Deep Gifts and Reminders Show Up In a Myriad of Ways

Our deep human/spiritual gifts and reminders show up in a myriad of ways but be warned – or reassured – they will show up.

Twice this week I was reminded that I have the gift of sight – of being able to see beyond the physical into the deeper patterns, the intricate weave of soul stories at work. Once was a beautiful invitation to dance with the spirit guides of a friend who read my memoir – Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness – and asked about his guides. Not many people ask. He was momentarily concerned he had stepped over a line. But in the invitation the guides show up, delighted to be “seen”. Once I see them they dance with me for awhile and it is a joy. They will dance with their human partner too, but not all humans are ready, even when they ask.

Red flowers in Ian's gardenThe second time I was reminded of my gifts it was jarring – where I did not fully realize how deeply I sensed the disconnect between the surface and what is underneath. But my whole body was on heightened alert. In our work, we teach people that their bodies send them messages, their emotions are their guidance system.

This jarring experience reminded me to stop, to listen, to not deny my experience even if others might wish to dim or discredit the voice. I allowed my voice to be discredited for far too long – some years ago now – and a piece of me wandered in the wilderness til I found the motivation and the courage to reclaim it. It was not an easy journey. It was not welcome on some levels – by me or some around me. It was the best gift on other levels as I returned to myself many aspects of myself that I had become a stranger to. This kind of reminder can be intense and it often temporarily throws me off my center but it invites reflection and deeper inquiry, new openings. I struggle less as awareness comes quicker. I regain my ground and look for better, less explosive ways than blowing shit (or my life or my relationships) up as I remember the power, beauty and grace that is also me.

I am grateful for both forms of reminders when they show up. Honestly, more grateful for the first in the immediacy of it and for the second later after time for inquiry and reflection.

When this happens to you, it is helpful to remember you are worthy, you are powerful although we are all a bit broken, the truth does want to be known, no one can take your gifts away from you, you may be doing the work even when you are looking away, offer love and compassion to yourself.

It is a journey. It continually unfolds. It is meaningful and purposeful. And we can invite and embrace both.

tears-of-the-heart

Advertisements

Who Are You At Your Most Powerful?

It is easy to get lost in the smallness of a day, an incident, a word from someone that hits at the core of your insecurity. The story that rattles around inside the mind, told by the “itty-bitty-shitty” committee, is one that often reinforces helplessness. It is only a “true” story because you tell it over and over again.

What I want to know is, who are you at your most powerful? When have you experienced your most powerful moments? What was alive for you then? What is the story you tell about those moments? They are not accidental. They are your soul qualities peeking through the morass of shadow accumulated over a life time of hiding the most precious things about who you are.

Maybe you are sensing it is time to shake it off, although this is not often an easy journey. There are so many habitual patterns that have developed over time without your noticing that need to be identified and shifted. Some people will attack you. Some will abandon you. Because they will no longer recognize you or know how to interact with you. They will want you to be the same. But you stay the same at your own peril. The soul wants to be illuminated and it requires you to grow. When we do not respond at the first gentle nudgings, they become more persistent and louder.

Flowers growing in the rocksIn my own soul journey this showed up in the form of a difficult job loss decades ago and my first marriage crumbling at the same time – largely due to my own unawareness and not knowing how to act in conscious ways. Just as I was congratulating myself for how far I had come, I stepped into an even more challenging relationship that shook me to the core of my being. And it invited me to step into one of the most powerful aspects of my journey – the journey to openheartedness, embracing the stranger in me – who is no stranger at all but the most powerful aspects of my being.

Even with the intensity of that journey, staying on this path, embracing my most powerful self, is a pattern of forgetting and remembering. It is a noticing each time a shift seems to be taking place in my energetic field however subtle. And it is a reminder to self to be in the practices which keep me strong and to not let the “itty-bitty-shitty” committee take precedence every time I step off the path or forget. To engage self-compassion and self-curiosity.

One way to remember who you are when you are at your most powerful, is to invite an image in your mind’s eye of what you look like, what is around you and what you feel like in those moments. It can be an image from your day to day lived life or it can be the image that emerges as you invite it. Images and symbolism are powerful and your spirit will offer to you that which is most meaningful in any given time. Trust what shows up. The image is not always the same. It shifts and changes as the journey shifts and changes. For me, my power animals and spirit guides are never far away, even as some of the other symbolism changes.

adimirkush_ButterlyThese days, when I invite this question of who am I at my most powerful, I see an image of a woman – me – with powerful posture, in a long flowing dress, levitating slightly off the ground, surrounded by a ring of fire with fire breathing dragons protecting my boundaries and my arms raised by my sides to receive that which the universe wants to bring me. The fire breathing dragons do not isolate me or keep out that which is intended to flow to me but they do create a barrier and warning to anything which would seek to harm me or diminish my power. In my wakeful moments – during the day or at night and especially in the morning – I call that image to me and remember who I am at my most powerful.

dragonformWhat is your image? Call it to you now and know it is also who you are. You can choose it every single time.

The Truth Wants to Be Known

Stories of separated families, secret adoptions, long lost relatives have always caught my attention, even before I found out such a secret in my family when I was 46 years old – that I had been adopted. For a long time, the forces seemed to have lined up to keep it secret from me. But the clues were there all along. My birth certificate revealing where I was born – different than what I believed but I thought the administrators had made a mistake. There were no stories of my birth. I had recollections of my birth grandmother and sister, although I did not know they were my relatives. I thought they were friends of the family. Eventually it was a phone conversation between my two sisters and a curious bystander, a family friend who took to the internet as he listened, to proactively pursue a truth that wanted to be known.

I have read accounts of adoptions, twins mixed up at birth and more, and always, always events conspire even across great distances to enact chance meetings, new revelations of information, someone who can no longer stay quiet about what they know.

It happened again this week. My sister (who I met in 2008) arrived from British Columbia for a memorial for her father (my birth father) who died last fall. When his obituary was published in the paper, a long-lost cousin – the daughter of my birth father’s brother – contacted my sister. This cousin and her sister live here in the Halifax area. And she put my sister in touch with a great aunt (sister to my birth grandfather) who is now 88 years old and lives an hour away from me.

Sisters and Cousins Meeting for the First Time

Lots of excited visits and conversations. And different endings to stories. When I wrote Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness, my sisters and I had been under the impression that our grandfather had died derelict as an alcoholic on the streets of Halifax. None of us knew what had happened to him. But our cousins – also his granddaughters – did know what happened to him – a story in and of itself that I might share one day. He did not die derelict on the streets of Halifax. Somehow he ended up in Northwood Manor, a leg had been amputated, I assume he sobered up, he was a model and favourite resident who spoke often about his loving family.

This story has been, is being, re-written. Like so many. As more truth shows up. Truth that wants to be known. And there are still mysteries to be unravelled in this crazy family, for sure. Especially about my birth mother’s side of the family.

My sister and I went to visit our great-aunt who is gifted in similar ways to us, participates in spiritual and meditation circles and paints. She paints many things but one painting in particular is very striking and one of a kind amongst her collection – a picture of a medicine woman, rising up from a big cat, a leopard. Painted directly on the wall in her basement at exactly the same time very similar artwork was being channelled for me for a tattoo and the cover of my book. And my great-aunt did not even know I existed.

It is not only in spiritual matters that the truth wants to be known. I have experienced it happening over and over again in work situations. People try to hide things, be secretive or are out of alignment with their own integrity or the integrity of an initiative. It is discovered or revealed in one way or another because the truth wants to be known and forces will continually offer ways to make it so if we have the eyes and the will to see.

Visions and Memories Can Be Whatever You Want and Need Them To Be

When I first became aware of my spirit guides, there were four entities that I tapped into regularly. One was a grandmother guide. I first became aware of her on my own, as I sensed her presence. For me, I sense the presence, tune into and then begin to “see” the quality, shape, colour, details of the presence. It can be whatever you want or need it to be and it will be something that resonates with you, something you need to be reminded of, you know or need to know.

In this case, I “see” my grandmother – Casey – my mother’s mother. She was 94 years old when she died but I never “see” her old in my visions of her. She often shows up in 1950’s attire and whatever age she would have been then. She is stylish and is often dressed as if she is out and about or ready to go somewhere – with a cigarette in her hand. She is full of spunk.

4 generations 1991

Two beautiful women: my mother – Mary Patricia Ann Ritcey Jourdain – with her mother  – Kathleen (Casey) Hackett Ritcey – in 1990 (the year my first son was born)

The same is true of my mother. I don’t see her as she was in her final years in long term care, physically diminishing with dementia. I see her in the vibrancy of an earlier age, happy, effusive. It is also how I remember her. Because I can remember her any way I wish and there are 50 years of memories to draw on. Remembering what makes me smile is good for my soul. Remembering what makes you smile is good for your soul.

These days, it is different guides and entities I tap into more regularly because what I need now, need to access, is different than it was then. But whenever I turn my mind or attention to my grandmother guide – or any of the others so prevalent at that time, they appear. Easily, readily, in the fullness of everything they have to offer.

The visions that come to us have valuable information. Trust the symbolism. It is specifically meant for you. Whether it comes from spirit or comes from your unconscious it doesn’t matter. It is meaningful and has meaning. Let yourself discover what it is and take joy in the beautiful images and memories that appear. They can guide your path and your intention, increase your vibration and allow more good to flow through and to you.

Spirit Guides. We All Have Them.

Spirit Guides. We all have them. Each and everyone of us.

I used to believe it was only “special” people who had guides and, when I became aware that I had guides – because other people told me about them, I believed only “special” people could access them. When I was told, by different people in different situations, that I was intuitively powerful, I didn’t believe it. When I was asked to access my intuition, all I drew were blanks and guesses.

Until the veil began to lift – just a little bit.

I first became aware of my guides because other people – psychics, mediums, intuitively gifted individuals – told me about them. I always believed in spirit so to have someone tell me about a guide was a gift. The first one I was told was watching over me was a priest from my father’s family. I asked my father if there had been a priest in our family and he told me about Bishop who died when I was young. I used to sit on his lap and play with his cross.

I was told about a master guide wizard who grew ominously large and fierce when protecting me from harm.

Kathy Sacred Tattoo Design

Sacred Art – my lion and a medicine woman – channeled for me by artist Tania Marie

Then I took part in my first drumming ceremony. The guidance we were given beforehand was to pay attention to animals that were coming to us. It was clear that my spirit animal was a lion, so many images of lions came to me in the days before the drumming. And it was / is my journey animal. In the drumming ceremony, I tried hard to have a vision and nothing came. Until I stopped trying so hard, surrendering to what was there – a sense of things that became vivid images – a meadow, then trees, then flying with the lion (yes, lions can fly in spirit world if they want to – and you can fly with them), then a bonfire with people chanting, laughing and dancing around the fire. The lion and I landed, shape shifting into one, dancing around the fire with the greatest sense of joy.

For a long time after that, nothing. Plus, I didn’t know what to do with what I already knew. Then, one day driving in rain pouring so hard it felt dangerous, I called on the support of everyone’s guides who were in the car and another appeared – a native American brave, young, strong with sharp features. And there are others and more.

The feeling of love and support when you know there are guides and entities in the unseen world who are always, always there is incredible. They are there, even when we don’t know they are. They love to be seen and acknowledged and all it takes is a simple turning of attention to them, just a thought and they come into awareness.

Many of us don’t go searching for them because we are afraid maybe they aren’t there, or we are not worthy, or we won’t know how to be in conscious relationship. But it is such a gift. To them. To us.

DSC03523

My own first rendition of my medicine woman guide – she urged me to draw her during an experience in Brazil in 2011

When I became aware that not only did I have guides, but I could help other people become aware of and connect with their guides – discovered almost my accident that I could do this, I did that work for awhile – helping people develop relationships with their guides. Like so many things, it fell by the wayside for a while. Now, people who have been reading Embracing the Stranger in Me are asking me to coach them in meeting their guides. And I remember, that this is also work I am called to do, a gift I have to share and I am gifted with seeing other people’s guides, the delight they have in being acknowledged. So, I have been stepping back in and happy to talk to anyone about what coaching support looks like for you to connect with your guides. You do have them and they want you to know them.

Expanding Awareness: A Few Suggestions For Growing Your Consciousness

IMG_2073

Lake Park, MN

Have you ever walked in the woods and felt yourself enveloped by the silence? Laid in the sun and lost awareness of everything around you except the warmth of the sun on your body? Or sat by the ocean and experienced the timelessness of the sand and waves, understanding your own life as a grain of sand on an ever changing beach? Or entered a cathedral and felt the history of the ages whisper in your soul? Have you encountered experiences and stories that raised every hair on the back of your neck?

All of this is information. All of this is expanded awareness, expanded consciousness. How do you go about intentionally expanding your awareness, growing your consciousness? Here are a few simple suggestions.

Pay attention to naturally occurring situations – any or all of the ones mentioned above and more – let your attention rest there and slowly expand your “gaze” to “see” or sense more. This is not necessarily seeing with your physical eyes, although it can be that too. This is seeing with your second sight, or your third eye, or your imagination – whatever you want to call it. Let a story unfold – or make one up. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. And when you know that your body is around 65% water, you begin to understand how much of what we think is real might actually be illusion.

Soften your gaze anytime, anywhere – including in your own living room, back yard, in a place with people – airports, malls. You can allow the energy that is in the space you are in float around you as if it has its own movement, its own story, its own being – because it does.

You can tap into your imagination, letting it run away in its own directions. Where does the inspiration for imagination come from anyway? Do we know it doesn’t come from some metaphysical influences?

pixies_in_the_sky-1868When you are in the woods and you soften your gaze, can you see the wood nymphs, the faeries, the elves and other entities that wander there, that call it home? (If you are wondering if it is real or if you are making it up, see the previous post – it doesn’t matter.) If you could interact with them or talk to them, what would that interaction look like or sound like? Every time I expand my conscious to invite interaction with what I cannot see with my eyes but can sense with my being, the very first feeling is one of gratitude and appreciation for the acknowledgement. “Thank you for seeing me.” And very often there is light heartedness, joy and delight. A sense of playfulness. Hmmm, yes. Playfulness and light heartedness. True story.

It seems particularly important to see and acknowledge these beings / non-beings in city parks and green areas because so much more of the city’s energy is weighted down with concrete, asphalt and other man-made building materials. Every time these beings are seen and acknowledged it fuels them, gives them additional sparks of life.

Slide1

Beach photo courtesy of Peter Moorhouse

When you are on the beach, let your imagination wander into the water and see what comes into your awareness. The sea creatures – physical, non-physical, mythical. You can see them dancing on the waves, in drops of water, in the way the rays of the sun touch the surface and penetrate the depths.

In cathedrals built eons ago, feel the blood, sweat and tears of the men and women who built these structures. Feel awe at the feat as well as the grief and sorrow of those that lost their lives, the harshness of the times and circumstances. Imagine what it was like in the day they were built and what vision and perseverance it would take to bring it into being. And all the sacred ceremony that has filled the cavernous spaces inside, still alive in the density of the air.

notre dame paris cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

The ways to expand your awareness, expand your consciousness are not even limited to your imagination, although they are limited by doubt, by questioning, by not believing. Allow – no, invite – yourself to play, to dream, to imagine. And learn to trust your own experiences.

Expanded Consciousness – It’s So Simple Really

Expanded Consciousness

What are you waiting for?

From a very young age, I have always believed in the super-natural – things “attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature” or beyond our own limited “understanding” as human beings – limits, by the way, we have placed on ourselves.

When I was growing up and even as a young adult, I used to think it was something only very special or very gifted people could access and I was in awe of them. Now I think of it as “expanded consciousness” and I know that every single one of us has the capacity and ability to access it. Not just in special places or special states of being, but anywhere and everywhere, when we choose to. But we doubt ourselves and our experiences. We invalidate our experiences, saying “it wasn’t real, it was my imagination, I’m making it up.” It is part of the stranger within that goes unacknowledged, un-embraced. For many of us, this was what we heard growing up. Our connection to expanded consciousness, to source, was “beaten” out of us and replaced with the kinds of messages we now hear in our own minds when we encounter our own expansiveness.

We learned how to fit in with our families, friends and institutions (school, church) – our Worldview influences. Yet, for some of us, there was a niggling sense that something was missing, not explained or not quite aligned. Questions you couldn’t ask, observations you couldn’t make, and the door to expanded consciousness slowly – or abruptly – slammed shut.

This niggling sense does not go away though. Maybe it is just easier at first to imagine that only really gifted people have access to expanded consciousness. That way we can live vicariously through someone else’s experience rather than venture into a place we have been told doesn’t exist, that we have learned to shut off for ourselves.

My first encounter with spirit guides was when someone else told me about one of mine. When I was told I could develop my own “intuitive” capacity, I couldn’t. I got nothing. No information. No connection. No visions. And I certainly didn’t trust any information that might have come, certain I was making it up – with that certainty shutting down access to information.

Slowly, slowly, over years, I began to learn to trust my own experience, my own “visions”. There were periods of awakening, periods of “practice” of being in touch with my own expanded consciousness – which meant periods of regular connection to non-physical entities like spirit guides (mine and others) and there were/are greater periods of non-practice equivalent to shutting down connection, access to information and flow.

Yet, it is so simple. It is a matter, for me, of shifting awareness, asking the question, opening to my heart and my knowing, inviting the experience and the connection. So very simple.

So I ask myself this question, “What am I waiting for?” I don’t know the answer at the moment but these days, I am living the question, “What AM I waiting for?” Living the question will reveal the myriad of – or the one – response, which is true for me. Are you also waiting? What are you waiting for?

Drums 019

My youngest son and I making drums in 2009 – part of the compelling journey.