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“A murmuration,” my husband said, as we watched starlings move like a wave across our cul-de-sac, gathering food from the spring yards thawing in the morning sun.  “It’s because of how they move together”. 

I can feel the murmurations. I can feel humanity moving together, into isolation, processing, and feeling. The other day I felt fear. Fear in response to a collective threat. More of a threat to our lives as we knew them than to life itself, although many are facing that too.

Our lives are changing, and have changed. Some try to carry on as nothing has happened, but it’s impossible to ignore that our world is different now. We are different now. And how we process this is unique to each of us.

I wasn’t feeling fear the other day. I looked at the feeling and asked myself, ‘is this mine?’ I cleared my mind and allowed an answer to appear. ‘No’ rise up from inside me, it’s not mine. It was a murmuration. A fear moving through the collective consciousness we share as humans and living creatures on this earth. I can witness this, and let it go.


All of life has murmurations. All of life is inherently interconnected. Each cellular, chemical reaction responds to the next. Each thought has energy. Standing close with someone, you may have noticed the heaviness or lightness of their thoughts. Maybe you felt drawn to their magnetic charm and confidence. Or perhaps you couldn’t get far enough away from their inner turmoil and insecurity.

You’ve likely felt the joy and sorrow of someone’s love, regardless of where they were in the world. A simple phone call or message brought them right to you. 

Quantum physicists discovered a phenomenon called ‘Quantum Entanglement’. It’s when particles become ‘entangled’ even when separated by a large distance. Meaning they behave as if they are one, regardless of where they are.

We too are entangled in this web of life. We think, feel and experience both individually and collectively. And so does nature. Nature is made up of intelligent, interconnected systems that work together to support this delicate miracle of life. Regardless of whether we call it universal intelligence, science, evolution, god, neat, or spooky, nature continues on. Giving us nourishment, sunshine on our skin, and fresh air in our lungs. Can you feel the murmurations of life? Have you felt like moving through you like a wave before?


Sometimes it feels like we’re alone in life. Like there are walls between us, separating us from connection and love. Invisible walls that seem impossible to understand, let alone move. But it isn’t impossible. The key to opening them is inside you. It’s not out in the external world, connection and love begin inside of you.

You see, life is never alone. Life in itself is union. We are the interconnected systems of life. We ARE nature. You are a part of an alive and amazing universe. And any thought that says otherwise; that says you’re not enough, not worthy, not lovable, not free, is untrue. You came into this world enough. You will ALWAYS be enough. Every aspect of nature is enough.

For centuries, humanity feared, fought, and tried to dominate nature. And throughout all this, we were ultimately fighting ourselves. Fighting the parts of ourselves that felt separate, alone, and scared; the places where we forgot our own nature.

Nature is ever-evolving and expanding. YOUR nature is to be ever-evolving and expanding. The places where we get stuck and collapse into ourselves are where we forgot who we truly are.

At this moment, humanity is changing. We have been given an opportunity to return to ourselves; to our nature. 

Let’s find our way back together. Let’s listen to the murmurations guiding us home.

May the guided meditation below help you find your way back. It was recorded from one of our weekly online gatherings over at Heart Space. ❤️ 

Murmuration, the unified movement of birds in flight. And a powerful demonstration of energy in motion. You can see how it moves through them like a wave, flowing with communication beyond words.

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A Rebel In A Pandemic


Before we dive into being a rebel in a pandemic, let’s define what it means to be a rebel. A rebel is someone who thrives on non-conformity. They fight back against the injustices of the world and pave their own way forward. They’re fiercely passionate with unwavering stubbornness.

I will admit that I’ve been a rebel most of my life. Since I was 14, I refused to cower to the pain of life. I said a big ‘f*ck you’ to the madness of the world and I fought injustices big and small.

I fought my teachers, I fought my mom, and I fought ‘the way things just are’. And I know it’s easy to look at a pissed-off 14-year-old and think they’re just immature, but the rebel archetype plays an important role in our society.


Much like the Joker, the Rebel causes us to question the status quo. Refusing to be sheep,  they have a unique perspective and they’re not afraid to embrace it. They have the courage to go against the grain, and they’re used to being ostracised for refusing to fit in.

Rebels are innovators, visionaries, pot stirrers, and movement makers. They’re free spirits, creative thinkers, and masters of refusing to conform.

As a rebel, odds are you never really fit in. You have a general distrust for rule makers and powerful figures. And the last thing you ever want is to be ordered around. In fact, refusing to be told what to do is kind of your superpower. You would never live your life according to someone else’s values or rules. Conforming to a messed-up society goes against everything you stand for. You choose to pave your own way and make this beautiful life YOURS. Not what the media, church, school, government, or even your aunt Sally says it should be. No, your life is sole, by right, yours. And knowing this keeps the fire in you alive and burning. 


To my rebel brothers and sisters, I see you. I know how frustrating it is to be told what to do. And I know that our society is still pretty messed up. I know that refusing to conform has been your superpower. It’s kept you safe from giving in and giving up. It’s kept you going. And from one rebel to another, I commend you for that. 

And while this has been our superpower, the world is asking something different of us right now. And by the world, I don’t just mean society. NATURE is asking something different of us right now. Nature is asking us to pause, to withdraw, to change. We’ve been going and going and going since the industrial revolution, and it’s been taking a toll on our planet, and quite honestly, on us.


Humanity has been too busy to pause or reflect for a very long time. We got so caught up in maniacally moving forward that we forgot how to BE. We forgot how to listen to what our hearts and soul wanted. We forgot how to listen to Mother Earth. And now, we find ourselves in a forced pause. A forced reflection.

But as a rebel, you may be fighting this. You may be trying to carry on the way you always have. You may be having a hard time accepting what people are saying about putting things on hold and socially isolating. And if so, my question to you is, what are you fighting? Are you fighting a delusional society? Or are you fighting acknowledging this thing because of how incredibly vulnerable that might feel? 


As much as it hasn’t always felt like it, we ARE all in this together. We all have fragile little human bodies. Being a rebel doesn’t make us immune to this virus, even if we think we’re immune to the rules.

Change is uncomfortable. It’s a form of death and rebirth. A part of us must die to allow a new part of us to be born. And in order to evolve, you need to have enough faith to let yourself feel vulnerable. You need faith to let go of an old part of yourself and embrace the unknown of something new.

You need courage. And my rebel friend, courage is what you are made of. You’ve leaned into the discomfort of being different your whole life. Now it’s time to turn that courage in a new direction. It’s time to let yourself be part of this world. It’s time to let yourself feel vulnerable and remember that you are human too. You are affected by this stuff. And as a part of this world, you have a responsibility to yourself and your community to acknowledge what’s happening.

It will probably hurt. But we’re all here for you. We’re feeling it too. And we’ll get through this together. Introvert style, from the comfort of our own homes.

Note: this message is for those of us with the freedom to choose social isolation. For those who are working in the front lines in grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals, and all essential services, THANK YOU. Thank you for your hard work and service. Thank you for taking care of us and keeping our society functioning. You are inspiring and I am grateful for you. ▲ 


Being in Canada, we’ve been gifted the opportunity to look into the future at countries that’ve been where we are now. 

In this video, Italians share messages with their 10-days-ago past selves.

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How To Navigate Mental Health With COVID-19


Climate, politics, and now COVID-19. There’s been a lot going on in the world lately, and as we’re faced with greater pressures, the importance of caring for our mental health couldn’t be higher. And with all of these challenges we face, we’re given an opportunity to learn and grow for the better. Just as the Chinese word for ‘crisis’ means both ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’, now is the time to become stronger and wiser.

☛  You’ll find a guided hypnotherapy meditation for staying grounded at centered at the end of this post, so read on or scroll to the bottom if you’re keen to get grounded and centered.


The Chinese word for ‘crisis’ uses both the characters DANGER & OPPORTUNITY


You’ve probably noticed between the memes of toilet paper hoarding that there’s been a lot of fear spreading throughout the collective consciousness lately. And you’ve likely felt it rising in you at times too. Which is totally natural and ok. But you don’t have to hang out with fear if it isn’t serving you.  And if you’d like to spend more time with peace and happiness, read on.

Now about fear, it can spread quickly and gain momentum with each person it touches. And while it’s as infectious as a virus, it can easily be treated and overcome.

When your mind perceives a threat, it activates fear, or flight, or fight. This is helpful when you’re running from a lion, but in day-to-day life, not so much. The good news is, you can train your mind to respond differently to non-lion threats. Your mind is there to serve you, and you get to be in the driver’s seat telling it where to go. 

You have the freedom to choose where you steer your mental and emotional state.


Claiming your driver’s seat involves being in the present moment. Because you don’t want a distracted driver daydreaming about the future when you’re navigating tricky terrain.

And a fast and easy way to get yourself into the here and now is by first breathing deeply, and then asking yourself, ‘Is there anything I need to do RIGHT NOW?’ At this very moment, what do you need to do? You definitely need to breathe, you’d run into trouble pretty quickly without your breath. And at this moment, do you need to do anything else?

Is there any immediate threat to you, or are you safe at this moment? Do you have shelter, food, and water? Now start noticing how well cared for you are. Appreciate the plumbing, heat, and electricity in your home. Appreciate this goldilocks planet that gives you all the oxygen, sunshine, and nourishment you need.


Notice how fear comes from outside of the present moment. (Unless you’re currently running from a lion. In which case, WHY ARE YOU READING THIS?! RUN FASTER!!)

So any time you feel fear, panic, or anxiety encroaching, come back to here and now. Come back to your breath. Breathe deeply and appreciate at least 3 things around you.

Now you may be thinking, ‘that’s all well and good, but I need to worry about this stuff so I can know what to do!’ And if so my question to you is, are you better able to think and move forward from a place of fear and anxiety, or from a place of calm and presence?

When you come back to this moment, you gain the awareness and presence to move forward in a way that feels right for you. Where you get stuck is in your head, and your head lives in the past and future. It’s in this moment where you’re fully alive and present.


And to forge even stronger relationships with your pal’s peace and happiness, try this guided hypnotherapy meditation. It will help you claim your driver’s seat and bring you into here and now, regardless of what’s happening around you. And as you hang with peace and happiness, you might just find yourself spreading a little more light around the world.

Listen to this recording each day for 21 days, and watch how your life changes.

I would LOVE to hear how this goes for you. Please share in the comments or connect with me on Facebook or Instagram.

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Healing Sound For When You’re Sad Or Heavy

healing sound

Today I’m going to show you a powerful healing sound to release stuck emotion, energy, and congestion. But first I want to share with you how it has changed my life.

When I was 14 I started suffering from debilitating period pain. You know the kind where you feel hot, dizzy, throw up and keel over in agony? That’s what I had, every month. One time it hit while I was at school and I remember my (fortunately short) walk home; abandoning the weight of my backpack with the single focus of finding a safe refuge to get through the pain. Each month I dreaded revisiting this pain and I felt totally unable to control when or how it would happen.

When I was 16 I started using medication to manage it, and it worked. I blindly trusted and relied on my medication until I first experienced plant medicines in Peru 4 years ago; a time that profoundly transformed my life and my relationship with myself. The plants helped me rekindle a deep connection to my own spirit and body and I wanted to learn how to heal my pain without the medication, so I (nervously) went off it. For a time after the plant medicines, there was no pain, until there was again. Hopping on a plane back to Peru wasn’t in the cards at the time, but I was dedicated to understanding why I was feeling this way and how I could heal myself naturally. So I started changing my relationship with the pain and my fear of it became overshadowed with fascination. I wanted to learn what this experience had to teach me; I wanted to understand it.

Fast forward to soon after I started my Medical Qigong training and had learned a healing sound for releasing sadness. When I was in pain I was open to trying anything that could help me through it, and I had a feeling that I should try this healing sound. I was lying in bed in intense pain with a puke bucket nearby, and I began to say “shhhhoooooooong”. All I could mutter at the time was a whisper, but it felt right. I asked my husband if he would help me, and he made the sound through my back and into my lungs; resonating with me as we made the sound together. And when he made the sound with me, I soon purged and the pain subsided. It became a request I often made of him when my periods were painful, and each time I was able to purge and feel better soon after.

Over time, what I needed while I was in pain changed as my healing progressed, and I have since developed a (mostly) daily practice of self-care through Qigong exercises and meditation. I came to see my pain as stuck energy and emotion that was surfacing each month to be released. My self-care has become a form of personal maintenance and hygiene for my overall health in mind, body, and spirit and I now live medication-free and pain-free. It was a journey to get here, and it wasn’t until I embraced the pain, and myself, that I was able to understand it and move through it.

Here is the healing sound that has been so helpful for me, may it give you whatever it is that you need from it. And know that wherever you are on your journey, I love you and I am cheering for you.

Thanks for being here! You can find more information about the mind-body healing work that I do HERE and if you have questions about this exercise or anything else you can contact me HERE.

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A Journey Home, Part 2: Truth & Magic

Welcome to Part 2 of A Journey Home, an ongoing series of personal stories about awakening to inner wisdom. They’re both for me, because it brings me joy to share them with you, and for you, to take from them anything which resonates as true and helpful. In case you missed Part 1, you can read it here.

Years had passed since I woke up to my spirit, and to the spirit of nature in Peru’s Amazon jungle. I came home to Canada with my heart open, ready to live a whole new, perfect, beautiful life. But it didn’t happen, at least not in the way I imagined it would. But life has a way of cracking you open as much as it takes for you to see more deeply into its profound beauty.

In Peru, I found a place where magic was allowed to be real. Where it was palpable in the way it wove the dreamlike stories of this life into visions and moments without separation from ourselves, from nature, or from the universe. It was fluid, alive, and not only accepted but embraced by those who lived there. When I came home, my heart began to close as I realized I wasn’t able to share in that magic anymore, not like I had anyway. It was too much for people, too different, too irrational. So I shared it with nature instead. While out on walks, when no one was around, I would lay my hand on a tree and let myself feel what it felt… the warm, nourishing sun on its leaves, the maternal joy that it felt as little birds fluttered around its branches. I closed my eyes and the hypnotic drumbeat of a dragonflies wings helped me sink deeper into the tree, into the complete sense of alive presence and endless connection that felt like the tree’s natural state of being. My thoughts were stilled, my heart pounded, I felt expansive, I felt the tree’s joy in sharing this moment with me, I felt my joy in sharing this moment with the tree… they were one and the same. Eventually, I heard footsteps coming and I pulled myself away. My self-conscious mind kicked in… “Don’t look like a crazy tree hugger, Abby. Be cool.” The moment was done. I smiled at the tree and carried on with my walk.

“Nature is not mute; it is a man who is deaf.”
– Terence McKenna

Life can be pretty ironic. Humanity searches for intelligent life out in the universe, feeling all alone in an empty void. All while ignoring the brilliance that already surrounds it.

What if it were the belief itself, the thought “we’re all alone” that is the very thing causing us to be alone? In the western world, we speak the language of the mind; of thoughts, words, and facts. But do we speak the language of the heart? Of emotions, senses, and connection? Just beyond the walls of our mental constructs lies the pure consciousness that everything is made of. The only journey we have to go on to discover it is through that of thoughts which say things like “that is a tree, nothing more.” That thought is a dead end to discovery.


To KNOW something with absolute resolve is to cut yourself off from the EXPERIENCE of it. 

How much deeper could I have gone into experiencing that tree? The essence of its aliveness is its constantly changing state. There is no limit. As each moment is experienced the very consciousness witnessing it is also taking it to a new place. Nature is ever-changing, from birth to growth, to death and decay. Chemical processes are happening on the micro and macro levels in all things at all times. To become stuck is to lose the flow of nature. To attach yourself to a thought, person, place, or thing to the point where you won’t go on without it is to fight your own nature. It is to refuse yourself the greatness of evolving through new experiences.

Buddhists speak of non-attachment, and Vipassana meditators will frequently mention the Sanskrit term “anicca”, meaning “impermanence”. In the time it takes us to decide we know something, that thing has already changed into something new. When you let go of having or needing all the answers, it allows your mind to open so you can be present with an experience. And ironically enough, being present creates space for the answers to appear.

But remember that it is all anicca. From the things that feel shitty to the things that feel awesome, they will all pass to allow space for something new. It is when we try to hold on too tightly that we become stuck and fight the flow of our nature. When we try to hold on to a moment in the past, to an ideal, or to a title given to us – like successful, young, worthy, or unworthy. We hold on when we forget that we are so much more than that.

You are not a title or a role, those are just stories in a game.
You are the consciousness seeing what it feels like to play those roles.
You are evolving, and the game is here to help you.

Everything in your life is here to help you grow. It is life happening FOR you. I suffered for a long time under the belief that life was happening TO me. I believed that I was a fish out of water plunked down in a part of the world where magic wasn’t allowed to exist. And it was THAT BELIEF that made me suffer. “You don’t belong here” is a thought I’ve carried my whole life. It has been a building block to help me learn an important lesson.

A few months ago I was listening to my friend practice a talk for her conference. There was a part where we were to write down something that we felt was holding us back in life. So I wrote down the thought that felt like an old, familiar (and shitty) friend: “you don’t belong here.” Then we were to think of what we would say to a friend if they were dealing with what we had written down. Isn’t it funny how it can be so much easier to give compassion to our loved ones than to ourselves? I thought about my friend who felt like she didn’t belong here. I let myself feel love for her. What would I tell her? I allowed my mind to go blank, and after a few minutes, an answer appeared…

“You belong in your heart.”

Tears welled in my eyes and my hand moved to my heart. The beautiful simplicity of truth washed over me. It resonated in my body. It felt light and expansive. It felt true. “You don’t belong here” was a lie I had believed. It hurts to believe something that isn’t true for you, and that pain is your body’s way of telling you it isn’t true. But it can take years, even lifetimes, of identifying with thoughts before realizing they’re lies. “You don’t belong here”, “magic isn’t allowed here”, “you’re stuck here”, “you can’t be happy here”, blah blah blah. My thoughts provided a fury of reasons for why I hurt, all of the stories that weren’t true. I didn’t belong in those stories, I belonged in my heart. But at some point, I had left my heart when I agreed with the thought “you don’t belong here.”

This realization was a huge turning point, but it took time to fully let it go. And I didn’t do it alone. The thought was so big and so deep for me that I decided it was time to ask for help. I called another Shamanic Medicine Practitioner who I met and who inspired me while we treated people together in a public clinic in Vancouver. She is marvelous, but that is another story. I received two phone sessions from her and in that time she helped move through my subconscious mind to uncover and heal history that had been burdening me and affecting my thoughts, feelings, and actions most of my life. In each session, we removed another layer of an onion that had formed around a painful thought.


 It isn’t until you shed a burden that you realize how much energy it took you to carry it.

It took a long time for me to build layer upon layer of the thought “you don’t belong here”, and it took time to remove those layers piece by piece. The work I did with my friend and peer was profound and transformative, and yet I knew that I still had more work to do.

My husband is studying life coaching and it’s been fascinating to see how much of what he has been learning crosses over in the work that I do. A fragment of the thought resurfaced not long ago and I asked him to help me with it. To be more honest, my stories around the thought surfaced and I felt hurt and angry and I asked him for help. As I shared my stories of feeling like I don’t belong, he helped me find the thought “I’m not happy here”, another take on my old, familiar (and shitty) friend who says “you don’t belong here”. He asked me if I wanted to do the work on the thought, and I said yes. It was a powerful process, as a sort of self-surgery with the guidance of a trained professional showing me the way through step-by-step. It was a medicine for the mind; to hold the thought under the light of awareness and ask, once and for all, if it was true. When I did this, I realized that no, it wasn’t true. Now, was I going to allow this lie to continue hurting me? Fuck. No. I chose to let it go. To truly and entirely let it go. To thank it for its wisdom, for teaching me that there is no place outside of me that can make me happy or unhappy.

Happiness is a choice and a state of being. Happiness is living in your truth. And part of my truth is feeling that no matter where I am when I live in my heart, I belong there. If you enjoyed this post and you think others would too, then sharing it would be a huge honour for me. Thank you for coming along on this journey!

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How To Let The Magic In

I just heard some advice that I’m taking to heart. It was to relish in the magical synchronicity of life because it makes them stronger. You know the ones I’m talking about when you think of someone and then they call you when you hum a song and it plays on the radio when the setting sun hits the landscape in just such a way that it pierces through your outer shell and brings tears of joy and wonder to your eyes. These are the moments I’m talking about, and there is one such string of magic that I want to relish in and share with you.

I was on a work trip with my husband, Dave in Miami. We had some time to explore, so we did what most reasonable Canadians would do and decided to take advantage of the room temperature ocean waves and sunshine suddenly available to us in October. As we reached the waves, they seemed to instantly wash away any sense of frustration or discomfort we had, leaving us feeling open and connected to the greater forces surrounding us. As a calm feeling washed over me I started singing a tune that came into my mind… “Lady, running down to the riptide, Taken away to the dark side…” Wait, WHAT? Why am I singing this song in the ocean when I already have a phobia of riptides taking me away?! I focused intently on getting it out of my head, but then a few minutes later I’d realize I was singing it again. What the hell? I eventually gave up and let myself enjoy humming what my thoughts suspected were a subconscious invitation to meet my maker in that choppy ocean. And yet despite my thoughts, it felt so freeing and peaceful to sing that particular song at that moment. 

Fast forward two days and we’ve traded Miami’s sun-kissed beaches for Alberta’s snow-capped Rocky Mountains. We’re volunteering at a retreat and everyone is sharing their first dinner together in the lodge’s cozy restaurant. People are wearing toques while chatting excitedly with each other as a fireplace crackles nearby. Someone is playing beautiful music in the room next door and I pop over with a few other enchanted guests to watch and listen. My friend, Dana asks her if she’ll join us and play for us and to our delight, she says yes. Sometimes it turns out that if you want something to happen all you have to do is ask. Fortunately for all of us at the retreat, my friend Dana understands this.

The lovely musician comes in and seats herself on a chair with her ukelele in hand. Her fingers begin dancing with the strings and the rhythm weaves us all together like invisible threads moving from one heart to the next. The chatter quiets and we’re left with presence and connection. The musician’s soulful and sweet voice harmonizes with the ukelele’s song until it seems there is only the music, our hearts, and the perfection of this moment. As she sings the melody, everyone in the room softly sings with her… “Lady, running down to the riptide, Taken away to the dark side…” Many of us have tears in our eyes as the music connects us in this beautiful, perfect moment. My husband sitting next to me squeezes my leg, he remembers me singing this song in the ocean just a couple of days ago. I smile back at him and my eyes say “I know, isn’t it so magical?”

Fast forward again. It’s late and Dave and I have just finished watching the final season of the show Halt and Catch Fire, and the ending is phenomenal. Without ruining it for you, the characters each experience great personal loss in their own ways, and yet they embrace the pain of it. They welcome it into their hearts and let it show them how to love more deeply. They move forward through their lives and allow themselves to be recreated into someone new each moment. They love without holding onto the object of their love.

I sat thereafter it was finished and I laughed, smiled, and cried for a couple of hours. I sat in wonder at the concept of loving so cleanly. To keep alive the memory of something you loved and lost because the richness of that love is so much greater than any sorrow could ever be. The object of love may no longer be there but the love itself never left. This got to me. It got to my heart. I thought of the people who’ve made a big impact in my life, many of them no longer a part of it. I realized that I loved all of them. I felt so grateful for each lesson and moment of connection I’d shared with them. Even though they were no longer in my life they were still teaching me how to love. I let the depth of the emotion and insight wash over me like a wave taking me out to see. And then I felt it. “Lady, running down to the riptide, Taken away to the dark side…” The words that sang through me were a call to surrender. To let go and feel the wave of being alive. To let myself move deeper into the infinite depths of this human experience. The ocean doesn’t want to drown me. I am the ocean. And you know what? So are you.


“The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around…
You are something that the whole universe is doing
in the same way that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.”
– Alan Watts

What are some moments you’ve had when it seemed like the universe was winking at you? Take notice of them, relish in them, and share your stories in the comments!

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Letting Go to Dream, Heal, And Become

It’s winter and the days are getting shorter and shorter as the sun creeps across the southern horizon. The bears have joined the trees in their long winters rest from the outer world, moving into a place beyond our waking reality. As they dream their body’s wounds will wash away with barely a scar left behind, just traces of evidence that they were ever even there.

Soon it will be solstice, the longest night of the year, and a time when I feel compelled to light candles and curl inward. I feel like dreaming too. Dreaming away the past year and let all the mistakes I made wash away, leaving my lessons behind. It’s a time of quiet reflection. Of resting in the spaces between words. Of listening to the whispering hums and rhythms of nature. Of appreciating non-doing, just being.

It’s when I want to sink into the mysterious world of dreams. A place where I can imagine new destinations for my doing self to plot a map. It’s the time of the feminine, yin energy to sink, process, restore, and dream so that when it’s time for the masculine, yang energy to rise and take action I will know where to let the current take me. 

In a world sometimes caught up in doing, I intend to sink into and appreciate this time of non-doing; of dreaming. And when my mind feels guilty for not doing it, I’ll remind it of the important work that happens in the spaces between words. I’ll remind it to honor the great power of the yin, the feminine, and the dark. For it’s the dark which forges us into who we’re meant to be.

I hope you find time to be with your dreams this winter. May they guide you home.

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Say Hello And Free Yourself From Suffering

Welcome! I’m excited to share with you a very simple yet powerful tool to free yourself from suffering, just by saying hello. As with all things here, I draw on my own experiences, sharing only that which I can personally attest to working and understanding on an experiential level. Now, let’s dive in…

Do you know those times when everything seems so infuriating for no particular reason? Endless stories start streaming through your mind about how frustratingly wrong things are with a kind of ferocity that is almost debilitating. Well, I have. On some mornings, for no obvious reason, a wave of agitation grips me with such intensity that my first impulse is to cancel any plans I have and sit in fiery solitude. One such wave hit me the morning of writing this story. I was angry and my mind wanted to find all kinds of reasons for why it was everyone else’s fault, which funnily enough only made me feel worse. I’ve already gone down the road of blaming everyone else over and over again and I know where it leads me, to more frustration and more suffering. So I decided to try a new strategy. Feeling unable to really do much else, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. My mind’s angry stories could play out all they liked, but for the time being, I was going to close my eyes and breath deeply.  The world may be entirely unmanageable but for right now I could inhale, and exhale. Inhale, exhale. After a bit of time breathing, I was ready to tackle another step. What does this agitation feel like in my body? Where does my body feel not like itself? My attention was drawn to a coursing, hot, intense energy in my chest. Actually, now that I was looking for the discomfort in my body it was impossible to miss. Now that I’ve found it, I might as well greet it. “Hello, agitation. I see you there.” As I said these words in my head, it was like space was created between me and the agitation. There was me, and then there was it. While I was watching it, it couldn’t manipulate me like a marionette attached to strings of thought. It was suddenly, entirely manageable to observe the sensation. It had been overwhelmingly unbearable to BE the sensation. Identifying it allowed me to realize that I wasn’t it. I HAD an agitation, but I wasn’t the agitation. And what a powerful thing it was to feel that shift as it happened.

I’ve become very familiar with the idea of observing rather than identifying with my thoughts and feelings, it’s something you’ll hear regularly from meditation and mindfulness teachers. It can be easy to do when you’ve planned your nice, calm meditation space and everything is rosy, but this practice really tests you when instead of roses it feels like you’re working with a steaming hot pile of poo. But while it may be hard, what good is it to have these tools if you don’t actually use them, especially when you need them most?

So next time you feel like punching a wall, you might want to try this instead:

  • Breath deeply, it can also help to close your eyes. All you have to think about is inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Only move on when you feel ready to try another step. And if that doesn’t happen, simply breathing deeply will allow the emotion to move through your body. Try it again next time this happens. Eventually, you’ll be ready for the next step.
  • Bring your awareness into your body. Where do you feel the agitation (or whatever your personal pile of poo happens to be)?
  • Say hello to it. Acknowledge it.
  • Realize you are not the agitation. You HAVE an agitation. 
  • Sit with it. Accept that it’s there without trying to argue with it or change it. See what it does. Keep breathing deeply.
  • Let it run its course. By allowing and observing it you may just find that it becomes much more manageable. The more you acknowledge it as separate from you, the more it will shift.
  • It may or may not have a message for you. If it does, observe any insights or inspiration that may come to you afterward. For me, it was gratitude for learning how to more deeply integrate tools I’ve learned, followed by inspiration to write this post.

It took me about 15 minutes to work through my process and feel like myself again. In times when I haven’t done this, I’ve let agitation ruin my whole day. In those times, I wasn’t ready to let go of my stories about why I felt the way I felt, I needed more time to work through my process. It was painful, but it was my reality at that time. Maybe you feel that way too, in which case, cool. I respect your process. But If you don’t want to do that anymore, here’s something else you can try. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Write to me in the comment box below or message me through my contact form.

P.S.  If you’re interested in learning more about non-identification from thought you can read more about it herehere, and here.

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Your Best Friend

Happy first day of the last month of 2017 everyone! We’ll go on a bit of a personal journey with this post, and if you’re feeling up for the adventure, I encourage you to give yourself a few minutes of undisturbed time to settle in and get the most out of it. That being said, let’s jump into it…

Imagine if you will, that you have a friend who has been through everything you’ve been through. Since day one, they’ve felt the same joys, sorrows, and everything else you’ve ever experienced. And those things that are sometimes too much to feel, they feel more strongly. Even the things you forget, they remember and hold onto more deeply. Not only do they remember every experience they’ve ever had, but they’re entirely incapable of hiding how they feel because they only speak the truth, which can be super annoying at times.

Sometimes you get along with this friend and sometimes you don’t, and it’s mostly when you two stop talking to each other that things begin to go south. Sometimes it feels like your friend is just sitting there being excruciatingly uncomfortable, and it takes all of your willpower to carry on with your day despite their palpable brooding.

Through all of this frustration, you take a deep breath. You begin to remember everything you two have been through, even those things you’d forgotten. You bring your awareness to the toughest memory that stands out in your mind. You let yourself feel how much that hurt. When that was happening you weren’t very good at showing up for work either, hell, just existing was hard enough then. If there was something someone could have said to you to help you through that time, what would they have said? What would you say to someone going through what you went through? Ask yourself this question now and wait for your mind to give you the answer. When you have the answer, write it down.

Read on only once you’ve done this exercise.

Now back to your friend. You ask them how is it that they’ve been through everything you’ve been through? Are they you? No. Yet they know everything about you. How? Because they’ve lived with you more intimately than anyone else in your life. The things you’ve forgotten or denied about yourself, they remember and hold onto. This is why it hurts so much when you don’t talk to them. So let’s talk to them. First, sit comfortably and bring your awareness inward. Take some deep breaths, expanding your abdomen as you inhale and sighing it out on your exhale. Feel your feet touching the floor. Feel yourself sitting. You’re going to tell your friend what you wrote down, and you’re going to begin by saying, “my dear body…” and then read your message.

Rest here and feel what your body feels. What does it feel like to talk to your body? What does it feel like to show your body compassion? You are made of consciousness, and you live within a conscious body. Otherwise, you’d have to remember to breathe, digest, pump blood, grow skin, and do an endless number of processes happening every single moment. You are not your body, but like it or not, you will live together for the rest of your life. How do you want that relationship to look? Next time you think a thought about your body, make a note of it. Does that thought feel contractive or expansive? If the thought was food, would it be poison or nourishment?

So many of us, especially in the western world, are very good at living in our thoughts but not so good at living in our bodies. What is it like to feel your blood pumping? Does it feel alive? How does it feel to touch the earth with each foot when you walk? We’re not looking for the thought or idea of it, but how the actual physical sensations feel. Your body speaks through sensations and if it’s not a language you’re used to speaking, the good news is that anyone can learn it with practice.

Part of creating a healthy dialogue is feeling like our body is a nice to place live.

Your body has to process everything you consume from food and drink to thoughts and media. Is what you’re consuming poison or nourishment? Remember your body speaks through physical sensations. It could talk to you through a feeling of heaviness and agitation, or it could be a feeling of lightness and calm.

Your body needs both movement and rest to process and regenerate. Does it feel anxious or congested? It may need more movement. Does it feel depleted or sick?  It may need more rest.

Your body holds onto things that at some point in your life, you chose to not feel because it was too intense at the time. Your body may have been holding to these things for so long that you no longer know how to access them, and if you did, you may not yet you have the tools to shift them on your own. When this happens, it can help to work with someone trained in helping you navigate and release these blocked energies. If there is a healing modality calling to you, I encourage you to look into it. If you’d like more information on the work I do with Medical Qigong, you can read here or book a phone consult with me to learn more.

Do what helps your body become a place worth living in. Because it’s not only your home, it’s the best friend you’ll ever have.

Thank you for taking the time to read this story. If you know of anyone who you think could benefit from reading this, please share it!

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A Journey Home – Part 1

Welcome to part 1 of an ongoing series of personal stories. These stories are a way for you to get to know me and they’re a reminder for anyone who’s been through similar challenges that you’re not alone. We’re all figuring this stuff out together, and with some determination, time, and help anything can be figured out.

“You don’t belong here”.

Four words that have reverberated through my mind and body for as long as I can remember stringing sounds together. It wasn’t that “here” has been a particularly unwelcoming place. “Here” has been a peaceful country, a group of friendly people, a house, a job, a relationship. But with “here” accompanied an infinite list of stories my mind would create about whatever my current circumstances happened to be. And while the context of the story would inevitably change, four words remained unwavering: “you don’t belong here”. Each time those words rose up a ripple of pain would course through my whole being and then leave me with a paralyzing emptiness. I wanted to connect with people but it seemed impossible. I wanted someone to see me, to save me from this sea of nothingness. But how could they, when I couldn’t even see myself?

So I searched for a way out of the pain. I searched for it in liquor, in work. For moments it would mask the hurt, but I could still feel it there just below the surface, waiting for a quiet moment of reflection to attack. But I kept searching, venturing into other parts of the world. Maybe the castles of Scotland, towers of England, coral reefs of Belize, or beaches Mexico would save me? Maybe all I needed to snuff out those four words was a new “here”. And as I searched in each new place my heart would sink a little deeper, because it was never there. “I SHOULD be happy here. Why the hell isn’t I happy?!” I was unhappy and entirely pissed off about it. And with sinking despair, I began to wonder if what I was looking for even existed. Maybe it was nowhere.

For a while, I gave up on seeking and I shifted my focus back to work, and when I wasn’t working I was with my couch and Netflix. But that time of moderate entertainment, rest, and solitude somehow backfired when I opened up Pandora’s box of documentaries on Netflix. I learned about animal agriculture, environmental devastation, war, poverty, and oppression. I had already known about all of these things, having intellectually thought about how unfortunate they were. But I had never l felt them. I had never experienced them with my heart. It wasn’t until I looked deeply into the eyes of another suffering soul that I felt their suffering in my soul. And it wasn’t until I looked deeply into the body of damaged earth I felt that damage in my own body. It was hurt so deep and vast, and it made my heart crack wide open. The emptiness was gone, and it was replaced by pain so unbearable that the only thing that mattered was my search for salvation. And then, as if the Universe saw me drowning, it threw me a liferaft.

I was waiting in my car outside of a store parking lot and listening to the radio when I turned to a station in mid-interview. A man was describing an image of him holding himself as a child. As he held and spoke with his inner child, he was able to hear this part of him with understanding and compassion. He was able to resolve its confusion and hurt and let go of a deep pain that he had been carrying for a long long time. Then he mentioned how grateful he was to have had this Ayahuasca ceremony.

Ayahuasca? What the hell was that? I began furiously googling everything I could find about Ayahuasca. There was a National Geographic article from a woman sharing her journey of overcoming her lifelong depression in an Ayahuasca ceremony. There was a mini-documentary about an artist’s journey into experiencing another world that amazed him and showed him ways that he could take better care of himself and how he now creates personal work inspired by the visions Ayahuasca shared with him. And that was it for me. I found a retreat and two weeks later I was on a plane to an Amazonian jungle in Peru. My mind didn’t have many stories as I made my way there. Instead, I felt a deep sense of peace that I was exactly where I should be.

I arrived at a retreat that felt like a little oasis, protected from the outside world with a green canopy of lush life. I found myself there with other seekers from all around the world, people who’ve come to experience this Amazonian tea and the ancient wisdom of the shamans who work with it. And whatever expectations we might have had upon arriving they would not light a candle to what unfolded. On the night of our first ceremony, my heart broke more open than I had realized possible. The seemingly infinite pain that I was holding onto began to melt into the earth. I watched memories of my life and stories from my mind come to the surface and surrender their pain. And as this happened, I started having space for something other than pain. I began to feel intense, expansive love, joy, and amazement. I could feel the moonlight washing over and nourishing me from above. I could feel myself swaying in the gentle breeze with the jungle plants. I was myself, I was the plants, and I was the moonlight. It felt profoundly and completely beautiful to be alive, to be life. I was in a world that existed beyond pain, numbness, and stories. And it was perfect.

But I couldn’t stay there forever. I had my life in Canada to come home to. And when I made it home I wanted to tell everyone about that world, about how perfect and beautiful it was. But when I tried to explain it, there wasn’t a string of relatability for anyone to grasp onto. The world I experienced there and the world here were so different, it was like explaining a dream. So I kept it to myself and over time the perfection of it faded into an echo, becoming overshadowed by the busyness of doing things and all my mind’s stories about things. And eventually, a faint, familiar sound started creeping back in… “you don’t belong here”. And it seemed that I had found a medicine, but not a cure.

Ayahuasca had shown me a window into what is. It was profound, beautiful, and awakening. But it wasn’t my destination, not for a sustainable length of time anyway. But I realized that what I was looking for did exist. It was somewhere. And my job was to build a map to get there. A new chapter in a long journey home had begun.

Thank you for sharing this story with me! If you’re interested in the healing practice of Chinese Energetic Medicine you can learn more about the sessions I offer HERE. If you have questions or want to reach out you can contact me HERE.