When I was a young girl, I thought a lot about Love. I was surrounded by it. I could see it in my parents eyes when my Dad came home from work and how Mom greeted him. I could see it in my Grandparents, in Aunts and Uncles, neighbours, and siblings. Then something happened.
People began to fall out of love, get divorces, even die, and family units broke down. I remember my neighbours, two people I adored and friends of my parents. I thought they had the perfect marriage, until one day, they decided to divorce. It really blew my mind at the time, as they seemed so happy, so content. I thought if it happened to them, it could happen to anyone.
I wondered what love really is. I wondered why does it end. I wondered how can love turn into hate? I concluded that perhaps they were not in true love after all, that maybe it was something else that brought them together. I didn’t want to believe that the fairy tales of life could have anything but happy endings. Yet, they did. Over and over, and I got through them.
I guess deep in my heart, in my core, I held a belief that if you love, it cannot die. It cannot change. This belief has stuck with me and has helped me through some really tough and trying times. You see, for me, if I can continue to love, even though circumstances change, behaviours change, proximity changes, values change, beliefs change, communication breaks down, hurtful things are exchanged, the love can still remain.
Life can bring us all kinds of clutter. It can bring us all kinds of thoughts and emotions. It can get pretty damn confusing at times and cause us to want to escape the hurt, the pain, and sometimes, the truth. We begin to react and build our walls, we shut ourselves off, we blame, we may even strike out in anger in one form or another.
I often think of that song ‘Love Hurts’ by Nazareth; you know the one,
Love wounds and marks
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain
Ooh love hurts”
And yes, it seems sometimes that is true. Yet once we clear the clutter from our hearts and get to the real core of the matter, it usually is an opportunity for spiritual growth. Sure, our human selves may not want to do it, or fear doing it, or even feel the need we don’t have to do it, however I believe sometimes the Universe, Source, God, whatever name you want to give to the higher power, wants us to have this experience.
What I have learned over and over in my lifetime, is; “It is not what happens to you that matters, it is what you do with it.” Along the same lines, I also believe; “Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.”
So, what do we do when life can bring us so much pain? Mother Theresa had it right, she said “Love them anyways.” I believe that. I believe the love you hold does not turn into hate, we just have clutter to remove, and the love is still there. It may be stifled and squashed, deeply hidden under the mental and emotional gunk, yet it is there.
So how do we remove the clutter, you ask? We do it through honest exploration of our feelings, open communication, forgiveness, and finally acceptance. We look for the lessons, and even the blessings. We learn to let go and not hold onto things that cause us hurt, or pain. We learn to focus on what is good, instead of what is bad. We realize we all here to experience what life brings us and that we are in this together. We learn that what we are feeling, is spreading out into the collective consciousness and only we have the power to choose what energy we share with the world. We learn to choose love, no matter what.
My challenge for you is to take a moment and look deep inside your heart and see if any clutter may need some attention and loving care.
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Alberta is where I grew up, in an average middle-class family with a Mom that was wonderfully creative, spontaneous and social and a Dad that was intellectual, logical and reserved. I feel blessed to have a harmonious balance of each of them along with my own traits. I have three brothers, each unique in their own way and doing well considering what we had to face growing up. I cannot tell their stories, only share what I observed and experienced.
We grew up in a great neighbourhood and had all of our needs met. Until grade three where Mom ‘got sick’ and was hospitalized. Dad traveled a lot for his job and my precious Grandmother came to look after us for a while. We also had ladies from the local YWCA stay with us to cook, clean and it was like a rotating door for a while there, as we were very rambunctious children, often referred to as the Chamchuk Tribe.
I was the fat kid, the sister that my brothers and their friends laughed at, teased and bullied. Just some of the names I was called were Big Bertha, and Sherman, names referring to guns and an army tank! I had struggles learning math and was called pathetic. As we grew up, we were more than often unattended, unsupervised and perhaps looking back… unloved. We acted out in our own ways. For myself there was self-medicating so I could sleep and stuff all my emotions deep down inside. I had the most brave and courageous face on the outside, but the inner me was a mess. I never felt safe, was frightened and terrified most of the time. I got beaten up, beaten down, and each time I got myself back up as no-one was there to help me. I grew so good at acting, my Dad thought everything was okay. But it wasn’t.
By the time high school came around I had already experienced my parent’s separation and inevitable divorce despite their true love in the early days. My father’s dating and living with numerous women over the years, each with their own way of not responding to us in a healthy manner made me even more bitter. I had been taken against my will by my Mother, along with my younger brother, to live in a town far from my Dad and other two brothers only to be brought back and dropped off three months later when she couldn’t manage us. I had been hospitalized for months with what turned out to be Rheumatic Fever and missed half a year of grade 7. My mom was too ‘sick’ to visit me, I felt abandoned over and over again.
Three years later, it happened. We got the phone call one late afternoon and were told by Dad to stay home until he got back. I intuitively KNEW what had happened just before the phone rang. Mom committed suicide. I could feel my connection with her torn out of me, like another piece of my Soul taken, that would never be returned. I was lost and encountered many more self-defeating behaviours through my teenage and early adult years.
I fell into the role of surrogate mother for the family and even more resentment grew. What I did not have in my life was a support system. I did not have a female role model to admire or learn from. I felt like I was processed through a cookie cutter world where everyone was taught the same thing, did the same thing and somehow grew to believe that everything would fall into place. I was told what I could and could not express, I was told how to feel or not feel. I didn’t have goals, and probably the biggest lesson of my life was learning I had choice and figuring out there were three ways to ‘manage’ anything in life. Leave, which I did a lot of. Accept, which I did little of, and Change.
Change became my modus operandi. I often questioned that ‘there must be more to life than this’ and my searching continued. I began to pay attention, watch and observe and my entire life became my case study. I worked hard constantly growing and evolving in my career and I played hard being very social and got involved in many different activities, yet something was often missing. I finally came to realize that something, was my Self.
I feel like I have learned from the outside in, only because my walls were there protecting me from outside forces. Yet it was the forces from within that really controlled me. I went through numerous times in life, where everything came crashing down on me and each and every time, I rebuilt it to an even better life. I became a master of transformation, until one year when I felt like I lost everything and was only inches away from losing my life. I lost a love I thought I would be with forever. Then on the day I moved provinces I lost my precious Grandmother and 9 months later lost my father who had become my best friend in life. I lost my new job, I lost my identity, I lost my social circle, I lost my home having to downsize, and my brand new vehicle due to financial constraints. My foundation crumbled. I lost faith in everything. You could say I was mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially and financially bankrupt.
As a child, I was sent to all kinds of traditional therapists that are supposed to help, but they didn’t. No-one worked with what was truly missing; a piece of my Soul. I had often dabbled in Metaphysics, Shamanism and Soul Retrieval, went for all kinds of readings and healing, studied Psych-K, looked deeply into my belief system, and found my endless supply of self-help books could have started their own library! Yet it wasn’t enough.
You see, I didn’t listen to the whispers. Therefore, I had to hear the screams. I was so involved with outside forces, and work, work, work… I forgot who I was on the inside. Maybe I never really knew? I never took the time to learn what I valued, or what I was passionate about, or what my gifts are. I was forced not only to slow down, but to literally stop. I became deathly ill, and physically weak, I thought I was dying. I was diagnosed with FMS/CFS in 2005. These were some of the darkest of the darkest days I have endured. Alone, far from home and lost in a health care system being thrown around like a rag-doll nobody wanted.
I took a few years off work to focus on my healing then enrolled in a return to work program where I created my first vision board. The vision I held for myself was one of balance and harmony; it was peaceful, Zen like, quiet. I would be helping others to feel this peacefulness inside and outside. It was about ease and comfort, acceptance and grace. I wanted no-one to ever have to feel like I did. I wanted to cure what I called “Spirit Sickness!” I wanted to help others become authentically whole.
During this program, I learned that I wanted to work for myself and be my own boss. I wanted to work with passion and purpose. I remembered my past love of Classical Feng Shui and how I had used these practices to shift energy in spaces and thought that may be my direction again. Having attended a Feng Shui conference in Orlando in the past, where I met and adored Denise Linn, I decided to look into her Feng Shui program called Interior Alignment® Instinctive Feng Shui and was super excited to see her new program, called Soul Coaching®! It was everything I wanted to create for others and it was right here in front of me. I took the training and have been practising Soul Coaching since 2008. Working with Denise was a blessing, I finally had someone who believed in me. And I began to believe.
I recall how challenging it was for me to sit each day and was graced by the energy of the land to make my last steps to my room each night. I know there were many in the Spirit world working with me each day and night. Much healing and growth occurred at Summerhill Ranch and continues today. The Soul Coaching program is timeless. Connecting with the community has brought many new friends and I was given the opportunity to mentor in Denise Linn’s online groups. I felt I had a purpose once again.
My health has improved over the years, it morphs and changes each day. Having learned how to ‘pace’ myself, set healthy boundaries, and find things that nourish my body and soul is today’s modus operandi. I’ve let go of who I thought I ‘should be’ and have become more of who I am. At one point I was experiencing vivid dreams explaining how I was connected to people in past lives; they were here to teach me and equally important, what I was here to teach them. I could see how we are all connected. I spent time meditating, all to connect deeper with myself and Spirit. I continue to use tools from the Soul Coaching program in my life today. I also completed my Feng Shui training becoming an instructor of the Interior Alignment® program and continually learn and grow personally and professionally.
As I evolve, my life choices are now based on passion, following my instincts and I see value in everyone and everything. I know that our mess becomes our message. I also know without a doubt that things happen for us, not to us. I have learned to let go of past baggage and only carry in my heart and home, what I want, need and love. I have learned to process my emotions, express them, set them free. My life is a work in progress and I see all those lessons (and many more not mentioned) help me have deep compassion for others going through their own ‘stuff’.’
Clearing emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical clutter helps align us with our purpose. Discover and love our authentic self, and release limiting beliefs and fears which in-turn increase self-esteem and confidence. I have learned to gently let go and create the life I desire, while bravely facing fears and boldly stepping out of my comfort zone. There is nothing I love more than seeing the lightbulb come on for people, being a part of their ah-ha moments and watching them evolve, accept and learn from life lessons, embrace change, and become all they want to be and more!
This is WHY I do, what I do. The truth really does set you free. I have been able to take my life experiences, my interests in Feng Shui, Space Clearing, and Energy Work and blend them with the empowering Soul Coaching program to assist others to create sacred space in their lives and homes. We all deserve it. It doesn’t matter if you work from the outside in, or the inside out, what matters is that you do the work.
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Is gratitude an attitude or an emotion? Can gratitude be practiced? Practiced so often that it actually changes what is occurring inside our cells thus having a positive effect on our health and well being? Could it be that when in the place of gratitude one tends to give more? Hebrew Scriptures are filled with the idea of gratitude; Christians regard gratitude as a virtue, and fasting during the month of Ramadan in the Islamic faith is for the purpose of putting followers in the state of gratitude.
If I don’t have gratitude, how do I get it?
Start with the simple things in life, like air. When I sat watching my Dad in the hospital taking his last breaths with great difficultly, I became so incredibly grateful for air, for the ability to breathe clearly. Then for water, and the ability to swallow water that I simply poured from a tap, how many people can’t do this I wondered as I sat in a very uncomfortable chair in a chilly hospital room. Air and water. I felt so simply grateful.
Now I have gratitude, how do I get more?
The night was going to be a long one but I was driven to write and ran down to the car to grab my journal and wrote long and hard about being grateful for air, from our first breath at birth, to coming up for air when swimming or even after a long kiss and the list went on and on. And water, I thought about that too… I love and am grateful for water, just think about what it does for us daily and for the planet too. Pick something, anything, make a list. Feel it. Appreciate it, or someone, that is being grateful.
What about being grateful for the not so ‘good’ things?
Good and bad are just labels, so BE grateful for everything! I know, how can one be grateful when a loved one dies? Tears; I can be grateful I have tears to shed the grief and sleep to ease the pain and that I can tremble and survive without eating, yes, I CAN be grateful for that. There are people who look after certain things, I CAN be grateful for that. A strong cup of coffee served with kindness, a gift from a brother in remembrance, kind words fading in and out from strangers, yes grateful. I can concentrate on the feeling of being grateful to ease my pain. Life, I can be grateful for my life.
So what is gratitude really?
Be it an idea, virtue, state, emotion or attitude; gratitude is a gift you can add to your daily life just by focusing on the positive of any given situation at any time. You can give the gift of gratitude, you can receive the gift of gratitude; or you can choose to live and conduct your day in a blissfully grateful manner. Even when it may seem that all hope is gone, you can still ‘find’ gratitude. Find it in the air you breathe and the water you drink and keep the list going… although packaged in many sizes, shapes and colors; gratitude is definitely a wonderful gift that keeps on giving. Share some today!
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