Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year

Here are some great winter quotes for you to muse on:

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”  ― Lewis CarrollAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Here's a good one on Home:

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  ― Edith Sitwell

“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.” 
― Yoko Ono

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.[Meditations Divine and Moral]” 
― Anne BradstreetThe Works of Anne Bradstreet

“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.”  ― Sarah Addison AllenThe Sugar Queen

Have a cozy, snug winter holiday,


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to find Harmony & Peace

It's the end of the year, very very soon. But first we hit the holidays, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Solstice, Christmas, the ring in the New Year...

But before that, before any resolutions come across the plate like a home run hit.....ponder this.

"Trying to be all things to all people leads to anxiety, irritability and burnout. It's time to dial it back - by about 30 per cent - and put your own well-being first."

This excerpt from a great article in yesterday's Globe & Mail hits the nail on the head. Constantly striving to do more, faster and better only makes us less effective sometimes. It can affect our productivity by using up all our reserves of energy. We're so afraid of appearing lazy or selfish, even to our own Inner Critics, let alone our family and co-workers, that we don't know how to let up on the gas pedal. Crash and burn victims are all around me, too many cases of burn-out and chronic fatigue.

This article quotes several  life-work balance experts, such as Renee Peterson Trudeau, who say it actually makes more sense to dial it back a bit, and reserve up to 40 per cent of your energy for yourself. Take the time to slow down, put important things first, and really, finaly, tune into your inner wisdom. 

To that end, this year I have done 70% of my shopping on-line, and rejoice every time a big box is left at my door - I have a big extended family on both sides, and even with gift exchanges and name picking, there is a long list, including not only my children, siblings, but god-children and niece's new babies, etc.

I have yet to hit the shopping mall and face the wrath of tired shoppers circling the parking lot looking for a spot that isn't 3 miles away.

If you still feel like you need to feel worthy and acceptable by 'doing it all', read this article and take a deep breath. Consider the notion of "The power of Less" or "haiku productivity" - that introducing some idea of restraint on your activity may actually help you prioritize. Go from frazzled to peaceful - it's worth a try.

Love yourself, love the holidays, love your family, but save 30% of your day for resting, recouping and relaxing. Get the little elves to help you decorate and wrap and cook. 

How does that sound?

best wishes for happy festivities and Love,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Listening to your own wisdom

I was reminded today during a wonderful Zumba class and chat with personal trainer Brigitte that I am often being guided to trust my inner resources instead of finding the answers outside myself. We had a great talk while recovering from all that physical exertion, lying on the floor.

Twice in the past ten years I have met with creative coaches, one of whom was a channeler of 'guides', to help me find the right direction for my life and how best to use my gifts. Both times I was told, 'my guides are telling me you have to find the answer yourself.' Or, 'I think you need to go sit with the Unknown for a while and see what comes up'.

There is a booming business in clairvoyants, angelic voices being channelled and all kinds of ways to seek guidance from other people, even crystals, but the most challenging thing I've ever had to do is trust that I am receiving guidance, if I can just pay attention to the signs and signals that are coming at me, and listen to my heart.

Today, after Zumba, I was looking into some inquiry cards that a SoulCollage facilitator posted a link to. The card of the day (they pose questions, don't give answers), was What is my next step?

I thought that was pretty serendipitous so I stared at the patterns of the card, hoping to find an answer. Something vague floated around in consciousness for a while, then I thought, ok, let's just order the cards. 

Back to my inbox, an email from my sister asking if I had seen a writing submission for a magazine -  which I had not heard of, and there I found an amazing article by Deena Metzger about indigenous people, and her path as a healer. She is a writer I admire, and I know she addressed the SoulCollage conference last year, so I read her story with great interest, especially about the importance of dreams.

I had a dream that I was trying to figure out, and a line somewhere jumped out at me - about grief and grieving, that we move from the frozen part of grief to feeling grief, and that answered a question I had been asking Brigitte earlier about the remnants of a frozen shoulder. She and I were trying to get to the bottom of any emotional baggage that was stuck and hindering the healing (over 3 years now), besides the overuse of computer and bad posture on my part. 

Deena also wrote that sometimes she asks herself, how would a wise elder act, before acting. How would someone who cares for the earth, for all her relations, for community, acting out of compassion, not competition, act?

And that reminded me that this whole 'right shoulder', inner masculine side of me that is very competitive, and overactive, could calm down a little and listen to her inner wise elder. I have a few SoulCollage(R) cards that are African elders, male and female, and I have wondered why there were so many indigenous people in my Archetypes suit. 

Anyway, one goes in circles sometimes, bopping from one website article, to another. But today, they all felt linked, and it brought me back full circle to my own inner wisdom. I love that through journaling and SoulCollage(R) answers come to me from my own subconscious, when I am relaxed and not forcing things, just 'playing'.

and now, off to dream....

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Five Gifts of Pro-Aging, by Marcia Newman,
Balboa Press, $11.99 US

Baby Boomers may have been at the forefront of many liberation movements, (and there are 78 million of us in the cohort) but currently, more and more women are succumbing to slavery of a different kind - to a youth-obsessed culture: dying our hair, injecting botox, nipping, tucking and otherwise refusing to accept looking our age.  Author Marcia Newman had her own aging crisis one day while looking in the mirror, and decided it was time to confront the fear of looking like her mother by letting her hair go gray.

Newman’s work as a psychologist had also convinced her that what women particularly need to do is to age consciously and comfortably, and her intention with this book is to provide some tools for a happier, more aware ageing process, mainly for women. Her chapters focus on the five gifts of the title: Authenticity, Self-healing (by allowing emotions to be felt), practicing the gift of Discernment, contacting our inner Wildness and Collaboration with others.

Newman provides journaling questions throughout the book, and a questionnaire to start off with, so the reader can assess and confront the fears about growing older, and also discover the ways we exhaust ourselves by taking care of Everything and Everybody. Part of learning a healthier conscious attitude towards aging is in learning not to feel guilty when it’s time to take care of ourselves. Living an authentic life, according to the author, means that sometimes others around you may be upset with your decisions, but healthy women are able to let go of the guilt. She offers tools to help women develop healthier instincts and boundaries and manage their own high expectations of themselves (and also release perfectionism and procrastination).

In The Gift of Discernment chapter, I especially liked her description of the exertion/exhaustion cycle-- how women love to keep busy, yet how this continuously drains our energy, because we never learn to use the brake, only the gas pedal. She suggests journaling, and asking the body for a dialogue, to check in and find out for instance, which warning signs you receive when you’re heading for an over-exertion/exhaustion cycle.  Two questions help the reader discern what their level of energy is:  what depletes you and what gives you time and space to come ‘home’ to yourself?

It’s time to get back in touch with our inner wildness, Newman says, stating that the inner Wild woman is weary from too many choices, too many electronic gadgets, and having to be pleasant and nice all the time. Her pro-aging consciousness promotes unplugging for half a day to get back in touch with nature, and finding a place that makes you feel at home, to let the mammalian side come out to play. More wildness includes allowing more time for erotic intimacy. She quotes Gail Sheehy, author of Sex and the Seasoned Woman, who describes the spicy, seasoned woman as one who wants to live a full and passionate life over 50, and won’t settle for less. 

Facing the limiting beliefs, the inner ‘dragon’ or negative naysayer, and taking steps to reduce its power over you, is crucial, according to Newman. She offers steps for allowing the inner howl to come out, and find creative joy again.

Bottom line in this book, ladies, is all about self-care. Newman rightly says that creative ideas will flow when we nurture our selves, and will also bring back more energy. Feeling more alive, less deadened, is the antidote to feeling ‘old’.  “The Universe will remind us when we go down a people-pleasing, passionless, dead-end road that we weren't in love with in the first place…..The gift of wildness will always help you find a new open road.”

The only small off note in this book is the last chapter, The Gift of Collaboration, where I felt the voice got a little preachy in that new-age way. I grow tired of reading about The Patriarchy, especially when it’s capitalized, even if I agree with her. We do live in an overly productive, always 100% on society, and  suffer from “the competitive game of compare and despair” as she calls it. I have watched one of the movies she recommends, The Burning Times, about the 50 years of European witch hunting and inquisitions, but I’m not sure why watching the list of movies she recommends will help us be more pro-aging. It was the only chapter that felt like a lecture instead of a helping hand.

Newman finishes on a high-note with some ‘feminine (heart-based) principles’ to foster collaborative learning and leadership and a Pro-Aging Women’s Credo.

“…we don’t buy into the old aging stereotypes nor endorse today’s youth worshiping…
We are responsible for our own wellness. …We are the lightworkers,
the peace bearers….We appreciate and nurture our chosen tribe
… We’ve always heard the cries of Mother Earth and are active participants in healing our planet.”

I recommend reading this book and journaling along with it, as you face the monster in the mirror, and the received beliefs you carry inside you about aging. I also believe the second half of life can be as vital and passionate as the first half. Now, if I could only get used to seeing more gray in my hair…. yesterday I swear I saw my mother in the mirror!


link to purchase the book

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Creating Your Own Mini-Retreat

Jenn Retreat from jennifer boire on Vimeo.

How I make a mini-retreat:

Some days, I am at a loss at where to start, what to do, to jump start my creative projects or just to ground myself and begin my day. 

Especially on a Monday, it helps me to center and focus if I set aside 30 minutes to an hour for a Mini-Retreat in my bedroom.

This short video shows where I begin.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Brave And Startling Truth poem for today

Take a moment and sip a cup of tea while reading this poem. Then get your journal out and write down your thoughts or reaction to Maya's brave words.

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

~ Maya Angelou ~   (A Brave and Startling Truth)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CELEBRATE PEACE DAY 48 Hours Peacecast

Dear readers,

This is a very special broadcast, with great music, inspiring messages of hope, young people, old people, people from everywhere in the world.

check it out!   and scroll to bottom of page.

over the next 48 hours, livestreaming on your computer or laptop.

Join us, The time for Peace is Now!

love and peace