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Posts Tagged ‘Vulnerable’

Seen, Heard, and Valued ─ Wild Cosmic Heart Wisdom

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

mindfulness treeWomen from all over the US and BC gathered at Kalani to be a part of the Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat. I opened the circle with gratitude, thanking each one of them for showing up, for having the courage to express their heart, and for trusting me to create a space where they could be themselves. I encouraged participants to share what brought them to Hawaii and the retreat. I invited folks to take a breath, move beyond their thoughts, and speak from their heart.

What happened next was beyond words. Each woman spoke from their heart, many through tears, and shared their intention for the week. Sacred space and safety had been created. And that allowed each woman to show up as is ─ real, curious, scared, hopeful, open, and vulnerable.

From our opening circle, we allowed ourselves to be seen, heard, and valued. We showed up vulnerable. We did it afraid. We opened our hearts. We tried new things (and foods). And we even slowly walked around a large tree 11 times as part of a mindfulness practice. (Note: I had no idea the mindfulness walk would take an hour and fifteen minutes as I created the practice in the moment. It was one of the most profound practices all week.)

The journey now continues as we explore what this wild cosmic heart feels like and needs as we re-enter into our daily life. The edges of our heart have been softened and I sensed that we all learned there is no life with a closed heart.  

I learned that real connection happens when we show up wholeheartedly and that means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. As Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

I learned that I connect best with people when I am seen, heard, and valued. I create sacred space for others to do the same. I honor laughter and tears. I love deeply and live passionately. I am inspired easily. I live vulnerability. I show up wholeheartedly.

This is dedicated to the amazing women who opened their Wild Cosmic Hearts with me at Kalanai Oceanside Retreat Center.

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What MS Has Taught Me About Life

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

It was a year ago that I walked into my neurologist office to get results back from a MRI of my brain after a series of symptoms and tests. I went to the appointment alone as I thought the symptoms would pass and perhaps needed some temporary medicine. I sat across from the doctor as he scrolled and clicked the computer looking at my MRI. He looked up and said, “Your results show you possibly have Multiple Sclerosis.”  I didn’t hear anything else he said after that. My mind went blank, my hands shook, and tears rolled down my face.

He invited me to come over by him and said he wanted to show me the scan. I stood up and went over and saw an enlarged version of my brain on a computer screen. He explained that the scan showed white spots, known as lesions, at various parts of my brain. And given the number of lesions and the location as well as my symptoms, it was likely that I had Mild Multiple Sclerosis. I had to go for many more tests and see many more doctors for the next seven months to rule out other possible diagnoses. 

After several months of being poked and prodded, sent to various specialist and given a variety of health diagnoses, my test results proved to show Mild Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in May of this year. A part of me was relieved to finally know what I was dealing with and how to treat it. Another part of me was in shock (and still is) that I have this. 

My world has changed in so many ways. MS has required me to slow down and rest more. It has taught me the value of advocating for myself in the medical world — especially with doctors who dismiss symptoms or patients. It has made me feel vulnerable and show up in the world with an openness I never experienced before. It has taught me to ask for help and receive. It has taught me who can show up when I don’t feel well. Having MS has deepened some friendships and let go of others.

MS has taught me to continue to live life to its fullest. It has deepened my spiritual practices, opened my heart, and led me to discover feelings that have been buried for a long time.

MS has taught me a lot about life: No one doctor or diagnosis defines you. If there are friends who can’t deal with your illness or can’t be present for you, then seek friends who can. Find people who are aware and can show they care. Give yourself permission to have your emotions — all of them. Follow your heart and your divine light. You may not change your illness, but you can change how you relate to it. You can make choices that help you. You can empower yourself by finding doctors, healers, teachers, and supportive people who are willing to listen and witness you on your personal journey.

Do things that make you happy. That might mean meditating more, having a cup of tea, talking with people you love, getting a massage, forgiving yourself, starting and ending each day with gratitude, chanting/praying or tapping into a spiritual practice that feels right for you, and surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh. 

Having MS has taught me to participate in life more fully, lovingly, passionately, vulnerably, creatively, and spiritually. That doesn’t mean I still don’t get tired or sad. It means I embrace all of it and all of me.

Machu Picchu

 

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Lessons of My Heart

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Over a year ago I began planning a retreat that would take place on the Big Island of Hawaii. I wanted to spend a week having participants explore their wild cosmic heart. I had no idea that a week before the retreat that a hurricane would sweep the East Coast. I had no idea that three weeks before the retreat I would be diagnosed with a medical condition and have tests scheduled before and after the retreat. I had no idea that my heart would feel so heavy and raw.

As I prepared to leave for my flight, I thought of canceling – of staying home to help family and friends affected by the storm. I thought about staying home and rescheduling my medical appointments that were canceled due to the power outages from the hurricane. I thought of canceling the retreat and volunteering somewhere to help hurricane victims who lost everything.

When I asked friends if I should still lead the retreat, they all gave the same answer – YES. I listened and took an 11-hour flight to Hawaii. I arrived exhausted and anxious. When I arrived at my room, a large gecko was awaiting me (more on the geckos on another reflection). I barley slept my first night and in the morning I met with the Group Manager, Cat. She greeted me with a big hug and my eyes filled with tears. 

As the week continued I knew I was in the right place (not only because it was Hawaii). I met so many people willing to explore their hearts. I met people who were open to being seen and heard. I met people who were willing to let go of judgment, expectation, and willing to be accepting and vulnerable. As I sat and listened to folks I met, I became more in awe of the many people who live their life celebrating and tending to their wild cosmic heart.

I met Louie whose husband was dying of brain cancer. I met Yolanda who celebrated her 75th birthday with friends and a group of strangers. I watched Tina snorkel with joy as she swam in the warm ponds. I smiled as Angela took her first hula class. I listened to Francine remember that she can drum and sing. I took a picture of Susan sit in her mandala, which she made in a huge tree. I laughed with Lisa in the water, like a teenager with the giggles. 

Most of all I remembered that my heart is open and grateful. So many lessons of my heart became available. And I loved it so much that I will be back in November 2013 to give another retreat at Kalani Oceanside.

This is dedicated to all the retreat participants, Kalani staff and volunteers who made the retreat a miracle – thank you!

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