The 888 Portal

Whether or not you think portals are new age jabberwocky, or whether they should only exist in Start Trek, I’d like to share the following:

 On Aug. 8, 2015 (8+8+(2+1+5=8)), thousands of people from around the world gathered in significant geographical locations around the globe with the intention of connecting in unity and love for the possibility of creating a new world. 

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Regardless of the numerological significance of this date, the fact is that when thousands of people come together under a shared idea, the co-creative power we generate together is quantic. That is, infinite possibilities become available because we imagine they are possible; thus, we allow them to be possible. This is key. We create the portal, and we open it, too.

I like the way Matías De Stefano puts it:

“Numbers and dates are simply focal points that help us to concentrate our thought, and their repetition is what sustains and reconstructs them over and over again to grow in knowledge and consciousness.”

(Source: www.harwitumthepath.blogspot.ca)

My Trip to Shuswap Lake

In all honesty, I wasn’t planning on doing anything special for 8-8-8. Perhaps something quiet on my own to connect internally, but it never occurred to me that I could actually go somewhere and participate physically.

Then one of my best friends called me and invited me up to her grandparent’s place on Shuswap Lake, in the interior of BC. It clicked: “Of course that’s where I should be!”

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Herein started a wonderful and unexpected adventure into the co-creative power of numerological portals. Adventures don’t only exist when I travel outside Canada, thank God! The beauty of this adventure is that it all came together without me really intending it. Things just connected, one by one, in a beautiful escalation of meaning and purpose.

The Adventure Begins

Our first stop along the way was a Buddhist Relic exposition at a temple out in Richmond. We went because my friend’s boyfriend was going, and it seemed like a significant place to stop and connect before commencing the 5 hour drive up to Shuswap.

Here, I spent time connecting with the relics of ancient Buddhist masters, sitting in silence, and quietly asking for information and guidance about what to do for 8-8-8. I came upon an ancient book of sutras and flipped it open to a random page. Although I can’t remember exactly what it said, it was something to the effect of:

and she bathed in sacred waters…cleansing the past conflicts of planets, temples, and peoples…opening to receive new ways…”

 Whatever it actually said, I received 3 key pieces of information:

  • I needed to swim in the lake
  • My work would somehow be connected to the what was being done in Egypt, where a group of people were travelling up the Nile River visiting all the ancient sites and temples, gathering their encoded knowledge to culminate in a huge release of energy and information from the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid Cheops on the morning of 8-8-8 (more info here: harwitumthepath.blogspot.ca). How? I had no idea.
  • The work had to do with opening up to new possibilities

Okay, so I just needed to figure out how Shuswap Lake was connected to the Nile River and ancient Egyptian monuments. Noooo problem.

We started out on the 5 hour drive. Somewhere along the way, I posed the question to my friend Tia about what she thought the meaning and significance of Shuswap Lake was. She responded, “Let’s ask my Mom, she has experience with channeling and could help us access some answers.” So when we arrived at her cabin a few hours later, we approached her unexpecting mother:

“Tomorrow is 8-8-8, and we need to know how Shuswap Lake is connected to ancient Egypt and the Nile River! What is the geographical significance of Shuswap Lake in the body of the Earth? What does this land need in order to take its next evolutionary step?”

 Slightly puzzled by all these questions, seemingly flung at her out of nowhere but simultaneously open and willing to help, she responded:

“Well…we’ve been invited to uncle Terry’s for dinner in half an hour, but we could tune in right now to see what we can find…”

 So we sat down together in a circle, made a list of pointed questions, meditated in silence for ten minutes, and opened to receive…

It’s amazing what a little bit of trust, curiosity, openness, and a loving clairvoyant mother can lead to…

The Keys of Activation

1) The first piece of information we received, which was also a confirmation for me, was that we had to swim in the lake. Why? Because everything is connected through water. So really, everything that was happening at the Nile, regardless of how far away it was, was also happening here. We forget, in our fixation on physical reality, that everything is connected from within. An activation and release of ancient knowledge in Egypt also meant an activation and release of ancient knowledge in Shuswap. However, it was also physical. That is, we had to submerge our bodies in water for the energetic level to be consummated on the physical level. It was actually happening in our physical DNA. (If this doesn’t make any sense at all, don’t worry).

2) The next piece of information we received was crucial, and it came through in quite a comical way. Tia’s mom, Lori-Ann, was groping for the meaning of Shuswap Lake:

“Okay, so what is the significance of Shuswap lake in all of this? Let’s see…

…It’s a lake that’s shaped like an H…

….or an X…with four legs…

It’s a chromosome!!!”

That’s it!

ChromosomeTurns out, Shuswap is shaped like a chromosome. Confirmation: not only would be be activating our own DNA internally by swimming in the lake, we would also be activating “the Earth’s DNA” as a reflection of the micro-macro relationship of the human body and the Earth body. It was perfect. (If this is severely clashing with your sense of logic, just think metaphorically, it’s all good.)

3) The third piece of information had to do directly with the work being done at the Great Pyramid of Cheops. To summarize as practically as possible, this group had been travelling to each of the ancient Egyptian temples along the Nile zz human dnaCrystallineEarthgrid1“collecting” the energy and knowledge stored in their stones (think of these temples
like pen drives of information), so that early on the morning of 8-8-8, they could
“release” all of this ancient knowledge into the planetary “network” (think ley lines or meridians of the Earth), thus freeing up this information for anyone to access within their own bodies. That is, each and every one of us would become our own “temple” or “pyramid” by awakening this information in our own DNA, like a massive declassification of ancient Egyptian knowledge. In our bodies. Yes!

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This would facilitate an opening in human consciousness that would allow us to start remembering what we have forgotten, to open up our connection to the galaxy, and unlock certain potentialities that have lain dormant in our DNA for millennia.

Sound crazy? I invite you to put your space suit on (didn’t you always want to fly through the galaxy?!)

After rather unexpectedly receiving all of this information, we realized we were sitting inside a pyramid-shaped cabin with large three-tiered pyramid shaped windows. We were in our very own pyramidal time portal 🙂

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The Activation

So that’s what we did. We carried out a beautiful meditation on the shores of the lake, cloaked in the soft darkness of the desert night. The following day, I made sure I dove into the lake many times, joyously soaking up the sensation of fresh, sweet lake water caressing and cleansing my body. Each and every tingle of delight was like a chromosome waking up 😛

Skinny dipping was a no brainer. So was naked sun bathing.

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In the following few days, I received unprecedented amounts of insight and inspiration surrounding my work and purpose here in British Columbia, which was a huge relief, considering every time I come back here I usually want to leave again. But I’ll save that for another post. I also had a vision for a project that encompasses every passion and interest I’ve ever had – picture world travel, dance, music, arts, and uniting humanity….but I’m sure I’ll write about that in a future post, too.

To summarize the most relevant insights and information that I received: 

1) We are here to be human. That is, “spiritual” or “religious” practitioners are too often desperate to “get back home”, return to “Source”, find “God”, or “ascend” out of this human experience. Expanding beyond our physical reality and consciousness is one thing, yes, but evolution has two streams: one up into the Heavens, and one down into the Earth. Those who have already “woken up” also need to “awaken down”. Be human. That’s what we came for: integration. And to be silly.

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2) The times we are in are such that universal and galactic information is available to us all. It is in our DNA. It is inside of us. That means that everything you’ve every needed or wanted to know, is simply an investigation away…if you are willing to dive into your own interior and open up to the possibility of communicating with the non-physical intelligences of your own being, which encompasses All. Their are universes inside of you.

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3) We become “pyramidal portals” of communication into the universe when we align with light and love. The ancients constructed their temples and pyramids to mirror the stars in the skye, becoming monumental “radio antennas” to receive information and anchor it into the Earth. I now see that the human body has this same capacity. We are living radio antennas that were ingenuously constructed to connect with the Heavens, which are activated through light-love frequencies. Why light and love? Not because we are hippies. From what I gather, it has to do with frequency and energy-wave compatibility with higher intelligences.

With that, I will end this mind-warping journey into the portals of the galaxy. I hope it was fun for you, as it was soul-tickling fun for me.

I’d like to end with an excerpt from a meditation that was channelled by Nuria Alonso for the 888 portal:

The Earth grid is impregnated in the form of golden rain…soaking her in the ancient wisdom and new frequency of the New Light from the Central Sun…the ancient wisdom and new frequency are carried to all places…impregnating the trees…the plants…the New Earth…amplifying itself wherever necessary…wherever it is called, in all places…to the hearts of all people…wherever it is asked for…

In this way closing an Ancient cycle…and opening a New one….

(…)

From Cheops to the Central Sun and the Galaxy…the light sent is an awaited signal…that notifies the galaxy that Humanity has remembered the time has come…to recover their wisdom, their Light, their connection…

Commencing a new cycle, in which we can construct a Civilization that we feel proud of…gathering the wisdom of those who preceded us…to create a New Earth in alignment with the New Times…in harmony with the laws of the Cosmos…and with a legacy in our Hearts:

I am One with the Universe.

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Source: Meditación Egipto 888

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Chamuyo, Mate, and all Things Argentine

Some part of me has always known that I would live in Argentina. It’s strange, because my only association with the country was a yoga teacher I met in my late teens, who, aside from being incredibly handsome, inspired a strangely deep and unrelenting interest in the culture, a mysterious resonance that I had to follow. But he was my only reference; that and Moulin Rouge type tangos I had seen in Hollywood movies, and the song, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”. But despite how little I knew about the country and culture, somehow I knew I would end up there one day.

It’s funny how life works, though, as things never really came together for me to get there. When I was 19, having just left my budding professional dance career, desperate and passionate to expand my horizons, I bought a one-way ticket to Mexico with the intention of travelling through South America and ending up in Argentina. Some of my close friends might remember me saying something to the effect of: “Ciao! I’m going to dance my way down through Latin American and end up living in Argentina.” I even got rid of most of my winter clothes (and later repented it…)

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Well, I made it to Mexico…and I did dance my way to Cuba…but I didn’t make it all the way down to Argentina. Life would have me stay in Mexico for a year before returning to Canada to start my university studies. I won’t get into details, but I will say that living in Mexico changed the direction of my life and set the foundation for what was to come.

Not content spending the next four years of my life in North America, I started looking into doing an exchange in Argentina. No affiliations with Argentine universities…”sigh”. Next best option: Spain! So in my third year, I took off to Granada, Spain, with two main intentions: 1) to experience the cultural and historical ties between Spain and Latin America, and 2) to meet “someone” or to find “something” that would offer me a future opportunity in Latin America, preferably in Argentina (as that was where I was going to live when I graduated, obviously.)

For those of you who have been following my blog, you might remember the chain of synchronistic events that led me to meet Matías De Stefano, a very unique Argentine…while I was living in Spain. Although I had been following his work online for some years, it never occurred to me that I could actually meet him in person.

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Long story short, this connection eventually brought me to where I am now…on an airplane, returning from my first trip to South America, and my first trip to Argentina. I made it, finally!

So let me back up to where I left off…

Arrival in Buenos Aires

After two months of adventures in Brazil, I hopped on a plan to Buenos Aires. The idea was to spend a few days in Argentina’s capital before heading to Venado Tuerto in the (very flat) interior province of Santa Fe, where I would spend the next couple weeks working at the Arsayian Foundation, (founded by Matías and his family in 2012).

In Buenos Aires, I stayed with the only person I knew from there, a woman who I had met five years prior at an Ayurvedic health retreat, in Iowa, USA, of all places. When I met her in 2011 I told her, “One day I’m going to visit Argentina”, and she said, “When you do, you will stay with me.” I kept her email address, carefully labeled in a folder in my inbox, for five years.

Fast forward to February 2015 when I am planning my trip: “What are the chances that Claudia would remember me…?” I send an email, and “poof!” five months later I am staying at her beautiful home in the swankiest neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

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My networking father gave me pat on the back for that one…

And it wasn’t just any connection, either. It turns out that Claudia also has a Foundation that works with arts and education to develop social consciousness. And get this: Claudia had made a painting nine years earlier where she scribbled, “Ater Tumti: Heaven on Earth, education and economy.” Why is this significant? Let me explain:

Matias De Stefano started giving workshops titled “Ater Tumti: Heaven on Earth” in 2009 (three years after Claudia made the painting); and the next two months at the Arsayian Foundation were dedicated to economics and education.

Talk about synchronicities. A few days later I showed up at the Arsayian Foundation with the painting in hand. These kinds of synchronicities occur daily around Matías so I should be used to them by now, but they still do not cease to amaze me…

But I don’t want to talk about the Arsayian Foundation quite yet; I want to talk about Buenos Aires. Chaaarming Buenos Aires! Although I only spent a total of three days there, I was taken by its charisma and elegance. Its combination of European architecture, majestic boulevards, and burlesque flair gives it an air of seductive mockery, echoing the songs of abandoned immigrant souls while simultaneously asserting its dignity. This paradoxical wistfulness and self-confidence of Argentineans caught my attention right away, like the aching tune of a bandoneon that simultaneously saddens and seduces you in its intelligent melancholy.

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Little to be said, I felt an immediate resonance with the city and people. My infatuation was consolidated when Claudia took me into the colourful streets of “La Boca”, where a dark and handsome tanguero led me in my very first tango in Argentina. Call me passionate, but my soul came to life in that moment, as if saying, “Yes, this is me…”

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Shamelessly playing the tourist

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La Boca, Buenos Aires

Venado Tuerto and the Arsayian Foundation

Having briefly tasted life in Buenos Aires, I set off into the prairies of Santa Fe; destination, Venado Tuerto, a small city of 70,000 inhabitants in the middle of the “pampa”, and the headquarters of the Arsayian Foundation.

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Visiting the Arsayian Foundation was the pinnacle and purpose of my trip to South America. Although my experience in Brazil had offered me many key lessons, my final objective had always been to go to Argentina to seek answers to the following two questions: 1) Do I want to live in Argentina after I graduate, and 2) Is the work I am doing at the Arsayian Foundation a path that I would like to professional pursue? In other words, I was looking for a place to live and a vocational direction – no small expectations.

Having said this, I was aware of the fact that having high expectations, or any, for that matter, is a simple recipe for disappointment. Repeated experiences on the anticipation-disappointment rollercoaster have taught me this time and time again. I’m a dreamer, and I fall hard. So I knew it was key for me to arrive at the Foundation with complete openness and detachment; that is, to let go of any any expectations and simply see and receive what was placed in front of me.

And I can sincerely say that by doing this, my expectations were met, but not in the way I was expecting (lol).

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Chamuyo, mate, and all things Argentine

There were many things I was not prepared for. First of all, the chamuyo…

The online etymology dictionary defines chamuyo as: “a word in Argentine slang that refers to the conversation that a man makes with a woman in order to take her to bed, or the trivial conversation made between people to fill in gaps of silence. The word “chamuyo” comes from the verb “chamuyar”, which means “to converse.” 

Argentines are expert talkers. It’s truly impressive how many of them can talk at once while simultaneously following a rapid-fire thread of jokes, insults, slang, ironies, double meanings, and laughter. Here, I am using the word “chamuyo” in a more general sense, to refer to the impressive Argentine capacity to use language creatively as a form of self-assertion and social connection, although the men do also use it to woo women into bed with them.

On my first night at the Arsayian Foundation, I went out for dinner with Matías and a group of his friends, and was quickly initiated into the lightning speed fray of Argentine chamuyo. Having just spent the last two months speaking Portuguese, my poor brain was caught like a deer in the headlights. And this was only the beginning. I soon learned over the next couple weeks that an Argentine gathering (whether it be at work, at home, or out socializing), is not complete unless someone (or everyone all at once) is telling a joke, laughing, or intelligently insulting you.

I loooooved it. Why?

The conclusion I eventually came to is that this Argentine particularity mirrors the missing half of my Canadian personality. Whereas Canadians are generally more reserved and polite, Argentines are assertive and expressive. Here, I could engage the part of me that wants to challenge the other, duel for intelligence, and connect through expressive self-assertion.

It’s funny I feel this way because in general, Argentineans have a terrible reputation (everywhere but Argentina) for precisely this aspect that I find so endearing. Others find Argentines to be unbearably arrogant, but I take their assertiveness as a challenge and invitation to meet them half way; they’re quick, and you have to up your game if you want to keep up.

For me, the following joke summarizes it all (courtesy of Gustavo, Matías’ uncle, who I adore for his relentless cleverness):

– “Normally people don’t like Argentineans, because of our reputation for being arrogant…

…but when you get to know us, you realize that we aren’t arrogant at all…

…we’re just the best. ” 😛

All cleverness aside, my experience of Argentineans was of warmth, sincerity, and big-heartedness, (even if sometimes they are too smart for they’re own good)…

Gustavo...and when I asked if I could post this photo he replied: "It's art; if anyone is horrified it just confirms their ignorance." hahaha

Gustavo…and when I asked if I could post this photo he replied: “It’s art; if anyone is horrified it just confirms their ignorance.” hahaha

Practically speaking, I spent almost everyday working at the Foundation. Some days I would arrive at 9am and stay until 10pm, chasing an ever-increasing to-do list that only seemed to grow longer each day (I came to embrace the organized chaos). But the good thing was that, a) I absolutely loved the work I was doing, and b) no matter where you are in Argentina, you will most likely be accompanied by a nice hot “mate” to sip on as you dog-paddle your way through the day. Being the cold person that I am, I was overjoyed to have found a culture that drinks hot herbal tea all day long.

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Argentina essentials for a day at work

Mate, or “yerba mate”, is a steeped bitter leaf that Argentineans (Uruguayans, Paraguayans, and Brazilians) drink almost religiously. What I like most about mate is that it is an entirely social affair; that is, you do not drink mate alone. The person in charge of preparing the mate, called the “cebador/a”, fills the gourd with “hierba”, heats up the water (to precisely the right temperature), and pours the “mate” for each person present; who, in turn, drinks the mate and then passes it back to the “cebador/a”. Repeat many times over.

Personally, I loved being the “cebadora”. When I prepared mate, it gave me a little spurt of joy each time I was able to offer it to someone new. How beautiful is it that you can offer your own touch of love to each person by preparing them tea?! My favourite was “cebando” mate during the Arsayian Radio programs, which were broadcasted from the cozy attic upstairs in the Foundation.   11062712_673415679469339_4973669634438342564_n

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Although I did not expect it, a few days before I left, I too found myself sipping a mate as I chatted with Matías on Radio Arsayian about his vision of the world and the various projects underway at the Foundation. Being the only native English speaker there, one of my main goals for the time I spent in Venado Tuerto was to produce material directly in English, right from Matias’ mouth; less translation work for me, and more information for everyone. I’d never formally interviewed anyone before, but I just went with the flow and really enjoyed it! (You can listen to the program here).

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Another of the keys to fulfilling my goal of producing more information in English was filming an interview with Matias about his vision and projects, shown from the Arsayian Foundation, as the majority of his interviews are filmed abroad. Co-developing, composing, and conducting the interview was one of the most fulfilling projects of my trip. Although there is much work and editing still to be done, completing this interview felt like a significant step in my work toward building a bridge to the English and non-Spanish speaking world…

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Having answered the two significant questions I came with, and having received affirmative answers to them both – yes, I do want to live in Argentina after I graduate, and yes, I would like to professionally pursue the work I am doing at the Arsayian Foundation – I returned to Buenos Aires for a brief stint before heading back to (sunny!) Vancouver, after three intensive and transformative months abroad…

To my greatest delight, I spent my last night in Argentina dancing at a milonga, lost in the intimate inner spaces of the tango embrace…which both literally and symbolically confirmed to me that…

 …this tango with Argentina has only just begun…

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The Art of Living in Multiple Worlds: Brazil Part II

The Art of Living in Multiple Worlds: Brazil Part II

Hard to believe, but my time in Brazil is coming to an end. It’s been two crazy months, full of new experiences, unfamiliar situations, contrasting values, enriching friendships, and stunning landscapes. Luckily, it started out with three weeks of cell-deep relaxation, otherwise I might not have been able to handle everything that was to come…

So.much.new.information.

All at once.

From all directions…

I’ll do my best to synthesize what it has been like for me, something along the lines of: here-now-there-up-down-Spanish-Portuguese-crazy-back-and-forth-assimilating-madness. In other words, “The Art of Living in Multiple Worlds: Brazil Part II”.

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All craziness aside, I’ve learned a lot, particularly about boundaries and how not to go mad when life offers every possible opportunity to you…in three different languages at once.

Let me start from the beginning…

Arrival

When I arrived in Pindamonhangaba, Brazil (“Pinda” for short), I didn’t really know what to expect. I had signed on with an agency to do a language exchange in which I would teach English to host family in exchange for accommodation, but beyond that, I wasn’t really sure what the next five weeks had in store for me. That  being said, I came with two primary goals: 1) to become conversationally fluent in Portuguese, and 2) to experience Brazil through the eyes of a local family. Little did I know what these two simple objectives would entail…

Without getting into too much detail, there were some wonderful synchronicities that occurred with my host family before I arrived. As I was enjoying my last two weeks in Abadiânia with John of God, it just so happened that my “host-mother” Rose (pronounced Ho-sey) saw a program about John of God on TV. Not only that, her entire family is Spiritist, which is the underlying religious foundation for John of God’s work in Abadiânia. So when I arrived, during our first meal together, I was able to tell them openly about the spiritual experiences I had been having. I thought, “Great, they already know I’m a little wackoo. Ice is broken, we’re off to a good start!” 😛

The other interesting synchronicity is that one of the brothers of the family, Tennyson, and his wife, Maria Antonieta, had spent a few months living in Vancouver the year prior, and absolutely LOVED it. They knew street names, restaurants, bus routes, and even my favourite cafe on Commerical Drive! Little to be said, there was an immediate connection.

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Maria Antonieta, myself, and Tennyson in Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo

A Buffet of Experiences

So, my time would soon become divided between staying at Rose’s house in Pinda (with her mother and older sister), and at Tennyson and Maria Antonieta’s house in Taubaté, a nearby city. I would also get to meet one of the granddaughters of the family, Marina, who is around my age and also a student. Covering the entire family, I would come to experience the contrasting realities of three generations, spanning from the ages of 22-85, each with different values, jobs, hobbies, perspectives, and approaches to life…in Portuguese. I was also simultaneously working as a Spanish translator through all of this, which is an entire story unto itself (including international Skype meetings, coordinating a team of volunteers, and a constant flurry of emails). Anyone who speaks either Spanish or Portuguese knows how confusingly similar the two languages are (Portunhol is the death of me).

With all this happening simultaneously, I had a lot on my plate all at once, not to mention that every person I met wanted to add their own portion to my plate, joyously wanting to share their country’s delights (figuratively and literally; I was constantly being offered new and delectable Brazilian foods). I was extremely grateful and overjoyed to have an endless buffet of new experiences to try, but my “I’ll say yes to everything” attitude eventually led me to experience more worlds than I could properly digest at once: rich/poor, city/country, beach/mountains, young/old, rock/pop, work/play…

The following anecdotes are some of my favourite moments, not only for their contrasting diversity, but for the lasting impact they’ve had on my perspective of life. Woven all together, they’ve given me a multi-perspective understanding of Brazilian culture, endless stories, and a more voluptuous waistline…

Visiting a Rural Public School

During my first week in Pinda, Maria Antonieta, who is a school teacher, invited me to visit one of the public schools where she teaches in the interior of São Paulo. Being a public school, it meant that most of the children came from extremely poor families who had migrated from the Northeast to the state of São Paulo in the pursuit of a better life. As such, many of them had never seen a foreigner before, and my visit would be their first exposure to a world outside their own. For me, it meant an opportunity to experience their world; a reality so different from the one I grew up in. It also meant I would get to witness the very government programs that I had been studying at university, in action. Maria Antonieta didn’t even have to ask twice if I wanted to come…

When we arrived at seven in the morning, Maria Antonieta led me into the first classroom and announced:

– “Today we have a guest. Where do you think she is from?”

Dozens of bright eyes and curious smiles fixated on me.

– “Estados Unidos!” (US)

– “Rio de Janeiro!”

– “Portugal!”

– “São Paulo!”

Maria Antonieta jumped in,

– “No, no, no. Sasha, where are you from?”

Charmed beyond belief, I replied, “Sou Canadense”.

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Playing English bingo in grade 4

Having no idea where Canada was, some of the children asked, “How do you get there? Can you walk? Can you go by bicycle?” And due to my unmistakeable “gringa” appearance, I received some of the funniest questions of my life:

“Are you an actress? Do you live in Hollywood? Have you been in movies?” Hahahahaha!

Needless to say, I was not expecting to be asked to sign autographs, or to have pictures taken with me, but I was charmed by their obvious fascination with my American appearance (no comment on the value of their fixation on American pop culture). Amused by the flattering absurdity, I just chuckled through it all…

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Group photo with grade 9

In the older grades, I was amazed by the depth, sincerity, and moral conscientiousness with which they approached the discussion material, sharing anecdotes from their own lives and in some cases, extremely personal experiences that made me realize, with shocking self-consciousness, just how different their realities were from mine.

Group photo with Grade 6

Group photo with Grade 6

This is what I found most touching; that despite the incredibly difficult and often violent experiences they live from a very young age, these kids still shone with life, curiosity, sincerity, and spirit. I’m not quite sure how to describe the way this made me feel, but it was something along the lines of awe, compassion, heartache, and respect. At the end of the day, it was me who walked away transformed by the experience…

A House Warming Party for the Wealthy

Jumping to the other end of the social spectrum, the following week I was invited to a house-warming party by the youngest sister of my host family, Elenise, and her husband, Daniel. Daniel is a respected English tutor, and given his high level of proficiency in the language, the majority of his clients are doctors and lawyers who seek out private English tutoring to use in their professions.

Two of his clients, a wealthy couple, both doctors, invited us to their house-warming party to celebrate the completion of their custom designed, newly-constructed home on a beautiful 1,000 square metre property in the wealthiest neighbourhood of Taubaté.

Me: “Of course I will go.” 😉

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This picture does not do it justice, but it gives an idea…

Two orchards, a huge garden, an eloquent chicken coupe, a basketball court, towering ceilings, sliding glass doors, eloquent trims; all custom-designed, gave me a good idea of what being wealthy in Brazil entailed. The couple was lovely, and they graciously (and proudly) gave us a personal tour of their domestic masterpiece, glass of wine in hand.

The dining room

The dining room

After being given the grand tour of the house, still vacant and crisp, we were ushered down to the pool house to enjoy a live band, barbecue, professional bartender, and conversation with some of Taubaté’s wealthiest professionals.

Contrasting this experience to my visit to the public school, I’m not sure what to say, other than that people live in utterly different realities do to the amount of money they have. Their safety, self-worth, confidence, agency, self-expression, perceived social value, and not to mention clothing, possessions, and living circumstances, all revolve around their social class. This is not something I was expecting to experience so starkly here in Brazil, but it is an undeniable reality. Money in and of itself seems to hold more weight here.

It’s all good and well, but I do become saddened when a person’s worth is determined by what they do or do not own. Of course, I am merely skimming the surface of a much larger issue, but I think that the depth and substance of Brazilian culture is often cast aside in the blind pursuit of consumerism, materialism, and the illusive “American dream”. Why do you want to be like them? Be you!!!!

Dancing Samba in the “Lapa”

Hands down, one of my favourite experiences here in Brazil was dancing samba into the wee hours of the morning in an antique, three-floored bar/club in the Lapa, supposedly one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro. Each wall was adorned with rustic looking objects, from clocks, to china, radios, and baby carriages…

The clock wall

The clock wall

The carriage wall

The carriage wall

Here, the heart of Brazilian culture pulsed through the night, a blur of voluptuous hips, quick feet, wide smiles, and contagious rhythms. I didn’t know how to samba, but by the end of the night I was dancing something 😛

Roda de Samba

Roda de Samba

Rio de Janeiro itself was stunning, gracefully situated between rolling green mountains and miles of curving white sandy beaches. At night, the white high rises of the city could be seen winding between the two natural landscapes, illuminated by thousands of sparkling lights in the darkening skies. It was even beautiful in the rain.

From the top of Pão de Açucar

Rio de Janeiro from the top of Pão de Açucar

People often asked me which I liked better, Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. Being the diplomatic Canadian that I am, I can’t say that  one is better than the other, as they both have their own personality and charm. However, I can say that they are very different cities that represent two very different Brazils: whereas São Paulo is city, rock, and hipsters, Rio is nature, samba, and beach boys. Nonethless, being a girl that comes alive with the slightest notion of warmth, sunshine, and beauty, Rio definitely won a special place in my heart.

Rio de Janeiro from top of Christ the Redeemer

Rio de Janeiro from top of Christ the Redeemer

Beach Time and Haircuts

For my last weekend in Brazil, my host-mother Rose took me to the coastal city of Ubatuba, to spend our last few days together surrounded by beauty and beaches. After five weeks of non-stop adventure, movement, work, and learning, a few days away was what I needed to reflect and assimilate everything before preparing to leave to Argentina.

Praia Grande, Ubatuba

Praia Grande, Ubatuba

Me, Rose, and Maria Antonieta, Ubatuba

Me, Rose, and Maria Antonieta, Ubatuba

I’m not really sure where the idea came from, but all of a sudden I was overcome to cut all my hair off. Anyone who knows me can attest that long hair has always been part of my identity, as I’ve never had hair shorter than mid-back. But it was time for a change…

Long hair...

Long hair…

I realized this experience in Brazil has been about jumping into other people’s shoes and experiencing the world through their eyes, which is an exciting, enriching, and eye-opening way to live. But it also requires patience, understanding, acceptance, non-judgment, and lots and lots of energy to constantly build bridges between differing values, languages, world views, and lifestyles. There eventually came a point when I had to stop and ask myself (partially out of exhaustion and overwhelm), “And what about me? Who am I? What are my boundaries?” Cutting my hair was part of this process, as if saying, “No. This is what I want, and I will do it.”

And so it was, in the dim light of Maria Antonieta’s aunt’s backyard, after returning from the weekend at the beach, that I said goodbye to my ponytail, literally. The hair dresser, who we had arranged to come all the way from São Paulo, took hold of it curtly, and “sniiip”, it was gone.

Short hair...

Short hair…

What freedom!! I felt as if years dropped off my shoulders in that moment. Now, looking forward to three more weeks of travel in Argentina, I feel a certain resolve to put myself forward in a new way, to express what I feel, to share who I am, and to combine my ability to open, accept, and experience multiple worlds at once, while simultaneously drawing my own boundaries, expressing my own tastes, and creating a world of my own…

Out with the old, in with the new...

Out with the old, in with the new…

There are so many more things I could say about Brazil, so many more people I met, and so many more stories to share, but I will end this blog post as per the tempo of this month: up and off to another adventure!!

But the lesson has been learned:

“Sometimes the heart will tell us to accept, connect, invite, open and include, and sometimes it may tell us to walk away, speak up, draw a boundary, discern and be firm. But no matter what the heart says, it will always do it from, for and with love.”

~Syma Kharal

 

 

 

 

 

Brazil – John of God, Abadiânia, and the Casa de Dom Inácio

I’ve been waiting to write a blog post about my experiences in Brazil thus far. It’s just that this first leg of my journey is so far off the beaten path that I felt I had to wait until I was clear on exactly what I wanted to share. I also had to fully experience and integrate what is offered here in this small, tranquil, yet extraordinary town known as Abadiânia, home to the Casa de Dom Inácio and seat of the healing work of John of God.

I will do my best to summarize what happens here, as simply and directly as words allow one to convey experiences that extend beyond the grasp of the intellect and that stretch most accepted social realities. I did promise an uncensored blog post to many of you back home, after all 😛

Much of the following information will probably test many of your conceptions of reality, and reasonably so. It also tested mine. If you choose to keep reading, I only ask that you do so with an open mind and heart, for I share my experiences simply to share, no to preach or impose beliefs. As I have written in previous posts, please make use of your “maybe shelf” as you read this; absorb what resonates, and store away what may seem unrealistic, imaginary, or simply untrue for you. I find the fun always lies between fact and fiction anyways, as that is where the magic and possibility reside…

Arrival in Abadiânia

After 24 hours of travel, my Mum, sister, and I arrived to the quiet, ocre-coloured streets of Abadiânia, and our lushly adorned “Pousada” that we would call home for the next 3 weeks. Although we quickly had to get used to jump-in jump-out, sometimes-warm showers and recurrent power cuts (triggered by rain, or whenever my sister took a shower haha), the wonderfully abundant food, beautiful scenery, and kind people made it the perfect abode.

La Pousada El Caminho Encantado

La Pousada El Caminho Encantado

I woke up to this view...

I get to wake up to this view…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The town itself is divided into two parts, with the highway serving as the meridian between the two. The side that houses the Casa de Dom Inácio is permeated by an unmistakeable air of security and peace, like an invisible bubble that encircles the healing centre, the main road (there’s only one), and all the colourful Pousadas that host millions of people from around the world. The other side, well, I haven’t crossed over…:P

Located about 2 hours outside of Brazil’s capital, and reachable only by taxi, Abadiânia is known only to those who have heard about the extraordinary healing work of John of God, most recently from his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2013.

John of God

I first heard about John of God in 2010 after my sister went to see him in New York, seeking healing for her spine. Her and my Mum went to check him out to see if he was legit, and after an unexpected and extraordinary experience with him (where my Mum was the primary recipient), they have been coming down to Brazil to the Casa de Dom Inácio for the last 4 consecutive years.

I first saw John of God in 2012, when he visited Toronto. Although my experience there was only a minute taste of what I would come to experience here, it was powerful enough for me to decide that one day, I too would make the journey down to Brazil.

So you might be wondering, “Who exactly is John of God?”

Some would say he is a healer, others would say he is a medium; religious groups have accused him of heresy, and government officials have called him a criminal. He’s been persecuted, arrested, thrown in jail, and ridiculed throughout most of his life, but what most people who have seen him can attest, is that something miraculous, unmistakeable, and extremely powerful occurs in and around him.

"Medium João", or John of God

“Medium João”, or John of God

His own explanation can loosely be summarized as the following: John of God is a medium, not a healer in and of himself. That is, he incorporates various “entities”, or disembodied spirits which carry out healing through him. These entities are mostly deceased doctors and spiritual icons who use his body as a vessel to perform healing work, including small physical surgeries without the use of anesthetics (I have witness him do this, to a friend. I also saw him take away someone’s crutches, right before my eyes).

All miracles put aside, the majority of the healings or “spiritual surgeries” that occur are invisible, and he generally facilitates several hundred of these a day. Just because they are invisible does not mean they cannot be felt; I myself have received three, and I can attest they are very potent.

The Casa de Dom Inácio

Every week, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, hundreds of people from around the world, all dressed in white, flock to the Casa de Dom Inácio seeking healing from John of God. Some arrive in grave physical condition, and others come physically well, but seeking healing or growth on a emotional or spiritual level. Regardless of how many people there are, over the course of the day, John of God receives every single person, starting at 8 in the morning and sometimes extending until 7 or 8 at night.

Entrance to the Casa

Entrance to the Casa

The main hall

The main hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Casa itself is quite large, including a main hall, three inner halls, a very large garden with beautiful wooden benches, a soup kitchen, prayer house, and many long pillared hallways where people line up in various lines to see the “entity”.

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Full of people on Casa days

 

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Benches for quiet meditation, or to watch the sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even on days when John of God is not present, many people come to the Casa to sit in prayer or meditation, to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, and to watch the stunning view of the sunset from the western-looking balcony. There are also several dogs and cats that like to come and visit. They generally lie sprawled throughout the Casa, eyes closed, resting for hours on end. One might assume them to be dead if they were not seen running around in the early morning and at night, such is their stillness and surrender.

Blissed-out dogs

Blissed-out dogs

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The classic blue and white walls of the Casa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 My Experience

On the first Wednesday of our visit, my Mum, my sister and I put on our white clothes and made our way to the Casa at around 7am. The Main Hall was already filled with people, and we joined the growing mass at the back to await the 8 o’clock opening. It had been a while since I had felt this same intensity of energy, as if the air was buzzing, thick with some invisible vitality. Then, about 20 minutes later, my stomach began to turn. All of a sudden I didn’t feel so well…the heat starting rising in my body, the blood draining out of my head. I looked at my Mum, who was standing next to me, and started to lose focus, teetering on my heels. I’ve never passed out in my life, but at that moment I thought, “So this is what it feels like to faint.” I probably would have collapsed in that instant if my Mum hadn’t seen my face and carefully lowered me to squat on my heels, to get my head below my heart. The nausea and dizziness decreased a little, and someone offered me their seat. For the rest of the morning, I felt a faint queasiness in my stomach, and every 15 minutes or so I had to lower my head between my knees. The entities were welcoming me back again 😛

Since I had already received a “spiritual intervention” in Toronto three years prior, that morning I went in front of John of God in the “revision line”, which is for people who have received a spiritual intervention in the past and have not seen John of God since. There are six lines all together, each with a different purpose – 1st time line, 2nd time line, voluntary intervention line, 8 o’clock line, 2 o’clock line, and prescribed intervention line. To “go in front of John of God” means that when your line is called, you file through the Main Hall and enter into the first room of “current”, where around 100 people are sitting with their eyes closed, silent in meditation. Gentle music plays, and the feeling of being surrounded by light energy is visceral, almost stuffy.

The first current room

The first current room (this is where I sit)

As the line slowly progresses forward, you move into the main current room or the “entities room”, where another 100-150 people are seated with their eyes closed in meditation, facing the front of the room where John of God sits, framed by several gigantic crystals. When your turn comes, you walk in front of John of God and, depending on what line you’re in, the healing you are seeking, and which entity is incorporated, he will either invite you to take his hand, speak to you, usher you onward with a prescription or indication (such as “return this afternoon”, or “intervention tomorrow morning”), or simply direct you to receive a blessing. In some cases, only if the person asks for it, he will get up from his chair, go out into the main hall and perform physical surgery.

John of God performing physical surgery (photo from the internet)

John of God performing physical surgery (photo from the internet)

It is very special to see him on stage, and in my experience whenever a physical surgery is being performed, the energy in the room amps up to a very high and intense frequency. In these moments I can almost see it, like a white light flooding the room.

So, to sum up my first three days, my Mum, sister, and I all received spiritual interventions on the Thursday morning. This means that after you walk in front of John of God, you are directed into the “surgery room” where you sit, eyes closed, with your hand on your heart or the area of your body where you would like to receive healing. It is different for everyone, and each surgery also varies, but from my own experience it feels as if you are being surrounded by intelligent light energies and literally being worked on, on different levels. During my first surgery I couldn’t keep the tears from streaming down my cheeks; during my second surgery, I felt an uncomfortable digging sensation in my back, which continued for the next few days; during my last surgery, I didn’t feel a thing while it was happening but went into a feverish slumber that night. In all the interventions I’ve had, there is a distinct feeling of tenderness and openness, as if you just underwent a physical surgery.

My favourite prayer house at the Casa

My favourite prayer house at the Casa

For this reason, there is a very strict protocol that all patients are encouraged to follow: 24 hours of rest – that is, you don’t leave your room for a day; no computer, no phones, no reading, no talking. Just rest, for 24 hours. You must begin taking the herbs that John of God prescribes to you, which, although they appear the same for everyone, are endued with your own energetic formula (feel free to put that one on your Maybe Shelf). You are also not allowed to do physical exercise for 8 days (this one kills me), engage in sexual activity, or take in direct sunlight. I can attest to this last precaution, as I may have disregarded it after my last intervention and suffered the consequences. All and all, you are encouraged to take care of yourself as if you were in the hospital.

My second surgery was rather comedic. After having spent the 8 days recovering from the first one, I was rather feeling good and did not particularly feel like undergoing the whole process over again. So I chose not to walk in front of John of God the following Thursday, after having gone through the revision line. Instead, I chose to sit in current, which I actually love. Even though 3-7 hours with your eyes closed sounds like a lot, I find that current is where I get the most done, internally speaking. Sitting in such high frequency energy for so long, offering your body as a medium for the energies coming through, produces a mysterious yet powerful alchemy that leaves me feeling clean, translucent, and utterly smoothed out.

So it was with some apprehension that I decided to go in front of John of God on Friday, in the 2nd time line. Since I would be travelling the next weekend, I figured it was my last chance to receive a healing. So, I decided I would just ask for what was best for me and follow through with whatever I was prescribed.

The Casa garden

The Casa garden

That morning, I sat alone in the Main Hall. The prescribed and voluntary intervention lines were called forward (for which I did not volunteer), and then the entire 8 o’clock line was called in for intervention, which doesn’t usually happen. Relieved I was not in that line, we were then told that the entity was inviting “anyone who wished to receive a spiritual intervention from the 2nd time line could enter now”. Although I had this irking feeling that I should probably line up, I decided to stay put. The key word here was “anyone who wished to”, and well, I didn’t really wish to.

Five minutes later, one of the Casa guides came back out into the Main Hall and announced that “There are three people in this room who are supposed to receive spiritual intervention and who have not lined up.”My head started burning. “Oh god, it’s me.”

Feeling like a guilty child, I stood up and walking into the Entities room. As I walked towards John of God there was the slightest smile on his face, and as I passed him he said, “Daughter, now do the work.”

So that’s how I received my last intervention. I spent the next 30 hours or so in bed, feeling unnervingly wide-open, vulnerable, and too expansive for comfort. That night I spent tossing and turning, lost in feverish dreams, as if burning through a layer of impurities. I still have a ways to go to understand and integrate all the healing and growth that is taking place as I write this, but I feel I am being given an incredible opportunity to release old fears, limiting behaviours, and control patterns that no longer serve me. I would like to think, as a dear friend once told me, I am being given the opportunity “to fly without wings.” It should be interesting, given I have two months of travel and adventure ahead of me…

One of the many "prayer triangles", where people leave photos of their loved ones to take in front of the entity for healing and blessings

One of the many “prayer triangles”, where people leave photos of their loved ones to take in front of the entity for healing and blessings

 Healing

Although John of God most commonly treats people with physical illness, in most cases, extreme illnesses, I feel that the source of the healing he facilities occurs primarily on a spiritual level. For this is where sickness originates, in the unresolved patterns and traumas that we carry in our souls and energy bodies, generation after generation, until we are able to face them, untangle them, love them back into health, and re-integrate these parts of ourselves into wholeness and balance. In my experience, this takes place on the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical levels…with the physical symptoms being the body’s final cry to pay attention.

Thankfully, I do not suffer from any serious physical conditions, but I do know that my soul needs healing as much as the next person. I came here, to this remote little town in central Brazil, not simply to walk in front of prescribed healer or medium called John of God, but to take the time to look deeply into my own soul, to shine light into the nooks and crannies of my own being, and to open myself to the loving energies that compassionately offer a guiding hand in this process of unravelling and expansion.

 

 

A Bridge between Worlds: How I unexpectedly became a Translator

A couple weekends ago I went to Los Angeles to see Matías de Stefano speak at the Conscious Life Expo. Some of you who follow my blog might remember the post I wrote in June about my adventure at the Vatican in Rome with the project called Roma-Amor (Rome-Love). Long story short, this magical experience triggered a period of intensive transformation in my life and has led me with the work I am doing now; work that deeply inspires me and that has brought me in alignment with my purpose. This work is what I want to talk about in this post.

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While I was in Rome, through a series of synchronized events (which did not seem synchronized at the time), I met an American man who was helping finance Matías’ work. This man needed someone to translate for him, as he did not speak any Spanish. Being the only bilingual English speaker participating in the activities in Rome, he asked me to start translating the messages Matías was speaking about, as well as help him to communicate with other people in the Roma-Amor project. This connection led me to Assisi, where I experienced one of the most beautiful and moving moments in the tomb of St. Francis.

During this same trip, Matías relayed a message that he received in the tomb of St. Francis about the importance of connecting to our ancestry, which is the first written piece that I translated. After this, my American friend asked if I would translate the seven-page letter that Matías handed to the Pope along with a box with thirteen significant objects, which was the culmination of our trip to the Vatican and the entire Roma-Amor Spiral. Looking back on it now, I see that translating this letter changed the direction of my future.

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Now, nine months after this initial encounter, I am the official translator for Matías’ website, blog, books, and videos. It’s funny how it happened, although I am coming to expect such strangely synchronistic events that are now a regular occurrence in my life. After returning from my crazy European trip that left me in unanticipated debt, the first email I opened was from Matías, asking if I would translate his entire website and blog.

“Oooof course I would!” 🙂

So I started to work on it…six months later I’m on board for his books and videos too. It is a tremendous joy and honor, and gives me work that I find fulfilling, inspiring, and in alignment with the path I want to pursue in my future; not just as a translator per say, but as part of a movement of conscious individuals who are working from a perspective of unity and awareness to transform our social systems and create a new world – as Matías says, to bring Heaven to Earth.

I now find myself in an interesting role as a bridge between worlds. At once a university student, young woman, graduate of an arts school, daughter of two meditating parents, and avid spiritual practitioner, I commonly find myself standing in the middle of two worlds: on the one side, my age and university education has led me to understand the values, systems, thought processes and structures that govern our current world, and on the other side, my “alternative” upbringing and spiritual pursuits have given me a perspective of possibility, new values, social transformation, and a vision for a new world. So what does this have to do with translating Matías’ new work?

To be succinct: I have realized I am a bridge – a bridge between languages, a bridge between cultures, and a bridge between different ways of perceiving the world…and Matías presents a very different way of perceiving the world (or a highly comprehensive way, depending on your perspective).

This is where a certain psychological device comes in very handy: what my high school teacher called the “Maybe Shelf”, and what Tom Kenyon sensibly calls the “Imaginary Box”. This psychological device allows one to receive new and unfamiliar information while mentally being able to filter out what does not resonate or make sense by filing it away on the “Maybe Shelf” or plopping it into the “Imaginary Box.” What this does is it allows one to remain open to the reception of new information while simultaneously giving you the authority to deem what information is useful and resonant for you right now, and what information can be stored away for future consideration.

onthemaybeshelf

Most people will need their “Maybe Shelf” handy when they read Matías’ work. I use it regularly.

So part of my role, I have realized, is not only to bring Matías’ message into English but to also offer my own interpretation of his work as a bridge between worlds. As I am sure many of my future posts will be related to his work, her is my introductory “translation” of Matías’ message and vision:

  • In our current state as humanity, we are living from a perspective of division, separation, and fear, which gives rise to fundamental conflicts in religion, politics, social structures, cultural values, which dominos all the way down to interpersonal relationships (and sexuality, of course sexuality). If we perceive that we are separate from one another, then we are operating within an “us against them” framework that pitches one side against the other. In short: war. Victims and aggressors, winners and loser, “righter” and “wrongers”. Division.
  • If we are going to survive as humanity and not kill ourselves off, then we must make a fundamental shift in our thinking towards a perspective of unity, interconnectedness, wholeness, and collaboration. A huge part of this shift in perspective is seeing ourselves as part of a larger living organism that is the Earth. The Earth is a living being, and we, her children and custodians.
  • Matías compares the function of human beings as white blood cells are to the body: they act as an immune system and regulator of the entire system. What happens when white blood cells forget their purpose? They become cancer. What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. Simple.
  • So, it is pivotal for human beings to remember that they are part of a larger organism, and that the whole can only be healthy when its many parts are in harmony, connected, collaborating, and connected to their purpose.
  • And this is what social systems are for, to facilitate the coordination and health of the encompassing organism, which is the Earth. Holistic, Integrated, Interconnected, Unified, Collaborative, Empowered as Parts within a Greater Whole.
  • These systems will help us evolve, in alignment with the Earth.
  • Such systems will emerge as the natural expression of a perspective based on unity and cohesion.
  • This perspective is “spiritual” in that it sees all things as connected based on our fundamental interconnectivity as spiritual beings. That is, we are not just hunks of flesh walking around; we have souls, an essence, intelligence, and being-ness. 
  • This recognition of fundamental interconnectedness and unity is what is giving birth to a new humanity…

If you follow some of the links I have included, you will soon find that Matías’ vision includes more – much, much, more. His message is an inspiring, activating, and powerful call to re-align with our purpose as humanity on Earth and co-create the reality we all long for. If his this information resonates, this call is for you.

But don’t forget that you are the authority that decides what’s true for you and what’s not. Use your Maybe Shelf.

There is so much more to say about Matías’ work and where this is all headed, but I will save that for future posts. For the time being, you are welcome to walk the bridge I have started building…

The Official Harwitum Blog

The Official Harwitum Website

Matías on YouTube

Matías on Facebook

Harwitum in English

Ode to 2014, Year of Adventure and Transformation

Dear 2014:

I turn and look over my shoulder, and am amazed at what you have brought me in the last 365 days. This is my ode to you, in gratitude, for the adventures we have been on …

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You took me to Mexico, Spain, Prague, Italy, Portugal, England, France, and back.
You took me to the cool airs of the Yukon, and the warm breeze of Hawaii.

You took me to the highs of euphoria, and the lows of heartache, always with a chuckle as I dove full-heartedly into your roller coaster ride.

There I was, hauling three heavy suitcases up cobblestone steps, in the dark, in the rain, overjoyed by the terror of being alone, somewhere new.

There I was, listening to the Pope, his voice booming through St. Peter’s Square, awed and amused by how life brought me here.

There I was, in the tomb of St. Francis, tears rolling down my cheeks at the sheer beauty of eternal love.

You broke me open in love, and love began to flow. Love became a torrent, and it gushed and swirled in an ecstatic dance of freedom.

There I was, dancing in Barcelona, surrounded by the professionals of my passion for the first time in five years.

There I was, reunited with my sister, lost in the airports of Spain and Portugal, flights gone, visa denied, trusting when there was nothing to hold on to.

There I was, sipping a hot chocolate and nibbling a cookie, as I pondered the mystical lands of Avalon at the foot of Glastonbury Tor.

There I was, held by the gaze of Mary Magdalene, wandering the small towns and rolling hills of Southern France, understanding for the first time the true meaning of Alchemical Love.

You taught me how to Live-As-Love, through your trials and your triumphs.

You taught me what it means to open my arms and invite everything in – the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly.

Fear, pain, and darkness became a shining invitation to love more parts of me, and more parts of the world.

Love became ferocious and passionate, an unleashing of the forgotten waters below.

Love took the reigns of my life in an involuntary surrender into the swells of devotion.

TRUST, LOVE, PASSION, AND TRANSFORMATION.

This is what you brought me.

Thank you for yet another year of life. I am inspired and moved to pour myself more fully, more truly, and more passionately into the 365 days to come.

And I wish the same for all the beautiful souls that surround me. You never fail to move me in new ways, as mirrors and lanterns along this road we are travelling.

Happy New Cycle of the Sun Everyone!

Gratitude for what 2014 has brought and an open heart to receive what 2015 will bring….

On Love in the Darkness of Winter

This post is for anyone who has ever felt a lack of love in their life. Or loneliness, or longing, or that strange gaping feeling that something is just missing – the void, if you will, that incessant sense of lack. Unless you’ve ascended into heavenly bliss and eternal wholeness (in which case, you probably wouldn’t be here), then this probably resonates on some level. If it does, then this post is for you 🙂

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a winter person. That is, as soon as the sun goes away, the days get shorter, and the temperature drops, when I start to feel the chill of the wind through my fall jacket – I become shrouded by an all too familiar anxiety: another long, dark winter ahead.

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I don’t really know why, but I have always associated winter with a deep sense of sadness – loss of sun, loss of light, loss of warmth and inspiration. Long, monotonous days of work and an illogical heaviness that dampens my passion for life.

Sounds pretty depressing, right? No wonder I dread winter.

In the past I have battled this pattern by blaming it on the weather, school, work, on relationships or lack thereof; by escaping to warmer climates (this works by the way), by retreating into solitude, or even by diagnosing it, which somehow made me feel better and justified my suffering (It’s called SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder – a real condition, I promise!). But no matter how much I pushed against winter or tried to escape, it always came back the following year. Go figure.

Now, this year, as I was leaving Spain in mid-August after eight magical and transformative months abroad, I felt this familiar anxiety rise within me: “Oh gaaawd, back to Vancouver…” But at the same moment, a newfound voice of strength and reassurance arose inside me and said: “This year will be different, you are different. You now have what it takes to turn around, look at this pattern, and see it for what it is. You have the strength to love this pattern into transformation.”

And here I am. It’s mid-November, and it’s c-h-i-l-l-y outside. I’m in the throes of term papers and projects (hence, I’m blog-writing, cause that’s what you do when you have tons of work to do, right?!), and I’ve felt the slow downward spiral of my energy and emotions over the last few weeks. It’s time.

So what does all this have to do with love?

Well, I realized, upon investigating my experience further, that I was succumbing to a common pattern of human behaviour, one that you’ve probably experienced too: blaming and raging against something outside of myself that actually has to do with my own inner world.

Let me explain.

The darkness, contraction, sadness, coldness, and retreat that I blamed on the greyness and coldness of winter, was really just a projection of my own inner state. That is, was the one who was contracting, feeling sad, and retreating, not the other way around – the weather just prompted this response, like a well-rehearsed reflex.

I felt cold – because I wasn’t allowing warmth.

I felt grey – because I wasn’t allowing light.

And I felt sad – because I wasn’t allowing love.

The void, the sadness, the longing, the lack – driven by a desire to feel better and be free of the pain, we are always searching for something outside ourselves to fill that hole, or at least make it feel temporarily better. A person, the perfect job, our next vacation – whatever. Anything to make it go away.

But that’s the thing: that longing, that sadness…has nothing to do with getting something from outside of you. It is a cry out to your own self, to your own love, because it is YOU who can fill that hole. The void is exactly that: a part of ourselves we have abandoned, denied, ignored, repressed, or rejected within ourselves, undoubtedly in a moment of great pain, not knowing how to cope with the experience.

And that’s where love comes in, YOUR love. All it takes is the strength to let your own love in – to open where you once were closed, and to allow love into the darkness.

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Now I see that even in the greyness of winter, my own love can fill me with me light. And this is the choice I have made: this winter, I am going to shine my light into the void, and I am going to bring warmth where I routinely abandoned myself in the cold.

I am going to let love in. 

So, over the next several months, if I find myself in a chilly or clouded moment of doubt, internally cursing the winter, I will remember to stop and ask myself: “How much love am I allowing into my life?” And I invite you to do the same 🙂

Because that is where our wholeness and happiness lies. It is YOU that you’ve been longing for.

Emotion, Power, and the Symphony of Resonance

It’s one-o-clock in the morning, and I just came back from my first ever Mexican Cacao Ceremony. It was beautiful, moving, and I’m still high on caffeine. But early morning writing does have it’s benefits, as I now have no other choice than to get clear on all the craziness I’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks, and try to put it into words.

What I really want to talk about is Emotion. Feeling. And Power.

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…The way an emotion can just slip the ground out from under your feet, rumble your reality, or drive you forward like a turbo engine. What is this power that escapes our control yet simultaneously grants us the strength to move mountains?

I like the way Matías de Stefano describes emotion: as Energy-in-Motion, that is E-Motion. Emotion is the energy we need to launch ourselves into movement. It is the force we require to bring unmanifest potentials into reality. It is our power.

But how do we direct this power without losing ourselves in its tumultuous currents? There are times when it feels like we are drowning, not sure which way is up and which way is down. Just waves of feeling, tumbling…

The answer I have come to in regards to this issue is RESONANCE. That is, the closer you get to “truth”, the more clearly the “right” feeling resonates. Like the note of a violin, perfectly in tune. It is clear, concise, harmonic, and directed.

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On the other hand, when there is no resonance, it’s just a shmoz of sound. There is no clear melody. Only noise.

Let me give you a concrete example. Say you have just broken up with a long time boyfriend or girlfriend. Your connection was deep, but there was a breach of trust and you realized that your were undervaluing yourself, and that your partner was undervaluing you. The connection is no longer serving either of you and it’s time to move on.

The symphony of emotions start: the cello plays your heart, long and deep, remembering the richness of the times you shared; the symbols clang with rupture, breaking the melody you once knew; the tuba rumbles your desire, drawing you irrationally back into longing; and the drums roll an uncertain future ahead…

Which tune should you follow? It is so loud you can hardly hear yourself, let alone the melody of your song.

But then, in a moment of silence, you listen carefully, dialling with your heart. A silent prayer leads you to the note of a violin, soft and sweet, rising above the rumble of the orchestra. You allow the notes of the violin to grow louder, and it breaks into a poignant solo of refined sincerity.

You know this is the melody to follow, as it resonates with the highest notes of your being.

It resonates with the highest notes of your being. 

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But it is also the hardest melody to pick up on, and follow, as it requires deep listening to hear its song above the rousing symphony of your other emotions. You must listen carefully, with a musicians ear, to know which note is playing in tune with your highest resonance. And then you follow it into action…

Which is not always the easiest course to take.

Let us return to our hypothetical situation: say your ex-partner is too attached to the past to let you go, and is trying to seduce you back into connection. He uses all his powers to lure you back in. You are weak; you long for the love you once shared, and the tuba is pulsing with desire. But you already know this song, and you know it does not sing your highest melody. It is a song of the past.

So you stop, and you listen. You dial with the heart, and there it is – the sweetness of the violin, leading you into a new melody, one you do not yet know…but that RESONATES with your highest potential. And you decide to become this song…

So when you’re ex-partner plays the notes that used to melt you into his arms, you are able to stay afloat, aligned with this new melody, and you sing to him with the gratitude of your open heart, free of the tangled rhythms that kept you pulsing in the past. You thank him and let him go, allowing this new resonance to lead you into a fresh melody, a melody that is in harmony with the fullness of your potential.

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Our emotions are like the notes of an instrument, and our heart is like the tuner seeking resonance, the harmonizing dial that directs the underlying power of our emotions toward their highest expression.

When the heart is aligned with our clearest melody, then the rest of the instruments are in tune. We can unleash the full power of the entire orchestra, while conducting with our heart. And as all musicians know, the magic is in the flow; we align ourselves with the melody, and then let the music play itself.

And in these moments of aligned surrender, the whole orchestra becomes a symphony of resonance. We encounter the fullness of our power in the entire scale of our emotions.

Stillness Moving – the Torrents of Transformation

And so, the currents of change continue…thrashing, spiralling, and washing me downstream as I open to the torrents of transformation.

I was right, home wasn’t going to be the same upon returning. Despite all my efforts to regain old points of reference and orientation, life keeps washing them out from under my feet, as if saying:

“No, honey, we’re not doing that anymore.”

“So, what are we doing?!” I cry out in moments of bemused uncertainty.

…And all I get is the sound of rushing water, vortexes around me, and the strength of the current increasing…

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Do I just surrender completely to the flow? To let it toss me to and fro?!

Or do I rally my strength and fight the current to keep my head above water?

“Oh, look, there’s an old piece of my life raft, maybe I’ll grab onto that…

And I try to regain control, piece back together what I knew – albeit with a halfhearted attempt:

…wait, it’s already gone, yep, there it goes…ok, well I guess we’re not doing that anymore. Keep moving downstream then…”

Old routines, exiting relationships and green shoots of new affection, new jobs, open connections, joy!, confusion, and unrelenting love…

So where’s this all going, what am I trying to say?

That, amidst the rapids, I have finally come to realize what I’m being invited into:

A watery dance of silent listening – a tango of “Stillness Moving”.

In plain English: to let go, and to listen, while simultaneously aligning myself with the rapids of transformation. In moments of calm, I realize that there truly is peace in the most energetic and passionate movements of life. You just have to trust, and be ready to swim along…

You know when you are not sure whether you need to rally your forces and “make things happen” – that process of goal setting, laying out steps from A-Z – or whether you just need to “allow” things to unfold on their own – to see what happens at the end of the day?…Well, I am coming to realize that they are one and the same. That is, in moments of absolute trust in the unfoldment of life, “what I want”, and “what is already happening” come together in a intimate flow. It is the perfect tango: Future, Past, and Present united in a single, passionate embrace. My love is the same love, now, as it ever will be, and ever has been. And that’s where I find myself, where I can let go and enjoy the swiftness of the rapids. What a ride!

I only hope to continue to trust in the intimacy of the embrace, and allow all the bumps and bruises on the river bottom to sand my edges smooth:

Journey
 
The mouth of the river may be beautiful.
It doesn’t remember the womb of its beginning.
It doesn’t look back to where it’s been
or wonder who ahead of it polished the rough stones.
 
It is following the way
in its fullness,
now like satin,
now cresting,
waters meeting, kindred
to travel gathered together,
all knowing it flows
one way, shining or in shadows.
And me, the animal
I ride wants to drive forward,
its longing not always my own,
overrunning its banks and bounds,
edgeless, pilling along the way
 
because, as I forget,
it knows everything
is before it.
 
~ Linda Hogan ~
 
(Rounding the Human Corners)

 

How it all went “wrong” so I could get it “right”: My Pilgrimage to Portugal, England, France and Back

My goodness, where do I start?

Well, I’m currently sitting in the airport in Madrid, waiting for my connection to London-Vancouver, with 20+ hours of travel ahead of me. I am returning “home” after an eight month journey that has completely changed me, from the inside out.

I place “home” in quotations because I have come to realize that 1) home is always within, wherever I am, and 2) I am overwhelmingly passionate about travel and know that “home” will be many places for me in the years to come. So for now, I am returning to my first and dearest home, to familiarity and to my family, who are the roots that ground me in my Canadian origins.

But, although I am returning to familiar ground, I feel as though – yet again, everything is about to change. The current of learning and transformation that has swept me up over the last four months will continue sweeping, gushing and swirling into my life in Vancouver with a vigour that will leave nothing unchanged, nothing unsaturated by its flow.

So before this gushing flows forth, let me back up a little, and attempt to share some of the insights and openings I have experienced through my travels in the last three weeks, that carried me from Sevilla to Madeira, London to Glastonbury, St. Maximin to Carcassonne and Rennes-Le-Chateau, Barcelona, and once again, to Granada.

And what a ride it has been.

The Pilgrimage:

My intention for this trip had multiple layers: 1) To take advantage of being in Europe before returning to Canada by traveling to as many countries as time and finances allowed; 2) To meet my sister and travel together (reunion!); 3) To embark on a pilgrimage to sites connected to Mary Magdalene and the “sacred feminine”, with the purpose of understanding and uniting the “inner feminine” and “inner masculine” within me – to encounter unity, and through this unity, “beget” a new way of being and moving through life.

As a side note, I’ve come to learn and accept – and openly acknowledge, that the driving force of my life, what deeply moves me, and what I am, is the movement of Spirit and Love, a joyous and passionate dance of growth and transformation that never ceases to awe me in its power and mystery. So this is the perspective through which I viewed my travels, inviting the bumps and barriers along the way as opportunities for growth and deepening insight.

And boy, did I ask for it!

In fact, as soon as I started researching the sites I wanted to visit in England and southern France, a growing sense of trepidation began to rise from my gut. Although I was very excited by the prospect of the pilgrimage, and it felt like the right thing to do on a very deep level, at the same time I could sense a creeping uneasiness, and knew intuitively that by asking to “encounter the divine feminine”, I was in essence asking to encounter all of my deepest fears and doubts, for the divine feminine Loves and Embraces All.

This growing ominousnous, otherwise known as fear (ie. resistance) started manifesting itself in my life through a series of unexpected obstacles. They actually began as soon as I set out from Barcelona after ten days of dancing bliss – knowing I had to return to Granada to say goodbye, pack up my apartment, and prepare myself for the three weeks ahead, I was already feeling some sadness and anxiety that my time abroad was coming to an end. I clearly did not want to go ahead with things, as I managed to get on the wrong bus to the airport, lose myself, and ended up having to pay for a (ridiculously expensive) taxi in order to catch my flight. Then, when I got back to Granada, my computer shut down. Great, just when I needed to make all of my travel plans. These were just the stirrings of what was to come ahead.

Everything that went “Wrong”

To make a long story short, over the next two and a half weeks I was to experience some of the most nerve-wrangling and gut-wrenching hurdles I’ve ever had to face, economically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Not wanting to dwell too much on the details, the following is a summary of the absurd (and at times, comical) obstacles that came across my path:

  1. My sister was not able to make her flight to Granada, due to overbooking. She was put up in a hotel, and had to fly the following day. We were already on a tight schedule, so I had to move around some of our activities in order to make our travel plans work.
  2. When we got to the airport in Sevilla, ready to enjoy four days basking in the beauty of the island of Madeira in Portugal, we were told our names were not in the system. The attendant couldn’t figure out why…until she looked at the dates of our tickets. They were booked for August, not July!! Oh, God, don’t panic:

    “Can we still get tickets?”

    “Yes, but you will have to stay the night in Lisbon.”

    In my head: “Okay…no biggy, we’ll book another hotel and let our accommodation know we will be arriving the following day”…

    But wait, it’s high season, and tickets are three times the price they were a month ago! All of our other flights and accommodations were booked, so we didn’t have much choice without making things very complicated, and even more expensive. Not to mention my little sister was with me, and I felt responsible and concerned for her (and my own) safety. So I had to make a decision on the spot:

    “Okay”…gulp…”Here’s my credit card…”

    So we stayed the night in Lisbon, and flew to Madeira the following day. All financial anxieties put aside, Madeira was stunningly beautiful, and although most of what we had originally planned fell through, we were connected to a local woman via an online friend of mine who personally taxied us around the whole island, showing us the most beautiful areas. It was truly stunning, and such a blessing to have connected with her – thank you Ana and Hammad!

  3. So, having learned from the first flight experience, I checked the dates of our plane tickets from Madeira to London and was sure we were good to go – despite the growing fist of anxiety that was squeezing my gut. We got the check-in counter, and lo and behold, we were not in the system…

    And then I remembered…simultaneous dread and terror flooded my system.

    When we had originally made the flight reservation online, I had found very cheap flights on a discount website, but when I tried to pay, I was told that the transaction hadn’t gone through. So, I found some other flights on a different website and booked those instead. Then I checked my email…and great! Both websites had charged my credit card and had sent me confirmations. So, in order to recuperate some of the money, I called and cancelled one of the flights…

    And guess which flight we showed up to in Madeira? Yep…the cancelled one, and we missed the one I had paid for…

    ”Okay, don’t panic”:

    “Can we still get tickets?”

    “Yes, but hurry, there is not much time.”

    In my head: “Please don’t max out on me, please don’t max out on me…yes!”

    My credit card went through.

    Okay, running to get to the gate. Passport check, “no problem”…big smile to the border officer 🙂

  4. But wait, there’s a problem: my student visa is no longer valid and I am illegally in the Schengen Area! (Legal term for all EU countries except the UK.) The border officer made it sound as if I have to leave to Canada immediately, and, although he let me off with a warning (he must have taken pity upon seeing my face), he instilled gut-wrenching anxiety about the possibility of my upcoming travel plans to France and back to Spain. The good thing was that I was exiting the Schengen Area (by entering the UK) and could only needed to figure out if I could re-enter as a tourist, despite having overstayed my visa (by only five days).

Long story short, I spent the next three days (with a short trip to Glastonbury) running around London on the metro to multiple Embassies trying to figure out whether or not I could go through with my travel plans. All of my flights and accommodations were booked, not to mention that my return flight to Vancouver was from Granada and I had left a huge suitcase with all of my winter belongings (and my yoga mat!) in my landlord’s place.

Anxiety, indeed.

The Inner Pilgrimage

Throughout all of this craziness, on a deep level I was aware that everything was in fact happening perfectly and according to plan, and that I had actually asked for all of this. That is, all of these obstacles were simply inviting me to look closer at my fears and find the courage to completely allow – and trust; Trust that I was supported when my financial stability was swept out from under my feet, trust that everything would work out in the end, regardless of the outcome, and trust in the benevolence of life as a teacher that was pushing me to grow, to see these obstacles as an opportunity to apply all that I had learned in my travels to this moment: to open to the resistance I was feeling, to allow this fear, to trust in the unknown, and most importantly, to laugh at the absurdity of it all and enjoy the ride.”

And that’s when I realized: this is the capacity to love!

This is the inner capacity of the divine feminine – to love and embrace ALL!

Then an interesting insight came to me (while sitting in Glastonbury sipping a hot chocolate and nibbling on a cookie):

This is the meaning of alchemy, inner alchemy. And it is intrinsically connected to the power of the feminine. That is, the power to stand rooted in love, a love that accepts and allows ALL. In being this unflinching love, by opening to life and embracing every experience that comes to you, everything that comes in contact with you is immediately transmuted into love and given back to the world as love. This is the ultimate power, because nothing – not fear, not hatred, not anger or sadness, can withstand the transformative power of love, because love allows everything, and fear resists. If you receive life with an open and non-judgmental heart, then you become a master alchemist that turns everything into gold.

And this is what it means to be an Initiate, to walk the Way of Conscious Love; it is the choice to turn toward all experiences, good, bad, painful, joyous, with the openness and trust of pure love, knowing that love has the power to transform ALL. It means to stop running away. It is the choice to see all “negative” experiences as opportunities to be broken open just a little more, to trust a little more, and to allow life to chisel down your juts and jags, to polish your skin into magnificent transparency, so that the pure Light and Love of your being may shine through to the world.

And I came to see that everything that was “going wrong” in my journey, was in fact the pilgrimage itself, and exactly what I had asked for, every part of it. That’s why I had felt so much rising trepidation, because I knew on an intuitive level what was coming for me, that I would have to face all of my fears and break out of the barriers of my comfort zone into a new way of being. And now I was being invited to apply my knowledge and insights to the obstacles at hand.

Although the anxiety continued to tear away at my insides, I did not listen to its murmuring threats (well, maybe once or twice), or allow its contractions to paralyze me, but instead I completely allowed the anxiety and used it as a launch-pad to propell myself into the unknown, using trust (and prayer) as my wings.

More was to come for me, much more, as each new experience tested my capacity to apply what had awakened within me to the challenges of the moment – from missed buses, to car-rides with strangers, to being lost, alone, in small French towns, driving the freeways of southern France without change for the tolls, and staying in an unexpected camper-van-made-B&B in the middle of nowhere.

It was so much fun!… and terrifying.

And it changed me.

The transformation

What I came to realize at the end of my pilgrimage was really quite ironic: That when one surrenders to a state of complete openness and allowance, then there is no “divine masculine” and “divine feminine”. There is only a unified flow of love. When one surrenders to inner direction (what many have called “the will of God”), allowing this gentle voice to move them forward (masculine), and at the same time completely allowing what comes with total love and acceptance (feminine), then the two become one. The intrinsic unity of give-and-receive impregnates and begets a new way of moving through life – creation simply flows forth as an outpouring of love and unity, as an expression and overflow of the embrace of the male-female within.

For me, this is the true meaning of the Holy Trinity: Father, Mother, and Child.

Or, Light, Love, and Creation.

With this new awareness seeding within me, and an ever-expanding love guiding my way, I made it back to Spain and to Granada, picked up my bags and started the long journey home.

~ 3:25 am, August 16th ~

As I allow the adventures of the past eight months release and wash over me here in Vancouver, whilst my poor body makes the transition of a 9h time difference (woohoo, 3am productivity!), I am yet again awed into surrender by the rumblings of transformation. I know that my life in Vancouver will not be the same as when I left: I am not the same as when I left. Or, you could say, I am more me than I ever have been, and I am excited by how this will transform the way I live and experience “home”.