Category: Summer 2014

Creating Peaceful Relationships: Where Do I Belong?

Recently, I enjoyed a weekend visit with my brother and his family. Upon our arrival, my 3½ year old nephew helped carry my bag to my room and immediately began asking about ‘the special game’ I had promised to bring along. Since it was dinner time, I said we had to wait until the next day when it would be sunny and warm. He chatted eagerly and enthusiastically with Lucy and me, sharing all the recent news and events he thought we might deem important. And so that night, I went to bed surrounded by family and my nephew’s excitement as he explores the world and relationships that are his life.

The next day we finally got to play ‘the game’ – the squirt game as it became known – super-soakers filled with cold water from the hose. We ran around the yard, squirting, chasing, screaming, laughing, interspersed with bits of 3 year old ‘trash talking’ to challenge the stakes to become more and more wet. The game became a standing afternoon tradition during our stay.

Fifteen years earlier, Lucy and I played this same game with our other nephew and niece. In fact, we frequently remark how playing with our two nephews is a deja-vu experience. The pleasure of playing with them and building meaningful relationship is both a joy and a delightful responsibility.

Knowing where I come from and where my roots are is a strong family norm. We can decide what we want to do with them, but we understand where these roots are and what they are about. I notice my 3 year old nephew already being quite clear who is who in his family, who belongs, including his old Chihuahua dog and who are neighbours, friends or community members. My older nephew and niece have heard stories of our youth, of my long-deceased father. They never knew my father in person, but they know him through stories and pictures. They know they are his descendants. My younger nephew will also hear some of those stories and will know his grandfather through the mannerisms and decisions and values and virtues his own father practises and instills in him.

Knowing our roots helps us know where we belong. It helps us clarify where home is. When we are clear where we belong, we can better find our place in the world, our place in our adult world beyond the family of our childhood. If we are unclear where we belong or never felt like we belonged because abuse, adoption, trauma, tragedy, neglect, immigration, etc, in our family of origin has not been resolved, we tend to carry a deep confusion in our psyches, creating blocks and confusion in our key adult relationships, whether at home or at work.

As my nephew is learning that he belongs to our family, not only through birth, but more importantly, through love, he is developing a conscience which will help him navigate the parameters of this most important reference group – his family. According to Family Constellations Systems theory, three key reference groups help form our sense of belonging: family group, social environment and ethnic group, religion and culture we have grown up in, respectively.

Without us being necessarily conscious of this ‘equilibrium of belonging’ that we are navigating, we are constantly asking these two questions: “What do I have to do to belong?” and “What do I avoid to prevent being excluded?”

The fear of exclusion sits deep within our psyche and we are hardwired as vulnerable children to choose belonging, regardless of the rules, behaviours and norms we take on, rather than choose autonomy. Belonging, as children, is an matter of survival! To belong and to bond with our family, we are required to stand behind our parents and be loyal to them. Can you see where conscience comes into play?

In this last quarter of 2014, I invite you to explore your relationships and where you are creating peace in core relationships and where you are blocked or sabotaging yourself from doing so. Return to your goals and commitments for 2014 and evaluate the results you have attained this far. What yet needs your attention to create more peace in your relationships, whether at home or at work?

As you take your next steps for this last quarter, reflect on these questions:

  • Where are the places or groups I belong?
  • What do I have to do to belong in these groups?
  • What do I avoid to prevent being excluded from them?
  • How do these choices and behaviours limit or expand my conscience in love?
  • What needs to be transformed or change?
  • Where does love need to flow again so I can increase my peace?

I know this may be a difficult inquiry for some of you. It can be helpful to have additional support as you explore these questions and further pursue your journey toward greater inner peace and peace within your relationships, whether personally or in your work. This may be the perfect time to consider a soul coaching partnership with me to help you get unstuck and find the right movement to reflect what makes you whole, balanced and more peaceful.

Namaste, Shirley Lynn

Creating Peace in my Garden

As I am writing this, CBC news is in the background. Disturbing current events in Ferguson Missouri, Iraq, Ukraine, Gaza, Israel and Liberia all reinforce how elusive true peace can be.

I have been questioned why I listen if it disturbs me; however, for me being aware of the violence reminds me to be deeply grateful for peace. It is similar to needing to experience the dark so that I can better appreciate the light. It also motivates me to work for peace in my relationships and in my environment. I may not be able to bring about meaningful change in any of these distant situations but I can affect change/peace in the space I inhabit. I reflected on this as I was gardening today.

Marys Garden4I have spent the summer wrestling with the weeds in my flower and vegetable gardens; weeds that had too much freedom in the past few years; weeds that never took Shirley Lynn’s workshops on boundaries.

As I am trying to create order I am becoming aware that not only have weeds overstepped their boundaries so have my flowering perennials. Historically, I have felt guilty for digging up and composting flowers so have either let them grow unchecked or have divided and re-homed them. However, I don’t struggle with the same guilt when it comes to those I deem as weeds. What I am realizing though is that my approach has not lead to creating a peaceful environment in which each plant has an equal opportunity to flourish and succeed … even in my gardens, the survival of the fittest is being played out!

To establish the peaceful order in the gardens I desire, I need to take corrective action. To have a greater chance of eliminating the invasive plants, I need to dig up the whole plant and get the entire root. If I don’t it will pop up again, maybe not this year, but it will come again.

Isn’t this how it works in relationships as well? If I am at odds with someone, if there is tension and I choose to either let it go or I half-heartedly try to fix it, the issue will pop up again. When I take corrective action in the gardens I do so with a goal in mind. I know what I am wanting to achieve and I think creating harmonious relationships works the same way.

I am reading I Am In Here by Elizabeth Bonker and Virginia Breen. (a mother and daughter). It’s about the journey of a child with autism who is nonverbal but communicates by using a letter-board. I will close with her comments and a poem she wrote as a nine year old:

I do not believe violence is the answer to any conflict. People are different, but all people want to be treated fairly and shown respect. I believe war could be eliminated if people followed these rules.”

Peace

If we all try to get along the world would be a happy place.

Everyone could have their space.

War could disappear without a trace.

That is my wish.

And mine too. If we could truly understand what nine year old Elizabeth understood, the evening news might sound very different.

Submitted by Mary Martin

Creating Peaceful Relationships: Getting your Ducks in a Row!

For me, this summer has been incredible in that the humidity has largely been at bay – a blessing to me and our animal companions! It’s also been a summer for contemplating and interacting in ways that connect me more intimately with Nature.

What has struck me as I’ve been attuning myself to Nature is the Natural Order of things that seems to go in cycles. Well, of course it does, you might think. And yet, that our Earth is so out of balance highlights just how out of order we are and how un-creating with peace we have been in our relationship with Nature.

This thought has been roaming around in my mind: an order that is being imposed from the outside will remain superficial; an order that comes from the inside, however, will have a deep impact.

Seeds come before the plants. Plants come before the fruit. Spring precedes summer which precedes fall. Moisture must ascend before rain descends. Grandparents come before parents who come before children. It cannot be otherwise. It just is. This natural order which unfolds in cycles is the blueprint of Nature. It keeps things healthy and alive and indeed, even evolutionary.

Our souls follow this blueprint too and when we are connected and attuned to our souls, we return to this internal order of recognizing what and who comes before us and what and who comes after us. For example, when parents forget they come before the child with all the responsibility of coming first, the child will often compensate, leaving their place of the child to take over the parent role. We all recognize this relationship is out of order with many inherent consequences. Yet, bringing order back to our lives often involves step by step actions of courage because in that re-ordering we actually find our balance and our place in the world. It means acknowledging ‘what is as it as’ without wanting or wishing that a new order can be created. Parents precede children, in any species.

Here are two parables about natural order unfolding, helping a desired outcome to occur with ease and with the least resistance:

  1. When ducks sit on the edge of a river bank, they often sit scattered and in any form to attend to their feathers and bodies. When it’s time to move, they all get in a row and begin their journey.
  2. Imagine you are on a teeter-totter, sitting on one side while the other side is empty. Clearly the side you are sitting on is on the ground (Point A) and the other side is in the air (Point B). Imagine that Point B is where you want to go to realize a personal goal. Now imagine beginning to climb the teeter-totter towards the centre leverage point and toward Point B. Here’s the crux … just as you get close to the centre, the leverage point, the teeter-totter gets very shaky and feels ever more challenging to balance. What do you do? Return in fear to Point A? Or keep going past the shakiness and perceived imbalance to the other side where a new sturdiness comes as the teeter-totter shifts and now Point B becomes the grounded place?

What can we learn from this? That only when you take action do all your ducks begin to get in a row. You do not have to have all your ducks in a row before you take action to start what excites you. Following what happens naturally and respecting the natural order of what comes first and what comes next in the way you strive to accomplish your goals supports your success with the path of least resistance.

As you consider the fall and where you are on your path of what you wanted to accomplish this year in creating peaceful relationships, what needs to come back into order? Are you clear on this order? If you are not clear and going in circles or continuously facing the same issues, what new and courageous step are you prepared to take?

We are about to enter the last quarter of 2014. I urge you to make the most of it. Make peaceful relationships your priority.

Namaste, Shirley Lynn

Creating Peaceful Relationships in Community: “Hello, my friend, it is good to see you again”

Six years ago, I made the decision to visit my mum and sister in Cape Town at least once, if not twice a year because of mum’s inability to travel. I headed south and bought a little apartment in the community of Hout Bay, twenty minutes outside of Cape Town. The beach in Hout Bay is surrounded by mountains and has been a source of major revelations for me, as has the unique community the mountains enfold.

Hout BayAbout three years ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I headed to the beach and greeted the car guard who had been a constant presence every time I visited. In South Africa, car guards keep watch over vehicles to help avoid break-ins. I normally walked for about an hour, but on this particular day, I was gone for three hours – there were dolphins playing and I saw a sea otter. When I got back to the car, the guard said, “Madam, I was worried about you, you have been gone so long.” I really got that he cared about me. Subsequently, we greeted each other enthusiastically when I returned but didn’t interact on a deeper level.

In November last year, I arrived at the beach and said, “Hello, my friend, it is good to see you again.” He looked at me and said, “Madam, my name is Junior.” I was at a loss for words. I had known this man for six years, he had looked out for me and looked after my vehicle and I had never once thought to ask him his name. Shame on me!

Just before Christmas, when I arrived at the beach Junior didn’t greet me with the same upbeat energy. I said, “Junior, what’s up today?” He said, “My daddy died yesterday. I have to go home to DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) for his funeral – I have to be there to bury him.” To get there he had to hitch a ride to Johannesburg (equivalent Toronto to Nova Scotia), take a bus north and finally a small aircraft to his village. In all, he thought it would probably cost R2,000.00 – he earns about R100.00 per day. He did not ask me for money – just told me the facts.

I met a friend on the beach and told her his story. She said, “Why doHout Bay 2n’t you go on Hout Bay Organized and see if there is anyone willing to donate money towards his trip?” I had not heard about the site, but joined that afternoon and posted a request for help. The response was overwhelming and the following day, between my contribution and that of other Hout Bay residents Junior had about R1,500.00 towards his trip.

It was through this site that I heard about the 50c Hangberg Feeding Project. Four times a week local restaurants, residents and grocery stores feed the children of Hangberg (a depressed area adjacent to the harbour) at the Angels of Mercy Orphanage. The children pay 50c if they can afford it and if they can’t they are given food anyway. Then there is DAWG, a local non-profit animal care facility helping animals of IY (the local township where people live in abject poverty).

One day I drove over the mountain and saw huge flames licking up into the sky above IY. A granny had fallen asleep with a pot over the fire in her shack. Many people lost all their possessions, but what struck me was the outpouring of support from the community. Food, clothing, bedding and furnishings were donated, temporary accommodation and building materials provided. One woman donated wood siding to her maid to replace her shack. She learned that her maid had sold the wood and was incensed. Someone else commented, saying, “You gave the wood to your maid, it became hers. She chose to sell the wood, rather than build a new home. That is her prerogative. How do you know what she considers to be important – maybe she needed food more than shelter? Once a gift is given, control over the gift is relinquished.

I also recently got to interact with three other car guards – Rob, Richard and Mel. They are all alcoholics who live ‘rough’ but each have two dogs and worked around the restaurant area guarding cars. One evening I said to Rob, “Your dogs are well cared for.” He said, “They are my priority – they eat before I do.” Richard and Mel were both admitted to hospital recently and Rob is looking after all the dogs, finding it very difficult in the wet, cold Cape winter (he lives on the mountain in a tent). The community donated food – someone even donated coats for the dogs to keep them dry. It is heart-warming to know that countless Hout Bayans are helping to take care of those less fortunate than themselves.

If Junior had not reached out to me, and I had not used the social media available to me, I would not have learned about the amazing work that is being done in The Bay. If I had not shared how good it was to see him and to explore being ‘his neighbour’, I would not have been privileged to know him on a deeper level. I would not have heard the many stories involving people who give to those in need in this little community. If only every community, in every town or city, in every province or country could contribute as generously to their neighbour, the world would truly be a better and more peaceful place. I experienced compassion from Junior and I learned to be his neighbour in a heart-full, non-judgemental way.

Who are the neighbours you need to know by name? What actions of compassion and non-judgement just might open the door to an unexpected gift of community and peaceful relationship? Share with me the joy of this discovery and practice of creating peaceful relationships in simply knowing my neighbour’s name.

Namaste,

Janice Naisby, Editor at Homes and Cottages Magazine.

Written for Feathers, Rainbows & Roses

Creating Peaceful Relationship with Oxygen

I attended the same gathering of Reiki practitioners as Lucy (see previous blog Open your senses, Nature is calling…), seeking to appreciate and become more knowledgeable and intimate with Nature. It is a project we are exploring as a budding community and as you can imagine, Nature is surprising us at every turn.

This past year, we at Feathers, Rainbows & Roses have been exploring, contemplating, practising and learning new skills to enhance the experience of ‘creating peaceful relationships’. Not only do we need to cultivate these relationships with our family and friends, but equally important, we need to cultivate this kind of peaceful exchange within ourselves, our animals and also with our environment. Too frequently we forget to include the essential dynamic of our surroundings and of Nature in our discussions of creating peace within and peace within relationships.

In this gathering, I chose to study a picture of an oxygen atom. It was a beautiful picture that drew me into exploring the nature and consciousness of this single atom on the periodic table … a 10th grade chemistry lesson that at the time was dry and without meaning. However, this time, my intention was to listen and experience a connection with this atom of O2, to step into its energy field, so to speak.

Instantly, my energy began to expand. With every breath I could feel O2 intensifying and expanding my field. I spent 5 minutes just being with oxygen, just concentrating on this atom and all it was offering me about itself. My cells began to feel more full and my brain clear. It was an incredible moment.

After a few moments, I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be nice to explore hydrogen now too.” I went to put down the picture of O2 and to my surprise, I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t put it aside. I began to realize I can’t ever put it aside until that moment my soul leaves my life and transitions back to spirit. Who knows how oxygen operates with Spirit, but I trust it does in some way.

In a most miraculous way, I experienced the way oxygen is LIFE. It doesn’t just give Life, IT IS LIFE! I knew this information from 10th grade Chemistry, but to experience such knowing from the inner being of my cells was indeed a moment of radical awareness. Much more than knowledge! From this simple exercise, my awareness is deeply expanded and I have a new ally and friend in life … Oxygen!

I didn’t realize I needed to be at peace with oxygen, however, if I never develop full awareness of what gives and affirms my life, how can I really experience peace? How can I be truly grateful for life, because I lack awareness of what all gives me life.

This summer weather in Ontario has been a wonderful gift, at least in my terms of summer weather. Each time I step out and breathe in the oxygen provided in the community of hydrogen and summer scents, my gratitude and sense of inner peace is grounded and more deeply anchored within. Connecting with oxygen to some may not answer the world’s issues, but we are doing so much to zap oxygen from our environment.

The concept of a golden rule, in which we do to others only what we would want others to do to us, can be found in one form or another as far back as the civilizations of ancient China, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It has also been called an ethic of reciprocity which can be found in all cultures, in all world religions as well as in the philosophies of humanists and existentialists. In short, it’s one ethical code that most of humanity can agree on.

I wonder what would happen if we consciously and collectively applied this golden rule to a single atom of Oxygen everyday of our lives. I think a miracle just might occur and we would have peace in our hearts and peace on the planet!

So breathe deep and have an oxygen-blessed summer!

Namaste, Shirley Lynn

Celebrating the Gifts of Canada

Canada Day. A very special day for me because it is also my birthday. When I was young I took offence that people were actually celebrating something other than my birthday. How dare they! It is MY day. Who cares about Canada Day?

As the years passed I began to enjoy the celebration and of course the fact that it was a holiday! The beginning of summer holidays. So as I was preparing for this year’s jaunt to the cottage to celebrate with my family, I let my thoughts wander to how I feel about Canada Day now at the ripe old age of 57.

My first thoughts turned to the political. The newly elected government of Ontario, the federal government – things I wholeheartedly agree with and things I vehemently disagree with. But I was urged to go deeper.

I began to realize that this country, this nation that we live in is part of Mother Earth and all of her Divinity. This rich, fertile, beautiful country is Her gift to me. It is exactly where I am meant to be and exactly where I am meant to fulfil my life purpose. It’s home base. This land allows me freedom and abundance. This land, this country has nurtured me, supported me, protected me.

It’s a country of extreme temperatures so that I can enjoy all the seasons of Mother Earth to the fullest. It even allows me to have two completely different wardrobes so I don’t get bored with choosing clothes! I can enjoy pretty much any sport here because of the seasonal changes. The extreme temperatures provide me with dramatic changes to all my senses and encourage me to feel the rhythm of Mother Earth. We certainly can’t miss the change of seasons here!

The next place I went in my wonderings was to the ancestors who have nurtured, cared for and loved this country long before it was a country. I picture those from millennia ago, centuries ago and decades ago. Their gentle, peaceful love.

I am a farmer at heart and have lived on the farm most of my life. Years ago, when I was in a dark, contemplative frame of mind, I walked back to the bush on the farm through the fields. I suddenly saw a young native man walking with me. I had sensed him before. As I walked past a rock pile that I had walked past hundreds of times before I saw a rock precariously positioned on the top of the pile. It was shaped in a perfect heart. I was surprised to see it. I had not seen it before. I picked it up and carried it with me. I knew that it was a gift from this wise man who walked with me. And I also knew that he was acknowledging the next generation to care for this land. He was a healer when he lived on Earth and I recognized that he was passing that healing energy to me.

My great grandmother bought this land decades ago and I began thinking of her and picturing her in the house. I actually knew her quite well and actually remember the sheep in the field, the front lawn was her potato patch (why grow a lawn that only creates work when it can be used for good growing). My grandparents lived there too and I think of my grandmother’s gorgeous gardens and my grandfather planting crops, fixing things with wire and baler twine (a farmer’s joke). My grandmother and great grandmother worked fluidly with Mother Earth and her rhythms. They knew just when the perfect time was to harvest each garden crop, to preserve each thing, to dig out the bulbs and to prune the orchard trees. It was so fluid that it became a dance that repeated each year.

So I thank Mother Earth for sharing this land that we call Canada with me. I thank all the ancestors who have cared for this land we call Canada for me. I thank all the people who live on Earth at this moment and love and nurture this land we call Canada. And I thank all the Divine beings who call this land home for allowing the love and peace and joy of the Divine to flow through this land, these people, these animals, these plants. Together we all make this land Canada. Oh yes, and the government (God bless them) for working on keeping this country abundant and peaceful and gracious.

So have a wonderful Canada Day. I know I will. And maybe let your mind wander to what Canada is for you. It’s more than you think.

Submitted by Cindy Wahlstrom
Stone Cottage Creations, Guelph (creative gifts infused with healing energy)

Happy Birthday Cindy (and Canada)!

Open your senses, Nature is calling…

Last week I joined a small group of Reiki practitioners in exploring how we can get to know Nature in deeper ways – “to learn, grow, heal and transform and share our best with each other.”

One of the exercises we did was to spend time with and get to know in a deeper way an element in nature. I chose a bag of soil on the table. I had no idea what I would learn but I opened myself to whatever came forward. I was surprised by what I learned in that short time.

When I opened the bag of soil, I was immediately struck by its sterility – it had no smell, very little texture or complexity, and no visible life forms in it. Later, my suspicion was confirmed that this ‘soil’ came from a bag bought in a store.

But as Nature often does, when we pay attention, She used this bag of lifeless soil to illustrate an important lesson for me. I noted how depleted the soil in the bag felt (it looked nice and dark, felt loose and would be easy to spread) but I didn’t get the sense that it had much nutritional value. It seemed to be lacking in some basic components that make up healthy soil. I had the urge to scatter this bag of soil outside to restore it to its natural balance and purpose (in the end I did empty it into a nearby houseplant). To free it from its plastic enclosure and return it to its Mother Earth. To the air, water and matter (organic and inorganic) that constitutes its wholeness.

I reflected on how often we separate ourselves from our environment – we break up the whole and only keep the parts we view as useful. Ironically, by sterilizing and manipulating our environment in this way we disrupt the delicate balance of Nature, thereby also affecting our own natural balance. Just one example: our intensive agricultural practices have depleted minerals in the soil to the degree that food is often deemed not as nutritious as it used to be. So without supplementation, our bodies over time risk disease as a result of nutritional deficiencies.

It could be easy to throw our hands up in despair, not knowing where to start or what to do. It can be tempting to leave the problems and challenges for others to solve or declare impossible.

I think that each of us is perfectly positioned to act, after all what happens to Nature also happens to us. We are locked in a interconnected cycle of life and death and life…. We are Nature.

This week I invite you to begin a new practice of awareness about your relationship with Nature. A good place to start is to become more mindful of how we live. Pay closer attention to how and what resources we take from the earth – appreciate its complexity and its finiteness.

Through one little bag of soil, Nature asked me to become more mindful about and for Her. I am starting by opening myself to a deeper awareness of my environment, paying special attention to my footprints in it. Perhaps each of you also will broaden your understanding and relationship with Nature, in whatever ways have meaning for you.

Exercise: Mindful Observation (from Pocketmindfulness.com)

This exercise is simple but incredibly powerful. It is designed to connect us with the beauty of the natural environment, which is easily missed when we’re rushing around…

Pick a natural organism within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a flower or an insect, the clouds or the moon. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. But really notice it. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Visually explore every aspect of this glorious organism of the natural world. Allow yourself to be consumed by its presence and possibilities. Allow your spirit to connect with its role and purpose in the world. Allow yourself just to notice and ‘be’.

Open your senses, Nature is calling…

Submitted by Lucy Martin

Evening Rituals to a Good Night’s Sleep

Winding down the day has become a very important part of my life. For those of you who share in my struggle to get to sleep, you may know too the value of finding a way to a more consistent and restorative pattern of sleep. My own evening ritual has come to be a way to let go and enter my sleep intentionally and peacefully.

How do I do that, you may wonder?

At the close of each day. I breathe deep and tell myself that the rest of my to-do list will wait until tomorrow. I take a few moments to think about tomorrow. I look at my list and arrange my priorities, leaving a bit of space for the unexpected of life’s flow to offer me creative encounters with the precious moments that make up our lives.

In my previous blog Morning Rituals to a Peaceful Relationship with ME, I shared how I create peaceful relationship with myself in my morning rituals. This time, I will share my evening rituals that nurture my inner peace and sustain me. In my Reiki Ryoho practice, I am invited to practice Reiki and prayers or meditation morning and night, along with the precepts. Some may wonder why this is necessary, but after years of practice, the depth and groundedness this practice brings has been transformational for me.

As part of this practice, I connect with Reiki through prayer and ask for the energies of the day that are complete and do not need to go with me into the next day to be released. I do a Reiki meditation or technique to clear my energy and let go of the thoughts that governed the day. Tomorrow will be a new day. It makes me feel clean and relaxed.

Whether I journal my gratitude or sit quietly and intentionally offer my gratitude through verbal prayers of thanksgiving, I am struck at the power of this practice to transform my day. Over the years, I have made it a commitment to start my journal time with gratitude. I do not waiver from that regardless how I may feel about my day. What I have learned is that when I focus on what I am truly grateful for, my mind shifts and my memory is that my day was really quite good after all.

When I work with clients or notice what they write in their gratitude part of their session journals, I can frequently tell whether their list of gratitude comes from their head or their heart. Listing what one is grateful for can become a mental exercise that loses its power and effectiveness to transform the heart and one’s life if it only is done as a ‘have to’, ‘should’ or a ‘trendy spiritual practice’ that doesn’t create any personal sense of peace or connection. Do not worry about how long or short it is. What I have come to realize for myself is whether I have honestly moved into the centre of my heart and felt the gratitude from the inside out.

I am amazed at what I am grateful for in each day when I give myself time andspace to be honestly grateful from my heart. I don’t just think about being grateful. I call into felt and full awareness that which I’m grateful for. Sometimes, what I find myself thankful for is a very difficult decision that has taken me outside my comfort zone and into a new experience. Sometimes, I’m grateful for what didn’t work out as much as I am for what did come into fruition.

This process of contemplating my day, clearing my fields and stretching out my body takes time. I myself need at least an hour to get ready to sleep. I have to unwind my body and my mind. I have to put my mind to bed and that means my mind must be willing to relax. What I do to support my mind to relax and be at peace makes all the difference to the quality of my sleep. If I haven’t given myself enough honest time to listen to the core of me, to the real concerns and needs of my heart and being during the day, it will speak to me in the middle of the night or as I seek to drift off, or perhaps even in my dream-time.

During the coming week, I invite you to consider your own evening ritual. How does your time with yourself in the evening create peace with yourself and others? What are the evening rituals that support the best sleep you can have so that you can show up to yourself, your life and your relationships the next day? How meaningful is your evening practice of gratitude to re-frame any day into a decent or even into a great day?

Take time to evaluate your evening rituals and honestly acknowledge what needs to change so you can create more peaceful relationships with yourself and others. Be truthful. The way you enter into your sleep matters. Find one practice, or habit that you are ready to change or tweak to improve the quality of your life, your joyfulness and of course, the peace in your relationships.

Namaste, Shirley Lynn