Aging

I have been thinking about the process of aging and particularly how life as an older adult is not as explored or contemplated as much as other aspects of our life in general and also in the media, and how I might explore what aging means to me and what can it be like. So when I found this, I was excited and relieved that it’s, ‘out there’ more, and I thought I’d share this with you all. http://www.photosensitive.com/aging/

aging

Showcased at Union Station there are photographs with commentary called, “Aging”; aging in society today and how older adults are treated and active in mostly Canadian culture.   I had also been thinking more about aging for myself, and for my family members.  The commentary is touching, informative with a few surprising pieces of information.   You’ll have to click on the picture for the short write-up.  They touch on the joys of love, service, art, physical fitness, family and community and struggles of aging in general from health, to independence, to aging in Canada, as a Canadian War Vet, or as a newcomer older adult to Canada, and also on an older adult tradition in an Inuit culture.

I feel it is important to our health and wellbeing to open up to our feelings about aging and engage more often in conversation about the different stages of life, more specifically with older age.  What are your feelings on what it means to live life in your 70’s, 80’s, 90’s…What do you expect?  What do you hope?  What do you fear?

What is your relationship to aging?

Sometimes I hear people speak of older adults as though they were a different species and it bothers me. Sometimes I hear younger adults speak of older adults as though us younger adults know what it’s all about.  Too often young adults speak in a patronizing or condescending way as though we are were never going to be 90, like that is not us, or our potential; where the word, ‘they’ is used like there isn’t a child version of yourself inside of you, nor an older woman or man within.  ‘They’, like they are nothing like you.

I hope to be an older adult one day.

I have also been exploring my feelings on death and dying.  I have completed Hospice Volunteer Training for Complimentary Therapy work (Reiki) for end of life patients who are terminal.  I learned more on the process of death for the dying and also for their family and loved ones.  Spending time with people in this stage of life has been a gift; being part of someone’s intimate, vulnerable and strong moments.  It is bringing more meaning and depth to my life experience and to my personal relationship with death and how I live.  I know a number of you have been more recently affected by aging or death in your family, and the changes that occur inside yourselves and within your family dynamic.

What is your relationship with death?

I believe part of the hush-hush or tentativeness or flat-out fear of exploring our relationship to aging is because it makes us feel into deaths of different kinds and most definitely into a space of unknowns.

I hope a conversation and exploration of the later stages of life and of death is enriching and helpful for you in some way as it has so far been meaningful for me.  I have fears of what I will feel or look like what I will or won’t be able to do.  I have hopes of a healthy, active, rich, happy and meaningful life at every age for myself and everyone.  I feel it is important to explore our relationship to aging and to death, if not for yourself, then for others who need your understanding and empathy.

The Beauty in Repetition

Dahlia_In_Full_Bloom

If you’ve been working on or with something, trying to figure something out, change something, implement something, know something, let go of something, realize something, wanting or trying something……. stay curious and let go of control.  Be patient and steady.  You NEVER know when something in you may shift giving way to great release and great creative movement. Radhe Shyam. It’s not always the case that we need to hear something new and profound to create a shift.  Sometimes we just need to give what we already know, a try, over and over and over again.  I’m talking about repeating mental, emotional, spiritual or physical techniques/ideas/practices/actions that encourage you to become present through creative inquiry and self expression, that supports your soul’s desires and gifts, that moves you forward in your life’s endeavors.  And here’s the mind f*** that I keep tripping over, again and again: It doesn’t have to be a complicated action. Ie, it can be simple.

My personal experience as an example: From the inspiration of Yogi Vishvketu, I’ve decided to practice a combination of yoga asana, pranayama, or mantra daily. Every. Single. Day.  And I have since July of this year.  Before then, my practice was a few times a week.  I wanted to continue to feel healthy and healthier in all ways, particularly with reoccurring back discomfort, mental fatigue and certain belief systems I knew were outdated, but hadn’t yet updated my internal patterning.

Daily my attention shifted between just feeling my body and enjoying it, to contemplating life in general, to how I can create this that and the other, my muscle coordination, the way I moved… it was an array of things I considered and observed.  My point being, my attention shifted day to day, but I did yoga everyday in an exploratory way and played with what was happening in the moment.  I began to peel away old tissue holding patterns in my body and created space and built strength and I honestly haven’t felt my back this open and easy this consistently, in years.  I also began to have more frequent and spontaneous mini and big realizations about how I treat this person, how I react to that, how I’ve been holding my body in Downward Dog, which I’ve done a bazaillion times before, how to remain curious in the uncomfortable, what I really enjoyed about my body, I realized where particular thoughts stemmed from, how to ground to earth energy faster than I thought I could and for extended periods of time, intuitive message kept popping up… I could go on and on.  I would giggle sometimes as the random brief clarity I felt with things at random times in the day. Keep in mind, I am human and still have yucky moments or yucky days.

The main thing I consciously did differently to help me feel presence, (and then all the stuff that was happening because of it), was yoga based practices that involved my body, breath and sound, and I did it everyday.  I didn’t do one amazing new technique.  I tried something I already knew, and I did it everyday, sometimes more than once a day.  It is so simple. I’m not trying to convince you to do yoga, I’m using my personal experience of what it was like to repeat something everyday.  There are other things I repeat daily, though I’m focusing on yoga practice at the moment. What are you repeating EVERYDAY? Whatever you are doing everyday, is what you are feeding into. What are you feeding into?  What practices do you repeat everyday?  What foods do you eat everyday?  Who do you spend time with everyday?  What do you think about everyday?  What do you worry about everyday?  What music do you listen to everyday?  How do you breathe everyday?

What do you want to nourish in your life, crap?  Do you want to nourish crap? Because you will if you live by default instead of on purpose.  Do what you know you can do.  Try what you know you can try.  If you don’t know what you know, or don’t know what to try, if you have no idea where to start, speak with someone you trust, and get the ball rolling.

Here is what’s confusing: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The difference is having enough awareness, clarity and inner guidance to know when the ‘thing’ you are doing is worth repeating to extract the nectar from it or to stop it because it’s just not helping.

Something worth repeating contributes to you feeling more alive or present.  This may include experiencing ‘good’ feelings of love and gratitude but feeling alive and present may also bring up ‘bad’ feelings of fear and shame etc, because to feel them, if they are present, helps you to feel more connected to yourself because it is in your reality; rather than ignoring or pretending something isn’t there.  To ignore is similar to feeling half alive because you would be restricting your connection to life force. Being present doesn’t always feel like sunshine and roses.  But when it does, as it will, enjoy.

Something not worth repeating contributes to you ignoring reality.  I’ve posted about this briefly before but it’s worth mentioning here, that even temporary distraction from something that is challenging for you has it’s place in the growth and healing process and is not the same as the kind of fundamental ignoring I’m talking about here. Some techniques or actions to become present to ourselves and our experience, present to others and their experience and present to the environment, even present with the cosmos, have to be repeated consciously until a shift can be made with the way we fundamentally function and perceive.  For example, you doubt that you can be in a loving partnership and may be opening up to the part of you that knows you are beautiful and worthy of a loving relationship, so you make affirmations everyday or see friends or animals whom you love and love you, or go for a walk daily, or sit quietly with your hands on your heart or play your electric guitar with the amp on high everyday or go mountain biking or whatever techniques that resonates with you that makes you feel connected, and at some point your true nature begins to unfold through you because you’ve removed energy that was blocking it, as it was already part of you to begin with. Then it doesn’t become something you are ‘working on’, or practicing, it is now part of the active realized background of your energetic foundation that shapes your experience of being a beautiful person worthy of a loving relationship; which was helped by repeating something that brought you into a place of connection with yourself.

We never really know how transformation will finally unfold, so we practice being in connection. It is worth really getting to know a practice or repetitive action and your response within it, and giving it a good try to see how it compounds on itself and to see how it unfolds you or not. Sometimes it’s not the action itself that is so worthwhile on it’s own, it’s the act of repeating it that makes it meaningful at all.

More examples: doing yoga once pales in comparison to the effects of doing it 1000 times.  Being kind to one person once in 10 years creates a different life than being kind to people everyday.  Eating vegetables once a week for years creates a different life than eating vegetables twice a day for years, washing your hair a few times a week creates a different experience than washing it a few times a year etc…  You can repeat the most seemingly simple, uninteresting, banal things and have it dramatically and directly shape your life.  It is it’s repetition that gives it great power and influence in your life. Practice teachings or actions that resonate with your truth barometer, that work with your Creative Life Force, that resonate with you in an expression you understand, and use them!  Do them.  Then do them.  And then after that, do them.

With the wisdom of your expanding consciousness you will make adjustments to your pattern of practice and re-plan as you see innately wise, but you still practice. To be alive is to be in practice.  Life is a process of practicing and repeating.

There is great truth in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s about:
abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah 1:12.  Consistent effort and non attachment will help calm the patternings of consciousness. Being able to be with yourself in a mindful way instead of a robotic mind-full way is eased through consistent practice and non attachment.
Sthira Sukkham Asanam 2:46 – Cultivate steadiness and ease in a pose.

Sit steadily in your own self, and be comfortable to sit in the uncomfortable should it arise and sit in ease should it arise.  Sit steadily, with whatever you are in and repeat practices or actions every single day that allow you to become more intimate with your experiences.

It is in the presence of intimacy that we are able to become less attached to our goals and it is this letting go of them that allows us to move forward to them and through the sheer magnitude of the brilliance of being connected to the flow of life; this sounds like a grand sentence but what propels it’s realization are the little things you do every day, and then the day after that… drawn from the tremendous effort of the human will to consistently practice.

Divine wisdom intuiting effortlessly through a Robin.

File:Robin eggs flying in 3 weeks - by Volkan Yuksel.jpg

I’ve been lucky enough to have a Robin’s nest right outside my living room window where I could perch from my love seat and happily observe.  I started watching about a week ago.

Initially there was much egg sitting and I began to notice the nest.  It is a miracle that birds can make a nest.  They use their beak (i.e. with no opposing beaks or thumbs) to randomly find throughout the city, twigs and twig like things to put into a tree.  It starts with a spot in a tree where many small branches intersect, and then they put their first bunch of twigs in with only their beak, in a tree top, with the wind and the elements, and hope it stays.  They do this for 2-6 days and gather mud with their beaks and shape the nest with their belly!  Apparently, no birds have ever been seen teaching each other how to do this; they just know.  I only noticed the nest once it was fully formed.  I truly doubt that I could make a birds nest half as good as a little robin does.  Amazing.

I’ve watched the mother bird sit on her eggs, then come and go the entire day with the help of her man robin friend, feed the 3 little chicks.  Always observing, a 4th little head began to stick out.  For about a week the little chicks would hear the chirp of their mother or father, and eagerly rise up heads barely out of the nest ravenous for food.

Within a week, they grew much in size, their feathers were changing and just 2 days ago, they began to flap their wings and sit either on each other or on the nest’s edge.

Then yesterday I saw a baby chick out of the nest on a nearby branch!  I was so excited for it!   All the bird had known was the shaded confines of the tiny nest and the closeness of it’s siblings, and then away it goes!  It was literally stretching it’s wings for a while; so neat.  Animals stretch often naturally.  I watched it try to fly to a nearby branch and it missed as my heart sank.  I walked outside to see if it was okay, and it wasn’t there.  It must be fine as I hoped, to hop or fly somewhere else so quickly.

This morning, the nest was clearly empty.  And just like that, all of the babies had flown from the nest.  I was sad to see them gone from the view of my window but happy they were starting their life adventure.  Then one of the babies flew onto a branch in a new tree, was chirping away as the father came by and fed it still.  It’s flight capabilities had much improved only from yesterday.   Magic!

We could learn so much about our lives and what we value simply by observing nature.  I highly recommend it.  It’s incredible to see the innate wisdom of Robins take care of themselves, build nests, and take care of babies.  This is divine wisdom intuiting effortlessly through a Robin.

I Wikipedia-ed the American Robin and here are some interesting facts:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Robin

~The female bird alone builds the nest and incubates them.
~The male helps protect and feed as does the female.
~They hatch after 14 days, and fly out 14 days later.
~Waste accumulation does not occur in the nest because adults collect and take it away. (Which I was wondering about)
~The nest takes 2-6 days to build with hundreds of trips to and from the nest.

Click here to see just what goes on in building a nest.  Amazing stuff!  http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/BuildNest.html

Seed of the Soul

CrackFirst, in the earth as a seed, there is darkness and soil, it is safe and solid.   To be a seed is to already have the desire within to grow and bloom and I knew this was coming.  To grow roots would be to venture further into the earth and harness more support through softening our shell; this too is still familiar ground.  Now to stem out of the earth is a feat for sure.  To experience the air and sun in ways we hadn’t yet, more exposed than before, yet not fully open. Still protected, still safe.

Maybe I’ll grow more roots and be satisfied with that.  Maybe I will grow a longer stem and that will be enough.  Maybe I will spend more time getting to know the ways of the wind and sun, water and life around me, watching and observing, maybe that’s all I’ll need.

“And then the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  ~Anais Nin

This moment, with equal passion and dread I’ve anticipated.  Now, there is no turning back.  I think I like that.  And so, with much nourishment from all the elements and love around me, I let go.  There is so much light that comes pouring in, and out even from the smallest crack.  The moment when a bud makes its first cracks of opening, is a whole new world; finally to expose the soft tender petals that is at the heart of the flower; the seed of the soul.

Our soft colourful petals are opening and exposing ever more.  Evolving to be even more delicate than we once were, yet even more beautiful than ever. Therein lies our strength.  We are unique flowers as we are forever blossoming, forever unfolding.  I feel like once we do so and realize how exhilarating it is to open up to the fullness of who we are, we will be grateful that it is our nature and joy; to live and grow and share our colour with the world, for the sake of being alive.

January Newsletter

January Newsletter
What if it was easier than you thought to live the life you’ve been feeling in your heart? 

What if the spiritual practices, self talk, motivational inspirational quotes were practical to apply to your life?  What if they were very tangible, sensible, down to earth and functional?  I think they are.  It’s part of my passion to share what I’ve learned about internal awakening and be part of others internal awakening and potential.  Do you think you or other people hold you back?  If you feel like you are stuck, look within.  It’s MUCH more helpful than faulting others.

Start living the life you dream; what else would you be doing?

Go Big or Go Home! Dream….Without Holding Back!

Josephine Wall - Rainbowgirl 2 (2)What if right now you could sit here and let yourself think, feel and dream of your wishes without any holding back at all?  What if right now you could dream with complete freedom and exploration?

Breathe into your heart space and simply let it expand.  Let this be where you let yourself dream.  Your heart can see the likelihood of possibilities that your mind may not.

No more living small.  Expand into your heart and let your physical movements, words and actions express your creative potential.  You create what you can imagine and dream.  Go big or go home!

Tis the New Year which gets us thinking about newness in our lives and thus letting go of the old and what we want to do and create next and this is great!   It’s even better to ponder this more than once a year.  Every morning for a few moments before you open your eyes, set your intentions and energy for the day.  Keep it simple and sincere.

Everything about us is a constant cycle of old and new, death and birth; even right down to our cells which are dying and being born every day.  Most obvious is our breath with the new fresh oxygen on the inhale and the carbon dioxide on the exhale.  It is in our nature to be of the old and new forever transitioning.

It is in your nature to let go of what is no longer serving you and embrace the new that is ready for you to ignite it.

It feels challenging when we resist what is ready to be let go and embrace what is ready to activate.

What do you want to create this year?  Let yourself feel completely into what your dreams are.  You can meditate, tell a friend or (what I’ll focus on in this blog) write without holding back at all!  Let yourself feel fully your desires and gifts, feelings and thoughts.

If you find it challenging to truly let yourself dream, you are holding yourself back.  You can practice this next exercise if you feel blocked, stuck or small when you try to dream.

When practicing Automatic Writing or writing in a journal, people including myself may try to write honestly without filtering words, but sometimes find a part of ourselves that won’t let us be completely honest.  We may hold back on writing words that we think we shouldn’t because they sound mean or selfish or not how we think they should sound because that is not who we want to sound like or because they make us feel afraid to admit that we feel a certain way and then what it would mean if we admit it we feel that way… Let that go.  If you are going to let yourself feel fully into your desires for yourself, others and the world, be honest.   Part of this process is to practice letting yourself write without any filters, no matter how you sound, if it sounds mean, selfish, amazing or whatever!!!

The point of this exercise is to help you remove filters that inhibit your expansion as a person.  What you are writing here doesn’t define you, this is more of a purging to let go of what is getting in your way before you dream.

Take 10 to 30 minutes to purge write.  Then either through writing or through meditation, play, an activity, let yourself dream and feel it.  That’s it!  Posted in a previous post:  https://karenmckinnon.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/how-to-create-and-see-manifestation-tools-for-yourself-you-are-an-active-force-in-your-life/  I talk more about a practical approach to the creation process that works in conjunction with dreaming.

Day Dream everyday for 10 minutes or more.  We owe it to ourselves to let ourselves feel unlimited and then create from that space of possibility, wonder and magic.  It’s fun!   : )  Experiment with your life.  Live your life.  What else are you going to do?

Run, Jump, Soar!

soar

My New Metaphor for Living Life:
“Run full force towards the edge of a cliff and jump, wildly screaming and laughing!”

This new metaphor was fueled by a conversation about the imminence of everyone’s death and thus mine.  My friend said, “I am dying every day so I have to live like it!”  I felt deeper into the meaning of having a limited time on earth which made the metaphorical ‘run full force to the edge of a cliff and jump off’, make ABSOLUTE SENSE.  Why wouldn’t we live life so fully and passionately?  How else could we possibly live that makes more sense than this?

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“Leap and the net will appear.”  Was one of my favourite quotes for many years.  At one time it sounded very liberating, daring and brave, but gentle enough for the time that I needed it.  Now gentleness in living life needs a modification for me with more fire!

I’ve come to resonate with the New Metaphor for living life at this time.  I love it’s fierceness and punch, it’s unabashed wildness, daring and guts, enthusiasm and uninhibited raging joy.

Activate your inner Tender Heart Bear.

Tender Heart BearWhen I see clients or friends I often look at them and see and feel them in a space of appreciation and love, with love embracing them, uncovering in them, and moving forward to them because it is natural and the interaction is blessed and I love it.  I did this to myself last night.  Just like I turn outward toward others in the sight of love, I turned inward to myself in the sight of love.  I realized that I hadn’t loved myself like that before, at least not that I can remember.  Sure I love myself, I think I’m great ; )  but I don’t really take the time to see love in myself and send it to myself with the same conscious beam to just love myself like I do with others.  I kept it simple.  In that moment, it wasn’t about fixing me, changing me, it was about sending love to myself and receiving it at the same time.  In other words it also felt like I was relaxing into love that was already there.

The experience of it felt so natural and needed.  I feel a deep sense of connection to life and it felt relieving.  It felt natural to feel so much space inwardly, and in that space it felt like fluid grace.  It left me feeling uplifted and vulnerable in a good way for the day after.  It promoted internal expansion and in that process of expansion was a slight rawness that felt like I was exposing more of me through fewer filters or layers or barriers to my heart. Tender Heart… just like the Care Bear!  Funny, I had 2 Care Bears growing up, “Cheer Bear and Tender Heart Bear.”  Interesting…

The inspiration:  Yesterday I quickly read a few paragraphs from Louise Hay’s book, “You can Heal Your Life.”  She states that an important and basic aspect of the process of healing is to, “Love yourself.”  She mentioned that healing comes from the act of loving oneself and it is a huge focal point that she focuses on when in sessions with her clients. It was a section that I easily passed through, thinking, well of course I love myself, that’s not new, and moved on to something newer for me to learn.

Later in the day, her words popped back into my head and I realized that I didn’t really know or at least I hadn’t thought about what it felt like to turn the love I beamed out, inward.  I then saw myself as my own client.  I wanted to do this initially with the interest in feeling the effects of this self love on my stomach as it had been bloatingly out of balance the last few days.  Louise talks about treating ailments with self love, so I started to send love to my tummy for the sake of my tummy, then that intention fell away and I was just feeling love from me to me. Lol.  It was lovely.  It felt like the details of fixing my tummy gave way to the overriding experience of love in a simpler form. Kind of like it was a removal of or non acknowledgement of anything other than love.

How to:  Find a moment to close your eyes while laying sitting or standing as preferred that allows you to feel completely comfortable and relaxed.  Place your hands on your heart and breathe into love.  Imagine it spreading from you, through you, and over you.  If you need help feeling love, picture a person or animal or something that lets you feel love and expand it.  Open up to receive this love fully for the radiance of your being, honouring you as a person and spirit. Trust.  Breathe and let go.  You deserve to let yourself feel as much love for yourself as you give to others.

There are many people I see who give so much love to others and see so much value, worth and love in other people while they think poorly of themselves and don’t see as much light or have as much love for themselves as they do for others. You are as equally worthy as anybody else.  Say this over and over and over again until you believe it.

Please try this for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Allow yourself to gently and with softly held focus for a few minutes at least, send love and receive love which happens at the same time.  Whatever comes up, stay with love;  let it burn through anything that opposes it.  Trust the love.  Be a Care Bear and beam your love to yourself and to others!

If you find yourself thinking this sounds interesting, but you don’t feel the need to take a moment to feel into it, that you know you love yourself, and you honestly feel pretty balanced and content in the moment, try it anyway.  What if it could help you more than you thought?  What if this could take you to another level of living and of loving others and yourself?  What if you tried it and just felt a little more chill as a result?  We’ve heard through text and song that love is like a fire that burns bright, and illuminates.  I felt the stirrings of this quality very subtly.  I do know that I awoke the next morning to a happier belly.  Experiment with your capacity to love and be loved.  You are safe and are a boundary-less vessel for love.

Love, Karen