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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed Wire Fence


Beyond my skin,
This seeming border
Where my world ends
And yours begins
There is another perspective
A new horizon
Where we are One
I cannot see it
With my eyes
But I can feel the sacred ties
That unite, rather than divide
Can you feel them?
The heart knows how to rise above
The barbed wire fences
Of our defenses
On the other side…
There is truly only Love

Lise Villeneuve

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Wisdom from Eckhart Tolle in Times of Darkness

 Waking Up: Personal Insights from my Journey

Here is a highlight from this week's daily posts on the Conscious Living facebook page. Please join me on Facebook for a more interactive and personal experience.
  
October 21, 2020

Wisdom from Eckhart Tolle in Times of Darkness

I signed up for Eckhart Tolle’s most recent 8-week online course that started this week. It’s wonderful because all the sessions with him and his partner, Kim Eng, are live. I thoroughly enjoy receiving the gift of his wisdom from the comfort of my home.

I’d like to summarize, in my own words, what stood out for me during this first session with Eckhart. He explained that during collectively challenging times, such as now, two things can happen. The first and most common thing is that the rising levels of fear, anxiety, stress, anger and even nihilism in the population will likely pull most people out of a state of present awareness and drag them into a state of unconscious survival.

This unconsciousness, fueled by strong emotions and intense negative thoughts, directly affects people’s capacity to think critically and rationally. What that means is that the more unconscious and survival-oriented people become, the more likely they are to make bad choices for themselves and others. If more and more people are making fear-based choices daily, you can see how this can very rapidly degenerate into a negative spiral that will affect everyone on our planet. Darkness can quickly breed more darkness if we are not mindful.

Eckhart said the second thing that can happen during collectively difficult times is that the rising levels of discomfort, uncertainty and chaos shake us to our core and force us - or inspire us, to dive into the root causes of our suffering. This is what the awakening process is all about. Challenging times can become a golden opportunity for the consciousness that expresses itself through us to grow exponentially. In other words, life’s hardships can provide the necessary pressure to transform our darkest, densest coal into sparkling diamonds.

What do we want? Are we ready to take a good look at the coal we’ve all been carrying around for years? Are we willing to take some pressure, to bend and let go of our old, limiting ways and structures? The current conditions we are living in are perfect for this sacred alchemy to occur. The choice is ours.

Peace,

Lise ❤️


Lise Villeneuve / www.consciouslivingsolutions.com

Please join me on the Conscious Living facebook page for more personal posts not published here.

Monday, October 19, 2020

What's Your Soundtrack?

Waking Up: Personal Insights from my Journey

Here are a few highlights from this week's daily posts on the Conscious Living facebook page. Please join me on facebook for a more interactive and personal experience.

  October 11, 2020

Having an Attitude of Gratitude (Happy Thanksgiving Canada!)

I was just cleaning out the garden – pulling out the Morning Glory vines and collecting some seeds for next year. It’s a nice sunny day, but the wind is very strong and quite chilly! As I am now writing this in the comfort of my warm home, my fingers are still very cold.


On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I have been thinking about the phenomenal power of gratitude. Being in a genuine state of joyful appreciation will naturally give us more of the things we are grateful for. The duality we experience in life is perfectly designed for us to practice gratitude. For example, as I notice how cold my fingers are, I can suddenly become very aware of how lucky I am to have a warm home with a humming furnace.


Every challenge in life is also an opportunity for us to appreciate our other blessings. An illness can make us recognize our resilience and our loving support system. The loss of a job can allow us to discover our creativity and resourcefulness. Loneliness can teach us how to find real delight in a simple conversation with a stranger.


It’s up to us what we decide to focus on. It’s important to remember that our energy flows where our attention goes. Meaning? What we focus on changes how we feel. If I focus on my cold fingers, that doesn’t feel great. If I am thankful for the warmth of my home, this attitude of gratitude feels uplifting, empowering and joyful.


Making a daily practice of focusing on two or three things we are grateful for each day is a life-changing habit! What are you grateful for today?


I’m grateful for your presence here. Thanks for reading!


Lise 😘


October 12, 2020

The Enchanted Forest

Yesterday, I went for a walk in my enchanted forest. It’s within walking distance from my home. When I enter this sanctuary, I can immediately feel its aliveness. The beautiful bright colors, fresh earthly smells, and the cracking sounds made by the little creatures moving through the leaves pull me back into the physical senses in my body. It’s intoxicating!


The more we are grounded in our body, the less we are likely to get lost in the jungle of our mind. The stillness of the enchanted forest quiets down my thinking and allows me to feel vibrant, alive, and free – like a child again!


We all need an enchanted forest: a sacred place, a person or an activity that makes us feel fully alive in our body while simultaneously calming down our agitated mind. What’s yours?


Wishing you a vibrant day! Thanks for reading!


Lise 😘


                                                                                                                    October 14, 2020

What’s Your Soundtrack?

What if we each had our own personal soundtrack that played as our days unfolded? If you had to imagine a music track that best represented you during a typical day, what would it sound like? Would it be upbeat and bright? Dark and melancholic? Would it be filled with suspense, monotonous and repetitive, or like the soundtrack from a horror movie? What if your closest friends or colleagues at work had to pick a soundtrack for you, what do you think they would choose to represent your predominant mood and energy? Can you hear it playing now?


Well, we may not have personal bio-soundtracks yet, but if you start to really pay attention, you might notice that you DO have a default feeling tone that you broadcast on a regular basis. We all do. The truth is, we are electromagnetic beings, and we are constantly broadcasting our signature frequency. Others can feel it on a subtle level.


This frequency we emit is directly shaped by our most repetitive thinking and feeling patterns. For most of us, we learn what will become our dominant or default frequency from our parents or caregivers. If you want to know what kind of frequency you are broadcasting, have a look at the people you have attracted into your life, such as your closest friends. Chances are your frequency matches theirs.


Now that we have had some fun thinking about what your soundtrack could sound like when you are out and about in the world, let’s talk about your inner soundtrack: the one that plays when you are alone, or when nobody is watching you. What could that one sound like?


It can be quite shocking to suddenly discover the mysterious music that has been secretly playing deep inside us for so many years. This is our most genuine soundtrack, and it is not as frightening as it might sound. It is raw, unpredictable, and beautiful. To be able to hear it, we must become very still, very quiet. It is only when we find the courage to listen with non-judgmental curiosity that we can finally hear the melody of our own heart.


The question is: are our inner and outer soundtracks completely different, or similar to each other? Do they clash or complement one another? Once we are able to answer that honestly, we can begin to mix, or integrate the two harmoniously. We can completely rewrite our music if we wish to. This is what awareness is all about: freedom and the power to choose.


You read all the way through, I'm impressed!  Thanks for being here!


Lise ❤️

Peace,

Lise Villeneuve / www.consciouslivingsolutions.com

Please join me on the Conscious Living facebook page for more personal posts not published here.

Friday, October 9, 2020

What are You Waiting For?


Waking Up: Personal Insights from my Journey

Here are a few highlights from this week's daily posts on the Conscious Living facebook page. Please join me on facebook for a more interactive and personal experience.

  October 7, 2020

The Cat Whisperer

Three little angels came to visit me in my garden today. The oldest one, aged 8, rushed towards me, leaving her mom and sisters far behind on the sidewalk. She spotted our cat and asked: “Can I give some catmint to Mitsy?” She had learned during her last educational visit in our garden that catmint is a lovely purple-flowered plant that instantly drugs cats by chilling them right out. “Of course, you can!”, I replied. This sweet girl had been trying to get close enough to Mitsy to pet her for a couple of weeks now, without success. 

Mitsy is very shy and reserved with strangers, even on cat drugs. Today, the little brown-haired angel had a plan, and her confidence was visible. She approached Mitsy very slowly, fed her the catmint from a distance, then gently started to pet her! Next thing I knew, Mitsy was rolling around on the ground, showing her belly and purring! The little girl was beaming with delight. She even asked to pick Mitsy up and I wasn’t too sure how that would turn out, but the fat furry feline was like putty in her little hands.

The moral of the story? Drugging cats with catmint is very effective. Just kidding. Today, a child reminded me that anything is possible with a little faith & determination, a clear goal, and an open-heart willing to take a chance. What do you want to accomplish today? Enjoying the journey is more important than reaching the final destination. Have fun with it, whatever that is!


October 8, 2020

Doing the Dishes

We can turn anything into a practice if we want to. When I do the dishes, I focus on my breathing and the sensations I experience: the warm water on my hands, the sounds of splashing, the smell of the soap, the shapes and colors of the little soap bubbles…etc. It’s very relaxing.

When thoughts arise, I simply watch them and then let them go, just like I am rinsing away the soap on the clean dishes. There is no struggle. See if you can notice your thoughts when you are working in your kitchen. Be gentle! Thoughts are like children crying for our attention. They can be lovingly acknowledged but we don’t have to get lost in them.


October 9, 2020

Putting Things in Perspective

As I am sitting here in my car, parked in a lovely area surrounded by wide open fields of grass and tall trees decorated with yellow and orange leaves, the sound of the falling raindrops on the roof relaxes me like a lullaby. I am waiting for my daughter to finish writing her biology quiz at school. Its so tranquil here. The rain whispers to me: “Why wait? Life is right here, right now. This is it! Enjoy it!”

It’s true. If we spend most of our time wishing we were somewhere else, doing something more important that will bring us more satisfaction in the future, then our life will slip right through our fingers, and in the end, we won’t be fulfilled. What could be more important, more alive and real than this very moment?

Here I am, sitting in a car that is supported by the Earth – an entire planet that is floating in empty space and spinning at 67 000 miles per hour around the Sun! Now that puts things in perspective. What exactly am I waiting for? What are you waiting for?

Peace,

Lise Villeneuve / www.consciouslivingsolutions.com

Please join me on the Conscious Living facebook page for more personal posts not published here.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Waking Up: Personal Insights from My Journey

 

Dear Friends,

It seems that over the years, very gradually, more and more aspects of my life have become integrated into a kind of spiritual practice. When I felt inspired to write the Conscious Kids Program in 2015, I took a deep plunge into mindfulness without fully knowing what I was getting into. Mindfulness has taught me so much. It has guided me into a new and improved way of life that is radically different from what I experienced during my younger years as a touring singer and songwriter. Through the regular practice of simple exercises, my focus now seems to almost always be “How can I bring more awareness or mindfulness to this moment?”

The additional challenges brought on by Covid have given me the opportunity to immerse myself even more in a way of life that nurtures personal growth, conscious evolution, increased awareness and the release of limiting beliefs, programming and habits tied to the survival of the small self. It’s not always easy or pleasant. The journey consists of ups and downs, but I now know that ultimately, life has our back and it’s always showing us the way back to wholeness. Trusting and accepting what is is the only sane way to live (although this doesn’t mean that taking action to initiate change is not an option).

I feel a desire to share bits and pieces of this adventure with others who, like me, are waking up to their spiritual nature in our very physical, material world. As much as I have lukewarm feelings about Facebook and social media, I will be sharing some very personal insights on the Conscious Living Facebook page on a regular basis, in the hopes of connecting with others – like you, who could benefit from a little company along this rather lonely path. Let’s see where this takes us. I look forward to getting to know you more! Peace!

Lise (www.lisevilleneuve.com)

P.S. Here is the Facebook page link where I post regular entries. I would love to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/consciouskidsedmonton/

Saturday, September 12, 2020

In My Perfect World...

In my perfect world, this is what a teacher would tell their kids at the beginning of the school year:

Dear Students,

1) Welcome! We are going to learn a lot of new, interesting things this year. Your mind is a powerful tool that can help you to accomplish great things. However, did you know that if you are not vigilant, your mind can also quickly become the #1 source of your unhappiness and suffering? This all depends on the relationship you develop with your mind and your thoughts. It's up to you.

2) Did you know that you are not your thoughts, but you are the one capable of perceiving them? Understanding this is extremely powerful! The thoughts that pop into your head are not the absolute truth. In fact, they are often lies that create stress and uncomfortable feelings in your body. You can learn to question your thoughts often, especially when you start to feel contraction or discomfort in your body, and this will positively impact your mood.

3) It's good to use your mind as a tool, but don't let it use YOU through compulsive thinking that can quickly become addictive and out of control. When you are not using your mind as a tool to accomplish a certain task, you can rest in the innate wisdom and intelligence of your body. In fact, it is recommended that you ground yourself in this space as often as possible. Here you will find true creativity, inspiration, healing and joy. The mind alone cannot give you these gifts.

4) Inhabit your body. As children, you do this naturally. You experience life through your physical senses and feelings. You allow the life-force to naturally flow through you and this results in play and spontaneous creativity. When uncomfortable feelings arise in your body, try to stay open to them like you did when you were really small. Try to feel and release them instead of contracting your body and keeping those yucky feelings trapped inside for years to come.

5) By default, you will want to follow the example set by the grown-ups and it will be really hard not to, but you must know there is a better way of living. As we grow older, most of us desert our bodies and take up residence in our minds. We disconnect ourselves from our physical sensations and our feelings because these make us feel too vulnerable and uncomfortable at times. Up in our minds, it feels much safer because we can write our own story and we don't have to feel anything if we don't want to. So we lock ourselves in a prison we believe to be safe and we wonder why we don't feel fulfilled. Our thoughts about life prevent us from directly experiencing the fullness of life. Use your mind as a tool, like a calculator, but don't live in your mind! Come back to the wisdom, the peace and the joy in your body.

Learning new things is important, it will help you to succeed in life. However, if the ultimate goal of education is that you have a happy, balanced life, shouldn't we cut to the chase and also learn how to tap into our happiness and well-being right now? Why wait? What could be more essential at this time? 

We will learn all the traditional subjects this year, and we will also be learning about mindfulness and emotional literacy. You will learn important skills and tools that will help you to feel good, regardless of what you are doing. This knowledge will help you to self-regulate your moods, reduce your stressful thinking and it will even improve your academic performance.You can learn to work in a state of joy and presence each and every day, it's really up to you. In my classroom, your state of being is more important than what you are doing. I will be there to help you along the way. Let's take a deep breath and get started!

Your 2020 Teacher.


by Lise Villeneuve

Conscious Kids Mindfulness & Emotional Literacy Programs

www.lisevilleneuve.com


Monday, August 3, 2020

Covid News!



Hello! I hope you are having a relaxing summer! I thought it was about time for an update, so here it is.

From In Person to Online Programs:
The covid chaos started unfolding just as we were wrapping up the Winter 2020 mindfulness classes and programs (all in person at the Himalayan Meditation Centre). I had a few weeks to convert and modify all the scheduled Spring programs to an online format. Like millions of others, I adapted to the new reality of working online with video chat. I was actually quite pleased with the way things turned out. Sure, it's not the same as interacting with people in person, but overall, I discovered many benefits of working online. Although it took a little time to get used to it, the intimacy was not lost with technology. We just had to learn to open up and be comfortable in front of our computers! We stopped with the bell, practiced our deep belly breathing and even went into some deep meditations via Zoom! How surprisingly beautiful!

The Big Transition:
I really enjoyed interacting with individual families online (as opposed to teaching a large group of multiple families in person). Again, it's a very different experience but it allowed me to get to know the kids and parents on a much deeper level. They also received customized feedback, which I enjoyed being able to provide. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the online programs this Spring, including those of you who took the mindfulness instructor certification training. Every one of you demonstrated flexibility, open-mindedness and patience during this time of transition. I am very grateful for that. We all had to improvise a bit, but overall, I think we did well, and we stayed present through it all.

Summer with Eckhart Tolle!
I am currently enjoying the lazy days of summer and I am deepening my practice everyday. I have been taking an 8-week course with Eckhart Tolle and I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to receive the gift of his wisdom, especially under the present circumstances. 

Creative Energy is Flowing:
I have been inspired to write lately, and so I have started the process of putting on paper something that wants to come through at the moment. I cannot say exactly what the end result will be, or when it will be completed, but it's happening now. I simply have to trust it and allow it to unfold with as much receptivity as I can. I love every second of it and can't wait to see where this goes!

Mindfulness Programs This September:
As for this Fall, I have decided to continue offering online programs. It's possible that I offer in-person programs again in January 2021, we'll have to see what things are like. The Conscious Kids 10-week program for young families will start up again in September, as well as the Mindfulness Instructor Certification Training. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss options for customized training.

Take good care of yourself!

Cheers,

Lise