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

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