All that Space

This must be the fourth or fifth post I’ve tried to write. For so long, I’ve had the urge to write. Now that I have the space, the words don’t come.

What’s going on? The topics we choose for each month are of interest to me. I’ve got tonnes of ideas. I’m excited to talk about them in the podcasts. Get me in front of the screen to starting writing, and my mind goes blank.

Sure, I could say it’s because I started a new job this month and that’s taken up my time. That’s partly true. After three months off, having to get up and be alert for 8 hours a day was a challenge. For the first two weeks, I usually had a nap on the couch after work and was in bed earlier than normal.

I could say it’s because, during and after work, I need to make sure my dad gets his medications and cook his meals. I always have an ear open for him because, with his failing vision, he can get disoriented in the house.

There’s also two dogs who need my care and attention. Left to his own devices, Keo – my 120 pound rottweiler – is only too happy to amuse himself in fun and creative ways (that usually result in some type of clean-up for me!).

For an entire month, we talked about creating space. You’d think I’d have practiced what I preached! In some ways, I did. I’ve created mental and emotional space. I purged my home office and bedroom (with more purging to happen when we can hold a garage sale). I’m feeling comfortable in all the spaces I’ve found.

With all the space created, why is sitting down to write so daunting? Is it because I don’t feel I have anything of value to contribute? Nah. I know what I share won’t resonate with everyone, but it will resonate with some. Is it because I don’t have ideas to share? Gosh no. I have loads of them!

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t quite ready to fill the spaces I’ve created. I was figuring out what was important to me, what I truly value, and being selfish with the space I’ve created.

A couple of books helped me get back to writing. Both are written by Sarah Knight. First, there was “You Do You”, and then, “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck”. The next podcast will be about what we’ve learned from the latter book. Let’s just say, I’ve created spaced, I’ve sorted my f*cks, and I know where they are going to be spent.

You’ll be hearing more from me in the future!

Non-attachment

Be in the world but not of the world

I had a dream a few years ago and it has stayed with me. I am weeping because my husband has told me he sold our home and we were moving. I wasn’t upset about the house nor its contents. That, I was perfectly fine to let go of. What hurt my heart was to leave my gardens behind. I have spent years in development of my outside spaces. I have created a space full of fruit, flowers, havens for bee and birds. It is my own little oasis. My paradise. It’s an interesting attachment. Perhaps even a little unrealistic as plants, earth, rocks and wood can all be recreated anywhere. Yes, it would take time but it isn’t impossible to do.

In buddism there is a practice called “non-attachment”. The gist is to not allow your sense of wellbeing to rely on anything other than your own presence of awareness. “Be in the world but not of the world”.

Be in the world but not of the world

Buddha

We spend much of our time seeking out the approval of others. We are addicted to “Likes”. We are on a perpetual quest for acceptance, recognition of contribution, confirmation that we matter. We have lost reliance on our own awareness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to check in with those we trust to make sure we have a good grip on reality. Opinions, though, are a tricky thing. They can come from a place of love. They can be contructive and they are attached to someone elses perspective.

So what’s the point? The month of Januarys’ theme has been “clearing spaces”-mind, body and spirit. I have been working on the connections between mind and spirit. Pulling up past traumas to examine it with the lense of being present and self-aware (as aware as possible). I know I have choices to consider. I can blame others for how I think and feel about me or I can practice non-attachment.

If my gardens ever disappear from my life, I know I can recreate them in my heart and mind. I am master of my universe any time I choose to be. I have proof this is possible projecting memories and spaces in meditation and dreams at will. I can do the same with how I think and feel about myself. Learning to rely on intuition, empathy and a sense of “self” to guide me perhaps to a new oasis non-attached to a world or space that no longer relevant to my wellness or growth.

Are you ready to “let go” and practice non-attachment?

Untethered Space

In this blog I am going to do something a little different. I have been on numerous hikes through the coulees that surround where I live in Southern Alberta. I have heard many times that the area is situated on a unique number of vortex’s and natural energy throughout the rivers habitat. I have found that to be the case.

I invite you into one of my shaman journeys today. I always find the practice full of useful information and guidance. I hope you do too!

Meditation in Pavan Park Lethbridge

You Can’t Undo Awareness

Reflecting on Luna Terra Soul podcast and card reading.

Every blessing ignored becomes a curse

The Alchemist

In our most recent podcast “The Ace of Space”, Selena (Luna Terra Soul) mentioned the book “The Alchemist”. I hadn’t heard of it before or at least not yet connected its importance to the current journey I am on. In the podcast one of the cards that had come up for me was the 4 of Swords. I’ve had some time to reflect on its meaning and the significance of appearing now.

The confession of not being in balance is true. The more I clear space, the more real it becomes. The 7 of Pentacles does tie into the present and future as I reflect on what path to take next. It’s a confirmation to always have a back up plan. The main story in “The Alchemist” follows a young shepherd on his quest to find his treasure in Egypt. At one point he is distracted from his quest for a period of time. I know how that feels as I have often set out to accomplish one thing and ended up pursuing something else that filled the space without awareness. An event occurs that brings him back to his original goals and he has to decide which direction he will follow. The parallels of his journey and mine are not lost on me. We both seek a treasure. I have a feeling that we both at this point believe the treasure to be one thing and will eventually realize it might be something else entirely. 

I can always go back to being a shepherd

The Alchemist

“ I can always go back to being a shepherd…maybe I’ll never have another chance to get to the pyramids in Egypt”(excerpt of reflection by the boy in book).

I can always seek out the opportunities that my education and experience has brought me. There is comfort in the familiar path and very little that is unknown if I seek to continue it.

“Why not” is mentioned in the book. To some, that might seem insignificant. To others, it’s something I have been known to say often. An omen perhaps to relate to a kindred spirit? To go into ambiguity and uncertainty with an open heart and mind. 

The synchronicities that come up for me in this book would be spine tingling if I wasn’t used to the universe’s ability to validate the reason I go where I go and do what I do when the timing is right to do it. That might sound confusing so let me explain. 

Series of events…

  • Selena mentions the book “The Alchemist”
  • I don’t recall it and decide to start to read it
  • Right away I start to see the connections
    • I am a visual person, the fact that the journey begins in Spain in areas in which I have stood, engaged in the culture and heritage. I have sailed across the very channel he speaks of to the port of Tangier. 
    • The desert of North Africa will forever be forged in my spirit. I didn’t quest to go all the way to Egypt but I can close my eyes and smell the dust, feel the sway of the camels as we venture further into nothingness and dream under thousands of stars.

The geography is one part of the familiar journey, the boy’s personal journey of balance and desire is another. The book talks of a Personal Legend. It goes on to explain that when we are young everything is possible. As time passes and life interferes with our goals we say goodbye to those dreams. If we stay open to the potential the universe will send us omens to forward our Personal Legend. It’s just waiting in the wings for us to be aware once again and is willing to pick up where we left off if we chose to continue.

Further in the book it talks about “making a decision is only the beginning of things.” I have noticed this anomaly happen in my life. I don’t have to have the master plan in place, just intuitively choose a direction to go. The rest will fall into place as it should if I am aware of the signs, nudges and gifts of knowledge that show up when appropriate. 

I haven’t finished the book yet as I write this blog. I felt compelled to get down my thoughts today before I go for my walk. It feels right to do so and share it with you.

I am still not sure what my next chapter looks like. I have some reflection still to consider. The dreams I had as a young girl no longer seem valid to this midlife woman’s heart. I will have to see and feel what the cards are bringing up next. There is comfort in knowing there is time and I am learning the practice of patience.

The Ace of Space Podcast With Luna Terra Soul

We have been talking about clearing space now it’s time to start to think about what we want to do with the space?
To help us add clarity we invited Selena from Luna Terra Soul to join us for a Sunday evening chat and personal card reading. Listen to our next podcast to hear what the cards had to tell us…

Check out Selena’s site and offerings @lunaterrasoul

Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to get notified of our next blog and podcast postings.

The Healing Springs of Bali

The healing powers of Bali

Unpacking space: Past, Present and Future

I am forever grateful I have this gift of past travels. To bask in my adventures through memories, meditation and photos is priceless. To give gratitude everyday for having the presence of mind to soak up every minute of it helps me now to cope with our current present. To know that you are part of something greater than yourself and to be open to the customs and healing rituals of other cultures and beliefs enriches our humanity. It’s an amazing world and we are lucky to have it! You don’t have to travel to exotic places to enjoy and take part of wellness( I know that’s easy for me to say as I have done that many times). The wilderness by my house is full of medicine for my soul. It’s the intention to create a space for healing that counts in the long run to what we put in our “spaces”.

In a time when the world is in turmoil, the need to open a sanctuary of comfort and kindness is desperately welcomed. I was lucky to have experienced such a place in 2019. Accompanied by my neice and a mutual friend, we traveled for three glorious weeks throughout Bali. As was our way in Bali, the guide found us at the entrance to the springs. He then proceeded to spend the day giving us guidance, history and acted as our personal photographer (didn’t expect that but now I am grateful for the wonderful photos). It was an opportunity for us to reflect on our past, be fully aware of our present and to create an inviting space for our futures.

The Titra Empul Healing Springs in Bali has a rich history, sense of sacredness and truly a wonder of nature. The temple was built in 926 AD during the rule of Warmadewa. The location was chosen because of the presence of a sacred spring. The legend tells a tale of an epic battle between a magical king named Mayadenawa and a god called Indra.

Mayadenawa possessed great spiritual powers of transformation. As with any great power the temptation to exploit it caused him to use it for evil instead of good. The god, Indra, took exception to this practice and planned an attack on the king. Mayadenawa caught wind of the plan and snuck into Indra’s camp as the army slept one night. He decided to create an enticing pond where the army would drink from when they awoke in the morning.

Indra discovered many of his men had perished and many more were sick or dying. Indra, with his almighty power, pierced the ground with his staff and converted the water to a sacred spring that was thought to be holy.

Today the spring still flows and many locals, countrymen and seekers of healing line the pathways eager to immerse themselves or fill their water bottles in the ponds.There is an interesting property about how the water bubbles up to the surface. The earth in which it emerges is a combination of sand and gravel. One would think it would be cloudy or discoloured. Any yet, it comes up crystal clear. I watched as many visitors fill their jugs, canteens and water bottles. I was curious so asked the guide what the purpose of doing this is? Since the water is believed to be sacred and full of healing properties, many use it in ceremonies, blessings and personal rituals.

Before we got to the temple we had stopped at a local market to purchase a sarong as the dress code was very strict in the pools and on the grounds. The guide was very helpful in showing us the right way to tie a sarong. I was skeptical that it would cover my bits but he was an expert and in no time we were ready to make our way to the gates of the first set of pools. We purchased a small bamboo container and some flowers and incense to make an offering then made our way to the entrance.

Opening space…

Centering your being with intent and focus is part of the protocol and practice. We found a space to sit on the stone benches facing the water. Ah the energy in a place like that is mystical, thick with culture, history and balm for your soul. In silent meditation we drew on our own desires and needs. We opened our hearts and mind to the knowing support was available from these ancient spirit guides.

Saying “goodbye” to the past…

The guide instructed us that there were 3 sets of fountains in the maze of pools. They represented the past, the present and the future. As you approach each flowing tap, meditate on what you want most then fullfill the actions as directed. 

My heart was beating out of my chest as I worried about remembering all of the instructions. I wanted to do it right! It was my turn. The past, what wrong doings did I want to let go of? Who did I need to forgive, forget and release? I cupped the water as instructed and with a downward motion washed away my past three times in quick succession. To seal the deal, I then dunked my head under the spigot to get rid of any lingering negative energy. Even as I write this now, I still feel the release and a sense of being lighter somehow.

Bring awareness to the present…

We navigated out of the first pool and made our way to the second set.

In this meditative labyrinth we contemplated the present and future. Invited positive energy to fill our hearts and minds. I cupped the water and let it flow from the back of my head this time to the front. Welcoming the exchange of energy instead of pushing it away. An invitation to heal within my being.

By this time I am feeling pretty wonderful. Almost like the water is full of happy juice. I start to notice the people around us clearer. I can see the generations of families that are here together from newborn babies to great grandmas. I am in awe and a bit jealous of the bond they must be feeling. As we make our way to the stairs, one of the families is right in front of me. Great grandma is making her way up the stairs to rise up out of the water. I reach to help and all of the sudden there are numerous relatives surrounding us. She smiles at me, my heart clenches. Can she see into my soul? I think she can as the joy is reflected back at me through her generational eyes.

A drink to the future…

Our final wade leads us towards the future. The ritual changes slightly. We dip our heads three times under the fountain and then take a sip from the spring. This will ensure any lingering negative energy or toxins are released and we ingest positive energy for our future.

We came away from the springs refreshed. Each of us wanting to find a quiet space to savor and take in all we had been blessed to be part of. 

My heart was full. My mind was sharp and clear and my soul? It was soaring!!

Making Spaces- Podcast # 3

Want to get rid of stuff but are struggling to decide how to get started? What happens when you cancel out all of the outside noise and go silent for 3 days? Discover what’s inside the darkest corners of our homes. We chat about how we have been spending our time post layoffs. The process of letting go of clutter and the rewards that come from keeping the space open for visits without permanent residency. As always, we are frank and unfiltered so be prepared to join us in good natured banter and genuine conversation.

Cheers from Sharon and Vanessa

Day 5-The Purge Continues…Let’s Make Bread!

What do you do when you decide not to work at working?

A couple of packages arrived yesterday and I was curious as to was in them. My husband and I had made a pact not to order things online for the month of January. It’s only January 8 today and he has ordered two things. So much for that resolution!

I was pretty sure the packages must be his. Nope! The delays of parcels being delivered because of the Christmas rush had caused things I had ordered in November of 2020 to start showing up now. I just got rid of 6 bags of clothes. Guess what was in the packages? Never click on the links that show up late at night on Facebook before you know it t shirts like this show up in the mail.

Exhibit A-Late night shopping

We also promised not to buy groceries until the contents of our freezer, fridge and cupboards is reduced to staples that could feed 50 people for a month. While sorting out one of the cupboards I came across the breadmaker. Remember when making bread was a thing made easier by this contraption? We all thought we would use it everyday. The smell of fresh bread wafting through our homes. Well, best intentions for sure. The good thing about being a borderline hoarder is you usually keep all the packaging and booklets that accompany the gadgets. I decided to take a break this morning and fire up the old breadmaker. I can smell the Italian spiced loaf (recipe was in the booklet) now as I write this blog. My husband and I can’t pass up bargains and sometimes that gets a bit out of hand. A trip to a small town grocery store resulted in purchasing 15 blocks of a variety of hard cheese. The cashier was very helpful saying that you can freeze cheese. Geez Louise – do we really need that much cheese???

As I consume my cheese and Italian loaf, I am contemplating what to tackle next in my commitment to creating space. I want to make sure I am balanced in my practice to clear not only my living space but my metaphysical one also. After some sleepless nights, opinions from others, and financial considerations, I have come to the decision not to pursue a full time job right now. It’s uncomfortable – if I am being honest. I started working at the age of 8 where I babysat every Saturday. Back in the day, it was considered OK for an 8 year old to look after your kids. I took two breaks between then and now to have my kids.

What will I do will all that time space? Can I allow myself the opportunity to not jam pack it with distractions? Contrary to popular belief, I think that not having the routine of knowing you are expected to show up 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, and perform some tasks of which you get paid for, takes a lot of courage and discipline. Courage because others will judge you for it – lack of ambition, lazy, not employable, no motivation. To be honest, I have been judging me for it. 2020 was a wake up call. In 2021 I am awake! In the past I would have jumped right into another career path without thinking about it. As I clear out my “junk” I am willing to allow the space to exist empty for now. There will be plenty of time to fill it later or maybe never. I am OK with letting it remain open.

Bread is ready! Let’s go enjoy it!

30 Days Of Purging…Part Two

The benefits of living in a home for over 35 years is that you don’t have to pack up your stuff very often and move. The drawbacks of living in a home for 35 years is that you don’t have to pack up your stuff and move.

Let me give you an example of the level of excess going on in my home. At Christmas time I decided to decorate a small fake tree. Thanks to practicing the art of “out of mind…must not have one so go buy it syndrome” I purchased a new small Christmas tree. I then logically thought I needed ribbon and decorations for this tree, so purchased them as well. In the back of my mind I knew if I wanted to dig through the black hole under the stairwell I would find enough holiday knick knacks to put everything together, but I decided on all new this year since 2020 had been less than stellar.

Sharon and I agreed to “creating space” as our topic for January 2021. We alluded to the topic in our second podcast titled “Obligations, Traditions, and Making Space for Joy”. New year, new decade might as well clean the slate to gain some much needed space. What I didn’t count on was the level of work it was going to take to tackle this properly. I have attempted to “downsize” my possessions in the past and they just seemed to creep back into my house and life. This time I wanted to be more purposeful and permanent with the attempt. 

Like in the past, I started with a list of things I needed to buy in order for this to be a success. I needed storage bins, shelves, organizers and so on. I was about to go and purchase these things and then stopped…wait a minute, isn’t the objective to get rid of stuff instead of get more stuff? I had to think about this, my past behaviors and determine that I didn’t need anything but strength, determination and will power to get this party started.

Why do we always start with the physical and tangible things when we decide to create space in our lives? I have a theory, it’s because we can see the carnage. Well, let me clarify, we can see the borders of the carnage, what’s underneath is anyone’s guess.

The door under the stairs leads to a magical place of mystery and intrigue. Actually, it leads to a whole lot of things that haven’t been interacted with for two years or more. There is a couch in front of the door with many other items to prevent me from easily opening it. Baby steps everyone, this is a big project here. I pull out everything and try and organize it into piles of keep, throw away, sell and give away. 

I soon realize I have four Christmas trees plus the one I just purchased. To some that might not seem like many. To me? I had no idea that I had bought – some time in the recent past – almost exactly the same small tree I bought this year. I had almost 40 rolls of ribbon. Again, I had bought more ribbon this year. I am not going to go item by item here. Let’s just say there was a lot of stuff hiding in that magical black hole.

To make this easier on myself I have committed to a little less everyday for 30 days. So far? This is day 3. I have kept a little and made several trips to the Goodwill Store so that someone else can enjoy my excess. I have been brutally honest about if I really need something or not. I am leaning toward the “not needed” pile. Wish me luck. I am hoping it won’t take all year to complete this mission, and for now, I have committed to 30 days. I thought I would let you peek into my stashes just a little, so enjoy the excess while it lasts.

30 days of Silently Purging A Path To Clarity-Part One of Two

This year’s mission is to reclaim space. It will have to be a slow and steady process of sorting, evaluating level of connection and then making the decision…keep, sell, give away or turf. I can’t even fit this blog post into one post.

When things are physically apparent in excess it’s a bit easier to evaluate their worth and potential for future use or to purge. The piles can be seen, compared, and then dealt with as appropriate. What often gets missed is the things you don’t see. I know of people who rent storage units to hold onto momentos and family history. That makes some sense. I even got a notification that suggested I up my iCloud storage account as it was getting full. What? Something I hadn’t given much thought to was my digital storage footprint. It’s so easy to keep thousands of videos and pictures when you don’t print them anymore or save them to disks. You can even specify, in you will, what you want done with your Facebook page.

Here’s the thing about possessions – they come with a price tag and it’s not the one you think. In order for you to possess them you have to give up the space they occupy. The space can be tangible or intangible. The more you accumulate, the smaller the space becomes and sooner or later you either run out of space or find yourself trapped in a corner behind layers and layers of things you don’t value anymore.

One of the last places we tend to think about spring cleaning is in our minds, and yet it’s one of the most healthy things we can do to improve our quality of life.

We have all heard of Steve Jobs wardrobe preferences. Dress the same everyday to free up your mental state to concentrate on other things. It’s scientific fact that our brains only have so much capacity to concentrate on any given number of thoughts and concerns about anything and everything going on in our lives. If you are skeptical about this concept I recommend you try a weekend silent retreat. I won’t torture you with an invitation to take a seat in my mind during one of these retreats. Heck maybe your monkey is worse than mine?

As with anything, a whole lot of practice can create habits. Habits become routines. A regular routine of purging that which no longer serves me is a direct route to clarity in my opinion and my mind, body and soul.

I have routinely attended weekend silent retreats over the last few years. It usually happens in February and is hosted at a local convent. The place is on the edge of the coulees, nestled into the side of the hills and is cut off from outside noise. It’s pure outside noise deprivation for 3 days. Now, this either scares the heck out people or lights them up with eagerness to join. The first day is like going through withdrawal symptoms just like someone who is addicted to a substance. You don’t realize how loud your life is until it’s not or you take away the source. You don’t realize how loud ambient noise is or the degree of stimulation that bombards you daily until it’s cut off completely.

By the end of the first 24 hours you might experience headaches, physical pain or nausea as the noise purging starts. The practice begins each day with awakening before dawn (4:30am). The first meditation begins at 5:30 am and continues with the rising of the sun until the breakfast gong rings at about 7 am. There are 3 group meditations each day, afternoon naps, personal time and shared silent meals. Every movement of your body is tracked in your mind on purpose. One of the purposes is to recognize connections between your physical, mental and spiritual self. By day 3 you are becoming comfortable with the silence. If you are lucky you have purged some of your monkey mind. Believe me when I say that 3 days of listening to the crap of my inner musings is enough to make any sane or otherwise person exhausted. The retreat, if you can call it that, gives you a taste of what it would be like to decompress and let go of all that internal and external clutter that takes up space in your mind, body and spirit.

So for the month of January in the 2021 year I am starting a practice of letting go. Any good purge starts with some rituals that help to make them stick. We will share our journey and insights as we go.

Follow along with us as we delve deeper into the excess and discover that which we will choose to keep or let go of. We will also explore what is behind the door that connects to my basement stairs and other interesting crevices in my house and Sharon’s.