Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Conversation with My Older Self

The Inner Child

Connecting with, and healing, the Inner Child has been a part of the therapeutic process for many of us. It was John Bradshaw (1933--2016) who first introduced us to, or at least made popular, the concept of healing the Inner Child through his 1990 book  "HOMECOMING: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child".  To see a brief video of John Bradshaw, click on this link. Home Coming part 1

 Connecting with those younger parts of ourselves and bringing healing to those wounds the child within us may be carrying is extremely valuable work for sure. One quote from John Bradshaw that I really like is, "The truth of our childhood is enormously important." The Inner Child part of us carries that truth for us until we are ready and willing, and we find the right tools and support, to bring that truth to conscious awareness.

I personally have spent many years re-connecting with those younger parts of myself that had, for a variety of reasons, gotten disowned, left behind, lost or were simply too fearful and/or full of shame to show up in the world. Sometimes with help and support or sometimes in my own solitary way, I have managed to re-connect with, and nurture, the infant part of myself, the young child in me, my inner teenager and even my young adult self. Parts of me had gotten really stuck in certain stages of my growth and development. I needed to go back, with deep love, respect and patience, and give those parts of myself a chance to be heard, to express, to cry, to rant, to play and to create. All parts of ourselves need to feel acknowledged and cared for. This kind of work can bring a sense of Wholeness into our lives and into our being.

Embracing Elderhood

Now, having done so much of that wonderful Inner Child work, I find myself getting older, thinking about the aging process and what that means to me. Although I do my best to stay healthy and positive, health concerns do creep in! In the past year or so, having reached that honored place of officially becoming a Senior, or Elder, I do find myself reflecting on what my future may look like from here on.

 At some point, I found myself spontaneously connecting with my older self. I'm currently 66 but in some of the visualizations or meditative journeys that I frequently do, I have found myself connecting, at various times, with my 73 year old self and even my 93 year old self. Instead of going back to the Inner Child, I find myself moving forward into my future, wiser self. That is not to say that the Inner Child, or indeed children themselves, don't have an amazing kind of wisdom and understanding when we really listen to them, but elder wisdom is different. Elder wisdom is born of experience and strengthened by  many years of living through life's challenges. It is actually a dynamite combination -- the innocent, unspoiled and playful wisdom of a being who has just arrived on this planet, coupled with the depth and experience of the one who has lived out a full life on Mother Earth.

My Future Self

 Doing this work (more like play actually) of connecting with my elder self, really helps me to know that I do, indeed, still have a future ahead of me. And it is looking pretty rosy I must say!! I have had many wonderful and very enlightening dialogues with my older self. Although at 66, I feel like I have gained a certain amount of life experience and wisdom, my older selves are that much wiser and more grounded. They have a great deal of important information and guidance to share with me. I have had some dynamite conversations with those older parts of me and I would like to share my most recent dialogue. This one was with my 68 year old self -- so only one and a half years away!!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an event called "Imagine Hope" a Peace Circle  run by Dr. Larry Nusbaum. Larry has developed a process called Focused Questions for Inner Guidance. This is a series of questions that have been developed to help one access the wisdom of their Inner World. It ends with an invitation to dialogue with anything or anyone.

At that time, I was dealing with a slight dental infection. I asked for Inner Guidance on how to strengthen my Immune System so that it could heal the infection without my needing a dental extraction as the Dentist had recommended. At one point, as I was reflecting on, and answering the questions, I saw myself in 2 years, at age 68, looking healthy and vibrant and being engaged in a fulfilling life. So I dialogued with that healthy, vibrant 68 year old part of myself.

A Dialogue Between Myself Now (age 66) and Myself at Age 68

ME (now at age 66): I'm thrilled and excited to meet up with you. You look happy and healthy and well rested. It is amazing to me to be able to look at you and see my future self. And to know that I am heading in a good direction.

My 68 year old self responds: Yes Barbara, the World is still full of possibility for you -- maybe more than it ever has been. You are moving towards a place of freedom and happiness.

ME: I wish I could feel a little more of that now. Sometimes I just feel tired and heavy and uncertain about health and aging.

My 68 year old self says: That is because you are still picking up on the attitudes of others around the idea of aging and health. Don't forget, you did spend many years nursing elderly people in your previous work in Retirement and Nursing Homes. Your experience of the elderly was very one sided. You were seeing those people who no longer felt useful or wanted; who were overly medicalized, drugged and institutionalized. It is time for you to let go of that unfortunate, outdated model of aging. I know that it is still happening now and I know how broken- hearted you felt, and still feel, from that experience. But the time has come to let that go. You have done your job there. Let it be over now and move on. Remember -- I'm waiting for you. And I am only one and a half years away!!

                                                                                     -end of Dialogue for now!!-


An Afterthought: This brief, but powerful, dialogue helped me to see that I was still carrying some heaviness and symptoms of burnout from my Nursing days. It is such a good reminder that those days are over for me and I can let them go now. Although I still feel, deeply in my heart. for all of those people I encountered while doing that work, I can now release myself from the responsibility, the sadness, the pain and the loneliness that I encountered there. It is not mine to carry. My responsibility now is to my Elder Self -- to make sure I move forward in the best possible way for myself; for my current self, my 68 year old self, yes even my 93 year old self!! The life I am moving into wants my full attention. What a relief, to know that my only "job" now is to continue moving forward into a lifestyle that is nurturing, stimulating, enjoyable, creative and free!! I hope I can keep remembering that!!! I'm lucky now that I have open communication with my older self. She can remind me!

With Love and Blessings to All of Us -- At Every Age!


Monday, May 8, 2017

Reflections on FREEDOM

   Is FREEDOM "just another word for nothing left to lose" -- as Janis Joplin so eloquently and passionately sang way back in 1969?

Click here to listen to this amazing voice and song.
  Me and Bobby McGee         
Janis Joplin

**The following is the reflection that  showed up for me at the Toronto Writers Collective this past Sunday May 7 after being given the prompt of a poem entitled "God's Vagabond". After the prompt, we were given 10 minutes to write and this, pretty much word for word, is what flowed out of my pen.

Is there a way to wander freely on this planet without succumbing to the agony of loneliness? Without feeling completely lost and disconnected? Is there a way to free ourselves from the ties that bind us -- to family, to society, to jobs or careers, to those who appear to have power over us? Or are we simply deluding ourselves thinking that we can be free spirits in a world that has so many rules and regulations and expectations and obligations?

So many questions. Such a confusing concept. From what I understand, human beings are social creatures. We seem to have a need to be part of a "flock". But at the same time, it seems like that "flock mentality" can be crushing and destructive to the Individual Soul.  Doesn't the human Soul or Spirit need to be free to create and explore and experience? Doesn't our natural curiosity (if it has not been dulled by those "in power") require that we step outside the box and see what's there? Indeed, we have seen how that "flock mentality" can destroy countries or, more accurately maybe, how it can elect leaders that will then use the power bestowed on them by "the flock" to destroy their country, maybe even the planet itself. Especially when that "flock" follows the wrong shepherd. (We are seeing this unfortunate situation playing itself out right now in United States.)

**A little humorous aside here -- check out this huge herd of cattle following the "wrong" leader. A little beaver is leading this entire herd of cattle!!! 

Click on the following link to see the video -- Beaver Herding Cattle

Sometimes I feel like I have spent my entire adult life trying to extricate myself from the untruths and damaging judgments and expectations of the "flock mentality" that I grew up with. But in trying to extricate myself from the flock, I found it amazingly tempting to look for, maybe even fall into, another flock. Loneliness, feelings of isolation, need for companionship, can cause us to fall back into the same flock mentality trap that we may have tried so hard to escape. Until one realizes that just because another flock has ideas and beliefs that are different from the ones we grew up with -- it is still a flock mentality.

So the question remains -- do we follow the flock and make sure our very human needs for connection and companionship are fulfilled? Or do we courageously step out of the flock, out of the box, and satisfy our Soul's longing to be free and unique and creative?

Ahhhh -- the human conundrum!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Encounters

Here is another little gem that flowed out of my pen at the Toronto Writers Collective where we are given a prompt (a phrase, a photo, an idea...) and then usually ten minutes to write. Today's prompt was NEW ENCOUNTERS.  My piece is mostly unedited here because I find the raw material that is given to us from our Hearts and Souls is very real, authentic, healing and enlightening. I don't feel like I can improve on that. For those who read from their Hearts, or from a feeling place, this will make sense.  

New Encounters
     It happened in her dream world. One minute she was tucked cozily under her big, soft comforter with her special purple teddy bear beside her.

   The next minute she was waking up to new sounds, mysterious sounds, pleasant and enticing sounds. As she opened her eyes and tried to take in her new environment, she became aware of an unusual looking being sitting beside her, reading poetry to her. She was so intrigued by the appearance of this poet that she could barely take in his words. At least she thought the being might be a "he". She wasn't entirely sure. "He" was small, slim, gentle -- even kind of ethereal. That is to say she could see his form or his outline, but she also seemed to be able to see right through him -- right through his body. Or was it a body? As she continued to look at him, her eyes growing wider by the second, this being appeared to dissolve into a mass of vibrating particles.

   Where was she? What was this place? She wanted to know -- had to know.

   Slowly and gingerly she got up from where she had been laying and put her feet on the floor, testing it. She was not exactly sure if the floor was real or if it was also simply a mass of vibrating particles that she might fall through.

   The girl knew that she was heavier and denser than this being she was seeing through -- the being who was still sitting there reading poetry. How could she maneuver her way in this strange place with a body that seemed so different from this ethereal being she was observing?

   The girl stepped cautiously onto the floor, still uncertain if it would hold her considerable weight. She wasn't a big girl by any means. She was normal size for a girl her age -- maybe even verging towards a petite size. Yet here, in this mysterious and still unknown place, she felt huge and awkward and heavy.

   As she tested the floor, it seemed that it would hold her now seemingly enormous weight. She walked slowly, gradually transferring her weight from one foot to the other just in case there was a spot on the floor with fewer vibrating particles to hold her up.

   She reached another room and peeked inside. Initially it seemed to be totally silent and totally white inside that room. BUT as her eyes adjusted to the whiteness, she began to detect some movement. Then she saw the most spectacular sight. A group of very feminine beings were dancing in a circle -- moving, swaying to a beat or some inner music that she could not hear.

   With a jolt, she got it! She knew where she was. She was in the WORLD OF THE FAIRIES. These beings were fairies. So many fairies everywhere. And they were dancing just for HER!


   Yes, she was definitely the luckiest little girl in the whole world. Maybe even in the whole Universe. She thought that her life could never be better than it was right now, in this very moment. Just being here in the land of the fairies, watching them dance -- what could be better?

   Then, magically, the Circle of Dancing Fairies opened up and, without a word being spoken, the little girl knew the fairies were inviting her into the centre of the circle. She walked in and lay down in the very centre of that circle. The fairies danced and moved and swayed all around her.

   Gradually the dancing came to an end and the fairies moved closer to her. Somehow the little girl knew that the fairies were speaking to her and she understood what they were saying even though they were not speaking in words or audible (to the human ear) voices. The girl was feeling light, as though she could float or fly.

   She knew that the fairies were inviting her to stay with them, to become one of them. Already she could feel her energy changing. No longer was she carrying the heavy dense, human body she had arrived here with. She felt herself becoming lighter and lighter. She looked down at herself and discovered that she was no longer wearing the cozy flannel pyjamas she had worn to bed. Instead she seemed to be wearing some kind of loose, flowing white gown that was lighter than air.

   Oh Yes!! She wanted to stay and dance forever with her new fairy friends.

   BUT THEN she remembered her Mom. And her Dad. Her brother. Her special little dog friend. She knew how much they would miss her.




   As I was writing this little story, particularly towards the end, I was feeling the sensation of a near death experience -- such beautiful beings, everything so light and airy, so far away from the Earthly struggles. My body just a mass of vibrating particles. So tempting to just stay in that place. But it was so clear that despite all of the challenges on Earth right now,this is where I need, and want, to be. I want to continue living here on Earth in a physical body. I want and need to be with my "family" -- a family that began with Mom, Dad, Brother and Dog and has now expanded into the family of humanity, the people of Earth, the plants and animals of Earth.  Yes -- this is where I want to be right now.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Vocal Healing

This is another little gem that came to me at the Toronto Writers Collective on Sept. 11, 2016. As with my previous writing from that group "The Peacock", I am sharing this in its original raw unedited, unpolished form. I do believe that the most profound healing comes to us in a way that is raw and unpolished. To me, this is what is authentic and real -- the real stuff of the Soul. 

The prompt that we were given in this case was: A Repeating Noise

                       A Repeating Noise
The drum beats on and on.
Always the same beat.
Hypnotic, trance like.

The Shaman, already in his own trance,
Keeps beating the drum
Pounding Pounding POUNDING

Until I can stand it no more.
I run out, screaming,

                                                      The Shaman, startled,
                                                      Wakes up from his trance.
                                                      "Oh -- sorry" he says.

                                                     "I forgot anyone else was here."
                                                     "BUT I CAME TO YOU FOR A HEALING" I shout.
                                                     "HOW COULD YOU JUST FORGET ABOUT ME?"

                                                      The old man grins a toothless grin.
                                                      Then he chuckles.
                                                      Then he laughs outright.

                                                      Still shaking with laughter, he says,
                                                      "You told me you had lost your voice,
                                                      That you didn't know how to express yourself."

                                                      "Well" he says
                                                      "I think you just found your voice."

                                                      And then the Shaman sinks back into his trance,
                                                      Back into his own world.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Letter to White Coat, Black Art at CBC Radio

Letter to Dr. Brian Goldman

 In Defense of Naturopathic Care    

This is a copy of the letter that I sent to Dr. Brian Goldman (CBC Radio's House Doctor and host of the program White Coat Black Art) in response to his recent program that, once again, portrayed Naturopathy and Homeopathy in a very unflattering light. At the end of the show, he did invite people who have used the services of a Naturopath to write in and share their stories.

Dear Dr. Goldman,

   In response to your program on Sat. Sept. 10, 2016, about Naturopathic Care and Homeopathic remedies, let me first say that I did, in the past, work within the Medical System as a Registered Nurse. I left that profession in a very burnt out and exhausted state. That was in 1989 when I was medically diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. At that point, I turned to Naturopathic Care (which included taking Homeopathic remedies along with natural supplements). I had no medical intervention whatsoever and I healed totally from that condition.

   I have also had a very recent experience with Naturopathic Care. In August 2014, I was suddenly struck with some very serious symptoms -- generalized, excruciating pain, as well as severe swelling in my joints. Many days Icould hardly walk for the pain and swelling in my knees and hips. I was unable to lift my arms higher than shoulder height and even that was unbearably painful. I went to see the GP that I had been seeing for about 15 years. She had no idea what was going on with me. She did not examine me. She told me that she was unable to do a physical because, according to her, OHIP no longer covers physicals. Because I was unable to work at the time, I did not have the money to pay the additional $200.00 which she charges above OHIP. She sent me for bloodwork which was pretty out of whack. She still had no idea what was going on with me and, due to OHIP restrictions, she was only able to spend a few minutes with me. By this time I was frightened and in great distress. I found another GP who did spend more time with me and she did do a complete physical (and did not charge me extra). She repeated the bloodwork which, by then, was even worse. She at least seemed more concerned, but she also had no idea what was going on with me.

   I went through this, undiagnosed and untreated, for almost a year. Because I was unable to work that whole time, I did not have the money to see the Naturopath I had seen previously. Fortunately I discovered that the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine has a student clinic with prices geared to one's financial situation. In July 2015, I was seen -- for a full hour -- by a 4th year Naturopathic student and her supervisor. On my very first visit there, the student correctly diagnosed my condition as Polymyalgia Rheumatica. When I later looked it up, the symptoms were classic and my bloodwork was the exact picture of this condition. I was put on a herbal anti-inflammatory supplement and fish oil. I was given a list of foods that cause inflammation to eliminate from my diet. Later I was given a homeopathic remedy to help me deal with some emotional issues I was struggling with. That remedy turned out to be very effective. And the best part of this treatment was having a full hour at every appointment. I was listened to. I was believed. Every possible treatment was discussed with me and I had every option to say yes or no, depending on what I felt comfortable with. All the  treatment was geared to my particular lifestyle and personality. My symptoms began to lessen very quickly. I had my final visit at the Clinic in April 2016. By then all of my bloodwork was back to normal. I was (and still am) pain free. My mobility and flexibility are all back to normal.  

   I know -- in the case of the Stephan family's tragedy of losing their toddler - a Naturopath is under investigation. That is a very tragic incident. But it is ONE incident. I still feel very comfortable with trusting the majority of Naturopathic Doctors to know when a situation is life threatening and requires medical attention.

   What I would like to know is how many people die, or suffer needlessly, due to an incorrect, or no, diagnosis, in the Medical System? How many people do not get properly assessed in the Medical System? I guarantee it is more than one.

   I feel very sad and angry when I hear Medical Doctors totally dismissing any kind of Naturopathic or Homeopathic Care.

   This is my experience with Naturopathic Care. Thank you for allowing me to share my story. And I do really appreciate your show for bringing important topics and stories like this one out into the open.

Barbara Sauve

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Peacock

This little (revealing) piece I wrote came to me today at the Toronto Writers Collective after I looked at a photo of a peacock. I have chosen to leave this piece in its initial raw form rather than try to rewrite it in  proper" or structured prose or poetry. To me, writing or artwork that comes, unedited, directly from the heart and soul, is a great healer and has the capacity to deeply touch other hearts and souls. Once one tries to make it "perfect" or tries to polish it to a "proper" smoothness or shine, it then becomes something else -- something maybe more suitable to the commercial market. But the focus of this blog is healing and I believe that deep healing generally begins in that raw place in each of us.

Your huge, compelling brown eyes
Draw me in immediately.
You seem so present,
So in the moment.
I could fall in love.
Just by looking into those compelling brown eyes
I could fall totally under your spell.

But....I don't think that would be a good idea.

I pull myself out of
The charismatic pull of those eyes
And I look further.
I'm awestruck by your plumage.
So beautiful
It pulls me right in.
I'm overwhelmed by the beauty that is all around you.

I don't want to fall into this trap. I've been there before.

But you are so beautiful
I don't know how to find my way out.
You fill up the space so totally.

Your energy is like glue.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Playing in the Sand

This delightful little story of a really fun playtime came to me after receiving a prompt at The Toronto Writers Collective. The prompt was a photo of what appeared to be an old dilapitated building with floors of dirt and sand. One door was standing ajar so I came up with the (obvious) title DOORWAYS.  This Doorway turned out to lead right into my Joyful Childhood Self.


   Oh how I want to dig my feet in the sand. I want to sit right down on that dirty, sandy floor and roll all around on it. I want to feel the grittiness of those sand granules massaging my skin, making me feel all tingly.

 Closing my eyes, I bend down and pick up a handful of sand and dirt. I rub it all over my face and all through my hair. My white clothes are getting sooooo dirty as I pick up another handful of dirt and rub it all over my belly and my  arms and my legs. I am so happy --  there are no adults here to get upset or yell at me for getting dirty. There is just me and the sand, hidden behind these walls where no one can see me. I'm safe and protected by these walls. This is such a magical place to play and to explore. And to get as dirty as I want.

   My skin is tingling from the grittiness of this dirt. My Heart is singing with the joy and freedom of  laying down and rolling, moving, digging oh so happily, in the dirt.

   I remember the little piglets from the farm and how they love to roll in the dirt. They are so cute --  the way they bury their little snouts right in the mud -- just playing, exploring. I often wondered what those piglets were searching for as they so vigorously buried their snouts in the mud. Now I am thinking that maybe they are not looking for anything. Maybe they are just loving the feel of rubbing those wonderful gritty dirt granules all over their skin just like I am loving it now. 

   Those poor adults that would yell at me for getting so dirty. They just don't know what they are missing. I feel kind of sorry for them!


More stories from my child self coming up soon. It feels amazingly good to allow that little girl part of me to come forward and share her stories. I especially love that in this story, the little girl started off expressing some fear of the adults who would yell at her if they caught her playing in the dirt. She felt safe to indulge in her tactile, sensual sand play because she was hidden behind those magical, protective walls. By the end of the story, she actually comes to a place of feeling compassion for those poor uptight adults who just don't know what knd of pleasure they are missing out on.