Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grateful for an Equinox Retreat

As some of you know a few weeks ago I was having a rough time. I had made the realization that I may lose my house with this separation and it was hitting me hard. In the midst of this horribly emotional week I received an e-mail from my dear friend Dom. She was going to hold an Autumn Retreat at her wonderful brainchild The Creative Wheel Centre. This was to be her first W.I.N. (Women In Nature) retreat, and was I interested. I was ecstatic to discover it was on a weekend that the boys were going to be at their Father's house. It was just what I needed.

So Saturday morning, I packed up my camping gear, and my bike, and headed to Creative Wheel to see what I might discover about myself with Dom as my guide. There were five women that were committed enough to brave the cold, dreary weather. That were committed enough to spend a weekend in an unheated building, with no electricity, or running indoor plumbing. That were committed enough to be honest with themselves about the stuff that they needed to explore.

We began the weekend by taking an oath of confidentiality in order to respect each other and make the retreat a safe place for everyone.(so I will only talk about my own experiences) We then moved on to breaking in Dom's new set of Medicine Cards. We passed them around, and each drew a card. When I drew my card two stuck together, and since it wasn't my first time drawing cards I knew that I should keep both. These cards were drawn with the intention of finding a guide for the duration of the weekend. The cards that I drew were the BUFFALO(prayer and abundance), and the LIZARD(dreams). These were very appropriate guides for my weekend since one of my main goals was to start the process of manifesting my dream clinic/retreat centre.

Later in the day on Saturday we were taken on a "shamanic journey" in order to discover our true spirit guide. This was a 20 minute process where we were lying comfortably on the floor while Dom drummed for us. We were guided to search for an "opening" to the underworld where we would meet at least on animal that would tell us if they were or were not our spirit guide. Unfortunately I was not able to find the opening to the underworld because I was constantly interrupted every time I set out on my journey by people in my life. I did not get frustrated about this, but decided to contemplate what it means. Which I am still doing.

That night I slept alone in my tent. I was totally dead to the world, which I didn't realize until the next morning when Dom asked if I heard her restart the fire at 3am. The answer was "no".

Sunday we spent the morning chatting by the fire, drinking coffee and eating wonderful oatmeal. The afternoon was spent hiking in the rain up the mountain. We did so quietly, paying attention to the Earth and taking MANY pictures, mostly of mushrooms. At the top of the mountain we had tea, and made a small fire where we drew another card while asking a question. We also made a small tobacco offering to thank the Universe for all that we have.

The question I asked at the top of the mountain was, How will I accomplish my goal of creating my centre? The guide I got was the Squirrel(gathering). This is the perfect guide for that particular journey.

The entire weekend offered me many ideas to think about. It also helped me towards a much more concrete idea of what I want my future to look like. I met some really very amazing women. Dom is hoping to hold a W.I.N. retreat in each season. I hope that I will be able to continue attending them. Dom hopes that I will become a co-facilitator with her. This is an exciting, and very frightening idea.

The weekend was EXACTLY what I needed. I am very grateful.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Simple Pleasures

One of the things that you need to do as a single person, well really any person, is find the pleasure in simple things. I find this helps me to remember who I REALLY am. My simple pleasures are just mine, they are very rarely created by my connections to others,. They are also experiential, usually something I can enjoy as a little moment in my day, not realted to a specific accomplishment. We all have our "public personnae", simple pleasures give us little breaks to re-connect with our true selves. Take some time this week and think about or even enjoy some of your simple pleasures.

Jennie's List of HER Simple Pleasures

  • The first slice of cheese after the block has been grated (my tongue loves the feel of the ridges)
  • The sound of a 2 year old laughing, there's no better sound in the world (this is the single reason I would give up my eyesight before my hearing, hands down)
  • Hearing a song that takes me back to a WONDERFUL time in my life (there are many songs and times, I hear at least one of these a day)
  • Eating a perfectly cooked potato (it must be very soft, like eating silk)
  • Holding a baby that has curled up in a ball against my chest(E used to do this, arms pulled in tight, knees up to his chest)
  • Driving a really amazing road, beautiful scenery, hilly, and curvy (the canyon roads North of LA are perfect examples)
  • Drinking a TAZO soy chai, iced in summer, hot in winter (takes me to a happy place for at least 30 minutes)
  • Getting into a freshly made bed, sheets preferably line-dried
  • Feeling some truely lovely fibre, alpaca, marino, possum
These are just a few items, off the top of my head. You can tell looking at them that I am a audio and tactile person.

I would love to hear what some of your simple pleasures are, please share.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I know it isn't New Years yet, but hear me out. Last year I realized that to the people of the earth involved with school the beginning of the school year is the REAL New Year. This is the time of new beginnings for teachers, students, and parents. We've all had a long break, a break that throws our routines, schedules, and good/bad habits out of whack. Then along comes some arbitrary day, for most following Labor Day, and all of a sudden we need to find those routines and schedules again. I figure that while I'm at it, I might as well try and make some improvements along the way. That is why I have proclaimed the return of my kids to school as MY New Year.

I don't even remember what last year's "resolutions" were, I'm sure that I failed miserably as at this time last year I was full on miserable about the state of my marriage. I'm sure that just like I always do I resolved to be better at cleaning, lose weight, eat healthy, blah, blah, blah.

This year I need to do all of those normal resolutions that just about everyone seems to have, but this year I have some that are a bit more specific to me, or at least to my current situation.

#1. I resolve to have one day a week that is "YES Day". A day that as long as it isn't going to hurt anyone, and a couple things that need to get done happen I will say YES to my children and their requests of me and my time.

#2. I resolve to stay on top of the things I NEED to do. This is a relatively "common" resolution I know, but for me, this year, it will be an important one. For me it will mean proving to myself, and my Ex that I am capable of taking care of myself and my boys. In this category will be little things like staying on top of the housework, keeping up with bills, remembering the boys school "schedule", as well as bigger things like purging my house, and dealing with the lawyer right away. I'm realizing after putting it all into words, that ALL of that might be BIG things.

#3. I resolve to make sure that the people I Love feel Loved. I will make more effort to stay in touch with my family and friends. I will make more of an effort to remember and acknowledge birthdays. I will be as considerate and giving as I can be. My family in particular are very supportive and giving people, they deserve to know how much I appreciate them.

#4. I resolve to bring my expectations of my Ex down into line with the reality that I know. For some reason I have had this hope that my Ex would suddenly become "Super Dad" now that we are separated, and as such I have spent the past six months disappointed for my boys, and resentful. I now realize that it is wrong of me the expect him to be anything more than he always has been. I need to let that go so that I can be the MOTHER that my boys deserve.

#5. I resolve to enjoy life. I tend to be a thinker, researcher, and worrier. these things were all pretty good attributes when I was a teen with outgoing friends(I have always been a mother hen), but now as I get older I feel that it holds me back. I have never been impulsive, out going, or (most sadly) PASSIONATE. I will take some baby steps here, since spontaneity is a pretty big deal for me. I will make more effort to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. I will also STOP thinking through the entire situation before deciding to go forward. I do not have a crystal ball, I cannot see how something will end, so why should I say no based on the outcome that my imagination created?

I'm confident that this "year" will bring many changes, many improvements. I hope that with this list to guide me I'll be one more step towards having it all "together". I am finally beginning to create a new life for myself and my boys, and I'm really excited to see where it takes us.

What are your New Years Resolutions?

Friday, September 3, 2010


My sister has a cute little name for me that I think she means in the nicest possible way. My little sister calls me a "new-age hippie freak". I have decided that I like this name. It does actually suit me.

I grew up and came of age in the Nineties, the "grunge" generation. I love my jeans, t-shirts, and army boots. I've had many different hair colours, and got my first tattoos and piercings at a relatively young age.
I was also raised in the country, by parents that were pretty self-sufficient. My father BUILT the house I grew up in, he was an angler, a hunter, and an artist. My mother is a gardener, a crafter, a cook, and a very energetic woman. I grew up eating food from our garden, from the lake at the cottage, and from the wild. I was blessed with an upbringing that very few of my generation got to experience.
I am also a massage therapist. The massage world has helped mould me into someone that is relatively spiritual, but not Christian. I believe in the "energy" of the world and all people and things that live in it. I have a distinct fondness for Birkenstocks and long skirts.
These are some of the things that have had an impact on creating the ME that I am. I think none of the above would be a surprise to anyone that has met me, I feel I really do live based on those influences. I am a pretty happy mess most of the time :)

I felt I needed to share that before I moved forward with my post, since those items have influenced the DREAM that I have.For some reason I feel like sharing it with you. This is a dream that I am pretty confident I will achieve. It is also a dream that causes me(along with MANY other things) to be reluctant to find a partner. I'm concerned that I would end up sacrificing my dream if someone else came into my life.

So what is this DREAM you ask? It really is a relatively simple dream, really a dream for a simple life as well.
I want to run a combination massage clinic/Yoga and Nia studio/artist retreat.

My home will be smallish, just big enough to fulfill the needs of myself, my family, and my business. I love the idea of a round home and have fallen for Mandala Homes How gorgeous are they?
My clinic will most likely be above my garage in an effort to have a small footprint. I currently plan to have two treatment rooms, an office, a reception area, and a Yoga/Nia studio. Depending on the space I may drop it down to just one treatment room. Hopefully the studio will have a large wall of mirrors that will overlook the pond.
I also intend to build a couple little cottages. these will be at the far end of the property so that they will be private. these will be the art studios. I would like to have one set up for conventional visual arts, and the other for more textile type arts. They will also have sleeping quarters and a small kitchen. I would like to have communal meals as much as possible.
I will also have a very extensive vegetable garden and a small orchard. Much of what we eat will come from the property.

I already have a piece of land. It is just under three acres. It is wooded and has a pond that takes up about one acre. All I need now is to get moving, simplify, cut back, and save.

I think that this would be an amazing way to live my life. It's what I will be working towards.