Posts

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

stress and imbalance playing in the dirt

Stress & Imbalance: Don’t Blame the Bugs

stress and imbalance playing in the dirt

Don’t Blame the Bugs is the title of an article in the winter edition of Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine that really spoke to me.  Because people come to me when they are dealing with some level of imbalance, I am constantly reminded how the majority of us view germs, bugs, viruses etc. The sense is that they are lurking around every corner waiting to get us and make us sick.

We must be diligent about keeping everything sanitary, use hand sanitizer, wash with antibacterial hand soap, stay away from anyone with a sniffle. There is a lot of pressure and focus on us to keep the shield up and that in itself is part of the imbalance and cause of undo stress.

Building Healthy Immune Systems

It begins with our children and learning once again to assist their bodies in building healthy immune systems.  Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein writes about this in detail in her book called “The Dirt Cure”. She believes that children’s bodies naturally have the capacity to be healthy and heal when they have the tools to do so.

In her book she details a plan that starts with the soil, using fresh foods and nature to heal children from the inside out and outside in. She reveals the profound connections between food, nature and children’s health and explains how food is constantly changing kid’s bodies, brains and even genes – for better or for worse.

Our Health is More Than Just the Absence of Disease

I believe we are really starting to hear more of and accept that our health is more than just the absence of disease. It is about living our life with joy, purpose and respect for how we treat our bodies. Instead we have been bombarded with messages that create fear and that will have a stronger negative effect our immune system than what germs we are exposed to.

This article ends with a wonderful summary that I will share with you here.  It is the premise that I believe in and bring to all of my clients because true health is a whole mind, body and emotional package.

A Better Outlook

The outlook is not as gloomy as it might appear. We don’t need to be afraid of illness and disease. We are not the inevitable victims of vicious external pathogens waiting to strike us down at every grubby corner we may frequent.

Our health is sustained by the dynamic interplay of our emotions (the way we think, act and feel); our structure (our posture and the physical condition in which we maintain our bodies); and our biochemistry (the way we use food and other nourishment to maintain our function). These are largely under our personal control.

If we become unwell it is usually the result of the breakdown of this balance, and the bacteria and viruses which proliferate are a secondary consequence of that breakdown. They may in fact, have a vital function to perform in bringing things back to normal.

So, the next time you feel ill, don’t blame the bugs! Try instead to see where things may have gone wrong with your internal balancing process. Find the real cause of the disorder and see if you can, in some way, start correcting it. Seek ways to strengthen and sustain your own resilience and immunity.

As you learn to do so, you will begin to respect and understand the wonderful self-regulatory powers of your own body and mind.  Above all you will gain confidence that can eradicate the leading cause of disease, which is the fear itself!  (R.Newman Turner, N.D., D.O., B. Ac.).

Let’s feed our minds with information like this that brings the power back to where it really exists – within us. After such a beautiful family weekend here that was filled with sunshine, it is hard to deny the impact sunshine has on our outlook and balance in life.

I was drawn to the work that I do to keep balance in my own life and be able to share that with others so we can enjoy life to the fullest. Please feel free to share your tips and experiences here for others to learn from.

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!

Till next time!

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

new-office-3

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

Metamorphosis – Breaking Through Blocks

2014-fall-dec-005

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

Fall’s Changing Cycles & Women’s Wellness Circles

14054094_10154180249227550_6212470584748674352_n

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

Collective Consciousness – Fear or Grace?

23900662_s

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

2016-June-family-016

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

Breathe – It’s Nature’s Free Medicine

Young happy woman enjoying fresh air in autumn, intentionally toned.

It’s something we take completely for granted – our breath; and yet it is one of the most powerful medicines we can utilize for so many benefits.  And, best of all, it’s FREE!  Being conscious of how we breathe can have many health benefits while, on the other hand, not being mindful of our breathing can affect us both physically and emotionally. Read more

Our Perceptions Create our Reality

Your reality is created by your thoughts

We don’t see the world as it is – we see the world as we are! Therefore our perceptions create our reality. This is one of the statements I use when introducing the powerful personality system I work with called the Enneagram.  The Enneagram brings ancient wisdom together with modern psychology to reveal 9 patterns of being in the world.  Though we all share a bit of each of the 9 types within us, one is deeply part of our personality from womb to tomb. Read more

Acknowledging Your Own Greatness – I Am Awesome!

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!

Read more

The Intelligence of the Heart

click image for more info

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.

Read more

Sweet Adelines – Singing to Communicate and For My Health

Spritzer quartet

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:

The Throat Chakra – The Great Purity Center

When the Throat Chakra is Blocked

Read more

Who Are Your Mentors?

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.

Read more

5 Love Languages

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?

Read more

Managing Your Energy or Personal Power

iStock_000002617232XSmallDo 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?

Read more

Realize Your Goals in 2012

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.

Read more

Showing The Spirit of Love at Christmas Time

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.

Read more

Balancing Work and Play

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.

Read more

Following 11.11.11 – Living Your Life at Peak Performance

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”.

Read more

Life Balance and the Enneagram

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.

Read more

Speaking Our Truth

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.

Read more

Your Health – Commitment or Crisis

“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.”

Read more

Power Hour – Intention, Commitment & Action

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.

Read more

Shark Cage Diving – Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

click image to enlarge

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.

Read more

Be Present to Life

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!

Vervet Monkey

Read more

Life Safari – Moments That Change Your Life

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!

Read more

Enneagream – Type 9 The Gentle, Even-Keeled Type

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)

Read more

Enneagram Type 7, The Fun-Loving Enthusiast

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.

Read more

Type 6 – The Enneagram Loyal Realist

Nine Ways of Relating in Life

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!

Read more

Enneagram Type 4 – The Sensitive & Creative Person

Nine Ways of Relating in Life

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.

Read more

Just Do It – The Enneagram’s Type Three

Nine Ways of Relating in Life – Are You a Type 3?

 

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.

Read more

Nine Ways of Relating in Life – What’s Yours?

Secrets of the Enneagram

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.

Read more