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Catherine Mattice

A Walk in the Fog

  • Published in Life

We recently visited an enchanted place – Tofino, BC. Every morning my husband and I woke up early to walk along the expanse of Chesterman beach. Early in the morning at low tide, there were very few people on the beach. To open your arms and capture the expanse of sea and sand was so incredibly healing for the soul. Some mornings there was some cloud cover and a bit of fog, but we were lucky that the rays of the sun always managed to peak through casting a spiritual touch on the entire setting.

The very last day of our visit, we woke up for our early morning walk to find the entire beach blanketed with dense fog. It was warm, so we could feel the sun trying to push through, but you couldn’t see more than two feet ahead. A first reaction would be an uncertainty, not knowing where we were going or what was ahead. But we had walked the beach for the past few days, so even though we couldn’t see anything, we knew what the fog covered. We only needed to focus on one step at a time.

By the time we reached the place where we would normally turn to head back, Frank Island, the sun had already cleared most of the fog. Out of the fog, rose the tree housing the Bald Eagle’s nest we had seen a few days earlier. And there she was perched in the nest at the top of tree overlooking the entire beach. We stood and watched mesmerized, in anticipation of her making a move. But she remained still in her perch watching patiently. When we finally exhausted taking pictures from every angle, we reluctantly turned our back on nature’s majesty to head back to our room.

EagleAs we began the first steps a bird swooped overhead followed closely by two more. “It’s an eagle!” I shouted, jumping up and down like a child. Two more followed in close pursuit and we turned to watch as the three fledglings circled to their nesting area. Pure magic.

As we walked back in wonder, I thought: “What if we had decided to abort our walk because of the fog? We would have missed it all. Instead we were able to capture a moment that I will carry forever in my heart.

So now when I want to change plans because the weather’s not right or some uncertainty awaits, I hope I will remember the lesson of that foggy day. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see too far ahead. You know where you’re going. Have certainty in your steps. Take one step at a time. And even though you have been to the place you are walking toward, it will not be the same place. You never know what wonder awaits you. 

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Writing Your Own Life Story

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Much like most of the world, I was saddened when I heard the news that Muhammad Ali had passed away. While I read snippets of his life, looked through photographs and the famous quotes, I didn’t fully connect to his story. But on the day of his funeral, I was drawn into the televised event by the stories of his friends and family. I sat for a moment only to remain for the duration.

As a writer, I have always loved Ali’s quotes – the poetry and the audacity certainly, but mostly the wisdom and the passion. While the stories and words of his family and friends painted a picture of the man, it was former president Bill Clinton’s eulogy that stuck with me. 

Of course, Clinton made the connection to both Ali’s life and his time in the ring: “How do some people refuse to become victims and rise from every defeat?” But these are the words I have been carrying around with me since I watched his impassioned speech: 

I think he (Ali) decided very young to write his own life story. I think he decided, before he could possibly have worked it all out, and before fate and time could work their will on him, he decided he would not be ever be disempowered.

What he said sounded absolutely true of a man I have never met but only read about and watched from the outside. And the words seem to be more poignant with recent tragic life events. But the words spoke to me about my own life. Am I writing my own life story?

With all the big things, yes…my husband, our children, our family, passion for my work…yes I do believe I am writing my life story. With the little things…speaking my truth, saying no without guilt and taking the time to attend to my own bucket list of life experiences…perhaps I could do a better job of that. But I am trying to focus on the gifts I do have rather than what I feel still needs to be done. 

For most of us, it’s probably the bigger things…those hopes and dreams that we tuck into our back pockets that may not be the way we had envisioned writing our story. Perhaps we feel we should implement a lifestyle change to eat better or exercise more. Or maybe it’s a vision for our work, a long-held dream to create a business or make a difference with our work. Whatever it is, maybe we’re afraid to take that step forward for fear of failure or that we’ll succeed and it won’t be what we thought.

For me, it’s that little dream I have been trying to manifest to gather all of the elements of my gifts to put it toward a healing place – either a place of my own or a service to offer others. Somedays I feel as though I am moving toward in the direction my dream, other days, I feel as though I will never get there.

So I think it’s the words that Clinton said near the end of his speech that I will try to carry with me:  “in the second half of his (Ali’s) life, he perfected gifts that we all have: Every single solitary one of us has gifts of mind and heart. It’s just that he found a way to release them in ways large and small.”

Yes we all have gifts. Perhaps I am not Muhammed Ali or Mother Teresa, but I am most definitely me.  And right now at this very moment in time, I am doing the best I can. I have beautiful gifts that I am able to share with the world.  I have a family I love very much and I try to let them know how much every single day. I am grateful for each day. I give with my heart in my work. I take care of my body, my mind and my spirit. As I continue to write my beautiful life story, I have decided I will add a few extra chapters, devoting pages to happy, carefree stories created only for me. While certain aspects of the plot may not unfold as I had envisioned, I continue writing the story of my dream. There will not be one word of regret in my life story.

Savasana

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Wisdom I learned from my family

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When the Child becomes the Teacher

When I decided to become a yoga instructor, I didn’t realize what a profound effect teaching would have on my life. I simply loved yoga. I loved the flow of the movement, the meditative aspects, the feeling of transformation when I walked out of class, the people I met…the entire experience infused a sense of belonging. So when I began teaching, the connection just deepened. As my mentor and instructor put it: “You found your dharma.” And I didn’t even realize I had until she said the words.

There are so many reasons why I love teaching but part if it is the opportunity to explore themes on how to live my yoga when I step off my mat. For five minutes at the end of class during Savasana I am able share some of the wisdom I have stumbled upon in my life with my students. It’s not that I feel the need to tell my story, it’s more of a hope that my experiences will help others in this sometimes crazy life to find direction and an easier path to their own healing.

While I haven’t always had the forum of Savasana, I have been sharing the wisdom of my life experiences with our children from a very young age. All mothers have their gifts to bestow on their children. I haven’t always been a mother who bakes or sends care packages of food when they went away places, although I do like to prepare their favourite foods and wholesome meals for family get-togethers.  As much as I have good intentions, sometimes I just didn’t seem to have the time to prepare the care package of goodies when our children were away from home. Instead I have tried to impart food for the soul. I remember driving our children to various activities…baseball, dance, school, friends…and taking the few moments in the car to impart life lessons. For the boys it was so easy, baseball has so many life metaphors. Like Babe Ruth’s:  “Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” When our daughter suffered anxiety and bullying from other children, it was tough to explain to a young girl that others hurtful actions were an insecurity within the bully. But we persisted.

As our children have grown into young adults, finishing school and pursuing their own life path, they are now beginning to slip in a few life lessons for their mother. I carry three such lessons from each child close to my heart.

Lesson 1: When our son Matthew talked about a friend’s parents bestowing a care package of goodies to be shared with friends, I had a moment of panic that I wasn’t good with care packages. Maybe I should be sending him goodies from time to time as he began carving his own path. At least to let him know he was loved and missed at home. But Matthew quickly cut through my panic with the calm of a parent placating a child. “Mom, it’s okay. I just need you to do you.”

Lesson 2: Even though I do believe I have found a lovely calling on this path of teaching yoga, there are times when self-doubt seeps in. I began my yoga journey a little later in life. So while I do have a strong practice, blessed with strength in most poses but not the lithe-like flexibility of someone who has practiced from a young age. When opportunities arise for me to lead a practice to a larger group, I may hesitate. After all, there are stronger, more experienced instructors out there. I have only been teaching for a few years. Our middle son, Cameron, caught me in the middle of one of these self-deprecating rants with a gentle reprimand. “Mom, you can’t let fear hold you back. You teach a certain way that gives people something they need. When you say no because you don’t think you can do it, you’re denying people the chance to experience your unique energy.”

Lesson 3: Over the years, I have been blessed to spend a lot of time with our daughter, Kate. As she has grown into a young woman, now our together time is more grown up as mother and daughter who have become friends. I value her direct input on things from shopping to personal advice. After a recent shopping trip, when I lamented that I felt too old or too fat in some of the garments, she candidly zeroed on my self-criticism in exasperation. “Mom. You’re beautiful. Stop criticizing yourself. Just own it!” 
As I continue on my path as a teacher, I recognize that I am still working on some of my own advice and I am always a student. Anytime self-doubt disrupts my centre, I look to my yoga for healing through breath and movement. And I work to replace negative self-chatter with the wisdom of three very beautiful souls - to be me without apology, step beyond fear to share my gifts and to own it all.

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Welcome to my website!

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I am so happy you dropped by for a visit. Perhaps you were searching for healing through Reiki, Yoga or Meditation. Or, as I often do, you may have stumbled upon my site by simply surfing the web for fun stuff.  Whatever the reason, I hope the message and energy of my work speaks to you in some way.

As always, with each of our stories, a short blurb in the ‘About’ section of a website is only faded snapshot of someone’s journey. So I thought I would clarify the picture and explain how my path led me to this moment.

For almost 10 years I worked in corporate Public Relations and Marketing for a hotel company. I loved the company and the people I worked with, and at times I really did love my job. But when I woke up every morning, it felt like I was in a race – to get ready for work, to get our three children ready for school or day care, to run for a train to go downtown, dash to the office and then to brace for the day ahead. Some mornings, I woke up hyperventilating even before I hit the shower. I had to remind myself to breathe. I thought I liked my job and I felt like I was on a path to success. But I was so tired and overwhelmed all the time, I didn’t really feel like I was enjoying much in my life. When my husband started his own business, everything became a little more frantic. We continued at a frenetic pace for a while, until we both decided we might be able to slow things and create a happier life if I quit my job to stay home.

At first I was so relieved to jump off the treadmill of my crazy life. The change did help. We were blessed to be in a position for me to quit my job. There were definitely financial challenges, but I was able to pick up a few corporate writing projects from time to time which helped me feel like I was somehow still connected to a professional life and make a little extra cash. But life became busy in different ways. At times it seemed as though I had shifted careers to become a chauffeur and cook, driving our sons to hockey and baseball, our daughter to dance and to school. It’s so easy to fill our lives with busyness and lose touch with what’s really going on in our hearts.  

Staying active has always been a priority in my life because it has always helped to bring the calm and balance back into my life. So when I stepped away from my full time job, I decided to try yoga. My first class was epiphany. I couldn’t believe how it transformed my body and mood within only an hour. I immediately wished I had found it years before when I was on that daily treadmill rushing to work every day.
While yoga opened the door for me to take the path I am on today, it was a slow and steady change. The decision to take my teacher training course after a few years just seemed like it a natural progression. Today, at the end of teaching every yoga class, I am always amazed and deeply grateful for the beautiful, healing benefits of yoga. I often call it ‘yoga magic.’

Over the years, in my own practice and while teaching, I became more aware of the healing taking place during the meditative part of class – savasana. And I started to connect more to the energy surrounding me. But perhaps the biggest change in all of our lives was when our middle son, Cameron, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma when he was only 13. Of course, we were all shocked and devastated with the initial diagnosis. But for some reason, I had an overwhelming feeling that he would survive this terrible illness and he would be well. I can’t explain it other than a warm energy surrounding us – it felt like our guardian angels had gathered around all of us to help Cameron heal. And for six months that was our sole goal and purpose as a family. He had amazing doctors and nurses, but I believe their healing work was assisted by the power of his family and friends’ belief and prayers and the beautiful healing energy surrounding us. 

Sometimes it takes me a while to make my decision. So the journey with Reiki evolved gently. I was able to experience a few sessions with a friend who has such a lovely, light-filled energy. We talked during our Reiki sessions and I asked about becoming a Reiki practitioner. But it took me a little more time to follow this path. I seemed to dip my toe in the water as though to test it out. Today, as a Master Reiki practitioner, I have welcomed people into my Reiki room for various reasons – seeking additional healing during cancer treatments, grieving the loss of a loved one or simply trying to find some peace and balance in a busy life. Each treatment is unique to the individual but similar in that we invite the graceful healing energy of Reiki to bring whatever healing is needed for the person at that time. I am always humbled and blessed by the energy of each healing.
The meditation aspect of my work naturally found a place in both the Reiki and yoga. There are times in a Reiki session when further healing is needed through a guided meditation, but I assess with each individual. In my yoga classes, I always end with a short guided meditation before the final savasana.  Over time, I hope to introduce more formal group guided meditation classes into my schedule.

If you see something on my website that interests you, please send me a note through the contact us section. I look forward to hearing from you.

Blessings to you,
Catherine

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