Saturday 27 December 2014

Are you surviving or thriving?

As I look back on 2014, it's funny how life goes.  I refuse to give in and believe the world is a dark and sinister place.  If it were as some would like me to believe it is, I wonder...why anyone would want to live in such an evil place; why would anyone wish to spend their time being cruel to another rather than living their own life. 

I was going through some papers I found with notes and wanted to compare them to my blog....clearly I didn’t get those notes into my blog; yet it would seem my word for 2014 might have been “surviving”.  Let me be totally honest here.  I am so sick of “surviving”. 
I remember speaking with a group of ‘administrators’ about the impacts of bullying, who regularly used the phrase, “...they’ll survive....” in reference to children who were being bullied.  Finally I tossed down my pen ~ more dramatically than I intended ~ but, I seized that moment.  As I was being visually assessed, I shook my head and glanced back around the table at the educators, medical practitioners, political people,  and parents who were there and I said, “Children survived the holocaust, but would any one of you deliberately put a child, or anyone for that matter, in that type of living condition?”  Aghast that I would make such a comparison, and with their judgemental eyes focused on me, they initiated what became a very interesting discussion. 
The point being, why would any one person deliberately treat another person poorly and if, they weren’t aware what they were doing was hurtful, why once it was brought to their attention, why would they continue ~ especially if the person(s) being treated horrifically wasn’t doing anything to them or that would impact their life. 

Since August 1, 2012 most each day of my life has been living in ‘survivor’ mode.  I’ve not only been directly threaten but I have had to live with many “implied” threats including writing on my blog.  I was beginning to feel like the caged in bird again or worse, a trapped animal.  I understand this in not uncommon when going through a divorce; especially where there is a real or perceived imbalance of power.  Ahhhh, one of the identifiers of bullying.

I am one of the first people to say, every experience has a lesson to be learned; and that we're right where we're meant to be when we're meant to be there.  And my children’s favourite, 'we’ll get through this' and 'it will all be ok'; ~ forever and for always.  These are all true and....I do believe in these reassurances, here’s where I’m having some trouble’s easy to be put at ease by these words when you’re dealing with a onetime occurrence.  It becomes daunting and overwhelming when the actions are reoccurring and deliberate acts of cruelty.  Another, identifier of bullying. 

It isn’t just myself whose been forced to suffer such vindictiveness this past year (+), but my three children as well.  As Christmas winds down, my estranged husband and his family gave my children yet another ‘memorable’ holiday.  For people who claim to love and care for my children, one might think they’d choose not to behave so maliciously; especially during the holidays.  And over the past three years since my husband walked out, one might even think, they would have reached out to these amazing people with compassion; at least once.  Alas, lies that have been told are starting to step into the light.  And rather than showing kindness to my children, their kin, my children are forced to endure even more brutality and denigration.    

This is what I’m talking about when I ask, “Children survived the holocaust, but would any one of you deliberately put a child, or anyone, in that type of living condition?”   The reality is....the answer to that question is YES!  There are people, who would do that; who DO, do that!  I was once part of a family who believes it is better to hurt another before they can hurt you ~ even if there is no real evidence that person would ever hurt them.  They also would deliberately hurt someone and speak ill of them for no other reason than to try to build them self up.  Some refer to this behaviour as bullying while others might call it arrogance and intolerance.  Then, there are those who’d refer to it as narcissism or schizophrenia; or maybe even signs of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

So where does that leave the ones being hurt?  Shy of years of therapy and tons of medications?????  “Don’t take it personally” ~ one of the four agreements.  This is their issue not yours.  You must continue to find the courage and strength to distance yourself from these sorts of people so you don’t end up believing their lies or worse, become trapped by their toxicity.  The challenge...most often these people are our friends, our loved ones, maybe even a spouse, parent or child.  Maintaining, if necessary, a relationship with these people can be done is imperative that you create and maintain firm boundaries for yourself and that you be willing to forgive yourself when you stumble.  Make sure you have supports you can rely on, anytime of day and...that you trust.  These people are smooth and used to doing anything to get their needs met.  Often they are well respected, by those who don’t or won’t see them for who they are; and worse they usually “attack” when you are your most loving, or vulnerable. 

I still can’t get my head around people who do this or why they do it, but I can say....this year has been one where discovery, not only of these personality types has been a huge learning curve for me; but also learning how to recognize it!  There is value for these types in our society but, in what roles?  They lack compassion and empathy so, when they hold positions of power/authority; or worse they think they have control, those around them are more likely to live in a constant state of surviving, rather than thriving.  And in these scenarios, there is not likely going to be any alli rescue missions.

If as Einstein said, ‘you’re doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome’ and you're not getting it, you might simply be existing in a state of insanity.  If you feel trapped or as if you’re not living your life...change something; even if it’s one little thing.  Have the courage to look deep within yourself; and believe in yourself as you take the step you wish to take.
Recently, I have taken steps that I believe will release me from my bondage and....even allow me an opportunity to move beyond surviving.  Hopefully, my captor is getting bored with his subject (my children and I) and is truly willing to release all his perceived control over us; me.  And, here's hoping the lessons learned on this journey will not soon be forgotten or implemented unjustly in the future.
Even if a door closes, remember it's on hinges which means, it can be re-opened.  One only needs to knock; then decide to wait for an answer.  Just don't ever put someone first, who puts your second.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Camino 2014 ~Day 7

Day 5 of Air Week: Clutter – Energy Up/Energy Down:

Today’s affirmation: “Fresh, invigorating energy fills my life”

Three Levels:

#1 Energy Up/Energy Down – get in touch with items in your surroundings; do they life your energy up or do they pull your energy down

#2 Clutter Questionnaire and clearing one area – The questionnaire lists a number of items in your home, workplace, car, etc and asks you to answer yes or no to questions like, is this in need of repair, do you use this, do you love this, etc

#3 Employ the power of Metaphor – This activity takes level two to the next step...if you said ‘yes’ to something that was important to you...ask yourself why? What does it represent for you?  It may even mean looking at projects you’re struggling with and break them down.  Often things are not as overwhelming as the initially appear; if....we can look at the situation in sections.


With all that I’m going through right now...I didn’t really do #1...partly because, a lot of my stuff is already ‘sorted’ out and when the time is right and when I feel less sensitive, frustrated and wounded....I will allow myself to do this with less contaminated emotion.  I did look at #2 and used it to look at the projects I feel more overwhelmed by, a loss of control over and in essence...a little afraid of.  Without getting into personal details, I will use a ‘metaphor’ to explain how I looked each of these areas in my life.

Imagine that closet or worse...the “messy bedroom”; when we first open the door and we see the mess, we look at it and think “OMG...this is going to take forever!  I’ll never get this done.”  And with that approach, that’s right.  Because, we’ll say...”I’ll do this when....”, then close the door and forget about it. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  You move a mountain one shovel load at a time. Each journey begins with one step.  Choose your analogy. 

Stop...turn around and let’s open that door again.  Don’t look at the whole room/mess.  For now, this moment...let’s pick one thing.  Dirty dishes. 

The focus is dirty dishes.  Are there any dirty dishes in that room? If so, collect all of them up, take them to the kitchen and...either set them on the counter, load them in the dishwasher or wash, dry and put them away.  Take a break and reward yourself.  Great job ‘self’!  Or maybe you’d like to read a chapter of your book or, sitting and sipping on a cup of tea; or enjoy a small piece of chocolate.  Now...back to the room and the focus is on something else ~ garbage.  Anything that looks like garbage, pick it up and put it in the bag.  When that is done...ask yourself, can I try another task before I take a break and celebrate or....shall I reward myself now.  Maybe that’s a 5 minute break, lunch time or...maybe that’s all for that project today and you close the door.  The reality is, tomorrow when you open that’ve already completed a portion of the task.  Now you feel less overwhelmed and your energy is up. You feel inspired and empowered to move forward.

Often, I find when I do this, I end up putting on some fun music, may be burn a scented candle or incense to maintain my motivation.  Before long, my ‘reward’ includes throwing in a load of laundry or taking out that trash or dusting.  In no time, I’ve not only finished that initial project, but a few others as well; that’s when I “Play Full Out” and really reward myself.  Maybe I soak in the bath or dinner at a favourite restaurant or a new book, perfume....  The point is....the reward becomes two fold...the task is complete and...I’ve recognized and honoured myself.


DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED; if you live with even one other person!!!!!!!  I soooo get it ~ I no sooner get that one room cleaned, move on to the next’d never know I cleaned the first room. frustrating can that be.  Even though you’ll likely be the one to clean it again....that is OK!  As I said...the point set an intention, you achieved it, and the task was complete.  You MUST honour yourself for that!  The doesn’t matter; at least for now!  We can discuss how to deal with the “others” another time, but’s about “me” and the moment.

I pulled a card from my deck “Messages From the Wee Folk”; Wee Folk meaning the Faeries, Gnomes, Sprites....the sacred energies and guides we have in nature.  The card I pulled was “Balance”.  It reminds us that we are multifaceted; each part of us is a very integral part of who we are as a whole person.  I am not “just” Carleana.... I’m a woman, I’m a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friends, a mentor, an active participant and leader in my community, I’m an estranged spouse, I’m a spiritual guide, I’m a healer, I’m victim, an advocate, a visionary, an explorer....and so much more, but bottom line...I am who I am.  And each of my parts makes me Who I Am!

I am proud of who I am; each and every part of me.  They give me opportunities to be thankful, resourceful, assertive, strong, gracious, loving, humble, protective... alive.   In order to be all that and so much is important to remember to check in and maintain balance it all of my all that I am and can be.


Two years ago to....speaking of being gracious and strong...and balance; I began day 4 of my Camino de Compostella.  I didn’t sleep as well as I had hoped.  My feet, while they feel much better, are still sore particularly a couple of the blisters.  The shoes were a gift from the heavens and all my guides; my reward!  Even today, as I allow my soul to go back to that moment....I feel the ease of pain from my feet.  The soft spongy soles of these shoes and...the freedom my feet felt; ahhhhh.  The socks provided added protection and...the bandages, extra cushion. 

Some of the things I remember about this day was the foggy, chilly and dewy morning.  As I walked, I felt the dew drops; my fingers were numbed by the morning’s chilled air; but it was fresh and clear.

The beautiful little “Ant Cafe” and how I spent too much time, just sitting and enjoying how I felt there. 

Walking around a bend, into a ‘town’, and there before me....a herd of cattle, drinking from a town water reservoir.

And then...learning that scent I had been enjoying....eucalyptus trees; forests of them. 

The Camino can be done in a variety of ways...I chose to arrange to have predetermined stops set, meaning I booked my hotels, with breakfast and supper included and my luggage transferred from point A to point B daily. Some people rely on hostiles. Today, one of the stops required for the passports was a hostile.  OMG....Americans – English as a first language!  There was a group of mission workers who were there working to help maintain this hostile for pilgrims on their Camino.  I can’t compare this hostile to any others....but I can say I was very impressed.  Nothing like any accommodations I’ve ever see anywhere else either; but I dare say...the place really felt like it hadn’t changed is the 1800’s when it was first built ~ the real 1800’s; not Hollywood’s version of that time period. 

 The scenery was beautiful...the sun warmed up the air and...I made it through another day.

My day begins at 76.5km marker
 Chilly and foggy
 Dew drops from the pines,
 feet over head are dripping down upon the early morning pilgrims
  This cow is protecting her calf
  Nature’s artwork
  The time committed to creating these works of art
The village ahead
Leaving the village
These were all over the place; what are they?
They store harvested corn for live stock!

Arriving at a hamlet
And OMG...this building is NOT just a is the famers home.
This farmer and his family live in one half, and
the cattle and chickens share the other side.
An amazing and perfect spider’s web
Serene scenery
Have I gone back in time?
The farmer takes his cattle into the village for water
New shoes groove is on!
Eucalyptus forest 
Eucalyptus leaves
Beautiful chickens
The next seven photos were taken at the Ant Café

On the road again...notice the bright sun, blue sky and clouds....ahhhh
These flowers and
this foliage became additional daily sights
Still heading in the right stop Brea
My favourite scenery on the Camino!   Nature’s tunnels.
Speak limit
Almost there
Tonight’s resting place
Took a walk into the Palas de Rei to
enjoy some sights, shopping and lunch

Remember...what you’re looking at between the buildings;
these are used by bike, vehicle, pedestrians;
including delivery trucks, tour buses etc.
Another beautiful day comes to an end as 66km are completed.
                                                                                                ~Buen Camino

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Camino 2014 ~Day 6 Camino Day 3 ~ Blisters

And day 4 of Air Week.  The message today “I love and accept who I am...and who I am is enough.” 

With the focus on accepting self and loving self for exactly who I am, the key to doing so is to look at how we treat ourselves.  The word is far more powerful than we give it credit for.  Try using phrases like “I’m recharging” instead of “I’m exhausted” or “I’m open for love” rather than “I’m lonely”, about this one... instead of “I’m so busy” try saying “I’m seeing what I’m capable of”.  The heavier the statement the more negative the intent...the lighter the statement the more positive the energy.  I know it will be weird at first, so dare yourself to speak (or at least think) in a more positive way.  Think of it as a game and challenge yourself to find a way of expressing your frustration in a ‘fun’ way.

The title of each of the three levels today are:

1~Be the sacred observer: observe do you feel, how do you respond, what do you do, take note of your feelings and your perception as to how you behave.

2~Your faults can be your virtues: instead of looking at your ‘fault’ as ‘bad’, consider what it is and look at from a different perspective.  Make a list of those you feel are faults; now think of them positively...from cheap to thrifty; stubborn to determined; flighty to spontaneous; resentment to sense of justice....Try it yourself and see what you come up with.

3~Observing your core beliefs: a core belief is notion that has become entrenched in your sub-consciousness after having held on to or repeated it for a long period of time.  Naturally, there are positive and not so positive core values we have.  Some positive ones might be....the more I give – the more I get; no matter what challenges find me, I always find a way to overcome them.  Less positive might be...people in my life always treat me badly; or....No pain – no gain ~ this is tricky one for me.


So, two years ago today, was Day 3 of my Camino de Santiago; heading to Ventas de Naron.  I’d been away from my family more than with them since mid June and I was missing them dearly.  I wasn’t feeling well.  I was physically ill and worse...I was losing my blister battle.  I didn’t like the saying “No pain; nor glory” because I’ve never bought into the “No pain; no gain” even as an aerobic “instructor” in the ‘80s.  To me...if it hurts or doesn’t feel right....that’s a good sign to stop what you’re doing a listen to yourself....I think that’s why I love Nia so much....

I have been known to change my mind when needed, but I am not a quitter; I am survivor.  I say what I mean and mean what I say.  I will admit, as I reflect on this day, I remember it was incredibly hard for me and facing the possibility that I may have to quit.  Even looking back on my blog....I spoke about how challenging this day was.  And while I wouldn’t say it out loud then....I was scared I was going to have to quit my Camino because of my feet.  I couldn’t have that.  I suffered through one more day.  All my guides, angels, spirit friends, God, Jesus, Mary, grandmothers....all I’ve ever call on....carried me through that day from the moment I awoke because I needed to vomit, while I struggled to put my shoes on, from the first painful step to the last....they were there.  Those I cherish most in my life...have a nature spirit that is special to me and EACH and EVERY ONE of them appeared that day!  The butterfly, bubble bee, lady bug, robin, sun, breeze, streams, all of them!  The walk that day was long, hot and excruciatingly painful.  For a variety of reasons I had to take breaks and getting started again....was more painful than the last time I had to start walking, but....I did it.  I made it!!!!

At the end of the day, I broke down and bought new shoes...not no crazy expensive “perfect” hiking footwear again for this girl....but ugly, simple, inexpensive “Jesus” shoes as they’ve affectionately come known as.  My children think they are horrid but...they are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever had; at least for long term wearing while walking!  And they were like clouds to walk on after having suffered through those shoes.  I am BARE FOOT girl and love to let me feet caress the earth.  Those $160.00 sneakers (and that was at 50% off) devoured my feet; even the expensive blister proof socks didn’t help.  Don’t buy into this...”you have to have hiking boots if you’re going to walk” crap.  Walk in what you’re comfortable walking in...if it’s hiking boots...fine;  if it’s sneakers – wear sneakers; I would also recommend – and I think it saved my feet from worse destruction – have extra shoes to switch into.

As soon as I got to my room....I rested my feet.  I popped my blisters after taking some Advil.   When I felt strong enough to do so, I took a shower then went to have some supper.  I soaked my feet in epsom salts and massaged them with arnica cream.  My plan for the next few days would be to monitor my feet closely but not dwell on them.  A metaphor of life I guess. 

When things are out of’s important to monitor everything but...not to dwell on it.  You can’t ignore the problems...or challenges on your path – that is never good.  That’s when you make poor choices, or worse, no choice at all.  When you acknowledge the challenges and keep an eye on’re able to consider your options and you make choices that are in your best interest.  But don’t dwell on them.  It’s the equal and opposite reaction to ignoring them.  Often when we dwell on challenges, we tend to make poor choices because we’ve distorted the situation.  Phrases like “always” and “never” are good sign we’ve succumbed to our frustrations or distorted a situation.  Pause to observe before reacting ~ don’t take it personally.  Remember, “I love and accept who I am...and who I am, is enough.” 
As the day begins, so does my Camino continue....

 I may feel horrible, my feet may ache but
the day is beautiful, life is good and journey....
worth while!
  These flowers and a couple other types,
will be constant companions along my way.
  The roots of trees cling to hillsides and provide not only breath taking images,
but refuge for many species.
 share the road..remember?
  Walking along the highway.
This is a four lane highway, notice though, ALL the lines are white!
Clay tile factory
 More Camino pilgrim signs...not just for us
 but for drivers to mean mindful of us too.
  Introduction to beautiful gardens to come
  The two other species of flowers that will accompany me
and decorate my path in the days ahead
  The horizon from a different perspective
  Horton hears a Who!
  Fiddle ferns waking and growing
 Not sure what this is....
some thought it was the vine that strangled the life out of this area
  Notice the traffic/road sign??? 
No passing.  LOL  Not a whole lot of space for "two lanes" either.
  This was apparently, a vineyard after a fire?!
  Coming into a hamlet
Which way do I go?! 
I’m on the Camino and I will be going to Albergue  
Remember the rule?
  Lady working...
she was gathering all the crumbled stone and dust and putting into tubs.
  Me holding one of the many ‘spirit’ friends who helped me today

The next few pictures are of my blisters;
some may consider these graphic and/or gross

Blisters before the bath...

Six in all.
Blisters after the bath...

So....all things considered....
after a good epsom salt soak and arnica cream massage...
they don’t look too they?! J
After this day...and in a nice bed...I'm ready for a good night sleep!
“I love and accept who I am...and who I am is enough.” 

                                                                                               ~Buen Camino