Category: 2012

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)

The Direction of Joy is Playfully Creative

This morning Carlie and I went for our walk, pink tennis ball in hand and the thrill of just the two of us on the open road. In that moment, the direction of joy was away from home and over to an open field nearby. I willingly followed this path of joy.

Along the way, our neighbour dog Lassie joined us. I let them romp, chase and do all the games of play young dogs do. Carlie looked up at me, eyes dancing, as if to tell me, ‘I’m giggling inside and out.’ The look in her eyes and the weaving and darting that only a herding dog can do brought joy to my heart. The direction of joy was in watching my dog run like the wind in the field. I wondered, ‘what’s left for me to do to bring more joy into my life?’

We moved on and just before we came back onto the road, I found a stick and threw it for Carlie. She retrieved the stick and in her circuitous way, brought it back to me, even though Lassie was trying to engage her in ‘beat up’. I picked up the stick at my feet and threw it out in front of us for her to fetch. Lassie was actively blocking her path. I watched Carlie lean toward the left, look forward to the stick and then finally go right and deke around Lassie to get to the stick. What a great trick! She retrieved the stick and then turned around to taunt Lassie with it. For Carlie, there is nothing better than successfully luring another dog into a game of chase because she has mischievously got them to desire what she has in her mouth. I smiled to myself – she had to go to the right of Lassie to get to her stick, to play her game, a game that brings her joy. She had to do what was a right choice for her ‘to get to her joy’. We finally headed toward home to the joy of sharing our adventure with Lucy.

Christmas can be filled with moments of grief, sadness or lack of joy as much as it has  moments of joy. However, to find joy, we may need to know which direction to go. Moving forward is a great and fantastic direction but it’s not the only direction available to us. Pay attention this Christmas to the direction of where you can discover your joy. If it isn’t about moving forward, then try other directions to see which path to your joy opens up.

As you reflect upon the coming year 2013 (and yes, of course it will come…and go), what is the direction toward your goals, toward the joy you desire, toward the peace you want to make with yourself or others?

Feeling stuck, confused or overwhelmed about what direction to take? Need help navigating the road ahead? I’m here to help. Book a session with Shirley Lynn in January and we will get you moving in your right direction. As additional support and focus for your journey, I will give you a free copy of Wisdom’s Way to a Joyful 2013 workbook. So don’t put it off – let’s get you moving!

Shine your light with confidence

It’s that time of year again when Christmas lights are beaming through the darkness, making our long dreary evenings more heart-warming. Houses that might otherwise go unnoticed blaze with individuality and character. I especially appreciate those who obviously put a lot of time, effort and imagination into creating spectacular displays – even those that “spew” lights all over with joyful abandon speak to the festive personalities within. Such people are not afraid to have fun, to draw attention to themselves, to shine their light[s] in the darkness around them. They embody letting one’s inner brilliance shine through with creativity and confidence.

This is Carlie’s first Christmas so we have been working on exposing her puppy mind to these new sights and sounds. Being an especially sensitive dog, she tends to react with uncertainty in novel situations. As part of her ongoing training, Shirley Lynn has taken her to Waterloo Park as well as our local neighbourhood Christmas display to experience this holiday tradition up close. But still her alarm bells rang on a recent evening walk when ‘new’ lights shone in the distance – Who put those lights there? They’ve never been there before. Make it go back to how it was before. I’m not sure this road is safe to walk on… [Both she and our cats would disagree strongly but I think she could be part cat!].

Not one to be redirected easily, we have found that Carlie moves through the situation quicker and more successfully if we stop to acknowledge what is distressing for her and then ask her to engage in other activities she knows well and likes to do. On this evening with two people we could play a fast game of recall (back and forth come when called) interspersed with some of her other learned skills like touch and paw. In little time at all Carlie had regained her confidence and the bounce was back in her step. [I imagine her eyes had a sparkle in them too, but that’s hard to see in the semi-dark.] She was able to look at the lights again and see that they were not a threat after all.

As I was reflecting on this scenario, I realized that feeling confident helps us face and overcome many of life’s challenges and uncertainties. It’s okay to feel cautious in new situations but we need to have strategies in place to help us navigate them with confidence. Take a moment to think about how you initially react in a novel situation. What strategies do you use to confidently move through the experience? Or is this something you need to work on? Why not make an appointment with Shirley Lynn today to fine-tune or build your confidence skills – you can say that you won’t run around for liver treats! That’s called boundaries.

This holiday season I invite you to pay particular attention to the light displays in your communities and reflect on the sense of fun, creativity and confidence they emanate. Turn on these gifts within yourself and please remember to express gratitude to the giver who helped re-light them.

Make a joyful noise!

It’s the beginning of December but today I find my spirits lightened by the warm sunny day, a true gift at this time of year. My ears note the variety of sounds – the rush of car tires on the street, the bold call of the blue jay, the lighter chatter of smaller birds around the feeders, Carlie sighing somewhat patiently as she waits for something interesting to happen that involves her. A light breeze tickles the wind-chime in the tree outside the window.

Make a joyful noise!

Joy – the emotion of great happiness. I join Carlie for a walk to reflect on what this means. In nature, sounds are part of the day’s rhythms – sometimes they are comradely chatter; sometimes songs of jubilation; other times declarations of warning and posturing. Each species, each element has its own unique sound. But always there is communication. There is a sender and a receiver, both of whom participate in the experience. I tune in to Carlie running with reckless abandon in the weeds and branches on the river banks. The snap of twigs and stirring of leaves make me smile – see it works – my thoughts and feelings are influenced by her joyful tracking of phantom smells.

Make a joyful noise!

In this extended holiday season, we are inundated with all genres of Christmas music that is intended to get us in the holiday spirit. Some appeals to me more than others. For some who spend lots of time in public places, the din of competing voices, commercial activity and music can be anything but joyful. Others find this frenzy of activity exhilarating. Still others enthuse about annual Christmas musical and dramatic performances. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and busyness of the holidays. After all, it is often a time of festivities with family, friends and communities.

Make a joyful noise!

This phrase is active – it asks us to spread joy through sound. Share a good laugh, a kind word, a beautiful song. Be creative. Be generous.

Make a joyful noise!

submitted by Lucy Martin

Finding My Creative Flow on a Rainy Day

It was a Friday and I had just picked up Carlie from the groomer. She was perfectly clean, soft hair, well-groomed, and ready for action. I, on the other hand, was enjoying her clean and ‘groomed’ look and wanted to keep her that way for a few hours.

I realize that creative flow and our creative power to manifest our ‘art’ rarely keeps things looking like they are ‘fresh off the shelf.’ That may be the end result that others admire, but the process and the journey to the end results of creativity are rarely without ‘mud and mess’. For Carlie there is bliss in the mud and mess as well as in the beauty of the “finished product”.

An invigorating walk was necessary though so we got in the car and headed to a local park. I told Carlie that the fields will have to wait for another day when it isn’t raining. Carlie was taking delight in her ‘beauty’ too so we stayed on the path. I told her that I need a story. She told me she has lots of stories about being creative – I just need to listen to my heart and she will share it with me there.

As we were walking, bundled up against the wind, I suddenly realized how my attitude had shifted and I was now in a really happy space, just being with someone who makes me happy. I began to smile and laugh with her as she cheerfully trotted alongside me, sniffing here, looking at me there, just telling me what a wonderful moment it is. After a bit she started to circle me in ways that communicate, ‘let’s play ‘tricky ball’.  It’s a ball with many angles, so the trajectory of each bounce is unpredictable and requires great wit and agility to capture it.

Suddenly, the inspiration I needed appeared. What juices up the creative flow within us?  Here’s what Carlie told me in her playing, sniffing, trotting and walking and connecting with me:

  1. Let God/dess ‘touch’ your heart every day. It doesn’t have to be big and fancy; just open yourself to this ‘soul touching’. One way I open to this gift is through my Reiki meditations and healing twice a day. When I feel in deep connection with the Divine, I feel love flow. I feel the kiss of Divine Joy in my heart and a thought or story descends upon me. Or today, Carlie’s eyes dance and kiss my heart with her delight.
  2. Play and have fun. It’s hard to open to creativity when our attitude is grumpy or negative. One look at Carlie and I can immediately find my playful heart.
  3. Be present. If you are out of touch with your feelings and what really is stirring within you in the here and now, then how can you be aware of the creative flow or ideas?
  4. Step into Nature and let her take you on a journey.
  5. Move your body, move your energy, find your flow. Let the activity of positive movement uncover your creative spirit.
  6. Remove the limitations, the blocks, the old and worn out – do the work so your creative spirit has a place to shine, to express, to expand.
  7. Show up to creativity. If all your time is spent doing ‘this and that’, answering emails or being busy with endless tasks, then the creative flow will pass you by (and you won’t even know it). Stick with it.
  8. Be grateful. A grateful heart just sees so many more creative potentials and can connect with our creative power.
  9. Let it flow. We can’t force creative ideas into existence. If the ideas and flow aren’t there, get up and engage in one of the first 6 opportunities.
  10. Celebrate when it flows and you accomplished the creative endeavour. Our creative spirit seeks the ‘lightness’ of gratitude and celebration. A nap served me well!

Those are just a few steps that got my creative juices flowing. What works for you?

Letting Go to Creativity

Just last week a wonderfully gorgeous day surprised us in Waterloo. Hurricane Sandy had passed (though the effects still deeply linger), the US Presidential elections were over (yes, these events do impact us Canadians!) and the 27 days of rain in October gave way to a beautifully sunny day with the most crisp and clean air. Carlie and I savoured the joy of walking the back field with the frost licking our feet (well, my boots!) and breathing in deeply the purity of the early morning air. What a gift! My chest naturally expanded to take in this pure morning air as my body seemed to know it was the best of the best in great air.

I noticed that most of the leaves had fallen to the ground and that Nature was entering dormancy. Moreover, there was no stress about the transition from summer growth and harvest and to the late fall of letting go. Nature is drawing into Herself to rest and replenish. This time of replenishment is vital in the natural world – for the trees to create the stunning surprises of colour and birth of spring; for the plants and flowers to paint the landscape of our gardens and fields with vibrancy and new hope that always comes with spring. 

We too need time to retreat, to gather inward, to contemplate, to relax. Creativity is only spectacular when we honour its cycle and rhythm within us. We lose the sacredness of our creativity if we create and create and create, dismissing the season of late fall, of letting go of what we no longer need (even if it was good)!  We simply can’t hold onto everything.

As we walked across the frosty field, I gathered my grandmothers, my teachers who inspired me to be creative in my self-expression and I asked them what I need to stop holding onto and simply let fall away. Carlie romped joyfully with a big stick in her mouth. She was letting go with ease. And for me….well, I heard, ‘let go of the summer sun.’  It took a moment before a breath of acceptance reached into my belly.

Now, that wisdom may have unique meaning to each of us. What connects us to a common wisdom, however, is that if we can’t let go of the ‘summer sun’, our creativity will eventually become overgrown and smother itself. Declutter something this week. Let something go. Stop holding onto something so hard and relax into a breath of replenishment.

Saturday Afternoons that Inspired my Creative Being

For a number of years after my father died, a lovely and beautifully spirited woman from our church would invite me to her house to spend the afternoons. She wore beautiful jewelry and dressed impeccably. I loved going to her house. We would have drink and cookies on special plates (good china I know it to be now!) and talk about things I liked that I somehow couldn’t talk about in other circles of my life. She was an artist – a ceramic artist and painter. She must have noticed something about me because she would offer me beautiful ceramic pieces to paint. She once gave me this wonderful life-size Persian ceramic cat to paint. Here I took my time and didn’t rush to get done. I learned to paint with gentle and soft strokes. She would quietly and attentively listen to my stories and what ‘wisdom’ I knew. I loved taking these art pieces home and I took care of them for years, making sure they were dusted and never broken. Thankfully, she never met my school teachers!

Years later, she still would invite me to lunch – the presentation of the food was always colourful and delightful to the eye. She made me feel so special. She noticed my creativity in the gift of speaking and honoured it. Because of her generosity and love of authentic creative expression, I learned to express my heart. I found a piece of my creativity. Looking back, she was one of my grandmothers, beautiful and generous and sensitively warm. Somehow I knew instinctively she was someone NEVER to disrespect – all the children seemed to know it.

This grandmother taught me that creativity is nurtured within relationships of generosity, attentiveness and mutual respect. She was generous with affirmation, generous with her gift of teaching and sharing resources (ceramic pieces, kiln, etc) and generous with her respect for me as a child. She treated and engaged with me like I really mattered to her.

Though she has passed many years already, I still hear her whisper, ‘tell your stories. I like listening to them.’ And whenever I doubt the power of my creative spirit to help facilitate transformation, I hear my grandmothers lovingly remind me, “tell your stories Shirley Lynn, they will listen.”

Who is the grandparent figure in your life that mentored, or witnessed, or encouraged your creative thinking and dreaming beyond what others saw? Last week I invited your 7yr old to write to your ‘grandparent self’ about what your heart desires to create. This week invite your grandparent self (yes you can imagine that! Be creative!) to write back to your 7r old self.  It’s a wonderful gift that surprises and heals.

Colouring Outside the Lines: The Myth of Creative Incompetence

When I was a small girl, I used to enjoy colouring. I love colours (hence ‘Rainbows’ as part of my business name). Colours awaken joy and creativity in me. I also liked activity. Reading for any length of time triggered a sense of boredom (unless a story totally captivated me). Surely there was something more active going on outdoors and with our pets, wasn’t there?

So I would sit with my cousin and colour the pages in our colouring books. Or I would sit with my sister and best friend and read a book…until I was bored. Then I would start to colour more quickly to finish. The precision and smoothness of the strokes lost their artfulness and my mind started to focus on the activity of the story being created in my mind. I wanted to tell the story and live the story.

I would often hear that my work wasn’t as good as my cousin’s; wasn’t as neat or as artistic – so therefore I wasn’t as creative. My art teachers could never see the ‘story’ I was depicting. My mom’s best strategy was, ‘tell me about your picture Shirley’, so she didn’t have to guess what couldn’t be discerned on my page!

So I did not learn to believe that I was creative or had any gifts of real worth or value. What I didn’t see and apparently, neither did most of my teachers, was how and where my creative expression did emerge. In math, didn’t 2 + 2 equal harmony? In grammer class, didn’t my completely autonomous risk to vote different from every other student in the class about which sentence was grammatically correct (which I was embarrassedly right about) suggest ‘divergent thinking’ to anyone?

Neuroscience now understands that creativity is more than a right-brained phenomenon. Thank Goddess! And I finally have given myself permission to own my creative capacity. I’ll never come close to the beautiful expressions of the arts that have been traditionally connected to the ‘creative people’. Am I creative? Yup. I colour outside the lines…its called transformation. And I love guiding people through transformation.

So here’s an invitation for your own creative spirit – have your seven year-old child self write a letter to your ‘grandmother/grandfather’ self about what makes your heart want to happily create.

Commitment to Change (4): Questions that Guide

 “Just for today I really love myself”,I repeated to myself before I put my feet on the ground first thing in the morning.

I’ve finished my 30 days and what has changed? Lots. And the best is that it was simple. Nothing that required breaking my back or pushing myself to do something I really hated doing. For me, it really came down to this one simple question as I went through my day: “Am I really loving myself right here, right now?” If I was, I offered gratitude to myself and to Spirit. If I wasn’t, I paused and listened for what in me I was ignoring or invalidating.

When the awareness of an unfilled need surfaced to which I was negatively reacting, my next question became “What can be better than this?” Invariably, an inner response came forward that brought greater clarity. My heart seems to have a sense of humour … “loving myself would be better”. So then my next question was “What does really loving myself look like right now?” Sometimes, an answer would come and other times I had to wait a bit before the answer appeared.

Simple questions. Simple focus. Incredible answers and Divine activity.

Sometimes, I simply walk the question or live the inquiry, ‘what can be more loving than this?’ and allow Spirit to manifest answers that delight my heart. Asking a simple and yet expansive question invites us to deeper reflections and significant reframes of perspective. New and more life-affirming perspectives lead to more life-affirming behaviour. Life-affirming behaviour leads us to success of goal fulfillment. In my case, it led to vocational decisions, positive social connections and healing of old hurts that no longer served me. And lots more inner peace and joy!!

And that was the goal … what can better than that?

Commitment to Change (3): Facing the Opportunity of the Unknown

Transformation – becoming someone new, someone so different you can’t return to your former self.

My ‘conscious commitment’ to love myself has been forefront for the past 30 days. As I mentioned last week, this commitment was a surprise to me. But since it was such a surprise, I also knew it must be what I must do!

I barely had a plan for the 30 day period. How could I? This commitment was taking me beyond who I was and into someone new – a more true me. Change that leads to transformative calls us out of our present constructs and into a new reality of true self. This process cleanses us of the habit pathways that take us back to the old self.

The first step was to affirm “Just for today I really love myself”. I told myself to break it down and take baby steps. Baby steps create momentum and rhythm. Baby steps also allow me to easily retrace my steps to the point of success before moving forward again.

On a daily basis, this simple and conscious commitment challenged my routines, my beliefs about what is possible for me, and chipped away at any obscurity of my goals to make them crystal clear and more true to who I am becoming – a person filled with deep love for me.

Has my inner peace increased? Yes, measurably so. And you? Just for today …

Feathers, Rainbows & Roses is again offering a two-day workshop Cultivating a Joyful Life: Health & Vital Self Care. This is a perfect opportunity to explore, develop and solidify your own commitment to change. Love yourself. Pass your love along to someone else too – refer this workshop to soemone else and if they attend, you will receive a 10% discount on your next session with Shirley Lynn.

Saturdays October 27th & November 10th, 2012, 9am – 5pm

For additional information and to register for the Cultivating a Joyful Life: Health & Vital Self Care workshop, please contact Shirley Lynn Martin today!