Category Archives: Encouragement

A Revealing New Moon

The sound of the woodpecker’s rhythmic drumming on the Arbutus tree just outside my window reminds me to light a candle for this New Moon in Virgo. As the flame flickers wildly I wonder what new beginnings and new ways of being this moon invites me to open to.

Looking more closely at the pictures that the Woodpecker so graciously allowed me to take I discover to my delight that some of the white shapes on its wings look very much like tiny hearts. This brings a smile to my face. Who would have thought that the woodpecker would be a messenger of Love?

Today seems to be one of these days where things that I have not previously seen come all of a sudden into my awareness. Maybe I didn’t look closely enough before or perhaps other things distracted me.

This morning for instance while sitting out on the bluff for my meditation I noticed to my great and utter surprise a little bump of land just behind Kinghorn Island that I had never seen before or don’t remember seeing. I have no idea if it is a part of the island or if it is another smaller island behind Kinghorn. This was a rather startling discovery as I have looked at the same view pretty much every day since I moved here a year and a half ago.

Perhaps this is what Raven had been trying to tell me this morning while we were watching Kinghorn island slowly appear as the veil of smoke began to lift. With no background of the coastal mountains to distract me the little bump of land framed by the smoke finally was able to attract my attention. The fact that I had been blind to it all this time made a different kind of impact than the mighty mountains that continuously draw my gaze with their undeniable majestic beauty.

With the smoke limiting the view considerably it also seems to accentuate or bring into focus little details I have never noticed before. I have a feeling this New Moon in Virgo may also be encouraging me to look more closely at the little details in my life that I have not looked at or have not been able or willing to see.

It was fascinating to watch the boats go by and notice that they were all kind of colourless, blending in with everything else, which stood in sharp contrast to the rising sun’s fiery light on the water. Somehow the smoke makes everything appear to be the same except for the sun. It stands out like a beacon in the sky changing from vibrant red, orange and yellow – the same colour as the fires that are burning.

All of a sudden a different kind of smoke fills the air from the burned out candle as I type this. It seems I am meant to be present with, rather than resist, the fumes both on the inside and outside and what they wish to expose. It is not lost on me that it is another New Moon that inspires me to write and share once again.

A little later in the morning as I sat with my friend on the same bluff eating a late breakfast both of us in the same moment discovered the spiral on the button of my shoes. My friend spoke first as I stared at the beautiful swirls. I couldn’t help but laugh because I have owned these shoes for a few years now. The spiral reminded me of the mystery and the sense that life isn’t linear but full of swirls, illusions and moments of joy, moments where our hearts crack open and moments that may feel so challenging that we wonder if can rise to the occasion.

Ever since the Sun has entered Virgo I have felt the need to de-clutter and organize, discerning what needs to be let go of, what is aligned and what isn’t. This has also given me the energy I needed to move forward in my life and offering my services – coaching, counselling and Shamanic energy work – to those who are in need of support in these turbulent times as many of us are being called to give our gifts and rise to the occasion. Doing this work fills me in a way I can’t put into words and I am aware I have come full circle.

Now looking at the picture taken a few mornings ago of the sun rising over the mountains behind the smoke I allow myself to enter into the mystery of the glowing fiery circle with a trusting heart and open to what else wants to be unveiled on this New Moon where the sun and moon meet in the sky.

Beautiful New Moon Revelations and Blessings to you all!

A Deeper Belonging

Deciding to set up my office outside today hummingbird zooms by a couple of times insisting it is time for me to hang up the feeder to welcome it home. As I prepare its “welcome home” feast I also feel called to smudge before I sit down in my less than elegant but totally enjoyable writing space. Watching the spiralling smoke as I set the smudge bowl onto the altar, I am surprised to see the restless patterns dance into the room. Mesmerized I am drawn into its wild dance wondering about the energy it is releasing.

Finally sitting down again outside I can reflect upon the letting go of the grief and pent up emotions over the changes and experiences in my life over the last several weeks. Raven glides overhead, the swishing sound of its wings feels strangely connected to the energy of releasing. Taking a deep breath I also tune into the sound of the chimes moving softly. Its song is surprisingly gentle and comforting.

There have been many uplifting gifts lately which I received gratefully as maneuvering through these strange times has not been easy. Deeply longing to just retreat from the world and become still, life had other plans for me and didn’t let me of the hook. I write this with a smile, because I recognize the opportunity of growth as I slowly break through my resistance, exhaustion and sadness around the unfolding of events not just in the world but here on our little island.

These two very special beings, Omar and Raven, from White Horse Sanctuary (https://whitehorsesanctuary.com/) have been helping me stay sane and are such incredible teachers bringing me back into presence and oneness as well as finding the source of self-assurance and what that actually means to me. They unfalteringly show me when I am not present and make me laugh. It is so good to laugh and delight in the many gifts of spring including the opportunity of gardening.

Last night’s gift was incredibly special. Perhaps you received it as well. Watching the light slowly fade after sunset and a pink glow appear in the sky announcing the arrival of the Full Moon, nothing prepared me for the sight as she crested the coastal mountains bringing me to tears with her golden beauty. Thoughts, emotions, everything vanished in this moment of witnessing something I don’t even want to try to put into a box of words.

Sitting in timelessness everything just fell away. The cold wind felt like a kiss of awakening blowing away any sadness or anger, taking me into a stillness and fullness that perhaps the picture of the moon can convey just a little. Many hours later making my way slowly back down to my cabin with the light of the moon illuminating the way home, I was filled with so much gratitude and joy and a sense of a deeper belonging. It is still with me now as I write these words and hummingbird takes its first deep drink of the season before it buzzes away again.

This morning after the best sleep I had in years the first light was pulling me from my dreams. Rushing back up to the bluff wrapped in a blanket the rays of the new day brought more tears of wonder and deep appreciation.

The recognition of how truly blessed and loved I am took my breath away. And as the light of the sun warmth me on this beautiful but still cool day of spring I am reminded once again of a truth that felt so distant in recent times: Love connects us all.

May the one heart shine brightly in each of us like the golden light of the sun and moon and may tenderness replace judgement, fear and separation. May we be kind to ourselves, to each other and all beings. And may we receive the teachings and blessings of this time with graciousness, openness and patience.

Five Years In The Making

Making my way to the bluff I take off my shoes as soon as I reach the moss covered ground. The moss is dry and brittle, but still soft beneath my feet. I drink in the heat of the sun through the soles of my bare feet as well as my skin. It is surprisingly hot after a few cooler days with just a sprinkle of rain. I don’t last long in the full sun, enjoying one last look of the gorgeous view of mountains, forests and ocean and retreat to my cabin that I am blessed to now call home.

Meeting a very friendly squirrel on the way back, it surprises me how it comes fearlessly all the way down to the path I am on, checks me out with gentle curiosity and then keeps on going past the bathtub on some sort of mission. With no rain in sight and already a Level 3 drought warning I let go of my plan to have a bath in the moonlight tonight. That will have to wait till rain is in the forecast and will be something to look forward to and celebrate.

It feels good to be back in the much cooler cabin and it feels incredible to finally have a year round and hopefully longterm rental and not only that, but such a special one. What a relief and joy after a year and a half of looking for a new home.

Painting it from top to bottom was well worth it, even though I had no idea how much work it would turn out to be and how long it would take. Preparing this space was a labour of love, not just for myself but even more so as a healing space for others. It felt like it was just made for it and I was so happy when the moment finally arrived and I was able to offer my first session here last week. It was like coming home on many different levels.

This feeling of being in the right place surrounds me here among the Arbutus trees. Even the dead ones still hold a powerful energy and beauty and remind me once again that endings are tightly interwoven with new beginnings. This is the place I first stayed at on Cortes Island five years ago over a long Easter weekend. I fell so in love with this beautiful island then, that I didn’t want to leave. Little did I know that my yearning to be here and my sense of belonging would fulfill itself in such a way, bringing me back not only to the island but to the place where it all began almost exactly five years later.

Trusting that life has opened this door for me for a reason, I delight in being here, feeling so happy to be surrounded by the beauty of nature and feel so welcomed in this neighbourhood. Amazingly I am doing exactly what I had envisioned five years ago: sitting by the big window amidst the Arbutus trees and writing on my computer. What a confirmation of manifestation….

With so much gratitude to all my wonderful friends that helped me paint, move, build a gate, decorate and support me in so many ways on this journey…thank you so much!

The Morning After The Eclipse

Waking up in that perfect moment when the first rays break through the cloak of night, I am delighted to discover that frost has transformed the fields outside my cabin into a white sparkling world. Part of me doesn’t want to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, yet the magic outside is beckoning and I am ready for this new day to begin.

Last night’s total lunar eclipse felt very special. I was gifted by a dear friend the opportunity to watch this spectacular event from the comfort of a hot bath in an old cast iron bathtub in the forest, which somehow magically faced the moon, so I could witness her light being slowly eclipsed by the shadow of the Earth. Even though the tub was probably one the most comfortable tubs I ever had the pleasure to bath in, the sacred bluffs nearby were calling. Leaving the warmth of the water and dressing quickly I made my way to the bluffs and sat on the soft moss watching the moon’s light disappear in the deep silence and stillness of the night.

What a sight to behold! The sense of the grandness of the Universe filled me, as I sat there with the stars, planets and the milky way surrounding me. It made me feel like I had stepped right into a scene of the movie “The Life of Pi”. If you have watched the movie, I am sure you will know which scene I am talking about. Even though I was aware of how many people out there in the world would be watching this wondrous event, I felt completely alone.

Strangely this aloneness felt magnificent rather than scary or sad. I know I will not find words to truly explain it. Perhaps you have an inkling of what I am speaking about. Since my mother’s sudden death in October, my world has shifted. It is and never will be the same. It is what happens to us when we loose someone of great importance in our lives. Now with both of my parents gone, I do feel an aloneness that is different than anything I have ever experienced. They had been my reference point all my life and now this reference point is gone.

On this beautiful frost covered morning after the Eclipse I know something has shifted. I felt it coming in the last little while like the light slowly returning after complete darkness. The joy and completeness in myself that I felt last night on that bluff beneath the stars showed me that life is ever changing and that in the letting go, something new and precious can be found. As I noticed a shooting star just before the last light of the moon faded, I was aware that my mom and dad are not far, just on the other side somewhere. And I could feel the presence and love of my dear golden companion Frodo who is always looking out for me from the other side and who sat with me on that bluff marvelling at the beauty of this world years ago.

I am grateful for this morning and that in this new light I can write again and put into words what my heart has been longing to express: The biggest Thank YOU ever to the woman who gave so generously and who dedicated her whole life to her family and home. I will never forget our last trip together to Hawaii in 2016, where we celebrated your very special 80th birthday – just you and I – with so much laughter and love. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me my life, for being that steady caring presence, for all we have shared and all you have done for me and most of all for your love!

Someone posted these words by Mark Nepo on Facebook a little while ago. It speaks deeply to me. So I would like to end this blog post with his elequent words today:

…The reasons of the heart
are leaves in wind.

Stand up tall and everything
will nest in you.

We all lose and we all gain.
Dark crowds the light.
Light fills the pain.

It is a conversation with no end
a dance with no steps
a song with no words
a reason too big for any mind.

No matter how I turn
the magnificence follows.”

The Gentle Spreading Of Wings

 

P1220789Sitting on the beach watching a seagull fly by, proudly carrying her treasure, I smile as I hear the familiar sound as she lets go and the shell hits the rocks with a big “clunk”. With the warmth of the sun gone, she hides above a thick layer of clouds that seems to have come out of nowhere. I shiver in the cool April air as the temperature drops accordingly and the wind happens to pick up at the same time, adding to the chill I suddenly feel.

Grateful that I brought my big warm winter coat, I nestle deeper into it, buttoning up, wishing I had brought my fingerless gloves, which allow me to type in more comfort. Yet sensing that comfort is not really what it is all about, I allow the experience of this moment without following the impulse to retreat and sit by a cozy fire inside instead.

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The gentle lull of the waves coming into the shore brings a different kind of comfort, a peacefulness and sense that all is well and just as it is meant to be. The seagull stops suddenly what it is doing and watches an eagle glide by, then as soon as it is safe continues to enjoy her meal before the next round of treasure hunting begins.

Remembering the big flock of geese flying by just two days ago while sitting in the exact same spot, where coat and sweater was soon discarded to soak in the warm rays of sunshine after the long winter. The hauntingly beautiful calling of the geese announced their arrival long before we could see them. Watching them fly in perfect formation, I remarked on the mystery of how they know exactly where to go and that they surely must have an inner compass guiding them, when suddenly some of the geese started veering off to the left, then changing their mind again and going to the right, creating a bit of chaos in the formation and a loud discussion in the flock. Finally we watched them disappear over the little mountain while their voices soon faded into the distance.

P1220753As I rub my fingers to stay warm, the gentle silence and breeze open the space to notice the feeling of deep content inside, that has been there since yesterday, when I was able to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, which in itself turned out so rewarding.

I read and recorded a favourite poem for a local radio show called “From the Muse’s Garden”, which I had promised to contribute to in some way. And even though I do not write poetry, I certainly love reading and hearing them. If you are curious you can hear the radio show every Monday from 5 to 7 pm live at this address:

https://cortesradio.ca/

It is a delight with many treasures of both poetry and music. One of them read by Dorna Djenab moved me to tears a couple of weeks ago and inspired me to want to try to spread my own wings. 

The recording took many tries, and after a while I let go of perfection and instead entered my heart space as I opened to the incredible beauty and passion of the poem, not worrying about the hammering going on across the bay or anything else for that matter. 

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This letting go and doing something that is most definitely out of my comfort zone, showed me to my surprise how much I enjoyed not only the result, but also the process. Noticing the powerful hold of my inner critic and fear, I decided to enter the place of love instead: love for the poem and love for myself.

There is such a joy in discovering something new, something I didn’t know I would love doing so much and if I had kept listening to those voices, I would have either never tried or given up. Instead I am very much looking forward to doing more of this and who knows where it is going to take me and what surprises and delights are around the next corner. 

P1220351I would like to share with you Dorna Djenab’s beautiful rendition from Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” and perhaps it will inspire you as well to try something new and spread your wings…. And I am hoping to share with you in my next post the reading of the poem that I recorded. So stay tuned. 🙂

 

 

 

In The Heart Of The Fire

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Just when I am ready to give up on this post, a journal entry not only brings it back to life, but totally changes it and adds a whole new level of excitement of writing and sharing. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post honouring Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes, ever since I arrived here at the Kulana Sanctuary and felt the first tremor shake my little cabin where I was sitting and writing.

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Living only a few miles from the volcano, these tremors are a regular occurrence, and you can’t help but feel her tremendous power. I so loved the welcoming rainbows, the loud calls of hawks and many other magical moments, that gave me a feeling of being blessed by her and a reminder of my own power, whenever I went to visit and hike in the park.

I remember seeing a mysterious orange glow on our drive home from a sweet day of adventures at the Punalu’u Black Sand beach. My friend and I had stayed till after sunset and soon after we turned onto the highway heading home, we saw the glow in the distance. It was mesmerizing and mysterious and we decided spontaneously to take the exit to the National Park entrance, not knowing if it was open or not. To our delight it was open and we were told to drive up to the museum to get a closer look at this glowing wonder. We witnessed with deep awe and respect the spectacular orange, red, and yellow fire and steam rising from the Halema’uma’u Crater. It was stunning to see and to feel the aliveness of this volcano. It felt to me like the heart of Pele, pulsing and fiery with all of her tremendous force just beneath the surface.

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Wanting to find a way to say “Thank you!” for her warm welcome and her teachings around passion and aliveness, this list felt like the perfect way to do just that, allowing myself to feel the excitement of what life is offering me and sharing it with others. There is such tremendous power when we locate and follow our highest excitement in life.

Our Lava Heart Rock – Photo by Ana Cristina

So here is my list of yesterday’s Highest Excitement as I wrote it down spontaneously in my journal last night bringing me so much joy:

  • My insight about my fears and sharing it with one of the women here and how these conditioned fears remind me of heavy luggage that I no longer wish to carry. Throwing it into Pele’s fire on the New Moon on Sunday seems like the perfect way of releasing it.
  • Listening to Mooji and reading Eckhart Tolle’s “Stillness Speaks”, bringing me back to just being
  • The lush green of the Irises that are spreading wildly on the path to the meditation spot and that I am replanting to give them more space
  • The amazing crescent moon shaped like a bowl surrounded by stars….the night sky here in Hawai’i is utterly breathtaking
  • A hot shower, my first in a month! Not luke, not cold, but hot….so heavenly!
  • Sitting on the deck of the new cabin I moved into, called lovingly “The Tree House” and writing in the sunshine…there is nothing sweeter than this.

I don’t know why but sharing this list makes me happy. What about you, what made you feel alive today?

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The Tree House

The Journey Home

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Photo by Dancing Wolf

Owl was calling softly the other night as I stepped outside with a dishpan full of dirty water for the thirsty flowers and trees. Listening to the haunting call for a while, I stood there with the now empty dishpan in my hand. I had asked owl to come the night my dog Frodo died. Here she was now a week later on the other side of the bay hooting loudly and persistently. I wondered what she was trying to tell me. Perhaps that he had made it home alright. As soon as I had that thought, owl fell silent. It felt like a confirmation, she had delivered her message.

He left in the night before the Lunar Eclipse full moon. Even though we knew it was his time, it was still not easy to let him go. P1170472I am so grateful he died at home and I was able to be by his side as he made that transition. It felt like he was labouring, birthing himself into another world. Day and night blurred together as I sat with him, holding him. No, it was not easy to see him struggle, part of him perhaps wanting to stay for me, the other ready to leave. Exhausted I feel asleep beside him in the early hours after the moon had risen and woke up with a start. I knew instantly that he had gone.

It will take a while to get used to him not being here. Fifteen years is a long time and I am so very grateful for every moment. There is an emptiness in the house and inside me, that is not easy to describe. But most people know what that emptiness feels like after losing a beloved pet or person in their lives.

P1150416[3]There have been so many beautiful signs from beyond since then, that even though there is sadness and grieving, there is also a knowing that he is well and free wherever he is now.

I want to mention some of these signs, because for me it is one of the most comforting things at this time and also one of the greatest gifts.

These little messages from beyond included the many heart rocks I found while digging his grave, to let me know this is the perfect spot for my friend. We were guided to bury many meaningful objects with him and this made the ceremony we held for him extra special.  Then there were the two eagle wing feathers I found while walking on two different days and paths, both within a week of his passing. One is from a left wing and one from a right wing and both are the same size. These were the first eagle feathers I have found here on Cortes and it felt so perfect to have one from each wing. Another deeply moving experience was a dream I had a few days after Frodo left. In the dream he and I were going for our last walk together, crossing over a large bridge. Frodo ran ahead of me and into traffic. As a young woman was holding him, I watched myself walk towards them knowing he was gone. I felt strangely comforted by this dream and grateful for that last walk together. On another day I spontaneously decided to go for a hike after work. So many memories came up for me during that hike of the many adventures Frodo and I had shared over the years. It felt so strange to be hiking without him, when suddenly this beautiful lit up dead leaf caught my attention. As I took a closer look, I instantly felt his golden presence.

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Today when I sat down to write this, I noticed a little bird sitting on the big heart rock outside my window chirping away while hopping exuberantly. It made me laugh like Frodo used to do, when he did his crazy runs through the forest running in circles and figure eights around the trees as fast as he could for the sheer joy of it. I thanked my little messenger for her sweet and potent encouragement to write again. It may not be a coincidence that the heavy rain that fell while writing this match the tears that are falling on my fingers.

Farewell, my friend!

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Photo by Dancing Wolf

Death is not extinguishing the light,
it is only putting out the lamp
because the dawn has come.

     ~Rabindranath Tagore

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Weekly Photo Challenge: shiny

 

Little Pockets of Time

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Today I am doing something different, which feels really good. Today I am writing in response to a daily writing prompt that I had signed up for ages ago. Even though I faithfully look at each new prompt, I have never been roused into taking action. Today however I felt compelled to write by the one word offered to me.

Paradoxically, it is the word “dormant” which got me going. In the instance I read it, I realized that this is what I have been feeling for quite a while now. There is a part of me that feels like it has been in a state of hibernation. And isn’t it funny that the word “dormant” should be the one that awakens me from that state?

Perhaps the rain has helped, too. I can almost hear the sigh of relief from the plant world around me and a few humans as well. There is something about the freshness and smell of the air in the forest and garden after a rainfall. The garden is delighting us constantly now with it’s display of colours, new blooms P1160673and harvest. Many of these plants started as tiny seeds and are now dazzling us with their beauty or taste.  The rain reminded me that all seeds need water to germinate. This daily prompt “dormant” was the drop of water I needed to break open and feel motivated to write even if just this little post.

Another thing that is different for me today is that I realized while washing dishes and looking at the empty bay before me that I don’t need a lot of time to create as I thought I did. I can take little pockets of time here and there and do what I love. So this excuse is no longer valid. Deciding to let go off this belief is moving a big hurdle out of the way and allows me to do what I love even when life is busy and full with many other things that are all calling for my attention.

I wonder if a seed might feel a sense of excitement and possibility, when it gets planted in the ground or the wind carries it through the air into the unknown. There is something very special about imagining what nourishment or conditions are needed for a dormant seed to awaken and bring forth it’s potential. And what a miracle it is that a tiny seed can grow into giant tree or carrot or flower….

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Daily Prompt: dormant

 

Flower Power

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Opening….allowing….offering….receiving….

The crows came for a short visit this morning, landing in the trees close to the house. Peeking into the window they delivered their message and were gone in a heartbeat. This is Raven territory, so crows are a rather unusual sight here at Elkenwolf.

Later I went into the garden and was looking at the many flowers that are opening, offering their sweet nectar with such grace despite the grey and cool weather. Watching the bees drink joyfully from the vibrant centres, I allowed the fiery colours of the poppies to awaken in me the truth to follow, what makes me come fully alive, and burn away any fears that stop me from doing that.

Thanks to the flowers, the message is now clear.

 

 

 

 

 

Shimmering Blessings

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Shortly after publishing my last blog “The Eye of the Storm” I found this beautiful blessing or perhaps the blessing found me. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to share it with you. The words opened my heart like a flower after a heavy spring rain. I felt myself relaxing and breathing deeply.

Jan Richardson is an artist, author and ordained minister and lives in Florida. It is well worth checking out her blog if her words touch your heart as it did mine. If you go to her website (link below) you can check out her beautiful work.

Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic
in you,
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you
cease.
Let what divides you
cease.
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
possible
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

© Jan Richardson, from her book The Cure for Sorrow.

janrichardson.com