Forgiveness and Freedom

I have been having a lot of conversations about the past and the events and people that shape us.  These life events and the people in our past can have a huge and lingering effect on our lives and how we react and respond to the world.  I don’t think we should shut the door on the past, but I don’t think we should spend so much time there that we miss the wonder of what is right in front of us now.  Yes, these things have shaped us and left scars on our souls in some cases. I am telling you it is nothing you cannot overcome if you choose to. You have already survived it, haven’t you?  We are responsible for ourselves and our actions.

Grief, childhood trauma, hell just trauma in general, disappointments and betrayal,  all these things can make you feel isolated and so alone in this huge world.  No one seems to understand.  Or do they?  I don’t think there is anyone I know that has not been through some major traumatic event in their life.  We isolate ourselves with our pain and our anger.  Trapped within a vortex of emotion swirling around us like a tornado it can be difficult to not feel helpless.  True we are helpless in the sense that we have no control how others will act or respond but do we want to live the rest of our lives based on how others have acted.

When you decide that what you have been doing is not working and take a good long look at  yourself, you will realize how much power you actually have.  For example, someone in your life has wronged you in a large way.  You now have some choices. There is nothing wrong with getting angry but if you continue to live from that space it will bite your little butt!  So you are angry, now forgive. Just forgive.  Forgive them and forgive yourself.  Sounds simple and it is even though we make it so complicated.  I think people have attached all kinds of things to the word forgive.  One of the on line dictionaries describes the meaning of the word forgive as “excuse, condone, pardon, forgive meaning to exact neither punishment nor redress. excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these.”  Another describes it as “to stop blaming or being angry with someone for something that person has done, or not punish them for something they have done.”  For myself, forgiving someone is something like this;  I acknowledge their action and the pain it has caused me then I simply let it go. I do not seek revenge.  I do not hold it over their head.  Now I don’t want you to think that this is instantaneous.  Sometimes it is, but for larger transgressions it can take a little bit of time.  It takes me a while to process or work through some things.  Some things are so large that in the process of forgiving the other person I end whatever relationship I had with them.  Sometimes in order to let go you have to let go of the person as well.

I was abused by a neighbour as a child.  This was a traumatic experience for sure and while I will not go into all of the details of the whole thing  I will share a small part of it with you.  I was abused then the abuser moved away.  What sweet relief that was for me.  Our family also moved to a different part of town about a year later.  I was walking to school in our new neighbourhood and low and behold there was the man who abused me walking towards me.  I was afraid, I was angry and I looked him in the eyes as he walked towards me.  I am also stubborn so I was not going to run away or switch to the other side of the street. When I looked at him and he recognized me the look of fear on his face broke something open inside me.  I was no longer the victim of his sick mind, I realized that he was the one imprisoned by it.  I was free and I forgave him.  I never spoke to him that day and I rarely ran into him again.  I just knew, even as a child, that it was imperative that I  let the anger and the hatred go or my whole life was going to be poisoned by it.

You will find your own strength in the letting go and forgiving.  I have to admit that sometimes I have to do this numerous times for the same thing or person.  Some things that I think I have worked through pop up again.  So I let it go, then I let it go again.  The forgiveness can only come when you have let go.  The power or hold of the situation in your life only loses its grip when you let it go.  There is freedom in that.

Peace and love to all
Donna

Shaped by the Past, Sculpted by Dreams

I have been awake at 4:44 am for the last three mornings. I am not sure why, and this morning I was having a dream about Alfred Hitchcock which will make my friend Debra laugh. So, I decided to sit and write while the coffee is brewing and see what comes up. I think about things a lot, my mind never seems to stop unless I sit and meditate and lately even that is difficult. I have this unsettled feeling swirling around inside me and I cannot explain it. It is almost as if I am waiting for something to happen and feel like my life has been in a holding pattern for a long time. Weird huh? I you have any insight into this please let me know.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is my childhood. Most likely because my sister is writing a book and we have been discussing some of these things lately. My sister and I are 13 years apart in age (she is older) and had completely different lives growing up. Her father was an angry abusive man and mine was the gentlest of souls who rarely got angry. Our mother met my father after her first husband was killed in an accident. It amazes me that four children in the same family can be so different and have such varied responses to life events and their memories of them. It makes me wonder how reliable my memory of events actually is.

Growing up in a family filled with alcoholism and all the dysfunction that comes with it teaches you some things. It teaches you to not take responsibility for your own actions. Someone else is the cause of your anger, your need to drink, your inability to get ahead in life etc. etc. It teaches you to keep secrets. God forbid if anyone every found out what really goes on in your home or your head. They would turn away from you in disgust, wouldn’t they? One of the biggest things it teaches you is fear and mistrust. When you cannot trust your own family how could you trust others? When you live in a constant state of fear it takes a toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You are always living in anticipation of the next drunken tirade that is filled with discord and abuse, in some cases physical and in some cases emotional and in a lot of cases both. Not pretty is it? I remember phoning home everyday from school to ask my mother if she needed anything from the store just so I could check her tone of voice to see if she was drinking. If she was sober I would go home, if she was drinking I would go somewhere else. This is the only world I knew and alcohol was destined to play a large role in the rest of my life. I was enrolled in Life Skills 101 with an alcohol fueled instructors. I was taught to think and navigate life like an alcoholic. All I wanted was to be loved and spent many years looking for that in all the wrong places. I didn’t understand that I needed to love myself before I could offer it to or receive it from another person.

In my thirties I found myself drinking a lot and married to someone who drank enough that his work forced him into a rehab program. The alcohol saga continued, but it was a familiar one and I knew it well. Funny thing though, I ended up walking through the doors of AA in 1992 and my life was changed forever. It was in those church basement meetings that I was taught the healthy life skills that I was not taught growing up. It did not happen over night because my conditioning was firmly entrenched and they were asking me to feel my emotions and take responsibility for myself, both of which I had no idea how to do. I discovered that I only had two emotions, or states of being, angry or not angry. I sometimes still revert to anger in extremely stressful situations. However, anger is not all bad and boy oh boy can I get some housework done when I am trying to get rid of some anger in a healthy way. I have made a lot of discoveries about anger since then and that emotion is rarely caused by someone else or their actions.

It has been over 20 years since I started this journey of healing. I have learned a few things that have improved my life and me as a person. I still have much to learn, but look forward to it. It is impossible to know yourself with out understanding what made you who you are. One thing is for sure, you always have choices regardless of your life circumstance. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have any choices but you do. You choose whether you are hardened or softened by your experiences. You can also make new choices every day. You and you alone are responsible for the person you are today. Your life experiences began to mold you, but you are like an artist finishing the beautiful sculpture that is you.

I guess I have rambled a bit, though that is not unusual for me. I understand my mother and what caused her to be who she was. I also want you to know that every time I think about her with love and forgiveness her spirit becomes lighter and brighter. The people who were in our lives and have passed on are aware of our feelings and the repercussions of their actions when they walked this earth. We get to choose whether we will hang on to the anger, bitterness, or whatever else we are feeling. There is freedom in fully accepting responsibility for who you are. You can let the past shape your future if you want. Sculpt yourself, paint yourself, sing yourself or write yourself a new future based on who you want to be, not what has happened to you.

Treat others with kindness and compassion
Hug yourself for me

Donna

The Same but Different

It is 5 am and the coffee is brewing. My slightly soiled chair is in the garage, so I now sit on a big comfy sofa to write, but my sunny yellow mug is still a part of my life. The only noises are the occasional car driving down the highway and the gentle snoring of a great dane named Georgia who has become my shadow and follows me everywhere in my new home. It is hard to move into someone’s home and find your place. This is not to say that the man I am living with has made this difficult, he has done everything to make me feel at home. My things are mixed in with his things and there are pieces of me and my life in every room. There is a blending that happens and it takes me a little while to settle down and feel comfortable. It is not the place that makes it a home, it is the people and our shared experiences. In my case home is definitely where the heart is and my heart has never been tied to a place or the things in it, my heart is connected to the people.

I have been talking to my older sister more than usual and am enjoying this new relationship we are developing. The picture at the top of the page is of me and my sister Marg taken last June at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia. My sister has one of the best laughs, you know the kind that makes you smile or laugh just hearing it. Well, my sister is in the process of writing a book and I get to be a small part of it which is very exciting. We are having conversations now that were not possible before to some extent because our lives were so different. This is no indication of how we feel about each other, I love my sister dearly and she has been more like a second mother to me for most of my life. We are having conversations about things we would never have discussed 5 years ago. I am excited to get to know my sister on a different level.  I have a number of people in my life that I can have conversations with about life and the things that matter and then there are others where the conversation is kept light and just skims the surface of what really matters. This does not make one type of conversation good or bad, I think we need both.

I have been having a difficult time finding my way. I suppose I should give myself a break considering the huge changes that have taken place in my life in the last year and a bit.  The new man in my life, his name is Shawn, was a friend of Howard’s that I had  met once very briefly before Howard passed away.  One of the things that drew me to Shawn was how big his heart is.  He has a lot of room in that heart for a lot of people and that included Howard.  Now it includes me.  Howard’s sculptures have become part of the landscape here and his artwork is also hanging on the walls, sitting on the deck or a shelf.  Shawn’s heart is so big that he is able to include the people that I have loved and still love into it.  So, while Shawn and I are building a life together we both get to include the people and other important things from our past into it.  My heart has a lot of room also.  I will tell you more about all of that in a blog piece that I have called The Tale of Two Ravens.  I have started working on it but the time is just not right to tell that story.

The only reason I am writing this morning is to try and incorporate my writing into my new and busy life.  I have missed sitting in my chair connecting with all of you. The last year has been filled with new experiences, new people and new ways of viewing the world.  I think it just takes me a while to be able to process it all and write about it.  Sometimes I just don’t have the words to express myself.  Someone asked me yesterday to smell a healing spray they had made and give them my opinion.  It was the strangest thing, I almost could not describe the smell.  It just brought up so many feeling that words almost escaped me.  I couldn’t say, oh that smells like roses or some other distinct thing.  It smelled fresh and ancient at the same time, it was almost as if she had captured everything the entire world has ever experienced in a bottle.  Weird huh?  I think she has a gift.

Well, I hope you all have a wonder filled day and don’t forget to make your heart big and greet the world from that place.  Live with your heart wide open, it is worth it.

 

Hug everyone, Peace to all

Donna

Ancestral Influence

Got a phone call this morning at 5 am. My first thought was something is wrong. Turns out one of my cousins back east called my cell phone by accident. So we had a brief conversation and I sent him a text to make him laugh. Started my day with unfounded worry and a smile. I was worried because I have a nephew who is ill and going for surgery in a few days. This got me thinking about the wonder of our DNA and genetics. I know, how does an accidental phone call lead to a post on genetics.

Our family has a genetic condition called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome, which may or may not predispose you to a number of different cancers the main one being colon cancer. Four members of my immediate family have had colon cancer so it looks like the odds are not in our favour. So that is the downside to genetics. I have regular screening for two types of cancer and after testing have found that I do not carry the gene that causes this. Other members of my family have not been so lucky. The gene has been passed down through our maternal line of ancestors. I on the other hand take after my father’s side of the family. I am the spitting image of my father and my grandmother. So this stuff makes me think about what else we inherit from our long line of ancestors.

What is it that makes us who we are? Do we inherit personality traits as well? I would say yes to this. I have a cousin who is about 16 years older than me and when he was here for a visit a few years ago we discovered that we have some of the same quirks. I am constantly losing my coffee or tea mug and never close a drawer fully. His wife started laughing because he does the exact same thing. Family trait or coincidence, we may never know. I thought it was hilarious and we still talk about it nine years later. As far as learned traits go I would say I am a mixture of both parents. I grew up being influenced by them and was taught to see the world through two very different sets of eyes and life experiences. They helped shape the person I am today. I on the other hand am wholly responsible for who I am today and like to think that I have refined and expanded the world view they had. So are we simply the sum of our experiences? You can have two people experience the same upbringing in the same household and they move through the world in completely different ways. I look at my own brother and sisters and marvel at how we are so alike in some ways and so different in others. I also marvel at how each of has a unique memory of the same event from our past.

I have never felt like I fit into my family. I used to wonder if I was adopted but looked too much like my Dad for that to be the case. When I danced down the wonderful path of discovering my ancestors during my genealogical research I discovered some interesting things. My love for fiddle music, my writing, my ability to sketch, and having a head for numbers, are all things that one of my ancestors excelled at. I am a great mishmash of everyone who has contributed to my DNA. Magical isn’t it?

I also believe that my cells and DNA have their own memories of all the things that my ancestors both close and distant experienced. Even my intuitive abilities are inherited and handed down through my family line. Sometimes these things seem to have skipped a generation or two but if I look closely enough they are there in all of us. So I have chosen to hone my writing skills and my intuitive abilities, others in the family have chosen a different path. My Grandmother whom I have never met, she passed away when my mother was a baby, comes to visit in spirit and she usually shows up when I am writing or doing some piece of creative work.   Does she have this connection to me because I am pursuing things that she loved? I like to think so. She spends a lot of time looking over my left shoulder when I type. She is nodding her head right now and says that I am doing things that she wanted to do but never got the chance to. So I guess in some way the grandmother I have never met in person has influenced me and continues to do so with her presence in spirit. She also tells me that my intuitive abilities come from her line as well as my father’s side of the family. A double whammy! So the predisposition for colon cancer, as well as artistic and intuitive abilities are handed down from generation to generation.  Nothing is ever all good or all bad. The truth of it all is somewhere in the middle. So I choose to walk in the middle of the path, the view is much better from here.

Peace and love to all
Donna

 

Know Who You Are

I have witnessed three beautiful sunrises this week from the east coast of Canada. I am in Halifax, where I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life. The city has changed so much I barely recognize it. I have lived on the west coast for more than 24 years so I have officially spent more time there. I still refer to Halifax as home. For us east coasters our roots run deep. If we meet people anywhere in the world and they are also from the east coast there is an instant bond, a shared understanding of a culture and way of being in the world. I love the accent that rolls off tongues in that sing song drawl and can recognize it wherever I am. The accent will vary depending on whether you are from a big city, or one of the smaller towns which each seem to put their own twist on a way of speaking. For now, I just want to sit and listen to the people speak. I find comfort in those familiar patterns of speech from my childhood.
I woke up at 4:30 am this morning listening to the birds sing the beginning of the day into existence and even they sing a song that is different now. I lay in my borrowed bed comparing them to the bird songs of the west, unable to identify any but the crows. I am hoping to see a blue jay while I am here, they hold a special significance for me and they don’t exist on Vancouver island. We have jays on the island but the Stellar Jays of the west are slightly different. The eastern jays are brighter in colour and slightly smaller, though their screech is very similar. This trip has me comparing many things between the east of my childhood and the west of my adulthood.
I did think about moving east after Howard left this earth. I spent hours looking through the real estate listings and dreaming about a waterfront home along the Atlantic. My heart is in the west now though, with the people who have come to mean so much to me. I call them my soul family. I fit there amongst the cedars, bald eagles, mild weather and the laid back lifestyle of small town Sooke. I belong there now. Perhaps I had to leave there to know that. I wish I had the ability to be in two places at the same time. I just started laughing cause the word bicoastal ran through my mind. I am bicoastal!
When I arrived at my sisters home and unpacked my suitcase I found a note from the special man in my life. This man was kind enough to wake up at 3:30 am to drive me to the airport, I think he likes me. This small note brought tears to my eyes and melted my heart. His presence in my life has helped me to wake up parts of myself that have been dormant for a very long time. I thank the universe for him every day and appreciate the fact that he has the strength to walk beside me and encourages me to grow, heal, and live my dreams. His note was a little reminder of all that is waiting for me when I return. This was a trip of necessity, I needed to revisit the past and make peace with it to move forward with clarity and purpose. I needed to remember who I am. So, today I am going to visit with some of my cousins. I am looking forward to reconnecting with them and getting to know them again. They too will help me remember who I am.  
So while I was away living my life on the west coast the east coast has changed. I guess time stood still in my mind and I expected things to be the same. We change and grow and places change and grow. I am not the same person that left Nova Scotia many years ago. This trip has confirmed one thing for me, while the east will always be part of me I belong among the cedars of the west.  I have also learned that you need to know and understand the past to move in a different way into the future. Learn from the past but don’t dwell there or live from there, learn from it . Know who you are. Live your life with no regrets, just live!
Love to all

Donna

No Strings

I am sitting once again in my slightly soiled chair with a coffee beside me in my sunny yellow mug. It is five thirty in the morning and the birds are singing the sun up with cheerful little songs. It has all the makings of a wonderful day even though I have only had about four hours sleep. I had trouble settling down last night. There were a few things weighing on my mind and my heart. I have started making plans and dreaming and low and behold the universe throws a few curve balls at me just to see if I am paying attention and waits to see how I will handle it.

Have you ever had one of those moments where certain events in your life become clear in their meaning. I had one of those moments last night and I have to admit that it scared me a little. Actually my response was “well shit.” It reminded me that certain things are beyond my control. I can say I want this, I don’t want that till the cows come home and the universe in its wisdom will give me what I need. I never expected to fall in love with my life again, I never expected to feel or experience so much joy and peace again. Some of the best moments of my life have happened when I was not expecting it.

So I had a moment of clarity and it scared me. I am not sure scared is the right word. Perhaps it is more being unsure with a tiny bit of fear thrown in. I don’t know where this path will lead but I trust in the universe to guide me along and in the meantime will set the fear aside. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but I have had a few visions of the future and they do not coincide with what I thought I wanted. Perhaps there is a lesson in that. Do not be so tied to what you want and don’t want that you miss the wonderful people and opportunities right in front of you. Be flexible with your how your mind and heart respond to the events and people in your life. Be teachable.

I have ideas about how I would like things to be and have expressed a large number of those ideas on this blog. One thing that I do know for certain is that as long as I let my heart rule over my mind life is as it should be. The minute I start over thinking things and second guessing every decision, fears settles in and my mind gains control. Fear versus love the eternal struggle for control. So the universe is putting people and situations in my path to see if I can actually live what I say. Anyone can say anything, but can they back it up with action. The universe is saying enough talk Donna lets see some action.

So, I have said numerous times that it is all about living with your heart wide open. But what does that really mean to me? It is about others not about me. For one of the first times in my life, I have led a very self-centered life up to this point, the happiness of others comes before my own. I want the people around me to know what it means to be loved for just being them, no strings attached. I want to bring peace and joy with me everywhere I go and spread that around. I want the people in my life to know that they are appreciated and that I truly see them for who they are and that they are more than enough. I thought I knew what love was. The universe has shown me lately that I have only danced around the edges of it in the past. Well shit!

Have a bliss filled day
Hug people
Donna

Spirit Says

Well this morning I decided to change things up and sit in my slightly soiled chair once again.  It definitely gives me a different perspective on the room .  I even grabbed a different coffee mug out of the cupboard and my coffee is steaming away in a mug created by a local artist that has a woman and a white raven on it.  Sometimes I feel the need to change things and other times the comfort of routine and familiarity is what I crave. That commercial jingle “sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t”, keeps running through my mind.  I realize I talk about living with heart a lot and today will be no exception.  Spirit tells me that they cannot emphasize how important us living from our heart is and that the world needs as many heart centered people as it can get.    Keep writing, spirit says, talk about the heart spirit says.  Fine, fine I will do it but people are going to get tired of it very quickly.

So what is all this heart based writing about?  If you look back over history we have done some horrible things to each other, animals and the planet.  Most of these acts come from a place of fear, the need for power over, plain old greed and ego.  We cannot continue to behave in the same way and expect different results.  Something has to change.  While there have always been people doing great selfless things, I think the numbers are swelling. The media is focused on feeding the fears and the feel good stories are few and far between.  The internet and social media have given some a platform for policing and reporting on the actions of others.  They see someone doing something they don’t agree with and snap a picture and post it to Facebook.  I noticed the other day someone had taken a picture of the back of someones car and called them out for throwing a cigarette butt out of their window.  Stupid thing to do definitely, but did the person snapping the picture stop and deal with the cigarette butt or just go on a rant about it.  This type of calling someone out makes me uncomfortable though I am not sure why.  Brings to mind police state, witch trials, and lynch mobs I guess.  This makes me nervous.  What does this have to do with heart centered living?  Absolutely nothing, isn’t that great!

It doesn’t have anything to do with the heart.  It is all about right and wrong, us and them etc etc.  There is even a local page dedicated to calling out people who park without regard for others.  Why would someone spend so much of their time on a page like this?  I would like to have a coffee and a chat with them to see what lies underneath the need to out bad parkers in a public form.  I had someone come into my shop and she had some psychic abilities.  She looked at me and said there is nothing but fear stopping you.  I was a little offended and curious at the time.  Then she reached out and touched me which made me extremely uncomfortable ( I don’t like strangers touching me) and said, “They can’t kill you this time.”  I completely forgot about her hand on my arm  and almost danced for joy because she woke something up in me with that statement.  I thought, you are right it is not easy for them to kill me for my beliefs this time.  It was like a great weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  I was free to be me.

So I talk about spirit, the universe, animals, symbols, plants and energy healing.  At one point in our history that would have gotten me burned at the stake.  In this day and age you would think people would not have the same fears but those who were persecuted and the people who persecuted them have passed down their beliefs and their DNA to their descendants and depending on your belief system some have carried the echoes of these things into the life that they are in now.  I remember some of my past lives and I was usually the persecuted one because I have always been a healer in some capacity or another.  In this life some people still react with fear.  They are afraid I can see the things they try to hide from others and they are right sometimes I can.  So could anyone else that observes people on a regular basis and reads their body language and watches how they interact with others.  That does not take psychic abilities.

I see what motivates people, the essence of who they are, spirit animals and I now see (this is a new thing) some of the people in their lives who are no longer with us.  I say I see, but that is not an accurate description.  I feel them and am unable to explain it any better than that.  I get feelings and just know certain things.  Right now there is a spirit hovering over my left shoulder reading as I am writing.  I cannot see her but I know she is female and believe this is my maternal Grandmother.  She just turned to me and smiled when I typed grandmother.  For some reason she is very excited about what I am writing, maybe interested is a better word.  I come from a line of people who had strong intuitive abilities and perhaps my Grandmother was one of them she is nodding her head and has her hands clasped together.  I know that my mother used to see people who had crossed over but she was not comfortable with it and never spoke about it.  Thanks Grandma!

What does all this have to do with living a heart entered life?  I know, sometimes it takes me a while to get to the point  We all have gifts or talents, whatever you want to call them.  If you are coming from a place of love or with heart those talents are of great service to the entire planet and all its inhabitants. If you don’t know what your talents are look to your heart.  It will almost burst with joy when you find it.  What makes your soul light up?  Find that.  Do that, even if you don’t think you are ready.  I was having a bit of a rebellious streak and told spirit they could wait until I was damn ready to write.  They told me that was fine, I was only wasting my own time!  So much for the rebellion.  I hope that the person with the parking page realizes that their talents and time are wasted on  that and they have far more to contribute.  I hope they discover their gifts because what they are doing is not far off the mark.  They just need to shift their time and focus to something other than badly parked cars.

So stop avoiding your talent or gift and stop focusing on what others may or may not be doing.  Look for the things that make your soul light up, that is what we are supposed to contribute to the world.  Sometimes it is the smallest talent that has the most impact so do not discount it even if it seems odd or tiny in comparison with others.  Stop comparing and just be you.  You are enough and you were born to do this.  Go out there and spread some love today.

Okay, I went outside for a moment before I hit the publish button and had two strange experiences.  I was wishing that my writing skills were better than they are and that I was more eloquent.  Spirit said enough of that.  Spirit wants you to know that the fears are constructed by your mind and wants me to remind you that your heart is fearless.  So live fearlessly and follow your heart.  I also encountered a male spirit who was distraught.  He was pacing up and down the path and muttering to himself so I asked him what was wrong.  He said, “I lost it, I lost it all!”  Don’t ask me how I know but he was swindled out of all his money and felt ashamed and did not want to go home and face his family.  We had a quick discussion and by the end of it he had a huge smile on his face and waved goodbye as I stood on the path with tears streaming down my face because once again I got to witness the power of love and compassion.  What a wonderful way to start the day.

 

Much love and many hugs to all

Donna