Dream Holders

sunset-3689760_1920Years ago I went on vacation with my aunt, uncle and cousin. They rented a house near Seaside, Florida where we spent Christmas and New Year’s together. I loved everything about my time there.

I loved my yellow room and private bathroom, the young cat who would come running to me when I came down the stairs and settled on the couch. She would immediately get comfortable across my chest, almost nestled in my neck. She was sweet and smelled like the beach.

I was also deep into a book recommended by a friend of mine: Possession by A.S Byatt. I would take it to the beach and read for hours on a blanket. My thoughts started to borrow the tone of the book, so much so that I even wrote in that style to the friend who had recommended it.

There was some melody to it all, a rhythm that felt like a dance of the senses.

And I loved the area. I loved Seaside, Seagrove Beach, Rosemary. It was so welcoming and relaxing and I really appreciated the architecture of the villages built in that area.

I felt so comfortable there and wanted to share it, so I bought a nice card to send to a close friend of mine in Montreal.

Years later, I was given money for a vacation to a place of my choosing. As I was trying to decide where to go, the friend who had received the card reminded me of how special that place had felt to me and it all came rushing back. I was surprised that I had forgotten about it so easily and was so grateful that she was taking me back to it through joy.

I have been back many times since then and even managed to finally bring my Mom from France to discover it this past spring.

I do have a special connection to that area and if my friend hadn’t held the dream for me, I probably would have never thought it possible for me to go back there. It felt like a dream come true to be there with my Mom this year.

Another example takes me back to last year. I really wanted to make some progress paying off my debts and the banks were not being helpful. I mentioned it to a friend of mine who has a tendency to immediately get on the path of a solution whenever presented with any challenge. She sees the possibilities a lot faster than most which is truly a beautiful quality. She offered to lend me money at a very low interest rate. I was quite taken aback by such generosity because I knew my circumstances and I was so afraid of what would happen if for some reason I wasn’t able to fulfill my obligation toward her. My life had a lot of uncertainty in it. She saw clearly through that and didn’t seem to mind at all. She trusted me, our friendship, had faith in my future, my potential, my values and who I was…more so than I did myself at the time. So even though I wasn’t entirely sure, I decided to take the risk and trust her belief. Trust by proxy in a way.

 

One year later, I am days away from paying her back completely and my life has changed tremendously in that respect. She held fast to what she saw in me and knew of me. I held on to that beacon and it allowed me to believe as she believed as I saw things unfolding and that month after month I was doing it.  Let me say too that there were some months at the beginning where I was in no position to make the monthly payment. It never changed anything for her. She was fine with it, still trusted that all would be well. I was less relaxed about it, filled with guilt and doubt. But when things turned around and I managed to slowly compensate for those “empty” months and saw the progress, I was encouraged and my belief caught up with hers. By her not doubting, by leaving an open space, a non-judgmental space, free of fear, it allowed for something beautiful to bloom….I remembered my dream and how possible it was, how very attainable it was if I just believed in it myself, if, like she did, I looked at the possibility rather than the doubt.

 

Here, I want to add this friend’s point of view as well:

“What needs to also be said, is that you also helped me in allowing me to loan you the money — you assisted me in my journey of trust.  A trust I truly believed I would never hold again for another person. You allowed me to put “my work” into action and the experience reinforced what I believed intellectually, but wasn’t 100% sure — the belief was that I would trust again and that my faith had not been destroyed by actions of those in my past.  This experience helped me understand the word unconditional and kindness in its truest form.”

So I am deeply grateful for my dream holder friends. They keep the light on when I think I can’t find the switch. They keep my dreams in a warm place, they remind me that I once had them so that I may find my way back to them when I’m ready to make them come true and the journey is all the sweeter because of it!

 

Are you a dream holder for someone? Who in your life has been a dream holder for you? Feel free to share in the comment section if you’d like.

Most sincerely,

Val.

You can find me at www.thepowerofemotions.ca

 

 

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The Power of the Heart

heart-1381462_1920My friend E. suffers from Alzheimer’s.

I’ve been debating about writing about it for weeks, which in itself says a lot about the stigma that comes with this type of situation.

There is a lot that doesn’t get said, a lot that doesn’t get to be expressed and not just because the person with the disease can’t find the words anymore. That’s my experience and that’s all I am attempting to write about today. This is my perspective on what is happening and how, in spite of it, my friend never fails to touch my heart, to inspire me, to teach me something deeper than I could have expected and just leaves me breathless with the gift of the experience in light of such circumstances.

 

We knew something was wrong when she started repeating the same old, very old stories of her childhood and life journey. Why her brain would go down that path over and over was puzzling at first, then serious cause for concern, then seriously annoying. I know, it sounds awful and believe me, it came with a serious dose of guilt as well.

She’s been a friend for many years and a very dear friend at that. She’s one of my mentors, not so much by virtue of what she’s taught me out loud,  although she has done that too in some fashion, but much more in how she shows up in life – heart first and foremost. So because of that, I look for the gift in those stories. I wonder why she would choose these ones and not others. I thought maybe it said something about her, about what mattered to her, but as she once told me when I finally had the courage to ask if she had any idea the sheer amount of times she had told us those stories, maybe there was something in it for the ones listening over and over as well. To this day, which is why I will be given a chance to hear them again :), I have not found the answer to that. Somehow, I’m sure I will, once I get over whatever layer/filter is blocking my view.

 

She realized something wasn’t quite right when she couldn’t find the right words to express herself. When she was ready to talk about it, she called it “losing it a little bit” which was heartbreaking to hear.

As we grow from babies dependent on our mothers, gaining independence and empowerment day after day for most of our lives, it feels so strange to say the least to be losing what was gained, to feel like the river is flowing the other way now. Society and how most of us are taught to face it (or not) the cycle of life and death and the variety of forms it takes, in my part of the world, doesn’t prepare us to be at peace with the change in the current.

She has an amazing tendency to be grateful, cheerful, to look for the fun in most situations and to “drop into her heart” and look at the landscape and its inhabitants from there. This is how she overcomes language barriers, mood barriers – I’ve seen her shift people’s moods and demeanour in seconds with a genuine heartfelt smile on her face – and how she still manages to make me see light when skies are grey.

 

An example would be last night as we were on our weekly outing for coffee and conversation. Two young women walked toward us and wanted to ask us questions in regards to politics in this city or the country and were super nice about it. I tried to remain polite but honestly, felt protective of my friend and our time together, so I did mention at some point that they were interrupting our conversation.  Once I realized it was about politics, I quickly shut the door to a possible exchange by saying we knew nothing about it nor were we interested in it. But my friend, always wanting to speak from the heart, turned to them and genuinely thanked them anyway for coming over and asking us to be part of their survey. She was glad for the small interaction, glad to see people, happy to be seen and heard and considered a contributing member of society. These days such things mean a lot to her. I immediately felt ashamed for having answered on her behalf without asking, even though it came from a good place, but was it a productive place? Yes, my intention was loving, but I also robbed her of her power in that moment and that is what I am ashamed of. Her behaviour also reminded me that leading from an open heart instead of a protective stance feels so much better, whether you’re at the giving or receiving end of the exchange.

 

That’s one small example of the power of her heart.

I like to say that because of all the practice she’s had “dropping into her heart”, she’s better equipped than most to deal with her current circumstances. It brings her relief to hear that because she knows it to be true; she knows she can rely on that strength of hers. I am tempted to say “for now” but I truly don’t know what the future will bring and what form it will take. For now, I’m fine facing the present, embracing it even in all its uncertainty of the bridges that are still in her brain. I realize now more than ever that now is all we have and that what I can rely on is my intention to make those moments count, and our friendship, our bond, our love and our trust in each other that gives me the courage to go toward the unknown with her. What I get out of it on top of this precious, precious friendship is a chance to really touch the authenticity of vulnerability.

 

With love,

 

Val.

The Abundance of Appreciation

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I’ve been very fortunate to be part of a half hour show on YouTube for the past three years called the Appreciationist. It’s changed how appreciation shows up into my life. Having to think of a Moment of Appreciation for the show every week has my brain focused on those moments, looking for them as if it were a treasure hunt. It’s fascinating, definitely an eye-opener, mind-opener and it just brings the most beautiful wonderful feelings week after week; first when I experience those moments, and then when I get to tell about them, which makes them bigger, more intense, more meaningful. They’re center stage now, the stars of the show, not just a moment lost among so many others in my week. They’re being honoured and my heart gets a lift each time.
Every week, I also choose creatively which one(s) will make it to the show as I love variety and hope that it’s fun for whoever is watching and participating to hear that appreciation shows up in unexpected places or circumstances.
This blog is the perfect place to feature some of those moments that somehow stuck with me in those past three years. So here we go!

 

Simple

It’s Sunday morning and I go to my local Italian bakery to get some chocolate buns or “chocolatines” and peach nectar for breakfast. I love how Sunday mornings feel. We’re all relaxed and taking it easy and definitely more slowly than during the week so the result is a great sense of quiet and a feeling of vacation due to the slower pace shared by the many. As much as I appreciate not having the same schedule as most which gives me amazing freedom, I am so very grateful for times when we all take a break together and therefore create a more serene environment.
So back at the bakery, they’ve been there forever and I’ve seen the family grow over the years. It’s nice to see the resemblance in the kids and grand-kids and how they work the business together. Warmth fills my heart when they recognize the familiar faces of the “regulars” that keep coming back for great food and a warm welcome. Human beings connecting, silently saying “I see you, I hear you, I recognize you and appreciate your presence here today”. Simple.

 

Presence

I’m a little down and call on a friend of mine who’s one of my best sounding boards. She needs to get out of the house from time to time so I offer to go and pick her up, come back to my place and chit chat over coffee, tea and goodies. Those are always precious times, full of fun and wisdom. We share, we explore, we learn, we laugh and all of this with a deep sense of appreciation because that’s what my friend brings along wherever she goes. She’s always looking for what she calls “adventures” so everything has the potential of being turned into some fun experience, an unexpected gift and that makes us treasure hunters!:)
After picking her up, I decide to stop for gas on the way to my house. As I’m outside, pumping gas into the car and looking at the sky and clouds, I realize that already, the world feels lighter, more welcoming and full of possibilities…..and we haven’t even started talking about anything yet. And then it hits me. Her presence alone is uplifting! She doesn’t need to say or do anything. Her presence alone changes the colours and textures of the world in my eyes now. That realization brings such a sense of joy, gratitude and quite a bit of awe I admit. Magic.
As a life coach, I often tell people that in a society hooked on action, we tend to forget that our presence alone in this world makes a difference, even if we don’t do or say anything. Who we are, what makes us unique, our qualities, passion or interests, what and who we love and why is enough. It is our beautiful contribution. We matter because we are, period.
So that day, to experience proof of that in all of its subtlety felt like a great big hug from the universe reminding me that love, kindness and inspiration are always just a thought away.

 

Nothing Special

After a couple of years of being on the Appreciationist, as I said earlier, moments of appreciation pop up all over the place pretty much every day. That’s how the brain works. Point it in that direction and it’ll scan every inch of your experience looking for just that, appreciation and more appreciation. However, once in a while, and that is what happened that day, nothing special comes to mind at the end of the day. Just before I fall asleep, I make it a point as often as possible to look for the high points of my experience of that day, meaning how I perceived the events. And that evening, nothing special came to mind, but instead of being bummed out by that, it was a wonderful surprise to realize that I was happy in spite of nothing special happening that day. I didn’t need the high points, the magic of finding appreciation in small or big moments, I was just as content with my day and that, in itself, was my moment of appreciation.

 

Val.

www.thepowerofemotions.ca 

Who you are

img_0876Value who you are; the unique kind of presence you bring to this world and how precious that is to its expansion.

Embrace who you are. Let yourself be the full you, back yourself up, be your own cheerleader, your own loving and supporting parent who believes in you beyond any measure because your blossoming and thriving is the whole point and is what benefits you and this world the most.

So weigh your decisions according to coherence with what rings your bells and what feels balanced.

That way, inspiration is what will propel you forward and it will be a thrilling ride!

 

Happy Wednesday!

 

Love,

 

Val.

Passions

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My very first passion in life was dance. I was 4 when I asked for it, so Mom got me into ballet.

I fell in love with English when I was 12. Homework felt like candy, a game. I couldn’t wait to get home and play with it!

As a teenager, I loved to think, analyze and write so when time came to choose in high school, I chose languages and philosophy. 8 hours a week of pondering, questioning, opening my mind and imagining. I was exploring new worlds, a mind traveler.

So there you have it; my three muses: Dance, English and Philosophy.

When I had a burn out dance kept me going. It was one of the rare things I was still interested in. My brain felt like it was fried so when all else failed, dance was there and was fun and provided me with a whole world of magic and movement, including the limitations that came with it; those limitations that actually showed the way to how to listen to the subtle cues of my body to get back to health. I had to first let go and stop fighting my body (had back problems on and off for 10 years), listen to what it was guiding me to do. I eventually found my way back to well-being, back to a more authentic me. I taught English, became a translator and even taught tap dancing for a while. Passions one and two: check, check.

Personal development as such became a part of my life in my twenties once my aunt introduced me to Shirley MacLaine’s books. An extension of my exploration of philosophy, it was intriguing, exciting and fun. I never really stopped after that, read all kinds of books, listened to CDs, DVDs, MP3s, webinars and podcasts (keeping up with technology:) and shared with friends who were also interested in that kind of material. I loved to spend afternoons just sharing nuggets of eureka moments we had had over tea, coffee, fruits, cookies and chips. It fed me more than the food itself and I always felt wonderful, changed.

I wanted more of that so one day I entered keywords in my computer and found the Law of Attraction Montreal Meetup on the first try. Yes, my keywords were Law of Attraction Montreal. I couldn’t miss it. One meeting and I was hooked! I had found my people as Camila says in her Year Beyond Fear Challenge no. 57. It could take me 3 hours to eat a cupcake when usually it’s gone within minutes. I didn’t need food. My body, mind, spirit, soul, all of them were getting exactly what they needed and it was absolutely delicious, thrilling, empowering. I”m still going and I’m learning so much, growing so much. I’m truly, truly grateful.

A little over a year after joining that group and participating every time I felt inspired by a topic, I found myself one day very frustrated over still not having found the perfect career. You know the kind of job that doesn’t feel like one; the one that runs on excitement, fun and joy and is so in tune with who you are that it’s like you’re flying, soaring even and everything is just more colourful, tastes better, feels better. I know, a little too perfect in my imagination but you get the idea. I remember that one evening a friend was offering me a job and I was in tears over not wanting to go backwards, fighting the urge to take it for the sake of financial security….the next, I was pulling out my meditation papers out to try to figure things out and within hours, it would lead to quite a revelation. For me, emotions lead the way to solutions. One minute I was crying and in despair, the next, everything made sense. What a rush!

I have pieces of paper with words that make me feel good written on them. Originally, when there was an ad on TV, I would put it on mute, pick a paper at random and place it over my heart and feel it as intensely as possible. Visualize, imagine the smell, the context, a whole story, whatever it took to feel that word in the present and anchor it in my body. So that day, I decided to choose the words that illustrated how I wanted to feel in a job. I turned them around and elaborated more on the feeling for each of them within the context of the ideal job for me. If I couldn’t name or imagine it, I could at least figure out how I wanted to feel.

A friend of mine helped me put the pieces together – literally. Her enthusiasm and passion for her job, not to mention life in general is quite an inspiration. She’s the one who first put the puzzle together. I showed her what I had done with the pieces of paper and she said “Life Coach.” The fog lifted from my brain and then I could see it too! Things became clearer by the minute. That night, I got in the metro to go home and really tried “it” on as I would try a piece of clothing. It was a revelation. I could see the metro moving with me inside but I could also see myself in space with all kinds of lights around me all converging toward one point and I too, was going toward that point. Just like in sci-fi movies. Once I got there, everything stopped and all was well and where it was supposed to be. I had found my place in this world; I had found how I fit in. Everything made sense. It was the most amazing feeling. Momentum, peace, empowerment and a wonderful sense of belonging.

It changed how I show up in life now. If ever there was a moment that felt magical and exhilarating, that was the one.

Passion number three? Checked.

Val.

thepowerofemotions.ca

 

 

B’s Story

file0001559400483I met B. about 15 years ago as we both love musicals and dance. We have been to NY City together to see Broadway shows quite a few times and always made the very best of it. She’s fun, kind, smart and giving. A beautiful human being. I do treasure her friendship. She’s brought a lot of joy into my life, opened my horizons and introduced me to people who are now very dear friends as well. We’ve had many memorable moments together. Back in May, she started having problems with one of her legs. It led to an operation at the end of August and that should have ended there, with a normal, easy recovery. But with B., things don’t always go so smoothly when it comes to her health. So it didn’t go so well and for about 10 days, she had an operation every day and it didn’t look good. Her leg didn’t look good; so much so that the doctors started talking about cutting it off. They were trying to convince her and were literally hours away from doing it when another doctor stepped in and convinced everyone to try one more thing: the hyperbaric chamber. This is when things finally turned around. The chamber + still some operations eventually saved her leg. She lost some tendons yes but her leg is there and one day, she was standing up in the hospital and the next or close she was home walking with a walker. And then the walker was too inconvenient for her in a matter of days so she found a way to not have to use it all the time. She knew she had to build muscles back and she was doing it at a rhythm that was beyond my expectations (and they were not low, believe me. I believe in her!). She’s a dancer. She does ballet (pointe shoes and all), tap and jazz. She’s in dance class at least 4 times a week, so you can imagine her fear, her anxiety over losing her leg or not dancing ever again. But one day, she sends an email and gives me details of the exercises she plans on doing at the barre in ballet class and how and why, saying since she needs to build muscle, she might as well accomplish that while doing something she loves. I had tears in my eyes as I read her words. Such determination, such creativity in her need to heal! It was brilliant and so inspirational to me. That moment, that will, that spirit; absolutely perfect and beautiful. Now, you’ve got to know now that this is not B.’s first encounter with adversity. When I first met her she told me she had lost an eye to a rare condition and after many, many operations (we’re talking 20 or 30 operations) to try to save it. And she’s always been a dancer so of course, she had to learn to dance again in a way. Her balance was totally off now seeing with only one eye, so she found her way back to that and I’ve always admired that amazing balance she has. So here she is again, finding and fighting her way back to what she loves and being an inspiration to me at the very least. Of course she sounds like she’s really unlucky in life. I’m always amazed how some people seem to have such heavy karma if you believe in that, but when I see such determination coupled with creativity and passion, I can’t help but be in awe of the human spirit. Val. Update: Jan. 2015 – She’s now started tap dancing in her kitchen, doing time steps and thinks she’ll be back in tap dance class next year. So happy to hear that! Go B.!!!!:)