Archive for February, 2016

Make a Wish
February 25, 2016

  
How difficult is this simple exercise?  Say these words authentically:

I’m sorry, it was not my intent to hurt you. I will try to be more sensitive.”

I’m going to reach out on a limb and venture a guess that this is not easy for someone who probably thinks they have done nothing wrong.  It’s not my problem the other person is too sensitive.  I’m not sure if I was like this years ago and in my more awakened, vulnerability I feel more now. If so, maybe it’s the karmic wheel in full circle. 

It’s astonishing that some people will hurt someone or offend them and be completely unaware of the damage they have done.  Ignorant innocence, is this the new term to describe it?  What does this teach?  First and foremost to love myself.  Find a quiet space and sit with myself to be with myself as I cope with the emotional turbulence within until I find a better sense of equilibrium.  Forgiveness, don’t want to hold a grudge against the person ( for too long anyways ).  Introspection leads to another demonstration of the golden rule; filter what comes out of my mouth in general.  And this is even tougher presently because the hurt I feel leads to a natural coping action of lashing out.  

I chose this dandelion picture because of a number of it’s attributes – delicate, out in the open, interconnected, almost transparent. All elements, and not limited to, of the process of nurturing your nature, loving your self. May we all make the effort to accept and embrace the challenges of choosing love. 

The 7 Year Itch  part5 – Joy of a Child
February 24, 2016


Joy of a Child

I don’t know how old Mustang is.   He was a stray with no chip.  I still call him puppy, even to this day, when he’s at least ten based on what animal services surmised.  He is still puppy-like, from his playfulness to the gleam in his eye when he gets a treat or when you observe him chomping on a stick.  His ‘puppiness’ is this joy that emanates from him and it’s like the gleeful shriek of a child as if it’s experienced the thrill of speed wobbling for the first time as they race towards you down a hallway.

This joy, to me, is the joy of a child. It’s precious.  Nurture it.  Experiencing the simplicity of life in its most natural state.  Even if he’s chased a ball a thousand times, it’s like the first.   And he does it wholeheartedly.

I won’t lie.  It’s hard to try and emulate him.  Overcoming the conditioning of my mind, the perceptual habits and attempting to be and see things uncoloured is an incredible act. A  living meditation but when that joy pulsates through your being, not even in a high energy sense, it’s pretty cool.   Play seems to be a prerequisite to tapping this joy of being in the moment, creative endeavours and learning new things as well.

The schooling this dog has given me, all without any verbal communication, blow my mind.

Photo credits in this series

  • Me and my iPhone
  • T. Valiquette

The 7 Year Itch   part4 – Innocence
February 22, 2016


Innocence

Perhaps I could use the term purity but it doesn’t quite fill the bill. Perhaps it’s a combination of both. What I’m trying to say is that there is this energy about the dog that finally reflected back at me with glaring clarity. It happened on an evening walk when my patience was thin and I was having a hard time dealing with his frenetic energy of course. He wants to sniff. A lot. Sometimes a bit too aggressively as he will yank my arm out of it’s socket to achieve his goal. Dog’s act a certain way. Mustang always will, no matter how much conditioning I attempt. It’s not that he’s making a mistake, or doing things on purpose, whatever he is doing is in his blood. When I react, and not usually in a positive fashion, he’ll look at me like, “What dad? What did I do ( insert wrong as the projected human perception of his action)? There is genuine innocence in his eyes. He’s clueless. Just because his behaviour is not in accordance with my expectation or desire, does not imply it’s wrong. Nor is it necessary to get mad or irritated.

This energy of innocence resonated with me. Perhaps it was how shit I feel for raising my voice at him or how I get angry so many times that finally pierced through my own wall. It brought to mind times as a child being scolded, yelled at or whatever the negative drama was, and my reaction of bewilderment, confusion or fear. Even if I hadn’t done anything wrong but was not acceptable by higher authority (parents, teachers, etc) the energetic impact took a toll. It wasn’t the erosion of my innocence, it was the encasing of it in a protective wall that took decades to finally begin to resurface.

His innocence reflected mine and I needed to get reacquainted with it. This understanding has not stopped. It has actually grown into a much larger concept that now allows me to feel a greater level of compassion, empathy and get a better grasp on the concept of forgiveness.

Thank you yet again Mr. Tang

The 7 Year Itch   part3 – Meeting Needs
February 22, 2016


MEETING NEEDS

There are times when I take Mustang for a walk that the walk is really for me, he becomes an accessory or obligation. I know that sounds harsh and it does make me tinge with pain for being selfish or not so cognizant of his needs.

When I have emotional issues or stress and my needs are not met or I’m having trouble finding a way to meet my needs, it is really hard to connect with meeting the needs of my dog.  And he has them.  Sniff a billion things, pee on a million and perhaps take a number 2, as well as chase after a ball or prance around with a big ass stick.  More importantly there is a subtle sense of freedom and adventure for him to be outside when most of his day is spent indoors.   I forget this when I’m too self-absorbed and he gets the short end of the stick.

It’s hard to meet the needs of others when you are having a hard time meeting your own. Not looking for a solution in or with my partner, especially if it’s something they can’t help with, communicating my lack of fulfillment to them is invaluable though.  I’ve learnt to recognize my awareness and articulate it.  Seeking God seems like a cop out in terms of handing off responsibility but it does bring peace sometimes.  Thinking of others, like my dog, and recognizing and being grateful for little things helps too.   Walking Mustang, day in day out for seven years has taught me this, I may be a slow learner in some regards but I’m glad for what he has shown me.

The final two posts in the 7 Year Itch anniversary lessons will be:

  • Innocence
  • Joy of a child

The 7 Seven Year Itch part2
February 20, 2016

  

Trust     –     Let go     –     Observe     –     Faith

This is a chain reaction understanding triggered by my responses to letting Mustang off leash and wander a great distance, sometimes out of sight.  The root of the trigger is loss of control and then my mind takes off at time-travel speed concocting all these scenarios of what could happen to him.  Fear is creative I guess, that’s my positive spin in this instance.

The understanding is layered and the four elements, although seemingly separate, are really enmeshed together.  

Trust myself.  When a child, protective measures from my parents not allowing me to explore as freely as I desired took root.  How I am with my dog is an extension of that behaviour process I picked up subconsciously.  Let it be known I am not ignorant to the rational of protectiveness, my point is that there is a healthy balance ( not necessarily an easy task either).  If I cannot trust myself how can I trust in general?  Faith is being ok with not being perfect, being ok with the understanding that errors will be made as is true of the converse, successes will be achieved too.

Let go. Trust the process.  I don’t have to have everything workout to my exact plan to achieve a desired outcome.

Breathe.  Observe.  Listen with my heart, see with my heart, feel with my heart.    Give my mind a time out.  Breathe again.

Faith.  Everything will be as it will.  Choosing positive is always better but there are times for sorrow, grief, anger, desire.  Be with those emotions and refrain from judgment, it only creates a mental vicious circle.  When my emotions run rampant, I don’t see clearly, there is a bigger picture and it’s ok to not know how things may be.  

Mustang loves to sniff.  He’s an explorer enjoying the adventure of nasal stimulus.  He prefers being off-leash and goes where the scents lead him, sometimes to my chagrin.  Believe it or not, after my leash trigger ‘aha’ moment,  the expansion challenges of my comfort zone has led to a better bond and subtle improvements in my everyday coping.

The 7 Year Itch part 1 – Gentle
February 18, 2016


This 7 year itch is opposite in meaning to the term coined from a play in the mid-20th century.  The above picture is what we call the ‘happy scratch’.   An itch that provokes Mustang to twist side to side, grunt and snort and pump his legs like he’s riding a bicycle.  It’s a daily ritual. It evokes so much joy and is part of a bond that has only gotten stronger year after year.

I got him as a rescue and it’s our seven year anniversaries.  He hasn’t changed in 7 years. I have. Lucky me.   I’ve tried to describe the impact this dog has had on my life in poems and other posts. It’s beauty that is indescribable and I feel so much in my heart.  In the last year I have learnt much about myself in reflection to his way of being that has helped heal and liberate me more ( liberate to me, means to feel more and not be chained by pre-conditioned behaviour processes, no matter how effective they were as a coping mechanism in the past, that no longer serve me).   What follows in this post and the next couple are a few of the lessons gained that have allowed for a greater knowing of how to ‘self-love‘ among other things.


GENTLE

Imagine having an open wound, doesn’t even have to be fresh. Next, picture hitting it with a hard object.  Yep, it’s going to hurt.  The intensity of pain may vary.  Vulnerability, awakening to the soft underbelly of your being in the beginning, is akin to being covered in open sores, all demanding attention and care.  Some of these sores are past traumatic events, others are resentments and some are just emotions.  These emotions could be in their purist form, as if it’s the first time you’ve experienced them.  Imagine as a child, experiencing strong emotions and not having the slightest idea as to how to cope with them. What if these memories are stored energetically in your being and then at some point in your life, circumstance provides the opportunity to revisit and release, to get to know, feel and be with them?   How best to deal with them now?

Have you ever seen how some people respond to loud, aggressive shouting, even if it’s not directed at them?  They shut down. Protect themselves. Others may shout back, louder.   Rare is the incident where someone responds calmly. If they do, you want to speak to this person, because they may have mastered their emotions and may have a tip or two to share.  I digress.   To make a long story short, there are parts of us, emotions, wounds; whether it’s the first time dealing with them or a repetition, that require us to be gentle with them.  Gentle with ourselves ( the how-to-be gentle with ourselves will be covered later).   Quite simply because all alternatives do not work. We cannot force some things.  I was and still have a tendency at a much lessor frequency, to be thick skulled.  Then a subtle, soft, tender, furry reminder to be gentle appears either wagging his tail or just looking at me and it’s the energy of how he looks that says it all.

Yep a dog taught me this.   More to come on this itch that is being scratched, gently.

Is it possible to be too vulnerable
February 11, 2016

  
The benefits of being in touch with your authentic self are all the rage. And that’s the problem. Rage. Short, unexpected outbursts . Nothing violent but an emotion so raw it catches me by surprise. Where did this come from? Is this really me ? After the work I’ve done to clean house it’s like I’ve done nothing and fly off the handle at petty, repetitive stuff that is not going to go away ( stupid inconsiderate drivers; change my dog’s continual refusal to listen to me on first command and his lolly gagging, take the long, distracted by fifty scents , route back to me when he eventually does respond ). 

Too vulnerable. Unable to absorb. Need protection , nurturing. Spread myself too thin. Trying to get in touch with my heart. Trust God yet I can’t quite feel this energy or I’m really good at blocking it out subconsciously even though I ask for its help and presence.  

Sometimes nurturing involves preservation. Although I’m healing (becoming whole) and learning new things, I have to remember that the process has left me exposed, like an open wound, and I require a gentle approach to dealing with myself. One of sensitive awareness that recognizes what the moment is asking for.

Snow play 
February 9, 2016

  
TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Hard to imagine that over the thousands of years a snowflake has never been duplicated. They all taste the same though, cold! I recently watched a movie where two characters stuck out their tongues in the midst of a snowstorm. I chuckled. Two adult characters behaving like kids. What possesses a kid to do this anyways? To try and catch snowflakes with their tongue? Even if there are multiple reasons, at the end of the day who cares? It’s play. It’s reckless abandon and spontaneous. Living in the moment. Something that we as adults, generally speaking, lose touch of. Myself for sure.  

SNOW SQUALL

This photo says a thousand words not heard but played out in my head and in action, literally, in like ten seconds. This is the second photo. The first one I took, I was way too serious. Trying to take the perfect picture while holding my iPhone with one hand and trying to catch snowflakes simultaneously. I judged myself in the picture and then made the effort to actually relax and try to remember what it was like being a kid. No care in the world other than thinking this is the coolest thing ever. I’m catching these snowflakes that are free falling from those big fluffy clouds all the way down to earth. If these snowflakes came in chocolate I’d never come inside.  

THAW

One of the thoughts going through my head is what would someone think if they saw me? Ironic how it’s acceptable for a kid to do but this isn’t really an adult acceptable action.  
The other thing that went through my head is that this really isn’t fun and I don’t remember what it’s like to be a kid. Then I got sad. How pathetic is that? What’s happened to me?

SNOW ANGELS

Brene Brown, a researcher that has spent some time exploring the concept of vulnerability and wholehearted living, states there are ten attributes of people who live authentically from the heart. Play is one of them. I definitely need more play in my life. Doesn’t mean I’m not authentic or living from the heart but as I’ve gotten older it seems easier to get lost in the worrisome cycle of non-fun dreariness. Thank God for big fluffy snowflakes and the grace to melt a frozen heart to enjoy the majesty of winter.  

Reflection
February 3, 2016

  
This morning I was reminded of something that I had wanted to write about so here it is. We were blessed with a glorious view of the full moon a week ago and on a cloud free evening walking my pup I was reminded of a saying. We were walking through a park, snow covered the ground in this vast open space all around us as we breathed in crisp winter air. In the distance you could see smoke rising from a chimney floating upwards, as if reaching out to embrace the full moon.  
Looking at the ground in front of me all I could see was a dazzling display of glitter. Some sparkles brighter than others, only for a moment because with each step the moonlight was reflected off the snowflakes differently. Incredibly beautiful. It was similar to seeing the brilliance of the sun reflected on the surface of water, all the ripples shining together in a universal choreography. 

Paraphrasing the quote from a fading memory, essentially we all have the same light within. Some of the biggest and possibly hardest lessons, for myself in recent times, are compassion, non-judgment, seek to understand perhaps more so know what sympathy and empathy are. This is not only in regards to and for others, but more importantly, I find for myself. Anything I cannot do or be for myself is hard to share with others.   

Communing with nature always brings peace to my soul even if I can’t grasp the small or large picture. So in this moment nature is the classroom that reminds me of my roots and I am grateful.

Nurture Your Nature
February 2, 2016

  
I’m in the process of launching a new site, nurtureurnature.ca 

It is a site that will be an expression and forum for my twenty years of meditation experience highlighting 

1  Minute Meditations, a video library of nature clips with the aim of instilling serenity

2  Blog, communicating the power of meditation in everyday living

3  Clear Your Mind, my interactive digital guide to meditation available on iTunes

4  Workshops and retreats

Until it’s launched in roughly a month, I will be posting some of its blog content here.  Haven’t been writing much poetry lately but these writings are still a marking of the soul.
Enjoy and may you experience peace and joy today.  If not, manifest it.
Merlin