Shape Shifting Along the Path of Soul Journey

There are times, more frequently and consistently lately, thankfully, when My Self is in step with My Soul – my soul journey.  My Self has taken a long and winding road, full of pot holes, steep slopes and obstacles on the path, shifting shape in subtle and dramatic ways, to find her way to My Soul.

My Soul holds loving space.  Patiently waiting with full invitation for My Self to notice, to step in, to fall in, to embrace.  Sometimes My Soul whispers to My Self to help My Self find her way.  Sometimes she beckons loudly.  She always trusts My Self will find her way back. If not in this breath, maybe in the next.  If not in the next or the next after that, when there are no more breaths in the physical My Self, setting the non-physical free to blend back in with My Soul.  There is no time limit.  My Self manufactures urgency that My Soul does not assume, does not need, in the moment, a moment that could be a moment as we know it or a lifetime as we experience it.

When the two, which I have playfully named My Self and My Soul as I lean into what it is I am even trying to understand and discern here for myself, are in synch, there is a depth of stillness, beauty and love that envelops me in every way imaginable and emanates out in the world in palpable ways.  Synchronicity flows.  Miracles follow miracles and wonders never cease.

My Shape Shifting Lion Friend – on for the Soul Journey

I have known this soul journey through unconsciousness, awakening, pain and sorrow, joy, love – to greater and lessor degrees.  I have often thought there must be ways to get to it just from joy, that pain and suffering are symptomatic of the human condition and should be optional.  There are easier ways, most of us just don’t seem to choose them.

Earlier today, running in a beautiful Nova Scotia fall morning, through my neighbourhood, down to the Bedford Basin, along the waterfront, up to and down the main road, through a path along a little stream, back in a quiet neighbourhood and along the lake to home, I was present to my physical experience.  The air crisp and cool.  The sun filtering through the leaves of the trees – what’s left of them anyway.  My feet crunching through the fallen leaves.  Not thinking of things but holding my own self, my own experience with curiosity.

I notice this sense of transition – again, never ending, always in it transition.  I see the world around me, my actions, my work, me, changing, shifting shape all the time.  Often subtlely.  I feel things slipping off and new things budding.  It’s often quite lovely.  And I feel sorrow and joy.  Great depths of sorrow.  Great expanses of joy.  Either of these experiences can evoke tears and either are perfectly okay.  I am learning to hold them without judgment, just the noticing.  Oh, and the allowing.  Allowing them to flow when they appear – for joy or sorrow or any other number of reasons they may appear.  And, of course, it is not just tears but any range of possible expressions of emotional state, many of which are quite delightful.  Including stillness.  Including exuding love – like  a magnet, attracting people, experiences  stories and more love.   I am learning that when you travel the path of love, all things are added.

When I first moved into my house two and a half years ago, for almost two months I woke up every day feeling joy and delight.  Every single day. It was so lovely.  I understood that instead of struggle, perhaps joy could be the baseline experience that informs our journey, that we keep springing back to when we let go of whatever is getting in the way of joy.  It was quite a revelation born of the wondering and expectation that was beginning to creep into my awareness that maybe one morning soon I would wake up and not feel joyful.  I wanted to invite the level and intensity of joy into my life, every single day.

Then, financial realities began to hit.  Time began to bleed, minutes into minutes, days into days.  I could feel stress in my body and I knew it was being created not by my experience in this moment, but by my thoughts foraying into the future and the past, forgetting to reside in the beauty and okayness of Now.  My Self separated from My Soul for a little sojourn in other places.  My Soul tenderly held the space for My Self to explore.  The exploration in service of soul journey.

As I listen to Esther Hicks channeling Abraham, a conglomeration of non-physical entities, and Abraham speaks about expansion, I’m now getting it.  Abraham says, what’s the good of a banquet if they only offer what you want?  Where is the opportunity for growth and expansion in that?  If all my days had stayed only in that joyful place, would I have experienced this new depth of soul journey, where My Self is in tune, in step with My Soul more often, if some disturbance hadn’t entered my field of awareness?  If they hadn’t shown up, maybe I would have been content to stay within the boundaries of my lovely new home because I’m sure loving my solitude when I have the opportunity.  Instead, the murmurs of discontent show me what I don’t want, causing me to look for more of what I do want and then attract to me and my journey the most amazing, remarkable experiences.  I’m shape shifting yet again and how lovely is that?

It’s not struggle. It’s not even transition. It is being, experiencing, allowing.  There is no struggle if I don’t.  Lots of letting go of illusions and opening up to more and more of what I want – My Self walking with My Soul more often, inviting me to show up fully, to hold space more deeply, to carry things more lightly and allow myself to be swept along to the next shifted shape that is the new hallmark of a journey that only gets better and better.

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Contemplating and Celebrating Turning 50!

2012 seems like an auspicious year to be 50 – for me anyway.  For the last 3 years or so I have been saying I am almost 50, unlike some who fear that round number of age and wish they were sneaking their way backward, I find myself boldly and excitedly walking my way into it.  Which makes me smile and even giggle a little bit.

From 2005 to 2009 I was in a period of great upheaval and transition.  After saying repeatedly over those years I was in transition I began to wonder if that cycle would ever complete itself.  Then, in 2009 on the heels of a one day vision quest in Gold Lake Colorado and then the first Shamanic Convergence in Nova Scotia, I began to sense the transition process had shifted into a more gentle unfolding process and that I had given birth to the second half of my life, complete with the articulation of a personal purpose statement: from this place of deep rootedness to my spiritual lineages, I boldly bring my healing gifts to the shifting shape of the world and the regeneration of its people.  It is a statement that 2 years later still resonates deeply for me even as I grow less sure of what exactly it means.

This was also a period of time when I began to embrace gifts of awareness of the non-physical or subtle realms – and began to feel deeply embraced by non-physical entities – guides, guardians, angels.  As a person who lived a very ordinary experience of the physical world up to my late 30s, this was an area I had always believed in and felt could be accessed — but by other people, certainly not by me.  My journey brought teachers and mentors to me and took me to places where the existence and substance of the subtle realms and my ability to connect with them became undeniable.  It has been a significant part of the rebirthing process and will be a growing part of the journey forward.  A few years ago, one of my teachers said this is a time when there is a growing need for and a growing number of people who can walk with one foot in the physical world and one in the non-physical world – with greater ease, seamlessness and ordinariness.

If I gave birth to the second half of my life through that lengthy transition period, now I feel like I am beginning the Fool‘s Journey all over again, dancing the dance of possibility with time and space as a playground.  In the Gateway to the Divine Tarot (my favourite at the moment), the Fool is pictured drifting high above the Earth, implying an unearthly aspect to him, with innate wisdom that lies outside the ordinary and mundane realms.   The Fool is both emptiness and infinity, bringing movement, change and fresh starts.  The path is waiting but the full course of it cannot be seen.

I have been experiencing a sense of anticipation as I approach 50.  When I was a child, even a teenager, maybe even a young adult, 50 seemed both a long way off and old, not the launching pad for something new. I’m not sure what 50 is supposed to feel like.  It is half a century after all.  In the millennia of life this is such a short period of time.  I don’t feel old, I feel strangely and beautifully ageless and more and more like age as a number doesn’t matter.  What matters is how we approach life and journey, what we are willing and able to embrace and how well we can surrender into the greater forces lighting our path.

Maybe I don’t feel old now because, in the first half of my life, I have often felt older than my years. This was partly through taking on lots of responsibility and finding myself in leadership positions at very young ages. While not feeling old now, I do feel like an elder in some ways.  Steward might be a better word.  I think of it as elder in the journey – this current physical journey in the world, but also in the sense of my soul journey and the vast expanses of eras I have traveled to be here, right now in this time.  To be 50 in 2012.  Did I plan that?

A lot of attention has been paid to 2012 – the year the Mayan calendar ends.  Some have interpreted this to mean the year the world – or civilization – ends.  It may well be the end of much of what we do know or how we have lived but I doubt it is the end of the planet.  Likely it is the end of age old patterns, the end of blindly bringing destruction to our ecological systems, the end of allowing only  a few voices to dominate.  I am of the view that the Arab spring and the Occupy Movement are manifestations of the deeper shift that is already happening in the world, the trending to a greater level of awakeness in the world.  A time of returning to greater consciousness that there is far more beyond the physical vessels our spirits inhabit and far more alive in this world than just the plants and animals, just what we can physically see.  Maybe it is  a time when our sight and awareness will collectively expand again so we can live with a greater sense of the sacred in every place and every one – including in us.

I am aware of this journey in me and of me in this journey.  I am aware of a vast array of conversations I am with people in many places in the world where this is true.  Of a greater hunger for deeper dives, greater understanding, more meaningful work, love and relationship in new and deeper ways and beyond only the intimate love relationship.

Perhaps we will look back on this time in a decade or so and see what a harbinger of change it really is.  I’m certain I will look back on my journey and affirm what I know and sense as I move into 50.  This is a time for me to break old, limiting patterns, to step more fully into what is mine to do, to completely embrace my purposeful path and live into all that has been on my own edges for awhile.  It is the year I will publish my first book, Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Open Heartedness and begin writing the second book – its companion guide.

There is such a sense of newness on my horizon of 50 and of joyous celebration.  I may have unconsciously created an association between turning 50 and embracing life in the fullness of all it has to offer.  I have been growing into it for sure in the last couple of years as I have discovered falling in love everyday, have found joy as the baseline of my experience rather than as the exceptional state and have stepped into more conscious awareness of the experience I am living in any given moment.  I have been growing my experience of and relationship with the non-physical world and particularly my own guides, guardians and angels.

I didn’t really have a plan for my life up to this point. If I did, it wouldn’t likely have included the things that have shown up.  I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be divorced once, let alone twice.  While I would have expected to have children, I wouldn’t necessarily have anticipated the quality of relationship that has emerged and been present throughout their growing up years – with them and their friends. I couldn’t have imagined the most amazing people who have shown up in my life and those that have shown me pathways, caused me to grow or reflected back to me qualities I have been invited to embrace – the delightful and profound, the challenging and mundane.

I also would never have imagined that a country like Brazil would play such a central role in my life and journey or that I would be at this point in my life and surrounded by the most amazing young leaders from Brazil and here that I get to play with, learn from and with and journey with.  Yay for what I do not know and cannot see.  And for the increasing courage and grace that allows me to embrace what is wanting to show up.

The invitation into 50 gives me shivers in the most delightful and shimmering kinds of ways.  The invitation into deeper levels of trust, forgiveness, curiosity and joy are apparent.  This invitation is flirting at the edges of 50, waiting to see my response.  Like the first half of my life, it will be filled with the imperfections of life, of me in my human journey, ambivalent at times, sad at other times, anger more freely expressed when it shows up in my experience  but in better and more life affirming ways, like other emotional experiences that are not joy and love dissipating quickly because of the freedom of expression in healthy ways. There will still be days when it is challenging to walk the path, days when my own inner judge will be alive and vociferous, days when I do not know what to do or make choices that will somehow feel wrong.  It is a human experience I am living, after all, that we all live.

However, I have come too far to go back.  Have I come far enough to fully surrender and embrace all that is waiting for me here on the edge of 50?  It seems that is part of what I will discover as I begin the Fool’s Journey anew.  I begin with child like curiosity and playfulness and anticipation. I begin with joy brimming over the top.  I look forward to seeing where and how your path intersects mine and I am eternally grateful for the path, people and circumstances that have brought me here to the edge of what’s next. 50, here I come.  Are you ready for me?

Work and the Sacred – Distinct and Separate or Whole and Integrated?

The birth of Shape Shift Strategies Inc. has been truly inspired.  In the midst of this transition in my life and work, it became clear to me that I would be letting go of Chrysalis and of Co-Creating Futures and leaving them with my business partner and that this was absolutely the right thing to do.

As I let this go, the name Shape Shift came, unbidden, with ease, on a flight to Colorado on my way to an Art of Hosting training and a vision quest.  Both the company name and the look for the company have been universally well received as I speak them or hand out business cards.  It resonates with people and it reverberates as people carry it away and contemplate it.

Shape Shift has a practical quality – how do we want to intentionally shift the shape of our own world rather than be a passive recipient.  The shape of individuals, teams and organizations literally shifts as people bring intentionality and purpose to everything they do.  Some would argue intentionality and purpose border on the spiritual.

I know Shape Shift also has a spiritual quality.  It has its own essence beyond anything that I personally bring to it.  Every now and then I feel that I glimpse a bit of its possible future and I am surprised by the potentiality that exists.

It also has a spiritual quality because it is born out of my own spiritual journey – a journey that has dominated my life path in the last couple of years.  Some would say I am a Shape Shifter.  Some days I might even say that.

The largest question I have been sitting with the last few months is how to bring my spiritual path and my work path together…. and still have credibility, and still make a livelihood … as if they are two separate and distinct things and that acknowledging the sacred will somehow be an impediment in some of the client work I do.  Then a good friend thoughtfully said to me, “I think you are making a distinction where none exists.”

Hmmmm.  Powerful.  Nice pause.  Deep breath.  You are making a distinction where none exists!

I have brought this thought, this awareness into quite a few conversations over the last two months.  I am beginning to speak these things out loud, publicly.  I am in a community of practice with people who are also exploring this question and beginning to speak it out loud – or just to practice it by showing up in the sacredness of who they are and the magic they bring to people, places and things.

What if the essence of who we are, the work we do in the world and the sacred are not all separate things but that we have been making distinctions where none exist?  Imagine if we intentionally bring a sense of seamlessness and integration around work and the sacred EVERYWHERE, all the time, and people understood it to be normal rather than an edgy conversation!  Imagine the sense of harmony and ease we would bring into all the places we touch.  Every time we do this, we bring a bit more healing to ourselves and others.

What does the world need right now?  Healing.  Where do we start – or where am I starting?  With what I used to think of as an edgy topic in some settings – by intentionally bringing the sacred – and magic – into everything I do and every place I go.  Will you join me?

The Groan Zone of Transition

I’m in it! The gentle flow of it and the zany spin of it.  I am deep in the groan zone of transition – marriage separation, emerging new business and the birth of the second half of my life.

If I had posted this a couple of days ago when I first became aware that what I was experiencing was groan zone related, this entry would would have communicated an intense amount of stress and pressure related to all the normal groan zone challenges – resources, relationships, fear, questions around whether the vision for the new directions are even achievable.

But this is the beauty of the groan zone.  Wait a day, or sometimes a few hours or even just a few minutes, and the gentle flow of the path, or the zany edginess of it, will take you different place – thankfully.  So I write this post from a place of greater calm, groundedness, faith and trust in the path that I have embarked upon in this second half of my life – a journey that requires a greater amount of trust and faith than I have ever experienced.

On this path is the new company:  Shape Shift Strategies Inc.  What will it do?  Good question.  I’m asking it too, while knowing at the outset it will be the vehicle to continue my craft as a process artist – hosting, consulting, coaching – providing services to existing and new clients, working collaboratively with colleagues from the Art of Hosting network.  As I continue to step more and more boldly into bringing my healing gifts to the shifting shape of the world and the regeneration of its people…. well, who knows how Shape Shift will support this.

In this transition, my life is full of unresolved details – a new website (ready in a couple of weeks has been my mantra for awhile), attracting the resources for a move so full separation is possible, writing a book and book proposal for Healing Across the Ages: Releasing the Hold of Family Secrets, staying on top of client work, spending extra time with my dad, since my mom is in long term care for dementia,  following a minor surgery that put him in the passenger seat literally and finding time to do the things that nourish my soul: being inside of nourishing relationships, meditating, exercising and spending time with my kids.

In the bad moments….  the tension is palpable.  It is important not to ignore those moments and not to get lost in them either.  Fortunately trust and faith carries me far and the work of this second half of my life is so compelling I don’t have time or inclination to be lost for long.  I am able to focus on the flow rather than where the current is stuck.  Knowing all this strengthens my journey, builds my capacity and deepens my ability to stand boldly in my purpose.

Welcome to my Shape Shift Blog

The shape of the world is shifting. It is constantly shifting but never more so than now.  We can be passive recipients of the impact of these shifts in the world or we can become active participants in shaping the future of the things that are near and dear to our hearts.

I take this to heart in my life.  The shape of my world is shifting and transitioning once again.  My husband and I, also business partners, have decided that our journey together is complete.  We have consciously and intentionally decided it is time to separate personally and business wise.  This is easy for me to say now, but much of the journey leading up to this point, like many transitions, was not so easy.  It became easier when I could finally reach a place of fully appreciating the gifts of the relationship – of which there were many.  They get lost sometimes in the pain of transition or even just the pain of being in relationship together when does not work the way you hoped or dreamed.

Then there is that great line from the Rolling Stones song – “You can’t always get what you want, and if you try sometime, you find you get what you need.”  I definitely got what I needed.

My journey over the last decade or so has led to a birthing process.  I am birthing the second half of my life.  In these early days of the second half of my life, I am claiming the following purpose: from this place of deep rootedness to my spiritual lineages, I boldly bring my healing gifts to the shifting shape of the work and the regeneration of  its people.

The second thing I am giving birth to is this new company: Shape Shift Strategies Inc.  It is the entity through which I will bring my gifts to the world.  It feels like it is an entity unto itself that will shift into its own shape over time.  It wanted to be born and I am excited to give it life.

This blog will be used to comment on the shifting shape of the world – my world, the world, worlds I work in, am connected to or interested in – worlds that are near and dear to my heart.  Things, people, issues that I want to bring notice or intentionality to – places where I intend to be an active participant in the shifting shape of the world.