Winter Solstice: maximize this energy

Season's Greetings


Do you feel tired and pulled down by the decreasing hours of sunlight in each day?

I know that I’m feeling a little more tired and sleeping longer. I’m also spending more time in meditation. My body is responding to the changes that are happening with the changing season.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are inching our way towards the Winter Solstice on December 21. The winter solstice in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the most Yin day of the year. This means the shortest day of year and the longest night which comes with the longest period of darkness.

Yin energy represents darkness, winter, inner connection, transformation, and the divine feminine energy. Although Yin represents darkness, it’s soft, fluid and gentle. Rather than forcing and fighting she softens resistance and goes with the flow.

For many people, darkness carries a negative connotation. However, darkness also carries mystery, the unknown, the energy of creation, and the source of pure potential. When you close your eyes to rest, sleep or in meditation you return to the darkness. With your eyes closed you shut out the light with all the external distractions and connect with your innermost self.

With the coming of the winter solstice, we are encouraged to make time to look within, to reconnect with our heart and spirit, and to revisit our purpose, that which brings us peace, fulfillment, and joy.

Coming so close to the holiday season we are often tempted to ignore this time of slowing down and going within in favor of more Yang activities. We feel like there are a million things to do, places to go, and people to see. This often means that we are ignoring the internal tugs of our finely tuned bodies.

Artificial lighting and heating also mean that we often ignore the body’s natural inclination to rest and recover during winter. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop doing things, rather you need to listen to your body and if you were feeling tired and worn out give yourself permission to decompress, take a warm bath, go for a walk, take some time to meditate, do some deep breathing and Qigong.

As we move into the winter months following the solstice, it is also a time to nourish and you restore your body. This is the time for the nourishing benefits of bone broth soups with black beans, and dark vegetables. As well as slow cooked stews and other warming foods.

We want our bodies to be rested, fortified and strong so that it’s ready for the burst of energy that is needed with the coming of spring and summer.

Be kind to your body this holiday season and through the winter months. Listen to the inner intelligence you have within you that is urging you to slow down, go within and give it nourishment.

You are given only one body, how will you care for it this season?

From my heart to yours, may this holiday season and year be filled with love, joy, peace, and gratitude.

A Modern Gypsy

How does one know they are a gypsy?old-retro-antique-vintage-163136-medium

In my case it consisted of 5 elements.

The first was being born into family that already has its share of misfits, mystics, and psychics. My maternal grandmother was a midwife, tea leaf reader, and herbalist. My paternal grandmother was a garden diva who’s life revolved around the cycles of the Moon and the seasons. Both grandmothers were psychics.

Added to this generational milieu, was my love of travelling, my secret desire was to be a hippie, the pull of wild gypsy music, and books that took me to foreign countries.

Which brings me to element number two.

I was 16 lazing around in the backyard on a sunny summer day when I heard a voice. Yes, a voice!

This voice stated very precisely, “You were going to live and work overseas.”

As strange as it may seem, those words resonated with me and I had no doubt that they would happen.

In the ensuing years I based many decisions on this voice. For example, my career choice to become a teacher and the subjects I studied.

And although life took me down a few paths that appeared incongruent with the message of this voice, it continued to whisper to me.

An example of this, was urging my husband to pursue an overseas post with his company. Needless to say, he didn’t have the same inner pull that I had.

This became evident when divine intervention, the third element, changed our plans and thus the course of my life.

After much persuading my husband agreed to a holiday in Europe. Four of us planned a summer in Spain but destiny had different plans. For a reason I can no longer remember, that plan was cancelled and instead we headed to Greece.

From the moment I stepped out of plane in Greece and saw Mt Olympus I began to change. The pull of the voice became a magnet which culminated one day on a beach in southern Crete.

I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t want to go home.” He replied, “You can stay. You have another month of holiday, but I have to go back.”

I looked over at my two friends but they both had solid reasons for returning to Canada.

I left the group and waded into the water looking south. Wouldn’t you know it – there was the voice. This time it said, “Africa is over there. You will be there one day.” Once more I knew this was truth.

As we boarded the plane for home I vowed to Mt Olympus that I would return. The person who made this vow was very different from the one who greeted the mountain a month previous.

In Canada, I not longer fit into the world I had left and a 2 year battle began to raged within me. My spirit urged me on while my sense of duty and guilt tore at me.

Finally, I knew which path I had to take.

Stepping away from my marriage, security, and in some cases friends and family, was element 4. This was the step toward my vision. For the next couple of years, I was lead by an amazing series of synchroncities, one which opened the door to opportunity.

The opportunity was a chance conversation where I heard about CUSO at the U of A. How come I hadn’t heard about CUSO before?

From the moment I entered the CUSO office I knew I was in the right place. Here I was surrounded by friendly people sharing their stories of living in exotic countries.

I wasted no time. I signed up and then waited for my posting.

The voice from Crete whispered Africa but the CUSO staff felt it would be Asia. To be honest, I didn’t really care.

So, where did I go?

Six months later I found my self on a plane heading south to Nigeria, Africa. As I sat on the plane I knew without a doubt that there was a force much greater than myself sitting in the driver’s seat.

The final element in the making of this gypsy came on the day I moved into my new home.

With great ceremony Mrs. Scobie, the headmistress, drove the short distance to the house. She was so proud of it. On the outside a nice bungalow with an attached garage.

On the inside rickety furniture, curled and missing floor tiles, a seatless toilet, sink and tub but no water, a kitchen that consisted of a small stove and couple wooden boards for shelves, and 3 bedrooms with beds I wasn’t sure I wanted to sleep on.

Then there was the dust, cobwebs complete with spiders, termites in the door frames and more interesting creatures to be discovered later.

After Mrs. Scobie left I wandered from room to room and I all I could think of was, “What the hell have I done?” I sat in the living room and began to cry.

Right on cue there was the voice. “You have a choice go home or stay. It’s up to you.” I paused. I stopped crying. In popped the voice, “You wanted this.”

Yes, I did!
I was going to stay, make the most of it and have fun.

This was the final element in the making of a gypsy.

I choose this path, listened to my inner voice, followed where it led, took action, and made a decision to make the most of it.

This had taken me to 80 countries on all but one continent.
I have made the world my home.

My motto was and is: Where I am – there is home.

How I brought the world to me!

world coming to meHave you ever looked back on your life and marvelled at the synchronicity that took place prior to certain events or achieving something you really wanted?

This is exactly what happened to me in the 90s after I had read the book Celestine Prophecy. After I finish the book I realized that so much of my life up to that point has been led by synchronicity. It was as if I was being led to a certain destiny.

When I looked back on the events in my life I saw clearly how the little decisions and actions I took came together like building blocks to guide me in a certain direction. It was almost like there were invisible roadsigns along the way to keep me on track. I can recall my sense of wonder at how it all fit together so perfectly.

Even though I saw the magic of it, and became more aware of synchronicity in my life, I never really gave it any deeper thought. I was still trying to control some of the events and direction of my life. I hadn’t completely taken my hands off the steering wheel.

Over the years I have been taking my hands off the steering wheel more and more. At times I’m very successful and other times not.

This became very clear to me while I was working on a project with my mentor. In our discussion of having a clear vision and keeping it in the forefront as a guide to where we are going but without having to know how we were going to get there, I was taken back to that moment in the 90’s. I saw how my clear vision of living overseas opened up the way for Divine Intelligence to place opportunities, people, and circumstances directly in front of me. I also saw how I acted upon these intuitions or chance conversations.

What I was seeing now with absolute clarity is that something much greater than my thinking self was orchestrating the events of my life. As I looked back I realized that many of these synchronistic events were beyond my awareness at that particular time. Opportunities would shown up or seemingly casual conversation would take place that I couldn’t have conjured up if I tried. From these situations I took action on what was presented or mentioned and doors opened for me.

One example that comes to mind is when I mentioned to someone in one in class that I wanted to work overseas but I didn’t know how to go about it. He casually mentioned, “ Why don’t you check out CUSO?”. The next day I went to university found the CUSO office and made an appointment for an interview. A few months later I found myself sitting in Nigeria.

I didn’t even know where Nigeria was before then.

What was becoming very clear with this insight is that these were not some chance happenings. These events and meetings were orchestrated by a much greater force than I could have imagined. What came to me was that synchronicity was really Divine Intelligence unfolding the infinite field of possibilities to match the dream that I had. With hindsight, I know all I did was follow the path that this great power laid out for me.

I held a dream without any idea of how it was going to unfold, was attune to the invisible signposts along the way, and as a result I brought the world to me.

This was a very humbling moment in which I saw when I let go of the how and trust in this greater power anything is possible.

Every single person on this planet has this connection to the infinite field possibilities through the Divine Intelligence within.

If I can find it, so can you.

I Am A Miracle!

Mountain viewThis past weekend as I was driving toward the mountains for a conference I was thinking about the concept of the acorn and the tree. How does an acorn know it’s supposed to be a pine or spruce or cedar or Tamarack tree?

By the same token, how does a flower seed know it is supposed to be a rose, daisy or cornflower?

As I pondered the concept of seeds containing the Divine Intelligence to become that which they were meant to be, I had a moment of absolute clarity where I saw the miracle of life within each human. My awareness went from acorns and seeds to the microscopic seed within my mother and the microscopic sperm from my father coming together among the billions of cells in my mother’s body to create that Divine spark of life ~ me. I am that miracle union. I am that seed of Divine intelligence.

What bursted out of my mouth at this realization was, “I am a miracle! I am a miracle!” It was a good thing I was alone in the car for it came in a shout of awe.

In one moment I took a huge leap up in the glass elevator of awareness.  (Michael Neill’s metaphor)

The awareness that I was indeed a miracle lead me to scan my body,  body I have taken for granted for so many years.  My body which knows exactly what it’s supposed to do without me even being aware of it. For example, by lungs and heart know exactly how many breaths to take in minute. They know how to self-regulate without my help. In fact, 90% of the time I’m not even aware I’m breathing. It happens in a beautiful rhythm without me having to do a darn thing. Miraculous!

From my heart and lungs, I considered the billions of cells that know exactly what to do maintain my body. They know when to die, to replicate, to repair, to attack. They are part of the grand plan for me to have a healthy body so I can experience life. All I have to do is give them nourishment and treat then well. Wow!

I considered the rest of my body and realized I have little idea of the amazing things it does each moment.

By this time I had pulled over to the side of the road. I sat still in wonderment, love and gratitude.

Then came the awareness of how I get caught up in thinking, creating stories about life while there is this Divine creation of life happening without my being aware of it. I saw how my thinking tended to keep me recycling the past due to my little mind scanning my memory bank to give meaning to the moment.  Or how this same mind would conjuring up an imaginary future based on what was already in my memory.  While the mind was frantically searching for meaning, there was little room to notice that life was happening all around me in the moment.

At this point I got out of my car and stood on the side of the road letting my gaze take in the vista before and around me. In that gaze, I felt the seed of Divine Intelligence in the grasses, trees, hawk, magpies and the mountains. The Divine life force of all things beating with one heart.

When I eventually arrived at the hotel, I saw my friends and colleagues for the first time. Seeing beyond the story to the source!

This experience was a moment where Mind, Consciousness and Thought flowed together in perfect harmony. Knowing that once you know something, you can’t go back, is a great gift! I may be able to expand on this awareness, but this experience is now a part of me.

The deepening of my awareness of the grandness of life and the joy I find in each day are some of the many gifts I have found in understanding the 3 Principles.