Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vision: Fearlessness

Dearest Readers,

Today is the very last day of 2009. Hard to believe we've just come to the end of the first decade of the 2000s, isn't it? Ten whole years since the big Y2K scare. Blink and a decade has gone by.

This is a time to reflect not only on the year gone by but perhaps on the last ten years as well. What are my accomplishments? My wins and victories? What have I changed? What haven't I changed? Where would I like to change?

As I look to the New Year, I envision a continuation of my journey on the healing path, cultivating the courage to do the things I think I cannot do, walking through my fear, and inspiring others to do the same.

My deepest vision is to live entirely without fear. To be completely fearless. Sounds like a plan, no?

The other day I was in a store that sells outdoor gear and like almost everywhere you go now there was a television on display. The film that was playing showed images of a skier bombing down the steepest mountain side you can possibly imagine, flying off cliffs hundreds of feet high and landing in deep powder, continuing on to the next edge of nothingness, jumping off without hesitation etc.

Another clip showed a man running up to the edge of a mountain and hurling himself off it, flipping into the air and falling at breakneck speed, parallel to a sheer rock face until, very near to the ground, he pulled a chute and floated the rest of the way down.

My heart was in my throat.

Now, who knows what kinds of lives these guys have outside of their extreme sporting habits but to be that fearless in those situations, to see the edge of the cliff with nothing beyond it but certain death and to throw oneself off of it without a second thought, well, I'm impressed by that. Whether it's stupid or not, I don't know. I just know I'm in awe of that level of fearlessness. Because I'd be terrified.

I can't see myself throwing myself off a cliff anytime soon (though I've always dreamt of free-falling from an airplane -- I have jumped out of a plane but the chute released automatically upon jumping -- that's another story) but I plan to use those images of cliff-jumpers to inspire fearlessness in everyday situations.

Can I commit to throwing myself off the cliff of life each day? Am I willing to jump into the unknown with complete abandon? Can I practice letting go absolutely in any given situation?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will look back on the past year and the past decade and look at what I have accomplished and what I would like to accomplish in the days to come. I will create a vision for my life and work toward it to the best of my ability, one day at a time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tree Hugs Back

Dearest Readers,

The term "tree hugger" is a put-down, most often meant to slam environmentalists. But have you ever actually hugged a tree? There's nothing shameful about it.

Last night as I was checking on an out-of-town friend's house I noticed a grove of trees in the backyard. It's not like I've never noticed these particular trees before but for some reason they drew my attention as I locked the door after giving the place a once-over.

The Yukon's most common trees are evergreens - spruce, pine & fir - but we've got loads of birch, poplar, willow, cotton wood and aspen trees, too. When you fly here, what you see out the window are mountains and trees. And trees. And more trees.

The trees in my friend's yard, the ones that called to me last evening, are aspen and they are massive, perhaps 100 feet tall. There are five or six of them and they're clustered together in a group. They've always looked to me like a gang of best friends, standing close and sticking together come what may.

In summer they are magnificent, shining white trunks and full heads of bright green leaves. In winter, well, since the backyard is not a big gathering place in the cold and dark months I'd never even looked at them in winter.

But last night, something drew me to them and I noticed for the first time that one of the trees stands alone from the others. It is the biggest tree of them all, its body just that much thicker than its nearby mates. This big baby was dying for a hug, I could tell.

Crunching through the snow I made my way over to greet the tree, it's tight bark covered in a frosty glaze. I wrapped my arms around it and held it close. The trunk was the perfect size for hugging, not to skinny, not too wide. It's body was firm, straight and strong, and yet it yielded to my touch.

I could actually feel the power of the tree's energy. Talk about a force of nature! That Force was like, pulsing into my body. I walked away feeling like I'd just downed a shot of Pure Love.

So I am a tree hugger in the most literal sense of the word. Unashamed and the better for it.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Hug a tree. There's great power there. Besides that, they like it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Dearest Readers,

If you happen to be a perfectionist (recovering) like I am, you'll agree that one of the most difficult challenges we face is looking at what we did well in any given situation rather than what we didn't.

A perfectionist can perform an act, for example, that 9 people praise and 1 person criticizes. Guess what we decide to focus on or even obsess about? The criticism.

It has taken me a long time, and it's still an ongoing process, to switch my focus to what I am doing well rather than pick at my mistakes. Some time ago, I began the practice of positive self-talk in order to counter the negative voices and it has turned out to be a tool that works well, bringing me great results.

A friend of mine recently taught a class during which she made a couple of "mistakes" and she later emailed me to talk it over (I had been in the class). She was clearly feeling badly about it and even went so far as to call it a "gong show".

After the class, however, I and another gal had talked about what a great time we'd had and what a good teacher my friend is. We didn't mention the "mistakes". We weren't even thinking about them!

Of course, the so-called mistakes weren't our own, but herein lies another tool to help us to let go of self-punishment: no one else is thinking about your mistakes. Why should you?

My suggestion to my friend was that she tell herself outloud how well she did, that she go so far as to reach up her hand and give herself an actual pat on the back, all the while saying, "You did really well. Good for you!"

This little trick has big repercussions. It grows our self-esteem and builds our confidence.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Today I will focus on what a good job I am doing. I will look at my accomplishments, however small, give myself a pat on the back and tell myself how well I'm doing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Running Up That Hill

Dearest Readers,

Listening to other people talk about their dreams can be fascinating but it's usually not. Our dreams are meaningful to us as individuals, not to others.

Unless it's a universal dream that most of us can relate to (like being naked in public or losing teeth) then you can probably count on your listener tuning out when you're in the midst of describing how you were in your childhood home but it looked like your friend's house etc.

That said, I'm going to share a piece of a dream with you because I feel the larger message is worth passing on.

I am running up a hill and it's getting steeper and steeper. It becomes so steep that I fear I might actually fall backward. I discover a wall jutting out and I lean against it for safety.

The top of the hill is just a few feet away but it's straight up. I notice little grooves in the ground, footholds, opposite the wall. I reach out my foot, press into the foothold. It's too high, the stretch is beyond my capability. I choose another foothold lower down, press my other foot against the wall behind me and push and pull myself up to the top.

Upon waking, I was struck by the obviousness of the dream's meaning: Sometimes life can feel like an uphill climb. The steeper it gets or the more challenges we face, the harder it is to keep going. Falling seems inevitable.

But there are walls and grooves and footholds all around us. We may be tempted to push ourselves higher and harder because we want to "get there" faster but we can choose the easier step. It's okay to be where we are.

In order to use life's footholds, we need to see them first. How do we see them? We need to trust that they are there. If we can do that, they will appear to us where we did not see them before.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Today I will trust that there are support systems in place to help me climb my hill. I will keep my eyes open and allow them to be revealed to me. Then I will use them to pull myself up!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Metaphysical Musings

Dearest Readers,

Sometimes I get a certain feeling around this holiday time of year that could only be described as dread. It's the coming of the New Year that brings it on, knowing a new beginning is approaching. The old, fearful part of me wants to hang back, put it off, hold it at bay. Call it the fear of moving forward.

The Bible has never really spoken to me in the way that it has for some people but there are some writers that I like who use Biblical references as metaphors, which is a practice that both intrigues and interests me.

Take, for instance, Florence Scovel Shinn. I've blogged about her before because I have one of her books, "The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn," which was given to me by a good friend, a fellow on the healing path, and I read it often for inspiration.

Shinn was all about metaphysics, which, according to Wikipedia is "a branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science." Shinn's books are full of affirmations like, "I forgive everyone and everyone forgives me. The gates swing open for my good."

I think of metaphysics as a kind of spiritual science. God as mathematical formula:

Surrender + Faith = PEACE

This morning, I was reading a passage wherein Shinn uses the story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea as metaphor. Allow me to paraphrase: Moses is your Intuition or Higher Guidance and you are the Israelite being led out of Egypt (the darkness). Higher Guidance removes your fear or obstacle (parts the Red Sea), allowing you to pass into your own personal Promised Land, or freedom from fear.

"Go forward," Shinn writes. "Say to yourself, "Go forward.""

I need these words when I feel that fear of moving ahead come upon me, when anxiety attacks and dread hits. Instead of retreating, holding back, putting it off, I say to myself, "Go forward", and I put my trust in Guidance, knowing it will lead me to that place of inner peace, which I crave.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will Go Forward despite my fear. I will trust Guidance and let go of my temptation to retreat or go backward.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

That Warm Love

"And it's ever-present everywhere, that warm love."

These are the words of Van Morrison, Dearest Readers, and as they blared from the car speakers today I looked at the world around me and saw it was so.

I saw a jam-packed parking lot, shoppers to-ing and fro-ing, ravens puffing up their feathers against the cold, homeless huddled together, children in Santa hats pulling parents into shops, lights lights and more lights, friends stopping to say hello, parcels and packages being carried like babes in arms, and a world alive and singing with energy.

That Energy is Love. It's ever-present, it's everywhere and it is, most assuredly, Warm.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Wherever you are, whoever you are, however you are feeling, that Warm Love is within you. It's yours. You deserve to give it and receive it, no matter what you've done, no matter what's been done to you, that Warm Love is yours, by birthright.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Yesterday I had to do something really challenging. I had to tell a gal I was planning on working with that I'd changed my mind.

What's so difficult about that? Well, she's a friend and I respect and admire her quite a lot. And the thing I'd changed my mind about was working with her.

Having to do this triggered some of my deepest fears. I didn't want to disappoint her and I didn't want her to think ill of me.

For most of my life, I've been controlled by these fears. The decisions I made were motivated by my desire to be liked, my need for approval. When I began to change this behaviour and be changed by following intuition and Guidance, I began to experience freedom from fear and anxiety and my life got a whole lot better.

But the fear comes back. It's an Old Belief System (Old BS) and it's deep-rooted. I inherited it, like an ugly heirloom. You can't give it away.

Or can you?

When I teach yoga and we are at the end of a class, lying on our sides after the final relaxation, I often say, "Let any residue of fatigue or tension slide out of you. Give it to the ground. The ground can take it."

Think of the ground, it's many layers, it's unfathomable depth. Think of the whole Universe, it's inestimable size. The Life Force of Everything. What if we could give our fear to this Power? It's certainly big enough to take it.

So this is my prayer: Take my fear. Take my need for approval. Take my desire to be liked.

I am giving away the ugly heirloom I inherited. I am giving it to the Ground (of Being).

And guess what? It works.

One word (or two) of caution: When we pray to have the need for approval removed, we're given opportunities to practice living free from that very need.

For example, I had to tell my gal friend that I'd be working with someone else. The idea made me want to vomit but I trusted my intuition, asked for help and told her. She was great about it, by the way. And my fear was gone.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will trust that the Universe is big enough to hold my fear. I will ask for the fear to be removed and then accept the opportunities that come my way to remove it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

Dearest Readers,

And what of the Green-Eyed Monster?

Ooh, jealousy. A yucky, uncomfortable topic. Let's dig in, shall we? For the topic of jealousy must be broached because it is one of those big, awful things that encompass the reality of being human.

Jealousy comes from fear. Fear of not being good enough, of not being loved, of missing out on something. If I am jealous it means I think I haven't got something that someone else has got and I get triggered.

This happened to me recently. I compared my insides to another woman's outsides and I came up short. "She is better than I am."

But is she? How do I know who she is on the inside? How do I know what she really feels about herself?

I can never know another person's inside state of being unless she tells me. This means that I'm jealous of what I see, not what I know. I'm imagining she is perfect or that she doesn't have problems, or insecurities or shortcomings. I'm judging a body not a human being.

If the person of whom I am jealous were to tell me that her father died when she was three and she lived in a perpetual state of sadness, or she had insomnia or she suffered from bi-polar disease then my jealousy would likely be transformed into compassion. The person in question would cease to be a body and she would now become just like me: imperfect.

A person once told me that if I am jealous of a person, if I think I want what she has, then I must imagine I have her whole life. Not just her looks or her talent, which is usually what I think I want, but her whole life.

If she has abusive parents, I've got to take them, too. If she has a video game addiction, that comes with her. Lousy boyfriend, yup. Annoying laugh? Mine.

This practice of seeing the whole person helped me to see that I didn't, in fact, want her whole life, whoever she happened to be at the time. I just wanted her hair. Or her career.

When the Green-Eyed Monster took me over in this recent episode I was overwhelmed by it. Envy is so powerful! It's so big and it can make us feel so small. But what I have learned is that it's really not that big at all. It's a thought, a feeling, and when I recognize that it's coming from fear I can change it.

After a prayer in which I asked for this fear to be removed and a meditative practice involving breath, acceptance and forgiveness, I returned to a place of compassion and surrender and the Monster went away.

Did I really want this woman's whole life? Certainly not. I have a great life! What was the fear really about? She was getting attention. A-ha! I want attention.

Like most of our negative emotions, jealousy is a teacher. It may indicate a deeper need for love or self-validation. If we can recognize it as such we can go about taking the steps to meet whatever that need may be.

Inspiring Message of the Day: How can I give myself the attention I crave? What can I do to comfort that scared part of myself that needs to be reassured and loved? I will answer these questions and then take the steps to meet my deeper needs.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The "L" Word

The temperature has plummeted. It was -28 C when I woke up yesterday morning but that didn't stop me from going on the cardio walk I've committed to once a week. I bundled up despite the cold and headed out to brave the weather.

It was probably around 10 a.m. when I reached the top of the cliffs that overlook this fair city and the sun had not yet risen above the mountains. The sky was a palette of pastel colours and I watched a plane take off and head into the orange and pink wash.

From there I slid down a steep and snowy bank on my butt and headed into one of the local churches for a carol-singing service. Who could have asked for a better morning?

But I was not in tune with the goodness of it all. I found myself feeling extremely irritable during the service. Cranky pants. Judge Judy. Grrr.

Thank goodness I had a phone call scheduled with one of the gals on my support team upon my arrival home. She asked me if I was tired. Fatigue can bring up fear, which is inevitably at the core of these kinds of feelings.

No, I wasn't tired. I'd had a good sleep and plenty of rest during the preceding days. What was I fearful about? I listed a couple of issues that could be triggering fear-based thinking and we talked through them. It helped but there was still another piece missing.

Have you heard of HALT? It's an acronym that can help us sort out what's going on with us if we're feeling off. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Often, if I'm experiencing fear, it can be attributed to one of these states.

Hating to admit it, I knew it was the "L" that was kicking my butt. Lonely. Ugh. I said to my friend, "It absolutely kills me to own up to this but I am feeling lonely."

Being on the healing path, I often think that I shouldn't still experience things like loneliness. My friend deferred. "I'm often shocked to find out I'm still human," she said.

Why is it so hard to admit that I feel lonely?

Because the perfectionist in me tells me there's no excuse for it anymore. I've got faith in a Higher Power, I have friends and supporters and community and family. If I'm lonely I'm obviously doing something wrong.

Wrong. If I'm lonely I'm human. Shocking.

Episodes like this are humbling. And boy do they teach me a lot.

It's like when I began developing the Cultivate Your Courage workshop and felt huge fear leading up to the very first one. My same friend said, "Don't you think it's just a little bit funny that you're about to lead a workshop on walking through your fear and you're terrified to do it?"


But she was right. It was funny. It also turned out to be my best teaching tool. I wasn't going in there as an expert on courage. I was going in there as an expert on overcoming fear.

This loneliness I'm experiencing can be viewed as a similar instrument of connection between us. If you tell me you're lonely I can truly empathize with you. I will have compassion and understanding for your experience because I know it so well myself. We can be equals.

After I got off the phone I left the house and went to meet some friends. Then I went for tea with another friend and shared the truth about how I was feeling. We laughed and related and inspired each other. Later in the evening, I went to a holiday party and sang my heart out. The music was uplifting and the company stimulating.

The ache that loneliness brings was eased by my willingness to be open and real with others. It hasn't completely left me but it's okay. It will.

Inspiring Message of the Day: If I'm too heavenly, I'm no earthly good. To be lonely is to be human. To be human is divine.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Dearest Readers,

Yesterday a friend was talking about feeling depressed. Not clinical depression, the kind that is considered a mental illness, but low-energy depression. The kind that is black and hopeless but situational.

I suffered from this kind of depression for years. It would come, it would go. I always wondered when it would come back. I learned that taking action, any kind of action, would make it go but that's like saying, "Get off the couch!" to the depressive. It's the one thing she needs to do and the most difficult thing for her to do.

Sheer-force of will. That's what I would use to make it go, take that action step to change my energy, get it flowing again. Or Higher Will. Pray like a mother-lover.

Time after time I would use these tactics to get out of the slump. Force myself to do something, anything, or ask for the courage to change because my will wasn't working. It wasn't until a few short years ago that I actually started to see that there were things I could do to avoid going there in the first place.

A gal I knew used to say, "You do good things, you feel good. You do bad things, you feel bad." It drove me crazy! "It's not that simple," I thought, amidst images of strangling her.

But it is. I wasn't exactly doing "bad" things but things that would suck my energy and put me in that low energy-fear-anxiety-depressed state. I needed to identify what those things were and eliminate them from my life.

Eliminate that which is eroding our confidence. What a concept! Again, easy enough to say, more difficult to do. Watching three movies in a row erodes my confidence. Why? I have no idea. I just know I feel like crap after I do it. So don't do it. Duh.

Those days of the ups and the downs, the moving in and out of that depression-state are behind me. This is not so much a miracle as a steadfast commitment to do "good" things. There are still "bad" things I hang on to that I'm not ready to let go of yet. But I'm getting there.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will identify that which is eroding my confidence today and pray for the courage to let them go. I deserve to feel good.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Animal Love

Dearest Readers,

Being self-employed is challenging sometimes but it has its rewards, too. I get to stay in my PJ's all day (but I don't -- well... sometimes I do), I am free to do things like take a nap if I need one, run out and get groceries or meet a friend for tea. I also get to interview caribou.

That last one was my Christmas bonus. Some people get a few extra dollars, I got to have a love-in with a caribou cow name Boo.

As some of you know, I took on a contract to create a 30-minute live/video performance on behalf of the Yukon for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Our show will be performed at BC Place Stadium on February 20th. We open for the Stereophonics so get your tickets now!

Early on in the process of creating this spectacle I decided to take a Rick Mercer approach and interview locals in the search for the quintessential word describing what it means to be a Yukoner, what it means to live in this magnificent place.

The answers have been surprising and powerful. Yukoners of all different ages and backgrounds have shared the essence of their experience of living here and its been a privilege to be on the other end of the microphone.

But no Yukoner yet has been as loving and affectionate toward me as Boo. She nuzzled and bumped me so fervently I was knocked to the ground. She buried her head (watch out for those antlers!) in my lap and if those front legs could have hugged me no doubt they would have been wrapped around me in a full embrace. It was heaven.

Never mind the food I had in my pocket, she was in love! And so was I.

Thank you to Krista and Marie at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve for allowing us to come and shoot the footage. What a wonderful place we have here. A vast, open space where rescued, injured or orphaned animals can recuperate, many of them eventually returning to the wild.

And I won't tell you what Boo's word was. It's our secret.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Look to the animal for inspiration. What quality do you most admire? Wisdom? Tenderness? Ferocity? Love without judgment? May we seek to better embody these qualities ourselves.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Dearest Readers,

Today's post might be a bit of a meditation practice in itself. To breathe, to be here now, with each word as I type it. I'm buzzing with anticipation for the day ahead, which involves shooting a segment of video for the show I'm presently creating. I need to slow down my thinking.

Blog entries about the practice of being present in my life come often, don't they? They can never come often enough. It is a daily practice. Actually, it's a moment-to-moment practice because the mind is always moving forward and the remembering must be constant.

That's almost what being present is: remembering. "The power of now" and "being here now" and "living in the moment" are ideals. When I teach yoga I say, "The nature of the mind is to think." The mind thinks, that's what it does. In order to step back from the thinking mind I must remember to return to the experience of now.

So that is what I've been doing since I woke up. My mind is future-tripping big time to the arrival of the videographer, to our drive out of town, to the shoot, to the drive back, and on and on. I'm living out the day in my head and forgetting where I am.

And so I must engage in the active effort to remember that I am not there yet, I am here. I must return to this moment, the only one there is. This is certainly challenging because it feels like I have to do it every single second but the practice is worth the reward. For I am then in my life, the only one I really have, the one that is unfolding here and now in reality.

Inspiring Message of the Day: The life that plays out in my head is a fantasy. It is not real. I will continue, throughout the day, to actively remember to be in my real life as it unfolds in the present moment. I will step out of the thinking mind and experience the now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kind of...

Dearest Readers,

Lately I've been provoked by Internet challenges. Slowness, no connection, you name it. Depending on how I'm doing personally, my response to this kind of situation is either to shrug it off or to feel my blood actually boiling with frustration.

What I have trouble remembering (but am very grateful when I do) is the idea that problems with computers and other electronic devices are, in fact, an opportunity for me to practice the art of letting go.

If something is not working, walk away. Why is this so difficult? Why do we insist on trying to make something work when it is clearly not going to happen?

It's the old "my way or the highway" syndrome. I want what I want and I want it now. Trouble is, there isn't much serenity to be had with this kind of thinking/behaviour.

The other day, a friend and I were talking about the saying that goes "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?" My friend said she'd heard a gal say that she didn't "get" the expression for a long time because, well, she was right.

That's the problem. We think we're right.

When that same maxim was taught to me it was presented a little differently. I heard it this way: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be kind?"

This was an easier question to answer. Happiness is elusive. And letting someone/something else be right doesn't necessarily bring it on. But being kind? Somewhat simpler, infinitely more rewarding.

When I'm having technical difficulties and my anger is brewing I am definitely in the "my way or the highway" mode. The thing is wrong and I am right. I should be getting my way.

So how can I put the above saying into practice? How can I be "kind" when the opponent is a computer or an electronic device? Refraining from throwing it across the room is not exactly kind but it's a good start.

I can also look at the fact that it's not helping matters to force my hand. It's not changing the situation. In fact, it's making it worse.

The hardest thing in the world might be to walk away, shut it down, or leave it alone, but by doing so I'm affirming my willingness to surrender. I do not have to be right. I do not have to get my way. I can let go.

It's being kind. To myself.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Honestly, I would rather be right. But being right has never made me a better person. Nor has it brought me any peace. Being kind has taught me humility and infused me with dignity.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bear With Me

Dearest Readers,

When I was a child I had a Steiff Teddy Bear. I didn't know it was a Steiff, which is a high-quality, German brand of plush toys, until much later in life when it would have meant something to me to own so swish a toy. As a girl, however, it was simply a bear that I loved.

I also had a tiny little bear named Baby Growl-y. I don't even know how to spell it. Did I come up with the name? My mother would know.

When I got a little older, not yet old enough to think teddy bears were un-cool, still on that threshold between childhood and youth, I acquired Charles, a giant, white teddy bear.

Charles was a Christmas present. I remember sneaking downstairs in the early morning before anyone else was awake to have a sneak-peek at the presents. I saw the bear, unwrapped, sitting up, alert and ready for love. I knew he couldn't possibly be for me. I was too old. Surely he was for one of my younger sisters. Oh, heartbreak!

Later, when the whole family was gathered around the tree to open presents and my father picked up that bear and said my name, I leapt for joy and hugged his softness to my little budding body. He was mine! And Charles seemed an appropriate name for he was a very proper bear.

For some reason my mother continued to buy me bears right up until a few short years ago when I had to tell her to stop. She knows I have a love of bears, all bears, one might even say the Bear is my Totem Animal, but I've outgrown the stuffed bear, no matter how adorable.

Or have I?

Yesterday, because of some healing work I've been doing, I felt a deep connection to the little girl that I was all those years ago. That small child who was innocent and free, loving and hopeful. The girl I was before the harshness of the world made itself known to me. The girl who didn't yet know shame.

That little girl could receive the tender hugs of a teddy bear. She needed them.

So, for her, I bought a gift. A giant, pink, plush teddy pig. Or would it be a piggy bear? Either way, it's darn cute. And very huggable. Just what a little girl needs at Christmas time.

Inspiring Message of the Day: We need hugs. We need tenderness. Sometimes we can receive these things from people but other times we need the soft and all-embracing love of a child's toy to give us that comfort.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Suck it Up

Dearest Readers,

I vacuumed the apartment yesterday. I could write this as the Inspiring Message of the Day and leave it at that. No kidding. When I vacuum it's a miracle.

Organization and neatness are important to me. I like order. The apartment in which I live is fairly spare and everything has its place. My work desk can often be a mess but it doesn't last. After a couple of days I'll stack papers and clear off unwanted business.

But vacuuming? I'll put it off forever. For some reason cleanliness is less important to me than tidiness. The place will look immaculate because of its orderliness but upon closer inspection you'll often see that the dust bunnies have turned into full-grown rabbits.

It's a blessing that I have to travel a lot for work not because I get to see the world but because I'm forced to vacuum for the housesitter. This excuse brings great relief. "I have to vacuum! Thank GOD."

Too bad I'm not going to be around to enjoy it. By the time I get back the place is ready for another pass with the hoover and I'm counting the days until my next trip.

What's that all about? How can I love a tidy house but not care about a clean one?

Lazy. There aren't too many areas in my life where laziness still reigns but this is definitely one of them. But I'm hopeful. Change is possible. I have often visioned myself vacuuming the place once a week. Hmmm.... maybe I'll start saving up for a cleaning lady.

For now, the dust rabbits are gone and the cat no longer has to cautiously round corners fearing an attack by one of them. I've got two months before I leave town again. That's about the time it takes for them to become full-grown.

Inspiring Message of the Day: If you leave the vacuuming of the house long enough it will actually feel like a victory when you do it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What Goes Up...

Dearest Readers,

I posted a new video to YouTube this morning. Here is the story for you:

Once upon a time there was a little girl with a fiery temper and a wondering spirit.

In springtime, in the year she would turn 8 years old, she moved with her family from a small town in the far north to a big city in the southeast.

From one day to the next, the little girl’s world became very big. And the relative safety she had known and only known was now replaced by the possibility of danger.

The danger of strangers.

Bad men, lost men, who snatch little girls and hurt them, rip their innocence away, use and abuse them. This was the danger of a grown-up world, a world of fear and of hatred, of judgment and of pain. The little girl came to know this world, this danger, first hand. And it changed her.

So the little girl grew up (because she had to) and lived in the world with a wounded heart.

Harder and harder she developed her shell and scared and more scared she became her heart getting smaller and smaller but you could not see it shrinking oh no for she had become an actress extraordinaire.

An actress in the drama of her own life.

And the drama was dark as dark can be. For she began to seek refuge in the Destroyer, the destructive abyss, the kiss of death.

The kiss of the highest of highs brought on by the lowest of lows. The kiss of bad men, lost men, to whom she’d now willingly give her heart, using and abusing, confusing pleasure and pain.

But the little girl kept growing (because she had to) and miraculously her wondering spirit grew, too.

It grew stronger and stronger, weakening her shell, cracking it open, easing her wound, healing it, and carrying her because she could not carry herself alone.

And as her spirit lifted and soared she became a traveler, roaming the earth far and wide, encountering people and stories and writing stories of her own.

On one particular journey she found herself in a little village by the Sea.

She decided to go for a walk and because her spirits now had high high hopes, she liked to climb high high up on her walks.

So she chose the most difficult route. And she climbed and she scrambled up the hardest, most challenging path and just by the skin of her teeth made it to the top.

But now she had to get back down.

“Surely there had to be an easier way back down,” thought the little girl (who was now a woman). But she could not find one and so she continued on, trusting that eventually she would discover a simpler way back down to the road.

Soon she came upon a fence.

“A-ha”, she said. “If someone built a fence all the way up here, they had to have begun to build the fence all the way down there.”

And so she followed the fence down the hill.

This proved to be an excellent idea until she hit the patch of gorse. Gorse is a yellow-flowered shrub that grows in dense patches as tall as the tallest man and as thick as a bear’s coat. Gorse leaves form spines, needle-like spikes, sharp and menacing.

“I must get down to the flat,” said the little girl (who was now an anxious woman), and she began to make her way through the gorse patch, weaving and threading between the shrubs.

Soon the gorse became so thick that she was forced to the ground, where the bush was thin enough to form a crawl space.

She lay on her back, completely surrounded by spiked branches, the flowers creating a soft yellow glow around her.

To continue on seemed impossible. Yet she had made so much progress, she had come so far down the hill, that to go back up seemed like defeat.

“Perhaps defeat is not so bad,” she thought. “Perhaps defeat is better than being torn to shreds by the spikes.”

So she crawled back up. Through and through the gorse patch until she was out, back where she’d started, back at the top of the hill.

She walked on. Soon she saw a grove of trees. “Trees are easier than gorse,” she thought, and entered the thicket.

There before her was a path. A wide-open tunnel of trees shadowy green switching back and forth all the way down to the road.

The little girl (who was now a very grateful woman) knew from her life experience that sometimes we have to go all the way down to the bottom to find our way back to the top.

But what she had not known and what she learned on that day is that sometimes we have to go all the way back up to the top to get down to the bottom.

Inspiring Message of the Day:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Power Up

Dearest Readers,

Yesterday the power went off. The computer screen flickered for a moment and I thought it might just be a "brown out" but it continued to stutter and finally went black. The lights went out, the fridge stopped humming, all was quiet.

Whenever the power goes out I am reminded how much we rely on electricity to function in our daily lives. Can't send an email, can't write a document, can't call anyone, can't make a hot meal, no hot water. When the power goes off we are forced to re-think our next steps. How can I do what needs to be done unplugged?

In 1997, I was living in Montreal. That was the winter of the famous Ice Storm. It was everything you heard it was and more. The city was under siege by ice.

I saw telephone poles bent in half from the weight of the ice, bowing and broken trees, cars stopped in the middle of the road, abandoned by their owners, unable to drive any further. The city was in darkness. It felt like the apocalypse.

Except, in our little apartment, we had power. For some reason the block on which I lived did not succumb to the blackout. We were one of the few lucky spots in the city that had heat, light and all the comforts of home.

We felt guilty (and grateful) for our good fortune so we decided we ought to be living in the dark, too. We conserved heat and kept the lights off most of the time. We called the emergency hotline and offered our place as a refuge but were told most people were already looked after.

When the power went off yesterday I wondered how long. Would it come back in less than an hour? It usually does. What if it didn't? Could this be something bigger? Would it be days? It's cold outside. How would we keep warm?

Unable to do anything much, I went to lie down and have a rest. The power came on half an hour later and I got up, relieved, and resumed my work.

But something had changed. I was newly aware of my good fortune. There's nothing like a power outage to build gratitude. I have so much. It's so easy to take it for granted! Flip the switch and it's on and Bob's your uncle.

People in Montreal and the surrounding communities survived that Ice Storm. Resiliency, generosity, charity, and community prevailed. There were people without power for weeks and weeks but time passed and they got it back and everyone made it work. It was not the end of the world.

The moment of panic I felt with yesterday's blackout was followed by some pretty serious self-talk generated by that kind of big-picture thinking. "In the moment I am always okay. This too shall pass. All will be well."

Looking at the big picture is not simply seeing the bright side of things, although that helps. It is a way to remind ourselves that nothing is the end of the world.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Electricity is a power that makes things easier but it is not the Ultimate Power. If I trust the Ultimate Power in times of crisis then my fear has no sway.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cope or Hope

Dearest Readers,

I've written before that December seems like the quickest month in the calendar. It's already the 10th and wasn't it just the 1st?

Yesterday I was with a group of people and someone brought up coping during the holiday season. One person did not quite hear what was said and asked, "Hoping? Did you say "hoping" during the holiday season?" "Coping!" the other shouted back.

It was an interesting mistake to make. Coping vs. hoping during the holiday season. Which one are you?

Being self-employed and far away from my family and choosing to stay home this year has put me in a kind of detached state around this season of cheer/jeer. If there weren't decorations in the stores and if people didn't keep bringing it up I probably wouldn't even know it was Christmas. I'd just be doing my work and then, "Oh, it's the 25th?", make my dinner and go to bed with the cat.

Admittedly, I have had a few moments of feeling that excitement that can come with the advent of the season and I am making some celebratory plans so I guess I am more in the hoping camp.

Mostly what I am doing, to the best of my ability, is giving where I am able. Whether it is time, food, money, what have you, being of service is not only a good way to get out of myself and build my self-esteem, it's the time of year when it seems to be the most needed.

I know how difficult it can be to give when we're in that coping place. Giving when I'm feeling hope is easy but how can I give anything when just I don't have anything to give? Sometimes we need to be receivers. Sometimes we need to let people give to us.

That said, I know that when I need to feel better there is almost no better way than to give of myself in some capacity. Giving is one of the quickest ways to get out of that fearful place. Somehow giving opens the heart and frees us from whatever it is that is binding us to fear.

Finding the balance between giving and receiving is challenging and I don't do it perfectly. I really need to check in with myself often. If I give here, am I going to send myself over the edge? Do I need to say no? Will saying yes make me feel better despite my reservations? Is saying yes just what I need right now?

These questions are paramount to self-care. We can't give what we don't have but when we give we receive. Making sure I am clear on what my own needs are first will help me to serve the needs of others most effectively.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will use this holiday season to practice giving in ways that both attend to my own needs and allow me to be of service where it is truly needed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Dearest Readers,

Yesterday, December the 8th, is a day I always remember for two reasons: It is both the day my father was born and the day that John Lennon was shot and killed.

It's been 29 years since Mark Chapman put four bullets in Lennon's back. Almost three decades. My father, incidentally, just turned 67.

Like those in the generation before me who remember where they were when JFK was assassinated I remember where I was when John Lennon died. I was only nine years old but I knew who he was and I knew who the Beatles were. My parents had Beatles' records and I liked their songs, particularly Penny Lane and When I'm Sixty-Four.

It was a school day and the story was spreading around the schoolyard. I'm sure none of us really knew or understood the implications of what had just happened but we knew it was big. It was only later, as a young adult, that I was able to feel the real sadness of it and grieve the loss of such a great artist and activist.

John Lennon was not a perfect man. His defects of character and his shortcomings as a father, his drug use, his egotism have all been well-documented. But he was a man who spoke for Peace and Love. In my mind, this makes him a kind of saint.

His message is still being sounded nearly thirty years on. His song Imagine, ranked "the third greatest song of all time" by Rolling Stone Magazine, is a most inspiring call to action.

Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

John Lennon was a dreamer. The world living "as one" is still a dream. It's not the reality we live in. But could it be? Is it possible? If not, why not? What stops us from letting go of our differences, from accepting each other exactly as we are?

Fear. Plain and simple. It's fear.

I can't make World Peace happen by myself but I can practice peace in my own life. I can let go of judgmental thinking, I can accept other people's beliefs that aren't the same as mine, I can be compassionate and kind, understanding and generous.

This call to action is a high one. We are caught up in our own lives. Change is difficult. But imagine every single one of us making peace a priority in our own lives. Wouldn't that change the world?

Inspiring Message of the Day: You can kill the messenger but the message doesn't die. I will work for peace in my own life knowing that it will transform me and could so transform the world.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Tufa is Now

Dearest Readers,

For the last six summers my father has come up to the Yukon to visit me and together with an old friend of his (and one of his own prodigy) we have paddled one of the many splendid rivers in this Territory.

One year, we paddled the Coal, a challenging river in a secluded part of the Yukon wild; gorgeous mountains, rocky canyons, lush green.

On one stretch of the Coal you will find yourself in the Coal River Springs Territorial Park. If you then bushwhack into the wall of trees beyond a certain stretch of the riverbank you will discover the tufa, a natural phenomena of terraced limestone created by cool springs.

Now, as I mentioned, this is a remote wilderness area. There are no park wardens or guides. No signs. Finding the tufa is about guessing. My dad's friend had a vague idea of where they were, having been to see them years before, but other than his distant memory we were totally winging it.

In order to get to the section of bush where the tufa might be, we had to line the boats upstream. This involved walking along a rocky shore and hauling the boats against the current. My father and I had inappropriate footwear. We were not having fun.

Next, we had to scour through mosquito-thick bush and swampy underfoot. Could they be over there? No. How about here? Uh-uh. You get the idea. No map, no directions, no fun.

I was, by this point, extremely irritable. "This f&%#ing tufa better be worth it," I said to myself.

But what if it wasn't? What if this whole deal was going to be nothing but a big ol' disappointment? What if the tufa sucked?

In that moment I knew I had to change my tune. Because if the tufa weren't worth it I was going to be really peed off. It would all have been for naught and I would be in a bad mood for the next five days.

I realized then that I was actually living out that old cliché that says, "It's the journey not the destination." It wasn't about getting to the tufa at all. It was about being where I was while getting to the tufa.

After collectively almost giving up more than a few times we heard a shout from deep within the forest. Someone had found the springs.

We explored the area, fragile and beautiful, like a forgotten paradise. We filled our containers and drank the mineral-rich water running down from the hills. We marveled at the clear pools of turquoise and the shelves of coral-like limestone.

The tufa were worth it.

But if they hadn't been worth it? It would not have mattered. Because I shifted my thinking and made the journey the destination.

Whenever I find myself trying to get somewhere, to the end of something, be it a job or a place or a time, I remember the tufa.

And I remind myself: "The tufa is now."

Inspiring Message of the Day: Can I be in my life today? Am I able to let go of what is to come and be here now? I will practice staying in today by remembering that my life is only ever happening right now.

Monday, December 7, 2009


When I was young I used to get a thrill out of inspecting the book shelves of others. Come to think of it, I still do. It's one of the places you'll find me if I'm in another person's home, scouring their kept titles to uncover their treasures.

On one such adventure, when I was a child, I discovered the book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read, about the Uruguayan Rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountain range. Sixteen young men survived by eating the flesh of their dead fellow passengers.

The book moved me, changed me, opened my mind to things I had not yet known to be possible. It is a deeply spiritual book and it impacted me on that level. Even as a young girl I began to look for the hidden meaning in things, the mystical path.

In 1993, a movie was made of the book starring Ethan Hawke and others. I remember it being a good film but it having not quite the same impact as Read's telling of story. Probably because I knew Ethan wasn't really going through it. The book is first-hand and its power is unforgettable.

The other night, I took the book out once more, looking for something to center me in truth, gratitude, spirit.

This is what I found:

"It was something no one could have imagined. I used to go to Mass every Sunday, and Holy Communion had become something automatic. But up there, seeing so many miracles, being so near God, almost touching Him, I learned otherwise. Now I pray to God to give me strength and stop me slipping back to what I used to be. I have learned that life is love, and that love is giving to your neighbour. The soul of a man is the best thing about him. There is nothing better than giving to a fellow human being."

These are the words of Coche Inciarte, one of the survivors, speaking to a priest about what the experience had meant to him.

Imagine being stripped of everything you have, everything you are, forced to consume the flesh of your brothers and sisters, reduced to living in near impossible conditions where seemingly all hope is lost, and there, at the edge of nothingness, you discover the meaning of life.

I went looking for healing and found it in the pages of this book, where the words of a man who stared death in the face reminded me of what it's really all about.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Here is the Simple Truth: Life is Love and Peace comes from Giving.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 6, 1989

Dearest Readers,

Tomorrow is will be 20 years to the day that Marc Lepine gunned down 14 women in the Polytechnique School in Montreal.

I was 18 years old, living in Whitehorse, working at a newspaper, which made the massacre somehow more real, being one of the first places where the news was delivered. The rest of my family was living in Montreal and that, too, brought me closer to the terror as I heard from them first hand what the city was going through.

It's hard to believe 20 years have gone by. "It's still so raw," said a student in the yoga class I taught yesterday. It is. I can feel that horror, that sense of loss right now as I write this.

Today, for the Inspiring Message of the Day, I'd like to send out a prayer written by Matthew Fox, an American Episcopal priest and theologian.

If you are a man, remember, this is not about you, but the system of Patriarchy that has divided us.

"Prayer to the Cosmic Christ"

From Patriarchy's lack of authentic curiosity,
From Patriarchy's separation of head from body,
From Patriarchy's separation of body from feelings,
From Patriarchy's preoccupation with sex,
From Patriarchy's fear of intimacy,
From Patriarchy's reptilian brain,
From Patriarchy's anthropocentrism,
From Patriarchy's cosmic loneliness,
From Patriarchy's crucifixion of Mother Earth,
From Patriarchy's envy and manipulation of children,
From Patriarchy's abuse of women,
From Patriarchy's homophobia,
From Patriarchy's righteousness,
From Patriarchy's idolatry of nationhood and national security,
From Patriarchy's forgetfulness of beauty and art,
From Patriarchy's impotence to heal,
From Patriarchy's sado-masochism,
From Patriarchy's parental cannibalism and devouring of its children,
From Patriarchy's lack of balance,
From Patriarchy's savaging of the earth,
From Patriarchy's quest for immortality
From Patriarchy's ego,
From Patriarchy's waste of talent and resources, human and earth,
From Patriarchy's human chauvinism,
From Patriarchy's compulsion to go into debt to finance its bloated lifestyles,
From Patriarchy's matricide, spare us O Divine One.

Love and Peace to you all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ask to Receive

Dearest Readers,

One of the reasons this blog is called Cultivate Your Courage is because cultivating courage is a practice that I need to keep up. I would love to be the person who is writing everyday about how fearless I am but instead I come to you today, humbly, with fear kicking my butt.

The inspiration I hope to offer you comes from the fact that I refuse to let it win.

Despite the fact that I've been taking good care of myself I continue to feel fatigued this week. When I'm tired the fear rears its ugly head.

A friend of mine sent me an excellent quote by Friedrich Nietzsche who apparently said, "When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”

This was a good thing for me to hear because I'm now being attacked by negative thinking that I have overcome in the past. Old BS (Old Belief System).

Last night, I decided to flip back through my journal for inspiration. I had just finished writing the day's entry on the very last page and whenever I get to the end of a book I like to look back to see where I've been and how I've changed.

I found an entry from the summer, wherein I'd written that one of my new goals was to "practice joy". A-ha! I'd forgotten about that.

How does one practice joy when she feels like a slug? That's like saying to a depressed person, "Just get off the couch!" It's a whole lot easier said than done.

This is where asking for help comes in. Because left to my own devices, I will choose to remain a slug. I will stay on the couch. My fear will keep me stuck. Asking for help is a panacea.

Whom do we ask? I usually start with the Higher Power, the Creator, the Great Spirit.

"My desire is to practice joy today but I am tired and my fear is threatening to win. Please help me to find my way to freedom from fatigue and fear. Show me what to do. I am willing to receive guidance. I am willing to change and be changed."

If immediate guidance is not received we can try a human being who loves and supports us unconditionally. Not the person who's going to try to make it better, give us a solution, force an answer. Not the person who talks instead of listens. Not the person by whom we feel judged or whom we judge. Remember we are asking for help!

Who is the person who knows how to practice active and compassionate listening? Or the one who reminds us how well we're doing despite the fact that we may not be feeling 100%? These are the people we reach out to for support.

A friend of mine from Montreal used to say, "Some days are better than others." This was a HUGE help. It reminded me that I'm not perfect. That I can be having a great run and then something can shift and I'm struggling again. The struggle doesn't mean failure. It means opportunity.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I will use the fact that I am struggling as an opportunity to change. Instead of succumbing to fear I will ask for help. When I share my burden it is always lessened. We're not alone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cry Me a River

Dearest Readers,

In 1987, the great movie director James L. Brooks made a film called Broadcast News. It was a huge hit, making Holly Hunter a star and a whole lot of film-goers laugh and cry at the same time. If you haven't seen it, try and find it. It's so good.

One thing I always remember from the movie is that Holly Hunter's character cries every single day. Not just a few tears but buckets of them, snotty, hysterical tears requiring huge wads of Kleenex.

At first, the viewer thinks something is wrong. Something terrible has happened to her. But as the story progresses we realize that this is a regular occurrence for the character. Bawling her eyes out is a part of her normal routine.

At the time, I remember thinking I could stand to do the same thing on a regular basis myself. It seemed like such a good way to release pressure, relieve stress, and truly connect to the profound grief that comes from living in a world where suffering is all around us.

I was never a big cryer. Somewhere along the line I developed the belief system that crying meant I was weak or incapable of handling stuff. So I stuffed my tears. The only time I could really cry the buckets of snot was after a I'd consumed a bucket of wine.

When I started walking the healing path, the road to well-being and recovery from the Old BS (Old Belief Systems), a wise woman told me that crying is healing. "Every time you cry," she said, "You are healing a little piece of your wound."

After that I was like, bring it on! If crying healed my wound then let the river flow! I began to welcome tears and even look for opportunities to release them. I have had many, many good cries since and, as a result, done some very deep healing work.

Yesterday I had a really good cry. Just what I needed. I was in a public setting, mind you one where I could still be in my own space, but no doubt some may have wondered what was wrong with me. If anyone had asked I could honestly have said, "Nothing."

It's been a great lesson to learn. Nothing has to be "wrong" for me to have a mini-nervous breakdown (one of my sisters and I call it the MNBD). All is well at the moment. My life is really fantastic. I'm loving the work I'm doing, I have plenty of support, I'm in good health. So much to be thankful for!

But I see and I feel the suffering around me. I open the paper, turn on the radio and there's more pain than I can bear sometimes. I empathize with loneliness, I fear death will come too soon, I understand what it means to be hurt. I'm human. And to be truly human means to feel deeply both the joy and the grief of living.

So every once in a while I need to express all of that, the profound richness of being, by having a MNBD. Open the floodgates and let the dam break. It's a relief to do so and a very healing practice.

Inspiring Message of the Day: I do not have to be "strong" and hold in my tears. Strength will come through letting them flow. Feeling the grief means freeing it from our bodies. I will feel it and let it go.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Meditate on This

Dearest Readers,

Just over a year ago I joined Toastmasters in order to hone my skills as a professional speaker. At the meeting this morning our theme was "Meditation" and it got me thinking about my own practice.

There are all kinds of ways to meditate. Meditation does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged on a cushion with eyes closed and index finger and thumb gently touching in chin mudra. One can meditate upon a passage of words, or while walking in the woods, or standing in line at the post office.

Meditating is really the practice of focusing deeply, whether it's on your breath, a piece of text, the forest sounds or the man's bald pate in front of you. When we meditate we are seeking the experience of being present in the here and now.

Many people say, "I can't meditate. My mind is too busy!" This is the point of meditation. To practice quieting the thinking mind. The nature of the mind is to think. Even great yogis have a mind that thinks thoughts all the time. With meditation, we are learning to let go of thinking and experience being.

I know people who meditate for hours. This is not me. I once heard Goldie Hawn (of all people) say she meditated for five minutes a day and I thought, "I can do that."

Each morning upon waking and each evening before getting into bed I sit on a cushion and close my eyes and breathe, quieting the mind to the best of my ability. Sometimes I am there for five minutes, other times longer. But knowing I only have to be there for five minutes is what gets me to do it.

Whenever I feel resistance or just too tired, I say, "It's five minutes, Celia." This makes it do-able. It makes it easy. I can't argue with five minutes.

So I sit and my mind races and it doesn't. I am thinking the whole time or I'm not. I'm absolutely present or I'm miles away. It's never the same. But it's all beneficial.

Committing to the practice has changed me for the better. Those five minutes have taught me to bring that kind of deep focus into my being at many different times during the day. It's like a switch I can turn on anywhere, anytime.

Like the new saying goes, "Practice makes progress."

Inspiring Message of the Day: The five-minute rule is a fantastic tool for motivating me to do the thing I think I cannot do. Regarding meditation, committing to just five minutes of quiet time a day improves my quality of life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Divine Diving

Dearest Readers,

Someone I know once told me of a dream she'd had of me in which I rolled by her on a skateboard sitting in "boat pose".

For those of you not familiar with yoga, the boat posture, Navasana, is where one sits in a V-shape, resting on sitz bones, legs lifted, upper body lifted, arms steady.

It is an incredibly difficult sitting position that requires deep core strength. In waking life, I and this posture are not really good friends.

My friend was blown away by the dream and in a light-hearted way saw me as super powerful forever after that. As much as I would like to be the skateboarding yogi in her dream I know the dream was about her power and her strength, not mine.

Last night I had a similar dream about having that kind of physical power myself. In the dream, I did a free handstand at the edge of a swimming pool, lowered my legs halfway so that my body was in the shape of a ninety degree angle, propelled myself upright into the air about twenty feet above the pool, hovered for a second or two, and then sliced down into the water in a perfect foot-first dive.

Wow. Totally fearless. Feeling no doubt whatsoever in my ability to do it. Supreme confidence. It was spectacular.

The funny thing is, when I went to do the dive again moments later I was unable to do so. I couldn't remember how I'd gotten up into the handstand, my strength failed me and I fell backward into the pool.

Doubt and fear made it impossible for me to repeat the action.

Years ago I took a dream workshop and learned the Carl Jung approach to dream interpretation and it's a fascinating exercise to go through our dreams using this method. I won't do that here but suffice it to say I believe the dream was about the varying limits of personal power.

Is our personal power limitless? Am I the only limit to the power I have?

I like to believe so.

My doubt is the only thing stopping me from doing a splendid hand-stand, perfect dive. My fear is what stops me from hovering above life's problems.

When "I" get out of the way, when I allow the Life Force Energy of the Universe to work through me, there are no limits to what I am able to achieve.

I awoke this morning with that dream still vivid, that feeling of fearlessness permeating my cells. I'm going to carry it with me all day.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Let me be fearless today. Let me believe that I am able to anything. Anything! Even hover above Earth's problems, with strength supreme.