Tag Archives: inner journey

Exploration

P1180056

Being still and sitting with what is, is not always easy, especially when life feels like it is unravelling. It has been for a while, but admitting it to myself has not been easy. Sitting now in the uncertainty of possible changes in so many areas of my life: relationship, home, work, etc., I find moments of clarity here and there, as if clouds are parting and suddenly I can see the brilliant blue sky beyond.

Change is in the air. The Fall Equinox is happening as I am writing this at 1:02 pm here on the West Coast. Summer has ended. You can feel it in the cool crisp air and see the leaves turning bright yellow and brown, some letting go, gently drifting to the ground below. The theme of the Equinox of finding Inner Balance, as the sun enters the sign of Libra, certainly speaks to me in a big way and my sense is for many others as well.

Looking at the passing clouds and watching the interplay of different layers, shades of grey and their transformation before my eyes, gives me the opportunity to view change not through the lens of fear, but with openness and wonder.

 

P1170689

What I love both about photography and writing is that it exposes unseen layers, discovered through both the stillness of the image or the words and having the opportunity to dive deeper into what is being shown. Often I may see something that I couldn’t see before, revealing a deeper magic and a much wider perspective on things.

It is in these layers and different textures of life as well as the spaces in between, that I slowly find the clarity I need to move forward on my path. Exploring all that is happing and taking time to look from different angles, close up and from a distance, creates a field of vision that is needed to see a more complete picture and also allows me to open up to what is being uncovered. Some of it is easy to see and some of it is painful to receive and be with.

P1120584

As I witness my inner restlessness pushing and pulling, I am reminded of one of my favourite poems by Mary Oliver “The Journey“, whose words describe so well that deep inner calling to step out of the familiar and into the unknown. For now I soften into the restlessness, the not knowing, the fears and the dreams, trusting that love will guide me on this journey, wherever it takes me.

 

The Journey 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

 

P1180194

 

In response to the Daily Prompt: Leaf  and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered

Advertisements

Go Deep In This Fire

 

p1150772

My gaze is drawn to the compass lying on my desk. It’s needle pointing unwaveringly due north. It is lying in the midst of other objects thrown carelessly on the wooden surface.

It stops me in the tracks of my mind, just like a young eagle did the other day while driving home from work. I saw him sitting there on a rather unusual perch: a utility pole right on the side of the road. I kept driving, till I finally answered the inner call to turn around. I knew he would still be there.

I got out of the car after fumbling with my phone hoping for a picture only to find that the battery was dead. The young eagle watched me carefully.  His gaze was as unwavering as the needle in the compass. I held his gaze, wondering…

Then I suddenly remembered that for some strange reason I actually had put my camera in my backpack that morning, which I never usually do. The eagle watched me patiently return to the car and get my camera out. I snapped a few pictures, but something didn’t feel right.
p1150375

A bunch of cars drove by and I was sure the eagle would fly off with all this commotion. He turned his head looking this way and that way, but mostly his eyes were on me. I finally lowered the camera sensing the importance to be fully present. The camera had in some way shielded me from experiencing the power of the gaze of this eagle. As I allowed myself to be fully seen, I felt strangely naked standing there before him as if he could see every part of me, even the parts still hidden even from myself.

Suddenly he lifted off gliding gracefully over the quiet lake. I stood there long after he was gone, feeling a different kind of fullness and aliveness and wonder.

p1150393

I had several different encounters with young eagles since then and none of them surprised me, yet each of them made me pay attention, listen, be fully present, learning to let go of what I want, and instead opening to what life is offering me.

Then yesterday morning, as I was reading and writing in bed, something else stopped me in my tracks. This time it was a poem. I was looking at my 2017 We’Moon calendar curious about the next full moon, when I came across the poem called “Cracked” by Nell Aurelia. It spoke to me in such a deep way, putting into words what I experience night after night. Most nights I feel like I am in a cauldron over a hot fire, resisting, surrendering, resisting, surrendering…What I am slowly learning as the fire is burning away my resistance and what this poem made so beautifully clear to me that this journey is about me fully committing to life and this human experience, even in this very intense time both in my own little world and the greater world.

I knew immediately that I wanted to share this poem with you here on my blog and contacted Nell. She has graciously allowed me to share her poem with you.

Cracked 

by Nell Aurelia

I’m cracked. Completely.

I fell into the furnace long enough

To decide to find my own fire and light,

And when I went all to pieces

Some surrendered to the heat

And those that were left were me

But purer: there is something of a diamond

Rushing through my core,

A full madness of restructuring.

There is no ruin here.

Unless that is your fearful name for transformation,

Which I can understand,

But when you fall flying into your own,

You’ll understand:

Falling apart is full of its own reward,

However much it feels like dying, like failure

Full of the unbearable sensitivity

Of committing to this human experience.

Go deep in this fire.

There’s a point where all explodes and converges,

And you find you are yourself,

Only stronger, clearer, finer.

The messiest refinement of all: Choosing to live well.

Well? Fully.

Alive to pain, to suffering, to inequality,

To joy, to birth, to creation, to love – To all,

Because when you get right down in it

Acknowledging pain only opens you more to joy.

The brilliant imperfections of love, of loving,

Can only make the world shine brighter;

It’s fear that will give you half a life and convince you

You never wanted the other half anyway.

 

I highly recommend checking out Nell’s blog for more of her powerful poetic offerings:

https://thesingingdark.wordpress.com

hot-compass-1

Image by Dancing Wolf

 

Life And The Loom

p1130348Here it is: my first handwoven creation!

At the end of October I had the fortune to buy a beautiful small loom from a friend. Weaving is something that I had been curious about for many years, ever since I saw and fell in love with a gorgeous Saori loom on Saltspring Island. I had never tried weaving before, but just sitting at the bench touching the wood left a deep impression. The ideas of weaving were put away till someday when perhaps I could afford a loom like that. This summer the longing to try weaving returned. So I considered buying a more affordable loom, but got lost in deciding how and with what to start. So I let it go once again…

Then out of the blue a friend announced that she was offering her beautiful Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom for sale and I knew I had to see it. Within a few weeks we met up and I saw the small loom for the first time, I knew right away that this was my starting point. My friend showed me the basics and since then I’ve been learning a lot from this little Harp loom about weaving and life.

The greatest joy for me was playing with different colours and textures, immersing myself in the creativity like I never have before. There were also some challenges that I needed to learn from. It showed me clearly my deep attachment to the outcome and how much it effected me when it was or was not going well. The biggest challenge showed up when I was getting closer to the end: one of my warp threads broke and I was devastated thinking the worst had just happened. p1130072My mind was telling me: All this work for nothing! I contacted my friend with no luck, researched like crazy on the internet, tried a few things and in the end had to give up and let it go. After a few days I took the unfinished scarf off the loom and for the first time got to see what I had woven. I had not followed any pattern, just let the loom, wool and colours guide me. I was astounded at what I had created and to my great amazement and joy the scarf turned out to be the perfect length. I guess the loom knew when it was done. A big lesson learned! And deep gratitude for the outcome!

I had just picked up a book from the library, that I had ordered in, called “Dying To Be Me” around the same time I got my loom. The author Anita Moorjani writes about her near death experience and healing from cancer afterwards. I was touched by what she wrote and what she had learned from her experience and want to share a little excerpt as it directly effected my weaving:

“I saw my life intricately woven into everything I’d known so far. My experience was like a single thread woven through the huge and complexly colourful images of an infinite tapestry. All the other threads and colours represented my relationships, including every life I’d touched. There were threads representing my mother, my father, my brother, my husband, and every other person who’d ever come into my life whether they related to me in a positive or negative way.

….In the tapestry of life, we’re all connected. Each one of us is a gift to those around us, helping each other be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together. When I was in the NDE state, it all became so clear to me because I understood that to be me is to be love. This is the lesson that saved my life.”

p1130381

Reading this book made weaving for me a very deep experience. As I wove I got a sense that I was weaving something much bigger than a scarf. Each thread seemed important. As I wove, I reflected on my life and myself. I wondered if perhaps at the end of our lives we take the tapestry we have woven through our interactions and relating from the loom of life and we get to see what we have created and how it all fits into the tapestry of all life. Weaving for me has become another form of meditation and also a beautiful way to express my creativity.

Before I read the book I heard Anita give a Ted talk. I loved the simple yet powerful message she has brought back from beyond. Here is the link, if you feel curious:

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Dying-to-be-me-Anita-Moorjani-a

 

Don’t Go Back To Sleep

p1130003

For a whole year while living on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia I used to wake up right before sunrise. It felt like an inner signal went off every morning with just enough time to get to our East facing deck and watch this incredible poignant moment when the sun rose over the Coastal Mountains.

Now I wake up just before dawn and I cannot put into words the felt sense of something is waiting for me there and Rumi’s passionate words ring in my ears like an alarm clock: “Don’t go back to sleep!”

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill 
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

~Rumi

Hallowed Heat

hallowed-heat

I didn’t expect this time of change would be so challenging. Another night of hot flashes and night sweats where I lie waiting for the heat to pass through my body. I throw the covers off, trying to remember if this is number three or four. I can’t believe I’ve lost count again. My body is drenched in sweat. I pull the window wide open and welcome the beautiful cold and fresh air on my heated skin. Basking in it’s coolness, I feel so grateful for a moment of comfort. Eventually I fall asleep again, only to wake up feeling icy cold. I quickly close the window, trying to find the covers I threw off earlier and snuggle under the light feather down and drift off again.

Not sure how long it takes for the next wave to come. At some point in the night I feel myself surrendering to the fire and ice, and to the exhaustion that I feel in my whole being. And then I remember: I remember this feeling of exhaustion and helplessness. I remember when wave after wave after wave of contractions prepared my body for the birth of my first child. Memories are flooding back now as another wave of heat burns through my body. These memories are so vivid: the fear, the pain, the bewilderment as day drifts into night and into day again, wondering in earnest: Do I have enough strength for this?

I think of a young friend who is about to have her first baby. I know she is facing her fears and gathering her courage. I don’t think it matters if it is your first baby or your fifth. It takes courage to surrender to nature, to face the pain, to trust and be in the not knowing of how this will go and how it will change your life forever.

As I open the window again and look outside, I can see stars shining brightly with fast moving clouds covering and uncovering them like a blanket. mooncloudsAs I look at their beauty I see with such clarity the immense amount of courage and strength that women have.

It feels like I am in labour of a different kind. This time there is no other human being growing inside of me that wants to be born. It feels more like I am birthing a new me. The old familiar me seems to be losing ground, in fact I think she is fading fast into memory. With it comes a feeling of loss. At the same time I feel myself opening to the great mystery of it all. Yes, this is a time of great change for me on the inside and outside. And it seems strangely fitting for the times we are in that is calling for great change in our world.

Surprisingly I still dream a lot between the hot flashes and chills. Many short exhausting dreams showing me all the parts of me that are fearful, that feel less than, the parts of me I would rather not see. I am often not sure what is more exhausting the dreams or real life. And I am starting to wonder if it isn’t all just an exhausting dream.

Yet there in the early morning hours when you can feel dawn is not far away, I finally let go of my ideas, thoughts, and techniques to get me through another wild night. I feel them leave my mind and body like blood draining from a wound.  And then something in me softens, opens and in this sweet moment of deep surrender I feel myself drift into a peacefulness that permeates my whole being.

Later that same morning I stand before the mirror and see red rimmed eyes staring back at me. I have to admit I am taken aback by what I see. Then with a little more compassion I recognize the tiredness in the one that is facing her aging and all the changes that comes with it. I look closer and hold eye contact with my Self. And as I hold this contact I feel that same beautiful softening take place in me and my heart gently opens all the way to the one I see in the mirror. And then I recognize what I see reflected in those eyes: Love.

flaming-heart

~Pictures by Dancing Wolf

Kiss the Earth

p1120669

“Keep your tailbone down!” These words run through my head as I am walking through the wet grass towards the garden. I am on a mission to get kale, parsley and celery for my morning drink. I notice I feel taller, straighter when I walk this way. “Walk like a queen!” I laugh with delight still wondering how to do that. One of my socks is getting wet. There must be a hole in my shoe. “Kiss the earth with each step you take!”

p1120712

I slow down. There are so many mushrooms in the grass. They must have sprung up overnight. I place my foot more carefully onto the ground this time. Instructions from Banafsheh, our beautiful Dance of Oneness workshop leader, are coming back into my consciousness. I slow down even more. My wet foot feels the wet earth beneath and I smile.

A sense of Well-Being is starting to fill my body as I walk lightly yet fully grounded to Mother Earth. I pick the kale dripping with raindrops, add the parsley and celery and stop for a moment to look around. The Sunflowers and Hollyhocks are bowing down from the night’s rain. There is no doubt anymore that autumn is here. I welcome it. I wonder in the welcoming if I am now entering the autumn of my life with hot flashes and many other menopausal symptoms creating the need to turn more inward and wonder also if I can open to the different kind of beauty that this season brings.

I walk slowly out of the garden. The click of the garden gate breaks through my reverie. As I take one step at a time with my hands full of wet greens, I feel the energy of the earth. “Imagine an invisible thread that goes from your crown to the sky pulling you up” I hear Banafsheh’s deep feminine voice inside my head. Feeling myself being pulled upwards I am walking even taller, gently placing each foot on the earth with awareness where we touch and connect. My body, my temple, is becoming a bridge between Heaven and Earth. I notice an aliveness tingle inside of me. The fresh morning air awakens my senses even further.

It is a week now since the workshop ended, since all fifteen women danced in Oneness at the Hollyhock Retreat Centre. Everyone of them is held so dearly in my heart, something I had not expected. I am not sure what I hoped for. All I know is something had called me to go and I am so glad I did not let the resistance and fear stop me from going. It was challenging and beautiful at the same time with the sweetest surprise: the coming home to the sacred Feminine. Again I had not expected that. The surprise and wonder is still very much alive in me. I put my hand on my womb and I remember…

p1120662

Cracked Open

Something has shifted inside of me in this dance. My head is desperately trying to figure out what it is, wants to put a finger on something. I sense that this something cannot be defined or even named. It can only be opened up to, experienced in my whole being and leave me forever changed. I have taken home many precious gifts from this workshop, like the opening to sisterhood to a degree which I have not experienced before; my reconnection to the Divine Feminine and seeing and experiencing the embodiment of her in all her beauty; the gift of self-forgiveness, kindness and self-love and of course the beautiful gift of whirling and Rumi’s powerful words. I learned many things I didn’t know, all leading me home to the sacred feminine. The most precious gift however I cannot put into words. It is that something that dances in every cell of my body calling me home.

elkes-green-bouquet

Photo by Dancing Wolf

 

Today, like every other day,

we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~Rumi

Messengers

kayak4

It couldn’t be a more beautiful beginning of Fall. I woke up this morning just after the official time of the Equinox which was 7:21 am here on the Pacific Coast. The sun was just rising over the tree tops and I was noting to myself the place where due East is. Somehow this knowing seemed important. The morning has turned into a picture perfect day with amazing sunshine and warmth. Even the hummingbird visited the fuchsia on our deck when I was writing in my journal. It stayed for a long time checking out each bloom carefully, then coming over to see what I was doing. I was glad for the sweet interruption taking me away from my meditation on the inner discomfort I was feeling. The perfect calm and serene picture of our beautiful bay before me did not mirror what was going on inside of me.

Tomorrow I will be attending my first workshop at Hollyhock, a retreat centre here on Cortes Island. The workshop is called “Dance of Oneness: Dance Your Passion!” led by Banafsheh Sayyad. I am excited, curious and a little bit apprehensive, but mostly looking forward to immersing myself in a lot of things that I love: sacred dance, sacred poetry, meditation and chanting. It can’t really get much better.

As I look more closely at the discomfort I notice the familiar fear of the Unknown.  Perhaps that is what has been disturbing me. It is not so much the unknown of being in a group of strangers or what we will be asked to do like dancing in front of each other, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago, but this is more a fear of the unknown inside of me: what is my passion? Will I be able to get in touch with it and embody it, give it a true expression, without holding back? What else will be revealed in this process and will I allow myself to see it and be seen? Will I be able to let go of the”I”, and truly dance in Oneness? Dancing has been an incredible vehicle for me to let go of fears, let go of beliefs in me that stop me from freely expressing who I am, and a way to step out of my own way and let the divine express through me. I haven’t danced like that in a while. I haven’t let go like that in too long.

The other day when I went kayaking with my partner we came across these beautiful birds on the shoreline. Something other than wanting to get a good picture drew me closer. To my astonishment these birds did not move away. They sat there in stillness watching me and they did not appear to be afraid. kayak5

They looked at me with their beautiful dark eyes even when I was just a metre away from them. This experience stayed with me for a long time afterward. We discovered in a bird book that they are called Black Turnstone. The information about them was interesting, but it was not what stayed with me. Whatever I had seen in the dark pool of their eyes stayed present with me long after the kayak ride, and suddenly I knew what I had seen there and what had touched me so deeply: Trust! Deep trust was reflected in their eyes and the moment I got that, I started to remember…

I remembered the many times in my life when I had been able to take that leap of faith into the Unknown despite huge fears, by trusting. I remembered when I immigrated to Canada at the age of 18 leaving my family and the safety I had known behind, this moment of trust when I said Goodbye to my parents and the life I had known. As a dear friend reminded me this week there have been a number of moments in my life where I had to trust and let go. I can’t even say that I really know what I was trusting: life? myself? something bigger than me? All I know is that trust is what ultimately let me jump of the edge into the Unknown despite all the voices of fear. These little beautiful birds were the messengers asking me once again to trust in whatever will unfold and to trust in the perfection of it all and let the dance of life unfold in its mystery…

 

black-turnstone

~Photos by Dancing Wolf