Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rebirth Into Your Fullness

As the months of inner hibernation have helped you to let go of what was, you will now blossom. The fruits of your labor will bring aliveness and delicious parts of you into the world. Your body is the vessel of this infinite life that will continue to give to the world.  - Frannie (from my upcoming book)

Just a few days ago, I sat beside my friend Charlotte, holding her hand as I received her fully. I was taking her in, every part of her. In my heart I knew this might be the last time I get to touch her physical body. Her smiling eyes reflected back the magnificent beauty of her life. I gazed at her every movement and listened to every word and in the silence of my mind, I felt the love of just being in her presence. I wasn't wrapped up in the fear of her dying. I was held in a love that had always been there since the first moment I met her. I looked into her clear eyes and saw her determination to do whatever she needed to do. She was on her last days and her breathing was so labored especially when she took off the oxygen.
 
Charlotte still believed a miracle could happen. She had faith and hope and surrounded by all who loved her, she was learning her greatest life lesson. She said to me, "I am finally learning to receive." Robert was sitting beside me and together we meditated with her and the peace and illumination of light filled us. We were in the womb of God's loving embrace, not knowing the future. She looked at me and said that she wasn't afraid to die only the panic of suffering.
 
Yesterday, I felt her leave. Maybe not her body fully yet. I felt her presence in nature while going for a walk as I spoke to her. She might have been visiting the other-side and checking it all out in the moments of sleep. The energy filled me and tears rolled down my face. Yet the pain of her leaving wasn't choking me. It was filling me up with an incredible love. I knew her children and family were around her. I had a plan to go to see her with Robert the next day, yet deep down inside I felt she was going to leave. I looked at the clock and it was around 6:00 pm. The feeling came back. I knew I wouldn't see her again. Yet, somehow I just didn't want to take that in. I went on cooking and being with myself, not wanting to go anywhere. My thoughts were with Charlotte and in my way, I believed I was with her. I was in a mindful, prayerful place.
 
Then I got the phone call from Robert, "Charlotte passed, surrounded by her family around 6:00 pm." As the tears flowed from my eyes, I was grateful she did not suffer. I cried as the tears opened me up. I cried because I won't be able to go and have that luncheon date we planned. I cried because I won't hear her laugh and hear the words of wisdom that would spill out of her. I cried because I loved her and in my short time on this earth with her, I knew she was a real friend. She was herself and shared her heart so easily. She wasn't afraid to engage in any conversation. It was intimate to be with someone like that and the quality of time with her was a lifetime of truth.
 
This woman was Robert's best friend and she was the one who brought us together. She was the one who sat beside him the first time he saw me. Charlotte was an angel here on this earth. She was an inspiration to many and just looking at her, you didn't see all she accomplished in helping serve our world. She was a doer. When her daughter died 20 years ago, she allowed life to move her into creating a foundation to send children to camp. Meeting her, you fell in love with yourself because she was pure love.
 
We leave our imprint on this earth. Just like if we laid upon the sand, there our form would be. Just like walking on the beach, our footprints would remain. Just like a flower blooming, it's fragrance would be left for us to take in. Just like the hug from a friend or a handshake, we feel the presence and experience the imprint of our life upon this world.

 
Nature reminds us to return to ourselves. To take good care of our state of being so that when we are filled up we can give from our fullness. Then when we go out into the world we can stay long enough to gaze into the eyes of another without having any agenda at all. Just to receive another and listen and hold them for that precious holy moment is sacred. We can't do it if we are continuing to run around and be distracted with saving the world or thinking in any way that we could fix it.
 
We are here to learn self-love. In receiving every part of our humanity, all the darkness and the lightness, we can stop judging and begin allowing life in.
 
In the middle of the night I woke up to feel Charlotte's presence, brilliantly shining in my room. She was so free and happy. My heart filled up with her spirit.
 
My friend Charlotte has been reborn into her fullness and as Spirit she sees how loved she is.
Her love shines through her imprint that was left on our hearts. She gave to this world selflessly. Now she is in the arms of her God and her darling daughter.
 
In the morning I decided to go to a restorative yoga class a block away. I call Cindy at Island Yoga Space and ask her if there is room. With a yes, I walk down the street with my yoga mat on my shoulder. Looking up at the clear blue sky I hear Charlotte's words that are echoing in my heart, " I am finally learning to receive."
I am finally learning to receive.
 
There is a balance between giving and receiving. Nature receives until it is so full then it bursts into giving us the fragrance and beauty of its presence.
 
It's springtime and Easter. A time of renewal and rebirth. A time to let go and breathe into all that I am.

This life is precious. I can open up and let myself take baby steps into the next moment. With this conscious nurturing, I can... we can flower in an instant.
 
Now open and bloom!

All my love
Namasté,
Frannie

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Art of Conscious Loving

We are people who need to love, because love is the soul's life, 
Love is simply creation's greatest joy. - Hafiz
 
 The sunrise must be happening even though outside of the window it still looks dark. The birds are singing so loudly this dawn and what I keep hearing is, "wake up, wake up!"  How easy it is to sometimes just pull the cover over my head and not face the day because of the disappointments or fears that come rushing in. Being aware of the suffering in the world can truly dim my light and keep me from my hopes and dreams.  
 
It takes courage to uncover the dreams that were once buried deep inside of our hearts. There can be lots of excuses, detouring us away, rejecting or missing opportunities.
 
The phone call came in the middle of my day and the news was unexpected. I could feel my heart sink into despair. How easy I could forget my heart's desire and get caught up in the emotional charge of being rejected. In just one moment I felt the hurt rise up in me. I breathed in as I hung up the phone. There was nothing I could do but be fully present. Mollie, my puppy, was barking and letting me know that a client was walking into my office. Deep down I could feel the sadness and anger yet consciously I knew that this was just bringing me truth. I was okay and able to continue to let the day unfold. I bow to my clients who always bring me presence. I overcome the resistance and a feeling of true power enters me. I can be myself. It's such a privilege to live this life and know that a plan was happening here. 

I learned a long time ago that this world is my messenger. A meditation practice continues to support me and bring me back to neutrality. If I am reacting to the circumstance at hand, I will spiral into negative thinking and keep myself a victim. Connecting to my feelings with compassion will help the suppressed emotions to pass by and slowly I can become more aware.  I can be angry, sad or disappointed even though its uncomfortable and underneath it all there is the guilt or shame that is so hard to touch. Yet this moment is a breath away from feeling free. I lean into it all without judgment and connect right away to my source. God is here as love. I am here in the most loving way and I align with what is true- I am a child of God, worthy to be loved.
 
The very thing that upset me can be a beautiful opportunity to release the past judgments and receive this moment. I can choose to stop controlling or sedating my inner experience. I can be fully present with my Self, just the way I am and this calms me and dissolves the misunderstandings. I can't control the world or the things outside of me but I can trust in what Spirit is telling me. I can listen to the inner guidance showing me the way. 
 
This morning the dawn woke me up with the sounds of birds singing. They just would be singing no matter what was going on. These birds aren't waiting to see who is listening. They sing and I am awake to hear their offering. I listen in the quiet of the morning and being myself is the message I receive and that always gives me life. How simply it can be!
 
I love this entry into myself as I breathe in and receive all that is here. It seems that a new day can always bring new insight and an opportunity to see this world with a sense of God where nothing is between us and the life around us. I have a choice in how I will be today.
 
So, like the bird singing this morning, the flower radiates its beauty or a smile from a stranger gets my attention and fills me up.  I get wrapped up in a piece of artwork and get lost in creating or reading a favorite book. When I begin to get quiet, I get a nugget of wisdom that changes my thinking. Receiving this world as it is and all that is magnificent can return me back to love. In a holy instant, I choose to be with myself fully in my experience of this world. Life is the gift and I can share it through my expression no matter what the conditions are.
 
As I stand at the counter in my kitchen, with oldies blaring out of the speakers, I chop the veggies for tonight's dinner. At the end of the day, even though I am tired, I rest in my heart and will not forget my dream because the ember is still glowing in my soul. I live in union with it and the miracle is in the letting go.
 
The door opens and my boyfriend, Robert walks in with his smile that wraps me up. We dance in the living room without saying a word. Being ourselves, we come home to the love that just wants to be shared. The art of conscious loving is being ourselves, unveiled and authentic. Those birds know how to just be, as we are reminded again and again to love ourselves right now.
 
Happy Loving Ourselves and Each Other Day!
 
Take a deep breath.
Feel what is rising within.
Love is the way.
Soften around what is resisting and let go.
Loving yourself is the pathway.
Lean into everything, then the resistance can leave.
Now you are at the entrance to the threshold.
The doorway is your heart.
Trusting in the power that comes from source/God.
Walk through and love greater.
Love is the answer.
The happiness that is you is your true nature.
Now open and allow your light to soften your gaze on the world.
Looking into the face of humanity, you can feel the love that is you.
This is the art of conscious loving.

All my love
Namaste
Frannie

Monday, January 16, 2017

Be the Happy in Your New Year!

"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence." -Aristotle       
                                                                                                                                
There is no time like this present moment to open our minds and hearts and become responsible for our own happiness. It is true that happiness lies within us and when we discover it, it becomes infectious. We aren't protected from the problems of life when we are happy because we can't control events or people around us. Yet our attitude and connection can help us to see our cup half full instead of empty as we respond to life instead of react.
All my yesterdays have prepared me for my future. In some ways, it has pre-paved for me what will come in the present. Sometimes we can't get away from our own mistakes. We make choices that we know aren't good for us. We sometimes say something hurtful to the ones we love. We are just human after all and accepting ourselves isn't always easy but needed. Life can just wear us down and we touch the exhaustion that is telling us to take better care of ourselves. We can receive it all and allow it to show us the wisdom that it holds.
 
Yet, with all that life has brought to me, I am sometimes taken aback by what appears to get my attention. As much as I strive to be at peace in my mind or attempt to be self- realized, I am a human being after all, imperfect and beautiful all wrapped up in one.
 
The symptoms of my body are calling me again, where I have been a little care free, enjoying the foods traveling to Italy and being more lenient with my choices during the holidays.
 
My body has always been a constant teacher and reminder of where true healing occurs. I can sometimes be taken away by believing that vitamins and tinctures like magic potions can bring me to the cure. Truly, all that awareness is helpful and supportive for the overall well-being of my physical body. It is a lifestyle of living life with more consciousness that keeps me awake.
 
Now it is my return to making choices with what I feed my body as certain symptoms like low energy and reoccurring viruses visit me. What pulls me away from a healthy constitution seems to be habits and life- long patterns that surely takes my energy and I get out of balance. All of it is a contributor to health challenges. It's also the deep seeded beliefs or past pain that is still harbored within me that can always be a doorway back home to what is true. I don't have to do anything but accept where I am and then listen deeply to the wise part of me that knows what is needed.
 
Last night I had a visitation in my dream from the healer from Brazil, John of God. I have been in his physical presence quite a few times. In the dream, he was like a long -time friend pulling up a chair for me as we talked about life as it was and then I said, "I am healed in the presence". He was the reminder. I woke up from the dream realizing once again that I am healed right now in the mind of God. It is what is the true reality. Clarity comes with more compassion and I remember that inside I am ageless and pure light. This for me is the greatest gift I give to myself. I awaken from the dream of separation. I am a part of this vast energy that creates worlds.
 
Meditation is my practice. When I reach deep inside with my breath, this feeling of pure presence takes me into its embrace. Like a mother holding her baby, I am cradled in the arms of a love that has no conditions. This is the place where I can let go a little more like a snake shedding its old skin as I allow myself to open. I let out that sigh of relief as I remember to take great care of myself. Unplugging from all the things I think I need to do, I get plugged into this light that knows where to go. I am filled with this presence that takes over and moves me into my heart that has been broken over time. I evolve in spite of my own limitations. Here I am free. I am happy and that feeling doesn't come from outside of me in any way. This is my birthright. Using the old to build the new helps me to be ignited once again to see for the very first time.
 
Happiness begins to fill up my heart and the energy of pure love flows through me as if I am a lamp radiating the light that spills out without effort. This feeling is like no other. It becomes me and through me I join with all who walk in this life. There is a comfort here that soothes the achy muscles of a life long journey. I let go once again of the control I think I have and let spirit guide me. With my eyes and heart wide open I am used to share this joy of being here and it can ease the burden of others and bring lightness to another's heart.
 
How will the new year unfold? All I know is that in the presence I am healed and my mind becomes the silent sanctum for the voice of spirit to be heard. I rejoice in the knowing that bowing down to kiss this earth with my expression is the gift I share with all I meet. I am not alone as I pour my heart and soul into the moment.
 
I choose to be the Happy in my New Year! Sometimes it's more difficult when the pain and suffering of this world takes my breath away. All I can do is breathe it all in fully and with my heart open, vulnerable and real, I can trust that all is well.
 
So, let us all join in this vast field that Rumi talks about in his poem; "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field, I will meet you there." In this field of presence when we live in our hearts, there is no distance and no time. Like the visit I had from the healer John of God, we can help our world remember as we awaken from the dream of separation. We can join in a love that creates worlds. We are the message of hope and peace that abides within this incredible vessel we are.
 
So, be the instrument praising creation and let the sound heal your hearts as you sing loudly the love of your true nature. Happiness is your birthright.
Let's be the HAPPY in the NEW YEAR!

I love you,
Frannie

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Miracle in the Present

"Hope is the companion of power, and the mother of success for he who hopes so strongly has within the gift of miracles."
The church bells ring in the distance and all of a sudden this moment feels sacred. Why is it that the sound brings me immediately into a precious holy instant? I reach inside and I am held by the love of my Beloved as I feel like I am captured into a rapture of complete and perfect peace. Then with pen in hand, I can express it in my way as I bow to kiss this earth with my own way of creating. It's never really a masterpiece, but it is life being given back through my receiving. There are so many ways to join with this magnificent spirit that only wants to keep flowing. Sometimes without effort it does and sometimes there is resistance from my humble response. Yet truly I cannot imagine a greater thing than this moment of creating something that might only be worthwhile for me. It just spills out like the beauty of this pure and simple day.
What were the thoughts of Da Vinci or Michelangelo, the moments before they created their masterpieces. Everything I gaze at as I wander through the museums and cathedrals brings me life. Little did these artist know how inspiring they would be for us all. The energy of these ancient temples of worship or the fountains and walkways of stone were places where pilgrims journey from far away lands. Just as we come from all of the corners of the earth to witness and experience a world of ancient ruins and history filling our minds and hearts with energy.
I am grateful to just breathe and observe all the little miracles that are right here before me. The property where I am sitting is framed with the herb rosemary, growing around like a hedge and the fragrance so divine brings me to the thought of growing it at home this way. Then I look up into the clear blue sky, not even one cloud, and a hot air balloon flows effortlessly in the valley. I watch like a child and my heart seems to be filling up with a joy that just being here is enough.These moments of presence brings a nourishment to my inner being that makes it all so sacred. I love the Buddhist quote that is" before enlightenment, carry water and chop wood and after enlightenment, carry water and chop wood." Now I do not claim to be enlightened but staying awake seems to be the greatest gift of being present with life and allowing it to bring me these little nuggets of perfect awareness. How sweet it is to just be still and watch the butterfly move from leaf to leaf. How delicious it is to hear the sounds of the tractors in the vineyards harvesting the grapes. How every little scene I gaze upon seems to bring me this incredible appreciation for being alive and how simple it all is when you gaze at nature. It all is complete and perfect in its unfolding.
We take this life for granted sometimes yet only to be brought to our knees when a loved one is dying or we are given a diagnosis that seems tragic, we might realize how precious these moments are. We awaken to a conscious awareness where we remember how incredible it is to be a spiritual being having a human experience. We are blessed to invite this life fully in and to let it bring us to great appreciation.
So with this thought, I offer to you. What will you do with this day? How will you use your eyes and your hands and your voice to express the gift that life gives so freely. I invite you to live in this moment as mindful as you can and share the piece of life that expresses through your being. Tomorrow you could die and not have the chance to say I love you. Today is your day to awaken to the truth that this is your moment to shine and live as if you only had today to express the gratitude in living so aware of others around you. This day, you are no different in someways, yet maybe that smile from a child or the gaze of a flower has reminded you how precious you are. Consciously you get the choice to choose to be the instrument of such a love that created this life so beautifully, for you. So as Jack Kornfield writes; " Enlightenment is intimacy with all things."
Go and be intimate with this life that is given and connect with all that weaves us together as we flow back into oneness with all that is. This is the holiday season where the light that abides in you can flow into the hearts of the ones you are with. The miracle is in the present moment if you can breathe and stay still for just a little while as you enter inside.
In to me I see can bring intimacy with all that is.
Nov. 3, 2016
It's quite a miracle when you think about just waking up to a new day. The way our body just knows how to breathe on it's own and there is our heart beating at a perfect rhythm. It is the way we show up in this precious moment that seems to allow the thoughts to soften and the truth to spill out into our every gaze. How could we ever take this life for granted. I know I do and then something inside of me awakens and then I breathe into this moment until the light enters my consciousness and I get taken into the swirl of spirit that is my constant companion. It can take me a few minutes or hours sometimes but with the intention to clear the cloudy mind of its incessant chatter I just allow myself to be the witness of what is. How many times I bring myself to the altar of my heart where once again I am humbled by the beauty of just being right here. Life certainly has its way to take us away to spiral into insane thinking where we forget how precious life is and we want to run away from the feelings that fear can bring us into. Once again I watch this world and all that is showing up and I can choose where I would like to reside. This life can be seen with a cup half full or empty and it is up to me to be present once again to that still small voice within that guides my way. This alone is the greatest of all miracles. With patience and commitment I can return to the silence where this fullness of life fills me up and helps me see the world with greater clarity. Then I can rise up out of my bed and go out and play and I know that this is my birthright. To enjoy this life that is given without conditions. Looking at the political arena or the ups and downs of this world, I can surely put on the glasses that help me to see what is important.

Namaste, 
Frannie

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Under the Tuscan Sky

"Recognize the tremendous courage you show every moment of every day, with each breath, you reaffirm your decision to embrace and learn from your own challenges. Within that recognition, you will find your soul." -Your Soul's Plan by Robert Schwartz
This journey we are on is about love. We are here to learn to love ourselves and others. It's hard when we are deep in grief or fear has us paralyzed in its grip or when we think we can't possibly try again. Maybe then, we can let out a sigh that helps us let go of what is and inhale and try once again.  If we  accept life as it is, we might see the energy that is weaving us all together like one beautiful tapestry. Allowing it all to be without judgment helps us to see our life lessons that can be less painful when we breathe deeply into this presence that lives through us and around us in every moment of our living. When we meet the outer world with our inner world, our heart prevents us from collapsing and we are very much in control of what we can be. We learn to be more resilient as the pain of life moves through us.
Being in Italy is truly a romantic backdrop for falling in love. It's definitely a place to find yourself in the arms of beauty that exists all around. The sculptures, the paintings, the cobble stone streets, the ruins that are around every corner, especially in Rome, captivates you. Everywhere I look, I am in awe of the massive buildings, the cypress and umbrella trees. It's busy with cars and people from all nations as one gets caught up in being a tourist. So much to see and take in as I walk the streets or drive through the countryside.  It's all magical and in some ways it feels surreal. It's like stepping into another world, so different than the one I am used to living in.

As I sit under the arbor, overlooking the valley, here at the Villa Stefano in Tuscany, I enter inside with my breath as the beauty of the outside brings me to a sigh. It's the comfort of fully being here within myself as I take in the peace that nature gives so freely. In this silence within me, my senses heighten and the sweet music of the birds, the sounds of insects flying near as the breeze wraps itself around me, I drop into the familiar place of connection. It doesn't matter where I am, I come inward so that the awareness of all that is,  gives me that feeling like no other. It's like meeting an old friend, where there is no distance or time when we live in the heart. It's just comfortable to be right here amidst this world that spins around with so much information and movement. I feel like being still is like winning a most treasured gift. It's not like I am running away from life, I just come inside to find that sweet spot where the divine meets my humanity. It's always there waiting for my return and when I do take reprieve from my busy world, I am rewarded. I feel I see the world with a deeper connection and I love more deeply. I would say that mindfully I have chosen to live from the inside out and then this world becomes my constant companion and there is less struggle because I realize everything is perfectly unfolding.

Tuscany by Frannie Hoffman
artwork by Frannie
A week ago, just starting off my vacation in Tuscany at the Villa where my boyfriend Robert brings tours to experience living in Italy, I fell down the stairs and sprained my foot. Off to the doctors to get X-rays and a walking cast. This was definitely not in my plan. There was no time to feel sorry for myself because obviously the moment before my fall, I wasn't as present as I could have been and how grateful I was it wasn't worse. It happens so quickly and life as we know it changes.

So for a year you think about this month long retreat away and all of your imaginings truly can't ever do it justice. It's just beautiful arriving here and walking or limping for me on the ancient roads and seeing the cathedrals and museums of exquisite art. Everywhere you walk is a picture worthy of taking and the food is such a big part of the experience of Italy. Robert is the ultimate host and all of his planning comes together so naturally  as each person begins to make their home this villa. Nothing to do but enjoy being taken care of as drivers and guides take you on the tours and when you arrive back to your villa home, a 5 to 7 course meal awaits. Robert has a young chef, Alessia,who is from the area and cooks all of the recipes from all around Italy and with Roberts passion of cooking, the food is nothing less then perfect. Every course is like going into the best restaurant and what is so great is the love that is poured into every dish. You learn about the history of these dishes and sitting under the stars and moon we enjoy conversation, food and delicious wines around the table where friendships grow deeper. Maria and her daughter Diana serve and clean up and there is nothing you need to do but receive the relaxation of this beautiful place.

So, I am reminded again, that it is not the experiences that form us but it is the way we respond to it. As I sit in this stillness of a beautiful afternoon, I see with a greater awareness that when I don't push against what is, there is a freedom to experience what is here. There is no distractions as I allow myself the luxury to sit on the patio and feel the exquisite beauty of being right here inside myself. After letting go of my disappointment that I could not go on the walking tour with my friends, I was here, in this magnificent experience that brought me into the stillness that for me is heaven on earth. I was so happy to know that my friends were enjoying Sienna and shopping in Florence and viewing the David at the Academia. The joy was right here making a way for me to let go a little more of my plans and trust that healing was happening because I did not stay stuck in the loss. Yes, even when you fall and you can't walk, you grieve a little because we have such expectations with our thought out plans. I know Robert had thoughts of me  walking down to the river or climbing up the hills through the vineyards. Yet, to realize that this moment is all you have, you can create a deeper union with spirit and let your eyes open wide and appreciate all that is existing. I take in a breath of fresh air and watch the breeze move through the olive trees as the sun warms my heart. Getting lost in the moment, I look up at the clear blue sky.

As a writer and an artist, it is the stillness that becomes my workplace. This is where I take in the world and all of it's impressions and when I sit still and come inward, the words or brush strokes, express the feelings and thoughts of what life has brought me. I love to share it in this way and how beautiful it is to put an experience onto a clear canvas or even my tablet. I just get fed, just like eating all the delicious food that has been put on my plate.
Seeing all of the paintings of the Renaissance time or sculptures of the masters, I am inspired just with my eyes as I observe it all and it brings an energy that weaves it all together. I can feel inspired to draw or paint even though my skills are so simple, I can look at these masterpieces and be taken into a world of creation and get lost in the silent mind that just receives its beauty. Sitting inside this quiet place I sigh with relief that even if I do nothing but receive this moment, I can be renewed and full of life once again.

So whether I travel to far away places or just happen to pull myself away from all of the distractions like cell phones, YouTube, Facebook, and emails, I can journey inside to a inner landscape and be brave enough to allow myself to face the inner parts hidden underneath all of those questions and ideas. I can welcome it all until  I am unveiled and nothing keeps me from the joy of being right here. The voices become quiet and the body softens and my heart expands to love this world a little more. This amplifies the experience of life as I walk with or without crutches to bring the calm into this ordinary world filled with commotion.
I look out over the valley and the same sky that hours ago brought me here, looks even brighter.

Ciao Bella,
Frannie

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Pilgrimage is Life

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. The wound is the place where the Light enters you. Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." Rumi

I walk down the dock this early morning, silently drawn by the hand of my own spirit. I have walked here countless times before where I know that nature, always the same, holds me no matter what I bring from within. It seems that the painful moments of yesterday's were just passageways to more life. Loss has truly been a constant companion and now I am understanding more deeply that the letting go of what was and the allowing of what is becomes the doorway to love.

Two swans sit in front of me. It is such a peaceful moment in time as the warmth of this summer morning brings me home to myself. I am so grateful for this beautiful cottage that holds for me the memories of a life of growing up through all of the challenges that come with this journey.


The sun rises up behind me as it shines its light upon the rippling water. It is so clear I can see the sea weed right to the bottom. I remember, as a child, diving off the dock into the water as the grass brushed up against my skin. I remember when I first opened my eyes under the surface as I glided through and the vision of underwater life thrilled me. Again and again I would climb back onto the dock until I was shivering and my lips were blue. I just wanted to experience it one more time.

The wonder of a child who sees this world with eyes that hold no judgement. When did it all change? How easy it is to just see this world with eyes of the past, projecting that which sees with limitation or scaring the moment with critical voices.

So it is, each time I enter this dock, memories pass by my mind yet I never get tired of the beauty held in these precious moments. Many a time I have sat here to meditate and begin the day, knowing within my breath that I will be nurtured by every sound and gaze. It is where my heart knows that even through the ages of time, deep inside I am still that one that dove into the water 50 or more years ago. My body has changed yet the same joy of being alive is filling me up and my presence is familiar. Nothing distracting me away from the moment where I know who I am.

This pilgrimage through life has made me the person I am yet the spirit of me is unchanging. Maybe I am more awake for sure yet there is a familiar part of me that continues to observe this life as it is. This observer is the witness never changing, just being. I see with an open heart as the fish jump, the birds fly overhead, the swans glide over the rippling waters and the trees stand at attention like a picture frame. I hear the cars in the distance as they move across the gravel road and sounds of cottagers waking up making breakfast as the smell of bacon and coffee moves through the breeze. The cows moo and the crows caw and the music of the water underneath the dock cradles me like a lullaby. The sunlight touches the back of my head as it peeks over me. I look into the blue sky as clouds are painted with brush strokes by a quiet creator. This beautiful painting gives me life and I am inspired to receive it deeply with every breath I take.

Yes, this is home, built by my parents and left for us to enjoy with our children and our children's children. The joy of our family life has continued through the ebb and flow of this journey through the ages and because the falseness has fallen away and the barriers have softened, I come here more alive then ever before because I let life fully in. There is nothing that has separated me from this union where my spirit loved ones join me this day. I am so grateful as I feel the presence of my mother and father and my husband Steve, as I invite it all in.

Happy Birthday to you mom today. You would be 90 years old. I bow to you for I was born through your womb and your pilgrimage has brought me to mine. I continue to walk on and with all the gifts that life has brought me, I am connected to a power that creates worlds as I trust in this life that is unfolding.

We are all on a pilgrimage. A sacred journey where we unveil through our own self imposed barriers and let the walls crumble as the light enters, shining on the path that continues to be life giving. We walk on as we become the one that hears the calling, sharing love in our way through the gifts of being ourselves. As I hear the voice of spirit speak, I receive her message - On this day of birth, you are more because I am more with you.
As this pull from within has drawn me to the end of the dock this morning, I know that my spirit loved ones are here - my heart tells me so!

Namaste,
Frannie

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Partnering with Spirit

It's been a stormy and rainy day as I drive from the office to have dinner with my boyfriend Robert. There on the grass, parked is a white limousine. Today would have been my wedding anniversary to Steve and there it is, the road sign and symbol of our union. As I listen to my heart speaking to him, the dark heavy clouds are pouring down rain, as a bright sun peaks out of the opening and shines right on my car and the road I am driving on. Then the song that Luke sang at our wedding begins to play on the radio. My body begins to vibrate with truth chills as Steve's presence continues to make itself known. I line up in the moment and then this divine awareness becomes my beloved companion. It's not a phenomena to me. I invite my spirit loved ones to show up in my world at anytime. I feel their messages of love sent to me daily.

(drawing by Frannie Hoffman)
 
I love the quote from Yoko Ono when she was asked how she could bear being without John Lennon given they had spent 90% of their time together, her response was:
"Now we spend 100% of our time together."
 
The death of the body is not the death of love. It doesn't mean we don't grieve and feel the hurt but we can transcend the loss. When our hearts remain open to the flow of truth, the spirit can compensate for material loss. 
 
My connection to spirit's wisdom is natural and intimate. It feels like second nature to me and I believe that all the losses in my life have helped me to feel myself more fully and allow inner guidance or intuition to be my lifeline to freedom. If we can turn our attention inward to our heart instead of letting outside appearances overwhelm us, the Universe will show us what to do and where to go as we trust our own vibration.
 
My mother was a great teacher for me. She didn't listen to the doctor who told her that she couldn't have children. She climbed those steps of St. Joseph's Oratory in Quebec, praying as she knelt on every step, listening to her heart. She saw the crutches and wheel chairs that lined up on her path up the hill. Her pilgrimage was her own. She allowed her deepest desire to speak loudly. She believed she was born to have children. She listened to her inner calling and leaped with faith as she continued to give herself up to God. She knew her calling was to be a mother. Nothing stopped her from this deep spiritual connection to her heart. She had faith and her fears did not stop her.
 
That night my mother conceived triplet girls. My sisters and I were born and 2 years later so was my brother. 
 
My mother was an incredibly gifted and talented woman. She lived with a disease where her mind kept her in fear and so many days she was paralyzed with anxiety. Her suffering was unending and yet the joy of her children was the salve that soothed her brokenness. She was beautiful and cooking was love. She always had soup going on the stove or something mouth watering in the oven. She was a master at painting and creating centerpieces made of driftwood. Did I say how she loved her children? It is worth saying again. Maybe sometimes she loved us more than herself.
 
I wished she could have loved her own life more fully but yet in the end, she continued to be brave. It took great courage to let go of this world. She suffered with Alzheimer's and in her tormented days, she would look around her most favorite home, our cottage up north in Northern Ontario, and stare at all of her belongings surrounding her. The walls were adorned with the many oil paintings that she created through the years . My mother would cry out and plead " I want to go home. Please, you tell me these are my paintings and this is my favorite home, just take me home, nothing here is familiar." As I looked into her eyes she said, " I want to go home! "
 
At the time it was heartbreaking to listen to her pain and longing to remember her home. Now I believe that she was longing for her spiritual home. This place of comfort that no longer was inside her reality anymore. She was longing for that which seemed forgotten. 
 
Home for her was creating in the kitchen beautiful recipe's that made your mouth water just thinking about it. She showed her love through her cooking and sharing food. Her mother was the same. Food was love and that was something that I was always inspired by. I too love to cook and share love in this way. It is that feeling inside that makes you feel at home and having a pot of soup on the stove is something that just feels good. I love the feeling of cutting up veggies and throwing it all in a pot as I create this goodness that gives me life. Creating salads and dishes of all kinds is just a little piece of heaven for me. It doesn't matter if I didn't have enough money to shop for a big grocery, I would use what I had to create something that could feed others. It was a way to share love. 
 
Our mothers were our first home inside their womb. They are the music on the radio, the sun peaking through the rain clouds. They whisper sweet comfort during these life long journeys.
 
Today let us celebrate our mothers and mother figures in our life. Maybe they didn't always give us what we needed. These great woman helped to mould us and to be all that we are today. 
 
May we forgive our own fears when we forget how natural it is to breath and become more. We are here to bring life into us and let our bodies be the instrument to co-create a beautiful life. From the inside to the outside, let us leap into the moment with great abandon and share all that we receive.
 
Bowing to our mothers for we can receive life because this is our birthright! 

How blessed I am to be a mother.
 
Namaste,
Frannie