Anniversaries … Rites of Passage

Two years ago January 29 I took my last drink. I did not know it would be my last because I had taken what I thought was a last drink many times. This time, on January 29th 2018, did turn out to be my last. So I am celebrating every day that I chose to make that drink my last.

A few weeks ago I had my last bowl of ice cream. I did not know it would be my last because I had taken what I thought was my last bowl of ice cream many times. This time, a few weeks ago, did turn out to be my last. So I am celebrating every day that I chose to eat my last bowl of ice cream.

Some may laugh at these two paragraphs, however I am serious. Will I drink alcohol again, not likely, will I eat sweets and ice cream again, most likely. The point of this comparison is that the need to eat ice cream and the breaking of the habit is completely linked to the drinking of alcohol. The difference is once I had done it once I can repeat it over and over again.

These two substances both fill the gap left by loneliness. I would feel I deserved a glass of wine and once it was gone I would fill that gap with ice cream. I would eat 2 L. of ice cream over a couple of nights. I started out eating a bowl, then one bowl was not enough, so I would take a scoop or two more, creating a second bowl. Then two was not enough so a third bowl was introduced… and the gap would never be filled, of course, but my sick feeling from eating ice cream would then overshadow my loneliness hole, I would have something else to think about.

Letting go of ice cream was just as difficult as letting go of alcohol because I had to face the loneliness gap in my life. That is the hardest thing to do.

What are you doing habitually to avoid facing your own fears?
What is making you sick emotionally by calling on substance to fix it?
What if I could help you face your fears, tread on your shaky road, walk through the fire to find the cold water stream to bask in and heal your heart.

Taking your last drink, eating your last chocolate bar, losing your temper for the last time is always just a look in the mirror away. You can do it … Ask me, I know, because I have done it too!

Empty your cup and fold your hands as your reach into your own soul cross that bridge over troubled water …. soul help, that is what I do … I am a soul companion and spiritual search guide.

Testing my own bias!

The burning bush …

This is known as the burning bush … it is the symbol of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and is a beautiful representation of fall being upon us here in SouthWestern Ontario. Firey red leaves, crimson with colour and stays that way well into the snowy days ahead. I have been watching these bushes of late as they alway remind me of my passion and love for the PCC and my time discerning with them, most ‘specially with the little church in the fields where I served for over two years as their student minister. It is where I did much growing and changing and fighting and struggling. It is where I was tossed into chaos and learned to trust in the now and simply be present to all that is in our day to day lives. It is where I cut my teeth on the ring of personal growth, my own obstinance, arrogance and opinion. The place where the divine forces placed me to simply blossom.

This burning bush today caught my eye as I was walking to an appointment in the cool fall afternoon. Blowing in the breezes and simply glowing with energy. The burning bush, a place of warmth if I am to step up close enough and bask in the glory. This burning bush reminded me of Moses standing on sacred ground asking into the firey throes of energy … “who shall I say sent me?” … “what is your name?” According to Exodus God says, “I AM as I AM”. God is asking Moses to go and bring the people to freedom, lead them out of their peril, show them the way … bring them to the foot of the mountain .. and Moses’ mouth drops open … who ME? Many look into the face of the divine and say “who me?” and wonder can they make a difference in the world. I ask that question every day and am humbled at the chances I am given to grow and learn while standing in front of I AM.

Today I met with a young journalist who is writing a story. We talked for over two hours about religiosity, faithfulness, “God”, doctrines and humanity. We talked about the future, the past, where religions are going, Christianity, Islam, politics and religion and how we both believe love and kindness are the beginning for all relationship and community. As we were sitting in my car finishing up the interview, a young black man stepped up to the passenger side window. I looked past the young woman journalist, past her hijab, through the window. She turned and looked into this young man’s black face. He rapped on the window. I put the window down a few inches and he said, “Are you my UBER driver? I just called an UBER.” I said, “no, I am not on the clock today” and just as that another car like mine, similar in colour with an UBER sticker in the window, like mine, pulled up and the young man ran to the car and got in. I stopped still in my seat. I asked my companion what her thoughts were and we both paused in the moment. I was ashamed …

Why was I ashamed? Because my first initial thought was fear based and immediately raced to a place I am ashamed to admit. So ashamed I am blogging about it so I can call out others who still have bias in their hearts that is so deeply engrained that even though my immediate, second thought was of kindness and openness, my first was out of fear. Why, oh why, I painfully lament to myself did I go there? Would I have felt the same fear if it was a white girl? white boy? black girl? I honestly don’t know. I have no excuse I only have learnings. I did open the window. I did invite his question. We did laugh together when he saw his UBER however I am still ashamed for my immediate reaction. It will be my burning bush moment for a while to come.

Should the divine call me to the precipice and ask me to go and bring the people I would ask forgiveness for this moment before I could ever help anyone else. In this moment of learning I have great compassion for our entrenched bias that is infused so deeply. I learned today to always have empathy, love and compassion for any bias and always leave room for learnings.

I stood at the bush today and gave thanks, thanks for lessons learned every day, all day and every way and all ways … no one is perfect or exempt, that said, the forces that make the beautiful burning bush expects me to be the best, challenge myself, and take these learnings to heart.

Bloomin’ time….

Is there anything more joyfilled than a sunflower? As I discovered the work of my mantra this morning these greeted me across the street and on my first steps.

What is my mantra today? Well it started last night. I went to bed thinking simply “get up and run” nothing more nothing less. I have been struggling with getting out there. I love it once I go, I am passionate about taking the steps, and I want to participate in the 1/2 marathon in Toronto in October. I cannot do that, in fairness to my body, without training and healthy consistency. So I consistently work on positive thinking and in the moment encouragement. Today, if I can simply go running for 30 minutes, or 5 minutes, either way I have just done it.

So often it is getting going, getting started, making a move, shakin’ a leg, testing the waters, setting aside the apathy and simply doing it …. that makes the difference. Last night I put bananas on my Rolo ice cream … putting some nutrition in there … its a start!

What is the sunflower in your life today? As you bloom and blossom are there petals still stuck that haven’t quite got with the bloomin’ fullness yet? I am sure there are and all I can say is enjoy the process… because at one point or another in your life some plans are buds, some are partially open and some are in full bloom and others are dying off making room for new growth.

The best I can say comes to mind in the words of Eliza Doolittle, from My Fair Lady, “Moove your bloomin’ arse …” and get your mantra in place!

Blessings on an incredible day!

My passion for hospice

No one can see the future and in all honesty really does not need to see the future. We are born, we live and then we die. As I remember the first two-thirds of my life I am so very thankful for all the learnings and the challenges I have faced. I held on to so many ideas, thoughts and cultural infusions only to discover once I opened my hands and let it all go that is all they were; ideas, thoughts and cultural ideas.

It is now I stand in my own beautiful place in this world and reach out to help others find this beautiful place for themselves. This beautiful place is only where you choose to find it. The old saying, you find what you lost in the last place you look! The last place you look is sacred because you will find yourself. The lost parts that have all come together; it is only a question of when do you choose to find yourself … sooner or later?

I am a life celebrant and offer spiritual services to families looking to build a bridge with death and find ways of grieving, bereaving and in a heartfelt way celebrating the lives of those who have transitioned on to the next journey. Sadness will be present and the losses can be great, yet in this is the celebration of the soul that has moved on to a higher plain.

Through a beautiful ceremony, peace can be found and love sought in death. Contact me should you be looking to grieve in a healthy way, say good-bye to a loved one in a spiritual service or simply celebrate loss in your life.