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!

Thursday 14 June 2012

Recent Reflections from a Tarotista!

This week I led my first Tarot workshop here in BC.  What an uplifting experience!  Now I understand what it means to be living/working in your passion.

On the day of the workshop I was feeling excited, a bit nervous, and strangely calm.  It was as though I had been leading Tarot workshops for years.  Maybe in a past life?  Who knows? 

In working with the Tarot I am meeting my desire to help educate, counsel, and inspire people to move towards their bliss.  Plus, I get to do it in a fun, engaging, and heart-felt way.  How lucky am I?!

In reflecting on my journey with the Tarot, I am amazed at how this gift, as I see it, remained hidden through my entire childhood.  It was only in my early 20s' that I began my healing journey, and in my 30s' that I discovered the Tarot. 

With that in mind, here is the golden nugget: it is NEVER too late to follow your bliss.  There is perfection in timing.  Perhaps I needed to experience all that I did before I could meet (or re-meet) the Tarot.  When I consult with people using the Tarot I feel like I tap into something bigger than myself.  It is beautiful.  I am grateful to have found my Holy Grail.  :)

I suppose the work moving forward is committing to continued exploration, expansion, and elevation through the Tarot.  Sounds like a good plan to me!   

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Seeking Support from a Sauna

I am grateful to Christina Brack for offering up her infrared sauna to the lovely people of Port Alberni, BC.   Half-hour sessions in her sauna is one of many services Christina offers in her home-based wellness clinic, Inner Stillness

I was in search of an affordable way to help receive some inner stillness, given my unexpected uprooting last week.  With some time to spare in the lovely town of Port Alberni, I stumbled across Christina's place and thought an infrared sauna would be a simple way to support myself.  My time in the sauna was precisely what I needed.  The soft meditative music combined with heat, access to pure water, and a warm shower afterwards felt uplifting and a great form of self-care.  I definitely noticed an increase in energy and overall feeling of well-being post session, and my skin felt soft and smooth.  Apparently infrared saunas are known to help increase blood pressure and promote toxin release. A half-hour session cost $10. 
On another note, I am also so so grateful for all the support from my many loved ones during this time.  Given my commitment to my soul's highest purpose, it is essential for me to fully process the big life experiences.  I do that by having a lot of internal dialogue as well as talking things through with others.  Sometimes we need others to point out what we cannot see, and so I thank you all eternally for being a witness to my journey.  And thank you, Christina, for your rapid fire-hot infrared sauna! 

Monday 4 June 2012

Taking Delight in Fermented Foods

My tummy was singing "hallelujah!" after taking a Food Fermentation Workshop with Sharon Haave, co-founder of Creekside Commons Cohousing in Courtenay, BC.  I have had digestive ailments since my teenage years, and when I found about this workshop all my cells screamed, "yes, you need this workshop!".  I have taken digestive enzymes in the past, especially during times of high stress, though I have found the high quality ones to be quite costly, so I was happy to learn about this alternative.  Actually, I had dabbled a bit with fermentation making kombucha and sauerkraut once, though in my travels over the past year and a half I forgot all about these little digestive gems.

Naturally fermented foods are some of the most nourishing, health restoring foods in the world, and they are tons more cost effective than digestive enzymes.  Furthermore, fermented foods are a wonderful way to build immunity, and they are easy and fun to make in your own kitchen. 

For the workshop we got to play in the Creekside Commons kitchen for a couple hours, tasting various fermented foods and then making a few of them.  My favourite was coconut kefir.  Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food, resembling yoghurt, that is filled with friendly micro-organisms which help balance your “inner ecosystem.” It is more nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, as it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins.
Kefir grains, a symbiotic culture of yeasts and bacteria, are used to make kefir
 It was great to learn how to prepare these highly nutritious and therapeutic foods; however, the biggest realization was the ease at which one can prepare these foods.  Kefir can be prepared in under five minutes - plus the two days it needs to sit in the cupboard. 

I was grateful to receive the kefir starter grains from Sharon, as the kefir starter sold in stores is one-time use only.  Sharon's kefir grains are your forever friends, that is if you treat them kindly.  The more you use them the happier they are, and the more they reproduce.  Thanks, Sharon!