CONNECT.CREATE.EXPLORE

Life practice and stuff.

8 lessons from my experience giving to the homeless. — August 25, 2017

8 lessons from my experience giving to the homeless.

After 13 years working and volunteering in community services it almost feels strange for me to say I’ve never had the experience of preparing lunch bags and handing them out to the homeless. I was scared at first, well mostly nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. We teamed up with our friends Kal who runs Compassion in Motion and Monique owner and CEO of 4 Accents clothing. Both women give back to the homeless on a monthly basis so they were experts in my eyes. They gave us advice to be aware that not everyone will be friendly or want what you’re offering but when you get to speak to some of the people and hear their stories you will forever be touched. They also sent some volunteers love notes and tips to help us understand the dynamic a little more as well.

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Two days before, Shawnna, my best friend and I shopped for what was needed we quickly realized just how good it felt to be in the position to give back. Fast forward to Sunday August 20th I felt tired as it was 9 am and I only slept for a few hours but deep inside the butterflies were finding its way back into my stomach while preparing lunch bags with fruits, snacks, juice, water and sandwiches. All these thoughts were building “How will this go?” “What if people are mean?” All these thoughts without any real logic behind it, but it felt sensible enough to get me to second guess a serious effort. Luckily, instead of being derailed the energy of the volunteers and the excitement to give back filled the room and the butterflies left.

Once we completed putting the bags together we drove downtown to Nathan Phillips Square, we met with Randell another volunteer who gave us a rundown of how to outreach and the route we’d take which was short from Nathan Phillips Square to Moss Park but at the same time long because we would meet so many inspiring people along the way. The first person I saw I asked Randell to approach because I wasn’t sure exactly what to do.

She said “Hello, how are you today?”

“I’m Randell whats’s your name?

“We’re handing out lunches, would you like one?”

And the conversation continued.

He was friendly and interested in talking to us. He said he’d be leaving on Wednesday to go to Vancouver, British Columbia and to St. Johns, Newfoundland for the next while because he felt sometimes you need to get out the city for a bit. We definitely could relate! He named about 30 states he had travelled to including visiting Key West but he also expressed his upset with the government for bringing in so many refugees and providing housing to them but not to the homeless. Although he was quite upset he stopped and said thank you for hearing me out and laughed.

“It’s nice what you’re doing I really appreciate it”. As he said that, Shawnna came over and asked what to do if someone wants to give money towards what we’re doing, and there was a lady who was offering $20.

Lesson 1: You don’t have to be on the frontlines to give back or create change, but compassion is an energy that attracts more compassion and people will feel that and want to be involved.

Lesson 2: You don’t need to believe everything, but you don’t have to communicate the energy of not believing. Let people tell their story because their truth doesn’t have to match yours.

Continuing our walk along Queen Street, we stopped at the intersection at Bay St. where I met Jeff.File_004

Jeff had a sign and no teeth, he had an amazing spot to ask for change and he had two notebooks with drawings. He appreciated the lunch bag and what we were doing as well. I asked what he was drawing and he showed us a few pictures explaining that they were skulls but not typical skulls, they were Alien skulls because he wanted to do something different. Randell asked if he ever sold it and he said one guy offered him $50 for it but he wasn’t finished so he said he couldn’t sell it to him, when I asked how come he said it wasn’t about the money it was about his integrity he wouldn’t feel right selling someone an unfinished picture especially because when you give someone your artwork it needs to be complete or they won’t get the entire piece. He also mentioned that he loved outer space, the stars, aliens and planets, he’s always loved that stuff. He said he’s so thankful to be able to draw, so thankful to be here living and able to see.

“I’m so thankful to have eyes to see the beauty of this world, you know we’re so lucky to have eyes.”

Jeff reminded us that we should be thankful to have every single thing we have. He said thank you for the conversation, most people don’t really talk to me but you guys are doing something great.

Lesson 3: Jeff is an Angel, and sometimes the most beautiful things come from seemingly hopeless places. I’m forever thankful to have met Jeff whether he remembers me or not.

Lesson 4: Conversation is an exchange of energy much less an exchange of words. Language should never enable us to limit the exchange of powerful energy as it does typically, feel the conversation and you will always receive a clear message.

Continuing along Queen Street, we stopped a few times to provide a water or a lunchbag, not everyone wanted to chat, we respected their wishes and moved along. When we arrived at Metropolitan Park there was a combination of patients from St. Micheal’s Hospital next door, the homeless and some people just grabbing a seat because it was a hot day. We walked up to a few people and stopped to say hello to Will and Tyrone aka Funky Tyrone (stage name). Will actually had an assortment of gifts for us to give Kal, because he wanted to show how much of an impact she had made on him. Tyrone was one of those cool cats, at least that’s the only way I could describe him so you get the picture he looked like a musician (which he was) and told us that he would be doing a show this Friday at Yonge and Eglinton. You could see they had a genuine friendship, Will shared that Tyrone taught him to play Chess and Tyrone chuckled that Will still can’t play but he was pretty bad before. They both had such a warm energy to them.

Will spoke about finding the church in front of us about 9 years ago when he was at his worst and it changed his life forever, he asked me if I believed in Jesus and I said, well I’m not sure but I believe he exists, and he said well I know everyone believes Jesus is so great but I believe Moses is really the one whose great because he had more powers. I said I understand what you mean by that I just believe we all can access the power of God within ourselves and that we can pull on different powers like superheroes, he said that’s right because we’re all energy and God is energy! See that’s why I like Batman, he was even stronger than superman. We continued to talk for at least 20 minutes before realizing the rest of the group left.

Lesson 5: The truth is quite simple, but our perspectives adjust it to become truer to ourselves and coupled with language we complicate it in a way where we find it difficult to understand and even harder to understand each other. Strip away the words and what you will always find is the word, the truth is that simple.

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Randell was caught up in a conversation with a man by the name of Olu (an older homeless man she met some years back) I joined her after saying goodbye to Will and Tyrone. We listened to Olu for another 10 minutes before we realized we were down to two lunch bags so we said goodbye with the intention to meet up with the rest of the group to get more. We continued walking only to stop a few steps later where we met Greg, who was grateful for an extra bag of chips, something in his eyes and his thanks let me know that he needed it more than I’ll ever know. We chatted with Bala, Tony and Jim, three guys having a nice and easy conversation about working for what you want.  They reminisced on different parts of their life and bickered the way a couple would, you could see that it didn’t matter where they were, they had each other’s’ back, that’s what you call community.

Lesson 6: In the eyes and the energy you can sense gratitude. Sometimes you never know what impact a person can make on you and what impact you can make on them.  

Lesson 7: True communities are formed through understanding of a common experience, we cannot fake community due to location only but we must share something in common or at least share understanding.

We met back up with the group and exchanged stories and experiences, everyone smiled, you could see their hearts were filled and so was mine. Each of us touched by the experience and forever changed. Thank you to Compassion in Motion and 4 Accents for the partnership, Thank you to ShawnnaMelonTV for coming up with Small Change Big impact and a huge thank you to Lobely, Diyanah, Alicia, Randell, Shawnna, Odain and Noah for working together to give back.20170820_143757

Lastly and lesson 8 of this experience is that I am super thankful for being able to give  and to have, Thank you God, my spirit squad  and the universe for making this possible and pairing me with the best people to share compassion.

 

Stay tuned because there will be another!

We are Perfect. Here’s why. — July 20, 2017

We are Perfect. Here’s why.

There are three levels of thinking when it comes to the concept of perfection. But before that I need to get through the fact that society has a very different understanding of what it means than the spirit does. The move towards perfection is not stating we are an ideal or the “standard” of what society tells us we are to be. Instead it’s about knowing oneself and being the love that you are. At this stage we recognize there are no flaws and we have always been perfect but never saw that we were created as perfect by the hands of the creator.

For most of us life began at the perfect stage until guilt, shame, fear, misdirected anger and some other things became tools to determine who is worth more or less than others. We eventually internalized this and started believing that we really were imperfect from the beginning until the very end. There are three areas society has moved through when thinking about perfection: Perfect, Being imperfect is perfect, and no one is perfect, each coming from a good place but ultimately perfection is what we should internalize.

Society told us the story of what constitutes to normal, the story of standards and right fit. No one is perfect came from a place where we understood that most of us could not conform or meet the high standards of society and therefore there is no such thing as perfect. While this statement was meant to empower us to not hold others to impossible standards 20170415_162709and to accept them as they are, in many ways we blanketed the reality that we are in fact perfect. We covered up much of the behaviours and habits that were no longer serving us because we believed that perfect was impossible, soon becoming more of an excuse.

Eventually we began to see how the “no one is perfect” mentality stopped serving our highest good and we moved forward to where I think most of us stand today: being imperfect is perfect. No one is perfect doesn’t quite fit anymore because why can’t we be perfect as we are? Our differences in behaviours are not flaws, rather our perfections. Screw the standard, I am the standard!  We’re mostly here now because we’ve learned that perfect is achievable and that our “flaws” and differences in behaviour are part of the “imperfect package”. Although this mentality welcomes and accepts differences, it becomes a sort of blanket statement for seeing yourself as perfect without understanding the depth of it which ultimately minimizes our ability to integrate our higher selves into ourselves. The key here is remembering that your thoughts become you.

Perfect as a mindset and in embodiment is where we are moving to, despite the scariness and impossibility we’ve ascribed to it. The soul is perfect, our higher selves are perfect so once we decide to integrate our higher self with our ‘selves’ then we become perfect. Even with the difficulties along our journey and the behaviours that fall out of line with our higher selves these things exist as teachers and guidance for us to learn from. As aspects of the creator and as beings of love and light, we are the manifestation of perfection and to suggest that there is an imperfect component suggests that the creator is also imperfect. We cannot achieve perfection without knowing that we are.

The thinking that ‘no one is perfect’ started in the right place but to maintain it as a mentality will forever reduce our ability to be who we truly are and to embody the perfection that exist in us as soulful beings.

Our Real-Time Experience of Meditation with Dela Dorkenoo — July 1, 2017

Our Real-Time Experience of Meditation with Dela Dorkenoo

In my first ever collaboration blog I share the stage with Dela Dorkenoo.  Interestingly we have not met but it is clear that our thoughts are aligned. This piece focuses on the experience of Meditation from two perspectives, one self identifying male, one self identifying female, one in first person and the other as a narrative. However we wrote, we received each others work with fondness in each other’s ability to capture the duality of meditation, actually we have captured the universality of meditation since so much came out of both of our experiences. Not only are Dela and I sharing the stage but we’re also exposing our meditative process revealing something deeper than what you’ve seen in our regular work. We hope you enjoy!

I just finished my own version of a 15 minute yoga routine… I’m ready to meditate, I sit down with my legs crossed as the incense continues to burn. Respectfully I ask the universe to understand I will take breaks throughout my meditation to write down what20170701_163045 I am feeling; I continue. I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, in through my nose and out through my mouth but on the third breath I realize they were quite shallow so I intentionally breathe into my lower stomach and out through my mouth. The thought comes maybe I can do a Yoga  collaboration with Elle Lyon since I know her and we can sit down and plan and figure out how to make it a worthy collaboration. Ugh I’m straying again, refocus Mel. I breathe in again, into my lower stomach and I let out a low tone of hm. A thought crosses my mind of the first text from this morning and my response, maybe I should have said hello before responding, I hope she doesn’t think I was being rude, and then the address 4 beechgrove crosses my mind as I remember sending it out randomly to one person on Tinder. I close my eyes,  in the front of me I see the wavering of the yellow and orangey presence, I don’t really know what to call it but it’s the sure sign that I’m settling in. I laugh and open my eyes “your funny” and I go back into the meditation. I continue breathing in through my mouth into my lower stomach, this time the wavering is light and uncoloured.  I straighten my back a bit but it hurts since I’m used to slouching. I ask gently in my head for my guides and Angels to be with me, then I change my words to please join me and I sense one on each side putting their hand on my shoulder and ahead of me I see a diamond of white, it moves slightly to form a tree, but more of a geometric tree. I ask where do I want to go today, the answer is “up”. Up where? “The spaceship” I can see the white, faint red and yellow beam coming from above. But I want to stay present. “Okay” and the sun’s covered by the cloud so it actually gets a little darker but not bad dark. I open my eyes to check and its exactly what I thought. I close my eyes and now I’m able to be nothing to see and think nothing, there is ledge of colours in the shape of the edge of a square and I see nothing in the box but space, open space. I see then a swirl of white light and feel it spiral through my centre a small spiral around my heart reaching down to my root, and I say thank you. Then a larger wider white spiral of light spirals around my head and I see one angel rest her head on my shoulders in comfort and in support.  I see my myself floating in a beam of light from above kind of just enjoying the feeling of floating, and my body feels its lightness as bits of me start joining the floating me. I affirm I am in safety. As the white light still surrounds my head and I’m seeing myself float, in the left corner of what I can see ahead, there is an opening of a portal through which a yellow sunlight is breaking through. This light coming through almost like a light through a prism shows itself and I’m a little worried what this is, I have not encountered it before, but I also just affirmed I’m in safety and my guides and angels are with me. As this light gets closer this yellow comes and hits me gently and transforms into beautiful hues of purple, yellow, bright vibrant purple, oranges,  greens and indigo,  all colours of the rainbow in a dim light but blossoming like a lotus flower and gently brushing my hair to the side as mothers would do to their child in comfort. The blossoming continues across my body across my mind, big waves of colour across me; they continue to go across me. And there goes this big one encompassing all the colours but so thin its similar to the line of the sun showing on an eclipse and it makes a full 360 as if to close the filling of me with the radiance I need to move forward. I paused to write that and I got the message to go back and close. I closed my eyes one more time, and I say thank you guides, thank you angels and as I say thank you Mother earth, she smiles and it gets bright around me, I think the cloud moved out the way of her outside. I look ahead and my angels are in front the first is a girl who has a small face, and says from my heart to yours touching my heart in the way you would donate something to another, and the next angel follows, then my first guide does the same and touches my heart, and then Malcolm crosses my mind he smiles from my heart to yours. And I look up to see my Ancestars smiling and my people from away smiling. I say thank you God, and he nods in affirmation, and one of the angels flies back up. I start to tear up and I open my eyes. Thank you.

Background on Malcolm: I’ve only met Malcolm once in my life it was a random day where I worked late and I went to Sobeys to pick up some meat for my ex’s mom to cook for an event. I was stopped while in the frozen section by an older white man with white hair and a white beard wearing a vest with a crest suggesting he just put this on to go out to the store. Malcolm stopped in front my cart and said, I want you to know that you are very beautiful. I’m not use to that so automatically I was like “thank you”but in confusion, and he said you truly are beautiful and I want you to know that you are amazing and you are okay.  He continued speaking to me for some time explaining that occasionally he will bump into someone and he just has a message for them and its happens more frequently now but today he saw me and he knew he had something to tell me. I was all ears but also in tears the further he went into speaking. He spoke about whether I was planning to get married and told me If I ask the person if they are willing to be servant to me completely and they hesitate, than that is not a person I want to marry and if I hesitate then the same goes for me. I cried even more because that was the ongoing battle in my head since the break-up. Malcolm continued to speak and at a point he now says, this is a message from your guides they are telling me to tell you this now and he says you do not need to worry, you do not need anyone if you want to be married that is okay but you also will be okay on your own, you are good enough. I balled right there in the middle of Sobeys and then I said thank you. We hugged and he left, I didn’t see him for the rest of my time in Sobeys, even though I was there for another 20 minutes.

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When I shut my eyes and meditate, my mind takes my higher self into any space or place that my physical body wouldn’t be able to go or handle. Before my meditation, my body is a space station, getting ready to blast my mind, higher self vessel into a spiritual realm. The time is for my higher self to expand and practise expression but I’m still simultaneously conscious of my physical body. One can’t exist with the other, so complete separation can only mean one thing which is death.

When I close my eyes, I instantly take off from 0-100 and I turn off my sense of time. I think about where I need to be and just teleport. Now when I take off I have unlimited destinations I can choose, if I can imagine it I’ll be there. I could be deep underwater at the earths crust. I imagine the weight of the water that would crush any physical being that deep. I imagine my breathing like a fish and how the water temperature would feel at that depth.

I could be in the sky, suspended in mid air with either a thunderstorm, snow storm or clear sunny sky. Whatever the condition, I make it as real as possible. I visualize the rain beating on my body, the snow smacking on me building up or the heat of the rays from the sun. The sun is another place I visit. I manifest myself inside the sun as if I was part of the core. Everything around me is bright and hot and I feel the vibration waves of the suns rays that are traveling outwards. I envision the natural elements as much as possible whatever the condition.

I also try to stay in first person as well, how I see the world in the physical realm is how I try to navigate the spiritual, meditative realm. My biggest hurdle was staying focused with no distractions when I first started meditating years ago. I still swerve of course from time to time but I can meditate for extended periods without distractions carrying off and thinking about these natural conditions helps.

Staying in first person has been very challenging. I don’t like looking at my higher self from a third person view, I AM my higher self so I feel like my entire meditation as my higher self must be done in first person. Sometimes I go back and forth from being my higher self and looking at my higher self. Sometimes I have several “multi-screens” One as first person, another watching my higher being and another watching my grounded physical in whatever location I’m in. One way I try to reinforce first person and get rid of the screens is looking down or towards my physical self meditating if I am in a position where I can look and zoom down. This also reinforces the physical being connected with the spiritual.

On more thing is sound, if there is some type of noise in my surroundings I drown it down with my thoughts. I always try to keep it as quite as possible but sometimes you hear cars, animals or even commotion outside. If I meditate outside I do the same thing, I don’t shut it off and let it fade into background noise. I find that if you try to shut the noise off, which is impossible, you end up distracting yourself, so I let it be. If its silence, I tune into the frequency of the silence. The main point is that my thoughts and imagery stay the loudest.

My favourite place to take my higher self into is the universe. Suspended among the stars, sun, moon and dark matter. From this position, I can really look down at myself on earth. We speak things out into the universe which picks up the vibrations. What better place to meditate in other than that same universe and bring meditative vibrations straight to the source….

Now whatever location my higher self settles in, I usually reflect on my life and being. Problems, challenges but also the solutions, successes and positives as well. I’m not beating myself up in my higher state I’m just checking myself. If my vibrations feel low, I clear my chakras to raise them back to normal. If my vibrations feel high or it’s a second meditation of the day (I don’t often do), I go through a concentration technique and keep distractions out for as long as possible. I focus on something, the ocean pulling back and forth, the rays of the sun traveling. I focus on this one image until I feel spiritually full and ready to move on. The main goal is to keep distractions out and re-center myself if they seep in.

Another concentration technique is I charge my higher self, which is usually my last part of mediation. I envision this charge as an electric magnetic charge that comes from my nerves. It travels and safely electrocutes every part of matter of my higher and physical self. It energizes my existence and rids my mind body and spirit of negative thoughts and emotions. I visualize my aura expanding as far and wide I can imagine it.

These charges help transform my higher self into pure energy, pure light, pure dark matter, pure gas, pure darkness, pure electricity or a combination of everything. I do this for any amount of time before I get distracted. If I do and don’t feel charged, I re -center myself and restart the charge. Whenever I get off course I centre myself and continue. I either use this charge to continue reflection on my being, or come back to the physical 100-0 when I open my eyes. It’s not about separating the physical from the spiritual, that’s the definition of death. This is time for my spirit to live free.

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I thought the sage and Palo Santo were an appropriate picture to place at the beginning and end of this piece, as it’s used to clear a space of energy that no longer serves us and through each meditation I feel that’s exactly what’s being done. Please check out Dela’s blog at http://blackdollars.ca/ Thank you.