Tag Archives: Love

On Remembering Dad



Oftentimes September 20th comes at me by surprise. I wake up one morning and suddenly it’s here. This year is different. This year I’ve been watching it approach, anticipating its arrival, waiting to greet it like a guest stopping over on a long journey.

Maybe it’s because of the work I’ve been doing around the energy that September is ushering in, bringing awareness to any unfinished business or unresolved intentions in my life. Letting go of them once and for all, applying dedicated discipline and persistence towards practice and completion. Cleaning out material possessions I no longer need. It feels right and good, like I’m expanding my lungs with a deep, baby-bellyful breath.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been contemplating grief a lot these days. Grief long hidden and unexpressed. Exploring what grief looks and feels like, turning it over, feeling it in my hands, probing with my fingers for any nooks and crannies where grief can hide like infinitesimal grains of sand. We, in the west, aren’t practiced or comfortable in the ritual of grief, either outward or inward.

I thought I was well prepared this year for the coming of September 20th, the twelfth anniversary of my father’s death. We siblings have our own small ritual to mark and honour his death and it begins with a morning email from my oldest brother with the simple subject line, dad. For me, this exchange of emails always brings me back to that day in the hospital when we all gathered around his bed one last time, his spirit in the room but no longer within his body. The string of time folds in and I am both here and there at the same time. And always I’m surprised.

This year I’m in the best place possible, in the peace of Hollyhock, immersed in the loving, holding space of my Art of Spiritual Guidance community. We’re beginning our second year of training/instruction/practice (it’s all these words and a hundred more) and I’m drawing the Home of my Soul. I have a handful of crayons and pencil crayons and a large piece of paper in front of me. It’s full of promise and potential and suddenly I’m filled with incredible sadness. It spills out of my eyes and stops my hands. Around me the air rustles with crayon strokes and the papers fill with beautiful, colourful images and my sadness is tinged with guilt. I’m not doing this right. I’m not grateful to the gift my soul is giving me. I can’t draw. I can’t…

I sit back with my sadness and sigh three times, letting go of my judgements, both around my drawing ability and around my sadness. Then I pick up a rose-red pencil crayon and begin writing instead, my words creating the images, enticing me to remember what my hands cannot draw.

And then I remember. Today is September 20th, the day my first spiritual teacher died. The home of my soul remembers and gives me the gift of sadness, a sadness that draws me inward to the source of my healing. Today is a day to sit with my sadness and be okay with that, because I know that this too shall pass. I know that on most days I remember my dad with great joy and delight. I know that even as I type my last word here, the sadness will leave and the joy will remain.

As my brother wrote this morning, “Yet, on most days, and particularly on this day, I only remember the infectious fun, joy and intelligence that Dad imparted to all of us.

That will always remain alive.”






Filed under Uncategorized

Celebrating Mothers

My mom, my daughter and me - three generations!

My mom, my daughter and me – three generations!

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table with my first born eating a grilled cheese sandwich beside me and my mom at the stove cooking up a big batch of her famous stew.  Outside waits a flat of perennials to transplant into my patio pots when the rain lets up.  This is Mother’s Day at her best!

photo (11)

This weekend we’ve been celebrating the life of my sister-in-law’s mother, who passed from this life just over a week ago.  I’ve known and loved her for as long as I’ve known and loved my sister-in-law and will miss her grand, elegant, yet irreverent presence in our lives.  So many relatives and friends gathered in Danny and Jane’s back yard, under the sun and then under tents when the rain began, talking, laughing and crying as we connected and shared stories.  A slide show of pictures looped continuously just inside off the deck and a “Best Mom in the World” book lay on a table, full of more pictures of Judy.  More laughter and memories.  Love.




I’m so grateful to have my mother in my life and to live close enough to come visit.  To laugh and talk and share stories of her life growing up; of my life growing up.  I think of other mothers who are no longer here with us, who are still loved and still present in our minds.

Every day is Mother’s Day, but today is so much more than a day to buy flowers and cards.  It’s a powerful reminder of love and gratitude.  Of the essential import of the sustenance of the feminine.  We are reminded that “mother” is a verb, not a noun.

My favourite quote from my mom is: “Oh, forever more!” Because that is the core essence of a mother….forever more hugs, forever more love, forever more forgiveness….

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.  ~Honoré de Balzac


Filed under Mothers Day

What Would You Say if You Had Fifteen Minutes to Live?

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

Bad picture of beautiful painting by my friend Carole Arnston

Love.  Keep your heart open to love.  No matter who or what hurts you, do what is needed to integrate that hurt into your being and forgive.  Don’t turn away from pain.  Don’t close the door and pretend it didn’t happen because your body never forgets.  Feelings left unfelt become ticking time bombs and manifest as illnesses.  Forgiveness takes cultivating.  You must be gentle with you tend compassion so it will grow outwards from you and touch another.  It begins with a choice to see the good in everything and everybody.

So walk into the dark unknown – it’s really not as scary as it appears and there are so many gifts to find!  Be courageous in all aspects of life, but most of all in living in the truth.  Your truth.  Not someone else’s idea of what your truth should be.  And not the illusion of another’s truth.  Take the time to separate the threads of story and fact, but do it mindfully and without judgment.  It is what it is.

Hug.  Hugs are important.  Hug your family and your friends.  Hug strangers if they look like they need it…but perhaps ask permission first.  Tell people you love them, especially your family and friends.  Always end conversations with “Love you.”  Who have you neglected in your life?  Who do you mean to call and you keep putting it off?  Call them now.  Stop reading and pick up the phone and reach out to them.

Remember we are all connected.  Long after I’m gone, long after you’re gone, we are all still here.  Energy never leaves, it simply transforms.  I feel you inside me right now…..I am inside you right now.  I am thankful for every single person who came into my life.  Each and every person changed me.  The deepest hurts and transgressions have fertilized my greatest growth and from it sprouted the seeds of compassion.

It all starts with and comes back to Love.  Endeavour to make everything you do and say be grounded in the intention of love.  And then remember the wise words of Yoda, “Do or do not.  There is no try.”

* Please take a moment to learn more about Carole Arnston, a highly gifted artist!


Filed under Writing practice

Seeking my Lover…

*I started this the middle of December!…..rather than begin again, I decided to simply jump back in and carry on. :-)*

Caroline Myss Lover Archetype card. Light Attributes: Great passion and devotion. Unbridled appreciated of someone or something. Shadow Attributes: Obsessive passion that harms others. Self-destructive devotion.

This month I am tasked with animating my Lover archetype, in companion with my Seeker and Pioneer.  In October I made a Sacred Contract with myself to spend the next year working to pick open a fate lock in my life.  One that is keeping me locked in a lingering pattern of pain and suffering and away from a path of Destiny.

Working with my archetypal energies and with the support and guidance of my Soul Sisters, four much cherished women working on their own fate/destiny journey, I am using the method and manner I’ve spent many months learning from Caroline Myss at the CMED Institute.  I’m passionate about the process and the deep inner work.

“Take your Lover out for a walk, to places you’ve never been.” Jim advises me via phone from Los Angeles.  I like the suggestion, but as I look out my window and see the ever-present rain coming down, I pull my blue, fuzzy blanket closer around me.  I can feel the cold dampness seeping through the window right into my bones.  Jim has never been to the rainforest we call Vancouver.   It’s close to Christmas and my kids are home from school bringing with them their exuberant energy as well as bags of laundry, dirty dishes left by the sink and expectations of a stocked fridge and pantry.  I’m wondering where my Lover archetype will find the time to take solitary walks.  I’m wondering if my Lover archetype likes walking in the driving, freezing rain, because I’m not too sure I do.

Two days later I’m walking down streets I’ve only ever before driven.  I’m seeking new and different, simple pleasures through the eyes of my Lover archetype.  The wind picks up and I wrap my scarf tighter around my neck.  At least it isn’t raining.  Bailey, my little Yorkie mixed mutt is pulling me ahead with her long red leash, criss-crossing the narrow road from one tantalizing smell to another.  She ‘sees’ through her nose.  I’ve brought my camera with me, thinking it will force me to slow down and walk more mindfully.

I stop to take a picture of a wooden gate with a wrought iron curlicued design set into it, through which I can see the ocean and the tip of Point Grey beyond that.  Almost directly across the street is another gate, this one an older white picket framed between two dense bushes, the fence on either side missing several pickets and falling into disrepair.  I love them both equally, each one an invitation to a secret garden and my imagination is set free to make-believe entire new worlds beyond.

I’m standing in front of the falling-down white, picket fence, my mind full of English countryside and orphans and faeries and my fingers fumbling to pull my gloves back on, when I almost drop my camera.  Bailey is pulling at the leash and nearly tugs it out of my hands along with my camera; something she’s been doing the entire walk and my frustration is growing.  How can I walk slowly and mindfully, taking the time to notice new, simple pleasures if she keeps tugging me to go faster!  Plus my hands are getting colder and colder every time I take my gloves off to take a picture.  And my hair keep blowing across my face and sticking to the lip-gloss I put on to keep my lips from drying out in the wind.

A car honks.  I call Bailey back to my side of the road and smile at the woman in the blue Volvo station wagon as she drives slowly past.  She smiles back at me and waves her fingers off the steering wheel as she passes.  Something inside me softens and releases as we share a smiling connection.  Patience.

The wind picks up some leaves and brushes a new, enticing scent along Bailey’s nose.  Her Yoda ears perk up and she’s once again trotting off, following the leaf down the road.  I smile again, tuck my camera into my pocket and let my wise, furry four-legged joy lead the way.  I allow the Grace of surrender to soften my mind’s tight control over how I think this walk ‘should’ go and instead embrace, with gratitude, what IS happening.  Now I’m actually seeing instead of looking.

Two weeks later I’m lying on the floor by the fire at my sister, Shari’s, house, warming my back after spending the day cross-country skiing with my brother and his family.  I’m alone with my book in the living room, but I’m surrounded by love.  I listen to the gathering in the kitchen as Shari and my sister-in-law, Amy, chop the vegetables that will go into the vegan spaghetti sauce.  My mom, brother and a couple of the older cousins sip wine and visit, sharing about their day.  A roar of laughter tumbles up the stairs.  My five-year old nephew, Fyn, has just scored in a rousing game of knee-hockey with his older cousins.

The Lover Archetype is all around me and I think back to my moments of frustration, wondering how I could possibly find the time to animate the Lover within me during such a busy month.  I chuckle to myself as Bailey trots over and drops her new squeaky toy onto my head.

It’s not about finding the time to animate the Lover Archetype; it’s about recognizing, with gratitude, the many wonderful, simple pleasures that already surround me every day.  I don’t have to seek the Lover within, I simply have to allow her to see.  Surrendering to the joy in the moment, instead of looking beyond to what hasn’t happened yet.  Surrendering to Now….with Gratitude.

My own little Yoda, Bailey

 I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog “God.”

First he looked


then he started smiling, then he even

I kept at it:  now he doesn’t even

I am wondering if this
might work on


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Filed under Archetypes, Sacred Contract, Spirituality