Category: Fall 2013

Listening to our Bodies: A Path to Peace

Recently I was engrossed in a discussion about listening more closely to what our bodies tell us. Everyone had a story of a physical injury that occurred because we didn’t listen when our bodies’ essentially said ‘enough’.

A couple of years ago, I attended a training with Dr. Gabor Maté, author of When the Body Says No, and other worthy books. He identified some key characteristics of the stress-prone personality, including:

  • Difficulty saying No,
  • Automatic and compulsive regard for the needs of others without considering one’s own,
  • Rigid and compulsive identification with duty, role and responsibility rather than with the true self,
  • Habitual suppression or repression of healthy anger and assertion.

As I read this list, a couple of things stand out for me. This list is about lies we tell ourselves and about compulsive behaviours to please others or to live within the status quo you assume others expect of you (fear).  – And we wondered why we got sick or injured because we ignored our bodies?

What struck me even more as I  began to examine my own life is how we find it acceptable to lie on a regular basis. We lie to others when we say ‘yes’, but we want to say ‘no’. We lie to ourselves saying we aren’t worthy enough and so we push onward when our bodies need to relax. We lie about our real needs and who we really are, compulsively rushing to the needs (and perhaps drama) of others (or our own). We lie about feeling angry at the boundaries that have been trespassed and then stay silent and perhaps punish our partner or child or friend because of all the feelings inside we have lied about.

Lies create stress and conflict, both internally and externally. Conflict disrupts our peace and our health. When we lie to ourselves and disregard the messages our bodies send us, we impose a hidden emotional stress on ourselves and our bodies.

Just as good relationships with others keep us healthy and can heal us, good relationships with our bodies keep us healthy and can heal us. Good relationships require healthy boundaries that support our sense of true self and protect us against what drains our essential vitality. Healthy boundaries are like a good immune system – protects against what takes life and sustains our essence so we can participate in our purpose and what is truly life-giving.

Several hundred people were in attendance, all in the helping profession in one way or another, all trained and paid to be supportive and respond to the needs of others. With a  healthy sense of one’s own true self and a reliable use of healthy boundaries, these professions can bring an enormous sense of satisfaction. However, when we disconnect from our bodies and neglect our own needs, we risk illness and violate our spiritual core. An inner war begins. A keen awareness of this potential reality dawned on us all.

We are hard-wired to need closeness, to need connection and belonging with others. We are equally hard-wired to need to express ourselves, to know who we are and then to be seen and respected. In other words, we are hard-wired to be authentic. When these two needs are in conflict or when they are incongruent over time, we are at war with ourselves. This war leads to illness. As Dr. Maté writes, ‘illness is not random’. (Please read his book if you wish to understand this statement more completely.)

If you are like me, listening to your body is a daily task I have to remind myself to do.  What does my body need to eat? What kind of exercise does my body need today? What is the decision I need to make in my work that is congruent with my life purpose so I can stay healthy? What anger must I be honest about and what must I speak up about in my intimate relationships to increase my own sense of inner peace?

Here in Canada we are coming upon the season of Thanksgiving, a time of remembering and celebrating the abundance of what Mother Earth gifts us with her body. So I invite you this week to listen to your body and in gratitude do what it asks of you. What improves in your experience of inner peace?

If you struggle with finding the joy of  the body you have and opt to ignore it even more – if you find yourself suppressing your own needs to look after other’s needs making you depressed, injured or always living in chaos, consider participating in my upcoming workshop called Cultivating Joyful Living: Balancing Self Care Within Relationships. After two full days, you will leave with a clear understanding about the mind/body/spirit connection – empowering you with helpful skills for your life and relationships.

Still wondering if this workshop is right for you? Call or email me.

Peace & Namaste

Insights from my Dog about Relationships

Six months ago, I welcomed a new dog into my life. Ever since then, we have been working at learning how best to communicate with each other. In part, this is called ‘training’ – where specific words, gestures are given meanings which elicit a specific response / behaviour that is being asked for (ideally of course). Think of sit, come, down, stay as examples.IMG1678
But our communication extends beyond this ‘schooled’ language. In getting to know and understand Rayna, I have had to learn what she is telling me too. Communication across species is not just one-way. What is she conveying when she lays down rather than sits? Or holds her tail in different positions? Or vocalizes in various ways? Learning her ‘language’ is an ongoing challenge for me, but one that I am committed to. Because our relationship is important.
There is much to be learned from and about developing and maintaining any relationship. Each interaction has the potential to strengthen the relationship or it can diminish it. One particular event in our training recently brought this point home to me in a very real way. I was trying to ‘teach’ a new skill like the instructor showed me but I wasn’t getting my timing or position right. In short, I wasn’t able to communicate clearly what I was asking of her. To Rayna’s credit, she kept trying to do it anyway but finally she looked directly into my eyes and clearly communicated: “Why are you doing this? I don’t like it. I don’t understand what you want. You are hurting me.”
This message cut me to the quick – do I listen to her as an equal partner or do I forge on until we learn this skill (because I am the human and I said so)? In the space of a few seconds, I had to weigh learning this skill today vs. honouring our partnership for the long-term.
I chose to stop the exercise and get further instruction another day. We moved on to something else and Rayna happily engaged with me without resentment. In that moment, I believe we reached a new, deeper level of trust and understanding. Both of us realized in a very tangible way that we could connect with each other across the species divide and we would both honour that connection. I vowed there and then always to choose what strengthens our relationship (and may grace abound when I miss the mark).
This not-so-little revelation with Rayna caused me to think about my other relationships. Do I always choose what strengthens them? Do I choose always to relate with genuine care, respect and grace?
This fall, Shirley Lynn will be offering a course that focuses on relationships and how to live well within them. We all know that relationships require give-and-take and that balancing our own needs and desires with those of our partners, peers, family members can be challenging. Look for more details about the Cultivating Joyful Living: Balancing Self Care within Relationships workshop on November 1st & 2nd.

Submitted by Lucy Martin

And the Winner is…

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Peace Day celebration! The best/favourite fall recipes you submitted were all excellent – so good that every single recipe had at least one vote for best dish.

We ended up with two categories: Best Soup and Best Sweet.

In the Soups category, we had Minestrone, Golden Pear, Vegan Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili, and Curry Ginger Butternut Squash.

In the Sweets category, we had Pumpkin Pie, Dutch Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Paleo Bread, Granola, Pumpkin Cake, and Carrot Cake.

CONGRATULATONS to Susan Melkert for your wonderful Golden Pear Soup. It will be a nice addition to many of our recipe collections.

Honourable mention goes out to Cathy Heard for sending us the Vegan Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili recipe. It was a very close second.

And the overwhelming Sweets winner was the Carrot Cake submitted by Mary Martin. Was it the Cream Cheese icing that tipped the scales?

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our Peace Day event.

* The recipes that many of you were eagerly looking for will be posted on the Feathers, Rainbows & Roses website sometime this week.


Drops in the Ocean of Peace


This soup is Delish!
This soup is Delish!

This past Saturday (September21st) was International Day of Peace. At Feathers, Rainbows & Roses, we celebrated with an Open House. Lucy prepared the 11 different recipes previously entered into our Best/Favourite Fall Recipes contest and we all sampled each dish and tried to pick our favourites.

In addition to the food part of our celebration, Reiki Master students offered Reiki Blessings/Healings of Peace to anyone who wanted this gift. Over the course of the afternoon, we experienced good conversation, joyful community, satisfied bellies and the gift of Infinite Peace.

After the event, Lucy counted the votes for the recipes (she will share the results), but interestingly, each dish got at least one vote for best/favourite. We commented on how different each person’s palate is – which is why restaurants have such an array of items on their menus. It made me reflect upon the necessity for developing and learning skills in tolerating, appreciating and building diversity.

Whether it is with food, with life experiences, hobbies, talents, dreams, goals, values, sexual orientation, ethnic backgrounds, ecological systems, embracing and living harmoniously with diversity is a necessary seed for Peace. There are and will always be many paths to the Sacred. Being open to what other spiritual traditions can teach, to their rituals and world views, often helps us to better understand and appreciate the value of our own tradition and its core truths.

Just like our diverse palates and appetites, we are like drops in the Ocean who can create powerful communities of Peace as we acknowledge that we are all part of this one big Ocean. We can be nothing else but one Ocean, even though we remain unique and created to live in dignity. For this reason, cultivating compassion is also a necessary seed for Peace.

As we Reiki Masters contemplated upon our collective intention for the recipients of Reiki Blessings/Healings of Peace at our Open House – as well as for the world at large – we discussed these themes of oneness, diversity, drops in the Ocean, dignity, community.

The Intention of Peace

In case you missed the open house and would still like to feel the blessing of Peace in your life, I invite you to take the following blessing with you into your week and notice the subtle movements of where your heart feels calm, relaxed and perhaps open to a new potential of inner change of heart somewhere in your life or being. Join with us and be open to discover your own path to inner peace…

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

May we be pure channels of Reiki peace and healing;

May everyone 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!