Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Shift

Everyday now, the pain of my 'separation' from Brian lessens. I love him no less; in fact, my love for him has grown and I have moved into a place of accepting him for exactly who he is in all his Beauty and Shining. We keep in touch regularly and our communications are more gentle, more respectful, than they've ever been. I finally like who I am when I'm around him. I realize that, towards the end, our relationship wasn't healthy. But I have nothing but love for s/Self in this new understanding. Breaking up has become a way to rectify my thoughts, words and actions about and towards myself and Brian. This 'break' is the best thing that could have happened for both of us, though we've had to wade through a lot of pain and confusion to get to this place. There are no words to define what we are together now...not 'partners', not 'just friends', not 'lovers', not 'separated'...and I don't seek to define us. I have no doubt that our marriage was sacred and served a very important purpose for both of us. The shift we're experiencing in our relationship is quite profound and I'm very thankful for the peaceful and loving place we've arrived at.

In my last post I expressed fear of being alone and of loneliness. Since that entry I have shifted once again. My Self, I have come to discover, is wondrous company. I choose, now, to be my own best friend, rather than my own worst enemy. And, though it may sound cliche, I know I'm never really alone. The thrust, the longing of my light to shine, is real. I long to open to my true nature. I understand that before arriving on Earth in human form I wrote a sacred contract about certain lessons I'm to learn in order to evolve spiritually and I have chosen to be exactly where I am. I've spoken before about my absolute trust in the synchronic order and the guidance of the Universe and I have come to accept this period of solitude as a gift to myself. That's right. A gift.

This time of alone-ness has been fruitful. I am moving into a place of authenticity that I was unable to find  as a dyad. I've come back to vegetarianism. Dance and yoga and meditation are a part of my day to day life. This will not be an authentic lifestyle for everyone. But I am remembering, aligning with and living my beliefs, ideals and truths. I'm working everyday towards marriage between my self and my Self. I am able to focus on my inner soul in a way that was unavailable to me when I was with Brian. The time I have for reflection and reprogramming is limitless because I am no longer responsible for another's feelings. Of course I care about Brian's feelings; this isn't about being heartless. After all, we are unified by our Oneness. Rather this is about sovereignty and being guided by Heart. It is about non-dependency. It's about becoming whole.

I don't believe I'll be single always, but I do believe that there's a very Light reason that I'm single NOW. I embrace this period of sovereign solitude. Whatever happens in the future, I am thankful for this insight into co-dependency versus non-dependent sovereignty. I cherish my autonomy and simultaneously respect the interconnectedness we all share as spiritual beings. I am on the cusp of a great transition, a magical discovery, a rite of passage! I give great Love and Gratitude for this place and this knowing.

Blessed Be,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Light

Oh Potential!
Where did you go?
Why did I lock you away?
What am I waiting for?
The light is spilling out of the cracks and I rush around placing towels under all of the doors so as to keep the light under wraps.
What am I scared of?
Being alone? YES
And when I tried to shine with you, you felt inferior.
So I put towels under all the doors and stayed in the dark.
I say I did it for you, but is that the truth?
Have I gotten to the core of the matter?
The cracks are widening, spreading;
something is going to give.
There's been a shift and the plaster is giving way, chunks of it are on the floor and bulges are visible in the walls.
Shifting ground crumbles structures.
I am scared. 
I am excited.
I miss you. 
Where do you fit into it all?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ode to Burt

Burt's my telephone counselor.
In a state of sheer crisis I called my husband-but-not-because-we're-separated-but-I-don't-know-what-else-to-call-him-yet's Employee Assistance Program and they hooked me up with Burt. Burt is a swell guy. He sounds middle aged and like he's lived through some ups and downs himself and he's a great listener. So I told him about The Guilt and he, in return, said something that I really needed to hear. Our conversation went something like this:
"Kim, let me get this straight, you feel guilty for growing?"
"Yep, Burt. I guess I do. My growth has really hurt my partner."
"And how would you feel if instead you'd stayed and stagnated?"
"Well, Burt, I suppose I'd feel pretty resentful."
"Hmmm, neither's a great choice, Kim."
"No Burt, guilt and resentment both pretty much suck."
"Kim, I can't help but think that guilt is an emotion that's out of context for your particular situation. See, most people feel guilty when they've done something consciously wrong. Have you done something wrong by growing, Kim?"
Long pause."I see where you're going with this, Burt, and, no, I guess I really haven't done anything wrong. Growth happens. It just hurts to see him so fucking sad. I guess I'm pretty sad, too, as a matter of fact."                                                                                                "Well now, that's understandable, Kim. Grief is understandable. Grief is reasonable. You've said good-bye to someone very special to you. But grief and guilt aren't the same thing. You have a choice in how you perceive your role in this situation. Does that make sense to you?"
And just like that, my perception of the break up between my husband and I shifted. Guilt wasn't serving me one iota. Guilt was killing me and it was my own doing. Grief, on the other hand, I can live with because it's a natural reaction to this kind of experience. And with time I will heal and the grief will be alleviated. I could have gone on for years bearing the burden of self-imposed guilt.
Close call.
Burt, I owe you one, buddy.

Love and gratitude.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Guilt

A friend once told me that when a heart breaks it only makes it bigger. 
There may be scar tissue, but the heart has been expanded. 
I can tell you that the pain of a broken heart is nearly unbearable. Nearly. 
The feeling in my chest is grey and tight, the tension like a clenched fist, 
all I can do is sit with the pain and really feel it.  
I am a water sign and sometimes the feelings well up inside of me so big,
like a tsunami within, 
that my entire body trembles, my throat opens with wails so that
I barely recognize my own voice, 
and my eyes spill over with tears. 
I cry thoroughly, tears literally pour out of my eyes. 
It's very cleansing, and the skin under my eyes from consecutive days upon days of shedding tears is sagging and loose.
I am showing my age. 
But I don't try to cover them up with make-up and I am far from ashamed of my
exhausted and blotchy looking face. 
My healing is imperative and when I look in the mirror I see a woman who openly wears her truth,
even when that truth is
'I hurt, and I don't give a damn who knows it'. 
I am not willing, nor, truthfully, even able to hide my feelings on days like today. 
I picture giving the pain over to my heart and that helps to make me feel calmer, more centered. 
Oh, my beautiful, receptive, honest heart!
 Help me to experience self-loving above and within this immense guilt. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dreaming Big

The Question

I'm often asked, "What will you do with an MA in Recreation & Leisure Studies?" It's a fair question, to be sure, but one for which I don't really have the answer.  I'm really enjoying learning about different research methodologies and my thesis study is tremendously exciting to be sure, but I've no idea where this knowledge and experience will take me. Yesterday I was asked a new question, one I hadn't contemplated or been asked in a long time, and it's spurred me into a dialogue with myself that I think is important to capture, as my time as an MA student will eventually draw to a close and I'm up in the air about next steps.

'The question' was:

"What's your dream job?"

Embarrassingly, I didn't know how to respond. I mean, I claim to be the reflective individual, personally and professionally. I'm in my mid-thirties. I journal daily. And I still don't know what I want to do for a living? Didn't I come into my MA with a vision? It was a little unsettling.

My collegues, on the other hand, sounded so sure of what they want and where they're going. It was a bit enviable but, with further consideration, this type of thinking might prove limiting for me. To have firm parameters in place would be to potentially deny myself impromptu opportunities.

I did answer 'the question' after staring at the wall in serious consideration for too long...and I truly can see myself following through and being very happy...but, in further pondering 'the question', I recognize myself primarily as a person who is wide open to the guidance of the Universe and my own keen intuition. The guideposts are always there when I'm seeking direction. See, I'm blessed with the gift of TRUST and not the naive nor the blind sort, but an all-encompassing faith that the Universe is conspiring on my behalf.

I believe in the power of Universal Synchronization.

A Teensy Bit About Universal Synchronization as I Understand It

I am a blossoming natural-time tracker. I mostly reject the Gregorian calendar and, instead, follow a 28-day, 13-moon Mayan calendar. It's almost impossible to fully reject the Gregorian calendar, because it dominates our Western society and I must create appointments and schedules around it to accommodate others; however, on a daily basis I meditate on and jot down my understanding of the galactic signature of the day and what it means to me.

Time is a pretty important construct and calendars help us to organize time. The solar-lunar-galactic 28-day, 13 moon calendar assists me in taking creative control of my time based on energetic frequencies and the cycles of nature. By the way, while a planetary cycle is destined to end on the Winter Solstice of 2012, it doesn't mean the end of our world. The Natural time calendar is "designed to help establish a new foundation to support our transformation into the New World Age that is to dawn in 2013 and beyond" (Skytime Dreamspell, 2011). There's a shift in planetary consciousnesses happening and we're all a part of it, contributing to it every moment, right here in the now.

I won't get into the nitty-gritty details, (not that I understand them fully myself, yet) but recently we've entered a new galactic spin, meaning we've come back to the beginning of the galactic overlay (kin 1) at a heightened level of awareness, like riding a spiral every 260 days. On Lunar 20, Red Magnetic Dragon (Sunday, September 11th, 2011) natural time trackers were asked to Dream Really Big about what we would like to see become manifest in our lives over the next 260 days.

Dreams for Self

So, you see, dreams just keeping coming up. And because I'm paying attention, I thought it would be nice to dream along with you, here, now. So let's get dreaming, shall we?

I associate dreams with passions and when I consider my passions - singing, dancing, drumming, live performances, walking,  animals, gardening, eating, ceremony, reading, writing, creating - I see they build the foundation for some pretty big dreams. So what are my highest dreams?

I dream of walking a long, long distance over new terrain; I dream of recording an album; I dream of becoming a Nia instructor; I dream of having a small hobby farm with horses, a donkey, goats, dogs, and cats; I dream of wandering the streets of lively cities, streets lined with funky shops and tasty eats; I dream of writing a thesis that will transform me, the participants and anyone who reads it; I dream of   ceremony as a social norm; I dream of participating in ceremonies worldwide; I dream of rites of passage for myself and for everyone; I dream of being in a theatre production; I dream of singing on stage; I dream of an all consuming love; I dream of mastering forgiveness; I dream of being an artist working with multiple mediums such as pottery, textiles, natural landscapes, and gems; I dream of living in an earthship; I dream of travelling with friends and family; I dream of a treehouse to write and create in; I dream of a houseboat vacation along the Mediterranean....

But Back to 'The Question' 

Do I pursue my PhD? Scholarship applications for next year are due very, very soon, but at this point the  application process seems daunting, tedious. After the emotional summer I've had, and the catch up work I'm undertaking now, I just don't have the energy to turn my attention to creating a potential dissertation topic. I'm not there. I've got my whole life ahead of me. I can go back to school whenever I feel called to it. It will wait. So what comes next?

Thankfully, I still have a year until I'm finished my MA. However, to be asked 'the question' now is timely, I think. Now is the time to start planting seeds of intention to help the dream job, in combination with the dreams above, to come into fruition. Because, for me, the dream job must be a part of my lifestyle and reflect my personal values. My dream job must feed my passions.

Therefore, my dream job will allow me to be creative and fluid. My dream job will include time outdoors or working directly with nature. My dream job will include ceremony somehow, preferably with others. My dream job will include travel or the time to travel. My dream job will include the arts in some way, preferably as a healing agent and mode of expression. My dream job will assist me in consciously serving the greater good. My dream job will connect me to wondrous others. My dream job will be dynamic and challenging, compelling me to fully engage and gain new, useful and interesting skills. My dream job will bring me joy. And my dream job will bring me abundance.

End Note

Just writing this post has been highly enlightening. I give thanks for this process of actually putting my dreams into words. I, too, give thanks for prayers past and present already manifested, unfolding as I write...'cause I'm living on radial time so I can do that. And so can you.

I know I certainly appreciate being asked 'the question', so I'll pose these questions to you:
"What are your passions?" and
"What are your highest dreams for yourself? For the collective? For the planet?"

Remember, Dream Really Big!

Thanks for stopping in today. Have a good one.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Am a Wannabe Researcher/Storyteller

     I first saw this video of Brene Brown's work a few of months ago, posted by a friend on Facebook. I started a draft posting about it, then got sidetracked and never returned...until now. I opened my inbox yesterday and, wouldn't you know it, there she was. So, I watched it again, and was as moved as the first time and decided that it was a sign to share my reflections about this research, what my aspirations are as an MA of Recreation & Leisure student, and spiritual/academic synchronization. Yes, go make a cup of tea and come back...settle in and get to know me, friend.

I Am a Wannabe Researcher/Storyteller

     In the beginning of this video Brene Brown, as a qualitative social sciences researcher, speaks of the discomfort she initially felt upon being called a Storyteller. Rather she is more comfortable with the title Researcher/Storyteller. And I think, in my heart that this is absolutely where qualitative research is going. I know, at the very least, it is the direction I will be taking my research. Brene is one of many mentors I have adopted along this already exciting and mysterious path I'm on. Watch her research/story unfold:

     Brene's findings struck me right in the heart. And her personal story, how the research process and findings affected her life, is, I think, what makes her story so alluring. Asking people big, broad, open-ended questions such as "What makes you feel vulnerable?" is bound to effect change in self and in the participants. As a researcher, if you're going to ask the participant to open up to you, you've got to be prepared to hear the answer, and other peoples personal insights can be very enlightening, challenging, decentering, affirming, disarming, disquieting, expansive, etc...On the flip side, I've had participants thank me for asking them questions, because it opened them to an new understanding of themselves and their experiences. To be a qualitative researcher is to make connections with others, to build a trusting relationship with them, to be empathetic, approachable, and reciprocal in the sharing process in order to allow stories to be vulnerable. And I can't tell you what an honour it is to gather those stories, to be sitting across from someone and bear witness to their reflections! It's very humbling and I am very grateful to all those people who I've had the privilege in talking with.

          Reflective Practice
     In Brene's findings of the wholehearted person as courageous, self-compassionate, authentic and necessarily vulnerable, I believe she has shared something very intensely important with us. You've listened to her findings and can decipher how it affects you, personally. But on a Universal level, this is the value of research. I've had my doubts about the choices I've made, the ivory tower, white privilege stuff. I've felt guilty for the endless hours I've sat behind my computer and the never ending reading. Should I be out on the floor working with others right now, effecting change? Is what I'm doing really going to make an iota of difference in the big scheme of things? Does that matter? Or isn't doing what makes me happy enough to be effecting a change in it's own right? Is change even what I'm working towards, or can I accept things as they are, stop attempting to control and predict as Brene says, and simply listen very well? Then take those stories and reflect them back to the world, sharing what was found to be truly meaningful to someone in hopes that someone else out there might feel understood, connected, moved, challenged, etc...

          Creative Analytic Practice
     Fast gaining attention in the leisure field is creative analytic practice (CAP) including autoethnography, visual images, poetry, performance and experimental media...the goal being mindful, creative and accessible dissemination of a studies findings.  It really, really matters who my research is accessible to and those who participate in research should be able to see themselves authentically and imaginatively represented in the project. When it's presented in an engaging way, such as a film or dramatic production, it's much more likely that this will happen (Parry & Johnson, 2007). Emotional engagement on the part of the researcher is considered inevitable, and, rather than separate our humanity from our work, we "write ourselves in to our texts with intellectual and spiritual integrity" (Richardson, 1997). I think actively practicing CAP is a really important piece to becoming a Researcher/Storyteller. How we tell our stories is absolutely as important as the content.

     Ultimately in this video I've found something that so reaffirms the choices I've made up until now that if the sign were any clearer it would read: YES KIM, YOU ARE WORTHY OF DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Absolutely I deserve to do what brings me joy, happiness, meaningful challenge, creative satisfaction and total sense of engagement. It makes me the wholehearted individual that I am. And absolutely I can do it all...from the literature research and reading an infinite number of articles, to the hands on participant research delivering Therapeutic Recreation programs in the field, I can move back and forth and completely immerse myself in those issues that ignite passion in me. Right now that passion is spiritual well-being and creating safe space for people to discuss and explore their spiritual selves, but I understand that will evolve and change as I evolve and change.
     I don't know, in this moment, if I'll plug along and go the PhD route. I've learned to take it all one day at a time and to go into each day with an intent to very aware about what I choose to study and how I approach every step of the research process, about how I choose to wield this amazing privilege I have. And it doesn't matter if it manifests change on a grand scale or if it gives one other person permission to be authentic, to follow their heart...I only have to be true to myself to contribute to the shift in global consciousness, and I find great peace in that knowing.

     Thanks for stopping in.

Parry, D. C. & Johnson, C. W. (2007). Contextualizing leisure research to encompass complexity in lived leisure experience:      The need for creative analytic practice. Leisure Sciences, 29, 119-130
Richardson, L. (1997). Fields of play: Constructing an academic life. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Art, Dance and Soul Expressions

Excuses, excuses

Hey out there. I do apologize for not writing a new blog post in FOREVER!

It's the MA thing, it sucks every ounce of writing power I have right out of me and I'm left devoid of any ability to communicate intelligently and intuitively with a public audience. And I'm one of those people who detests multi-tasking. I like to take life one task (one day, one moment) at a time and do that one thing to the best of my ability. However, not having wrote a blog post in four months is downright pathetic and so here it goes...

My Longing for Creative Expression and the Emergence of Wild Woman Within

Beyond being submersed in the world of academia on a day to day basis I have noticed that my body and spirit, though fairly well tended, have been creating quite a ruckus lately, alerting me to their longing to express themselves! Enough of the cognitive stimulation, they cry! Notice us! Love us! Move us and shake us! And I, thankfully, pulled my head out of the books long enough to drop in and listen to their pleas and have since made a movement in my life to express myself creatively in a multitude of forms.

Wild turkey feather earrings
Like what you ask? Well, it started with sitting down with a neighbour and admitting I had a need. A confession of creative horniness that, not surprisingly, she shared with me. And with that recognition of likeness we pledged to get together every Friday night for two hours and nurture that need together. Hence 'Time is Art' night was born and we've been totally committed to following through!  We've done baking, jewelry making, mandalas, painting, pencil crayon drawing and this week we're venturing into FIMO sculpting. I'm thinking of sculpting characters for a children's book that I wrote in college. And I want to make a mask and puppets and learn to silkscreen print. That's what a regular bout of creativity will do for you...your ideas just keep growing, getting broader and more all encompassing. You want to extend yourself and try new mediums because it's absolutely amazing what your spirit wants to say to you. I look at my creations once they're done and can hardly believe that 'I did that'!

And then there's dance class. Yep. You read me right. I'm taking Nia classes right here in Guelph once a week for $9 a class ( and that's a great price, in case you're wondering). Nia is amazing, a combination of moves borrowed from martial arts, Tai Chi, yoga, jazz and modern dance styles. The first time I tried Nia was during a free demonstration with clients at a not-for-profit I worked at during a co-op term and I was completely entranced by the music! It's ultimately what sent me searching for a class close to home. The combined genres of electro-acoustic, reggae, blues, house, downtempo, lounge, ambient and mellow hip-hop create a completely transcendental experience that urges my body into graceful action (well, it feels that way, whether I look graceful may be a whole other story...) I get to feeling feline, you know what I mean? Slinky, powerful, prowling...and I find myself making strange, guttural sounds while I dance in Nia class, like a cat growling. And lots of whooping and yipping escape me, too. Ahhh, hello Wild Woman! I'm so, so glad you could join me! Strange looks from others? Who cares!? Look on! Witness Wild Woman in all her glory and embrace her for yourself! Yes!

The combination of these two things, art and dance, have affected my confidence in a way which I couldn't have foreseen. I'm feeling sexy, people! I'm feeling alive and holistically stimulated! I've begun to learn to ice skate, which I haven't done in years, (so grateful to the community in maintaining the excellent outdoor rink on York St.!) and Brian and I went ROLLERSKATING for the first time together in our ten and a half year relationship! Good times! Oh yeah, things are rolling! Next goal...the Royal City Roller Girls, baby! I know I've got a loooong way to go before I'm skating with the roster, but the point is, I WANT it and I've got this new connection with my body that says I can do it! The coordination is coming...I got the crossovers down. I know it takes commitment, practice and focus. So, as soon as the study semester is over, I'm going for it. Fresh meat, right here, and chomping at the bit!

I'm so glad you dropped in today. I'll try harder to write more consistently, but thanks for being patient with me in meantime. Before I sign off, I leave you with this: What have you fed your soul lately? Go eat up life. Enjoy!