Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions: 13 Habits for a Soul-Realized Life

New Year’s resolutions are typically goals that we set for the coming year, results we plan to achieve. For example: “This year I will exercise, meditate, or somehow succeed more… and I will stress, drink, and over eat less.” Optimistic and caught up in the spirit, 'New Year’s Eve You' makes promises on behalf of 'Future You', and Future You never has a chance, because goals set in the future often stay in the future, and we find ourselves making the same resolutions the following year. 

There is only ever right now. That's why deciding what you will be in the future is never as powerful as making changes in the present moment. Start thinking about how you want to live your “nows.” The best way to make your intentions a reality is to re-conceptualize resolutions as daily commitments, more like a “New Day’s Resolution.” 

Over the past 10 years I have gone through an incredible journey of deepening my connection to my soul. I consciously wanted to feel more inner freedom, to be more at peace with my emotions, and I wanted the assurance of knowing I am fully on my path. From year to year I have accumulated habits that have made this desire a reality. I’ll share a handful of them with you below - some of them might not be for you, but they all work minor miracles for me. 

Before you read them, I invite you to ask yourself what it is you really want. How do you want to feel on a daily basis? Then, with love and intention, make small changes to your daily routine - and expect big, juicy results. 

Here are 13 daily habits I want to share with you (arranged more-or-less chronologically).

As soon as you wake up take three deep and slow breaths. The first moments of the day are very sacred. You get the chance to set the tone for your day. A deepening of your breath will bring your attention to what really matters: your Being. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Reach for your in-breath from your lower abdomen, completely fill your belly and ribcage with air, then drop your jaw, soften the muscles around your mouth, throat, and neck, and breathe out through the mouth, softening your belly. 

Feel gratitude in your heart first thing in the morning, after your 3 deep breaths. Say out loud, “thank you” three times and manifest feelings of joy and gratitude as you say the words.

Smile before you get out of bed: smile and allow even more of that joyfulness to come in. You don’t need a reason, you are simply training your being to attract and notice more situations that bring about joy, laughter, and contentment.

Ask: “How can I serve?” You came to this earth with gifts and you are meant to share them with the world. Beware of the question, “how can I get what I want?” which keeps you in strategy level thinking. Asking, “how can I serve?” will attract situations where you can use your gifts to inspire others and yourself. Being of service brings meaning, happiness, and a deepened connection to spirit. 

Drink a glass of warm water before consuming anything else. It gives your organs a head start and aids digestion. When we support our digestive system, our body doesn't have to work as hard, and we have more energy for other systems in our body.

Drink a green smoothie. After the water, head to the Vitamix. A green smoothie that includes more green than fruit will awaken your digestive system with all the benefits of organic leafy greens. I have found that a daily habit of drinking green smoothies has added to my energy and vitality.

Come back to the breath and the heart as often as you can. When stressed or confused, when sad or angry, when nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, fatigued, or frustrated, when you feel out of sorts, or uncomfortable, bring your attention back to your heart and breathe deeply. When in doubt of anything, bring your attention back to your heart and breathe deeply. Even when you are feeling great, bring your attention to your heart and breathe deeply, anchoring this feeling in your being. Your breath in your heart is where your soul lives. This habit brings you back home to you, helps you reset your compass, and you can do it dozens of times a day. In fact, you can spend most of your time in that space. 

Meditate: I officially learned how to meditate in 2009 at the Chopra Centre. I have used the Primordial Sound Meditation and the Chakra Sutras on and off for the past seven years. More and more, I see meditation as a way of living, of being grounded and aware moment-to-moment, as opposed to being reserved for a specific time and place. Each moment can be an opportunity to meditate. Try to bring and keep your awareness within as you go about your day: when you are eating your meals, driving in your car, having a conversation with a family member or a friend, brushing your teeth. If you need help with grounded and whole body awareness, here is a meditation I recorded: http://anneberube.com/meditations/

Stay active: I try to sweat three times a week, with Hot Yoga, running, or a power walk. I also have a stretching routine I do most mornings when I wake up. I am Kapha so I sometimes find it difficult to get my body moving. I have found that getting my heart to race for even a couple of minutes every day really has an impact on my stamina, my overall energy, and my ability to be even more active. Don’t make a big deal out of it but try to raise your heart rate every day.

Hug the people you love and make sure they feel seen and loved. Family is at the heart of my life. When the four of us are at peace with each other and everybody feels seen, inspired, happy, and well, the heart is healthy. When the heart is healthy, there is nothing we can’t do together. We tell each other that we love each other everyday and we hug a lot!

Don't eat after 7pm: Intermittent fasting is highly recommended by nutritionists and naturopaths. It gives your digestive system a rest so your body can focus its energy on other important functions. I have done a few 18 hour fasts but what I tend to do on a regular basis is to give my digestive system a full 12 hours of rest. All that is required is to resist the temptation to snack before bedtime.

Falling asleep with your desired feelings in your awareness. As Wayne used to say, you will stew for 8 hours in the state that you fall asleep in. Think about your desired feelings and allow those to be the last feelings you have before your conscious mind shuts down and your soul becomes even more active. Wayne had the habit of saying every night before going to bed: “Good things are going to happen.” He had a little sign made and it was hung on the wall beside his bed. If you fall asleep every night believing that good things are going to happen, they most certainly will.

Believe that you can have it all, then make a promise to yourself to not compromise or settle. You have a huge destiny to live out.

That’s it! These are things that over the years have become habitual for me. They are my antidote to New Year’s Resolutions. These practices accumulated in my life little by little over the years and I am so grateful for them. I’d be thrilled if even one or two could be helpful for you!

Love

Anne

On Self Love

“How can I authentically practice self love if I don’t truly love myself?” My client’s question took me off guard as it illustrated one of the limitations of the world of self improvement. So much advice is predicted on self love, but what if the feeling isn’t there? We cannot command self love to manifest, nor should we “fake it till we make it.” But I believe we can nurture it along. The key to the practice ofself love is… “practice.” The following are ways that you can begin to practice self-love now, and remember, it’s just practice, so be gentle with yourself.

1. Tend to your instrument: First and foremost you are a spiritual being with a desire to be human and not the other way around. Make a daily priority of nurturing your mind-body-spirit connection by practicing presence and awareness with conscious breath and meditation. Your body is the instrument your soul has chosen for this human adventure. Be kind to it. Be sensitive to the feedback and power of this incredible spiritual-biological miracle that you ride around in. Attuned and optimized for the manifestation of your soul's destiny it will support you in your quest for self love and soul realization.

2. Turn your compassion inward: Be mindful of your inner dialogue and notice how you speak to yourself. Would you let another person speak to you that way? Just like everyone else, you need acceptance, attention, and the permission to feel and heal. Don’t avoid your own internal suffering or discomfort, instead meet it head-on. Be your own best advocate, the kindest and most compassionate person you can imagine.

3. Practise forgiveness for yourself: We all know the importance of forgiving others: by letting go of anger and resentment, we not only release them but we free ourselves from negativity. But what about forgiving ourselves? Years ago, through shamanic journeying, I came face to face with my own five year old self. A little girl who’s beauty, ferocity, exuberance, strength, humour, and connection to spirit brought me to tears. Yet, as I gazed upon her, her exuberance began to fade into an intense sadness. In my haste to become an adult I had left her behind. The feeling broke my heart.

“Forgive me,” I pleaded. And she easily did.

But the hardest part was yet to come, I needed to forgive myself. I choked on a range of emotions as I breathed through the process. As I did the little girl and I began to merge together and become one. The gesture of self forgiveness was tremendous.

I realize now that the this unconscious guilt had been keeping me separate from innate parts of myself that were crucial to my happiness and self actualization.

You can practice self forgiveness without shamanic journeying: look in the mirror and lock eyes with your reflection. Breathe deeply and look deep into your eyes with kindness and tenderness. Consider that these are the eyes of the beautiful, fierce, exuberant, strong, funny, little child that lives in you. Offer the same compassionate and generous forgiveness that you would naturally extend to any innocent child. With each deep breath, soften your heart and allow yourself to accept all that you are, smile at yourself, and with your final breath whisper, “I love you.”

 

Here is one of my very favourite videos on self love. It's a clip from Luc Besson's movie Angel-A.

 

 

Daily Practice - Who Am I?

On the path of self-discovery, questions are way better than answers. A well-formulated question is our number one tool to expand our awareness and the boundaries our human experience. Answers close doors. Although they reassure us and give us comfortable reference points, they interrupt the flow of possibilities—ones we never considered—and narrow down the spectrum of possible outcomes. When we answer a question about who we are, we create perimeters within which we exist, and everything that is not a part of the answer becomes unacceptable and separate from us. We divide our humanness into little pieces, separating ourselves from our Divinity.

Conversely, when we ask a question without trying to answer it too quickly, we open our minds and our hearts to what is outside the box of what we already know. When we ask questions without looking for answers, we send signals to the divine intelligence that we are open and ready to discover something new, something we don’t know yet. Like Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “To ask the ‘right’ question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.”

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is, “Who am I?” It is a simple, powerful question that includes its own answer, “I Am.” These last two words represent the Divine intelligence. When we ask the question, we ask the Divine intelligence to guide us toward remembering our own Divine nature.

Personally, I have done this every day for several years. It has led me to a deep understanding of my nature as a spiritual being. This practice has brought clues, insights, awareness, and healing that have all been part of deepening that knowledge.

The practice is as follows: 

This practice is best done early in the morning in the moments before you get out of bed.

Begin by closing your eyes and bringing your attention to your breath. Deepen your breath and allow it to be slower than normal. Five counts in through your nose, reaching for the in-breath in your belly first, then moving it up to the chest, then exhaling five counts out through your mouth, dropping your jaw and softening your throat, your neck, and your lips.

Now bring your attention to your heart. Imagine your mind is in the actual space of your heart as you continue to breathe deeply. Quietly within, ask the question, Who am I? Repeat the question for about three minutes, slowly, staying connected to your breath and your heart. Don’t try to answer the question; simply ask it and feel it. Answers might come from your thoughts, from your guides, from the Divine. Don’t stay attached to the answers that might arise, just notice them and go back to gently asking the question and being present to your entire body.

At the end of the three minutes, take one last, deep, in-breath in gratitude to the opportunity to converse with the Divine, saying thank you, and releasing the question on your exhalation. Surrender the details of how and when the question will reveal itself - the how and when are not up to you. The answer will present itself in Divine time, and it is out of your hands. Once the practice is over, go about your day, keeping your mind open to messages or synchronicities that might arise.

Asking Who am I?, with your attention in your heart, will communicate to your heart and soul your deep desire to truly know yourself and meet your eternity. Your soul communicates through feelings. Feeling the question and the gratitude will bring you in close proximity to your soul, to your true nature, where insights can be revealed.

Our Life Force

At the core of our human experience, before the stories, the narratives, the judgments, the intellectual concepts, or the dogmas come into our awareness, there is a life force. This life force is the impulse of the soul, it is Love. We are connected to it fully first thing in the morning. We were connected to it fully when we were born. It is at the base of all experiences, it is the breath of our life, the heart of our being, at the heart of be. We knew this force innately when we were young and we played freely and explored it, with awe. Now, as adults, we are invited to return to it, to remember this core impulse, this love, that stems from within.

Either this force is allowed to flow, or it is not. Naturally, without interference, this love wants to move, transform, and grow. It also deeply wants to make itself known to our awareness.

The energies provided from our environment from conception onwards can be put into two categories: either the energies from the environment were life-giving or life-threatening. Experiences and environments either invited growth or invited protection. An environment of growth is where there is unconditional love, acceptance, and freedom to feel and express in one uninterrupted movement. It is a milieu in which there is very little judgment, control, or unexamined fear. I remember this as playing freely in the forest with my friend. Nature was a life-giving energy during my childhood. My friend and I talked to fairies and laid on our backs on bright green moss, looking up at the trees and the clouds dancing. I remember this energy when I’d have an idea for a show to entertain my friends or plan game and I could just act on it, make it happen. When the environment invites growth, when it is safe for us to simply be, our soul recognizes itself, we become aware of our grandeur and brilliance, and our life force is invited and allowed to move and grow in the way it intended to.

On the other hand, when the environment requires protection, for whatever reason, that impulse of growth is interrupted, limited, inhibited. Protection mode is a state our whole body goes into when it feels unsafe. It is often referred to as the fight-or-flight reaction in the body or the sympathetic system. In the face of perceived danger, the body adapts. Cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, the endocrine system’s stress hormones, are released to give us more energy. Blood starts to flow away from the vital organs and toward the extremities to be able to fight the threat or run away from it. The blood thickens to help clot faster in the event of an injury. The breath becomes quicker and shallower. The heart rate rises. The immune system weakens by virtue of energy being expanded to other systems. This is all very good in the face of true danger. If we find ourselves in life threatening situations where we have to fight or run away from a dangerous animal, for example, these body reactions are very important. But in our modern society, we tend to tap into the sympathetic system of the body even in the face of non-life-threatening stressors, like a conversation with our boss, a crazy work deadline, the pile of dirty dishes on the counter, the news, despair we take on from someone else, or even internal stressors like negative thoughts and undesired emotions, whether conscious or not. The body doesn’t see the difference between real and perceived, and it adapts to the stressor in the same way it does with the real threat.

As a child, I remember this feeling. It came up in the classroom when I was yelled at and singled out for being distracted (and distracting) and not attentive. It came up when the tension was high in our house. When I knew I’d better tiptoe around and measure my words, as it felt that an emotional bomb could go off anytime. It came up when I’d feel adults around me saying words that didn’t match their energy and it was confusing to me. When I was 5, we lived in New Brunswick for a year so I could go to English school and we stayed with my mother’s cousin for a few months. One evening before bedtime, I walked over to the kitchen where she was tiding up from dinner to say good night to her. When I tapped her back to get her attention, I accidentally startled her. She abruptly turned around, showed me her fist, and said: “If you do this again, I’ll punch you in the nose.” I remember my body getting hot. I remember being so confused and scared. (As my body carried this memory, I became more prudent with adults.)

The thing is, even if they happened a long time ago, our body responds today in protection to past traumas and we still get triggered in our body. In fact, many of us live in constant fight-or-flight, mostly unconsciously, because of childhood traumas. Many of us live under stress everyday. And most of the time, the emotional stress is not caused by an actual distressing situation, but by suppressed emotional pain and the worry of possible future pain, outside our conscious awareness.

When the body is in protective mode too often, our whole being is affected. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing is compromised. That is why under stress, we can’t optimally function or heal easily from an illness. On the contrary, when the body-mind-soul feels safe and is relaxed, it taps into its parasympathetic system, which is the body’s natural rest state. This state supports the body’s growth, healing, and cell regeneration. In this state the body-mind-soul can thrive. When we are in growth mode, we feel connected in the moment, at peace with the past, and excited about the possibilities ahead. We experience peace and joy that are unconditional.

When the body is in protective mode, when it is combatting against a life-threatening element, we can’t optimally live and thrive. We can’t do both well at once. In his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton talks about how the energy used to protect oneself takes away from growth. He explains:

“The mechanisms that support growth and protection cannot operate optimally at the same time. In other words, cells cannot simultaneously move forward and backward. (…) In a response similar to that displayed by cells, humans unavoidably restrict their growth behaviors when they shift into a protective mode. If you are running away from a mountain lion, it is not a good idea to spend energy on growth. In order to survive -that is escape the lion- you summon all your energy for your fight or flight response. Redistributing energy reserves to fuel the protection response inevitably results in a curtailment of growth. (…) Inhibiting growth processes is also debilitating in that growth is a process that not only expands energy but is also required to produce energy. Consequently, a sustain protection response inhibits the creation of life sustaining energy.”

That is why stress and unprocessed emotional pain eventually take away our joie de vivre, our ability to love deeply, and our vitality and we don’t get to experience the extent of who we truly are. The protective mode of the body keeps our soul’s desires from being fully known to our conscious awareness, it keeps love from fully manifesting through us.

If we could be in growth mode all the time, it’d be no problem. We would be light and love beings creating at will, never hurting ourselves or any one! But because we didn’t grow up in a vacuum, and we are after all three-dimensional beings, living in a material world and subjected to the laws of duality and separation, we all have adopted certain protective patterns and integrated them into our bodies.

To varying degrees, we have all experienced emotional traumas. We have experienced a separation from knowing with every cell in our body that we are safe, loved, and that we matter. It can be the experience of our birth, going from the warm watery womb of our mother to the cold atmosphere of the earth or a premature birth and having our gestation period interrupted and not being able to be held by our mother, isolated for months in an incubator. It can be the severed connection from a parent experienced as a child lost in a shopping mall for minutes or the separation experienced from a parent leaving the home to never return. It can be the hurt experienced after proudly bringing an art project from school only to have it ridiculed in front of our siblings, or being told repeatedly that we are stupid and won’t amount to anything. It can be the distress felt by the mother while she was pregnant, because she was overwhelmed by the unplanned pregnancy, or the father’s inability to bond with his child after the birth. It can be the trauma of abuse by a parent, a caregiver, a sibling, a family member, a neighbour, a friend, a priest, a schoolteacher, or a coach. It can be the trauma of devastating accident, an injury, or the death of a loved one at a young age. These hurt leave unique traces in the pathways of our bodies.

Our adaptability is very useful in situations like learning to walk, ride a bike, or how to write. Even our incredible resilience in the face of adversity is what makes us survive the most intense situations and supports us in taking the actions that are needed. Our adaptability and resilience are gifts and recognizing that they play a vital role is important. There is an intelligence in the madness of suffering.

However, in order to move beyond protection into growth, beyond survival into thriving, it is important to recognize that these energetic patterns are unconsciously running the show. They were important back then but today, they might not serve us anymore.

That is our healing work as adults. To go back to a full body awareness of this life-force, of this innate love. To go back to simply being. To support our body in remembering its primary function as a processor of energy, as conduit for the soul. As adults, we are constantly presented with opportunities to fully feel these past traumas, once and for all. We get to choose. We might avoid them for a while, perhaps unconsciously at the beginning and then consciously because we don’t want to feel the feelings. But the situation will continue to occur and reoccur, until we open ourselves up to the healing.

I want to be clear. When I talk about processing these ancient patterns, it’s not about traumatizing ourselves over again by dwelling in the memory and the hurt. It’s about reestablishing a proper movement, an innate flow in the body. It has very little to do with the actual memory in the mind or the mental distress. It’s an impersonal kinaesthetic process.

At first, a loving presence will be needed, or at least a loving attitude towards ourselves. That day in the leadership course, had I not been supported by the teacher or the group, I would’ve right away engaged my habitual pattern of flight. I was looking for the exit door. But instead of leaving, I stayed. I was in a womb-like environment where there were no judgments and a tremendous intention for growth. Growth took over me. Love took over me. I felt my life force pushing through the layers of the onions, layers of past emotional pain living in my cells and taking its rightful place within my being. There was barely any content attached to the experience. It’s only afterward that I realized the story related to the healing.

Reacquainting ourselves with feeling at a cellular level and with the way our body processes energy, is the work of Be Feel Think Do. It is the core of living an embodied spirituality. It is the path to remembering who I am. Feeling clears the body and allows it to be an ideal conduit for our soul to express through and reveal itself to us. Feeling the emotions as sensations in the body allows for the patterns to lessen their grip on us. It gives us a chance to see more clearly and make choices that will support a growth environment in the body an din our life. A growth environment is the state of simply being, without interference from fear. This is how we were meant to be.

Destiny or Free Will?

I believe we come to earth to reach our highest potential and along the way, we find the tools, the gifts, the circumstances, and the people we need to accomplish this.

But the question is: is it already written or do I get a say? Are there really ancient palm leaves in a cave somewhere in India where my past, present, and future is written out and all I have to do is watch my life unfold? Or are we master “manifestors,” great creators with the power to write our own story? Or is it a little bit of both?

When I was a small child, I don’t remember having to consciously do anything to live the life I was meant to live. Meaningful events and inspiration would appear as out of nowhere and I’d confidently take a step toward my joy. Awe seemed to be guiding me, propelling me from one moment to the other, transporting me to explore my innate curiosity. I trusted people and situations, and it made me feel connected to the moment. There was no need for me to “figure things out,” yet huge moments, peak experiences still occurred.

If I think about it now, it seemed like an invisible energy was running the show, and I was naturally being guided along this thread that was my path.

I see this with my children now. They are at an age where they don’t yet worry about time or concern themselves with who they are to others and what they should be doing at any moment. They simply are. If it feels fun, they do it. And there are peak experiences, moments when my husband and I can glimpse into a thread, a mysterious premonition, as if giving hints to the bigger picture. I know they are not consciously manifesting this. They simply are present, here now, to their joy, and their pain too. They know what moves them and what pushes them away.

As I got older, like many of us, I began to measure and strategize more. I stopped spontaneously feeling and being my way through life. I wasn’t sure I loved that emotional and spirited part of me anymore, feeling and being didn’t seem to be a “safe” and smart way to live. It didn’t seem to be helping me with what I thought was important at that time.

As a teenager, although I wasn’t sure I loved “me” anymore and lost sight of that innate self, I realized that if I put in the time, the effort, and the dedication I could accomplish anything I wanted. I began to think and plan with my rational mind, which led to a life that was tightly managed and controlled. I started to make things happen. And on I went into the world determined to do and accomplish.

I “did” a lot. I “accomplished” a lot. Unconsciously, I was doing things mostly to please other people. And then, right around the time I turned 30, I realized that I could only live like this for much longer.

Along the way, I had gradually shut down the part of me that used to be so connected and present to my innate self and my joy. Who I had become was a mental construct and I found myself in a place where I didn’t know who I truly was anymore and what it meant to love myself. Although I could still make things happen, the things I was manifesting didn’t have the excitement or the inner reward I’d hope for. Eventually it was harder and took longer to make anything happen. Everything was hard work and I got really tired and began to lose my “joie de vivre.” And one day, even though I’d worked so hard toward my goal, I just couldn’t make it happen.

I had gone too far off the path, where there is very little magic, very few surprises, and no awe. It was time for me to come back home. And I did.

There is a way that is easy, fun, and that inspires others. There is a way that brings us to a place beyond our wildest dreams. I believe there is a thread that is our destiny. And when we follow this thread, we have help, we have support. When we step onto this path, we embark on the journey of realizing our soul, our highest potential.

I believe we decided on this before we came to earth. We chose to come with the tools and gifts we needed to accomplish our mission. We also choose the people and the challenges that would help us deepen our experience of that mission. In this way, it is all written.

But I also believe we are incredibly powerful creators. We can manifest anything we want, truly. We were born with free will. And what we put out attention on will grow. When we put our attention on our deep inner self, on this thread, and we choose to remember this original choice, the big “why” we came, we can create magic here on earth, and manifest beyond our wildest dreams.

When we are being careful and we act out of fear, we move away from the thread. When we make decisions solely based on our conditioned mind, disconnected from our inspiration and our intuitive stirs, we move away from the path. Things don’t manifest as well over there and we feel like there is something missing.

When we know who we are, and we love and value ourselves just as we are, when we allow ourselves to feel again, to trust in our own brilliance, we enter the flow of the path. There, synchronicities, celestial beings, and Divine Love help us. Things happen faster, bigger. There is more excitement, surprise, and joy. We are guided within to the intelligence of our path. We are supported.

Today the call from within me is stronger then the will to control and manage. My heart nudges me back when I forget who I am. And when I forget for too long, it screams at me. I am human, I forget. But I know now not to ignore the call when it shows up. That is my choice.

Every single moment we get to either remember that mission or forget it. Every single moment we get to decide to live from that connected place, like when we were children, and open our hearts and mind to the guidance and the inspiration of our hearts, or we get to decide if we will compromise on who we know our self to be deep down.

I would probably find my life written on those leaves. At the same time I know it is possible for me to stray and get lost. That’s where my free will comes in. The less we compromise on who we truly are and why we are here, the more creative our life will be and the more our music will inspire others. That is our destiny.

Past Lives and Karma

Not long after I met him, my husband Paul, mused that we must have been together in past lives. He was only 22 but he shared a sense of knowing and recognition that felt ancient. Not only did he feel that he had known me before, he even felt that a part of him had been missing me his whole life. As I listened to him explain, something inside me awakened. I felt the same way, and I loved this idea of lives beyond this one. It opened up my mind to other possibilities. What else was out there beyond what I already knew, beyond what I couldsee, touch, or hear?

Some time later I was in a near fatal car accident. I was badly injured and it would take some time for me to fully heal. For a few years after, as I tried to make sense of why my life and my body had been shaken in such a dramatic way, I came across the concept of karma. What might I have done in a past life to cause that car accident? The more I inquired, the more I saw myself as flawed. I began to believe that my soul needed to pay its debts.

This inspired a healing adventure that was very much focused on fixing what was broken in me. My identity was tied to that limited self, tied to a law outside of my control and awareness, subject to the cosmic forces that controlled my destiny. I knew I had a certain power to influence my healing, but I also felt I couldn’t change the hand I was dealt. I was healing, quite rapidly as I was tapping into my body’s ability to move old stuff at quantum speed, but it was hard and, most of the time, not super joyful.

Fast forward to my first shamanic experience. One day, out of the blue, I had an experience where I lost all sense of time and space and found myself on the other side of the veil that separates the world of spirit from what we commonly call reality. I didn’t will it to happen; the experience found me. I felt how incredibly fearless and powerful I actually was. I realized that I was not witnessing an external god, but that I was god. In this one eternal moment, with no past nor future, I realized I didn’t have to do anything to be safe. I was immortal. Just being me was enough. On top of that, just being me was all I had to do to experience the peace and the fulfillment I longed for. I was already perfect. I was the creator.

My understanding of past lives and karma changed. I realized that beyond our temporary human lives exists our true essence, and it remains intact through everything. I realized that my true self was neither flawed nor incomplete, and I did not have to suffer for any past sins or deeds. Importantly, I realized that holding this limiting belief was keeping me from knowing my true essence, my divinity, here on earth. Energetically, my beliefs had kept me separate from this intelligence, when in fact I was that very intelligence.

Unexamined beliefs can keep us small, no matter what they are. Even an expansivespiritual belief, like the concept of karma. A spiritual belief can be a box, if we allow it to take some of our power away.

Once in a while, what I call a past life memory comes to my awareness. Either in a dream, in a meditation, or in a deep conversation with spirit. Instead of trying to identify the lesson, I simply witness the memory. That is enough. There is only this moment so my job right now is to simply be present with the memory and to any experiences and feelings within myself. What I have noticed is that they are often tied to memories in this lifetime, reflecting an energetic pattern that has carried into this life. Once I bear witness to them and invite them to move freely inside my body, I heal, I find more peace. But I don’t need to work at it, I don’t need to find the reason, or figure anything out.

We don’t need more reasons to be tough on ourselves or to keep ourselves smaller than we truly are. Society and culture give us plenty of opportunities for that and we tend to shrink and compromise without much convincing. Spiritual concepts can do the same if they separate us from that divine intelligence that we are.

We are so much more magnificent than we know, but it’s up to us to know this truth within ourselves. Once in a while we get glimpses, tastes, and hints of this magnificence. Our job is to lean into that knowing, feel it, and engage it – especially on those days when the world doesn’t mirror it back to us and it feels like we are alone in what we know. Discovering who you truly are is the spiritual path. And when you find yourself, never compromise. Make it a priority. That deep inner knowing will invite your true essence to express and manifest through your being. And when it does, you know you have come home, right here, right now.

It's Been One Year

“Can we get some?”

How can you say no to Wayne Dyer? We pull the car over on the Trans Canada Highway. I’m concerned, this is too risky. I tell Paul to stay where he is, we can find another way.

“Nothing bad can happen Anne, I am with Wayne Dyer!”

“That’s right,” Wayne’s says, “and anyway, you are eternal!”

As transport trucks wiz by, Paul dodges four lanes of speeding traffic, gets into the bushes, climbs up a lilac tree, and brings back an arm full of lilac branches for Wayne.

It’s late May 2015 and Paul and I have picked Wayne and Maya in Ottawa to drive them back to Montreal and then on to Moncton for what would be our last two events together.

As we were driving, Wayne noticed lilac bushes in full bloom on the side of the highway. He shared with us how special they were to him, how they used to grow on his street where he grew up in Detroit and they reminded him of his mother. He even recited a few lines of the poem by Walt Whitman When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.

 

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, 

And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, 

I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. 

 

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, 

Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, 

And thought of him I love.   

 

They would be the first and the last lilacs we would see on this long trip. An oasis of flowers in a sea of poplar and pine.

Needless to say the car smelled amazing, and Wayne was so happy. He kept them in his room for his entire stay in Montreal. That fragrance that powerfully filled the car that day symbolizes to me so vividly the Divine love that emanated from this man.

Today is the one-year anniversary of Wayne’s passing. He has been in my awareness everyday single day since. Although I miss him a lot, every time I tell him how much I miss him I can hear him say, almost annoyed: “why do you miss me, I’m right here!” And I know it’s true. He is more present to me now than when he was in his physical body. His ability to guide me is beyond time and space. And I know I am far from being the only one who feels this way, who he interacts with, who feels his love. He is accessible to all who desire his guidance. His capacity and his reach have magnified. The world is a difference place now that he is doing his magic from the other side of the veil. Only after enough time has passed can I know that his transition was a great gift, the ultimate selfless act.

My thoughts and my heart are with Wayne’s family and friends on this day. A warm loving hug to Skye, Saje, and Serena, to Reid and Maya, to Anita, Colette, Nancy, and Kate. A warm loving hug to my friends who also miss him: Celine, Chrissy, Lisa, Paul, Maman, Suzanne, Joshua, Rachel, and Shauna.

I am excited for what is ahead, for how his love will continue to manifest in this world. Good things are going to happen!

Wayne, I Love You xo

Anne

Coming Home

I found my first mentor by accident. Like most people I had studied under plenty of teachers and professors, but no one like Louise Lebrun. I say it was an accident, because I thought I had signed up for a seminar on women in business. Instead I was confronted by a depth of content and an emotional intimacy that I had never experienced before. It was a unique combination of science, spirituality and self-empowerment. It was as though a shaman was practicing Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

My mind was racing. I wanted to leave because it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I couldn’t discern any tools or strategies. Yet, something in my heart made me stay. It was soaking up energy and information that my mind couldn’t understand. By the end of the seminar I had experienced a personal breakthrough that would dramatically change the trajectory of my life.

I continued to take courses with Louise for several years. I dove deep into her work and her community and I became certified as a facilitator. It was all about my own personal transformation, I connected with an emotional freedom that healed my body and opened my heart.

However, there was one component of her work that intrigued me more than the others. She made frequent reference to Huna, a shamanistic Hawaiian spirituality. Something about that called to me and I found myself on a new trajectory; travelling to Hawaii and studying under a new mentor, a Kahuna named Laura Kealoha Yardley.

Something in me recognized Huna as an essential part of my life. People often ask me how I KNEW that this was for me. It’s an important question, because what they are really asking is, “How will I know when I find my mentor?” The answer to that question is always subjective, but the first time I met Laura, when she told me about Huna, it felt like coming home.

At the time I felt like I could have stayed under Laura’s wing forever, but eventually she did something surprising, she pushed me out of the nest. Laura felt I was ready and she wanted me to teach and share the wisdom of Huna on my own.

Great mentors should guide you to your own inner compass so that you can become your own teacher and guide. They don’t want to keep you as a follower, they want to empower you to find your own way.

I’ve had many mentors. Sometimes we are lucky enough to share our path with a great teacher, and in a sense that is all that a mentor needs to be. When everything that is needed has been received, we part ways to make space for others.

How do you choose a mentor? First and foremost, let your heart be your guide. Follow feelings like curiosity, wonder, and awe. Don’t be intimated by those feelings, they don’t imply a lack on your part, only a resonance. Stay with your mentor as long as you are learning and growing. Trust that you will know how much focus to give them at different times in your life, and don’t be hard on yourself when you change focus and pursue new passions.

Most importantly, remember that this is your journey and you are going to live it in a way that is completely unique to you. Your collection of influences and mentors will inform your own perspective on the world, and will eventually be your gift to others.