Opening The Heart

September 28, 2010

“There is nothing more beautiful than the magnificence of the human heart as it reveals itself. I believe that we cannot open our hearts on our own. We must rely upon each other.”

Janie Brown of Callanish

Recently I attended an equinox ceremony at an organization called Callanish in Vancouver. The invitation read, an evening of community, music, poetry and “council”. The council is based on the Quaker concept of unprogrammed worship, which involves sitting in a circle in silence and waiting for a member of the group to feel inspired to speak; there is no obligation to participate; someone participates if they feel drawn to do so. The evening normally starts with some form of musical chant that I find centres me and creates a beautiful environment for sharing. Then Janie Brown, the Executive Director, opens the proceedings with a few words, concluding with the sound of a gong indicating the commencement of the council.

Callanish is a small non-profit organization dedicated to improving the emotional and spiritual life of people living with cancer. I became acquainted with them through my work with Inspire Health and had heard a lot of positive feedback about their work. The circle at the equinox gathering consists of people living with cancer, some family members, employees of Callanish and friends and supporters like me. Ironically my initial visit to one of the councils happened by mistake. I thought I was going to a fundraising cocktail party but had got the nights wrong, the cocktails were the following week. However by the time I realized there appeared to be no wine or appetizers, it seemed too late to back out.

The result was an amazingly real, very moving, positive experience which has had me coming back ever since. The courage, the open heartedness, the ability to share challenges, the creativity that Callanish helps to engender, are all components of an evening which I know helps to open my heart. I realized at my first gathering that this was a real gift for me. I was at the time of my life when I had become more conscious of the guardedness around my heart. I think like many males I found emotions to be scary.

Recently I came across these words by Max Strom. “Sacred body, temple of the Divine, impermanent home of my soul, which is who I am: I invite you to unfold, to open, to release the armor and protection I have been holding for so long. I now realize this armor is no longer necessary, and it is time to flourish and blossom, to fulfill my destiny in this lifetime—in this world. It is time to allow all of my light, power, and mercy to shine forth, for the benefit of my own evolution and all other sentient beings as we move together toward the Light.” I know that letting go of this armor and protection is not easily accomplished in isolation and Callanish provides an opportunity for me to feel my heart opening with love, compassion and admiration for the brave souls who share their stories. As Janie says that in order to open our hearts we must rely on each other.

You can find out more about Callanish at

Serendipity and Synchronicity – the Divine Dance

September 27, 2010

This year I began a new commitment: to live a soul directed life guided by synchronicity and serendipity. I wasn’t

Just what do you call these things?

sure precisely how this daily intention might impact my life but a recent experience was a lovely demonstration of the divine dance between serendipity and synchronicity and the ensuing roller coaster ride. I had six people scheduled or my Intuitive Guidance Workshop; this is a perfect number to work with; it fits my space at home but I sensed that I needed something other than cushions for the floor area. I could move in some chairs but I knew that some people like to sit on the floor and I had seen workshop chairs with back supports that would be ideal but where? So an up and own journey commenced. I had only three days to acquire them and my first thought was a friend who I knew had purchased some for her own use and perhaps would loan me a pair for the day. Alas that prospect was quickly dashed when she advised that they were not in Vancouver but she told me that they were boat seats, available at a marine retailer.

It was the next day that while strolling back from beautiful Granville Island that I glanced to my right and there was the very store she had mentioned. It seemed like positive serendipity and at first seemed the answer until I looked at the prices – $178.00 each. I was immediately deflated, there was no way I was spending that kind of money. Back to the start. My friend had also suggested an outdoor supply place which I googled and sure enough found similar items used for backpacking at much lower prices but when I explored further they were sleeves that required the insertion of a mattress and I quickly concluded that they were unwieldy, expensive and looked uncomfortable. In some ways they resembled a giant Venus flytrap that could snap closed at any moment trapping the unwary victim inside.

The roller coaster was on a downhill drop. I tried googling floor seats but apart from offers for various sporting events and an interesting comment advising a floor seat purchaser to wear VERY high heels when she went to a Lady Gaga concert, I found nothing of any use. I was sure that these things had a name but what it was I had no idea and without a name Google was worse than useless. I began to let go of the idea of finding them at all when I had a brainwave. I had first encountered this form of seat at retreats at the beautiful Hollyhock Resort on Cortes Island; I wondered if they would tell me where to buy them. The reply was quick and a partial success – they told me the name I was looking for was back jacks. Now Google could go to work. Alas my hopes once again were dashed. The only suppliers were out of town. No one in Vancouver seemed to retail back jacks. It seemed time to let the whole idea go and get off the ride.  Cushions or chairs would do, I had done my best.

That night I was attending an equinox ceremony at Callanish, a small organization I support, devoted to improving the emotional and spiritual life of people living with cancer. A few times a year they invite me to a gathering of their community, to share an evening of music, poetry and “council”, it is something I hate to miss so a little later I found myself seated in a circle where to my delight I observed a number of “back jacks”. “Wow this must be a synchronicity I thought, perhaps they would loan me two for the weekend. Alas the roller coaster of my emotions again plummeted when I find out that they are using them “But we know a supplier in Vancouver”, I was told. The roller coaster began a steady positive climb. I had to contact a company called Relaxus.

Later that evening with some positive anticipation, I entered Relaxus into Google and found a chiropractic supply store; with increasing excitement I entered back jacks into their search and …. The roller coaster nose-dived back to earth when there was no positive response. I sat back perplexed; was this the end of my quest? I just could not believe that this magical combination of synchronicity and serendipity was for nothing; surely the great cosmic joker had some compassion! I just was not prepared to give up yet so I began to scroll through their product line, page-by-page, item-by-item and then Eureka! There it was – a Karma chair. What a wonderful name and only $54 each, right on my budget. Enthusiastically I checked the opening hours and everything screamed to a dramatic halt. They were not open on Saturday, they closed at 5.00 pm on Friday and I had a conflict. There was no way my partners would understand me reneging on my golf commitment to buy “karma chairs”.

I realized it was time for bed. I would not worry about resolving this now; perhaps the chairs were for my next workshop, although it seemed an anti-climax to abandon my quest when I was almost at the terminus. As I drifted to sleep I recall thinking I would not be too upset if it rained the next day; I could get my chairs and certainly use the time in preparation for Sunday. I could not help smiling when I woke to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the skylight above my head. A little later I checked the forecast which was dismal; my partners were in favour of calling the game off but no matter how grey it was on the outside, their was some sunshine in my heart; my workshop would take place with new Karma chairs.

Comfortable in My new Karma Chair

Some of my favourite quotes

September 25, 2010

I am sitting finalizing my preparation for my workshop on Intuitive Guidance tomorrow. I began to capture some of my favourite quotes in a single document. Then I realized it may be good to share them. blessings Trevor

“Midway this way of life we’re bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, where the right road was wholly lost and gone.” Dante in the Divine Comedy

“All we can say for sure is that a mystery comes through us, seeking its own fullest incarnation and that whenever we serve the mystery within us; we experience a linkage to the mystery outside. When we stand in conscious relationship to the mystery we are more deeply alive.” James Hollis – Swamplands of the Soul

“And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” Kahil Gibran in the Prophet

“Let the beauty we love be what we do, there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi (Coleman Barks)

“Since no one really knows about God, those who say they do are just troublemakers.” Rabia

“We find God in that which enlivens the soul. Simply say hello.” James Hollis

“Drink the wine that moves you.” Rumi (Coleman Barks)

“I can’t explain the goings and the comings. You enter suddenly and I am nowhere again inside the majesty.” Rumi (Coleman Barks)

“When laughter and tears combine into exquisite joy we may be having a mystical experience.” (I am not sure if I said this or read it somewhere.)

“The dynamic connection of the soul through the image manifests this energy. (The Divine) When we resonate to this incarnated energy we are in the presence of soul. When, for whatever reason the energy no longer enlivens that image for us, then that structure dies for us as a source of the divine…. The energy has departed leaving a dry husk.” James Hollis

“You are more than you think you are and something in you knows it.” Jean Houston

“For laughing and passion – beauty and joy – is our hearts truth. All else is labour and foreign to the soul.” Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

“All of the hurts and failures, losings and dyings and forgettings were but part of the gaining of the rich material of your life.” Jean Houston in A Mythic Life

“What is this precious love and laughter budding in our hearts? It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up.” Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

“Darkness is a sacred wick awaiting your touch Beloved to become a sacred flame. Light is the cure, all else a placebo.” St. Francis (Daniel Ladinsky in Love Poems from God.

“There is really nothing more beautiful than the magnificence of the human heart as it reveals itself. I believe we cannot open our hearts on our own. We must rely on each other. Janie Brown of Callonish

Be patient with all that is unresolved in your heart and try and love the questions themselves.” Rainer Maria Rilke

“You are not a human being having a spiritual experience but a spiritual being having a human experience. “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the incredible light of your own being.” Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

“Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

“It is not always a blind man who falls into a pit. Sometimes it is one who can see.” Rumi (Coleman Barks)

“Tears are the language of the heart.” Thomas Atum O’Kane

“If our action is not consistent with the soul’s desire, we lose energy. Ennui may set in.” James Hollis – Swamplands of the Soul