It snowed and snowed and snowed last Thursday.
The hills are so white, rocky with specks of dark brown and scattered with small trees poking through the snow. It’s so beautiful! Especially because this is my first truly cold and snowy winter in 5 years, since I left the Yukon.
Although I loved so much about living on Vancouver Island, I really missed snow so when it snowed last Thursday, and the wind was blowing sharply tight, almost horizontal to the ground, and the slushy snow was cold and slightly bitter, I smiled and smiled. My mouth gaped with the smiling.
These days, besides the thrill of the snow, life has settled into the slightly unsettled routine, for me, of doing the steady work of figuring things out in my new community (making friends, generating a clientele for my [Structural Integration bodywork](http://www.timetorealign.com), and, most importantly, finding a way to go out dancing regularly (still looking!)).
The great and settled elements of life right now are that my daughter is in school, she’s thriving, she’s made friends, and she’s happy. We have lovely family around and we visit with them often. We live in a cosy little apartment in walking distance of almost everything, and with the exception of an upstairs neighbour who occasionally starts partying on Tuesday nights at 11pm (ack!) it’s peaceful and friendly.
I really like where we are. Moving here was a good decision.
Perhaps it’s the season for it – I don’t really know – but lately I’ve been reflecting a great deal on my values and looking at whether I’m in alignment with them.
Inquiry into how upright my integrity and trustworthiness is, is coming up a lot these days (I wonder, is this a common theme these days? For you?)
This burgeoning curiosity has caused me to take a look around at my life and my work and gently assess and revamp some of my ways in the world.
I’ve been looking at my desire to be of service, and my ideas around that.
I know that I value community, in-person as well as online.
I value doing things locally as well as with a greater reach. I value physical proximity as well as intellectual connection. I value heart and soul and body and mind. All of it, altogether.
Because of that I decided that pricing my work in US dollars doesn’t make sense, even though I’ve got many American folks that work with me. Because I’m Canadian. I live, work and spend my money in Canada. So why not use my own currency, and make it so my fellow Canadians can pay me easily in the same currency?
Therefore, I’ve adjusted my rates and put them all in Canadian dollars (which means, for my European and American friends – if you work with me you’ll get a little bit of a discount because of the exchange rate – woohoo!)
Because I value in-person connection and community I’m also going to start offering small in-person writing circles in my new little town. I’m excited to create and maintain a mix of teaching in small in-person groups as well as online groups – this combination feels so sustaining and rejuvenating to me.
I also value a spiraling and circling model of healing, growth and connection.
I don’t believe we do something once and transform. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but my own experience of transformation and growth, as well as my 10 years experience working with clients is that we encounter ideas/work/healing and our bodypsyches take in what works at the stage/age/point we’re at, processes, integrates and uses it, but is not done with it.
We often end up circling back around to the same ideas/work/healing at different stages in life, sometimes wondering why we feel like we’ve gone backwards, when we haven’t gone backwards at all, we’ve simply spiraled back around in order to work at a deeper level with the same material, because we’re now ready for it.
So I’ve decided to do some small revamps of the way I offer my work.
This is really great news – I’m making Personal Mythmaking School (my 3 month transformative and healing memoir-writing ecourse) a lifetime membership. I’m also adding more integration weeks into the process, so it’ll be around 4 months instead of 3 months. Again, to support spiraling around and the integration time needed for the bodypsyche.
What this means is that if you’ve already done Personal Mythmaking, you’re welcome back, to continue circling around and spiraling in to the work for as long as I run the course (next round starts in February 2017.)
It also means that if you’ve been considering writing a memoir and doing Personal Mythmaking, but have felt constrained by the time limit – you can sign up knowing you have the ease to return to the work if you want to take a slower pace.
I also value people more than incomes, and accessibility. We live in a society that assigns personal and societal value based on vocational income. I believe there are many people that make far too much money, but even more people that don’t make enough money to access the kinds of soulful alternative healings they need and want.
Because of this I’m offering longer payment plans for my services – particularly Personal Mythmaking School.
And, I’ve instituted a sliding scale fee schedule for my in-person hands on bodywork. It’s a model I borrowed from some psychologists with a great deal of integrity (that word again :-). It’s presented as a flat rate, with reduced rates available based on a self-assessed pre-tax pre-deductions combined family income, adjusted for dependents. I know this model feels fair and kind, because I benefited from it years ago as a low-income single mother with no medical insurance/benefits package, when I was in need of counselling. So now I’ve found the courage to restructure those sessions with that kind of pricing model.
Because of my belief in a spiraling healing process and the value of repetition, I’m going to continue to regularly offer the various ecourses I’ve created and shared only once or twice – Honouring the Darkness, Honouring Grief, Honouring Anger, and Not Sweet! a prose ecourse for women.
In line with this desire to stand in my integrity, to explore my own personal mythology and reclaim my lifestories and sense of wholeness (as well as guide people through this process) I’m also more and more interested in acknowledging the ancestry and history that has made me who I am and brought me to where I are.
Which is to say, when I say I’m a white woman from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, the truer version of that story is that I’m a woman with ancestry and roots reaching back to the Gaelic Celts of Scotland, the Brythonic Celts of Wales, the mixed history of the Viking/Scottish/Gwichin/Cree/Pictish people of the Orkney Islands and a currently unknown First Nations somewhere in eastern Canada.
I speak english, yet none of my ancestors’ languages were english.
As a high school exchange student to Japan I learned very viscerally that language shapes our ability to think and comprehend and when we lose a language, we lose parts of our cultural heritage. This was direct and embodied learning – while living with Japanese families, going to a Japanese highschool, when Japanese finally ‘clicked’ so did my ability to understand many concepts that were foreign to the english language.
My more ancient ancestral languages include, at this known point, Welsh, which is a Brittonic version of the Gaelic language, Gaelic, Pictish, Norn and (my current best guess) Algonquian-or-Iroquian-or-Cree.
And that’s just my simplified version of an ancestry shaped by ongoing and complicated human histories of migration, conquest and connection.
The Yukon is my hearthome. I was born and raised in Whitehorse which is the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün and Ta’an Kwäch’än nations, who are Southern Tutchone-speaking, from the Athabaskan language group. And when I say I’m now living in the Okanagan Valley, what’s truer is that I’m living on the Syilx people’s traditional territory who are Nsyilxcən-speaking, from the Salish language group.
Which is to also say that I am raising a mixed race daughter who has all of my roots, plus roots from various unknown cultures in West Africa because of the colonial slave trade to the Caribbean, specifically Barbados, which is the traditional territory of the Kalinago people (Kalinago language), and Trinidad, original home to the Carib (Kari’nja language group) and Arawak (Lokono language group) peoples.
So, a small step towards alignment of my values, having said all of the above, is to acknowledge where I am and where I’m from on my websites, and add a new element to the second season of my podcast. Along with sharing where we are in the world, I’m also asking my interviewees, and myself, to describe whose traditional territory we are currently living on.
Finally, I’m also asking the questions: how can I become more wholehearted? How can I do what I’m doing, including the things I feel stuck in, with a little more grace and acceptance? And how can I do more of the things that lift me up? (dance, art, writing, preparing and eating yummy food).
And, knowing what lifts me up – I’ve been asking, am I doing those things? Or do they get sacrificed first on the alter of busy-making work-work-work thoughts?
Yes, I confess, yes – but less and less. I’m happy to say I sacrifice my soul less, and honour it more these days.
These decisions feel so satisfying to me. They feel more wholehearted, and definitely more aligned with my values and goals of being of service to the world as well as to my own soul.
What about you?
Have you been doing a reflective audit of your own ways of living in the world? Of engaging with the world? I’m really curious.
How do you access a state of wholeheartedness with life, no matter what? (I confess, I’m not always successful at that!)
by the way – I’ve got two goodies for you – Honouring the Darkness is a free winter solstice offering – it starts December 12th leading up to solstice, and you can learn more and sign up below.
And, if you’d like to do Personal Mythmaking School, which starts in February 2018, I’m offering some bonuses to anyone signing up by the end of November – 3 hour long one-on-one sessions with me, to be scheduled anytime from now until the end of the course (June 2018).
Sign ups in December will get 2 hour long one-on-one sessions with me, and sign-ups in January will get 1 one hour long session.
These early bonuses are available to the first 15 signups.
You can learn more and sign up for a payment plan here. Once you’ve enrolled we can book your first session!
Of course, if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them via e-mail or videocall – click here to schedule a free 20 minute conversation with me.