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?

 

 

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?

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.

 

 

This Way Home

waysign rocks

My Home Button on my iPhone is working only intermittently. The Home Button is essential to the functionality of the phone and everything else on it. I’ll obviously need to replace it, but not before the Universe has gifted me with some key lessons about being present.

Who knew the degree of wisdom that’s available from technology failure, right?

Being With What Is.

We’re on our morning walk, and it is so cold. I can’t wait to find out when it is going to warm up, so I reach for my iPhone to find out. Until I remember the faulty Home Button. No going into the future for me. I’m practicing Being With Cold Weather instead.

Savoring the Present Moment.

In the middle of my reverie, my husband says something along the lines of: “This weather is crap. When is it going to get better?” (We have both made rather a hobby of grousing about the weather lately.) No phone. An invitation for us both to Savor the Present Moment, and catch the swallows swooping within inches of us.

Regular Moments of Silence.

I’ve developed the efficient but unfortunate habit of taking care of a few new emails when I am out in the yard with my dogs on their constitutional breaks, during the middle of the day. How many of us do something like that? Come on, true confessions. Elevators? Standing in line? On that short bus or taxi ride? Now, in the moments when I don’t have my smart phone available, I breathe, and relish the sounds and feel of nature. I play with my dogs.

More Time Communing with the Divine.

Now, every time I find myself pulling the phone out and reaching for the Home Button, I take a long, deep, luxurious breath instead, and allow myself to really come Home, to my True Home.

I have been gifted with a habit of being more present, and living more alive, than I was before the Home Button “failure,” and I now have a choice. When I get my new phone, which way will I go?

So Many Things Change

credentialeSo many things change when you really give yourself into following your inner guidance, which I think of as our Inner Wayfinder, as a way of life, not just when it is convenient or when you feel like you have run out of other options.

True confessions: I lived for many years inviting my inner guidance when I remembered, or when it felt convenient, or when I was just at my wit’s end because nothing seemed to be working for me. Then I evolved into a daily practice of faithfully connecting to my inner guidance.

But even then I didn’t have a real 100% commitment to letting my Inner Wayfinder lead my life and my decisions. I had a back-up plan, ie, thinking my way through things, following what we are “supposed to do,” and diligently making things happen, because I hadn’t practiced letting my Inner Wayfinder lead enough to fully trust it. In effect, I was living with one foot in one paradigm and one foot in the other paradigm, never really allowing myself to go into what felt like the free fall of totally following my inner guidance 100%, all of the time.

That way of living in two paradigms is just exhausting. I wore myself out, in spite of how truly good I am at attending to self-care.

It finally dawned on me that this is what my virtual pilgrimage of the last few months has really been about for me. For years I have been very faithful to checking in with my inner guidance, but I realized today that for all of that time, I have been consulting my inner guidance and treating it like a close advisor, taking the wisdom and factoring it into my equations of the decisions and choices I make in my life, like it was a favored member of my inner board of directors rather than the Chairwoman. And I have been very faithful to checking in and consulting with my Inner Wayfinder.

But that is very different than giving myself over, 100%, no kidding, to following my Inner Wayfinder in my life. Not only do I need to trust that the guidance of my inner true self will not lead me astray, I also need to trust that I can access it and hear it and feel it and distinguish it from all the other multitudes of “voices” within me. This takes radical trust in a knowing, that I do have, that our true inner guidance is a force of love that absolutely knows what is best for us and is guiding us to it every minute of every day.

One of the things that changes is that you really don’t know ahead of time where you are going or how the path will play out. But when you get the hang of this way of living, it becomes an unprecedented adventure full of serendipity, synchronicity, surprises and feeling loved and supported.

I’m still stumbling in my commitment to give myself to this way of being guided in my life, 100% by my inner knowing. Not that I don’t have tremendous support from outer resources. Of course I do, but I need to feel what’s right and what isn’t for me from the inside and honor that completely. I have never felt more supported from both inside and out.

The challenge for me is that it takes diligence and radical trust to live this way. Nothing in our culture trains us to allow ourselves to be led fully by our inner knowing. Every day is a practice of remembering, releasing assumptions, conventions and expectations, opening myself to the vulnerability of being guided by my inner knowing, and putting my steps, decisions and actions, in alignment with what I can feel, inside, is right for me. If that isn’t the ultimate pilgrimage, I don’t know what is.

So many things change. And I am just now beginning to discover what those things are.

That’s what I want to write about and share with you on this blog. The Journey of So Many Things Changing. I’m grateful you are here.

P. S. I’m posting drawings that I have made of The Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. I’ve never been there, but I have chosen to be on a virtual pilgrimage on the Camino for the last several months, beginning in September, 2012. I’ve read pilgrim memoirs, drawn from photographs that inspire me, and meditated, reflected, and journaled about being on a pilgrimage. While this is “only” a virtual pilgrimage for me, it has been a time of powerful inner awakening and change for me, and I continue to explore how being on a pilgrimage, even a virtual one, can help us feel and be more spiritually connected in our daily lives.

 

Sitting with the Blank Page

The Blank Page

I have started a new visual journal.

I use visual journals to sort things out and find my way. The combo of words and visual images allows me to tap into my inner guidance more easily, to bypass my thinking, figuring-it-out mind and get to a deeper truth within me.

However, I have been uncomfortable with blank pages, so the first thing I do in a new visual journal is to paint the pages. Then I have a base to work on in each page. I’m not starting with a blank page.

This is a perfect metaphor for my life. I’m uncomfortable Not Knowing. And, I’m even more uncomfortable hanging out for any period of time in Not Knowing Land.

Clearly, one of my growing edges is to get comfortable with Not Knowing. It’s a vital part of the creative process. It’s also essential for me to clear space to hear my Inner Wayfinder, the presence of Spirit within me.

New ideas can’t get in if I’ve filled the space with prior assumptions, perspectives, and expectations.

Today, I noticed a shift within me. I am craving blank pages. They feel good. Sitting with them feels good. This is good.

Embracing the Unpredictable

monastery irache

“We know all too well that few journeys are linear and predictable. Instead, they swerve and turn, twist and double back, until we don’t know if we’re coming or going. The image of the labyrinth is an ancient  symbol for the meandering path of the soul that goes from light into darkness and emerges back into light.” The Art of Pilgrimage, page 128

When I read this quote, the aspect of not knowing whether we are coming or going really resonated for me. Especially in my work, and my website, as it evolves and changes, I frequently feel like I don’t know whether I am coming or going.

It’s not uncommon to lose our way on the Camino, in spite of waymarks on the trail, and we find ourselves not knowing, again, whether we are coming or going.

I am trying to remember that just as the Camino is not linear, predictable, or always well-marked, so is my life. And it doesn’t mean necessarily that there is anything wrong, or anything to fix.

Just as in the labyrinth, or on a pilgrimage, my journey is one of light into darkness and then the emergence back into the light. What if I embraced this truth? What freedom awaits me there?

Are We Exhausted?

Most of my friends, colleagues, and clients are arriving at year end in an exhausted state, like we are coming to the end of a long dark tunnel of pushing through to get things Done. (Of course, as one of my friends keeps reminding me, There Is No Done.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a concept that knocked me over when I first saw it (and every time since). It’s from David Whyte’s book, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity.

“You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest? The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”

 

Wayfinders Find Their Own Way

Joseph Campbell said something that I think speaks directly to Women Breadwinners.

“If you have a map, it’s probably somebody else’s map.” We need to find our own way through the unknown territory that is our lives.

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