Blind Spots

I was driving out to work on my van that is being stored at my mothers old house. The road is familiar. I have been on it hundreds of times. It’s morning and the sun is shining. I have my Tim’s coffee next to me and running over in my head what can be done today to get us closer to using the van. My mind is exploring options and not really paying attention to the road ahead of me. I am driving a little fast and mostly on auto pilot. All of the sudden before me a hawk swoops its wing in front of my windshield. It comes at me from the south going north. I am driving east from the west. The dark brown hawk lands in the field on the other side of the road and stares at me as I slow down and look back at it. Hmmmm….what was that about?

I slow down and start to pay attention to the road. I take nothing for granted and know that the hawk is trying to tell me something important if only I pay attention to its warning.

I come to a section of road that climbs a bit of a hill and then drops down the otherside. You can’t see over the hill until you get to the top. As I approach the top I see a lady running with her head down listening with earbuds in her ears. She is running on the wrong side of the road and heading straight for me. She doesn’t notice my car until I am almost 10 feet from her. Then she looks up a bit startled and proceeds to move over to the other side of the road and pass me by.

This particular backroad is usually empty this time of day. I can cruise to town without encountering a soul. Today I encountered the lady and then a man on a bicycle again coming toward me on the wrong side of the road. You just never know when you will not be able to see what is lurking in your blindspots.

Blindspots are an interesting occurrence. Since we can’t see what occupies that space we usually assume that there is nothing there. What if there is? Now I know my example isn’t necessarily depicting a blindspot. It’s more about paying attention and focusing on the task at hand instead of multitasking. According to Google,studies show that only 2.5% of us are able to multitask successfully.

So why do we constantly think we can do it with success?

I can’t see what’s happening in my blindspots. I can use mirrors or ask someone for feedback to help me validate what occupies a space I think is empty. Whether that space be in my thinking, my views, my narrative, my memory or whether it actually is something physical. I am not that great at multitasking either. I do better completing something then starting something else.

The hawk was there to give me feedback that morning and I am very grateful for the heads up!

I have been contemplating doing more things one at a time and doing them to the best of my ability. Then I can move on to the next task with confidence that I am more likely to see what’s in my blindspots.

Afterall, what’s the rush?

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.

Are You Retirement Compatible?

When it comes to retiring are you and your significant other on the same page?

In life and relationships we talk about a lot of things in regards to goals, religious beliefs, values, children and who is going to clean the toilet…lol. Most often, we gloss over at what age we are going to retire as it seems so far away when we are young.

These days though, many partners are talking about taking a break from their jobs for a year or two fully expecting they will find another job eventually. Some are trying to catch up with retirement funds, paying off debt that was unexpected and dealing with the cost of relationship breakdowns. Life can get complicated and a large amount of people put time away from working on the back burner. We live in a world now where you could be working into your seventies.

So, have you had the talk with your partner? Are you retirement compatible? What if you aren’t aligned on timing, expectations and lifestyle?

I remember thinking in my twenties that I would retire at 65. I would work, most likely, at one maybe two jobs. I would have a pension and some savings and life would be awesome when I turned 65. Well, we all know what happens to life while we are living. So many things are unexpected and not planned for. You wake and realize that those you love and expected to grow old with or around have either passed away or in bad health. You feel older. You slow down when you are hiking. You are weaker and feel pain in your joints. When did I start to get older? I thought all those things happened in your seventies not your fifties. I watch those around me and I realize my window of opportunity to live with abandonment is shortening. I can’t rely on being in good health when I am 65. I know my abilities today and I feel that if I can continue to build strength and endurance now that as I get older the longevity should hold. At least that’s my theory and I am sticking to it.

I have been talking to many friends and family about their plans. Some wanted to take time off to travel now and then maybe go back to work when they get tired of doing that. Others plan to work until they can’t work anymore well into their seventies or beyond. Others plan to work and play and juggle the two. What has been a common theme though is that most find themselves in a bit of a pickle when it comes to agreement from their partner as to both being on the same page.Life throws us curve balls. I am a firm believer that the universe shakes things up when we get too complacent. 

My universe is telling me to squeeze the lemons now. Get as much juice as you can out of this existence. My husband is planning on working another 9 years or so.I am hoping he will decide that there is more to life than stock piles of money and things. You can’t rush someone else’s discoveries. You shouldn’t wait though to “do you”. It’s scary to venture out on your own. It’s even scarier to sit and wait for someone else to get on board.

Life’s obstacles are constant and ever coming at you. I had journeyed with an eagle in the past and it had shown me to put the chaos in my palm and squeeze out order and decisions from it. It’s an exercise I can do physically to help me focus on which direction to follow. Mistakes will be made, that’s how we move forward. It takes more courage to act than to stand still and watch.

Next week I am taking a break from van renos to hang out in Banff with my sister in law. We have decided to go tandem skydiving and caving. The waivers are signed and the deposits are given. I am making lemonade with the sweetest ingredients I can find. I am not saying that finding common ground with your partner isn’t important. It totally is. Respect for each other and practical goals are key. Time away from work doesn’t have to be expensive. I find a balance of things I do that are free and things that are epic adventures that may cost me a bit. It’s the doing that counts. The sharing of the experience. We all relied heavily on our memories during COVID of things we had done in the past to get us through the rough patch. I thank my lucky stars that I was blessed with so many adventures in my life so far.

It’s funny how the biggest regret in life is usually the ones that involve not doing something rather than taking the leap and trusting you will land safely. The journey is worth it!

Hopefully your partner agrees that taking breaks sooner rather than later is the way to go. If they don’t then it’s up to you to decide whether you stay put and wait for them or…

Get into that harness, secure the lines and find someone who is compatible with the here and now of your awareness.

Birds of A Feather…

I have always been fascinated by birds. Dreamed I could take flight and drift on the currents just like the eagles. Watched Robins make a nest on my patio and lay 6 eggs. Then defend the nest fiercely from me as I tried to enjoy just a square inch of my patio space and take pics of the new arrivals as they grew. Blue Jays have landed on my chairs and chatted away to me. Magpies have ripped apart my flower baskets and helped themselves to my moss. The variety of birds that come to visit daily in my gardens and yard are wonderful and welcome.

I have got back to working with some of my shaman practices and studying birds. Their hunting habits, communal tendencies and not so communal tendencies. I have watched as crows cornered the neighbors cat in the weeping willow. They were not happy the cat was invading their domain and wanted it out now. The cat was cornered and whining for help. I intervened with the crows’ shenanigans and had a chat with the cat to suggest a different route next time it wanted to wander. 

Crows and ravens have alway been present with me for as many years as I can remember. They are the first birds to greet me in the morning and stay with me throughout the day. No matter where I travel to, they seem to be present. I even spotted a crow in the Vancouver airport in 2019 when we boarded a plane to Bali. It was squawking up a storm in the rafters but seemed to disappear as we departed.

My niece and I recently took a little hike to one of my favorite spots on the trail to some caves. We didn’t go that far as that wasn’t the purpose or destination this time around. There is a spot on the way that has a lovely water flow with luminescent moss covering most of the rocks. The sun peeks through the grove and bounces off the water into thousands of prisms of reflective light. It’s divine light. The place feels sacred and special. I use it often in meditation as a visual aid when thinking of a place in nature where the vortex is transparent. 

We sat down by the rocks and I started to drum a bit. The shaman’s purpose was to invite spirit animals to come join us in the grove. It was my niece’s first shaman journey and I hope not her last. The meditation involves listening to the drums as you move through a natural transition into a space of peace. It invites you to imagine yourself in a grove with a place to lay down. In this case a flat rock in the centre with sunlight beaming down on it. Relax and feel the warmth. Take the time to enjoy the release of worries and tension. Invite nature in and ask the spirit of any animals close to come join you in the meadow. I think she was surprised to feel the presence of animals around us. One in particular she described as knowing it was there but not quite willing or ready to join her. It kept the perfereral view. It was obvious what it was and curious about her presence. This was a great success for her first time journeying.

Facilitating someone else’s journey was good practice for me as it has been awhile since I have done any guidance for someone else. At the same time I did feel some of my guides’ presence also and some new creatures hanging around. Prominent was the raven. A large one swooping overhead catching the downdrafts then moving higher to hover close.

In some of the literature I am exploring about birds it talks about the different types of feathers birds have. I am not going to go into too much detail here only to say that collecting ones I find on the ground has become more purposeful in the selection. The differences between those used for primary flight, covert and contour and the down feathers that are soft to the touch while holding great healing properties. I have a new appreciation for how complicated flight is for birds. Something that seems so natural has an ingenious mechanical design associated with it.

I have used feathers for smudging and in ceremonial practices before and know that different ones carry a variety of energy and meaning. As we kayaked around Crowsnest Lake on a recent camping trip, the hawks would swoop and glide high above us. The swooping sounds reminded me of being smudged with sage on numerous occasions. I would like to think the hawks were sharing with me the strength and powerful energy of sight and flight.

I plan to explore more the ceremonies and exercises I can incorporate into my shaman journeys. The yogic practices fit nicely too with many similar theories of practice associated with air flow, breath, flight, dreams and gliding on the wind.

Birds are amazing creatures. We can learn alot from observing them. Meditating with them. Incorporating their habits and life lessons into our own lives. They are always with me, watching, warning me of danger and things to come I need to pay attention to. I had a crow do a dance on my fence three days in a row three months before my mom passed away. I have come to respect their presence and guidance. 

Feeling Blue

A Soul Gift

I practice shamanism and try to journey as much as possible. During the pandemic I am dearly missing my monthly drum circle connection. There is some contraversy over whether you should share your journeys with others or keep them to yourself. I don’t plan to share all my journeys or even all that occurs in them in my posts and yet, I do believe that inviting you to experience some of them is somehow “the right thing to do”.

I went on a shaman journey in search of my grandma Campbell. She is one of my spirit guides. In life, she was a formidable no nonsense kind of woman with a strong mind and a loving heart. I wanted to ask her some questions. What is a soul gift that I could use to help others was the first question. The second question centered around how best to use this gift. I was hoping she would demonstrate the gift for me or show me the best way to use or interpret it also.

I struggled to focus on the journey. Lots of false starts, distractions and obstacles which usually indicates the approach of deep learning and understanding for me if I can just press on.The drums had been beating for a while when I finally reached my desitination. I found myself on the back steps of my grandparents old homestead in Hillspring. I sat and looked out at the yard. The corn was nearly 6 feet tall in the garden and the bees were buzzing around grandma’s favorite geranium pots. I soaked up the sun as I waited for grandma to come. Grandpa appeared at the bottom of the steps. He was wearing a lopsided knowing grin, baseball cap, grey work clothes, checkered jacket and suspenders.

One version of clothes that suited him. His eyes were filling me with so much warmth that I couldn’t help but smile back. He didn’t speak. “What do you see?” I jerked a litte at the sound then realized it was grandma behind me coming out of the old screen door. The door made a WHACK as it closed and gave me some time to peer back at grandpa. What did I see? Home, love and an amazing creative man who worked hard to support his family. An interesting artist too who tended to paint with neon colors no matter his subject matter which included mostly images of the Mormon temples and nature. I had learned that my grandpa was color blind. It didn’t seem to slow him down at all. If I hadn’t been told that fact I probably would have never considered it the reason for the vibrant hues he used in his art. “How do you think he knows what the colors will look like together?” grandma nudged. I hestitated to think and was a bit puzzled. “ I am not sure” I replied. She smiled and sat down beside me still looking up at grandpa. “He feels them” she said. Still puzzled grandma I thought “What do you mean?” I replied. “Blues, purples and some reds feel cool when applied to the canvas” she explained. “Yellow, oranges, pinks and some other reds feel warm to him”. The concept wasn’t lost on me. I seemed to intuitively know that this was true. My uncles, who are also deceased,Walton and David appeared on the steps. David asked me if I wanted some raspberries. Of course I did! I took a few bites and enjoyed the sweetness. They drifted off into the yard puttering around the gardens and shed. We all had grown up eager to come to the homestead, raid the gardens, pick a few weeds and devour their rapsberry patch at every opportunity. Grandma and I enjoyed the sun and the closeness for a bit.

I almost forgot my task and the drums seemed to beating so far off in the distance it was easy to believe they were just part the universe keeping time with my experience for the moment. My uncle Blaine appeared suddenly. He had passed away in the fall of the previously year. He sat down on the steps and took my hand. I started to cry and was swallowed into his big bear hug. “Why are you here?” I asked when I could regain my composure. “You asked about soul gifts?” I nodded. “Like grandpa knowing which colors to use, you know things by associating images to how they make you and others feel”. “That gift has to do with who you are and where you came from. Within you are generations who have felt when to provide a sanctuary for others. How to open a space for comfort, relief from grief and support. Your mom fills that roll for your family and for others. Her loving reach has touched so many lives and changed the future of many a stray for the good during her lifetime. I could hear the drums calling me back from my journey. I had spend so much time getting here and now had to leave without all the answers to my questions. It figures, I thought bemused. “You have our soul gifts and those of previous generations.” “What makes this different, in you, is the combination of the sight and the feeling. Sometimes what we see doesn’t match the energy we feel is being manifested. The images that form when others talk help you to process the meaning behind their words. This is part of the soul gift and it enables you to fill in the spaces with intuition and intent”. “Our hope is that your learn to use it to help yourself, family and others you encounter”.

I had to go quickly. I waved back to my ancestral guides and followed the drums back to the present.

A few minutes of reorientation took place when I come back from the journey. I was laying on my mat on my side in the drum circle processing what I had experienced. I sat up and started trying to write in my journal what had occurred.

Even now it’s a struggle to practice the soul gifts offered by those that have come before and yet I try to honor the opportunity.

If you are interested in more blogs about my journeys or experiences please let us know by liking our posts, subscribe to our site and follow us on social platforms.

For Every Action

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I went for a walk today. In my head I had planned the route, decided I would not listen to a podcast and just concentrate on moving. I needed a clear headspace to just think and home wasn’t providing it. I parked, got out of my car and was instantly distracted by my three eagle friends circling high over the coulee edge. I had intended to go the other direction but soon found myself chasing the eagles and their flight path. I tredge up the side of a cliff with my head down and feet forward. My mind now consumed by sighting the eagles once again. As I approached the top of one incline I began to see there were rows and rows of up and down paths. I looked up to see where the eagles were so I could choose an optimum path. They were gone. I zig zagged up and down the mounds and kept looking towards the horizon in hopes they would reappear.

Nope, they were gone. I had filled my space with lingering thoughts of more messages I could use in upcoming decisions I need to make. I wrote about a shaman journey in a previous blog. In that journey, the eagle had given me explicit instructions, heck even hand gestures to use on how to sort my chaotic mind.

So why was I still looking for more?

Newtons’ 3rd Law is not lost on me here. It can relate to decisions we make in life just as well as physics. I had asked the eagles for help they had given it. Now I was just being greedy and I suspect eagles are not big on needy types. So they had decided to move in the opposite direction from me to get me back on track and focus on why I needed a walk in the first place.

I applied for a residency at an Ashram in BC. It’s for two months and I will be totally cut off from most of my social media and communications. It’s an opportunity to grow in my yoga practice, my meditations routines, “Karma Yoga” character building and being in a community of like minds and souls. I am excited and thrilled.

I am terrified and second guessing my sanity and judgement.

For this action, I know there is an equal and opposite list of reactions. My husband and I have never agreed on this type of stuff. He doesn’t get it, though mostly he just says whatever he is going to say and then knows I will do whatever I feel I need to do. I have gone away on trips for up to a month before but never this long. I am nervous about this big of a change in both our lives and yet, I need this in order to be “Me”. The book, on our podcasts, talks about “You do You”. It doesn’t say “Doing You” will necessarily get you points with others or disrupt their lives and routines.

So, do you step forward on a path not knowing if it leads you to Shangrala or the “River of Sorrows”? The eagles gave me tools to guide me if I choose to ask and honor their method of sorting my chaos. The book “The Magic of not giving a F#” gives me a way of understanding what I value and the limitations of my”Fuck Budget”. I am sure the yogis at the Ashram won’t appreciate my choice of words here but I do know they will understand the language of my heart. Nothing like big open spaces to clear your core.

I was on a good path of clearing space. As I worked through my shit, I soon understood that it wasn’t enough. I needed to go deeper to unpack past trama and triggers. I know two months isn’t very long and yet, to some, it’s a very long time.

I started the “action” my wonderful readers by accepting the residency…stayed tuned to learn what equal and opposite reactions are yet to come…

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

It’s more a Life guide than a religion…

Life long discipline of practice

I grew up in an extensive Mormon family with a mom deep-rooted in the beliefs and a dad willing to go with the flow as long as he could research genealogy. The religion is fine and does teach some useful values on how to raise kids and stay humble. What rubbed me was the definitive roles of men and women. I am not going to explain this deeper right now (maybe in another post) as it doesn’t pertain to this conversation. I would call myself agnostic as I believe in energies, karma and connections to the universe. Through my searching, I came across Shamanism and signed up for a weekend workshop. As I sat in the opening circle with 13 other people, I couldn’t help but smile at the irony of the situation. The workshop was being hosted in an annex connected to a Catholic church. There were pictures of popes lined up on the walls. Here I was an ex-Mormon in a Catholic church about to experience journeying with a shaman practice that predates Christianity. Hah! The universe has one hell of a sense of humour and the irony wasn’t lost on me.

I love the fact the word ‘shaman’ some say means ‘he or she who knows’. It’s actually a practiced discipline instead of a religion and has many variations depending on the culture and country. The workshop I first attended was a contemporary western version. Which, in short, is a type that tries not to be too specific about meanings or practice. That way, you can experience the discipline before getting detailed protocols based on culture and beliefs. Our first journey involved a quest to find our spirit animal. For non-believers it seems a bit strange to lay down on the floor, cover your eyes, listen to the sound of the drums and focus in on your cleverly crafted question of what animal will guide you as you start this trek. I consider myself an intuitive person. I meditate on occasion and sign up for workshops that will push me into all sorts of uncomfortable situations.

This was different for me though. As I took some slow, easy breaths and listened to the instructions, I had the feelings of rightness. The spirit animal was waiting for me as I opened my mind and the animal was not what I expected. I always assumed I was a deer or grizzly kind of being. Nope.

Spirit allies in animal form (The Shamanism Bible by John Matthews). I like that explanation of what a spirit animal is. As I grow in my practice and partake in many journeys, I have gathered quite a collection of -not only animals – but guides that help me with various challenges and questions I can’t seem to figure out on my own. It’s been a life saver for me in many ways and has helped me get through some very dark moments in my life.

If you are curious about learning more on the practice or the subject, here are some suggestions to explore:

The Foundation of Shamanic Studies -Calgary Chapter

The Foundation of Shamanic Studies -Main site