Wednesday 19 December 2012

Tarot Time: Take Note of the Repetition

The issue of card repetition in readings has come up for me recently, so I thought I would share my thoughts.  Repeat cards can be an indication of a significant theme in your life.  Pay attention!

An example for me personally is the 10 of cups in the Thoth tarot deck.  This card has consistently shown up in many of my personal readings over the last few months.  The 10 of cups relates to the soul coming into fulfillment in the earthly realm.  Over the past two years of traveling throughout Ecuador and British Columbia, I have been intently focused on "soul" searching.  After having many beautiful, enriching, downright uncomfortable, and challenging experiences I have come to a place of stillness and a readiness to bear my soul in the world.  This has definitely been reflected in the tarot over the last few months - beginning with a tarot workshop I attended in September to a reading I did a few days ago.

From personal experience, it's a good idea to take heed when a card resurfaces time and time again in your readings.  Most of us don't have time to do daily or even weekly full readings, so one idea is to carve out five minutes at some point each day and pull one card.  ONE.  Create the intention that this will be a daily reflection card.  When I first started working with the tarot I did this, and I wrote down the card, and over time I definitely noticed repeats.  With 78 cards in the deck the probability of choosing the same card on a consistent basis is low.   Though, energetically the probability is high if this card has a lesson in it for you!

The question to ask yourself then, perhaps, is: What is the message here?  What issue is this card asking me to address? Often there are hidden gems to be discovered if we are willing to ask the questions and allow ourselves to listen for the answer.

Saturday 15 December 2012

December 21, 2012 and Beyond

December 21, 2012 not only marks the official start of winter, but also signifies a major universal shift.  The world is in crisis and we have reached a critical period; we are being called upon to respond. 

There is a newly established local newspaper here in the Kootenays, called The Kootenay Times , focusing precisely on this matter in its most current issue.  I contributed a piece entitled, Tarot Time, to help explain how we can prepare for the coming times.  Check it out if you're interested.  It is on page 15 of the magazine.  There are many insightful and brief reads!

Friday 23 November 2012

Verity In the Voice Within

I have taken a hiatus from blogging lately, mostly because my computer runs the speed of a snail.  I love snails, really I do, though technology can suck the life out of you, especially when it's as slow as my computer is!  I am in desperate need of a new computer, and I have been procrastinating on this issue for quite some time now.  Once the Mercury Retrograde is over (apparently the worst time for a computer purchase) I will make a move.

So for now I will share my latest published article in Issues Magazine, entitled, "Verity in the Voice Within". .  To read it click on the Nov/Dec/Jan 2012 issue with the Elk on the front, as shown below.  My article is on page 14.

Happy reading!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

A Week of Giving and Receiving

This past week was spent at Johnson's Landing Retreat Centre, helping the owners Richard and Angele prepare for the winter season.  I focused mainly on the gardens, though also helped with food prep, bringing in firewood and putting in a new water line.  They had less help than usual in the summer due to the landslide that occurred in July.  Despite piles of to-do lists, their spirits were strong and their hearts were in the right places.

I had the pleasure of eating beautiful food, staying in warm and inviting accommodation, and connecting with like-minded people.  I watched inspiring films, did some tarot, learned about hand-writing analysis, and made dream catchers.  I certainly received much more than I could ever have imagined. Their retreat centre is like a playground filled with spiritual goodies and they are ready and eager to share.

I will post photos when I am able, though for now I will say that I am so glad to have experienced Johnson's Landing.  I feel blessed. 

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Beauty and Gratitude

"On the Road Again!"

Since my last post I have taken a hiatus from camping, after the wind storm experience, and have been staying with women I met at the Wise Womens’ Festival.  On a bit of a whim I decided to head into the Rocky Mountain region for a few days, where one of the women lived, and what beautiful sights!

Hemlock Grove Forest View
On the way to Kaslo
In addition to sights that delight I was gifted a towel from a Guesthouse owner in Revelstoke to replace my towel that was eaten by the wind.  I also patched up my tent with the help and advice of my friend Cat’s husband and my friend Laura who I visited with in Sicamous.  I am discovering that everything always works out, and I have a new appreciation for the wisdom of this Great Universe.  

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided to focus on gratitude. 

Cedar Lake in Golden, BC

On the Way to the Rockies

I am grateful for the hospitality and graciousness of all the people who have invited me into their homes and for those who have gifted me various things over the last couple weeks.
I am grateful for all the insightful and supportive conversations with loved ones from near and far.  
I am grateful for all that I have been exposed to since arriving in BC, learning about sustainable living, caring for homes and animals, working in organic gardens, and meeting amazing like-minded people.
I am grateful to be living in beautiful surroundings.
I am grateful to be following my heart.
Somewhere in Sicamous

Tuesday 2 October 2012

A Time to Remember

En route
The last week and a half has truly been a spirited and soulful adventure.  Living moment to moment, day to day, staying in the unknown, and listening to my inner voice, or not.  I decided to continue camping until I felt like doing otherwise.  It felt good to be in nature 24/7, sleep next to the earth and next to water, be it a river, lake, or creek.  I was gifted with bright shining sun every day.  I allowed myself flexibility and freedom, and had the opportunity for valuable introspection.  I closely observed my decision making process and became fully conscious of my responsibility for each choice I was making regardless of outcome.  We always have a choice, even when we think we don't.  Moreover, it is amazing what one can discover by attending to all those underlying thoughts.

At the Sinixt First Nations Barter Fair- Slocan Valley
I crossed paths with generous and kind people who gifted me with tea and fruit and hearty advice on travel routes.  With limited internet access while camping, and no cell reception in many areas, I  focused on reflection and retreat.  Having said that, I was active.  I covered expansive amounts of road and witnessed exquisite scenery that made me giddy.  I set up and took down my tent more times than I can count, and was grateful for every site that had a shower.  I managed to wash in the lake a few days ago, and though extremely cold, it was so refreshing and uplifting.  I also managed to eat fairly nutritiously despite not having a portable cook stove...for most of my journey.   I settled for a couple days at an annual celebratory First Nations gathering and got to dance!  In hindsight, this experience has been a blessing.  The tipping point that shifted my gears occurred last evening in the mountainous Northeast Kootenay region.

I had heard about a woman with a secluded private property with a few cabins, camping, and hot springs, about twenty minutes out of town, and I felt intrigued.  I decided I would see about staying there for a night to bask in the seclusion and the hot springs.  The entrance way was steep, and it looked as though there were a few private cabins tucked away.  There was no main reception area making it difficult to find the owner, and when I did find her she greeted me with a gruff tone and seemed confrontational.  She wondered why I had come to her land.  I was so excited by the hot springs and quiet space that I disregarded her tone.

She proceeded to tell me that the only tenting spot I could access, without having a 4X4 vehicle, was a wide open piece of rugged flat land, covered in debris from the fallen mountain side, overlooking the Kootenay lake.  It was a beautiful spot though very exposed.  I prepared my tent and cooked up some food while the owner filled one of her tubs down the hill with fresh hot mountain spring water straight from the Great Mother.  I began to notice a sharp shift in the weather, the wind started to get brisk, and so I fastened my tent with a bunch of big boulders I found around the area. 

I basked in the hot spring for about two hours.  At times it was so hot, I saw stars.  It was one of the most cleansing experiences.  I felt at one with nature as I lay flat out on the wooden deck surrounding the tub and looked up at the sky.  The day became night as I played in and out of the hot tub, and the wind had softened.

When I felt complete I headed back up the hill to my camping area with flashlight in hand, and I noticed the wind began swirling again.  I was blissed out from the hot springs and when I reached my tent I nestled into it and began to read my book.  Suddenly, I found myself nearly turned on my side by a massive gust of wind.  I was shaken to my core.  It was tornado-like. I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz being swept away by the wind!

I won't go into all the details, though at that moment I knew I had to make a choice.  I managed to get my tent into my car and then proceeded to the cabin where the owner said she would be, and she was nowhere to be found!  As I stood there in the dark, with the owners' dogs barking, and the wind howling, not knowing what to do at this point, I decided to leave.  I drove back to into the nearest town and found a safe shelter for the evening.

The next morning I discovered the damage.  My tent had a bunch of tears in it, and my towel was missing; it had been swept up by the wind.  I was a bit in shock at the power of Nature.  I suppose on some level, I saw the warning signs and I chose to overlook them.   I realize that now, and this morning, with the guidance of my Tarot cards, I made a new plan.

I love this early morning photo at the Sinixt Barter Fair
So I am currently in the breathtakingly beautiful Rocky Mountains, en route to spend some time in a town called, Golden.  Again, I will be staying with yet another wonderful woman I met at the Wise Womens' Festival.  I am grateful.  I think my camping days for this year are over.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

A Whole New World!

It has been a month since my last post, and oh how things have changed!  Since my last scripture, I have departed Vancouver Island and am currently touring the interior of British Columbia.  The first bump in the road was en route to stop # 1, the Wise Womens’ Festival in Naramata, where I was slated to teach a Tarot workshop.  Upon reaching Vancouver, there was mega traffic, (worse than Toronto!) and as I was inching by I noticed my car’s temperature gauge rising…rising…rising to what seemed to be an unhealthy level.  I also heard a strange noise coming from the engine.  What to do?  I decided to wait until the traffic cleared to determine my next move.  An hour later when the congestion cleared my car seemed to clear as well.  I was praying she would be okay driving on the steep inclines of the road terrain in what felt like 30 degree weather.  When I stopped for lunch I parked her in the shade, opened the hood, and gave her some good energy.  After that she was back to normal.  Phew! 

I was glad to have made it to the Wise Womens’ Festival as it was a beautiful experience.  Connection, affirmation, and fullness would best describe the weekend.  I had the opportunity to receive a sacred chakra Tibetan bowl group sound healing, met some truly wonderful women, played in the lake, and most importantly received the most positive, life affirming feedback in regards to my workshop.  It was my first time leading a workshop of this kind, and I was feeling quite anxious beforehand to put it mildly.  I ensured a good night’s sleep, and ample time for meditation and set-up prior to the 8:45 am start.  I set the space with a small intimate group in mind, yet as the workshop start time approached more and more people walked into the room expanding our circle to 21! I completely strayed from my outline, stayed present with the group, and kept within the allotted time frame.  What an expansive experience?!  I truly amazed myself and was so grateful to receive such heart warming and positive feedback.  I am definitely meant to be teaching in one form or another.

Over the next few weeks my plan is loose.  Currently I am en route to Grand Forks to stay with a lovely like-minded woman I met at the festival who lives off grid in the forest and works in the healing arts field.  Today she is harvesting seabuckthorn and canning tomatoes…sounds good to me!  My intention over the next few weeks is to experience conscious freedom both on the inside and out, and stay close to water.  It seems important for me at this time.  The weather here is so beautiful, even though we are approaching the end of September and for that I am grateful.   Wishing everyone a happy and fruitful harvest! 

***Update!!  I now have photos.  The land was magical.  All of the living quarters were made from scrap materials and the designs were creative and ingenious.

A gathering space for workshops...look at the craftsmanship of the roof! 

A quaint loft

I love the quirkiness and character

Canning the tomatoes

Solar powered home built with left over materials from the scrap warm and beautiful inside too.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

On the Move!

 meadows of paradise
Over the past two weeks my life could best be characterized as transient.  I have been camping, staying with various friends, celebrating another wondrous year of life, and honouring my healing journey.  I recently landed on Cortes Island, the perfect place for quiet reflection...though my mind and heart are anything but quiet at the moment!  The word that comes to mind is "roaring".  I find that each time I endure a beginning and/or an ending, the same set of emotions come up.  I am beginning to see a pattern here, and I am committed to getting to the root - the root limiting belief that is creating this emotional flurry at poignant times in my life.  During my time in Ecuador studying mind consciousness intensively, I began to see how we create our own reality based on our belief systems.  We can either make our lives easy and peaceful or we can make them hard and bruisy.

Part of me wonders if my choice to be on the move over the past year or so is my inner wise guide asking to get to the root of this issue.  I've had some amazing experiences and all and yet the transitions have been a challenge for me.  I imagine I will continue to put myself in the same circumstance until I have completed the learning.  I think I am on the verge of a major shift - a completion of something.

You know the saying, "the calm before the storm"?  I think it ought to be the other way around, "the storm before the calm".  I often find the latter expression to be more fitting, at least for me.  Before times of BIG expansion (in my experience a calm, grounded, and peaceful state of being) I experience an inner storm of sorts...likely related to fear and anxiety around the unknown.  Again, these feelings are definitely related to a belief somewhere that is buried deep in my subconscious; it is being stored on a visceral level.  It's as if I made a contract way back when that I have been choosing to stand by all these years (subconsciously of course), even though it is self-defeating. 

With this in mind, and looking into the great wide open, I am wondering how to proceed this fall - asking for the people, places, and experiences which I need for my greatest and highest good to come forth.

What I know for certain is that for the next week Cortes is my homestead.  I am taking a tarot workshop at Hollyhock, a retreat and learning centre, as a way to deepen my experience with my beloved form of divination and to unite with others who share my passion. 

The journey continues to unfold....
campsite equipped with its own private lake access :)
basking in the birthday light!

Saturday 25 August 2012

Honouring the Priestess Within

The major arcana tarot card number II, the Priestess, is personally one of my most favoured cards in the deck.  To me, she represents the divine feminine.  Her intuitive sense is strong, and her self-sufficiency is evidenced by the camel.  She goes within to find answers, and she understands a great truth that cannot be put into words.

Over the last year and a half I have been on a truly transformative journey.  Part of that process has been integrating the role of the Priestess into the core of my being.  Given that the Priestess is the quintessential card for a tarot reader, I suppose this is par for my course.  Let me tell you though, in my experience, the Priestess comes to her knowing often through trying times.  Having said that, these times are also sprinkled with bits of deep calm, peace, and joy - it's all part of the process, as Morcheeba sang so eloquently.

What excites me is watching how my experiences and learnings over the last several years are beginning to come together like a nicely woven tapestry.  I can actually see the weave in Aleister Crowley's Priestess card (Thoth tarot deck).  The woman is sitting back and is intuitively seeing the interconnectedness of all things.  My connection and faith in the divine workings of things is solidifying.  I am seeing how everything is part of the one. 

The other key piece in this card is balance - represented by the number II.  For all the inner observing I have been doing, I recently realized the importance of also allowing my imagination to run wild...strangely something I rarely permitted myself for a long time.  So I have been carving out time for fantasy; I have begun to read fiction novels!  Gasp!  For years I solely read non-fiction books because my quest for knowledge was so great.  Non-fiction has its time and place for sure, though I am discovering the other side.  Who knew reading fiction could be so immensely pleasurable?!

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Blessings for Postal Service

Yesterday I received not one but TWO birthday packages.  I was in tears.....tears of joy that is!

A while back I had asked my mom to knit me a small blanket for my travels and, though she didn't speak much of it, I was excited by the idea that one day it would be in my arms.  That day has arrived.  It is so precious and feels so special.  I love the intricate weaving and the various shades of green and purple wool she used.  My mom knew I wanted purple and she said she chose green to reflect the beauty of the rich trees in the photos I showed her of Vancouver Island.

The lovely burlap handbag in the photo was sent by my sister.  The bags were created in support of a good cause -  the proceeds from the sales are being donated to help provide nutritious meals in children's schools around the world.  I love the rawness of the bag...definitely my style!

What struck me as I sat in my room yesterday with unwrapped boxes and new gifties, tears streaming down my face, was the beautiful warm feeling of love I felt.  Personally I value the time and energy that goes into sending a gift a great distance to a loved one.  I was deeply touched.  Furthermore,  there is something special about being greeted at the door by a delivery man or finding something extra special in your mailbox.  Whether it be a card or a gift, big or small, I am reminded of the wonderful feeling of receiving something by post.  I know the postal system isn't perfect, though I am grateful for it regardless.  It inspires me to be more giving.  It calls attention to the "pay it forward" concept, helping to make the world a better place.  To me, that is what life is all about.

Thursday 16 August 2012

A Homemaking Morning

This morning I felt like a homemaker.  Upon waking I put my sourdough loaves that had been proofing (rising) overnight in the oven.  After I put the bread in the oven I remembered that I had some beautiful thyme dried and ready to be worked with.  I had been gifted the herb by my friend, Mella, and wanted to put it to good use!  Thyme is such a wonderful herb for many reasons.  It aids in clearing lung issues such as asthma and bronchitis, (internally) and it's also helpful with dandruff and the troubling effects of arthritis (externally).  Furthermore, it tastes lovely in baked bread, roasted potatoes and other root veggies.  What a wide range of uses?!

 While my bread was baking, I separated the thyme leaves from their stems.  I went into a meditation of sorts that created a peaceful calm feeling within.  Furthermore, I was being productive - now that is what I call a win-win situation.  I then remembered my kombucha tea concoction that had been sitting for five days now - about five more to go to get it to my liking.  As an aside, I put a hold on making kefir (fermented can read all about it in a previous post).  I think I consumed too much one afternoon and I will simply say my body's reaction was less than pleasant.  It could have been due to another cause, though by association I decided to take a break from kefir.
from left to right: sourdough bread, kombucha, nettle tea, and dried thyme

This post may seem random, though there is a theme.  All of the products I have referred to here, except for the thyme, are fermented foods.  They are all partially digested foods, making them wonderful for anyone with any kind of digestive issues.  My advice is to introduce them slowly into your diet.

Here is a quick run-down for making kombucha tea.  I would say it is the easiest to make of all the fermented preparations.

Kombucha tea (pronounced "com-boo-chah)

12 cups of tea (black, green, or white)
3/4 cups of sugar (not honey)
filtered water
**kombucha mushroom "SCOBY" (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast)

Easy peasy: boil a pot of water and add the tea.  let it cool.  then add the sugar and fill the remainder of the jar (glass preferably) with filtered water.  ensure the tea mixture is room temperature as the scoby is sensitive.  add the scoby and cover with a cloth.  i use a tea towel with an elastic band around the top of the jar.  leave the brew in a warm dark place for 7-10 days.  don't worry if the scoby floats to the top of the jar.  when it tastes right for you, a bit sour and a bit fizzy, take the mushroom out and store it in the fridge in a covered glass container with some of the tea to cover.  when it grows a second spongy pancake, you can split that off and give it to a friend or start other batches. 

**You need to find someone who has a scoby.  Ask around and you will surely find someone who has one.  Alternatively do some research to see who is growing mushrooms in your area.  They often have some for gift or sale. 

Sunday 12 August 2012

British Columbia Bliss

British Columbia truly is the ideal place for me.  Early this morning I went swimming with a friend in Stokum river - a river close to home.  We were the only ones there, making it a lovely opportunity for a river meditation.  With the sun shining on our faces, we lounged around on the rocks for a while and had a good heart to heart exchange.

our own private pool for the morning :o)
I am reminded of the Major Arcana tarot card, The Sun.  I am especially fond of that child-like innocence and energy generated from the sun (and in this case the river rapids).   There is an optimism and buoyancy that comes from these kinds of experiences - a feeling of having all of your needs met. 

I am finding my mind relating many happenings throughout the day to various tarot cards.  I think this is par for the course when one is passionate about something as I am with the tarot.  I see the tarot as an art form; I am faithfully working with my craft. 

For those of us whose craft includes working with people's minds and/or bodies, we are exposed to many different kinds of energy.  Sometimes unwanted energy lingers and energetic cleansing is needed.  In my experience, a river, or any running water source for that matter, is a great way to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit.  It is quite revitalizing too.  After a trip to the river, I amazed at how calm and clear I am.  Once again, thank you mother nature!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Swimming in Sproat Lake - A Heartful Weekend

Last weekend I unplugged.  I left all electronic devices at home (left my cell phone in my car for emergency use only).  In my opinion a vacation is not a vacation when you have access to technology in one form or another. 

I spent my long weekend camping with my cousin and it was F-U-N!  I loved the communal meals, that were delicious and nutritious I must add, spending time with family, sleeping under the stars, and lazing by the lake the whole day.  It was extremely hot on the island last weekend; I think I spent more time in the water than on land! The days by the lake turned into evenings by the lake.  My cousin’s partner encouraged us all to go night swimming, and I’m so glad she did because it was deeply rejuvenating. 

In my view, a day spent in the sunshine and water is great therapy for the body.  Plus, it was good to give my mind a much needed rest!  I spent the early part of the mornings in silence, watching the calm clear lake shimmer...until the speed boats started up.

Unfortunately no technology means I have no photos to post of the weekend.  I simply enjoyed the moments for what they were.  The beautiful mountains surrounding the lake, one of which was still snow covered – the contrast was stark!  The water bomber was also in flight this weekend; it flew right by us as we were swimming. Here is a photo, courtesy of the world wide web.

On my way home I was feeling thirsty and recalled a water spring nearby, so I made a much needed stop over.  Usually one would just stop at the 7-11 and pick up a bottled water, though not moi.  I drove to the spring, put on my rain boots, and trekked 50 feet up into the forest with all the water bottles on hand.  The outcome was pure tasty spring water.  I am so grateful for all the wonderful experiences I have been having since moving to beautiful BC.  There’s lots more to come!

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Sourdough Bread: Sunshine in the Tummy

A few weeks ago I was gifted a sourdough culture from a dear sweet friend and after procrastinating for a little while I decided to give her a "go".   There has been a lot of praise for fermented foods as well as scientific evidence in support of the health benefits for people, especially those with sensitive digestive systems.  I gracefully fall into this category, and over the years I have experimented with other fermented foods, such as kombucha and kefir, though this is a first for homemade sourdough bread.

One of the potential health benefits of sourdough is that the bacteria in the culture partially "digests" some of the starches and sugars in the grains.  As a result, sourdough bread appears to cause less of an increase in blood sugar than yeast breads.  It also causes much less bloating and indigestion than most other yeast and gluten breads.  Good to know.  Here is a link to some scientific evidence.

So for some reason I was having difficulty getting the project started, perhaps because of fear of failure and potentially wasting a whole lot of dough!  Apparently, it is a bit of a science to get it right.  Last Sunday I realized it was time for me to take the plunge, after trying some of my friend's bread.  My tummy was in heaven!

Much to my surprise, the finished product was lovely....okay, it was not as good as my friend's though he's been working on his art form for much longer.  The bread is dense and a bit sour, and is quite easy for me to digest.  I put in some oregano,  thyme, a bit of baking soda, salt and oil during the kneading process, and it seemed to work in nicely.

Here is a photo of my friend Michele, enjoying the fruits of my love and labour.

I have written the instructions below, though you will need to find someone who is willing to gift you a sourdough starter (culture), or research how to make your own.  I know it can be done! 

To me, making my own bread is simply another way to get more in touch with my food, and I find the process gratifying and nourishing.  It also took a ton less time than I thought it would.  I will definitely be making another batch soon. :o)

Instructions for Making Sunshine in the Tummy

1. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with 1/4 cup sugar(or any sweetener)
2. Mix in 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sourdough starter (culture)
3. Stir into a lovely uniform "sponge"
4. Breathe all your wonderful loving intentions into it and smile as the microorganisms smile back at you, swimming happily in euphoric bliss.
5. Into the jar of starter culture, add 1 cup flour, 1/4 sugar, 1 cup water, and stir
6. Let bowl sit overnight
7. Next day, add 1/2 - 1 cup flour to the bowl 1 or 2 times a day for each day after for up to 2 days
8. When the time is right, add all the rest of the flour you need to make a medium stiff dough
9. Knead that dough for 10 minutes or so until it's silky soft, all the while using proper body mechanics, breathing, and meditating on the joy of working in harmony with countless invisible creatures
10. Oil loaf pans or cookie sheet and place dough inside or onto
(will be enough for 2 loafs) to proof (rise)
11. Let proof for 3 - 6 hours in a warm place (no hotter than 100 degrees f)
12. Bake at 400f for 30 or 40 minutes
OR knead for 2 minutes and proof again for 3 - 6 hours and THEN bake (this can be repeated many times)
13. Revel in the glory of a warm, fresh sourdough loaf made from your very hands

Sunday 29 July 2012

Oh, How I Love the Tarot!

This past weekend I participated in a metaphysical fundraiser for Unity of Nanaimo.  My weekend began with a pesky sting from a wasp that had tucked itself into the flowers I purchased for the event (they were from a neighbour's flower stand down the street - pictured in photo above).  I had put the flowers in my passenger car seat, and when I went to reach over to open the passenger window my arm met the wasp's stinger.  OUCH!  I immediately put tea tree and peppermint essential oil on my arm to clean and sooth it and that act definitely helped.  Amazingly my arm only swelled mildly and the pain was fairly minimal. 

As for the fundraiser, what an event?!  I offered my Tarot consulting services, along with 17 other practitioners offering various services, and I was busy from the moment the doors opened to their closing.  I managed to carve out time for a quick session with Alexis Gilchrist, a talented Iridologist, and for some home-cooked veggie chili.  YUM!

The energy was friendly, compassionate, and good-spirited, and the volunteers were delightfully helpful.  Overall, I felt like I provided insight, a bit of entertainment (with my fun loving facial expressions), and compassionate guidance to the consultees, and I too gained valuable experience in working with all of them.  Oh, how I love the Tarot!

An extra special thank you to Andree, who recommended me, and to Jacque who graciously opened her home to me so I could avoid the lengthy commute.  Looking forward to next year's event!

Monday 23 July 2012

Hope at the Spiritual Cafe

Yesterday I made my way to the spiritual cafe for some sharing of great minds and great hearts around the topic of hope.  How fitting, given I sleep with this hope pillow every night?!

I arrived at the cafe ripe and ready for a good discussion with my pillow in hand, and indeed I left with fresh insight and, you guessed it, HOPE.

Here were a couple of quotes from the discussion I especially liked:

1) "Never deprive someone of hope.  It might be all they have."  ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.  
I felt this quote reminded me of the huge impact we can have on each other, and especially the detrimental impact our words can have on children.  When I was in grade five I recall my teacher poking fun at me for talking so elaborately with my hands.  She made me sit on them when I spoke so they wouldn't be flailing in the air.  What she didn't realize was that my hand gestures were a way for me to express my deep passion and excitement for what I was speaking about.  I felt flattened.  I remember not talking as much in school after that experience.  Gratefully, I now happily lead workshops with lots of full felt expression. :o)

2) " not a feeling; it is something you do." ~ Katherine Paterson
What I love about this quote is the call for taking responsibility for one's life.  It makes me want to make a t-shirt that says, "I do hope!".  This quote sparked my first "ah-ha" of the afternoon.

Insight # 1: Hope is a state of being, from which all action stems.  (hey, that can be my quote!)  As I see it, hope is always innately within each of us and can be used as a tool for manifesting your destiny.  The pitfall lies in attaching to specific outcomes, as we can make all the plans in the world and then life happens.  Hope is about being open to what we can not predict.  The less we can invest in a particular outcome, the more open we are to infinite possibilities.

Insight # 2: When feeling hopeless, and likely we have all been there at some point, this can be viewed as a signal for the need for change and/or a new understanding of one's situation.

Insight # 3:  Hope creates intention and intention creates hope.  As I see it, when one is being hope there is space for new intentions to be born.  Likewise, when one creates an intention, this breeds a sense of hope.

I was amazed by the depth of conversation that transpired in relation to hope.  Too, I loved hearing all the different perspectives from various people in the group.  When a bunch of minds and hearts gather, expansion is inevitable.  I look forward to more wonderful discussions and idea sharing; it is surely a great way to create and sustain community.  Thanks to Sarah, Serina, and Robert for your consistency in organizing these lovely little events. 

Sunday 22 July 2012

Nanaimo Metaphysical Fair Fundraiser

My next stop for summer will be in Nanaimo at their annual Holistic Metaphysical Fair.  Looks like it's going to be a fun good-spirited event! 

Friday 20 July 2012

Powering Up

What does it mean to be in your power?  I have been pondering this question for a while now and recently I have gained new insight. I am eager to share my reflections.

In my view, power can be generated from two different sources: internally and externally.  I used to equate power solely with external possessions and control.  From this perspective, power comes from being a millionaire, having a high rank position in a company, or engaging in an abusive relationship (on the negative side).  The kind of power I am beginning to understand, and is tons more interesting to me at this time, is the power that comes from the inside - the power from within.

Perhaps the kind of power I am referring to is better known as "empowerment".  The prefix "em" comes from Latin and Greek, meaning "in" or "within."   Therefore empowerment can suggest the power within us. It is the enormous reservoir of creativity and potential contribution that lies within every person.  Imagine how the world would look if we were all tapping into our highest potentials.  Radiant is what comes to mind.

So where does that power come from?  What does it look like? .What I have recently discovered is this: there is calmness and clarity when you are in your power.  There is the deep knowing within as to when to say yes and when to say no.  It is knowing that you always have a choice even when it seems like you don't, and it is learning when to move towards something  and when to walk away.  Internal power is operating from a place of integrity and authenticity versus operating from your ego.  Essentially inner power looks like the Strength card in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck....I had to toss that in being a Tarot Consultant and all!

I believe this inner power comes from making a commitment to understanding what robs you of your power.  It comes through disciplined observing of self, being one's own witness, and sometimes seeking outside support and guidance.  It comes from making a commitment to self reflection as a daily practice, even if it is as little as 10 minutes on some days.  The process looks different for everyone.  For example, I often use the Tarot as a way for me to gain insight and clarity on many different situations. Wouldn't it be wonderful too if we all went on some form of personal retreat annually?  This should be mandatory!

For me, I have been in a process of unraveling the tightly woven threads that had me feeling weak and ineffective deep down for so long.  At times there has been great struggle, and I have been through some downright difficult and uncomfortable experiences.  Yet I am beginning to see how all of these experiences have played an essential role in bringing me to where I now stand.  More and more I am knowing myself to be a strong and empowered woman, making effective life choices that support myself and others. Additionally, I am grateful for being able to help others in this process, especially in the work I do with the Tarot.

Last weekend I received an immense amount of support and guidance and it marked a significant turning point for me in relation to my inner power.  That experience spawned the birth of this post.  What I am seeing is that the more empowered we are the more freedom and fun we get to have.  So in writing this piece my hope is that it may potentially create a spark in someone, somewhere, at some time.  After all, we are all in this earth school together. :o)

Monday 16 July 2012

Come One Come All to Courtenay, BC this Saturday!

42nd Annual Market Day and Local Colours Festival!

 "Saturday, July 21 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm the downtown will be filled with wonderful things to do during the Downtown Courtenay Annual Market Day.  You’ll find handmade, one-of-a-kind products along with some of the best deals from favourite downtown shops.  The streets will be brimful with over 100 vendors; some of the Comox Valley’s very best.  There is something for everyone to do and enjoy!"

I will happily be offering mini Tarot Consultations and will be joined by some other wonderful women doing tea leaf and clairvoyant readings.  It is an especially good time for clearing the cobwebs, setting new goals, and gaining new insights, considering we are currently in mercury retrograde (July 14th-Aug 8th).

We all need a little outside support on our journeys from time to time.  :o)

Please spread the good word, and hope to see you there!

Thursday 12 July 2012

The Gift of Giving!

The act of giving is truly a beautiful thing.  I have written about this topic at least once before, though I feel it is good to re-address this one every so often. 

Yesterday, I gave the gift of time.  I spent my morning volunteering at the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society - the task was cleaning tack.  It reminded me of my childhood years.  I would diligently clean my bridle and saddle after every horse riding lesson; it was a ritual of sorts for me.  I loved the smell of the saddle soap mixed with the fresh smell of leather.

In the afternoon, I stopped by my friend's backyard garden to water her plants.  She went away for the week, and had asked if I would stop in given the intense sun and heat this week in the valley.  It took me a bit to figure out her watering system, and once I did it was smooth sailing!  I am completely inspired by her lush and bountiful garden - her goal is to grow an abundance of food for her and her children this summer and into the fall.

To me, the act of giving is receiving.  They are two sides of the same coin.  For example, when I went to water my friend's garden there was a huge raspberry bush in the yard - snack time for Ashley!  The less tangible form of receiving is just as valuable in my opinion.  My heart felt happy knowing I was being of service in some way.

There is a concept in the Kabbalah, called the Bread of Shame, that refers to a situation in which people take more than they give.  This situation ultimately creates resentment and possibly other low vibrational feelings in those people that ultimately hinders them and also those around them.  Clearly, these people have moved into a state of imbalance.  I suppose the equal opposite can be true as well.  Deep feelings of resentment can arise when a person over-gives out of a desire to be loved, for example.

I think the key is balance.  The energy of giving raises one's frequency and those of others.  Also, people who receive give joy to those who give to them. Again, that practice raises the frequency of those concerned and positively impacts the planet.  With that in mind, I encourage taking a day where you consciously give of yourself in some way and notice the impact. From my experience, it feels good to give!

Monday 9 July 2012

Strawberry Delight!

After a busy festival weekend I wanted to have a quiet morning, so I headed on over to a nearby u-pick strawberry farm called Ash Berry Farm.  Interestingly, I first stopped by my local grocery store to get a few things and I saw a shelf full of organic strawberries in big plastic containers from California.  The grocery store was having a big special on them.  I was tempted to buy them and forgo the picking, though the purest in me was determined to pick my own fresh local organic strawberries.  So glad I maintained my position.   
The vibe at the farm was relaxed and sweet.  The owners promote sustainable practices and they solely use natural and organic methods on the farm.  The strawberries looked much more vibrant and red and juicy than the ones in the grocery store and they tasted heavenly; my tummy hurt from eating so many of them!  What can I say, I was excited.

As I see it, u-pick farms are a win-win.  I had a fun and memorable experience, I felt really good to be supporting my local community, and the farm received my business.  I especially loved the little children who had a stand set up next to the parking lot selling fresh cool mint water.  

Whether it be herbs like mint, fresh berries, or kale, I am still in amazement of how those little tiny seeds we put into the ground transform over time.  With care and good nutrients, the seeds flourish to become a source of deliciousness and nourishment for us.  Having said that, I will definitely be returning to the u-pick again for some more fresh berry goodness, and I encourage you all to support fresh local organic farm foods whenever and where ever possible.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Reflections from the Heart on Canada Day

Today I feel celebratory on one hand and heavy hearted on the other.  It has been exactly one year since I first arrived in beautiful British Columbia.  This year, or rather year and a half, has been a time of self exploration, transition, transformation, navigating unknown and uncharted territory all the while discovering myself and being supported in the most beautiful and life affirming way.

In the past couple of weeks I have been working through some uncomfortable emotional territory in the heart chakra realm.  Fitting since the focus of the past week at the store, where I do Tarot consultations, was on the heart chakra.  What has been bubbling up to the surface is anger, and what lies beneath are old limiting beliefs that I likely learned as a youngster.  They  have been filed somewhere deep in my unconscious mind surely for quite a while now.  Somehow my mind is ready to show me these beliefs.  Perhaps because I asked to be shown or perhaps because I need to see them in order to shift them to allow for something new to enter.  Regardless, limiting beliefs separate us from who we truly are at the source: divine love - deeply radiant beings. 

I won't go into all the details of my experiences over the past couple of weeks, though they have all seemed to surface at this time for a reason: to allow me to see how I give away my power in relationship, through clinging to things that are not.  I am also seeing my relation to abandonment or rather fear of being let down.  My perception of the situation and objective reality do not match.  The lens through which I experience life is created by my beliefs - two people in the same situation can have two completely different experiences.  The message I received is that I need to cultivate patience and just let go.  Easier said than done!  I get that I cannot control other people and I also know that I will continue to create similar experiences like these until I fully process them and get to the root.  I suppose now is the time.  This is an uncomfortable process and I am committed to myself.  I am beginning to understand that if you pay attention to your own thoughts, you can become your own wise guide and your own best friend. :o)

Today felt like a suitable day to write this kind of post.  I tend to write exciting excerpts about fun new  adventures and discoveries.  Too, I love sharing the wonderfully exciting bright and shiny parts of my life, yet sometimes there is grit.  I am okay with that.  It feels like I am authentically honouring myself in acknowledging these parts.  So while I am quietly celebrating my "self" for having the courage to go on a journey, to carve out a life that feels truly nourishing and fitting for my soul, I am also working through some darn uncomfortable feelings.  I think I am clearing some darkness in my heart space to prepare for new light to enter....expansion.  A new heart connection is on its way. 

Happy Canada Day! 

Friday 29 June 2012

Lions and Tigers and Baskets, Oh My!

When I walked into "Winds of Change" the other morning to do my Tarot readings I was immediately transported to Africa, by the overflowing sweet smell of dried grass that filtered through the store. 

In preparation for Vancouver Island Music Fest in the Valley next weekend, the store received a shipment of exquisite hand-made baskets.  Amanda, the owner, is an advocate of personal empowerment and actively seeks out ways to take action.  Here is one piece of evidence: purchasing an extensive collection of baskets made in Ghana by a rural women's cooperative - guided by fair trade policies in support of rural poverty alleviation.  What's more is that these goods, woven with twisted elephant grass and finished with a leather handle, are virtually indestructible, comfortable to carry, and simply beautiful.

With all the baskets scattered about, I felt like the store was infused with vibrant energy!  This, coupled with a mini chakra energy session by Rita, brightened my day.  Yes, it is the little things!

If you are planning to go to the festival next weekend, be sure to check out the Winds of Change table to experience the sweet smell of the baskets and to see all the other goodies including lots of cool musical gizmos and sweetly designed prayer flags.  :o)


Monday 25 June 2012

The Surprise Swim on Sunday

This past Sunday, I journeyed to the Courtenay Airpark with my friend Karli to soak up the sun in an area called "Little Mexico".  It is a sweet little cove with green grass and a somewhat sandy beachfront that is readily accessible when the tide is low.  She suggested it since the tide happened to be very low and the summer sunshine was in full force.

We had a delightful time talking about all topics under the sun (literally) and then realized the time, so we began to head back.  What we failed to realize is that the tide had started to come much so that what was a small crossing of ankle deep water to reach Little Mexico was now quite a deep pocket of the sea!  My friend and I looked at each other and we both knew what was needed; our pants were coming off!  So we both removed our bottoms and there we were hand in hand wading through the water.  Sorry no photos of this one.  As we got further and further in I was laughing and crying out at the same time.  The water was frigid!  With my legs being quite a bit shorter than Karli's, the water began encroaching on my underwear.  I was standing on my tippie toes, though nothing could prevent the water from seeping in.

We arrived at the other side of the inlet giddy and refreshed.  I arrived with soaking wet undies.  Karli's were bone dry.  I wrapped my towel around me to form a skirt, as the thought of jeans over wet underwear was less than appealing.  We walked the rest of the way back to the car in bare feet.  Our trip back encompassed wading through what felt like quick sandy type mud that had formed over the afternoon, balancing on massive driftwood logs, careening through a bit of bush, and finally walking on the hot dry pavement.  I felt a sense of accomplishment from our unexpected adventure and would definitely do it again!

The theme of the weekend: "one never really knows how the day will transpire if one is open to all the possibilities".  I like the idea of being open to the unknown, especially when it involves nature, good friends, and fun!

Saturday 23 June 2012

Summer Saturday Goodness!!

Life is beautiful.  Let's take today, for example.  It seemed like it was going to be a quiet, low and slow Saturday until I arrived at the weekly farmers' market this morning.  I went to my favourite tent, Freedom Farm, and they had organic veggies in abundance this week!  I was immediately giddy, and proceeded to fill my bag with fresh and vibrant kale, swiss chard, garlic scapes, etc.  I felt compelled to take a photo of the rainbow swiss chard and also to tell them how much I appreciated their yummy produce!  I suppose one could say I am a foodie.  I thrive knowing my veggies are fresh and nutrient rich, and I feel so much better eating them with this vibration.

As I was leaving the market I noticed a bike with a sign on it saying "bikes for sale" with an arrow towards a picnic table and a shed-like structure.  I meandered on over, with ginger chocolate cookie in hand, to see what the sign was referring to.  To preface the following news, I have to say I have been wanting to manifest an old yet functioning bike in the valley that requires a very small investment given my transient status.  I was in luck!  There were two sweet elderly men and a woman selling bikes on behalf of the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society where I volunteer.  All the proceeds from the bikes were going to the Society, AND they had a bike that perfectly suited my needs: teeny investment, comfy seat, and solidly tuned with good tires! 

 They helped me put the bike in my car and off I went.  When I got home I immediately hopped on and took it for a spin in the woods.  My friend's dog Sasha accompanied me for the ride.  We could go so much further on the path with my bike than previously on foot; I was in my glory!

I had no idea that my day would be filled with so much goodness when I woke up this morning.  I had been consciously creating a focused intention on having a bike to ride into town, and also to get local, organic, ultra fresh veg this summer, and today seemed to be "harvest day".  I suppose the key learning here is to  create conscious intention around what it is that you wish to receive, on a regular and continual basis, and at some point in some way you will receive.  I suggest trying a small wish to begin with.  For more information on creating focused intention, check out Lynne McTaggart.

Friday 22 June 2012

Aboriginal Day in Comox Valley

Yesterday, after my Tarot sessions at the store, I ventured over to the K'ómoks First Nations Reservation to participate in the annual festivities surrounding Aboriginal Day.

There was a feast of salmon, bannock (a traditional fried bread prepared for special occasions), and buffalo burgers.  I arrived just in time to see a traditional performance put on by the Kumugwe dancers in the Big House (ceremonial house of First Nations).  Members of the dance troupe have been practicing and performing together since 2001.   The group takes great pride in preserving the ancient traditions of their ancestors and sharing in songs and dances of the K’√≥moks and Kwakwaka’wakw peoples.  Additionally, sharing these traditions helps to facilitate respect and understanding within the local community and communities abroad.

I am particularly fond of experiencing new cultures and learning about their traditions and practices.  My favorite part of the evening was participating in the "friendship dance" with my friend, George.  We held our hands in a special traditional configuration and danced in a large circle, creating a bridge for each other and then going under it with our partners.  You can get an idea by this photo. 

My other favorite thing was the traditional dress worn by the Kumugwe dancers.  Their outfits, consisting of cone-shaped jingles, beads, animal hides and various other materials, are symbolic, intricate, and beautiful, in my opinion.  Out of respect for the people I chose not to take photos during the dances (except for the friendship dance), though you can see a a few of the outfits from the top photo.  The costumes, coupled with the sounds of the dancers as they moved about the Big House, truly delighted my soul.  

I arrived home in good spirits with a calm and peaceful heart.  I am so grateful to have an opportunity to experience and learn about the rich and ancient cultures of First Nations communities here on Vancouver Island.  Happy Aboriginal Day!

Monday 18 June 2012

The Sweet Sounds of Nature

 I am happily camping out again for a couple weeks on my friends' land.  Last year I clocked six and a half months in a tent (well six and a half nights to be more accurate).  Camping makes me giddy, as long as I am warm enough.  It speaks to my desire for simplicity and my love of nature.  I find the whole experience quite grounding.  By grounding I mean that it allows a person to be fully in the present, not thinking about the past or future.  How often do you find yourself in the latter two states of being?  To be honest, it is fairly often for me some days.  I recall doing an exercise where I had to write down every time I found myself thinking a past or future thought.  I will just say my paper filled up FAST!  

Let us get back to grounding.  One way to help "ground" one's self is to make a connection with nature.   Hug a tree (my favorite!), or take a short walk in a park.  Especially in times of transition, spending time in nature can be truly wonderful for our well being; it is healing for both body and mind.  For me, camping helps me to feel grounded.  I love lying in my tent before going to sleep and listening to the sweet sounds of nature.  Pure and simple.

Camping is also a great way for families to reconnect.  Given the emergence of the techno era, I believe we have become more isolated and disconnected as a society.  Camping translates to less computer time and more time in the great outdoors.  Even a weekend camping trip can be a rejuvenating experience in my opinion.  My one big tip for a pleasurable camping experience is bringing good padding to sleep on.  I use a Thermorest, and highly recommend them!  Happy camping!