Author: Shirley Lynn

Spring Equinox Peace Circle: Forgiving our Past, Rebirthing our Capacity to Love

Why Peace?

“Who will work for peace on our planet? In our relationships? Within ourselves?” These are questions we are currently asking ourselves. With all the negativity that is flooding our airwaves, people are once again saying peace matters, even marching and calling for peace in ways we haven’t seen in decades. We desire love for all humanity and a restored earth.

To make this ‘call’ our collective reality, we must do the work to make peace our experience. We must make peace with our past. We must make peace with the lives we have been giving, rather than wishing for a greener life across the fence. We must be peace. Peace is our path to wholeness, to healing, to the very best of our collective existence.

Change the conversation? Change the chairs!

How do we make peace? One way is to initiate new conversations and a new way to be in conversation. Peter Block writes: “Change the conversation, change your thinking, change your life. Maybe… listening creates the speaking. Maybe citizens create leaders, maybe employees create bosses, maybe students create teachers and children create parents. Maybe the purpose of problem solving is to build relationships.”

This is all to say that we have the power to make monumental changes and that one of the ways is by hearing from one another. We also need to change our environment to be better supported to change the conversation. One powerful and ancient First Nations method that changes the conversation, transforms and heals the conversation, is through Circle. We can create circles for healing, for visioning, for building community, for conflict transformation, for remembering our inner wisdom’s way to peace.

The vital Equinox conversation: Forgiving our Past to Re-birth our Capacity to Love

So now that we have a well-tested method on how to change the environment and the principles of circle to change the conversation, what conversation is vital this equinox? What do we do with all the hatred, the negativity and the resentment that is creeping into our spaces and newsfeeds and into our inner sense of hope? Forgiving our past, forgiving our hurts is truly a key and vital change point. Love cannot exist without forgiving. Forgiving what hurt us is only possible with love. Spring brings us renewed hope and in this place of hope, we can access the faith and power to forgive through love.

As Rob Voyle, change agent and Episcopalian priest writes: “Without forgiveness, people remain trapped in their past, obsessing over what has been done to them. This obsession leads the person to use their injury as a way to re-injure themselves and stay in a state of victimization. While they are looking back to the past, it is impossible to look forward and to experience hope. If we are resentful of things from our past, when we do glimpse the future, we are likely to see a repetition of these painful experiences continuing into the future. Rather than welcome the future we are likely to spend considerable effort in taking self-protective measures.”

Bringing in and participating with the equinox is a call to awaken, to re-birth our vitality. The ultimate vitality is love and forgiveness. A specific task of forgiveness is to release our resentments about what happened in the past. Rob Voyle states that “resentment is a current demand that someone or something in the past should have been different. While the event that created our resentment may be in the past, the resentment is in the present and is manifested as a demand about the past.”

Spring is a special time to release the demands feeding our resentment and instead choose to nurture our capacity to love. Really. It’s time to open to the warmth of the sun and to the flow of our vitality. It’s time to live in love, a new kind of love that truly forgives and creates a genuinely new and better future. We cannot use forgiveness to change the past, but doing so will certainly enlarge and enrich our future. And that is where we will live, in our future.

Where can you have this vital conversation?

Join me in the next Peace Circle on Wednesday, March 22nd from 7-9:30 pm and be re-vitalized by the ceremony of forgiving our resentments together. For details about this event, please visit Spring Peace Circle. Limited seating so don’t wait to register.

If you have never experienced Peace Circle, I invite you to listen to our podcast series and be invited into peace circle with Karen, Tonya and myself.

Peace Circle Podcast series

Join Shirley Lynn Martin, Karen McCarthy and Tonya Noble as we again invite you into Peace Circle with us, to cross the threshold into sacred space and time. In our third and final podcast in this series, we explore the ‘Magic of Peace Circle’ we have each personally experienced. What comes to light is that circle transformation is a process that already begins in our preparation, as well as in the actual encounter and continues even days following the Peace Circle. There is a subtle dawning of synchronous joy, peace and awareness of who we truly are that becomes real in our coming together. The magic is real!

Namaste,
Shirley Lynn

Peace Circle Podcast #3

Join Shirley Lynn Martin, Karen McCarthy and Tonya Noble as we again invite you into Peace Circle with us, to cross the threshold into sacred space and time. This is our third and final podcast in this series of offering a brief experience of Peace Circle.

In this last round, we explore the ‘Magic of Peace Circle’ we have each personally experienced. What comes to light is that circle transformation is a process that already begins in our preparation, as well as in the actual encounter and continues even days following the Peace Circle. There is a subtle dawning of synchronous joy, peace and awareness of who we truly are that becomes real in our coming together.

The magic is real!

Thank you for joining us in this series. For more information about how you can join a live event, please visit Peace Circle for dates, themes and locations.

Peace Circle Podcast # 2

Join Shirley Lynn Martin, Karen McCarthy and Tonya Noble as we again invite you into Peace Circle with us, to cross the threshold into sacred space and time. Join us heart to heart in this unfolding conversation.

This podcast is the second in a series of three. In this circle, we speak to the question, “why do we value Peace Circle and what does it bring into our lives?” In sharing our heart’s knowing as revealed in the sacred space of circle, we delve into the power of connection, community and sharing our heart’s truth. Through this sharing, we are gifted with the possibility of healing and being our best self as we move out and re-join our ordinary lives. Join in, sit with us and share the experience with us.

Thank you for joining us in this series. For more information about how you can join a live event, please visit Peace Circle for dates, themes and locations.

Introduction to Peace Circle Podcast # 1

Join Shirley Lynn Martin, Karen McCarthy (Peace Circle Keeper) and Tonya Noble (Peace Circle member, psychotherapist and more) as we offer a brief experience of Peace Circle.

This podcast is the first in a series of three. We invite you to listen as though you are in Peace Circle with us, to cross the threshold of ordinary time into sacred time and space, a place where the heart speaks, listens and is. You will experience the ‘ceremony’ of crossing into sacred space with us.

Once we open Peace Circle, we start with the question, Why Peace Circle? What is it to me? Listen in as we pass the ‘talking piece’ and share the wisdom and beauty in our hearts, and so in yours.

Thank you for joining us in this series. For more information about how you can join a live event, please visit Peace Circles for upcoming dates, themes and locations.

In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living – Part Three

Listen in as Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I conclude our conversation about boundaries and self kindness. In this final (of three) podcast, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too).

This is just a sample of what you will experience by attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living workshop on February 24-25th, 2017.

Listening to our Bodies: A Path to Relating Peacefully

Listen Up!

Recently Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I sat down to create a 3-part podcast series about Boundaries. Throughout these podcasts, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and even share a concrete exercise that will help you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful.

The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible. The second podcast In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living – Part Two is now available. And in case you missed the first one, In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living, listen to it first to catch the flow of our conversation. The final podcast will be available next week.

I hope you enjoy this series and feel free to share them with others.


Listening to our Bodies: A Path to Relating Peacefully

Recently I was involved in a conversation in which we found ourselves sharing what we had learned about listening more closely to the cues our bodies were telling us. We each had a story of a physical injury that occurred because we didn’t listen to our bodies when it essentially said ‘enough.’ …Sigh…

It compelled me to reflect back to a workshop with Dr. Gabor Maté, author of When the Body Says No,  where he identified key characteristics of the stress-prone personality including:

  1. Difficulty saying No;
  2. Automatic and compulsive regard for the needs of others without considering one’s own;
  3. Rigid and compulsive identification with duty, role, and responsibility rather than with the true self;
  4. Habitual suppression or repression of healthy anger and assertion.

As I read this list, a couple of things stand out for me. This list is about lies we tell ourselves and about compulsive behaviours to please others or to live within the status quo we assume others expect of us.  –And we wondered why we got sick or injured when we ignored our bodies’ cues?

What struck me even more as I began to examine my own life is how we find it acceptable to lie with casual regularity. We lie to others when we say yes to them, but we really want to say no. We lie to ourselves saying we aren’t worthy enough and so we push onward when our bodies need to relax. We lie about our real needs and who we really are, compulsively rushing to the needs (and perhaps drama) of others (or our own). We lie about feeling angry at the boundaries that have been trespassed and then stay silent and perhaps punishing our partner or child or friend because of all the feelings we have lied about inside.

Lies create stress and conflict, both internal and external. Conflict disrupts our peace and our health. When we lie to ourselves and disregard the messages our bodies send us, we inflict a hidden emotional stress on ourselves and our bodies.

Just as good relationships with others keep us healthy and can heal us, good relationships with our bodies keep us healthy and can heal us. Good relationships require healthy boundaries that support our sense of true self and protect us against what drains our essential vitality. Healthy boundaries are like a good immune system—protects against what takes life and sustains our essence so we can participate in our purpose and what is truly life-giving.

We are hard-wired to need closeness, to need connection and belonging with others. We are equally hard-wired to need to express ourselves, to know who we are and then to be seen and respected. In other words, we are hard-wired to be authentic. When these two needs are in conflict or when they are incongruent over time, we are at war with ourselves. This war leads to illness. As Dr. Maté writes, “illness is not random”.

If you are like me, listening to your body is a daily task I have to remind myself to do. What is it my body needs to eat? What kind of exercise does my body need today? What decision do I need to make in my work that is congruent with my life purpose so I can stay healthy? What anger must I be honest about and what must I speak up about in my intimate relationships to increase my own sense of inner peace?

If you struggle with finding the joy of the body you have and so you ignore it even more. If you find yourself suppressing your own needs to look after other’s needs making you depressed, injured or always living in chaos, consider my upcoming two-day workshop on February 24-25th, 2017 – Self Kindness Response: Healthy Boundaries for Joyful Living!

The following comment by a workshop participant last fall really speaks to the substance and richness of this workshop. Please consider it for yourself too!

Just taking the boundaries workshop was an act of kindness towards myself. I learned to tune into my body to get a sense of what is a healthy boundary for me. Instead of going into my head, I feel how my body feels about something. There’s no arguing with the body! Even if there is another way to assess a situation and respond, it doesn’t matter because my body is telling me MY truth, MY healthy boundary in that situation, and that’s all that counts. I love the sense of certainty this has given me because I know my body is trustworthy. I have gained a stronger sense of myself and a feeling of being on solid ground. It was also helpful to work with a partner afterwards to keep working on what we’d learned at the workshop. Such a beautiful workshop space, too!  T.H.

Peace & Namaste,
Shirley Lynn

In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living – Part Two

Listen in as Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I continue our conversation about boundaries. In this second (of three) podcasts, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too).

This is just a sample of what you will experience by attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living workshop on February 24-25th, 2017.

In Conversation with Jen about Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living

Listen in as Jennifer Bodenham,  a team development coach, and I converse about boundaries. In this series of three podcasts, we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too).

This is just a sample of what you will experience by attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living workshop on February 24-25th, 2017.

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: The Wonder of Self Kindness

HAPPY NEW YEAR! In this next year, my overarching theme at Feathers, Rainbows & Roses will be peaceful relating with all our relations. Peaceful relating, as a practice and an attitude, is choosing to communicate and engage – with ourselves and others – with love, with respect for the dignity of another, and to do so justly. My desire is to help you develop and enhance your skills and inner capacity to enjoy and practise peaceful relating with all your relations.

We live always in the wonder of relationship, regardless of the quality of those relationships. I believe that collectively, we are awakening to the truth that we need one another in socially and intimate ways for our well-being. We need love and inter-connection. We are social beings who thrive when we are loved and when we love. We are awakening to the reality that most of our deepest hurts and pain result in the wounds of human relating, in the absence of connection, of acceptance and of belonging.

Recently I was teaching a class where I was introducing a new routine to dog training students. I was excited about a section of the routine, knowing it required handling skills beyond what we have done before. I hadn’t worked out all the kinks and wasn’t sure how this section of the routine would yet flow. So, after the first run-through of the routine, I asked the class for input and suggestions about it. Without warning, one member took the opportunity to sabotage the class, resulting in confusion, frustration and resentment for most of those present. Suddenly, I was caught in a situation where I hadn’t planned on being.

In reflecting on this situation afterward, I thought about what peaceful relating looks like when boundaries, whether personal or group, are being trespassed. What could I have done differently to give an opportunity for people to voice their thoughts without my own boundaries being intruded upon? [Thankfully, I was able to debrief later with another trainer and come up with responses and strategies to manage the situation better should this behaviour occur again.]

I also contemplated on various elements of my upcoming workshop and their relevance in helping me to handle myself with grace, patience and professionalism. I was able to stay grounded, centered and responsive in a difficult and unexpected situation. Practise what you preach, they say!

Creating boundaries which promote kindness and health for ourselves while maintaining connection is an ever-evolving skill. Learn more about how to do this in my upcoming workshop – The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living on February 24-25th, 2017. Join me for two full days of developing and practising better skills at saying YES and NO to sustain our health and well-being (kindness toward ourselves). We will set ourselves up to be prepared for, rather than overwhelmed by, the daily stresses and demands of our lives.

In the coming weeks, I will be releasing a series of podcasts, this time with Jennifer Bodenham, a team development coach, in which we explore why we need boundaries, what they are and one specific exercise to help you learn how you can get started towards living a life that is more kind and joyful. The wonder and value of self-kindness, health and maintaining connection with others, even when it starts to get difficult are mutually possible with a little education and lots of commitment towards peaceful relating with all our relations (that means ourselves too). I invite you to listen in. Consider this a sampling of what you will gain from attending The Self Kindness Response: Boundaries for Healthy & Joyful Living on February 24-25th, 2017.

Namaste,

Shirley Lynn

Natasha’s Thai Curry

Roughly chop 2 onions, 2 carrots and a half celery stalk and sauté them in a big pot with oil (I use avocado oil, but any oil will do). Add 3 cloves of garlic and half of 1/3 of a cup of ginger (really garlic and ginger are to taste). For the ginger you can leave the skin on and mince. Sauté until all veggies are softened and then add in a tablespoon of red curry paste. Stir that into the veggies until they take on the red colour of the paste – you will want to ensure any big chunks of paste have been broken up.

Add 3 cans of coconut milk/cream. Squeeze half a lime (gives it a nice kick/pull through flavour, but not necessary). Let this cook on medium to low for at least two hours, checking that veggies aren’t catching the bottom of the pot. If it’s too spicy, add more coconut cream. From there you can add any other vegetables and/or meat. Serve along with rice.

Hope you can enjoy trying this recipe!

  • Natasha brought this dish to the Reiki Community Christmas Celebration on December 20th. It took centre stage amidst all the sweets on the table. Thanks Natasha for sharing your recipe.