I am sitting in the warmth of an early morning Portuguese sun, savouring the feeling of the heat on my face. Winter here in the Algarve Region is not tropical, it is comfortable with daily temperatures hovering around 15C this time of year. Today however, promises to be warmer. As I sit in the protective cover of our terrace, I have already shed my sweatshirt. Alone, Jim still asleep as he recovers from jetlag, I find myself relaxing and breathing again. The travel this year seems to be a more significant adjustment than previous years. The 5-hour time difference has meant adjusting my sleep schedule significantly.
This is not a complaint. Sleepless mornings afford me the opportunity for reflection and meditation, and with these practices, healing.
My intention for 2023 is to ‘lighten-up’. Already there have been a number of SIGNS even though we are a mere 3 weeks into the new year. Part of the lightening-up process is to move beyond what we individually and collectively have experienced over the last three years. It was at this time of year in 2020 that we began to hear rumblings of some virus called COVID-19. Most of us thought nothing of it initially; it was easy to dismiss and to carry on. And, as I sit with the memories today, I can appreciate the trauma of the months of lock-down, the impact the last 36 months has had on me and my relationships. I am appreciating that while COVID is not leaving anytime soon, it is time for all of us to emerge from its shadow and heal.
We arrived in Portugal March 3rd, 2020 with plans to spend two months here to catch our breath before downsizing and moving from our country home to a condo. The plan was quickly short circuited with the Spanish-Portuguese border closing shortly after our arrival and the country going into full lockdown on March 10th. Friends who had arrived with us immediately made plans to return home while we hesitated. Observing the flight delays and cancellations, the astronomical plane fares and the challenging routes to return to Canada made everything unpalatable. While this was happening, friends and family from home were texting and e-mailing us daily with dire messages of the border closing and to come home ASAP. No one understood what it was like to be here and endeavoring to make plans. Frankly it was traumatizing.
On the surface Jim remained calm, thankfully. He focused his energy on getting us home safely on a direct fight to Montreal. As for me, I was acutely anxious, unable to sleep or eat, a state unusual for me and very disturbing. Finally, with Jim helping me to calm down and intentionally focus on the outcome we wanted, we were able to book ourselves on a repatriation flight through Air Transat, direct to Montreal. Mission accomplished.
This was only the beginning. We all know that the last three years have been disruptive and disturbing at so many levels with masks, vaccines, and freedom being debated. I was an early adopter of vaccines as I am immunocompromised and the caretaker for two elderly parents. I was honest about my decisions and, like many of you, was thrust into the great social media debate. For me it was not a discussion, it was a decision. It was personal, not made to influence others. And yet I was attacked and criticized. Friends were blocked from my media pages, friendships have been permanently lost. Isn’t this sad? Time to heal.
Many of the relationships altered by the debates of the last three years are forever changed. I regret my part in this loss, my circle of colleagues and friends became smaller. Now comes forgiveness, forgiving myself for the role I played and forgiving others for the personal attacks. It is clearly time to heal these wounds. And by the way, forgiveness is the pathway to healing. We forgive to lift the burden from our hearts and off our shoulders. It does not imply that we agree with others or the decisions they made. We can however, be respectful.
Accompanying forgiveness is compassion, for self and for others, an ability to be kind and respectful, to understand that in times of stress behaviours change.
Creating a Vision
Ten days ago I was invited to facilitate a Vision Board Workshop by the Seeker Chicks. So much fun!
What an amazing way to facilitate healing as well. A few simple supplies – magazines, scissors, glue and a piece of Bristol Board. Images and words pulled intuitively from magazines and assembled randomly yet mindfully, called in around an intention set by the creator. Imagining the future, declaring what you want to attract, stepping into the energy, moving forward.
Skeptics might say that this is simply an exercise, that it leads nowhere, yet those experienced with vision boards know that they are declaring their intentions and entering the realm of attracting what they want. And it creates distance from what we have all been experiencing during the Pandemic years and thrusts us into what is next, recovering, imagining, defining the possibilities for our future.
I recognize that I have the luxury of time at the moment. Not everyone has this same opportunity. We can all engage in healing strategies however. Let us band together however to heal ourselves, our relationships, our community and the world around us. Imagine the world we can create if we can all take a collective breath, sigh, forgive and heal. It is time! Your thoughts and strategies are always welcome and if you care to share you can reach me at: [email protected]
Below are some pics from the VISION BOARD WORKSHOP. We had participants from ages 15 to 89 so it was very interesting to see everyone’s boards and how they were arranged! You can find more on the Seeker Facebook Page under OUT and ABOUT with Seeker Chick Mai-Liis
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