Thursday, November 29, 2012

Accepting a Closing Door

When I first started this blog, over 4 years ago, I was a much different person.  I was raising two kids under the age of 2, and had one foot firmly planted in the role of exasperated Mother, while the big toe of the other foot was reaching and stretching to touch down into a more spiritual existence.  It was very difficult for me, the transition into Motherhood.  I put an awful lot of pressure on myself to be perfect, and at times, for my children to be perfect.  I had unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a good Mom.  (I have earned the right to slowly shake my head at myself, with a knowing smile)  I did slowly learn over time that most times the best thing to do is let the kids run the show!  This could include:

  • Letting the kids run around butt naked.
  • Asking the kids questions that you don't think they can answer, and listening carefully to the wise things that they say.
  • When running errands downtown, let your toddlers walk as slow as they want to. Bask in the joy they have for all Life. 
  • Encourage the kids to get Dirty ~ mud, paint, playdough. 
  • Then let them do water play in the kitchen sink. 
I spent a lot of time enjoying my kids, and have tried to be conscious that each phase the kids went through would soon pass.  I also try to let go of them a tiny bit at a time, as though I'm feeding my heart strings out, just a bit more, with every transition:  preschool, playdates, kindergarten, sleepovers ...  and when it feels like too much is happening at once, or they're growing up too fast, I make it a point to tell them that I love them and that I'm proud of them.  I tell them that I'll always love them.

Four years ago, I wanted so badly to find peace and calm, and to let go of the terrible anxiety that plagued me.  I suffered.  And then I punished myself for not being able to be "normal". This blog saved me, and helped me learn to accept myself, my situation at any given moment, and my new role as Mommy. I see now how terribly hard I was on myself.  But I will tell you honestly, I am so grateful for the opportunities I was given in the gift of those hard times.  I lived through those feelings and moments. I faced the darkest, most bitter, angry and frustrated version of myself, and I am okay now - and my kids are okay too.  When I had the kind of day that made me throw up my hands and surrender, that is when I truly started to touch on the lessons I was being taught.

Now that I am on the other side of that suffering, I rejoice every day, and revel in the loveliness of my life!  I feel so much better these days, and I'm reflecting today on the long journey that it's been from the start of this blog.  When I created the title "Woman At Peace", it was a faint wish, a signal to the Universe for what I wanted so badly.  I am so happy to report that I actually do feel at peace most days ... I feel happy, purposeful and connected.  I feel that I want to spread Joy and Love to as many people as I can, and I feel blessed that I can reach people through my yoga classes.  I feel privileged and honoured to be where I am, but I also know how hard I have worked to get to this place.  I read somewhere recently about the revelation of Bliss as being obvious ... and to a point, I agree with the idea of happiness being an effortless state.  However, one needs to be at a place in their mind and heart where they are free to enjoy that obvious state.  The best way that we can fully experience the state of bliss is by knowing what the opposite extreme feels like. Anger, fear, mistrust, frustration, anxiety, worry, sadness ... they are all portals to joy.

Now, it is with mixed feelings that I announce that I am finally wrapping up this blog.  I will still write, of course, but it will be on my new website:  www.nicolearacki.com
It has been an incredible journey, and I feel sadness at letting it go, but it is definitely time for me to move on.  I started this blog so that I could air my feelings through my writing, and so that I could have a record of the journey I was on.  You can still read the articles here, as I will not be disabling the blog.  Comments will still be open. 

Thank you to those who supported me just by reading.  Some of you I'll never meet, and I'll never even know that you read my blog, but I felt you on some level - I know I did.

The light in me sees the light in you ~ Namaste, Nicole

Monday, October 29, 2012

Expression

It has been a very long time since I last posted ... the summer seemed to fly by with the kids out of school and the sun shining brightly.  The summer rejuvenated my soul, and now that the first snow has come, I have begun my internal work once again.

I have been following Laura Hollick's Soul Art Studio Blog for several years now, taking advantage of her many free questionnaires, quizzes and weekly updates.  But now, for the first time, I am taking one of her paid journeys ~ the 11-Day Iconic Embodiment Journey.  A huge part of this journey is about externally expressing oneself, and though I'm only on Day #3, I already feel that something is stirring up inside of me.

Today's assignment was to express myself through dance ... and then to share it with others.  I hope that my courageousness encourages you to put yourself out there as well.  Let us become liberated together, shedding the layers of self-consciousness, shame, fear of judgement ... I say - Who Cares What Anybody Else Thinks?!  I know I don't ...

Have a beautiful Halloween and the most amazing Witches New Year ...

video

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Overwhelmed

There has been a lot of crazy energy in the air lately, and it's not just me ... I feel like I hear about overwhelming situations so often now.  People dying, naturally and unnaturally.  Strange occurrences of car accidents, illnesses, diseases, fear, pain, anxiety and dread.  It seems that no one is untouched by the energetic shift that is happening, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

I admit, I have been feeling quite dragged down myself for the last few months ... my daughter's bike accident that led to stitches and major dental work, our entire family being slammed with a flu/cold one after another (that means each of us, even me, was sick for 10 days), some really intense news about someone close to me, someone who has the Big C.  I truly hope that this bout of bad news is at least going to slow down for my family.  How strong can I be?  How much can I take? 

But perhaps the questions I am asking need to change.  How can I help?  Can I be stronger?  Can I be very patient?  What can I do?  I am not sure that I have faced so much challenge at one time.  It's almost as though I am being prepared for something.  I think this because of a factthat we are all aware of: that adversity makes us stronger. 

All I know for sure, at this moment, is that I can take my life one moment at a time.  And so I leave you with this beautiful quote:



"A lifetime is not what is between
the moments of birth and death.

A lifetime is one moment
Between my two little breaths.
The present, the here, the now,
That's all the life I get.
I live each moment in full,
In kindness, in peace, without regret."

Chade Meng, Taoist poet

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pelican Spirit Guides

Last night, I spotted a flock of pelicans from my living room window.  They were riding an air current together, and looked as though they were floating on water.  It was such an unusual sight to see here in the suburbs that I figured it must be the Universe, trying to get my attention.  In my favourite animal totem book "Animal Spirit Guides", by Steven Farmer, this is what it said:

"If PELICAN shows up:

This is an opportunity to forgive either yourself or someone else and release any built-up guilt or resentment. 
It's time to free yourself from whatever is weighing you down - whether possessions, emotions or mental strife.
Go ahead and take the plunge with respect to the opportunity that has recently presented itself.
Focus on cooperating with others, rather than competing, particularly concerning any project you're involved with right now.

Call on PELICAN when:

You're feeling resentful or angry toward someone and you want to release it and lighten up.
You're feeling overcome with heavy emotions and want to rise above them.
There's an opportunity before you that looks, sounds, and feels right, but you need to move on it soon and trust that it's the right choice.
You're faced with some trials and tribulations and need to keep your head held high."


If this speaks to you, and you do want to channel Pelican wisdom, here are some ways of doing so:

  • Try visualizing Pelican in your mind.  Focus on details such as the way they fly, what they look like, particularly the shape of their wings and beaks.
  • try simply speaking to Pelican in your mind:  Dear Pelican Spirit Guide, please help me to channel your wisdom so that I may forgive myself and others, free myself, and release my pent-up emotions
  • Search Pelican on the internet, find an image you like and print it out ~ hang it somewhere that it can inspire you several times a day.
Light & Love, Nicole

Friday, March 9, 2012

Becoming a Woman


There was a time when I found that I was constantly searching for answers about myself.  There was a time when I had no idea what emotions were bubbling under the surface of my own skin.  And there was also a time when I thought that my own truth might lie within someone else.  I know now that all of these were small pathways to the larger picture of where I walk today. 

It seems like it was an awfully long time ago that I was such a different person.  A girl who was searching to be a woman ~ strong, courageous, wise and worldly.  A search that seemed like it would take a lifetime to achieve.  I was wanting so badly for it all to happen at once ~ a grand and staged event where people would all gather to say "Wow!  Look at Nicole ... she is now a woman, worldly and wise".  I even sometimes thought of myself as being filled with wisdom, but I never shared it for lack of confidence.  At the time, I felt that I was confident because I never really cared what other people thought of me ... which led me to grand self-expression.  Different hair colours (all colours of the rainbow), piercings (septum and tongue), Tattoos accumulated over the transition from teenager to young adult, and clothes sourced out from thrift stores ~ as long as it was dramatic enough. 
Even amongst all of my material world, I had a vast and private life, and looking back on it now I think that perhaps I was protecting someone inside myself who was much more sensitive and naive and quiet than my outside persona.  For me, there has always been this internal tug-of-war between my introverted self and my extroverted self.  There were times when I wished I could be bold, outgoing and fun ~ the life of the party!  These were the times when I could dress up in crazy, attention-grabbing outfits, and go out with friends for drinks and dancing.  I looked confident, but I was always anxious and desperate for something more on the inside.   Other times I just wanted to hole up in a cave, invoking comforting energies, hoping for Wicca to make my life more dramatic.  I now understand that there is a great gift that lies within patience and subtlety.

 The truth is, it takes a long time to figure out how to become a woman.  It takes experience in all avenues of life. It takes great girlfriends and terrible girlfriends.  It takes jerk boyfriends, nice boyfriends, bad boy- boyfriends, and "forever" boyfriends.  It takes time.  It takes patience.  It takes love, over all things, but first of all we have to love ourselves.  It takes milestones.  It takes long periods of boredom.  It takes time.  And it also takes guidance from other, older women who know what you're going through.  It takes finding a role model and watching her for a while, listening to her stories, and also supporting her. 

 I don't know when it happened.  There really isn't any one event that made me realize I had begun to reach my wishes.  I recognize now that it truly is about the journey, and that there might not be a particular place you are supposed to get to.  I understand there will be times when I have no energy for anyone but me.  I understand there will be times when I lose my temper, when I will need to grieve alone, when I will simply need space from all the people in my life who need me. There will most definitely be rough times ahead, this I understand.  I think what changes over time is the way in which we approach challenge, at least for me this is true. 


Monday, March 5, 2012

Faith

Sometimes faith is all we have, and we feel like we are hanging on by a thread ... but releasing those self-imposed limits can lighten you completely and then Faith will allow you to Fly!

With Love, Nicole

Friday, February 10, 2012

Yandara Yoga Review ~ Part Three

Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles
To me, Yandara's program set me up to gain the confidence, self-worth and connection I needed in order to truly become a yoga teacher.  I now feel qualified, and not just because I have a certificate in my hand, but because they guided me through the process of accepting myself.  I know that everyone in my group probably had a different experience, but this was mine.

As we went into the first week, we were advised that we would be going through the layers of ourselves.  We would focus on the chakras one by one, again going through layers.  We had Satya or Truth Circles every other day, where we went through our emotional layers.  Everything we did in that first week ~ Asana class, meditation, pranayama, qi gong, even sitting down to eat breakfast in silence ~ focused on working our way through our beliefs, fears and judgements.  It certainly wasn't always easy working my way through all the things I have built up in my mind.  But it sure was liberating to feel that I made some great gains towards a freedom I haven't experienced since before I had kids.  Our instructors had obviously gone through this experience, and it showed through the ways that they each supported us.  They also seemed to know the process well enough to predict when one of us might need additional support, and had the wisdom to offer that support in a gentle, loving way. 

I personally experienced several shifts in my awareness, and there is one experience in particular that I'd like to share ...

We were working on the solar plexus chakra quite a lot, through being asked to dance alone in the middle of a circle of nearly 30 people, to quietly meditating in that space, to being asked to accept ourselves for who we truly are.  The solar plexus chakra is all about self-worth, self-acceptance, personal power, and our sense of belonging.  It is also the area where I was holding anxiety.  It happened during asana class.  We had just gone through a standing/twisting series, and when I came up to standing I felt really dizzy.  I just stood there with it for a moment, but the feeling seemed to linger ... everything around me slowed right down, but seemed shaky and unreal at the same time.  Then I felt a vibration coming from deep within my solar plexus, and it went right through the chakra ~ I could actually feel it!  It came out of me like a shockwave, and I literally saw ripples cascading out of my energetic body and into the physical scene in front of me.  It was an amazing feeling of breakthrough for me, as I had been trying to work through those issues of self-acceptance and self-worth for so long.  Perhaps my issue was that I never truly accepted myself for who and what I was during those difficult times just three short years ago.  When the experience was finished, I just continued with the asana class, and when that class was over I felt different.  I no longer felt myself holding tightly in the solar plexus ... I felt lighter in all ways, and calm and ... at peace.  When I started this blog I titled it "Woman At Peace" as a future hope ... a seed that I planted and nurtured and loved.  I know there will always be work that must be done, but I feel so much gratitude for this feeling.

During the time of all this deep personal work, I did cry a lot ... I would say several times a day. I wasn't sad, I was crying tears of gratitude, acceptance, and unconditional love. Just being in contact with these feelings is life changing. There was nourishment everywhere ... from the beautiful yogis who attended class beside me, offering a hug or a kind word or a smile. The cooks offering amazing food to nourish our hard working bodies ~ always fresh, delicious and vegetarian. The ocean, constant with sound and movement ~ a visit to her waves was always greeted with joy and a feeling of smallness and greatness at the same time. Yandara is truly a magical place.  I don't know if I will ever have to opportunity to go back to the Yandara in Mexico, but I do know that when I teach yoga, I feel Yandara all over again.

Whenever you begin to work on your issues, ingrained habits and behaviours, always finish with an intention, or a vision, of what you want your life to look like.  There is a real power in setting an intention ... they eventually always come to fruition.  When you stop and take notice of that fruition, you give yourself Faith.  Faith can heal the whole world.  Faith in people, Faith in yourself, Faith in God or the Universe, Goddess or Godd"Us" (as April of Jaya had said) Allah, Buddha, Mother Mary, or whomever you resonate with.