reiki retreat karen armstrong find your tribe

Finding Your Tribe

reiki retreat karen armstrong find your tribe

I just completed a 3 day Reiki Retreat last week and by the end many of my students expressed feeling such comfort because they had “found their tribe”.  This expression describes the feeling of being in a group of like-minded people where it is safe to share our true selves.  We get to dream, explore our inner world, express our needs and feel supported instead of judged.

Sometimes Our Spiritual Path Can Feel Lonely

Sometimes when we are on a spiritual or holistic path, it can feel lonely holding down the fort in our circle of family and work connections.  Some of them may want to support us however they may have different beliefs and so we are careful of where and when we share our own thoughts and feelings.

It is both reassuring and inspiring to come together and deepen our own inner knowing.  We part ways knowing that we are not alone and this group that once was strangers have become our tribe. The culture that has emerged in our affluent society has created a reality that many families live in different cities. Getting together requires planning and time both of which are stretched to limits with full schedules.  Finding a common interest helps to bring people together filling a need for being in community.

The Importance of Community in My Life

I realize how important community is for me as I have created a few very important ones in my life. My love of music and singing has found home for the past 30 years with the North Metro chorus. My thirst for knowledge and sharing has led me to host a monthly Women’s Wellness Circle for over 10 years. We joined some of our church friends to create a couples activity group that has enjoyed countless hours of fun and exploring for the last 17 years.  Finally, my work and life with reiki has now expanded into a circle of students, friends and colleagues who come together regularly.

North Metro Choir Karen Armstrong - Inside Out

These groups fill my life with a richness that is not possible on a solo journey.  Sometimes I need to balance and pull back for a while but I could not even dream of my life without all that a like-minded community brings.

Don’t get me wrong – it takes intention and action to find your group, as Amanda Kohr shares so beautifully on wanderlust.com;

Whether it’s a family, community, or group of fellow practitioners, our tribe is important because it reflects our values while simultaneously satisfying our need for companionship.

That being said, finding a tribe is hard. That’s why there are so many movies where high school students end up eating lunch alone. And as we bloom into adulthood and lose the setting of forced social interaction, it can be even more difficult to find authentic connections.

Doing so requires effort, authenticity, and confidence.

True – and I am here to say that it is worth every minute of searching.  So I invite you to reflect on what you might be missing in your life and then set the intention to find it. Let’s make life count and have fun along the way with our Tribe!

reiki retreat inside out karen armstrong

Do you have a favourite group of peeps that you want to share? I welcome input here.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time, may you enjoy your summer.

Karen

Leaving a Legacy: North Metro Chorus

I recently attended my Regional Sweet Adeline contest in Syracuse, New York where we honoured our director of 45 years.  The legacy she has left for not only her chorus, but the Region and the International organization is undeniable.

Singing has been a passion of mine since I was a young girl and though I sang in school choirs and dreamed of growing up to be in musicals…. I never would have guessed that my passion would find its home in a women’s four-part a cappella organization. I found it when I was 22 years old and was hooked from the first visit. I didn’t realize that a women’s organization like this existed – I thought it was only a men’s gig.  I had so much fun on Tuesday evening rehearsals; I made great friends, learned so many vocal skills and the bonus was the choreography which reminded me of the musicals I loved growing up.

North Metro Chorus

After 5 years with a local group, I made the decision to try out with the Toronto group who I had the chance to watch and be inspired by at our Regional contests. Their level of performance, choice of music and fantastic choreography had me spellbound every time I saw them. So, in May of 1987, I made the move to North Metro Chorus where I am to this day 30 years later.

Director June Dale Always Led Us to Victory

June Dale has directed this chorus from its beginning with only 17 members to a peak of 185 members. She has led us to win every Regional Contest I have ever been in with North Metro which qualifies us to compete at the International level.  These international contests have fulfilled another of my passions, travel; as they are held in various US cities including Waikiki, Hawaii. When we placed first in 1996, we were the first chorus outside the USA to bring the gold medal home.  We now have 4 International gold medals to go along with many other top 5 medal placings.

We have been Walt Disney Newsies, chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins, Oklahoma, Sailors, Miners, Martians and Toy Soldiers, just to name a few or our themed packages. June continued to expand her talents over the years and became a Master Director, a certified music arranger, coach, International faculty member and a true visionary. Together with her daughters – Erin who created all our award winning choreography and Lynn who created our incredible costumes – this team was a true winning combination.

Passing of the Torch to Erin Howden

This past Regional, we had the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of our incredible leader as she has decided to step down from directing us in competition and pass the torch over to her daughter Erin Howden. It was a weekend of emotional celebrations. There was a strong outpouring of love and respect shared from everyone in attendance including our International Judges who were present. I got another chance to reflect on how much this hobby has added to my life over the years. It makes the weekly travel, hours of learning, the cost of our dues and travel a small price in exchange for the lifelong friendships, transferable skills, numerous life experiences and the rush of creating the most beautiful harmony that changes the lives of ourselves and audiences alike.

It is an organization that welcomes novice singers of all ages to come together and create a professional level performance. I am as excited about the journey today as I was 35 years ago.   I can’t imagine my life without it!  Here is a link for a YouTube clip of our last International performance.  We have a show planned for this September 16th to perform the package we will take to international Competition in Las Vegas in October.   If you are interested in learning more, check us out here.

I would love to hear about your hobbies and how they add richness to your life.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

In harmony,

Karen

Life May Be an Illusion – Let’s Make it Epic!

Joy is daily visits from our wild turkey neighbours

Have you ever heard the expression that “Life is Just an Illusion?” Humans have always searched for meaning and longed for the truth on why we are here and where we actually came from and go to. I remember as a child having some disturbing dreams about this unknown territory, yet thankfully have come to accept that for me – I know for sure that I am here now! This life feels very real.

Life on Earth

I have been reading a book on my new Kobo entitled: “Life on Earth”, by Mike Dooley.  It is like reading a book that incorporates thoughts of many others I have read including The Law of Attraction, A Course in Miracles, Return to Love… you get the idea. I had to smile at a passage I read last night and wanted to share it with you.

Concerning the world or dimensions, “before” and “after” time and space? Let it go. That you are alive now is indisputable. The important question then, is really, “What are you going to do about it?” It’s like being a fish born in and living its life in a fabulous, million-gallon aquarium while wondering about life beyond. That beyond is truly “incomprehensible”, if you try to wrap your head around it, you will have little traction. You are here, period. Wake up, discover, celebrate, and rock on. So what if you now have little idea of how or why you got in your “tank” and no idea of what will come next? Through observation, you can see that you will nevertheless call this place home your entire life.

You can notice that you are phenomenally powerful, that what you resist persists, and that what you think about, you bring about. That the energy moving you is free, that love is everywhere, that those sharing your space are as awesome. Scared and hopeful as you, and that your “tank” is a blooming paradise of splendor, beauty, diversity, simplicity, complexity, and abundance – all quite indescribable. Your “tank” is actually more like a gigantic, whirling, living, loving sphere…called Earth that constantly provides for you. This is not an accident. It loves you. Be here now.

The author doesn’t say he has all the answers that occupy our questioning minds, he acknowledges that we all have them.  If searching for answers to where we came from and where we go after this life are comforting or exciting and bring you meaning… awesome! If they stress you, then maybe it would serve us better to accept that planet Earth is our home and to be fully present to all the opportunity here for us to discover.

Putting Our Energy into Being Present

I must say that my list of things I want to do in this lifetime are endless. We have so much to explore and learn here.  I believe if I put all my energy into being present to the magic of each day and not plan every moment, I would feel fulfilled. It’s a constant balancing act for me – how much to plan and how much to just let go and go with the flow.

I smile every time I read one of Mike’s daily e-mails as he closes with saying, “Thoughts become things…choose good ones”.  This message is so simple, yet as in all truths; challenging to follow all the time. However, I am ready and willing to keep at it.

I wish everyone reading this good thoughts and good experiences! I love to hear from you so I welcome your thoughts.

You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Happy Spring!

Karen

Intention Words for 2017

Karen & Family

Our first southern holiday!

Happy 2017 to all… from a numerology perspective it is a “1” year representing new beginnings.  If you have followed my blogs over the years, you know that I create my Intention Words for each year instead of typical New Year’s resolutions.  They inspire me to focus my thoughts and actions to create very real results.

I took time just before Christmas to go on a personal 2 day retreat at Grey Heron with Andrea Mathieson.  The retreat allowed me to step away from my office and home activities and focus completely on what the energy of this New Year was calling me to step into.  It was very insightful, nourishing and surprising.

Reviewing 2016 Words of Intention

My 2016 words were Explore, Plan and Create and as I review the year, they definitely showed up in so many ways.

Exploring brought me to the Simplicity Online Course, A Dundun workshop, joining a Course in Miracles group, meeting an amazing hang drum/flute musician and my husband and I co-owning a classic motor coach with another couple. A really big exploration was planned in 2016 and manifested the first week of 2017. Which was a first-ever family trip to a southern all-inclusive destination for my husband’s 60th birthday! Amazing!

Planning resulted in a fabulous year of Women’s Wellness Circles, a series of Enneagram workshops, a new organic mattress from Dormio Beds and finally a new office move in December.

I was able to Create a new Reiki Retreat with my reiki mastery initiate and use my creative juices to design the layout of my new office.

New Intention Words for 2017

The new expansive energy of 2017 is calling me to bring in Stillness, Recycle, Technology Flow and Fearless Living.  Here is what comes up around these words currently, though I know they may manifest in completely different forms as the year unfolds.

Stillness

I am realizing the value of stillness as I mature in my life. I have always been a person who wants to experience and be part of all that attracts me in life.  This can result in having a very full schedule and even if it involves everything I love – too much is still too much!  I intend to plan stillness into every day as well as 1-2 day get ways throughout the year.

Recycle

This refers to preparing for renovations at our home.  Room by room I would like to see what can move on to a new home and make room for new space and creative expression.  Simple but BIG!

Technology Flow

Oh my, I have dodged this one for many years.  Just ask my sons who bought me an iPod many Christmas’s ago that is still in my drawer not being enjoyed as I had envisioned. I am going to solicit help to get comfortable with the capabilities of my iPod, iPhone, Pod Casts, digital photobooks, video etc. Who knows where this may lead. LOL!

Finally, Fearless Living!

This was really inspired by a book I read on my holiday on my brand new Kobo entitled “Dying to be Me” by Anita Moorjani. A true story of Anita’s near death experience and the message she is sharing with the world.  It certainly spoke about so many things that I have heard, read and to a large degree, believe to be true, however it was the right synopsis and the right time that has really resonated deep within me. I do not know how this will manifest in the coming year and beyond however I do know I will keep open to exploring it in every way.

For those of you in this geographic area – Karen Strumos will be talking about the numerology of 2017 at this Thursday’s Women’s Wellness Circle in Sharon.

I have no doubt it will be a super amazing ride around the sun for 2017. So many of you shared this exercise last year and I hope you are moved to do the same this year. We are magnificent creators and we were made for these times.

What is calling you this year? I encourage you to share it.

It’s great to share and learn from each other. I would love to hear from you. You can connect with me by email or telephone, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook too!

To our health & wellbeing,

Karen

Manifesting a New Office Space

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For the past couple of years, I have been listening to my inner urge to find new space to do my healing work.  Where I have been is wonderful and has served me perfectly for the past 11 years and I was ready for more.  More space, more possibility, and a place to make my own tea!

I kept my ears and eyes open and looked at few different spots but nothing was resonating. I realized how much I liked my current location. So if I was to stay there, the only space that provided more room and the flexibility I was looking for was a suite downstairs and it was occupied.  I knew from conversations with the business in there, they were also looking for another location that was bigger still for their whole operations. Read more

Reducing Our Sugar Intake After “That Sugar” Documentary

Woman handcuffed to a cupcake

This week we had a community viewing of a documentary entitled “That Sugar” hosted by the Green Connections Network.  It was a brilliant coverage of what happened when a perfectly healthy Australian soon-to-be father decided to do an experiment.  He had been clean of sugar in his diet for 3 years prior to the 60 day experiment. Then he decided to reintroduce sugar to his diet and the results were astonishing.

What Happened After Adding Sugar to his Diet After 3 Years Without It? Read more

Metamorphosis – Breaking Through Blocks

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A poem by Danna Faulds – Metamorphosis

“Called beyond the confines of this chrysalis by a force I cannot see or name, I am compelled by pain and something bigger than myself to leave the protection of all that I have known.

There is struggle, doubt, an awkward setting forth.  Finally I break free of the cocoon and find myself surrounded by air and light.

I dare to act, still not knowing what I am; instinct, or maybe faith bids me move forward, make the leap, explore this mystery of change and flight.

I find myself with wings that dwarf my former world. Unfurled, they dry quickly in the sun. I, who expected to spend my days crawling, now teach myself to soar.

Such a rush of wind and freedom – that first flight teaches me more that I had learned in a lifetime of crawling.”

Read more

Good Sleep – A Key Foundation

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Continuing on my last post’s theme of hormone disruptors and building on the key health foundation of good sleep; I would like to share with you my journey to find a new mattress.

As we spend approximately 1/3 of our day resting and rejuvenating, it warrants spending some time researching what contributes to a good night’s sleep.  I have been experiencing an increased amount of arm numbness and neck tension upon awaking so it has got my attention big time. Starting the day feeling rested and ready to go is the only way in my opinion. Read more

Top Hormone Disruptors

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image courtesy of authenticdiscovery.com.au

I have been unable to ignore a message coming to me lately to share on my blog.  Hormone disruptors are a key component affecting our core health and the ability to keep our body strong.  I respect the research and work of The Environmental Working Group and as I reviewed their site, I found this wonderful blog post that I would like to share in its complete form with you. Read more

Fall’s Changing Cycles & Women’s Wellness Circles

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What an incredible summer we are experiencing!  Somehow as we arrive at September, our world still changes cycles.  We are in the rich harvest time of our area with Farmers Markets loaded with produce and for those ambitious few who capture summer in a jar; it is a busy time. I love seeing the beautiful colours of summer filling my jars ready to provide nourishment throughout the winter months.  On my to-do list are peaches, chili sauce, apple sauce and beets.  Yum! Read more

How I Decreased my Tooth Gum Pockets

Last year was a turning point for me with regards to my oral health. I have had receding gums since my 20’s and my gum pockets have continued to deepen over the years.  I am so happy to share with you today how I decreased my tooth gum pockets in the last year. Read more

Collective Consciousness – Fear or Grace?

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I received a reflective writing from Caroline Myss in my inbox last week that struck a strong chord with me. The article was inspired by the Orlando massacre however she brought it to the level of the collective consciousness which we can also call the collective unconscious and that had me take a personal look.  If we are, at some level, one, then how am I being in my life?  Are there places in my life calling for more grace? Read more

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

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For those of you following my posts this year, you will have noticed a theme.  I embarked this year on expanding my awareness of healthy lifestyle choices that result in feeling more energized, happy and physically strong.  This inner pull was motivated by new hormonal shifts taking place in my body that created a feeling of not being in control. I felt exhausted, my digestion was sensitive, I got light heart palpitations at night and my natural exuberance for life was hard to connect to. This menopausal feeling mimicked my early months of pregnancy when I felt exhausted, nauseous and overly sensitive to food and smells. What I knew was – it wasn’t a happy place! Read more

Shifting Patterns – A New Addition to the Armstrong Family

Karen-&-Sadie

Our world was shaken up in a good way this past long weekend with the arrival of our new puppy Sadie. How one little bundle of love and joy requires an immediate shift in patterns is quite remarkable. We have had 3 dogs over our 30 year marriage though it’s been 1.5 years since we said good-bye to Tess, our lovely Bouvier.  I always missed having a four-legged companion but as the family is grown and we have busy lives, it just didn’t seem like the right time.  I would often find myself browsing websites of different non-shedding breeds like Bouviers, Portuguese Water dogs and Schnauzers to see what was available. And of course I would often dream about having one. Read more