The Great Reset

Happy New Year

Time to reset the clock in a forward direction

It’s December 31, 2021. Happy New Year! What a year it has been for me and I am sure you can say the same?

I have been gathering a collection of thoughts, reflections on how this 2021 experience has affected the world. Now, more than ever, there seems to be a collective consciousness that can no longer be suppressed. Many voices are standing up and daring to be heard. I have watched thousands of friends, neighbors, strangers and influencers have epiphanies on what they value and  assess how they are living their lives. What was once worth sacrificing everything for has become meaningless.

There is a ton of information on what is meant by “The Great Reset”.  Some think it’s a shift away from materialism to minimalism. Others have linked it to an awakening of the population to what is really happening to our world and our way of life. However you look at this concept, you would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about it.

The veil of needing stuff, status and wealth to feel satisfied doesn’t stand up to scrutiny anymore. There has to be more to it than that doesn’t there? 

After the euphoria of being “free”- no job and no responsibilities has worn off the practicality of how you are going to sustain your lifestyle into the future emerges. It’s all great to say that you are free to follow your passions and start living your dreams. It’s quite a reality check to understand if that is even possible given the current climate of economics, travel and unrest.

I heard an interesting quote about western society from an European perspective. In our culture we live to work where in Europe they work to live. I witnessed the cultural differences in Rome, where trying to find an open restaurant was virtually impossible before 3 pm. I worked hard so I could take numerous vacations, buy nice stuff and enjoy a privileged lifestyle. So I worked to live right? Not quite. I belief it’s about finding a way to live and work that you can sustain. We are living longer therefore we have to get creative about how we maintain our quality of life.

What I am learning is that my “all or nothing” mindset has left me with a glass half empty attitude sometimes. 

I can be a pretty intense person to be around. I take a lot of things people say literally. If you say you don’t like someone or something I take you at your word. If you say you can’t afford to do something I believe you even to the point of helping you pay for it, if I feel that strongly about it.

I have had an innate need to fix things for others. To overcompensate for what I believe to be smoothed over by my help or intervention. What I am realizing is that it was my way of distraction. If I spent my time worrying about your stuff I wouldn’t have to face my own stuff.

This last year has been mostly about me. A discovery of who I am apart from my work title, spouse, mother, friend or caretaker. 

There is an exercise we did at the ashram that involved a series of meditations to reveal our Life Seals. Symbols that are unique to our unconscious existence. The process was to bring those images to the conscious surface to help understand our cores. Some of the flow was easy to understand and find correlation to. Others were a bit harder. I struggled with separating my mind from my essence. How is my essence different from my soul or inner witness? Are they different or one in the same? 

Where am I going with this?

I have lined up on the screen questions to ask myself as I think about this last year and what I want for 2022. I want to share those questions with you as we all think about the coming year.

  1. What have I come to value now that I didn’t before?
  2. How am I going to maintain, nourish and grow my essence in the coming year?
  3. Do I see work as something to foster my life or something to replace my life?
  4. Can I have my cake and eat it too? Find work that has meaning while staying passionate about lifelong learning and helping others.
  5. How do I reset my clock for the coming year?

It’s not that I didn’t value time spent off grid before, I know now that those moments are the ones I reflect and cherish the most. The adventures in the van, the traveling with loved ones and friends, the ashram experience, hiking in the mountains and trails have been my happy places. I do admit though, I have missed being with industry peers. I have periodically peeked in on what’s happening in the learning industry during the pandemic. I am passionate about the exploration of how skills and knowledge can be reshaped. I am nervous about the fact I have been away from the industry for over a year. Do I still have anything to contribute of value? I won’t know until I walk into the field and see what has been growing there in my absence. What I value now is a sense of contribution to the community. My mantra to maintain me through 2022 is “how am I sustaining value here?”. I can use this in any reference whether it’s in my own life, relating to work, this blog, our podcasts, my footprint socially, economically, within the environment and with the development of the human race.

How do I reset my clock for the coming year?

The question is easy and yet complicated. Easy in the physical sense by action oriented tasks. Keep up with a healthy body through exercise and nutritious food choices. Sustain a curious and clutter free mind through meditation, yoga and self care. Be mindful of where you came from and where you are going. Remember the pauses as they are key to intentional course corrections when you doubt you are going in the right direction. Stay grateful for everything you have been given. It’s an imperfect, perfect life. To have the awareness and sense of need or desire to reset is a gift. To open the gift and take it out of its wrapping to get a true sense of it’s value takes courage and determination. We are lucky to receive this gift every year at this time. We celebrate and look forward to the possibilities as we say “goodbye” to the past.

I hope 2022 is full of life, love, curiosity and adventure for you and yours.

Cheers to “The Great Reset”

Namaste and light

Live Simply

Too much luxury hinders your practice- Dipa Ma

A year ago, about this time, Sharon and I were clearing our spaces. Purging emotional and physical items that kept progress forward from fully being realized.

Now? Well it’s a marathon not a 100 yard dash. What took years to build up isn’t knocked down in one day or one year.

What I have come to terms with is I am happiest when life is simple. I get anxious and stressed out when I let things build up or become tangled. Then, by habit, I have to stop and work out the knots that I created. I wish my learning curve would speed up in this area. In a way I guess it has as I do recognize the behavior and can see where the path is going before it gets too close to the edge. I used to panic and put my foot on the throttle instead of the brake. 

What am I doing? Where is my balance? How did my simple plans become once again so complicated?

I haven’t been practicing my yoga lessons lately. Too caught up in renovating the van and getting it road ready so I could experience some adventures before winter hit. I have a tendency to rush ahead and steam roll over everything that doesn’t factor into my current project or focus. I am not a great multi-tasker. I already admitted that. I am, though, an addicted finisher. I need the check mark in order to feel complete. Ironically buying a van doesn’t really mesh with having a clearly defined end mark. There will always be something more to do.

I am in need of structured practice to keep me sane and grounded. I know this, hence finding myself in an Ashram for months. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me the length of time it takes to settle down. To become calm enough to accept my current state of chaos and to work through the process of owning the part I play in its creation. We create our world and invite the characters to enter and exit. We do this consciously or unconsciously. 

I wonder why simplicity helps so much with keeping peace in my head? I can guess. I think it has to do with non-attachment. Things, possessions and ownership bombarded us daily. Everywhere you turn someone is telling you that you need this product or process to feel good about yourself or to be valued in society. What if you don’t? What if you were both with value by just being a human being? Your contributions are a gift. Your essence is meant to enhance the experience of all you connect with be it animal, mineral or spirit. Is the meaning to life that simple?

The older I get the more I think it is. All the worrying about money, assets and stature have amounted to a life full of chasing others imprinted priorities. Shedding those layers has shown me a different way to live, learn and embrace my existence. 

I was most peaceful in my life when I lived in a room that was 6 feet wide and 12 feet long at the ashram. I had my instruments, food, shelter, a purpose and a desire to create. I am not sure I want to go back to that room. I am sure though that I learned valuable lessons about myself while living there I need to hang on to.

Day One of Van Life-Series of Interesting Events

Sometimes we are going through life like a deer in the headlights…

I have been struggling lately. Do I stay put, run away, travel or go back to work or a combination of any?

I decided an adventure was needed to help me work through what I want. My brother and I have been working hard on the van. Getting it in roadworthy condition. The time had come to it test out.

It took a few false starts to get out of the driveway. My brothers van wouldn’t start, then we drove just outside of town and I realized I forgot my braces and had to go back. I couldn’t find my keys for my car where my retainers were. I started to laugh and take a breath. Then retrace my steps to find my keys. It took awhile but we got going again.

I am fortunate to live in an area that offers lots of options close by to explore. We decided to venture into the Badlands Southeast of us then work our way Eastward into Saskatchewan.

Dinosaur Park, Northeast of Brookes was our first destination. On the way there it started getting dark. I realized that my cockpit lights weren’t working. I couldn’t see my speed or blinker indicators. It was challenging to drive. The road down into the valley was dirt and narrow. I saw deer off in the distance and as I came closer some crossed the road in front of me. I knew there were more on the other side in the field still so I slowed down quite a bit but didn’t want to slam on the brakes on the uneven surface. I clipped one and stopped to see if it was ok. I couldn’t find it as they had ran off into the meadow. The damage to the grill was a few new cracks. I was lucky. I hope the deer was lucky too. Spotting deer have always given me a sense of feeling safe and of being home. Hitting the deer made me think of what that could mean for me in relation to home?

We found a place to camp and settle in for the night. I put the diesel heater to work and was pleased to be quite comfortable and warm. The improvements we had made like internal lights, fridge and heater all seemed to work as we expected. Good news for our first night!

We woke up to a beautiful and crisp fall day. I got up early and went for a walk up into the hoodoos that surrounded us. The sunrise was breathtaking. The Badlands are alive and vibrant with energy. I sat down on the rocks, closed my eyes for a few minutes and contemplated what I want. I was surprised to come to the realization, for now, I just wanted to soak in the sun. As I get older my expectations have changed dramatically. These days what I want is to be present. To be aware of how I am feeling and to feel whatever that is. I have spent my whole life trying to suppress or deny how I really feel. That can get tiring and exhausting.

Going off in the van has shown me that I have an out. I have a way to explore and enjoy what the landscape has to show me.

Join me over the next few days in my recount of my journey and discovery through the Badlands.

My brother standing at the top of Dinosaur Park.

About Face

A few weeks ago, my sister in law notified me that my face showed up on a Facebook page with someone asking if anyone could identify this person. My image was found on a cell phone I had lost on the summit of Mount Ward in the Crowsnest Pass. It was amazing that they had found the phone as I had lost it descending down on my butt over a mountain side of scree. Here is the remarkable part. I was up there in August of 2019. That’s over 3 years ago. Think back how much has changed in the last 3 years. For me? I lost my mom, I lost my job, COVID happened and I almost lost my sense of self.

As I look at the face staring out from the phone that shouldn’t be working, let alone sporting my face on the cover, I marvel at our ability for resilience. That woman captured is me but yet, is not me. She is restless and ready for change. She is tired and grieving over so much loss in the last few years. She is there with her two great nieces enjoying a warm summer day doing what she loves to do. Exploring uncharted territory and pushing herself to go further and harder.

Phone still works after 3 years!

Sometimes I am not sure where the strength comes from. It just appears and I am always grateful to the universe for providing it to me. I sat on the top of the summit enjoying the sun and view as the girls explored further up and around. I saw 3 crows in the distance. They were making a big racket and circling overhead. I watched them for a bit then noticed behind them that some big dark rain clouds were starting to form. Anyone who has been hiking in the mountains knows to start down when that happens. Hopefully you can outrun the storm, most often I am not that lucky. I was about to holler for the girls to come and they appeared ready to head out. I happened to look down and found the most unique rock I had ever seen. I had been thinking about the crows and their warning that the weather was about to change. The rock appeared to have a crow flying over the mountains on it. It was pale yellow with a black image of a crow. I picked it up and put it in my backpack. In hindsight, I wish I would have done the same thing to my phone which I placed in my coat pocket tied around my waist.

As the clouds got darker, we started to slide down on our backsides. It was treacherous and slow going. Over half way down I realized my phone wasn’t in my pocket anymore. There was no way I could go back up and try and find it. We had been zigzagging and moving over a large space of rock and debri. It could have been anywhere. Like a needle in a haystack. I resigned myself to either come back a different day or say “goodbye” to the pictures from that day.

I got a new phone and reclaimed quite a bit of my pictures, chats and music as I usually back up stuff to the cloud. I was missing the photos we had taken that day which was too bad. When I reloaded my messenger chats I was heartbroken to see my conversation with my sister who had passed away in 2016 wasn’t coming back up. It took some letting go to say “goodbye” to the conversation I had treasured.

Time goes by and I have had 3 phones since then. Every once in a while I would think about the phone and wonder if it was still alive. What view it had looking out over the barren terrain. Saying good morning to the crows and other creatures who passed by. My face is smiling out on that mountain side I thought. Never did I think it still worked after all that time.

I have been in contact with the mother of the guy who found it and will go pick it up some time soon. She said that several people had recognized the woman in the photo and let her know the phone belonged to me. The hat I am wearing I have taken on so many adventures. It’s kind of my signature look for exploring…lol.

Thinking about the phone and it’s adventures, I happened to glance through my messenger chats. I was drawn to the one with my sister, hoping that for some miraculous reason the conversation would reappear after all this time. I was amazed to see that it had. Everything was there again. My history with my sister has come back to me now. Years and years of conversation came tumbling down the mountain side to land at my feet.

Why now? So much has happened since 2016. I thought that was my low point but it wasn’t. Both of my parents died in the years after my sister’s passing. Despite all of the pain, grief and loss, I feel more alive today than ever before. I am living life on my terms in my own way. Choosing my adventures, love, spiritual paths and sense of self.

I am awake. I have lived many lives since I lost that phone. I am grateful for it’s reappearance to remind me to be grateful for what I have.

Once again the energy shifts and tilts the balance back.

I have a desire to put the phone back on the mountain. 

Stay tuned to see what I decide….lol

Love you all that keep reading our posts and coming along on our journeys through midlife.

Light and love.

Blank Canvas

Starting from scratch. Am I crazy?

I sat in the van the other day and stared at its current state. My old thinking is still wanting to rule the day. The interior is good enough just do some cosmetic stuff and move on. I struggled with those sentiments for a few more minutes and then all the sudden the sledge hammer in my hand found a purpose. Before I knew it half the walls were down and the van had twice the space.

Sometimes you fight change until the urge to shift within just can’t handle it anymore. Picking the option that makes you feel like you have settled in life only delays things. It never really sits right until you do “that thing”. You know, that thing that is whispered in your ear over and over again. There was a wonderful lady I got to interview at the ashram named Jean Roberts. She wrote a book about her life as an island girl growing up in Grenada. How she grew up in oppression and decided to run away at a very young age.

I left home at 16 and lived with a couple of sisters. I worked and supported myself through high school. It seemed so much easier then to make decisions without worrying too much about how they affected others around you. The world revolved around my teenage life and I was creating canvases by the dozens. Thought nothing of painting over them and moving on.

I will be 57 in 2 months. It’s been a lifetime of changes. I am not my 16 year old self for sure. Thank heavens!

Sharon’s latest post talks about living adventures through my posts. It’s not lost on me how she and I are always peeking over the fence at each other. I envy her ability to make decisions about relationships and move forward in that regard. Put on her big girl panties and move into a better light. I understand the hesitation to make the first strokes on the canvas. I ask myself often what I am afraid of when it comes to being alone. If my partner doesn’t see my vision and has no desire or interest to explore the possibilities with me then ….what am I waiting for? A sign? Hmmm I have had plenty of those, a sledge hammer in my hand? I have one of those too? A push? Maybe.

My friend Sharon and I are at that place in life where our whole world is about to change. The post COVID blues I think. The universe is opening up again so now what?

For me? I have an empty canvas in the form of a tiny home to consider how “I” for the first time in my life want to create a haven just for me. Sharon has a new condo, new job and new life. I am excited for both of us to face our fears and build our confidence in ourselves. Maybe even build a bit of confidence in others. My brother has been helping me with the demolition. We have barely spoken over the last 40 years. Now we are collaborating almost daily. I am finding my voice and figuring out what I want to say. I am exploring new pallets and variations of light and color. It is changing my perspective for the good.

It’s healthy and positive to clear space. So many possibilities to explore now that the demolition has started.

Van-Essance

I have wanted a camper van for some time now. I follow a few vloggers who are living a “van-life” existance on Youtube. I am a realist. I know that vanlife is not as glamrous as some might think. It sounds romantic and care-free but in reality it can be scary and full of hidden costs. Yet…here I am..I bought a van. Not just any van. A 1978 classic Chev camper van. It has low kilometers, fridge, stove, bed, character and is full of potential. It was formely owned by a tattoo artist that used it to travel around to convention and tattoo shows. It’s perfect…for me. My husband thinks I am nuts. Why buy something soo old to which I reply well “I am older, aren’t I worth restoring?”.

I can use it “as is” if I would like as it drives well so far. We (my brother in law) drove it from North of Vermillion all the way to Raymond which is about 550 Km. It was great on the road and handled well.

What do I hope to get out of owing such a vehicle? Quenched curiosity. Have you ever drove on a highway and seen all of those locals attraction signs? Tours of a honey farm or the worlds largest Easter egg lives here or a Ukranian flee market 12 kms that way. I want to stop at them all and be able to say I have been there. Why not? YOLO is a thing.

So, for this year, I am thinking get the van as comfortable as I can and as mechanically sound as I can and hit the road. There is no time like the present to take advantage of good weather, cheap-ish accomodations and the time to explore anything and everything up and down this Province that I live in.

I can’t wait to start the “VanEssance” adventure series. Hope you join me for the ride. If you see me on the road wave or better yet leave me a comment here and perhaps we can meet up and go for coffee or go see what is interesting in your hometown.

Cheers to the adventures of Midlife Arises continuing…

Namaste

Work Aparent

I listen to my grown kids talk about their professions these days and wonder… will they ever find a profession they are passionate about? Is that even a thing anymore? You hear lots of stats that say we will change professions at least 4-5 times or more. I chatted a-bit with my daughter. She is thinking about making a change. After so much education involved in professions are we brave enough to walk away from the money and security to pursue something different? Do we owe it to ourselves to try? She said she is thinking about stopping renting her “self” out for labour. Hah, what a great way to put it. We all got to make a living but do we all get to make the most out of life? Someone mentioned universal income to me the other day. Should we have a society that pays us not to work when we chose not too? The world is such a different place these days. Maybe this is part of the shift and trend in thought? Time will tell.

As a parent, I have changed my views of traditional work theories for my kids. I have changed. Don’t just put your head down and do what pays your bills. Find something that gives you a sense of moving forward. Be brave and able to pivot even if you feel that you owe your profession something of yourself. You don’t, in fact the more the shift and change the more valuable you become to any company worth exploring.

This Is Home, Where I Belong

What makes a house a home? Listen in to get our version of being comfortable in your space.

Sharon is moved into her new home, Selena has purchased her first home less than a couple of years ago and me? I have been in my current home for over 35 years. What makes a space feel like home? As always our chats are unfiltered, genuine and can get a bit off topic so grab your favorite beverage or plan your walk and let’s dive in.

Making our space feel like home

Can You Read The Signs?

Photo of night sky at Yasodhara ashram

Dream Yoga

I have been home for a few days now and trying to settle. If I am honest, which I think is a good thing to be, I am a little freaked out and worried. I feel pressure to make sure I don’t lose all the progress I have gained from being at the ashram. Friends and family are looking at me. I can see them assessing if they notice any changes. Physically, I have lost about 20 pounds, mentally? I feel I have lost extra baggage that no longer is helpful in my life. It’s easier being in a place where your meals are prepared for you, you go to a board and it has the day planned for you. Not much stress about thinking how to make the most of your day. You are contributing to the welfare of the community, have chores, yoga first thing in the morning, opportunities to chant with others or meditate alone. Now, I am the program director and the days contributions are up to me to decide. I can see why many people just put their head down and go to work. In a lot of ways it’s easier. You have many distractions to keep you from delving too deeply into your psyche.  I am finding that patience with myself will be key to making this work outside of the “box”.

I had a dream a couple of days before I left Yasodhara. There was a little blonde haired girl trudging up and down the concrete stairwells of a big stadium. I followed her and asked if I could help? She said she lost her parents and was looking for them. I followed her up and down the stairs. She told me that she didn’t trust me to keep her safe. I protested that I was an adult and more than capable to keep us both safe. She said I didn’t know the dangers out there. She didn’t have confidence in me. We tried a couple of off shoots from the stairs but ended up back on the stairs going up and down. I woke up with no resolution in the dream.

I wondered what had gone on that I missed? When I tried the dream yoga method I had learned at the ashram I started to understand. I picked 3 symbols from the dream. The little girl, the stairwell and the absent parents.

The little girl. Well she is me or at least she is my “inner child” and my desire to hold onto what I have learned. She is young, maybe a bit naive and yet aware enough to know that I can get distracted enough to lose my way sometimes. She is beautiful inside and out and glows with inner light. When I looked at her I was saddened that any parent would leave her there alone.

The absent parents. Where are they and why have they not come to claim the child? I can see myself here also and my parents. Getting busy and caught up in other things, other interests or other desires. Opportunities to nurture and maintain all that I have gained comes with discipline and constant awareness. I mourn for the loss of those moments where I could have been there for myself, for my children or for anyone who needed a parent with unconditional love. I could easily blame my parents for being absent most of my life. They were physically there often but very emotionally absent. I understand how it can happen. My compassionate unconscious is warning me that I need to stay diligent in guarding that child or I will lose that aspect of me that is very precious.

The stairwell.

I reflect on the stairwell and what it could symbolize. I think back to the dream. Did I miss the signs that were usually so clearly displayed in stairwells? Where was the exit sign? The directions to seating areas or the stage? I know I was looking down lots or at the back of the child’s figure. Why didn’t I look up and read the signs? Do I do that in life? Miss the signs, get lost because I am too stubborn to watch for help or ask for directions when I need them? I am guilty of this for sure. The child saying she doesn’t trust me hits home. If I can’t trust others to help lead me out of my self induced wanderings, can I be trusted with the safety of this child?

The dream packed a good wallop for me to ensure I understand that I am a “work in progress”. That’s ok, the child in me knows that already. I am hoping she will have patience and empathy for me. She did stay with me as we wandered up and down, so that’s a good “sign”. I know I can lead us out of the stadium If I look up and read the directions. I have the map, I have the desire and I have the responsibility of caring for this little girl and her well being.

Namaste

If you are interested in learning more about dream yoga, the Yasodhara ashram has virtual life classes being offered on the website. I am finding this type of inner work very beneficial.

Patience

Last day of quarantine

It doesn’t take long to become conditioned to a routine. At 6pm every night, I check a website to find out what I will be doing tomorrow. I knew that today was probably going to be my last day of isolation so I had a mixed of anxiety and excitement to see what the website would tell me was planned for me, my last day of quaratine. I checked at 6:05pm, nothing, 8:00pm still nothing hmmm. My night was restless knowing that I was the last to arrive in my cycle of Karma Yogis so I would be the last one out of quarantine. I didn’t sleep well. The wind howled all night, it rained and the hill side gushed with water towards the lake all through the dark hours. I woke up at 4:00am and tried to go back to sleep. I drifted in and out and then finally got up at 5:30am. I decided to recite my new mantra and then meditate for a while. I felt better after and eased into a morning yoga flow. I like the idea of setting an intention for the day. I decided that “Patience” was going to be needed. So patience it was. I got a call at 9:30am wondering why I hadn’t shown up for karma yoga…lol. I had been waiting with patience for further instructions. Now I put my jacket on and hiked up the hill to help with more wood cutting and stacking.

Transitions make us ansy, even for someone like me who likes change, changing bunkhouses, assigned duties, new group of people takes a few minutes to adjust. Luckily, the ashram gives you a day to move, understand the new pace and rest before you begin, again. The girl staying in the side house of the cabin moved yesterday. You can tell when someone has done this before. They gave her a day to move and she took the whole day. I asked her whether there was a time she needed to be done by through the closed door. She said she just needed to sleep in her new place, other than that there wasn’t a specific hour. Now there was patience. Squeezing every moment of peace and solitude that comes from having your own space and not giving up a second of it.

I shake my head at myself. I mopped the floors yesterday and cleaned up the kitchen. Today I sorted my laundry and organized what I was going to wear tomorrow. I am so used to deadlines whether at work or when traveling that the organizing starts a day or two before my vacation is over. Why do we robbed ourselves of those final hours of bliss before we need to immerse back into the chaos?

Patience. Tomorrow I will slowly make my way over to my new lodgings. Maybe take a few things and go check it out after breakfast. I have one of the only tubs that is available at the ashram. The other bathrooms are showers only. So I plan to take a bubblebath before doing the final cleaning. I have a few pages left of my book to read and some contemplations to record in my diary. Maybe even sit and soak in this wonderful little cabin of paradise for one more day. I hope I remember this if travel ever becomes a resonable option again as we all could use a little patience.

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