On Our Hearts
Heaven Help Us December 16 2014
Over the past year particularly my heart has been taxed by the homelessness within my city. I appreciate there is no one cure all or magic wand that heal all the hurts of the world and make everyone whole and happy. I also appreciate the fact that there are no two people in any social class that are the same - so there is no one size fits all solutions to any of life's many challenges or tribulations.
So that being said, my personal compassion to this ever growing situation has gotten louder and stronger with each day that I drive by the many "tent city" locations throughout our city. Especially on those extreme nights of torrential rain or freezing temperatures.
I had registered earlier this year to attend a city forum to discuss this very situation. It was early in the year and as the day approached I found myself feeling anxious and helpless - almost an imposter feeling like who did I think I was to go in there and think I could fix this huge issue. Needless to say the morning of the forum I let fear overtake me and I choose instead to clean out my garage.
This decision was interesting in itself however because through the process I discovered many bottles and other recycling that needed to be dealt with. As I worked I still felt a guilt for not going to the forum but I was also gentle with myself and honored the fear that held me back.
I decided to go to the bottle depot and get rid of that stash and in the process I thought if there is someone there in need I will give them my bottles. To my surprise there was no one but me at the bottle depot - it was early in the morning and they had just opened but the place was empty. I quickly sorted my stuff and was refunded a whopping $5... Feeling accomplished knowing my garage was clean and the bottles were returned and I had this $5 in hand I decided I'd treat myself to a coffee on my way back home.
As I headed towards the local Tim Hortons I found myself right in the middle of the largest "tent city" we have within our community. I was shocked... I had seen it from afar but had never drove directly through. Embarrassed to say, but my first instinct was to lock the doors of my car as I drove through. Again it was early in the morning so there was not a lot of activity within the community. Toward the far end however I noticed a young girl, I would say she would be in her late teens to early twenties walking back into the tent city with a small tray of two Tim Hortons coffees. She could have been my daughter or yours and although a bit dishevelled was definitely a nice looking girl.
My heart broke and all I could do at that point was to run home, run to my safe haven and cry. Seeing the human element there, seeing the young souls there, seeing the situation at the situation's level was overwhelming for me. Overwhelming in the sense that something has to be in place that can provide help at the level it will be accepted and helpful to some of our most vulnerable citizens in our community.
Yes I said "Citizens in our community" because that is what each homeless person is. They are "not broken just bent" and the bending can be repaired.
I've thought about this every single day of this past year - what is going on and how can we help in a healthy, respectful manner. You see no matter how destructive a person is there is history that has contributed to this behaviour. There is still a child within each and every soul that walks this earth, a child that was wounded, denied, misunderstood or mistreated - damage has been done which in many cases has been escalated with numbing techniques like drugs or alcohol abuse. But we can't just pretend it's not there.
So this compassion and empathy prompted me to bring up the topic at a Christmas gathering we attended the other night. Our city has just come through a civic election so the topics of the day have been debated and discussed to the nth degree over the past few months.
The couple we were sharing with about our feelings on the homeless begged to differ. They were of the mindset that the media has created the homeless issue as the number one issue of our city when really what the problem of our city is, is attracting more business to the area to increase the jobs, taxes and progress of the city.
They told us that their friend (who is a city counsellor) told them that everything has been done for the homeless. They said that each person within the tent cities had been approached individually and offered a bed and food on any given night and they were refused. They went on to say we have 600 beds always available but these people will not go there.
So my question was - okay why? And what changes need to happen for them to feel safe to go there?
I was recently at a weekend workshop and on Sunday morning a middle aged woman came and told us her story. She was native and had been using drugs to the point of addiction since she was 14. Over the years she choose to live on the streets in east Vancouver. She made it very clear it was her choice and desire at that time to be there.
She had a family at one point and still has but had lost it all many years earlier as she choose to live the life of an addict. She is sober now and actually works at the clean injection site in Vancouver serving coffee and juice to those in need. She was nervousness telling her story and I sensed although healing has occurred for her every day is a challenge.
She sang for us, beautiful, heartfelt. I saw something within her story that touched me very deeply. She spoke about her own feelings of unworthiness and the years it took and the support before she allowed help into her life. After hearing her story I knew that the only way to help the homeless situation is by healing the souls that are lost to the streets. To reach them with respect and dignity, to build the relationship of support and trust.
You see it's no different from my dealings with people, if someone betrays my trust, I will forgive but I will not trust them again util they earn that back. The worlds of each person on the street have been violated by a hurt, by a betrayal and the hearts need to heal, the soul needs to heal so the person can become whole again and be just as productive within their community as anyone.
You don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Rome was not built in a day. There is no one size fits all but there is hope.
It won't happen over night but through consistent loving support it can make a difference. The question remains how? Who? When? And Where?
Put You First December 10 2014
I am all for family time. I adore my family and my Christmas season is filled with so much fun. Since both my husband and I have LARGE blended families it can get pretty hectic. I feel selfish when I start to think about my needs first. In this busy, crazy time of year no one is reminding us to spend as much alone time as we need or go for a quiet walk by ourselves. I shouldn't say no one, I AM! Every year, without fail, I find myself getting sick RIGHT after Christmas. Boxing day hits and I'm in bed. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm worn out and I'm miserable. It typically takes a good week for me to recover from my people-pleasing-coma all because I struggle to put my NEEDS first.
So what is a need. Food, water, sleep. All great needs that we don't usually have a problem allowing ourselves to have unless you are struggling with one of these. Something that you may need can also be alone time, exercise, space, and quiet. For some reason, EVERY YEAR, I feel like I have to do it all. I have to attend every dinner, play every board game, be part of every conversation BUT all without taking care of my own needs.
I was recently reminded that sometimes we find it easy to understand our needs come first. If you've ever been on an airplane you know the safety speech, "if the cabin loses pressure you must put on your own mask FIRST and then assist others". In this scenario it makes sense for me to follow procedure because of the logic - what good am I to others if my needs are not met? I can recognize that this is true on an airplane and I'm starting to recognize how true this statement is in all areas on my life.
As the holiday season kicks into high gear I'm taking a step back and I'm re-evaluating my needs. I've made a commitment to myself to TRY and put my needs first. To make this happen I've taken the time to identify with some things that help me decompress. This is extremely helpful in helping avoid crashing in front of the TV or "vegging". Make sure you take some time to make a mini-list of your own! Here's some things that I've come up with:
- Reading in a quiet room
- Going for a quick walk
- Enjoying a hot tea
- Have a bath with candles and love lights
Think about where you will be this season and where you find it difficult to be reminded of your needs. My list is made with the mind set that we will be staying with the in-laws for a few days and I'll have space to escape to but not necessarily my home.
Have a very, Merry Christmas and remember to be gentle with yourself this Christmas season.
Divine Dream Shop - It's a Calling May 30 2014
June 17, 2014
Well it is certainly been a journey coming to this day! And yet I know that the journey has only begun.
There is a difference between dreaming and being called and when the Divine Dream Shop first entered my dreams it was not very long before I realized this was a calling. A calling to bring joy, love and healing to every woman and our women's community through inspirational products essentially in North America but eventually around the world.
It has been almost six months since my first brain storming session with my dear mentor and friend, Nancy Kerner, about producing prayer candles. As we talked about the need for a unique candle created with love and intention the idea of the Love Light was birthed. Nancy had a prayer candle she so loved and cherished and I was fortunate enough to have experienced its solidarity within many circles - the passing of the candle and sharing from the heart.
Many hands make light work, as many hearts create wonderful ideas. As our thoughts mingled I knew we were not just going to recreate the prayer candle that already existed we were creating a new signature item - the "Love Light" candle. When I presented the idea to my very dear pottery teacher and friend, Vijaya Morrison, his "can do" enthusiasm was contagious. I shared with him the new vision of each piece having a powerful word on one side and love on the other - bringing the message that speaks to the hands that hold the light as well as love at all times. You see I truly believe that love heals all!
Vijaya was able to complete a small batch for me of prototype lights, modeled after Nancy's original prayer candle, to take to our 2014 "Pleasure in Paradise" retreat to use and get a feel for. As the candles are made with clay we were trying to find just the right clay that would allow some elimination as well. A small tea light candle is lite within the actual "Love Light" piece - I have also felt that these healing words could grace any office, hospital or hospice room with the use of a flameless tea light as the magical energy that comes through these pieces comes simply from the presence. We first introduced the love lights one at a time in our morning circles while in Hawaii but it was in very short order when each woman felt called to a different word for their sharing each circle. Before we knew it we had the entire set of "Love Lights" in the centre of the table each circle and as our sharing began each woman would select the candle that expressed her feelings for that particular time. It was truly magical and we all fell in love with these "Love Lights". The calling began!
Back on the mainland out first order was submitted and Vijaya and Justina got to work creating these amazing pieces for us! They were both amazed at the love and peace working in this project brought to their work as well. Writing each inspirational word followed by Love on each piece created an experience like no other. Intentional art from us to you!
So it is with great joy and incredible love that we bring our signature product from our hearts to your hands! You'll be called to the words that resonate best for you at this time in your journey but don't be surprised if you find you are called to have the entire collection! We've even decided to offer some special discounts for purchases of 3 or more "Love Lights" so you can get each work that feels right for you at a 20% discount too!
Now as we launch and prepare for the growth of our store we are called ever so strongly to maintain our "intention art" focus. We are currently working on a line of crystal jewellery which is full of healing and intentional energy for our daily lives, we plan to introduce this line as well as teaching and learning together the power and healing offered through crystal therapy. We have a line of journals arriving any day now which also have the quality of love and intention in their creation to inspire and heal, and a line of amazingly simple but elegant bracelets which honor the four phases of a woman's life cycle. We are so honored to have you witness our journey of growth and invite you to join our mail list to receive regular news letters and product release information as we evolve. Our mission is to provide intention products that foster healing, love, light and joy within our lives and witness us achieving our highest potential. It takes a tribe and it's so comforting to be within the tribe!
With love and gratitude, joy and peace, we thank you for your interest and presence within the tribe!