The Things We Tell Ourselves

Breakfast journalingI enjoy doing visual journaling while I have my morning tea. I draw a simple picture and do some writing along with it.

This practice brings me into the present moment, so it’s a meditative way to start my day.

I had been using a plain journal with artist’s markers, similar to magic markers that kids use. This was a simple process that honored my creative flow.

However, for a while, I have done this practice intermittently, in spite of its value to me. So, I began to get really curious about why I didn’t do it consistently. I started looking at what I might be telling myself about it that could be getting in the way of my doing it every morning.

As soon as I started looking at my thoughts and feelings about this practice, I realized that artist’s markers weren’t “my thing” (ie, my native style). I draw with ink and watercolor, and yet I wasn’t using my native style with this visual journaling routine.

Amazingly, I wasn’t conscious of making this choice! I had somehow told myself that ink and watercolor would take too long, and that the markers would be more expedient.

I decided to revert to using ink and watercolor to draw while I have my morning tea, and to see what happened. The results are incredible! I’m enjoying it even more. I’m doing it consistently. It really primes the pump for my creative flow during the day. I look forward to doing it, so much! And, it doesn’t take any longer than when I was doing it with the markers. (Busted!)

If you have something that means a lot to you, but you find yourself not doing it, I’d recommend that you explore what you are telling yourself about it. You might just be surprised at the answer.

Assume Good Intention

assume good intention-1This morning, while I was unloading the dishwasher, an idea popped into my head. What would my life be like if I always assumed that good intention was behind every person’s behavior?

I know: crazy, right? How is that even possible? Obviously it isn’t always true. What would happen if you’re not on your guard? What peril might you set yourself up for, if you’re not paying attention to the risk?

I can counter that by asking: when did any of us become more resourceful when we are tensed up in caution or locked up in fear?

Make no mistake, this is new frontier for me. I don’t always assume good intention. Just ask my husband. 🙂 I’m not coming from the high ground here.

But, I am wondering what my life would be like if I came from the place of assuming good intention.

Maybe, just maybe…..it’s more about who I would become, rather than what they might do to me if I’m not on my guard.

 

New Birth Emerging

stork nest chimneyIn some cultures, storks are associated with newborn babies and birth.

I drew this stork when I was on my virtual pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. I was fascinated with the proliferation of storks and with their large nests that were often visible from the trail.

As Winter turns to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought it appropriate to bring out the Stork picture to ask you: What Spring birth of creativity is awakening in you?

The Dance of the Cranes

sandhill cranesI was outside stretching my legs when I heard it: the unique and captivating whirring sound of Sandhill Cranes migrating north. It’s the first time I have heard it this year.

What a welcome sound! A harbinger of Spring, for sure.

I love the cranes, although I don’t see much of them because they just pass through here on their way to their nesting grounds, north of here, in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

I love their sound. If I am really fortunate, when I look up in the sky towards the sound, I can just barely see little glints or sparkles of light, dancing against the deep blue sky, in a circular pattern.

This rite of Spring never fails to take my breath away.

Cranes symbolize many things in mythology. Among them are longevity and happiness.

What is the dance of happiness that is emerging from within you?

 

 

 

Moment Before Snow

Moment Before Snow

Snow was predicted as I took my walk the other day. The clouds were pregnant with it.

I stopped at this place on my walk, a spot that I pass by, and where I often pause, a few times a day.

But this day I was extra-alert to the moment. My senses were alive and felt almost electrified. This caused me to stop and breathe and take in all the beauty, because any moment now, it was going to change into another beauty.

I really aspire to live animated, fully alive to what is right here, all my senses and intuition fully engaged.

I’ve lived too many years in the landscape of my thoughts without being aware of the landscape of my life.

An Insufficiency of Doing

Little junk yard

Lately, when I’ve seen friends whom I haven’t seen in a few months, I have no story to tell. About what I’ve been doing, and how much I’ve accomplished.

I’ve begun to dread the questions: What have you been doing? What’s new?

I’ve had a bit of a hard-stop for the last three months. First, a bad fall, with severely banged-up knees and a broken wrist, resulting in a few weeks prone on the couch. Then, a bout of bronchitis for another few weeks.

Yes, I’ve been working, but I haven’t had the energy, stamina, or physical capacity to start new projects or finish some of the big ones I started at the beginning of summer. All in good time, they will get done.

It’s been interesting, though, to notice how insufficient I feel when I’m not accomplishing notable, visible, or new things, and when don’t have a story to tell about those questions. I find myself squirming in my chair, with nothing “meaningful” or exciting to say.

What I have been doing is paying more attention to my life. Taking real pleasure in The Ordinary Moments. Really appreciating and loving The Ordinary Things. Trying to just “Be,” and let that be enough. It’s not that easy, let me tell you.

First, the Ordinaries don’t hit the headlines, or even show up on the radar, of most people’s Most Interesting List.

Blank looks and stares and silences are the norm when I try to describe how the luminescent purple color of the asters stopped me in my tracks, or how I was taken aback by a rowdy flock of crows on my morning walk.

But what’s even more disturbing is that I judge it, and myself, as inadequate, when that is “all I do.” I begin to feel like I am put out to the junk yard, because I’m not contributing sufficiently to the world. Not earning my keep. And I’m doing it to myself!

I know that part of this just comes with the territory of our action-oriented culture, where we are generally valued according to our production and our visible, tangible contribution. It’s insidious, and there’s nothing I can do about that bit. But I can do something about the self-worth bit.

I used to go on retreat to a monastery, and the monks there continually faced criticism for their lack of activism, in a world in crisis. The question they faced was how can “just their prayer” be doing any good in the world? I didn’t have the guts to ask them that, but I wanted so much to believe that “just their prayer,” and their love, did make a difference, maybe a big one. When the subject just came up in the course of our conversation, I remember them sharing with me their conviction that merely the conscious choice to put loving, appreciative energy out into the world was making a difference.

I think I am being called to examine that premise, for myself, and to come to terms with it, about both what energy I am choosing to put out into the world, and about its sufficiency.

Back from Sabbatical

lifes adventure 480

I’ve been on sabbatical from my Blog over the Summertime, partly chosen, and partly gifted to me, when I fell in early August and broke my wrist.

It was all timely, that’s for sure.I could feel that my online business presence needed to be tweaked, but I wasn’t clear about the What or the How. When we aren’t sure about the What or the How of any transition, that’s our clue to step back and spend a little time exploring the “Who am I, here, in this new territory?” question, first, before we even try to sort the What or the How.

I didn’t have a plan.

I always think that I ought to have a plan.

But here’s the truth: we rarely have a plan, especially in the first stages of a life or work transition. I know, because I’ve been through so many of them, and I help my clients navigate them.

If we have a plan, it’s somebody else’s plan, or it’s going to change in the next 10 minutes.

We need a different way of navigating these big life changes.

So, this summer, I spent some time in Not Knowing Land. Even though I know the value of being there, it never feels like the most comfortable place to be. Our culture seems to teach us that we should have the answers and we should know where we are going.

I may not know where I am, or where I am going, when I am in the middle of a transition, but at least I know how to navigate it. I know for sure that when I step back and allow my inner guidance to lead, then I’m on the right path and headed in the right direction. I have a lot of tools that I use to do this, and this summer, I relied on all of them.

I’ve sorted through and clarified my business focus and direction, for now, and it’s good to be back.

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.

 

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