I remained addicted to food after,  I knew from that day forward that being overweight really had nothing to do with food at all.  In his book he says “Psychologically, nourishment is encoded in our genes as the body’s longing for perpetuation of itself through creativity, relationship, community, work, and exchange of ideas. Spiritually nourishment is encoded as our longing for self-realization.”   Marianne Williamson says “A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever” “Addiction is a spiritual disease”

This is a spiritual journey for me, a journey past my fears, one in which I am dedicating my summer to rereading my four favorite books on this subject.  The best I have ever read and believe at least for me and for some others that the answer lies in a spiritual journey of peeling back the fear and looking at the layers that uncover the gold in the dark; the real reasons that holds us in denial, the truth which comes from being vulnerable, open and honest. These four books are the two I mentioned above and the other two are, “The Gift of Our Compulsions” by Mary O’Malley and lastly “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth

The answer lies just beneath the surface and it has been waiting for me now for a while.  The time is now to release and heal my addiction with love, kindness, compassion and patience, not ever through dieting, frustration, sheer determination, and self-deprecation as so much of society is tells us.   This is my Holy Work. If this is your first time here read Week 1 , the beginning of the journal diary.

Week 1.Revealing the Golden Buddha within.

Spring finally is here!  Lately I have been doing more soul searching.  I began to review my life again after my mentor and teacher Debbie Ford died in March.  My work as an Integrative Life Coach is my passion and yet I have kept myself very small in our little town, not really getting out often to market what I do.  Over the years I have managed a very small private practice in coaching, I have an occasional Book Club series and even the odd Day Retreat which I both love; but the power of this work speaks for its self and I have been asking myself many questions lately, one is “why am I still not full time in a career that is my life work?”

Interesting the last time Debbie was on Oprah she shared with Oprah that she had been in denial of her cancer.  As human beings we all live in some kind of denial most of our lives.  This is what Debbie’s life work was to help us including herself to uncover and own our dark and light shadows. Those dark parts of ourselves we deny or hide that keep us small and hidden; the amazing light parts of ourselves that we also deny or think we don’t have that also keeps us from living fully expressed and passionate lives.  Spending the last 6 years of my life both in training to become a Shadow coach and then coaching others I have come to discover just how subtle and not so subtle denial can be.

I know that part of my own denial has been around my weight.  Funny thing even though I still carry 60 – 80 lbs ( depending what time of year it is  :) ) of extra weight on my body I find ways of not dealing with it even though as we all know this is something that I cannot hide from the world.  I profoundly know inside that this has been part of what keeps me from stepping fully into this calling.   For over a year now I have become aware of the need to step fully into what I teach and release this last layer of clay that carries with it the inability to move into the authentic freer life and share this passion in a much larger way.

Debbie’s courage knew no bounds when she was alive and even though she lost her body here on this earth her spirit still guides us onward toward uncovering our golden Buddha. (The story of the golden Buddha is in her book “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” ) This was Debbie’s legacy for her coaches and for people she knew we would be honored to teach and support to live fully authentic and expressed lives. (The cute YouTube video below tells the story of the Golden Buddha). I love this metaphor

I personally have learned from Shadow work to let go of old rage by allowing anger to filter though and be expressed with love and compassion, I have profoundly changed the way I relate to people including my family and friends, I have come to understand the power of self –love and self –care, I have evolved deeply in my spiritual journey, most importantly I have uncovered deep forgiveness and compassion for my father who inflicted such pain in our family in my childhood and yet my weight still holds a story with a hidden treasure.

Visit me each week as I go treasure hunting as I chip away and release more layers to reveal a new story.  . This is my journey to reveal more of the Golden Buddha within.  Hopefully those of you who see yourself in my story will be inspired to uncover more of your own Golden Buddha.