This morning, as I was enjoying my coffee, the fire alarm started blaring in the hallway in my condo. I looked in the hallway expecting the usual false alarm, but instead saw a haze of smoke and neighbours trying to figure out the source.
The fire department had been called and I could already hear the sirens from the nearby station (Can I just give a heartfelt shout out to the Calgary Fire Department! So grateful!). I launched into emergency mode and gathered the items that were important in that instant. My pet parrot, Mango, our laptops and cables, the baby pictures, purse, keys, jacket, Reiki class bag. Called my husband to pick me up. Son, safely at school.
I was operating on adrenaline and yet oddly clear headed. The whole time I kept hearing, “That is replaceable. You are not.” Even those things that we think we cannot live without are really nothing compared to our own wellbeing. I took relatively few things with me and I would have taken even fewer if the smoke was any worse.
In the end, it was mostly just smoke, with no damage at all to my unit. But in the middle of it all, and, thankfully, no real world fire experience, it prompted a genuine fear response. The kind of boost of adrenaline that allows you to get away from danger.
After we were allowed to return, after the carbon monoxide levels had returned to low levels, I acknowledged that I was still reeling from the rush. Knowing what I do about the nature of stress, I wanted to return to my normal state as soon as I could.
I put on some essential oil blends that I made for each of the Reiki symbols and I texted and few of my practitioner peeps to ask for some distance Reiki. I told them my intention, “All is well. I am irreplaceable. I am loved.”, and I settled myself in to receive a session. Several people immediately responded and I felt the energy flowing and releasing. After about an hour of resting and receiving Reiki I felt back to normal.
More than that, I felt the energy healing old injuries and moments in the past where I also had a flood of adrenaline in my system.
So, as always I have a new appreciation for Reiki. Every session and every experience has something new to teach me.
I am so much more than my possessions. I am rich in the relationships I have with amazing people. I am grateful for the kind and capable firefighters that are just a few blocks away. I am immensely grateful for my family and all of my many, many blessings.
The clearest lessons are often unplanned.
Travelling is wonderful. The challenge of the journey creates a present, mindfulness that sharpens your experience.
The trick is to keep the same attentiveness in your day to day life that you would if you knew that you only had two weeks left on the vacation clock. Ticking away.
The truth is… you don’t really know. You don’t know how long your journey to earth will be. There is no guarantee of an old age.
Rather than freak out or forget this concept – seek the middle road – stay attentive, open, learning, witnessesing, absorbing, savour all of life and truly live.
The fifth Reiki Ideal is “Be kind to your neighbour and every living thing“. Often I find that people in my classes do not need any help in being kind and compassionate to others. They offer their love and support and time to anyone and everyone. Except one. Themselves.
There is something about being kind to ourselves where we stumble and fall short. Our kind and loving nature is externally focused. By focusing outside of the self, it is far more likely that we come to expect that external conditions will satisfy our inner needs. We vacate our own emotional house, so to speak, and leave its care and maintenance to others.
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
I recently went through our vast music collection. I wanted to put together a few songs that lifted my heart and made my toes tap. Maybe even a few that make me shimmy and shake. I put together an Uplift Mix. What a lovely meandering through my past. Each song reminded me of where I was when I was listening to them, but also how far I have come.
Pump up the volume – M/A/R/R/S
I could remember the best moments of my life, the saddest moments, and everything inbetween. Some songs have always been there for me. My favorite is Little Wing, by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s song. It always seems to release whatever emotion is within me. If I am sad, his licks are so terribly mournful; if I am happy, each phrase is more joyful than the last. This one song has got me through so many things in life. Just music. Simply listening to one song. It changes everything. It heals.
Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
I encourage you to dust off those old vinyl jackets, scan through your collection, and make yourself a modern day mixtape of your favorites. It is transformative!
Disbelief. Grief. Worry. Sadness. Helplessness.
These are just a few of the emotions I felt watching the waters of the Bow and Elbow Rivers rise rapidly over the last few days.
How rapidly? Like nothing we have ever seen in recent history.
My scientist’s brain leapt to the data and I saw some staggering hydrographs showing how fast the rivers were increasing.
Being nice is not the same as being compassionate or spiritual. The best lesson for anyone on a sacred journey to enlightenment is to learn how and when to say no.
When we say yes to please others, and hopelessly overcommit ourselves, we actually are saying no. We don’t realize that when we say yes to the frivolous, we are saying no to the real. Our dreams, our hearts, our dearest loved ones are the ones we say no to, when we say yes to busy-ness, compulsive pleasing, and inauthentic authority figures.
Saying no is scary. It had me terrified for a very long time. I had to eventually realize that I was the authority in my own life. Only I know what is best for me. Learning to say no in a firm, clear and loving way is a skill I had to learn.
I study my friends who have mastered it the way others study art or cooking. I collect examples of how to elegantly say no. A scrapbook of beautiful boundaries. I see each memory of a beautiful no as wonderful moment of ‘yes’. I know that when my friends tell me no they are saying yes to a deeper part of themselves. For that I am grateful.
If all pain caused by another only happens because they themselves are in pain, then there is no end the chain of blame. There is also little use in travelling far down that route. Blaming is not fixing.
Compassion is the route I pick when I hear about something terrible in the news. Having a compassionate attitude has helped me to stay positive and focus on solutions to issues I see in the world.
I am relishing this spring. So many things are coming together. There are sprouts of green all around me. It is a traditional time for clearing house.
I am swept along in the energy of the season.
Happily, I am letting go. But even more I am happily making room for good to flow in.
I love creating sacred spaces. I have a sense of what enhances the energy of a space and how much simple shifts make big differences. My plan is to transform every room in our small house into sacred space.
It all started with a discussion with my husband about what to do with the piles of paper on the kitchen table, which doubles as our desk. He said that our table is sacred. It really is the heart of a home. We bought a small bonsai ficus for a centre piece and we both make the effort to clear it off daily and have dinner together.
From there the energy has expanded to other areas and we are slowly shifting many things in our living spaces and our lives. It is a wonderful intertwining of inner changes creating outer changes, which create more inner changes.
One of my favourite concepts is the power of focus. Indeed, focus is all meditation is – deliberately focusing on a chosen thought. Being able to hold your mind steady in the midst of chaos is really the training that happens when we sit in meditation.
“Look at the road, not the ditch”
There is incredible power in deliberately turning our gaze away from the problem so we can focus on the solution. Solutions do not live in the same space problems do. I am not saying that it is wise to ignore important issues, quite the opposite. It is useful to look squarely at what troubles us, but lingering – wallowing – in a problem does not serve anyone.
Whenever an issue comes up in my life, I wallow (ok, yes, still a human being here) for a time. Then I go on a hunt for meaning, context and solutions. I look for the lessons, growth and joy that have sprung from the difficult times. And they are always there. There are always lessons, growth and joy in the midst of every problem.
Ultimately, it is not our problems that define us but our response to them. In that, we have a powerful opportunity in every second to choose “Who do I want to be? What kind of choices does that person make? How can I make this better? How can I contribute to change, even if it is small?”
When I encounter disturbing world news, I avoid hopelessness and despair, by focusing on the possibility that the situation might change. I daydream about what might be needed to help. I visualize the solution. I focus my thoughts on the knowledge that in this huge world there is at least one skilled, talented and compassionate person who has dedicated their life to solving this problem. I visualize the money, resources and connections needed by that person, flowing to them easily and freely.
From that place, I might do a bit of searching to see if I can donate to a cause that might help. Or share a video that inspires create solutions and thought. I search out people and organizations that are genuinely helping and support them.
Shifting focus contains the seeds of hope and joy.