Where freedom is found

IMG_0997Some days send me a gift. Like this vision of the water at the end of the street around the corner from my home. I turned the corner and, here, suddenly it feels like I’m in California.

I gaze at the water on the horizon… I pretend it’s the ocean and I’m walking westward.

I drop myself fully in the feeling of being in California walking toward the Pacific Ocean a short distance away. I feel myself melting, relaxing.
I consider why the flavour and the feel of the west coast soothes me in ways that Toronto seems to fall short. It comes down to a feeling of freedom and so the gift of today is to show me, freedom is a state of being, internally, either available wherever I am or, in fact, not at all.

This isn’t easy for me to fully embody at most times. I need to build this muscle of knowing and feeling myself to be free.

I walk down the street, amplifying California in my cells, and make my way to the water. This was not the original plan but I didn’t know setting out of my house today that I would be visiting the west coast.

This body of water is not the ocean, we call it a great lake but with the wind being what it is today on this vividly bright, beautiful fall day, it feels like the ocean. Waves crash onto the shore. To my ears the sound is music. The mist travels on the wind and gently sprays my face. I sit on the beach for a while and I watch the seagulls too, and they are a trip.

This is what they do.

In the air, wings spread, they are carried by the wind. It is all allowing.
A slight tuck, here and there, a slight re-angling, a slight withdrawing of the wings has them slip through the wind, drop down to a landing if they would like or be carried a little differently in the sky. All of them offer this allowing and surrender to the wind.
There is not a single one attempting to fly against the wind. They don’t do it. There is no imposing of will on the direction of the wind. There is no struggle.
Just a simple allowing of being carried by the wind. I consider how I’m witnessing intelligence and wisdom here.
And also, the most free of all creatures.


Nana’s Kitchen

gerald-a.-frank-crone-in-the-kitchen

Crone in the Kitchen by Gerald Frank

My grandmother stands
at the large wood stove
in her kitchen built of stone
at a time before the luxury of pipes and running water.
(do you remember to stop for her and see such as luxury?)

Actually, her kitchen sits unchanged
maybe for centuries
still not knowing such luxury.
Maybe just more broken open,
overgrowing, overrun.

9 years old
on the first visit here to her farm
Old enough to be aware
of where I am
Old enough to save a memory

the rural hillsides, a village called
Boljkovci

Her kitchen is always dark,
this little freestanding hut
built away from the main house (of 2 rooms)

It is ancient. It is cold. I have to get dressed and wear shoes to walk here, to sit here. Its smell all smoky, damp and barn-like all at once.

It is so strange to me, this kitchen.
Not what I have known a kitchen to be.
Their entire home not what I have understood a home to be….
like
something yanked out of a different era
that evolution had overlooked and bypassed just about entirely.

like
a place we could be visiting on a school trip to see how people used to live…
staged, stove & furniture roped off.

only it’s not.

I don’t entirely understand this…
I am uncomfortable.
I feel sad.
I feel anxious.
(I would like to leave now but know I can’t)

I am quiet.

Grandmother prepares some eggs for me.
I don’t know if I can eat it
but then
the plate is set down before me and
something in their presentation reminds me of my mother
As does her endearment spoken to me, my mom’s ‘peeleh’
eat, my little chick

Ah….my grandma called my mom peeleh
my mom calls me peeleh
how far back does it go, I wonder…
peeleh…
who started this endearment
and when?

Her eyes are kind
I feel I can trust her
though
so much of what I’m seeing kind of
scares me…
the harsh black widow’s garb…
this hunched back…the
profile of her head reminding me of the illustrations
in fairy tales of witches….

this is where i come from

her eyes are kind, yes,
and don’t mask the suffering beneath

is this mine too?

the deeply etched lines on her face
her inflamed and scabbed legs
the gnarling hands

I eat what I can of the eggs and the cheese
but they too
taste strange to me
and tough to swallow
as though
I’m ingesting this place with each bite

I go outside into the summer day
just beyond the yard
the green rolling hills beckon me
Warm and bright outside.

I run down a hill

out of breath
I collapse on the grass
looking up at the blue skies
and rolling puffy clouds

despite all,
elated in this place

there is so much beauty

Art by Gerald Frank


A Gratitude Ritual

'Giving Thanks' Frank Polson

‘Giving Thanks’ Frank Polson

In the year I did my first Reiki training, I began a routine of gifting this healing energy to myself as I lay in bed, drifting into sleep.

Somewhere in the practice of laying my hands on my body with this loving intention of providing myself with Reiki energy, my gratitude practice was born. My thoughts would drift to the day’s events and I naturally found myself pausing to express and feel gratitude for them deeply in my body because it felt joyful and blissful to do this.

Some days were filled with so many wonderful things and it was easy to summon so much to be thankful for. Other days weren’t so spectacular and yet, it was still easy. I start there where I am. Because I am grateful every night for having a warm bed to sleep in. I’m grateful for the body that allows me the experience of this life. I am grateful for this breath.

And what happens always is that one grateful expression will lead me to the remembrance of another. And then another. And another.

Most nights, I am filled with tremendous awe and humility at how beautiful life is, how wonderful people are, how many gifts are so freely and generously given. (Of course, this isn’t to suggest that there aren’t difficult people and painful moments in my life; it just isn’t where I put my attention especially before sleep.)

My nightly ritual has become this. I no longer intentionally giving myself Reiki though it’s all kind of become the same thing. I place one hand on my belly above womb (about 3 inches below belly betton) and one on my heart centre. For me, this creates an important circuit and connection between hands, breath, body, and awareness. A way for the energy to flow through me.

Continuously connecting with the experience and energy of gratitude in my body allows me to find my way back to it quickly and easily when things go awry and when it would otherwise be hard to come to be in a thankful state. Like any place I’ve often travelled to, I know the terrain and how to find it without thinking about it, without worrying and without a map.

So as I run through my day and feel the deep gratitude for the special moments throughout, I float off to sleep feeling happy, relaxed and as a result, I sleep soundly and restfully. I never have a nightmare. I wake up in the morning in a grateful, excited and humble place. Ready to start and experience another miraculous day.

Do you have a gratitude practice? What is it?

What are you grateful for?

Or perhaps you are looking to experience reiki, contact me for an in-person or remote session.

Art is “Giving Thanks” by Frank Polson