junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183

17 Jun

She fell again and again. Then she got up. And stayed up!

Pamela SylvanMeet Pamela Sylvan

I met Pam Sylvan approximately two years ago. She had just recently arrived in Victoria and happened to walk into a Sunday morning service where I was the speaker. Afterward she told me how much she appreciated my talk and asked me if I would like to write an article for her new online magazine, Downtown and Around.

That article soon became two, then three, then four, and finally a “Dear Junie” column.

What impressed me was how savvy Pam was. Having JUST stepped into this city, knowing no-one, she was taking Victoria by storm! She was quickly learning who’s who in a host of industries from art and music to the best restaurants to eat, the most popular events taking place and putting them in a magazine she was creating as she went. Pretty impressive for being the new kid on the block. Chutzpah or mojo? Pam is all about mojo and is the self-proclaimed Mojo Maker, teaching others how to get their own mojo working!

Pam Sylvan is someone who is the epitome of what the Re-Write Your Life series is all about. She’s a woman who had a very rocky start to life. She underwent some harrowing experiences and she was living her life according to what she learned from them. It was when she almost lost her life and doctors were scurrying around to save it, that she made a conscious choice to turn things around and made her life about learning how to do that. Now she does what she knows how to do best—help turn life around for others who don’t have the know how, confidence, or courage to know where to begin.

Here’s Pamela in her own words:

Today, I’m known as the Mojo Maker. It’s my way of signalling to the world that I’ve taken on the task to help those who are ready to spiral their inherent power and use that defined energy to tell their stories. As well I offer them the necessary tools that will attract people to their businesses and messages and to build the courage necessary to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. Basically, I’m a publicist that knows how to move a person past their blind spots, turn them on to their uniqueness, and point them to where their audience awaits.

I wasn’t always this person. Actually I started out as the most afraid and self-limiting person you would ever care to meet. The belief that drove me went something like this, ‘ . . . everyone else is better and more deserving than I am’. That simple sentence shaped my life experience.

Where did I get that belief, you may wonder? I come from an upbringing of fear and violence. Needless to say, I prepared each day to meet the noise that arose from my parents’ battles. That noise created a belief that life was unhappy and unsafe which fostered an unhealthy dose of shame since I appeared to be the only one among my friends living in such a bubble.

This was the first half of my life. Survival, shame, oppression, and self loathing. Quite the load for one so young, but not uncommon from what I later learned. As I grew into adulthood, those early messages came right along with me. Because there was no counselling opportunity for me to appropriately deal with the interjects of my early training, life was hard and happiness very fleeting.

The majority of my major life decisions were tainted with the belief that I was unredeemable and because these choices were made in my unaware state, they greatly and negatively affected the quality of my life going forward.

Despite all of this, I count myself as one of the lucky ones.

My mother is one of my greatest fans

. . . Not because it’s her duty as my mother, but from her witnessing me fall down time and time again, refusing to be beat and to somehow keep going. She remains a close ally even though at one point during my teenage years, I gave her an ultimatum to leave my father or I would disappear never to be seen again. At that point I had had enough of the violence and even though young, I summoned up the courage to take a stand. Of course this courage unknowingly was beyond my awareness, and I continued to see myself as powerless and unredeemable.

One of my major unconscious choices was my choice of spouse. We did not suit as a couple. Our temperaments differed greatly and my unhappy state continued. My one joy was the creation of my daughter.

falling down is part of life. getting back up is living.At this point in my journey I was still unaware that I was attracting my life experiences based on my beliefs, expectations, and attitudes.

Again, I had to summon up courage to change course in life. I began to dive deeper into meditation and reading. That’s when I found direction that came from within. There was no need for opinions from those outside myself; I had the answers I needed. I listened and made the necessary moves. But first, I was laid on my behind in order to hear the wisdom coming from within.

A Wake-up Call

It seems dreamlike as I share this now. It took a bout of extreme illness for me to listen to my inner voice. Basically I was laid out so I could hear myself. I landed in the hospital nearing a stroke. As the attending medical staff rushed around me, I quieted down internally and had a conversation with myself. I realized that the reason for my illness was my inability to take the necessary actions to change my life. In that moment I made a promise to life and to myself that I would do whatever I had to do to ensure I lived and lived fully.

Today, after leaving my hometown, home, family and friends, I have restarted my life setting a new course with the decision to do so coming from a place of power instead of guilt, shame, and hopelessness.

It hasn’t been easy. At the age of 50, starting over is a bit tricky. Coming to a new town with only two suitcases, no friends, connections, or prospects was daunting, and I am still working out the finer points of new beginnings. Most of all I’m learning about myself and the inherent power I call ‘Mojo’. It’s all about knowing one’s strong sense of self to meet all challenges that show up.

We all have this ability, the difference being whether we are aware of it or not. When we wake up to ourselves there is newness to life and what seemed difficult and stressful is not there anymore. Life is not challenge free, only the knowledge that whatever shows up will be handled in divine timing.

I now lead a growing company that includes a magazine, a radio show, a boutique PR agency, and mentoring practice, all designed to help others find their own sense of power and success in what they do.

My journey has taught me a few things: it takes courage to be happy; happiness is found in the ‘now’  moment; we all have the necessary power to live the life of our dreams, and practicing extreme self love regardless of the thoughts of others is the most important thing an individual can do for themselves.

You can find Pamela on her MojoMaker FaceBook page.

Her motto is, “Your power is a secret hiding in plain sight.”

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As well as at Downtown and Around Victoria:
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And on her very own Mojo Talk Radio show:

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Writing Exercise

All of us are called to wake up from sleep, from living a life where the same old things keep happening. The players may change, but the events, well, they just keep on miserably repeating themselves. Sometimes we become aware through a gentle epiphany, such as in a meditation when we are still enough to hear our inner guidance. Other times the dramas are a lot louder than our heartbeat, so Life offers us a wake-up call in the form of a two-by-four.

Can you think of a time when you were either gently awakened from inner guidance that whispered, “take this road instead of that one” and you listened and found yourself moving with the tides? Or can you recall a time when you woke up from a bad dream only to realize you weren’t dreaming? You, in fact, were hit by a two-by-four and had no choice but to change your thinking and your ways. Which one of those two scenarios speaks to you at this moment? Pick up your pen and write about it, and then consider what you learned from that experience. Reflection is good (and even necessary) for the soul.

As always, please leave your comments below or join us at Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to contribute to the conversation.

All blessings,

Junie

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27 May

When Silence Isn’t Golden

radiance

Cathy DenisonCatherine Denison is delightful woman who is currently participating in my Author Support program.

I met Cathy a few years ago at an event in Victoria. I gravitated to her right away because she has a sense of calm about her. She also radiates grace, dignity, and beauty. Before long I was also struck by her humility and deep wisdom.
 
I invited Cathy to share her story of triumph over pain in today’s issue of Re-Write Your Life. Cathy’s story is one many of us can relate to. Early in life, not wanting to rock the boat, she chose to please others rather than share what she was really feeling. Today she is in the process of reclaiming her lost voice and the lessons she has learned along the way will both inspire and uplift you.

Harriet the magic Speckled Sussex hen
Harriet the magic Speckled Sussex hen

Oh, and by the way, Cathy has just submitted a children’s story/picture book called Abby and Harriet the Magic Hen Find a Miracle to CANSCAIP writing contest in Toronto. The stories of the winners are submitted to three publishers. Wish her luck!

 
 
 
 

Here is Catherine’s story in her own words:

I hear so often in mainstream spirituality that we need to drop our personal stories in order to transcend to non-dual Oneness. I have a different take on this. It’s my feeling that we are called to embrace the tangible intangibility of both oneness and duality at the same time because we are all unique sparks of the divine. So it makes no sense to me to deny my uniqueness but rather to feel and express it so I can grow and evolve.

That’s where my personal story comes in. It is an expression of my unique, karmic, evolutionary journey of who I am. How could we experience anything on this earth plane without the relativity of this and that? For me, the journey is about releasing identification with our stories so that we can transcend beyond to the One Absolute Presence in everything—beyond all identity and attachment.

The One is in everything but is not those things. For much of my life, I held an unconscious belief that the way to union with the divine was to deny my feelings and emotions and think only positive thoughts, in effect wrapping myself up in a false love/light bubble, denying the vulnerability of my soul. My purpose here is to grow, evolve, express, and release identifying with my story, so that I can return home to my true essence: pure light. The only way out of pain is through it, where we find the doorway into the light.

Alone in the hospital

I was stricken with polio in 1953 at the age of six in a large epidemic in Toronto. I spent long days and weeks alone in a room at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. No visitors were allowed, not even family. I was aware of losing strength in my legs. I attempted to get out of bed one day and went crashing down to the floor. I don’t know how long I lay there wondering why I couldn’t walk. The nurses were run off their feet and often couldn’t come when I called.

Eventually I was transferred to a children’s ward at Thistletown Hospital in the west end of Toronto. This was a time of great flux for my family. My father had just left his job with the federal government in Newfoundland to start up a private company in Montreal with a partner. He had a large family to support. My mother and I, along with my four brothers and sisters, were staying with relatives in Toronto while my father established his company and bought a house. Toronto was my family’s home base.

While I was in the hospital, my mother and siblings moved permanently to Montreal to join my father. I was permitted to have visitors at Thistletown Hospital. My grandparents, aunts, and uncles visited me continually in my family’s absence. They were not permitted to enter the ward, however. Instead, they stood outside and waved and talked to me through the screened windows at the end of the room. I remember my grandmother smiling and waving as she showed me a green balloon man with cardboard feet.

Coming home and fitting in

I was discharged from the hospital in December of 1953 using a brace and crutches to walk. I had regained the strength in my left leg, but my right leg was mostly paralyzed. My grandparents travelled with me by train to Montreal where I joined my family. One of my earliest memories after arriving home is drying the dishes as my mother washed them. She was determined that I would lead as normal a life as possible. To that end, she took on the nuns at the local Catholic school, insisting that they accept me. At that time in Quebec, “crippled” children were isolated in separate schools. Eventually, the nuns relented, and I began grade one in December of 1953.

My classmates were like angels. That’s how I experienced their energy. They accepted me fully and treated me as an equal with kindness and respect. I was the only child with a disability in the school. I made good friends. I thrived in school. In grade eleven, I was elected as President of the Student Council.

Throughout my childhood, I was hospitalized in the Montreal Children’s Hospital for major surgeries to my right foot, leg, and hip. I endured a lot of physical pain and time away from my friends and family. As strange as it may sound, I enjoyed being in the hospital, apart from the surgeries and pain. The doctors and nurses were kind, and I made friends with the other children. We used to have wheelchair races in the hallways. It felt like a second home to me.

I am grateful to my mother for encouraging independence, strength, and determination in me. She wanted me to fit into mainstream society. As time went on though, I feel my parents began to deny my disability. I was so anxious to fit in that I never complained or discussed how I felt. It was easy for people to assume that I had it made.

I attended school dances when I was a teenager. Mostly, I sat on the sidelines since I couldn’t dance. I remember leaving the dance alone one night. Tears streamed down my face as I walked home in the dark. I felt like a misfit. I was careful to wipe away my tears before entering my house. At this point in time, my parents were not happily married. I didn’t want to give them any more reasons for being unhappy.

Succeeding at life

After graduating from high school, I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree. I returned to school off and on throughout my life to further my education, and I made several career changes. I worked in clerical positions, as a Health Record Administrator in hospitals, in marketing and public relations for not-for-profit organizations, and finally in the field of vocational rehabilitation, helping persons with disabilities find suitable work.

When I initially graduated from university at the age of twenty, I obtained my first job at Pitney-Bowes in Toronto where I made many new friends. I rented a home with three other girls. We partied hard and had good times. At the age of twenty-three, I travelled through Europe with one of my roommates. My boyfriend had returned to his home in London, England, after working in Canada, so I visited him there. He left me for a prior girlfriend. I dated a Jewish boy throughout university. When we decided to marry, his mother expressed a strong concern about my disability. Could I have children, she asked? I said I could. Would I convert to Judaism? I could sense my boyfriend’s commitment was waning. I wasn’t prepared to convert, so we went our separate ways.

I married my current husband when I was twenty-four years old. His mother didn’t approve. She was unhappy that he was marrying a woman with a disability and refused to attend our wedding. We’ve been married for 44 years and have two beautiful children, a son and a daughter. My mother-in-law has come to love me over the years.

Feelings finding their way to the surface

Looking back at my outer accomplishments, it seems that my life has gone pretty well. I remember feeling proud in my 30s that I hadn’t shed a tear in years. I thought of myself as strong and resilient. It all began to unravel in my late thirties. Out of the blue, the tears would flow. I had no idea why. I sought counselling. That’s when I learned about how disconnected I was to my feelings. I would not allow myself to feel any negative emotions. My denial ran deep. I wasn’t able to express honestly how I felt about most things. It’s been a long journey since then about learning to accept and express the vulnerability of my soul.

Gradually, I came to realize that I disassociated myself from my fear, loneliness, and sense of abandonment and betrayal when I was hospitalized with polio at age six. When I was discharged from the hospital and reunited with my family, no one asked how I felt about my disability then or anytime while growing up. That was the way it was back then. We know so much more now.

A renewed sense of unity

So what’s it all about, Alfie, as the song goes? What’s the deeper meaning behind what I’ve experienced? I had a spiritual epiphany when I was eight or nine years old. As I lay on my back in the snow at the bottom of a toboggan hill, gazing up at the sky, I felt as though I was part of everything, not separate. I had a strong, inner knowing that my home was elsewhere in the stars and that I would return home one day. I lost this sense of unity as I grew older and got caught up the drama around me. But the memory stayed with me about what’s possible. I have renewed this sense of unity. It is a wondrous thing to pay attention to how the benevolent Universe constantly speaks to us through signs and synchronicity, lighting the path forward. And if we pay attention, it makes our journeys truly magical.

What I have to come to feel in my heart is this: All I see in the outer world is a reflection of my inner consciousness, both individually (the reality I myself create) and as part of the collective consciousness (what I co-create with others). I’m not a victim of circumstances. I am the creator. As part of my karmic journey, I chose to disempower myself physically in this lifetime by taking on a physical disability, and emotionally by disconnecting from my feelings. I sense past lifetimes and feel that I abused my power down through the eons and that I’ve come to atone for that in this lifetime (atone = at one). My guilt and sorrow built my disability. My karmic journey here is about releasing identification with those feelings by diving into them and feeling them fully without judgment, becoming the One in them.

I have become conscious over time of a conditioned pattern I carried from past lifetimes into this incarnation, a pattern of feeling abandoned and betrayed. I re-created this unconscious, conditioned belief when I was six years old and felt abandoned in the hospital. That experience was a reflection of my inner consciousness.

I’ve repeated this pattern of abandonment and betrayal throughout my life. I am now conscious of it, however, so I am transforming it. I’m feeling into the pain behind this conditioned belief and expressing it in order to let it go. Whenever I recreate the pattern, the outer mirror is inviting me to go deeper into feeling it, expressing it, and releasing it.

I know it’s possible to transform inner consciousness. I know because the mirror of my outer reality changes when my inner consciousness changes. With regard to that, I am greatly inspired by Bruce Lipton’s book, The Biology of Belief. Bruce is an environmental biologist. His research is fascinating. I feel there is always a deeper meaning behind everything we experience, behind everything we see in the outer mirror, and we can ascertain the deeper meaning if we pay attention.

The ultimate invitation from the Universe is to return home to the pure light that we are, our true essence. As we dissolve our emotional blockages and light up ourselves, we light the way for others. My journey homeward continues. My deep gratitude goes out to Junie Swadron for this opportunity to share a bit of my journey with you.

Writing Prompt

Write about a time when silence was not golden for you. Where hiding out was not working. Perhaps it’s now. Write whatever you need to say and hopefully, in not too long, your voice on the page will become your strength and confidence to share with whomever you need to. If it is something from the past, imagine that you spoke your truth. Write about the road you didn’t take . . . and how it feels now to express yourself fully.

As always, please leave your comments below or join us at Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to contribute to the conversation.

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11 Mar

Despair + Journaling = Alchemy + Transformation

you make a difference!

This week I had an experience that demonstrates the truth of my statement, The sweet whisperings of your soul meet you on the page and something shifts. You begin to stand taller and one day you notice that your voice on the page has become your voice in the world.

A realization

On Tuesday, I woke before dawn consumed with angst. It had to do with something I had been hiding for years, which was connected to feelings of unworthiness. I didn’t know I felt that way—at least on such a big scale—until I was diagnosed with a severe vision problem about a month ago (which is treatable, thank goodness, but the cost of the treatment is thousands of dollars). The condition is described as: Convergence Insufficiency, Binocular Dysfunction, and Visual Processing Deficits.

I had been hiding my inability to read properly since my childhood; the realization that I actually have a vision problem began just last month when I was directed to a TED Talk presentation by Dr. Cam McCrodan, an optometrist here in Victoria, BC, who specializes in treatment of visual dysfunction. As I watched him, I wept because almost everything he said described me to a T!

Sharing a secret

I shared my “secret” about my reading problems and the news of my diagnosis and proposed costly treatment with my dear friend Frances, and she said, “Oh, Junie, this is a perfect opportunity to do crowd funding.” We were at a restaurant having dinner. Suddenly, I started feeling queasy. She went on to say that asking friends and acquaintances to contribute to a crowd funding campaign was the perfect solution to the cost of treatment, and a worthy cause. The queasiness bought prime real estate inside me and settled into every cell of my being—especially after another dear friend Teya had the crowd-funding site up a few days later! When she told me she had done it, I freaked out! “What? I never said to put it up!”

How was she to know that I had been sitting with the shame, fear, and guilt that had continued to natter at me since my dinner with Frances? After waking up in that same dark place Tuesday morning, I grabbed my journal and, as usual, it didn’t fail me.

Confiding in my journal

After pages of seemingly going nowhere, eventually I found myself directly inside a little girl’s psyche with all of her guilt, pain, and shame. I kept my pen moving and then found myself inside the source of the pain, exactly when and where I was when I adopted the belief that I wasn’t deserving. I wrote and I wept and eventually came into a clearing: a meadow of beautiful spring flowers, a gentle breeze caressing my wounds, and songbirds singing love songs above me. And in this sacred setting, I forgave my parents and all of those who contributed to that little girl’s pain where she thought she wasn’t good enough. I offered them my love and it came back to me one-hundred-fold.

By the time I put my pen down, I was singing—literally! I was one of those songbirds singing out my love. And I knew that I could go ahead with the crowd funding. If people judged me, I would still be okay. It would be an invitation to peel away another layer of ego that holds me hostage whenever I take seriously what I perceive others are thinking about me.

Three miracles

And that was just the beginning of my day! Before I walked out of my house to go to my team meeting at the Schizophrenia Society at noon, three more miracles occured!

One, I picked up one of Wayne Dyer’s books and opened it randomly to a page titled, Money and Self-Esteem! Seriously?! How DOES that work? Anyway, it spoke and affirmed of all the things I had just been writing about.

After that I sat in silence for about 20 minutes feeling love pour into me and out of me, and then the phone rang. It was the supervisor of a company where I had stopped services about a year ago, but they had still been charging me a monthly fee. It was my error, as I hadn’t cancelled my plan in the way they had specified because I didn’t read the directions properly. Without a moment’s hesitation, she told me she was going to refund me the money. Two days earlier an employee of the company had told me that a refund wasn’t possible because I hadn’t followed the company’s policy! I literally cried in gratitude with this offer of a refund.

Next came the third miracle: feeling that I AM deserving and that it’s okay to be me just the way I am, I went to my phone and made a video of myself honouring my sisters around the world for International Women’s Day. The day before I would have been mortified to put a video of myself on Facebook without make-up and looking less than svelte dahling!

The equation

What started the ball rolling on this sense of joy and freedom and these miracles was this simple equation: Despair + Journaling = Alchemy & Transformation

How does that work? Because you get to tell your truth. All of it! No one else but you and the page. No one there to correct your writing or have an opinion about it. Just you, a pen, and some paper.

Well, there is one other secret ingredient that sneaks in there when we allow it, when we aren’t judging what we write. God. The Universe. Universal Intelligence. Love . . . name it what you will. But I guarantee you that It is always with you in ways you could never imagine!

Writing Exercise

Today, commit to writing in your journal about something that has been niggling at you, something that has been keeping you in guilt, shame, unworthiness, self-doubt, even self-loathing. Write deeply into your truth. Don’t hold back. Let your heart spill onto the pages until you find that you are no longer a person writing, but an energy moving through space and time, and when you awaken from this writing reverie, you will be someone other that who you were when you first began.

Writing Prompt

“What I never wanted to say was… ”

As always, please leave a comment below or join us at Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to join the conversation.

All blessings,
Junie

P.S. More miracles … I just went downstairs to the laundry room and what was on the table? A card saying, “You Make a Difference”! Thank you for the difference you make in my life. Love this day, and go out and make a difference. Love yourself and let that love shine into everyone and everything you think, see, and do!

 

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junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183