Category Archives: grief

Let Go…. A letter from my Soul

“I envy that Autumn, that letting go always seems easy and beautiful.” ~Vishii

As I lean into the sadness,

the despair, the struggle,

I allow my Soul to arise and speak…

“What are you here to tell me?” I ask, my voice trembling.

“I want to tell you that I am here… 

That I need to be seen, to be heard, to be felt.

I need to be acknowledged.”

“Opening my heart to you scares me,” I say, as my tears begin to fall.

“Do not run from me,” says Soul. 

“I am here to tell you that it’s ok to be afraid…

But the voice of fear is not mine.

Mine is only heard in the quiet space,

the space that dwells below the chaotic hum of ego.

I am here to tell you to allow all that arises to be,

but do not grasp it.

I want to tell you that you are safe with me.

You are loved beyond measure.

You matter much more than you realise.

My messages are meant to bring you home.

To show you where you are stuck…

Where you are holding when it’s time to release.

I am the voice of your heart. 

I am here to guide you back to that place of deep knowing,

to ease your burdens, 

to open your heart and mind to your infinite possibilities.

Do not resist me.

I mean you no harm.

When you feel alone…

When your life feels like a much too small dress…

When your words come out all wrong…

When you can’t breathe

and your heart feels like it is being squeezed so, so tight,

Let go.

Do not hold onto the storyline.

Those harsh words you say to yourself is not me speaking.

The unkindness you show yourself makes me weep.

Why do you doubt your place here? 

Your magnificence? Your preciousness?

Why is it so easy to believe your ego when it tells you lies?

This is where the struggle resides.

There is no struggle in truth…. only surrender.

Let go of the idea that letting go means loss.

It is with open hands that you are able to receive.

Create a new truth,

one that fits, that feels soft and flowing, like a silk dress.

Remember, a broken heart is an open heart.

Embrace your tears.

Compassion lives in your tears.

We are birthing a new Earth, 

a unique and beautiful consciousness.

We are healing ancient wounds, 

along with Mama Earth.

Go easy on yourself precious one.

Slow down and allow all that is emerging to weave through you…

Connecting you to your Source.

You are being gifted a fresh start…

a blank canvas on which to paint a different way of being.

How do you want that to look?

What does that feel like?

If it doesn’t feel divine, delicious, honest…

Begin again.

Don’t swim against the flow.

BE the flow.

BE the light.

BE the love.

Follow your bliss.

Please believe you are always fully supported by the Universe.”

Yours in love and service, your Soul

SOME MAGICAL SH*T!

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“Magic is not a practice. It is a living, breathing web of energy that, with our permission, can encase our every action.”  ~Dorothy Morrison

There is some magical shit happening in my life right now. I’m overwhelmed with this intense feeling of power coursing through my body and, in particular, my hands.

2020 is looking to be an incredible year of awakening and connection. I’m both excited for and nervous of all the changes coming for me. The forest is calling me. New lands are calling me. New & meaningful connections are calling me. The healing arts are calling me. My only job now is to simply open my heart to receiving and to not allow ego, in the form of fear, to get it the way. Simple, yes. Easy, no.  I’m reminded of one of my favourite quotes by Goethe, which is quite appropriate now: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”  I will be bold.

As I sit here writing this, I’m filled with so much love and gratitude for this life and all the people and experiences I’ve been blessed to know. I just want to explode with JOY!

2019 led me on some amazing adventures! It brought me to tears with appreciation for all the opportunities to experience love and connection with both humans and animals. I’ve made the most incredible new friends and deepened the connections with those already in my soul tribe. I’ve deepened my connection with myself and the truth of who I am & what I’ve come here to share.  I’ve also experienced intense mourning for the relationships that needed to fall away and for the aspects of myself I’ve outgrown and shed.

On the first day of this new year, I discovered powerful healing energy coursing through me. I discovered a new calling with a friend that I haven’t quite clarified and can’t articulate yet. I’ve experienced profound love and gratitude that I ‘m unable to find the right words for, other than ineffable. I’ve come home.

My wish for you and all beings is that you find a deep and lasting happiness, are free from suffering, and are able to bring much benefit to the world by sharing your unique and powerful love and light.

Namaste. 🙏🏻

Braving the Wild Seas


“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” 
 William Faulkner

As 2018 comes to a close, I’m left reeling from another year of growth and changes, both small and monumental. I feel pulled in so many directions, I struggle to remain centred. I’m, at times, overwhelmed and sad, but also inspired, empowered, determined.

I feel a deep longing to swim out of the safe and familiar harbour and explore the world with this newly recognised power, but find I am clinging to what’s safe and comfortable.

I’ve spent this last year cleansing, removing all that weighs me down and keeps me small. I’ve stood up for myself and spoken my truth. I’ve set clear boundaries that honour and nurture my spirit. I’ve surrounded myself with people who are growing and expanding. I’m inspired by those who are fierce in their dedication to raising their vibration and fulfilling their dreams, despite, sometimes, crippling fear.

Yet, I’m consumed by grief. Am I grieving the woman I used to be? That person who shrank so others could feel more comfortable, who kept quiet when sexually harassed or abused so as not to make a fuss, who stayed mired in distraction so I didn’t have to face the fact I wasn’t living up to my potential or doing the things that feed my soul?

Perhaps I’m grieving those I’ve left behind. The precious, frustrating, consuming relationships that once served me, but ultimately led to discomfort. I’m painfully aware that not everyone is meant to walk this entire journey with me for we all have our own higher purpose to fulfil. Some I meet at forks in the road and we happily skip along for a while, but then need to part ways in order to continue on our own paths. Others come along who resonate on a frequency that inspires expansion – challenges my fixed ideas about myself and the world around me. These are my tribe, my soul-mates.

So, 2019…. what do you have in store for me? What adventures at sea will you take me on that bring exciting new chapters to my storyline? Who will stand bravely beside me as we journey out to face life’s storms? Who will be lost at sea? Who will choose to stay behind anchored in the safety of the harbour? These unknowns both scare and excite me.

I love what Brene Brown says in her book, ‘Braving the Wilderness…’

Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness — an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

My affirmations for 2019: To bravely stand in the sacred; to continue to expand and challenge my spirit; to nurture the relationships with my fierce tribe of fellow seekers who have taught me about courage, loyalty and strength; and to always stand up and speak out for myself and others in the face of apathy and toxic ignorance.

What are your affirmations for 2019?

Namaste 🙏🏻

Thank you Jeff.

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“I fell in love with you because of the million things you never knew you were doing.”   ~ Unknown ~

To my love….

Thank you for your eternal patience,

while I shift, shed, rage and morph into my true essence.

Thank you for your encouragement,

while I struggle to wash away ancient blood and wrong ideas about myself.

Thank you for your warm embrace,

while I cry and grieve the loss of my ego-self.

Thank you for your support,

while I repeatedly and powerfully crash-land trying out my new wings.

Thank you for your tireless efforts to hold it all together,

while I anxiously search for a new life’s purpose beyond motherhood.

Thank you for your stability,

while I move between anger and bliss like a toddler.

Thank you for your generosity,

even when I’m wallowing in self-cherishing.

Thank you for your brilliance,

while I grope in the darkness before my dawning.

Thank you for staying diligently with me on this journey toward awakening,

even when we sometimes lose sight of each other along the way.

Thank you for having faith in my strength and courage,

even when I doubt myself.

Your extraordinary greatness inspires me to grow into my own greatness.

The strength of your love breaks opens my fearful heart.

The equanimity of your being quells my restless and anxious spirit.

I’m filled with deep gratitude to have found my greatest love and teacher in you.

To be able to spend my life living and growing old with you is a most precious gift.

Thank you.

All my love, forever and ever,

Jana

Note to self….

Note to self:

This past year has kicked your ass, ripped you open

and left you bleeding in the street.

Fear has left you feeling unloveable,

unworthy and overwhelmed.

You’ve been unkind to yourself

and allowed anger into your heart.

You’ve been manipulated and lied to by your ego.

Forgive yourself for all the mistakes you’ve made;

for unfairly judging yourself and others;

and for all the times you didn’t stand up for yourself.

Forgive others, even when they’re not sorry.

See the best in people,

even when they show you their worst.

Believe in yourself.

You have been through worse times than this

and came through them wiser and more resilient.

Believe in others and risk being let down and hurt.

A BROKEN HEART IS AN OPEN HEART.

Remember….vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

Finding My Voice #metoo

Gaslighting: “A form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.”

As I begin to write this, I’m surprised to find how full of dread I am. I’ve never before spoken of this topic on a public level. There has been a lot of talk lately on social media about sexual abuse since the #metoo campaign began. My first reaction was to ignore it. I had recovered from my history of sexual abuse. It was done and dusted and all healed over. I wasn’t going to participate in this campaign by coming out as a victim too. I was a victim no more!

However, over the past several years, I was allowing a person in my life to slowly dig into my ancient scars. From the moment he came into our lives, I’ve disliked him. He makes condescending and sexist remarks designed to make you feel small and insignificant. He comments on how sexy you are and how lucky your husband is to have you in his bed, which on the surface looks like a compliment, but leaves you feeling icky and uncomfortable. He grabs your ass in a hello embrace. He grabs you from behind in a “playful” way and just misses your breasts. He talks incessantly about all the women he has sex with. Are we supposed to be impressed? All I feel is sick to my stomach. Suffice it to say, I believed this man to be a predator.

Although I didn’t like being around him, he was a good friend to the family, always there to lend a hand and help out when needed. Everyone else didn’t seem to mind him and thought it was all harmless behaviour from a lonely old man. I was advised to just ignore it. Whenever I talked about his behaviour, it was usually greeted with the eye rolling and deep sighs that said I was being ridiculous and over-reacting. The message was clear… my feelings weren’t valid. This is a lesson women are taught from early on. Our feelings are mostly invalid because they defy logic and rationality. If we can’t articulate our feelings in a way that makes perfect sense and present a case that removes all reasonable doubt, then our feelings simply don’t matter. And because of the systematic training of women to view this kind of behaviour from men as normal, we don’t even see it as abuse. Obviously I was just being over-sensitive. I began to doubt my own mind and overruled my instinct to punch him in the face. After all, he doesn’t mean anything by it. So, I just swallowed my feelings, did my best to be polite and ignored his behaviour like a good little girl.

Throughout my life I have been sexually violated, both subtly and violently. When I was a teenager, I was date-raped twice. I hate that term, date-rape. It’s a sugar-coated expression designed to make the rape seem less ugly. After all, I voluntarily agreed to go out with these men who I found attractive, so I must have wanted it on some level. If you’re on a date and you say no, and they rip your clothes off and rape you, well… you deserved it. Face it, they invested money in you by buying you dinner and drinks and it was the least you could do to repay them for their generosity. So, you don’t call the police. You don’t tell anyone. You just accept it as a really bad date. And later, when I did talk about it to others, I was often told that perhaps I wasn’t clear enough with these men and I should have fought harder. This was actually more brutal than the rapes because this is exactly what I had been telling myself. The ensuing shame was immense and all-consuming and I sought solace through drugs and alcohol. The body eventually heals, but the shame lives on in perpetuity. We live in a culture that still supports the idea that women are to blame for the actions of men who can’t be expected to control themselves, otherwise known as the Provocation Defense.

Recently, and rather unexpectedly, a sudden vitriol came to the surface as the old scars were ripped open. I was drowning in rage. I couldn’t sleep. I would lie in bed all night and cry. I couldn’t breathe at times. I tried, in vain, to talk about it, but couldn’t find my voice. I was yelling but not being heard. I felt all alone. I realised it was time to really talk about the abuse. I had talked about it before to friends and therapists, but I had recounted the stories in much the same way a historian tells them… from a detached and emotionless place. I was just outlining the facts as I recalled them. I had gone through the process of identifying the decisions I had made about myself at the time of the abuse and did my best to rewrite history by changing those old ideas into new and empowered ones. And I felt I had been successful. I had taken control of my life and felt strong and brave and free from my shameful past. But like an onion, another layer was peeled back, which revealed some significant residual pain. I clearly had more work to do. A close friend put it in perspective by asking me, “What would you say if this was happening to me? What would you tell me to do?” I didn’t hesitate! I knew exactly what I would say to her.

It was time to extract this predator from my life. My Dharma teachings, along with my teacher’s voice in my head, were telling me to find patience and compassion in my heart and mind, but also to remember it’s imperative we surround ourselves with fellow seekers of truth and love, not those that promote hatred and division.  Why had I waited so many years before exposing the whole truth? I know why…. because of shame and distrust in my feelings.

So, once again, it’s time for me to slow down and allow my feelings to come up and be experienced fully. I will sit with the discomfort and grieve for all the stolen moments and lost innocence. I will tend to the painful wounds that never fully healed. I vow to never again allow my feelings to go unchecked, unheard, unsupported. I will have more faith in myself and will honour my truth. I will reach out and open up more and not hide my feelings away like something ugly and shameful. I will not protect predators by making excuses for them. I will expose them to the light and banish them.  I will encourage others to come forward and share their stories so they, too, can let go of the shame.  And maybe, just maybe, we can put a stop to this abuse once and for all.

Namaste. 🕉

BREATHE.

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“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Several years ago, when I was a smoker (I know….gross!), I used to believe that smoking relaxed me; never mind the fact that nicotine is a stimulant.  When I gained my freedom from that terrible addiction several years ago, I found that it was the act of conscious breathing that one engages in while smoking that leads the smoker to believe it’s relaxing.

Conscious breathing, as in meditation, right? Yeah.. kinda. But I don’t have to be on the pillow in meditation to consciously breathe.  Once I started to pay attention, I was surprised at how  often I found myself holding my breath or breathing in a shallow manner.  What usually caught my attention to this was that I would suddenly become anxious. I always thought anxiety brought about the shallow breathing but shallow breathing also brings about anxiety.

I once believed that breathing was automated and I didn’t have to think about it.  When I first began meditating many, many years ago, I learned that I didn’t know how to breathe at all and had to be re-taught.  It was hard in the beginning as the more I focussed on my breathing, the more I would hyperventilate.  Man, those early days were rough!

But over time, it became easier to control my breathing and feel the benefits of a regular meditation practice.  I highly recommend beginners join a meditation class or download some good guided meditations as I found it much easier to begin this way.

Now, whenever I feel uneasy, I check that I’m not holding my breath.  One deep, cleansing breath invariably removes, or at least reduces the anxiety.  My breathing tells the tale of my inner world.  It lets me know when I’m off balance, stressed, insecure or not in alignment with Source Energy.  It’s a great barometer that never fails to tell the truth.

So, Number 2 on my list of Divine Daily Practices is:  BREATHE.

 

SECRETS AND LIES

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I had a dream recently about my cousin who committed suicide in 2008.  We were sitting by her pool at her old house in Southern California, drinking iced tea on a beautiful, sunny day and talking about why she killed herself.  It was an oddly calm conversation.  No emotional charge at all, which, even in the dream, I noticed and thought was strange.  She was telling me that she just couldn’t fight anymore.  All her life had felt like a struggle to maintain control.  She felt she was always on the edge of a cliff hanging on for dear life.  Finally, she just had to let go.  I laughed and told her there were other ways to let go without leaving such a mess behind.  She laughed too and said she’d figured that out too late.  I woke up feeling a profound peace.  I had finally moved through the severe grief and was left only with the sadness of knowing we would never hang out like that again.

What happened prior to her suicide will haunt me the rest of my life.  I knew she was unravelling.  I could hear it in her voice.  I knew she was lying to me about what was going on in her life.  I never confronted her though.  She would go on and on about all the crazy in her life and I never told her what I saw.  And I saw it so clearly.  She was breaking apart.  What I couldn’t reconcile was the woman who was lying to me with the woman I had always known to be incredibly honest, sometimes brutally so.  Why had I been so afraid to ask the important questions, instead of cowering behind flippant jokes and flimsy support?  I remember so clearly our last conversation a few days before her death.  I replay it over and over in my head, wondering if I should have told her that I knew the truth of what was really going on in her life.  Maybe she would have chosen to open up to me about it.  Would it have made a difference?  Maybe…. Secrets are what killed her.  I’m certain of it.  Secrets, and the lies necessary to support them, are poison, especially for recovering alcoholics, which I am and she was.

I was one of the very few people who knew her well…. knew what was behind the mask.  To the rest of the world, she was a fighter, brave, strong and confident.  To me, she was all of those things, but I also knew her pain and where her scars were.  She was also fiercely private and strong willed (read: STUBBORN).  She stood up for injustice where ever she saw it.  She was incredibly intuitive and would always tell you the truth, however painful that was, and you knew it came from a place of deep understanding and love.  The more it hurt, the more you knew she’d hit the nail right on the head.  Funny… I could be describing myself.

We weren’t really cousins though.  Her mother and my mother were best friends since they were young girls and continue to be best friends to this day.  We grew up together like sisters, and a sister is what I will always think of her as.  Her father committed suicide when she was young and she never really got over it.  I think it put the idea in her head that should life ever get too hard, this would be her way out.  She never planned to stay on this Earth for very long anyway.  Her time here was short and she knew it.  That was another reason she chose not to have kids, I think.  She always said she didn’t have the patience for kids, but to see her around them was to see a woman completely engaged and in love with them.  It was like that with animals too.  She was truly an animal whisperer and saviour.  She was strict though.  We used to call her “The Warden,” as she was quite rigid once she made a decision about how something was going to be.  She knew that about herself and felt it would not be a great asset as a parent.  But I often wondered if having kids would have softened her, released a vulnerability she never fully expressed.

But she did express it…..near the end.  I think that’s why I froze up.  Her vulnerability was coming through so loud and clear….and it scared me.  She was my touchstone and I had come to depend on her strength.  I didn’t want to see her frailty.  But now it was my turn to be strong, to tell her the truth, however much it hurt, and deal with the fall-out.  Instead, I minimised and joked and tried to make her laugh.  I sent through the clear signal that I couldn’t handle her vulnerability.  If I had let her completely fall apart, and shown her that I would still love her and always be there for her, without judgment, would she have come clean and told me the truth about what was going on?  Would confessing her secrets to me help her to release the shame?  Would that have saved her life?  I honestly believe it might have.  She was surrounded by dark energy and I could have shined some light on her.  I knew, deep down, that was what she was asking of me.  Why hadn’t I listened?  Why had I let her down so completely?

Her funeral may have been a lovely testament to all the lives she touched in a profound way. I wouldn’t know.  I was too consumed by rage to notice.  The night before we had arranged to release her ashes to the sea, a place she loved best, I lay in bed wracked by grief.  I cried uncontrollably for several hours asking her why she had done this.  Why had she left me?  I asked for some sign that she was with me. I begged for some indication from her that she was here and aware of my immense anger at her.  The next morning, I went into the kitchen of my hotel room where I had placed a picture of her next to the ones I had brought of my husband and kids.  I had leaned them all against the wall.  My cousin’s picture was still lying perfectly against the wall, but it was turned around.  Her face now facing the wall.  In that moment, I knew she had been here and heard my cries.  Later that day, at the beach, we all came together to say goodbye and release her ashes.  Her husband took her on his surfboard and paddled out a distance.  After he dropped the box and started to paddle back, a pod of dolphins swam right to the spot he had dropped her ashes and began to leap out of the water, playing and putting on a show for us that went on for quite a while.  We all knew this was her doing and she was letting us know she was at peace.  Our beautiful mermaid was at home and happy.  We cried tears of sadness and joy, knowing only she could arrange such an amazing spectacle to communicate a clear message to us all.  I will never forget that day and my only regret is that I was too angry to fully appreciate the moment.

Several years down the road I had my own break-down.  I entered the early stages of menopause, which seemed determined to tear down the thick walls around my own vulnerability.   I was a mess, unbalanced, closing in on myself while pushing everyone away.  Luckily, I recognised the signs and reached out for support, otherwise, I may have gone down the same path as her.  I had some very dark moments and I began to understand her anguish on a much deeper level.  There were times when I perfectly understood her choice to check out.  Had I shrouded myself in shame and embraced the dark, pushing away the people bearing the light and love, I’m sure I would’ve made the same choice she did.

The true empathy I finally shared with her allowed me to release the anger I felt towards her for leaving the way she did and the wreckage she left behind.  I had been angry at her for so long and now I could finally understand.  I knew I needed to let go of the shame and guilt and open my heart to the love around me.  She taught me the importance of sharing my feelings, openly and honestly….that being tough and stoic serves no one.  Expressing pain and asking for help is actually an act of courage, not a sign of weakness.  They say you’re only as sick as your secrets.  Today, I keep no secrets.  I share it all.  This enables me to be of much greater benefit to those who are suffering.  If I boldly speak my truth, holding nothing back, and stand exposesd in front of the world, perhaps it will inspire courage in others to do the same.

Imagine a world where no one felt shame or hid their true beauty….if all our hearts were open and we only spoke the truth.  Honestly, it sounds a bit scary, but I vow to honour my cousin by living in that world….always.

Rest in peace dear sister.