Part 1: A Hurricane is Coming

“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change and how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be” Elizabeth Lesser 

It’s July 4, 2014, hurricane Arthur is heading towards Nova Scotia.

I love my time alone these days.

This month is my birthday. In recent years I tend to feel reflective throughout my birthday month. I will be 54 this year. I feel so content in my life these days.

I’m up early this morning before the sunrise, as I often am. I am sitting outside on a blanket on the ground. I look up and see the remaining stars with merely a hint of light of the coming dawn. I am listening to the sounds of nature. I hear the little river bubbling as it rushes through the landscape: the refreshing sound stills my body. As the sun sends rays of light from behind the trees, the songbirds sing extra loud just minutes before the sun appears as though to give thanks for the coming day. Finally the sun is peeking through the mist and the treetops in the valley below. The scent in the air is so clean and fresh, unlike any other time of the day. I take a few more deep breaths; my body relaxes into the ground. It’s a perfect time to reflect on my summer so far. My thoughts also reflect through the past year;

I have a part-time job that I love. I am enjoying being in my body more with consistent yoga and qigong practices. I have danced more days this year. I have much to be grateful for. I have spent a lot of time outside this summer. I’ve gathered a lot of wild herbs, created beautiful tinctures, and infused oils. I love making my own herbal medicine, skincare and cleaning products. I no longer have a large garden; instead, I have a couple of raised beds and a hothouse where I grow organic herbs & vegetables.

I come back to the present moment on the ground, I softly sing a mantra, “Be Still and know that I am God, be still and know that I am, Be still and know, Be still, Be” I say a prayer and go in for breakfast. My soul is calm; my spirit is awakened and excited for the day.

However, calm the wind felt early this morning; it’s now late morning; I hear the waves picking up momentum as the hurricane sends out its strength in the ocean ahead of the storm. I can hear them crashing on the shore from my home. The hurricane is coming.

I decide to take a long walk on our dirt road before the many chores that I need to do before the storm comes. The road is beautifully surrounded on both sides by forest. They are full of tall majestic hardwood trees. There are maple, beech, white birch are some of my favorites. There are also aromatic softwood pines, balsam firs and my favorite hackmatack trees. There are magical thorny wild hawthorn (which makes good heart medicine) and rugged long-forgotten wild apple trees which grow unattended. As I walk up and down large hills, I feel significant strength in my legs and body; as my heart pumps quicker, I feel so alive. There is a delicious earthy scent this time of year. It comes from the plants and trees being in their full glory and is carried in the gentle warm wind. As I walk, I talk to the trees. I like to believe that they understand me. I tell them my stories; they are great listeners. They seem to wave a comforting hello with their branches gently swaying with the soft breezes. I chuckle as I become surrounded by a damn horse fly that is biting hard, my walk is cut short. 

As the morning runs into the early afternoon, there is a lot to do to prepare for the coming storm as I make a checklist in my mind. I hurry now to get the housework and yardwork done. Now I must get gas in my vehicle and fill the gas cans for the generator. I’m ready in time as the wind picks up. I snuggle up on the couch and watch TV.

The phone rings, its Bernie my hubby, his voice is so reassuring. He reminds me that we have hurricane-force winds often in the wintertime. He tells me I will be fine; we chat a bit more, then we hang up.

I stay up a little later than usual then decide to go to bed around midnight. Just before dawn, the storm is starting over our home as I hear the roof making loud snapping and cracking noises as the hurricane clips on our roof do their job.

In just a short time, I hear pounding rain and wind. It is howling through the trees. The wind is blowing so hard that the little 7-foot maple tree we planted in our front lawn is almost bent over but is holding. This is unusual; we don’t usually see a hurricane this early in the summer when the trees have all their foliage. Because of this, small sticks and leaves are flying across the yard. I hear a crack in the backyard as an apple tree falls over. Mid-morning, a flash and the power is out. I wait for a couple of hours for things to settle a little before I go out of the shed to start the generator.

It’s mid-afternoon, the rain is still pounding; I decide to make my way to the shed to start the generator. It takes a bit of time, but it’s finally going so I can go back in the house. It’s still pouring buckets of rain, so I run as fast as I can back to the house.

As I am running across the wet lawn, my rubber boots start to slip and slide. I catch myself and keep running onto the patio full out. 

All of a sudden, my feet slip out from underneath me, and I can’t stop myself; OMG, I’m falling forward with the full force of my body slamming onto my knees. The pain is excruciating. I am unaware that one of my knees is permanently injured. My life changed in that instance. The universe has brought me to my knees. Even though I am in the third of my life, some of the most valuable life lessons are yet to come. But this time I don’t surrender and accept “what is” as I had learned to do these past years. This time I get angry and resist hard.

The hurricane has arrived. 

The following year, a perfect storm of several other painful events, including my brother’s death, together became the catalyst that sent me into a depression. It was after the Hurricane that another journey began, one that taught me some of the most important lessons I had not embraced before. One that was huge for me was embracing vulnerability. Part 2 “After the Hurricane”” will be posted soon

Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living” Rachel Marie Martin

Hurricane Arthur

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Mystic Sunrise

“Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life- It gave me me. It provided the time and experience and failures and triumphs and friends who helped me step into the shape that had been waiting for me all my life… I not only get along with me most of the time now, I am militantly and maternally on my side” Anne Lamott.

Our lives are like the ocean; there is an ebb and flow that can be a stormy wild ride filled with chaos, doubt, loss, struggles, and pain; other times, it can be a calm and beautiful journey filled with joy, love, confidence and contentment.

Life can change in an instant, and what comes next is sometimes not easy, but it can start an inner transformation that is a powerful reminder of the resilience of our Spirit. This blog is a collection of short stories about both the ebb and flow of my life and occasionally everyday people who have taught me life lessons along the way. I also share the many inspirational quotes and books that have, without exaggeration, helped form who I am today.

I call this Blog Mystic Sunrise. Every day is a new beginning, a chance to start all over again. If any resonates, join me on the journey and share, we can learn from each other. The one thing that has sustained me over the years has been hearing peoples stories, and through this, I discovered that I was not alone. So many amazing souls have shared their stories with me either through their books or in person. These stories seemed to show up at the exact right time when I needed them the most. This is dedicated to those people who created a path for me to follow and gave me the support I needed to find my own.

For as long as I can remember, even as a child, I have been on a quest, especially in my adulthood. To learn about life’s deeper meaning, spirituality and connection to a Higher Power I call God. Although I am a Christian, I have found inspiration from many spiritualities and religions. For I believe there are many paths to God. Our Higher Power is a profoundly personal journey and is called many different names. I respect and honor all, no matter what that looks like.

I still have shitty days; some lessons I still need to re-learn repeatedly, but I also share why I am way gentler with myself when I do; I share these in the hope that more people will learn these lessons sooner than I did. I finally like who I am most days. All of me, the dark and the light, I have learned to forgive myself and others along the way, and as Anne Lamott says “I am militantly and maternally on my side.” Age has given me the privilege of living long enough to figure some of this shit out and I am grateful.

Dates are factual as much as my memory remembers; the essence of what I share is all true. At the heart of these stories are lessons I learned along the way as I was and still am “broken open” at times. This quote sums up this journey; it’s from one of my favorite books.

“The promise of being broken open and possibly of being opened are written into the contract of human life. Certainly, this tumultuous journey on the waves can be tiresome. When the sea is rough, and when we are sufferings, we may want to give up hope and give into despair. But brave pilgrims have gone before us. They tell us to venture forth with faith and vision.” Elisabeth Lessor in Broken Open

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This one of my favorite places to be in Nova Scotia, Boulder Cove Cottages. Every year a women’s group I have been a part of for over 25 years goes here on a retreat weekend. www.bouldercove.com

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