Sunday, December 30, 2012

Observations Along The Path

We're back after an eight day stay in Banff over Christmas. I love going to Banff at this time of year, it is incredibly beautiful.

Most of the days we were there John and I were helpers in Santa's Workshop at the Banff Springs so it isn't really a holiday but it most certainly is a change in pace and focus. I'm always amazed at the creativity that comes out when people are given the opportunity. I have also been the celebrant at the Banff Springs Christmas Eve service for the past 5 years which is a bit more my element.

It's all great fun and I admit a bit tiring so it's also good to come home again even though I hit the ground running starting with a meeting Friday night for a Celebration of Life service on Saturday before I could even unpack. Then I presided at a commitment ceremony as well on Saturday night in Leduc. I call it a celebration of love ceremony actually which is very much in alignment with the whole Celebrant thing that is the major direction my life has taken over the past year.

In 2011 I thought I was heading into a new career in coaching with a sideline of celebrant services but that has all shifted in 2012 and now I would say I am a celebrant with a coaching sideline. Works for me. I love the celebrant work and feel very blessed every time I am invited to serve families in this capacity.

I am in the process (ok, I've bought the hosting package and that's about it) of creating a new website for the life celebrations work which will include pet celebrations as well. That is my project for January and since I seem to work a lot better when I put things in writing and announce them to the world I'm going to say that I will have the new site up and running by January 15th. There, I've said it, now I know the universe is already creating the space and time for it to happen. Now it's time to go with the flow and see what evolves.

It's fun observing life and the way it unfolds rather than thinking I am the one who has to make things happen. I realize that even the desire to be, do or have things is not personal, it comes from far beyond this little idea I call me. That includes the desire to create a new website. It just showed up one day and I am the vehicle through which it is unfolding.

As much as decisions appear to be conscious choices, I really doubt that's the way it's actually happening. The more I observe life the more it is clear to me that the projector is not the originator of anything. What I call me is just that, the projector, through which the film of life is unfolding at this particular point in consciousness. And I do so love movies!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Responding to Painful Events

When emotional pain is not acknowledged and attended to it morphs into all manner of effect. It can become disease, injury, resentment, bitterness, anger, violence which is often referred to as 'evil'.

When I learned of the school shooting in Connecticut I felt deep pain and sadness and wondered what might make a young man kill his mother then drive to an elementary school and start shooting children and teachers then himself? The immediate response was 'pain'. The most likely driver would have to be emotional pain of some sort that may have been festering for a long time and somehow triggered (pardon the pun). 

When this kind of event takes place you find people everywhere reviewing their safety practices and making new laws and rules while busily condemning evil and hating the perpetrators. In the end, how does that address the pain? It's no different from what we do personally when we are hurting and don't know what to do with it; there is a tendency to blame and to put up more layers of defense.

There is another way. We can attend to that which is hurting with compassion and understanding, whether it is our own pain and the pain of others. We can learn to see beyond the outer layers of hatred and anger to the soft center of innocence and vulnerability. We can give what is actually being called for which is love instead of rejection.

One of the reasons I don't turn away from the 'news' is that every time something like these shootings or any kind of painful event happens it is an opportunity to focus love and compassion where it is most needed in the world and in myself. After all, the way we perceive the outer is but a projection of the inner world in the end.

Start right where you are, attending to your own pain and see how that affects your view of the world and the way you respond to events like these school shootings or wars or drunk drivers or any other painful scenario.

You want peace and love? Be peace and love.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Death and Presence

I love celebrations of life. So much so in fact that I have decided to expand that aspect of my services to include pet celebrations.

I've been toying with the idea for quite some time but had not acted on it until Ardeth who owns Appel Funeral Home started a pet funeral home in Edmonton. It inspired me to jump in and offer celebrant services to help people deal with the loss of their beloved furred and feathered friends.

It's so easy for society to dismiss this kind of loss or gloss over it as though it should be no big deal, but it is a big deal when your pet is your best friend and source of love and comfort. Loss is loss and when a very important part of our lives dies, whether human or animal, it is important to acknowledge, grieve and celebrate the life lost.

When I was younger I didn't think grief was a big deal, matter of fact I didn't let myself grieve the losses I had encountered, I just suppressed the pain and carried on as though nothing had really happened. When it finally did all start coming out I was quite shocked at the layers and layers of unacknowledged grief I had been carrying. It wasn't that it hadn't been affecting me, it was just that I didn't know what it was when I acted out or get depressed or lost interest in life.

I suspect unacknowledged grief is being experienced in epidemic proportions in our culture because we have made death something to be hidden away or unnatural somehow. Death is every bit as natural and part of life and birth is, they are two sides of the coin of life which must be experienced by everyone and everything that is manifest. We like to soften it up by using words like transitioned or passed over but the reality is that the physical presence is no more, it has died, regardless of what one may believe about what happens next. There is a loss which needs to be grieved.

What I've learned with my own grief is that when I acknowledge the loss and associated pain and sadness and am fully present to it I don't have to act out or get depressed or run away through any kind of distracting behavior. I move toward it instead of trying to get away from it, giving it the quality of attention it needs which is compassion and understanding. It is only then that I can experience the poignancy and sweetness of the experience which leads to a state of deep peace and ever expanding waves of love.

Presence, presence, presence. That's what is truly available in all of life's experiences when I embrace them instead of turning away and pretending. Presence is the home of peace, love and joy and that is what is continually calling from within. It's all right here, right now as long as I am too.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Seeming Contradictions

Wow, there's so much going on in the inner world these days it can be a little overwhelming at times. Life however brings everything up in its own time and so moving with whatever shows up is always the best option.

One of the elements of the human condition I have been getting insight on of late is what might seem like internal contradictions or what some people have called pairs of opposites. We tend to experience them as duality a lot of the time and the ensuing struggle can be very confusing and even paralyzing at times.

The aspect of duality or contradiction I'm referring to here is the existence of two seemingly opposite ideas co-existing in the psyche at the same time. For instance there is a desire in me to be seen and at the same time there is a desire to be invisible. There is a desire for 'wealth' along with a pull toward 'poverty'. I could undoubtedly go on about this but you get the drift.

What I notice about these desires is that one tends to be more unconscious than the other generally and there is a definite sense of separation between the two, an either/or kind of energy. They seem very complex with layers of feelings and beliefs surrounding the desires. When I simply observe the thoughts around them rather than getting caught up in them however, I notice that the thoughts are not the truth but rather assumptions and beliefs that have developed over the years in an effort to make sense of the opposing desires.

When I move toward the essence of the desires however I get that they are actually a continuum of possibilities based on an idea. Visibility and invisibility seem to be based on an idea that I would call existence; wealth and poverty on an idea of ownership or possession. They are experiences available to us in the human form and we get to play with them or (suffer through them).

When I view these seeming contradictions from the perspective of possibilities based on a single idea I feel a kind of freedom and the movement of energy in my body. There is nothing to struggle with from this perspective because all my beliefs about it are not The Truth, they're just ways I can experience these ideas. They can co-exist very comfortably within the psyche when I become aware of the spectrum which I had previously been seeing as contradictions.

Life really is just one big adventure isn't it?

A Continuum of Possibilities