Flower Sep2017

How Do You Touch Infinity?

My life is full. I feel centered, calm and optimistic about the future.  My heart is open, and expanding in ways beyond my comprehension at times. I feel blessed and thankful throughout each day for the surprising and delightful ways in which the world opens herself up to me.

I have made deliberate and heart-centered choices to leave much of what is familiar. The town and province I have lived in for over 40 years, and friends I have known for decades.  Which brings me to question “Does one ever really leave a friend?”

Geographically, that is true, as I set out to create a new and as yet unformed pathway. One of travel, of exploration and discovery of areas I have never been to. A way of life where one follows inspiration as to where travel next, and when.

But in my heart, mind, and spirit, the idea of leaving friends does not ring true. Our friendship connection is as strong as ever. When I reach out to share a friendly hello, they often ask “How did I know to connect at that moment?”  You see, my interpretation of closeness is not defined by proximity.

My awareness of the interconnectedness of us all began many years ago. But the depth, breadth and limitlessness of that connection expanded exponentially with my life partner, as we continue to navigate a loving relationship, sometimes from different counties.

Which brings me to the miracle of Harper. My first grandchild. Who was born to my firstborn son, who moved across the globe with his life partner. They too, left much that is familiar to start a new chapter of life.

Harper’s birth was the catalyst for our travel to Australia, but the decision to stay there for 2 months was simply saying yes to the nudges of opportunity that flowed effortlessly.

Yes, I live far apart from my Grand-daughter. Of course, it would be great if I could snuggle more often, take her for walks, teach her somersaults and cartwheels & push her on the swings at a park – you get the idea.  But in lieu, we will sing, laugh and share our lives via any number of live video streaming options. Through the screen, I see her blowing bubbles with her mouth as she attempts to form words, & she hears my voice, studies my facial expressions, and will still witness the depth of love, wonder and gratitude contained in my eyes.

Each time I think of Harper, I offer the energy of love, compassion, peace and whatever inspires me at the moment to be received by and integrated into her.    And so it is with all.

How Do You Touch Infinity?   ~   You give birth to a child.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

(published in ‘Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of Woman’, Dec 2018

 

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The Edge of Autumn

It is mid-September, and I am staying in a beautiful Park on the Hudson River in upstate New York.

As is typical, I say ‘hello’ to people I meet each day, and get to know them a bit. Today held a special surprise. As I was in conversation with one of the maintenance workers at the park, he brought up his high school football background, sharing the name of the nearby school which he attended.

My boyfriend also played football. And he grew up in this area, so I wondered if they may know each other. I immediately called for my boyfriend, who joined the conversation. Turns out, they played during the same time frame. Conversation turned to their teammates:  who turned Semi -pro or Pro, who is still in the area, and who they lost track of over the years.

As the conversation was coming to a close, Bryant said something that really resonated with me.  He asked my boyfriend “Do you ever feel the edge at this time of year?” There was a pause. “You know, the edge of anticipation that grips each fall, knowing that the season is about to start?” The approach of autumn brings to Bryant the sense of fond reminiscing. Of accepting that the time has long passed in which he was directly connected with the training, the comeraderie of the team, the smell of the field, the physical exertion of the body, the crunch of the helmets and sound of the whistles, the intensity of training, and the energy of game day.  Yet, the feeling remains.  And it comes around every year at this time.

I feel a different edge with autumn.  It springs in me deep anticipation to bear witness to the changing of the landscape. The vibrancy of colour that bursts forth on the mountains and hillsides; the smells of wet leaves and earth, and often fireplaces; the crispness of mornings, and awakening to a hot cup of tea. To dig out the crock pot, knowing it will be filled with hearty soups and stews over the coming months.

Autumn also hosts my favourite holiday – Thanksgiving.  A time to express our gratitude for the people, lifestyle, abundance and joy we hold dear. Often, it’s a time to gather with family and others to share in beautiful weekend experiences and healthful food. To gather up and store vegetables for the winter, to prepare lawns and gardens for their inward journey.  To shift clothing in preparation for our own needs, and plan trips to sunny climates, if we wish.  Or to ski destinations!

Thanksgiving in Canada has come and gone. But for my American friends, I hold space for deep joy; whether you choose a quiet intimate dinner, or a large formal one.  Approach life with both arms wide open to discovering your own edge this Autumn. Take note of what you are most grateful for. And do more of what brings you the fullness of heart that expresses through your gratitude.

In vibrancy, Laurie

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What Lies Off The Groomed Path

I have long wanted to rock climb; to stretch the limits of my body’s strength, flexibility and coordination; to completely surrender to the moment and trust that the mountain will support me perfectly in the experience.

Recently, my boyfriend and I explored yet another spectacular nature playground of this amazing planet. While at Mohonk Mountain House in NY, a 40,000 acre protected forest area which overlooks a glacier lake, we chose to take the Labyrinth and Crevice rock climbing natural pathways instead of the groomed pathways to the top. Yes, 973 glorious feet of traversing boulders and natural pathways up the side of a rock-cliff mountain. It’s called rock scrambling, and it’s delightful!

Talk about breathtaking.  Every sense was delighted during the experience. The feel of the rocks on my hands and underfoot, the way the temperature dropped in certain caves, the warmth of the full-on sun at rock bluffs which offered us both respite from the climb, and a chance to simply soak in the beauty of the surroundings.  At times we saw far above us the bridges constructed for the groomed pathways, while we continued to traverse natural rocks and ledges. We moved left and right; up, down and then up again; trusting that the mountain offers rocks for footholds, aligned ever so perfectly with ones for our hands to grasp when the terrain is more challenging. Choosing in each moment where to carefully place our feet while watching for branches or other obstacles, and paying attention to the mountain’s every nuance. So many incredible jaw dropping moments of wonder and discovery were placed before us. We stopped multiple times, pointing out trees, roots, mushrooms, rock formations, and the stunning views of the lake or the multiple mountain ranges in sight.

I had never hiked like this before, and the experience brought forth in me a childlike wonder and curiosity. Feelings of giddiness and lightness arose. There was complete appreciation of the perfection of this space, and I felt a symbiotic melding into it. I chose my own distinct pathway, while still following the worn red arrows of direction.  Down? Into that small cave? Challenge accepted.  Thankful for strategically placed ladders to guide us up the very steep spaces, we continued to move in our dance with the mountain.

The experience provided me with so many gifts that day. Gifts that I can breathe back to life by simply closing my eyes and recalling the details of how I felt in any particular moment. Therein lies another gift from the mountain; recognition that our connection to and rejeuvenation from the earth – this glorious symbiotic sharing of energy between us, endures by simply recalling it.  There was no schedule, no deadline to meet. I was graced with simply enjoying the momentum of the climb, and moved by the captivating beauty of it all.

Wishing you much delight as you discover and appreciate what lies off the groomed path in life.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

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Death is Not An Ending

Death is not an ending. It’s a transition – a nexus point, a shift in being. It’s a resurrection, a renewal, a remembering, a homecoming.  Each death is an opportunity for us all to deeply acknowledge the mortality of our human form. A chance to relate to what cannot be seen or held. To open ourselves to trust in the magic of possibility, and wonder and surrender.

Love remains. Memories remain. The energy of each person’s presence remains in memories and thoughts, in addition to tangible things that they left. Sometimes we leave an idea, or a business, a family, a garden – some physical testament that we have been, that we have lived, that we have loved. Sometimes it’s a book or letters, a recipe, song, or artwork. A testament that yes, we have been alive and that we’ve taken up physical space in our bodies and on the earth.

With my hospice background, I have sat with hundreds of people in their final moments, which has gifted me many profound moments of noticing; of fine-tuning my awareness as I hold space with each. Feeling the energy within the room, the love, the compassion, guidance and presence from the other side – what some perceive as the non-visible world.

Which brings me to a lesson from the Mobius Strip. This is a long, thin piece of paper that is taped or glued at its ends to make it one continuous loop, but just before attaching, one single twist is applied to the piece. When you run your finger along it, the inside becomes the outside and the outside becomes the inside. It is a terrific demonstration of how the seen becomes the unseen, and the unseen becomes the seen. And there is no particular place where it starts or where it ends.

The heavens and the earth are intertwined. Humans and this planet are intertwined. Humans and the cosmos are intertwined. A Mobius strip also looks like an infinity sign when you hold it horizontally, which figures strongly in my energy sessions. The flow of it, the vision of it, the essence of  it, the feel of it weaves within the energetic core and  it adds nurturance, and sustenance and realism in its flow and sacred  movement.

I pause, and inhale deeply. I repeat the words with focus – Sacred Movement.

Death is a sacred movement and is an inseparable component of the divine space and flow of life. As someone who has participated and companioned in many varied types of experiences of the dying process, one thing holds true; as constant as my breath, as constant as both the sun and moon rise and set each day….. Death is not an ending.

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Thoughts on Becoming Ona

Happy Birthday, Grandma!   Those were the words written in chocolate on my birthday cake last year during a family gathering.  Three words that have forever changed my world, and that of so many others….  My eldest son and his girlfriend were visiting from out of town and insisted on buying the cake. Now we know why!!

After the hugs, questions, photos, and flurry that follow this exciting announcement, there came time for reminiscing.  Of recalling the beauty, magic, and preparations of giving birth to two sons myself. Of remembering the many surprises that pregnancy itself brought, and wonder for the myriad of ways our bodies change to accommodate our growing babes.  Of focused dedication to nutrition, and completely and totally being in love with someone you have not even met yet.

It’s not, after all, just one family that is being born with this new life entering the world. Although the nucleus – the heart – is my son, his girlfriend and their babe, the birth is also a catalyst to connect extended family units & friends. Those who also celebrate, wish, dream, and hold intentions for the health, happiness and experiences for life with this new Babe.  The image of ripples in water comes to mind.

Already, life has shifted. Anticipation of what is ahead – knowing how parenthood will stretch and fill my son to points not even imagined. How every child’s cry will be felt in a new and profound way. How the wellbeing of this amazing planet becomes much more significant. Awareness of how the most beautiful and honest expressions of love are held in each present moment.

Many people have been sincerely happy when they hear the news of the coming babe, which springs into being the constant renewal of this precious life we live. I witness in those who already have entered into this experience of grandparenthood a depth of intensity, a lingering gaze, a burst of energy. This is not lost on me. It brings a new appreciation and deepening curiosity for the sanctity of the connection with my grandchild that lies ahead.

It took me some time to select the name I wish to be called. I did a bit of research, but really, I simply let the name land. And when I heard “Ona”, I knew it was the noun to describe me.  The way it felt as I said it aloud, the way it landed softly on my ears.  So, Ona it is.  Not just for this, my first Grandbabe, but for all that follow.

I am making my way to Brisbane, Australia, to be there when this new life takes his or her first breaths.  To witness my son in his first weeks of fatherhood. Wow – tears are forming for me as I allow this to settle. Yes, this is a huge gift in the upcoming experience. To witness my son in his first weeks of fatherhood.

Here’s to life unfolding in beautiful and surprising ways.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

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The Magic of Children

I am on a flight today – several flights, in fact. A family with 5 young children, all under the age of 7 I’d say, are fellow passengers. They are seated 4 rows behind me, and by their excitement and curiosity, it appears this is their first flight.  Their delight as the plane took off, and wonder of seeing the city from the air, brought a huge smile to my face and heart. I recalled the freshness of my own sons’ first flight, many years ago.

I have also chosen many ‘firsts’ this year and am revitalized and enchanted with my own discoveries. Looking at my life, analyzing how my belief systems and attitudes colour my perspective, and noticing how simply adjusting the lens through which I reflect my experiences uncovers hidden depths of understanding.

One of the wondrous ‘firsts’ I experienced recently was the birth of my first Grand-babe. I scroll through photos  that capture the magic and intensity and miracle of birth, and the myriad of ways it connects both the parents and the outer family. Within the first weeks of her life, I witnessed and experienced so many moments of pure presence. Being content simply watching her sleep, feeling her warmth on my chest as I hold her, of connecting on a multitude of levels though eye contact alone.  Nothing to do, no-where else to be; simply breathing together and feeling into gratitude and bonding.

My intention for life is to discover more; to be fully open; to deeply dive into past patterning ; to allow lessons of truth to permeate my being; to recognize my triggers and when reaction vs. response arises. My intention is to also take what I have gleaned, and shine that wisdom into each present moment.

Between stimulus and response is a space. And within that space lies a key which holds much power. And this powerful key is choice.

Choice to continue reacting to patterning and beliefs that may fuel intensity and dissonance, or the choice to pause, to connect with my full being, engage my heart space, and allow my communication  to spring forth from a higher and broader perspective. From the now moment.  From a place of free-flow, where the formless takes shape.

The choice to be present and available to others, to hear what they are not saying – what they may never be able to say. To remain humble and open to the suggestions of others. To explore and be inquisitive of the wonders this world holds, and the unfolding experiences and gifts that life is presenting.

Which brings me back to the children on the plane. Completely present. Completely enthralled with clouds, views, sounds, and the fullness of experiences the plane ride offered. In complete glee and receivership.

Oh, the magic of children. What lessons they have for us all.

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Standing in Gaia’s Hands

Each day I connect with the Earth and hold her deeply in the core of my being and in my heart.

I find a spot outside in the grass, on sand, or in water; it matters not the location that’s chosen. What matters is compassionate conscious connection with the earth. Holding her with tenderness and curiosity for the experience which is about to unfold.  The earth is alive with energy.  She has a pulse, a rhythm, a flow. We can tap into her and create a symphony of vibration between our own energy field and hers.

As I expand my awareness, I often notice in my mind’s eye a dance, a melding, and a fusion.  Immersed in this moment of sacred connection, I invite layers of movement, colors, sounds and thoughts to be stirred, activating and calibrating into higher frequencies that are wonderfully felt in this communion with Mother Gaia.

My boyfriend recently brought my attention to a film called “The Grounded” on YouTube. It uses the term “Earthing” as the practice of being connected to or immersed within the earth and explains multiple health benefits of doing so. A lot of what this film showcased rang true for me. We both connect daily with the earth and it helps restore and rejuvenate the entire complexity of our human condition. So we will sit or lay on the soft grass or beach, or swim in the ocean or lakes as ways to immerse ourselves in the earth. When we are experiencing cold, snowy winters, we choose to connect through trees.

I have long had an affinity with trees – climbing them, taking a rubbing of their bark, placing my hands on the trunk, photographing them, hugging them, or sitting at their base completely content with their company. Yes, at 55 years of age, I still climb trees!  I feel their pulse and recognize their uniqueness. It’s not just their look or smell, each emits a particular signature frequency I’m able to tap into like a friend.

Regardless of which method of connection is chosen on any particular day as I earth, I breathe in the earth’s energy while bringing my attention to the multiple receptors within my body as I respond to her cadence. While I’m engaged in connecting with a particular tree, I become entwined with the entire root system, by tuning into the energy patterns that exist beneath our very feet. There is an incredible inter-woven network of tree roots in the earth, and it’s said they have a complex communication system that stretches for miles through them. It’s incredibly inspiring to tap into the expansiveness of this experience. It’s palpable, and it feels so good to attune yourself to their voice and community.

Earthing – receiving and giving energy, as constant and natural as breath or waves is an experience, a beautiful exchange, an inhale then exhale, a gift and an offering.

All by simply standing in Gaia’s hands.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

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This Gem is Multi-Faceted

I recently discovered that emails from a close connection had been placed  by my email account into a folder I didn’t notice before. She had been sending me information to help move my business forward  on a monthly basis for some time. She prepared beautiful videos, chock full of meaningful information to assist any entrepreneur. She had invited me to presentations and events.

And I hadn’t read one of them. Not one.

They had been sorted by my email system, categorized as junk mail,  and sent to a separate folder that I never paid attention to. Until that day I did. Suddenly, much information came into my awareness. She was not the only person believing they had sent me messages that in fact, did not reach me.

And it brought me a huge ‘AHA’ moment. A few actually. This gem is multi-faceted…..

How often do we think of someone, or do lots of work with great intentions, only to fall short in reaching the very people we wish to share our message with? How many times do we replay over and over in our minds the words we wish to speak to someone, and then blurt out something entirely different when the opportunity to be with them arrives? And perhaps more importantly, does it actually matter in the big picture?

I was introduced to a poem years ago that I go back to and re-read often. It was shared by a fellow hospice volunteer who had just completed training through me, and she wished to read it to the group at our final gathering before each moved to their chosen program. It’s called “love’s journey home” by mary ann radmacher. The line that speaks to me most deeply is

love isn’t completed as it is returned. it is completed in its choice to be given…

This really resonates with me. With intention, with love, with thoughts of peace and comfort and all things noble and sincere, it is not in the receiving that the difference is made. The offering is enough. It is always enough.

Eventually, in my case on the exact day I was ready to accept her invitation of assistance – on the one day that I felt called to ask for help – it arrived in the form of me noticing a folder in my inbox that I had as yet left unopened. And when I opened it, I discovered multiple gifts awaiting inside.

Perhaps on the day it is best heard, our message will be delivered and expressed perfectly.

Isn’t that how life is? So much awaits us, and is simply there for the taking. We simply need to open our awareness to it, and when it feels right, then to say “yes.” Yes, YES, YES!  Both arms flung open YES!

In vibrancy, Laurie.

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Beginnings and Endings

Why is it that we are so excited and positive about new beginnings, but often so uncomfortable with endings?

For even in the most magnificent of beginnings – love partnership and union, birth of a baby, travel, new career opportunity – there is a corresponding goodbye. Goodbye to a previous lifestyle, routine, or way of being; to a location or culture; sometimes goodbye to people we used to see regularly; to neighborhoods we called home; possibly goodbye to roles we assumed or belief systems we adopted.

For anything new to arise, there must be a corresponding release. Something that took that time, that space, and that energy falls away to allow for whatever is new to enter.

I write this in the knowing and anticipation of my eldest son and his life partner’s move to Australia. Half a world away from British Columbia, Canada where he was born, raised, and has been living independently for 11 years now. An entire lifetime of material possessions is being reviewed and assessed. Decisions on what to keep, and what to sell, discard, or pass along to someone else are suddenly at the forefront for them.  It’s a time of reminiscing – of taking stock of the past.  Of placing values on items that may have been set aside for some time. Of visiting and reaching out to family and friends whom they may never see again. Of hopes that they will…

And on the East Coast, another man is also doing the same. Taking stock of the possessions of his life, paring it down to just the essentials, visiting friends and family, and neighborhoods of his past.  Making every arrangement necessary to be with the woman he loves (me!) on the West Coast.

I am doing similar work. First recalling the recent past when I chose to take stock – not only of material possessions but in the ways in which my life was being lived. Mainly though, I am holding space and love for both my eldest son who is moving across the globe, and for my life mate who is making his way to me. I am finding a new place to live in partnership, and in which to create new and lasting memories. Setting intentions to visit my son in a few months – giving both him and myself time to settle into new beginnings.

Beginnings and Endings. Future Meets Past.

Contemplating this somehow brings me to the present moment, as I direct my attention to my breathing pattern. I notice that my rhythmic breath simply unfolds effortlessly. I am not typically conscious of where one breath ends and one begins. But at certain moments, I can be. Following one’s breath with conscious intention is a wonderful tool during Yoga practice, or when I take pause to feel into my body – anytime I choose to bring awareness into the present moment.

Beginnings and Endings.  Simply unfolding. Sometimes with conscious focus, sometimes not.  Both are beautiful.  Honour Both.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

 

*Published in SIBYL Magazine, for the Spirit and Soul of Woman, February 2018

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Make Me Feel

A facebook post the other day mentioned staying away from people who make you feel hard to love. I chose to respond in this way…

Although I believe that no one can make you feel anything, I do know the power of my feelings in any given experience. They are my best guidance system ever: put in place to draw me towards or away from people, places, experiences. I can now look back and honor those times that brought me my most raw and humble lessons. Other people are responsible for their thoughts, words and actions, to be sure. But my feelings are mine – to notice, to accept, and to honor by moving through in the most loving way I can. Trust in yourself. And know there are others who stand with you. Exactly BECAUSE you are you.

Yes, it drew a strong response. A few, in fact.

It has been a long process for me to first define the actual feelings I feel; next to recognize how my pre-patterned belief system (often limiting beliefs I adopted in childhood) flavor my internalization and perspective of the situation that is sparking my feelings; and lastly to shifting the beliefs that simply do not hold true to me any longer.

We choose our thoughts. We choose our words, our actions, our friends, our work, our surroundings. We can choose to modify and improve our habits and behaviors. We can also choose to move towards people who uplift and inspire us to reach more deeply into our authentic self. Those who will encourage us to be the best version of our true selves, standing by us as we shed roles, expectations, obligations and belief systems that no longer serve our growth forward.

This is a courageous process. It has brought me to my most humble, vulnerable, exposed (and at times to my raw, fully-bared) self. And yet I choseand continue to choose to notice some hard truths about my conditioned thought patterning, limiting beliefs and behaviors. Some of which have been difficult for me to accept and to understand. Hard to even shine a light towards, let alone uncover and completely expose.

I choose to stretch and to fill myself by loving myself deeper, by extending to myself the same kindness and compassion I do to others. By noticing acts of kindness and goodness in the world. By choosing to hold positive and loving expressions in my heart and mind, and to bring them forward to others.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

*Published in SIBYL Magazine, for the Spirit and Soul of Woman, April 2018 issue.