Month: December 2020

Embracing the Liminal Space

The Guardian reviews Katharine May’s book, Wintering. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/feb/04/wintering-how-i-learned-to-flourish-when-life-became-frozen-katherine-may-memoir-review

Christmas is over, the New Year is quickly approaching, and my mind has turned to resolutions and what I’d like to accomplish this year. I’ve had plenty of rest in 2020 and now I’m ready to go, but where and ….how?

Every year, the space between Christmas and New Years offers an opportunity to look at our life, evaluate our successes and shortcomings and dream up a plan for the future. What do I want 2021 to look like? What should I let go of and what would I like to attract?

As the thoughts and feelings swirl around my head, I am overwhelmed. There are a lot of goals yet unrealized and habits I’ve been determined to change but which continue to rest on my shoulder. Will this be the year that I figure it all out? Will I be able to shed my self destructive habits and move into my best purpose? I’m not sure.

I am in my 50s and have spent years studying how to access the subconscious for a better understanding of my inner beliefs and feelings. I have looked at ways to manifest my reality and techniques to steer my life in the direction of my deepest yearnings. However, I still get drawn into the liminal space of this particular week, the time just after Christmas and before the start of the new year, a time of suspension in which we have left something behind but have not yet entered into the new. 

The concept of liminal space came to me yesterday while reading a lovely book I received as a gift for Christmas called Wintering by Catherine May. She talks about this “crossing over” time as a confluence of grief, uncertainty, doubt, and fear as well as excitement and anticipation of what is about to come. Liminal space is sometimes uncomfortable. The pandemic has brought it to the forefront and forced us to work within its confines. The result has provoked anxiety and fear. Yet, there has also been healing, blessings and discoveries, experiences and realizations we would not have found otherwise. 

In her book, May points out that liminal space often accompanies periods of transition in our life, offering us an opportunity to reflect, to heal, to forgive, to redefine and then to design, to dream and to set intentions. The concept at its simplest tells us that when we empty or are emptied of something, there remains a space waiting to be filled. I believe the contents of this space can be influenced if not fully determined by our thoughts, efforts, and wishes. 

It dawns on me that this must be the idea of New Year’s resolutions and that our ancestors no doubt felt the need to address this period of suspension and fear with productive planning. I have realized that entering the quiet or wintering period as May puts it, removes the daily static and encourages us to face our truths head on.

I have always been one to seek happiness, comfort, and joy, but I am realizing that these aspirations are only part of the picture. As I move into 2021, I have decided to try something new, to embrace the winter, to hold love in the space of darkness, to forgive the limitations and deflate their power, to feel the sadness and pain of loss and then to move through the discomfort instead of running away or shutting down. Perhaps, this will be just the approach I need to help me leap over the hurdles that have blocked my way for so long. 

Wendy’s Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Crystal Messages

Dr. Emoto’s photo of a love charged water crystal.

The holiday season has arrived and even though for most, this particular year will be a more low-key homestead style celebration, it still carries with it the pressure to shop, decorate, uphold traditions, and surprise the people you love with everything that will make their hearts merry and bright. In addition to that, it usually brings up unresolved emotions from as far back as childhood. It is a volatile time when all of our experiences come to the surface, good and bad, and visions of sugarplums dance through our heads alongside other less appealing confections.

This weekend, amidst the wrapping and planning, and just as my partner and I were feeling the holiday pressure mount, it started to snow. It was unexpected and beautiful. The flakes were large and full and we watched them drift slowly without hurry. We could sense their confidence and poise as they posed briefly in front of the window before continuing their descent towards the snow covered ground below. We stood in awe for a few minutes before looking at each other with the same realization. We could sense the flakes offering us an anecdote to the stress.  So, we grabbed our skis and headed for the woods.

About halfway through our trek, we stopped to catch our breath and take in the serenity and majesty of our surroundings. I noticed a clump of red bittersweet growing on a shrub near the river and as I looked closer, I was able to make out the individual snowflakes. Each held a unique and brilliant design and reminded me of a book I had read some time ago called The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto. 

In the book, Emoto illustrates the effects of words, pictures, and music on the structure and development of crystallized water (snowflakes). The water that was exposed to positive words such as love and peace (and classical music) turned out to be beautiful and intricate, which was evident once it was frozen into crystallized form. In contrast, the water exposed to negative words like hatred and war, (and heavy metal music) turned out malformed and less appealing to the eye. These findings led Emoto to conclude that wherever water is found, in our bodies for example, there will be a susceptibility to the quality of energy around it. Verbal words seemed to have the most impact. However, pictures, music, and the surrounding environment also had a substantial influence. Certainly, we can understand how positive and negative statements, sounds, and visuals would affect our psyche and emotions, but Emoto’s research goes beyond that, to illustrate how these energies have a direct impact on our physical composition as well.

As I continued to watch the snow fall, I could feel my entire body relax. There was a palpable calm which did not exist hours before in the midst of holiday preparation. I had changed in some way, perhaps physically. It may have been the quiet of the snow as it blanketed the forest or the perfection of the crystalized designs. Whatever it was, I vowed to keep the feeling close to my heart by bringing the visual to mind each time I felt the stress creeping in. I also promised to extend kind and loving words to myself and others, especially during these trying times. After all, peace, love and joy (even if only in a word) seem to be the best gift I can give this holiday season.

Masaru Emoto’s findings are spectacular. Here is a quick demonstration measuring the effects of gratitude on water:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDNhH8deZPg

Wendy’s Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Taking Time Offline

The ideas for my blog come to me in a variety of ways. Sometimes, the thought begins to sprout a few days in advance, morphing in and out of varying shapes, adding and deleting details, and growing towards something bigger, until it is ready to come forth. Other times, I sit down with a clear intention only to end up somewhere else. This morning was altogether different. 

I had settled on a topic last night before heading to bed. However, by the time 10 am rolled around and I sat down to write, I had received two new and consistent messages from two different people on a topic I hadn’t considered. The first came during my morning walk with a friend and the second in an email I received from my partner. 

Recently, when I head out into the woods, I have been leaving my phone in the car. It has been liberating, even though it is only a fragment of time in my overall day, the remainder of which is spent in some sort of online connection. I know there is value in disconnecting and this seems to be the most obvious place to start. After all, why do we go into the woods to begin with? 

Today, we were on a new trail and at one point, I wanted to confirm my location. I was happy to find that I had left the phone in my pocket. It still amazes me that this small device can show me where I am on a map and help me to navigate through most situations. My friend pointed out that I could actually “drop a pin” at the parking area and the phone would mark the location and lead me back when I was ready. There is no denying the miracle of this technology. Yet, as I was expressing my awe, a certain part of me was also questioning to what extent the benefits were outweighing the handicaps.

It brought to mind a documentary I had seen recently called The Social Dilemma (currently streaming on Netflix)  which points out that by gathering, recording, analyzing and categorizing our every move, the internet giants are shaping us into a commodity and steering us towards information that influences what we believe, what we buy, where we go, how we recreate, and with whom we interact. As a result, our perspectives have become more narrow and our exposure to new and different ideas, opinions and experiences is dimming. 

This 24/7 surveillance and manipulation is unhealthy and yet, we participate willingly. We share our location, our friends, our photos, our shopping habits, and even our personal views and information in exchange for updated features, new applications and extended access. We are attracted to the glitter of the technological lure and are willing to sell our freedom and individuality for the newest gadget.

The daily email that came from my partner this morning was another reminder of the importance of balance and consciously taking time offline. It started off by saying that the school where he works had lost internet access. The teachers were running around in a panic (including himself) because the entire curriculum and individual plans were inaccessible. He realized his own reliance and dependency and this made him uneasy. I reassured him that he would be fine given his experience and natural ability to teach, with or without the internet. I sent greetings for the day and a wish that his connection would be restored before the start of class. I also pointed out that if it wasn’t, however, it may actually be a bigger blessing. It might offer him the chance to exercise his abilities to navigate his way out of the woods without the need of technological assistance and perhaps even lead to an unexpected and broader experience, one that would not have been possible otherwise.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

The Passing Storm

Photo: Smithsonian Photo Contest.
https://photocontest.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/detail/a-girl-alone-in-the-storm/

In a recurring vision, I am in the middle of a storm. The wind is whipping. Debris is flying. The constant and determined rain assaults my face and impairs my vision. I look around and do not see any sensible place to take cover, and so, I run. I push forward hoping to fight through. I am in a complete panic, until suddenly, I stop. Something tells me to stand still. It tugs at my arm and whispers to let go of the fight and allow the storm to continue on her path, forging ahead without me. It takes a minute, but as soon as I stop resisting, the weather passes quickly. The wind travels beyond the place where I am standing and the sun begins to push through the clouds. The calm and warm envelop me and I feel a huge sense of relief.

This is a vision I have from time to time when life’s cyclones enter my life and my fight or flight response kicks in. Whenever I am flailing about trying to conquer or outrun a chaotic or dangerous situation, I remember this concept and consider a more passive approach.  Sometimes it is important to fight or to run, but not always. 

The Covid crisis has brought this point to the forefront, particularly as of late. When the pandemic storm originally hit last spring, people responded by taking cover, by exercising humility in the face of nature’s power, by being patient, by using the time to heal and reflect, and by relinquishing control. Now, some months later, many have lost tolerance and are moving outward and onward, sometimes denying or ignoring the realities of the storm that is still raging. I’m not sure this is the best approach.

If we can be patient, have trust, let go of expectations and be open to new insights, if we can allow the squall to blow by in its own way and time, we may be less damaged in the end. Once the skies have cleared, we may be offered new insights and opportunities. We may find that we are exactly where we are meant to be and by digging a little deeper, we can glean everything we desire from our current position. We may see that the answers will come to us rather than always having to search for them. 

This weekend, a storm blew through town with heavy snow and high winds. Eventually, the weaker tree limbs gave way and the power went out. At first we were upset. We weren’t prepared and certainly not in the mood to deal with this disruption to our plans. We struggled for a while, frantically removing snow and grappling with the generator. I lit candles in the house and tried to figure out what we could eat that wouldn’t require water or heat. We were both cursing under our breaths until at one point we looked at each other, at the beautifully lit house,  the roaring fire, and realized we were actually in a great place. We abandoned all efforts to battle the situation and surrendered to the moment. We ended up sitting by the fire, sipping a whiskey and engaging in stimulating conversation. We lost all track of time and before we knew it, the storm had subsided. The power was restored and our night resumed, with a more charged energy than it would have otherwise.

I believe there is a time for everything. There is a time to fight and a time to run, and there is also a time to stand still. 

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Full Moon Wisdom

The Full Moon ritual of writing out your grievances and blessings and burning them helps to release old unwanted energies and welcome the new.

I awoke on Sunday morning with a lot of angst. The Thanksgiving holiday had gone well. We kept it safe and cozy and got to see most of the family via Zoom and a few others distanced around a firepit sharing some laughs and appetizers. The remainder of the weekend was low key and filled with fireside reading, TV football, casual conversation, feasts of leftovers, and long walks in the woods. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was feeling extremely blessed, well rested and optimistic about the future. So, when this unsettled stirring arrived, it caught me off guard. True, we had officially entered the holiday season which always brings forth a spectrum of emotions, but I could not put my finger on the exact cause of my distress. I felt on the verge of exploding and was not even sure why.

Then it dawned on me. The following day, Monday, November 30, was the Full Moon and I was feeling Her energy pushing my emotions to a climax, asking me to look at what might be causing sadness and anxiety in my life and to consider letting go of any negative patterns that were holding me back.

According to Yasmin Boland in her book, Moonology, “The full moon is the high point of the lunar cycle. It’s a very powerful time for inner work – for looking within, healing, shifting blocks and shedding the past: things we all need to do on a regular basis.”  It is a good time to release feelings of guilt, fear, disappointment and jealousy. 

It is also an important time to forgive (others and yourself) and then to release the relationships that are no longer working. An inability to let go of resentment and anger will only harm ourselves in the long run. Buddha is said to have given this wise advice: “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  

The Full Moon energy also encourages gratitude. Once we empty our plate of what we no longer need, we are left with a void and an opportunity to fill our lives with more positive energy. By giving thanks, we bring focus to the things that are working, attract more of the same and continue to build on them. 

There are many ways to reflect within, identify and let go of outdated patterns, forgive, and express gratitude. One of my favorite approaches is journaling. I usually write the question or topic at the top of the page, in this case, “Why am I feeling this angst?” and then begin to freewrite whatever comes to mind. The answers always emerge within a few pages. When the moon is full, I make a list of negative patterns that are no longer working and any people with whom I need to make peace. After that, I write down action steps, list all that I am thankful for and create a few positive affirmations.  Finally, I construct a sentence or two of forgiveness and then I release my intentions into the Universe by burning the paper in my fireplace.

I love this ritual, particularly the final step of burning, as it feels like I am sealing the practice and conjuring a new cycle, one that will bring me that much closer to my true self.  And on top of that, it releases the pressure that has built up throughout the month and restores me to a more peaceful state. 

Other Websites…..   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/