Leaning Towards Pain

My good friend and highly skilled-physiotherapist helped me with my arm today. She encouraged me to keep stretching it, even though it hurts. With a worried look, I meekly agreed.

This reminded me that this is exactly what one of my favourite teachers, Pema Chodron, advises so wisely and simply in her book, “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.” Leaning toward that which hurts us. My arm and amygdala (brain threat centre) scream “No!” but I know that this is the only way to finding lasting relief from this particular pain.

My painful elbow is teaching me in so many ways…

Blood. Sweat. Tears.

I am typing today with only my left hand while my right arm is in a sling with frozen elbow syndrome. Very painful and so far, unresponsive to treatment. I can add this to my list of medically mysterious symptoms I’ve had over the course of my life. I can learn to sit with the pain, with great patience, get more comfortable asking for and receiving help, and practice self-compassion when guilt and worry creep in.

What does make sense to me is that I walk the path of the Mystic, as someone who bridges Earth and spiritual realms, and this path is not easy.  Caroline Myss writes, “Perhaps no archetype is more coveted by my students, or more misunderstood than the Mystic. Many want to believe that they have mystical inclinations, yet underestimate how arduous the genuine mystical path is. When they find out, they’re usually happy to let someone else have this role. The lives of the world’s great mystics often included extraordinary states of consciousness such as prolonged ecstatic trance, and preternatural abilities of precognition or bilocation. Yet they also contained sometimes great physical as well as spiritual suffering, hard work, and mundane activities that made up much of their days. If you truly want to name this archetype as part of your sacred consortium, ask yourself if you are ready to pay the price in blood, sweat, and tears. If mystical consciousness is something you engage in once a day during meditation, or on a weekend retreat or a yoga workshop, you may be a spiritual seeker, but not a Mystic.”

Blood. Sweat. Tears. Frequent, strange, beautiful supernatural experiences. The path of the Mystic. YES! IT RESONATES!

Learning to Stay

I ventured back into yoga today to my favourite Yin Yoga class with Maureen Rae. Every part of my mind, body and spirit soaked up the experience. Afterwards I thought about how yoga trains the body to Stay in the present moment, paying attention to the ease or discomfort in your body, making adjustments as necessary, allowing a trial-and-error approach. I thought how my little dog Barney has learned to Stay and quiet his wiggly little body for a minute or so, developing a wee bit of self-control. It takes practice. I thought about how many of us prefer certainty, a “how-to-in-5 easy steps” approach to things, we hesitate on trying things as we are reluctant to make “mistakes.” I’m setting the intention to stay open to the hidden gifts of the present moment and to the endless possibilities of beginner’s mind.main-qimg-085cbcc8724a01f53b5442f55c95baba-c

Winter: a time for reflection

As the winter settles in around us, we see a chilly transformation happening outside. I am feeling the cold bite of winter inside, as I let go of that which no longer supports my soul’s growth. Letting go of the old, familiar and comfortable is hard. Yet in doing so, there is space for new, warm and nourishing energy to come in. Life lessons are learned. I’m working to hold both experiences at the same time, with gratitude and compassion for myself and others.

A New Name, An Open Heart

My little blind rescued dog Barney has opened my heart wide, wider than I could have ever imagined. I am now living fully, wholeheartedly embracing all of life, including moments of brokenness, suffering and pain. I was inspired to change the name of my practice from “Beyond Wellness Integrative Health” to “Open Heart Healing Arts” to better reflect what I now bring to my company. Namaste.