Jul 23, 2014 - Blog    No Comments

Being Amazing

A number of years ago a great lady came into my life. She has since left and I wish she hadn’t. She not only got me to understand what living a life of integrity was through Landmark Education, she taught me something and I’ve kept it alive ever since: If you can’t show up AMAZING, then don’t show up at all! Yes we all have off days but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be AMAZINGSometimes it takes AMAZING just to show up.

So now that’s the way it works for me. Angela, if you are out there and someone passes this along to you…THANK YOU!

Jul 21, 2014 - Blog, Jewels of Wisdom    No Comments

Are You Stuck?

Are You Stuck?Being a Cancerian true to nature, I really don’t like a lot of change. Being a recovering codependent I also can attest that I have stayed too long when it was time to leave, close up shop, burn the ship!

But because I am recovering I have learned to say good-bye when it’s time. I have learned this lesson.

 

May 28, 2014 - Blog    No Comments

Coming Full Circle

Although forgiveness and love reign, it all had its fallout including a change in career, then health which led to no career and the closing of my consulting firm and disability, financial crisis then near financial disaster and enormous growth spiritually. It feels like I have come full circle back to being single, back to ministry, back to basics, back to my connection with our Higher Power and myself. 

These are the words that I wrote as I was writing an email the other day to two friends. No, I’m not in denial. The last 4 years have been quite the roller coaster ride! You’ve followed me for some of that, only having this blog for the last 14-15 months. But it has been quite a ride indeed. Not always the laughs and screams that come with the highs. But also the stomach wrenching, nerve rattling feelings of those all too quick turns and upside down manoeuvres.

I do feel as though I have come full circle in the most important area of my live; my spirituality. I grew up with a very spiritual mother who was a strong Christian. She wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But then again, if I get it right, the teachings of Jesus don’t tell us to be perfect, but to be perfected. 

I am grateful for those strong roots. Even as I walked away through shunning filled with shame and anger, I always knew it would work out somehow. Over the last few years I have really begun searching again. I’ve never stopped believing in God, or whatever you call him. I’ve always believed that there was a Higher Power. I just haven’t always understood (like most of us) what that looked like or how it played out in my life.

I have also known that there was a plan. But again, I just didn’t know what it was. To be truthful, even with what I think I know now, I actually still know nothing. I’m not sure what today will bring, let alone tomorrow, the next day, next year or the next decade. But I do know that I am part of a plan.

So, full circle, yes. I feel as though having started with a good grounding in things spiritual I have returned to that I know that primarily we are all spiritual beings in human form living a life this way. I have returned to that and have grown tremendously in that.

I was 21 when I entered seminary. I had just over ten years in ministry before resigning very disillusioned. I then went into lay ministry and became even more disillusioned. Then came a long ride. Now as I work in the funeral industry, study to be certified as a Life Cycle Celebrant and have already started “ministering” by conducting funerals, memorials, celebration of life ceremonies I feel I have returned to ministry. But this time with more wisdom and insight into life and my life in particular; in spirituality and all things Spirit.

Full CircleMY TRUTH: Seeing this cycle, or full circle gives me faith that there is a bright future ahead.

May 23, 2014 - Blog    No Comments

Trust the Process!

Trust the ProcessDo you get tired of hearing people saying,

“Trust the process.” Or, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Or, “This too shall pass” (to which I always want to add, like an bad bowel movement!!!

But the fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t be where you are right now doing what you are doing right now with the resources you have right now had you not gone through the process of getting what you needed and learning to do what you’re doing and reside where you doing your life.

I know, I know, it seems all so…pontifical! (Now follow THIS LINK to get the meaning – go on!) And depending on who says it and when they say it and how they say it, it can be very pretentious, I agree. And I’ve had people do it. Heck! I’ve done it myself when I was feeling helpless and felt I needed to say something!

Like Forrest Gump said, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” It’s true. You really have no idea what’s around the next corner. To which I say, Thank God!!!

For me I know beyond any shadow of doubt that I would not be here right now, doing anything for that matter, had I not gone through the series of what seemed at the times like disasters, but were actually lessons and steps (means to an end).

I realized this morning that this is the fourth summer that I have been single…actually I said out loud at the time “free”. And I was actually excited about that. But four summers ago as I began the journey of leaving an abusive, broken relationship I WAS NOT excited. I was terrified. I was devastated. I was spinning! I felt like my world was ending. I felt hopeless about any type of future. I felt like I was not just losing the love of my life, but losing my entire life. I’m sure you’ve had that same feeling, and probably more than once.

After that process started I found a place. A lovely little suite in a nearby town. I settled in, albeit in the deepest grief I’ve ever known. Then came the step of financial stress of starting over. Then came the next step of legal separation and then divorce. Then came the step of finding new contracts to support myself. Then came the step of going through my first dark (in more ways than one on the wet coast) winter. Then came the first time I would travel abroad alone. Then came the first Christmas. Then came the next step of my grief an emotional break. Then came the next step, loss of income due to lack of work. Then came the next step of finding a new contract. Then my second big vacation. Then winter again. Then a complete failure of my health from all the stress. Then recovery. Then the best work I’ve ever done. Then a hint of direction for my life again. Then financial disaster. Then recovery.

I’m sure I missed a ton of events, steps and lessons. But you get the picture. Not to hear, “Awwww, poor James!” If you do that to my face I might just laugh at you. Why? Because I know that this whole process has brought me to this moment. Have I always trusted the process? Certainly not! Have I always had faith? Well in some fashion, probably yes, or I wouldn’t be here…yet. Have I fought the process? Yes, at times. Have I liked the process? What are you crazy? No! Am I grateful for the process? Y.E.S.

Alchemist QuoteMY TRUTH: Trust the process. It has been a constant theme in my life these last four years; beginning with the word I had saying that my life would look completely different in 3 – 5 years. That was four years ago last month. And boy, does it ever!!! I hope I am learning to trust the process easier. I hope that I am learning to be gracious and kind to myself when the tough times hit. I KNOW without a doubt, I have grown. Thank you to the Universe for conspiring to help me achieve it. (The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho)

May 19, 2014 - Blog    No Comments

Grief is About Letting Go…

candelhead-560x250Grief is about letting go.

Grief. It comes to all of us…sooner or later. Grieving. We all will have to grieve someone or something…sooner or later.

Yesterday (Saturday), I conducted the memorial service for the husband of a friend. It was only six months ago that I sat at their table planning a similar service for her brother-in-law. And she has had another death to grieve as well. It was the first service in many, many years that I found myself quaking, not from nerves, but in sharing the grief with all attending. It was the first time that I can remember that when I walked out of the chapel I had to make a quick exit to gain back my own composure.

Grief is about letting go.

Last night, my daughter, Sarah, walked into the living room and howled that her friend, Ryan, had been struck by a truck and killed during the day. He was only just starting his life. He had just moved hundred of kilometres away from his family and his girlfriend, to work in Alberta and earn some good income. As she left to go and be with her friends I found myself once again losing that composure.

Grief is about letting go.

This week I realized two of my own dreams were gone. One I have shared already on Wednesday, Bankruptcy? Insolvency? So Weary…The second ‘loss’ was that of a future I thought was working its way out. The loss of faith in friends I thought I had made; trust gained, but not.

Grief is about letting go.

It’s not been the brightest of weeks. Nope! With regards to Wednesday’s blog, I will NOT be going into bankruptcy. That is good news. I will be doing the consumer proposal I was hoping for. But it will be about another 50 days before I know for sure that my creditors accept my proposal. My Trustee feels quite positive. But it marks a new walk of grief for me, the loss of my credit for a time to come. I have struggled with this process because for me it’s a thing of integrity. But I keep reminding myself integrity is not only about honesty or truth. It’s also about admitting our weakness and working to clean up any collateral damage.

With regards to the loss of faith in friends, I have adopted the philosophy in recent years, that friends are like the tides, they ebb and flow. If the tides pulls out too far then all changes. If it is only a partial tide, then hopefully something will return to normal, whatever normal is! But no matter what the tide does, the seascape changes…forever. Sometimes for the best, sometimes it seems not.

I have also grown in the last few years to know with certainty that even when times seem perplexing, it will pass.

For my friend, she entered into a grief process a few weeks ago when she found out that her beloved had terminal cancer. But her grief journey has only really begun. The one good thing in it all is that she is surrounded by such wonderful people who are there for her and will continue to be there for her.

For my daughter, her friends, his family, grief is just beginning. That sickness of stomach, heaviness of spirit, pain of loss that causes an instant vacuum for a time. For her, the death and loss of yet another friend so young takes away more of that innocence of youth.

My hope and prayer for all of us is that as the tide comes back in, again and again, and until some semblance of the pain is gone, that we all will not become more jaded or that much more cynical of life, of the Universe.

Grief is about letting go.

It seems for me that the last four years has been a constant letting go.

For my daughter it seems so unfair and is hard for this Dad, that her life, so young, has to be punctuated with this and other grief these days.

For her friend’s parents it seems that this letting go is so unnatural because no parent is supposed to outlive their child.

For my friend it seems that she had to let go all too soon, all too quickly, all so inexplicably, almost unnecessarily from what I understand.

Grief is about letting go.

My Truth: Yes, grief is about letting go. But when it seems as though there is so little to hold on to, when does receiving again start? I know it will for I have learned this in my 50 years. Grief: Denial, Anger,Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. If you are grieving someone or something today, take a look at where in this cycle you are. Allow yourself to be there. Allow yourself to progress (not necessarily in that order). Be kind; be gentle…to yourself. You deserve it.

May 17, 2014 - Blog, Jewels of Wisdom    No Comments

In The Stillness…

This reminds me of the story of Elijah, the Prophet. He was in great distress and ran to a cave on Mount Horeb. While he was pleading with Yahweh for answers to his situation, Yahweh told him to go out to the mouth of the cave and wait for him. Elijah was sent a great wind, an earthquake and a raging fire. But God was not in any of them.

Then came a whisper. In that whisper was the voice of God. And in that moment, for the first time Elijah reacted by pulling his cloak over his face for protection or perhaps in shame. We really aren’t told. And that doesn’t really matter. The point here was that Elijah expected God to be in the HUGENESS of anything, not in the quietness of a whisper.

The Mystic/Poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi lived in the early 1200′s. The words in this jewel echo Elijah’s story found in the Bible in I Kings, chapter 19. Elijah is dated around the 9th century B.C., some 2000 years before Rumi. It is quite possible that Rumi had access to some of the early manuscripts that would later become the Old Testament of today’s Bible as he is thought to have practiced Islam who share many of the same prophets in the Holy Qur’an.

Whatever you name “God”, whether that is Goddess, Christ, Holy Spirit, Father, Abba, Universe, Higher Power, Higher Self, Creator, Holy One, Allah, Brahman, or just “Hey you! Are you listening?”, it matters not. However BIG you see that Force, know that he/she is as small as the smallest atom.liturgical-space-022

I have always been gobsmacked by the surprising way that this wonderful Being interrupts my life. I have had rough periods. I have had horrible periods. I have had sorrow. I have had joy. Like Elijah, when I seek his wonder in the BIG, she always surprises me with not being there at all; but in the small, still, quietness.

Have you had the experience of walking into a giant architectural marvel called a cathedral and just sat in silence and felt with assurance that you were not alone? Have you ever had that same experience just sitting by a quiet lake or stream? Have you had it whilst jumping up and down frantically, screaming in stress? Or when the TV or audio device was blasting your eardrums? I know my experience is that it is usually (and I’m being very cautious with the word usually, because it is almost always actually) when I take the time to be quiet and shut out the noise of the world and calm my inner noise as well that it is then that I find the answer I am looking for. There is always an answer. Again in my experience it is yes, no or wait. But there is always an answer. I just have to listen. Or as I wrote in a series you will find in the Archives, Practice The Presence.

May 14, 2014 - Blog    No Comments

Bankruptcy? Insolvency? So Weary…

End of the RopeWell, I have said that this blog is about the roller coaster of life. And I’ve promised myself and my readers honesty. So here it is. I have come to the end of my rope and don’t even have enough left to tie a knot. I’ve been down this road before.In 2000 my ex-wife and I filed for bankruptcy because of British Columbia’s Leaky Condo Syndrome. We lost everything. We only had about $3,000 worth of credit card debt at the time. It was our inability to keep up with all the extra costs associated with the condo crisis. They wanted a couple of thousand here and a few thousand there and because it was such a crisis in the province even our bank wouldn’t help. In retrospect we should never have gone bankrupt. I found out since that we could have just let the house be repossessed and kept on living. It was a degrading time in my life. I hated every moment, every piece of paperwork, every court date. To boot it was even used against me in my recent divorce by my ex-husband! So as you can well imagine I have fought long and hard these last 2 years to beat this. But I’ve lost the battle. And I’m angry, sad, pissed off, depressed.

Tomorrow I go see a Trustee tomorrow. Back at the start of March I started talking to a Consultant about something called a Consumer Proposal. This would take the form of negotiating with my creditors and paying out only part of my debt owing to them over a period of several months. It would end the constant calls and letters. It would allow me to live within my means and still pay something. He made such promises! But because he took so gosh darn long I fired him last week. He told me to stop paying the bills, which I did, two months ago. Last month I had to pay out over $300 in NSF charges because he still had done nothing at the end of two months. And he was going to charge me $2000 over and above, to do it too. I found out this week that the proper way of doing this is to include his fee in what would become my monthly payment. But that’s what happens when you go with a for-profit agency.

I’m still hoping to go the route of a Consumer Proposal to be honest. I will be seeing a legit firm tomorrow. The reasons for NOT going into bankruptcy a second time are simple. It would mean I could lose my car, which I can pay for, and need because of my health issues and living in a rural town miles away from my doctor and clients. It would also mean that I would carry this mess for up to 14 years because it is the second time. I would be retirement age then! To be honest, I just don’t know if I can face it. So I’m hoping, praying, begging…

The burden of debtI could blame the mess on a myriad of things. A very expensive and horrible divorce. A failed business. Failing health. Un and under – employment for the last 2.5 years. Using one creditor to pay the other. And some unwise use of credit. I used my credit to get through the divorce. I used it prior to prop up our finances as his business started to languish due to his addictions. I used it to get through the dry periods since. But when it comes down to it, it is totally my responsibility. It is MY credit. I signed it away. I could have said NO! And because I am who I am I accept that responsibility. And as such I want to pay my debts. I want to work. want to be healthy. I want financial stability. And yes I’m aware of the Universal “rule” using want and not desire or intend. But I’ve done all that too!

So I am angry at myself. I am angry with the Universe/God/whatever you use. I am scared and sad. I feel as though the last three years of my life has consisted of one major crisis after another major crisis. I keep asking, “What am I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve so much pain?”

I have read over and over again in the blogs that I follow, and other reading, be grateful for what you DO have. I am grateful. I am even grateful for the debts because I have learned some really important lessons. But gratitude isn’t moving anything forward.

upside down on rollercoasterDeep down I know it will pass. Deep down I know I’ll be fine. But I’m tired of just fine to be honest. I’m tired of just scraping by. I’m tired of ill health, lack of financial stability, loneliness. I’m just tired…all the time it seems! I’m tired of hanging upside down on this ride!

So there you have it. That’s MY TRUTH as it stands today, this week, perhaps for the next while!

So why do I share this? Well, because I did promise to be honest with this blog. And of late, writing has been a burden because of this weight I’m carrying. My Mum used to share a burden shared is a burden halved. Maybe…

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