Today I Grieve – And Experience The Fullness of Life

Do you take the time to grieve the losses in your life? Do you think its important to do so?

There are many reasons we grieve. Some are obvious, others hidden, but all affect us in some way. Often profound ways.

Today I grieve recent and not so recent losses.

The loss of connection with old friends who meant a lot to me.

The loss of people who are no longer living.

The loss of connection to place.

The loss of deep meaningful community in our society.

The loss of a perceived simpler time.

The loss of my old self.

I grieve these things because I must in order to feel passionate about the things that are in my life now, at this moment. All experiences must be fully lived, fully felt, and fully completed.

Grief is one side of this process.

So is joy,

so is despair,

so is love.

All of these make up the full experience of our life.

So today I feel my grief as fully as I can muster. And open myself to the whole spectrum of emotion. Of life.

Our Reality: How Real is it?

I’m going to describe two different scenarios in an effort to allow comparison, reflection, and hopefully get you thinking about things a bit differently.

The first story is of a man walking along a busy street. He looks somewhat agitated and suddenly starts speaking in a loud projected voice, aimed at nobody in particular. Most bystanders avert their eyes and keep walking, a few stop to stare for a moment and then continue on their way, not really listening to what the man is saying. Much of what he says is difficult to understand – not the words themselves, but the meaning he is trying to get across. In a stream of passionate discourse he mentions something about massive columns of sound and how they are holding the universe together. It all has something to do with the number 17 as well, according to the sermon from among the masses. The people around continue about their day. Some feel uncomfortable and unsafe being near this man. Some feel sorry for him, for having to live in this way, for not fitting in, for being an outsider, for having an illness.

In another area of the city we find the second scenario playing out. Within a large stadium a man sits in his place in view of the playing surface. There is much action occurring both on ice surface and among the thousands of people watching the action. Suddenly the man jumps from his seat and yells in anger in the direction of the action occurring on the ice. It is obvious he is very upset about something that has just happened, given the tone of his voice and the angry words coming from his mouth. The crowd around him enjoy his antics and many others join in, throwing words from their brains into the air around them. Nobody seems concerned for the man, in fact he is exactly like many of the others. He is accepted for who he is.

Here we have two situations. Taking away the context of the situations, both are actually very similar in some ways. A loud outburst coming from a person. But because of our social conditioning and our knowledge of how we’re supposed to act in different scenarios most people see the actions of the person in the first story as inappropriate, and the second as appropriate. There are different rules to follow when you’re walking down the street as opposed to when you’re a spectator at a hockey game.

Let’s dig into that a bit further though. We said it was because of social conditioning and knowledge that we have that gives us that understanding about what is appropriate. And all of that has come from other people refining the rules of society over generations of history. We assume that because the majority of people agreed with those rules over time that they must be correct. But what if they’re not?

What if we discovered that humans are flawed and can make mistakes? And maybe over time many of the rules and knowledge that have become entrenched and given as fact are actually not so much truth as they are just things that have come about due to choices made by individuals, often reliant on chance or even due to mistakes made in many cases.

In my line of thinking, it wouldn’t have taken too many small adjustments, compounded over time, to bring us to a current reality where it is considered completely acceptable to, for example, yell out your stream of consciousness while walking down the street so that passersby can hear it. And it would seem as normal as it currently does when someone yells at the referee at a hockey game.

And perhaps minor adjustments over many generations could have lead to a world where hockey games had the sophistication of attending the opera – with polite claps and a standing ovation at the end for an exceptional performance. Anything is possible given the right influencers steering the direction of history at each opportune moment.

If I still have your attention at this point and you can at least partially buy into this idea, then this provides an opportunity to apply this thinking to each and every belief or accepted piece of reality that you have taken as fact to this point. When looked at in this way things aren’t as permanent as they seem. They aren’t as black and white. And they are constantly changing and being re-invented.

This is a good thing! It means there are ways forward, even at times that it may seem that there are so many problems in the world that it’s impossible to make progress. It’s not impossible though. Its very possible, and with the right influencers working on it, very probable too.

Science and Nature

Science has provided all sorts of insights and breakthroughs in our knowledge of ourselves and our world. In our society these days we tend to equate science with truth, fact and good. The scientific process is about as impartial as a human designed process can be, and so the knowledge that comes from this work is believable and trusted. This is a good thing, but there is more to look at.

Many people extend this concept further and seem to believe that science has everything figured out, that it is a constant that we can believe in and fully trust in all areas of our lives. I understand the desire to want to have that constant and immovable feeling of safety, but that isn’t reality. Science has only “figured out” a small portion of how things actually work. If that wasn’t the case then there would be no need for further study and experimentation. And in that scientific work things that were previously known as fact are often dis-proven and new ideas take their places. When we look back in history we can clearly see that this has happened over and over, and yet we tend to have a blind spot about our current state. We assume that we are smarter now, have things more figured out than they did back then. Sure, we know more than we did then, but some of that knowledge will be proven false on a future day, just like it has throughout history. And many things just simply still aren’t known.

Let’s step back a bit and try to look at things in a big picture way. Let’s actually step way way back, and try to see humanity in a holistic way – all of it at once – and let’s look at how it relates to the rest of nature – animals, plants, the earth, the universe. Humans are the only species on earth that actively take steps to improve and reinvent their lives, creating new ways of interacting, living, producing etc. In the process we come to believe that we are ultimately fully in control of our lives and how we live on this earth. If we see something that we deem to be a problem, we engineer a solution, or study it scientifically and come up with a fix. And millions of people do this type of work every day.

Trees and plants don’t do this. Other species of animals don’t do this. They live out their lives fully in sync with the other plants and species that are living in congruence with the rest of nature. They trust that nature will provide what they need in order to live out their purpose.

Back to the big picture of humanity and what’s been happening to us in recent history. Let’s look at the history of disease among humans. Stats show that infectious disease, and the rate of new disease discoveries is rising at a rate never seen before. SARS, MERs, Ebola, avian flu, Zika, COVID, to name a few since the 1970s.

So why are there so many new diseases spreading around? And why is this happening at the same time that medical advances and knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds? There are lots of factors presented: ease of international travel, population growth, resistance to drugs, intensive farming practices, and degradation of the environment to name a few.

If we look at each of these factors we can see they can all be directly linked back to human ingenuity – the very things we created in order to improve our lives. Our medical interventions have improved human life expectancy and decreased death rates, but at the same time this has contributed to massive population growth, which has in part lead to over-use of the earth’s resources and environmental degradation, as well as the perceived need for intensive farming practices to feed the massive population. At the same time the majority of people have disconnected further and further from the natural world – many spending no time in forests or natural areas at all, and again necessitated by a larger population base.

For each issue we work to solve using our big human brains, it seems that we cause at least one other issue. In fact I believe if you look at a lot of the scientific work being done these days it is being undertaken to find solutions to problems that were actually caused either directly or indirectly by human ingenuity in the first place.

From the big picture view I don’t think its a coincidence that infectious disease is on the rise either. Nature continually tries to restore balance on the planet. Right now it is out of balance and its pretty clear that humans have caused many of the problems that have lead to this imbalance. So nature creates what is needed to restore balance in the long term.

I hear the arguments against these views coming. But what do you suggest we do then? Just stop treating people who are sick and suffering? Stop looking for new treatments and innovations to help individuals? There are no easy answers to these questions. But what I will say is that it seems that what we’ve been doing isn’t working – when you take the time to really step back and look at the entire system and how each piece of it interacts with all of the others. Our fully intellectual approach seems to be failing us in many ways. And the point of this article is to present an alternative viewpoint. To show that there are many ways to look at things and opening ourselves to many different ideas is important.

Nature and the ways of the natural world are pure, balanced and perfect in how they interact and nourish each other. And when issues are introduced nature adjusts to restore balance. Science has it’s place in the study of our human nature but we need to change our perspective and work with the natural processes, not against them. We have lots of work to do to get to the point where we realize we need to do less work on “fixing” things and more of being at one with what is already here. The greatest wisdom that already exists is waiting for each of us to listen.

Make Trying Something New Less Scary

I’ve been thinking about how we generally approach the idea of doing something new. Taking on a new project, learning a new skill or just trying something different. Often times we go into these types of things with the idea of learning and practising in order to get better at those things, perhaps even to master the skill in time.

That’s a great goal to have, but I believe that there are additional things to consider. Many of us have preconceived notions of what we are good at and what we aren’t good at. Those thoughts often factor greatly into our choices of the things we are going to try. You may think you don’t have any ability in music, or math, or art or any number of other things. And maybe that’s true, and maybe it’s not. I would argue that it shouldn’t matter though!

Doing new things, trying out new ideas, and learning new skills should be taken on just for the sake of trying them! There are so many benefits to doing things that are a bit outside of your comfort zone, and none of them have to include becoming an expert or even proficient at the thing you decide to try.

They should be taken on simply for the sake of trying something new and different. There are a number of benefits to be realized.

For one, many people feel a sense of joy when they allow a new type of experience to take themselves over for a little while. That newness itself is refreshing and uplifting.

At the same time new experiences often involve meeting new people, making new friends and enjoying new and different conversations.

As well, doing something new often allows us to start to see other parts of our life in a slightly different way. It provides an alternative viewpoint that we will naturally integrate into our ways of thinking over time, making us more balanced and well-rounded in the way that we approach our lives.

Plus I find there is generally a natural boost in our own creative abilities when we allow new experiences to affect us. All of the different people, ideas and learning that we interact with gives us new ways of seeing things, but also new ways of thinking of ideas and using those to improve all areas of our lives.

Perhaps you’re a scientist, maybe one who doesn’t really think of themselves as a “creative type” in the stereotypical artsy sense. But your job involves coming up with new ideas, new processes to test out new theories. There is creativity implicit in this. And perhaps learning to paint, play an instrument, learning a new language, or learning to cook might just open up a new pathway to an idea that becomes instrumental in your primary work.

So my recommendation to start is to think of something that you have a feeling you might enjoy – just for the sake of doing it. Try to let go of any requirement for becoming really good or an expert, and give yourself permission to try and fail spectacularly! When you’ve done that and discover the joy in the process, maybe push yourself further and try something that you think you really wouldn’t like. You may just learn something that makes your life better!

If you want some ideas for little things you can do along these lines check out my Rogue Artist project page.

Following the Signs: Are Healers Stodgy?

A few weeks back I woke up earlier than I normally do. I also did something out of the ordinary for me when it happened that particular day.

Normally when I wake up early I stay in bed and read or simply meditate until I fall back to sleep. On this particular morning instead I got out of bed, went to the kitchen and picked up my phone. I didn’t know why I had decided to do that but something urged me in that direction. I opened the Facebook app on my phone and there it was – a post made by a Facebook friend who was having suicidal thoughts and was clearly distraught and looking for help. The reason for what I had done became clear. I was simply following the wisdom of the universe without realizing that was what I was doing. And if you’re wondering, the friend got help with his immediate needs.

When you become more in tune with yourself and your place in the universe you will notice things like this happening. The universal spirit guiding you to do things, situations unfolding in a way that lead to important events, synchronicities conspiring to put you where you need to be in order to do your work in the world.

We are all in different stages of a process of self-discovery. Part of mine has been to learn that I have always been a healer. I spent a large part of that life attempting to block out those parts of myself. Pushing people and thoughts away in many cases. Actively denying my true purpose and causing myself to suffer in the process. Feeling like an outsider and wondering where I fit in the grand scheme of things.

Only more recently have I begun to discover some of the reasons why, and begun to embrace that conversation. Honestly I still have a long way to go – but I am so grateful for what I have already found. For each of us this is a life-long journey, continually building on top of what has come before.

I recently started reading “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. It’s also a movie, which I watched a few weeks ago as it was recommended in an online workshop I was doing. The premise of the story is similar to that of anyone finding their way, finding true peace and happiness in this life. Going on a journey – we’re all on that journey. The same message I am now sharing with you. There was a reason I signed up for that workshop, as you can now see!

In the book the main character is learning from his spiritual guru, and each lesson brings him closer to his true self. I have been lucky to have many friends and guides along my journey. The guru in the book has a “business card” that states: “Specializing in Paradox, Humor and Change”, and he incorporates humor and joy into many of his lessons. This really resonated with me. I’ve had some challenge with the image of what a healer or a spiritual person is supposed to be like. I often see a serious, stodgy, often unrelatable person in my mind’s eye. But the lesson here is that they don’t need to be any of those things. They can be funny, relatable, quirky, goofy, or whatever else they want to be. The underlying message and the ultimate teaching is the same.

And in fact it is much more effective coming from someone who is being who they are to their core. Living their own truth and being themselves 100%.

So I encourage you to follow your path – the one that is uniquely yours. Pay attention to the signs coming at you from the universe. Maybe read a book that was made into a movie that was recommended in an online workshop that the universe told you to take part in.

Inhabit the Zone of Genius

Painting by Andrew MacKay

I’ve noticed a trend in messages that have been coming to me over the last couple of weeks. Little nudges coming from the universe to pay attention to certain things. And by the way, when these types of things happen to you it would be wise to really pay attention!

From a few different places I’ve been getting messages about how to live my life in a truly authentic way.

Just this morning I had another “aha” moment. In case you don’t know, I’ve been taking time away from the primary job I’ve held for many years for the past few months. It has been a time of self discovery and also of exploring what should be the focus of my life. This morning I thought that maybe the question of what I’m doing may not be the most important question, but in fact the key is how I’m doing it.

The key might just be in utilizing the underlying skills and talents that I have but that haven’t truly been harnessed yet. Specifically I’ve been searching for ways to find my voice. To have the confidence to speak up and do what I think is right, regardless of what others might think or believe.

And this, I believe is highly linked to the following two messages that have come to me recently.

The first came during a week long art workshop that I took last week lead by Jessica Serran. During one of the sessions there was mention of a book called “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendrix. In this book he discusses the concept of the “zone of genius”. I haven’t read the book (yet) but in Jessica’s words “When it all boils down, what else is there for you to do? Sure, there are things that you can do, and do quite well. There are things that you do better than most, but when it comes down to being the person you’re here to be, what else really is there for you to do?” It’s something you do all the time that is so easy and natural for you, that you often don’t even know you are doing it. It’s also the biggest gift that we can give to others.

The other way this concept was presented to me is through the book “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho. I’m currently re-reading this book (highly recommend it by the way) and it talks about the concept of your “personal legend” which is described as the only means by which an individual can lead a satisfying life. In fact it goes further to suggest that the only way the universe can achieve perfection is for all beings to achieve their personal legends. In other words, it’s of extreme importance to find out what yours is and start living it if you aren’t already!

So there it is! This is the stage I’m at in my discovery and it seems so important to share it with everyone. We are each here on earth for a specific purpose. Discovering that purpose and sharing that gift with the world is the most important thing that there is, for our own fulfillment and for that of all life throughout the world.

Resolving Fear and Pain

I want to talk a bit about fear today. Fear and pain. I know, maybe these are not the topics you want to hear about right now but give me a minute to explain further.

You might see what some people around you are doing and wonder what is motivating them to act the way they do. You might even notice some of these behaviours in yourself if you are aware.

What type of behaviours am I talking about? Perhaps someone is saying negative things about others, or not speaking to their family or other loved ones due to some past conflict. They might be acting in a way that expresses hate for others. In general I’m talking about actions that most of us would consider undesirable given our desire for peaceful co-existence and an inclusive and friendly world. In the bigger world these can also trigger even greater conflicts and even wars amongst nations.

What is causing this behaviour? In many cases it is due to fear and pain held in individuals. I’ll get into this more, but first of all, where does the fear and pain come from? In many cases it comes from experiences the person has had in their life that have been imprinted and affect their actions day to day. This could include traumatic experiences, or shared experiences of expressions of racism, bigotry, sexism, even unhealthy stereotypes. It is often also a result of simply lacking experience interacting with the people or situations that cause the fear.

In addition to experiences a person has had in their life it could also come from past life experiences, in a similar manner. There is interesting research showing how trauma is passed through DNA to future generations. It could even be coming to them directly to the subconscious from “spirit” or other dimensional communications.

And why is it that fear and pain can be attributed as the cause of these negative behaviours? There’s also a lot of research in this area including that of Brene Brown who says “There is so much trauma, addiction and pain underneath hate.” And “Hate is a symptom. Fear is the problem.” There is lots of data and research to back this up so if you are interested I encourage you to delve into it further.

How do we deal with this? Individually we can reduce the fear by becoming familiar with people or situations that make us uncomfortable. Personal interaction is key in this approach. Seeing people in person is so important. This is obviously difficult these days given the pandemic, and is another example of the challenges we are facing due to lock-downs.

Also, question your assumptions. Examine your beliefs as rationally as possible and without initial judgment. It’s OK to discover that you were wrong and to change your thinking on a subject.

Additionally we can work energetically on blockages we have and healing that we need in order to drop the fear and pain that our body is holding onto. Most of us have this at least to a certain degree, and I would argue that it is an extremely important part of this process.

Our fears and pain isn’t something that will clear itself up over night, but each step that is taken helps in the process, and if each of us takes these small steps over time it will lead to great things, for our own health and the health of society.

Covid-19: Disruption, Anxiety and Growth

Everyone has their stories and experiences of these times of COVID-19. Many are stories of difficulty and hardship. I have a story too, one I’d like to share. Not that I think it’s more interesting or displays more difficulty than others might be experiencing, but because I imagine it is likely relatable to many. To me there is some comfort in the fact that this is a shared experience. That everyone throughout the world is affected to some degree or another.

The early part of the pandemic actually felt stimulating to me at first. Before the pandemic I had been feeling pretty good, but restless and unsatisfied with many aspects of life. The pandemic brought something new, a chance for change, a new way to look upon the world, and I wanted to absorb it and experience it all. I was relishing the novelty and things felt pretty good, until all of a sudden they didn’t.

A few months into the lock downs and “new normal” I suddenly started to feel uneasy, and it quickly turned into experiences of panic. I would wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling that I had to get up and move around. I was having physical symptoms that I imagined felt like a heart attack, although deep down I knew it was anxiety driven panic. I’ve had one other experience that I recall in my life that felt somewhat like this, but severe anxiety hasn’t been a common factor throughout my life. It was very disconcerting, and was affecting my day to day life. I became very irritable at times and it was having a negative affect on our home life.

It made me wonder what had changed – what was causing this? I have worked from home for many years, so that hadn’t changed, but now there were two of us working from home, and our 5 year old was home as well. I found many days overwhelming, trying to balance work and other commitments, and despite having incredible support from family. It had been building up and suddenly I was feeling the effects in a very intense way.

Eventually I decided I needed something to change so I arranged to take a leave of absence from my primary work. They were very accommodating of my needs during discussions in August and by late September I was off work. I found that after making this decision and getting the details finalized a weight was lifted and I felt much less unsettled. Perhaps the pandemic was the final straw I needed to push me to making that change. It’s something I had been feeling needed to happen at an intuitive level for years, but there was never quite enough of a push to go through with it. And then suddenly there was.

I’m now into the fourth month of the leave from that job, and overall I feel much more balanced than I did. There are still difficult days – we all have difficult days – but the overall feel is one of positivity, of moving forward, exploring and living. I’ve tried many new things and reconnected with activities I love. I’m grooming cross-country ski trails a couple times a week, studying different topics of interest, including Reiki, architecture, art and music, and doing more hiking and exploring around the area. Throughout the past year I have continued work through the Distance Energy Club and have found that to be immensely important to me, for how it’s helped me directly and how it’s allowed me to help others, which adds to my feeling of purpose.

At this point I still don’t entirely know what the future holds for me personally for my work/career. I’m focusing on the little things each day, taking small steps and trying to always be thankful for what I have and the opportunities that come to me each and every day. I’ve had some pretty low days this year, but I’ve also had amazing moments of clarity and joy, the likes of which I don’t remember experiencing in years. This, I believe, is the value of disruption – it leads to healing. In other ways healing itself can cause temporary disruption, but they are often inextricably linked.

This past year has had major challenges for most of us, but many times we need to experience something disruptive in order to move forward and achieve growth. We’ve had that in spades and I have a feeling this monumental disruption is leading up to other giant positive changes in our societies around the world. I want to, I have to, believe that is true.

Boost Your Life Appreciation

There are many things we can do to feel better. I’m talking mental health things here – mood, vitality and all those good things. Things like exercise, eating right, getting outside in nature, meditation – these are all great. Do those as much as you can! But I’ve got another idea for you here. Something that I’ve found can really help improve mood and boost appreciation of life – our own and that of all our fellow humans.

Our world is a complicated and sometimes scary place. There is a tendency also to see others as very different from ourselves. Different cultures, different beliefs, different values. And sometimes we fear things that are different than what we’re used to, often without even knowing it. But as humans are we really fundamentally that different from each other?

Recently my daughter and I started searching for something specific on YouTube and I think we accidentally discovered something that can help level things out and also provide an aspect of wonder at the diversity and yet similar threads that run throughout our world.

What we started searching for was different types of dancing. It started because I mentioned something about break dancing and our daughter asked what that was. Of course I had to mention that (very short) time in the 80s when every dance school started offering break dancing classes because every kid wanted to learn. For the record I didn’t join in on that craze.. but I digress.

To YouTube we went, and found many amazing examples of talented break dancers. Turns out break dancing is still big in certain circles! It really is amazing what these dancers can do – take a look for yourself. But we didn’t stop there, what other types of dance could we find: Scottish, Indian, Ukranian, Latin, salsa, swing. Square dancing, tap, ballet, hip-hop. So many to explore!

We kept on searching and watching. And the more we watched the more I was feeling the absolute wonder of the human spirit. The desire to devote large amounts of time to the mastery of an art. To share good times with other human beings. To feel the music inside your body.

We saw so many different types of dancing, different cultures, different age groups. Yet they were all doing something they loved, and in the process making themselves and others happy. Every one of them! Our diversity is amazing – and yet at the same time the underlying motivation of the human spirit is the same in every single one of us.

Maybe try it for yourself. Watch some amazing performances from around the world right in your living room. And be prepared to appreciate the wonderful variety of experiences and people that are all around us!

New Consciousness: Do We Need to Give Up Our Vices?

Before I got into energy healing and meditation I noticed that many people who went down that path had given up certain things from their life, such as consuming alcohol. At the time I had always assumed that this was a sacrifice that the person was making in order to further themselves along the spriritual path. A very deliberate choice made in order to foster improvement in themselves.

Now that I am following the path of healing I’ve found that in many cases the way that comes about is actually quite different than I had imagined. For many who have embraced energy healing and meditation it’s actually a much more organic process. For me I didn’t make a conscious decision to reduce my alcohol consumption, but I found that as I moved along this path I had less and less desire to consume alcohol. In fact I find my body actually rejects it much more strongly than it used to.

Where I am currently in life I rarely drink alcohol at all, but it was never a deliberate decision or a sacrifice made to somehow improve my spirituality. It was just what I needed based on the way I feel at this time. And I’ve spoken to other healers who have had a similar experience.

At the same time there is often less desire for the escape that alcohol provides when you spend more time in meditation and other healing modalities. The pleasure you feel from connecting more deeply to yourself and your source in many ways takes over for what was formerly provided by something more external to yourself. It can lierally provide a natural high that is much healthier and sustainable.

What my body needs may change over time, as it has in the past. And I will try to listen to it and continue along the healing path in whatever way I am guided to.