A Walk in the woods

For Jackie K

By Toni O’Keeffe

October 19, 2020

When I seek answers, I retreat into the sanctuary of my thoughts. The route I take is often along a soft earthy path that leads me into the woods.

Once I enter the sanctum and stillness of the forest, the smell of autumn rain upon fallen leaves and moss-covered logs, fill my entire being with peace. My breathing slows and my steps soften.

Tall cedar and fir defenders having stood for hundreds of years, blanket me from the wind and shield me from the noise of the outside world.

Now I’m free to dream, to let my inner child loose and allow her to run free with the magic of her imagination.

Mushroom caps become hovels to small gnome like creatures, dragonflies and other winged insects transform to become fairies and elves dancing on tree branches, sprinkling dew drops on to the tips of the forest foliage below.

Rays of light stream in between lush fern, foxgloves and trillium petals creating the highway pixies, brownies and imps tiptoe upon as they move through the woodlands.

The hidden faces within giant boulders protecting the river bank, emerge and keep watch over all living things that come to sit and heal by the water’s edge.

As my inner child explores the forest and creates her own magic, my mind rests, my body heals and my spirit connects to her highest self and then, the answers come.

Most of our lives we’re busy moving fast and making noise. Allow yourself to stop, to walk quietly on the earth and trust the voice rising out of the stillness. This is the voice of your soul gifting you with the wisdom you seek.

If you’re struggling, seeking answers or want to spend time with your “real” self, go to forest, exhale and take a walk in the woods.

Toni O’Keeffe

You’re allowed to stop

By Toni O’Keeffe

You’re allowed to stop,
to rest,
to reflect,
and catch your breath.
Go find your sanctuary amongst the trees, under the stars, next to the lull of moving water or in a field of wild flowers or tall soft grass.
Somewhere tranquil, uncluttered, and away from the noise, where you can surrender to the sound of your soul whispering all that she wants you to know.
You’re allowed to step away from everything that ails you and everything and everyone that demands something from you. You don’t have to explain why, you may not even know why.
Give yourself permission to take a break from all of it and drown yourself in peace.
It’s in this peacefulness that the answers will come.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

Stop making so much noise

By Toni O’Keeffe

We’re all so busy making noise we can’t hear the sage whispers of truth flowing from our whimsy, tired souls.

We need PEACE, We need PAUSE, We need QUIET.

When we’re busy being loud, spewing anger, hating, judging, mocking or insulting others for who they are or how they live their lives, we’re really reflecting our own fears, low self-esteem, ignorance and insecurities back into the world.

We need to be at peace with ourselves before we can be at peace with the rest of the world. Hate, anger, jealousy, greed, or the desire to control or change others is a reflection of what’s broken inside each of us.

At the heart of every human being, is a soul wanting to live peacefully, wanting to love and be loved. At our very core that’s who we are.
That’s who YOU really are.

If we want to fix our shattered little world, we have to stop making so much noise. We have to stop asking others to change. Individually, WE have to change. We have to change the way we look at ourselves and how we accept each other.

This little shit storm we have going on across the planet, is ridiculous and can be fixed. We’ve all been given a huge time out to go back into our corners and look inward. We’re wasting the opportunity.

If we don’t learn the lessons from this period in our history, I believe the next wave of this global “punch-to-the-gut” will be more painful than anything we’ve ever felt before. It might be a full-blown knock out.

Our souls know how to get along. Their trying to tell us to take care of one another, to be kind, loving and compassionate, all we need is the will. The problem is, we’re not all listening.

So let’s all stop making so much noise and listen to what the universe and our soul are telling us.

Really, let’s all shut the “F” up, close our eyes, inhale peace, exhale gratitude and start listening. I say that with a heart filled with love for every single one of you,
Love Toni

Rest your weary soul

By Toni O’Keeffe

I know you’re tired.
So rest your weary soul
and surrender the day.
Drown in the misty
glow of the moon.
Inhale the sweetness
of raindrops,
exhale the sweetness
of peace.
Allow the twinkle
of tiny stars to
calm your mind
and the warmth
of summer wind
to lull you into
peaceful slumber.
Like you,
the world is tired,
and like you,
she’s still beautiful.

Wishing you
Sweet and
Peaceful dreams.

Is it time to wander?

By Toni O’Keeffe

Some of us are compelled to wander, while others prefer the safety of familiar havens

I love to wander, explore, discover and be awed when I stumble across something new.

I’m a curious little beast. This quality might be the thing I love the most about myself.

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t wander towards something, turning corners, taking new paths or flipping over stones to see what I might find.

Its usually along these uncharted adventures that I find bits and pieces of myself.

If you’re tired of what’s going on in the world, confused about what you should do or say or believe, or support, or if you’re struggling or seeking purpose, get out of your own head for awhile. Go blaze a trail into uncharted territory and flip over a few rocks, you might find the bits and pieces of yourself that you’ve been missing.

Happy Trails
Love Toni 🌹❤️

*photo credit Lucy Haring🤗

None of us are getting out of this alive

By Toni O’Keeffe

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cop,
a gas station attendant, doctor, farmer,
black, white, brown, Irish, Italian, Asian,
catholic, jewish, atheist,
gay, straight, male, female, trans,
short, tall, rich, poor ~ whatever,
We have to stop hurting, judging and killing each other. Because this crap that’s playing out, nobody’s winning.
We all have it in us to be kind, compassionate, peaceful and loving, even when we disagree, especially when we disagree.
Please try and exercise your kindness muscle today. If you can’t do that, then just stay home, drink beer, eat chocolate, pet your dog, do what you do and stop wasting precious time worrying about how others live their lives.
In the end, none of us are getting out of this alive.
None of us.
Not one.
Nope not even you.
Love Toni xo

The Ties That Bind Us.

By Toni O’Keeffe

As we age, why do we feel an urge to look back to our youth, to host reunions and reconnect? Is it because we have an innate desire to return to our original social tribes, the tribes that marked us and shaped who we became?

If you and I grew up in the same neighborhood, walked to school together clutching metal lunch buckets, rode our bikes around the same block, played on swings and metal teeter-totters, ran around kicking-the-can in my front yard or shouting “Red Rover” in yours, talked about our childhood crushes at sleepovers, or met up at girl guides, scouts, band, drama rehearsals, community sports, or at the swimming pool or roller-rink, we share a special tribal bond that can never be broken.

Our childhood experiences, whether good or bad, are the foundation on which the rest of our lives are built. We share a profound social history and connection with the neighborhood friends, classmates and cousins we grew up with.

Outside our immediate families, our childhood connections were our first experiences in the outside world. As we were growing up together we were also exploring the world, building relationships, and learning about ourselves through one another. Chances are you were with the people from your youth when you shared your first kiss, had your first beer, attended your first concert, smoked your first cigarette(or joint), felt your first heartache, endured your first body piercing (maybe by me in the girls washroom at school) or drove your first car. These are big events in the life of a young person.

Our childhood friends were the ones we turned to when our lives were in chaos. Whether that chaos resulted from unstable home environments, world events, our own personal struggles or when we had to cope with the loss of a loved one for the first time, we relied on each other to pull through.

Often people that go through traumatic events together, such as a plane crash, are bonded for life. This bond is sealed by the deep emotional experience they have shared. Going through childhood and youth is similar. In our youth we go through a series of significant emotional events usually with our childhood friends and classmates. These shared experiences can seal the connections between us forever.

It is these deeply rooted ties that drive us to seek reunions and reminisce. These reunions allow us to travel back in time, to perhaps see things in a new light and with new wisdom.

Whether you were an all star sports hero, a bully or you were bullied, revisiting these times can allow us to heal, allow us to reflect on how far we’ve come, allow us an opportunity to gain perspective and be grateful for the people and things we didn’t give thanks for back in the day, or apologize to those we hurt.

For those from my era, we grew up in a time when; we knew the people in our neighborhoods. We could safely play hockey or jacks in the middle of the road, hung out at the park from dawn till dusk and played unsupervised in the creek all summer long. We rode our bikes everywhere (without helmets) often with someone on the handle bars. Penny candy was “a thing” and we paid for it with bottles we found as we rummaged in dirty ditches. We were not tied to our phones, but fought over the one phone that hung on the kitchen wall. We passed paper notes back and forth in class and if we missed the school bus we walked home as there were no helicopter parents to swoop in and pick us up.

Compared to a child born today, we lived an unencumbered youth, free to roam and led by our curious nature, youthful energy and each other.

Then, the day arrived when we stood at the doorway to adulthood, stepped over the threshold, and we scattered, taking bits and pieces of each other with us.

As adults our lives got busy building families, building careers, building new communities and new tribes. But always hanging on to those bits of pieces of our youth.

Now as many of us head into retirement we have time to reflect on the bonds we built early in our lives. Our desire to pull out those bits and pieces and revisit our childhood tribe is normal, healthy and can bring about great healing and comfort because only we know what it was like to grow up the way we did and that truth connects us.

To those from my childhood, we’ve come along way together even during the years we were apart. I’m glad you’ve been a part of my story and my Tribe, and that’s the ties that bind us.

Toni O’K~🌹❤️