November 2016

“There is the brightest of lights within the darkest of skies.”  As I said this aloud to my yoga class on Monday night, with the intention to connect our awareness to the energy of the Supermoon that was glowing above, I stopped myself to contemplate what I just said aloud…”there is the brightest of lights within the darkest of skies.”  Surely this is what the world needs to not just hear in the moment, but truly trust, or at the very least, it is what I need to trust.  


The results of the election this week were hard to hear.  As a Canadian, living in the neighbouring nation, I think it is fair to say we were in dismay with the results.  I have tried over and over again to try practice empathy with everyone over the past week, particularly those living in the US.  I have been imagining how dark the world feels to some of them.  This practice of empathy of hard. The hardest it has been for me in my intentional practices and studies of empathy over the past 10 years.  What is it really like to be living in the US right now?  What is it really like to try to walk authentically through the streets of each state?   I have no idea.   I have been going through this over  and over in my head. I have put myself back in the streets of NYC and I have been imagining walking the streets as I did the year of Coaching for Transformation.  I imagine walking through them with a sense of connection and presence and yet I wonder if it feels more divided than ever.  I hear and have talked to my friends of whom have already been teased and taunted for who they are and I feel disheartened and depleted.  

It feels dark and as I repeated the words this evening, I was reminded of why I practice…to remember the light.  To remember that even on the darkest of nights, there is a moon and there are stars to shine bright.  Tonight, the moon is the closest to the earth as it has been in 70 years.  I can’t help but wonder if everything is in the right place at the right time to remind us of the light.  Mother Nature always has a way to help us and to heal.  Tonight, I believe she is close to us for a reason.  In the brightest of forms and the brightest of lights, dear Mother Nature is not just allowing us to feel her presence, but to see her too and inviting us to trust and love her, to trust and love each other and to trust and love ourselves.  The moon is a clear reflection of the light and the brightness that is within us all…sometimes it is so dark we cannot see it, not to mention feel it.  The events in the world this week have felt that way.  So dark it has been hard to see the light.  Thank you once again dear Mother Nature for showing up so close to us tonight, in the form of femininity to shine your brightest of lights in what seems like the darkest of times.  May we trust ourselves, may we trust each other and may we trust Mother Nature to help us trust  the light.

In prep for a night walk during our recent Renewal Retreat at Windhorse Farm, Jim Drescher provided us with a few words of wisdom to help ease the group’s fear and anxiety that may surface when walking into the unfamiliar presence of darkness in the forest.

“Allow yourself to be seen in Nature,” he said.  Jim continued reminding us that the practice of being seen takes a great amount of courage and vulnerability.  At night, it is dark and a challenge for us humans to see, however, the nocturnal beings that we can’t see will be certainly be able to see us.  If we allow our fear to prevail and walk in protection of ourselves, the animals won’t get a glimpse of the kind and compassionate beings that make up our humanness and provide a sense of connection with them.

The walk that we took in darkness was a magical reminder of how easy it is for us to walk in darkness.  To protect ourselves from being seen authentically, from leaving with fear of the unknown.  The walk through the forest reminded me that night that being seen was more than just being in a room with the lights on in the presence of others.  As Jim Drescher said, being seen is a practice of courage and vulnerability.  It is moving through the darkness and stepping into that which is scary.  

I realized as I explored the forest in darkness on my own, that in allowing myself to be seen in darkness, my brightest light was alive.  I heard myself laugh in my most childlike way, I climbed trees and bounced over branches in the most adventurous way, I felt free and alive…and I cgongouldn’t see a thing.  I trusted my surroundings so much that even in darkness the unknown was freeing.  

While I watched myself bound through the forest with my other senses heightened and the child in me alive, I felt a vast amount of happiness.  I didn’t quite fully understand that this was all part of the letting go with a willingness to be seen until the next morning.

The following morning, Martha Purdy and I woke up before all the retreat participants and walked down to the lake and sat in front of the gong to prepare the fire for the morning meditation.  It was still dark with just a glimpse of the sun rising.  As we stepped onto the path to make our way back to the lodge, a large owl swooped in front of us.  I didn’t realize it was an owl immediately, however, it had the largest wings I had ever seen.  It flew in front of us and stopped on a tree.  It was in this moment that Martha and I exchanged a silent moment with the owl who unbeknownst to us had been watching over us as we prepared the fire that morning. We stopped and exchanged gazes.  For a very brief moment, the owl stopped and allowed us to see him in the same way that we were open to be seen.  The exchange was breathtaking, we watched it majestically fly away again and silently made our way back to wake the group.

Seeing the owl was momentous for me.  Firstly, it reminded me of the words spoken last night that to be seen takes courage and vulnerability.  It was my reminder that NOW is the time to live with courage and vulnowlerability.   The opportunity to be seen can happen at any time by anyone, now is the time to practice.

Secondly, the owl reminded me of my Grandmother. She collected monuments of owls throughout her lifetime.  It would have been her birthday this weekend and it is each time this year that I contemplate her life and her death.  Another reminder for me that NOW is the time to be seen and embrace the preciousness of life.

Thirdly, the owl was my own subtle reminder of the greater support that exists when you trust a greater presence.  This requires vulnerability. It seemed like my Grandmother stopped by the retreat as of to say, “live courageously,  live authentically, be vulnerable…and if not now, when? And don’t worry, are never alone when you allow yourself to be seen.”