This week’s card is from the Queen of the Moon Oracle Card Deck by Stacey Demarco.
It is the Sovereignty card which means knowing your benevolent personal power. It is all about the fact that in all situations you have power and influence and it is about shifting negative situations into ones of love, kindness and possibilities.
An interesting card as we move through feeling restricted and unsure of what’s ahead. It all starts within and it starts with you.
What healthier choices do you need to make for your life? What ways can you be a positive impact in your home, online, or in your community?
If you haven’t yet, join the Sanctuary for Sensitive Hearts Facebook Group to join our Re-charge Your Heart Sunday evening calls for free to stay aligned and in tune so you can come through this time with greater spiritual strength and deeper commitment.
In my mid 20s, I decided to backpack across Mexico with my partner at the time. I knew very basic Spanish and figured that Mexico would be the best place to go in Latin America as it was used to English-speaking tourists.
We travelled by bus from Cancun, across the country to the Pacific Coast and finally out of Mexico City. Partway through the trip we ended up in a place called Oaxaca City, a haven for all types of artists and cultural tourists. I felt more at home in Oaxaca City than anywhere I had lived in Canada – it fed my poetic nature. Cobblestone streets, 13 Indigenous Tribes that still practiced their pre-colonial lifestyle of 2,000 years ago, and the birthplace of Benito Juarez, the first Indigenous President who fought for democracy and education, were all part of Oaxaca’s essence. I fell in love with the place. Even among Mexicans, it is known as a profound and magical spot, where things appear to move slow but there is so much going on under the surface. Even though it is one of the poorest States in the country, it is soul rich.
When we had to move to our next destination, I made an oath to myself that I would return one day.
Fast forward to Toronto a couple of years later. My partner and I separated. I was working as a temp for the Government. I really couldn’t see myself growing old in Toronto by working at a desk job. I had to make a change but I didn’t know what or how.
Oaxaca called to me, as if through the ethers. I knew I had to go back there if anything but to find my soul. I trusted that Divine guidance would help me make it happen. Sure enough, I met someone in Canada who traveled between Oaxaca and Toronto for business reasons. He hooked up a place for me to live and reassured me that I would be just fine. His advice to me was to memorize three Spanish poems by heart and I would learn Spanish within 2 months. Which actually worked.
I packed all my belongings up, filled my backpack, and planned to live in Oaxaca City for 5.5 months, if not longer.
I also changed the name I went by to Isabel, because Heather is not easy to pronounce in Spanish.
It was a scary, lonely and soul-delving journey as I had to navigate cultural differences, homesickness, learning a new language and being a single woman in a foreign country where Violence Against Women is a huge social problem. Also, a major political revolution broke out – the biggest one in its history – where there were mass protests of thousands of people and cops with tear gas. Buses were being lit on fire, and people were carrying weapons of all kinds.
Sticking out like a sore thumb with very little community support, I had to rely on my instincts and follow my inner compass. Meditation and a traveller’s curious mind were the attitudes that sustained me.
On one particularly difficult day, where I was questioning everything I was basing my trip on, I saw a man doing a Hail Mary in front of the Catholic Church only to turn around and whistle at me with a cat call. The sexual harassment and hypocrisy of religion there was really getting under my skin. I wondered why this Divine Force had led me to Oaxaca City. Was I following all the wrong guidance? I felt abandoned and lost, unsure of what the hell I was doing there.
As the City I loved was being destroyed because of the growing injustices against its citizens, I was standing there questioning the major life dilemmas like: “Why me? Why was I born in Canada with relative stability while Mexicans had to endure so much hardship? Why was I inspired by art, simple living and personal relationships while others were focused on more violent pursuits?
I wanted to fall on my knees and give up. I couldn’t make any sense or meaning of myself or my life and the pain that humanity was in. Then I looked over at the outside orange wall of the art library where I spent a lot of my time. On it was a graffiti message that said “Estoy Contigo, Isabel”, which translated means: “I am with you, Isabel.” There wasn’t any other graffiti on the wall. In fact, this wall was usually quite clean. Why would someone write such a message? “I am with you, Isabel.” The only explanation I had was that it was a sign from the Divine.
Stunned, I faced forward towards the Santo Domingo Church. There are locked gates to keep random people from entering. Wouldn’t you know, I saw a Black man wearing traditional African garb (which was highly uncommon in this part of Mexico) walking through the gate. He looked at me, smiled, then winked. His gaze was penetrating, as if comforting me and telling me that there is a whole other reality that most aren’t aware of, that exists beyond the logical mind. As Mexicans would say: “Todo es una illusion” or “Everything is an illusion.” Part of me wondered if I had indeed lost my mind and went into a delusional state from all the stress. The other part of me knew that these mysterious coincidences were very real.
I started laughing at myself and my anxieties. I immediately relaxed and opened up to being guided by unknown forces. And wouldn’t you know, the rest of the trip went as smooth as ever, aside from the uprisings. As if by magic, in 5 short months, I managed to have an art exhibit at a café, I met a wonderful art teacher who brought out my expressionistic side, and I learned Spanish to the point where I was dreaming about it. By following kindness, beauty and a sense of peace, doors opened in ways I never would have expected.
At the end of my trip, I decided to return to Canada. I couldn’t settle in Oaxaca as a single woman amidst so much political unrest. I also had my own emotional healing to do with my family back home. So, I caught the last bus to Mexico City before the military closed everything down. I prayed to Oaxaca’s well-loved Patron Saint Guadalupe, asking that I sit next to a decent person as I didn’t have the energy to ward off harassment.
As I settled in, an elderly man wearing a simple white-pressed cotton dress shirt sat next to me. He asked me what brought me to Oaxaca. I explained that I was on a spiritual journey and have had all these amazing and strange interactions since I opened up to the Divine. The man smiled with satisfaction and looked at me with a glint in his eye. He knew we were meant to meet. He handed me his business card that said: “El Templo Del Espiritu” (The Temple of the Spirit). Underneath his name it said: “Spirit Guide”. I just shook my head with acknowledgment of the mysteriousness of Oaxaca.
I looked at him and said: “For real? You’re a Spirit Guide?”
“Well you’re the perfect person to sit next to me to finish my travels in Mexico,” I laughed.
“Gracias a Dios,” we both said at the same time, the common Spanish Catholic term for giving thanks to God.
I knew why I was pulled to Mexico and Oaxaca–to give me a sense of greater faith even in the face of danger and extreme poverty. I was to understand privilege in a very real way, and to expand my understanding of the spiritual realms beyond all the divisions and suffering. I truly came to believe that we are part of a bigger fabric and movement of life.
From travelling with an open heart and mind, I realized that every person we meet comes from the Divine whether they are aware of it or not. You just never know who’s been hired to be your Spirit Guide and what roads will open up.
Yesterday we had our first online “One Step Forward” Constellations gathering. Using an online tool can seem flat for some, but it was quite interesting how the work still brought the depth of awareness that in-person gatherings offer.
In one of the pieces, we looked at anxiety and how it passes down through the generations, especially in how we relate with it in our personality. One of the major lessons is to learn how to talk about the anxiety, rather than just living with it in silence.–because silence keeps the trauma alive. Once we can be honest with our cares, fears and concerns, and connect with others who we share a common experience with (such as our work colleagues), we fundamentally feel supported which leads to a greater sense of meaning and peace. Reaching out to others who we feel comfortable with and those who get your concerns, is one of the greatest remedies to feeling isolated and alone. Which is why we are seeing so many online communities sprouting up during this time. We feel safer in numbers.
As we are facing our own collective crisis, we can turn to face our ancestors who had anxieties in the past about their livelihoods when the world and their society changed due to unforeseen circumstances. We see those who were traumatized by losing the things they loved and poured their souls into where they had to adjust to the demands of the times. We see the ones who came together in their respective communities to share their concerns and to find creative solutions. And we hold the ones who kept what they loved in their hearts and found a way to express it and make it work. As we all look to our own place in this changing world, let us honour what our own ancestors had to go through, draw on their wisdom for us and access the support in our respective communities that can bring us together and guide the way forward to a different world.
I will share with you my own experience with my ancestors, in order to help you access your own experience with yours.
When I tuned into my ancestors, I felt gifted by a strong body and saw the inheritance of health that I’ve been given and will continue to care about. I also saw the skill of the housewives in my lineage who are giving me cleaning tips and lessons on how to stay well and nourished during this time. The men were the ones who carried the stress of the world as they felt the need to protect the nation — through them I can understand how many leaders, policymakers, workers and healthcare providers in the world are working overtime to keep our nation peaceful and safe. It helps me understand some of their basic needs to feel acknowledged and held.
I was also curious about my ancestors’ relationship to the Spanish Flu — an epidemic I knew nothing about before all this went down. It turned out that the only story was about my grandfather showing up to school each day and noticing that kids were missing because they died. The kids were usually from homes without heat or nourishing food. On both sides of the family, I’m aware that I came from families who had a certain amount of privilege to survive. I’m also aware that we have had long roots here and my ancestors and the settlers in Canada would have been responsible for the epidemic of disease that was spread to First Nations Peoples. In order to not repeat the past, I hold space, advocacy and care to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself as we are seeing First Nations Communities being underfunded during this time.
Do you have any stories of your ancestors? What have they overcome? Do you have a sense of what you have inherited that keeps you strong in this time? What advice would they have for you? I would love to hear about it!
If you would like to join me at the next online Constellations to explore how you can release some core wounds and patterns, then send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Silence and solitude – the soul’s best friends” – Mother Theresa
In all spiritual traditions, there is an important practice of being in solitude. It is a chance to commune with the divine and restore the soul.
Our modern and busy lives, plus our minds that love to be distracted by the latest meme, video, tv show or song, have made the gift of silence something foreign to us and perhaps even something to be feared.
With this pandemic, where we are forced to be inside, either on our own or with family members, we are having to face this dreaded state known as boredom or feeling stir crazy.
It reminds me of when I did a 10-day Vipassana Silent Meditation retreat. We had to be in silent meditation all day long, without reading material, journals or human interaction for 10 days straight. The only reprieve was sharing meals in groups, though we still had to keep to the code of silence. The first 3 days I was restless, angsty, feeling lonely and aching. I really wondered if I would keep my sanity. As I continued practicing in self-discipline, I learned how to settle into what felt uncomfortable. I knew that the state would pass, I would be okay and there was a reason to all of this. And there was. I was having the deepest sleeps and most profound dreams. I had fascinating spiritual experiences. I really heard the sounds of nature, as if for the first time. I stopped being so self-centred and opened up energetically and mindfully to something far more beautiful — life itself.
By Day 4, 5 & 6, I was settling in so well. I absolutely loved the quiet and the calm that was coming in. I couldn’t imagine going back to every day life of superficial conversations and relating in the delusions of the world. Day 10 came far too quickly in my opinion.
At that retreat, I got a taste of what it was like to be a monk or a nun and discovered the much neglected part of myself– the depth of inner peace. As we are facing this social call to isolate, I am reminded of those days of silence and “nothingness”.
I believe that much of this experience is part of our global awakening, calling us to stop and listen to ourselves and life itself so we can open up to the preciousness of the many things we take for granted — whether it is in the modern or natural world. Many of us have this divine opportunity to be with something unfamiliar and find the sacred. We get a chance to really examine how dysfunctional our lives, society and the economy are structured. We won’t really know what is ahead for ourselves and our lives. But that’s the point. We are called to be present and responsive to what is and what life wants of us right now. As we take a big time out to contemplate what really matters to us individually and collectively, we have a chance to make real change after this ends.
Try, if you can, to sit and be without distraction at least for 30 minutes or more a day. It will feel uncomfortable, maybe even anxiety-ridden. But this too shall pass and you will come through it as a changed person — more of what your soul has been yearning for you to be. Trust me, the world, the earth and you will thank you for it.
Happy Spring Equinox! Though it seems like a crazy time to be celebrating, this is what the Earth wants and needs from us. As we move through these natural cycles and call in ancient traditions, we can find stability and clarity at this time.
The Equinox is all about balance — of the dark and the light. We are moving out of Pisces — the sign of the subconscious, death, spirituality and the inner world — into the sign of Aries. Aries is all about personal leadership, being productive and taking bold action.
As we are seeing the crisis of this virus around the world, we get a chance to see our part in it and how we can take personal leadership in our lives and our communities. We truly get to emerge in a way that is in balance.
This is also a wonderful time to plant seeds of intentions that you want to manifest for the coming summer. These seeds need to be careful planted, making sure they are aligned with the Higher Will and the Earth’s Will. Otherwise you can have too much on your hands when summer flourishes.
So ask yourself: what is the world asking of me right now? what need do I see in my life and my community? what unique contribution can I make? what do I want or need to plant in order to have balanced success in the summer.
A simple ritual you can do is to get some seeds, some soil and a small pot. Hold the seeds in your hand and ask the Divine to bless them. Speak out loud what intention you have for each seed (may I suggest no more than 3). Then plant your seed in the pot of soil, water it and tend it for this cycle. Meditate on what you are manifesting and watch how the Universe helps you grow!
That moon was all about closure and release so we could step into our power. Wow! Are we ever doing that with this virus outbreak…it is like we are in a deep spring cleaning, a letting go of an old way of life and adapting and adjusting on a daily basis.
New Moons offer a time to be present with the unknown. Just allowing and being with the void and dreaming what we can bring forward. It is all about the inner realm — which many of us have time to do as we are hunkered down at home trying to find things to keep us preoccupied.
This New Moon is in Aries (and the Sun is in Aries, too!). So this means lots of having to muster up inner strength and courage. It is all about accessing noble spiritual warrior self-discipline and sacrificing for the greater good.
So when you plant your seeds of deep courage to make the world a better place with your efforts, you will discover that the Universe has your back. If you fall into the lower self of the Aries and just focus on self-interest in your pursuits, well then you will struggle like a soldier battling a vain war.
If you are pulling your hair out, wondering what sh*t just isn’t working out, and you need to know how to self-care right now, here’s a quick podcast to check out. No, it’s not your fault. It’s Mercury’s!
In this month of love for self and others, I’ve been challenging my clients to look at how they can love themselves more. I don’t mean spa treatments, eating chocolate and just taking a nap kinda self-love–though fun and enjoyable, of course. I mean inner core “love beyond all understanding” type of self-love.
So often we can extend love, kindness, tolerance and acceptance to others, but we are so super critical of ourselves. We are afraid that we will be egotistical, vain, arrogant or conceited if we praise ourselves. But if you were to look at yourself and others through the eyes of the soul, and you believe we are each lovable and part of the divine, then why is it so hard to extend that level of love, adoration and acceptance towards yourself?
I am lucky that I grew up with a grandmother who learned the value of self-love, especially in a time when women were supposed to be good housewives who tolerated domestic abuse and were subservient to their husbands. Every morning, she would look at herself in the mirror and say “Oh, Ernestine, you are so precious and adorable. I just love you so much. You are beautiful, smart and capable.” Yes, it was the mirror work of the 80s self-esteem movement, but it worked. She lived to 92, knew how to laugh and enjoy herself, she was the top Avon Sales Lady in Canada and she loved to sleep in the nude under the moonlight. She was a Diva and I loved her.
What I learned from her was the power of looking in the mirror and truly seeing yourself — not with a narcissistic lens but a lens of tenderness towards oneself.
I recently did an exercise that I learned from FemCity where you look in the mirror and state 3 things you see about yourself — your qualities not your physical features. Then you write down 3 stories you tell yourself. When I did this exercise, I was blown away. When I looked at myself, I saw someone who is strong, capable and mature. The story I had about myself was that I was anxious, wounded and hurtful. My mind had made up a whole perspective of myself based on past wounds and conflicts with others. What I saw in the mirror and how others see me is completely different that my inner critic. So simple but it made an inner shift. The soul is way more powerful than the ego-critical mind.
So I invite you to do this exercise — look in the mirror at your eyes and being and soul. What qualities do you see? Write this down. Then write down three critical stories you tell yourself. So which perspective do you want to hold about yourself? I hope it’s the one that is actually true rather than your mistakes or wounds.
May the divine in me connect with the divine in you.
Love is such a powerful force — it can change the world and it can also be the source of so much inner pain.
It is the fundamental of spiritual teachings and the path. So many teachings are about emotional healing, forgiveness, love thy enemy, etc. Yet love is complicated.
It can be codependent, enmeshed, toxic, unrequited, grief-stricken, violent or just simply unresolved. It can be gentle, pure, and joy-filled.
During this month of February, we are seeing hearts everywhere. It can bring up so many feelings as we contemplate love — loves lost, loves desired, loves we have, loves that ended badly, loves that never began.
I can still remember the ones I crushed on in high school. I look back at my first boyfriend in high school and how I thought we would be together forever. Wow, how my life went down a totally different path since then. I also hold dear my relationships after that where we had to make some hard choices to separate simply because life had other plans for us or our dysfunction was too much to get through. I also am aware of the loves that turned toxic and unsafe — whether with intimate partners, family members or friends.
Those memories of what was shared in our relationships can leave a lingering sentimentality in the heart and mind. It makes one look back and create a whole host of stories of feeling safe and supported, being unlovable or mean, failing at love, or wondering if it is possible to ever capture that feeling again. Great poems are made from these types of relationship dynamics. Heck, therapy sessions are filled with the ache to love and be loved.
So what happens when the complex emotions still linger even when the relationship happened so long ago? Whether it’s the anger, sadness, fear, guilt, regret, yearning or loneliness, human relationships can send us into a tailspin of emotions. Though it takes time to heal and gain perspective, I do believe that we are here to learn something about ourselves and Spirit’s love with these relationship dynamics. I do feel it is possible to move through the relationships by facing our honest truth and feelings and intending to release the relationship from our mind, hearts and bodies.
Here are some examples of lessons we are here to learn with some relationships:
-If we are caught in the web of an affair, we are here to learn how to respect our sexuality with healthy boundaries and assertiveness.
If our loved one passed away and it was a good relationship, we are here to learn about faith and the eternal spiritual connection we can have with them on the Other Side and to carry the love that was shared forward into the world.
-If our loved one passed away and it was a tense and toxic relationship, we are here to learn how to feel our complex feelings of anger, guilt, relief, regret and hurt so we can move forward with deeper lessons about self-love and honesty.
If you still have a crush on someone from so long ago, it means you need to understand why you weren’t meant to be together — that your destinies were not meant to intersect — and to understand understand what it was you were attracted to with that person. They perhaps represent a part of yourself that you want to cultivate or that is in hiding.
For example, I crushed out on a guy in high school named Eric– my best friend was the only person who knew about my feelings for this guy. I can still feel the flutter in my heart for him. When I look back, I saw that I was attracted to his uniqueness and creativity. He was counter-culture, his own person, a theatre actor and he didn’t care about fitting in. Oh, plus his long black hair didn’t hurt, either. 🙂 You see, there was a part in me that was trying to fit in at high school — I didn’t want to be seen as odd or different. Yet I had a depth to me that no one knew about. I also secretly wanted to be an actor. He was my alter ego and was a type of guide for me, reminding me of the kind of person I wanted to be. (Turns out he ended up becoming a drug dealer on the west coast. So thankfully I didn’t pursue that relationship further.)
Once you get clarity about the what and why a relationship ended or didn’t culminate, it will strengthen you and your spirit so you can feel the energy of giving and receiving love again.
You can do it on your own through journaling, meditating on past relationships and asking yourself “what did I have to learn from this relationship” or you can book an intuitive reading with me here to discover the deeper messages and meaning in the relationship.
In the realm of love, I believe there is no past, present or future. On our earth plane, time is a reality and people come and go. Yet it’s the love that’s shared that touches us and leaves us as changed people in the end. This is a great time of year to heal the heart of the residue of love or what you thought was love so you can be more present in your life and your relationships. Each day is a chance to share in this beautiful dancing of loving self and others.
Sending a prayer out for all you’ve known and loved and been loved by….