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Friday, December 21, 2012

Honouring Winter Solstice 2012


I love New Beginnings: Solstice, Equinox, New Year's, Birthdays... anything to re-affirm that the past can simply be the past and that I can always 'start over'.  I can show up in a new way.  I can be more 'me' than I have ever dared to be before.

Today is Winter Solstice, it's a New Beginning.  I wanted to honour this New Beginning with a ceremony of sorts.  It is not a traditional ceremony, but a personal one.  This is my way of honouring Mother Earth, our Ancestors, my family, community and humanity as a whole.

Yesterday I shared a story about how yoga Serves me.  Today I wanted to show the other side.  This is one of the ways in which I choose to Serve.  I Serve through my practice.  I Serve by grounding my practice in an intention:

It is my intention that this practice nourishes my mind, body and soul, in order that I may hold a space of love for myself and for others.  May I awaken to the truth of who I am, and may I live from this place of truth.  May this practice benefit and Serve others, and allow us to see that we are One.

As we welcome back the light of the sun, may we all remember who we really are and live from this place of light and peace.

Namaste.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yoga: Part of my path to healing

Yoga is one of the most beautiful things that I 'do'.  It has helped me to heal my mind, body and soul in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined.

I came to yoga 12 years ago, attracted to it purely for its apparent physical benefits.  An avid runner at the time, I was floating from injury to injury, training for race after race, and often finding myself laid up on race day.  I also played volleyball and worked out at the gym regularly.  And yet, I wasn't healthy.  Not really anyway.  Around that time, I weighed about 140 pounds, and I was extremely dissatisfied with the state of my body.

Me at 21

Looking back, this negative body image began when I was quite young, around the age of 12.  For some reason, I began to believe that my body should look different than it did.  I began to compare my body with those of the other girls around me, and eventually, I came to see myself as fat.  The odd thing is, that at the time, this couldn't have been further from the truth.  Looking back, I wasn't even remotely fat, and yet, that is what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

Me at 18

The more I believed this lie, the more deeply it became ingrained, and I found myself at war with food. The relationship between food and my body continued to de-volve, eventually leading to purging behaviour.  I knew that what I was doing was wrong, that it wasn't healthy, that it was destructive, and yet, I proceeded to do it anyway.  I was ashamed of this behaviour and therefore kept it hidden, and yet on some level it gave me such an extreme sense of satisfaction, a sense of control.

While I managed to leave the purging behaviour behind at the age of 20, the thoughts that caused it in the first place were still firmly in place.

It has taken me 20 years to heal these thoughts.

I won't go in to the drawn-out details of this journey here (if you want to know more, it is in my book which will be available sometime this spring), but what I will tell you is this:

In order to change the thoughts that I was having about my body and food, I had to admit them, first to myself and eventually to others.  It was only one year ago that I finally got at one of the 'darkest' thoughts that I was having about my body ('I am gross').  Since that time, I can tell you that this thought is gone.  It isn't true and it never was.  Yoga has played a huge role in healing that part of the story.

The interesting thing is (and this is the mind-body connection in action for you), when I healed my mind (aka changed the thought), my physical body responded in a way that it never had before.  Today, my body is the healthiest that it has even been... literally.  In fact, I had a check-up with my family doctor the other day b/c he wanted to be certain that everything was 'on track'.  My doctor has been with me every step of the way on this journey and he wanted to be sure that my weight loss over the past year was the result of new and healthy behaviours instead of old, unhealthy ones.  And fair enough.  I am glad that he is looking out for me.

The results speak for themselves.   Since the purging behaviours began I have struggled with anemia - at times so severe that I required subcutaneous injections of iron into my backside (this is not an enjoyable thing, trust me).  So, when my doctor found out that I now eat a mostly plant-based diet, he was understandably concerned and asked me to have some blood tests done.  I am delighted to be able to say that all is well.  In fact, my numbers are amazing.  What's more, my BMI (body mass index - in my opinion a great indicator of overall health), is the best that it's been since I was in high school.  To give you an overall idea - the healthy range for BMI is between 18.5-24.9.  For years (including when I was running and working out), my BMI was around 23-24, and even crept up past 25.  Now?  It is at 21.

Now, I know that yoga isn't everyone's cup of tea, and that's ok.  What is not ok is telling yourself destructive stories, thoughts ranging from overly critical all the way to down right cruel.

A lot of people enjoy a healthy mind-body connection.  They don't obsess about their figure, their weight, their reflection in the mirror... but the truth is, a lot of people do.

This post is an invitation.  An invitation to look past the reflection in the mirror (and if you enjoy your own reflection, then look past the reflection of the physical appearance of others).  Our physical appearance?  It isn't real.  It isn't real because it isn't permanent.  What's real is what lies beneath.  The truth of who we are.  We are not our bodies, and yet our bodies are an amazing tool that we can use to express our deeper selves.  They are vessels.  Conduits.  And they are worthy of gratitude, love and care.

Today, this is how yoga Serves me.  It allows me to express the 'me' that lies beneath.  The real me.  The shiny me.  Yoga has become an expression from my soul.

Me at 33 (present)

The above picture makes me laugh.  In August of 2011 I posted this entry, talking about how 'yoga is my skinny jeans'.  Funny thing is?  I am actually wearing my 'skinny' jeans in the above picture.  Ha!

Much love to you and many Blessings this Holiday Season!

Maren xo

PS: Stop by tomorrow for more yoga love... in honour of Winter Solstice 2012 and FIERCE Friday, I am going to be sharing another yoga video.



Friday, December 14, 2012

FIERCE Friday: A mother's love

I want to tell you a story.  It isn't my story, it is Wendy's story, but it has one that has lived in my heart since the moment I met this amazing woman.

Wendy and I went to University together.  No, not the first time around, the second, so we have known each other for oh, about 6 years.  I met Wendy and her husband Michael in one of my classes.  We hit it off immediately and enjoyed many coffee dates over the next two years.  One of the things that Wendy and I had in common was that we were both 'mature' students.  Well, I don't know how mature we were, but we were definitely older than most of our classmates, by a few years anyway.  We were both married and enjoyed a fairly stable relationship with our respective mates.  That was why, when she unexpectedly found out that she was pregnant towards the middle of our last year, she was delighted, ecstatic even.  I shared in her excitement (I had a bit of baby-brain myself at the time) and much of our conversation centred around her burgeoning belly.

When she lost the baby, on the morning of a final exam no less, she was understandably devastated.  I was sick for her.  I felt so helpless.  I had had a miscarriage as well, about 10 years previous, but I knew that it wasn't the same.  She and Michael were desperate to become parents, this baby was so very wanted and so very loved.

Another trait that Wendy and I share is that she wears her heart on her sleeve.  She was very open and honest about her feelings, and from what I recall, it made some of her friends a bit uncomfortable.  In my own life, I have had a similar experience when bearing my raw emotions openly.  Our society seems to back away from vulnerability.

A short time later, I found out that I was expecting Chephren.  This was a slightly unplanned pregnancy as well but we were completely ecstatic.  Over the moon.  I was bursting with joy and excited to share my news with the world.  When we started telling our friends, my heart sank.  Wendy.  How the heck was I supposed to tell her?  I so desperately didn't want to hurt her, however I knew that I had no other choice but to tell her the truth.  She deserved to know and I wanted to tell her in person.  We went for lunch, and when I told her she was happy for me, although through her smile I could see her pain.

Right after we graduated, Wendy and Michael moved out to Chilliwack, BC to take teaching jobs.  Wendy and I stayed in touch, mostly through Facebook.  I was so glad to see her and Michael starting fresh, hoping that this would help with the healing they so badly needed.  I secretly hoped that they would get pregnant again, and soon!

Some time later, she found out she was pregnant again, and because I was finding out on Facebook, I knew that she was confident that this pregnancy would stick.  It did 'stick' and I watched her belly grow and her whole being glow through the pictures that she shared.  Around the time her baby was due, I was checking regularly to see if her miracle baby had made her way into the world yet.

When I found out about Luka, I was completely shocked and utterly devastated.  Trent and I held each other and cried for them.  For Luka.

Luka was born with a rare genetic chromosomal condition, Trisomy 18, and lived only three days.

I won't tell you what has happened since then, because if you are interested, you can read about it on Wendy's blog.

Part of Wendy's journey has been to share her story.  In my opinion (and YES, I know that this isn't the path to healing for everyone), Wendy's ability to stand in the truth of her story and share it with others is a tremendous act of SERVICE.  When we are suffering, so many of us believe that we are all alone, that we are the only ones.  In her darkest hour, Wendy reached out towards the light and in doing so, she has invited others to follow her back to the light as well.

I hope that you can see now why I chose Wendy to be featured on FIERCE Friday, however, the other part of this story is FIERCE as well....

You see, Wendy is pregnant again.  She has made it official on Facebook (no doubt a good sign).

To me, there is nothing more FIERCE than this act of surrender.  She has made herself completely vulnerable... again.  To some small degree, I can relate with this sense of vulnerability... as it is created simultaneously with the child itself.  As soon as you conceive a child, your heart is open, it is exposed.  You will forever walk around with a piece of your heart that lies outside of you, because it lives on in your child.

And it is SO worth it.  And yet as a mother I can tell you that it is BRAVE, it is COURAGEOUS, it is FIERCE.

Thank you Wendy, for sharing your story, for sharing your life, for sharing your journey.

So much love to you, Michael and that amazing child in your belly.  I can't wait to meet him/her.



Friday, December 7, 2012

How Neutrality Saved My Marriage

In November of 2011, just over one year ago, my family and I were on a vacation in Maui.  We had planned to be there for a month, well, my mom, Chephren and I had anyway, and our husbands each joined in for 2-3 weeks.  In the months leading up to this trip, Trent and I had been struggling in our marriage, I mean REALLY struggling.  It seemed that each and every single conversation wound up leading to the 'D' word (that would be 'D' as in Divorce, not Disneyland).  It was a scary, scary few months and on more than one occasion I really thought that my marriage was truly over.

While in Maui, my mom and I had the good fortune to attend an event facilitated by Mirabai Devi - a healer and spiritual teacher.  Both my mom and I had a great experience and at the end of her session,  Mirabai invited individual questions to be put forth in a more private setting.  After I had tearfully expressed my gratitude for the profound shift that I had felt during her session, I confessed my fears about my marriage.  Her response was unexpectedly simple: 'When you are faced with conflict between you and your husband, go neutral and remember who you are.'

Huh?  I left in a bit of a daze, but her words stuck with me.  (How could they not, she left them inscribed in my book!) Over the next few days I became quite silent as I began to explore deep into the meaning of her message.

I am not sure if  I was able to truly grasp it then, but I knew on some level that her message was about trying to become an observer to my own emotions.  I needed to come into a place of non-reaction... or as she called it, neutrality.  I seemed to know even then that when an emotion arises within oneself, it cannot have come from anywhere else but from my own mind, my own experience, my own reality, and yet I constantly found myself projecting these emotions outward.  The story in my head sounded something like: 'My marriage would be so much happier if only Trent would...'

A few days after seeing Mirabai, my parents offered to watch Chephren so that Trent and I could go out on a date night (there are IMMENSE advantages to travelling with our child's Grandparents!)  We started off for the restaurant, electing to walk in the beautiful, warm ocean air.  Not five minutes into the walk, our conversation turned to conflict and there it was: a boiling, raging fury spilling into my belly and rising up into my throat.  Only this time, instead of allowing my words to erupt forth, I somehow managed to stop them.  I managed to get really present.  I observed what happening to me, in both my mind and my body.  And rather than spewing the venom that was desperate to come forward, I simply said: 'I am NOT reacting to this!'  Today I have to chuckle at these words, because I am very aware of the fact that my reaction was itself just that, a reaction, and in no way, shape, or form was it neutral.

But it was a start.  It was me saying, enough, I do not want to engage in these fights any longer.  I know that each and every time we enter into one of 'those' conversations there is an inevitable result... each of us will be cut down a little smaller, we will be a little more jaded, a little more hurt, a little more wounded, leaving us with an even bigger hole in our marriage.  In that moment, I chose to put down my weapon of choice; my words.

It took months for this new behaviour, this neutrality, to stick.  And to be honest, for the first few months, I will admit that I was almost entirely faking it.  I was, as they say adopting a 'fake it until you make it' attitude.  And it worked, eventually.

It worked because the truth is, those feelings that Trent's words awoke within me were MINE.  The reason that I reacted is because on some level, I believed them to be true.  This is what the journey inward is all about.  It is about accountability to YOURSELF.  It is about owning what is truly YOURS.  No one can make you feel a certain way, it is only you who allows them to do so.

And THAT is how neutrality saved my marriage... although having fun together and lots of lovin' helped too ;)

Much love to you on your journey, especially when you decide to journey inwards...

Maren xo


 

The first edition of FIERCE Friday

It's official.  It's FIERCE Friday.  What the heck is that?  Good question.

Since I started the FIERCE Integrity Project, I am often struck by the FIERCE acts of others.  What qualifies as a FIERCE act?  Well, I would say anytime a person decides to stand in their truth.  Those times where you drum up the courage to show the world a teeny tiny bit more of who you really are.  Those times when you are truly and authentically being honest with yourself and others.

Over the past few weeks, a fellow blogger - Dan Pearce of Single Dad Laughing has been exceptionally FIERCE.  He has used his blog as a forum from which to come out of the closet as a bisexual, starting with this post.  Since then, he has posted several times on the topic, each post more RAW and VULNERABLE than the next.  If you haven't read these posts or heard of Dan, check him out, he is mega talented and now one of my FIERCE Integrity Champions!

As far as I'm concerned, vulnerability is a major way in which one can be FIERCE.  While Dan's posts have haunted me somewhat due to their dark nature and my own struggles with my shadow, they have also inspired me beyond measure.  My own journey into living with FIERCE Integrity has also felt a lot like 'coming out of the closet'.  Not in the sexual sense, but it has been similar in that I have allowed the world to start to really see me exactly as I am.

I know that I have spoken about this before, but my journey into living with FIERCE Integrity has involved writing a book.  In the first part of the book, I tell my story.  I own my past as mine and I don't leave much to the imagination.  In my book I 'spill the beans' on many of my personal details: from a miscarriage, to my struggle with an eating disorder, dealing with depression, and my recovery from a near-suffocating sense of self-loathing.  It was a difficult story to tell but a powerful one and a truly essential part of living my truth.

Recently, I have found a home for my book.  It will be getting published!  I am very excited to be sharing this book with the world.  More details to come as it moves on through the production process.

For now, I leave you with an invitation.  Have you been FIERCE lately?  If so, PLEASE SHARE!  I would love to feature your story on this blog and have inspiring FIERCE Friday posts every week!  If not, why not?  What is holding you back from shining your light into the world, from being who you truly are?



Let's get FIERCE!

So much love!
Maren

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Makeover

Have you ever had a make-over?  A 'new do' for a 'new you'?

I have.  Yesterday in fact.

Yesterday, I walked into my favourite Salon and said 'let's do this'.  I got my hair cut.... short.  Probably 8-10 inches shorter.  I got my hair coloured... haven't done that in probably 5-6 years.  So yeah, I would consider that a make-over.

You might be wondering, why the new look?  Well, that is a good question.  You see, I am currently in the process of evaluating everything... not only my appearance, but my wardrobe, my office space, my business, my website, and yes, my blog.  You could say that I am in the process of 're-branding' myself, of 're-branding' my business.

I have talked a lot on this blog about change and about personal transformation.  And while a lot has shifted and changed on the inside, so far, it doesn't look a whole lot different on the outside.

The problem is, the gap is ever-widening.  The 'me' inside, the one who I have been transforming into and the one who I call the 'real me', is getting ready to shine, to show herself to the world.

I feel like a brilliant shining flower inside, encased in a protective, layered shell.  For a long time I felt like needed the protection (and I can see now that it served me well), but lately I have been working on removing that hard outer shell so that my light can shine through.

How about you?  Are you different on the outside then you feel on the inside?  What is stopping you from shining your inner light out into the world?  Oh, I know it's scary.  I've been there, heck, a lot of the time I am still there... but I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

If this resonates with you but you aren't sure where to start, remember this:

The REAL you is so much better than the person you think you should be...

It is my mantra for personal transformation!

With love,
Maren

PS: Here's a sneak peak of the new do:



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another walk down Storylane

Today's post over on StoryLane:


Oh man. One of the elements of Storylane that I like is the fact that people can ask you to write on a certain topic. Again, this particular topic is one that I likely wouldn't have chosen to write on. Why? It makes me feel vulnerable. Yuck. You know, that feeling when you sit down to write your answer down, step into the flow of writing and what comes forward makes you want to go back to your twitter account and hit 'refresh' forty more times instead? Because you know that if you answer it from your place of truth that when you hit 'send' you very well might actually throw up from the feelings of anxiety. At the very least, your hands will get all sweaty and your heart rate will increase. Fun stuff being vulnerable. Really fun.

Ah well, I am going for it.

The question is: 'How would your classmates remember you?"

When I go deep on this question, to that place where I feel vulnerable (yuck), what comes forward is 'filled with drama'. I grew up with two brothers who have quite severe and ongoing medical challenges. My parents spent a great deal of time travelling with the boys to access medical care. Not wanting to increase their stress at home, I generally tried to stay out of the way and 'keep the halo shiny', especially when I was younger. I felt invisible though, like I didn't matter, and in my school environment I wanted to be seen. Thus, throughout my education, I tried to be seen in various ways: when I was younger, it was all about getting good grades and being the teacher's pet. I was fairly successful in this role, at least for several years anyway. As I grew older, it became less about adult attention and more about peer attention. I started to break the rules more and more, and I began to seek out the attention of boys.

Looking back, I can see the 'why' of all of this behaviour, but for a long time I held on to the feelings of shame associated with my actions. I started drinking and smoking from an early age, I struggled with body image and an eating disorder, and my boy-seeking behaviour got me into trouble on more than one occasion.

The truth is, I don't know how my classmates saw me. I don't know if they saw through all of my ridiculous drama to the pain and shame underneath. I kind of doubt it.

I say this because as teenagers, we generally aren't very compassionate or empathetic. We have a hard time getting past all of the 'stuff' that lies on the surface. Heck, we have a hard time doing this as adults a lot of the time! It isn't necessarily an easy thing to do.

At the end of high school, I suffered a loss that shook me to my core, that began the process of me waking up to the truth of my actions and their consequences. Throughout my entire school career, I had a best friend. Someone who stood by me and all of my crazy drama. Someone who listened patiently as my world 'fell apart' for the 49th time. She was truly an amazing friend. But, by the end of high school, she had had enough. She saw her opportunity to leave the friendship and she took it. And she has never looked back.

To say that this felt like the 'straw that broke the camel's back' is a huge understatement. At the time, losing this friendship felt to me like losing everything.

Today I am grateful for having suffered this loss. It has helped to mould and shape me into the woman that I am today... and I love my life. I love the way that I feel in it. When I was in school I was so uncomfortable with myself, so at odds with my life and everything that happened within it. I was suffering, and worse, I was continually seeking outside of myself for the source of this suffering, someone to blame.

What I know now is that I caused a great deal of my own suffering.
What I know now is that everything is unfolding perfectly (and it always has).
What I know now is that I am worth loving.
What I know now is that I can let go of shame.

Life is amazing and I am grateful.

xo MareBare

Monday, October 29, 2012

*Just* Another Four-Letter Word

As a very articulate almost-four-year-old, Chephren seems to have a gift for gab (no doubt that he got that from his mother, and yes, it can be a gift to be a talker, ok?)  He has also assigned himself with the distinguished role of 'word police' in our house - meaning that if he catches anyone (and I mean anyone) in earshot using any of his 'forbidden' words, namely the words 'dumb' and 'stupid', he will call you on it until you acknowledge the error of your ways.  He is freaky good at it.  You can be in the next room having what you think is a semi-private conversation and accidentally slip one of those words into your conversation and he will come charging in - making sure that you are brought to justice.  Drop in a few f-bombs however, and he won't even flinch.  Funny stuff, and hey, I said he was articulate, not a rocket scientist.



Another four-year-old characteristic is wanting to know the 'why' of these 'rules'.  In other words, I had better be able to come up with a good reason for why these words aren't allowed.  Fair enough.  I told him that these words aren't really that productive.  They aren't very descriptive.  There are better words out there to help convey your thoughts and feelings than these.  He seemed to think this was a good reason and, satisfied with my answer, we now find ourselves strictly monitored by an almost-four-year old.  I am ok with it.  I know that it won't last forever.



Living with a card-carrying member of the word police has helped me to get even more present with my speech.  If you have read any of the material on FIERCE Integrity, you will know that this is a big deal for me, in fact, it is one of the 'Big 3' sections of the full course (coming out soon, I promise).

This business of 'non-productive words' has gotten me thinking about similar words.  What other words do we use that really aren't productive?  One word that jumps forward when I ask this question is the word 'just', and I am not referring to 'just' as in 'justice'.  I am referring to the word 'just' as in 'I was just calling to' or, 'It was just the one time', or 'It will be ready in just a few weeks'.  When used in this fashion, using the word just is to casually understate the thing that it is describing, and what if that 'thing' is you?

Back in high school, there was a boy who was interested in dating me, let's call him Romeo (basically to ensure that you know I made it up and yes, I am aware that this is a really lame and self-indulgent track that I am taking and no, I don't care).  During this time, this boy would often call my house and ask to speak with me.  If I wasn't home (and I frequently wasn't), he would leave messages either with my parents or on the machine.  The messages varied from day to day, but they inevitably contained the phrase 'It's just Romeo calling'.  Hmmm...  Is it me or can you hear him already dismissing the possibility of me ever phoning him back?

I did phone him back, but we never did end up dating.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But you can never know for sure.

The point is, words are one of most powerful tools we have access to.  When we speak, we are essentially calling forth the reality that we would like to create.

How present are you with your speech?  Do you use any words thoughtlessly?  What words do you use that are perhaps 'less than' productive?  (Another word that jumps forward here is the word should).

Who gets to be the word police in your life?

MareBare xo

P.S.: Interested in reading another person's take on this 'four-letter word'?  Check out this article that talks about the harm of using the word 'just', especially in business settings.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

A little bit of sunshine!

The sun is not shining here today.  But is SO doesn't matter.

Watch this and you'll see why...


I am quite possibly the luckiest woman alive, EVER.  Well, in my opinion anyway.

Shout out to 'Mr. Sunshine's dad'... Happy Birthday baby.

MareBare xoxo

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The call is answered...

Earlier today I told the Universe that I wanted to write more.  Actually, I think I said, I want to be a writer, but then I also acknowledged that this meant I needed to write more and I committed to doing so.

A short while later, an e-mail from the people over at Storylane was delivered to my inbox.  This is yet another social media forum - this one inviting you to tell your story, er, I guess more like write your story.

Serendipitous, no?

So, the Universe answered my call and I, in turn, answered back.  I love it when the Universe and I really 'get' each other like that.

Here is my first post on that site.

(The question was: What are the greatest challenges in running a small company or start-up?  The post is called: When you don't quite fit inside the box)

I was at the Dermatologist's office today (not to worry, just having a harmless spot burned off my nose with liquid nitrogen... that was a 'special' experience!), and I had to fill out a big long form for the nice lady at the front desk. There were the usual (and relevant) questions pertaining to my medical history, allergies, age, blah, blah, blah etc. Oh, and also on the form? Occupation.

Really? On a medical form? Sigh. Fine. I scribble down a quick 'self-employed' and soon after, find myself being escorted into the exam room by none other than the dermatologist himself(!) 

'Ah yes, Maren, nice to meet you, my name is Dr. W., am I saying your name correctly?'

I should add here that I am currently suffering from a wicked case of laryngitis and sound like a croaky, squeaky, toad-like creature. Seriously. My voice is barely audible. You should see the look on people's faces when I try to talk. It's like I have the plague or something. 

But ANYWAYS, where was I? Oh yes, back to Dr. W. and his next question:

'I see here that you are self-employed, what do you do exactly?'

Seriously? How on earth is that relevant to the spot on my nose?

Hmmm... I quickly consider my choices. I could:

A. Smile, nod, and pretend that I didn't understand the question. (Downside - kind of rude and lacking Integrity) (PS - I just wrote a book on Integrity. Honesty is kind of a non-negotiable for me these days...)
B. Slide him my card with a big smile. (Downside - this would require a grace, preparation and ease. The reality would be more like me scrambling around in my purse for my card, past the dirty kleenex, old grocery lists, toy cars, and crayons which are all likely to end up on the floor. Nope. Not a good option...)
C. Attempt to croak out my 'list' as gracefully as possible. 

Sigh. C it is.

'Well, um. I do a lot of things. I teach yoga, I write, I am a life coach, and I am an educational consultant.' 

Wow. He looks uncomfortable. I am not sure if it is my voice or the crazy 'list' that I just choked and croaked out of me. 

I smile sheepishly and make a motion that I hope he reads as: 'bring on the liquid nitrogen Doc and let's get this over with.' He does, and I note that he seems very glad to oblige and get me out of his office asap!

So, finally, the answer to the question that inspired this post. I am in the 'start up' phase of building my writing/coaching business. The thing is, I currently do all of the things that I squeaked out to the kind Doctor. For me, one of the most challenging parts of what I do is trying to explain it to people. Our society isn't really 'set-up' for people like me. Heck, the taxation system isn't really set up for people like me either. 

One of the things that had previously been holding me back from chasing my dreams was just that. The fact that 'society says' I must be some sort of career person that fits inside a box. Boy do I detest boxes. I am like the Houdini of societal boxes. Put me in there and start the stopwatch to see how fast until I bust out! 

What else am I struggling with? 

Oh you know the usual stuff: 
-Sorting out my accounting and finances
-Figuring out ways to market and advertise
-Trying to self-teach myself about the the publishing industry
-Trying to figure out the various social media tools and use them wisely and effectively

Working for yourself has a lot of advantages, but some distinct disadvantages too. For one thing, right now I am a 'one-woman show'. I am my own accountant, marketer, publicist, and agent! All would be grand except that I don't really know how to do any of these things well. But, I am figuring it out and taking it one day at a time. Being gentle with myself as I go along and really, authentically, enjoying the ride. 

I LOVE what I do. It is my passion. This fact makes all of these challenges seem small in comparison with the fact that I am living out my dreams. 

Go and get yours!

You can see the post here:

http://www.storylane.com/stories/show/1102330113/when-you-dont-quite-fit-inside-the-box

If you want incentive to write or feel like connecting that way, let me know, I will 'follow you'...

Thanks for listening :)

xo

What do you want?

Have you ever wondered just exactly how many blogs are out here/there (wherever it is that we are meeting up in cyber space). 



Me too.  And I checked.  As of the end of 2011 there were 181 million blogs out there!!!  (If you want to read more on blogging stats, check out this article).  Wow.  That is a lot.

With that being the case, I am honored that you stopped by.  And even more honored if you read this blog regularly when there are clearly millions upon millions of other choices out there. 

So why blog?

Well, I can't speak for the other 179,999,999 bloggers out there (seriously, that is a LOT!) but for me blogging is a great outlet, a great escape.

I have always been into journalling.  I have dozens of journals lying around my house, some dating back to when I was a pre-teen.  Throughout my life I have been jotting down my ideas, my feelings and my life's happenings on a semi-regular basis.

I am also a 'sharer'.  If you know me personally, you would probably laugh at what an understatement this is.  So yeah, I like to talk.

What I particularly like about writing, blogging in particular, is that it is like talking but with a built-in filter.  I get to express myself as I normally would and then re-read and edit.  I am able to get really clear about what it is that I want to say and consider how it will be received by the listener, or in this case, the reader.

Since I started this blog back in 2010, it has changed me.  I find myself 'thinking in blog', which can be really annoying, especially when it wakes me up at night.  In fact, sometimes I will get up in the middle of the night, walk over to my computer, type a whole bunch of 'blogspeak' down and then go back to bed.  This post, yes, this one that you are reading, started out as one of my 'mid-night' ramblings.

Over the next little while, I am going to try to make sense of these mid-night inspirations and see if I can pick up where some of those ramblings left off.

A lot of posts stay hidden up there in the trappings of my mind because my inner critic tells me that they aren't 'good enough' to share, not worth of 'taking up space' on the internet.

Maybe that's true.  Maybe not.  What I do know is that I want to be a writer.  I want to be seen as a writer.  I wrote a book and I am going to publish it... (still trying to figure out the path for the book, but it is coming together).

As a writer I know that I need to write more.  Practice my craft.  No more excuses.

This feels like it is turning into a bit of declaration to the Universe.  Not what I had planned, but heck, I am going with it.  So expect to hear more from me.  Often.  A big thank you to my inner critic for your well-intentioned Service, but your services will no longer be needed in this department, at least for now.

Now it's your turn, what do you really want?  What are you doing to go out and get it?  What's stopping you?



Go out and get yours!
MareBare xo

PS: I might be onto something.  Here is an Abraham quote (Esther and Jerry Hicks) that I 'stumbled upon' yesterday:

'The entire Universe is set up to produce wanting within you!  You cannot squelch wanting.  You are born wanters.  Wanting is a good thing.  Write that down in big letters: WANTING IS A VERY GOOD THING!'

How very relevant... :)








Thursday, October 18, 2012

When all else fails...



Feeling a bit lost today...
Cure = yoga.  A home practice to be exact.  AND, I have always wanted to do one these videos.

I am so not a techie.  But I figured it out.  And I will only get better.  And I love how I look like I was dipped in silver.  And I love my home practice.

For all of you 'twitterers': #bucketlist, #homepractice, #yoga, #bliss

Forgot the song credit: Everything at Once by Lenka.  Love it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The results are in (there's an opportunity in here somewhere...)

Recently I was over at Postpartum and Pigtails, a wonderful blog written by a mom and Postpartum survivor, and I was particularly inspired by this post about 'Things I'm Afraid to Tell You'.  Andrea's bravery and willingness to be unbelievably vulnerable has inspired me to 'come clean' about a few things that are currently present for me as well.

Two days ago, I admitted to the world that I had written a book and even entered it into a publishing contest.  I titled the post 'Coming out of the writing closet' because that is kind of how it felt.  It felt vulnerable to share this information because of the potential consequences (read: FEARS).  What if the book doesn't do very well in the contest?  What if it doesn't even make it into the finals?  What would become of the book?  What would become of the project?

Since I submitted the manuscript at the end of September, I have been wrestling with this fear of failure.  I told myself that if I didn't really tell anyone about the book, it wouldn't really matter if it didn't do well in the contest.  For the most part, this worked, I was able to push the book and the contest from my mind and go about my business.  Then, for whatever reason, I woke up on Monday and decided to post about the book and the contest both on my Facebook page and on this blog, praying that the Universe would have my back on this one and 'reward' my bravery and vulnerability.

The Universe has my back alright, starting with the fact that I didn't need to wait until Friday (as expected) to find out if FIERCE Integrity made it into the finals.  I will save you the suspense.  It didn't.

And yet I know that all is well.  Everything is working out for the best.  And that in this situation there lies an opportunity.

To be honest, I don't know what I will do with the book.  I need to spend some time with it and check-in with my intentions for it.

Right now, I think the opportunity here is to love myself more.  To show myself more compassion than I have ever been able to show myself before.  

So, while there is a voice inside of me that feels less than or lacking, that feels it is 'not enough', there is also a voice inside of me that KNOWS it's not true.

TRUTH: I tried my best.  I literally could not do any more than I did.  And it is enough.  I am enough.

And for the record: this is what living with FIERCE Integrity is all about.

Much love,
MareBare

PS, I am pretty sure that Bungee Jumping was easier than all of this.  If you missed that video and you need a laugh, check it out.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Out of the writing closet and into the world...




I love the writing process... sometimes.  I recently wrote a nonfiction book, a book about living with FIERCE Integrity.  The book is in two parts, the first part tells about my own personal journey into living with FIERCE Integrity and how the whole concept came about.  The second part is the extended version of the course - living with FIERCE Integrity in thought, word and deed.  I submitted the manuscript to a publishing house contest on September 27th.  October 19th (FRIDAY) I find out if it makes it into round two.  

This morning, I am truly enjoying a luxurious ‘working’ morning.  Chephren is at preschool and I am sitting in the local coffee shop with a hot cup of tea in hand, clicking and clacking away on my laptop.  

If you are an avid MareBare blog follower (all three of you!), you may have noticed somewhat of a decreased presence on the blog over the past few months.  This is partly due to the book... after all, I set out to write 50,000 in less than 6 weeks (!), but it is also because my writing process has completely changed.  

If you were to sit down with me and ask me about writing the book, I would probably laugh and first respond with ‘actually, the book wrote me’.  What I mean is, I really feel that I was only a channel or a vessel for the content that came forward.  The best way that I know how to describe it is to say that I needed to ‘get out of the way’ in order for that book to be written.  I have heard other writers and artists describe the creative process in a similar way.  Your best work comes forward when you step into the ‘flow’.  

Which brings me to the true topic of this blog post.  Lately I have been trying to write on the blog and keep it current but every time I sit down, I have been experiencing writer’s block!  Remembering the experience of writing the book, this morning I have decided to simply sit down and write on whatever is present, whatever comes forward.  I am taking my own advice and simply getting out of the way.

The Universe has been kind enough to honor this intention and when I sat down to write this post, this quote popped up on my screen:

If someone prays for courage - do you think God gives them courage or the opportunity to be courageous?
If someone prays for patience - do you think God gives them patience or the opportunity to be patient?

I had written it down a week or so ago after watching the movie Evan Almighty with Chephren (it is a super cute family show if you haven’t seen it, in which Steve Carrell plays ‘Noah’ - as in Noah’s Ark and Morgan Freeman plays God). 

The quote above is said by Morgan Freeman and it struck a chord so I wrote it down.

What I love about ‘co-creating' with the Universe is the synchronicities that are so often associated.  For instance, the above quote is so very relevant today.  After submitting that book a few weeks ago, I was delighted to not have to think about it anymore.  This morning, for whatever reason, I woke up with FIERCE Integrity on the brain... counting sleeps until Friday morning.  Learning patience.  

And yet I know not to wish my life away.  I have four whole days of living to do before the fate of the book is learned.  The funny thing is, I know that it will be exactly what it needs to be.  I am totally at peace with any outcome.  And yet I am so very curious...

What are you learning today?

Shanti, Om
MareBare




Thursday, September 20, 2012

And She Finally Makes Her Point! - Part III

I have been talking... ok ranting, for the two posts about being uncomfortable and the fact that I needed to learn to get comfortable with this state of affairs.

So, why all of this talk about discomfort?  Well, in my experience discomfort tends to take me out of my centre.  In other words, it disturbs my peace.  I figured that if I could learn to 'get comfortable with discomfort' that I could avoid this disturbance and stay centred during the 'storms' that life throws at me.  That is my over-riding intention as of late.  To stay centred, peaceful, calm, in the face of, well, anything and everything.

Over the course of this series on discomfort, I have given you some examples of situations where physical discomfort has risen within me in recent times: being tired, being hungry, having low blood sugar, having sore feet, having a sore back, being cold... and I am sure that there are more but I have blocked them from my consciousness!  When you reflect back on your own life, I am guessing that you won't have to travel very far back in time to come up with your own examples, you might even be uncomfortable right now!  The fact is, physical discomfort is a reality of the human condition.  I would even say that it is inevitable, although using that word makes me uncomfortable (ha!).

An interesting observation that I have made within myself is how readily I seem to attach myself to my feelings of physical discomfort.  My reaction to discomfort has become so ingrained that I actually lose myself in the sensation of it.  I become it.

I become tired.  I become cold.  I become sore.  I become hungry.

In each of these situations, I allow the sensations that I am experiencing to permeate my being, my consciousness.

Notice that I used the word allow.  In other words, I am saying that I am making a choice.  This is important, because it means that rather than allowing, I also have the choice to not allow.

In the last post, I talked about the voice in my head and the inner knowing that lies in my heart.  When a situation arises that causes me to feel uncomfortable, here is an example of how it would typically play out in my head before I understood that it could actually look different.

Let's use being tired as an example.  As I shared earlier, for some reason, this physical sensation is one that really pushes my buttons!

Imagine this.  Let's say that I have a young child (if you have one, you likely already know where I am going with this!)  Imagine that this particular child is not a great sleeper.  In fact, this child loves to stay up as late as possible, wakes up often during the night, gets up early and quite often doesn't nap.  After a few less-sleep-than-usual days in a row, his parents are starting to get really tired.  Then the child has a really bad night because he is getting sick.  For the mom who really hates being tired, this is the last straw...

Ok, enough imagining.  That was me.  This type of scenario has happened to me before.  Several times.  Maybe even more than several.  And each and every time, until quite recently, this type of occurrence was enough to pull me out of my centre.  Actually, quite often it was enough to push me so far out of my centre that I would entertain feelings of despair.  I know what you're thinking.  Despair?  Because she's tired?  That doesn't make any sense!

And I would have to agree with you... now.  But when I was in it, my thoughts, the voice in my head, had taken the reigns and run away with the situation.  Rather than simply telling myself, 'Okay, you're tired, it's uncomfortable, it's no big deal, this too shall pass', I found myself saying, 'I can't get through the day, I am a terrible mom, my child will never sleep, Oh no, now he's sick, it is only going to get worse'.

Do you see where I am going with this?  Our thoughts create our reality.  If my thoughts were telling me that I couldn't do it, the fact is, I couldn't, or I did it but suffered greatly.  By simply waking up to the fact that I could change my thoughts and tell myself that all was well, the truth is, it was.

As of late, we have had a few sleepless nights with Chephren, one out in the backcountry when it was below freezing and he was getting sick with a cold (talk about an opportunity for the voice in my head to FREAK OUT), and then when we got home he spent a few hours of one night coughing so hard that he was repeatedly throwing up.

A beautiful (and cold!) morning in the backcountry

Now, I will admit the backcountry scenario did take me out of my centre a little bit, after all, we were a 6-hour kayak ride from the car and there was literally nothing I could do but wait until the morning and try to keep him warm, dry and comfortable.  I didn't sleep a wink.  But I got through it.  And I learned from it.  And I am grateful for having had the experience.

The night of throwing up?  Easy-peasy.  No dramas.  Didn't sleep much that night either, and I was feeling it the next day as I taught two yoga classes, but I managed to stay in my centre.  As I write this now, I can't help but smile to think about how far the voice is my head has come...

'By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your Light.  You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.'  ~ Gary Zukav from 'Seat of the Soul'

Shanti, Om.

MareBare

P.S.  I know that you probably don't want to hear this, but I think that I might have one more post about this topic in me.  Stay tuned for Part IV...





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Discomfort Continues: Part II



So yes, the backcountry trip.  With only a five-day turnaround planned between the Vancouver trip and the backpacking trip, I was already uncomfortable and I hadn't even packed!  I had committed to the trip on a last-minute whim when I heard that my good friend Darcie would be joining in on the last half of the 'Mega-hike' - a 9-day backpacking trip planned by my other good friends Mo and Jody (affectionately called MoJo).  First of all, let me just say that to refer to them as my 'good friends' is quite an understatement.  These girls are like my sisters.  Earlier this summer we even named ourselves 'The Four Directions'.  I just couldn't bare the thought of leaving them a direction short... lest they end up walking in circles!  Haha.  I jest, but seriously, it was an opportunity that I felt I couldn't turn down.

I had agreed to the backpacking trip prior to the Vancouver trip, thinking that it would be fine and that I would 'deal with it later'.  When 'later' arrived the voice in my head shook off some of it's new-found inner yin-like peace and gave me a stern talking to.  After all, didn't I have a responsibility to my young son and my husband?  Didn't I have work to do (I did just start a business after all)?  Didn't my mom, dad, and brothers need me?  Oh no!  I would be out of cell range!  What if something happened?  How would I know?  And ON and ON and ON.  Damn voice.  I wish that sometimes it would just leave me ALONE!

I am used to this voice.  We all have it.  Another way to describe it would be to call it the ego.  I would hazard a guess and say that some people's voices are quite a bit more loud and bossy than others.  Not only does the voice in my head possess both of these qualities, but it has a special knack for giving me a million reasons not to do what is really in my heart.  And what was in my heart was that darned backpacking trip with those three beautiful ladies!

My heart is getting smarter though.  It is learning how to manage that voice.  My heart sat that voice down, gave it a sucker, and told it that we didn't have to do anything for sure.  It told that voice that as a collective, mind, body and soul, we would continue to move in the direction of the trip.  Pack the bags, buy the food, plan for childcare etc.  BUT, it we got a single reason to call it quits, and it was VALID, from both the heart and the head standpoint, we would call it.  The voice seemed satisfied, after all, it had it's mouth full with the sucker.

Again, I am jesting here, but this is kind of exactly how it happened.  I didn't know if I was going to be going on the hike for sure until my boots were on, my pack was strapped to my back and I was walking up the trail, holding the space of the 'fourth'.

Of course, you know by now that I went.  I walked.  I talked.  I packed a big old bag for about 60 kms over 4 days.   And like most trips of this nature, it was wonderful and not-so-wonderful at the same time.  I haven't been on a similar trip since back in 2007... pre-CD (Before Chephren Dax :)  and I was pleased to find that all of my 'stuff' was still in working order.  Of course I did make a few 'rookie mistakes'.  Darcie and I hauled in my awesome single-walled four-season tent and I forgot how to set it up.  I also forgot most of the tent pegs (can you say, all but two?!), and one of our four poles was busted.  Don't worry, I redeemed myself by bringing in a huge lightweight tarp for us to use in case of rainy weather.  Oh, did I mention that I forgot to check if it had any guy-wires to set it up?  It didn't.  Oh well.  It made a good sitting cushion while we cooked under Mo's tarp.

If you have never done it before, backpacking can be quite physically uncomfortable, even if you have your gear sorted out and dialled in.  I mean, think about it, you are hauling around a 50+ pound backpack while you are trekking around in the mountains.  You are going to feel it.  And if you are a pro-star and you are claiming to not feel anything, than keep it to yourself.  My ego can't handle it.

Team MoJo hiked about 80 km before they got to us and they looked absolutely shattered from an exceptionally intense Day 5.  They elected to rest up at the hostel before heading back out onto the trail.  I would have ran for the hills after the day that they had, and I was secretly already plotting to move our party to someplace with hot springs, but those girls are Mountain CHAMPS.  Darcie and I were a bit in awe of team MoJo and decided that we were the Mountain Chimps hiking along with the true Champs.

Now that I am out of the backcountry, sitting in my kitchen, cozy in my warm house, I am reminiscing about what a wonderful trip it was.  This is quite odd, because in direct contrast to this thought, I can remember a few times walking on that trail, my back aching, my bad knee flaring, my hands freezing, and I can remember thinking, 'Oh my God.  When is this trip going to be over?  Why did I sign up for this?'  Ok.  Truth.  I am sparing you many of the more 'colorful' thoughts.

And yet, I would do it again.  In a heartbeat.

You know the expression, 'hindsight is 20/20?'  I say it's bollox!  My judgement has been completely clouded over by the wonderful people I was with, the two-hour lunch in the warm sunshine, bathing in the cool, fresh mountain streams, picking and eating fresh huckleberries, the amazing mountain scenery and all of the pictures in which I am wearing a HUGE grin!

Ah life.  So freaking awesome.

Get out there!  It might be uncomfortable, but often, it's SO WORTH IT!

So much love,

MareBare



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Getting comfortable with discomfort - Part I

I am back after another brief blogging hiatus.  I have been travelling quite a bit over the past few weeks, my first trip taking me to Vancouver to partake in a 50 hour Yin Yoga workshop with Bernie Clark.  This workshop was transformational.  I know, I know, more about transformation, but as someone who had previously engaged almost exclusively in the world of the more yang-styles of the practice, this workshop absolutely blew my mind!

One of the original 'Yinsters' and a MASTER teacher: Bernie Clark

The theme of the week for me was 'getting comfortable with discomfort'.  Yin yoga is a style of yoga where you perform a relatively few number of postures and hold each of them for a long time.  It is done mostly on the floor and a lot of props are often used to help you stay supported in the pose.  The main idea is to get the muscles to fully relax so that you can exercise the joints and connective tissues of the body.  What does it feel like?  Well, it feels like whatever part of the body you are targeting is in traction!  And if you have never had traction, well, it is kind of like having braces.  If you haven't had either, well you must be perfect and not need yin yoga.  No, I am just kidding.  Yin yoga is for everyone, and for those of you who have never experienced anything like it, the sensation that you are trying to create is a bit of a dull, achy sensation.  In other words, its a bit uncomfortable.

But this is only the physical side of the practice.  This style of yoga also has energetic benefits.  It works to unblock the energy meridians of the body -- the same ones that acupuncture and acupressure work on.  One of the catch phrases in Yin is that we all have 'issues in the tissues'.  This is alluding to the fact that we store emotions in our body as energy and when we unblock these meridians, these emotions come bubbling up again.  This is creates a wonderful opportunity to release this stored energy, which is very good for us, however, it can be quite uncomfortable.

What is more, Yin yoga also has many benefits for the mind.  Given how still you are for most of the practice, it is quite meditative in nature.  Again, this practice is quite rigorous in that it is asking you to quiet the mind amidst the relative chaos that is happening in the body - more about getting comfortable with the discomfort.

Not surprisingly, my need to get in touch with my 'Yin-side' (haha, no pun intended, but it is funny, get it?  In-side?) spilled out into the rest of my trip.  I felt like I was being tested - as if the Universe was saying, 'so you want to be more Yin do you...'  For starters, we had to get up each day at 5:30 in order to get to the sessions on time.  I am not a morning person and I typically to do not enjoy getting up so early.  Okay, that is a HUGE understatement.  Being tired is one sensation that I loathe and waking up after so few hours of sleep (I was staying with two friends and we tended to stay up LATE) would normally send me into a state of complete and utter panic.  This has been the case since I was a young child, and my family learned to steer clear of me in the morning lest they say the wrong thing or look at me the wrong way.  For me, being tired, especially first thing in the morning when my blood sugar is so low, is very uncomfortable.

I would be lying if I said that I woke up each day with a huge grin on my face, but I did manage to keep myself calm, cool, and collected.  My only incidents were on the first day where I nearly threw up as I was signing in at the studio (darn low blood sugar), and nearly knocking myself out as I left the house one morning, but otherwise, I simply took deep breaths into my low belly and rode out the discomfort I was experiencing.  I was surprised at how quickly the discomfort surrendered into ease.

More tests arose throughout the week, needing to sit on the floor for long periods of time, doing a lot of walking in shoes that had no business doing so, sharing a small space with two lovely gals and not getting on each others nerves and more.  In the end, I have to say that it was all much, much easier than I thought it would be.  I had a lot of fears going into the week, many of which turned out to be unfounded.  As I said at the beginning of this post, overall it was a great experience.  I learned a TON of information that I will be integrating in both my classes at the studio and my retreats in Nordegg.

Myself and my two beautiful travelling companions and roommates: Krista and Melanie


As Bernie would say, 'Yin is IN'... and I would have to agree!

Much love,
MareBare xoxo

P.S. If you want to know more about where I took this course: click here:
Semperviva Studios in Vancouver, BC

P.P.S Stay tuned for Part II of this post (coming soon) -- I took my new Yin-self into the backcountry with three beautiful gals!



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Evolution

I looked down at myself today, not at my body, but at my 'me-ness'.  I took a long hard look at what it is that makes me who I am.

I am changed.  Life has changed me.  I am no longer the me who I used to be.  Actually, it would be more accurate to say that in fact I am more of me than ever before.  More whole.

I had a chat with a friend today about control.  Needing to control life and the events that come our way.  I hate to break it to you, but control is a complete illusion.  An idea that we have manifested in order to bury our fear.  Our fear of being out of control.  Our fear of being afloat on a sea of chaos.

A lot of the changes that I have made in my life, both unconsciously and consciously, have been to let go of these fears.  To release the illusion that I am in control.  To allow it to be what it needs to be.

It is difficult to put into words how profound of an impact this process has had on my life.  I have been chipping away at this fear-based belief system from which I used to see the world.  Somehow, somewhere along the way, all of these small changes converged, resulting in a big change.  An irreversible change.  Transcendence.  I am no longer the me that I used to be.



How do I know this?  By being brave enough to peer into the mirrors of those around me.  Everyone that you surround yourself with is a reflection of who you are.  When I look around with me honestly and with Integrity, and with an open heart, I can't help myself from grinning like a fool when I think back to how far I have come.

And I love it.  All of it.  This journey through life is truly and utterly amazing.  It is so filled with GRACE.  And there are always more changes ahead, more lessons to learn.  This is what it means to evolve.

Bring it.

Much love from my open heart to yours,

MareBare

Thursday, June 28, 2012

2012: Year of the Dragon - We're Halfway!

What a whirlwind the past few months of been.  It has been a time of great change in my life.  A time of great transformation.

On some level, I must have seen this coming.  Back in November 2011, I wrote a post called 'The Winds of Change are Blowing'.  Um, ya think?!  And I didn't even know the half of it back then!  Blow they did and they just keep on blowing!  Actually, somedays I feel as though I am living in a hurricane!  I take great comfort in knowing that at the centre of the hurricane lies a space of calm and peace - the 'eye' of the storm if you will.  I have experienced both elements of this 'storm' over the past 6 months, both the fury and power of living in the vortex and the stillness that lies within its core.



Can you relate?

Back in March of 2010, before any of these changes became so apparent, I wrote a post about 2012 - and the 'End of the World as we Know it'.  I really have to laugh when I look back on my relationship with this concept.  10 years ago, I was gripped with fear about the state of our world and where I felt we were headed.  2 years ago when I wrote this post, I can see that the lightbulb was coming on and my awareness had started shifting away from fear and now today, I am living in that time period that I once feared so deeply.  From the eye of the storm, I am watching the shift that is taking place in all three realms of my consciousness: body, mind and soul. And let me tell you, is it ever cool!  What a gift to be alive in this time of great change on our planet!



So here we are, about halfway through the year 2012, the year of the Dragon (a Water Dragon to be more specific).  Ironically (not really though), in Chinese mythology the Dragon is a symbol of transformation.   There is that word again.  Transformation.  Have you ever sat with that word and fully considered what it means?



To be transformed literally means to change forms.  It is to be FOREVER CHANGED.  In other words, there is no turning back.

This past weekend I was blessed with the tremendous privilege of participating in the Wise Woman Solstice retreat in Nordegg, AB, as part of the Essential Life Series.  Led by (and including) the amazing healer Sarah Salter Kelly, eight women came together to hold sacred space for one another in order to facilitate personal transformation.  True to form, we were blessed by both of the Water Dragon's elements: water and fire to assist us in this process.  And yes, I am forever changed.



This experience helped me to release some things that were no longer serving me, creating space for something new to arise.  It gave me a glimpse of what is next on my journey.  But more than anything, it re-affirmed the importance of simply being me.

Being me in the face of fear.  Being me despite the risk of it being uncomfortable for me or someone else.  Being me because it is simply too much work to try to be anything else.



This is what the FIERCE Integrity Project is all about.  It is about getting at the truth of who you really are, and then deciding moment to moment to live from that place of your truth.  This space of truth is the eye of the storm.  This is the place of peace that exists within all of us.  And in this time of great transformation, the time is now.  The getting is GOOD!  You get to decide if you would like to get caught up in the fury of the storm, or find the centre and hold on.

How are you going to ride out the storm?

Much love to you on this amazing journey,

MareBare