Going down the mountain

Sitting in our backyard in Boulder is so nice.  We can hear the trees and the creek.  Two fat squirrels are chasing each other through the overlapping trees that have not been trimmed in 30 years.  The squirrels in Bolder are brown and fat.  The mountain squirrels are lean and gray.   We walk down the circle stone path and find a blackberry bush by a stone bench and sit, picking the sweet September blackberries.

This is our new home in Boulder.  We had to leave the mountains and go to the city to find quiet.  In Breckenridge we heard fire alarms, garbage trucks and food delivery trucks arriving for the downtown restaurants all day.  For a town of 4,500 there were at least 4 alarms a day.  Not to mention the tourists who alarm their cars in the parking lot accross from our old Breckenridge house.

Sitting here in our Boulder, the house energy is wonderful. We rented it from a couple who in their 60’s.  They decided to take a contract teaching in Burma or the union of Myanma.  He is an english professor, and she is a video producer, both on an adventure now that their two boys are in college.

This couple have lived in this house for 30 years, raised their kids in a one bedroom cottage.  As the kids grew they added 2 tiny rooms,  an extra bathroom but no closets.  It feels like a small cottage in the city.

They built a shed that became the boys bong hut in their 20’s.  When we looked at the house the bong hut had truck seats, and a Bob Marley wall hanging, and lots of butts in the ashtray.

Now we have painted it and converted it into our meditation room, a quiet sacred reflective space with a mosaic red lantern, and a tree of life bronze wall hanging and lots of cushions for sitting.

Looking around the garden I notice an orange wheelbarrow, and my mind flashes back to my first marriage,  and our first house in 2005.  I was thrilled to have a garden of my own.  Owning a house was good, but a garden that I could invest in, and did not have to leave was priceless for me.

I spent most summer days in the garden.  One day my husband arrived with a beautiful top of the line metal wheelbarrow in enamel blue, with gorgeous wood and blue enamel handles.  I cried.  He said it was the best one on the market.  My heart and mind flash back to that moment sitting here in this garden in Boulder.

This house has a great mature garden that backs onto a creek.  It has brambles and overgrown areas that remind me of my grandfathers garden in Eaglescliff – Northern England. We used to play hide and seek through the raspberries and rose bushes.  When I grew up and went back to my grandfathers garden, it was so small, but it felt like a labyrinth of secret places.   I can imagine a young couple moving to Boulder, him a young english teacher, her an aspiring filmaker, watching their young boys running around the back yard, playing hide and seek.

We can’t wait to bring our 3-year-old husky down from the mountain to this new house. She can hide in the shade of a tree,  or chase the brown chubby squirrels through the underbrush.   I am sitting at a square wooden table that is weathered and grey, and has four benches around it.  I imagine great barbeques and good discussions at this table.

My heart is like the old weathered wood.  A little worn, but plenty of life still left in it.

Cheers to Boulder!

swimming upstream

Today we sat by the Breckenridge river, at the french bakery here in town. As the days of september get shorter and cooler brook trout and brown trout attempt to go upstream to spawn.

We sat and watched the brown trout in the stream, as the water rushed downhill.  There were two culverts dumping water into lower lying land.  We watched fish trying to jump up to higher ground, going against the rushing water.  They attempted to leap the 5 ft gap.

Their jumps seemed like futile attempts, but they kept trying. These fish were my teachers today…I asked myself:

How much energy do I put into futile endeavours?

How much energy do I put into swimming upstream?   For example trying to do it my way rather than surrender and trust the universe.

Everything flows downstream….I have been swimming upstream all my life, resisting the flow, resisting life.  Letting my mind and ego run the show until it no longer works.

Now is the time to let go and flow.

Waking up to a new landspace in your life 

Do you ever find you look back and think how did I get here?  I am 53 and just starting to pay attention to my body.  Just starting to honour myself.  Not putting everyone else first, and forgetting about myself.  Including myself on the list of things to care for, rather than leaving myself out.

Yesterday I was on top of a 14,000 ft mountain in Colorado.  I saw these beautiful mountain goats, way up high on the top of a pyramid of rocks looking down at us.    I followed a 10-year-old boy up the rocks, trying to keep up with his nibble hopping from rock to rock.   I asked the 10-year-old boy for his technique for climbing.  He said “hold onto the rocks with your hands, and don’t put much weight on your feet”.  What a difference that made, I climbed nimbly up the mountain and saw this mountain goat family at the top of the world.  Just me and the boy.  Everyone else was on the ground yelling cautions to us to “be safe”, or “watch out for the charging mother  with her babies”.

Later that night before we fell asleep in each others arms, my husband asked me what was the highlight of my day?  I said “being 53 and just starting to feel fit, and strong for the first time in my life”.  I was proud I was able to climb by myself.  I was nervous but I called on my ancestors, who have been climbing mountains for years.   I could almost see my grandfather shaking his fist in the air as if to say “we shall overcome”!

Having been physically ill for 8 years, I am just starting to feel strong and somewhat healthy.  I think this is partly because of a greater compassion for myself, and being more patient with myself, rather than punishing myself to change.   As Dr. Barbara D’Angelis says “loving myself forward instead”.

In spite of my imperfection I am shinning even at this late stage in my life……

It’s not over till it’s over.

Hold on- let go

Yesterday I led a clutter workshop in the mountains of Breckenridge.  As I was preparing for the workshop I had a realization.  Clutter is a first chakra issue.

The first chakra is Muladara in Sanscrit.  It represents our ability to ground ourself, to have boundaries, to not being pushed around or intimidated.  It also relates to our ability to accept change, to allow change in our lives.

Having excessive clutter really is about safety, grounded-ness, our ability to cope with change in life.  Our ability to cope with our changing identity, our changing body as we age.  Clutter also keeps us in the energy of the daily grind, focusing on the day-to-day minutia of life— leaving us thinking is that all there is?

What if we want to see more, to have more, to deserve more.  To have a bigger life than what we currently have?  This requires letting go.  Letting go of objects from our past, that no longer represent who we are now.  Updating our vision of ourselves is what clutter clearing is really about.   Are we ready to do that?  To let go of who we used to be, to allow who we are becoming to lead our life?

Clutter represents our ability to hold on, or let go.  I really believe this is a continuum with holding on at one end, and letting go at the other.  If we are in balance we are somewhere in the middle.  One woman in my workshop said “she used to be at the far end of holding on, but over the past ten years she has shifted more and more to letting go”.   She realised that this was her unconscious way of getting ready to transition in her life.  To get ready for the next re-invention of herself once her kids left home.

Your thoughts on your clutter are most welcomed…..




The heart loves silence

Have you slowed down enough to listen?  Where can you slow down enough to make space for the silent whisper of your heart?

There is so much silence here in the mountains.  On our daily hikes we have found secret meadows for a picnic, and spots where we can dip our feet into the cold mountain streams.

I have taken to meditating by the mountain stream.  The rushing water creates a background of pink noise that you can zone out to.  I imagine sending my energy and stress down to the earth and into the stream.  I invite the pine tree energy and the cosmic sky above to flow universal energy in through the top of my head, and mingle with the earth energy.  I can smell the pine trees, I can hear the running water.  I am sitting on the moist earth after a night of rain.  Running these two energies through my body clears out any “cobwebs” or stuck energy that I have picked up thought the day.

My two dogs sit beside me, drawn by the energy.  What a privilege to be here in the mountains at this time, insulated from the chaos in the rest of the US.

You can always find stillness inside if you slow down enough to listen. I would love to hear what is your place that allows you to get to still inside?

Learning to Settle

After surviving the winter as a new immigrant.  Spring came then Summer, along with my work permit and my SSN.  All of a sudden I could open a bank account, get a driver’s license and access to money.

Finally I am here.  I shipped all of my sentimental belongings to Rick my new husband as “gifts” through UPS.  I have no belongings left in Canada.  No longer straddling two countries I finally feel like I have landed here.

I think back to my parents who emigrated to Canada from England at 42 with 3 kids. I remember my mother saying “it takes a year to stop hating a new country”.  I thought she was ridiculous  at the time.  Perhaps she was right.   I am two months away from my one year mark, and I am just finally settling in, realising I live here and that I am yes married.

We have taken to hiking in the mountains first thing in the morning.   At 2pm each day it rains for an hour and clears up in time for happy hour.  The climate is perfection, 75 degrees and with a soft wind.  Perfect for hiking into the mountain woods with our curious Husky and our little Eskimo/Papillon dog.

For a ski town, the tourists don’t stop in the summer. Farmers markets, craft shows, food and wine shows, paddleboards, tumble bubble,s and multiple hikes make this a summer play land.

I am starting to love hiking.  In my past I never had the fitness, or energy to hike the trails.  I have met many women on the trails with injuries who told me they are “trying to get their power back”.  Perhaps that is what I am doing in these mountains, learning to get my power back.  In the trauma of sudden loss I forgot who I was, each step I take I start to reclaim my energy, reclaim my joy, and reclaim my power.


Facing the truth in America

Overdose is the leading cause of death in the richest country in the world.  These deaths are predictable and preventable.

Before I left Canada, I was involvedin a community network that helped prevent overdoses.  We had 90 first responders and community members brought together to learn about the signs and symptoms of overdose.   We managed to get a grant to put Naloxone overdose kits into the hands of firefighters, first responders and drug users; all were trained to use the life saving Naloxone to interrupt an overdose, buying themselves, their friends or their family member time to get to a hospital.

Now living in the USA I hear that there are 22 opioid overdoses a day in Colorado.  It is the leading cause of death here.  Today the youngest person to die of an overdose is a 10-year-old boy from Florida who got into some Fentanyl.     Naloxone the overdose disruptor is sold for $4,500 for a 2 dose kit in USA.  In Canada the cost is $17 for the same kit including needle cleaning equipment and a carrying case.

This blows my mind, how did the one of the richest countries in the world have such little access to education and prevention tools?

When the news covers the issue the discussion is about hiring more police officers and focus on the crime of the drug user, rather than funding prevention and education.  It is shocking and ridiculous that a first world country does not implement the four pillars approach to this crisis, that has succeded elsewhere.

Imagine these newly hired police officers trained to respond to overdose; task them with delivering prevention education in the community, and we would have a winning combination of prevention, education, harm reduction and enforcement: the four pillars approach to solving this crisis.

This is not rocket science, this approach works, and has been implemented in Europe and Canada.

Lets wake up America, and include funding for overdose prevention and education and save some American lives.