It has been a rather interesting weather pattern here this year and October arrived with one of the best weeks we have had in the past couple of months! Warm, sunny and colourful! I love taking advantage of the fall season – the time of year when the magic of Mother Nature explodes in full colour teasing us with a taste of the cool weather that is coming over night but warming up through the day. It’s a time of dressing in layers and being prepared for the shifts of temperature that happen throughout the day.
The other characteristic of fall that I love are the fall fairs, the Cranberry Festival, the bountiful farmers markets overflowing with the final harvest of the season including fresh Ontario apples!! I shared a couple of years ago of our couples group who gather every fall for a day of apple pie making. We are scheduled for November 1st this year and I can’t wait to add another batch of fresh made pies to the freezer stock. My husband and I decided to take advantage of the fall for our event this year and create a day of exploring both our countryside, fresh produce and a unique experience.
Blackhouse. click image to enlarge
We have planned a day that includes a lunch at the charming Mono Cliffs Inn, followed by a hike at the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. Not only will we experience the natural beauty of the view from these hills with the incredible cliffs and caves; it will be enhanced by the burst of colours sprinkled into the canvas. We will complete our day with a visit to Landman Gardens in Grand Valley where we’ll go on a tour of the farm, visit the on-site farm store to purchase some organic produce, preserves and baked goods and then dine at their unique Blackhouse. I saw a picture of this in the summer at another event and just knew it was something I wanted to experience. They will produce a 5 course meal for us to enjoy together as a group in this unique setting.
I am so looking forward to this day. As my dear friend and author Moira Sanders wrote in her latest cookbook, “Food + People = Happiness”. It’s true; memories are made when we share time and meals with people we love. What’s on your “explore or must do list” for this fall. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas to add to my list.
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What? Toxins in feminine hygiene products, what am I talking about?! This blog is sensitive and yet very important for me to share with my readers. This year has brought me up close and personal with some of the very issues that one of my networking groups is so passionate about; educating the public on current practices and statistics that affect the health and well-being of people and the planet. The last film to be viewed was entitled, “Unacceptable Levels” which exposed the toxic chemical load in many products that we use every day (View trailer here).Continue reading →
I just spent the most amazing weekend in the woods out in the Hockley Valley; an event hosted by Visions in the Woods proprietor Deborah Kolody and a team of incredible leaders.
It was an outdoor event literally in the beautiful woods of Hockley with many vendors sharing their gifts and services with each other and the participants. The theme was experiencing the elements of water, fire, wind, earth and storm and I must say they were present at every level. Continue reading →
This past month we have experienced some wild weather patterns in southern Ontario and it was on one of those thunderstorm days that a Red Tailed Hawk shared a message with me and my friend.
We were waffling about whether to head out for our scheduled 5pm Nordic pole walk as the skies were quite ominous however; we changed locations and decided to give it a try. Leaving from my place on a rural road, we head out for a quick walk and chat before beginning the evening supper activities. The winds were quite strong which gave a sense of anticipation. My attention was drawn above to a beautiful hawk circling above…how I love to watch the birds of prey as they are on the lookout for their next catch. As we moved along, I noticed that the hawk was now about 200 meters ahead of us and just hovering in the sky on the north side of the roadway. Continue reading →
For the past few years I have added the joy of keeping a small vegetable garden for our family’s enjoyment. Though we are in the heart of the fertile Holland Marsh, nothing compares to the opportunity to go out your back door and pick your own freshly grown and nurtured veggies to accompany any meal.
Though we are on a country property with lots of wildlife around, my first year was clear sailing without even having a fence protecting the space. I did grow marigolds around the perimeter which gave happy colour all summer and seemed to distract curious four legged nibblers.
Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian healing tradition that “undoes” the threads that cause disharmony in our lives. It involves using statements with a lot of historical power on their own, but, when your conscious intention is behind it, without guilt or shame or fear, it is an extremely powerful tool of change!
This past weekend a friend and I co-hosted a wonderful workshop to learn the art of Ho’oponopono with Krow Fischer from Here on Earth. Over the past year, I have been really looking at and releasing some old patterns that were no longer serving me in my life as many of my friends and clients alike have been doing. We all learn in different ways and though I read many books and listen to many CD’s etc., my best way to integrate learnings are through experiential work. I had read a book this spring on Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian art of love and forgiveness which was very intriguing. To my delight, I found out that Krow Fischer was leading workshops for this after studying with Harry & Sila Jim, Traditional Hawaiian Kahuna’s. The art of attraction in action!
Many of my clients ask me what I use for skin care and make-up as we begin to realize how many chemicals are in the favourite products that we use every day from deodorant to shampoo and this time of year; sunscreen! It’s a fabulous question and one that I continue to learn more about every day. Being fair skinned, I have used face make-up since I was a young teenager and I realize that my body was exposed to harsh chemicals for years. I trust that my body is always ready to spring back and respond to healthy changes and so today I have a completely different approach with that of organic skin care.
I have a number of local favourites that I use which I am happy to share here along with a couple of great websites for further information. It started with the EWG who provide a wealth of research on product contents and my new find, The Health & Beauty World.
Here is a list of ingredients to avoid in your skin care from the Health & Beauty World website: Continue reading →
It is such a gift to be part of local networking groups which expose me to incredible people. Yesterday’s BWNA joint meeting held at Pathways to Perennials in King Township was no exception. We were fortunate to have a dynamic and passionate speaker, Donna Tranquada representing Food & Water Firstto share with us her personal journey over the past 3 years about saving our agricultural lands.
Donna lives and works in downtown Toronto however she and her husband own a farm property in Melancthon Township just west of Mulmur Township in Dufferin County. For those of you familiar with the area, you will know a great grass roots movement took place to stop the development of a mega quarry in this prime agricultural and precious water landmass. Thousands of citizens came together to uncover the truth of what was planned for the area and organized their efforts to educate Ontarians including the politicians on what repercussions would result for the invaluable water and food supply of the area. The process was a success and the mega quarry has been halted for now.
I was working with a young client recently who shared with me her challenges around anxiety and the thought patterns reminded me of how some of my Enneagram Type 6 friends have shared what they experience. I reached out to ask them what they have found beneficial to quiet the anxious thoughts which lead to the anxious feelings in the body. I was very touched by the thoughtfulness that was put into the responses and I am sure that the suggestions will be valuable to all of us regardless of our Enneagram type. (for a refresher overview of Enneagram Type 6, follow this link.
These responses represent both genders from a more experienced stage of life. They all acknowledged that managing anxiety has been a pattern of struggle in their lives and so they have been very motivated to look for strategies to ease this. There were definitely common strategies and then there were specific ones that provide support for specific personal challenges. I will begin with the most popular response and work to the individual.
I watched the evening news one day last week and was saddened to see a story on vaccines that reported parents were not being responsible if they chose not to vaccinate their children. The report was explaining that there is a rise in childhood illnesses like measles because of the parents who are making the choice not to vaccinate.
There are thousands of reports supporting each side of the vaccine debate with Government bodies and Medical establishments providing the research to support vaccinations and other medical professionals and human interest groups like Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute providing research on the dangers involved with vaccinations.
I personally believe this is part of a much larger issue facing health and wellbeing in our world. The environmental toxins present in today’s lifestyle are taxing our immune systems so that we have less ability to deal with normal childhood illnesses. Right up there with the environmental toxic overload is the typical sugar laden, processed and genetically modified food diets that we live on and provide to our children. I cannot forget to add in the bombardment of electro-magnetic frequencies from all the wireless technology that permeates our society. After this we can add the stress levels experienced by families working to just keep up with the responsibilities that they carry which depletes them of their “Joy”. It is a challenging picture indeed.
I was asked by a colleague yesterday “How do we stay positive when the negativity creeps in?” Here in southern Ontario as with many other regions in Canada and the northeastern states, we are still in winter weather conditions. Last night we experienced -15 and though it has warmed up a bit today, the snow flurries have arrived. Even the winter enthusiasts are waning and looking forward to warmer spring conditions. The top world news stories do not paint a beautiful picture of peace and the astrological shifts are definitely stirring up the status quo. So, the question is a really great one and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on it here. Of course I am hoping that it will encourage others to share their strategies and tips as well. Below are 6 tips to staying positive.
At our February Women’s Wellness Circle, Charles Brand of Appealing Environments, entitled his presentation to us as “Crystal Enlightenment”. He reminded us that as we are moving into the Age of Aquarius that we are actually raising the vibration of our bodies and shared with us a way to support this process with crystals. So how can we raise our vibration and how does it have anything to do with crystals like quartz and amethyst? Well, Charles talked about how our bodies are a carbon base and carbon is close on the periodic table to silicon or Sand. We had the opportunity to look at “Sand” in a whole new way and explore our own “Self” in the process.
Quartz Crystals, Amethyst and Citrine are made up of Silicon dioxide (SiO2). Silicon Dioxide is the most abundant compound in the earth’s crust. It exists as quartz crystal, amethyst, agate, flint, jasper, opal and commonly known SAND. As we are moving into the Age of Aquarius – I reference the writing of another researcher who speaks of this topic in his work.
It is Valentine’s week so it feels very timely to be answering a question that was sent in from a Type 5 reader asking, “How do I stay connected with my emotions and not detach when it is important to do so? Please review my overview blog on Type 5 for background. I decided to reach out to my panel of experts…the Type 5s in my life for their input to this question. Needless to say, it was not an easy response for the majority of them, which is why this question is so powerful.
Type 5s are in the Thinking Triad and identify powerfully with; “A sense of being a detached, outside observer of the world – not part of it. They resist recognizing physical presence and state, feelings and needs, from the book “The Wisdom of the Enneagram”. Continue reading →
I had the opportunity to appear on Rogers Daytime TV this morning as part of the Green Connections Networking group I belong to. I wanted to link being healthy with being green and sustainable. I have been part of this great green group for over a year now and am so impressed with the personal conviction that each of us shares towards living in a more sustainable way, no matter what our business segment is. I have noticed that people who take care of themselves also have a higher propensity to make greener choices overall in life. I prepared a multiple choice fact sheet to work with for the interview segment that I believe might be of interest to you as readers. I have highlighted the correct answer.
Happy 2014! It is vividly cold for us here in Southern Ontario yet the sun is shining and that combination makes me feel very alive! I am reminded that I always find myself feeling this alive and connected at the close of each month’s Women’s Circle. The Power of the Circle never ceases to amaze me – there is a foundational peace that resides when a group of like-minded people gather together in circle.
Founded 10 years ago by Jill Hewlett, the York Region Women’s Circle has been meeting monthly at various locations, bringing a diverse yet connected group of women together to share, learn, experience and laugh. I began hosting the summer outdoor circles at our beautiful acreage in Holland Landing many years ago and soon joined to co-host throughout the year. We now offer two locations every month with Jill hosting a Toronto location and I carrying forward the York Region group.
Every month we feature a different presenter to share their journey and talents. It is experiential, nurturing and oh so much fun! Every month has first time attendees and those who rarely miss. New friendships are made and new ideas germinated that bring women to something they never thought of before. There is an uplifting that is so valuable in our busy lives. When we participate in the circle, we find our power increase exponentially like a drop of water rippling on the surface of a pond. There is power in numbers and when the commitment is made by many to come together in a circle to focus attention and joy, the circle emanates ripples of energy that can change the world.
This is a follow up to my last post where I shared that I had just returned from a beautiful trip to Hawaii and now I would like to expand upon “The Spirit of Aloha”. As we move into the holiday time of year, we are inundated with the marketing of the season luring us to buy a multitude of material things yet the deeper meaning includes gratitude, reflection, giving and acknowledgement of our blessings. I found this passage describing the deeper meaning of Aloha and it once again struck me how we are all unified at the core of our roots.
For those who follow the path of Huna, or are fortunate enough to live in Hawai’i, it is common for us to use the word Aloha. We use it in greetings and farewells and in expressing love. But the word means even more; it is a way of life.
My husband and I just returned from a beautiful holiday in Hawaii where we toured around Oahu for a couple of days and then flew to Maui to live in a beach house shared with 2 other couples for 10 days. It could not have been a more perfect holiday; with ideal weather, vistas to fill every sense, excursions to expand our knowledge and our athletic skills and good friends to laugh and share it all with. We certainly made some plans for the top activities we wanted to experience and the rest of the time we allowed the day to unfold by tuning into what felt good. I chose to be completely “off” of work mode and completely “on” enjoying the time with my husband and friends. I arrived back on Friday and still had no idea what I wanted to share next in my blog. As I was catching up on the inbox…I came across this wonderful article in a Hay House e-mail about 10 ways to live happy and was reminded how much I enjoyed Lissa’s book. Enough so, that I have given it to clients and friends this year. It is a perfect segway for keeping a little Island feel inside as I live each day!
Stamatis Moraitis was a WWII veteran from Greece who came to the U.S. to get treatment for his arm that was mangled in combat. He wound up settling in Boynton Beach, Florida where he married a Greek-American woman, had three children, had a good job in manual labor, bought a three-bedroom house and a 1951 Chevrolet.
Last weekend I taught a Reiki Level 2 certification class. It was a joyful experience in so many ways. As we sat down to lunch, one of my students commented that he didn’t know what he looked forward to more, the teachings or the yummy home-made lunch! He even suggested that I start a new blog entitled “Reiki in the Kitchen!” Well, I chose to start out with a single blog on this topic because it really did speak to me on the capacity of bringing the healing power of reiki to whatever we do.
I love to cook and prepare meals that nourish our soul and to sit at a table with others to share just adds more joy to the whole event! When we spend time at the reiki training to open our heart and learn the sacred teachings of the Usui natural healing system, it only seems to fit that we also take time to nourish our bodies with healthful food to support the day. I love to take time looking through my cook book collection to find just the right dishes to share for the time of year. I tend to focus around a soup dish and this past weekend was no exception. I chose a recipe from Julie Daniluk’s book entitled “Meals that Heal Inflammation” called Ginger Butternut Soup. I will share the recipe below. Served along with a salad of fresh baby greens, basmati rice and bread, it warmed our bellies and prepared us for the afternoon session.
Have you been noticing the shifts lately? You know the ones that are bringing up old stuff that are calling to be released! Planetary influences are all about “releasing what no longer serves us” so I have been noticing with many clients and in my own life opportunities to release and to transform our thoughts and perceptions. I took my reiki mastery training with Dean Noblett and Rebecca Couch of Heartlight in Schomberg. Rebecca is an excellent writer and she posted this piece on Spirit Library that fits perfectly for the energies taking place right now. Here are some things to remember when the shift hits the fan!
Process Your Emotions Honestly Feeling makes you human. Allow your emotions to express themselves within you truthfully. Just be with them as they arise, because you have a right to feel however you do. Stay with them until you can name them – but don’t get stuck in them and don’t hurt yourself or anyone else with them! You are not your emotions; you are oh-so-much more.
Breathe and know that all is well.
Remain Calm and Carry On Just like any emergency situation, you can think and respond better when you are calm. Remember that there is great power and balance in neutrality. Don’t take anything personally. Be the neutral, objective watcher as much as possible. Have courage, and keep on keeping on…there are great insights ahead. Always put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
Cultural Creatives are a growing segment of the Western population transforming mainstream culture. Driven by their holistic values, integrated worldview and ability to synthesize vast amounts of information with an inner vision (insight) of wholeness, Cultural Creatives are in the author’s words, an “emerging wisdom culture”.
This was the opening of an article I happened to find in the latest Pathways to Family Wellness magazine that I get at Foster Family Chiropractic. I was very taken by what author Paul H. Ray, a social scientist had to share from his years of research about this group of people. I related it to my life and to the groups that I am part of and realized that this brought more insight into the reasons why I am drawn to being part of or coordinating these groups. As I was preparing for a talk at one of them, the Green Connections Networking Group, I found the synchronicity of this article beautiful. Let me share a few highlights of what the article covered. Continue reading →
“Old age merely reveals all the problems the person has failed to solve in his life.” Luis Martins Simoes
Have you watched the commercial on TV recently that plays out 2 scenarios of the how the last 10 years of life could look? One shows a man aging with grace and vibrancy and the other shows him deteriorating slowly but surely until no light is left in his system. This is very real! Our body is sharing with us every day how it is doing and what is out of balance calling for attention. I have spoken numerous times around this idea. That is why this quote above so spoke to me and I carried on reading further the insights of Luis in his research.
He looks at the emotional connection to various ailments that we experience in life and I will share one with you as an example. We often hear the saying that a symptom is age related and a very common “age related” issue is eye sight. Here is what Luis shares about aging eyes. Continue reading →
My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Nova Scotia where we visited with friends in Musquodoboit Harbour on the Eastern Shore about 45 minutes from Halifax. While there we toured an incredible garden property called Harbour Breezes where owners Allan and Shane have created a visionary wonderland. I wanted to share this story with you because I was so moved by what I experienced walking these gardens and listening to the story of its “becoming”. It truly is a “Vision in Action”.
The property was purchased in 2004 and opened to the public in 2006. Its location is ideal being right on the well traveled Hwy. #7 along the Eastern Shore at Jeddore Harbour with a south facing view of the water. From the humble home at the road, the property goes straight uphill behind. The land is rough, covered in large rocks, trees and native scrub brush. As the story unfolded, we learned that every year Allan gave his creative dreams permission to grow with lots of hard work and research and determination. The core lines of products are Day Lilies and they currently have over 750 varieties with new ones being added every year.
By “life omnipresent”, I mean that life is present in all things. It is not only in human beings, but in animals, trees, rocks – in every living thing, every object. Even a table is composed of the same energy that we are. It is part of the interrelated whole. It has function and is going through it’s own transformational process. The same is true of the 75 million cells that make up the human body, and of every particle in each of those cells. Not a single one is exactly like another, and each has it’s own destiny. If we can accept this truth, perhaps we can learn to stop judging other things and other beings by limited human or cultural standards. That would be a great advance, for it is judging that holds us back from giving and receiving unconditional love.
There is one constant in this universe and that is change! We tend to create stress in our lives when we are constantly looking for stability, defined as “no changes”. We can definitely create stability however it looks different. It is an inner state rather than an outer state. And with so many of my clients feeling the effects of change and transition very intensely right now, my attention was peaked while reading the latest issue of PATHWAYS to family wellness magazine. I would like to share a portion of one of the articles here with you entitled “Why and How we Shift”.
“IONS (Institute for Noetic Sciences) did a 10 year project looking at consciousness transformation. And we looked at the catalysts that shift someone. It can be anything…people describe something as mundane as washing dishes, or as in the case of Edgar Mitchell, as profound as coming back from the moon, that would allow a moment of reflection to say, “Wow! I just feel there is something more here.” It could be the death of a loved one or the loss of a job, a divorce…all of these can be helpful to disrupt our current state. It’s really beautiful when we can move our conversation about something that is traumatic into something that can help us grow and evolve, because that’s the worldview shift. It’s how we define the situation. One person can see it one way and another person can see it another way. It is how we can begin to own the power of the interpretation of the experience.
This topic has come about so frequently with clients and in my own life over the past few weeks that it felt like a great topic to write about. This subject of mirroring is not a simple process to understand however it can be very powerful. In the big picture, I always say that “we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are!” This means that we interpret our outer experiences from the perspective that we hold at any given time. If we wake up one morning over-tired and not in a great mood, the experiences of our day seem to reflect that mood that we hold! As Abraham would say:, “The worse it gets, the worse it gets!!” Thankfully, the opposite is true too:, “The better it gets, the better it gets! Continue reading →
“Thanks for your really helpful comments, which I wish I could instantly digest and do something about! Would be interested in your thoughts on type 9s identifying their passion which I know is a problem for them.”
So I answered him back with my thoughts but also advised that I would check in with my expert panel themselves, the Type Nines, to see what insight could be gleaned. Well – it was a beautiful experience and I believe great information for the Nine in all of us. Here is a summary of the responses that I received.
“You have to push yourself, take risks, get out of your comfort zone, try something new and give yourself permission to do something that may make you stand out and may not be what everyone expects of you. If you haven’t found your passion in the world that you have created for yourself you have to venture out further to find it. I think usually fear is what holds us back from reaching for the next level and challenging ourselves; fear of failing, fear of making a mistake, fear of being judged, fear of being noticed, fear of disappointing someone … and maybe even fear of success. I have discovered that the only thing you should fear is standing still and not growing.”
Back in 1995 a new best seller hit the bookstores called “Emotional Intelligence”, by Daniel Goleman and the impact it had on my business career was significant. I recall reading this book and feeling such a resonance with the material like there was finally scientifical proof to so much of what I instinctually knew to be true. I ended up becoming certified in giving the EI assessment and from there was introduced to an incredible tool for developing our emotional intelligence called the Enneagram!
To this day, I believe that how well we handle our daily interactions and life stresses are based more on how developed our emotional intelligence skills are than anything else. In fact when we are not processing our emotions effectively; it creates the opportunity for energy imbalances to manifest and these show up as dis-ease symptoms in the body. Yes – I believe that every physical symptom in the body first originated at the emotional level.
To continue along the same vein as my last post about taking personal responsibility, I found this passage in a wonderful book entitled, “It’s not what you eat, it’s what eats you.” by Jack Schwarz. And in this blog post, we’ll explore the barriers we have in life and how to overcome them by letting our own self-expression flow.
“Too often we set our potentials aside and put our desires on hold for someone else’s apparent sake. We create conflicts which don’t need to exist, either an inner conflict of, Should I or Shouldn’t I? or an attempt to justify our lack of expression because of what others expect of us. Too often we create a time schedule by which self-expression, if it comes at all, can come only after we have fulfilled all social expectations, only to find that those never end. We need to know what to do now, and then do it, in spite of everything else. Spontaneity is not easy, especially for those of us who have family or obligations incurred by other structured situations. Expectations repress natural spontaneity.
Is what you are experiencing in your life what you want it to be? We all want to put responsibility on outside influences for things that are causing us stress, challenge and discomfort, but that is so limiting. The most powerful stance we can take is one of personal responsibility because then there is hope for change. This is definitely not implying blame and guilt, far from it. We only know what we know and we are generally making choices in each moment based on that! So – the opportunities are endless if we come from a position of personal responsibility.
“We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”
We are incredible beings with such inner resources to interact with the world around us and our bodies do an amazing job of trying to keep up with what we put them through every day. Sometimes though, it just feels like we don’t have enough to get through whatever is going on. Many of us live in an exhausted state, with commitments pulling from every direction and a feeling that there is no time for ourselves. This is not an empowering feeling and the body will find a way to let us know that we are not in balance! Whether we experience headaches, tension aches, digestive issues, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety; the list is endless; it is the bodies messaging system at work.
Here is a personal account of how Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF) have affected our family. I found myself sharing with a client yesterday, the journey our family went through to discover what the root cause of my husband’s discomfort was a few years back and decided it might be relevant to share it here with you.
What started out as a relatively annoying sporadic skin rash some 30 years ago started becoming a regular issue around 2005. The normal protocol from the medical field was to treat the sporadic outbreak with cortisone cream, however the more I learned about the negative side effects of this cream, I encouraged my husband not to use it. We would try other natural options, but one day the issue got so bad, he said that he needed to get to the bottom of it. We sought the help of an Iridologist, Naturopath and finally got to a TCM Doctor who specialized in acupuncture. That brought a complete detoxification of his system and gradually strengthened it do a better place than he had been for years however – symptoms would still appear every once in a while.
I recently attended a phenomenal weekend workshop with Helen Palmer and Terry Seracino entitled “Observing the Hidden Barriers in Relationships”. It focused on the Enneagram personality system and specifically the three subtypes that play out in our relationships. The weekend was rich in exercises, witnessing and experiencing how these inner habits of focus can play out within our interactions. I thought some of you may be curious to learn a bit about these subtypes; so here we go.
“Our conditioned Enneagram type structure is defined by a pattern of thought supported by an emotional habit (historically called the passion of the heart) which plays out in three critical behaviours called Subtypes that affect our relationships as well as how we spend our time and energy.”
These three subtypes can also be referred to as instinctual energy and I will give a brief overview here taken from the notes of the weekend workshop.
“We have discussed how a balanced flow of chi energy through the acupuncture-meridian system is crucial to achieving health; but the chi flow through the meridians is only one of the many human subtle-energy systems that must be in balance in order to maintain health. Blockages in the flow of subtle energy through the chakra system can be an equally important contributor to dis-ease. In the yogic tradition, the chakras are said to function as emotional and spiritual energy transducers. They take the prana, the subtle nutritive life energy component of sunlight. Although chi and prana are life energies, prana is a distinctive and different form of life energy from chi. The seven major chakras absorb and distribute prana to various organs and tissues of the body. It seems anything that causes a blockage or disturbance in the flow of subtle energy through one or more chakras can also lead to the development of illness in the body. One of the most important causes of chakra blockage is chronic emotional stress and emotional energy imbalance. Just as physical toxins can produce illness, emotional toxins can poison the spiritual as well as the physical bodies in various subtle ways. Chronic anger, hatred, bitterness, greed, hopelessness, loneliness and depression may lead to illness, because these negative emotions create chakra imbalances that shut down the flow of pranic life energy to our body’s vital organs.
Continuing from the last post, Understanding Vibrational Medicine, in this blog, I would like to cover the basic outline of one of the bodies “Life-energy systems” which we refer to as the Acupuncture-Meridian System.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body has a distribution network that creates a highway for three essential substances to flow throughout the body. This distribution network called the Meridian System looks like a giant web, linking different areas of our body together. Its pathways make up a comprehensive yet complex body map that supplies vital energy to every part of the body. Philosophically, the Meridian System explains how we live, and why we become sick.
I would like to continue on with the energy theme for this post and give some insight and understanding into the “energetic healing work” that I focus on in my practice. To assist with the definitions and overview I will incorporate some of the material from Richard Gerber M.D., and his book entitled “A Practical Guide to Vibrational Medicine”.
“During the early part of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein came to the conclusion that matter and energy were actually interconvertible and interchangeable. He said that matter and energy were, in fact, two different forms of the same thing. If this is so, then all the atoms and subatomic particles making up the human body are also a kind of frozen energy as well. Since all energy vibrates and oscillates at different rates, then, at least at the atomic level, the human body is really composed of different kinds of vibrating energy. The term, “vibrational medicine”, comes from this fact. By using a vibrational-medicine approach, it is possible to diagnose different types of illnesses based on knowledge of the different frequencies of energy that can be measured coming from the human body. For example, many doctors routinely order electrocardiagrams (EKG’s) on patients as part of their yearly exams. The electrical energy coming from the heart can give doctors information about whether the heart is functioning properly.”
Happy 2013 to all!! As we move fully into this new year and new beginnings, what energy do you feel it holds for you? I typically begin my new year not with resolutions but a few words or phrases that hold a feeling of what I want to invite into my year ahead.
Last year my words were; Clarity, Focus and Expansion and it definitely was the overall feel of my year. I added the Biophoton Light Therapyto my practice with a certification course led by Paul McDonald of Meridian Energies in Clarksburg which was an expansion in many ways for me. I began the year with a 10 weeks Holistic Nutrition course with Shawn Nisbet and an 8 week early morning Yoga Challenge with Corrine Penstone at Yoga Source. I also nurtured my spiritual journey with a program called Tending My Soul Garden with Andrea Mathieson of Raven Essences. It was a focused and big learning year.
Well – here we are 1 week before Christmas day and 2 weeks left in 2012! I know you may be fully engulfed in preparing for the activities that are abundant right now so what am I doing talking about “preparing for new beginnings”?
This is a new beginning time for me every year because I happen to have my birthday in December. I seem to be drawn to completing unfinished projects before my birthday and to begin thinking about my next year. The other pattern for me in December is to give my home a thorough cleaning before I put up any Christmas decorations. The thought of adding beauty to clutter just feels like adding clutter to clutter.
As we enter into the final weeks towards our Christmas season, it is inevitable that we will be stretched dealing with a multitude of expectations and relationship challenges that often accompany this time of year. I found myself reflecting on this set of commandments written by Kent M. Keith in a book of the same title. “Do it Anyway; The handbook for finding happiness in a crazy world.” Let me share it with you here.
Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments.
1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
I am awesome! Yes – I just wrote that statement, a humble Canadian! It has taken a lot of practice, let me tell you. It appears that we Canadians have a reputation for not being able to acknowledge our greatness – we are just fantastic at acknowledging other peoples greatness! You see, the real eye opener took place about 3 weeks ago when I was at chorus rehearsal. It was the week before leaving for our International competition in Denver, Colorado and we were tweaking our performance package with the unbelievably amazing Erin Howden, our choreographer. Half way through the night after almost standing on her head to get a point across about how much we needed to transcend the footlights with our expression and energy – she asked us to do a little exercise.
She asked each of us to turn to the chorus members standing around us and tell them how awesome they were. Well – that was effortless, it came with complete sincerity and lots of energy. Once we calmed down she said, ok, now turn to the chorus members around you and tell them how awesome you are! Oh my goodness – that was a whole different ball game. It did not flow effortlessly or with sincerity or lots of energy…in fact it was rather awkward! I even witnessed a fellow chorus member stick her finger in her mouth and make a gagging motion after she said this to her riser buddy. We obviously had some work to do. Did it mean we didn’t think we were good enough to go after the Gold medal in Denver? No it didn’t. However it might have impacted how our attitude would come across on stage. It was not a time and place to be “nice polite Canadians”! So the next part of the exercise (because it was not over yet)….was to imagine we were one of our Sweet Adeline idles and once we took on the persona of how we believed they would handle this situation – we again approached the riser gals around us and shared the message with them that we in fact were Awesome!! It worked! And you can bet that that became an exercise we did every practice until we stood on International stage to perform our package. And you know what? It really did get easier and I would say that something shifted because along with all the other preparations we did, our time on stage for the semi-finals was incredible and we came off feeling like we executed our plan!
I recently attended a family funeral service and once again was so touched by the stories that are shared during this poignant and reflective time. I have often come away from a service thinking that there was so much about the person that I didn’t know. We are all so rich with life experience, so unique in our way of being and we touch others in our life in many different ways. One of the powerful messages that always surfaces is a sense of gratitude for the interactions we have had with the person being honoured. It is a real gift when we have had the opportunity to share our heartfelt feelings with them before they pass as it allows for more peace. It sometimes gets phrased that there is no business left undone.
I found myself reflecting once more on the power of gratitude in our lives and specifically of acknowledging the gifts we receive from others in our lives. There are special holidays throughout the year that remind us to think about those that make a difference for us such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and we just had a significant one with Thanksgiving! Our family has often gathered for the Thanksgiving meal and shared around the table something that we are thankful for in our lives. Some participants may roll their eyes and wish this part of the meal would just pass by however I am quite certain that once the circle of sharing is complete, there is a different vibration opened up around the table. Our heart centre which I spoke of in 2 previous blogs; The Intelligence of the Heart, and The Intelligence of the Heart – Part 2, has been activated and the strength of that loving signal expands and brings more light and true happiness into the room.
The same principles are relevant when discovering the deeper messages of our bodies. To learn about something, you must spend time with it. Just as we do naturally with personal relationships, we cultivate them over time. Anyone who has a pet will know how powerful the nonverbal communication can be. We get to know the nuances and movements and looks of our pets and what they mean.
I was speaking at a Women’s Conference last week about Work/Life Balance and one of the points that was raised more than once was, “I know what I should be doing, it’s just that I don’t do it! Which is then followed by reasons such as life is too busy, I don’t know where to find the time or I just don’t know WHY I don’t do it! So how then do we live the tenets of wellness?
Right on queue, the universe provided a perfect resource to give some advice for those us who know what to do and don’t do it consistently. I was at my chiropractor’s office where I really enjoy reading a magazine they distribute called “Pathways to Family Wellness”, and this perfect article was in the current issue. So, I am going to interrupt the planned part 2 of my last blog and insert this timely article. Please watch for the part 2 to Heart Intelligence for next time. Here is the first section of the article followed by a link to read the full article if you are interested.
I am reading a fabulous book right now entitled “The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in Direct Perception of Nature” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. This may take 2 blogs to complete, however I am interested in sharing my experience of this book with you.
“The majority of modern peoples, if asked to find the place within their body where the unique self resides, would say that they live about an inch above their eyebrows and about two inches into the skull. But most indigenous and historical peoples would locate the self someplace very different. They would gesture in the region of the heart. For most of our history of habitation on Earth, that is where the seat of intelligence, the seat of the soul, was located.
Have you ever found yourself saying something like; I’ve been working so hard that when I finally get some time off, all I want to do is sleep. Or – now that I have made enough money to do some traveling, my health isn’t going to support it. It’s not like our bodies haven’t been trying to give us signals before we are exhausted or our health is challenged – the trouble is we have learned to stop listening. I know that I am no exception to this and realize that is the reason my work is centered around connecting to the communication of our body, emotions and inner voice.
Some of you reading this blog post may have noticed the quote I have after my e-mail signature that goes like this:
“The standard of success in life isn’t the things. It isn’t the money or the stuff. It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.” — Abraham
Last Thursday was the first outdoor Women’s Wellness Circle in Holland Landing for the 2012 season co-hosted by my friend and colleague Jill Hewlett and myself. Mother Nature blessed us with a perfect evening to be outside enjoying the beauty of our surroundings, the fire, the comradery and our incredible presenters! Terri Segal of Rhythmic by Nature and Elisha MacMillan, sociologist and dance educator led us through African dancing and drumming with lots of Jambi’s provided by Shaw Percussion of Sutton! We had close to 40 women attend ranging in age from their 20’s to 70’s with joy experienced by all!
I recently was questioned by one of my sons as to why we don’t use toothpaste with fluoride. He said, “I know you have told me it’s not good, but why isn’t it”? Great question and a great wake-up call for me. As my sons are all young adults now, they are fully capable of making their own health decisions once armed with the knowledge. So, I pulled out my health file and shared a couple of articles and references with him and said – you get to choose whether you want a fluoride toothpaste or not. Here is a link to the Fluoride Network if you would like more information.
When we are ready to make important decisions, we usually open up to learn more about the area of concern or ask a trusted advisor so that we make educated choices. When it comes to our health – there are many answers and rightly so because everyone has their own take on a particular topic. The bottom line comes down to doing our homework and trusting our own inner guidance on what feels right for us. No one can know our body, mind and spirit better than we do – we just need to re-educate our habits to take the responsibility and not hand our power over to others.
How do we balance the effects of stress? That’s been the focus of a majority of my clients lately so I felt it time to share some thoughts on this incredibly important subject. You see, most of us have grown up with the idea that Self Care is Selfish! We were taught to always look after others first however in any emergency situation, we are taught the opposite. When you travel by air, the safety instructions in the event that oxygen masks are needed is to put yours on first and then you can be sure you are able to assist others! So – it’s time to revisit the importance of self care and create a new plan of action so that we keep our energy fuel tank at a healthy operating level. I found a wonderful article from Elizabeth Scott, M.S. that I agree with on for 10 self care strategies.
You can’t always control the circumstances that life throws your way, but you can control how well you take care of yourself. Taking proper care of your body, soul and mind can keep you in optimum shape for handling stress. The following are some important basic self care strategies that can keep you functioning well and ready for life’s challenges.
Sleep is very important for your emotional and physical wellbeing. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your ability to handle stress, be productive, and function properly. Unfortunately, busy schedules and stress can make sleep more elusive. Here are some important ways you can make sleep come more easily. And if you really aren’t able to get enough sleep at night, don’t underestimate the value of a power nap!
When I was in my late teens, my friends and I would often go to the local pizza parlour on Thursday evening because the men’s barbershop group would go there after practice to socialize and sing a few tunes for the patrons. I absolutely loved the sound of their 4 part a capella music. Little did I know that a few years later I would be introduced to the women’s counterpart group, the Sweet Adelines! I was hooked after the first rehearsal and singing in this group is an incredible part of my life. While it was the harmony that hooked me, there have been innumerable benefits to this wonderful hobby. The friendships, continuous learning of vocal production, stage performance, choreography and travel top the list. AND – there is a huge health benefit to singing as it increases your happy hormones and opens up the throat chakra.
I found a wonderful article that I wish to share with you here on the benefits of opening your throat chakra. Taken from the All Good Things website:
I was interviewed by Debbie Papadakis on Blog Talk radio in February and followed up with an Enneagram presentation at the Hypno-Healing Institute. She gave me a book mark with a great poem that I would like to share with you here that prompted me to think about the mentors in our lives.
I mentioned at the end of my last blog entry, that I have added biophoton therapy to my offering at Inside Out. So why did I do that and how will it benefit my clients?
I have shared with you that the core of my work is providing an opportunity to connect my clients with their truth. Your truth is the core of who you are and what brings you Joy! In that process I guide you to notice where you get in your own way. Once we bring awareness to what is limiting you, it brings you choice on how to move forward.
For the past 12 years, I have incorporated the wisdom of the Enneagram personality system as well as the healing energy work of Reiki. They compliment each other perfectly and to be honest, though I am open to many other modalities, I did not feel the need to add anything else to my practice. Then in 2011, upon return from a phenomenal trip to South Africa – something new entered my field of awareness. My stepmom became very ill immediately after arriving home from our trip and after a trip to the doctor’s office to have blood work done – a friend recommended that she see a Biontologist in her area. By this point she had been extremely ill for a week and my father was quite concerned. So they decided to go and she felt immediate relief from the illness. Cool. This same situation repeated itself when my father was the next to get sick. That was enough to peak my curiosity and over the next 6 months, I explored and researched this therapy. My experience resulted in a deep knowing that this was indeed something I needed to continue with.
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly!” Richard Bach
Welcome to the first day of spring for 2012! We are certainly experiencing cooperation from our weather in this region – I have witnessed a sudden change into shorts sleeves and sandals from warm coats and boots a couple of weeks ago! Beautiful! This day has had extra special meaning for me for the past 24 years as our first born arrived on this day in 1988. Talk about experiencing a life changing event!
In his book, “When Everything Changes, Change Everything”, Neale Donald Walsch shares some wonderful stories and insights on how we typically deal with change, what we could do to manage it differently and why it is important. Here are a couple of passages that really spoke to me:
“If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic!”
What’s your love language? It may be Valentine’s Day today, however any day is a good day to ask ourselves this question. In his book titled “The Five Love Languages”, author Gary Chapman takes an in depth look at how we express and like to receive love from others in our lives. Gary shares that the “in love” experience temporarily meets the emotional need for love, but it is a quick fix and has a limited and predictable life span. After we come down from the high of the “in love” obsession, the emotional need for love resurfaces because it is fundamental to our nature. We needed love before we “fell in love” and we will need it as long as we live.
Could it be that deep inside the hurting couples exists an invisible “emotional love tank” with its gauge on empty? Could the misbehaviour, withdrawal, harsh words or critical spirit occur because of that empty love tank? If we could find a way to fill it, could the marriage/relationship be reborn? With a full tank would couples be able to create an emotional climate where it is possible to discuss differences and resolve conflicts? Could that tank be the key that makes marriages work?
Do you find your happiness is dependent on the external circumstances of your life?
I have noticed a theme lately in working with clients and chatting with friends. The discussions have reflected on how other people’s energy, actions and words affect our current state of happiness. This is not new or unusual; however, we keep running into it at different levels.
We know our true happiness comes from inside, that we are responsible for how we respond to others and for our own perceptions, though putting it into practice is one of life’s greatest challenges! So how do we tackle this challenge?
Welcome to realizing your goals in 2012! I am excited to begin this year as I feel the shift of new beginnings and new ways of being! Whether you are a resolutions making type or not – the New Year often brings up questions of “what’s next!” for all of us. Though I do not create resolutions per se, for the past few years I come up with a word or phrase which becomes an overall theme for what I do in the year. My words last year were Clarify and Expand and as I reflect on the year, it was a definite theme!! This year,
This year as I have been pondering this question – the words that have come forth are Courage and Discipline – Courage to continue speaking my truth with a loving heart and discipline to deepen my spiritual practice. I am sure that I am not alone when I report that I get on a really good path of daily meditation or journaling, weekly commitments to work on my business instead of just working in my business and then life happens! I get a diversion for a short period and it takes me longer than I realize to get back on track. Now, I realize that diversions will always come up; however I can certainly get back on track with much more expediency.
In my reiki master’s home is a plaque that speaks to me every time that I see it. So whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hannukkah or a holiday season by any other name, I hope this will resonate with you in the coming weeks. It reads:
“Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I need it the most!”
This message reminds me of many moments in my life when those close to me are in “That Space”. It happens often at this time of year when people are stressing out over the holidays. You know, those times when people in your life are miserable, moody, pushy or just closed off! That is exactly what is happening – they or we are closing off the world because we are not feeling ready to take in any more. The ‘more’ I am referring to, is more burdens, more challenges, more pain or whatever has put us into this place of negativity. A self fulfilling scenario occurs as we express our own message of negativity to the world; we get more of that back. Our ego gets to be right – we are justified in our bad mood because the world is just not kind and loving at this time.
Last Friday was a special day! I got to balance work and play! I spent the afternoon with my husband and 5 other couples making apple pies. This has become an annual event and we all look so forward to the comradery and the fact that we have beautiful apple pies in our freezer to pull out throughout the year for a special dessert.
Let me back up – 11 years ago, I had a call from a friend who was putting together a couples’ activity group and wondered if my husband and I would enjoy participating. There would be 6 couples and each would be responsible for creating an event once during the year for the group. I was all in to add a bit of play time to our busy schedules and jumped right in as it sounded like a wonderful idea.
11-11-11 was a special day whose significance extends beyond its unique date. It was special because the entire world shared in the hope, blessings and meaning of this day. Around the world people shared conversations that focused on enlightenment, possibilities and potential. But the world didn’t end (it wasn’t supposed to) and we continue with our life journey. Now that 11-11-11 has come and gone, we must focus on carrying the energy’s momentum into the days following it. We do that by practicing integration, staying aligned with our intentions and putting them into practice to live at our peak performance every day. Like any other energetic shift, it’s what we do after it happens that is important. As Jennifer Hoffman simply put it, “the Universe delivers the energetic package, but we have to open it and decide where its contents should go”.
I recently spoke at a wellness event about life balance with reference to the Enneagram. This is an important focus for me and hence the tag line under my business name. There are many ways to look at balancing our lives and all of them will bring awareness because we are taking time to reflect on our own situation. If we did this more frequently, we may even avoid the experience of spending long periods of our life out of balance!
For my presentation, I decided to once again focus on the wisdom of the Enneagram to bring insights on how each of us may get out of balance. The Enneagram is a dynamic personality system that highlights 9 different ways of thinking, feeling and acting in the world as well as acknowledging the accompanying strengths and challenges each type connects with. Previous blog entries have covered an overview of each of the nine types if you require more detailed information here.
I was asked by a reader to discuss my views on reiki and religion. As an active Christian member in my church and a reiki practitioner for over 15 years, I felt drawn to respond to the request. In fact, I just led a healing service this past summer at our church while our minister was on holidays. I was able to find numerous supporting scripture verses to support “laying on of hands” as a healing modality. My initial reiki Master taught that “reiki takes care” as she would have students in her classes of different religious background or those who didn’t have a specific religious belief. In these three words, I would also hear, “God takes care”, as it is not the reiki practitioner who does the healing. We provide the channel for the universal life force to come through and provide whatever healing is required for the person’s highest interest. These wise words of guidance take the responsibility for healing away from the practitioner. In fact, my focus is to get out of the way and not let my ego take a lead role in the session. So – my own inner belief is that I am supported by God to bring love through me to provide healing which can often be called energy healing. As a person experiences this energy healing, they in turn often connect to their inner guidance that always knows what is true. As such it can be difficult to describe as each person experiences the healing in a different way pending their current physical condition, their belief systems and their ability to tune into the messages of their body.
Fall is officially here and so too is the fourth quarter of 2011! I attended a wonderful business symposium last week entitled “Business Innovation in Changing Times”. It was focused to give small and medium sized businesses access to ideas and insights to adapt their businesses to the changing marketplace. The afternoon keynote speaker was Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications and co-star of CBC’s Dragons Den. She shared real stories of her life journey and the lessons she learned about how to succeed in business and as an entrepreneur. They were tough, funny and very relate-able, especially for the women in the audience. Arlene highlighted the incredible opportunity we have in Canada to live a life that we choose. To remember what motivates us and to take opportunities when they present themselves and figure out the how tos along the way. I look forward to reading more about her life lessons from her new book “Persuasion”.
I tell people what really drew me to reiki and to the Enneagram was the ability to connect with my truth. What’s the big deal with this anyway? I believe that there is a direct correlation between connecting to our truth and true health and happiness.
I refer to a quotation that I often use in my announcements for Enneagram courses and that is “We are unconscious of 80% of what we think, say and do!” That is a huge percentage and not one that instills a feeling of joy in most people! You see, we have been so programmed by life from the moment we entered this world, that our belief systems run most of our decisions. Here are some examples that begin very early.
“The beginning is always today.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley~
I recently flew out to Calgary to get our youngest son set up at University. He was required to arrive early for pre-season training with the varsity men’s soccer team and I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days together and move him into residence. We had a great time and I was able to appreciate the commitment he had made to his soccer that gained him a spot on the team and he was able to appreciate the support that he always received at home that enabled him to focus on his training.
Now was the new beginning for both of us because our children’s growth is also our growth! He will take over from here – the responsibility for his living arrangements, his training and his academics. I on the other hand, have been released from my usual support duties and take over the role of cheer leader and advisor IF I get asked!
“According to A Course in Miracles, everything in life involves relationship. Relationships with other people are “assignments,” in which two or more are brought together for maximal and mutual growth opportunity. Our relationships can be trips to heaven or trips to hell, depending on how we ourselves choose to perceive and interact with others.
Relationships can generate fear or they can generate love. It is through relationships that we either fall into patterns of limitation that would consistently hold us back, or rise to our most creative possibilities in life.”
I took a wonderful personal development course with Klemmer & Associates a number of years ago that provided me with many lasting pieces of wisdom to follow in my life. The one I want to expand on today was an equation that went like this:
Intention + Mechanism = Results
We got into great discussions on what % we felt belonged to the left hand side of the equation if the right hand side was 100%. At the end of the discussion, we realized that the answer was:
Intention (100%) = Results (100%) The mechanism doesn’t matter as long as our intention is strong enough. Anyone who has 100% commitment to their intention will ALWAYS get results because there are millions of mechanisms to support any given result. The challenge is that we tend to carry too many to-do lists in our heads and do not give total commitment to any particular one. We lack clarity and priority so we make slow or no progress.
As I prepare to teach my Reiki Level 1 class this week, I have taken quiet time each morning before jumping into the business of my day. I have been wandering around our property each morning with my bouvier, Tess. As she strolls along checking out the smells of who visited the property overnight, I am listening to the birds, watching for the deer in the freshly cut hay field beside us and taking in the glorious summer smells before the heat of the day really hits. I find when I come back into the house that I am more centered and have given myself time to peacefully think about my intentions for the day. And though life can certainly throw curve balls, I find that somehow my highest intentions do get looked after throughout the course of the day.
Today – my intention was to write my next blog post and I was given the perfect tip on what to share from a colleague at the Chamber breakfast meeting. She simply said, “Tell us more about Reiki.”
During the first week of our South African adventure, we were touring the beautiful coastal sites of the Western and Eastern Cape. There is so much to see and do and I give full credit to our tour operators, Scott of Africa, for their expertise in choosing the perfect mix of experiences for our group and one such experience was the opportunity to go out shark cage diving where the great white sharks gather due to a large seal colony island at Gansbaai.
I knew of this outing prior to leaving on the trip and it was one that I was not sure that I would do. I was comfortable knowing that I would make up my mind when I was actually there. I am sure it has something to do with seeing the classic movie “Jaws” as a young girl but I had to feel comfortable that being up close and personal with a great white would not hinder my courage to swim in the ocean after the experience.
Well –due to the weather, we actually moved this outing up by 2 days on the itinerary, so decision time was fast approaching. It was a beautiful coastal drive from Cape Town to Gansbaai – about 2.5 hours and there was excitement among our whole group. When we arrived, there was a briefing by the guides explaining exactly what would take place. We would all board the boat and head out to the location where they anchor and lower a cage along the side of the boat. We would adorn wetsuits and masks and go in groups of five or less into the cage. Our heads would stay above water and there was an inner bar to hold onto. The bait would be cast out in the water to attract the sharks and when they approached to get it, the captain would holler “down” and the divers would take a big breathe and push themselves under the water for as long as they could hold their breathe and see the shark up close and personal. Okay – I knew I could handle that, and besides, I came all the way out to South Africa to expose myself to new adventures and I was not about to leave with regrets.
Thanks to everyone for the wonderful feedback on my last blog about South Africa and as promised, here are the next reflections on our amazing trip. This week we’ll talk about being ‘present to life’.
Our last 6 days were spent in the province of Natal at Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge where we embarked on daily game drives in the open 4×4’s over the thousands of acres.
The first day we were just so excited to experience whatever was to come, that all of us were just present to each moment as it unfolded. Our cameras were in the ready position; our senses were in peak mode awaiting the magic to show up. And it did! As we descended down the dirt road from the peak where the lodge was situated – the expanse of the open landscape was breathtaking. Then we rounded a corner and a group of Nyalas (a South African antelope that became part of the lodge name) were grazing by the shrubs very close to us. Our ranger displayed patience as he shared information on these native animals to yet another new group of tourists. As our cameras were clicking, there were oh’s and ah’s exclaimed by all.
One by one the animals presented themselves to us in their natural surroundings. The warthogs, impala’s, kudus, duikers, zebras, elephants, ostrich, giraffes, monkeys, hippos, cheetahs, carachals; some more common to find than others.We had a joke with our group that we would be the tourists who come home with pictures of the “butts of Africa” due to the number of times we would have the animals come into view only to turn and begin to walk away from us. Many butts had very pretty markings I must say! Baboons not included!
In January of this year, I received an e-mail that completely changed the course of my life for 2011! How many of you reading this automatically had your thoughts go to a challenge? This was a fabulous opportunity inviting my husband and I to accompany my dad and step mom on a trip to South Africa in May/June. After many conversations between Munro and I, we decided that this could be the trip of a lifetime and let’s go for it! How moments like these can change your life!
Once decisions like this are made, I continue to marvel at the unfolding of the universe bringing forth connections, people and stories that actually have the journey start in sync with that decision. Let me explain. I was so excited about this trip that I began to tell friends and acquaintances about it. I then learned how many people in my life have had a personal experience with South Africa and they are most willing to share these stories. I started learning about the country and culture from each person’s perspective and got more excited with each one. TV programs suddenly came on based in Africa, our church music director taught a children’s hymn from Africa – I even found a Kleenex box for my truck with giraffe’s on it!! You see – my field of awareness changed and I suddenly had new eyes and conversations that brought more of what I was focusing on into my experience. We do this all the time in life – whatever we focus on brings more of that to us. Have you ever been in the market for a new car? Once you narrow down what you may be looking for, that model all of a sudden starts to show up more than ever. We may start to think, wow – I never realized how many of this vehicles were around, they seem to be very popular! Now, depending on your personality type, you will either take that information in as a good thing that supports your decision to purchase or a not so good thing, if you like to be different!
You can see easily from different points of view and tend to agree with people more than disagree with them. You feel like you have to take what life brings you because you can’t do much about it anyway. You are pretty easy to please and usually feel that what you have is good enough for you. If these statements resonate with you then read on to learn more about Type Nine. Remember that we have a bit of all types within us, so look for the way Type Nine shows up in you.
Type Nine can be called The Peacemaker, The Comforter, The Mediator, The Healer and the Utopian. Nines are the type most dedicated to looking for internal and external peace in themselves and others. They work to maintain an inner peace of mind and prefer to create harmony in their environment. It is very challenging for them to focus on negative or disturbing issues and they will tend to just avoid them. It can be confusing for Nine’s to self type themselves and I believe this is summed up perfectly in the Riso/ Hudson book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram with this passage:
“We have sometimes called the Nine the crown of the Enneagram because is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include the whole of it. Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Two’s, and the idealism of Ones. However, what they generally do not have is a sense of really inhabiting themselves – a strong sense of their own identity. Ironically, therefore, the only type the Nine is not like in the Nine itself. Being a separate self, an individual who must assert herself against others, is terrifying to Nine’s.” (page 316)
You have big energy and passion for life, wanting to make a difference in this world. Truth and justice are extremely important and you are ready to take a stand and fight for what is right. You know what you want and are always ready to take action towards it. This is your life and you will take charge of it, there is no question of that! If these statements resonate with you, then read on to learn of the motivation of Type Eight on the Enneagram. Remember that we have a bit of all types within us, so look for the way Type Eight shows up in you.
Type Eight can be called The Challenger, The Boss, The Top Dog, and The Leader. Out of all the types, it is our Eights who are ready to take on challenges in the world for themselves and will encourage others to stretch their boundaries. They have enormous willpower and vitality and they feel most alive when they are exercising these capacities in the world. They want to make a difference in their environment whether that be the community or the world because bigger is always better! They work hard, play hard and crash hard, hence the “All or Nothing”, persona that gets developed. At a young age they decide that they will be in charge of their life and realize they have the fortitude to protect others if justice is to prevail. The basic fear of eights is of being harmed or controlled by others so they become masters of protection. They have great capacity to withstand physical punishment without complaint; however they are more sensitive to emotional hurt and protect this vulnerability with a layer of emotional armor. This is a double edged sword because on the one hand it does give them a sense of safety and on the other, it creates distance from others and their efforts to show love through action can be misunderstood. As human beings, we want to experience intimacy which often requires seeing the softer more vulnerable side of another. It takes great courage and trust for Eights to show their vulnerable side.
Are you the type who looks at the world as a big smorgasbord and you can’t wait to taste a bit of everything? Like a kid in a candy store ever watchful of what will grab your attention next. You love the excitement of creating and starting new projects, meeting new people or sitting down to choose which of your current stack of books to read. It’s only Monday but you are delighting in planning all the options available for the coming weekend. If so – read more to learn more about the motivation behind our charismatic Type Seven. Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.
Type Seven can be called the Enthusiast, The Epicure, The Adventurer, The Visionary or The Generalist. Sevens are frequently endowed with quick, agile minds and can be exceptionally fast learners. This is true both of their ability to absorb information and for new manual skills – they tend to have excellent mind-body coordination and manual dexterity. All of this can combine into the quintessential Renaissance person. Because they are able to pick up many different skills with relative ease, it becomes more difficult for them to decide what to do with themselves. You won’t find Sevens getting too bogged down with negative thoughts however – they are constantly looking at the bright side of any situation and will learn from everything. Instead of paying attention to inner negative feelings and anxiety that arises when they are out of touch with their inner guidance, they keep their minds busy all the time searching for the stimulation brought about by new experiences. Boredom is not an option. Commitment can be a challenge when you never know what exciting possibilities could surface around the next corner.
If you believe that this world is just not predictable and you want to be prepared for what the day might bring: If you like to take some time to check people out before inviting them into your friendship fold or you are the type that tends to ask many questions or serve as the devil’s advocate because you can see the pitfalls in any plan, then follow along to learn more about the drive of Type Six, the Enneagram Loyal Realist and how that can play out in our lives.
Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.
Type Six can be called the Loyalist, the Questioner, the Skeptic, the Devil’s Advocate or the Guardian. They like to call themselves a Realist when others suggest they are a pessimist. They are called the Loyalist by Enneagram authors because Sixes are the most loyal to their friends and their beliefs. They will hang on to relationships longer than most other types. They will fight for their beliefs more than themselves and defend their community or family more tenaciously than they will defend themselves. The underlying fear is one of not believing they have support or guidance so they rely on trusted others, structures and support outside themselves for these. They have great inner guidance however they second guess themselves and do not trust their own thinking and judgments. They can over think issues and worry about many life issues. This can result in difficulty in making big decisions though they for sure do not want others making the decisions for them. There can be a steady presence of anxiousness within Type Six and a constant striving to ease this feeling. Many will talk about having a Plan A, a Plan B and likely a Plan C for many occasions just to be prepared!
Are you drawn into understanding why the world works as it does, curious to figure out why things are as they are – whether it be the cosmos, the animal, plant or mineral kingdom or the inner world of your imagination? Are you always searching, asking questions and delving into things in depth? If these questions resonate with you, then follow along to learn more about the drive of the Enneagram Type Five and how that can play out in our lives.
Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.
Type Five can be called the Investigator, The Thinker, The Innovator, The Observer, The Specialist or The Expert. Knowledge, understanding and insight are highly valued by Fives and they are constantly on a journey of learning. “A day without learning is like a day without sunshine.” They prefer to learn through reading and observing rather than participating right away. A type Five’s attention is drawn to the unusual, the overlooked, secretive, the occult, the bizarre or otherwise unknown territory where they can carve out a niche of expertise! To have a degree of expertise will allow them to feel capable and connected with the world which they otherwise feel deep insecurities about their ability to function successfully in. They dislike things that distract their focus and enjoy private time regularly to just be with their thoughts and ideas. Our Fives are minimalists and don’t have a lot of stuff – but what they do have is valued highly so “Don’t touch my stuff!” All this talk about thinking – where’s the feeling? Well, Five’s definitely have feelings as we all do, they just keep them compartmentalized because feelings can’t be trusted…only the mind can! One of my type five friends once shared her favourite children’s rhyme at a workshop and I am sure you’ll get the connection.
Do you have a deep yearning to search for the meaning of life? Are you motivated to express your authenticity, to experience your feelings, to be understood and absolutely run from anything you deem “ordinary”? If these statements resonate with you, then follow along to learn more about the drive of Type Four and how that can play out in our lives.
Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.
Type Four’s can be called the Individualist, The Artist, The Connoisseur, The Melancholic, or The Special One. Fours maintain their identity by seeing themselves as fundamentally different from others. Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. However as talented as these types are, there is often a sense that something is missing in themselves or in their life although they may have difficulty identifying exactly what that something is. Fours have the ability to find meaning in life and to experience feelings at a deep level. They admire what is noble, truthful and beautiful in life. They can also establish warm connections with people, are very creative, intuitive and can have a good sense of humour. Because Four’s respond to the world from an inner sense of what they are feeling, many daily decisions are also based upon how they feel such as what to wear, what to eat or what to plan on a free day. This makes advance planning more challenging. I have a friend whose husband can not make a weekly meal plan work; “How could you decide on Sunday what you want to have for supper on Thursday? That just doesn’t work for me!” This sensitivity can also have them experience dark moods or periods of melancholic dreaming and they can be quite hurt when someone misunderstands them.
Ready-Set-Go! Do you love to keep yourself busy? Like to make to-do lists, set goals, have a plan and don’t mind putting in the time and focus to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you love competition and have that natural optimistic attitude about life? If these statements resonate with you then follow along to learn more about the drive of the Enneagram Type Three and how that can play out in your life.
Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.
Type Three’s can be called the Achiever, the Motivator, The Performer, The Succeeder, The Initiator. Decisive, risk-taking, adaptable and optimistic; no type equals the Three in terms of energy and motivation. They expect success and more often than not, they get it.
Would you consider yourself a real people person? That life is about relationships; of being needed by others in your life to support them and keep them in a happy place whenever possible? Do you always like to see the best in others? Do you intuitively know what kind of mood someone is in without having to ask? If you find yourself nodding with agreement, then read on to learn more about Type Two.
Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own being.
Type Twos can be called the Helper, the Giver, the Loving Person, the Caretaker. Twos are motivated to be appreciated by others, to be helpful and so earn love. They fear rejection. A huge amount of effort, often to the point of exhaustion, is put out to meet other people’s needs. Twos have a built-in radar to know how to respond to all types of people and to say and do just the right thing. This sensitivity operates without really having to work at it. There is an underlying need to receive approval and Two’s tend to be very flattering and positive, always bringing attention to others strengths. If you have a Two in your life, they will always remember your birthday and spend time picking out the perfect card, if you are going through a tough time, expect them to be right there to support you, if you are in charge of a big project, then find a Two to help make it happen. That is the Twos typical style – to find leaders whose cause they believe in and be the power behind the throne – not the one in the spotlight. You will wonder how you could ever have done it without them!! And that is exactly how they want to place themselves. A Two can be juggling all their balls in the air and if you happen to ask them for help – you got it, the answer is always Yes! That is definitely a challenge for our Twos – saying no. They can become drained because of all the doing for others. After all – it is not okay for THEM to ask for help. They also have trouble knowing what it is that they truly want as all the focus is on what others want.
Do you like to be organized and orderly? Do you like to be on time? Do you tend to see things in terms of right or wrong, good or bad? Is it difficult to be spontaneous? You don’t like it when people break the rules! Do you think of yourself as practical, reasonable and realistic? If these statements resonate with you, then you may wish to look further at Type One on the Enneagram.
I will cover a basic overview of each of the nine types as we go through the next weeks. What is most important to understand, is that we have some of all types within us so it is helpful to understand how each one looks at and responds to the world around them. Besides, we are sure to have someone of every type in our own circle of influence and understanding someone who sees things differently than we do, creates opportunity for less stressful interactions.
Type One can be called the Reformer, The Perfectionist or The Judge. Ones are motivated from a deep inner message to be good, to have integrity and to be balanced. They are idealists and want to make the world a better place. There is an active inner critic that operates full time within the One’s mind steering their thoughts, feelings and actions to do the right thing. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience.
This is the first in a series of articles designed to explore your personality type through the wisdom and teachings of the Enneagram, (any-a-gram). With its roots dating back 2,500 years, the Enneagram describes nine patterns of thinking, feeling and acting in the world. All individuals have one of these nine types as the preference for how they view and interact in the world.
Over the last 30 years the Enneagram has been gaining respect from the business community, counselors, therapists and spiritual teachers around the world. In 1993 the Stanford University School of Business began to incorporate the Enneagram into its program and the CIA uses it to help agents understand the behaviour of individual world leaders. Top Fortune 500 companies consult experts in the field and the number of books and courses available has exploded. A search on Google will result in 1000s of listings for books, teachers, typing instruments or articles.