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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bursting Into Fullness

"...and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk to blossom."
- Niccolo Machiavelli

 
If there was ever a time to bring your fullness into being, it is now. What are we waiting for? What would it look like if we were fully ourselves in every moment? To achieve this, we must first become aware of when and why we hold ourselves back. Then and only then we can begin to see what it would look like if we were fully ourselves in each moment.
 
Looking inside myself and clearing away my clutter is like a spring cleaning. Just like I do for my house - my closets, my garage and my office - I clear out what is inside. This inner cleanup is a daily project, my meditation practice. As life pushes on me, I go inside and see what is blocking my true self from shining through. I'm not always sure what I'll find, but as I allow myself to become conscious and aware of my internal mess, slowly but surely I create space for my breath to get deeply engaged in my belly. As the fears and resentments and grief show themselves, I can let go of that which crowds my inner reality allowing my mind to soften and the cloudy vision to clear. I don't feel so stuck anymore. I can see what is really in front of me and open to who I truly am. As I create this opening, the wisdom of the ages seems to be more received and the simple truth of being here shines for me once again. I have found my way back to a clearing in my mind and heart where all gives birth to a new version of myself. I rise up to begin again with more confidence as this inner security strengthens my foundation. I step into the moment refreshed and more alive. Life flows through and moves me into my fullness.
 
This morning I am pulled into the day, this glorious day, where the breeze gently touches my skin and the sounds of the birds draw me out of my thinking mind. I listen to the sweetness of a stillness within. Looking around me with all of my senses, I receive the moment and all it brings.
 
I look at a flower bud on my hibiscus plant. The moment before a bud opens, is there a hesitation or a feeling of trepidation? Or does it just allow life to take it into itself? Does the energy that is already there bring it into its fullness? How trusting nature is in all its brilliant forms as it becomes our beautiful gardens to gaze at as spring appears.
 
In the quiet mind I allow myself to feel grounded in my body. I rest in a comfort of my own skin. Here I am fully present with all that nature is showing me. Today is the beginning of something new.
 
Here I can witness how life is bringing forth the perfection of what is unfolding around me.
 
My mindful meditation practice helps me to surrender to all that will occur each day. I can't change the world of form, but I certainly can shift my attention inside where I can receive this constant companion that awaits my return. Some call this subtle feeling serenity or peace - I call it God. This stillness within quiets down the stormy mind or maybe I just stop trying to stop it. My focus becomes more internal as I let go of control. Life's plan is going to happen and here, in this moment, I can embrace it all. This embrace is soft and allowing as I begin to listen to the still small voice that calls for my attention. I listen to the subtle sounds that guide my way in this crazy and insane world.
 
Often when I am in a grace time where life is flowing beautifully I can hear the ego trying to hook me into the thought, "look out! Beware of what's around the corner!" That old programming is a voice of the past (I could say it was my father who drilled that one into me!). I know that life has a way of bringing us to our knees. Still, I can let it go like every other thought and just be in the moment where I celebrate whatever is taking place. It's all part of the plan.
 
It's the letting go part that is most difficult. It's my pattern to hold on to the good or the bad way of thinking. Surrendering into everyday life is scary because in that surrender I have to trust that life is going to show me the way. Yet when I do not interfere with life, it seems to work out just fine. I become aware of the beautiful gifts that every experience becomes. Even in difficult times, can we trust that unseen force that is lining up each of us to be our brilliant selves - strong and powerful beings of the light? We can. We can rest in the knowing that who we are is worthy to be fully alive and creating a life of beauty and peace!
 
It's hard to trust when you know that there are fellow human beings that are suffering. It's so painful to watch our brothers and sisters who are ill or dying. It's all a part of us that we can't ignore. But we can find our own healing mindset that does not separate ourselves from anything yet awakens us to live more consciously and in appreciation of what is taking care of us all.
 
When we offer ourselves each day to the highest good and heal our grievances, we have more room inside our own hearts to teach the world about love. Can we be the loving embrace for the ones that are brought before us? Or do we sit glued to the television or our computers and forget that we have a choice to bring this brilliant spirit into union with all creation.
 
It's not always easy when our own lives seem upside down and inside out. It's our birthright to arrive back into our own loving hearts as we ask to be led into our ordinary worlds with our hearts wide open. Here we join in celebration of a life that can uplift another by being an instrument for spirit.
 
We are not on this path to walk alone. We are here to join our hearts with all humanity and listen deeply to the truth that sets us all free. Giving ourselves to the mystery that holds us through thick and thin, life invites us to fully participate in experiences as we hold our fears with a brave heart and let go into the freedom that will exhilarate us. We can burst into our fullness and allow ourselves to be the inspiration as we embrace this world and all humanity with the knowing that we are here together and we are all going home together. 
Namaste,
Frannie

Monday, February 29, 2016

Be Awake and Bloom

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released. - Jean Houston

Sitting on the pier with my brother fishing opened me as I gazed over the water feeling the comfort of his presence so near me. It was familiar as if there was no time. It's been years since we spent more than a few hours just with each other. The gifts of these moments fed me like the days of our youth. We would spend countless hours in the little aluminum boat on our lake in Northern Ontario catching perch, bass and sometimes a pike. Fishing in the river I recall myself being lost in the gazing into the still waters observing the sunlight reflecting in the fallen trees or driftwood making home for sea life. I liked it best in the river because of the calm waters and I could hear the birds and listen to the turtle as it made its way out of the water onto the fallen tree trunk. The sounds brought me closer to my own calmness inside. Those memories of myself as a child, was at home in nature.
 
Maybe back then it mattered if we caught any fish. Today all that mattered was being right here sharing the moment with Phil. This timeless feeling where our hearts have never been separated by distance or time and we remember in the stillness of this precious moment that love is all there is.
 
We both have been through the loss of our mates, our mother and father and as the years have flown by we have lost time with each other. Today we return to the simple pleasures of being alive because we have weathered the storms and moved through our grieving hearts able to rise up and receive what gives life. Standing together and sharing the wisdom of what has been in the past, with some of our falseness fallen away, we are fully present with each other even if we are not talking, just being ourselves.
 
Knowing someone deeply is such a treasure and as we share with one another our hurts, our pains and our joy. Speaking from the heart or gazing into the eyes of another we realize that they have been where we have. That they have touched those stirring waters as emotions ripple deeply within. We can open ourselves to this deep stillness inside and know that others are the same. We can receive the moment and allow our internal eyes to see beyond the image of aging and find that sweet spot within our open heart. Here we can rest for awhile as our breath leads us to our own heartbeat. Our whole world is within us and yet how much of our ourselves do we share with another? We are planting new seeds in every moment and these intimate moments can become the flowers of tomorrow's happiness.
 
Today as I sit, discovering who I am, I am humbled by the knowing that even though the dramas of life continues to move through my blood, I can fully embrace it all as I breathe into the quiet where God has no language. In the stillness I find the peace and remember that all is well as I let go once again to find that seed that has been planted within me. The spark of light that needs my attention. I breathe in and allow in the fullness of being here with all of the memories of days gone by and return to the presence that is my inner strength as peace and serenity find me. In this garden where all begins to bloom, I feel a power greater than my little self showing me the way as I become that flower receiving the light of a radiant sun. I have gazed into the eyes of life itself and allowed it to bring me happiness. I am here to grow and every part of life has made it so.

Blessed Be,
Frannie

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Living in the Heart

"My heart is burning with love

    All can see the flame
 My heart is pulsing with passion
   Like waves on an ocean."- Rumi

Living on an island as an artist was always a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I sit here now on Anna Maria Island wrapped up in the incredible feeling I have inside of me, knowing that spirit guided my way to this very moment. Island living was always calling me. I wanted to get away from the busy life in Toronto where I was caught up in the external world of validation. Every breath of clean air was vital to my health. I was sick and tired and spiraling down into my own emotional chaos. One day I heard my inner most quiet voice tell me to let go of the world I was immersed in and come back to myself. Nature was calling me and with trembling steps I was led to the Gulf of Mexico. When I arrived, there was a knowing within that this voice deep inside was guiding me back home to where I belong.

I need stillness.  It's right here within my reach and a breath away. I wake up to this new morning with all the time I need to bring myself into the place where I truly want to live.

This is my spiritual practice as I step away from all of my responsibilities and listen to my heart- it calls me. Sometimes I can give myself an hour and sometimes five minutes. As I take care of myself in this way, I have so much more to give. This act of kindness towards myself shifts me into a familiar place inside. Even when there are many feelings to touch, I allow myself the space to just be here.

Living so close to nature feeds me. I feel the impulse to go for a walk down to the beach and every step I take is a mindful act of letting go of everything I think I know. I take off the masks, I have no credentials and I unveil myself. As I make my way down the street I hear the different voices of nature even if my mind is still chattering away. I walk on like a pilgrim with my heart leading the way as I commune once again in God's cathedral.

I give myself permission to let go of the busy world and commitments and nature is my confidant. I walk into this day with my connection to something bigger. I listen to the birds, the waves, the sounds of children enjoying the surf. I get pulled into the richness of what is here before me and what is inside of me. Nature holds the space for me to enter a stillness that truly speaks loudly. I listen to the waves as its music pushes on my feelings. I am held just as I am. It doesn't take the trauma of my youth away or protect me from the hurts and pain.  I begin to touch the truth under all of the chaos and a peace beyond all understanding lifts me into a greater mind. You can call it the mind of God or the vast silence. I feel more comfortable in my skin.

I choose to enter my own heart and the truth gives me balance. Here I clear my own space and begin to lighten up and clarity happens. I notice that my mind is not filled with chatter anymore. Wisdom keeps me company. My deepest pleasure comes, because I chose not to read that text that just popped up on my phone. I found peace because I decided not to go and read those endless emails or turn on the television. I received the joy of feeling alive and connected with silence. I chose to walk on the beach and nourish myself with a love that gave to me without me putting on makeup, curling my hair or putting on a special outfit. I just listened to my heart and took the leap into what is already here.

By the time I got back to the house, I felt the creativity flowing. I pulled out my paints and pens and began to express what was inside of me. I let my heart guide me and how happy I felt because I gave myself moments of stillness. The passion was not separate from me. It was filling me up. I was ignited and burning with love that was inside of my own heart.
 

Nature brings you back to yourself! Choosing to take the time to go outside to nature and smell the roses so to speak.

Here on my island I can open to the smell of a hibiscus or the salt air. Here I let go into a timeless place where I am intimate with myself. Opening like the flower to receive the light that is always present. Here I listen and I am heard and now I can value myself a little more. Now I fall in love and see the one before me is my opportunity to share.

This life we live is real and it is our calling to create it from our own passionate connection to source within.

Be still and listen to the quiet.
Be the instrument as you allow yourself to express the ocean of your own devotion.

Then the phone call comes and a voice on the other end is a call for love. "Come right over", I answer without hesitation.  With my heart wide open I get off of the couch and put on the kettle for tea.
My heart is burning with love to share!

Happy Valentine's Day to all.
Love and blessings,

Frannie

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Open Heart Leads The Way

It's the dawn of a new year and here I am, standing at the doorway where my heart whispers softly. Yet again life has brought me to let go of false securities and attachments that only bring suffering. I get clouded by what I think I know. As the fear takes hold of me, I am grateful to have a practice that helps me to receive all that is in the now without running away from my heart. So many of us have had a challenging year and yet as I look around, I see the courage it takes to walk on and trust in this incredible plan that is unfolding. 
 
Change happens all the time. It squeezes us and pushes on all that feels vulnerable inside where we cling onto the past and all that keeps us in a holding pattern. In the uncertainty of this chaotic moment, we can feel the fear of what's going to happen next. We can feel all that rises up and know that as we look deeply at all of our emotions, the joy and sorrow, there is a gentle tenderness that allows it all to pass. We aren't given any promises here yet as we return to a grateful heart we can open to this brilliant self that has wisdom from all that has been experienced. 
 
This holiday season brought me to my knees. It was not easy to keep going when each moment only offered discomfort. I watched my loved one in suffering and all I could do was pray and return to myself even though the feelings were hard to touch. It was okay to be so raw and yet open to it all. I didn't need to be fixed and just being here was enough as I watched life around me spiral into the darkest of places. 
 
My Christmas tree fell down 4 times. It was so symbolic. Yet, I breathed in and with the help of family and friends the tree found it's solid foundation again. With lights sparkling in its simple way, I knew without a doubt that my heart would lead the way. Held in my own conscious breath I did not get swept away by all of the inner emotions. I let myself in as I was tender towards all that was moving through- even if some moments I would get caught up in the panicked feelings. I was okay as I watched it all unfold before my eyes. 
 
I believe everything comes around again until we learn the lessons that it brings. There can be a silver lining in all that life has brought us. The truth that gets revealed isn't always seen right away. Detachment with love opens the door to infinite possibilities. This choice can free us all to take good care of ourselves. Here we can care for others and trust in our Higher Power to take over. 
 
Today, all is calm. I sit in the quiet of my home, with the windows wide open, I hear the cars drive down my street. I have listened to my heart as it guides me to this doorway. This new day, this new year, I bow down to God and receive the inspiration of just being open to what is. Accepting what is in every moment doesn't always happen until we work through our feelings. Sometimes we feel strong and sometimes weak. Meditation and mindful living just allows it all to come and go until the space inside gets clear. 
 
Once again I am humbled by being present as I let go of any old stories or negative thinking. I feel the lightness within my quiet mind and open heart. I know I can be the change in this ever changing world. 
  
Be Still and Breathe into this moment where you awaken to the beauty that illuminates you from the inside. 
 
Be aware of what is present within, as you accept yourself just as you are. 
 
You are a child of God, worthy to be loved and to love.
Your open heart is the doorway!

Blessed Be,
Frannie

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Be the Light of the World

Tis the season!
A time of sharing and celebrating the birth of Christ. I grew up in a Catholic household and yet through the years I have found my way inward to create a peaceful time through the holiday season. It is beyond the dogma of religion. It is a season to share our hearts with our families, friends and community. It is another day to remember that peace abides within a grateful heart and sometimes our longing is just a breath away. We can choose to drop into this moment of a holiday season and just breathe in this precious life that we have and get out of the way so that we can be used to bring some light into the world.

It's not always the happiest days when we think of the loved ones that have transitioned or live far away and are not here to sit at our table on Christmas day. Life has brought opportunities to help me to shift into what is the gift that is most natural to give. I love to give in the spirit of self -expression. To share food, conversation, appreciation or just listening to those that are placed before me. We can hold the hand of the one that sits beside us and just be love. Why isn't it always that easy? Why do we ever for an instant stop ourselves from expressing who we truly are? Why is life so hard sometimes and we wait for someone to give us permission to just let go and let God? 
  
I walk down the beach on this glorious day, the sun is shining in the brilliant blue sky as I reach down and pick up a shell. I look at it as if it were a gift from the heavens. I gaze up at the sky and I speak out loud to my spirit loved ones. I speak to them as if they were walking beside me and then I listen with a silent and open heart. Sometimes I just hear myself talking. Today, the waves of energy flow up and down my spine and tears roll down my face as a sweet energy fills my heart. It is such a mystery as I watch the sun setting and the brilliant sky lights up in every shade of orange. This masterpiece created by this divine force begins to speak a language heard only within my heart. I am filled with love once again.
  
Nature is my teacher and reminder of who I truly can be. I have wept before the sunrise and sunset so many times. I have raged and screamed my hurt and pain a thousand times when I have forgotten to breathe or disconnected from my source. The world has brought me face to face with myself and humbly I bow to nature as the earth grounds me into what is real. I let go so that I can sit at the smorgasbord of this table of life. It is filled with so much food and I can taste the nectar that nourishes my heart. I walk back home.
The season is preparing me to empty so that I can be filled with more peace. I enter my front door and begin to take out the boxes that are stored in the laundry room.
  
This ritual I have as I take out the Christmas ornaments, one by one, brings memories through many years of my life. My heart feels it all and breath by breath I am humbled by the presence of spirit that gives to me through these moments where my story continues to unfold. Right here in my living room as Christmas music plays, I wrap my tree with the strands of lights of every color. Then I turn on the switch and the darkened room is filled with light. I open myself with the awe that filled me for the first time when I was a child. This incredible feeling of wonder as if I was just born.

  
These lights are twinkling before me. I sit on the couch and breathe it all in. I can be the light in the world and so can you. We can be used as an instrument for peace to touch the world through our living.
I savor the gift of presence as I open each day as if it were a present!
Happy Holidays to all!

All my love,
Frannie