Mindfulness

 

For me, this word is rich with meaning. It goes beyond the obvious. It dips into self awareness, objective viewership, emotional awareness and boundary setting. It’s a heavy word in many ways as it calls for the mindful to do deep work.IMG_7382

To be truly mindful we need to be clear minded, unbiased, awake to the subtleties, in touch with our hearts. 

To embrace mindfulness we must step up to the plate of truth and not fear the truth bombs that come flying at us. If you fear them they will; wind you,knock you off your feet, or break your nose. You can’t run from the truth you fear, it will follow you wherever you go. Even into your dreams. But if you stand on that plate, arms at your side, with deep breathes of release and trust, that truth will explode as it meets you and shower you in acceptance and unconditional love. 

To be mindful we must consistently question ourselves. This is different from doubt. Doubt can be negative and is most often unserving. But to question ourselves opens us up to see the other side. It allows us to view the bigger picture and step away from mi-optic vision. 

To  be mindful we must breath. We must breath our heads into our hearts. For it’s the heart mind that is really doing the viewing when we are living in mindfulness. 

When we are viewing from our heart space we are compassionate. We are open to discussion. We are OK with being wrong. We make decisions from a place of love. When we are living from our heart space we don’t take things personally. We let go of grudges. We hug like we mean it and the love we are emitting is reflected back at us.

To be mindful is to slow down. To turn off. To unplug. To sense when we are becoming unbalanced and then act on it to tip the scales, before the unbalance turns into an ailment. 

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To be mindful one needs to find their form of meditation. Whether this be running, skating, biking, singing, playing, swinging, dancing, climbing, jumping, swimming, sitting, digging, breathing. Whatever it looks like for you… do it with intention and with heart. 

I work at coming into mindfulness everyday. I break apart pieces of me that don’t serve this and rebuild what does. 

In mindfulness you are both humble and strong. 

Eventually the ego submits and love conquers.  

 

Full moon love. 

 

Wildly, 

Colleen 

Back in action

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. Two years I think. A lot has happened in two years!

My last post was a few weeks before I left Thailand. I was full of motivation, full of determination and riddled with focus. I was going to get home and fully step into my medicine shoes, begin my practice in Thai massage and healing work, start teaching, sell online, etc etc. And I did do this, clients were returning with great reviews from my massages, I entered my first craft show, I taught my first class… And in the middle of all this creative birthing I made a wonderful discovery. I was going to be birthing something else, someone else… I was pregnant and everything was going to change.

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My first Thai massage class.

I cried at first. I immediately felt a loss of self. I knew in that moment that all the creative work, the hands on healing, it was all going to be put to the side. It was a moment of elated joy and excitement, to bring another human into this beautiful world  with a man that I was madly in love with, and it was a moment of grief, I wasn’t ready to derail my progress… I had only just begun.

Of course,  I embraced my new found motherhood.  It was now my priority to give this new life all the love I had.  To create a haven out of my body by keeping stress low and eating nutrient dense foods. I listened to beautiful music and sang him songs, I smudged with sage and incense, I made my surroundings beautiful knowing he would share the experience of my senses.

I also got a job, an insurable job that is. My self employed ventures and side jobs weren’t going to bring in maternity payments. Though I managed to maintain a couple massage clients and craft a bit on the side, I was focused on working as much as possible at my new job, Sunwolf in Squamish, so that I could qualify for maternity benefits. May I add that Jess and Jake the owners, and Vanessa the big wig manager, were incredibly supportive and did everything they could to make sure I got my hours.

I also went back to my old landscaping job for a few months with, Bishop landscaping in Vancouver, and sheered hedges and mowed lawns while 7 months pregnant. I am so grateful to have had such wonderful employment during that period. Those maternity payments helped us to be able to buy our school bus… we’ll save that for another post.

What I’m getting at here is motherhood, for me it is my priority. It has been from the beginning. Yes, I felt a tear in me when I knew that I was going to have to step away from my creative work for a while to give my new little human the best life possible. But that was just it, I was only going to be stepping away from this work for a little while, I knew the day would come when I’d be able to go full throttle again, but my baby was only going to be a baby once and I wanted to be present for that, offering as much as I could to give him a magical beginning.

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Me six months pregnant.

All my instincts told me that motherhood for me meant all in, I was to be the hand to raise him, I would breastfeed not pump, I wanted to have what was in my mind a primal relationship with my child. It felt to me the most natural way and the only for our family. We have chosen a simple life and this results in a lower cost of living. This makes it possible for me to not have to go back to work. We made these choices intentionally, creating the life we wanted for ourselves and our family.

Kai Cooper has been the greatest gift to my life. My heart opens more and more each day as I fall deeper and deeper in love with his pure little spirit. But as he grows, space is beginning to open up for me, I’m finding there’s time to work on The Medicine Den and La Loba Holistic Arts.  The time I have is minimal, still keeping Kai as my priority, but it’s slowly returning. It fills my heart in a different way when I do this work. In a way that nothing else and no one else can. So I’m happy to say that I’m back in action. My fire never died. The creative impulse has always been there.

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My handsome little man.

 

 

 

 

Self Love

There was a time when I forgot who I was. I had abandoned what I once held close and valued as my core self. I didn’t necessarily “forget” who I was, but I was being dragged away from it and didn’t have the energy to fight back any longer.

Looking back on this time, I can’t believe I how I felt about and treated myself. It was a daily battle against self sabotage and what my heart and soul was aching for. I knew in my gut what I needed to do for myself, to rise up out of the pits, but when the opportunity came to make the change, I couldn’t step up.

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And then, one day I did. One day I said yes, yes I will show up for myself and break this pattern of self defeat. It was small, but it lit that flame of self empowerment, and it felt good. So little by little my flame grew. Each time that little voice said “do it” or “speak your truth” or “say no” I started to listen and ACT. The more I showed up for myself, and took action, the easier it got and the more energy I had.

Then one day, sitting alone in my apartment, doing yoga on my living room floor, I stopped and hugged myself. It was the first time I realized that I truly loved who I was, and who I was becoming. I cried out of joy and gratitude, that I had found my way there and remembered who I was.

These day’s, here in Thailand, I am rekindling that relationship with myself, and I am being challenged to take it to new levels. Believing that I am enough, that I have all that I need to build the life that I’ve dreamed. To know that I have what it takes to build a business and rely on my knowledge and skills to hold it together. It is something that I know is true in my heart, but to put it into action is the challenge. No excuses, no self sabotage, no justifying why I should quit. But following through and knowing that I am enough.

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New Moon in Gemini

I’ve been harassed lately. Everyday! Relentlessly! They’ve been shouting at me, staring at me, they wont leave me alone. The mountains, they know what they want and they wont stop till they get it! In honour of this new moon, the first of the year with an air sign, I chose to get out of and above the smog into some clearer air and hike up Doi Suthep, 10km up a winding road. I say hike, but it’s not the kind I’m use to through trails and engulfed by the lush green of BC forests, but a hike non the less!!

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This New Moon has a lot going on, touching on communication, perception, seeing from two sides, and it’s lined up to form a grand cross with Neptune, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter, and the Nodes. “What does this mean” you say?  Basically is has us pinned down in 4 directions, asking us to deal with the parts of ourselves and lives associated with these planets.

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“It’s not a typical New Moon as usually New Moons are powerful times to plant seeds and set intentions- but this New Moon square Jupiter, opposite Saturn, square Neptune and square the Nodes is actually about discerning Truth in one’s life and making necessary decisions that have to do with endings/letting go/releasing of the past before the new can truly take hold.”

“Doing things differently is weird at first but we have to create new neural pathways in the brain- rather than default to the old pathways that we have been stuck in…”

“One of the worst manifestations of Sun/Moon/Venus is wanting things to be peaceful, harmonious and fun at the expense of doing the work and acknowledging the shadow dynamics going on underneath…”
“And yet with this kind of astrology we have to be willing to see WHAT IS before we can ever even begin to hope to create and anchor in what is possible.”

                           Divine Harmony, Astrologist 

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Doi Suthep, one of my source mountains while it Thailand, did wonders for me. I came away from my climb feeling lighter and focused. I was able to discriminate between desire and truth, and open up to why I’m here, bringing me back to the present and not at standing at the airport at the end of July when I fly home.

On my way back to Lady Bird, my Siberian Husky roomie, I picked up some flowers for my new moon honouring and intention setting. There’s something about a cute bike with a basket full of flowers…   I’m full and focused,  ready for week three of my ten week Thai massage therepy teacher training.

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My Mantra as I hiked up Doi Suthep, “I surrender and choose to live in grace, I laugh with joy in sorrows face”

Love, Be and Flow Free

Swati

 

Sacred Space

As a child I would go into the forest across the street from our house in Edmonton. We, myself and 3 siblings, called this magical place, “The secret hideout.” It was lush and moss covered, the light trickled through the trees to light up the rich forest floor below. We had a fort that we had build amongst a group of trees, and would create the most fantastical made up realities there, in those woods. It was a life beyond our life, an escape, and a sacred space.

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This is my place of joy, it lives in me now. I use to lay with my back on the moss, I can still feel by six year old body sink into it. I felt as if it were a foot deep. I would lay there, in this nest of moss, being tucked in by the earth, and look up at the sky beyond the trees. I’d be taken away, to the most peaceful and serene state. Nothing could harm me there.

“What did you do as a child that created timelessness,

that made you forget time?”

I’ve carried this sacred space into my adult life. How you PLAY is your sacred space, all responsibilities are cast off. When I am in the mountains running or wading through a river, resting my back against a tree or watching the dance of a butterfly, I am there on the moss, I am in a space that is my own, playing, just me and the earth.

Once we’ve found what our personal sacred space is, we can take this with us anywhere. We can fill out trunks with crystals and tapestries, with singing bowls and bells, but these things wont bring us to our space if we don’t know where that space is inside of us, if we haven’t gone inward to find it. They can open the door for a quicker and lighter transition, but we still need to know the way.

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself

again and again”

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(Doi Suthep, Thailand)

To the point, I’m here in Thailand and I’ve uprooted myself to a new place. A house  away from the tourism, away from the traffic, and sharing it with a man 30 years my elder. I’m the farthest away I’ve ever been from my comforts and finding or creating an outward sacred space is a real challenge. So I’m guided to go inwards, where I’m sealed off from the temporal world, where I can release and be light. Having an inward life brings me closer and closer to knowing timelessness. The deeper we can go inward, the more at peace we’ll be with whatever happens. If we can translate this sacred space into parts of our daily lives, then we are dissolving the separation. We are starting to see spirit in everything, in everyone.

“To live in sacred space is to live in a symbolic environment

where spiritual life is possible, where everything around you

speaks of the exaltation of the spirit.”

Joseph Campbell

Love, Be, and Flow Free

Swati

Home is Where the Heart Is

I am addicted to Joseph Campbell these days. I’m reading “A Joseph Campbell Companion” selected and edited by Diane K. Osborn, and it continually blows my mind.

Yesterday was a hard day here in Chiang Mai. I woke up and wanted to be home, I was craving nature, quite, and the smell of my love’s skin. I was home sick. I have committed to a pratice of daily yoga and medition for the 70 days I’ll be here. Yesterday was day 2 of my mediation, and it was a struggle to get out of bed let alone sit on my mat. But, as alsways, the hardest part is the motivation to get there, once there, I’m filled with gratitude and I find my way home, back to my heart centre.

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This day though,I needed a little more encouragment, I was still deperately missing home. So I picked up good ol  J.C ‘s book and found my self reading of the symbol of the down turned triangle, the bottom half of the the symbol for the 4th Chakra, Anahata, the heart chakra. He spoke of it’s representation of 2 things, the obstacle and the means of which you are going to make the ascent. In other words, everthing in your life that seems to be obstructive can be transformed by recognizing that it is the means of your transition. He spoke about the extreme side of working to eliminate your resistance to the undesierable, the shit of life. Joseph refered to an unnamed American Indian tribe in the south west who has an initiation that actually incolves eating dog shit.  Again, an extreme, not necessary in releasing the self and the object mentality, the seperation, but you get the point.

“The most repulsive has to be accepted as also Brahman.”

This pulled me out of my head and brought me back to breath and self, I could feel again the nurturing of the earth around me. Rather than resisting the sweltering heat, the constant underboob sweat, the dishearting of the garbage on the streets, the polluted rivers, and lack of recylcing… I decided to accept it as a part of the whole. Live with joy in face of life’s sorrow.

So here I am, in 2 days I’ll start a 10 week thai massage course. I’m feeling grounded, and open to the possibilities. I am here because this is where life has taken me, I’m moving through a threshold. When we work the physical body we are open to discomfort because we know this is what will bring us growth and release. Yet we are so reluctant to welcome this into our emotional and spiritual lifes, and yet this is the only way to fine the same growth and release. I say bring it on!! I can sit in the shit, smell it, taste it, sleep in it… it’s my shit after all. And once I can accept if for what it is, see the symbolism there, what is it teaching me? Then I can see the beauty in it. The jem amongst the filth.

When we listen and relinquish control, we allow ourselves to be part of the conversation. And life opens up for us.

Just Be, and Flow Free

Love and Light to you,

Swati

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Chiang Mai at last

With no more that 4 hours of scattered sleep in the last 24hrs, I’m soooo ready for bed! But I couldn’t help but share, my heart is full from the kindness and genuine smiles I’ve received along the way. When finally reaching my guest house, the doors were locked and I had no ph0ne. There’s this fantastic little bar just around the corner full of tattooed and transient types, with Bob Dylan and Bob Marley over the speakers… I knew these were my people. A kind man made the phone call for me, but no one picked up, so he walked with me back to the guest house and helped me discover a service buzzer. I was tired enough that I was prepared to sleep outside the gate on the street, I’m grateful for my little bed!!

Seeing the earth from such great heights always blows my mind. I remember, a whole body remembering, that we are a globe, floating in a vast and unknown universe! I remember that we are part of something SOO much bigger than us! A strong sense of global community came over me, recognizing how small the globe was, how easily connected we are. Remember too that we are still so new at this! It wasn’t that long ago that the only mode of transportation across the ocean was a boat! I’d like to give us some credit, and an applause. We are a commplicated species, and this global community thing isn’t an easy task. We’re only babies, still figuring out how to make this work.

It’s time to say good night, (rahdree sawat)

blessings (jong jareun)

PS. Check out how cute my room is!

 

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Path to LOVE

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Let us fall in love again

and scatter gold dust all over the world.
Let us become a new spring
and feel the breeze drift in heaven’s scent.
Let us dress the earth in green
and like the sap of a young tree
let the grace from within us sustain us.
Let us carve gems out of our stony hearts
and let them light our path to Love.
The glance of Love is crystal clear
and we are blessed by its light.”
~Rumi