September Flowers: the twilight hindsight of goodbye

Flowers Leaving

A Poem by Gretchen Hickmott

Isn’t it just

elongation lines as petals

begin to give in

agreeing to stop

holding themselves upright

a story folding downwards

in long diagonal descents

quietly now

geometric poetics

each subtle fold in

disappearing origami hush

Isn’t it just

whisper lines of soft exhalation

a ribcage of flowers and sound

yielding

spaces conversations once filled

every photosynthetic beat

Maps of bloomed existence

closing themselves slowly

intricately, almost secretly

fading blush

Isn’t it just

undeniable lines drawn

blossoms perfectly leaving

transfixed, see them

infinitely worthy

exiting like twilight

quiet articulate sincerity

immune and intoxicating

as they curtsey

unbecoming all things

known, yours, willing

Sept 1 2018

If autumn has brought some of your story lines finally to a close, here is a poem for you.

The season turns and shows us what we have in our hands and our hearts after all the energy of the year. It is a very honest season in this way. There is an art to both, letting go and…not quite being ready to surrender that which has been so viscerally yours. They both have integrity and truth.

Isn’t it just…so human to finally see things in all their sumptuous splendor as they unbecoming what they were, undeniably and irreversibly. Rupture is powerful stuff. This year deeply broke my heart and I have found grief to be a funny thing. It moves and changes and circles back around itself. It becomes fiery, motivating, violent, hilarious, sweet, rich, debilitating, And useful. If you are saying a long goodbye to some grief still with you, know you are beautiful and right on time, exactly where you are.

Breaking A Promise

To Break A Promise

A Poem By David Whyte 

Make a place of prayer, no fuss.

just lean into the white brilliance 

and say what you need to say

all along, nothing too much, words

as simple and as yours and as heard

as the birdsong above your head

or the river running gently beside you.

 

Let the words join

one to another

the way stone nestles on stone,

the way water just leaves 

and goes to the sea,

the way your promise 

breathes and belongs

with every other promise

the world has ever made.

 

Now leave them to go on,

let your words

carry their own life

without you, let the promise

go with the river

have faith. walk away

 

This is one of my favourite poems about making changes that need making, the hard and honest ones. We often promise our hearts and lives to people and situations that aren’t able to hold us in healthy union. This poem is a meditation on the benevolent forms of promise breaking; when supporting your wellness and sanity means disappointing someone. For this first day of spring, may you have the courage to break promises to others or yourself that have kept you from wholeness. This is your permission slip. Happy Spring to you! May it bring you growth and flowers If you need some wingwoman guidance care while you make changes in your life, consider booking an illuminating and supportive session here under the "sessions" index.

 

Sense This: tools for finding your people

A few wise words from the brilliant Rosalyn Bruyere's Wheels Of Light about choosing people based on the quality of energy and emotional wholeness we experience in their presence.

"The process of life, the path of consciousness, begins with the physical body. We cannot "know" anything until we sense it or experience it first. Personal choices and decisions should "arise" from the kundalini [our vital energy]. But since our bodies are usually quite numb (modern life), this can be a long, slow process.

In looking for friends, teachers, and mates we must begin by considering the equality of their light, not the way they look, not the way they say they are, but the way the body feels in the presence of them. We often choose our friends and our loved ones and proximity to them for all the wrong reasons. Many of us come from backgrounds in which our parents did not carry a lot of light or carried light at times that were harmful to us in some way. As a result we respond to people who have abundant energy as people to be avoided, and we sense people with low energies as being safe. Such responses do not assist us to lead the powerful kind of lives most of us desire. The kundalini [lifeforce that each of us carry in different ways] has a story to tell us. We must as individuals and as a culture learn to listen to it; it is the story of life itself."

How do the people in your life make you feel? drained? comforted? taken advantage of? honoured? respected? judged? not quite good enough? fully seen? too much? deeply appreciated? loved? We often look for people to tick off all the appropriate boxes on paper, look lovely in pictures, complete our idealized vision of a power couple or stylish friendship union. We also choose people who are lacking in vital life force so that we may "help" them or complete them in a way that makes us feel needed and important. But truly, unless people bring our heart a sense of calm and elevation, we will be left with our own energy frustrated, depleted, or perpetually searching for something that feels more...equal...more fitting. Something beyond sight.

We are pure dynamic energy. This is not esoteric musing; this is hard science. The human form you find yourself in  is more a process of continuous wave particle patterns than a concrete reality. Physics teaches us that we are both, a highly complex collection of particles, AND the creative movement patterns or wavelengths of these particles. Every beat of your pulse, every thought that crosses your mind, every memory you recall, every time you have a flutter in your stomach while learning something new, every dream you have at night is the movement of energy patterns, an electrical dance in constant motion. Even when we die our bodies continue to move through disintegration and continually become other forms of matter. Eventually returning to the basic elements in nature, we then form new life, over and over, infinitely. We are energy in motion, despite our solid appearance. Energy is our original language. Whether we know it or not, we all speak it proficiently with others every day. When our basic vital energy is compromised, we become unwell or contribute to imbalance in those around us. When it is healthy and full, we feel and live well and contribute to the wellness of others around us.    

How then can we practice making good energetic companionship choices? Most us of are very much on autopilot with our bodies in this regard. We categorically make decisions that are entirely mind based and quite cut off from the honest experience our bodies have in reaction to another. What can we do to regain this important intelligent sensing language of our bodies?

Start noticing how the area around your heart and solar plexus feels in the presence of each person you come into contact with. If you pay attention, you will notice whether your chest and abdomen become light, warm, closed off, constricted, anxious, expansive, weighted, or relaxed. Start practicing this and you will be astonished at the amount of information you get about the person in your presence. You may experience their energy as gentle, harsh, quick, scattered, zingy, cloudy, light. You may eventually notice that certain colours come to consciousness as you sense them. Take this informations seriously. Consider what it means to you. Consider if it feels healthy, welcoming, balanced, or perhaps exciting but very imbalanced. Our bodies are wise. They are an intact and intelligent navigation system able to pick up very subtle and complex energetic cues from people, situations and places.

My favourite kind of people to be around are the ones that seem bursting with balanced light. In an appointment the other day, I was in the presence of a client that made me feel like I wanted to jump up and down with joy! My chest and stomach felt bright, open and vital as I sat with her. When I left, I felt like someone had taken me flying through the air on the back of a tiger and then set me back down on the ground gently! She had exquisite, fun, caring, trustworthy and enlivening energy. Today, I answered the door, and a very angry frustrated person stood there looking for assistance. I immediately and without conscious thought, stepped back and put a hand across my chest. I still assisted him but my inclination was not to let him in my house for more than a brief period of problem solving. Have you ever been in a romantic relationship that continually felt as if just enough energy kept you hanging on and yearning for more fullness yet never really arrived there?  Have you experienced being around someone that makes you feel smaller and less capable than you usually are? Can you sense the heavy slow sticky energy of someone who drinks too much alcohol?

Each of us carry a veritable library of information inside and around us that is available to help us make responsible companionship and proximity choices. We may have to spend time with people who have very low or unpleasant energy for a variety of professional or personal reasons. When you understand the general effect the energy of another has on you, it allows you to make informed choices about how close you may wish to become with them or how much time/spatial limitation with them is healthy for you. Making these choices consciously and responsibly is an important act of personal health care because your overall health stems directly from the condition of your vital energy. If it is being depleted by the lower or imbalanced vibrations of others, you must decide whether risking your own wellness is worth experiencing time with someone. Sometimes it is; we can help each other balance. Sometimes it is not; we lose our health and cause no positive change in the futile process. Trust yourself to choose wisely...and practice listening with your body.

Begin to notice how people make you feel in the different parts of your torso. Take note of the information you receive. Repeat the experiment each time you see the same person and compare the information. What consistencies do you find? Do you feel energized in their presence? Do you feel tired or zapped? Do you feel confused? I often find that when I consistently cannot decipher a person's energy that they are either being deceitful or they feel threatened by something. If it feels like deceit, I remove myself from the situation or challenge them to be honest. If it feels as though they are threatened, I take extra care to assure them they are in a friendly, non- judgmental place with me, giving them the opportunity to open up if they choose. Everyone you come into contact with has an unspoken energy story to tell you. You have the option to contribute to those stories in quality ways. You also have the option to use discernment and remove yourself when you feel unsafe or on the receiving end of unreasonable negativity. 

People will either add to your wellness or diminish it. Sometimes we allow loved ones who are hurting into our space because we have energy to give them in their time of need; we are in a position to elevate them. This is a fantastic and caring thing to do! Perhaps you meet someone on the street with terribly unhappy hopeless energy. If you have some kind gentle energy to share briefly and it feels reasonably safe to do so, maybe smile and feel some warmth and a sense of caring move from your chest to the area around them. By all mean, do not avoid all people in need of some kindness because they are depleted. Just engage responsibly and with some boundaries. Make sure you have time after those interactions to recharge and clean the energetic space around you (fresh air, a shower, breath work, exercise, meditation). You will not be able to do this kind of giving endlessly and without boundaries very long however. If you become significantly diminished from over sharing your energy, you will not be in a position to elevate others or keep yourself buoyant and well. 

One effective exercise I use in between clients is to sit cross legged on the floor, in a chair, lying on my back (whatever works for the body and circumstance in that moment), taking deep slow strong breaths, visualizing myself pulling up energy from the ground (earth energy!) on the inhale and filling the space inside of my body and charging the energy around the outside of my body on the exhale. I do this for a minimum of one full minute, more if necessary. I can feel quite certainly when this area is full and more whole. It feels like strong steady balanced light. I am charging my field to replace any depleted energy. It is wonderfully effective and gives excellent pleasant sensations of fullness. If you do this frequently you will be amazed at how good this feels and how much more vitality you have. The other benefit is that you no longer have to feel resentful after situations where another person drains you. They will only drain you until you charge up your field. This simple practice will change your life. 

All of this is to encourage us to begin seeing each others with our full senses instead of just our eyes. This is a more honest intelligent sight and it will help us find more meaningful relationships and personal wellness. Have fun experimenting with sensing others. Commit to becoming aware of what you are taking in and invest in your own vitality by recharging yourself after depleting encounters. Every person has these free easy tools at their disposal. They only require a little curiosity, willingness, and time. 

 

By Gretchen Hickmott

March 10, 2018

Yes, No, Lost: a guide to inner nowhere

Get lost. 

Feeling lost is one of the great and terrible pleasures of being human; strangely, it may be what connects us most to our humanity. That searching, hopeful, hopeless, curious, exasperated, anxious, longing and innocent place of lostness is something every human has to slog through, usually many times. The most gloriously idiotic, expansive, embarrassing, and ultimately useful periods in my life have been those of fumbling around in the indigo abyss of lostness. The days and evenings full of aching anxiety and unsettled emotional slaw. No next step forward in sight. The sudden disappearance of meaning in work, relationships, community, life purpose...all giving way to a total lack of self confidence and connection to the surrounding world. Uggggh of the spirit. These periods feel cruelly confusing and disheartening. We interpret them as personal failure, as if we are bad at life. But the experience of being lost is actually a process of heart opening and increasing consciousness. How do we trek through these tough times with less self torture? 

If you're not occasionally disoriented, you're not doing it right

My apologies to you if you feel uniquely hexed by the universe...but being lost is quite normal. Disorientation is a part of donning these human skin suits. We are infinite spirits stuffed inside a finite body. We are endless possibility trying to operate in the confines of a dense world of rules, gravity, solidity, and restriction; it is a laughably difficult paradox to live with.  If we are paying attention at all, we feel uncomfortable some or much of the time. On a very deep irrational level we understand the truth of our infinite wisdom and of our innocence. We sense the place inside of us that has compassion and humour for the human journey we are on. But on louder more immediate levels, we judge ourselves for not being able to constantly march forward purposefully with confidence. It is awfully tough to occupy the human spaces in between. Most of us are doing the very best we can to manage this puzzle. It is important to give ourselves and others that hard earned credit. None of us arrived here with a how-to manual. We are winging it.  

Lost or Recalibrating?

Although we do not arrive with a map, every one of us is born equipped with a perfect navigation system. We know when something feels not quite right. We know when its time to go or stay, even when that is the harder and less practical thing to do. We know when something has to change. Subconsciously, we even know just who to gravitate towards to learn heart lessons with, even if those lessons are terribly painful and difficult. This is not self punishment, bad judgement, or idiocy; it is an innate understanding of where our hearts need to learn and evolve. A very smart hidden part of you is driving your ship towards exactly what you need...all of the time. Sometimes what we need is a good aimless drift in the doldrums so that we can recalibrate and change direction. This is a necessary and useful period of temporary disorientation. Here, the hidden wise part of you is integrating the experiences you have been through and listening intently for new directional information. This process requires a lot of energy and can make you feel less functional, less sane, less powerful, less intelligent about your life. But is that true? Do we become temporarily incompetent?  Would you consider a child who is trying out new sounds as she learns how to speak, incompetent? Most of us would understand she is remembering the sounds she does know, experimenting with new sounds and listening to herself so she can learn what comes next. We would not consider her lost or bad at life. We would encourage her. We would be patient while she finds her way. We would understand that she cannot learn to speak eloquently without going through this process. And hopefully, we would understand that learning to speak gracefully, honestly, and with precision is a lifelong process for her. We are all still figuring it out. We are that brave kid in our periods of disorientation, regardless of our age. We are listening intently for new directional information. When we have enough information and have digested sufficiently, we will take our next step. You simply cannot know what comes next until this process of recalibrating (“lostness”) has come to its own natural close.

Try not beat yourself up for being disoriented as you grow. It’s like picking a fist fight with the wind and will only deplete your energy and likely elongate the process. Attempt to see that your period of being “lost” is actually a sign of growth and is to be treated with respect, kindness, extra rest and TLC. Because you feel weird, you might make a few "bad" decisions. Don't worry too much about that; you will get useful feedback from those one way or the other haha. Just keep listening and watching. Feel the currents without trying to make too much sense out of them. You will know what to do when you know what to do. One day, you will wake up and try something new and go from there. Until then, go through the basic motions of self care (be active, read, interact with loved ones, spend time in nature, go traveling, keep your body healthy) even if your heart isn't in it. It will catch up. It's busy trying to open. 

But what is the POINT?

I ask myself this question every time my heart or spirit breaks badly, every time I find myself disoriented and stuck, every time I have to give up something precious to me and begin again: what is the point of all of this? It's become a ritual I can expect, perhaps this sounds familiar?

 

  • Things unravel
  • I wonder why any of us are here living in this strange seemingly pointless complexity.
  • I wonder why I feel so terrible and disconnected? 
  • I do nothing “productive”, make “poor” decisions and blame myself for failing.
  • I wander around impatiently feeling sorry for myself. 
  • I eventually take a small uncertain step forward. 
  • I find some trust (even when trust has been broken). I learn to connect again. 
  • I find new ways to give and receive love. 
  • The sun shines on everything. 
  • Rinse and Repeat.                    

Why, oh why, do we have to put ourselves through this madness?

Physics Says So…

Because these periods feel so complicated and discouraging, we interpret them as times of personal failure. From a scientific perspective, we are experiencing a necessary phenomenon of physics. The universe we live in is measurably expanding and as it grows it creates temporary brief voids which are unstable by nature as they become filled with new matter.  Since we are not separate from the universe, we are required to expand along with it, in all our growing pained glory. In our personal  lives, as in the rest of the multiverse, new space is created, it is naturally an unstable state and will not remain spacious for very long. Physics shows us that matter will eventually fill in any space created. For example, if an earthquake occurs and wrenches open a new space in the ground, it will quickly become filled with oxygen, light particles, and eventually many other forms of matter such as water molecules, bacteria, and more complex organisms; a new eco system will develop. The space is created and the universe fills it.  Being "lost" is an experiential process of your subconscious as you create space for yourself to be filled with…more life.  

The Heart Says So...

Love and growth are innately ambitious. You came here to earth to learn how to evolve your heart and help others do the same. It’s a GIANT job. It is part of expanding along with the universe. Surely, you don't really believe you came here to just fumble around, get stuff, lose stuff, and then die ...do you? What a massive waste of resources that would be. Nature doesn't tend to waste energy. Nature evolves. You are on purpose, regardless of how you feel about that. By evolving your heart, you make the universal heart stronger, more wise, more diversified,  more creative, and more compassionate. Your life is an enormous art project to illustrate lessons in compassion. It is similar to the evolution of a planet from a tiny cosmic dust particle into a place teeming with diverse life, advanced ecosystems, magnificent flora and fauna, and consciousness. You are this essential growth. Each of us contribute in our own unique ways just by being here as witnesses and imperfect participants. Heart evolution is not reserved for Mother Theresas, Ghandis and Martin Luther Kings. It is required curriculum for all of us humans; we cannot opt out of this, even if we wish to. Hiding from the world will also instruct the heart, but that may be just as or more painful than active participation. The heart learns equally from connection and separation, but separation can be a particularly tough teacher. So, whoever you are, no matter how “lost”, the world only requires you to show up and try as best you can. That alone will evolve the heart. You are allowed to screw up. Just make your best attempt at learning to forgive, to accept, to hold pain and trust in your heart simultaneously, to let go, to begin again, and to find love for things that challenge you. This requires some periods of restriction and disorientation; try to respect and accept them for the vital role they play in our learning process. They are an essential part of becoming more conscious, wise, and kind. 

You are not alone

We are all in this together, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, til death do us part. Even when we abuse one another or feel abused by life, heart lessons are being learned, as difficult as that may be to accept. This realm of choice and serendipity we call our world is a theatre of catalysts for our heart growth. The players here come in both benevolent and malefic costume, many of whom we’ve shared complex histories with in this lifetime and other lifetimes. We grow from both peaceful and jarringly painful interplay with it all. We are truly all in this together.  You cannot be responsible for another person’s evolution (beyond the formative years of a child) but by being responsible to your own heart growth, and allowing yourself temporary disorientation along the way, you are doing the job you came here to do. This encourages and supports others on many different levels and layers. Be here for yourself. Be here for others. Be lost, be found, as many times as you need. You are creating more meaning and connection in the world every time you try. We are collectively and individually on a journey of spirit and physics. The lesson and reward for this participation is your life, all life. 

 

By Gretchen Hickmott

wingwomansessions@gmail.com

www.wingwoman.space

 

 

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How To Interact With Someone Who Has just Experienced Tragedy

 

Helpful Hints for Interacting with Someone Who Has Just Experienced Tragedy

•Do not avoid them or ignore them.

•Say hello, extend some friendly words such as:

* "I've been thinking of you, It's good to see you, If you would ever like to have a coffee, talk, or walk, please know that I'm available,

*"You have been in our hearts and thoughts-if you need any help with errands or wish for company, please let us know."

*It's really great to see you, How are you managing today? Let me know if you need anything" " Can I drop off a bottle of wine or cookies at your door some time?"

•Do not bring up their loss inappropriately (such as in the middle of the street, at the grocery store, at a restaurant). Let them bring it up. They will if they wish to talk to you about it. If you are hanging out with them privately you can ask "Hey do want to talk about how you're doing or how things have been for you?" They will if they want to.

• Treat them like a normal human being. If you know of other things that are happening in their life (a new house, a partners job, some great writing they've just done, their pets, etc) Consider asking about how those things are going. This gives the person an opportunity to have conversation that isn't awkwardly about only what has happened. Many people hurting deeply still wish for some positive social interaction.

•Risk your own momentary discomfort to extend kindness and warmth to someone who is hurting. Sometimes a smile and squeezing someone's shoulder lets them know you care and still allows them space to themselves or the opportunity to strike up a convo with you.

•Don't be afraid. People don't need your fear, they need your kindness.

Gretchen Hickmott 2017