Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Space Between

The space between thoughts, a thought. The space between a breath. What is it? What does it feel like? What does it look like?

It is serenity.
It is calm.
It is clarity.
It is beauty.

The space in my heart between one beat and the next. What is there?

It is serenity.
It is love.
It is patience.

One beat quietly awaits the next.  Beat by beat, each one works work together as each slowly pumps love into my veins. More love. More love. Love overflowing. Love enriching. Love filling me up to where I feel I may burst.

What is there?

Is there heartbreak?

Is there sadness?

Listen and all will be clear.

Maybe tears will come rushing down my face the minute I stop to say hello to the space between one beat and the next.

Or maybe there will be laughter?  Or tears of joy, a sigh of relief, wonder, shock, pain.

It is all waiting there to be watched, observed, heard. Analyzed? No, because the thought doesn't matter. The heart -- the feeling -- listen to THAT.

Sometimes after a long day at work, I need to stop and listen -- breathe. I take one, two or three deep, expansive, heart opening breaths. This is what my soul needs, what I need.

Ask me what I need. This is the only truth -- not material things but space, time, quiet -- breathing, being, listening.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Power -- Universal Power.

I want to love myself. I want to heal me.

I am grateful for the blood that moves through my veins and my inner energy that is able to make it move and flow, awakening me. I am thankful for the world's energy that runs through me - rivers, animals, creatures, wind, fire, waterfalls and their mighty power - this is all within me.
Thank you. 

My breath is the world's wind. 
My water, running through my cells is the world's rivers, lakes and oceans. 
My heat is the world's blazing fire. 
My solid, rock-like energy in my lower chakras is the earth, ground, dirt of the world. 

We are all connected. 

I am grateful for breath because it connects me to wind.
I am grateful for water that comes out of my tap, because it connects me to my water, my saliva, my inner movement and flow, my clarity, my aliveness. 

Let it wash over me and make everything clear and pure again. Water has the power to heal. 

Stop for a moment and let the earth run through you, let it imbue stillness, gratitude --it will make you feel connected, ailve -- it will take your breath away or perhaps it might even awaken you to your breath. It has been there all along. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I am woman.

I am woman. I am questions, not direct statement. I am open and expansive, not contraction. I do not speak at. I hear, I listen, I speak to. I am the moon, opening her silver, bright, emboldened, round face to the world. I am from the heart, not constant logic. I am feelings first, letting the emotions out. Heart first, mind logic second. I am woman.

Do not speak to me as if you know better, just because you are a man. Do not speak down to me, because you think you know better. Get to me know better. I am your equal, not your subservient other. I do not serve you just because I am a woman. I know just as much as you. We are different. I have female intuition, which is knowledge, even if you don't recognize it as so. Our knowledge is special, it is unique. It is a world wonder. Our intuition develops minds and supports whole communities. Our intuition moves mountains.

My weaknesses are also my strengths. They are my building blocks which construct a tower of resilience. My power is my weakness, it is my secret weapon from which I learn, from which I gain deep wisdom. You see, without weakness, we are weak. We are nothingness, unchanging. I am woman. I am special because I allow sadness to come over me like a tidal wave. You see it as weakness. I see it as learning. You see it as letting your guard down, I see it as strength. You see it as giving up, I see it as giving in to the great power.

You state. I see. I believe in the soft ask. I am not below you, I am beside you. Do not underestimate my power , it is as strong and as bright as yours, just like the moon.  Because I am woman. I shine.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

A cure for the winter blues: caring for the soul and the body.

I can't help but notice how unaffected I feel by the Canadian winter this year. This comes as a big surprise after recently returning from Nicaragua in December. Before returning to Canada, I spent a little more than a month preparing myself for the shock I would experience going from 27-30 degree heat to -10 freezing cold.

The first quick run I made from the arrivals gate in the airport to the car definitely had my body squirming and shivering but after a few weeks of settling in, I felt relatively "adjusted." Perhaps it is because I spent 1 month mentally preparing myself for the cold that when I did arrive to it, it didn't seem so bad. Or perhaps it was because I was ready to experience some cold. Call me crazy, but I am a proud Canadian who loves  the crispy chill of a cold winter night wind. I guess I see some romance in it. I always see through glasses with a hint of rose tint ;)

Choose to see the beauty in even the coldest months of the year.  (Pic taken on Lake of Bays, Ontario)
I am also seriously owing the way I have treated my body in the last year -- specifically diet choices and medicine -- to the reason why the blues don't get me down. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments, but that slow and dull drag, where winter's lull feels like it is perpetually bringing me down, just hasn't seemed to hit me.
Clare, happy to be in Northern Canada, surrounded by pine trees and snow covered lakes! (Lake of Bays, Ontario)
 For about a year now, I have been living my life as a (very happy) vegan. I also adhere to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), mainly taking herbs and receiving acupuncture sessions from world renowned TCM healer , Jeanette Wayne , who practices right here in Toronto.

I try my best to eat all organic food and so try to keep my body as chemical and pesticide free as possible. This is not only a healthier option for me but it also has major positive impacts for our planet, mainly soil and ecosystem quality, to name a few.

The diet is great and has helped me to feel less fatigued, drowsy (especially in the morning), bloated and all around more energized. The herbs I take have funny labels on them like "happy pills" and more informative ones like "sleep enhancement and energy therapy." The herbs clean toxins from the body, reduce inflammation and each one depending on their kind, work to improve the qi energy that we all have in our body. Some herbs focus on the kidneys and liver, while others on the spleen, for example. To learn more about qi and the philosophy behind TCM, go here.

 Overall, the herbs provide a certain kind of therapy to the body that balances our overall energy. I, for example, have always experienced cold in my limbs since I can remember. Not even 25 degree heat can warm my footsies up! As I have gotten to know Jeanette and experienced her treatments, my body has slowly warmed up, feels more balanced, and I have learned that no one needs to suffer this kind of discomfort!

After a year and three months of taking the herbs, my sleep has never been so deep, my skin glows, and I feel all around like a happier-go-luckier person.

I guess what I am getting at is that we as Canadians, and all those living in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, do not need to watch ourselves experience needless suffering. If we just invest some of our time taking care of ourselves, mind, body and spirit, there is no reason to feel the blues ever again!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Metro Morning @ Idle No More Teach-In

Take a listen to CBC's Loren McGinnis interview myself and other participants at a Teach-In at the Toronto Fire Council a week ago!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First Protest - Idle No More

Solidarity, joy and communal energy. These are not the sentiments I expected to feel when I attended my first protest, part of Idle No More, a movement which defends the sovereignty of Indigenous Canadians through the protection and defense of treaties and human rights.  I have always questioned the usefulness of protests as a valid form of provoking dialogue. Our society tends to be saturated by them and I have always viewed manifestations under a black and white lens, are they successful or not? What does successful mean? By what standard is success rated when talking about a protest? 

Protests are often critiqued when they turn violent and lack direction or are poorly organized and executed, an excuse to shout and scream without ever actually saying something. Protests have a tendency to be viewed as a trend that peaked in the 1960's and 70's. Those who attend and organize protests can be seen as hippies who smoke too much pot, flighty people who use disconnected jargon for concepts for which they do not completely understand the meaning.
One of the drummers in his red cape at the Eaton Center for an Idle No More flash mob.

 If we pay attention however, to the way our protests and to more importantly how our awareness and dialogue have changed over the years, we must come to the conclusion that there have been no failures in our society in giving voice to causes that lack and demand one. We are learning from past mistakes. The word "hippy" was simply a word used to describe a community of people who opened their eyes to see injustice and who  therefore chose not to accept the status quo. There is no longer one "type of protester" because, globally, there is so much to protest and so many more issues that need a voice. 

The hippy movement may not have succeeded in achieving everything it set out to do, but at least a collective voice was heard and change was made. Change, as we all know does not happen over night but the voice was strong enough that it permeated into the universal psyche and we live with some of the positive changes that were created then. 

As I read and hear so many chiefs and leaders of the movement proclaim, Idle No More is not only a movement important because it represents native Canadians, it is also important for non-natives. The treaties the movement fights to protect, include treaties that speak to the access to public waterways, resources used by all Canadians. The movement could garner so much more energy from non-natives by acting on this sentiment by introducing and educating non-natives to the traditions and the movement itself.
Impromptu dance circle, a very common action to take place at the Idle No More manifestations and flash mobs.

 Perhaps setting up an easy to spot booth in the center of the manifestations where non-natives could come to read and learn more about the movement and why it is important. What about on-the spot drumming and chanting lessons?  In attending the protest at the Toronto Eaton Center, the hairs were sticking up on the back of my neck and I felt a great connection, a rootedness as I not only listened but felt the chanting and drumming. Imagine the impact if all three levels in a massive shopping mall were chanting and drumming. Imagine the sense of unity, imagine the power...

 I may have a European background with a hint of cree, but there is no time to be wasted on pessimism and "white man's guilt." There is only time for learning and growth. Our old ways and systems are not working for us anymore and it is now, more than ever, when it could not be more evident. 

So for the pessimists who do not believe in the effectiveness of a protest, rather than absorb that pessimism, take what you know and turn it into something positive. If you no longer can sit on the couch feeling useless, guilty and pity, feeling sad that such things happen in this world, I say stop feeling sad. Get up and be idle no more. 
Many posters such as this one were floating off of railings on various levels inside the Eaton Center. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's your therapy?

The other day I started to reflect on the meaning of therapy, outside of the barriers of a certain image so many of us hold; a living room like setting, lying on a chaise longue, spilling out our most intimate stories to a complete stranger. I have come to realize that this is not always how therapy works.  More and more everydayI also realize that the heart speaks the same language everywhere I go. As stigmatized as it is, therapy is in fact something everyone around the world desires andthat which we seekfor ourselves on a daily basis without even realizing it. 
This thought process began for me the other evening when my boyfriend’s uncle Rufostarted to chat with me about a voluntary activity I had been participating in for the past couple of weeks. He had thought that my helping local families in a rural neighbourhood with their vegetable plots,was part of a project I was assigned to. I explained that organic agriculture was in fact an interest of mine and that it was something to keep me busy, that I took great satisfaction in doing and that I did voluntarily. “Ah yes, “he said, “It’s your therapy.” Indeed it is. “I have my therapy too,” he began to tell me in Spanish, “Sometimes I will wash laundry with my wife,” he reflected, “The other day I washed for the ENTIRE day, non-stop!” I realized part of the healing aspect in that for him, “It is the using of your hands that is so therapeutic, isn’t it?” I asked Rufo. “Yes!” He replied enthusiastically.
I understood Rufo completely. Something about using our hands and moving our body in a slow or methodical way can have a soothing impact andallow us to drain out the noisy thoughts that so often plague our minds and allow us to just be. 
This was a moment where Rufo had opened up to me unexpectedly. It was one of those beautiful moments where two people who normally have the run of the mill, “how are you?” “I am fine and you?” type conversation all of a sudden broke out of that routine and shared a part of their lives they may not normally share with others. 
I have looked around and realized that we all have our ways of de-stressing. We all have our own therapy. My boyfriend’s is to play soccer. He runs and plays until the sun goes down and until he forgets what he started worrying about in the first place. 
For me, it is getting my hands in the dirt, to surround myself and to feel one with nature, as cliché as that sounds. I stop feeling boredom, suffering or pain when I am in the garden with my hands in the dirt or watering the crops. I am able to be in the moment like I used to be when I was a child, playing in the dirt. Nothing else really matters, the sun shines on my back, I have nowhere to be and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Farming is a methodical routine, which repeats a lot of the same actions over and over again. I guess that is what I love about it though. It’s soothing and satisfying work watching what you plant come to life as a healthy, glowing fruit of your labour, no pun intended! As my therapy, farming and gardening feeds my soul, when I start to do it, it feels as though my body had been craving it forever. 
I think that if we all could fill our day by doing only the things that our soul craved we would be a much happier, healthier, open-minded society. We would talk openly about our problems, pain and suffering to each other, even with people we do not know that well. We would live moment to moment, relishing in every smell, sight, sound and touch experienced on a daily basis. Imagine a society where we wouldn’t hurt so much, where suffering wasn’t stigmatized andwhere everything seemed simpler and void of confusion?

I ask the question then, what else would our society be like if the only choice we had was to feed our soul’s truest desires?