It is done!

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IMG_20150105_012454Every day brings new insights into my world, expands my understanding of the energy fields around me and the ways in which I can influence them. One such experience is the moon ceremonies I have begun to incorporate into my life with the Full and New Moon. The first Full Moon of 2015 was January 5 and I was supposed to go to a group ceremony but due to the weather it was cancelled so I planned one for myself.

When I began attending the ceremonies last August, I had no idea how influential and powerful they would become in my life. That 45 minutes every two weeks or so refreshes me, re-awakens me and is an opportunity to reflect, reassess and change the path I am taking in my life or simply re-affirm the path I am on, perhaps with some slight modifications to my bearings and sign posts.

The act of going inward to reflect and then to physically write down the burdens I release and the energy I wish to welcome into my world has become an integral part of my life, one that when I miss a ceremony I feel the heaviness build up as anxiety and my path before me blurs a little around the edges. I begin to feel lost like I’m drifting off course.

The night of the Full Moon I lay in bed tossing about, I could feel the pull of the moon, it was whispering sweet promises to me in the quiet of the night, calling me to come out for a chat. It didn’t matter that it was 1 am and the rest of the house was asleep. Intuitively I knew it was something I had to do and it had to be done right then. I could lay in bed fighting the intuition or get up and take care of business.

So there I was sitting in my living room at 1 am lighting a sage bundle to cleanse myself and meditating on what I needed to release and what intentions I needed to set, often they are two sides of the same coin, for example I released my dependence on sugar and set my intention to eat healthier. It can also be the releasing of a negative event, perhaps words that were said that caused pain or an action or lack of action that caused a dissonance in one’s spirit. It’s good to meditate on why the words or event or lack causes the pain reaction within us but it must also be released to make room for healing.

In my limited understanding of the energy systems, I walked myself though a grounding where I visualize my energy literally going into the earth and then coming back up through my spine and out the top of my head so that I am connected to both the earth and the spiritual plane.

I took the opportunity to bathe myself in white healing light and to send out healing energy to the friends I knew in need of some extra good energy vibes as well as to my immediate family and friends regardless of needs because everyone can use some good juju!

Having cleansed and meditated on my releases and intentions, I wrote them down on pages torn from the journal I received in my gift bag in Paris at the Relationship Retreat. I wanted to add some of the good vibes from a place and time that meant so much to me.

IMG_20150105_011453IMG_20150105_011508~2Once I was happy with the grounding and energy work and I had finished writing down everything I felt called to release and the intentions I felt called to set for myself, I put my jacket and shoes on and ventured out into the frigid night air where I was met with a breathtaking sight. The storms had passed, the sky had cleared and through the ice laden branches of the trees the moon was visible in all its power and beauty. I caught my breath and took a few moments to simply inhale the energy descending  from the sky to bless my releases and intentions.

IMG_20150105_012405First I burned my releases, and in the wind and cold, they were more stubborn than usual. I often find the release paper slower to burn, and maybe it’s because often releasing is harder than setting our intentions for the future. I was more stubborn than the negative energies and they were soon ashes.

Before burning my intentions, I spoke each aloud, sending them up to the moon, amplifying their strength and then I set them on fire and let the smoke carry my words, my intentions up to the universe with endless gratitude.

IMG_20150105_012852Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And with a stomp of my foot to seal the ceremony, so mote it be! It is done!

I returned indoors to my warm living room and regained my meditative pose, reiterating my gratitude and closing off the earth and spirit plane connection by sending my energy back into the earth and closing my Chakras like a zipper.

Then I was at peace and so I returned to bed and fell asleep almost immediately, the power of the moon still shining overhead and now within my heart as well.

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I Am Ready!

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14948052391_ddb365bc4d_oI am ready to be who I was always meant to be. To let go of the pain that holds me prisoner in my past, present and future. A prisoner to a story that I’ve relied on to define me, the story of being out of control of all the shitty things I’ve been through and letting those definitions be my calling card in my present and future. Those crazy, out of control, painful events happened to me, and yes they did shape the course of my life, but they are not who I am.

I am ready to shake the mantle of descriptors like depressed, lonely, uneducated, teen mom, loner and to open myself to immeasurable possibilities and beauty that exist in the world. To take the hands of those willing to teach, to support, to listen and to help me as I learn to trust my instincts and take these steps forward into a future life that will bring everything I need; abundance, love, family and blessings beyond count.

2014 brought me to the water and in 2015 I will drink deeply from the source and redefine my life. It will be an intense process of shedding an old weary skin and filling out the new skin as I learn to wear it comfortably.

What does that mean exactly? Well I’m not 100% sure yet, I’m still in the very early stages of the process but one thing I am sure of is 2014 brought me the teachers I need: Anni and Tim Daulter, Carrie, Gillian and Jennifer. In 2014 I began to learn a lot of release techniques, and I have been exploring paganism and Wiccan traditions, traditions that have always intrigued me but with my religious upbringing was slow to investigate. The biggest revelation I’ve had since delving into these traditions is that my religious beliefs are not at odds with the more earthy and grounded beliefs of the Pagans and Wiccans. I can find my niche and embrace the best of everything that works for me.

In 2015 I’m going to delve deeper into crystal energy, Reiki healing, psychic awareness, and learn more about the earth centered traditions so I can more thoroughly adopt them into my day-to-day living practices. And most importantly I am going to document this journey on my blog, so please join me as I embark on these new adventures in 2015.

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Meeting Needs

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2822745259_86e9306308_oMy son just turned four.

The first day of the new school year is less than a week away and I haven’t signed him up for kindergarten yet. In my heart I don’t want to but I’ve had to face some tough, emotional, letting go kind of stuff over the last month. One of the issues that surfaced was finding space and time for me in my life and accepting that I am worthy of that space and time.

I have decided that I will consecrate my space and time to a few hours each morning while my four-year-old is at school playing, socializing and learning. I have also decided that there will be a compromise. He will go for half days instead of full days, giving us our afternoons for quiet time, exploration time and one on one time. In this way we will find balance. He will get to experience kindergarten, I will have the time to work on my courses that I’ve signed up for and we’ll still have our time together.

My little guy is super excited about starting school. Picked out a new pair of Spider-Man sneakers and asked me if he would get a “boy dress” after he saw all of his sister’s new clothes! His Daddy thinks we should buy him a kilt.

I am super excited too. I will be learning more from the sacred living movement. Currently I’m signed up for Medicine Woman and the Postpartum course, and I will likely be adding a Sacred Essence course which is all about the essence of flowers. I’ve also signed up for another course, The Woman’s Healing Arts Teacher Training, and there’s another course I started back in the spring that I need to get back to and finish. My next three to four months will be bursting full of learning.

Then there’s my writing. I have set myself a goal to be published by “Elephant Journal” before the end of the year (2014). I have one friend from high school who has been incredibly encouraging and she is helping me with editing and the focus of my pieces. The other day she dared me to submit a piece by the end of the day and I did! Then I got my first rejection notice. Oh yes that was disappointing but only for a brief moment. All writers, even the best, have rejection letters and this one wasn’t even a true rejection letter, it was a “we like your piece but it needs some tweaking before we can publish it” letter. So I am taking their advice and re-working it a bit, and hopefully I will be ready to re-submit it soon.

Between my courses, my writing, my long list of books I want to read and even some time to do some crafting, my mornings will be very busy and for the first time in my life I feel like I have a true vision of my future and I am really excited. I have the flutters of butterflies in my stomach when I think of all the ways I can bring healing, connection and abundance to other women in my community and to be able to do it in such a way that I can also support my family. It will be a truly incredible blessing.

Unfortunately as excited as I am to embark on this journey of growth and learning there is a dark side. Choosing to send my son to school is going against every fiber of my soul and I am really hoping I have made the right decision. I really wanted to home school him, or un-school him as the case might be, and having to compromise that ideal is proving emotionally difficult. I think it’s why I’m procrastinating on signing him up because in a way I feel like I’m failing my son by giving into the system. The truth is I am not a failure and I’m not failing my son for making this decision to put my needs first because once I’m finished with the bulk of my education and get my business going, I will be able to re-visit home schooling and by then I will be able to meet the needs of my children far better because I took this time to meet my own needs first.

If I knew then what I know now…..

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NewbornshotI have a 17-year-old son and a 3-year-old son and the way I have parented them has been completely different. Even with my 3-year-old I wish I’d known some things when he was real little that I know now.  Over the last 18 months I’ve explored and read information on birthing practices, baby care, nutrition, particularly breastfeeding, circumcision, attachment parenting practices and so much more.  And I believe I’ve read pretty widely and many different view points which has led me to feel for the first time as a mother confident in my parenting choices.  Before I did what I knew and took advice only from a small group of women, which while it was not bad advice by any means, it was lacking, and not intentionally lacking either.  Practices change, improve, as information sharing becomes easier, and old ways of doing things are discredited. Every mother only wants what’s best for their children, and the wealth of information available now is mind-boggling.  I have waded through a great deal of that information and here is my list of what I wish I had known then that I know now.

  1.  Circumcision is wrong.  It’s not up to us as parents to make that decision for our sons.  It is their body, and most when given the choice do not choose it.  My oldest is circumcised because 17 years ago I didn’t know any better.  Most of the men in my family were circumcised, it was what I knew as normal.  My 3-year-old isn’t and I’m glad I just decided not to by default because I was too tired to look into it.  Now I’m glad I didn’t and wish I hadn’t with my oldest.  Aside from inflicting incredible pain on an infant too young to understand, there is just no medical reason to do it.  Thankfully in Canada we’ve come a long way and most boys are left intact now, but I still believe that this is an important message to spread as there may still be people who believe the outdated information.  I encourage you to check these sites for more information:

http://www.wholenetwork.org/

http://www.savingsons.org/

2.     Breastfeeding and more importantly, extended breastfeeding – as society has termed it – is incredibly healthy for both mother and child and completely normal.  I will admit I used to fall into the camp of thinking breastfeeding past a certain age, about a year, was wrong, but now I have learned better. The health benefits don’t stop as a child grows.  Breast milk changes constantly to meet the needs of the child, even when tandem nursing children of different ages.  Breast milk is liquid gold, and the benefits of breastfeeding an older child is huge to both mother and child.  In the mother extended breastfeeding can help lower the risks of illnesses such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  In the child it provides continued immune support against common ailments and is the perfect building blocks to help them grow strong mentally and physically.  Emotionally it is an easy way to help soothe a child in pain or who is over tired.  No matter what formula companies may say, they can never duplicate the amazing, adaptive qualities of breast milk.

That brings me to my next point on breastfeeding; support systems.  In Canada, partially because of our maternity and parental leave benefits, there’s a decent support system in place and it has definitely improved since my 17-year-old was born but there’s always room for improvement.  Even with my 3-year-old I wish I’d had a stronger support system and that when he was three months old and I decided due to my extreme post-partum depression to quit, someone had said “No, what do you need to keep breastfeeding?” because the truth is I didn’t want to quit, I just didn’t have the support I needed or the words to express my frustrations.  I sometimes wonder if I would still be breastfeeding him.  He totally loved it and still will reach for my breasts occasionally like there is a lingering memory there.  So support isn’t just about hospitals supporting skin to skin immediately after birth (weighing and even cord clamping can wait, unless there is a medical reason to whisk the baby away, the baby should always be placed skin to skin on the mother’s belly right after birth), or providing good qualified breastfeeding consultants if they are needed both in hospital and after discharge, but it also includes community and family support, especially in the first 3-4 months after birth, which is labelled the fourth trimester for a reason. Community support also includes supporting a nursing mother when you see her out in public.  Women should be applauded and encouraged for providing the best possible nutrition for their children and not made to hide or feel ashamed in any way.  As a by-product of encouraging breastfeeding in public, it also normalizes it for the next generation.

3.     Birthing practices is one I’ve spent a lot of time reading about.  I started my training to be a doula a year ago but after doing the weekend course, decided to put the practical side on hold as I still have a young family to care for. I continue to read extensively on birthing practices and absorb all the information I can.  I’m an advocate of natural birthing practices as much as can be possible but each labour, each woman is different and at the end of the day just needs to feel supported and loved as she moves through this rite of passage to motherhood, whether it’s for the first time, actually most importantly if it’s for the first time, but also for each subsequent child she births as well.  Birth isn’t just about delivering healthy babies, it’s about birthing strong, confident mothers, and the quality of care and support will have a huge impact on how a woman sees herself both as a woman and as a mother.  I have learned an incredible amount and I will revisit this topic again in future posts. Suffice to say my views on the pregnancy and birth process have changed quite a bit over the last 18 months, and I hope will be an integral part of my career path. I’m actually already signed up for two Sacred Pregnancy courses this summer where I hope to extend my knowledge and care skills exponentially.

4.      There are other areas as well that I have learned so much about, like attachment parenting for example.  Some elements of the practice I always knew deep down but society insisted on different approaches, and especially with my 17-year-old I didn’t have enough wherewithal to argue the status quo.  For example, I left my 17-year-old to cry it out because 17 years ago that was an acceptable method.  Now, never, not even with my 3-year-old.  About 8 months ago he suddenly developed a fear of shadows, and after that his easy bed time routine evaporated.  It became a long protracted affair, but when he cried, I, or my husband, was always there.  And now, he’s learned to handle shadows and scary monsters, but even more importantly, he also knows without question we are here if he needs us. The relationship I have with my 3-year-old is the most connected and natural of all my children. Attachment parenting does not breed spoilt brats, it breeds confident, happy, well-adjusted children.  Yes, it’s more work but the rewards are worth it.

Below I’ve listed my favourite websites and Facebook pages for information on all the above.  It’s just a sampling, I have many, many favourites and can’t possibly list them all.  There are some amazing women and yes, even men, changing the face of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting in general.  I encourage you to check them out.  I’m sure I will be writing more on these subjects in the future, both to provide information and to relate how they apply to and affect my life.

http://www.handsfreemama.com/

http://www.evolutionaryparenting.com/

http://www.ourmuddyboots.com/

http://www.drmomma.org/

http://freeyourkidsblog.com/

http://www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/

http://www.littleheartsbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Consciousparentingnow

http://www.positive-parents.org/

http://www.birthwithoutfearblog.com/

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/

My Soul Map

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You’ve perhaps gotten a sense of who I am from my first two pieces, but I thought it might be helpful to do a more in-depth introduction.  I thought to keep this simpler I would use point form, as many of these elements of who I am or want to be will likely be examined more intensely at some point, but for this post I want to keep it simple.  Think of this as the reference map at the beginning of a fantasy novel, or, as I am going to call it, my soul map.

  •  I am almost 37 years old.  I have been married for 15 years to an amazing man, and we have three children, aged 17, 9 and 3.  My 9-year-old daughter will be 10 the same day I will be 37, and I like sharing my birthday with her.  When they brought me my first meal at the hospital, the menu had Happy Birthday written across the top.  I kept it for her memory box!
  • I was a 19-year-old mom.  Becoming a mom was the hardest and most painful event that I have ever experienced.  Some of the wounds run deep for both my oldest son and I, but I have faith that things will get better.
  • I am also a sister.  I have two younger siblings, a sister and a brother.  My brother is married to an amazing woman, and they have one beautiful child, who has the wonderful honour of finally making me an aunt!  I love being an aunt!!!!
  • Both my parents are still alive and I don’t know what I’d do without them.  My mom is my saviour!
  • My husband’s family is small, just him, his brother, his brother’s significant other and his dad.  We lost his mom almost nine years ago after a six-year battle with end stage breast cancer.  Those six years were a blessing.  She was an amazing woman and we will never stop missing her.
  • Our family is completed by our crazy pup named Brandy, who according to her papers is a Pomeranian Poodle mix, but we’re not sure how accurate that actually is.  She is a wonderful pup whatever her parentage may be!
  • Family is very important to me.  They always come first.
  • I am a strong believer in attachment parenting, peaceful parenting and conscious parenting.  I wasn’t always though, it’s a path I’ve discovered fairly recently but for the first time I feel like I’m doing the right thing as a parent. I still have a lot of work to do because we are unfortunately entrenched in some bad habits.
  • I have a dream of homeschooling my youngest and in the process enhancing my middle child’s learning experience even if she stays in the school system.
  •  I am loving, helpful and generous to a fault with everyone, though I have had to learn self-control as I don’t always look after myself and I can be a little too easy with money.  Right now as a stay-at-home-mom, it means we are living on one income so I have to be more careful with our resources.
  • I am very creative.  I love to cross-stitch.  I enjoy working with paper in a variety of ways, including some dabbling in quilling and scrapbooking.  I want to learn the art of tatting, knitting and crocheting.  I love amigurami patterns and want nothing more than to be able to make them myself!!! I also enjoy playing with beads and have learned a few basic beading techniques. I have also dabbled in photography but currently do not have a good camera to use so I resort to mostly point and shoot photography.
  • I absolutely love to bake and cook.  I am always trying new recipes.  My family and friends like to refer to themselves as my guinea pigs as they never know what I’m going to try next.  I have been trying to expand into paleo and gluten-free cooking and experimenting with more vegetables, but I have two children who are very picky eaters and experimentation is usually met with less than enthusiastic responses from them!  On the flip side, I’ve had marriage proposals over my baking….
  • I love Pinterest.  I don’t collect much in the way of things, but Pinterest is a place I can collect ideas and go back to try some of them later, or get a load of inspiration to try something new.
  • I am a very spiritual person. I am a member of the United Church, but don’t believe my spirituality is found only in my Christian beliefs.  The United Church is very laid back and open to people’s differences, and it fits well with my own Christian beliefs of love and acceptance of all. I enjoy exploring my spiritual side through a number of avenues, many of which I will be exploring in my writing.
  • I enjoy traveling a great deal. Unfortunately I don’t get to do enough of it but I love exploring new places.  I’m a girl who is all about the journey to get where I’m going, and the less straight the path from point A to point B is, the more interesting! I traveled a lot with my family when I was younger, and I wish I could provide the same experiences for my children.  There is so much to learn and see out in the world.
  • I love to learn and I am very smart.  Do not let my lack of post-secondary education fool you.  I am very well read and I do not believe one needs a diploma to succeed in life.  My wish list on Chapters is way over 300 books long and getting longer all the time.  I dream of a magnificent resource library, particularly on pregnancy, family and child rearing philosophies, but also on holistic living and natural medicines.
  • I am an old hippy at heart.  I dream of a big property where I can grow my own food, run my business and live as naturally as possible, with as little environmental impact as possible. A place where my family can spread its wings and fly.
  • I have suffered from varying degrees of depression since I was 18/19 years old.  Right now it’s particularly bad and I’m hoping this exercise will help me find and weed my life path so I can shake the depression for good.  I have a lot of work to do. It is also part of the reason I am not working right now.
  • Organization is my weak point.  I struggle to find order in my chaos.  We live in a small house with little space, and it’s hard to stay on top of things.  As part of my 2014 journey, I’m hoping to work towards purging the things that don’t matter so that what really does matter can find room to breathe.
  • I have a weak point for Facebook and I’m addicted to being on-line.  This is a huge problem and one I am going to face and conquer this year.  I struggle to find a balance between my real life and my on-line life, and for the sake of my relationships, I will figure out that balance.

I think that covers the basics of my soul map, and hopefully now you have a better picture in your head of who I am, and hopefully I’ve intrigued you enough to stick around for more.

Below I’ve selected an assortment of pictures of my family to share with you.  It is the only time I will feature so many pictures in one post!  I absolutely love taking pictures of my family.  On another note, I will not be providing anyone’s real names in this blog.  I will be coming up with pseudonym’s in the future to make it easier to reference each person but for now they are simply oldest son, daughter and youngest son.  If the person reading this knows us, please refrain from mentioning our names in comments.  Thank you.

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