Letting Go Once More

December 5th, 2016

This morning I looked out into my garden as the recent snowfall has melted, revealing that some of the vestiges of fall are still around.   The trees that provide such beauty and shade in the spring, summer months have mostly lost their leaves.  I have watched them for many years now shedding their leaves each year with such elegance and grace.  Although I am aware of the sadness I feel when it comes to saying goodbye to the leaves, I am equally amazed to observe how much beauty remains in the images of their strong naked branches.  It’s as if I can see the essence of these trees so much more clearly without their leaves getting in the way.  When they are in full bloom they all come together in an impressive canopy beneath the sky.  Without the leaves I can better see their strength, their character.  I appreciate their rootedness as they bore their way deep into the earth and the immense power they exude as they reach ever more upwards towards the sky.  I find myself content that they get a chance to rest.   Knowing that they need to renew and nourish themselves too.

Amidst all the nakedness of my garden, in the corner of my eye, I see one small tree with all its leaves.  Seemingly facing happily towards the sun, this tree has found a way to keep shining brightly and be the last one to go without all the larger trees hiding its sunlight.  I smile to myself as I glance at my list of things I have planned to let go of this fall.  Some have already left my home while others are on their way out.  An old china set, some books and clothes, ready to be taken to charities and finding new homes.  Parts of an old computer on its way to being recycled.

As we get ready to enter the festive season and celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another, we might want to take a moment to feel into what has been let go of already and where we are still shedding.  Some of these may be material things, some may be old ways of thinking or behaviours that no longer serve.  I realise that eventually that little tree will lose its leaves and another kind of beauty will be revealed.  I learn many things from nature, maybe this one resonates with you too.

As always, much love,

Vivianne

Taking Responsibility For What We Are Feeling

November 7th, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Many years ago I studied a method of communication called “Non Violent Communication”  by Marshall Rosendberg.  One of the main messages of this form of communication is the idea that we alone are responsible for taking care of our feelings.  In his book Rosenberg states “What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause”.  In some ways the idea that we can take responsibility for what we are feeling is a great one.  Since we never have the power to change or control what someone else is thinking and feeling, this concept  returns our power where it belongs….inside us.  The bad news is that we have no one to blame for what we are feeling and, at times, it may feel incredibly difficult just to be with what we are experiencing.  However, if we do give ourselves the space and opportunity to feel what we are feeling without the need to lash out or blame anyone else (including ourselves) we are also giving ourselves the chance to experience immense emotional liberation    I believe most of us are searching for ways to be more emotionally free in our lives and in our relationships with others.

Non violent communicaton is just one book that can be used to facilitate the process of emotional liberation.  As many of you know, I also love the tool of Emotional Freedom Technique which is very accessible and helpful when we feel stuck or overwhelmed by what we are experiencing.  However, simple intentional breathing or journaling are also excellent tools.

It sometimes feels like a luxury just to take some time out to breathe and feel.  However, maybe it is not such a luxury but an essential part of a healthy life.

Have a great November everyone,

Much love,

Vivianne

 

 

 

Let go of letting go

October 5th, 2016

I realize it has been a long while since I have been in contact with many of you.  The summer holidays coupled with my decision to upgrade my computer means that my communication systems have been down for many weeks.  How are you all doing?  I have missed sending you my musings and reflections as we enter into a new season.  Thus I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to a new spiritual teacher that I have been following recently: Jeff Foster.

One of his latest Facebook posts offers a gentle respite from the inner self critic that can convince us that there is something wrong.

Jeff Foster writes:

“Stop trying to heal yourself, fix yourself, even awaken yourself. Let go of letting go. Instead, bow deeply to yourself as you actually are. Be here. Honour the present scene in the movie of your life. Your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, your deepest longings, your fearful thoughts, are not mistakes, and they aren’t asking to be healed. They are asking to be held. Here, now, lightly, in the loving arms of present awareness…” 

– Jeff Foster

If his words resonate with you, do take a look at his website and writings.  Developing a more compassionate and loving relationship with ourselves not only helps us but those around us.

As always your comments are very welcome.

I look forward to connecting with you soon.

Much love,

Vivianne

 

Happy summer everyone!

June 23rd, 2016

Just to confirm that I am holding the last group activity of the season before my summer holidays.

What: Moving, Writing and Healing
Where: Harmony Health Centre
When: Tuesday June 28th from 6.30p.m. – 8.00 p.m.
Activity: Together we will participate in body movement and writing exercises designed to tap into the body’s wisdom for more health, ease and vitality as we enter into the summer season
Cost: $20

Please rsvp to vivianne.bentley@sympatico.ca.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Much love,

Vivianne

We’re Celebrating 10 years

May 27th, 2016

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Spring Workshop

April 28th, 2016

” Dare to be even more of who you really are.”  

– Robert Holden

Ahh…..spring is upon us once more and traditionally a time of rebirth and renewal.  A time to spring clean our homes and declutter our closets and garages.   It is also a perfect time for some internal spring cleaning.  While the energy of winter is about stillness, hibernation and conserving energy, the energy of spring is about flow, creation and renewal.

To facilitate this process, I am delighted to announce that this spring I am offering a 3 week group evening session which will take place Wednesday evenings during the months of May and June.

First session – Self honesty:   We will explore the stories and beliefs within which we live.  How have we been defining ourselves and do these definitions still describe us today in 2016?   Are we following our heads or our hearts?

Second session – Coming home to ourselves : This session will be all about coming home to ourselves so we feel more and more comfortable in our bodies..  How would we move, feel, be in the world if we brought more of ourselves to the table.

Third session:  Creative Living :  Living in a way that honours ourselves and our true values. Do we need to surrender some dreams and allow others to be created?   What nourishes us and what depletes us?   In this session you will be able to create a road map of next steps and explore the difference between taking action from a place of trust vs. fear.

 In all the sessions, body movement, writing and creative exercises will facilitate our process.

Where: 480 Grosvenor, Westmount, H3Y 2SY
Dates:  May 11, 25 and June 8
Time:  6.15 p.m. – 8. p.m.
Cost:  $50 per session

Each week will build on the themes of the previous week, however, each session has also been designed to stand on its own.  Feel free to attend one session or more depending on your availability. For registration please email me at vivianne.bentley@sympatico.ca or call at 514 718 4442 before May 8th. Also let me know the dates you are planning to attend.

I look forward to being with you,

Vivianne

February: The month of love

February 17th, 2016

Welcome to my February musing….the month of love!!

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 used to think that love was something we had to get, acquire, hold on to, search for.  I used to think that love was something we needed to deserve. I used to think that love was something to be learnt and taught.  However, what I have come to believe is that love is something we are.  It is part of our natural essence.  Like the flowers bloom, the trees provide shade, the rain nourishes our lands and the sun shines, I believe we are also meant to experience  love.  When we tap into this truth of ourselves there comes a natural desire, to want to communicate better, create loving experiences, foster loving and connected relationships.

So what prevents us from living fully into and expressing this part of ourselves/? What stops us from  showing up, from forgiving, from staying present, resisting the urge to reject, attack or retreat or withdraw our love.

Well if you are at least a little bit interested in the answer to these questions, I invite you this month to meditate or self-enquire on the topic of love.

Find a quiet space and breathe into your heart centre with some in and out breaths.   Gently ask some questions,for example: .What is love to you?  How do you love?  What might have you learnt about love along the way that may not feel true for you now?  When does your heart open and when does it shut down?  If there are moments that you wish to run or hide from love what does that feel like in the body.  Remember to be gentle with yourself.  This is a practice that can take a moment or much time to evolve.  Make it your own.  Can you feel into the wisdom of Rumi’ message and embrace even one little block to love?

What contributes to your sense of aliveness?

January 28th, 2016

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

– Howard Thurman

Did anyone ask you whether you made any new year’s resolutions this year? Did you start the new year with increased vigor and commitment to complete some projects be it personal or professional. All these are great and are a necessary part of a life well lived. However, when we only focus on “to do” lists we sometimes forget that it is important to consider how we are feeling or being as we engage in our everyday activities.For example, if having a sense of aliveness or joy in our lives is important then, activities that might contribute to that feeling might be important to engage in, not only the things we have to do or need to do to keep ourselves and our families afloat.I have noticed in my own life that the more I prioritise my health, happiness and sense of being fully alive, the easier all my projects get done. Even when I was in graduate school with a pile of papers to write and classes to attend, I found that when I prioritised a morning swim everything I had to achieve felt more fun, lighter and got accomplished much faster than if I had told myself “I don’t have time” and engaged in a more rigid and punishing road.

Exploring what contributes to our aliveness might seem like a selfish endeavour. However it is far from the truth. As Carlos Castaneda once stated, tt takes the same amount of work to consider what makes us miserable as it does to explore the path that makes us happier…. ultimately it is our choice as to which one we might want to tune into.

One word of caution. You might be tempted to put “aliveness” on your to do list and that can work in some cases I can feel very alive when I am working on a project that I love. However, it might equally show up as wanting to rest more, notice the sunsets, or appreciate the dimples that emerge as your loved ones smile that have more to do with allowing rather than doing. Feeling alive can be different for everyone and can change at different times of our lives.

For 2016, I invite you to “ask what makes you come alive and go for it”. As always your comments and questions are so very welcome.

The Practice of Allowing

September 19th, 2011

I love summer. As a child I spent my summers on the beach in Spain.  A time of absolute freedom and connection to what I believe matters the most i.e. people, great food, nature, dance, deep connection with my body and the joy of being alive.  Every summer it is as if my body remembers.  As if my body goes to that place where it wants to be lying on a beach, having a simple life, drawing circles in the sand.  Even though I don`t now spend months on a beach (and would not necessarily want to) I do find myself recreating that feeling within whatever experiences I am having.  It is a time to taste food better, to connect with friends, to be outside, to feel my feet on the floor, on the sand, on the rocks or on the grass. A time to swim in oceans, lakes and pools.  A time of sensuality and pleasure where I feel exquisitely alive.  As summer draws to a close I find my mind wanting to make fall bad. My mind wants me to complain and whine. At times I find myself resisting the beauty of fall, what fall has to offer.  Yet, I know my heart loves fall. At this point in my life, fall is filled with all kinds of succulent experiences.  The problem is my mind can get stuck in the past where maybe this was not true. When I breathe into the reality of my life now a different truth emerges.  My heart actually loves all the seasons as my heart knows that life is precious and cannot afford to be in discord with whatever is showing up in my life.  My heart loves life and wants me to enjoy every precious moment whether it be playing in the sand, gathering fall leaves, shoveling snow or seeking eagerly those early signs of spring.  So this fall I am practicing allowing and being in a place of non resistance.  I am asking my mind to let go of the notion that things have to be a certain way so that I can just be with what is.  When resistance shows up I just notice it, breathe into it and let it go.  Today and each day I choose to enjoy life.

Welcome to my blog!

January 12th, 2011

Keep checking back for new entries every now and then.

Thank you!