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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

I just had a healing epiphany.

Knowing Meaning in Chaos

Its hard to remember all those passwords, right? 10 years ago when I was still a geneticist, I came up with a little saying, and used various combinations of the letters from it with numbers and symbols so that I would (be more likely to) remember all those passwords. The idea was the statement would be a meaningful to me, but not something anyone else would guess.

Here, for your eyes only, is my secret statement: Wrench Meaning From Chaos.

I admit I really did have that lofty goal at the time: “Damn, Life is Confusing! So part of my Life’s mission will be to find the Meaning in that Chaos.” Remember, I was a geneticist and all those mutagens, carcinogens, toxins, and radiation in the lab might have contributed to delusions of grandeur.

Fast forward to today. It started to rain in the afternoon. I got sleepy. I’d gotten solid work done on my Dissertation, so did as my body asked and went home for a nap before dinner.

The nap took over, I just couldn’t wake up, kept resetting my alarm. Then at 6pm, in that state between waking and sleep (theta brain waves?), “Wrench Meaning From Chaos” popped into my head. And it was like I really understood it for the first time. And literally smacked my forehead. Duh! Why hadn’t I thought of this before?!?

Finding meaning in Chaos could be a fine public service. Except that’s not how I wrote the statement. “Wrench Meaning from Chaos” implies struggle, implies trying to wrench secrets out of the Universe, out of Nature.  Its… kind of violent. Kind of arrogant. Kind of disrespectful.

And it certainly doesn’t serve the kind of Life I want to live now! But I hadn’t thought about it for years. And everyday, for the past 10 years, when I login to my email, withdraw money, check FB, those passwords always remind me of their root: Wrench Meaning From Chaos.

So a decade later, I admit my life has often been a Struggle, with a lot of illness, frustration, setbacks, just feeling stuck and “off”.  But there has been incredible joy, breathtaking experiences, fabulous opportunities, and a lot of love and friendship. And especially in the past two years when the illnesses wouldn’t let up, a LOT of learning and evolving.

I have indeed wrenched some Meaning from Chaos, and the price has been this underlying feeling of Struggle. That things are disproportionately difficult. Even though I am identifying and changing limiting beliefs, eating well, meditating (well, sort of), learning how energy works, going to bed earlier, etc.

What impact has that ever-repeated statement had on me? One of the reasons we enlist Healers to help us on our Journeys is because we often have blind spots, and its easier for others to notice them and give us the opportunity to overcome them. But this was my secret protected statement, and no one had found it.

Yesterday I was learning about NLP, and was playing around with the statement “I recognize profound healing is happening right now.” And so it is. I know what to do. My new secret statement is “Knowing Meaning in Chaos”. I’m changing all my passwords.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll figure out what does. Because the only thing that is certain is change. And our answers truly come from within.

Keep Shining,

Julie

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I was supposed to be working on my Thesis. But when Lissa Rankin’s newsletter sailed into my Inbox, I couldn’t resist reading her post. The ever-inspiring Lissa’s uber-inspiring post was about what she was going to do with Chris Guillebeau’s surprise $100 investment in each of the participants at his World Domination Summit (this is Good Domination, folks, not Dark Side Domination). He asked everyone in the audience to invest the $100 he gave them in changing the World.

Lissa decided she would pay it forward and invited everyone reading her blog post to share how they would use the $100. So I patted my Thesis on the head and told her I’d be back later, and posted how the $100 could be used to help spark one of my Dreams: to found Flourish Youth Centre in Georgetown, Guyana, for disadvantaged children and youth.

The idea is a youth centre that would provide a loving, inspiring, and enriching environment for youth. It will be a drop-in centre to offer supplemental programming to existing homes and orphanages in Georgetown (such as Joshua House, where I have volunteered).

Kids (& a puppy) at Joshua House who could benefit from Flourish Youth Centre. Sept 2011

There are so many kids out there who just don’t get a good start to life. Maybe they are AIDS orphans. Maybe they are abused at home. Maybe they live in grinding poverty.  Whatever the case, if they have a safe, loving, stimulating environment to go to, that can go a long way to helping them flourish, to become everything they can be. I want to be part of a place like that, in partnership with local friends who believe, like me, that things can be even better in Guyana.

Part of the mission of Flourish would be to help children and youth connect with the more-than-human-world, so with animals and plants. There is little infrastructure in Guyana to take care of unwanted animals, and I do not know of any therapeutic use of animals there (for example, caring for horses, dogs, and so many other species has been found beneficial to traumatized children and youth). There are so many possibilities to create an enriching environment for young people; I see especially animals, permaculture gardens, and lots of music and arts.

I see Flourish Youth Centre as part of a network with other similar organizations, projects and centres. For example, I am inspired by Projeto Sol and Boikarabelo (featured in documentary, Angels in the Dust), and the rural residence of the Dogo Dogo Centre I visited in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Today, I was supposed to be working on my Thesis. But when Lissa Rankin’s newsletter sailed into my Inbox, I couldn’t resist reading her post. And discovered Flourish Youth Centre will get one of the $100 investments generously donated by Lissa’s readers!!!

I cried. This is the first investment in Flourish. One more beautiful step towards the Dream becoming Real.

To Lissa and the generous donors inspired by her post, thank you with all my heart and soul!

Keep Shining,

Julie

Working horses in Georgetown, Guyana, could also benefit from linking youth with the more-than-human-world through Flourish Youth Centre.

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It’s my b-day, and this has been quite a year of learning. as i marauded around in my rainbow tie-dye dress on my broken bike, enjoying a beautiful day with family and friends, i thought of all the time and money i’ve spent learning, and some things i just feel i need to share ASAP, because they could be so useful to you. so i decided to just fire off a short little post of Things Everyone Should Know.

1. the every day World is absolutely magical. many of us take that for granted.
2. for example, breathing is amazing. there are advanced techniques to learn, for sure, but even just noticing your breath is so grounding. Breathe deep!!!
3. Drink lots of water. but make sure its filtered or distilled or from a safe natural source! that chlorine kills off the bad bacteria that could be in City water… and kills off your microflora that you need for healthy digestion.

4. The Industrial Agri-Business has way too much power over our food. those nice “percentage of daily value” on vitamins and minerals? that is what the food contained BEFORE it was processed. For example, with canned fish they make great promise of the Omega-3s you’ll reap, but those values were measured in the fish BEFORE canning. canning at high heat destroys heat-labile Omega-3s. why do they get away with this misleading labelling? because they have a powerful slick effective Lobby.

5. live according to your values. humans are self-justification machines, and we can convince our rational mind, for example, that it is OK to eat factory farmed meat, or buy clothes made by child-labour, or drive a car when we could walk/bus/bike, but your heart & soul know that every dollar is a vote.  we shape our reality in many ways, and money is just one way to exchange energy. right now, in Western culture, your consumer choices largely determine what corporations do. so tell them to play nice, ‘K?

6. i listened in on Bec Robbins recent telesummit with 30+ health & wellness, spiritual, and financial experts. as per a lot of previous learning, a key to happiness that kept coming up: express gratitude. whatever you express sincere gratitude for, you’ll get more of it.

7. another key to happiness: have your own meaningful Daily Practice.

more on all that soon!

Keep Shining,
Julie.

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I felt Jinxed.

Before heading to my Office, I somehow don’t quite put a bottle of rose water back on the cupboard shelf. It falls to the ground, and the glass bottom very neatly snaps off. All the rosewater, not so neatly, makes an aromatic puddle on my kitchen floor. But I’m grateful there are no shards of glass, I clean up barefoot.

Since my IBS is back, so I’m in frequent pain or discomfort, I bring my trusty “bean bag” for the first time with me to the Office. We grad students have access to a microwave and fridge (and couch) in the room off from the main computer room, so theoretically we could work in the windowless, airless room 24/7. Note: the windowlessness will be important later.

Before a the bathroom break down the hall, I toss the beloved bean bag into the microwave to re-heat it a bit. I set it for 47 seconds, well under the recommended 2 minute max. Or so I thought.

While washing my hands, I remember my new shell earring is causing some trouble, the earlobe is hot and slightly swollen. Instead of hightailing back to my Office, I pause to check the piercing. Then stroll back.

Even before I reach the first door, into the computer room, I smell smoke. I punch in the code, open the door… and hear the microwave running! Which got me running. I open the microwave door, and thick black smoke billows out, filling the room. Choking, I manage to shut the microwave door, shut the small room’s door, shut the main room, so I’m in the hall. Even with three shut doors between the immolated bean bag and the hall, the smoke smell is strong.

OK, OK. The microwave fire was nowhere near as bad as this, but a Sledgehammer all the same. “Fire Wizard”, Kanata May 2010. Photo Credit: Curtis Chaffey

For someone who strives to step lightly on our Earth and have a positive impact on others, it was not a stellar day.

I had single-handedly caused our building’s staff, security, and the local fire department to have to deal with my mess, and caused part of the building to be evacuated, including disrupting a conference on mental health and social justice. Even the lobby smelled of smoke hours later. And apparently the microwave was unsalvageable. Now we grad students do not have a microwave.

And all because of two little mistakes… punching the wrong time in on the microwave (unless it malfunctioned… guess I’ll never know). And leaving it unattended for longer than planned. Circumstances didn’t help: I brought the beanbag because I was sick. Had there been windows, I could have opened a window, and hoped no one would notice my mistake. But instead, I had no way to clean up my own smoke-mess in a windowless room.

The day before, I watched Bec Robbins’ interview with Gay Hendricks, and he talked about his own life-transformation. If you don’t listen to the Universe tickling you with a Feather, the Universe will get your attention with a Sledgehammer. (Martha Beck calls particularly large and life-changing sledgehammers “Your Rhinoceros”.  They can hit real hard.)

What if all this silly time and energy wasting drama was the Universe’s (smoking-gun) Sledgehammer? What if that combination of little mistakes leading to a big nuisance was symbolic of some little mistakes in my subconscious programming, some limiting beliefs that were fueling a painful time and energy wasting fire in my own body and life? As Martha put it in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, imagine your mind is like a Word document. And it has a typo. You can keep running around brandishing Liquid Paper, trying to fix the print-outs of that file. But its way better to call up that file on your computer and fix the typo at the source.

I need to find my mind’s typos.

So my task is to identify and release those beliefs once and for all, which will likely take a daily practice. I’m all for sudden insight and transformation, but also more than willing to put in the time it might take to rewire my brain.

Whatever it takes, Universe, I’ll do it.

Have you succeeded in ditching your limiting beliefs? Let me know, dear Guru!

Keep Shining,
Julie
Update – the Universe apparently was not satisfied with the impact of the microwave fire Sledgehammer, so for good measure, I locked myself out of my (smokey-smelling) Office a few hours later, then dealt with some heartbreak, and then got even more violently ill than before. Universe, didn’t you read this Blog post?!?

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This song was written in January 2012 in honour of missing & murdered Indigenous women. The song was sung  at the Families of Sisters in Spirit 2nd Annual Day of Justice Rally (14 Feb 2012, noon, Parliament Hill). This is a demo recording. Please show your support of Families of Sisters in Spirit‘s inspiring work!

For Our Sisters in Spirit
By Julie Comber, Jan 2012

she is your mother, she is your daughter,
your sister, wife, cousin, granddaughter,
she is your aunt, niece, partner, your friend
what if she never came home again?

if she disappeared
imagine all your fears

and if she were found
wouldn’t you move the whole damn world,
just to go get her
and if she died,
wouldn’t you be tempted to get revenge,
even if you know better (x2)

if she cried
wouldn’t you notice?
needed help
wouldn’t you care?
wouldn’t you be there?

how to understand
cruelty by our fellow man
Our society is to blame
why do we allow this shame?

how many Indigenous women
will go missing before you listen?
how many Indigenous women
will be lost before you listen?

First Nations, Metis, Innu
Aboriginal, Inuit, me, you,
every human being
is a miracle, has a dream
no one should ever take a life away
and how are we each complicit every day?

we need change right now
stop asking when or how
The change begins when you dare to care
for women here, there, everywhere

she is your mother, she is your daughter,
your sister, wife, cousin, granddaughter,
she is your aunt, niece, partner, your friend
what if she never came home again?

if she disappeared
imagine all your fears

and if she were found
wouldn’t you move the whole damn world,
just to go get her
and if she died,
wouldn’t you be tempted to get revenge,
even if you know better (x2)

the change begins when you dare to care. (x2)

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I watch the Hiawa resin become a boiling liquid uniting tobacco and sage, nourishing a lovely orange flame. Nestled within the shell given to me on the South March Highlands by Charles. The local and Rupununi Medicines meld into an aromatic honouring of the Full Snow Moon and of the Land. It is now midnight. A year ago at this time, I was hoping to steal a few hours sleep before meeting with over 20 people, pre-dawn, to surround the cutting machine at the Beaver Pond Forest.

I have just attended a meeting about the South March Highlands (SMH). I like that the meeting is on the full moon. Those working to protect SMH noticed good things often happened for the Forest on the full moon. Good seeds were planted at the meeting, seeds that will grow up strong and help to save this beautiful Land.  The loss of the Beaver Pond Forest part of SMH was a heartbreaking defeat.  But there is much to Celebrate, too.

After the meeting, Martin kindly takes Kurtis and I to the work-site where we took Action a year ago.  Over the summer, the Forest was recovering.  But just over a month ago, the site was stumped.  I go deeper onto the Land than my friends, searching for something. All is still, brightly lit by the moon, and strange.  I follow the icy machine path through tall snow-topped piles of shredded wood that had once been stumps.  I realize I’m hoping, irrationally, to find the Five Trunked Tree.  I turn back to rejoin the others.  Such a beautiful, clear, full moon night, and our Sacred ground freshly wounded.  Again.

Kurtis is interested in trying a tree-sit, and I suggest he do it in solidarity with the proposed Occupation of the Land threatened by the Expansion of Highway A5, near Wakefield.  Which reminds me of Albert Dumont‘s Ceremony a few days before, in honour of the Tree “who’s seen 300 Winters”.  I bounced ideas off Albert that the Gatineau Hills and the South March Highlands were two high points, back 10,000 years ago when the Champlain Sea covered the Ottawa Valley. So I feel protecting one benefits both. And that we should build solidarity between these Movements.  My first visit to the 300 and 200 year old trees, I was delighted by the Tree Art – and all the ribbons. Reminded me of going out under the Dec 2010 full moon to tie the first wave of Prayer Ribbons on the Trees at the Beaver Pond Forest.

Resistance is Beautiful.

Each of us has unique gifts to give this world, and in these particular struggles, a unique and important role to play. Together, we form a wondrous web of light, a web of light that shines in defeat and in victory. A web that stretches from the Highlands to the Gatineau Hills to the Hiawa Trees on Surama Mountain, and beyond.  Let’s help each other shine bright!

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two years ago on this day, my brother, his now wife, and i brought our beloved Edna to the airport.  she was going to Guyana for her elder sister’s funeral.  after many hugs – those warm, soft, enveloping hugs we’d been so lucky to have all our lives, she went through security.  we watched through glass as she walked confidently towards her gate, and out of sight.  it was the last time we saw her alive.

every summer, Edna would make raspberry jam, and give it to all of us, and friends.  Secretly, we were all hoarding our last jars of jam.  when i missed her i’d find that jar, and maybe taste a tiny bit.  So in honour of her, her generosity and kind spirit, we got the idea to get together and make raspberry jam on the bitter-sweet anniversary of those last hugs.  the first year, we put portions of Edna’s last batch in our new batch.  and every year we put a little bit of last year’s jam in the new year’s jam, and like that there is always a connection to Edna’s lovingly made jam.

of course if something went horribly wrong and all the new jam was lost, as long as there are raspberries, a lovingly made batch of raspberry jam IS a beautiful connection to Edna.  but i do like that there is the physical connection, too.  its like Kombu tea or the soup that keeps boiling on the fire or a friendship cake.   it is continuity within change.  it is the beauty of grief and the taste of healing.

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