Hello and Good Day to you,
First off, thank you for all the kind words about the 7-part Spiritual Lessons Learned in 25 Years of Marriage Series that wrapped up last week. I must say that it’s really helped me up my game in my marriage because if I said I’m behaving a certain way, then I really must make sure that’s happening. What a win to have that new awareness!
Secondly, we've found ourselves approaching the last quarter of the year. Amazing, right? In honour of this momentous occasion, I'm hosting the 3/4 Year Review at the end of the September. Please see the Christina Recommends section below for all the details and registration.
While I was writing the series, life kept happening and adventures were had. It took a lot of willpower to keep focused on the series and wait until now to share some of the life lessons and hilarity that showed up. I’m like a pressure cooker - I have to get the stories out. (She’s about to blow!)
Here’s one of the stories I’ve been bursting to share.
I recently did a virtual vision quest that knocked my socks off.
There was a lot of meditating, journaling, reflecting and tracking my nighttime dreams. Initially, not a whole lot seemed to be happening but I didn’t let that bother me. I trusted that something was going on underneath the surface.
And then we went for a hike.
This next part will be related in a series of scenes for your mental viewing pleasure.
Pristine blue sky. Gorgeous green deciduous forest. Perfect temperature.
Paul, Zoe, Oakley and I are making our way down the trail. We all notice something a little ways down the slope, right where we are headed.
Me: What’s that on the trail?
Zoe: Is it a rock?
Me: It looks like a crow.
We get close enough to do some animal identification and Oakley says, “It’s a grouse!”
Paul: Just walk really quietly and send it love.
As we approach the grouse, we all say “Namaste,” as is our practice when we encounter creatures in the wild.
Uncharacteristically, the grouse doesn’t move. It insistently stays right on the trail.
We notice it has fluffy red eyebrows made of feathers.
The grouse starts to growl at us. I didn’t know they could do that.
Paul, Zoe and Oakley walk quickly and quietly past the growling grouse.
When it’s my turn, the grouse turns sharply towards me and rushes forward.
My first thought: My ankles are bare! It might peck my ankles!
My second thought: I’d probably be okay turning around and going back the other way (we were ¾ of the way done the hike).
My beloved husband gets in between me and the still-growling grouse. Paul waves his arms, stomps his feet and makes loud noises. (My knight in shining armour.) He motions for me to make a run for it.
Shrieking, I race past the grouse, Paul and the kids.
Paul also starts sprinting and yells, “Run!!! It’s chasing us!”
I look back and see Zoe and Oakley high-tailing it down the trail. I continue to shriek and dash down the hill with husband and kids close behind me. Hilarious in retrospect. More scary than funny in the moment, but the kind of scary that feels like the Wow-this-is-quite-an-adventure type of scary.
I look back again and see Oakley rolling like a log down the trail. (He slipped and fell.)
I burst into laughter.
Paul and Zoe stop running because #1, the grouse has made his exit into the forest and #2, trampling Oakley is best avoided. (The grouse could also have been female. I’m no expert in determining grouse gender whilst terrified.)
I regain my composure and we discuss with bright eyes and laughter what just happened.
Paul remarks to me: That was definitely just for you. It separated you from the rest of us.
I reply: Yep, it definitely felt Vision-Quest-related.
Once back in the car with a Wi-Fi signal, I looked up the animal medicine of grouse, which I do whenever I have an unusual encounter with an animal and feel like it has a message for me.
Right there in one of the paragraphs, about two sentences apart were the words “vision” and “quest”. A sign for sure.
Here’s the message I took from the growling grouse. The website said that grouse make a reverberating noise in their throats that sound eerily like tribal drums. (Personally, I wasn’t picking up tribal drums on the trail but it might have been more clear if I was simply observing and not running and screeching.)
Anyhoo, grouse are solitary creatures most of the year except for during their mating season when they all get together and do a remarkable dance that incorporates many spirals. They are said to really connect the outer world with the spirit world (much like a vision quest does).
If grouse shows up in one’s life, it’s either a message to be with more people and connect or to spend more time in solitude. I really took the solitude message to heart.
When I thought about it, thanks to my red-eyebrowed feathery friend, I realized that I really hadn’t had hardly any solitude all summer with my family home for holidays. Plus, Zoe has graduated and is working on a variety of projects from home, so I noticed that not a lot of solitude would be in my near future, either.
Over the next few days, I became more aware of when I was with people (almost always) and when I was alone (almost never). As a result of my new awareness, I scheduled some solitude days for September into my calendar and have been paying more attention to the benefits of alone time.
As a result, I’ve noticed an increase in inner peace and a kind of unwinding of energy that was all bound up without me really noticing it.
So, a shout out to the anonymous Spruce Grouse who I somehow summoned with my vision questing to show up on the trail and give me a message I just couldn’t ignore. How magical.
Have you had any unusual animal encounters or moments of deepening awareness thanks to Mother Nature? If you don't know what they meant, I highly recommend doing a little research into animal medicine online and then some journaling to see how you can best receive the message. Nature is just waiting to bond with us if we are open enough to pay attention.
May you have a week filled with wonder, connection and awe.
With ferocious love and the kind of courage that might require some shrieking,
>Creator of Courageous Self-Care
>Just completed the full Vision Quest with a bounty of insights
>Very excited to go eat the Estonian stew I just made
Well, we're rounding the bend of 2023 (can you believe it?) and that means it’s time for the creatively titled (drumroll) Courageous Self-Care 3/4 Year Review. (At least you know exactly what it is.)
If you feel like:
… then this workshop will help you get a handle on things.
One of the key teachings in Courageous Self-Care is to create a better relationship with time, and one way to do that is to look to the past with gratitude (rather than regret and doubt) and towards the future with anticipation and excitement (rather than fear and worry).
During this 90-ish minute done-with-you session, you’ll get practical experience in honouring what has already happened so far this year, and then we’ll set some intentions for the last quarter of 2023 so that you know what to do next.
We'll take a sacred pause to acknowledge ourselves and move into the last part of the year feeling reset, grounded, purposeful and aligned.
You can expect to leave the call with:
You’ll feel so organized and proud of yourself for taking action toward the life you really want to be living.
Date: Saturday September 30
Time: 8am Pacific/ 9am Mountain/ 11am Eastern
Duration: 90ish wonderful minutes (possibly closer to 2 hours if we’re really rockin’ it)
How to Join: click the registration link below and you’ll get all the important details by email
What you’ll need for the session:
-journal and pen
-a nice drink (like hot lemon water)
-some space to move (because we won’t be sitting the whole time) (I’m adamantly opposed to ‘numb bum’)
-a candle to light if you feel so inclined
I’m really excited to share the powerful process with you (if it’s a fit, of course). If you’re like “Um, no” then you can trust it’s not for you right now.
And if you’re like “I would love to come but I’m already booked,” then please register anyway and I’ll send you a link to the recording. Because I’m nice like that.
When our kids were younger, we were thrilled to discover the Okee Dokee brothers because their music is all about having adventures outside. Plus, their music isn’t just for kids - it’s for the whole family. We’ve had many a car ride where we all sing along with their feel-good music.
I’ve shed many a heartfelt tear thanks to these wonderful musicians. Their music is just so appealing.
Here’s a song about hiking, which I felt was appropriate. There’s no growling grouse lyrics, but they do talk about beating a drum so I think it works.