Category: 2015

Peace on Earth: Get Ready for It

We have just about completed our rotation around the sun for 2015. That’s approximately 149,600,000 km over 365 days travelling at 30 km/second. Mind boggling, isn’t it?
As we celebrate this journey, as well as the journey of Light that is also born within us, we again prepare ourselves for this journey around the sun in 2016. I am reminded of the line from a John Lennon song “… and what have you done?… let’s hope it’s [2016] a good one, without any fear.” The closing of each year inspires us to reflect and evaluate our successes, our failures and our goals and dreams for the year ahead.
For me, peace is a constant theme that weaves its way through my life and work. Peace within. Peace in my close relationships. Peace in my work. Peace in Nature. Peace in the global sphere. And while peace is central to who I am and what I do, it does not come easily or quickly.
Pause for a minute. Breathe deeply. Soften your belly and let the memories of 2105 wash over you. As you journeyed around the sun this past year, what peace did you experience? Where? When? With whom? What about this experience brought you peace or restored peace and harmony within you or your environment? What effort did it require of you? Who did you need to ‘be’ to experience this peace?
Although this peace can be experienced in the Now, rather than some far-off distant future, experiencing the expansion and fullness of peace over longer and longer moments can often require us to develop ourselves and our heart’s maturity. This path to maturity is more than a short term goal. It’s more than one lunar rotation and often more than a single season. Such journeys of inner development and heart maturity require journeys around the sun. It requires more difficult character virtues of steadfastness, self discipline, commitment, forgiveness, patience, resilience, love, compassion and more.
For peace on earth to be sustained, humanity needs to become mature. We need to take the journey of wise and creative development. Short term vision will not be enough to provide for our existence. We need mature hearts and souls to step forward and speak. We need to be willing to release the old pains, the old resentments and hurts, willing to forgive and choose to do the bigger journey of peace that involves burning away the inner greed, narcissism, hatred, violence and falsehoods we carry individually and collectively. We may want the peace of the still calm water, but for true peace, we first need to journey through the fire, the journey around the sun. We will be offered the rewards of peace in the moments that the lunar cycle gives us, to be sure. However, real transformation, real maturity takes us around the sun.
As 2016 approaches, we have before us another opening, another opportunity to end the wars, both internally and externally. We have an opening where we can imagine what peace and light of truth we are called to restore, create, build, embrace and awaken to within and around us. We are being called back to the beginning of the journey where we can boldly claim the light of our truth and be stewards of our contributions to peace on earth.
The time has come. We have journeyed around the sun. A new year is about to begin. I invite you to make 2016 the year where you begin living peace on earth.
Living peace does not come easily or quickly, but the benefits outweigh the challenges by far. It’s the nature of peace to thrive in community and through Feathers, Rainbows and Roses, I provide multiple avenues for you to find a community that will support, encourage, love and hold you accountable to your aspirations as you step into this journey.
The fires of transformation, of heart maturity is a path of wholeness. Rarely do we accomplish that journey alone. Find the resources, support and love you need at Peace Circles, Reiki community and practice nights (requires Reiki course training), Reiki Winter Retreat, and/or individual whole life therapies and soul coaching. Aspire to the joy and peace and light you really are.
Shirley Lynn


Over the last few hours, days, months we have experienced the best and the worst of humanity. Violent acts fuelled by hatred and total disregard for human life juxtaposed with the vision of three Montreal men from different cultural backgrounds firmly holding hands and signs telling the world that “we are brothers” and our bond will not be broken. Love over fear is the choice these young men are so boldly making. All of this is unfolding in real time as the images and words flood our screens and airwaves as we collectively seek to find meaning in it all.

diverging pathsAs I absorb what is happening in the world I call home it becomes clear to me that we are at a fork in the road. This fork does not feel new but rather like a well-travelled path that we have experienced many times over our collective history.

As I contemplate my role in this unfolding story I realize that our power lies in our coming together, in our collective voices and our connected hearts. Just as these young men from Montreal are so beautifully showing us. When we come together we access our shared wisdom and story and tap into a power that is much greater than its individual parts. This coming together is echoed in the words of Wayne Muller, “we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing”.

The Dreamer part of me would like to invite the world to a Peace Circle. A safe place of true connection where we can speak our truth, experience our humanity and with the power of our collective wisdom and healing create a new story for our world.

As I contemplate my own journey, I know my answer lies in creating Peace Circle moments in my daily living and in offering Peace Circle to community. As in Circle, I seek to speak and listen from my heart and to live #loveoverfear.

In Peace,



Karen McCarthy is passionate about cultivating safe and creative spaces for people to share, explore and transform their lives in authentic and meaningful ways. Her wealth of knowledge and experiences as well as formal training in Peace Circle facilitation makes Karen the ideal partner along with Shirley Lynn in offering peace building experiences such as Peace Circle.

Karen and Shirley Lynn are co-facilitating an introductory evening to Peace Circle on December 16th in Waterloo. Additional Peace Circles are coming in January and February, with more to follow.

Peace Together: The Power of Vision in Community

Whenever I’m invited to be the celebrant of someone’s wedding, there are three key questions I ask them to answer prior to making plans for the wedding ceremony.

The first question asks them about their vision of their marriage, about their relationship together. I invite them to consider the dreams of who they see themselves becoming and how much room for becoming have they allowed for themselves.

Becoming is a state of being that invokes a vision of the future. It invokes the unfolding potential expression of who we can be. This is an important question because if couples haven’t considered the state of becoming as having a major influence in their lives and marriage, they will often find themselves feeling betrayed. “He wasn’t like this when we got married” … “I don’t know who she is anymore – that didn’t used to matter to her”. The values and ‘vows’ they make to each other now must have enough intention, awareness and commitment to the space of who they are yet to become. The language must include a level of openness, invitation and inclusivity in the shared sense of vision, of purpose and values that will take them into an unknown future when life brings them what they didn’t imagine.

The second question asks them about who they are now – with each other as well as on their own. I invite them to note the goals and shared values which support connection, intimacy and trust with each other in this journey they are choosing together here and now. It is both delightful and challenging to share one’s most innermost self with another. This state of being is here and now. It’s the fullness of the moment and all that one is right here, right now. I invite them to sink into, to truly become vulnerable to each other at the level of their truth and be together. If they can’t be together here and now, how will they survive the ‘becoming’ together in marriage?

And finally, the third question asks them to consider the community who supports and joins them in their being here and now and who holds a positive vision of their becoming together. We never get anywhere by ourselves. Business leaders affirm this wisdom, as do educators, politicians and spiritual leaders. We know that you need a ‘village to raise a child’ because the responsibilities, skills, challenges and blessings to raise a child require a whole community. It requires a community to bear witness, affirm and support this incredible life adventure. No less so for marriage success.

With thoughtful responses to these three questions, we then begin to discuss the ceremony, the rituals of joy, blessing and meaning. We talk about this ceremony as one that goes with them as an ongoing blessing, rather than a one-day event.

These same questions or variations thereof, share many of my conversations with people in soul coaching and whole life therapies sessions, in Reiki practice and meditation training, and now in Peace Circle.

When we share heart-felt stories in Peace Circle, we often weave between the worlds of being and becoming, between the presence of the moment and the vision of our best future. The power of circle is the compassionate, confidential, listening and truth-centred speaking qualities of being community together as we weave between these states of being and becoming.

On Friday, I attended the annual general meeting of my professional organization where the president spoke to the experience and value of ‘communitas’ in our organization. In her address, Christina Becker stated:

Communitas refers to the unstructured state in which all members of a community are equal allowing each member to share a common experience, usually through a rite of passage. This is different from the structure of community and its secular roles. Communitas reflects that element of a shared experienced which verges on the sacred.

We are standing at one of the most challenging crossroads in human history. Our past is unable to predict our future because there is so much change. I can’t help wonder where the ‘communitas’ is within the society and where we will find it moving forward.

It is this ‘communitas’ that couples require to be vibrant and supported in their marriages. It is this ‘communitas’ that I experience in our monthly Reiki gatherings. It is this ‘communitas’ I envision in our Peace Circle as visionaries gather to create new stories, transform old stories and express their best stories of who they are. It is also this ‘communitas’ that is necessary for visionaries who are committed to become leaders of ‘peace on earth’ in ourselves, in our world, with each other and with all sentient beings because life is changing so fast. The spirit of community in Peace Circle is not just a one time event.

This spirit of love, vision and peace weaves and moves like the Great Circle of Creation empowering and transforming our being and becoming as together we create and build peace on earth. Let’s start sharing our ‘being’ together so we can inspire the best ‘becoming’ together on our incredible planet.


Shirley Lynn

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: The Blessing of Stillness to Lead

I just finished teaching a 3-day Reiki Level II course during which I was reminded of the power of three major energy centres in our bodies, and how in ‘stillness’ we can access and utilize this power for our life purpose and vision for peace on earth. Quite simply, we have the head centre, the heart centre and the belly centre. When healthy and functioning, these centres interrelate with each other and provide an alchemy of vital clarity and empowerment which sustains our lives and being.

The Self operates through these three centres of consciousness which then operate through what is known as the chakra system. Various understandings of these centres exist, but today, I will keep it simple. The head centre is the centre of wisdom. The heart centre is one of compassion, love and sensitivity. The belly centre supports vitality, action and boundaries. Each centre is vital to the development of our personality and our soul.

“Listen to your heart, but lead with your head” as stated by leadership expert Jeanne Gulbranson. I have pondered this phrase alongside with the wisdom of mystics and spiritual leaders such as Lao Tzu and Dalai Lama who promote the path of compassion. Dalai Lama states “Compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and a sense of self-discipline are qualities that help us lead our daily lives with a calm mind.” Lao Tzu writes of the three treasures – compassion, moderation and the courage not to be first in the world – as foundations for true leaders. Nelson Mandela stated “lead from the back and let others believe they are in front.”

choosing your pathIn a world under significant transitions, extraordinary changes at mind-bending speed, it can be most challenging to lead our own lives. Making decisions in a world where there are as many opinions, theories and research results as there are communities, groups and institutes can become confusing, overwhelming and stressful. Which wisdom school do I access to help me in this critical moment? Who can best help me decide which path best supports my core sense of purpose? I know you have asked these questions because I have heard you ask them with me. And like you, I have asked them too as I seek to be a leader in my own life.

For me, a leader is someone who acts with wisdom, compassion and healthy (clarity of) boundaries on their vision and purpose. These qualities of wisdom, compassion and clarity of boundaries acted upon are nurtured in balancing and strengthening the three major energy centres and vice versa. At times, the body may lead. At another situation, the heart may lead, and in another moment, the head centre through wisdom may lead. Becoming aware of these power/energy centres and what keeps you balanced and whole as you lead your life is the gift and blessing that comes with stillness.

In my years of pondering, testing, failing, rising to my best, falling down and getting back up, I have realized that my Reiki meditation and self-healing practice have offered me spaces of stillness and quiet calm. In this place of spacious stillness, my energy system becomes balanced, my mind softens and my heart expands. My breath calms and goes deeper. My parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated and my sympathetic nervous systems relaxes. In this space, I feel safe, secure and loved. What I have noticed is that as my three centres balance and strengthen, my action, my compassion and my intellect align. I lead from my soul and I have the flexibility in these new times to lead with the guidance that comes from within the space of stillness.

I have also learned over the years as I have facilitated Reiki learning, community-building and meditation nights, that when I share this ‘spacious stillness’ in a sacred community, intimacy, connection, belonging and joy increase as added blessings to these leadership or visionary qualities.

If you are like me and you have a vision and inner calling of peace on earth that requires the attention, awareness, passion, courage and all the diverse qualities these leaders have shared with us, then you also may be looking for a sacred, safe and confidential space to share your vision and nurture the inner wisdom you have as a visionary of real and concrete peace on earth.

The great news is that we don’t have to do it alone. We aren’t meant to do it alone. So find those people who will hold the power of stillness, practise the path of inner stillness in body, mind and heart with you and claim your inner wisdom to manifest the peace you are called to create in our world.

If you are looking for an incredible and inspired opportunity to come into stillness and experience the blessing of your own truth and wisdom, then join us for Peace Circle. It will bless you with sacred qualities that become the way you engage and lead through your vision of peace on earth. The time is now. The Earth is calling the visionaries forward to lead. Let’s gather.

Peace Circle will be held on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 from 7:00-9:30 pm in Waterloo. Contact Shirley Lynn for more details.

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: Visioning a New Community

Over the past few years I have sat in Circle with various groups and teachers, being awed every time by the magic that happens within this incredible system of transformation and development of inner wisdom and community.

For the past 1½ years, I’ve been sitting in Peace Circle with Karen, my co-facilitator, listening to and speaking from our hearts. We spoke our dreams, our fears, our resistances to stepping out in new and different ways into the circle. We told stories of times we felt empowered and alive, stories where we felt incompetent and small. We explored the stories we carried that others told us about who we were rather than who we knew ourselves to be. We shared stories where we led with our heart and wisdom, positively impacting those who followed. We revealed stories of less stellar moments in our leading where we had failed to listen as deeply as we needed to for a larger understanding.

The power of such story-telling in the structure of Circle created an intimacy that was reliably confidential, inherently wise and honest, yet remaining compassionate and visionary. The intention of facilitating Peace Circles remained our touchstone. Our inner sense of mission kept pulling us toward our intention to serve with joy and peace in our hearts. And while our mission for Peace Circle began to find form and function, content and context in our ever-changing world, two other incredible dynamics began to manifest.

The first dynamic I began to notice in Peace Circle is that my sense of self (self-identity) expanded. I experienced the very technology of Peace Circle calling me to live beyond the way I had understood who I was and my belief in how I should engage in the world. As Tony Robbins writes: “Identity is the strongest force in human personality. We all have a deep and abiding need to remain consistent with how we define ourselves. Any transformation you make within yourself will depend on your ability to expand this identity. By building a new, empowering set of beliefs, you can create a lasting transformation within yourself and in your life.”

In sharing my heart-felt stories, I began to change my sense of self. As my sense of self transformed, so too did my choices and behaviours. It wasn’t without challenges, but the gift of Circle is that it contained me and my life. It contained the challenges and gave flow to the inner transformation. As I changed how I saw myself, I could take different action toward my higher vision, action that previously would have been outside my repertoire of choices.

As my sense of self began to expand, a second dynamic was unfolding for me. I began to expand my access to my inner wisdom and ways to articulate this wisdom. In Circle, when the circle member with the talking piece is speaking, everyone else listens – no comments, no responses. The talking piece reminds the speaker to share from the heart – leanly and honestly. Bells provide moments to pause, to reconnect to the centre which holds the intention and purpose of the circle.

As I would hold the talking piece, the circle guideline to speak honestly and leanly created the space for me to really speak what mattered. The very nature of Circle called me to de-clutter my ‘conditioned’ story and to listen for the wisdom that lay waiting for me to honour and express it. To speak compassionately about myself and to listen to my partner with compassion opened the flow to know my own wisdom. With the presence of a compassionate witness, my journey of bringing my wisdom into the light accelerated my spiritual maturity as well as the results of my business path.

A third gift came in this journey of Peace Circle when a moment of crisis arose. A safe and honest method to transform conflict is anchored within the ‘genetics’ and time-honoured process of circle. It can feel challenging in the moment and at times I just wanted to skip over the conflict or ‘elephant in the room’. However, by staying true to the Peace Circle system, the conflict was transformed into an even better version of the vision we had. And as visionaries and professionals, remaining open to what works better (not necessarily always the next new trend) is an important element in expanding our sense of self as well as developing our inner wisdom.

As you consider how you want to develop and expand your own wisdom, your sense of self, and perhaps even your spiritual path, I invite you to open yourself to a new and ancient technology. Peace Circle creates a space where the mind and heart meet and where the soul story of our lives is revealed. The guidelines and structure (or technology) of Circle accelerates the path to success. When committed and heart-centred people share real stories that change how we see ourselves and the wisdom we have access to within circle, a synergistic transformation effect is created for all members.

Over the past years, Peace Circle has opened and developed my inner wisdom and sense of self. It has also offered me sacred community—a place to be real, true and in soul connection.

I am excited to finally be ready to share this power and transformation in community with you on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015. Stay tuned for upcoming information on this new Peace Circle offering. I look forward to seeing you there.

The Gifts of Autumn: Let Go and Enjoy the Ride

by Lucy Martin

Autumn has definitely arrived – the leaves are slowly changing colour and dropping from the trees, the air is crisp, the earth smells of decaying organic matter, the daylight is more muted, the wind more insistent in sneaking under your clothes.

I love walking at this time of year. It is such a sensory experience – the snapping of twigs, the rustling leaves, birds singing and calling to each other, the hustle and bustle of countless creatures preparing for winter. I don’t think there is anything subtle about the fall.

uprootedChanges in the fall can be swift and dramatic from one day to the next. One day can be rainy and cool, the next is sunny and warm, and the next a biting wind. Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed a walk in the woods with some friends. I was struck by how different the bush looked from two days earlier – Saturday’s wind had uprooted and broken numerous trees and branches, and had shaken loose a mass of leaves that now lay restfully on the ground.

I was reminded again of the all-ages book by Leo Buscaglia “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf” – a story reflecting on the life and eventual death of Freddie and his other leaf friends. Even though the story has been used to explore dying and death, it is also about letting go of what no longer serves us.

red leaf on fernNature is a fine teacher about the act of letting go – every autumn she demonstrates how to shed what is old and used up thereby making space for what is vital and new. She makes it look so easy and effortless. But for me, it doesn’t feel that easy just to let go of things, even if they’re no longer necessary or useful in my life. Freddie expresses this fear of letting go, of preferring to hang on for dear life to the known, rather than opening himself up to the possibilities of the unknown.

What is the cost of hanging on to old and useless (or maybe even harmful) behaviours, beliefs, relationships, belongings, etc? If we never clear out the clutter of our lives, how can we open our hearts and souls to the peace and inspiration of the fresh and new? What are we denying ourselves by clinging to what no longer serves us?

Actions to inspire you this Autumn:

  1. Go through your closet, desk, garage – any cluttered storage area – and discard or give away what you no longer need.
  2. Examine your attitudes and beliefs – resolve any old resentments, issues and hurts and let them go.
  3. Take time each day to breath slowly and deeply. As you inhale the clean autumn air, feel yourself energized and purified. Feel the old negativity, impurity and pain leave your body and psyche. Then contemplate who you are without these identities.

soft landingNature has shown us the way but imitating Her simplicity can feel more complex within our own lives. Letting go of the branch we have been clinging to for a long time may feel overwhelming and frightening – I urge you to find the courage to contact Shirley Lynn to ‘be your Daniel’. She has the knowledge and resources to help you let go of the old and useless and reach for the new and inspired.

Take action today. And may you land gently and gracefully,

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: Opening Ourselves to Peace

If, for one day, we can live in a world without aggression and hostility, we can imagine how much more is possible. – United Nations statement

This weekend we have had the privilege and multiple invitations to celebrate International Day of Peace through meditations, prayers, community activities and calls to action to remind ourselves of the collective value of every species on this planet that peace is a need.

The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Peace in 1981 as an opportunity for people around the world to promote the resolution of conflict and to observe a cessation of hostilities. Without peace, we cannot evolve. Without peace, our lives and communities are unsustainable. Without peace, our minds would become entirely unbalanced. Without peace, war would take over our existence. Without peace, we would remain imprisoned in the dualistic, either/or camps that give rise to war.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers a wonderful story of peace, a story of the ‘middle way’ that is neither complicated nor dramatic. He offers one response that illuminates an entirely new possibility to his questioner, opening the way to truth and equanimity (non-discrimination). With all the elections, the policies (and lack of) for climate change, social justice and welfare for all species, women’s issues and education, First Nations education and welfare, etc., both nationally and globally, we need discussions that open to compassion and non-discrimination. We need the robust sensitivity, wisdom and presence which Thich Nhat Hanh shares here:

In 1966, I was walking with other people in Philadelphia in a peace demonstration. A reporter came to me and asked the question, “Are you from the North or from the South?” North and South are names. That was a peace demonstration, an expression of the desire to stop the war in Vietnam. When I looked at him, I saw that in his mind he had two boxes of ideas and he wanted to put me in one of those two boxes. If I were to say I was from the North, then he would think I must be pro-communist and that my presence in the demonstration was to support communism. If were to say that I was from the South, he would think this is someone who is anti-communist. As someone who has be in the practice of Zen meditation, I knew how dangerous it was to give an answer. Whether I answered North or South, it would only get him deeper in his notions and ideas. So I smiled and said, “I am from the Centre.” There is a region called Central Vietnam so I was telling the truth. That made him embarrassed, because he thought that there were only two choices—you must either be from the North or the South. Now he was lost. Because he was no longer sure of himself, he had a chance to inquire about the truth.” (Buddha Mind, Buddha Body, p.58)

On September 21st I invite you to join with me to celebrate International Day of Peace. Find something that opens you to peace, and through you, peace into our world. Our spirits need it. Our world needs it. With peace, perhaps we can breathe and pause long enough to open to the creative insights and knowing that will heal our planet and heal our consciousness.

I leave this Peace blessing with you. I wrote it several years ago with the inspiration of Reiki Masters coming together to share Reiki to the world on International Day of Peace. Take a moment, right now, and just breathe. Notice your in-breath. Notice your out-breath. And in the calm of your breathing, tell your subconscious mind to open and receive the consciousness and vibration of this blessing for all your mind, body and heart!

As we celebrate International Peace Day and as we offer Reiki Peace Blessings to all who attend and open to Peace:

May we be pure channels of Reiki peace and healing;

May every one and every being feel supported to find that sweet spot where as we each experience our own inner peace, we also trust that we as a community are opening a space for others in the world to know their own inner peace;

May the pure drops of Reiki peace come together with all the other drops of Reiki peace around the world and be felt and experienced within the heart and being of the recipients awakening their true claim to dignity, freedom and equality with all our relations;

May we all discover a patience and love in allowing people to follow their own paths. May we be free from judgement and criticism so we can grow and succeed at our best pace toward our greatest vision where

Peace is.

May this Reiki Peace Blessing awaken self compassion and loving-kindness of self so that we can bring compassion and loving-kindness to others as we join them in the ocean of Peace

May everyone who seeks and receives this Reiki Peace Blessing radiate a knowing and commitment that a compassionate community is a peaceful community – one of understanding and tolerance – so let this community light shine!

Wisdom’s Way to Peace: The Joy of Connection with a Ladybug

Those that go searching for love

only make manifest of their own lovelessness,

and the loveless never find love,

only the loving find love,

and they never have to seek for it.

D. H. Lawrence

One recent warm morning while walking with Carlie, I was contemplating Wayne Dyer’s recent passing and the message of Divine Love that he and other spiritual teachers have been teaching me on my recent journeys. I was in the middle of pondering the DH Lawrence quote (see above) when a ladybug landed directly on my heart. I acknowledged the synchronicity of this moment, stopped my train of thought and reached out to offer Reiki to this tiny being resting upon my heart.

The ladybug had nothing to say, and didn’t need to. His very presence on my heart communicated a significant affirmation of what was emerging in my own consciousness. He accepted Reiki and I thanked him for his friendship, knowing I would never see him again. I had no fear of this ladybug and neither was he fearful of me. Our joy of connection simply found expression on a warm summer morning – with our hearts open to love. When the wisdom of these teachings had crystallized into a powerful knowing within my own heart, the ladybug flew off.

This moment may seem simple and perhaps too ordinary to mention. However, so often I encounter people who express a loneliness and frustration because they cannot find a place to belong or connect with others in a meaningful or loving way. They don’t recognize the ladybug who lands on their heart, or the bird who flies above them the whole time they are on a walk, or the person sitting on the bench who greets them with a smile and a ‘good morning’.

I do understand the need for deeper and perhaps more long term connection and community, especially in matters of the heart. Yet, I keep hearing the words of a teacher of mine that ring in my ears still, and perhaps will for the rest of my life – “You can be community in a moment.”

In other words, neither the ladybug, Carlie or myself, spent any time making judgements or fearful analyses of the other. We didn’t need weeks or months to build community between us. We simply stood in love and offered friendship. And what we got back was love and friendship. And my heart was filled.

Had I gone searching for this experience out of a sense of lovelessness for myself or others, I would not have been in a mindset to receive love and spiritual friendship in a way I needed, but wasn’t expecting to manifest in this way. Love finds love. Love doesn’t go looking for lovelessness for that frequently leads to hurt and betrayal. Lovelessness doesn’t have the sense of worthiness, respect or awareness to notice the creativity and subtleties in the spontaneous expression of genuine love.

Love is a verb. Love is an activity. Love is mysteriously a state of consciousness that is a dynamic dance of the body, mind, inter-social and spiritual. It is not a static noun of non-change.

Frequently clients ask me how one really knows if they are loved or love another? I believe there are three key behaviours (activity) that meet the requirements or ethics of loving:

  1. Mutual Respect: I describe mutual as having the quality of reciprocity, a giving and receiving. For me, respect is about honouring the dignity in another sentient being. So mutual respect is about the conscious activity of honouring the dignity in each other as a standard.
  2. Trust: My present understanding of trust is a reliable and repeatable sense of deep assurance that is based on strong evidence through the character, ability, or truth shown by someone or something over time or across situations. Trust is a risk and requires our vulnerability to open ourselves to someone or something to bring a quality of insight, wisdom or usefulness to what we need from one another or from a situation.
  3. Positive Regard: For me, regard encompasses the elements of attentiveness (being present and thoughtful), concern and compassion. It suggests a relationship where mutual well-being and a positive investment in one another is organically shared.

When one’s love actively engages these elements into our being and doing, our love will have the natural capacity to forgive (more on this in another blog). It ignites emotion, but Love is a dynamic principle of the spirit to the fulfilment of its own true essence.

Love consistently calls us into respecting ourselves, the natural laws of life and the community of which we are a part.

Love daily invokes the assurance to build trust in ourselves, in the ‘Great Unfolding of All Things’ and in those who love us (those who consistently engage these three qualities with us).

And finally, love calls our hearts to the positive regard and well-being of our own inner essence as well as the essence in all life, starting out with those in our inner circles.

If you cannot find this true and genuine doing and being of love with others, then check to see if you are actively engaging these three elements of love toward yourself. If you are not doing so with increasing consistency, reliability and durability, then begin here, with yourself.

Ask one safe person to help you, even if it means getting professional help. Loving yourself as a dynamic way of engaging with yourself is a matter of life and death (physically, emotionally, and of the spirit). Your life is priceless. So learning to love yourself through clear and genuine connecting and positive self-regard is worthy of your soulful commitment and acquired resources. You are that important in the web of life. It is also the building block to attracting spiritual friends, where love meets love, no matter the species!

I thank Merle the Ladybug for landing on my heart offering me love and friendship. I know this because I experienced mutual respect, trust and positive regard between us. And in the openness to Love, the experience of spiritual connection was immediate. Blessed be.

Shirley Lynn

It’s In You to Be Who You Are

submitted by Lucy Martin

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to help with a temperament test on a litter of 8 week-old puppies. I’m assuming most of you are unfamiliar with this concept so I’ll briefly describe our intent and process.

Our overall goal was to identify a suitable candidate for service dog work. The human client has specific needs and we were hoping to find a dog who will be trained over a period of many months to assist this person live as healthfully and independently as possible.

The traits that would best fit this specific job were decided upon prior to testing. With our ‘ideal dog’ in mind, we designed a test that would elicit a response of some kind (or not) that would reveal the dog’s innate tendencies – the responses were graded according to an agreed-upon scale. Research has shown that even at such a young age, temperament is already apparent and stays consistent over time. While skills can be taught to improve certain attributes, but the core stays the same. For instance, an introverted person can learn how to behave more extroverted, but they are still an introvert in nature.

We looked at characteristics such as energy level, confidence, resilience, sociability to humans as well as other dogs, patience, how they interacted with their environment, social tolerance – just to name a few.

It was amazing to witness a litter of 8 puppies go through the same test and each respond so differently. They truly are individuals (I’m sure all the twins of the world are screaming “I told you so!”). Even though they had the same parents and so far had shared the same environment and experiences, they still emerged as unique individuals. Sometimes it was just differences by degree; other times it was almost polar opposites.

Part of our puppy evaluation included assessing what kind of home might be best suited for each puppy, based on the test results. Ideally, each puppy will go into the home and role that best suits their temperament, where they can blossom into the dogs they are destined to be. One puppy will begin training to become a service dog, as he qualified with flying colours.

A few days later, while still reflecting on this experience, I was on an off-leash walk with 3 dogs when a surprise skunk appeared in the long grass. Their individual temperaments quickly showed up – one dog didn’t even notice the change/threat in his environment (he also doesn’t stink); another dog was the first to identify the threat and sounded the alarm but didn’t act (the lucky one with minor residue); and the last dog charged in full speed and eradicated the threat (the stinky one). So here we had one problem yet three very different responses. Each dog chose the one that best reflects who they are.

These two recent experiences have caused me to reflect on my own inherent temperament. With life comes challenges and new experiences – how do I naturally respond? And what have I learned along the way to compensate for less adaptive traits, or attributes that are valued less in our culture? Have I overridden my true self for whatever reasons (and at what cost?)?

Just like those puppies and the three adult dogs above, each of us brings a unique blend of attributes to our life situation. Ideally, we will all be living the life that best suits who we are. We will have others in our lives that nurture and love who we naturally are, relate to us in ways that are enriching, offer guidance and support when life isn’t fair, and have your back no matter what.

Because that is who we are destined to be.

Best of luck Baby O!


Wisdom’s Way to Peace: Walking Feet First

This past weekend I had the privilege being lakeside, spending heart-time with friends, and even a bit of kayaking with Carlie (although she was more focused on what games her dog friends were playing on shore!). As much as I love the water, I am first a land creature. Gravity, upright posture, lungs, brain-body-consciousness all define how I live and engage in this world.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet how often does our motivational language to live our potential assume we need to be more than human? I am a spiritual being having a human experience … not an other realm or dimension experience, not another species experience … a human experience.

When I hear phrases such as take a leap of faith (assumption is about jumping off a cliff) or fly like an eagle, I consider what it means to apply these idioms. For instance, jumping off a cliff on faith without appropriate gear and guidance/training on how to use this gear would simply end my life. I don’t have wings, so jumping would be a boundary violation of being human. As for flying like an eagle, well, I have arms and legs, not wings. Again, without appropriate gear and resources, I will simply fall and crash myself.

You might be thinking, wow, is she missing the point. You argue the point is that we can do far more than we conceive of. The point is to defy the limitations put upon us by society, by parents, teachers, etc, and reach new heights. And I would agree. We are capable of far more than we are led to believe. We are capable of reaching new heights and expanding our creative engagement in this world.

But these phrases can only be possible in the spiritual and imaginative realms of our minds. It is in that context that we remind ourselves to connect with the fullness of our spirits. Frequently though, people forget that where our souls live is in this physical body within the environment of gravity. Whatever I dream that I really want for myself and others, requires that I bring ‘feet’ to it. Fundamentally, it has to land or I can’t live it.

My dream is about building peaceful relationships with others. Putting feet to this dream means learning how conflict in relationships happen, what fuels conflict, how to notice the origins and where conflict gains the most traction. It also means learning how to work through these conflicts, how to heal the wounds, how to listen with heart and soul, how to communicate, how to create a spiritual practice to expand compassion, and more.

Learning these skills to bring feet to my dream has meant school, ongoing courses and education, casework and internships, supervision, reading, as well as my own personal journey work through coaching, spiritual direction, meditation, deepening my own personal awareness, attentiveness to the subtle movements of grace and much more. It has taken years of dedication, practice, attending to small details, keeping a greater vision in mind, getting people to support me, hiring consultants, going on retreats, committing my energy, resources and heart-time, etc to realize pieces of my dream.

Although I imagine a different kind of world, I accept what ‘feet’ I am willing to bring to this new world. And I fully commit my self, resources, heart, time and talents to walking feet first this dream. It’s what I can be responsible for without endangering myself or violating the boundaries of being my human self. For some, my dream may be small. For others, they may decide I’m not living my potential. But like yours, my dream is a good one. And what makes my life worthy is that I am putting feet to my dream. It’s real. I breathe my dream. I take action that calls it into being without violating human boundaries and my place in the circle of all life.

You too deserve your dreams. You deserve to experience the energy and potential of your spirit which connects to your heart and brings spark to your imagination and creativity. You deserve the joy of living what you have worked to co-create. But remember, if you don’t give your dream feet, it can’t land. Taking a leap of faith means you need to consider how big a leap you wish to take and what additional resources you need to accomplish it, without harming yourself. You may need to ask others to help you. You may need to get emotional-spiritual support should life derail your plans or devastate your resources and you re-consider pursuing your dream in a different way. You need to think about what’s needed in talents, money, contacts or network or support, in skill, in environment, etc, to bring ‘feet’ to your dream.

Taking a leap of faith or flying like an eagle doesn’t mean that we are exempt from the laws of gravity in this human existence. It requires extraordinary resources to leap across buildings and canyons. We need to be prepared to do what it takes to gather or have access to those resources that match what our dream needs to have feet. But our spirits are still connected to our bodies and have agreed to the laws of our human existence. Wishful thinking won’t make our dreams happen.

If you have a big dream that means a leap of faith of some kind, but no resources or no desire to do all it takes to bring it feet or won’t ask for the necessary support to help you make it happen, how can you truly live it? If you are willing to violate the boundaries of being human to bring ‘feet’ to your dream, then are you prepared to lose your life or someone you care about? Taking a bigger leap of faith requires more from your heart, more from your wallet, more from your spirit, more humility, more connection with others who will help, more of everything.

The gift this human existence and our dreams offer us is that of humility, grace and generative power of connection. When we fully accept and embrace our humanness, we can receive the grace of Spirit to work for us in ways that our human limitations cannot. In embracing our human limits, we open to receive the gift of connection in collaborating with others who have resources, talents and gifts we need to partner with to manifest our dream. And that means we need to walk feet first, heart open, mind flexible, spirit connected.

Living in the Light, living in Spirit means that we connect what is transcendent with what is physical and human. It is who we are. It is a gift to be human. It is a gift of Spirit that our spirits can fly with eagles and jump canyons in faith. To transform our lives and relationships, to transform the plight of humanity and the planet, however, means we need to bring light, love and consciousness into our feet and into the feet of our dreams as humans. That will require step by step effort and commitment on our part. Such transformation, will require all of us and all our faithful feet.

As we approach the last part of this year, I invite you to put feet to what you really want and what you are called to contribute. You deserve it. We all need for each other to put feet to our dreams to help transform our way of being on this planet.


Shirley Lynn