Two new podcast episodes AND a Hamilton the Pig Update!

(Pictured: Hillary Schneider and Tareena)

I received a copy of my medical records from the urologist today. He is such a great doctor. He had his office call me because he received the report from the pain specialist in Vancouver, and wanted to know if I needed to see him, because he would be in Tofino *tomorrow* and could probably see me then.

I can’t say enough great stuff about this urologist.

He made me really chuckle though, when I received my copy of my medical records from his office. He starts off by describing me: “This pleasant 37 y/o female presents with…”

I laughed. I try to be pleasant. Now it’s officially documented by a DOCTOR. I’m *medically pleasant*! Ha!!!

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be talking with the pelvic pain doc and getting the ball rolling on my surgery. I’m really looking forward to it, what a relief!

This, my dear friends, is why I’m a little behind on cross-posting my podcast episodes. If you listened to Hammy the Pig part 1, I hope you have noticed that Hammy the pig part 2 was posted one week later, as promised!

Again, I really encourage podcast listeners to simply subscribe to the podcast through itunes if you have an apple device, or through stitchr if you’re on android. That way the episodes will download the moment they’re released, and you’ll know about them before anyone else! You can find me by searching “Kate Sitka” or “Joyful Telepathy”

I loved my conversation with Hammy, and I admit, I fell in love with him, a little bit… which is why I took it rather hard when his human, Cassandra, told me she’s started the process of re-homing Hammy across the island.

Heartbroken!!! Not only was I so looking forward to talking with Hammy some more in the future, but I immediately worried about him! I already have one pig friend who was rehomed and I have no idea where he ended up, whether he’s happy, or even safe.

Hammy, I’m sure will be fine. For most pet pigs in general though, they have a very tough time in life. Fewer than 5% of pot belly pigs remain in the first home that bought them as a pet. More than half of pet pot belly pigs are re-homed MORE THAN 10 TIMES before they are 10 years old! And they live to be 20!

Pig rescues are few and far-between. Pigs also bond so strongly to their humans, (although they might not demonstrate that through cuddling, but through other behaviours like monopolizing attention, being needy / whiny, being possessive or even being destructive) so getting re-homed can be extremely difficult for them.

Again, I am sure Hammy will be fine. Hammy has been a very lucky pig.

This week, I’ve been fantasizing about buying a farm and filling it with pig rescues. And horses of course. Maybe a llama. Sweetie doesn’t say much when I talk about that!

Speaking of horses, there is ANOTHER podcast episode that went out last week, my conversation with Hillary Schneider! Hillary is a coach who is also a horse person, and she had a small herd of horses that help her assist her clients. I’ve been friends with Hillary on facebook for a few years now, and her journey has been fascinating. (She posts a lot of beautiful horse photos, too!)

You can listen to that episode here!

That’s it for now my friends! Be well, everyone!

You too.

(womb artist credit here.)

I had a bit of a surprise this week.

You folks remember how I’ve been writing about the stabbing bladder pain that showed up last summer? How this came on the tail end of a two-year struggle with weight loss, and my theory that it was about hormones, cortisol fatigue, insulin resistance, maybe estrogen dominance?

Here’s the latest.

My nutritionist has just had a new baby, but she’s still happy to work with me for the sake of continuity, and she herself has used diet to correct an estrogen imbalance that had been causing her own weight to stick on and never, ever seem to budge. Over the past month I’ve quit coffee – that’s HUGE for me, given I used to *love* coffee so much and that Sweetie and I have owned a coffee roaster. Never again. This, more than any other single thing (though all the other things have had a cumulative effect) has made me feel better. Even if it’s just that I am not on a clock when I wake up anymore. I don’t *have to* have coffee anymore.

Instead, I’m a convert to matcha green tea. I like to make mint tea, and then whisk in some matcha with a tea ball, and then add some almond milk. It works great with lavender tea too. I don’t drink black tea either. This is on the recommendation of my nutritionist, and my naturopathic doctor. Basically cut out dairy, wheat, sugar, anything processed, any coffee / black tea. My food has been a lot of recipes from “Vegan Under Pressure”, and I’m gradually shifting into an 8 week meal plan masterpiece my nutritionist has compiled for me, complete with recipes.

Oh, and I’m not really eating chicken anymore. Maybe once a month, only if it’s organic. No beef, no pork. Basically, I am a pain in the butt to have at dinner parties.

I will be eating fish for sure.

I’m not sure if I’m losing any weight yet, but I have felt a shift in my body. I think, nutritionally, I’m finally on the right track… at least for now.

Anyway, the surprise came a couple of days ago, when I saw a new doctor, a pelvic pain specialist in Vancouver.

Holy crow, you guys. It was really great. Stressful, pretty painful, but great.

Women, you especially know what it’s like to talk to your doctor about period / pelvic pain and be given birth control or other meds that don’t work. That’s the story of 1 in 10 women. I actually think that ratio is higher, and that women power through or stay silent about pelvic pain, and simply stop going to doctors after years of not getting help. Because I am a talker, and I tell pretty much anyone who asks me how I am (assuming we’re friends) what I’ve been going through, pain and weight wise, many women take this as permission to share their stories with me.

In my estimation, I’d say chronic pelvic pain affects at least one in three women. I think the problem is that “menstrual pain” is considered to be normal. It’s normal if, after exercising, you feel better. Sure, then that’s a great way to cope. It’s not normal if you can’t walk, have to miss work, throw up, pass out. *So many women* have opened up about years or decades of doctor’s appointments and frustrations. Doctor’s office options are pretty limited. Birth control. Mirena IUD. GNRH antoganists, with synthetic hormones added back.

I recently heard about endometrial ablation, and was interested in pursuing that, but then the bladder pain showed up. That became my new priority. I thought it was somehow related to the hormones, but I didn’t understand how. I was cautiously optimistic about this new doc, because she’s one of the best in the province and country.

That’s why I feel so freaking lucky, you guys. Through luck, because of my specific symptoms, I managed to get in front of this wonderful pelvic pain specialist in very short time. And what’s so beautiful about this clinic’s approach is it’s “patient-centered care”, meaning, they don’t follow a generic check list of protocols for all patients. They talk to you, and find out what you want. They don’t *make you* go through all the medical protocols in a specific order. They look at what you want and need in life, what your care goals are.

After laying out my options, I was shocked when she said a total laparoscopic hysterectomy was my best bet at eliminating my pain. My bladder appears healthy, and my new doc has seen this before – the stabbing bladder pain is likely *referred pain*. Nerve sensitivity after 20+ years of painful menstruation. That’s what ignoring menstrual pain for decades got me. That’s also a testament to how powerful mindfulness, meditation, and lifestyle modification can be. You can get pretty far, living with chronic pain, when you have to.

I’ll get to keep my ovaries, so I won’t go into menopause right away, but yeah. I’m getting spayed!

It’s a major surgery with a six week recovery, and Sweetie still has a broken foot. The summer is the busiest time of year out here in Tofino, so I will ask for the surgery to be done in the fall or later. Many thanks to my facebook friend who recommended this site: http://www.hystersisters.com/ SO MUCH useful information and reassuring stories.

I will continue with my diet and naturopathic healing protocols indefinitely. We’re talking life-long commitment here. The surgery does not eliminate the importance of following a diet that is going to ease healing and help prevent future problems. This diet, and hopefully some weight loss, will set me up to bounce back really well from the surgery, and even though my uterus will be gone, my ovaries and the rest of my body will still need the good nutrition of an anti-inflammatory, estrogen balancing diet. This diet, my mindfulness / meditation practice, and my work on using gentle movement and positive attitude to cope with chronic pain are *all* recommended by my new pelvic pain doc. If I hadn’t already been doing them, she would have been recommending it. The gentle movement piece in particular will be essential to restoring a healthy nerve response in my bladder, after monthly inflammatory cycle has been eliminated. It’ll take some gentle coaxing to get my nervous system to realize that certain movements don’t *need* to hurt anymore. I’m not expecting a quick fix, but my friends, I am *so very happy* about this coming surgery.

It all comes full circle.

Sweetie is feeling a lot better since her foot has been put in a cast. She’s mastered showering with a bag on her leg, and she’s knit an enormous sock to cover the plaster. It’s really pretty cute.

So that’s the latest news, my friends. I hope this is somehow helpful to my blog friends – according to my statistics, 75% of my readers are women. At minimum, one in ten of you will have been through something like this, and I’m betting it’s more like one in three. I think this is a part of the negative effects of the silence created by menstrual pain not being considered polite conversation. I have had broken bones and pinched nerves hurt less than my regular monthly period. Yet while at work, out in the world, I’ve had to pretend like things are normal. I breathe through it, or maybe I stay in bed for a day or two. I just lived through it.

How many women at any one time are pretending to feel normal?

It’s not just period pain, either. It’s all women’s health stuff. We don’t usually talk about pregnancy loss openly, the way we’d talk about the death of a known family member. Women feel different ways about the loss of a pregnancy. Men too, of course. Women often don’t talk about struggles to conceive, or maybe they’re grieving their fertility because they have to get a hysterectomy. (I certainly won’t be grieving my fertility.)

Times are changing though, and I’m glad of that, because creating a space for women to talk about what we experience with our human female bodies is a part of our healing. Witnessing and acknowledging pain helps to carry it. So much of our pain experience is all the crap that surrounds the physical pain. A lot of that pain is just, the silence.

Our bodies are so fragile, and prone to error.

I remember a beautiful dog in a session said to his mum, when she asked why he was meant to die at such a young age. He said, “I wasn’t, my body was born broken. It kept getting sick. I left my body because it was going to just keep getting sick. Let’s try again.” (I’m paraphrasing from memory.)

I wish, sometimes, that it were as easy with people. Many of our animal friends will not live long enough. But so many of them get to come back to us, in new bodies. Maybe in your family, you may get to see or wonder if your cousin’s child is a grandparent or great-grandparent reborn. In rare cases, siblings who died accidentally can be reborn at late-in-life miracle babies, or as the child of one of the siblings left behind.

Bodies are prone to error, and so are our lives. That’s why we need spirit guides, or guardian angels. It’s hard being alive. There aren’t many guarantees.

I don’t personally feel like I *signed up* for this pain experience. I can certainly find meaning it in now, in that requires me to allow and welcome help from my dearest friends and Sweetie. But honestly folks, this is a genetic thing. This problem just runs in my family. It’s like the vehicle I leased for this life has a few foibles, and I said “OK, I can deal” and hopped right in. I’m not one to tell others that their pain and suffering is a part of a plan, that they elected to experience before birth. I don’t find that idea helpful to me personally when I’m in pain, so I don’t pass that along to others.

But what I do believe is that we have to know we’re going to wade through some unexpected and necessary pain and suffering. That’s just mortality. Maybe that’s my inner Buddhist speaking. I think we can *make* it meaningful, and purposeful, by moving with it, by trying to grow with it, and by trying to help others along the way.

That’s how I’m approaching all of this, and really, that’s my life’s motto right there. Just try to help each other along the way.

Love you guys!

Hamilton the Pig speaks and Sweetie breaks her foot

I’ve just come back from a week vacation. When possible, I do try to give myself a week in February to do nothing but the things I *want* to do. In this case, I spent a day getting taxes organized, but the other 6 days were pretty much mine to do with what I pleased, so I planned a little mini-break with Sweetie, and I planned to spend a few days in Campbell River helping my friend Ellie move. You may remember Ellie from this podcast episode.

Speaking of the podcast, I had a *great* conversation with a new animal friend of mine! Hamilton the pot belly pig!

image

I’ll add a photo of him to his post later on today. I just love his grunting. Pigs are awesome. The Hamilton Interview will come out on Tuesday, with part 2 coming out a week from Tuesday. I know you’re going to love this one!

Sweetie and I had a little mini-break, where we stayed overnight in a hotel and then watched “Rogue One” in an actual movie theatre! When you live in a tiny town, you can go years without seeing a movie in a theatre. Man is it ever a fun experience when you haven’t seen one in a while! That’s a big difference right there between my life now, and my life ten years ago when I was living in Toronto.

One thing I had really been looking forward to is helping my friend Ellie move.

Well, as it happened, there was a big snow storm on our way home from watching Rogue One. We have to drive through a mountain pass to get home, and since we watched the later show, we reached the foot of the mountain at midnight. In a snow storm. We opted to stay a second night in Port Alberni.

I was supposed to go visit Ellie the following day, but this was just going to be too much driving. It may not look like Vancouver Island is a big place, but it takes four hours in good conditions to drive from my home to Nanaimo, and an additional two hours to get to Victoria (south) or to Campbell River (north) which is where Ellie used to live.

In case you’re curious, it takes 8 hours to drive from Victoria to Port McNeil, even with the speed limit being 120 km / hr through most of it.

Anyway, I am a driver who needs a break every few hours, so driving from Port Alberni, to Ucluelet, then back to Campbell River – way too much in a day.

And the next day, Sweetie fell down the stairs and broke her foot. So the way I see it, things have worked out to conspire to keep me home for my vacation and help Sweetie through the first few days of her injury. She’s coping really well now, but for a while there she was in a lot of pain and pretty much stuck in bed. She’s not weight-bearing on that foot yet, but she’s definitely feeling better.

Now I can hear her crutching around the house, sometimes cursing a bit under her breath, or exasperatedly scolding Mikey for laying down directly in front of her again. He will not move if she pokes him with her crutch, he just rolls over. Mikey just wants to be with her, and doesn’t really understand the concept of being “in the way”.

I’m also feeling quite a bit better pelvic-pain wise. I’m experimenting with this product: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00EEEGEGM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and it really seems to be helping. I haven’t needed the pyridium (a pain medication directed at the bladder) for a couple of months now. *I am not endorsing or recommending any products for medical conditions* I am just sharing my story here. The bottom line is, when you have a chronic condition, especially if you suspect is has a complex cause, you may need to build a team of people to help you figure out what things work and what things don’t work. Ideally we will find ourselves in front of that magic person who has all of the answers, but more often we need to educate ourselves and make our own decisions based on our knowledge and experience of our own body, and the input from trusted health care professionals.

Do you remember all of my “the weight of it” posts? This has been quite an ongoing story. Kudos to Andrea (I think it was you, over a year ago?) who suggested I may have a hormone imbalance. I’ve been working along that theory, and I now suspect I might have endometriosis, which would explain a LOT, including much of my weight gain despite being on a diet prescribed by a nutritionist. Stress > adrenal fatigue > insulin resistance > weight gain > estrogen increase > weight gain > estrogen increase > flaring of pelvic pain > stress & pain > more adrenal fatigue and around it all goes. The killer is the cravings I’ve had for crap food are crazy intense now, so I will not pretend I’ve been eating perfectly well this whole time. I haven’t been doing terribly, but there have been potato chips. That’s all I’m sayin’!

I do want to take this moment to count my very many blessings, as I have dear people in my life who are supporting me with so much love and understanding, and I have access to a variety of health care professionals who will eventually help me figure all of this out.

The great news is, not only do I have a supplement that seems to have gotten me off of pain meds, but this very supplement is often helpful in correcting an estrogen-dominant state in the body. I’m not quoting medical studies here, I’m reading personal blogs of people with parallel issues and how they have managed or reversed their symptoms. “Estrogen dominant” is getting to be a bit of a buzz word, but it’s also interesting that it’s a phrase the naturopathic doctor used when reading the very same rest results which the family physician had pronounced “normal”. I *know* that something is going on, hormone-wise, so I’m going to go with the doctor who has a theory on that front, and whose first line of treatment is *not* surgery or prescribing birth control pills – both of these are things I’m expecting from the pelvic pain specialist.

This is what you do when you’re waiting five months for your next specialist appointment. Anyway, if I do have Endo, this next specialist in pelvic pain is exactly the doctor to be in front of, but meanwhile, I’m just going to make the dietary changes that are helpful in managing endo and hormonal imbalance. These changes are also in line with the starting changes recommended by my naturopathic doctor, who I haven’t seen yet but have spoken to over the phone. We are still waiting for my urologist to forward the reports to the ND’s office before I actually go down to see her, but as a naturopathic doctor, she specializes in – and this is her quote – “healthy menstruating females”. In fact she refers to her patients as “MY healthy menstruating females” which was strange but oddly comforting at the same time! Her whole thing is utilizing naturpathic and integrated practices to facilitate hormone balance and fertility.

This is quite the journey I have been on. Meanwhile, the progress I’m making with the supplements and the early diet changes have enabled me to go for beach walks again! That’s a big plus when you live in such a beautiful place as Tofino, British Columbia!

I’ve gotten back in touch with my lovely nutritionist from last year, who is off on maternity leave at the moment but is happy to help me figure out a six-week endo diet, which will again keep me within a gradual weight loss category of calorie intake. Personally, I can’t really make a lasting diet change unless I have a six week meal plan, including snacks, and recipes provided. I just can’t do that on my own. I’ve tried. But once I’ve gotten through six weeks, I am in a much better place to make better food choices again. I’m super-grateful for the help. It will just help me fully implement the changes the naturopathic doctor recommended a while ago…

And here’s the extra-big challenge for me. I think I’m going to give up coffee.

That is huge for me. But coffee, as much as I enjoy it, is bad for the hormones, *especially* if you have an issue like mine.

I’m going to start experimenting with matcha green tea. If I can make a matcha green tea latte that I like, I think I will be able to give up the coffee forever.

We shall see, my friends.

Keep your eyes peeled for that Hamilton the Pig interview, coming Tuesday!!!

I will share with you, my observed phases of moving:

Part 1. Packing.

1. “All my stuff is precious” – starts a month in advance of moving. Stuff is wrapped individually, placed lovingly in a box, labelled exhaustively. Some items are zen-ishly purged. Many of us believe the entire packing process will go like this.

2. “Anxiety” – practicality meets social responsibility as you attempt to give away and donate things you will not want or need in the new home.

3. “Time Crunch” – starts one to two weeks before move date. Stuff is more quickly packed, layered between sheets, towels and other textiles believing “it’ll probably be fine”. Boxes labelled with the room in which the stuff belongs.

4. “How do I keep finding things to pack?” Decision fatigue kicks in. You have become incapable of deciding whether or not you will need this thing in the new home, so you throw it into a box labelled “random crap” thinking it’s okay if you have just one box of random crap. By the time the truck arrives, you have 10 boxes labelled “random crap”.

5. “It’s go time”. You have run out of boxes. Anything left unpacked goes into black garbage bags. It may get broken or thrown out, but you don’t even care.

Part 2. Unpacking.

1. “Optimism and Resolutions.” Look at all the space we have! We will have so much room! What a great opportunity to get completely organized as I put things away! New life! This will be great!

2. Where the heck is the can opener? *buys new can opener*

3. “Ominous foreshadowing.” Why are the kitchen cupboards full, but the boxes labelled “kitchen” only half-unpacked?

4. “I can fix this.” *buys organizational items*

5. “Why did I pack this!?” The discovery of carefully packed items from “all my stuff is precious” phase, but which appear valueless in light of the new home. The stunning realization that your pre-moving purge got rid of only half the stuff you should have purged.

6. “The Over-Purge”. The closets and cupboards are full. The new storage solutions are full. You decide to randomly stuff the remaining items into closets and cupboards making them over-full, or throw out items as you unpack them.

7. “Apathy”. With no enthusiasm to unpack the remaining 2 – 6 boxes, they are relegated to the corner of a room, or a basement / storage space for a year.

8. One year later: “There’s the can opener.”

Happy Valentines day my beautiful Blog Friends! A podcast episode just for you!

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 Well folks, it’s about time for a blog entry, isn’t it?  SO MUCH has happened in the past month that I can’t possibly write it all down and do it real justice… so do you know what that means?

Yes!  It’s another podcast from the car!!!

I talk about the union convention I attended at the end of January, I talk about the course which Sweetie and I have joined, which is a feminine, energetic approach to the practical matters of managing money (Biggie gives the energetic message of “whatever gets you there” – it’s perhaps a little too woo-woo for him but Sweetie and I find it very powerful!)

I also talk about trauma, and how I was surprised that my memories of a childhood medical procedure have actually been producing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress for *decades*.  It’s really no coincidence that the universe pushed Carl & I together last month, is it???  It’s wonderful how that happens.

I assure you, I’m fine by the way.  It’s just been a revelation for me – how what I thought were persistent memories of something I should have “let go” a long time ago, are actually indicators of trauma – and even though this medical procedure was nothing when you compare it to the potential for trauma in the human experience, dismissing it hasn’t worked in allowing my brain to actually “let it go”.  That’s because trauma is a specific mechanical process in our brain, and the amazing part is there are techniques we can use to move that trauma through and completely change our relationship with that experience.

I decided to talk about it, after learning how very common it is for children to be actually traumatized by a medical procedure, and for the real effects of that trauma to echo out over our whole lifetime – and how exciting it is that being “traumatized” by something is not a permanent state, contrary to how trauma is commonly approached and treated as permanent damage by many therapists and medical professionals.

Listen and learn my friends, I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

 

Ep. 55 ~ Carl the Firefighter Pt 1!

We’re back! You guys, the first part of my conversation with Carl went live on the feed today, you can listen to it here, or search for my name in iTunes or Stitcher on your mobile device (cough and SUBSCRIBE cough).

Part two is locked and loaded for this time next week (I will be out of town, but my fabulous podcast support Jen Edds has already scheduled it.)

Jen sent me this wonderful little note about the second installment:

Kate,

Carl part 2 is uploaded and scheduled to release next Tuesday.

I don’t normally include time stamps in the show notes, but I thought the lobster analogy about growth, and the conversation about PTSD and meditation were super powerful, so I felt compelled to include the time stamp in the show notes.

I also don’t normally cry while editing podcasts, but I cried like a little baby when Carl was sharing the story about the older – That one just crushed me. You guys had a really powerful conversation on so many levels.

Hah! I’m not going to spoil it for you! You’ll have to listen and find out!

You can see the detailed description of what Carl & I discussed in this week’s episode right here, or on your mobile device!

I hope you enjoy it!

The Fighting Spirit

(image came from here, a lovely read by the way.)

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. You guys, I had a *super-fun* phone call yesterday with a new podcast guest! His name is Carl and he’s a firefighter. The first installment will be posted on Tuesday (the 10th) and the second part a week later, on the 17th. Watch Joyfultelepathy.com for the release or better yet, subscribe through itunes or stitcher on your smart phone to get it automatically on your device the second it releases J

Carl wrapped a little bow on a blog post idea I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks, and I’ll get to that. First, a little context:

December notwithstanding, I’ve been eating pretty well. I’ve still been gaining weight. It’s ridiculous. I’m probably going to lock it down again and just go mostly vegan except for lean protein, because while my body seems to be in wolly-mammoth-in-wintertime mode, it can only do so much with healthy veggies, lean protein, flax / avocado, and no flour, sugar or dairy. I always miss dairy. But as much as I love it, it does seem to be a part of the problem Every. Darn. Time.

Meanwhile, having seen my urologist in January I’m being passed along to another specialist in pelvic pain in Vancouver. Having completed the ultrasound and the bladder scope, now I can finally follow up with my naturopathic doctor in Victoria, who I’m feeling optimistic about. She specializes in women’s health and hormones, and I suspect there’s a cortisol / estrogen / progesterone factor in here that isn’t being flagged in the regular blood work.

Before anyone out there gets excited and tells me I should do the elimination diet before seeing this next specialist, relax. I have. Diet is the first place I go to heal myself. Of course it is. Alas, despite all the messaging out there, there truly is not a cure-all that works for everyone, and I haven’t (so far) found a diet that’s sustainable long-term without causing some sort of imbalance, leaving some need unmet. Not yet. One day I will, I’ll just keep working on it. I admit, I’ve been feeling a tad sorry for myself, and the December exception to my dietary efforts to heal myself has, of course, not made me feel any better in the long run!

But here’s the thing I’ve been telling myself, all through this particular health-challenge. It’s all okay as long as I work every day to make myself a little bit better. Every day I do my exercises. I think about what I can do to replace the vigorous walking I used to enjoy and can’t tolerate right now – so I replace it with yoga core-building exercise, and I’ve added some weights into the mix. Maybe I can’t power walk, but I can certainly lift. And I can ABSOLUTELY eat the best diet possible, and track it, so I have something to tell the doctors when they give me dietary suggestions.

For me, visualizing my ideal self doesn’t motivate me as it seems to motivate others – it’s discouraging. I work best when I focus on getting a little bit better every day – doing something EVERY DAY that is positive and will put energy into the healing track, rather than the illness / victim story. I have to do this *regardless of the outcome*, because honestly, all I can control is what I do today.

I’m writing about this because you guys *know* I love to buck the trends in the new age world, and the messaging out there is if you find an affirming mantra, if you do the intention-setting and the visualization, you *will* get there. Or you must at least *believe* you will get there, because if you don’t keep the faith you will SURELY fail, and in that case, you have only yourself to blame.

Does anyone else get that message, or is it just me?

Well, personally, I don’t find this strategy to be helpful in the long run. My Sweetie finds it helpful, and I can appreciate that. It does work for her. For her, she can do the “right things” and see actual encouraging change! For me, it’s a bit soul-crushing. If my motivation for positive action is dependent on a time-sensitive outcome, when that deadline comes and goes without the outcome I was hoping for (like 8 weeks of following the nutritionist’s plan ending in a “sorry I can’t help you” conclusion) what my brain does with that information is spiral into a hopeless and helpless puddle of self-pity. And that doesn’t help, does it?! Brains are funny. It’s not a logical conclusion that this thing didn’t work so I feel like giving up (I didn’t give up, of course, but I FELT like giving up) but for some of us, that’s what our brain does with this intention setting agenda. It’s too great a risk when you have a brain that likes to self-flagellate.

Carl said something awesome to me yesterday. He said, “Pain is a benchmark for greatness.” I’ve heard this before, in different forms. I have a friend who gets supremely excited when she hears from a new client in spiritual crisis. She *loves* working with people experiencing a “dark night of the soul” because she has seen the amazing transformations that can happen in dark places.

The key, the vital key to it all, is to never give up.

You don’t *have to* be attached to the final outcome. In fact, if we want to get Buddhist about it, attachment to a *specific* outcome could enhance your sense of suffering. But the embrace of the struggle, the affirmation that pain is just a benchmark – this is a sign post on an amazing journey of triumph – a triumph you may not yet fully understand, but a plan and a path that has purpose in this world – well that shifts everything.

I’m writing this for the folks reading who have chronic illness (physical or mental), or just undiagnosed chronic pain. People, you’re so not alone! I was listening to a podcast recently where the author of “Kicking Sick” was saying as many as one in three adults in the US suffer from a chronic illness. By the way, I think it’s a great book. It does of course have a focus on diet, but the information in there is also key to organizing your own care, and building a team of support people to help you. I’ve solved mystery health issues in the past using these strategies. I takes patience and persistence. It is tough when you don’t know how long it will be before your team finally clicks, and you start making some serious headway.

Now that I think of it, maybe I’m ready to try another nutritionist. Sometimes it’s about getting in front of the right people.

So that’s my mantra for this New Year, and my resolution. Every day, I promise myself, I’m going to be a little bit better. At 10 am every morning, I’m going to think about what I am going to do that day to improve my health, including what I’m going to eat to affirm my health, where I am in my exercise plan to improve my body, and where I am this month in my business goals.

I encourage my friends to do this too. If the grand New Year goals are motivating for you, AWESOME. Do it. But if you’re starting off the year feeling discouraged, and the emails I’ve been getting are telling this is a pretty common sentiment at the moment, just affirm to yourself that you will make a plan today. Every day, you are going to embrace the benchmark of resistance and pain – and welcome it not as a sign of futility, as your tricky mind might be tempted to frame it, but as a sign post. And promise yourself that you will read that sign post and answer it with a fighting spirit!

For me, that fighting spirit was a missing piece. I’m not a fighter. I’m a watcher. I’m a listener. I’m a comforter. I’m a helper. I’m a healer. But I’ve never identified with the feeling of fighting. I can be competitive, sure, but it’s always non-confrontational.

Talking to Carl, a guy whose job has “fighter” in the title, I realized that I *need* that firefighter spirit in my emotional toolbox. I like to be chill about things. I like to accept people where they are, and I practice kindness and self-care. I practice compassion to myself and to others. But I don’t really fight. I’ve been taught *not* to fight, actually.

But sometimes, you’ve GOT to fight. I don’t know how I missed this, but fighting, I realize, is a fundamental state of being! We don’t want to be fighting all the time, sure, let me explain:

I think there are fundamental states of being we agree to / sign up to experience when we incarnate on earth. These fundamental states are the universal experience, experienced not just by humans, but by all life forms on earth (and on other planets, I’m sure!)

There are also fundamental lessons in incarnation as a human and experiencing a deep deprivation of one or more of these states, and a part of our spiritual goals may become to learn HOW to experience these states later on in life.

Love, for example. Everyone should experience love in some form or another. Not everyone does, sadly, and sometimes people learn how to love, or accept love in adulthood. Some people *struggle* with love, being loved, loving others. But whether one has experienced it or struggles with it, love is a defining state of being on earth. Your relationship with this state of being becomes pivotal in your life review (your total incorporation of you life’s choices and experiences into your lasting spirit consciousness.)

Anger. Again, we all experience it. We grapple with it. We learn from it.

Fear. Fear motivates, fear can paralyze and imprison. Fear can define entire lifetimes, whole generations, and great chunks of history.

Joy / Euphoria. Different from love. Some people chase euphoria their whole lives, and they find it in different places. I think that “god moments” fall under this category.

Compassion. Nurturance. We all experience it, and we are all faced with a lack of it in some way or another. It can define who we are and how we face life.

So far, these may look like simple emotional states, but emotion plays a more important role than I think is generally accepted. Extreme experiences can make us feel vulnerable, and so extreme emotions can be conflated with weakness. Which brings me to the next state:

Strength and Weakness. Nothing makes us feel our mortality more than weakness, regardless of the form. In our moments of great strength, we can feel indomitable! Nothing can stop us! Until it does. Then we feel weak again. If a guy like Carl can come on my podcast and talk about his moments of weakness – despite that weakness being during a time of recovery from an injury gained ON THE JOB, for him, it’s still weakness. That can still spark a downward spiral, a dark night of the soul.

What’s great though, is, Carl knows how to fight. So does his little dog, by the way. You guys are going to love Mr. President. Carl credits his little dog for helping him on his road to recovery, but I also think there’s a part in all of us that has to engage or give up. Sometimes if you’re going to engage, you *have to* fight. It feels like fighting. You have to dig, embrace that you don’t want to do this thing, and then do it anyway – whether it’s lift those weights for one more set, or fight against a mental illness, addiction, or cancer.

And this is not to disparage anyone who has fought and lost. We have all lost fights. That’s why they’re called fights – the stakes are high! You could lose. It’s part of life to fight and sometimes lose.

That’s what make me realize that Fighting is something we come here to do. We all have to. We grapple with it. We have to engage in fights sometimes. So embrace your fights. Channel the adrenaline that our bodies and brains give us for fights. If you get knocked down, or lose a fight, just raise your head enough to wink at that sign post on the road – that benchmark to greatness, because even in losing a fight, you’ve made it further along the road that you ever would have if you’d never tried.

And that, my friends, is the whole point, isn’t it? We’re not here for stasis. We’re here for change. For challenge. So let’s help each other as much as we can along the way, because everyone has to fight sometimes. Let us be thankful for our struggles; for each struggle is a teacher in our practice.

John: Art and a Good End for the New Year!

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My Wonderful Blog Friends – Here’s to a good end for 2016, and to hope, energy, and unity in 2017!

 

Hi John!

 

Happy new year, darling!  We appreciate that some years deserve the bum!

 

(“deserve the bum” has a few dirty meanings)

 

I know it’s been a rough year for so many.  What would you like to say about it?

 

You must never give up hope.  We’re going through the cycle again – (shows me the current culture is reviving a lot of the sentiment and ideals from mid 1950s, which was a time most people considered modern and progressive.)  Yet it’s so backwards, people see what they want to see.  They don’t see others or themselves for how they are, they see what they idealize.  That’s wonderful, in many ways.  Dreaming is important. 

 

Action is just as important. 

 

Not more important than dreaming?

 

Without dreams, how can you imagine all possible action?  Art is important.  Thought is important.  This is why we thought LSD was such a revolution at the time – it created thoughts and “expanded the mind” in ways that would never have been possible.  We didn’t have the internet, you’ll remember.  (He’s teasing.)  We (back in the 70s) believed in the magic of imagination.  If you could dream it, you could create it – if your thoughts were limited by everything you’d been taught and seen in your lifetime, your dreams would be limited.  It was sad, at times; alarming as well. 

 

We believed – foolishly – that if everyone could just experience the psychological and imaginative power of LSD, it would free the mind, free the imagination, to never-before-dreamed-of possibilities!  It’s was part of the revolution.

 

Of course, it didn’t work like that!

 

Yeah, I can appreciate the line of thinking through.  We still see that.  Imagine, visualize the life you want, the world you want, and you can create it.

 

Well, you’re one step closer to creating it.  (Shows me shoveling dirt from a trench.) 

 

What do you mean?

 

It’s like excavating new channels for the mind.  Creating new shapes for the thoughts to flow!  Canals for the imagination!  (Big grin.)

 

Digging holes in the brain?  Are we talking about LSD again?

 

(laughs, takes a deep drag on a cigarette he suddenly has, and I smell the sharp smoke.  Now John has solidified in my mind, he’s lazing back on a chaise lounge, it’s white, with a battered, worn feeling, but perfectly clean.  It’s in a loft apartment with wide industrial windows nearly to the ceiling.  It’s a large room but feels intimate.  There’s a plush red patterned carpet under the chase longue, and I worried for a moment about the ash burning it as John ashes into a ridiculously massive crystal ash tray on the floor.  The room is somehow opulent and sparse; stark and cozy at the same time.)

 

No, love, we aren’t talking of LSD at the moment.  I thought we were talking of imagination!  Imagining things is hard work – don’t underestimate it.  There is heavy lifting in the excavation of the mind!  Just ask any artist!

 

(Thinking of Sweetie) I know.  What do you think the role of artists is right now?  In the year 2017, in the context of the future’s history?  Can you see that?

 

(Laughs and takes another drag.)  That’s quite a creative question!  (He gives me a rhyme / limerick that I don’t quite get – something like “… all the fun, an artist’s work is never done!”)  Art will always serve the same purpose – art never dies, it never disappears, though it may have to go underground.  You can’t stop it, can’t eliminate it – which is why art is so useful in protesting the established regimen!  (significant look.)  Remember I was alive during Nixon. 

 

Apparently I need to do more research about Nixon.  I don’t know too much about him, I haven’t been that interested.

 

Well let’s put it this way, darling.  It would behoove all of you to become VERY interested in former President Nixon.  He’s playing all the tricks from the same hat.  (President Trump’s leadership will mirror Nixon’s in many ways.)

 

(John stands up on a podium, as though speaking over the heads of a large crowd, points his finger directly up in the air and projects his words:) An educated mind is not easily led!

 

Oh!  And art can be used to educate others, obviously.

 

It’s just communication, another form of speaking to your fellow human.  Art is a way of whispering to people who don’t wish to listen.  Who would rather deny.  If you can’t get them through the ears, get them through the eyes, or the heart!  Most people have a heart.  Most people! 

 

Is art – (before I even finish typing the question he breaks in with a very forceful statement-)

 

YES art is the ESSENTIAL form of resistance.  It’s the IDEAL form of resistance!  What are concerts without songs?  What are marches without signs?  What is a movement without art?  Just a bunch of people, milling about like cattle!  (He laughs kindly.)  The best / most exciting thing about art is that *everyone* can participate.  Must participate.  SHOULD participate!  With love, remember.  With Hope.

 

And Happy New Year, darling Kate.  (He’s giving me a flirty little eye twinkle.)

 

Thank you for popping in John.  Happy New Year to you.  And Happy New Year to all my beautiful blog friends!

 

 

 

 

 

How to live your Life’s Purpose when disaster strikes!

For some of you, this title will be a bit of an exaggeration of your state of mind or where you are in your life. For others, life is in such a rapid swing of change that you’re self-editing the word “dumpster fire” into the sentence.

Wherever you are on the “How am I supposed to live my life’s purpose while all of this is going on?!” spectrum, this post is for you.

Y’all know I like to question commonly-held truths in the new age community. One of those truths is, if you’re living your life’s purpose, if you’re on track, you have a sense of peace and satiety most of the time. Many believe that if you’re feeling frustrated, limited, hampered, or sidelined in life, it’s because you are doing something wrong. That you’re not living your life’s purpose.

That’s a super-scary thought. It’s another way of saying you’re *wasting your life*.

Okay, sometimes when I’m cleaning house for the millionth time, I may mutter to myself, “I cannot be meant to be scrubbing this toilet right now.”

We all have that relationship with chores. If you enjoy scrubbing your toilet, please email me with your toilet-scrubbing mantra, so that I too can enjoy the zen bliss of a creating a fresh and sanitary vessel for my family’s bodily waste. I have *tried* toilet scrubbing meditations – I do not, thus far, recommend folding spiritual practice into a dirty chore. I have also yet to see an online course on self-hypnosis to love daily drudgeries. There’s a market niche for you there! Go for it! I will learn from you!!!

More than the daily maintenance of our physical bodies – the feeding and caring of these vessels that can be enjoyable, but can also feel burdensome, life sometimes throws us events that completely separate us from the track we have laid out for ourselves. Or maybe we’ve had to abandon that path because we have family to care for, or bills to pay, or medical mysteries to investigate.

When life throws us a curve ball, we want to ask “What the HELL is that all about!?” and we want to ground that event in a deep spiritual meaning for our overall life.

We want to incorporate it into our Life’s Purpose.

Here’s the thing.

Incarnation is complex. We are given these marvellous bodies, created from organic elements of the earth, and occupied by our spiritual consciousness, our energetic selves. When we take the leap into a lifetime, when we (re)incarnate into a body, most of us have SOME idea of what we want to accomplish.

As I discussed in the podcast episode on Planners, Wingers and Rafters, that life plans can vary from a detailed script of life events, to a loose outline or checklist that leaves a lot of room for exploring and adaptation, or a single line, motto or word.

What we can’t plan for is what is going to actually happen once we’re locked into these fabulous biological miracles we call bodies.

Everyone, no matter how detailed the life plan, is subject to the random and rapid change that happens here on earth. We can’t just snap ourselves out of it, either, like we can in spirit. That’s actually WHY we incarnate, because the stakes are so high here. We’re invested. We *have to* live through it.

Honestly, that’s why incarnating here on earth isn’t a popular choice. There are many other planets and life forms out there – my conversation with Pinky is one of my favourites. I only have to *glance* at that blog post to remember the vividness of that conversation – the largeness of Pinky’s hands, the slow deliberation of his/her movements, the communion s/he experiences with other life on the planet, the sheer massiveness and density of life on that planet compared to here.

There are life forms where incarnation does not feel as isolating, where we don’t forget as much about our spiritual selves and our past lives. Earth is one of the few crazy planets where we can actually *forget* who we are.

So those of us incarnated here, now, who have an awareness that we go on after life, and who, like me, spend time thinking about, focusing upon, and working towards fulfillment of their life plan, it’s beyond frustrating when life throws you a curve ball that restricts your abilities! But it happens to ALL of us, and it happens in different ways to different people. Accidents, misfortune, bad luck.

We can feel “held back”. It can inspire anxiety if you start thinking, “Oh my god, am I just treading water here? Am I wasting my life?”

No you’re not. Here’s the thing:

The problem with life plans is we can never fully plan or anticipate the random effects of incarnation. I’m not just talking about free will, which does have a huge impact – I’m talking about the random life events that can delay, distract or even endanger us.

This is the whole reason we have Spirit Guides, and spirit helpers / teachers through our lifetime. We cannot make it through our lives on luck alone. We need some angels, some spirit friends pulling for us – especially while we are children!

Sometimes, something will happen in life that creates a timeline we didn’t intend to create. I see this most often with an unintended / unplanned death. This happens. We can’t control for all the random factors. When something feels so wrong, wrong on a fundamental level, wrong in a way that inspires feelings of betrayal and anger at god, well, you feel that way for a reason.

Maybe it wasn’t a part of the deal.

Life plans are often talked about as “contracts with god”. I first read about this term in one of Sylvia Browne’s books, but I’m not sure if she coined that idea. I don’t think she did, actually, but she did make it a popular idea. It’s a very useful idea, too. You’ve agreed to take on these duties and challenges in your life, and to do your best, and you can’t change your contract with god, nor can god renege on providing the support you need to cope with these challenges.

There is a reason why, in the wake of a health crisis, or a great loss, we may find ourselves wrestling with anger, or an overwhelming *knowing* that this is wrong.

Sometimes things happen that weren’t planned. Sometimes it feels wrong because it is wrong.

And we have to make the best of it. They, our spirit friends, our family in spirit, and “god” helps us to move forward, when something unexpected and unplanned derails our Life Plan.

So what about our life’s purpose then?

Did you notice that “Life Plan” is different from “Life Purpose”?

We see this in the wake of a tragic, unplanned death. A few years after a high school friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident, he came to visit Sweetie and I on Christmas day. We had a lovely conversation with him. He showed me his spirit standing over his body where it had been thrown after his bike hit an oncoming truck – because he’d fallen asleep. His spirit, standing over his dead body, was expressing “Oh no! Oh shit! What happened! I’m dead! Oh no!!!”

All those who knew him felt the wrong-ness of his death. It was wrong. It was an accident.

Well, our friend’s spirit grandmother took him by the hand, let him have his processing time, and then helped guide him into his next incarnation – on a spiritual level, his own sister – her higher self – agreed to have one additional child. She would raise two children, instead of one. And the one child who was waiting to incarnate as the sister’s first and only child, agreed to wait another couple of years so that our friend could step in and become the first child, so he could take his life plan into a new lifetime, as his own nephew.

This is how we adapt, spiritually. Maybe things aren’t meant to happen, but they do happen, and retroactively, our spirit friends and the universe at large, helps us to form a new timeline, helps us to make it “meant to be” retroactively.

Bearing that in mind…

I think that ALL of us run into unexpected and unplanned challenges in life. We hit against restrictions our higher self, our spirit self, could not conceive of as being a problem. This is *why* we incarnate, because as spirits, we love to forget how random life can be!

In spirit, we simply create what we need, instantly. That’s why a lot of us call it Heaven. Want to visit your great aunt Ruth? BANG! You’re there! And you’ve gone back in time to visit ancient Rome, just because it’s a fun spirit vacation!

What we can’t create in spirit is exactly this – the things we struggle with and against in physical bodies. Our limitations, our vulnerability, our very mortality.

This very struggle is an important part of our Life’s Purpose.

It may not be what you planned, but it is in the user agreement.

If we have expansive spirits, if we have enthusiastic and ambitious spirits, we tend to set up and PLAN very challenging lives! We sometimes forget to allow for the limitations that come with mortality!

That’s why we can feel so impatient with ourselves. Sometimes our life plans, our ambitious ideas of what we wanted to accomplish while we are incarnated, are not always lived out exactly in the way we planned or intended. I think that the more ambitious we are in spirit – the more likely we are to bump up against our restrictions!

Sometimes – if our spirit is truly masochistic (not in a self-hating way, in a shoot for the stars deal with the consequences as we go kind of way) we will come in programmed for *incredible* ambition that is *constantly* driving us! Remember that ambition may not be specific! You might just have planned to travel as far / fast as possible in whichever direction you choose! You may be a Winger who is insanely enthusiastic and optimistic in spirit!

And that’s good! It can bite you in the butt sometimes, but it’s still good!

That’s also why we feel so deeply, spiritually, conflicted when it seems our reality has thrown a wrench into our plans!

But, I’m supposed to be doing deep huge massive changing helping transformative work! Why the heck am I stuck here? What good is this? What is the point of this? What am I supposed to be learning that I’m not getting? How can I move PAST this already!? Why am I cleaning this toilet AGAIN!?

Do you understand what I’m saying here?

Did you ever have a conversation with your own higher self, or with god, that went something like this:

WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING!!!??? WWWWHHYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!??????? ADRIAAAAAANNNN!!! (Erik popped in for that Rocky quote – I had to go read the context of it and WOW is it appropriate! Thanks E!)

Yeah, me too! And maybe, like me, you like to try and create elaborate plans for your future – because planning helps to control the crazy randomness of this incarnation ride!

Here’s the thing: Even if you are not exactly where you thought you’d be in the map of your life plan, you can still, and you can *always* live your Life’s Purpose.

After all, part of the whole point of life, part of our very purpose in incarnation is to actually figure out HOW to cope with physical life as we live it!

Never forget, especially if you feel life is especially hard in this moment, that not only is life supposed to be hard sometimes, and we signed up to deal with the unexpected, but we are supposed to adapt, refocus and get creative with our resources where we are – wherever we find ourselves. Whatever hardship, whatever pain, whatever frustration – we still have purpose, we always have something to offer.

So how do you re-center yourself when you feel like you’ve been knocked off track?

First, and most importantly: forgiveness.

This is not easy. It can take years! Don’t worry, you can work on forgiveness *while* you work on the next steps too. Just understand that forgiveness is often done in stages, over many years, sometimes over lifetimes. You may need to forgive someone who betrayed or hurt you, you may even need to forgive yourself! Anger and grief can be all-consuming – they can steal far too much of your energy – energy you could be directing at something positive, something that will make you happier, something that will uplift others and yourself. Don’t let judgement, or a grudge, occupy any more of your life than is reasonable. Feel your feelings like crazy – and then gently, over time, work on forgiving.

Here’s another sneaky thing that happens: if you have a lot of emotion that’s racketing around your body like a squirrel in a cage, that emotion will find outlets in anger, resentment, judgment and frustration. If there’s some forgiving you need to be doing, avoiding looking at those issues that require your attention and forgiveness will cause your emotions to lash out in other parts of your like. Family stress could turn into anger towards coworkers. Judgment against yourself might lead to resentment of your own friends!

For so many of us, we need to forgive ourselves our own mortality. Our own physical limitations. Do you know how many times over the years I’ve heard from people – blog friends, clients, friends and family members – that if only they could – if only they needed less sleep, if only they could resolve this chronic illness, if only this injury would heal, if only this PTSD would relent – if only we weren’t so darn HUMAN we could finally go about our life plan full-throttle!

Mortality is not easy. The stakes are very high, and our world is hazardous. Coping with reality is part of our work! We get injuries and illnesses which *we did not plan for*. Yeah, that’s a controversial statement in the new age / spiritualist community. I’m saying it, though! A lot of things happen for a reason, but not *everything* happens for a reason. I just don’t think so. I’m open to discussion on this point, though, if you’d like to comment.

Our bodies are beautiful, fragile, and prone to error! Our genes carry the memories and traumas of our ancestors. Our food carries the chemical and energetic signature of our culture. All this adds up – we need rest, we get injured – or we just get *tired*.

I burned out three times before I was 30 years old. I get *tired*, man! I drive myself! My spirit is ambitious, I am blessed with the support of loving friends and family. But yeah, I struggle. I’m always trying to be better, to do more.

That is part of the point!

If you scroll back through the blog entries since I started writing here in 2012, you’ll see me chronical all sorts of challenges, and you’ll see me document all the ways I hit up against my limits. Financial limits. Physical limits.

There is only so much we are capable of doing, our limits are unique to ourselves, and how we calibrate ourselves physically is not *entirely* within our own control.

If I had complete control over the physical manifestation of my body, there are a few choice physical things I’d change – but mostly I would change my energy, my need for rest. My spirit just wants to be *doing something spiritually productive* all the time!

But my physical body needs a clean toilet. It needs to be fed and rested. Sheets need changing, food needs cooking, and I my soul needs downtime to connect with my Sweetie and my friends here in town. My consciousness needs respite from my physical body too – honestly, I think that’s why I sleep so much! (And by “so much” I mean an average of 9 hours a night, more than the average adult, but consistent since my teens. If I could choose, I’d sleep maybe an hour a day. A nap.)

I find that on my personal forgiveness list, I have to consistently work on the judgments I make of myself. It’s a side-effect of having high expectations of yourself.

You know that phrase, “Shoot for the moon – if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”? Well some of us keep on rocketing frantically around the cosmic map of our life plans, forever striving to thread the needle of hitting that one tiny moon amidst this whole glorious wonder of a universe!

And so many of us try to do it alone.

There’s where our Life’s Purpose comes in.

We may have life plans – whether that plan is a 50lb atlas of a mission, a page-long manifesto, or a single motto of spiritual truth, we all have something we’re trying to do here.

And we all have opportunities around us to adapt and shift. We aren’t alone, spazzing around in the stars. Take a look around you. Take a look at your internet community, (I love you guys!) and your physical community (I love my home!) You will find ENDLESS opportunities to adapt your life plan.

Sometimes, your opportunity is to simply face your challenges with as much determination and grace as you can muster. Sometimes, you’re meant to reach out for help, to build connections you will understand better as the years pass. Sometimes, you’re meant to answer a call for help – you’ll feel that impulse.

Sometimes, you’re meant to be brave, and live through something you never thought you’d have to deal with.

Your life plan sometimes ends up in your back pocket – and that’s okay – because your life’s PURPOSE is all around you, it’s just outside, it’s in your friendships – current and future – it’s in your community – it’s in that day job – it’s even found at the bottom of a clean toilet. In the dirty dish you managed to wash. In the eyes of your pet. In the words of a text sent to a friend or stranger.

Your life plan is *waiting for you to adapt*. If you’re in a boat and you’ve been blown off course, you have to keep moving forward anyway. Even in uncharted waters, you have the choice to float or to direct your motion. Your spirit friends will help you figure it out – but you have to get on with living your life’s purpose – which is to live your life! Your precious, limited, fragile, mortal life!

We spiritualists, us new age-y folks, we can get so focused upon our life plan that we find ourselves questioning the spiritual value of activities which truly fill our lives with joy. Family traditions. Entertainment (like the choir Sweetie and I attended! HOLY COW it was amazing!) Doctor’s appointments. (My own went fine, thanks to those who have asked. No answers yet, I’ve been referred to the next specialist down the line.)

We re-discover our life’s purpose in this: Happiness.

Allow yourself to be gently guided by happiness. Question the urgency offered to you by others. Question spiritual ultimatums which ask for payment (in work or money) in exchange for fulfillment – unless the payment truly brings you happiness.

We can’t do *everything* because, you know, we’re incarnated. We have freaking limits! That is part of the point! So we *have to make choices.*

Spiritually, every choice we make ripples outward. It affects other people. We get to see those affects in our life review! But you don’t have to spend too much time worrying about that right now. Your life review is not *only* about your contribution to a worldwide momentum. Generally, it’s about incorporation of the entire experience into our energetic / spiritual consciousness. Often, it’s used as motivation for your NEXT life plan! Incarnation can be quite a rabbit-hole.

There is a reason our life includes paying bills, sleeping, and scrubbing toilets. All of those activities are just as much a part of your life, whether you’re in survival mode – or thrive mode.

I’m totally in thrive mode, you guys. I’m doing this psychic thing, and I’m also working at the hospital doing a good job there. I’m also helping people as much as I can through the union. I’m also visiting with friends pretty regularly, and calling my Dad as often as possible.

If I were to pick just one thing to focus on in my life, if I quit my job and my union, if I hired a housekeeper and stopped scrubbing my toilets, if I did *nothing else* but blog and teach and provide sessions and promote myself – well my business would grow for sure, but I don’t think I’d be living my life’s purpose any more.

I actually think I’d be living it a bit less. I’d be narrowing my life, limiting my routine. I don’t think I’d be taking advantage of the full spectrum of my life.

Even if you’re a planner, you have to learn to wing it a bit.

Here are some Foundations for Living your Life’s Purpose, regardless of the flaming tatters your life plan may be in:

1. Stabilize yourself with routine. It’s grounding! I have so much to say about routines. This might seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out.

Your routine can be flexible, but the idea is to make some decisions about daily activities just once, and then stick to that, instead of using energy to make the same decisions every day. Even people at war can find strength and comfort in the routine of meals, of comradeship, of letters from home. If you have a waking up and going to bed routine, a cleaning routine, a socialization routine, an annual routine of traditions that brings you opportunities to look forward to life, hold on to and nurture the routines that serve you. Routine helps you to cope with adversity, and help you to conserve energy that might be better employed directed at your life’s purpose, rather than solving the myriad of little life logistics that pop up and need managing. The *idea* of routines may seem restrictive, but really, routines let you be proactive about your needs, which frees up a lot of energy. It’s the energetic equivalent of “a stitch in time, saves nine.”

Personally, I try to do an evening cleaning routine, lay out my clothes for the next day, set my coffee in the evening, and set reminders for tasks I need to do in the morning, which I’m likely to forget in the fog of waking up. All these little things bring me peace of mind, conserves my energy, and ultimately gives me more opportunities to help others because my routine actually gives me freedom. I don’t run out of food because I food prep routine makes sure I have some meal flexibility, so I am able to impulsively help a friend without sacrificing healthy eating for the week.

So much of my routine includes the background beauty of where I life, and the people I work with. My commute to the hospital is through a freaking national park! My gardening routine involves regular encounters with deer. This is so very different from my Toronto routine that involved a lot of stress, long hours, and crowds.

If you *hate* your current routine, like I did in Toronto, then focus your energy on your long-term goals. More on that later. I really need to do a blog post about how moving can shift your whole life, I’ll make a quick mention of it now: You don’t even have to move out of town to get the shift you need. If you feel stuck, consider how moving house, moving in with a roommate or out on your own, to a new town or a new country – how moving can bring the changes you need to your routine. This is rooted in energy work and I’m actually covering a lot of it in the class / course material I’ve been working on for three years (sheesh!)

2. Explore new things. Even if you love every aspect of your life, we have a fundamental need to learn and explore. Growth brings ENDLESS opportunities to live your life’s purpose. No matter what is going on, there is nearly always an opportunity to learn something new. New things bring you in contact with new people, too! One of the most enjoyable things about my routine, aside from the sanity and comfort it brings to my life, is the opportunity to break with routine once in a while, which is invigorating!

3. Take care of your body. This folds into your routine. If you neglect yourself, if you regularly wear the same washed-out hoodie that you slept in the night before, if you never change your sheets, scrub your toilet or prepare nourishing food, you simply cannot live your life’s purpose. At the very least you’ll put a ticking clock on your abilities to do so, before you burn out just like I did! Do everything you reasonably can to take care of yourself. Be honest about and accepting of your body’s needs.

4. Take care of your spirit and your state of mind. Pessimism is a warning sign. We feel pessimistic about our future and other people when we’re burnt out, or we have neglected our spiritual or emotional needs. Sometimes we’re in survival mode, but even then we can try to take care of our spirits. I often think of Nelson Mandela. If he could take care of his own spirit and state of mind for THIRTY YEARS, I can cultivate my own optimism and strength of spirit too, no matter what. I almost made this point #1, however I’ve found that if I address my routine, my need for new experiences and my the needs of my physical body, my spiritual care and my state of mind becomes a LOT easier.

5. Set goals. Nothing will help you ground into your life’s purpose than setting a series of goals. Some goals may be lofty and long-term, but be sure you set some that are enjoyable and easy to achieve. My short-term goals have been as simple reviewing a list of things I want to accomplish in the week, and mentally going over a day’s to do list in the morning as I wake up. This helps ground me into the fulfillment of living my actual day to day life! I like to use a bullet journal to keep tabs on all the moving parts of my routine (ensuring I go to the dentist, the optometrist – and that Sweetie goes as well!) as well as my long-term goals. My short-term goals may be easy, but tracking them allows me to *feel* the accomplishment.

The Bullet Journal also helps me to plan out my life up to a year in advance, so I can make progress on the book / class I’ve been writing, and so that I actually get to take time off to visit with friends, family, and enjoy the summer. I *love* the bullet journal method for helping me make decisions on how I’m going to spend my time, while managing my responsibilities. It helps me to pull all the threads into one place and decide how and when I’m going to put energy into what is important to me, where I am in life. I find that I almost never accomplish a goal within my ambitious timelines, but as long as I continue to track it, I DO get things done!

6. Enjoy yourself. As much as I’m a fan of self-discipline and routine, I like to take advantage of impulse too. Maybe I drop in on a friend for a visit instead of cooking that dinner I planned. Maybe Sweetie and I decide to go to Nanaimo for a change of scene instead of cleaning the house. Maybe I choose to enjoy my food, instead of worrying or judging myself if I don’t eat “clean” all the time. One year, I stuck to a diet so restrictive I achieved an “off the rack” body – meaning I could literally look fantastic in almost anything for sale in stores. I remember it as the year of endless compliments that felt strange and unfamiliar, but mostly I remember it as the year I had no chocolate around Christmas, no Turkey for thanksgiving, and no ice cream that summer. Life is short. I could do a lot more sessions in a year if I never took time off to enjoy myself. I could accomplish a lot more for the hospital and the union if I didn’t prioritize time with my Sweetie, or commit to my self-care routine. But these are the things which revitalize me.

7. Release perfection.

My goodness, I do go on, don’t I? Thank you for sticking with it. I truly hope this has been helpful to you.