Corridor of the Dying or Something Else?

It is such a small leap for me I don’t know why it never occurred to me before.

I went to visit my mother this weekend.  She has had dementia for more years than we know and she has been in long term care for almost three.  Awhile ago I wrote about only understanding her journey from a soul perspective.  This is becoming more true for me as she gets nearer to her transition.

During this visit, I sat on her bed with her, maintaining physical touch the whole time I was there.  When she looked at me and we held eye contact, she smiled and even laughed.  So did I.  Sometimes with my tears also flowing.  The rest of the time, I watched her lift her head to look very intently at things I could not see all around her room.  It is clear to me that spirit in gathering although less clear to me when she will finally decide to let go of her physical body, but likely soon.   We, her family, are becoming more ready as we walk this path her.

To get to the dementia ward in what everyone in the town calls “the Home”, you enter the front door of the building, walk a short corridor past the administration offices and enter through an electronically locked door into the main residential part of the building.  You then have to walk down a long corridor to get to the dementia ward, behind yet another locked door.

As you enter the residential part of the building, you come upon people – old people and in some cases, really old people – sitting in wheel chairs or chairs – just sitting there for the most part, most nodding off.  Those are the ones well enough to be sitting up.  As you go down the corridor, bedrooms are on either side and in most of them someone is lying on a bed, oblivious to the rest of the world.  Sleeping, snoring, unaware. And, as good as this place is – and I do believe it is one of the best, it smells of old people waiting to die, sometimes less so, sometimes more so.  It is a hard corridor to walk with regularity, know the shape of these people’s lives have shifted so dramatically.

I have always thought of these people as waiting to die.  We all know the only way people come out of long term care is in a coffin.  This is where some of our population go to die – when their loved ones can no longer take care of them and, believe me, that is not an easy decision.

For some reason, with this visit with my mom, I had a little revelation and I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but I’m glad it has now because it expands my awareness of what else just might be going on in these corridors.

My spiritual journey over the last dozen years or so has shown me pathways to altered consciousness, to spirit journeying, to spirit guides, angels and other entities.  I am aware that it is possible to “travel” in dream states – sleeping and waking – and that much good and healing work can happen in these states of altered awareness and consciousness.

As I sat with my mother and observed her looking at that which she could see and I couldn’t, I all of a sudden became aware that her physical body might be old and weak and her brain injured, as they say at the Home, but her spirit or soul is strong.  I began to wonder just where, how far and how often she may have been journeying while her physical body slept and that thought took me to all those sleeping bodies throughout the whole facility and a curiosity about where some of those souls might be journeying to while their physical bodies sleep.  I’m sure some of them may well be wrestling with their own demons, so to speak, but whose to say that most of them aren’t off doing much needed soul work in ordinary and non-ordinary reality.

Then I could feel a bubble of light surrounding this Home. The notion that these beautiful souls might be making contributions to the world that most of us cannot see or understand made my own spirit more joyful.  And now I hold my mother’s journey with an added degree of lightness and joy which I have no doubt she feels.  She is journeying well and will continue to do so, I have no doubt.  She is a great teacher for me.  And I love her and she know that.

Ode to My Mother on Her 79th Birthday and Mother’s Day

My mom and dad in 2000

As another Mother’s Day and my mother’s 79th birthday rolls around I am inspired to write a little dedication to my mother: Mary Patricia Ann Ritcey Jourdain.  This beautiful woman now lives in long term care because of dementia.  I write in appreciation and gratitude for all she means to me because of what she has made possible in the shifting shape of my life.

When I was a baby, my mother took me in.  I didn’t know this until recent years and not until after dementia had already significantly  impacted her, but she loved me like her own – because to her I was her own, even if she wasn’t the one who actually gave birth to me.

She loves me so fiercely she was afraid to tell me this little bit about my life story.  And I certainly felt like I belonged, even in those teenage years when I wished I was adopted so I could escape the craziness of our family dynamics to some idealized dream family – which I didn’t actually think existed but now that I know they do, I know it’s also not an idealized dream family but real people with their own crazy family dynamics and stories.  It’s good my mother wrapped me in her warm embrace and shepherded me into life.

My mother had the gift of gab.  She could talk to anyone about anything, no matter who they were.  And in the summers when we brought guests aboard the Bluefin, my dad’s pride and joy, my mother had a storehouse of knowledge about just about every home you could see from the water and every island we cruised by.  She didn’t like being on the water so much, but she loved being the social director.

When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate her gift of gab.  I may, I hesitate to say, have even been a bit embarrassed by it.  But as I grew older and found myself in situations where the ability to make small talk would have come in handy, I grew to appreciate what I now understand as a gift and wished I had the same capacity.

My mother only learned to cook when she married my father.  I definitely heard the stories about not even being able to boil water.  She became a pretty decent cook, except for when she wasn’t paying attention – Harlequin Romances were usually the culprit and sometimes it was Another World.  There was more than one burned dinner in our household when I was growing up.  Somehow that motivated me to learn how to cook and my mother gave me free reign to cook and bake as much as I wanted.  To this day, I love cooking and baking.  I find it relaxing to cook for a large crew of people.

She was, thankfully, an adamant voice when I considered whether I should actually go to University because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.  I went and I never looked back.

Over the years, as I got married and had children, my mother showed up more than once when I called.  When I was nine months pregnant with my second child and my husband and I both came down with flu and couldn’t take care of our toddler, she came, tended us, made chicken soup and watched our son.

When I was traveling and needed a hand with the kids, she showed up.  When I moved – both with and without my husband, she was there.  Never any questions or judgment when I got married or when I divorced.  Just always there.

She had a way of unobtrusively lending a hand.  She never got in the way, she just started helping out.  This is a gift I really appreciated as I saw other people clumsily get in the way even when trying not to while my mother just began to do what needed doing, gracefully and easily.

She was amazingly resourceful, resilient and always cheerful.  She loved the few years she worked as a waitress or host in several different places during the summer months.  She could regale friends and strangers with her stories as if they happened yesterday.

She doesn’t tell her stories anymore.  Even before she went into long term care on July 2, 2008 she was losing her capacity to string thoughts and sentences together.

The hardest thing we ever did as a family was sign the admittance papers that turned Harbourview Haven into her home, what will be her last place of residence.  At first, we could take her out for little trips.  We even brought her to my home for Christmas Dinner that first year.  But it wasn’t long before taking her out was just too difficult for her.

She went from walking to sitting in a wheelchair, using the wheelchair to motor around the dementia ward to moving less and less.

My mother, who never let me sleep in, now refuses to get out of bed a lot of mornings – making up for lost time maybe.  She never complains – and almost never did – although she’s been known to suggest that maybe some people should be thrown out the window!  Sometimes I think dementia removed a filter,  allowing her inside voice to become an outside voice, maybe giving her freedom to say things she would have been horrified to say pre-dementia.

I have written before about my mother’s situation and only being able to understand it through the perspective of soul journey.  I feel that even more so now.  What I know is that even though she doesn’t talk much and her thoughts seem all jumbled and incoherent, she brightens up when she sees people she has known and loves.  It takes a bit longer these days but it still happens.  She still knows what she wants and is adamant about it.  She’s on a bit of a hunger strike at the moment – not likely a conscious one – but she is refusing to eat.  I have no doubt she wants to be acknowledged for her choices.  She does accept the milkshakes they give her full of the nutrients she needs to sustain her physical body.

For her birthday and Mother’s Day, I can’t really offer her the kinds of gifts that would have excited and delighted her in the past.  Opening presents, which use to be a much anticipated delight, has no meaning for her now.  When I see things that I know my mother would have liked, I also recognize that as a memory and an honouring of my mother more than as a gift to buy.

My mother’s world has shrunk dramatically and she has too.  She has lost much of her vibrancy and joy in life and her ability to comfort others.  But she’s still a human being.  She’s in her journey, in her way, in her soul’s calling and I would only be fooling myself if I didn’t recognize that she is in a transition from he vitality of a full life to what’s behind the veil.  The rest of her will catch up when the timing is right.

She is still a person.  She is still loved.  She is still my mother even though our relationship has shifted yet again into a next phase – as has been happening over the whole course of my lifetime.  Even when the rest of her passes beyond the veil, she’ll still be my mother and she’ll still be loved – remembered for this most amazing journey she stepped into 79 years ago.  Who knew where it would lead but thank goodness she was here for me because who knows where I would be if it weren’t for her.

My Mother and Grandmother - 1991

“Soft Skills” – A Real Misnomer!

Ask anyone.  The hardest thing we ever do is relate to other people, especially as leaders in our organizations or communities, but also in our personal relationships.  Ask anyone what the most difficult component of their job is: relationships, interpersonal dynamics, people.  Ask project managers why most projects fail: inadequate communication and team members moving in different directions or having differing priorities.  Ask teams their greatest challenge: getting work done – because of interpersonal dynamics that get in the way.  Because people challenges interfere in getting the job done, slowing us down.

Empathy, leadership, communication, sociability, ability to laugh, optimism, common sense, responsibility,  integrity and motivation are some of the skills identified as soft. Somehow soft has become interchangeable with expendable so when budgets become tight the first thing to go is soft skills.

Soft skills are not about being nicey nice.  They are about creating the conditions for relationships to grow, enabling individuals and teams to engage in difficult and necessary conversations, not so we can all live in some kind of utopia but in service of getting work done, achieving results, having impact, shifting systems, seeing possibility, opening to emergence.  We do our best work with people we like, people we care about and people we love.  We have our greatest resilience in systems that care. We reach our highest potential in supportive environments that encourage growth.  We take our greatest risks when we know someone will help us up and dust us off when we fall so we can all be ready for what’s next.

There is nothing soft about soft skills.  They require discipline, practice and self awareness.  They require risk and letting go of control, trusting others to step up and in when we create the space for them to do so and they require discernment about what is the right amount of leadership, coaching and support required to allow teams and individuals the highest possibility of growth and contribution.

One of the reasons I gravitate to the Art of Hosting Body of Knowledge is because of the emphasis on creating the field or conditions from which wise action, results and impact will flow, flowing out of a well tended relational field.

We will not shift the shape of the world only through projects.  We will shift it by paying attention to the quality of the relational field and our relationships.  The greater the quality of the relational field, the greater the power to engage in actions with such purposefulness that the shape of the world cannot help but shift.

Relationship With Self: Base Point for All Other Relationships

The most important relationship to focus on, understand and heal is the one with self.  As you develop mastery in that pursuit, all other relationships automatically achieve a greater level of understanding and you put yourself in a place of conscious, intentional choice around each one.

This is a really difficult concept to grasp.  We live in a relational world.  We are always interacting with others and some people have a tremendous impact on our lives – good and bad. The Law of Attraction says we are consistently attracting to ourselves that which we focus on and tells us that we could actually attract anything we truly desire whenever we desire it.  Many of us have tried…. and failed.  I know I have.  But I have been successful too and the learning is that it doesn’t have to be hit and miss.  It could just as easily be consistently good as it has at times been consistently bad.

But in such an intertwined world how are we to know exactly how much power and impact we have as an individual?  Can’t our individual ability to attract be canceled out or muted by other people we live with, work with or are close to?  Or would we perhaps cancel out what someone else is trying to attract?  This is the question I have lived – and lived into –  for years now and even as I write this I see how either/or this scenario is.  Either I get what I want or someone else gets what they want but we both can’t get what we want unless we want the same thing.  What if it is actually different than this kind of scenario and many possibilities exist all at the same time?

I distinctly remember a few years ago feeling completely out of control and overwhelmed.  There seemed to be so many external circumstances (aka people for the most part) who impinged on my well being, my sense of self, my own competence and my clarity.  They created stress in my life, drained me of energy and fed habitual thought patterns in my own mind that I knew were not serving me and had the potential to make me gravely ill.

And I knew that I had attracted to me, and even created, even embraced, some of these circumstances.  What I had more difficulty grasping was how much of these difficult relationships and circumstances was me and how much was external to me or someone else.  And why?  Why did I attract such undesirable circumstances and relationships to myself because I would certainly never consciously have invited some of these things into my life.

Intellectually I grasped these concepts.  Living into them was a totally different story.

Then came the point, I also distinctly remember, when I knew I had to turn away from all the external stimuli and blame and turn inwards, turn off the vitriolic self talk,  to find the answers I was seeking.  Thus began an intense, deep, concept shattering phase of growth which began as an internal battle with loads of resistance and gradually shifted into a surrendering which now allows a beautiful, simpler unfolding of self and story which I embrace as part of my ongoing evolution or journey into open-heartedness.  And I couldn’t have done it without the support of a couple of different coaches I worked with over that period of time, dear friends and amazing healers.  The discovery and eventual joy in my journey was amplified because I learned to call on and lean into the support that was and is readily available to me.

I couldn’t change the people around me.  I tried.  I hoped.  I prayed.  I rationalized and bargained, “Yes, I know I’ve attracted this and contribute to it, but…..”  When I was out of options, out of hope and feeling myself slip away into a haze of oblivion I finally turned to the only relationship that I actually have the power to influence, shift and change: the relationship with self.  Sure I wanted to…. but did I have to go so deep?  Did I have to fundamentally change my views of myself and my life?  Did I have to let go of my sense of having been wronged and even harmed by others?   Couldn’t I just skate across the surface or go just under the surface?  Couldn’t I still hold onto some version of being right?  Did I have to fundamentally examine everything about me, take it all apart in order to invite the kind of dramatic change into my life I knew I was needing?  Damn.  Resistance.  Strong enough that it  required pushing through at times.

I learned, thanks to the lovely Sarita Chawla, that my emotions were the doorway into understanding what was really going on with me and I learned that when I  dissociated from my emotional state I was putting up strong barriers to the learning that was available to me.

As I broke down walls and reclaimed more and more of the essence of who I am, I began to stand stronger in the world.  I learned about healthy boundaries and I learned about allowing myself to show up more fully in the world and in my relationships.  I became clearer and clearer on what I wanted, what I didn’t want and what needed to shift in me in order for the dynamics of my relationships and my world to shift.

As I came to understand the relationship I had with myself better, I found ways to stand in my strength and my power and grew clarity about “my stuff” – what was mine and what wasn’t – and all the relationships around me began to also shift.  I found strength to walk paths I had cowered on before and I found the capacity to change the conversation.  I began to choose with who and how I wanted to be in relationship and more and more layers of protective coating began to fall away so I could show up in – and attract – more and more joy, delight, beauty and graciousness until I have come to the understanding that THIS is the baseline way of being.  Now I know that when my emotional state is anything other than joy, delight, beauty or love it is a signal to inquire into what’s going on, resolve within myself whatever needs tending to and reaching out, time and time again, for the assistance I need when I need it – because it is readily available and because we amplify possibility and healing when we do so.

I have learned more and more of the truth that it all begins and ends with my relationship with self.  When that it grounded, solid and resilient, so too is my capacity to show up in all the other relationships in my life – including the most challenging ones, the most beautiful ones and everything else in between.

Meeting the Stranger Within

You know the stranger within before it is a stranger, when you are very young, before you learn concepts of right and wrong, good and evil.  Before you build the constructs around yourself that become essential to your survival – shaping your life so that you fit in, to make people happy – particularly your parents and other figures in your life you look up to or depend upon for survival at a young age.

As a baby, toddler and child, you learn it is not safe to expose this inner being, that somehow it is a threat – usually to others around you.  You begin to hide it and so begins the journey of the stranger.  You seek it out less often and then you forget where you hid it or how to unbury it, for a long, long time.

This being has shifted into a stranger and you come to believe this stranger within lurks in the shadows.  Because you believe this, you are afraid, deeply afraid, of what you might find if you seek it out. After all, others were afraid of it so so should you be.  You spend much of your life trying to thwart the stranger, running from your fear instead of facing it.  In so doing you create more shadow obscuring the stranger within even more.

Every now and then, the stranger finds an opening and bubbles to the surface.  You glimpse it but it is so unlike what you are expecting, you don’t recognize it.  Maybe you have been inspired or encouraged by it and now want to find it, but it is elusive.  You find it hard to believe that this stranger you have glimpsed lives in the shadows so you begin to look everywhere for it but where it actually lives.

You look to others to validate you and your experiences.  You compare yourself to others.  You, on occasion, take false joy in your journey because you can measure your progress and success – externally.  But deep inside the stranger is rumbling, calling to you, sometimes gently, sometimes with a strength and persistence that rattles your cage.  It is trying to guide you but you cannot hear it, cannot feel it except for the deep tremble you interpret as fear.

You believe the stranger is the one that causes your actions to be incongruent with who you fundamentally believe you are – which just proves to you that what lies at the core must be in shadow and is not to be trusted.

These things happen in your life, conspire even, to force you on a journey to discover the stranger, or as Anais Nin puts it: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” It becomes time to intentionally shift the shape of who you are and how you show up in your own life.

As you take those first tentative steps to know the stranger, you step into the shadow and you discover that maybe, just maybe the stranger does not live in the shadow.  That this stranger you have feared is at the core of all your failings, all your struggles, all our misguided actions, maybe that stranger is an illusion conjured up by the shadow you have both created and feared to keep you from the exploration of the real stranger – intended to keep you and the stranger safe but instead causing you countless struggles and detours along the way.

Stepping into the shadows is a necessary step to passing through the shadows to where the stranger actually resides – at your core, not in the dark but in a light that is ready to shine brilliantly as you brush away the shadow you no longer need, need to fear or need to build.

Some of the fear and the tremble that shows up is in the knowing that to allow this stranger to walk with power and strength in your life may require changes in your life and your lifestyle, changes in your relationships and changes in you.  What you need to let go of to allow your full essence to come into being.  These are often not easy shifts to make because they involve other people and they involve you, your notions of who you are, who you think you are and who you are capable and deserving of becoming.

The real stranger is no stranger at all.  It is the incredibly gifted, talented, beautiful, authentic soul residing inside of each of us, including and especially you, waiting for the opportunities, the growth, the courage, the love and the joy to burst out in full bloom.

This is what the step into the darkness will expose – that it is actually a step into the light, a journey to the core to the stranger remembered, not as a stranger but as a gift, a friend, an essential self.  What is the courage you need to meet the stranger within?

New Models of Organization and Work – Are We Ready?

The shape of the world is shifting, pretty dramatically and quickly, right now.  Are we ready?  Are organizations and systems ready? These questions have completely captured my attention fueled by the conversations and places I’ve been in lately.

I’m not sure we are ready and I’m not sure we will ever actually be ready for the shift that is emerging in the world right now.  Systems and organizations are designed to be self perpetuating.  Threat and opportunity are viewed through the lenses and structures of the system or organization – we usually believe that we only have a certain amount of scope within which to bring about change – we can only get certain people’s attention for brief periods of time, we need to work within the system, within the structures, because there are some things you cannot change, some things that will not work.  They may reflect current reality but they are also limiting beliefs and as long as enough people buy into them, radical change will be stalled.  Yet radical change may be what is lurking right around the corner, ready or not.

What gives me hope?  One is the conversations I’ve been in lately around the 2 Loops of Systems Change with my Berkana friends and beyond.  You can read a bit about it here and you can find my own hand drawing of the model here: 2 Loops of System Change

This model shows that in the peak and the beginning of the decline of the mature systems, there are alternatives already beginning to appear.  These alternatives need space to find their way.  Some will grow stronger and some will fail.  The ones that do grow stronger need to begin to connect with each other to grow collective and individual strength and capacity.  There are people in the mature system (stewards or sometimes called “toxic handlers”) who see and understand the importance of this work and who hold the space and clear the way for these alternatives to grow.

The alternatives do tend to fly under the radar and are often not widely known, but they are there.  Maybe they will be ready in the event of collapse of the old systems although it is hard for me to fully imagine what a collapse of the old systems will look like.  Maybe we are already seeing it but just not recognizing it for what it really is.

While existing organizations are entrenched in their structures and processes, newer, usually smaller organizations  have greater flexibility, resourcefulness and resilience and the greater capacity to totally rethink how they are structured, how they deliver their goods or services to the world.  They often can do this at less cost because they don’t have as much “bricks and mortar” in place as larger organizations and it feels less risky because they have “less to lose”, or so it might seem.

What has me excited is the possibility of new business models that can emerge now.  I have found myself sharing stories about networks – the Art of Hosting network, World Cafe, Berkana to name a few – because these networks recognize themselves as networks, organic and emergent.  They trust in the capacity of people to self-organize and are held together and flourish because purpose and principles are clear.  They have a minimum structure and sometimes struggle with how to live models of organization that are outside of traditional structures, particularly because in times of stress people push for what they already know and are comfortable with.    They are open source, openly sharing knowledge and new learning in recognition that this sharing grows the body and field of knowledge.

I share what I know about these ways of organizing with businesses and other organizations I am in conversation with, not because I think they should adopt the specific models, but because I think there is wisdom in these ways of organizing that could inform new business models – especially business models that see the value in operating from a place of openness and open heartedness – which I seem to be running into more often lately.

More than ever, I feel we are on the brink of unprecedented social change around the world and I have a greater awareness of just how connected we all are.  I can’t imagine what exactly it looks like but I continue to grow my comfort and skill working at the edges of my own not knowing – thanks to collaborative relationships with people I am privileged to call friends.

Are we ready?  I don’t think we really are.  Does it matter?  This shift will happen whether we are ready or not.  Our greatest path to readiness is to grow our own capacity for resilience, dealing with chaos, complexity, simplicity and not knowing.

My next posting will look at some of these new models of organization to see what we can learn from them and maybe, just maybe, grow our level of readiness even just a tiny bit.

Resentment, Anger and Grudges as Soul Journey Teachers

“If I destroy you, I destroy myself. If I honour you, I honour myself.” Nunbatz Men MAYAN

This is a daily meditation offering from White Bison.  The message: if I secretly hold a grudge or resentment against someone, I will be a slave to that person until I let them go so let me remember to look at my brothers and sisters in a sacred way.

This is a hard lesson to really accept and learn when we so want it to be about the other person! Yet when we hold that grudge, the person we hold it against actually has power over us.  To be even more direct, we have given our power away to them.  Nothing can be resolved unless they do something, healing cannot take place unless they do something.

What a sad and wretched way to live if this is what we choose – completely at the mercy of another’s journey.  What if they never change?  What if they never offer us what it is we think we need of them?  Or, even worse, what if they do and then we discover that that isn’t really the magic cure we’ve been waiting for? It’s not nearly as satisfying as we were sure it would be?

Healing of the soul is not an outer journey dependent on someone else.  It is an inner journey that only we can navigate.  Fortunately, there are many helpers, guides and teachers who show up along the way – but only when we are ready and can either perceive others as teachers or invite them as such.  It is easier to understand coaches and mentors as teachers, less easy to understand those we hold a grudge (or worse) against as a teacher although they often catapult our learning once we open to it.

When we feel wronged, and particularly when we feel deeply wronged, it is hard to step into the path of inquiry that asks: why have I invited this into my life?  This is not to make us wrong, make us a victim or cause us to take responsibility for another person’s actions.  This is solely to help us understand our own soul’s journey and the lessons we need to learn.

When I have felt marginalized in my life, I learned to ask the question: Why am I inviting marginalization (or marginalizing myself)?  How does that serve me in the place that I am in now? In a place of marginalization, I hide from stepping into my own power and purpose in life and, for some strange reason, this feels “safer”.

When I have felt voiceless in relation to other people I wondered what was my journey to reclaiming my voice?  I recognized my own feelings of judgment arising – about others and about myself – and learned to step into it, initially with great trepidation I might add, inquire into it, ease up on it.  Voicing my fears, issues and concerns in the light of showing up in ways I do not aspire to (as judgmental) began to bring me back to reclaiming my voice – a step toward also reclaiming my power – as a being of compassion, strength and love with important work to do in the world.

Jerry Granelli in my ALIA module  Leader as Shambhala Warrior said: if you resent one moment of your life, that is aggression.  Wow.  Just one moment of resentment is aggression.  Powerful.  It resonated strongly with my journey and learning to find the gifts in life decisions I’d made that I’d come to regret.  In truly finding the gift, the regret left, creating space for more compassion, strength, love and great joy – qualities that Byron Brown describes as inherent soul qualities in his book: Soul Without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within – a book that literally changed my life.

Letting go of regret and resentment can be a daily exercise, a daily reminder that this is a journey and, when we do step into it, it is a shape shifting journey.  We get to make a choice about it every day.  We only come to understand it as a choice as we journey, as we learn, as we sink into the soul’s journey by inquiring – with curiosity – into resentment, anger and grudges as they show up in our life.

Life has an interesting way of bringing to us that which we most need to learn from at any given time. My experience is that by learning to embrace it, it is usually a gentler journey – and I’ve learned that the hard way – from all the choices I made that brought me into deeply intense learning experiences that I wouldn’t necessarily have “chosen” for myself but which I now see that my “soul’s journey” chose for me to create the conditions necessary for me to step more fully into the gifts, power and talents that serve me and serve my work in the world.

These soul journey teachers do not appear to be friends when they show up.  If we make them enemies as much as the others they show up about, we wither and die – literally and figuratively, spiritually and physically.  This is motivation enough to take the difficult first steps of seeing them for their enormous potential as teachers.  The more intense the experience, the greater the return in the soul’s journey.

Because at some point I embraced this journey – which was better than the alternative internal toxicity I found myself living in a few years ago, every day and most minutes in a day, I now find myself in a place of deep appreciation, gratitude and joy for my journey and the ALL the people in it who have contributed in some way.  Waking up feeling joyful does not get old!