sheryl bee

practicing wholehearted, soulful living

Hug to Hug Heart Glow

“Four Hugs a day, that’s the minimum.  Four Hugs a day … nnnnnnnnnot the maximum”

Ah … that song played a lot in my house when my kids were little.  Thanks Charlotte Diamond!  She might have sung a French verse also.

I think about hugs a lot!  I live alone. I live far from my family.  Pet hugs are great and there is strong evidence that they contribute to happy and healthy life.

I don’t have pets.  Some of my friends have pets and I get a good fix now and then.

Me and my Buddy Brady

Me and my Buddy Brady

My stuffed up buddies Jammer and Moki are lovely and faithful friends (LOVE Velveteen Rabbit)  …

Jammer and Moki and me

Jammer and Moki and me

“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you,then you become Real …”

… BUT it was human physical contact that was sadly lacking in my life.

About a year ago, I decided to take action. I created a Hug Club with the very special friends that I am privileged to work with.  We see each other, we hug.  Sometimes we even have collective, group hugs.  What I didn’t realise was I was not alone!  They felt a lack in the Hug Department also.

I found these little huggers in a gift shoppe in my neighbourhood – and I gave one to each of my Hug Club friends.  When I see this on my desk, I remember that I have hug buddies and my heart smiles.

My little Hugzz

Hugs feed our souls!  They cause our hearts to glow and grow!

Hugs are the perfect thing to give because they give back immediately!

So, get your hug on today!

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ YOU }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Don’t close the door on 2013 just yet!

Ah November.  The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer.  Here in Calgary the temperatures are also dropping and the scratch scratch scratch of ice scrapers on car windshields is a more familiar morning tune than the long gone song birds.

November.  Some argue that it isn’t April that is the cruellest month, but November.

T.S. Elliot calls it “sombre November

Sir Walter Scott describes the “November’s sky is chill and drear.”

To Emily Dickinson, “November always seemed to [be] the Norway of the year.”

Thomas Hood just says No!

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds –
November!

Geez … doesn’t exactly lend itself to inspiration, does it? Read more…

Sometimes it’s really simple …

Posted by Sheryl Gervais

A month or so ago, I participated in a 21-day meditation challenge presented by Oprah and Deepak Chopra.  I’m practicing the meditations still, choosing one at random daily.  It’s remarkable how I seem to get what I need each day!  Today, Day 9, “Creating Balance” had this centering though:

“my outer world reflects my inner world.”

Getting a little silly this afternoon, I wondered,  does that mean that if I’m in a chaotic mental or spiritual place, that my apartment will be messier?  OR if my apartment is messy then I’m not likely to find harmonious bliss?

Is this just the same way of saying, clean your apartment, clear your clutter and your mind will be good.  OR  clear your mind and find peace and your mental peace and clarity will find its way into your day to day routine and your outer world will begin to mirror that because you’ll be doing the stuff you need to do to maintain that clear and uncluttered mind in an environment that provides serenity,  joy and peace?

I started thinking a little more and remembered this:

“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”  (Buddha)

Then I remembered this:

“Do the dishes and sweep the floor.”

(My Mom)

Let me back up a second.

I have been furiously,  in a very happy way, working on a project and early this afternoon,  hit a bit of a stall, a wall.  I brainstormed.  I sang.  I smelled the fresh flowers I got yesterday.   I played Bejewelled Blitz.   I walked it out.  I visited some cool things in my neighbourhood.  I came back to the project.  Wall still planted firmly.  So I started doing a few chores – not on purpose, it just happened.  Making a bit of supper, I mindlessly  filled the sink with soapy water.  I enjoyed a lovely meal while listening to Van Morrison (Astral Weeks).

Meal done,  I did the rest of my dishes. Unconsciously, no pressure on my thinking, enjoying the bubbles.

Then I swept the floor.  I mean, I really swept the floor.  I squatted with a little whisk broom and got close the dust, the crumbs and forgotten tea drip in front of the stove.  A remarkable thing happened.  The wall came down.  It crumbled into my little red dust pan as I dumped it into the garbage can under the sink.  Just. Like.  That.

swee dishes 1

Clutter cleared without any effort or force.  My wall collapsed and the big thing I wanted to do today is done.   And it’s still daylight.  So Deepak, Buddha and my Mom are all correct!

With profound  gratitude and appreciation (and with a tidy kitchen), I’m going for another walk!

PS … what gets you past the wall?

Letting the stick scratch my skin

Posted by Sheryl Gervais

I was walking to school a few days ago and saw this wee blond lad, maybe three years old,  in little red pea coat (double-breasted, of course and, oh gosh, I think he was wearing short pants too – total cuteness) meandering a ways behind his mom, mindlessly dragging his little hand on the still leafless, dry  hedge planted along the sidewalk.  His mom stopped,  turned and very patiently asked him, “What are you doing Eli?”  “I’m letting the stick scratch my skin.”

I’m letting the stick scratch my skin.

Wow!  I got really excited and for the rest of my walk, I felt that little Eli had shared a simple truth that I was bursting to share.  Little Eli, with his halo of blond curls was being present.  That’s it.   He was enjoying, exploring and experiencing his environment.  Without fear.  Without any preconceived idea of what should be.  He was feeling.  Maybe it wasn’t exactly pleasant: sticks scratching on skin can be itchy.  Might cause a little broken skin.  A little discomfort.

Experience life without fear of scratches.  Sure.  Why not ?

What is fear anyway?  False Evidence Appearing Real.  This acronym is not new.  It’s pretty accurate though.  There is no imminent threat or safety risk to me or to my loved ones, yet F.E.A.R. can provoke strong resistance to even positive experiences.

When we live in the shadow of F.E.A.R.  our potential and promise are compromised.

When F.E.A.R. directs our actions we live in the grey.  What are we afraid of?  Oh, so many things for so many different reasons.  Most of us are at some time in our lives afraid of not being good enough, rich enough,  fit enough, smart enough. Just not enough.  Period.

We fear truth, fear honesty and as a result, our perspectives become skewed to the point that so much around us feels threatening.   F.E.A.R. can trick us into perceiving a threat where there may not be one.

If F.E.A.R.  is guiding relationships, for example, other people can seem threatening to the security of the relationships.  Our partner’s friends, neighbours, co-workers, hobbies, can seem like a threat because we see ourselves as unworthy.  So we respond with jealousy, harsh behaviour that is from a place of F.E.A.R. instead of love.  Instead of loving ourselves as much as we want the other to love us.

I’ve been there.  Consumed by irrational F.E.A.R, without realising it, and in that shadow, I lost sight of the strong, confident, vibrant woman I know that I am.  I became lost in the fog of fear.

And when we are lost, we become desperate and our actions are from a very peculiar, hard to figure out place.

F.E.A.R. is a tricky deal.   It wants us to follow it and be its best friend.  Not a good idea.  The best way to fight it is to truly feel it.  Feel it, embrace it.  Then forgive it.

Recognise it – feel it – forgive it.

Let the stick scratch your skin.

Take your deep breath and recognise it.  Then embrace it and forgive it.  Forgiveness is a very powerful tool and everyone has it in them.  F.E.A.R. is not a fan of forgiveness so it will fight it.  But with every forgiveness moment, F.E.A.R. becomes weaker and our light becomes brighter.

Little Eli has it right.  Let the stick scratch my skin.  Sometimes life will give me stuff that hurts, but I won’t back away from it.  Because, as Leonard Cohen writes,

Ring the bell that still can ring.  Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.

I want my heart to crack open with light.  So, let the stick scratch my skin. Show me what you got, stick!

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, wracked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

– Agatha Christie

How to Receive in Three Easy Steps

Oh my gosh I can’t get anything done because I don’t know where to start!

The voices in my head are so chaotic and loud, I have no idea what they’re saying!

What the heck am I supposed to do?  How can I get clarity when the reception is fuzzy?  The rabbit ears are held together with aluminum foil and tape and the signal is wonky.

What the *%$# is going on?

Do any of the above sound familiar to you?  Are you tired of being stuck in the fog, behind the glass, under water?

Well, this wee little 1 minute exercise will change your life.  I’m serious.  It will.

It’s a simple 3-step exercise that you can do anywhere. Any time.  As many times as you like per day.

Ready?

Here’s what you need:

 photo(3)

You.  That’s it.  No special equipment or training required.  Just you.

Here’s what you do:

Stop

 

Step 1:

STOP!  Anytime that you feel so overwhelmed that you cannot move.  Stop.  You’re almost there already.  Stand still.  Be a mannequin.  (If you happen to be in the middle of the crosswalk street, wait until you get across the street).

Step 2:

Breathe.  One deep breath in.  Then out.  Nothing fancy required here.  You can, if you like, do belly breathing  – watch your abdomen expand when you breathe in and contract when you exhale.  Or just nice easy breath in and out.  C’est tout.  In.  Out.  One minute.  60 seconds.  In.  Out.photo(1)

Step 3: 

Listen.  Listen.  Maybe hear your breath.  Maybe hear the cars driving by.  Maybe the noise from another room.  Maybe little voices in your head.  Thoughts racing through.  No judgement.  Just listen.

photo(2)

You are now primed to receive all that you need.

But Sheryl!  I’m no closer to figuring it out with all the noise!  How am I supposed to decipher the good from the garbage?

Glad you asked.

Practice. 

Stopping allows you to focus on your breath.  While you focus on your breathing, let all the chaos wander through.  Don’t judge whatever thought comes to your mind.  Let it meander on, greet it if you like. Honour it. Let it flow.  Let it go.    Eventually the important things that you need to hear, will make their way to the front.

Simple.  Three little steps that you can use to start your day.  At lunch, at bed time. While waiting for the kettle.  Or for the light to change.  Any time.

Try it right now.  Let me know in the comments below how it works.

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