The Gift of Fog

I woke up to fog today. The earth is cold and the air is warm, and that is when we are socked in with fog.

Whenever I walk out into fog, I am reminded of so many times in my life when I feel like I am in a fog. These are times when the next step may be clear, but the whole path is not.

Fog also reminds me that it will lift eventually, and then I will be able to see the way ahead.

I feel like fog is an invitation to trust that the way will be revealed in good time, and that I am still on my path, even though I can’t see it.

What is foggy in your life, and what would it be like if you relaxed into it?

The First Step

“Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.” Antonio Machado

I love this quote because it reminds me that we don’t need to see the whole path before we take our first step.

What first step is waiting to be taken, in your life?

Water Under the Bridge

bridge zubiri

I haven’t written on the blog for ages. I made a commitment to myself a year or so ago that I would only share my words when I am inspired to share, rather than writing just because I haven’t written in a while.

My commitment is to be open and receptive, and what comes will come in its own timing. I wish for all of us that we live our lives in the flow, rather than pushing against it.

Speaking of flow, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since I last wrote.

Cinn and Hamilton

Our dog Cinny passed away, after 12 years of fun, frolic, and feistiness with us. We feel so blessed that she was such a big part of our lives for so long. This picture is of Cinn with one of her favorite toys, Hamilton. Be free, sweet Cinnamon; we miss you every single day.

mandala rose

I created and led an experiential workshop called Bringing the Sacred into Everyday Life. Eight of us gathered to spend five mornings together, creating altars, walking the labyrinth, drawing mandalas, communing with nature, and painting blessing flags. It was a rich week of fun, deep sharing, and profound learning.

2016 pilgimage

I have begun another virtual pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. I feel called to be a pilgrim when I find myself in Not Knowing Land, in various aspects of my life. I have done two other virtual pilgrimages in the last five years, one on the Camino (the same route), and one to Ireland.

Being on a pilgrimage helps me remember that it is OK to Not Know, that sometimes Not Knowing is the most powerful place to be, and that all we really need to know is our next step.

At its essence, a pilgrimage is an inner journey, so it is not necessary that we actually set foot out our doors (although a real pilgrimage walk is a very powerful and luminous experience; ask anyone who’s done it).

I believe that our lives are pilgrimages, when lived consciously and with intention.

When I look back at the last few months, what I see is my commitment to pay attention to that which is precious in my life.

What is the water that has passed under your bridge, in the last 3 months?

What is precious to you?

What do you want to pay attention to?

Soft Soaking Rain

soft soaking rain fave

The rain has been falling steadily all day.

I get back from my long walk and I am soaked.

All day, before my walk, I have felt closed in, wrapped in a dark, grey sky.

I have felt challenged by the rainy day. Dark, wet days dampen my spirits.

When I was a kid, rainy days were play days. I would set up a tent with a blanket and a card table, and I would hide inside and sequester myself from the world all day.

I created Rainy Day Kits full of my favorite reading and art supplies, and I would spend the day creating stuff and reading.

I looked forward to rainy days.

Now I am wondering: what is the opportunity in rainy days? What would be different if I went with the natural invitation and rhythm of a rainy day?

Rather than a dark, rainy day being a suppression of energy, it might be about relaxing into a different kind of energy.

All around us in there are cycles in nature: inward and outward, waning and waxing, incubation and growth.

The adult version of the kid rainy play day would be an interior day, a closed-in day, a day with some time for some reflection, and play, and nourishment.

What if I trusted these cycles, and went with them?

I’m curious about what effect it would have on my work, if I honored the natural cycles of waxing and waning.

What are rainy days inviting you to?

Being Visionless

fog

Today is a very mild day, for deep winter, and there’s a thick fog.

I can’t see my neighbor’s house or driveway, and the detail on all the trees has faded into a blur.

The damp is penetrating.

This is the latest in a number of grey, cloudy, colorless days. Nature is resting.

When it is like this, my vision is obscured. I can’t see much, and what I can see is blurred. Much of what I can see is a dull monotone.

This is a good reflection of how I am feeling: very quiet, and like it is time to rest.

I can’t see much in the way of a vision for my business right now. It feels like it is growing and changing, but the details are unformed at the moment.

As a professional coach, I live and work in a world that says that we “must” have a vision. Part of what I do as a coach is help my clients clarify their life and work visions.

As an owner of my own business, I am told by business professionals that it is essential to have a vision, for my business, for content that I publish, for social media engagement, and for a whole host of other things.

I agree that it is desirable to have a vision. Visions can be compelling and motivating.

However, sometimes there isn’t a vision to be seen or clarified. Sometimes the vision isn’t ready to be revealed yet. Like the dense fog outside, in time, clarity will re-emerge. What is called for in these times is patience.

Wisdom tells me that visions aren’t made; they reveal themselves from our deeper wisdom.

Whatever vision is needed for me will emerge when it is needed, from a space of listening within.

My challenge is to refrain from pushing on it. I don’t like being in fog, literal or metaphoric. I often try to do something to get out of it.

The fog is the wisdom, today. It’s telling me that while things are unclear in the moment, in good time, the fog will lift, and what I need to know will become clear.

What is foggy for you right now? What if you waited until the fog lifts?

 

 

Living the Questions

sun reflection snow

This picture doesn’t go with the writing in today’s blog. The scene isn’t a metaphor for life, or, if it is, I’m not seeing it the story in it yet. It is just a beautiful scene on a deeply cold winter day.

What is calling to me today is the Rilke quote from Letters to a Young Poet, about living the questions.

 “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, from Letters to a Young Poet

What Rilke says is a match to my experience of life.

If you read my blog, you know that it is all about the questions. I am always asking myself questions and I always offer a question to you, in case it resonates with your soul.

I find it very freeing, that we don’t have to have the answers. And, even more, that we don’t have to strive or search for the answers. We don’t have to figure it out.

All we have to do is Live the Questions Now.

But, what does that mean? How do we do that? (I’ve always got a question!)

I think Rilke gives us a clue in his quote when he says “try to love the questions themselves.”

I love questions, but I think I could “love the questions” more. I could wake up in the morning with a question on my mind and just love that I have the question alive in me.

I could love that question like I love other things. I could fill my heart with love and gaze at it. I could love it, appreciate it, savor it. I could turn it over in my mind, delighting in every aspect of it. I could fill my heart with love and send it to the question.

That would be fun.

I think there is another piece living the questions, and that is to hold the questions with a light, playful spirit of curiosity.

And, to be ok with Not Knowing. That might be a little more challenging, in our culture. We are supposed to have the answers.

Some of the questions that are alive in me now are:

  • What if it is all about Love?
  • How can I live more tuned into my inner essence?
  • What would it be to live my life from a grateful heart?
  • How can I be more generous?

These feel like big questions. But, I don’t need to have the answers. All I need to do is to Live the Questions.

What are the questions that you are living right now?

 

 

 

 

The Land of Not Knowing

shifting sandsA friend and I were talking about what it’s like to be in Not Knowing, to be in a change in your life that’s so foundational that you aren’t sure who you are in it.

For me it feels like I’m walking on shifting ground. Like I’ve lost my footing and lost what it feels like to be sure-footed.

I know that it’s all part of the process, and I certainly have learned that I don’t want to push it, push new understandings, push knowing, push the process of change forward. That would be inorganic and would only come back to bite me later.

What we came to was to pay attention to what feels alive, even if it is a relatively quiet time. That we could still find the life force: the energy or inspiration or idea that feels most alive, and follow it.  And see where it leads.

This requires curiosity and a lack of judgement or pre-formed assumptions. It requires self-compassion and kindness towards ourselves.

It’s not passive, or demanding things be solved, or figuring it out. It’s actively engaged with life, just in a different mode than when you have high clarity about who you are and where you are going.

And then there’s containers and structures and keeping the channel open, but more about all of that on another day.

How do you be in Not Knowing Land?

What’s Your Sustainable Model of Personal Energy?

personal energy flowsWe used to have a low-producing well for the water supply at our house. If we had a drought, and I needed to water the garden, there was insufficient water. I would set a hose and let it run for an hour or two, and the well would run dry. Then we would need to wait for the natural water table to replenish the supply in the well, so that we would have sufficient water to service the house.

This clearly wasn’t a sustainable model of water supply.

However, this was also my model of personal energy for many years.

I’d work really hard until I depleted all of my energy reserves, and then I’d collapse and need to rest until my energy supply filled back up again.

I wasn’t very good at sensing the leading indicators, either, so I often wasn’t aware that I was running on fumes until it was too late to turn it around.

This obviously isn’t a sustainable (or intelligent!) model of personal energy, but with the high level of commitments that so many of us have these days, it isn’t uncommon, either.

We eventually drilled a new well at the house, and we haven’t run out of water since. This well taps into a deep source of ground water that sustains the supply at a healthy level at all times.

It suddenly occurred to me that this metaphor could be useful for those of us who are searching for a sustainable model of personal energy.

What if we each knew the sources of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energies that keep us supplied, at a healthy level, at all times? And then, of course, we need to allow those sources to keep us sustained.

Here are some examples of my best sources. I think they will be different for every person:

  • Spiritual energy: meditation is my best source, by far
  • Mental energy: having a challenging creative project
  • Emotional energy: for most people, this may be the emotional support they receive from close friends. While this is true for me, too, I’m very introverted, and my best source of emotional energy is my connection with nature. Nature just makes me feel good.
  • Physical energy: lifting weights, and adequate sleep

What are your best sources? What would the impact be, in your life, if you allowed those sources to keep your energy well-supplied and sustained?

 

I’m a Pilgrim in an Unknown Territory

eastern box turtleWhat if life is always showing us who we are to be, and where we are to go, but I’ve already written the script, so I miss it?

Today I’m playing with the idea that there is support for us everywhere if we only have the Emptiness to see it.

What does Emptiness have to do with it? Everything. Emptiness is willingness, openness, receptivity.

It’s like being the empty bowl rather than the one that is so full that there is no room for anything new or surprising to come in.

Today, when Harold and I went out with the dogs to take a walk, there was an Eastern Box Turtle on the driveway. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years, and I’ve never seen a turtle on the property, so this really got my attention.

It is a beauty, as you can see from the photo. It’s a male, with red eyes.

When we returned from our walk, it was gone.

I began asking myself: What if Life is reflecting to me just what I need to know, rather than me having to figure it all out?

Turtle, what are you telling me? What do I need to know?

I became quiet, clear, and receptive. I respected this miracle and became willing to Not Know what it was showing me.

Here is what I received: “That you are secure and grounded. Trust your stability. Take your life a little more slowly, and maintain a sure footing. Take one step at a time.”

When I created a clear space within, these words just flowed into my awareness. It was just what I needed to hear today.

I’ve had a lot of practice Not Knowing. It is one of the things we life coaches honor and respect and aspire to.

But it never comes easy to me. I always seem to have that feeling that I’m responsible to know: who I am, where I am going, how I will get there. I’m always a bit uncomfortable Not Knowing.

Today, though, Turtle showed me that just maybe Life is always conspiring to assist me on my path. That the answers emerge from the clear, receptive space of Not Knowing. That I will be shown.

What if this is true for you, too?

Bored With My Stuff

stark church

I’m so bored with my “stuff,” all the little inner dramas and patterns. All the repetition….the same old stories they tell. They’re like inner characters in the play of our lives. And they aren’t supporting characters, if you know what I mean.

We all have them. My clients have them. My friends have them. It’s just part of being human.

They aren’t ever going to go completely away. Some days they are stronger, and louder. Sometimes, softer and quieter.

Today’s character is the Over-Responsible One who wakes up thinking of her To Do List, and worked up about getting it all done.

Yesterday it was the inner one who seems to be charged with worrying about shortage and scarcity, time, money, etc.

These are familiar characters.

Today, I befriend them. I invite them into the sacred circle of my prayer and meditation.

I show them some love. Let them know that everything is really OK, despite what they see.

And I turn back to what matters, the center of my circle, and to what the truest, deepest part of myself knows, the Source of peace and love and wisdom. And I ground myself again in the love and light of the Divine, that I know so well, but forget so often.

 

 

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