Category: Spring 2013

Blooming When the Winds Turn

This week the weather has turned cold again. I even saw tiny ‘snow wisps’ in the air one morning. With my winter coat on and insulated boots, I walked around and checked out the flower gardens. The forget-me-nots, trilliums, narcissus and bleeding hearts are all in full bloom. With the tulips on their last hurrah and the peonies just budding, various colours still dazzle the landscape. I wonder what allows them to bloom and be hardy in this frigid weather.

The flowers hear me and respond to it. “Practise” they say gently. They understand the challenges of blooming in spring, a time of transition and new birth. “What is it you practise?” I curiously ask.“Sustainability” was the reply. I ponder. I breathe. I open. “Tell me more. You practise sustainability?”

“Yes, we practise being who we are.” They know I’m surprised. The conversation isn’t what I anticipated and they play with my expectations of what I believe the answers will be to my questions. “We practise every day. Not just here and there when we feel like it or think we have the time or energy or resources to bloom. We only have a season to bloom. We live it to our fullest potential. We never waste a moment.”

After I pause to allow my heart to catch a breath they continue. “We know we are incredibly beautiful. We don’t spend any time living in doubt about the value of our essence. We are lovely and we practise being lovely and thinking lovely about ourselves every day of our season.”

I could likely question what they mean by thinking lovely, but that may be a conversation for another time. This conversation comes to an end and I am left to contemplate their wisdom. This conversation, as all heart-to-hearts are meant to do, leaves me changed.

So here is the simple and profound wisdom I am gifted here:

  • To sustainably live our potential, we must practise living our loveliness, our beauty every day because that is who we most naturally are.
  • Since our lives are a gift, waste not our loveliness on doubt and disbelief.
  • Completely own our loveliness, our beauty and we will realize our potential (even when the winter winds blow in our spring!).

What is your ‘practice’ of living your loveliness? Does your ‘practice’ offer you a sustainable way to live your potential, even through the challenges of life?

I would love to hear from you about what you practise and how often. Thank you for listening to the flowers this month. Nature will offer us more insights and wisdom next month as we continue our conversation with Her.

The Patience to Bloom

“If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.” – Sir Isaac Newton

If you are anything like me, there are days you simply want inner peace now or you want the change you desire so you can manifest your goal now. And in those moments, you really can’t see the advantage of practising any kind of patience for the long vision of fulfilling your dream. The turtle or snail’s pace of waiting for the ‘gold’ seems interminable and can give us such grief. At least, this is a mental habit I have had to outgrow!

Spring flowers, as we’ve been speaking about, offer us such beautiful and clear metaphors of living into our potential, of the process of coming into full bloom. This spring I’ve been curious about tulips in a new way and largely because of the gardeners in my life who teach me about the subtleties that go beyond my own practice of buying bulbs, planting them and waiting for the colourful bloom the following year.

A friend writes, “growing saleable tulips from offsets requires a year or more of growth before plants are large enough to flower. Tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years of growth before plants are flowering size. Commercial growers usually harvest the tulip bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted, for sale in the future.” Even the tulip knows it takes quite a significant investment over a steady period of time before the pleasure and joy of coming into full bloom manifests! A lot of time is dedicated to growing to the right size and having the right characteristics. They don’t rush themselves to bloom – ‘forcing it’ only weakens the longevity and strength of the bloom.

I have noted a few lessons the tulips teach us about being patient for ‘our time to bloom’ :

  1. Watch for unrealistic expectations that cause you unnecessary grief and upset. Like tulips, your potential isn’t going to manifest within a few months.
  2. Create goals and visions and hold them lightly. The Universe might have something in mind outside your mental definition of growth and happiness. But create goals and take action.
  3. Practise non-attachment to outcomes. Expect the unexpected.
  4. Remember what really matters to you even in the face of ‘life happening’. Trust that what you really want will manifest.
  5. Nurture optimism and inner faith. You will bloom, even if you have to endure a few winters first.
  6. Give yourself a break and sit down and ‘smell the roses’. Pushing and forcing the outcome won’t make the blooming come any faster or better.
  7. Cultivate a practice of gratitude and acceptance of life as it is. It will change as soon as you accept the moment.

For me, becoming a patient person has summoned perseverance, resolve and discipline in the absence of a dream fulfilled. It has also called out of me a rigorous trust in the face of seemingly too many ‘winters’ before the ‘gold’ manifests or the blooming finally is experienced. When dreams are aligned with Universal Love and Light, they will manifest … but it may take years of dedicated growth and right action.

Why be patient? The blooming will be colourful, spectacular and bring incredible joy to everyone who is touched by this dream – most of all you!

Lessons about Blooming from the Flowers

This weekend has been a wacky one in terms of weather – cold, rain, snow/sleet, wind. A bitter reminder that we are not in charge. My little Rottie friend Rayna who is unapologetic about being a fair-weather girl (not too hot or cold or wet please) was not at all thrilled with the idea of walking (outside!) in this misery.

But it did give me an insight I may have missed with nicer, more agreeable weather. I observed how the flowers (and yes, dandelions too) currently in bloom have protected themselves against the elements – they have tightened their petals to shield their core (the parts inside the flower related to reproduction). They are still vibrant and attractive but not open to the damaging conditions that ultimately could affect its ability to pollinate and reproduce (a key purpose of a plant).

I began to think about how this is a good analogy for our own lives. We talk a lot about growing and blooming into our best self and life purpose, and this is desirable and good. But the flowers remind us that even in the midst of our peak times of purpose and brilliant confidence, we need to protect our core, our essential self from the less than desirable environment we may find ourselves in.

How do we do this? How do we protect our inner core from being whipped about by the wind, from having our spirits dampened by the rain, our growth restrained by the cold? What inner reserves are necessary to ride out the storms and challenges until the warmer air and sunshine return?

For me, a few ideas come to mind. One is preparation – planning ahead and gathering the necessary resources for these inevitable challenges to our perfect blooming. The petals serve as perfectly sized boundaries that shield our inner core from harm. Another is resilience – having the strength and confidence to know that ‘this too shall pass’. And finally, having a sustainable growth – too slow or too fast makes us more susceptible to the elements or a less than ideal environment. We can’t always help or change where we are planted but we can thrive nevertheless. As Mary noted a few weeks ago, a tulip she planted upside down overcame this challenge and rose into full bloom anyway.

What are the key elements that you have (or need) in your life to thrive and reach full bloom? What petals do you need to develop to protect your self from harm? Are you in need of some help with managing your growth and blooming? Call or email to make an appointment with Shirley Lynn for skilled support and guidance as you face the challenges that keep you from your most vibrant colourful blooming.

Wishing you a vibrant Spring!

submitted by Lucy Martin

The Journey to Blooming Vibrantly

We have been incredibly gifted with gorgeous weather this past week in southern Ontario. The daffodils and hyacinths are in full bloom and the air quality is marvellous (except for those who experience pollen allergies). Each year I marvel at the genius of flowers to poke through the awakening soil and begin their journey toward painting the world with vibrant and brilliant perfumes and colour. There is something about flowers that restore hope and faith in the goodness of life for me. They restore hope in the possibility of living my potential because they do it every season.

Remember the 4th ingredient of hope? “We must create a good plan outlining the resources needed and how we use them.

So I listened to the daffodils, hyacinths and budding tulips about the function and structure of a good plan. In my watching and listening to these flowers over this past week, I noticed the structure and function of the questions they live to answer.

  1. Who am I? The response is “I am Spirit incarnate as daffodil”.  Nothing more, nothing less.
  2. Where am I? Again a simple response: “In the present moment.”
  3. What do I love? Response: “to be alive and healthy and bloom. To be as purple or white or yellow as I can be! To spread happiness.”
  4. What blesses my life? An obvious response: “Rain, sun (energy), good nutrients, a balanced ecosystem, even the rest time of winter.”
  5. Why must I live now? “To help the Earth and all her relations heal.”
  6. What is the ultimate gratitude? “That Great Spirit is and moves and loves and is the Source of all our being!”
  7. How do I bloom? Last question and last response: “I ask for what I need. With gratitude and humility, I seek the wisdom of my community (bio-diversity) to help me grow. Finally, I answer the call to awaken and bloom in alignment with the answers to all of the other questions.”

It will take me some time to ponder this wisdom of the spring flowers as it is not what I had anticipated focusing upon in my blog about creating a good plan and outlining our resources to accomplish it. What I do realize, however, is that the function of a good plan provides answers to good questions! The structure of a good plan is to help us achieve our hope … to bloom in the fullness of our beauty and who we are destined to be!

As you look at what you hope for this spring and beyond, as well as your plan about what resources you need and how you will use these resources to accomplish your preferred future, what are the underlying questions you are answering? Are they good questions? Are they useful? What answers will you likely get to these underlying questions? Will these answers be ones that allow you to bloom vibrantly?

As a Soul Coach, I see that my purpose is to support people in living their potential, to bloom vibrantly from one’s soul, one’s inner core and light. I help people to listen to the voice of wisdom within and to discover both the questions that matter to the heart as well as their path to the answers. As clients discover this partnership where the path of wisdom and compassion to our life’s hopes and dreams is witnessed and shared by another, both coach and client enrich our lives and our learning. As you journey into your blooming this spring, find yourself a soul witness to help you create a good plan that answers the great questions of your heart and live your hope!!

Celebrating Our Earth and Us (Part Two)

“Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.” (Anonymous)

As our dogs Carlie and Rayna happily romp about on our morning excursions, taking in the spring air and a bubbling up of new life, I too have been reflecting on and absorbing the positive attitude and actions which real hope evokes. The emerging blooms here in Southern Ontario make it easier to engage in this attitude and action of hope.
Last week in my blog I identified 4 ingredients of hope. This week I want to invite conversation about the last two ingredients of a new vision of our Earth:
3. We are to cultivate inner confidence that, collectively, we can accomplish this vision.
4. We must create a good plan outlining the resources needed and how we use them.
The birds I have been paying attention to this past week are confident the dawn and day will arrive. They start to sing BEFORE it becomes light. In fact, hearing the birds is a signal to me that dawn is about to come and I need to gently wake up my body and begin my meditation and self healing practice. I realized that birds singing prior to the dawn is so ordinary, so common of an experience for me that if I didn’t hear it, I would wonder what is imminent! Yet, in this ordinary experience of life, I am reminded of a most profound revelation. Nature has confidence in the unfolding of Life and in Her own potential for well-being which She joyfully sings about even before it has arrived!
This confidence She displays is not random; rather, it is consistent and practised daily in the song of the bird, in the going to bed of our nocturnal cat Taz, that morning has broken through the dark once again. Nature models for us daily the kind of hope and confidence that is necessary and accessible for us to create a new vision for our lives and for the Earth, even though it is still ‘dark’. We simply need to practise the attitudes and actions of hope!
The last ingredient is that we need to create a good plan outlining the resources needed. In the month of May we will be exploring more of this topic through the idea of ‘blooming and developing into our maturity.” For this current week, I invite you to explore and be open to the confidence you see expressed in Nature, a hope that the vision of the day will come to pass, for example. Real hope is not wishful or fantasy thinking. It calls us to sink deeply into the belly of Source and have confidence that what is good and blessed will come to bloom, all in good time!

Hope for the Earth and Us (part one)

Today, many of us will take time to celebrate our home, the Earth we live upon and who supplies are most organic and life-sustaining needs. We will join with others to offer ceremony, prayers and rituals of healing in hopes of rejuvenating and revitalizing our beloved Earth home. Previously this month, we have talked about hope as not being mere wishful thinking butthe ability to imagine a tomorrow that is worth living and to have a reasonable degree of confidence that we have the resources to achieve that life.” (Rob Voyle).

If we ponder this understanding of hope, there are a few ingredients that stand out for me which are important to consider in our hope for the healing and restoration of the Earth. First, we are asked to imagine. Second, we are asked to create a positive vision of the Earth. Third, we are to cultivate inner confidence that, collectively, we can accomplish this vision. Fourth, we must create a good plan outlining the resources needed and how we use them.

It’s easy to imagine a restoration of a beautiful Earth when we are out in Nature and it is pristine and the sun is shining. Yesterday, I spent most of my day walking with dogs in the bush, on a trail and around a pond. I could imagine the beauty of the Earth because I was feeling it in my bones!! Yet, I wonder, how many of us really spend time imagining a preferred tomorrow where our Earth is healthy, happy and prosperous….toxicity gone.

I read a newspaper article in the KW Record just the other day of a research study with numerous countries around the world about the time people spend in Nature. The results showed a global trend of people spending less time in Nature, in the parks, in forests and bushes than they were 5 years ago and that kids are spending less time outside than a generation ago. How can we imagine something new and different if we don’t even have a relationship with our Earth? How can we imagine what we would like with Her instead, if we have no sense of who She is now and what collaboration she desires from us?

In my Peace Building Conversations course, I invite people to be concrete in imagining the world they would love to be in 25 years from now. It was surprising for many that they struggled initially to get really concrete and clear about a vision of tomorrow for the Earth. If we cannot imagine with genuine engagement in our heart, we cannot hope for a preferred future for our Earth.

Second, we need to have a positive vision of the Earth. This may initially sound simple and easy, but it requires real effort and goals that are so emotionally impressive and valued in our hearts that they naturally occupy our conscious mind. It is easy to get caught in the despair and futility of our collective life here on this planet when everyday news reports spread stories of disasters, explosions, oil spills and corporate destruction and take-overs of land, air, water, seeds and so forth. We can get caught in a sea of reaction and reactive action rather than taking committed and thoughtful steps toward our collective vision.

Both of these steps require a deep level of motivation and agency in our thinking about our power to achieve the goals to restore, heal, and replenish the vitality of the Earth. Our goals must be achievable and yet difficult enough that our essential talents, skills and sense of purpose are evoked. Otherwise, hope cannot sustain us to create what is preferred in our vision of tomorrow.

For this week, I invite you to reflect upon, write down, draw, collage, pray for a concrete vision for yourself about a preferred future of the Earth that is healthy, happy, harmonious. Consider these questions and get as specific as possible.

  • Who lives in a world like this?
  • What do the waterways look like?
  • How do we travel?
  • What do the fish, birds, four-leggeds do?
  • What is the picture of the way we negotiate diversity and conflict in this vision?
  • What will it look like?
  • How will people interact?
  • How will people live? Be as specific as possible.
  • What type of awareness do people need?
  • What skills need to be acquired?
  • What principles or ethical responsibilities will need to be embraced?
  • How will the Declaration of Human Rights be lived out in the world?
  • Who do you believe will make this happen?

Write a blessing, a poem, say a prayer, or offer ceremony to the Earth today and do so with great hope in your heart, and with a clear vision of what She and we can be together. Drop me a line of your vision or at least some real tangible pictures and hopes and goals of what you hope for with the Earth’s healing. Finally, what role and agency will you play in this preferred future? Let’s imagine and dream collectively this week. And let’s imagine in ways that call out our organic relationship with our Great Mother.

Namaste.

Lessons From My Garden

As I see it there are two ways to garden – when I choose to and when I have to. The meaningful life lessons tend to happen when I am choosing to garden, or more accurately, “putzing” around. Let me share some thoughts from a one of those experiences…

One beautiful day in the early spring I was digging around when I inadvertently dug up some tulip bulbs I had planted in the fall. A good gardener would have marked the spot but remember, I am “putzing.” As I was trying to carefully replace them I came across one bulb that I had mistakenly planted upside down. Instead of giving up and dying this resourceful bulb pushed down against the odds until it had enough growth so that it could make a turn and push up toward the light and on its way to becoming the tulip it was meant to be.

Herein is the lesson for me that day…

For the tulip to become the wonder it is meant to be it must be planted in the dark soil and be there for some time to develop the resources it needs to “become”. Sometimes I too must enter the darkness before “becoming” and the tulip has shown me/reminded me that the darkness need not be feared but trusted. The darkness may be the place or time I need to rest, to prepare for the coming forth, the blooming. What struck most that day was that the obstacles that may present themselves are just that, obstacles. I can choose to give up and die or I can push against the odds. I may bloom later than the others that were planted at the same time but I will bloom in my own time.

In my own experience trusting the darkness and not fearing the obstacles seem to be ongoing challenges. But seeing the daffodils and tulips starting to bloom remind me to trust the process. I invite you too to push beyond the obstacles in your path as you grow into the Light and “become” your best self in your own time.

May the blooms of Spring cheer you on!

submitted by Mary Martin

Hope Abounds in the Spring!

Today the sun is shining, the air feels warmer, buds and shoots are emerging all over the place, and  the birds are busy with their spring preparations. There’s a quickening and a lightness in the nature of this season’s activities.

For me [Lucy], the hope of Spring has extra significance this year because there is a new being and energy in my life in the form of a 3-month old Rottweiler puppy. In many ways Rayna epitomizes for me all that Spring is about – patience, growth, activity, and optimism.

Patience that necessary skills and behaviours will happen in due time. Growth that is stimulated and supported by a balance of nutrients, sun, fresh air and water. Activity appropriate to the individual’s development to build strength, flexibility and vitality. And optimism that she will develop into the vibrant and engaging dog that I envision her to be.

In thinking and dreaming about what I want and hope for Rayna and our relationship, I have come to realize that hope on its own is just wishing. To bring hope to life, it needs to be nurtured on a daily basis. I think hope is about drawing the future into the present in that the future picture requires specific actions and goals to make it a reality.

So for Rayna, my action steps include providing good nutrition, health care, appropriate exercise and activity, a sense of security and belonging within her family, as well as social enrichment and training that will help her to adapt well to her larger world. To not take these steps, leaves my hopes for Rayna at great likelihood of not being realized.

What I have not done yet but now realize is important, is to write down my hopes and dreams for Rayna and myself. Where are we going? What action steps are important to help us get there? What milestones will be significant in helping me to recognize that we are on the right path (or that there are changes that need to happen)?

Does this sound familiar to those of you who have planned for a specific goal or hope in your life?

It doesn’t really matter what the hope is that you are striving toward – what’s important is the plan of action for this journey. A useful resource [Wisdom’s Way to ‘Right with the Light’: Living JOY-Fully] that Shirley Lynn has compiled is available for purchase on her website. It guides you through the steps of identifying your hopes and dreams, developing a plan and bringing them into reality. So take the time to think about and write down what you hope for. Write down what you need to do to get there and then put it into action. Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way!

Right now, I am grateful that Rayna has accepted my expectation that she sleep in her crate for the entire night. A big success in less than a week! Another expectation is that she only pees outside – still in negotiations. HERE’S HOPING!!

by Lucy Martin

Nurturing the Seed of Hope

Before long, my mother will be sporting rubber boots and planting seeds in her garden. Dried up little seeds that seemingly have no life are put into the ground to be resurrected by the nutrients of the soil, the rain, the spring thunderstorms and the warmth of the sun. It really is an incredible mystery that these seeds awaken and grow to eventually produce great food. Like many fellow gardeners, my mother plants these seeds with the anticipation of abundant delicious gifts from the Earth throughout the summer and fall. Her hope has roots, a responsible plan, wisdom and a faithful ritual of planting activity.

A mentor of mine (Rob Voyle) defines hope asthe ability to imagine a tomorrow that is worth living and to have a reasonable degree of confidence that we have the resources to achieve that life.

As Nature awakens to herself, resurrects herself from her own death (an incredible mystery in itself), she also awakens new hope within us. Last month, many of you who shared your stories of Spring with us highlighted this theme of new hope for your own life, both internally and externally – hope that Spring will bless us in our hearts and imaginations.

When we confuse real hope with fantasy-based, wishful thinking, we give up the power to make a real difference in the world and in our lives and relationships. This kind of fantasy-based ‘hope’ lacks any responsible plan of action and accountability for what we really want and investment of time, money and energy to make happen. ‘Hoping things get better’ without actively engaging in thoughtful, results-based strategies and plans can really leave an imprint of despair and hopelessness on our consciousness. In fact, this approach of ‘hoping’ without collaborative engagement on our part produces anxiety, resentment, guilt and a host of other dis-empowering states of being.

In the case of my mother’s garden, she carefully sources out her seeds, waits for the appropriate weather to plant them, has ropes and sticks to mark the rows, and determines in what part of the garden she will plant what vegetable for maximum benefit. Although there is great effort to this garden, she must hope for the eventual harvest. And while I don’t have an interest in gardening, I do think that peas eaten within an hour of being picked are absolutely heavenly.

Hope is both believing that a preferred future is possible and the confidence that the necessary resources are available to realize this preferred future. We do need to have a plan and co-create our preferred future. It is an investment of ourselves, our time, money and energy. It doesn’t ‘just happen’.What do you hope for this Spring? Over the next 12 months? What plan do you have to realize this preferred future of making life better for yourself and those you love?

I encourage you to use my Wisdom’s Way to ‘Right with the Light’: Living JOY-Fully as a resource to design your preferred future over the next 12 months, to actively co-create the pathway to what you wish to experience in your work, in your relationships, in your body, in your spirit. Happy planning (and planting seeds)!

Ten Ways to Persevere through Transition

Here in Southern Ontario, spring has been slow in coming this year. On our first day of Spring, we actually had cold and drifting snow! A perfect example of the ‘betwixt and between’ I wrote about in an earlier blog that we often experience in months and situations where the new has not yet fully arrived nor has the old entirely left or dissolved.

Throughout this past month, I have been reminded of the discipline it takes to persevere through this ‘betwixt and between’, especially when schedules suddenly changed, my computer got a ‘virus’ and extra resources were needed to launched a new project.

Last week, Carlie and I participated in our first show. We were part of a demo team that provided the half time entertainment at the College Royal. It was lots of fun and we certainly hope to do it again. Still, as the show approached, we had to commit extra practice time, extra training, extra driving and extra focus in part because Carlie and I were the lead team in our heeling drills.

Simultaneously, new work projects and conversations also needed my attention amidst the daily routines of work and personal life commitments. I was feeling that more energy was being expended than was coming back. The new was ‘in process’ but not yet materialized. It was a time of potential overwhelm.

During this challenging time, I relied on a few key things to support me. I chose to  discipline myself with daily habits intended to promote well-being, concentration and inner calm. I built in some simple steps which I’d like to share with you:

  1. Daily meditation with Reiki.
  2. Daily cleansing of my aura and energy fields with Reiki. I centred and grounded.
  3. I offered myself healing as my inner being and energy needed it.
  4. I ate healthy and stayed away from processed foods.
  5. I walked at least once a day with Carlie. We also played together every day.
  6. I asked other people for help.
  7. I prayed for focus to do what I must do today. I didn’t allow myself to think about the whole big picture. Here is what I must do this day, this week. (Each week I would write out what I need to do and when and who needs to help and with what and by when).
  8. I had affirmations I repeated to myself whenever I needed them. They were simple, easy to remember and effective.
  9. I gave thanks daily for the weather. The climate is changing, a phenomena that has gone on for millennia. Perhaps it’s a renewal activity and so an exciting gift to the Earth. In giving gratitude for the weather, it became a daily ally for energy renewal.
  10. I offered gratitude daily for every good thing I was able to accomplish, whether it was a significant challenge or simply enjoying the delights of the day.

As the spiritual practice of Lent – or self-purification, a giving up of something – draws to a close, we can celebrate again the mystery and ceremony of the ‘great renewal’ to deepen our self love. The gifts of these ‘great renewals’ are already embedded within our souls and can sustain us through transition. To celebrate this time of self-purification and a deepening of loving myself, I’m going to take off and visit family. What about you? What are you doing to celebrate the challenges met within the ‘betwixt and between’ that delight your heart?

If you haven’t yet envisioned and planned your own ‘great renewal’, my working guide Wisdom’s Way to Living JOY-Fully is a great tool to help you discover and design how you will move through transitions, out of the old and into the new.