Category: Winter 12/13

Deepening our Self Acceptance is an Act of Faith, part 2

As I wrote last week, I found my soul escorting me out the door of my addiction counselling job, following the Reiki guidance I was clearly given.  Step by step I began to implement what it would take for me to start this new path. I devoted my whole effort to this path.

Shortly thereafter, I attended a circle with a woman native elder and during the circle we were each given a stone, a message from Creator. Mine said, Obedience. I wanted to throw my stone out the window, but instead I put it on the windowsill and surrendered to all that was in my life at the time. I accepted where I was, who I was and my soul path. Success would come in surrendering control of how I thought my soul needed to walk this Earth life.

Deep self acceptance is not about selfish, trite acts of ‘loving myself’ and ignoring or denying another’s life. Self acceptance is a radical act of faith that I am more than I imagine. It awakens the inner truth that I am divine and delightful to the Creator. Deep self acceptance tells me I have a purpose to fulfill in my life and all that is needed will be given to realize this purpose. Deep self acceptance compels me to take an honest inventory about who and where I am in relation to my soul path, my soul lessons and challenges, purpose and evolutions that is the life I really need to live.

Eighteen years later my life is radically different and yet ironically, similar to the core values I have always cherished. As you explore your 2013 theme and dreams, you may be discovering you need to accept who you are which may radically or gently call you into new ways of living your life and the boundaries you create with the most important people in your life. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about them. It means that in your journey to accept the whole of who you are more deeply, you need to stop the screaming in your body and listen to whispers of a life purpose you have been afraid to claim.

Self acceptance is often an act of faith that is multiplied in the collaborative and co-creative relationship of a witness. This witness becomes our subconscious ‘evidence’ that it is okay and good to accept ourselves as we are in this moment. I faced a lot of fears along the way (and still do). But in the co-creative dynamic presence of trusted witnesses, a new momentum towards something more joyful and fulfilling unfolded. I wish that for all of you. I am honoured to offer that safe and collaborative ‘space’ to witness your journey to deeper self acceptance, transforming your fear. The world needs it of you and the Divine will delight in your discovery and radiance in your acceptance of who you are and ‘what is’ in your moment.

WOW! Our Peace Circle series starts next week!

We have entered into a new era with growing differences between how we have related in love in the past and how we now are being called to generate relationships of love rooted in our own inner peace. This is a big shift and it demands new ways of seeing who we are and how we fulfil our needs. A key way of being supported in this new era is through the shared wisdom within the community of Peace Circles.

Shirley Lynn and Karen invite you to imagine the all new adventures waiting for you once you realize you are loved unconditionally and connected to all that empowers your dream.

Join the Circle and be fulfilled with the transforming love you deserve!

Starting on Tuesday, February 26th, Feathers, Rainbows & Roses will be offering a 4-Part Series on Opening to Grace. Each month we will gather in Circle and explore our topic through story, sharing and teaching. As co-facilitators, Shirley Lynn Martin and Karen McCarthy are excited to be offering this inaugural event.

The Peace Circle Series – Opening to Grace:

Connection, Acceptance & Wealth of Love

What you can expect and what we expect:

  • Each evening a Peace Circle will be facilitated during which a topic is explored through story and teaching
  • Each Circle you will be given 2 journal questions to guide you in your weekly journaling between Peace Circles
  • On the second week between Circles you will connect with another Circle member to share your insights and progress of your self-designed actions based on the journal questions of that month. You and your partner will use the guidelines and talking piece components of Circle we use in our gathered time
  • Spot coaching for extra support will be available from Karen and Shirley Lynn.

What you will gain and the needs that will be met:

  • Real experiences of the power of Circle to heal and deepen your inner growth
  • New ways to think about what you really need and how to design your life in love
  • A safe place to discover the wisdom of your own life narrative
  • Experience the power of your voice as a leader of your own life and in community
  • The gift of appreciative accountability.

 “Each time I have gathered in circle I have been blown away by the power of this ancient practice to shift, heal and transform. Circle is a space where we can authentically join together, bringing our “whole” selves and have our voices equally valued and shared. Together we tap into the collective wisdom and shared purpose and what happens is so much more than we could have imagined alone.”  Karen McCarthy

The first time I experienced Circle in a Native community, I knew some part of me found a home. Ever since, I come into circle and some part of me relaxes, knowing that all is well simply because Circle has gathered and so the truth will be told…safely. When I first started training in facilitating Circle, I knew a part of me had also found my professional home. Now, I am here to share this gift of Sacred Wisdom so you can discover your truth, safely, and find a home in the community that gathers. From there, I hope your peace can find an anchor as you journey out into your world as it did for me.  Blessed be.”  Shirley Lynn Martin

 Come and join us in this 4-part Peace Circle Series!

Tuesday, February 26th 7-9:30pm  Opening the Circle and Opening to Grace

Tuesday, March 26th 7-9:30pm  Opening to Grace: Connections that Inspire

Tuesday, April 23rd 7-9:30pm  Opening to Grace: Self Acceptance that Beautifies

Tuesday, May 21st 7-9:30pm  Opening to Grace:Wealth of Love that Delights and Closing the Circle

Cost: $275.00 plus HST (payment reserves your spot)

To register, contact Shirley Lynn at 519-886-7632 or Shirley@shirleylynnmartin.com

Deepening our Self Acceptance is an Act of Faith

Almost 20 years ago, I was working as an addictions counsellor in a very intense, long-term recovery and residential program for men. I loved the work and the clients I worked with in their healing journey. As with many social service agencies, the workload was far more intense and required more staff than funds allowed. During my last year there, provincial policy and funding changes as well as significant staff turmoil amidst the ongoing challenges and joys of client healing, made me yearn for my earlier training and calling to spiritual ministry and development.

Like many stories I hear, I began to get sick and found it increasingly difficult to continue working. Conventional medical procedures could not identify the cause, nor prescribe any treatment for my symptoms. Numerous alternative and energy medicine techniques restored my health over time, but none more so than my decision to leave my work. Though I loved what I did, my soul had had enough and I needed to return to my path of ‘highest point of contribution.’ Through the screams of my body (we call it STRESS), I knew I had to return ‘home’ to my soul’s life work. Today, I look back in wonder and awe that I found the courage to say, “I’m going to start my own private practice”, because never in my wildest dreams did that idea have any credibility for me.

The most challenging realizations for me at that time in my life were that my body was screaming to get out of my work and create work aligned with my life purpose and mission! My mental arguments were entirely fear-ridden. “I can’t leave”, I told myself. “How will I live? I will have no money. I can’t make it on my own.” My worst fear was living on the street, alone, bankrupt. While in the moments of my worst fears, I sought to hold onto my job. But I could not deny my body’s scream and the stress it evidently could no longer tolerate. My inner life of spiritual connection and wisdom was leading me out the door, and in many ways I could only follow this guidance.

The season of Lent is an invitation to return back to our Divinity and to discover the Great Love along the way. What fears are keeping you from deeply accepting yourself? What core memory is this fear attached to that needs help being transformed and liberated? Choose this Lent as a time to give up a particular fear and replace it with the power of self acceptance. What might you discover?

The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

This week is Valentine’s Day, a day to acknowledge our love and appreciation for the loved ones in our lives. The focus is decidedly outward – to our partners, lovers, friends, etc. I don’t want to debate the commercialism of this holiday, but I do think there’s validity in intentionally expressing our love in whatever ways feel authentic. I also hope this is not limited to once-a-year but is actively and meaningfully communicated throughout the year.

This holiday places a lot of expectations and pressures on us – to spend money on cards, flowers, food, clothing, jewelry, etc. As if to show through our purchases who we love and how much. Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate as much as the next person, but it tastes just as good at other times of the year as well!

For years Valentine’s Day has created mixed emotions for me. Perhaps you can relate to the angst of grade school when the day served as proof of where you stood in the popularity scale. How many valentines did I get and from who? As an adult and single, I have been challenged at times with feeling insecure and excluded from the intended target market of couples.

In recent years I realized that I was focusing on external validation for who I was and how I felt about myself. By looking within myself for validation and accepting who I am, I now understand that Valentine’s Day is for me too. I too can express my love to those who are special to me in whatever ways I choose. But just as important, I need to acknowledge love for myself. Sure I can go out and buy myself something special, but a greater gift is to reflect on who I am and truly love and honour that person. Self acceptance and validation come from within. So I can accept that I am valued, I am cherished, I am loved.

I invite you to reclaim the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. Celebrate Love through meaningful expressions from your heart – for your special loved ones as well as for yourself. Be your own best lover!

To love others, we must first learn to love ourselves. – Author Unknown

Submitted by Lucy Martin

Self Acceptance: Living the Delight in Us

It’s the beginning of February and as I write this blog, it is a bright and crisp winter day. I have just come back from my morning walk with Carlie who now smells like the fresh outdoors, and my cheeks are rosy and cold! I feel alive and ready for what the Sacred will collaborate and design with me this month. Last month I invited each of you to discover and design your 2013, listening for the main theme that will guide you this year. I too listened and clarified my new focus for 2013.

As people have started to work through my Wisdom’s Way to ‘Right with the Light’ Joy-Fully Living in 2013 workbook, they have been sharing the themes that have been emerging. They include such spiritual adventures as ‘commitment’, ‘collaboration’, ‘transformative connection’, ‘the destiny of my purpose’, living the question: ‘what shall we create today Goddess?’ or ‘heart-full self care’, ‘right consciousness’ of leadership and ‘inner strength’! How can our lives not change?

So now that we are clear on our new focus, what is our next step?

Opening to a new self acceptance of who we are and where we are. Self Acceptance requires us to have a compassionate relationship with ourselves, seeking out what is delightful about ourselves. It also calls us to be honest with ourselves, doing away with the more subtle layers of denial we barely know are hiding in the layers of our heart and cells. These deeper practices of self acceptance ask us to be courageous enough to explore the inner realms of our heart – the bliss and the pain. This new space of self acceptance asks us to ‘know thyself’ and affirm the whole essence of who we are. In this honest place, self acceptance becomes the nature of surrender itself. Surrender to what is opens the door to what can be!

The powerful gift of having a 22 yr old cat and a 1 yr old puppy is that both companions respond to the energy which my inner life is projecting, not the words I outwardly say. Yet, they still deeply and unconditionally accept me (though they seem quite open to expressing their sentiments about my behaviour when needed). I suppose as a 22 yr old cat, you have the right to state what change is required! The truth is that I cannot become more lovable or acceptable to the Heart of the Divine. I’m already unconditionally acceptable and loved. So to move vibrantly toward my goals and live my ‘theme’, I need the momentum that self acceptance promises me to get there! And that is the place where heart-full surrender arises from within gentling my path and my own inner dialogue.

Whether you live here in Ontario, or some other place internationally, there are many places to practice and learn and grow through self acceptance. Look at all the opportunities our calendar gives us this month to heal and nurture self acceptance: A day to celebrate love and friendship (14th), a day to celebrate family (18th in Ontario), a day to celebrate International Social Justice (20th) (a United Nations initiative), and a day which begins spiritual purification and preparation for New Life (13th Ash Wednesday).

As you open to deeper self acceptance this month, what deeper level of honest dialogue with yourself is needed that opens your awareness to your delight? Who accepts you so much they will tell you the truth of what is in your inner heart so you have the opportunity to grow and realize your dream? Go and breathe the fresh air of self acceptance and surrender into your truth. It will make you feel alive!

Doing What I Love Gentles My Way

Last fall I took a course on Spiritual Leadership with appreciative way principles guiding our learning. One of the first questions we were asked was ‘who do we depend upon for your success?’ At first it seemed a strange question, but I quickly named a list of people including my clients. The facilitator explained that if we are not depending upon anyone, then we are not leading anyone either. In that moment, I felt deep gratitude for the creative and diverse ways that people support me in fulfilling my sense of purpose and mission in the world.

We were then asked to introduce ourselves to the group using these profound yet simple questions:

  • Who are we?
  • Where are you?
  • What do you do there?
  • What do I love to do in my work?

I previously wrote about the highest point of contribution that we can make and the paradoxical challenge that comes with success if we don’t recognize where and when to say the right YES which empowers us to say the right NO. In really getting clear on what I love to do, what really delights me, and then sharing it with a group of new people, I realized that having the right support gentles my way. When I hire or invite others to do what they really love to do, what delights them and are good at, I am freed to concentrate on my own strengths and gifts. I can explore new possibilities and potential in who I am or what I can offer. This changes where I am and what I do and perhaps even opens up new possibilities and ventures. I see this happening in my relationship and training with Carlie. So too in the Peace Circles I am offering with my colleague Karen.

I have shared previously my focus theme this year is inner strength. What is coming to me is my inner strength is simply and yet profoundly about asking the ‘right’ people who delight in what they do, to help me. The path eases and I can walk more gently upon the Earth and in my relationships. I reduce the stress and anxiety of not being able to accomplish what I know lives inside me. I eliminate the stress in relationships because I am distracted with all that needs to be done. The work is shared. The joy is shared. And the success is shared.

You may not think of yourself as a leader; however, you are the only one who can lead your life. No one else can really and fully decide for you how to live your purpose in the world. No one can really tell you who you have the potential to be in the evolution of your transformations. That comes as a result of you leading the way with your heart. You may of course invite good, trustworthy and loving support to gentle your way. It is how we are meant to live – in collaboration, in interdependence, in community, in circle. Our nervous systems are designed that way. The oldest and wisest spiritual traditions from around the world understand the power of this way. Doing what we love gentles our way because we call forth the best in those around us to collaboratively support the highest good in all of us.

So as you delve into and condition your mind for your own new focus for 2013, how do you answer the questions above? Who are your supports? Does your new focus gentle your path? For a useful tool in finding your ‘right focus’ consider the Wisdom’s Way to Right with the Light: Joy-Fully Living in 2013. I compiled this brief workbook to focus your efforts and gentle your way. I trust you will find it helpful. Blessed be.

Is Your 2013 Focus Worthy of the Best You?

Carlie and I have just become part of a ‘team’ of people and dogs who will be doing the half-time show at the College Royal at the University of Guelph in March. Most of us are all newbies to this ‘show’ experience and many of us are first time handlers at this more advanced level. So both Carlie and I are learning games and skills alongside Mastiffs, Boxers, Labs, a Corgie, a beagle mix and Shepherds… a motley crew of handlers with our good-looking dogs.
This experience is a blessing in disguise and one organized by the Universe without my conscious participation. I missed one class on account of Carlie hacking up burrs and then the next week I find out that all class members had apparently agreed to this event. A bit surprised, I inquired into the nature of what we will be expected to do and find out that we will each be handling our dogs through skills and games to a large audience. I grin inwardly and think, ‘nice one Universe. You snuck that one by me.’
So this past week, we talked about each dog’s temperament and how that will play out in the way we train for the show. We discussed what to do when our dogs ‘go off script’. As we started to train for ‘musical mats’, I realized an untapped part of me is being called forth. Ironically(?) my own theme word that arose from completing my Living JOY-Fully in 2013 working guide is ‘inner strength’ and here was a way to test a different sort of inner strength than my old model. I look forward to experiencing my own evolution in this adventure!
As you get real clear on your own new focus for this year, make sure it is indeed worthy of the best you. Invite this new focus to call forward untapped strengths and self love that shines the light ready to burst from those inner pockets of your soul. And if you need to, like the story of last week’s blog, dig a little deeper, and find the focus that is truly worthy of you. And if you are stuck,  my new Wisdom’s Way to ‘Right with the Light’: Living JOY-Fully in 2013 will help you find your ‘right movement’ again. It is now conveniently available for purchase online. As one person shared with me who completed it said she discovered her theme for the year—collaboration:

“I finished up your work book Shirley. It is fantastic! My big breakthrough was the amount of clarity I received on what I need to do this year. Your thought provoking questions allowed me to dig deep and receive the answers I needed to move forward on my goals. I also realized a big thing that was missing from my life and business–collaboration! Thank you Shirley for providing this opportunity to begin the transformation process :)”

Thanks Gretchen and blessings of focused and transformative success for each of you this year. 

The Joy of Digging…

dig deepA while back I found a card with a picture of a dog who was happily digging and the dirt was flying out the back. Not that this is a novel experience for me – I get to witness this activity several times a week with the dogs I regularly spend time with. But what I really liked about the card was the saying on the inside – Keep Digging. I have never given the card to anyone (I guess I bought it for myself) and I ponder its message every so often.

Keep Digging. It is particularly relevant for me right now as I set my goals and vision on 2013 and beyond. What that digging dog exudes is complete joy, even within the intensity of his search. I presume he is as committed to uncovering and zeroing in on his ultimate goal as my dogs are. Typically the goal needs to be approached from multiple angles to find the most effective and strongest approach. Or perhaps the ‘scent’ of the goal changes slightly as one keeps digging so as we get closer to our goal, a slightly different angle may keep it fresh and within our sights.

The intensity ebbs and flows as the dig continues (perhaps this is necessary to maintain momentum and manage one’s energy to complete the task). But always there is joy – within the digging process itself, but also in finally attaining the intended and hard-won goal.

I am reminded that the hard digging that is often required to achieve our goals should always be joyful. Not that there isn’t ever any pain involved (sore and strained muscles, broken toes and nails, bath, etc) but the experience of going after something with our entire being should definitely increase our joy quotient. If it doesn’t, is it really worth expending all our energies on?

Shirley Lynn has put together a wonderful tool aptly entitled Wisdom’s Way to JOY-Full Living in 2013 to help you dig deeper into your own life purpose and vision. She is generously offering this workbook free to everyone who schedules a session with her in January. Together you can get your ‘goal/hole’ started. Uproot some old turf. Dig deeply with absolute commitment and joy. The end result will be worth it.   ~Lucy

When Focus Becomes Devotion

Happy New Year! As I woke up on January 1st I felt a surge of new hope and joy in my soul. ‘Something’ different has been preparing itself to act as an intercessory power in my own life, in those I serve, in those they serve, and so on! Later that same day I read a wonderful blog by Greg McKeown posted on the Harvard Business Review, http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/the_disciplined_pursuit_of_less.html about the disciplined pursuit of less.

I’ve had multiple invitations to participate in joint ventures with others. In several cases, I decided to say no. Not because I didn’t think they were great opportunities, rather, I felt strangely aware that saying yes would diffuse the creative power of what I love to do and for those I serve. Greg McKeown calls this disciplined pursuit of less, the highest point of contribution (or our soul purpose in life).

In preparation for 2013, I worked through my own Wisdom’s Way to JOY-Full Living in 2013 guide book. As I focused on what I love most, what makes me feel most alive that I want to spend more time doing and offering in 2013, I found my own clear and heart-engaging focus – I found my highest point of contribution. And it’s all thoughtfully written in one workbook that I can keep in front of me.

Greg McKeown identifies four Predictable Phases:

  1. When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
  2. When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
  3. When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
  4. Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

In other words, unless we are disciplined in the pursuit of less, Greg says, the highest point of contribution to the world, success is a catalyst for failure. So although I have found my clear focus for 2013 (and even beyond), I also am aware that I need to practise daily disciplines of wisely saying yes and no along the way. Recently I had a conversation with a colleague who suggested that I sign up for a group that seems to be doing work with similar themes to mine. I thought for a moment about all the projects I have deadlines for in the next month and in gentleness to myself, I said ‘no’. No matter how amazing this group may be, in the here and now, it will be a distraction. That’s the clarity of focus I need to offer my highest point of contribution. Perhaps in a couple months that may change and then I can happily say yes because at that moment, it continues to serve my soul purpose to help others make peace with themselves, with God/Spirit/Creator and all our relations.

When our lives align and focus on our soul purpose, then our focus actually becomes devotion to that Universal Presence and Power that creates and blesses all things. In devotion to The Great Love and Great Peace, I am blessed with peace with myself and with all my relations.

What is your focus for this year? Do you have a theme word that helps you concentrate your energy flow, your actions, and your creative power? What are the strategies and resources you need to experience what is most incredibly possible with your focus or theme word? Who believes in you so much that they will hold you accountable to this soul devotion and your highest point of contribution? I would be honoured to hear your stories.

So Long, 2012!

The day’s last client left and I quickly did the final clean up of my office before heading home to celebrate the holidays with family. I had bags in hand and reached to turn off the light and close the door. As is my ritual at the end of each week, I offer thanks to the Universe for all the gifts of healing and abundance that had been afforded me and my clients. This week something amazing happened!

As I turned to lock and close the door, an incredible breath was released from me and I felt an energetic door close as well. Instantly, I understood that I was saying good-bye to 2012 and all the events of that year. The work year with clients was complete. Nothing was left unfinished. And I realized that the partnerships I had with clients had been gifted with thresholds sucessfully crossed. Whatever decision or awareness or goal that had needed to materialize for 2012 had been achieved!! The lights could go out on 2012 with a sense of completion and success. There is nothing about the past that confines us from striving for joy, health, harmony and peace in 2013.

We as a community of people, together in partnership (whatever these partnerships are for) have been committed to, encouraged and supported in a multitude of blessings which helped us complete the phase of the journey we needed to walk in 2012. In that moment when I felt the door close, the Universe affirmed that all of us are invited to completely turn and open our hearts toward 2013. To all of my clients I want to say thank you and congratulations. What a tremendous honour to be witness and a facilitator of accountability to what moves you toward health, joy and inner peace. We are being invited to set our sights to the horizons of 2013. We are encouraged to bring forward with us all the hope we can share and has been left to us in the wake of all the releases and healing achieved in 2012. Give thanks.

So turn toward 2013 and plan for what you want to achieve and for who you want to become in 2013. For those of you who book sessions with me in January, you will get a free copy of my new workbook: Wisdom’s Way to Living JOY-Fully in 2013. It’s a fun, rewarding and step-by step process that helps you bring more focus, intention and joyful motivation to how you experience and co-create the results of this New Year. So let’s get started and build on this new place we find ourselves. You have all crossed the threshold. Let’s go for it full of courage, light and the hope that has been given to us through this Christmas Season of Light.

With the New Year celebrations upon us, here are blessings I wish to share with you:

Warm and Joyous 2013 to all! My wish is that you scatter joy, share hope, inspire love, and seek peace so that you may be gifted with scattered joy, shared hope, inspired love and peace found!

With love and peace,

ShirleyLynn (and Carlie)