spirituality

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

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.

 

 

 

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

Big and Small at the Same Time

I had my star-chart read a while back.  You know, that thing where they draw all of those lines in the circle and write all of these weird symbols and then somehow magically tell you all about yourself?  Apparently, the idea is to map out exactly where all of the planets/stars/sun/moon are at the exact moment of your birth, so that you can understand yourself from a cosmic perspective.  Sound fluffy?  Yes.  I agree, but: don't knock it until you try it.  

If you haven't had one done, I strongly recommend it.  It somehow set me free in a way that I had never experienced before.  It allowed me to be "more me" than I had ever dared to be before.  I felt like it gave me permission to be who I am instead of trying to change who I am in order to better fit with my perception of societal expectations.  Basically, it gave me permission to be the beautiful mess of contradictions that I am.

You see, I am a Gemini.  A double Gemini actually, which means that my sun sign (the one that you look up in the paper) and my rising sign (the one that was rising at the moment of my birth) are the same.  Apparently, these are the two signs that have the greatest impact on your personality and yeah, that is a LOT of Gemini.  For those of you who aren't super familiar with astrology, Geminis are the "twins" of the Zodiac.  Given that many of us aren't actual twins, what this means is that we have "twin-like" energy WITHIN us… in other words: duality.  

What is duality?  Well, it is essentially contrast or oppositional energy… aka PARADOX.  Yes, us Geminis are the Zodiacal keepers of contradiction (and often confusion).

Which brings me to the actual subject of this post.  

The lady who did my star-chart reading has PhD's in both Astrology AND Psychology, specifically, Jungian Psychology, and has studied with Carl Jung's daughter.  Having a background in Psychology myself, this both impressed me and appealed to me, which is why I was willing to wait six months for a reading with this particular astrologist.  In my opinion, the beauty of her having studied in both of these disciplines is that they are inextricably linked, personality and astrology, and she was able to put my chart into language that I really understood.  Most notably, she used Archetypes to describe elements of "me".  

Not surprisingly, what came forward in my reading was a lot of paradoxical energy, however in particular, she told me that I seem to hold equal proclivity towards both the teacher archetype and the student archetype.

While part of me wasn't surprised by this at all (in fact, I can see how I have always gravitated towards these two roles enthusiastically), I couldn't help but notice that they seem to contradict one another though, don't they? 

Well, they do and they don't.  For one thing: I can be equally comfortable in each role.  I love to learn.  I absolutely love being a student.  Historically, I have been one who gets to class early, stays late, asks lots and lots of questions, does the assignments (even extra ones) and usually gets really high marks.  I have had a lot of success as a student.  On the other hand, I also love to teach.  There is nothing better than the feeling of being up in front a group of people sharing what I know/have learned.  Both of these roles are wonderful.

I also notice that these two archetypes/roles are complimentary.  One certainly feeds the other.  

That being said, there have been times when I have experienced them to be at odds with one another.  Times when I have wanted to simply walk away from one or the other (or both).  It is often the teacher role that I most resist, feeling like I have nothing new to offer anyone.  I feel like a huge fraud.  I feel like setting my e-mail/voicemail to a message that simply says: "I have no idea.  Life is beautiful and life is excruciating.  It just is."  

When I have sat with each these archetypes, it has become clear that what I actually find so uncomfortable, or painful, is moving between them.  Over and over, I have become identified with one or the other, and I am able to get comfortable in that role.  In my Master's degree, I had an outstanding experience as a student.  I really kicked butt.  And I thought, "Yes".  I should keep going and do my PhD… But instead I was called (aka forced) into USING my degree and putting it into practice (aka teaching)… and it was/is uncomfortable.  In my coaching, I LOVED the training course and I thought, what's next?  Oh yes, I will take the Master's training course… But instead I have been called (aka shoved) into coaching (aka teaching).

here is a passage written by Pema Chodron, one of my very favourite teachers, that beautifully describes what I am trying to say:

I was once invited to teach with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, my teacher’s eldest son, in a situation where it wasn’t exactly clear what my status was. Sometimes I was treated as a big deal who should come in through a special door and sit in a special seat. Then I’d think, “Okay, I’m a big deal.” I’d start running with that idea and come up with big-deal notions about how things should be. Then I’d get the message, “Oh, no, no, no. You should just sit on the floor and mix with everybody and be one of the crowd.” Okay. So now the message was that I should just be ordinary, not set myself up or be the teacher. But as soon as I was getting comfortable with being humble, I would be asked to do something special that only big deals did. This was a painful experience because I was always being insulted and humiliated by my own expectations. As soon as I was sure of how it should be, so I could feel secure, I would get a message that it should be the other way. Finally I said to the Sakyong, “This is really hurting. I just don’t know who I’m supposed to be,” and he said, “Well, you have to learn to be big and small at the same time.”
— The Pocket Pema Chodron, Shambhala Pocket Classics, Pages 66-67

Time and time again, I have put the archetype of teacher/coach down.  I have willingly and whole-heartedly gone back to the student role - only to find myself being pulled out of that role and thrust back into that of teacher/coach once again.  

Part of me wishes that I could just STAY in one of those roles.  But I know I can't.  To stay is to get stuck, to stagnate.  I know that is not what it's all about.  It (life) is all about growth and expansion.  It is all about tides ebbing and flowing, seasons changing, death and rebirth.  

I must learn to be BOTH.  I must learn to be big and small at the same time.  I must learn to stop being humiliated by my own expectations.

There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
— Carl Jung

With kindness,

Maren

Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman