Lucy has a cold. It’s one of those mucous filled, hacking cough kinds. It didn’t seem to bother her too much during the day yesterday but last night…she was really struggling. The coughing kept her from getting comfortable and while she coughed and flopped around, I tried to figure out what I could do to make her feel better.
She’s only 8 months old so there aren’t really any medications she can take. I had put a little Vick’s Vaporub on her chest and then read that it can actually cause mucous formation so I wiped it off and decided that it was just going to be a very long night and I would have to do whatever I could to make her as comfortable as possible.
In the back of my mind I recalled reading about how putting a slice of potato against your feet while you slept would help with cold symptoms. I figured it was worth a try. I cut a couple of thin slices and put the damp, cold potato pieces against her little baby feet, much to her irritation, and covered them up with some socks.
The hacking continued for a bit and then it stopped and she slept…soundly for a good three hours or so. Around 1 am, the hacking started up again, along with crying. I checked the potato slices and one was quite black, the other one only slightly darkened. I took them both out figuring that they had done their job.
The mall parking lot was packed when we pulled in. I knew it would be busy, what with Christmas right around the corner but my phone had died and I needed a new one. It was busy but not Black Friday busy so I was actually enjoying the walk with my daughter to the cell phone store. It’s funny how you can be around so many different people and not even take notice of what they are doing. Most times we don’t even care. Each of us goes about our business and then carries on with our day. I had the same intention, however I soon found myself engaged in a stranger’s meltdown outside the store.
I was on the phone with my husband trying to get his advice when I overheard a woman talking to her partner. They sat on a bench and had three small children with them; the oldest, a girl about 6 years of age. The woman was questioning the man about whether or not he actually wanted to be her boyfriend. I couldn’t hear his response and quite possibly he said nothing at all because in the next moment she got very angry. She told him that he needed to make a decision. She got up then, as did he, and she continued on with her tirade, more heated now than before.
I couldn’t focus on my husband who was still on the phone. I saw the kids and this woman who was losing her sh$# and a man who may have very well wanted to be sucked into the earth. I wasn’t embarrassed for her but my heart ached for her children, especially the little girl. I don’t even recall the middle child, he might have been around 4. There was a baby in the stroller and he was maybe a year old. That little girl though…I felt that she had seen and heard this all before.
How many times had her mom yelled at her because she was the oldest child and was expected to do more than others her age? How many times had her mom told her about her frustrations and worries more like a friend than a child? How many times had she felt that maybe her mom’s life would be better, maybe happier if she did more and got in trouble less? How often did she cringe, or cry, or feel alone?
This woman was crying now. The man had already started walking ahead and I think one of the children dropped something. She called out to him to stop. “I need you”, she pleaded. “I can’t do this by myself.” Everyone around her was looking. If they hadn’t been already, they were now. I had already hung up on my husband telling him I would call back. The woman stood there, crying angry tears, her daughter standing by her side.
I looked in my wallet. What could I give her? I had no money but I had a gift card. It had been a gift to me and I had only used $20 on it. It was worth $100 and it was for a children’s clothing store. There wasn’t a lot of thought behind the actions that followed. It was all heart driven which is me a lot of the time.
I went up to her and in that instant everyone else seemed to disappear. I said hi and asked her if I could talk to her for a moment. I reached out to touch her arm. “Don’t touch me!”
Calmly, I asked her again if I could speak to her and without waiting for an answer I continued. “I have something I want to give you.”
“I don’t want anything from you.”
I explained what it was and she softened. “Why would you want to give that to me?”
I told her that I saw her pain and that I could relate. Sometimes I feel so alone and overwhelmed. I give so much to others but I need to be nurtured in return. I cook and clean and take care of everyone else…but I don’t really take care of me. “Can I give you a hug?” She nodded her head yes. I hugged her and I said that it needed to be a real hug, as though we knew each other. I told her that I had learned that “I am you and you are me”.
She might not have known what I meant and it didn’t really matter. She was a woman just like me. We probably have very little in common yet I could see myself in her. I could feel her pain and that of her daughter and all I knew to do in that moment was to not let her cry alone in the mall.
She hugged me and when we were done, I handed her the gift card. I told her that it was a big deal for me because I am on maternity leave right now. She once again told me not to give it to her and I told her that she was worth it. She hugged me again with fresh tears in her eyes and I told her that I loved her. I stroked her hair and told her again, “I love you.” She told me she loved me back.
Her baby fussed then and I looked him in the eyes, patted his chubby leg and told him that it would be ok. Would it? Here was his mom both pushing away and clinging on to a man that couldn’t or wouldn’t see what she needed. His mom, in a public place, was yelling and crying much like he might if he felt his needs weren’t being met.
When I turned away from her, the man started to speak. He tried to tell me what the real “issue” was. I interrupted him and told him that I hoped he had a good day. I had already given away more energy than I had to spare.
They went on and I returned to my own child who was watching from the sidelines. I just wanted to get out the mall. I wanted to cry. Before we even started walking away, the woman’s angry and desperate voice rang out over the din of the crowd. It was almost as though nothing had changed. “It’s like you don’t even want to be with me…”
I took a deep breath and we continued on our way. The other people stopped looking and things began to go back to normal….back to being focused on ourselves and whatever it was that we came to the mall to do.
I felt heavy for a while and the desire to cry lingered. I told myself that I did the right thing. What it really was, was how much I could feel her pain. My hope is that when she is in a happier state she uses that gift card and remembers the stranger that came to her when she felt down and out. I just want her to know that she is not alone. Something told me to go to her. I believe it was her guardian angel who tapped me on the shoulder and I went. I have been that person and someone has been there for me. It’s something we need to pass on.
I wrote this poem a couple of years ago...long before Phoenix Rising existed. The fact that I spoke about rebirth in this poem says a lot. This spring brings with it a whole new level of rebirth and a new baby is on the way. It is not only the coming of a child but also some sort of awakening for me as well. Enjoy this wonderful first day of spring. May you find your own rebirth in the coming days and months. <3
This long winter has me aching for spring but right now
The sun is shining through the window of my door and
I notice my dog curled up basking in its rays while he sleeps.
My children are playing in the yard and they are throwing
Snowballs and splashing in slushy puddles all at the same time.
As I watch them, a robin lands on a bare tree branch and I
Think to myself that soon there will be buds and
Flowers bursting forth from the ground that is
Right now still frozen deep where the bulbs rest and
Wait for the right time to begin the journey to the surface.
As I'm thinking about the rebirth that comes with spring
I feel the sun on my cheek and it's like a promise,
A soft whisper of warmer days to come.
I wrote this just over 3 years ago. This afternoon, I am travelling back to the area where my mother is buried and I thought I would pop by the cemetery for a moment. This story came into my mind, I had to search for it since I haven't read it in ages. I thought I would share the story of the time an "angel" came into my life when I needed comfort the most.
On December 21st 2013, while visiting family, I found myself reliving past hurts and was feeling not quite understood. At around 11 pm, after everyone had retired to their rooms, I couldn’t rest so I decided to go for a walk. In a very sad state, I made my way toward the Pine Grove Cemetery, where far too many of my loved ones have been laid to rest. This January first marks the 24th year anniversary of the untimely death of my mother, brother and grandmother. Despite the years that have passed, there are times when the pain of their loss is as fresh as it was so long ago.
As I walked through the gates, an urgency overcame me and I began to cry as I walked faster up the hill to where my mother and brothers grave can be found. As I got closer, I heard footsteps crunching through the ice covered snow toward me from the right. A man passed by me and asked me how I was doing. With complete honesty, I told him I was feeling crappy but with a façade of bravado, I asked him how he was in return. He answered, as he went by, but what it was he said I have no clue since my mind was focused on locating the burial plot of my mother.
I frantically searched but the headstones were glazed over from the icy rain earlier in the night and the words were quite difficult to make out in the darkness. Finally, I found the marker that bear the names of my mom and my brother. I fell to my knees and while I sobbed I pushed away the snow that covered it. I hugged that stone as though I could get back the warmth of my mother’s loving embrace. I paused, sniffling back the tears, think I had heard a noise. Footsteps? Had the stranger returned? At that moment, I didn’t even care. Lost in my grief, I resumed my mournful cry.
I heard the sound clearly now and yes, it was footsteps. I decided that I didn’t want to look any more pitiful so I began to gather myself back into some semblance of dignity as the man who had greeted me earlier approached once more.
I think he asked me, as I began to stand back on my feet, if there was anything I needed. I began to move toward him and I told him that what I thought I really needed, at that moment, was a hug. This man, a stranger, opened his arms to me and I went to him as if he were a father, a brother…a friend. I held on to him and I cried. He allowed me to sob and he quietly told me that it would be ok...that it would all be ok. I continued to cry but more quietly as I allowed myself to be comforted and consoled. I told him that I missed them so much, it had been such a long time and I felt so alone.
Never could I imagine myself in such a state and yet, not once did I feel awkward or unsafe. He asked me if I needed him to walk me home but I declined. I mean, he was a stranger and my goodness, hadn’t I already out him out enough? I pulled away from him and I remember looking into his eyes. He looked genuinely concerned. I thanked him and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. This person had given me exactly what I needed, the freedom to cry and the kindness to not let me do it alone.
After I thanked him and pulled myself together as best as I could, we parted ways. He down one path and me another. I called out my thanks one more time and then he was gone and once again I was alone, in the cemetery, in the dark. This time though, I felt at peace. I leaned against one of the old pine trees that are found throughout the place and I listened to the wind moving gently through the trees. I looked up, smiled and then I began the walk back to where I was staying.
This is what happened to me only a week ago. I have shared this story with a few people I know and most look at me in shock. Was I crazy?! Hadn’t I been sacred? I probably am crazy! Shoot, I was out crying in the middle of the night, at a cemetery, hugging a man I had never met before. Sounds a little wacky to me. I was never scared though. Not for one moment.
I don’t know who this gentleman was but he was just that, a very gentle man and I wanted to thank him. I wanted him to know how much his act of kindness meant to me. Maybe it was just a coincidence he was there at that moment. Maybe it was something more. Who knows? What I do know is that he extended himself in someone else’s time of need. Would you have done the same? My mother and brother have been gone for so long. I forget a lot about what life was like before they died. I was only 14 years old after all. Life goes on for the living and once again, I say thank you to the man who hugged me that night because whoever you are, you made it a little easier to keep on going.
My world changed significantly on November 12th, 2016. At 6:00 that morning I finally took the pregnancy test I had purchased the day before. My period was now 2 weeks late so I figured I might as well rule out this possiblity so that I could then focus on what really might be wrong.
I was in no hurry to see the results, quite certain it would be negative anyway. My husband had a vasectomy 9 years ago after all. I had left the test on my dresser, got back into my warm bed to sleep for a couple more hours when a voice in my head clearly said, "You better check that test". I got out of the bed and set it on my night table. I turned by phone on for a bit of light and then took a peek.
Two lines.... How the heck could there be two lines? I actually picked up the box and doubled checked thinking that maybe this cheap dollar store test had two lines mean that you weren't pregnant. Ha! Nope, I was pregnant all right. I then proceed to call out my husbands name, startling him out of his slumber, to tell him the news. The journey of this new part of my life began that morning and it has already been quite a ride.
One of the things that was most challenging was that I selfishly mourned the loss of the me I had just become accustomed to. I finally felt that I had reclaimed the part of me that seemed to get lost along the way as I took on the role of wife, mother, employee, etc.
I loved my business and I had just started to feel successful in it, excited about what was to come. In my pitiful state of confusion, denial and adjustment, I felt cheated in a way. I allowed myself to wallow for a bit but then I told myself, over and over again that this little miracle was not only that but an absolute blessing. Last week, I went for a walk through the forest by my house. My inner voice reminded me that I had a choice, If I brought myself to the moment I was in, I could clearly see that all was well. I could choose to be happy. Each day now, I remind myself of that choice and actively, consciously make the decision to see the positive.
I am not sure what Phoenix Rising will become in the near future. I have convinced myself to stop thinking about it. I put out, into the universe, my intentions and desires, asking for whatever should come my way to be noticed by me as an opportunity. Things are changing, that's for sure but change is good. It shakes us up and brings something new into our lives.
I can honestly say that I am excited to meet this little one. In my belief, this childs soul and my soul decided on this way before I had even come into this life. I believe that this baby decided that I was finally the person I needed to be to guide them in their own life journey and what they will bring to my life will be a bounty of love and blessings.
My principles have truly come in handy I must say. I am so thankful to have them as my go to when I feel like I have lost my way. I hope that you will join me on this journey. I think that it will be enlightening if nothing else.
On Sunday, October 30th I participated in a Medicine Walk out in Kingsville ON at Camp Cedarwin. It was led by Dr. Denis Marier, ND, MA and Pat Andrews of Natural Pathways Forest and Nature School.
What a beautiful morning! It is crisp and cool. I decided to go outside to enjoy my cup of coffee and when I stepped out, I could see my breath as I exhaled. I have a busy day ahead but right now, I am in no hurry.
I have a workshop coming up soon about intuition. Have I been connected to my own lately?? In between sips, I closed my eyes and took deep breaths....in and out. The smell of the leaves and the dampness of the dew filled my lungs and made me feel like I was somewhere else other than my backyard in Windsor, ON.
When you take a moment to ground yourself and breathe deeply, especially if your eyes are closed, you can almost slip away to somewhere else...somewhere within and that is exactly where I needed to be.
I came inside and decided to draw some cards from my oracle decks. My Medicine Cards stood out and I felt that there was a spirit animal who had a message for me today. I took the cards from the box and felt the energy as I shuffled the deck. I was hoping one would "jump" out at me. After a bit I decided that maybe I just needed to pick one but it was then, that a card came out from the rest and I took it to mean that this was the one I needed to see.
I chose card #34 (7) which is the Grouse. Hmmm...I don't think I have ever really noticed this little guy before. A grouse is also know as a Prairie Chicken and it is an unassuming sort of bird. What message could this creature have for me?
I discovered that when Grouse shows up, there are lessons to be learned that are about understanding and connecting with the Sacred Spiral. The Sacred Spiral is one of the oldest know symbols of personal power. Imagine a whirlpool spinning and taking you to your center and allowing for a personal vision or enlightenment of some kind.
Grouse encourages you to take time to meditate on the different types of movements that are in your life right now and ask if everything is in sync with your greatest desires and goals. The male Grouse, in its desire to secure a suitable mate, will dance much like a Dervish, spinning passionately and uninhibited. This is a time when we need to be aware of unnecessary stalling or running around in circles. To find my center, I took out my drum and played a beat as I danced in my sacred space. I then took out my singing bowl and allowed the vibrations of the music fill my soul as it got louder with each turn of the baton.
If you are reading this, take a moment to see how Grouse's message can be applied to your own life today. Take a moment to take a deep breath and find your own center. That is where you will find the answer to any question you may have about connecting with your own birth and rebirth of ideas.
Keynote speaker Eddie Moore Jr. with symposium organizing team members Dolana Mogadime, centre, and Kim Radersma.
I was at a conference this past weekend about White Privilege. I found out about it the day before and decided…almost reluctantly to attend. I was reluctant because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to “go there”. Not to St. Catherines where the conference was being held but I didn’t want to go into discussing this challenging topic.
I used to be passionate about being an advocate for Black empowerment and education. My experience growing up made me super sensitive to some of the negative experiences Black people and other people of colour have experienced in the past and continue to experience today in a variety of ways. Everything shifted though as my focus changed from looking at this life experience solely for what it was in this place and time to seeing it as multidimensional and on a continuum.
I also stopped seeing myself as separate from other people. I began to adopt the concept that “you are me and I am you”. This view forced me to be more sensitive to the differences of others. I also decided that it was my soul that had chosen these particular life experiences before I incarnated into this life that I am currently living. My soul decided on my gender, sexuality, abilities and experiences as well as my race. My family members are part of my extensive soul group and together we agreed to play certain roles in this lifetime.
If this sounds kooky, that’s ok. What this belief did for me was to help me to accept the way things were and to look at everything as something I could learn from if I decided to accept the experience and not resist what was occurring. It definitely shifted my perspective of life in general and towards the people I encounter on a day to day basis.
The conference reminded me that the past has a habit of repeating itself and that when we think something is different or new, we only need look back and we will undoubtedly see that it seems eerily familiar. I won’t even begin to point out that Trump seems like another politician from history. Let’s just leave it at that.
The last workshop I attended at the symposium was all about looking at our personal histories to identify not only how we have been privileged…or not…but it also discussed how this attempt to dig deep might actually trigger necessary healing and ignite an understanding of the people in our lives who had the biggest impact on how we developed into the people we are today.
The presenter specifically discussed getting to “know” our grandmothers. She was candid about her own personal history allowing the audience a peak into her not so perfect life. I appreciated her vulnerability because it is in that, that we, as the witness, can feel safe in our own dysfunction, recognizing that we are not alone.
I share this with you because I choose to look at everyone as kind until they show me another side of themselves. I choose to believe that there is more good than bad in this world even though the media would have us believe differently. I also believe that the most significant thing we can do, for someone who is sharing with us their own life experience, is to listen and believe what they say.
I spent my life feeling shut down and diminished who I was so I could be what other people wanted me to be…or what I thought they wanted me to be. I have carried the burden attached to the fact that my skin is brown. I have felt pain and hurt associated with societal stereotypes and expectations that had no reflection on my own life and caused me to have to prove that I was not what people thought of me. That is exhausting people!
I share this with you because I was reminded that differences are beautiful and amazing. Personal life experiences should be shared and respected. People are awesome and if you took a moment, you would find that we share so many more similarities than we do differences. If there is something you don’t like about a person or even a group of people than the choice you have available to you is to not be bothered with it. Let them be. Let them do what makes them happy. Stop complaining and comparing…stop judging and excluding.
I am you and you are me. We are all connected. We ALL come from the same source. Let what we do be generated by LOVE and LIGHT!
What a night! My son and I attended an outdoor drum circle to celebrate the arrival of the autumn equinox. The energy was high and the vibrations from the drums and the people surrounding me were hypnotizing. The cicadas joined us in song and a couple of bats soared above our heads as though swaying to the beat. I bellowed a warrior call and raised my hands in the air as I sent my intention of release, renewal and healing out to the Universe. It was a beautiful time.
After the drum circle, we headed downtown. The windows were down, allowing the warm night air to blow through my hair and fan my face. We blasted ‘Uptown Funk’ and sang along laughing the whole way through. We parked the car and walked over to The Coffee Exchange where I saw a teacher I used to work with. We chatted for a moment and then my son and I went to place our order. I had a Chai Latte with almond milk and he had a hot chocolate with whipped cream.
We both agreed that it was too nice to stay inside so we headed back out into the night. On our way in I had noticed a man pan handling outside a pizza place and a shawarma stop. He had some change in a ball cap and was saying hi to passersby. He didn’t notice my son and I at the time but on the way out I asked him how he was.
With a sigh, he said that he was good. I wished him well and headed toward the intersection to cross the street. Something made me turn back. I asked him if he had eaten dinner yet. He said he would when he got enough money together. I asked him if I could buy him something from either of the places next to him. He perked up and said that he would really appreciate a slice of pizza.
I went in and because I normally order from a local, family owned pizza joint, I was initially overwhelmed by the menu at this popular franchise. My first thought was to simply order a slice but almost immediately my gut told me to get something more. I asked if there were any specials that night. The man at the counter told me I could get a medium, one topping pizza for $6.99 so I said “Sure, give me a pepperoni and throw in a Sprite too please.”
After I placed my order, I noticed a young female looking at me. I smiled and said, “I know you!”
I had taught this girl years ago and hadn’t seen her since. She had grown and looked so mature in her uniform. As far as I could recall, she had dropped out of school before finishing her credits. It was good to see her working and looking well. I asked her how she was doing and with a proud grin, she told me that she was doing well and was in college.
I was shocked and told her that I worked at the college. I told her where my room was and suggested she pop by sometime. She told me she would come by tomorrow but I had to laugh and let her know that it was a PD day and that I wouldn’t be back until Monday. She said she would see me on Monday and repeated my room number out loud to ingrain it in her memory.
I paid for the pizza and the guy told me that it would be ready in 10 minutes. I said that the pizza was for a gentleman sitting just outside and would he be so kind as to bring it to this person. He seemed a little shocked at first and then said he would.
My son and I walked out. I told the man that the pizza would be out shortly and he thanked me again. I told him that I hoped he enjoyed the meal and I wished him a good night. Before I left, I heard my inner voice, yet again, this time urging me to give him a hug. He was still sitting but I asked him if he would mind a hug.
He said ok and got to his feet. I gave him a warm hug and with all the energy I had picked up at the drum circle not that long ago, I sent it to him with love. He told me to take care and I said the same to him and finally, my little boy and I were on our way.
I don’t even remember what we were talking about but my son told me to shush because I talked too loud. I laughed and told him he should accept me as I was and pulled him in so I could put my arm around him. In the car, I asked him if he was surprised by what I had done. He asked me what part I was talking about…go figure. I asked him if he was surprised that I had hugged a stranger and he said, “No mom, that’s just something you do.”
I share this story not because I did a good deed. What I did was, I trusted my inner guide. I listened to my heart and reached out to someone because it “felt” like the right thing to do. We are not strangers you know…we are all connected. I may not know you but you are a part of me and I am a part of you. If you have the opportunity to show another person kindness or to reach out in some way…do it! Trust your heart when you feel it guide you to extend your energy, your kindness…your love to another. You will never regret it no matter how it is received. Live with good intention and you can’t go wrong.
Windsor ON, N9E 3E7