We NEED each other!

A dear friend of mine passed away on Mother's day. She was a legendary mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter and woman. She was one of the most inspiring, gentle, loving, strong humans that I have ever met and she will be dearly missed by all who knew her. 

My friend was young, only in her mid-thirties, with two little girls to raise and seemingly had much of her life still ahead of her... that is until Stage 4 Cancer showed up on the scene.

For about two weeks now, I have been grieving her death, sitting with the energy of her soul, and, as humans often do, attempting to find (make) meaning of it all.

As part of my grieving process, I felt that I wanted to connect with what her legacy was/is. In other words, what powerful medicine did she bring to this planet through her life (and her death).

While there are MANY things about her that I can (and do) gather inspiration and medicine from (her example as a mother, her kindness, her playful spirit, her zest for life, her commitment to holistic wellness, her artistic/creative nature, etc.) the element of her life that keeps coming forward again and again has to do with vulnerability and connection, specifically in her relationships with other women.

From my perspective, there is a certain cultural myth that is poisoning the hell out of us as women, and in some cases it is literally killing us. (I believe that this was the case with my friend, especially after reading the blogs she wrote before she died).

This is the myth that: as women, we have to have it all together.

Don't believe me? Some examples of ideals that many people in society still subscribe to:

  • We have to "do it all" and be "strong and independent" (if we need to ask for help we will be perceived as weak or messy).
  • We have to be competitive in the workforce (often having to work even harder than men for the same or less pay).
  • We have to stay home and raise our babies (and have a perfect birth and breast feed for the "right" amount of time, and make all of their food by hand, and use cloth diapers... etc.)
  • We have to maintain a certain type of physical physique and dress a certain way (basically we need to look like a covergirl AT. ALL. TIMES.)
  • We have to have our kids in the "right" activities (plus we need to drive all of our kids to all of these activities as well as volunteer on all of the related teams/committees).
  • We have to maintain a "perfect" household; cooking, cleaning and organizing (and God forbid we hire anyone to help!)

(This is by no means a comprehensive list... but you get the picture).

Now these cultural myths are not new to us. They have all been around since before my time even. What is relatively new however, is our current ability to prolifically compare ourselves with others via social media. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON PINTEREST... they all provide us with image after image, video after video of the "perfect" mom/woman/friend/household/family etc. 

I say enough. Fuck that noise.

I, for one, do NOT have it all together and I am sick of the societal expectation that I should.

Lots of times (and I mean lots), I feel isolated, lonely, overwhelmed, depressed even because I find myself trying to do it all... often by myself.

Yes, I have a wonderful, healthy child. I also have a great relationship with my parents and plenty of friends and acquaintances, however RARELY do I ever let them SEE me. The real me. The vulnerable me. The one who sometimes falls apart and totally doesn't have her shit together.

Now, over past few years the years, I have gradually learned how to "outsource" some of my projects/responsibilities as well as lean on certain folks.  Take my partner for instance. Over the past few years we have managed to fully let each other "in". He can fully see me and hold space for me, and I have learned to let him. This has been completely life-changing for me as I have slowly learned to soften and let go of the gigantic brick wall that I had eternally built up around my heart as protection.

I have also learned to allow other women to "help" me. I have an amazing woman and friend who provides me with before/after school childcare. I have another angel of a woman who comes into my home a few days a week to cook for us. 

But here's the thing, if I'm really honest with myself, I know that this isn't enough. My partner, though he is wonderful and magical and extremely supportive, he can't be the ONLY one that I let in. That's not balanced. It's not even fair to expect him (and our relationship) to be the only one who can hold this space in my life. And while I love and appreciate the two women who help me out each week, I know (and I have known for quite some time), that I need to let others in, specifically more of my women friends, to my inner circle.

This is the legacy teaching that my friend has left me with and one that I am committed to honouring.

In the week following her death, I connected with a few of my closest girlfriends and re-affirmed my commitment to our friendship and my love for them.

These women are a huge priority in my life and I can see so clearly now that I need to show up for them on a regular basis. I need to make the effort. I need to make the time to connect regularly with them. I need to show up for them and I need to let them show up for me.

Across time, space and history women have always naturally "leaned in" to one another in community, connection and support. Red tents, "gathering societies", farming communities, early childhood mothering groups, etc. Connection is in our DNA. I would even argue that, as women, we actually NEED these connections with other women in order to be whole and healthy. 

The way I see it, as the pace of life gets busier and more and more demands get placed onto women and families, we are going to need to each other now more than ever.

And for heaven's sakes, stay off Pinterest.

Lean in,

Nahanni

Pulling my head out of the sand

I have been blogging and sharing my thoughts on the Interwebs since 2009. I am on my fifth iteration of a blog/website. Somewhere in there, I know that I had a blog that had the exact same title as this one. I can even remember the picture that went with it, a dog with it's head buried in the sand. Funnily enough, I can't remember what it was that I was pulling my head out of the sand about. It could very well have been for the same topic as it is today: Money.

If you've been hanging out here much at all, you will know that I have gone through a divorce fairly recently. I blogged about it a tiny bit, sharing some of the pain, some of the lessons and teachings, some of the painful truths. Privately I wrote and wrote and wrote about it. I also prayed, cried, did ceremony, cried, wrote some more, cried, prayed, more ceremony, more crying. You get the picture. It was pretty intense. 

However like all good storms, chaos and crazy-town must eventually come to an end, and for me, the dust has really started to settle in the past few months. The legalities (and all of their many, many details) have been taken care of and it was finally time to figure our where I stood financially.

I have a financial advisor who is very good at what he does. Back in January I had a meeting with him, (my first solo meeting) and I went in with a pretty optimistic attitude. I can remember chatting on the phone with a friend of mine on the way to the appointment and telling her how much I was looking forward to knowing where I stood, so that I could figure out a new plan moving forward. I have always been very good at saving money and I practically couldn't wait to get started again!

This meeting did not go exactly as I thought it would. It turns out that lurking under that glossy coat of optimism there were some more (yes more) messy emotions and fears to work through. I blogged about that here, in case you're interested.

So, I guess this post is kind of like an update to that "messy middle" one.

I am finally pulling my head out of the sand about money.

About making it, about saving it, about investing it. For my entire life I had the attitude that I didn't need to know much about it because "those in the know" would (aka my parents, my husband, my financial advisor) would just tell me what to do and I would do it. Ta-Da! My retirement should just take care of itself, right?

Ummm no. That is not quite how it works. Especially since I am (gratefully) self-employed.

Not long after writing the "Messy Middle" post, I began to wade through my list of "to do's" that had left me feeling paralyzed with fear. I needed to secure disability insurance/benefits, I needed a new will, I needed to re-plan my estate. I took this whole process one day at a time, and because of all of the tools that I have at my disposal (and the wonderful support of the Waterman and my family), I was able to get through it with fairly minimal pain. I was starting to feel like a real grown up. I looked down and realized (with some surprise) that I finally had my Big Girl Panties on.

As I began to do this work, I realized that I don't know a lot (or barely anything at all) about money. In classic Maren-style, my answer for this was to begin to read every single self-help book I could find on the subject and do ALL of the exercises in them. I have eaten through three of these money books already and I have four more sitting in my downloads folder. 

Here is what I have learned so far: so much of what has been holding me back in the world of money and finances are my own limited beliefs about money. It was staggering to realize how complex (and toxic) some of these "thought monkeys" were as I took the time to unpacked them, one by one. 

And here's the thing. I know it is working. My consciousness/energy/belief systems around money are shifting. I am asking more questions, I am taking the time to actually learn more and more about finances and how they work. And, while I still have a lot to learn, I am feeling more and more confident about my ability to really HANDLE it. See? That is the super power that comes with the big girl panties.

Peace and love y'all.

Nahanni.

P.S. I have to say that I have mixed emotions about the whole "big girl panties" thing... I love how it conjures up the feeling of a powerful, independent woman, but visually, I keep having images of those huge granny panties on Bridget Jones' Diary... just sayin.

What the heck is a "Shamanic Practitioner"?

Good question. I'm so glad you asked.

First of all, it feels important to make note of the fact that I choose to refer to myself as a "Shamanic Practitioner" instead of a Shaman. While I have studied and experienced Shamanism (various types and teachings) for over eight years, the truth is that I don't feel at all qualified to call myself a Shaman and perhaps I never will. This isn't to say that I have thoughts, ideas or beliefs (aka judgements) about who should and shouldn't call themselves a Shaman, I just know that for me, it isn't currently a fit.

Now that that's settled, where were we?

Oh yes, "Shamanic Practitioner" - I have grown to expect the weird looks and eyebrow raising that this seemingly "woo-woo" title inspires.

In the literalist sense of the word is simply means "one who practices Shamanism". And oooooh I do. I use it in my daily life. The teachings of Shamanism, as I understand them, have completely changed my life. They have empowered me, helped me to feel more connected to the natural world, helped me to understand my ancestry and lineage, helped me to conceptualize healing in a more holistic way, helped me to see plants and foods a medicines for healing, the list goes on and on and on. And truthfully, I feel like I am just scratching the surface of these teachings.

So what can Shamanism do for you and how might I use it to help you in your transformational journey?

In my practice, I often use Shamanic Journey as a tool. Shamanic Journey is kind of like a guided meditation, co-created between the two of us (or led by me if it's a group setting). We talk first so that we can set an intention for the journey. I will offer prayers for guidance and gratitude. I will often use smudge as well as use a drum, rattle or singing bowl to guide you, along with my voice into a visualization or sensory experience. Depending on what we set as our intention: We will see what we need to see, hear what we need to hear and feel what we need to feel throughout the journey. When it feels complete, we will return to this time and space. More prayers. More smudge and that's that.

Not so "woo-woo" after all right?

Other Shamanic practices that I have used with clients include creating ceremonies, opening sacred space, creating an altar (inside or out), soul retrieval etc. We will have likely worked together at least once before we would get into any of these so not to worry about the details.

In terms of my coaching practice, some of my clients absolutely love the Shamanic tools and others not so much. It is totally up to you. If I feel that a journey or a ceremony might be a good tool to use I'll suggest it but whether or not we go that route will be totally up to you, my client.

Hope that clears it up for you.

Nahanni, Out.

What the heck is Life Coaching?

I have been a Life Coach for five years now.

I started back in 2012 when it wasn't as much of a "thing" as it is now.

I initially started my business based on the mentorship and teachings of another coach from the US and paid $9000 USD to work with her on a bimonthly basis for one year.

Yes, I know, that sounds like a lot of money to a lot of you. At the time, it sounded like a lot of money to me too. Like A. LOT.

However, let me also say this: Even though it was a scary amount of money to invest in myself, it was SOOOOO worth it.

In that year, I launched my own coaching practice, lost 25 pounds (which I have kept off), developed the content for my website, launched the FIERCE Integrity Project (free on-line e-course), wrote my book FIERCE Integrity and had a publishing contract with Difference Press Publishing. BAM.

I am pretty sure I don't need to spell this out for you but I will anyway: This shit really works.

But... after the one year, I didn't quite feel ready to take my business to the next level (I had already earned the $9000 back through coaching my own clients by the way), so I began opening myself up to my next mentor/teacher.

Boom. Enter Martha Beck's life coaching school. 8 months of pure awesome. This training was another "big investment" for me at the time, costing around $7000 USD. 

Again, this program completely transformed my life.

Towards the end of the life coaching program, I ended up flying to Peru to drink Ayahuasca and study Andean Shamanism. Oh, and I finally got up the courage to leave my marriage shortly after that. Truthfully, I don't think that my relationship was able to grow at the same ridiculous rate that I was apparently determined (destined) to travel. 

That was three and a half years ago... and the dust from that wild and chaotic storm of change and transformation (you could even call it a hurricane) has finally settled.

Perhaps I should also mention that in the midst of putting my affairs in order over the past several years, I was also guided to take two additional courses in Shamanism - another two full years of training. I also went back to Peru to partake in more Ayahuasca plant medicine and learn even more about Andean Shamanism.

Whew.

In addition to the trainings in life coaching and shamanism, I am also a certified yoga teacher and a certified Reiki practitioner. PLUS (bonus skills - yay!), I am also a vision consultant. I have a Master's degree in Education which allows me to work with children who are blind or visually impaired and provide support to their families and school teams.

I should mention that I more than doubled my consulting practice during the past three years too.

So, yeah. Life Coaching.

When you hire me as your "coach", you are getting all of the experiences I listed above (and many, many more). You see, I can't separate my very rational, science-y, professional side (the one who somehow managed to rack up three University degrees) from my spiritual, intuitive (and maybe slightly hippie-dippy) side. Coaching with me combines ALL of it.

I recently re-applied to the town that I live in to get the proper licensing in order to have clients come to my home. Frankly, I would prefer to coach over the phone, however I do have local clients who really prefer the face-to-face interaction. When the town sent out the notices to my neighbours, I was actually thrilled to hear that they got several calls from "concerned citizens" - wondering what the heck life coaching is.

Now I need to admit something here: a few years ago, I wasn't ready to be fully seen in my community as a "life coach" or "shamanic practitioner". In fact, when I went to the town office last July to apply for the same license, I literally ended up having a complete, bawling, messy meltdown in the office when they began asking me questions. I was so damn terrified of what they might think. (You're a what? A life coach?! And immediately my overactive imagination broadcast visions of them carrying me away and locking me up, or worse, burning me at the stake... Ahem. I may have had to work through some past-life/collective fear shtuff in order to be free of that crazy nonsense, but I digress).

In recent months, now that my personal life seems to have simmered down a little, I have had more time to really look at my coaching buisness/practice. Is this something that I even want to do, or do I just want to focus on the consulting? I even entertained the notion of going back for a PhD to continue to further my skills in the academic/consulting world... BUT: Something is holding me back.

The truth is, Life Coaching (and later, Shamanism) has totally transformed my life, for the better.

I am far healthier; mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically than I've EVER been in my life (EVER).

I have travelled through my own "dark night of the soul" (more than once), as I navigated severe depression/suicidal ideation, an eating disorder, childhood/ongoing family trauma, divorce, attachment disorder, co-dependency and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

And: I got through it all by accessing the help of coaches/mentors/shamans/teachers who taught me what they knew and walked with me until I could once again walk on my own.

That is what I want to do for my clients. That is what I want to do for you.

This is my WHY. It is my reason for getting up every morning. I want to walk with you through the dark until you (we) get to the dawn on the other side.

Let's friggin do this.

Coyote Drum

An unexpected space opened up in my oft very full calendar... It is a grey Alberta "spring" day, the temperature hovering around zero and the snow softly falling outside my picture window. 

I rejoice in this bonus "me time" by first sitting down to finish the book I am reading. I figure it should take me about 40 minutes to finish the book and I'm close, it takes me 35.

Afterwards, noticing that I have five extra minutes of "open" time and space, I decide to open Facebook.

Lately I have been noticing that some folks have been posting their "status updates" on some kind of coloured background, their words standing out in big, white, block-y letters.

Ever the curious one, I start pushing buttons, trying to figure out if this is a built-in Facebook thing or an add-on. I quickly find the place where I too, can proclaim my deep wisdom for the day against the background colour of my choice.

Feeling particularly mindful, I pause, close my eyes, breathe in, and allow whatever deep thoughts I have to share to come forward.

And... there aren't any.

Instead, I get this loud, almost booming-God-like message from my heart: 

"You have sat around long enough. It is time now to ACT."

Hmmm.  Interesting.

Instantly I know what I must do next. It is an item that I have had on my "to-do" list for 22 months. One that I have been kicking ahead of me, truly afraid to actually do it, lest I totally screw it up.

It was time to paint my drum.

I made this drum in the Shaman's Path program, a one-year journey about incorporating the teachings of the medicine wheel into your life. As participants, we each made a drum - cedar rings with deer hide skin. We (co)created our drums in the south, using the element of fire to help us to transform them into powerful tools for healing. 

It was that around that same time that I received clarity about my medicine name, and my connection to my sacred brother Coyote.

I knew back then that in addition to making my drum, I must also paint it. 

I also knew that I didn't need to do that right away, that I could sit with it and see what came forward. 

And so, I set about building a relationship with this sacred, special drum. Timid and shy at first, she grew in power and confidence the more I played her, as did I.

About six months ago, it became clear that it was time to paint her. I began sketching drawings and ideas. None of them seemed "good enough". I did not trust in my own painting abilities. What if I screwed it up? Rendered my special tool useless, or ugly?

I ignored her calling and put away my sketches and instead left it on my "to-do" list (this is a literal list, one that my co-workers tease me about). Every time I'd finish everything else on the list, I'd simply start a new list, and add "paint drum" to the bottom all over again.

Today, sitting in the stillness of my home, I knew it was finally time to set aside my fears and my stories of lack and do what I know needed doing. 

I had everything that I needed. I had a clear vision (or I thought I did) of what I was to paint and I had purchased all of the necessary painting supplies months ago.

It came quickly, easily even. After briefly sketching the outline of the image, I simply dove in, trusting the process.

Towards the end of the process, it became clear that I needed to add in the elements of day and night. Of dawn. 

Ant then... Lighting. The thought streaking from my mind to my heart, electrifying my soul.

I am Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman. I help to guide people through the dark night of their soul so that they can once again walk in the light... And I'm damn good at it too.

This is my Why. It is my path. It is my purpose.

Holy. Shit.

I have to say. I didn't see that coming.

 

 

The Messy Middle

When I told my husband I was divorcing him three years ago, I knew that divorce wasn't going to be an easy process.  I knew that it would be messy: emotionally, mentally, financially and even spiritually.  I knew that it would be painful.  I knew that it could get complicated.  I knew that it was going to be a roller coaster ride of high highs and low lows.  I knew that there would be plenty of tears, fear, uncertainty and doubt.

And I wasn't wrong.  The process, now three and a half years in, has been all of these things.

The thing that I could have never predicted however was just how long it would take to "untangle" it all.  There are so many friggin details that we are still in the process of working out.

Never mind the legal process of divorce itself (nightmare), now we are into division of assets, re-writing of wills, figuring out insurance plans, changing land titles, etc.

It seriously feels like it's never going to end.

And then there is this other part.  The "new beginning" of planning for the future.  For my future.

I no longer have an "us" to fall back on.

You would think that this realization would have hit me earlier on in the process, but no.  About 3.3 years into the process during a meeting with my financial planner, the realization of being totally and utterly "in charge" of my own estate awakened inside of me like a bucket of ice cold water being dumped over my head.

Oh goody.  More messy emotions lurking under there.  Like, really?

Now, nearly a month later, I find myself still "stalling" on making any major moves in this department.

You see, it is still the messy middle.

In butterfly-caterpillar terms, it turns out that there is more "goop" in here than I thought there was.  Damnit.

And sure, I can have compassion for myself.  I understand logically why I would feel this way.  For one thing, we don't live in a society that well equips us to navigate this territory, especially on our own.  I am telling you, they should have a course in high school called "divorce, retirement, death and taxes" and make it mandatory for all students to take.

I know, I know, why would we want to send them out into the world all jaded like that?  Well, for one thing, knowledge is power.  Consider it like an initiation into adulthood... because life doesn't always go the way you planned and tomorrow comes far sooner than you think.

And maybe I sound a tad bitter.  And maybe I am.  Maybe that is one of the emotions that got "spooked" out of me with this newest awakening.

But here's the cold, hard, truth:

I created this.  Me.  No one else.  And, I am going to have to be the one to sort myself out.  No.  Scratch that.  I GET to be the one to sort myself out.

So, I am going to keep moving forward just like I have for the past 3 and a half years.  One day at a time, one decision at a time, one action item at a time.

And while I'm at, I'm going to keep LIVING.  I am going to go outside.  I am going to go to work.  I am going to snuggle my son and cheer him on at his hockey games.  I am going to work out.  I am going to pray.  I am going to laugh.

I am going to show up.  Day after day.

I am just going to keep on showing up. 

Oh, and I am pretty sure that I am going to need some more therapy. 

Journey to the Sacred Heart

This post is for all of you fence-sitters out there!

If you are feeling called to attend Tending the Sacred Heart ~ A Woman's Spiritual Retreat but you haven't committed yet, just do it... we only have 5 spots left.

If you have checked out any of the information on the retreat, you will know that it is a collaboration between the inimitable Sarah Salter-Kelly and myself.  Sarah and I have collaborated on women's programs before and it is always a great time.  It was a "hell yes" for me when the opportunity to collaborate with her showed up again... however I was even more excited when she said, "I'd like to do something a little less intense than usual".  Lol.  If you know Sarah and I, this is a huge shift.  She and I both LOVE to go deep!  

So if you are wondering if this retreat is going to take you "super deep" into your "dark and twisty" bits... the answer to that is no.  At least, that is not our intention.

What is our intention then?

It is to guide you on a journey into your heart... and we have chosen the archetype of the "sacred heart" to help guide us on our journey to hold this space for you.

Along that note... as soon as this retreat showed up, along with it came the vision of a labyrinth.  When I sat with it further, it became clear that I was to guide a labyrinth walk as part of this retreat.  

This is all fine and good (I usually say yes to my Divine guidance without too much questioning or objections), however logistically I was a bit concerned about how I was to pull this off (and why).  So, not one to back down from a challenge, I did a bit of internet research, and figured out how to build a portable labyrinth.  

I have walked quite a few labyrinths in the past, and been facilitated in the process, however I am new to facilitating this process so I also ordered a few books on the history of labyrinths and how they are used, etc.  

You will laugh at this next part... or at least I did... labyrinths are a metaphor for a journey into the sacred heart. 

Lol.  Of course they are.

If this is any indication of how much guidance exists for us on this journey in particular, I wouldn't hesitate anymore if I were you.  

Let's journey together!

Much love,

Nahanni

Dancing Coyote Woman

A Beautiful Mess

Emotions are messy aren’t they?  Like just disgustingly messy.  Well, I guess I can’t speak for yours… but mine are.  My emotions are all about copious amounts of bodily fluids, ripping waves of nausea, paralyzing anxiety mixed with bouts of flailing my body about (usually on the floor).  Sometimes I will even throw up from it all.  Seriously, I recently stepped into observer consciousness during one of my bigger emotional releases and I was like “Woah!  Dude!  That is intense!!”  

When things really get going for me like they did during this last “episode", I can’t help but wonder if it can get like that for other people?  Do other people feel things that intensely?

I know that some likely do, but I don’t think very many.  I think a lot of people are afraid to really “go there”.  Or, I guess it’s possible that there isn’t a “there” for some people to go.  

For me, I can’t help but get the feeling that I was born with some kind of “ball of grief" in my belly.  It feels connected to me, but yet bigger than me or my story.  

I would say that while I do have things to feel grief about in my life, when I tap into this “ball”, all of a sudden it feels like I am “birthing the grief of the world”.  I know.  So weird.

These “grief attacks” used to scare the crap out of me.  But I’ve given in to enough of them now to know what to expect and they aren’t nearly as terrifying… mostly they’re just tiring.  I have even gotten quite good at knowing how to "move with the grief" so that it can be released more easily.  

I still find them to be a bit confusing though.  

Often the level of despair that comes forward doesn’t match the situation.  So I am left wondering about the intensity of it all.  Am I releasing emotion from childhood?  Am I releasing the emotions for my family?  Am I releasing generational trauma?  Am I actually releasing the pain and suffering of the collective consciousness?

Honestly, I don’t know.  

What I do know is that it is messy.  And often uncomfortable.  

As someone who works with other people in order to help them honour and release their shadow emotions, it is clear that I need to live this practice in order to give it.  I can’t hold space for people unless I am willing to hold space for myself.  

And that is where I’ve experienced the most change over the past few years.  

I am getting to be quite brilliant at being my own best companion.  I am finding it easier and easier to have self-compassion.

I used to think that “success” in my life would be to “heal the grief” - and lord knows that I have spent countless amounts of money and time trying to achieve this outcome. 

The thing is, I don’t actually think that’s true anymore.  I feel like I have been successful in managing the grief because I don’t fight it, judge it or resist it any more.  I just feel it all and let it go… mess and all.  I allow it to be what it is: a beautiful mess.

From my heart to yours,

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

 

 

 

Moving into RAGE

It is not an emotion that I am comfortable with, nor can I say that I have felt it often… but this morning I woke up feeling, well, rage-y.  

You see, someone who used to be in my life (who shall definitely remain unnamed) ghosted me a few years ago.  What’s that?  You don’t know what ghosting is?  Oh.  Well, let me tell you.  Ghosting is an act of bullying.  It is when someone in your life completely stops talking to you, calling you, texting you or whatever the deal was between you for seemingly NO REASON AT ALL.  They just cut you out of their lives.  No explanation.  No answers.  Nothing.  I believe it is a form of bullying because it is all about power and control.  The “ghost” is using absence/silence (as opposed to aggression) in order to feel powerful by inflicting pain on the other person.  

And HOLY MOTHER OF GOD is it painful.  

I have been ghosted now exactly twice in my life, both times by people who I would have called my “best friend”.  Even now, every time I see the word “bestie” attached to some beautiful Facebook photo of women friends I feel like someone just sucker-punched me in the stomach.  

Because of these ghosting experiences, I have a HUGE WALL when it comes to close friendships in general, but especially friendships with women.  I am finding myself absolutely dead set against the idea of letting any woman ever get that close to me again.  Like HELL-TO-THE-NO.

The first time I was ghosted, I mourned for that person/friendship for a good ten years.  Actually, I still miss her.  It was like a death in my life.  But more like an “unsolved missing person” kind of death.  To this day, almost twenty years later, I have no idea what I did wrong.  The worst part about this is that I feel like I am someone who, when given the opportunity, takes full accountability for my actions.  The problem with ghosting is that you have no idea what you need to take accountability for, so you are simply left wondering (and wondering and wondering)… and that just plain sucks.  

With this latest ghost, I have spent many long hours over the past two years in mourning as well, my grief mixing in with denial, confusion, hurt and eventually a lot of shame and guilt.  (By the way: It is NOT lost on me that this is now officially a “pattern” and that I am responsible for calling it in and creating it.  But, due to the lack of feedback that is inherent in ghosting, I can’t seem to figure out what exactly I am doing wrong and therefore how to fix it!)

Anyway, today for the first time, I woke up angry.  No. I woke up enraged.

Now, I need to tell you that it is extremely rare for me to feel vengeful, but that is exactly how I feel.  I want for this ghost to hurt the way that I hurt.  I want them to feel like they want to melt into the floor every time we have the god-awful “pleasure” of running into each other (which is, unfortunately, way too often).  

I know that this is wrong.  And the farthest thing from “spiritual”.  But it is honest.  It is real and raw.  It is transparent, and transparency is something that I truly believe in and that I am good at.  

Ironically (or probably not), I just finished reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong, in which she describes feeling similarly rage-y towards another human being (or beings).  She then moves into realizing that “everyone is just doing the best that they can”.  So, this morning, mixed in with my feelings of rage and revenge, was this underlying thought, “What if Person X is just doing the best that they can?”  

Sigh.

I know that this is true.  I know this because I truly believe that that’s what we are all doing: the best that we can…. which (unfortunately and absolutely) precludes me from doing anything to retaliate against this person, or confront them, or hold them accountable or anything at all probably.

This idea that everyone is just doing the best that they can is an important one.  When you can call it in to your being, even a just a little bit, it can transmute these shadow emotions.  It inspires and cultivates compassion, something that is vital to our survival as an interdependent species.  Even as I write this, I can feel the rage ebbing, its edges are softening as the compassion starts to seep in. 

One of my favourite quotes is by Ram Dass - “We’re all just walking each other home.”

I guess we don’t always get to choose who we walk beside, or why and when they leave when they do.

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

Pay It Forward

I found this in my drafts folder from last year... No idea why I didn't post...

Random Acts of Kindness are still as relevant today as ever so I decided to share:

 

I have had a rough couple of days… no, weeks, actually, months.  Since the start of school in September, I can't seem to find my regular "beat".  It feels as though my energy battery is running around 20% (and continually flipping into 'conservation' mode).  Then, at the start of October, I got some kind of flu, which has managed to come through in not one, not two but three different forms.  To be honest, I am getting verrrrrrry tired.  And discouraged.  And down right down.  

But.  There is a silver lining to all of this "down".  (Of course there is, you didn't think I was actually going to leave you with a full-on Debbie-Downer post did you?!)

I am learning some good lessons (as all down cycles provide the opportunity for): I am learning to rest and be still.  I am learning move slower and do less.  I am learning to say no to a whole lot of stuff.  I am learning to find Gratitude and Light and Inspiration every day.  I am learning to ask for help.

The last one is the hardest one for me.  (That's why its last).  

When I say ask for help, I mean it.  I have been asking friends for rain checks, bosses for extensions, clients for different dates, my partner for help around the house, etc.

Looking at the above list, it occurs to me that those ones aren't the toughest "asks".  Believe it or not, it took me seven long weeks to finally concede that I needed to call in the big guns.  I needed to pray.

So, yesterday morning, when my knees hit the cushion for my morning smudge… I asked for help with my health.  

And… nothing happened, well, physically anyway.  Actually, I woke up this morning with one of my eyes swollen shut and filled with goop.  (gross, I know).

But the difference is, between yesterday and today, I don't feel so heavy.  I don't feel so afraid.  I feel the exact same way physically, if not worse, as I did two days ago, but it doesn't seem as hard to get through the days.  

And then, tonight, something amazing happened.  

No, I didn't experience a miraculous healing (yet).

But what happened feels like a miracle to me.  

While I was at swimming lessons with my son, I was working on my work calendar (I am WAY behind due to said illness).  And I somehow managed to leave my day timer at the pool.  

I didn't even notice it was gone until I got a phone call after I got home asking me if I had lost it.  

Now, here is the thing about the day timer: It has EVERYTHING in it.  I couldn't find my way out of my house tomorrow morning if I had lost it for real (and yes, I can also now see the inherent error in my system).  

Anyway, this woman finds it, calls me (my number is in it) and DRIVES IT OVER TO MY HOUSE.

I am so grateful to her that I try to give her $50 but she won't take it, instead giving me a hug and telling me to pay it forward.  

I have no clue why I feel so crappy in my body… but my heart is wide open and shining.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Maren

Dancing Coyote Woman

 

What's in a Name? Meet Nahanni (aka Dancing Coyote Woman)

She came to me in my dreams... again, again and again.  

At first, I thought she was my child.  She appeared as a young girl - all bouncy blonde curls and piercing blue eyes.  She wore a white dress and over and over I would see her running barefoot across a field of wildflowers; giggling, dancing, laughing.  

This was before my son was ever conceived, and like I said, I just assumed I was seeing my unborn child (stuff like this happens to me, okay?)

Anyway, I forgot about her for a little while... Chephren was born, and I never gave her much thought again.  Becoming a mother changed me in more ways than I can tell you.  It caused me to journey deeper into myself than I ever thought possible.  

One day, a few years after Chephren arrived, I was talking with a friend and we were journeying together over the phone.  All of sudden, we both saw her... the bouncy, blonde, blue-eyed girl.  

Seeing her jolted me back to the present and out of the dream.  

I was struggling to understand.  Who was this girl and why was she showing up yet again? Was there another child waiting for me on the other side?  (This notion terrified me.  I had had such a terrible bout of Post-Partum Depression and at the time, I was on a horse-tranquilizer dose of anti-depressants.  I didn't know whether or not I even wanted to become pregnant again).  

Nonetheless, here she was.  And, rather than give into my fears and try to push her away, I decided to embrace her.   I began calling her by name - Nahanni (one of the names that Trent and I had picked out for a baby should we have had a girl.  Nahanni is the name of one of our Great Canadian Rivers in the Northwest Territories.  Similarly, Chephren was named after a mountain in the Banff National Park.  We apparently roll like that and I wouldn't change a thing.)

And so, I decided to sit with it for a long while, or maybe I should say, sit with her.  

Then, in September of 2013 I journeyed to Peru.  

This trip was very much a spiritual adventure, and we explored many of the sacred ruins and sites as well a participated in many initiations and ceremonies along the way.  

One day, at one of the sacred sites we were exploring, I felt called to lean down and pick up a three-sided stone and the words: "Maiden-Mother-Crone" jumped into my head.  Each step along the path I was walking seemed to echo these three words over and over.  

And then, I could feel her walking beside me.  Full-body goose-bumps and that familiar "electric feeling" and I knew that Nahanni was walking beside me, except her energy seemed to have changed.  She was older now.  Closer to my age.  And the best description that I can use to explain her is that she was like a "white, modern pocahontas".  Actually, she looked like the poster child for burning man or something.  Well, at least I think she did.  The thing is, I couldn't quite see her face.  The details of her clothing and hair?  Yes.  But her face?  Not so much.

I was a bit taken aback by this transformation and yet, again, confused.  

And so, more sitting with her.  Literally.

Actually, the picture from this post was taken at that location as I was doing just that: meditating on this new information/discovery.

And I still had no idea what it meant.  

The next weeks, months and years were FILLED with images, dreams and journeys with this iteration of Nahanni.  She showed up for everything.  My constant companion at every turn.  I literally could not have any kind of spiritual experience without her showing up loud and clear at the forefront... and yet, she was still basically faceless to me.  Bizarre.  

(I should mention something here actually.  The first time I saw this older version of her was actually about two weeks before I even knew I was going to Peru.  I was being guided on a specific journey where you go to a sacred site and receive a gift from a guide.  Well, this "white, modern pocahontas" showed up and gifted me with a mesa (a sacred bundle of stones used in Andean Shamanism).  Shortly thereafter I found out I was going to Peru and it was on that trip that I did actually become a mesa-carrier.  See?  I told you this kind of stuff happens to me.)

Anyway, back to Nahanni and her prolific presence in my life over the past two years.  

At some point I started to get very comfortable with her showing up, I think I even started to take it as a given; truly letting go of the need to know who she was or why she was there.  I just assumed she was my "spirit guide".  

And then it happened.  

One day I was in ceremony/in journey with her and she and I finally came face to face.  And maybe it won't surprise you to hear this kind reader, but it sure shocked the hell out of me; when I finally got to see her face and look deeply into her eyes.  She was me.

I know.  Weird.

I am Nahanni.

Well, if I thought that my dreams/visions/journeys were vivid and wild before that, I just had no idea how wild things could get!  Each journey started to become more of a shape-shifting experience.  I could start to morph in and out of her skin, clothes, and hair and feel what she was feeling.  

Often we would find ourselves roaming in a wide open field (just like we did as kids)... barefoot, wild and free; sometimes dancing amongst the wildflowers playing with a pack of coyotes, sometimes naked under the light of a full moon... and I finally started to understand who she was and why she was here.

She is my wild nature.  She is my truest essence.  

She is the me who I would unapologetically be if I weren't still playing by all of society's rules and expectations.  

And I love her so.  How I long to feel her heart beating in my chest, the wind dancing in our hair and our feet bare on the warm, fragrant earth.

And that my friends, is how I came to be Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman.

 

 

 

Game-changers

You know that feeling when you first reunite with a good friend that you haven’t seen or spoken to in a very long time?  There is that pull of urgency in your belly, you feel a bit flustered and slightly overwhelmed because you aren’t sure where to possibly begin in order to fill them in on all that has happened since you last saw each other.

That, kind reader, is how I feel right now about writing this blog.

I take comfort in the fact that I have been in the above-mentioned “real life” scenario quite a few times in the past, and from what I can recall, things just worked themselves out.  The sense of urgency begins to gently subside, the explosion of words that you feel compelled to vomit somehow manages to fall out of you, and somehow, a vague sense of order emerges from its chaos.

I am taking this sense of urgency, overwhelm and flus-tration (new word!) as a good sign… a verrrrry good sign.  You see, it means that I WANT to re-connect with you (you = the outside world).  And this is the first time I have felt like this in a very long time… about three years (give or take).

The tricky thing here is that it is often (not always, but often) a one-sided conversation on the old blog.  You see, I have been blogging for seven years.  You might recall that this blogging adventure began with “MareBare Necessities: A Year of Living with Less”, which was a one-year project in which I gave up being a consumer of new goods.  It turned out to be an epic journey, and somehow, unintentionally, it became quite well read.  Like 50,000-readers-per-month well read!  (I know, it still shocks the hell out of me too!) 

After the “MareBare” project was over, I quit blogging for a bit, but then I was pushed,pulled and practically dragged back into it because of people like you: you see, my blog had started a CONVERSATION.  (I know now that this is no small feat – I have been trying every since to “continue the conversation” with my “on-line community”, only to discover that as I shifted, morphed and changed, so did they).  Today?  Not so much of a conversation.  Not so much of a community.  And so, I find myself once again in a very much one-sided, somewhat awkward, I’m-really-excited-but-overwhelmed-to-tell-you-stuff social situation.

(And after yesterday’s post… you can just guess how I feel about that… cue the sweat).

However: I’m doing it anyway.  You see, when I started MareBare Necessities, I couldn’t friggin’ WAIT to write my posts each day.  I was SO excited to connect with “my tribe” (which started off as one or two readers… one of whom was my mom).  And that is, once again, how I feel about connecting with you kind folks (there are about 8 of you all told)…

So, where shall we begin?  Ah yes.  The title of this post: GAME-CHANGERS.

Because of the overwhelm/excitement/flus-tration, it occurred to me that maybe I should just tell you what the biggest, most epic changes, challenges, self-discoveries/uncoveries have been over the past three years.  This post then, can kind of serve as the “index” for the rest of the blogs to come.

Here they are, in no particular order of timeline or importance (and please note, I shared the first two with you yesterday):

·Giving up alcohol (for 510 days and counting) and moving into “recovery” (I love this word – it means: to regain possession of something lost and return to a normal state of mind/health)

·Discovering that I am actually a very introverted/shy/socially anxious person

·Going through a divorce (duh). We have done this in the most conscious way possible and although it has been unbelievably painful, it has also been a phenomenal journey of self-discovery and growth.

·Working as an educational consultant (turns out that I really love this work and it continues to change and expand as well).

·Taking charge of my mental and physical health through a life-changing dietary program called Whole30 (look it up.  No seriously look.it.up.)

·Moving (several times) and finally settling into The House With The Red Door.  Lately we have been “Tidying up” our home (via the work of Marie Kondo) and so far this has involved disposing of 45 garbage bags of “stuff”, and we are only about ½ way done.

·Learning about co-dependency and moving into recovery from that sticky mess (this is also connected to learning how to set boundaries).

·Continuing to learn more and more about mental health and depression and continuing to navigate recovery (through WHOLEistic methods)  (I call this “taming the dark dragon”.) In other words, this has meant freeing myself of my behavioral addiction to and pattern of being “dark and twisty”.  This has meant taking FULL accountability for all areas of my life and letting go of my victim story (again and again and again).

·Facing ALL of my deepest, darkest fears, (most of which surrounded mortality and death) and emerging on the other side.

·Discovering a different way to be in an intimate partnership, and re-discovering the different forms/roles/shapes that can exist in a “family”

·Taking my medicine wheel training, travelling twice to Peru to study shamanism and beginning to practice and share my gifts as a shamanic practitioner.

·Changing my legal name back to my birth name.

·Claiming a medicine name (more on this later).

·Navigating intense survivor guilt (this is truly a one-day-at-a-time journey).

And there you have it: the list of “game-changers” and the likely future index of this blog.

Any questions?

Nahanni, DCW

Just... start.

 

After taking a muchly needed blogging/writing hiatus that has lasted most of the past three years (not fully and completely but mostly), lately I have had this deep craving to come back to writing… for others.

 

I have written a bunch of ramblings, journal entries, scribbles here and there, but mostly for myself.  Writing has always been one of the ways that I can make sense of the chaos inside of my head.  And it works… most of the time.

 

So much has changed in my life over the past three years that I don’t even know where to start.  I am letting go of the need to update you on all of the (gory) details kind reader, and instead I think I will just start with what is present. 

 

Yesterday I… (haha, see what I did there?) I jumped right back into the past.  Man old habits are hard to break!

 

TODAY I find myself in Nordegg, sitting on the deck of our family cabin, drinking tea and rambling on… words spilling onto the page, with a “loose” intention of actually sharing this post.

 

You see, it turns out that I am actually a really intense introvert.

 

I know.  News to me too.  Like EARTH-SHATTERING-REPEAT-IT-A-BILLION-TIMES-OVER-UNTIL-I-GET-IT-THROUGH-MY-TINY-SKULL news.

 

I didn’t discover this about myself until approximately 509 days ago (and 11 hours and 10 mins)… which just-so-happens to be the same date/time/hour that I chose to begin abstaining from drinking alcohol.  Yep.  I have been living in sobriety for the past 16 or so months.

 

Sobriety has been a LOOOOOOONG time coming for me.  Like more than ten years coming.

 

Funny thing, was that I had no idea that I had been working my way towards this lifestyle until I actually began the process of living sober.

 

And let me tell you, it has been an epic process.  One of such life-changing magnitude that no amount of capslocks could convey the epicness of it all… so I am even going to forego the capslocks… you are just going to have to take my word for it this time.

 

What I can tell you after more than a year living in sobriety is this: my life continues to get better every single day.

 

But sobriety is another topic for another day.  And I promise, pinky-swear promise, that you haven’t heard the last from me about it, but today I want to talk about being a newly-discovered-introvert.

 

Now, for anyone who has known me for any stretch of time, you might be as baffled as I am about this discovery.  To the outside world, I know that I have always seemed gregarious, loud even, bubbly, giddy and social butterfly-ey (I so know that is not a thing, but I just made it one).  What you most likely didn’t know (because I even denied it to myself for most of my life), is that social situations have always been hard for me.  Like, choose-your-wardrobe-carefully-because-of-the-epic-pitstains hard.  Oh the sweating. The ridiculous and inevitable sweating that virtually ANY and ALL social situations resulted in.

 

And, as far as I can tell, I have always been like that.  I was born like that.  As a child I can remember being the very happiest when I was playing by myself with my league of imaginary friends and making up my world as I went.  And I was GOOD at that.  Actually, I was brilliant at that (and still am).

 

Somewhere in elementary school I figured out that I was a bit different in this regard.  I got the strong message that I needed to make “friends” and play in a group rather than by myself in my own little world.  And it was hard for me.  Always and all ways.  Acutally, it was excruciating.  So, what I ended up doing was choosing a very few and small select group of people to let into my private little world, people who I trusted to fully see the real me (and this totally backfired on me a zillion times but again, another post for another day).  Outside of my very select group of peeps, I figured out that if I made myself big enough, puffy enough, LOUD enough, that they wouldn’t ever get to see my spongy, soft bits.  They wouldn’t see that I was dying of self-consciousness every moment of every day. 

 

Everything changed when I found alcohol.  I took my first drink at 11 years old and I knew that I had found a friend that would be by my side for a very long time.  Forever I thought.  You see, when you have the kind of social anxiety and intense introversion that I had, alcohol makes it all go away.  All of a sudden you actually ARE gregarious, funny, loud and comfortable being seen… on some level anyway.

Still a lot of sweating and careful shirt choosing, but you know that there is something out there to can (and will) relieve the intense feelings of…shame.  That’s what I was feeling: shame and self-loathing.

 

Now it’s a looooong story about how the intense amount of shame and self-loathing came to live all up in my grill, and maybe we’ll get to that someday.  But TODAY we are back to introversion, and sobriety.

 

Fast-forward 25 years (that is how long I was a drinker for, a quarter of a century) and I finally had done enough work on myself to kick the bottle.  To give up my crutch.  To walk alone.

 

And for the past year?  A whole lotta epic sweating has ensued.  Like throw-away-bags-of-ruined-clothes epic.  But you know what else has happened?  Some not-so-sweaty days.  Some really good boundary-setting.  Some unapologetic acts of self-love.  Some very candid conversations about this very topic within sacred spaces and circles.  And now?  Some serious honesty with you kind reader.

 

I share this now on the world-wide-internets because I deeply know from experience that there is someone out there who needs to read it.  Someone who might feel some of these same feelings but who feels completely alone and isolated.  Someone who thinks that no one else on the planet can possibly understand all of the anxiety, shame and sweating.

 

In the past, reading other people’s real and vulnerable accounts of their self-exploration and revelation has literally saved my life.  Literally.

 

And, I’m ready.  I’m simply ready to be seen again.  As this “new” version of myself.  As this deeper, truer version of myself.  As this er… sweatier version of myself.

 

And I am sweating.  I can be real about that.  As I push post, you can bet the sweat will be running.

 

And you know what?  I ‘m doing it anyway.

 

Yours in trust,

 

Nahanni

Dancing Coyote Woman

Spiritual Alchemy: What if we don't have to choose?

 

Some of the most interesting people out there (in my humble opinion) are those who combine and honor all of their loves, interests and passions.  These folks manage to take two or more hobbies or areas of interest that are seemingly completely unrelated and combine them.  It is an alchemy that often results in pure magic, probably because it is so authentically unique. 

Take Caroline Myss for example.  She is a best-selling author and speaker on spiritual topics, however every time I have heard her speak, she brings up the fact that she is a war history buff and she somehow manages to bring this content into her presentation.  Imagine: war history facts infused throughout a spiritual talk (!).  But the funny thing is… it works!  These two seemingly unrelated topics are in fact connected through Caroline.  She masterfully becomes the container for which this beautiful alchemical reaction can take place.

I can think of several other friends and colleagues who are combining their passions in similar ways.  I have a friend who is an accountant, environmental activist AND a watershed expert.  Another friend is passionate and talented at improv theatre, magic AND marketing (yep, marketing).  A colleague of mine is a Martha Beck trained coach (that is code for woo-woo believer), a history buff, AND a lawyer.  She has a wonderful blog in which she writes about historical figures, and combines it with her love for fine scotch.  Seriously.

I hope you are getting the message here: you do not have to choose which parts of your being are worth sharing or pursuing.  THEY ALL ARE.  In fact, it is the combination of such unlikely elements that make it (you) interesting. 

I recently found the first iteration of my business card.  I laughed when I found it because it seriously reads like this:

MareBare Necessities

Maren Hasse (aka MareBare)

Coach, Facilitator of FIERCE Integrity Project, Yoga Instructor and Retreat Facilitator, Speaker, Writer, Reiki Practitioner.

Seriously.  It says all of that.

Now, I could think of a few more things to add: vision consultant, meditation teacher, spiritual teacher, published author, ceremonialist and shamanic practitioner

Hmmm… I think I might need to get those postcard-sized business cards.

For the past four years (more) I have been wrestling with this perceived “problem” of explaining who I am and what I do.  The truth is, I do all of those things (and yet none of them explain who I am).  I also use ALL of those skills in EVERYTHING I do.  You can’t separate them.  When you hire me as a consultant, you are also getting a coach (plus all of those other things) because I am me.  I am the container. 

In the past, I have been criticized for re-branding so many times, for not being “clear enough” about what I do and for whom.  However, whenever I have tried to “narrow it down”, I feel that I inadvertently cut some part of me off, that I have to deny some part of my being. 

The truth is, I don’t have to (nor do I want to). 

Currently, my brand is my name.  My brand is ME.   

I am getting more and more clear on my medicine/niche (I help people navigate adversity and change using coaching and shamanistic practices) and apparently this is true across a wide range of environments, people and settings. 

My message for today is: be the container.  Just be YOU.

Maren

 

 

 

 

  

From Rumi to the Rolling Stones

Yesterday was Rumi's poem about the Unexpected Visitor.  Today, a bit of a different message/vibration showed up… in the form of the Rolling Stones:

No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
— The Rolling Stones

I would like to substitute the word TRY for PRAY.

If you Pray sometime… you will often get what you need.  

Looking back on my adventures in bodily fluids yesterday, one thing is as clear as a bell to me today.  I most definitely did not get what I wanted, but I did get exactly what I needed (and prayed for).  Let me explain...

I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few months on the importance of the parent-child attachment relationship.  I have danced on the line between fear and perspective/self-compassion as I explored both of my primary attachment relationships (that with my own mother and that with my son).  It has been a painful, beautiful, insightful, fascinating and interesting journey so far.  It has brought forward (in a very loud way) the idea of ancestral karma or lineage, and I have been shown how this is a very real phenomenon and how it is directly impacting me today.  

Anyway, to make a long story short, my attachment relationship with Chephren isn't as solid as I feel it could be.  This is due to the fact that I had pretty severe and poorly managed pre and postpartum depression, high, high anxiety and now, owing to a divorce, I only see him half of the time.  All in all, he seems to be doing well, however I knew in my heart that we could be closer and more connected.  I also know that this is the most important thing that I need to focus on as his mom.  

Now that he is getting a bit older, this hasn't been quite as easy as I'd hoped.  He is more resistant to physical connection and less open to talking with me.  So, I have been praying for guidance and support in redeveloping this connection, and trusting that I will be able to do so.  

Yesterday's flu bug turned out to be an answer to my prayers.  We emerged from the ordeal closer than we have been in months and today (he is home from school), we got to have the day that I had hoped to have yesterday.  So far we have played cards, watched a movie, played games, did an art project and hopefully next we'll make some cookies.  Over the past two days we have had a lot of interesting conversation and cuddles, and I feel closer to him than ever.  

The Universe is funny, isn't it?

Cheph and I made some prayer flags for his room today and imbued them with our prayers and intentions in a little ceremony.  It is my intention that they serve as a totem… a living reminder to connect with each other, and to connect with something greater than ourselves when we really do need something.  


May you get exactly what it is that you need.

Maren, NDCW

Who's at your door?

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Rumi

I first heard this poem at a talk given by Wayne Dyer.  It had a profound effect on me at the time, and four years later, I can still remember hearing it and receiving the impact of its message.

Today, the stomach flu arrived at our door.  

I had big plans for today, the "perfect" Sunday.  Chephren and I were going to go to church (we have a new Centre for Spiritual Living just blocks from our house), we were going to play Lego, make some art, maybe go for a walk and then maybe have my parents over for dinner.  I had some vague notions about catching up on my report-writing in there too.

I did not envision cleaning up a variety of the most vile bodily fluids from many different surfaces in our house, for the better part of the last three hours.  

 

And yet, all along I have had the thought: "Ok.  This is what is being asked of me today.  This is my spiritual path for today.  What could be a higher spiritual path than that… I mean, really?"  

And I truly feel this way.  

I am sharing it with you because this represents a HUGE shift in perspective for me.  Often, I have been able to shift into this place, but only AFTER the "spiritual visitor" has come and gone.  Basically, hindsight has been my 20/20.  

I am so damn grateful that NOW is my current 20/20.  

I am so much more peaceful in the face of something that would normally trigger feelings of irritation, disappointment, worry and frankly, disgust.  

When I take an even further step back, I can even see that this unexpected visitor is a HUGE GIFT.  This past week I have been struggling with news (or awareness perhaps) of a very unwanted (and yet familiar) visitor… depression.  

This morning's spiritual teachings have shown me that I CAN MEET IT AT THE DOOR LAUGHING and INVITE IT IN.  

Heck, if I can do it with puke and poo… I can do it with anything, right?

Lol. 

Happy Sunday to you all.  I wish you peace and presence for whatever arrives at your door today.

Maren, NDCW

A little magic for your Friday...

movie pic

So Perry and I are watching a movie last night (Everest) and he stops to pause it.  He heads to the kitchen for a few minutes, leaving me sitting in our living room, day-dreaming.  As I'm sitting there, I'm talking to him about how we should go to Nepal some day and go trekking… I am babbling, telling him random things that I have heard from my friends who have gone there. Then, as I'm speaking, I look up and see a painting on the wall.  It happens to be from Nepal.  I continue talking about my friend who went there and brought me that painting.  And then I say, "Actually, that scene in the painting is probably right from that valley where they are in the movie right now."  

I look back at the screen - taking in the scene above.

I look back at the painting and my mouth drops open...

Nepal painting

Take a look at that.

The foreground might be different, but the BACKGROUND IS VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL!!!

Wanna see that again?  Thought so.  Ok.  Here you go:

 

When I start to think about all of the elements that needed to happen in order for that synchronicity to line up… well, my brain can't compute them all.  So?  I chalk it up to magic.  Part of the Great Mystery.

Happy magical Friday to you!

xo Maren (NDCW) 

When Push Comes to Shove

Photo by Stockbyte/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Photo by Stockbyte/Stockbyte / Getty Images

 

I have been having some very weird dreams lately.  Like totally bizarre.  Even more unusual is that fact that I have been waking up and remembering them pretty much every day, and usually there is more than one.  

Take this morning for instance.  I first wake up and start remembering a dream with Wayne Dyer in it.  In real life, he recently passed away.  In my dream however, he was still very much alive, and it was his wife who had recently passed away.  I found myself comforting him and trying to hold space while at the same time protecting his need to grieve privately.  Very strange.  Even more strange, I woke up to an e-mail from a friend in which she referenced him.  

Anyway, Wayne Dyer aside, I had another dream about two men - one called Push, and the other called Shove.  (Yes, I'm serious).  In my dream, they were like those characters in the the "Mr. Men & Little Miss" books, like Little Miss Sunshine or Mr. Silly, and the dream played out like one of those stories.

In the story, Push was constantly getting himself in trouble and coming to Shove for advice.  It's like he would go into a situation and try something and it wouldn't work… he didn't get the result he had hoped for.  He would get totally freaked out and go running up the hill to Shove's house.  Shove would sit and listen and coach him around how he could proceed and Push would go back to the situation and successfully resolve it.  That's all I really remember actually.  But it has stuck with me all morning and into the afternoon. Right now it's Sunday afternoon coffee/muffin time at my house, so I decided to look up the idiom "When push comes to shove" and here is what it says:

When the pressure is on; when the situation is critical or urgent; when the time has come for action, even if it is difficult.
— ~Wiktionary

And now I have to laugh.  Like REALLY laugh.  This is SO what is happening in my life right now…on so many levels.  I can easily see parts of my life where I am like Push… trying something and then running away/retreating because I have perceived that it wasn't received well.  In other ways, I am like Shove, literally holding a space for people to debrief circumstances in their life and then get back out there!  

Sitting here reflecting on it all, I can see that overall I am at a "When Push comes to Shove" moment.  I am re-emerging (again) from yet another transformation.  And it inspires me to have so much compassion for the "Push" part of me that keeps allowing herself to be seen and then running up the hill to the solace of "Shove's" sanctuary.  

Dreaming is so funny, isn't it?  

Happy Beautiful Sunday to y'all.

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

 

 

 

 

How This is Like That

Photo by Jody Goodwin Photography

Photo by Jody Goodwin Photography

One of the tools we use as Martha Beck-trained life coaches is what we call the Metaphor Tool.  It is based on the premise that we can get more information about something that is happening internally by looking at something that is happening externally.  This idea also runs through shamanism.  We create ceremony/ritual on the outside using concrete objects found in nature (visible), so that we can have a clearer view of what's happening on the inside (invisible).  

I was pondering this during my morning practice, and I realized that this website is a perfect example or metaphor for what is happening in my life.  My old website (aka my old life/identity at www.marenhasse.com) is not fully dissolved - in fact it is stubbornly evading deconstruction, while my new website, this site, is not fully formed.  And that is ok.  I am not fully formed yet.  I am still emerging.

I have chosen to publish this site in its unfinished state.  Why?  Because I am not sure what "finished" looks like.  I have been on this inner journey for so long that I am starting to see that there isn't an "end".  There is no "fully formed".  There is only expansion/contraction, re-births/deaths, periods of change and stagnation and on and on the spiral goes...  

In FIERCE Integrity, I talk about the "perfection of imperfection".  Seeing ourselves as totally perfect, even though we are far from what we might consider our "ideal selves".  What this is really about is compassion.  Having compassion for all of the ways in which we aren't where we think we should be.  

In the  past, I have had a relatively easy time of feeling genuine compassion for other people, however when it comes to offering that same level of compassion to myself, I haven't been able to do so.  This is changing.  This change has been almost imperceptibly (and unbearably) slow, but it is happening.  

I acknowledge that I am not perfect.  I can be selfish, entitled, ungrateful, lazy, and inconsiderate.  I can (and have) spent a lot of time agonizing over these traits… pouring over my past (and current) transgressions and mercilessly punishing myself for them, over and over again.    But that doesn't help.  Actually, the only thing it does do is beat me down deeper and deeper into a state of depression and self-loathing.  

What I have realized too, is that in order to truly free myself from the darkness, the reprieve that I am seeking has to come from within.  In the past I have spent a lot of time looking for external feedback and validation.  Funnily enough, I have received a lot more positive feedback than negative, and yet it is those negative comments that I hang onto, that I read over and over again, until I am practically wearing them like a crown of thorns.  "See?  See?", my inner critic delights, "You really do suck!"

My point is:

In order to create a true and lasting shift out of the darkness, compassion needs to be an inside job.  

Be kind.  Be gentle.  Be compassionate.

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman

 

 

 

Fire Walker

I have always loved ritual and ceremony.  As a child I can remember casting spells and making potions out of items that I found in nature.  I even had a "magic wand" with a miniature purple-wizard-guy on the top of it, and I can still remember the sound of the bells on his tiny hat as I swooshed it through the air, Blessing my creations.  Yes, I love the magical side of life.

I also love reason.  I love to have my questions answered… definitively.  I love reason and rational thinking so much, that I even have three University degrees, one of them in Science.  

One part magic and one part reason: there's that Gemini thing at play again.

Anyway, every year at New Year's, for as long as I can remember, I have chosen a word for the year.  I need to do this with a lot of consideration and care, because, as it turns out, whatever word I select typically becomes kind of like an intentional axis for the teachings/intentions over the entire year.  I do not know exactly how this works, but it does.  (My rational mind hates this fact, but my magical heart absolutely LOVES it).  

My word for 2015?  Trust.

So, let me tell you how this actually works.  When I first started doing this ritual, I thought, yes, I'll pick a word and then receive that word or feel that way all year long.  Well, Yes… and, No.  What really happens is that I will inevitably receive opportunity after opportunity to CHOOSE the vibration of whatever word I've chosen, often in the face of difficult or counter-intuitive situations… kind of like a test (or more like many tests).  

To be honest, I wasn't aware at first that this is how it worked, and my first couple of years of this practice were actually quite painful.  I thought the Universe had totally heard my prayer/intention, looked at my word and then laughed openly as it gave me the opposite.  But that IS how it works.  I can now see that when I pick a word, I will be given ample opportunity to put it into action!  (Last year's word was Grace… you can just imagine how messy 2014 was!)

Now, 3/4 of the way through 2015, I can honestly say that the Universe is right on cue with this year's word.  

Reflecting back on the year so far, I can see that there have been many examples to step into and choose Trust: avoiding river pirates in Peru, drinking Ayahuasca plant medicine (yes, again), riding near-wild horses in the Andes, rock-slides on crazy Andean roads, money stuff, work stuff and BIG relationship stuff, however a few weeks ago the Universe brought me what felt like a very, very big test.  

As some of you know, I am currently on a one-year training program called The Shaman's Path - facilitated by my brilliant friend and colleague Sarah Salter-Kelly.  We meet four times over the course of a year, in accordance with the equinoxes and solstices.  It is a training program based on the teachings of the medicine wheel and so far, it has proven to be nothing less than life-changing (I know, I know, how many times can I have a "life-changing" experience?!  Apparently many.  Infinitely perhaps).  Anyway, at the last gathering for the fall equinox (West direction), part of the program was performing a fire walk.  

Now, I had some vague recollection when I signed up that there was going to be a fire walk during the program, but honestly, I never gave it much thought.  It was one of those, "yeah, yeah, I'll worry about it when I get to it" kind of things.  

Well, on Friday night of the fall program, there it was, staring me straight in the face as a red hot, bed of coals.  The time had come to "worry about it".

I did what the facilitator (Brian) said to prepare, I connected to my breath, I connected to my energy field, I envisioned "cool moss"… but I was scared as shit.  My rational brain would NOT SHUT UP, with many others in the circle voicing my internal concerns: "Won't we get burned?"  "What is the science behind this?"  My magical heart, on the other hand, was totally in.  

Do or die.  Ok.  That's a bit dramatic.  Let's say "Learn or Burn" instead… or maybe "Trust or Bust"  (oopsie, my dorky sense of humour just got out).

Erm-Erm (throat clearing).

Who do I trust?  My magical heart (which I know is fully connected to the Universe), or my rational mind (which is actually quite a smarty-pants).  

We walked in silence, our group of thirteen.  I went quickly, right after Sarah and Brian… wanting to literally walk away from the conniption fit my mind was having in my head.  

And I did.  And it worked.  

On the other side of the coals, I collapsed in a heap of emotion.  

The Universe DOES have me.  I AM supported.  I CAN trust.  I DO trust.

Later, when we looked at some of the pictures (the one above).  I have to say I was a bit gob-smacked.  I don't know if you believe in capturing evidence of spirit on camera or not, but after hearing Dr. Wayne Dyer talk about it at length and show many photographic examples, I do.  I choose to believe that all of the white in the above picture is spirit.  That I am surrounded by love and support.  That I CAN trust in that.  

Grateful for the lesson.  Humbled beyond measure.  

Yours, in Trust,

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman