February 2015 Newsletter
Key Life Journeys is the website I established to share the various journeys that are a part of my life and which I thought might interest, inform and inspire others. On the five blogs there is room to comment. I discovered that the journeys which have had the most impact on my life are those of care giving, travelling and gardening; through them I have had personal growth and found a spiritual path, the soul journey.
In the last newsletter, available on the website, I wrote a story about time spent in my garden while reading a book by Pema Chödrön. One of life’s lessons I read is the art of letting go – that is, accepting life’s impermanence. Adjusting to this reality becomes a necessity as we age, for we are always being forced to confront losses. Most often it is the decreasing functional ability of ourselves or those closest to us or the ultimate loss, life. On January 3rd 2015, just one month shy of her 102nd birthday, my friend Edith Chambers died. I first met her in 1978 when I joined Canadian Centennial Toastmistress Club in Etobicoke, in the west side of Toronto. She was already a member and we became good friends. She was a good friend to many, many people. She saw herself as a giver. Edith was a patient listener and an ardent advise giver. She was a competitive card player and very generous with her baking and preserves.
In memory of Edith and to honor what would have been her 102nd birthday on February 5th 2015, the e-book “100 Years Down the Road of Life with Edith Chambers” is available free of charge from Wednesday 4th – Friday 6th February 20015.
Edith touched many lives directly and indirectly. The book is her story in her words. But we are collecting feedback from others on how she touched their lives. I will be putting them together for people to read. Personal stories about Edith can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we handle this unpredictable winter with its sudden snow, its deep freezes, its thaws and high winds, we instinctively think back to times of pleasing weather. Yet my arrival in Nova Scotia last July was heralded by Hurricane Arthur and we viewed the aftermath of its destructive force during our travels.
We stayed for a few days in Yarmouth in the west, exploring the Acadian Coast and absorbing the history. During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain and France were enemies. The Acadians of French ancestry had farmed and established communities in Nova Scotia since the early 1600s. Since their loyalty to Britain was suspect, they were rounded up and expelled from the colony in 1755. Their lands were given to Empire Loyalists coming up from the US following its Revolution. After the Napoleonic wars ended, small groups of Acadians were allowed to return starting in 1764. But their fertile land was gone. They settled around the coasts of Nova Scotia, where they still live.
Université Sainte-Anne in the community of Church Point, preserves the heritage by teaching the culture and language. There are small towns with amazingly large churches and the Acadian flag flies everywhere.
South east of Yarmouth is the Pubnico Peninsula where we spent an enchanting day. Firstly we visited Le Village Historique Acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse (Historical Acadian Village of Nova Scotia), a place that invites you to return to the early 1900s and wander through a village depicting Acadian life. Houses were brought to the site overlooking the Pubnico Harbour from real villages and the period costumed guides are local Acadians often telling stories of their own families… continue this post
Hope in the Face of Destructive Power
Like for the peasants in feudal and colonial times, today the inequity between the classes causes anger, hopelessness, loss of self esteem or a sense of belonging which ultimately leads to anarchy which leads to revolution. To function at our best we need to have the opportunity to achieve our greatest aspiration, be rewarded for the effort and loyalty we demonstrate and have a sense of autonomy in our lives.
I go to AVAAZ.ORG to restore my faith in a world where individuals want to behave towards others in the way that they would like to be treated themselves. Where we help our neighbour and the world in which we live – as a whole – not just in the service of self. Ah yes, you say, one of those bleeding heart liberals. But social media is providing the hitherto silent conscious population with a voice and that voice is getting louder.
Avaaz was founded in 2007 by an ex pat Canadian in New York. I signed up then and remember when we reached the one million member mark. As I write this in the middle of January 2015 Avaaz has 40,819,740 members worldwide in 194 countries. There is no defined number of countries in the world but there may be between 196 and 206 depending on the criteria one uses. That is a pretty major world representation considering you need internet access and can read and understand one of the 18 languages that the website offers.
So who are these people who sign partitions and believe in people power? The list is long but here are the first 10 by the numbers… continue reading on the blog post
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which combines old Chinese acupressure and modern psychology to rid ourselves of behaviours which are negatively impacting our lives. EFT is a powerful self-help method based on research showing that emotional trauma contributes greatly to disease. Clinical trials have shown that EFT tapping is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Veterans in the US are being helped to overcome their post traumatic stress disorders by using tapping. Other people are controlling cravings for food, fear of public speaking, pain, low self esteem, sleeplessness, migraines and so on.
I am very impressed by what this technique has to offer – literally at our finger tips.
Watch these You Tube videos to learn more about the technique and how to apply it.
Get Your FREE 60-Page EFT Tapping Mini-Manual by going to the EFT Universe website .
If weight gain is your issue – why not check this out?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Susan M Ellis www.KeyLifeJourneys.com
SME Productions Sue@KeyLifeJourneys.com
P.O. Box 22060, 45 Overlea Blvd.,
Toronto. Ontario M4H 1C0 Canada
Reaching a diagnosis for many diseases takes a long time. Symptoms appear and there are tests. Symptoms are often denied by the individual or at first minimized by the professional. Symptoms may make past activity and work impossible causing great strain on family resources. In some situation changes in behaviour or memory are insidiously destroying relationships before they can be identified as symptoms of something being wrong.
This means that by the time the diagnosis has been made and the family is expected to get on with it, major rifts in its structure and solidarity have appeared. Indeed by the time the family is expected to “pull together,” family members may not be talking to each other; may feel let down, taken advantage of or abused by others.
When this is the reality, how can a family problem solve, decision make and deal with this situation? If this is your position it is imperative that you get professional help. Chances are you are so angry with what is going on that you are all taking it out on each other.
It takes a lot of work to cease from blaming, to stop finding fault. The dynamics are too complex and confusing to be handled alone. It is not a sign of weakness to need help at this time. It is a gift to find someone who will listen and not pass judgment, hear your pain without telling you what to do. This is indeed what every member of the family needs. Families function because of unique interdependencies, everyone has a specific role – bread winner, scapegoat to name just two. When disease hits, the security of this family web is torn apart. Everyone feels a tug of insecurity because that familiar role will be changed forever.
I remember Joe was the patriarch of the family. His word was law. His adult sons were still afraid of him and his wife just did what was expected of her. None dared step out of line. No one stood up to him. The family unit functioned successfully when it played by these rules. Joe was 69 when he started losing his memory, leaving the taps on in the bathroom, failing to dress himself properly and take care of his personal hygiene.
This family did not just have the stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease; they had to learn how to relate differently to him and to each other. All their roles in the family changed. The sons, who were now married with children of their own, could not support their mother because they were still holding fear for the man who now shuffled behind is wife everywhere she went.
It is often believed that the only person who is suffering is the person with the disease. The labeled person has the right to grieve and be angry because of the changes that have taken place. But everyone who has been in relationship with that person in the past will have to adjust to a change in their life. We generally deal with change by seeing it as a loss of what was. So we all must grieve.
No one who enters the care giving role does so without needing to grieve the loss of the past. The family unit has been changed and so it must grieve. If the family feels too stressed to talk it over together, or one is alone and has no family to share the grief with, then find a professional to hear the pain.
When the diagnosis comes and roles have to change, a caregiver is needed and is assigned. When it is a parent who gets sick it is usually the daughter or daughter in law who must take up the responsibility. A spouse is expected to care for a spouse.
With the changed role comes a changed life. The goals and dreams, the expectation of what was to come next, get dashed. When taking on the caregiver role, what were your plans for life? Were you looking to get promoted in your job, further your education, retire and start traveling, focus on bringing up the teenage children? Where indeed is your focus? All of a sudden the brakes are put on those aspirations and a new role appears – care giving. The dreams you had may have to be put on the back burner or shelved for life.
Shelved for life! That sends a shudder of reality down the spine. Suddenly the care giving role takes on a new appearance. Is it going to be the thing that stands in the way of what we thought we was going to become in life? Will we be able to achieve what we thought was our life’s purpose? The other painful reality is that we may have been putting off satisfying our needs, reaching our goals, for the sake of others. Their needs had to come first. But we always expected that one day was going to be our turn…
I may be adding a bit of drama here but not without justification. The caregiver will face an identity crisis when the extent of the new role becomes clear. There will be a reaction of anger, frustration and depression and an overwhelming sense of guilt at experiencing these feelings.
When this reality hit me I had a false sense of bravado. I expected that I would be able to cope, that I had the skills, that I was strong etc. This didn’t last long. It did not take long before the feelings of inadequacy and failure quickly flooded in. But they were feelings I was not easily able to share.
It was only after I had worked my way through accepting the changes that I could start to see what I had gained, not what I had lost. I could see that some parts of my life would have to be put on hold but I still had opportunities to have my needs met. I also started realizing that I was learning more about myself and whom I was, than I could have done any other way. I was learning from experience and was able to share that with others. Indeed my experiences were not wasted, they were of use. So often we hear of tragedies striking families and after it is over there has been a greater gift to humanity.
Just occasionally I was aware that there were gifts hidden in dark clouds. I learned about the strength and frailty of relationships. I learned about friendships and value systems. I began to understand myself more. But none of this could happen until I had stopped believing that this was all very bad timing. Once I had accepted the fact that this was my life journey playing itself out just the way it was supposed to be played, that I started growing.
Posted by Nick Polizzi from The Sacred Science
Here we are, in the beginning of yet another beautiful spring. Something is rumbling beneath the soil, a thing of beauty waiting to burst from its cocoon, a promise made long ago that is about to be kept. This is a ripe time of year to reshuffle the deck, shed skins of the past, and give yourself a fresh start.
Here are 5 sacred life practices that have been used throughout the sands of time to usher in the spring and flourish in its green glory.
1) The Art Of Letting Go (of unneeded stuff)
We’re literally talking about physical stuff here. Not mental or emotional baggage, but the stack of boxes in your closet or garage that contain god-knows-what that you’ve been keeping for god-knows-why.
Our clutter collections sometimes feel completely justified and harmless, but I assure you they take up more space in our psyche and energy field than we realize.
I invite you to slap some spiritual symbolism on these cardboard and plastic keepers of memory, and see them as physical manifestations of inner blocks, just waiting to be dissolved.
Crack open these containers, and figure out what you actually need, and what might be useful to someone else. I know it may seem like a thankless task, but I guarantee you will start to feel lighter as you begin to find a new home for these belongings.
The local thrift shop or the Salvation Army are your best buds in this department.
2) Spiritual Scrub A Dub
Yeah, we all know about the importance of spring cleaning, but how about doing it with full presence, as a meditative practice?
In ancient Aztec culture, the act of sweeping held far more meaning than just cleaning your floor. It was considered a sacred art that could affect future outcomes in the household, in commerce, and on the battlefield. Pretty neat huh?
Cleaning out your refrigerator can either be a cumbersome chore or a practice in purifying and clearing the energy of your kitchen – your choice. The meaning you attach to your motion dictates everything.
3) Rearrange Your Home For Fresh Perspective
You’ve probably heard of the ancient Chinese art of Feng shui – which is centered on the belief that invisible forces or Qi bind the universe and can be harnessed for our benefit through the conscious design of space.
It was and is applied to the building of sacred places like temples, tombs, and palaces, but is also a powerful tool for your household.
This can be as simple as realigning your couch and coffee table to create a flow between two doorways, or as involved as determining how your space orients toward the sun, moon, stars, nearby mountains or bodies of water.
4) Planting New Seeds
When was the last time you planted a seed and nurtured it to a fully realized adult plant?
For thousands of years, gardening has been seen as a deep spiritual practice. The act of caring for and observing new life as it springs forth from a simple seed holds many untold teachings for us. Almost all the herbalists I know speak of the inner awakenings they experience regularly in their work with plants.
For some, this is a fairly regular practice (and extra herbal bonus points to you!), but for many of us it is not. We trick ourselves into believing that our lives are too busy to set aside that extra 10 minutes a day to nurture our green friends.
You don’t need to move to the country to start planting new seeds of your own. Our leafy neighbors like light and clean water. Aside from maybe a few tender words each day, that’s about it. All you need is a flat surface by a window to start your own garden.
Yes, you can go out and buy pre-grown plants, but I promise there is something magical about growing your own.
5) Clearing The Air
There is something primordial within us that connects deep meaning to the invisible elemental sea that surrounds us. Many native cultures consider the air itself to be full of life-force and laden with power.
With this in mind, there are a multitude of methods you can use to purify, refresh, and activate the air in your home. Opening all the windows and doors for 20 – 30 minutes is a good start, but you can really spruce things up by burning certain herbs and resins, as well as diffusing the right essential oils in your space.
Some herbs/resins we burn in our home are – Palo Santo, white sage and Copal. You can use a simple bowl, or purchase a more ceremonial vessel like an abalone shell. I like to guide the aromatic smoke into different areas of the room using my hand but if you’re called to use a feather or other fanning device, the possibilities are endless.
In terms of diffusing essential oils, we just purchased a pretty inexpensive diffuser and it works beautifully. Simply fill the diffuser with purified water and squeeze a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) on top (we use cedar, eucalyptus, and lavender). Turn the diffuser on and enjoy the healing vapors.
I hope these 5 sacred practices serve you well as we walk toward the warmer months. These portals to our ancestral past each hold their own healing wisdom, just waiting to be unlocked.
Director, The Sacred Science
By Susan M Ellis
“We Are One with humanity and all of life. Business and all institutions of the human community are integral parts of a single reality — interrelated, interconnected and interdependent.”
from the Conscious Business Declaration
We are encouraged to live in a selfish world of individuality where my needs, my profits, my desires are more important that my relationship to the whole. Such behaviour is destroying us.
But in my spiritual practice I embrace a oneness with all things. I see myself in an interconnected universe where all actions will have an impact on the whole. This means I react when I know the bees are dying partly because of man-made chemicals; when water, which should be a human right for all, is bottled in areas where drought conditions exist and the water is only sold back to those who can afford to buy it. I cringe when corporations sue countries for not allowing their poisonous product to be sold or prohibits them from raping the country of its minerals or forests.
According to a Statistics Canada survey, there are at least 850,000 people diagnosed with environmental sensitivities in Canada. This number went up by a whopping 34 per cent from 2005 to 2010. Such people can no longer enjoy living in the world we have created, often have difficulty finding jobs, housing and medical care. Imagine not being able to enter a hospital or doctors office because you cannot tolerate the chemicals in the air? We have created a toxic world.
To restore my spirit I go to the annual Green Living Show in Toronto and learn about companies selling products and communities working together promoting sustainability, natural and organic products, lessening our carbon footprint and saving what we have.
Joy was added recently when I read about a movement encouraging businesses to learn more about being conscious corporate citizens. They have created a Conscious Business Declaration and those who sign, vow to adhere to these principles.
from their website I learned -
A New Standard for Business in the 21st Century
The Conscious Business Declaration articulates essential principles that we believe will dramatically increase economic prosperity while healing the environment and improving human wellbeing. The Declaration aims to define a new standard for Business in the 21st century, one that will enable Business to become the most powerful engine on Earth for creating abundance and flourishing for humanity and all life on Earth.
A Radical Shift in Perspective
The Declaration calls for radical shift in perspective for Business globally, one that is already shared by humanity’s leading spiritual traditions and validated by modern science. It is expressed in the first principle of the Declaration: “We Are One with humanity and all of life. Business and all institutions of the human community are integral parts of a single reality — interrelated, interconnected and interdependent.”
So here is the Conscious Business Declaration . Feel hopeful. Pass it on. Know that profit can be made without destroying something to get it.
As a global community of business leaders we are committed to developing the awareness and skills needed to consciously evolve our organizations in alignment with these principles: