eleventhbeatnik

musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


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A Love Letter To My Heart

To My Heart:

You are the hardest worker I know. Pumping oxygen rich blood to all my cells, keeping me alive and whole, you perform your task unfailingly.  Conducting operations primarily undercover, you beat the drum of my life with precision and persistence.  Until you skip a beat in excitement or pound with fear, your efforts escape my notice.

Broken, bruised and battered last year, you took on a lot of additional responsibility for my well-being.  You cracked in half.  Contracted in pain.  Squeezed until there was nothing left inside to compress.

Then gradually, moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, you ever so gently began to expand again.  The wound progressively mending, new tissue emerging.  Old pain dissolving.  New life beginning.  I did not witness your handiwork.  I felt no immediate effects.  No, your craft is far too subtle and deep to ever be a big showy production in full view of the conscious mind.

It is true that you bear a scar where that deep cut used to be, but rather than an unsightly reminder, it is beautiful to behold.  Because it is the mark of healing.  A testament to what it means to overcome.

Yes, the scar still hurts sometimes in the tender spots, but those moments of pain are less intense and far more fleeting.  Love, patience and hope massage the remaining aches away.

I look at you in wonder now:  resilient, strong, loving and open once again.  A force to be reckoned with.

You are a miracle.

I bow in gratitude.

To My Heart.

Healing Heart

Photo credit: Google Images/Creator Unknown


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The Art of Moving On

Over the years I’ve become a seasoned expert in the art of transient living.  Or as the uninitiated might phrase it:  moving.

I am gradually making my way from room to room sorting through belongings.  Inventory time.  What will stay with me and what will go?  This pile for packing.  That pile for charity.  A pile here for selling.  A pile there for recycling.

Rule #1 for a frequent mover is to maintain a firm non-pack-rat-itis policy.  Collecting too much stuff or becoming overly attached to material things is danger zone territory.  Avoiding this trap makes it that much easier to part company with the goods when the time comes.  Even then, a certain level of ruthlessness is required when sorting through everything that originally passed the keeper litmus test.  After pile decisions are made, the lovely lightness of being that generally accompanies the liberation from unnecessary crap makes it all worthwhile.

This move is decidedly different.  This time, I’m struggling.  Deciding what goes has been painstaking.  I’m resistant to sealing up boxes in case I change my mind.  I feel unsteady and unsure.  Certainly not my usual characteristically focused self when it comes to changing residences and today I was reminded in a forceful way of why that is.

The person I expected to share my life with snuck up on me.  As I opened an envelope in a shoebox, I came face to face with forgotten photographs taken during the first year we were married.  Smiling, happy, shiny faces – his and mine.  Arms wrapped around each other, heads magnetically leaning in, expressions reflecting a moment that could not possibly be any better than it already was.  Photos of us together, with family, alone and smiling into the camera for one another.

I sat down on the floor with those images held close to my heart and cried for a very long time.  Who were those glowingly contented looking people?  Was that joy genuine and consistent, or simply a snapshot capturing a fleeting moment in time?  What did they really mean to each other?  I don’t know the answers and must accept that it is unlikely I ever will.

Yes, this move is different.  I am not merely swapping one address for another.  I am leaving behind all the hopes and dreams that were kept alive in this home for those two shiny, happy people who existed in those photographs but not real time.   A future dreamed, never to be realized.

This move means so much more than adopting a new postal code.   It marks my stepping forward into a brand new life.  Different dreams and uncharted terrain await.

In the leaving, I am taking a gigantic leap of faith into the unknown.  Letting go of old stuff.  Letting go of all the parts of myself that no longer fit. Letting go of the dreams that died within these walls.  Letting go.

It is time to take new photographs.

paparazzi sis

photo credit: eleventhbeatnik


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Welcome Back, Yoga

“There are two ways to change things:
Either you are forced to change or you have the intuition to change.”

Yogi Bhajan

Change.  Rumour has it this is inevitable, like death and taxes.

Agreed.

Over the past few months I have been navigating my way through change forced upon me.  It has been uncomfortable.  And unwanted.  And painful.  And sad.  And weird.  And lonely.  Yet sometimes surprisingly exciting.  Let’s just call it educational.

These past few days, I’ve felt a subtle but significant switch in focus from change thrust upon me to change I am now willingly catalyzing.  It feels precisely in tune with the idea that change is either forced or intuitively chosen.

After years of swimming in that pit known as what is “perceptually expected”, I am walking forward into the realm of that which is “personally desired”.  I am intuitively and resolutely moving away from the comfort zone that has been my day-to-day existence for far too long into an uncertain, scary, unknown abyss.  Interestingly, I am not experiencing intense fear so much as a sense of certainty that stepping into the unknown feels infinitely better than remaining trapped in the stagnant, dead zone of the familiar.

I have no idea what is coming next.  Who does?  All I can say is that I restarted sadhana this morning after a time away and it has been my experience that shit shifts big time whenever I’m regularly practising yoga and meditation.

Welcome back, yoga.  Bring it.

Photo by Jim Marshall during 1972 Rolling Stones tour

Photo by Jim Marshall during 1972 Rolling Stones tour


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Spring Cleaning the Soul

I recently decided at the last minute to attend a yoga retreat in Northern California.  As it turns out, it was one of the better decisions I’ve made in quite some time.   It was truly a gift to myself.

The retreat center was located in the mountains in a gorgeous setting near Nevada City, California.  People came from all directions, from many different walks of life.  Our days were spent practising yoga, meditating, chanting, sharing divine vegetarian cuisine, and uncovering the mysteries of natural medicines through the sciences of aromatherapy and ayurveda.   Yep.  A hippie chick’s dream.

Spending time with so many other people on healing journeys brought home the idea that we are never really alone in our struggles.  Our stories may be different but our challenges and how we deal with them is often a common denominator of being human.

My heart was touched hearing how others were overcoming illness, loss, confusion and loneliness.  In that time and space we were connected to each other through compassion and caring and it was a beautiful thing.

There were a few people who I instantly connected with, and it feels as though we will stay in touch and remain in one another’s orbits for a while.  We shared great conversation, laughter and tears and I suspect we will see each other again in a similar setting in the not too distant future.  In my view, there really are no accidents.  We cross paths with certain people for a reason, and it is interesting to watch the lessons around such meetings unfold as the days pass.

This experience brought many emotions and thought patterns to the surface (as kundalini yoga frequently tends to do!) and it felt a lot like taking out the mental trash.  How wonderful to do it in a supportive environment where others totally get what’s going on because they are experiencing it too.

I will definitely be saving my pennies to embark on more journeys like this in the future.  Annual spring cleaning of the soul?  Sounds like a grand idea.

IMG_0432


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Giving up, Giving in

The past three months were an exhausting emotional roller coaster ride.  Despite chronic transition fatigue, lately I find myself feeling as though I’m waking up to the truth of the entire situation for the very first time.  This morning a strong and insistent voice in the back of my mind started saying:  “That’s it. Give up.  Surrender”.

What am I giving up?  Anger.  What am I surrendering to?  Acceptance.

It seems that I am finally beginning to understand that my futile wish to change an ending that has already happened is holding me hostage to hurt and despair.  The last chapter was finalized, printed and circulated without my input.  An opportunity for a do-over never existed.  At least not for me.

This basically leaves me facing the hurdle of acceptance.  Simple idea.  Complex process.  Surrendering frees up space for peace to grow; eventually overcoming the chaos churning inside.  Not easy, but a necessary part of grieving.  Doing so makes room for hope to blossom and healing to set in.

It seems fitting at this time that I am attending a yoga retreat in California.  What better way to give up, give in, surrender.  A path of outward transformation must begin within.

I’m curious to uncover the latest version of myself as I move on to the next chapter.  It feels really good to contemplate fresh pages of writing appearing in my book of life.  Authored by Me.

Om Shanti.

surrender


The Ghosts in Our Machine

Last night I attended the première of The Ghosts In Our Machine at Hot Docs.  More thoughts on this later.

For now my message is this:  SEE THIS FILM.

It is a beautiful and perception changing work that covers a difficult subject in a gentle and heart opening way.  Jo-Anne McArthur’s soulful photography is stunning.

To learn more:  The Ghosts in Our Machine

the ghosts in our machine


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Shelter in a Shitstorm

Ever notice that some of the most effing amazing epiphanies occur in the middle of chaos?  Yeah, me too.  While I could certainly do without the chaos, the epiphanies are pretty awesome.

Lately  it seems as though I am in a state of chronic confusion.  The phrase fits so well, I’ll say it again:  I am chronically confused.  Yes. I. Am.

Every area of my life where I once felt a sense of security, love and belonging disappeared along with the rug abruptly pulled out from under my feet.  Never saw it coming.  Does anyone?   I think we’ve all been there on one level or another.

Over the past month, I’ve been forced to face a lot of uncomfortable emotions and realizations.  Being off work recuperating from knee surgery in the middle of a major life transition has been both a blessing and a curse.  Blessing:  nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Curse:  nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Counselling, a previously uncharted territory for me, is proving to be beyond helpful in the grieving process.   Having a safe space to say what I *really* feel; rather than pretending everything is okay for the sake of good manners is potent therapy in its own right.  And it is helping me let go.  I mean really LET GO of  any illusions of control; wishing to recreate the past, or hoping to predict the future.  There is no greater freedom than that.  In my mind, letting go represents genuine healing of the heart and soul.  Which goes way beyond the superficial big pharma prescription or avoidance technique.

Most interesting to me is the discovery of where a genuine safe haven exists in my life.  It does not come from other people, places or promises.

The saving grace I’ve uncovered in these pain riddled days?  Meditation.  The Inner Temple.  My meditation practise has become a healing sanctuary in the middle of a relentless shitstorm.

Don’t know where to find shelter?   Go within.

I highly recommend it.

shelter-in-the-storm