1004 Arizona50 Dragonflies

I Notice Things

I notice things. I notice a lot of things. Always have.  I am keenly attuned with the energy in a space, person, or object.

This skill informs my healing practice immensely, since I intuitively know where to focus my attention to help ease the pain of my clients.  It helps me in my Hospice volunteering. As I sit with people in their final breaths, noticing the many and varied subtleties of change to their breathing, their hands, the feeling in the room, and whether I should play music (and if so, what kind?) or if now is the perfect time for silence.

I notice when negative thoughts arise, and I use different tools to release them. Sometimes I simply re-frame them in a positive way. For example “don’t trip” turns into “please be careful”. Regularly, when hearing others with negative messaging, I silently send out positive re-framing which guides the energy to bounce and shift to something uplifting. And I believe that by so doing, positive energy ripples throughout the entire space.

I notice how a sincere, friendly smile or simple gesture can uplift someone. How far it impacts. All because one person took the time to offer a friendly word or other comfort to another.

Someone once wondered how I can be so happy all the time, especially knowing the intense type of work I have pursued. It’s not that I have not seen pain, witnessed deep sadness and fear, nor lost meaningful relationships or connections. It’s that I choose to see them for the gift they were; to take the lessons from those losses; to glean the wisdom and to release with love. Absolute love. The total acceptance of others as they are in each moment – without attachment to designing their lives to mold to mine.

What works best for me is to open my heart, to deeply inhale all of life’s goodness, and to exhale it all out back to the world.  With the unshakeable knowing that my essence is to radiate love, wisdom, honor and respect to each; to  inspire and uplift; to model what I call heart-centered living by example.

To reach more deeply, I continue to expand my immersion into healing arts; I mentor others; I commit to daily meditation, movement, gratitude, and journaling practices. I take immaculate care of my body and mind, eating a variety of healthful foods; drinking re-structured, alkalized water; plus constantly studying the many facets of healthful living and spirituality that resonate with me. I maintain an even flow of energy in my body by dedication to these practices, by serving others in my professional practice, by writing for multiple platforms, and by volunteering regularly for causes that are important to me.

I notice things. And I am constantly recognizing pathways to making the world a better place. For me, it starts with awareness. And then taking action, often by creating and reaching out to the heart centered community around me.

In vibrancy, Laurie

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Anger Needed A Place To Land

I had a recent experience where someone was expressing anger towards me. It was strong anger – no filter, no space of kindness, no taking a few breaths and letting words come through the heart, or perhaps even the brain – simply an explosion of feeling. Of intensity. Of rawness, and depth and force.

And during the time of this encounter, I chose to listen – to truly listen to the pain behind the emotion. I grounded and centered myself, feeling and visioning myself as the eye of the storm, with swirling winds and extreme turbulence all around me – but simultaneously sheltered: protected in my solid foundation of truth and knowing.

You see, the anger that was expressed was unfounded in its origin. It was not based on truth. This person was challenging my integrity in this expression. Which made me extra happy and proud that I was able to simply listen without reacting in the moments of his sharing.

I knew that the feeling of anger, that strong and sudden and passionate emotion, needed to be expressed and released by him. And I chose to ride out the flare of emotion that erupted, in faith that I would have my time to respond and assist his understanding.

So I listened, but drew an important boundary while doing so. All by simply making a conscious choice to be kind and true to myself. To honour myself in the midst of intensity of emotion that was directed towards me.

I could have gotten defensive. I could have pushed away energetically. I could have walked away, or shut myself down from listening altogether.  My choice instead was to allow the expression of anger through his words until they came to their natural end. And then, trusting my heart to find the words, I said the following:

“I know that your anger needs a place to land, but I choose to let it bounce.”

I did not take it on. I did not allow the emotion of anger to come into my peaceful field, let alone be tainted or dominated by it. I recognized straight away that his accusatory tone and words were based on an untruth.

I honoured myself, my truth, and my integrity. The situation we encountered together that triggered this anger was as much a surprise to me as to him. The biggest difference was the way in which we each chose to view it.

He from a victim mentality “Why me?” “Who can I blame?” Me from a personal growth viewpoint, “What is the lesson?” “How can I grow?” “What’s the next most loving step I can take?”

And the next most loving step I took was to let the anger bounce.

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Energy Mirrors Reflecting Back

I was in conversation with a friend of mine recently, and he shared an interesting observation. He said that a few people in the past short while have shared their life story with him. He noticed how he didn’t interrupt, as he has done in the past; his thoughts didn’t leap ahead into how he would respond, and his typical labelling and judgements didn’t arise.

He simply listened. With interest.

I understand the power of presence in listening. I have long held skills for courageous conversations, which have been especially useful in – and in large part shaped by – my many hospice experiences. For as long as I can remember, strangers feel instantly at ease with me. The person next in line at a coffee shop, or sitting next to me on a flight will share the most remarkable and often raw parts of their personal struggles.

And yes, I listen. Listen with my whole body – eyes, ears, and compassion engaged. I offer wisdom, if it feels right. If they in fact want anything other than a willing ear for their words to land on.  Because sometimes, all we need is to be heard. Not to be validated, not to receive anyone else’s advice, not to to fix whatever has been shared by offering “you should…..”.  Just to listen, to be fully engaged and focused on the words and emotions they are offering.  What works best for me is to ask the question, “Do you wish for me to offer thoughts, or do you just need a place for your words to land?”

My friend then shared with me that he has been meeting remarkable and kind people lately, too. Knowing the personal journey he has experienced, I immediately smile and rejoice inside.  Because he has just discovered a key – this beautiful key to unlock understanding. This I know from my own journey and understanding.

Energy mirrors are reflecting back to him his current feeling of being heard. Truly heard. He and I have spent many hours in meaningful conversation, actually of him speaking and me listening.  So it is no surprise that others are now appearing to him, providing him the gift to now be the listener.

He is modifying his thoughts to choose differently. To hold gratitude for all the positive experiences and gestures he is witnessing, no matter how small they may seem at the time. Each one adds to the next in steps that are yet leading upwards.

And he is noticing that as he displays kindness to himself and to others, this is also being reflected back by the new people who are arising in his interactions.

I smile a knowing smile, in anticipation of what he will notice next.

Another beautiful journey is unfolding. I am honoured to both share insights that have helped me, and to bear witness to another’s growth and rejeuvenation.  Feeling blessed.

1004 Arizona50 Dragonflies

Savour

SAVOUR

Written by Laurie Bartley, Vibrational Catalyst – integrating Yoga, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, spirit, nutrition, and mindfulness for a fuller, vibrant life.

I attended a publishing/writing retreat in April to provide me with guidance and inspiration on the important steps to take when bringing the words in my heart to the world in the form of a book (or book series, to be more precise). It was at a beautiful oceanside resort on Vancouver Island, BC. The first day, we were given 3 minutes to free-flow write, prompted only by cards on the table with one single word on each.  The instructions were, “select your word and then write”. Here is what flowed in that time. And how these 3 simple minutes made a difference for someone else. I hope you enjoy it, and also find inspiration.

“Savour”

Savour life

Take chances

Speak your heart.

Live with abandon

Climb mountains

Meditate

Kiss.

Inhale deeply

Honour life.

Touch the Earth; Touch the sky.

Remember your power

Trust your Inner guidance

Explore yourself – all of yourself.

Give yourself permission to discover, to learn, to lead;

To help others forward with a smile, a gesture of kindness.

Savour friendship

Share your heart as deeply as you can;

Walk to the edge. Those who stand with you are there for a reason.

Trust, trust, trust that the universe is friendly.

Savour.

A few days later, a friend of mine was having a particularly challenging time, and she came to me for counsel and connection. Mostly for deep hugs and that place of safe haven – of feeling truly seen and heard. Of offering her true feelings in the moment and knowing they would land softly, without judgement, by someone willing to hold space and bear witness to her pain. After spending time listening, it felt right for me to share this writing with her. Which brought me the gift of realizing just how impactful 3 minutes can be.

In 3 minutes, a friendship can be made or broken; words can be spoken that heal or harm; love can be shared and accepted, or someone can step onto a different pathway than yours. A first kiss, or final kiss can be experienced. The final passage of childbirth can bring a tiny miracle into the world; or the final words you will ever say to someone can be spoken. In 3 minutes, a piece of music can uplift and inspire, an act of kindness can be given, words can be written or spoken, a dancer can move a heart to tears by their performance, seeds can be planted for many to enjoy a beautiful garden. So many amazing, brilliant, thoughtful, caring acts can be performed in 3 minutes.

Let’s take time to build 3 minutes of magic into our day – and into the lives of others, by extension.

In health and vibrancy, Laurie.

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Lessons From The Mountain

This morning, I hiked to the top lookout of a local mountain park. There are many routes to that lookout, and I chose a challenging one. Well, challenging for me, at least. I have not been to this elevation, although I have been on many of the outlying trails.

There were twists and turns, and many places where I couldn’t see where the path led. There were steep portions of the trail, where my breathing became more labored and where I could feel the heat building in my legs and lungs as I walked. And there were spaces of rest and repose, allowing my breathing and body sensations to return to more normal levels.

There are groomed spots, and places where small rocks, pine cones, and even branches cross the path. I noticed animal tracks that had hardened in the earth, a gentle reminder of another presence in the days before when the path was moist. And although the animal was long past, its memory was preserved – at least for the time being – for those whose awareness was directed to the imprints.

And suddenly, there it was. A long staircase cut into a particularly steep portion of the path. A fleeting thought of “why, oh why did I choose this trail” flickered in  my mind; followed closely by “just take one step at a time, you’ll get there”. And as I took each step, it occurred to me how this is a terrific metaphor for life. Traversing times where you are unsure where each step will take you, but trusting that step after step towards some new destination was necessary, or important, or inspired.

Or not.  Complacency or standing still could have been chosen. Or retracing steps back to a familiar place, but missing all the wonder and beauty and surprise and anticipation of what lies beyond.

Even though many before had taken this path, their steps did not land in the exact places as mine. Their pace and stride and in fact the particulars of the trail itself were likely similar, but not the same. They may or may not have noticed the trees, other landscapes, or animal tracks that I did today. They may have noticed completely different – but equally beautiful – surroundings. Sadly, they may have not noticed the beauty at all. The journey may have been completely lost in anticipation of the goal to arrive at the lookout.

When I got to the top and took refreshing and deep breaths in gratitude and wonder and admiration for the majesty of the view, I noticed what I believe was my most profound lesson of all.

There, at the top of the Apex Summit, the focus of the journey, the highlight of the trail, I noticed there was so much more magic and beauty to discover.

And isn’t that how life is?

We are led to the awareness that even a magnificent summit can be a stepping stone.

There is always more…   And it keeps me hopeful still.

In Vibrancy, Laurie Bartley, TTRP

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See It When I Believe It

Oh, the magic of perception.

I have long seen things from a positive point of view. I see challenges as lessons which always carry gifts for learning. Sometimes after navigating difficult situations or conversations, I envision a diploma has been handed to me. Through the challenge, life has provided yet another opportunity for me to revisit my beliefs and assumptions and to move to a new and powerful space for understanding;  for feeling;  for listening harder than I may ever have before.

Listening to others, but also – and vitally important – listening to our internal guidance which shows up as body messages – sore hips, tight muscles, clenched jaw, stomach rumblings or upset.  Sometimes, we feel heat, other times we clench muscles and constrict. Our breathing shallows or heartrate races, reacting to stimuli that we perceive as a threat.

Some of us wait for something outside of us to serve as proof of validity. “I’ll believe it when I see it” thought patterning. But my truth is that I see it when I first believe it.  When I am in flow.  When I am open to all possibilities and awareness, I then draw to myself experiences that support, or enhance, or even break down the belief.

If I didn’t believe in the power of my heart I would not have stepped into my Hospice volunteering. I would not have embarked upon a journey of a thousand lives as a compassionate healer/teacher.

The experiences I have shared with people are often profound beyond words. Deeply connected on many levels – mental, emotional, and spiritual.  The guidance and messages I receive on behalf of those I serve have often held deep meaning for them and always enrich our experience. All of my senses heighten and are used to inform – smell, words, sounds, colour, taste, intuition, feelings. I completely trust my gifts and calling, and follow the voices of my heart.

Because I see it when I believe it.

As I write this, the clouds are parting on what was forecast to be a rainy, stormy day. Robins are hopping along the grass outside the coffee shop I am in. People are sharing stories, engaged in conversation, or sitting alone, lost in thought.  I often experience  what I call “red carpet days”. Days that feel as if a red carpet has been rolled out in front of me, and I am fully supported in each graceful, easy step to a wonderful celebration. I am curious about who I will meet today, and what we will learn from each other. I smile in anticipation. I know I will experience a meaningful exchange with someone today.  Because I believe it.

In health and vibrancy, Laurie.

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Inner Beauty = Outer Radiance

This morning, after a few hours of computer work, I chose to spend time in the Hot-tub. It is outside, facing a large acreage, surrounded by horse pastures and a grove of trees. And I knew it was the perfect way to both warm me and massage my shoulders which were tight from sitting and typing for a longer stretch than I usually take.

And although I spent a short time with the jets relaxing my shoulders, I quickly moved to a spot in the tub that focussed the jets on on my energetic ‘Power Body’, the area along my low to mid spine. I affectionately name the Chakra’s located there in my core “I am”, “I feel”, and “I decide”.

As I appreciated the beauty of this place, and took in full, deep breaths, I contemplated each energetic space and simply allowed insight and awareness to come to light. I invited any heavy feelings, thoughts, and emotions surrounding these areas to release, using the visualization of the bubbling water to assist me with letting go.  This created space for new noticings to come to light.  Feeling into my body the freshness, newness and expansiveness of these insights, lessons, and inspiration.

I feel renewed and rejeuvenated, and so excited for the day ahead. I will be meeting with a few people individually, and also hosting a Music and Meditation gathering tonight, which I am super excited about.

My amazing friend, Joy, provided a reading this morning, explaining it was a “10” day, a day of gratitude and a day of beginnings.

So I pondered this, and came to the awareness that my morning has already reflected this. A single neighbour dog walked along the fence line, step for step with me as I walked to take out the garbage and recycling. I met a new neighbour as we were both ensuring the bins were out. And while in the hottub, a single quail peeked his head out at me in curiosity, moving back to shelter after I greeted him.

I am excited to see what the remainder of the day brings!  I am curious and open, and wishing you the same.

In vibrancy, Laurie.

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The Gift is in The Exhale

Many of us have been led to believe that we must (or should) take on more responsibility –  at work, at home, through volunteering, you name it.  We find work we love to do (or something we are skilled at), sometimes travelling farther from our home and loved ones, all the while staying connected via a multitude of online tools. Work often consumes both our days and nights – even compromising our weekend. Time with family can become distracted. Eating is done on an ad-hoc schedule, and sometimes in the car on your way to the next meeting.

We are very good at taking on more.  At holding it up; holding it in; holding on.

But this is counter-intuitive.

Would you expect to inhale without first exhaling?  Seriously – try it!. Inhale. More, and more, and more, keep going….. just a little bit longer……  You get the idea. It won’t take long until your lungs and body scream.

Yet, I help people every day who have taken on, taken in – past the point of sustainability – without ever considering also releasing. Whose bodies are screaming – or at least talking strongly.  And while paying radical attention to descipher what our bodies are saying, I will share with you a common thread I have noticed.

The gift is in the Exhale.

Think about it, every baby born must first rid the lungs of fluid before the potential arises to breathe in. It is counter-intuitive to breathe in without first breathing out.

When you are most stressed….. when your body is most tired and sore…. when you would do almost anything for an extra 1/2 hour in your day….. Those are the times you most need to extend to yourself the same tender nurturing care you provide to others.

Let yourself move – in nature, if possible. Take a quick time-out to listen to a song that enlivens you. Let go of something that is not high-priority. Some task or commitment that comes from a place of obligation or expectation instead of a place of love and joy. Some task or obligation you may be surprised to find that that someone else will take with gladness. Immerse yourself in a soothing experience with a practitioner who will nurture you – where all you have to do is ‘be’. However you choose to allow it, take as long as you wish, and Breathe It Out…….

The gift is in the Exhale

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This article is featured in January 2017 Sybil Magazine, for the Spirit and Soul of Woman.  Here is the link to the full magazine.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nrrt8og5o6zzlig/JANUARY%202017%20SIBYL%20MAGAZINE%20(Annual%20Premier%20Issue).pdf?dl=0

In health and vibrancy, Laurie.

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What The Fog Taught Me

The city I live in is nestled in a valley in British Columbia, Canada. There is a large lake, along which many communities have sprung.

It has been called the “Four Seasons Playground” and hosts diverse natural habitats – golf courses, ski hills, nature trails, and of course the lake itself.  Should we drive to visit friends and relatives in Vancouver or other outlying areas, we must travel across very high mountain passes.

Frequently on those highways, we travel through fog. Driving through the fog is scary. Terrifying even. It comes on suddenly, and at times is so thick that I have not been able to see even one car length ahead. At these times, the mind engages in “I wonder” – wondering by how much the drivers ahead have slowed down, while simultaneously wondering if the people behind will slow to my speed….. or whether we will lose sight of the lanes, or improperly navigate a turn…..you get the idea.

I have never been in an accident in the fog. I have never witnessed an accident due to fog. But I know how scary it is to be in it. My senses heighten. My eyes open a bit wider, using expanded peripheral awareness. My posture straightens, as if in ‘set’ position at a foot race. My muscles on alert, ready for sudden shifts in movement, waiting for the “go” signal. My ears even open, listening for the slightest cue that may help my failing  sight in this situation.

And I notice how this is a terrific metaphor for challenges in life. When you really can’t see ahead of you, and are taught to rely on simply this present moment. When everything seems to slow down, you become aware of every breath, when every sense you have is on alert. Where you place your trust in something bigger than yourself.  And allow this trust to guide you through to when you can once again see from a viewpoint of clarity.

You see, even in the densest fog, the road beneath me has not changed, the mountains, sun and sky continue to hold their place…. The single variable and often terrifying truth is simply that my perspective of everything has shifted, due to my limited vision in those moments.

And isn’t that how life is?  We are often reminded – suddenly and without the option of backing out or turning around – to surrender to the moment, to use other senses in lieu of what our eyes can see, to trust that the ground remains steadfast, and that, yes, we can navigate through this safely. Not comfortably perhaps, but intact.

In those moments, who is at our side, navigating through this with us, becomes extremely important.  There are times that the nervousness – or panic – of my passenger becomes palpable. It adds to my anxiety.  Other times, my passengers have gently, and often without a word, taken a deep, centering breath and I could feel their trust and positive energy adding an extra layer of nurturance and guidance through the fog.

I heard a speaker once say “Flowers don’t grow without stirring up the soil ”.

What flowers are waiting to bloom in your garden?

What will the fog teach you?

1004 Arizona50 Dragonflies

Beyond The Words

Written Words

It’s interesting to me that I enjoy the poetry and eloquence of the written and spoken word as much as I do, especially since the bulk of my healing work and volunteering is done in the powerful – and often profound – realm beyond words.
With the variety of energy work I provide, compassionate care is offered through light touch or near touch to guide people’s energy field to wholeness. The majority of experiences are provided in an atmosphere of soothing music, and without conversation. And yet, there is much communication. In this intuitive and responsive time together, I notice things, trust what arises, and offer appropriate focus of care based on a multitude of non-verbal signals.
I realized early in my Hospice volunteering that in fact, so much communication occurs in the space beyond and sometimes beneath the words. When in the depths of final transition, so much cannot be conveyed with words. Sometimes, despair doesn’t allow for words to come. Sometimes, the person I am sitting with is in the final moments of life, and unable to speak. These are profound moments that serve as reminders of the immense power and sanctity of non-verbal communication. A willing hand to hold, a gentle presence, a gaze of understanding and compassion, or simply holding space for someone in need are all meaningful in this immensely rich time beyond words.
Perhaps this is why I appreciate the times I hear or read words from others that resonate with me. They serve as reminders of the interplay within communication. Because the message is heard in the ear of the listener. Irrespective of the actual words said, it is the perspective of the listener that creates the framework for their meaning.
Lately I had the pleasure of hearing a host of people I admire, including Marianne Williamson Barbara Marx Hubbard, Penache Desai, the list goes on and on…… at a global teleconference. And I took the opportunity to jot down a few of the gems from their sharing, to capture them for another day when I will again receive their inspiration, be lifted, and perhaps pass them along in a silent prayer to someone else.
And I recognize the enormous power for inspiration and influence the written word provides. I have been asked to share a bit of my life journey in a collection of stories showcasing the power of defining moments within the lives of a variety of people. I am blessed to be part of this book, and will dig deep to articulate words that best express my moments of clarity, of choice, of connection, of experiences that have both shaped my world and rippled to those around me. I will seek to transmit the feelings within my story in an authentic way that both honours the people on my path, and invites readers on a journey of discovery.
As I write these words today, I am reminded of a poem that shaped my early adulthood. Here’s a bit of context… I graduated from high school and moved away from home in a time before personal computers and emails, let alone texting and Skype, were commonplace. So I used to write a lot of letters. Perhaps after reading this poem, you will understand why. I hope you enjoy this perspective of the written word as much as I do.

 

“They tell me Mom and Dad check the mailbox every day for a letter from me.
I pray for them often, but don’t write much.
Perhaps I should write more often and pray less?
Or maybe, a letter is a prayer that meant what it said”.                  Author Unknown.

 

In health and vibrancy, Laurie.