Autumn Feels

Every autumn, shades of amber, copper and cranberry bathe me in electric desire to create. Fall has always signified a chance to invigorate my goals. My commitment to nutrition and exercise increases, my inspiration to write is off the charts and I am giddy with anticipation for the wonderful things fall brings: Thanksgiving, Halloween and the countdown to Christmas – all of which are celebrated very well in my home with my family.

This year, these feelings have been more touch-and-go…I feel more ambivalence about starting things or committing to things. My energy has been so focused on cancer treatment and recovery, that I feel like I have none left for the things I’ve always loved. Cancer has changed everything – except when my kids are in the midst of their everyday needs, cancer has changed nothing. (insert smirk here)

I stepped up for Thanksgiving and Halloween (in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October) – a pandemic would not stop our little family from celebrating and being deeply grateful for my health. Yet, there was still a void deep inside. Something yearning or perhaps waiting for my attention.

I watch as the gorgeous colours of fall fall away, leaving branches bare. The days are darker and shorter and colder. I dig deep and struggle with the shadows threatening me. I get messy and let my husband see my fears, my mess, my loss of self. I reach for the love I have for my children and offer myself the same unconditional love. I reach for my faith and universal guidance. I reach for the archangels whom have been supporting my entire journey. This is what it takes to finally feel like I can overcome the shadows. And, I actually smile, because it is still fall and I can still gather the energy that I’ve always found in this wonderful season to regroup and keep moving forward. I can look cancer in the face and tell it, it will not run my life.

I am regrowing my hair, relearning my body, reconnecting to the things I truly love. I do not have the energy of autumns past – but I am learning a new way of being. Less frenetic. Less hectic. More genuine. My rhythm has changed this fall – from the relentless energy to DO, to the more calming energy to BE. Peppered with the learning of setting up boundaries for my kids – but that’s a post for another day 🙂

Fall 2020 has certainly been different for all of us. Have you noticed a difference in how you react to the seasons and holidays? Has it changed for you this year, and how have you managed?

Thanks so much for reading and connecting!

Feel What You Need To Feel

It’s interesting all the things we do to run away from our feelings: shop, eat, gossip, binge watch, clean…avoid, avoid, avoid.

I know this because I do it. The surge of energy that comes from emotions we believe we can’t handle is too much to bear so we dive into something that’ll make it go away.

Except, our feelings don’t go away, do they? Whether we are concerned, worried, angry, in shame, whatever the wave…it doesn’t disappear because we’ve engaged our attention elsewhere. The feelings stay and direct us regardless of how in control we may feel.

A very wise reiki master and spiritual counsellor advised me to feel my feelings everyday before I started chemotherapy treatment. To sit on my meditation cushion and ask myself “how am I feeling today?” and simply, let the feelings come.

Sometimes, the feelings came in great waves of tears, sometimes they were gentle nudges of comfort, sometimes in body shaking rages. And, after each feeling passed, I was to ask myself…what are you trying to tell me? And normally the answer came…be softer, forgive, release the past…and a huge space would be created inside of me for feelings of light, joy and trust.

This is not easy work. It is, however, necessary work because it lightens us. This way, when we reach for the extra food, the remote to binge watch, or our phones to catch up on fun gossip…we do it from a place that isn’t soaked in guilt, avoidance and shame.

Feeling our feelings is the only way through and the way out of any kind of darkness. It is how we can come closer to our light.

Try this meditation to help you feel your feelings:

  1. Sit in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Take five-ten slow inhales and exhales to deepen concentration
  3. Ask yourself “How am I feeling today? I am free to feel what I need to feel in this moment.”
  4. Let the feelings come up without judgment or fear – remind yourself, you are safe
  5. Ask the feelings what they want you to know.
  6. Feel. Breathe. for as along as you need to
  7. Release with deep inhales and exhales
  8. Give thanks for the courage to feel, for the insights you’ve gained
  9. Pick up your journal and write everything and anything that comes to mind – see what is revealed to you
  10. Say a short prayer in gratitude

My hope in sharing this with you is to give you a tool which has helped me to feel and release emotions that don’t serve me and perhaps, in this time of uncertainty, can help you.

No Mud, No Lotus

Transformation cannot occur without suffering. This has been a difficult one for me. I am an eternal optimist, which means I also hide from dark, negative feelings for fear of what they might do to me.

Over the past several months, my physical body has forced me to dive into that fear. Illness. Diagnosis. Treatment in various forms which will take up the next year or so of my life. These are things I desperately tried to avoid, but somehow they caught up to me. I eat well, I exercise, I think I manage stress well…and still, my body said time to stop. Time to dive into your spirit.

There have been very dark days. And, to my surprise, days bursting with energy and love and gratitude for everything I do have. The darkness made the light so much brighter. Every single day since this started, I have meditated and prayed. I grew up Catholic, and still am, but my faith has always been a source of struggle for me. I find it very difficult sitting in a Church, run by an institution that is cloaked in mystery, that leaves me out, that for all the good it offers, there are so many shadows…

And, so, I have been challenged to find my own way to the Divine. It has been an incredible path which I will follow for the rest of my life.

This path has shown me that I don’t need to be afraid of suffering or darkness. Light, support, love are always there to catch us, to heal us, to transform us. Every. Single. Time.

I invite you to embrace your suffering – in whatever form that is taking at the present moment. See what it is trying teach you, learn from it and let it go. Sounds easy, right? It is. But, it won’t magically happen overnight…it hasn’t for me. Every day I pray for strength to endure what I must over the next year, and every day I receive the grace I need to carry on with love and joy. It is a daily practice and one that will hopefully transform your life for the better, too.

Like a lotus flower, we can bloom despite (or, maybe because of) the muddy waters. No mud, no lotus.

Illness: A Blessing in Disguise?

In November of 2019, my body gave me lots of signs that I needed to pay attention to my health.

I had two choices: succumb to fear and the very dark places your mind likes to go or realize…I have no information other than they’re running some tests and I need to go on with my life. I chose the latter. I lived in this weird state of “it’s probably nothing, it could be somethingbut my kids need a snack and help with homework right now so I need to be a mom and not freak out. Besides, there was a birthday and Christmas to plan.

My husband became unusually quiet and more helpful than he usually is – which was a bonus. Extra help? I’ll take it.

I will always remember that in between time as a loop of go to the doctor, get some more information and then wait for another test…go to the doctor for results, but they need more information so wait for another test…and so on. In the meantime, I focused on my mental health, my emotional health and my faith in order to truly complete each step of my physical health journey in a way which would ensure to bring my body back into balance and ease.

I am recovering from surgery and waiting for more results to see what happens from here. I have a general overview of things – but in this process I’ve learned specifics come when the time is right. Talk about a lesson in SURRENDERING!

So why am I sharing something so intimate about my health? Because I cannot believe what I have learned!!!

This time at home has offered me the opportunity to writeCapturing a Countess’ Heart is up on Amazon (.com and .ca) and Kobo for pre-order and will be live on April 28!!!

I have time to read and to meditate – to learn about my spirituality in ways I hadn’t been able to before. For once, I don’t feel like I’m stealing time in order to do the things that fill my cup. I am being cared for by all of the people I love and most of all I am learning compassion and self-love in a deeper way which I will take with me for the rest of my life and hopefully pass on to my children.

My physical yoga practice is so different. I have been on my mat every single day since my surgery. I have modified my practice and I have been in the asanas I struggled with the most – stillness in savasana? Camel that is merely looking up without the effort to reach my heels? And I have learned that ease, love, compassion, and breath will bring my body back into balance. (I am aware that I will probably keel over the first time I attempt a power yoga class when I am well…but that’s a problem for another day).

I have learned gratitude; to ask for help; to receive help; to receive the outpouring of love with a feeling of worthiness.

Each moment has become more sweet. Losing my father in my twenties taught me to always appreciate and enjoy life…perhaps, somewhere along the way of having kids, managing a career and a marriage some of that lesson was lost…Life has a way of making sure we stay true to the lessons learned…

This time at home has afforded me so much on my path to full health, and I can’t help but think, perhaps this forced journey to health was a blessing in disguise.

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