Reflections on Resilience

from the outside, it looks like i’m meditating

From the outside, it looks like I’m meditating   Assuming the noble posture feels like a homecoming after exploring seated practice from monks, mystics and madmen, through pages and in person, for three decades. Stillness is my home.  Silence is my preference. And has been so since those early days when playing possum kept me safe. The silhouette of my meditating body on the cushion is deceiving though because there’s a battering ram of resentment behind my solar plexus pushing outward. It’s anger and disappointment directed at myself for not setting a clear boundary allowing someone to take advantage of ...
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death backyard

Squirrels. Mice. Ducks and their eggs.  An unstable pigeon.  Countless mourning doves.  And bones and carcasses of unknown origin.   These are just some of the casualties that my backyard has witnessed and, as a by-product, so have I.  As I write this, I know there are several feathers being tossed around by the vigorous autumn wind in the side yard leading to the back.  I also know that when I wander out soon to put the gardens to bed for the winter, I will be greeted by more signs of decay.   My son has dubbed this natural, urban ...
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a mind of its own

Many moons ago now, I began exploring self-care practices and getting professional support for the residual stored survival stress from childhood trauma with every fibre of my…brain. I remember saying “I want to be well”.  So, I analyzed, took courses, read books, set goals, reframed distorted thoughts, researched the latest techniques and implemented as many as I could.   When I eventually considered my body at all by starting a yoga practice, it was because it was the next logical step. Also, an ER doctor suggested it after my late night visit to one of his many curtained offices. He ...
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what do you need?

What do you need?     What is it that you need right now?  At this very moment. To get some clarity, can you take a moment to pause and orient towards yourself?   Get quiet. Get curious. Listen with compassion to what comes up when you ask yourself what you need.   You may want to place your hand over your heart, notice the feeling of it beating in your chest as you check in with yourself.   What resource would support you in meeting that need right now?   A moment or a few minutes of quiet and ...
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big clutter

“You manage clutter well”. This came from a visitor to my home many years ago now.  Be still my organized heart! My guest was referencing my use of baskets, boxes, hooks, and other clever, hidden storage spaces to control the clutter. For me, visual calm in my environment creates calm in my body and mind. Unfortunately, other less-tangible life messes cannot be so easily contained with such control or mere organizational bins.  There are no tidy places to tuck away significant disruptions, distressing confrontations, physical pain, demoralizing disappointments, personal regrets, toxic shame and death. In fact, attempting to hide life’s ...
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sacred fear

  To be honest, the month of January felt like it had at least 965 days in it. I had a noble intention to fine-tune my gratitude radar this month. To notice glimpses of joy and moments of lightness to temporarily tune out the overwhelming division and discord in the world.  The radar worked. Some of the time.   I noticed the sun streaming in through the kitchen window during breakfast for the first time in a long time. I felt a sense of relief with a postponed assignment deadline creating space to pause. I grounded myself in the middle ...
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a year of harmonic thinking

This time of year is naturally reflective for many of us.   Our minds stroll through the aisles of the past and the shelves of the future lingering at points to notice particular items. These may be dusty experiences to let go of. Or gratitude when recognizing ones that warmed and bolstered us. Or maybe experiences that inspired us to level up in terms of challenging ourselves going forward.   This is also the time of year when marketers prey on our deep and long-held insecurities of not being good enough and they promise us great return on our investment ...
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reading the body

  I adore secondhand bookstores.  And libraries. In fact, anywhere that books recline and bide their time until someone picks them up, thumbs through their pages and checks them out.    I used to think it was just my imagination that my body felt distinctly different in those spaces. Surrounded by wall-to-wall books, the whispers of other quiet explorer-readers and the unhurried time to wander, my body settles naturally. My jaw relaxes. The muscles around my eyes get soft. My core unclenches and my exhale is long and refreshing.     On the other hand, when I’m in spaces that ...
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tickled pink

R: You know how purple is your favourite colour? Me:  Yup. R: And you know I’ve been looking for a secondhand canoe for a long time? Me: Sure.   R:  Well I just found us a purple canoe! Me: (me looking at the canoe tied to the top of the car) That’s not purple. R:  Yes, it is! Me:  Not purple. R:  It’s purple like your shirt. Me:  My shirt is grey. The canoe is pink.  Petal pink. R:  I still think it’s purple. Me:  It's not purple.     For the most part, I’ve always been a serious person. I ...
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when hibernation ends

  I’ve grown accustomed to this semi-reclusive pandemic life. With my wild woman hair, dubious hygiene routine and the sweet, sweet pace of slow solitude. Alas, this deepening appreciation for the road less rushed is happening just as things are set to open up in my area. The return of the real world is coming whether I’m ready or not.   There’s a kernel of resistance to the impending re-entry deep in my gut. It may be a concern that the change may bring back to the unhealthy parts of the status quo.     Can I hold onto the ...
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