All Roads Lead to Presence

It’s already past mid-month, so it’s time to weigh in on my word for April, Receptivity.

It seems like all of my words so far (Curiosity, Vitality, Eagerness, and Receptivity) have led me back to Presence: Being in the Present Moment. So simple, but not always so easy, at least for me.

For a long time, I thought of being Receptive as passive, like a field laying fallow, waiting for the farmer to plant something in it.

I’m discovering that, for me, Receptivity is a combination of Readiness and Willingness. And, it is far from passive.

Readiness seems like a sort of active alertness, a state of being with all of my “receptors” turned on and ready to receive, in fact, expecting to receive. This state of being has a quality of positive expectancy.

Willingness is also active. It’s a “Yes!” to life, to what is currently unfolding in my life. It is an active clearing of my inner landscape of what I think things “should” look like in my life, in favor of what really wants to happen in my life from deep within. It’s not a passive waiting; it’s a process of actively offering a clear “landing spot” for creative inspiration from within, and then, when the inspiration “lands,” engaging with it.

For many years, I’ve lived my life with a commitment to acting in alignment with my inner guidance and inspiration. This has required Receptivity. I’ve developed practices to help me live that commitment to Receptivity.

I can feel in my body when I’m being receptive, and when I’m not.

Not Receptive feels like constriction.

Receptivity feels like spaciousness.

My body knows, and I know when I tune into my body.

For me, moving from constriction to spaciousness is a simple practice of becoming conscious that I am constricted, letting go of how I think things should be, and breathing deeply until I feel spacious inside.

What’s Receptivity for you?

 

 

 

12 Words at 3 Months

Apologies for the late publication of this 12 Words stock-take; I meant for it to publish on March 31. It is an Operator Error: I forgot to push the Publish button! Sometimes life is so gloriously simple. 🙂  By now, I’m well into my exploration of Receptivity; I expect to have a blog post about it in a few days.

The first three of the 12 Words have taught me so much.

Eagerness (March word) is the quickening – a signal – that points to what’s emerging next through me.

  • It arises spontaneously from within.
  • It needs space to “land”.
  • It’s the breadcrumb trail of my true self.

Vitality (February word) is the energy and aliveness that I feel when I am aligned with the creative flow of life unfolding.

  • It is a commitment to presence.
  • It’s a letting go of prior beliefs and assumptions of how things ought to be.
  • It is respect for innate rhythm.

Curiosity (January word) is an intention to meet life with an open heart and an enthusiasm to discover.

  • It is a commitment to embrace what is, and be curious about it.
  • It is a “what if” way of being in the world.
  • It is living with a sense of adventure.

As for the process of the 12 words, I could never have imagined how this practice of attention would enrich my life, when I began this journey in January.

It has grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and taken me on a road of greater awakening to my life.

More and more, I am releasing into and trusting the flow of creative spirit unfolding from within, as it takes me in and around and back and forth.

It is an unpredictable ride, and it takes me to unexpected places. I think my business is going in this direction, and it is “that”. I assume my health is this, and “that” shows up. And, always, wholeness is calling me to a deeper truth of fundamental well-being that is beyond the apparent circumstances.

As a life coach, I have always known that our lives are our greatest creative endeavors, and that it really is all about the journey and not the destination. I am now being challenged to live that knowing even more fully, in a wholly committed way.

What the 12 Words have done for me most, so far, I think, is to demand my full presence and attention, right in this red hot moment. It’s a cliche that the present moment is all we’ve got, but it’s more than that. It’s where all the curiosity, vitality, and eagerness of life actually are.

I am curious to discover what April’s word, Receptivity, has in store for me.

At first glance, Receptivity seems like a soft and passive word to me, but I am sure I will discover that it is much more than that, as I travel further on the path of greater vitality and eagerness in my life.

What have Curiosity, Vitality, and Eagerness taught you, so far?

 

Eagerness – Be Empty

I came across a quote from Lao-Tsu: “Clay is molded into vessels, and because of the space where there is nothing, you can carry water. Space is carved out from a wall, and because of the place where there is nothing, you can receive light. Be empty, and you will remain full.”

This was a message to me about Eagerness, my March Word.

Eagerness is a call to pay attention, to open, to receive, and to follow.

Eagerness is an energy that arises within me, a signpost or breadcrumb, illuminating the path of my true self.

However, Eagerness needs for me to be spacious and receptive in order to show itself to me. If I am too filled, I will miss its energy and its beckoning.

For me, attending to Eagerness leads to engagement: it shows me the way to a much fuller engagement with my life.

It’s identified by a quickening from within, a very visceral sensation.

So I’m practicing emptying, so that the subtle and not so subtle breadcrumbs of Eagerness are apparent to me.

I’m emptying my mind as I go through my day. I try to remember to empty my mind each time I walk over a threshold or doorway, during my day.

I’m also emptying myself of preconceived notions, beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions, so as to be a receptive field for Eagerness to land.

“Be empty, and you will remain full.”

What are the ways that you empty yourself, so that you are a receptive vessel for the call of your true self?

 

Inscrutable Eagerness

Eagerness is my word (see 12 Words) for March.

I’ve thought a lot about Eagerness this month. I’ve “hearted” a lot about Eagerness. I’ve even written a lot about it.

Eagerness has been inscrutable for me.

I have noticed that Curiosity (my January word) and Eagerness are frequent companions. At first, I thought they were the same thing. Then I realized that Curiosity is something that I choose to invoke. Eagerness is something that arises spontaneously from within me, and invites me to respond to it.

They have a similar feeling to me: a quickening, and a palpable sense of positive anticipation.

As a kid growing up in Northern California, I was fortunate to spend many summer vacations in Yosemite National Park. This was before it was an insanely popular tourist destination. It was one of my parents’ favorite places. I  spent quite a few summers in my 20’s backpacking Upper Yosemite. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Yosemite.

One of Yosemite’s hallmarks is its sheer granite cliffs.

I still remember Curiosity driving me to the edges of those sheer drops of thousands of feet in Yosemite. I couldn’t wait to see what I could see from the edges, and to feel the sense of expansive vistas.

Curiosity pushes me to the edges of my comfort zone, and into new and expansive experiences, and Curiosity brings Eagerness with it.

Eagerness is an energy that bubbles up spontaneously from within me.

It’s a pathfinder. It points to an opportunity for joy.

Eagerness invites me to follow it.

I’ve been playing with the invitations of Eagerness this month.

When I feel its spark within me, I stop, breathe, and allow it to fill me with its delicious and enticing energy.

I see where it leads me.

I savor the experience of Eagerness, and the joy it leads me to.

What is Eagerness for you?

 

The Last Word on Vitality (Maybe)

Today is the last day of February, and tomorrow, I am on to another of my 12 Words, Eagerness.

Vitality, to me, is the flow of creative spirit from within. It is the part of me that is always becoming, ever emerging and seeking expression. It urges me, and when I allow it, it radiates in and through me.

Its face and rhythm change.

Sometimes it is quieter and meandering, like a waning autumn stream, in the mountains.

Sometimes it is a torrent, like a current that is robustly fed by spring rains.

My “job” is to join the river and the flow, and for me, this is primarily done by frequent pauses during the day, breathing deeply into the flow of Vitality.

When I do that, I feel the rhythm of the flow in my body. I know that on some level, I am this flow. I empty myself to receive the insights and intuitions of the flow, and when it feels the right time, I move as the flow into action.

For me, Vitality is a flow of ephemeral moments, to be seized and and savored:

  • To reach out to someone or something in love and gratitude, in a passing moment.
  • To realize an easier way of moving through something, just as a river finds its way through the boulders.
  • To have that knowing that I am on my right path, and that all is well.
  • To embody a more visionary perspective in the challenges.
  • To act, with a knowing that it is the right thing to do.

Vitality asks much of me, as it flows with inspiration and radiating energy.

I must choose to join the river. It is a surrender to the flow of the deep wisdom of creative spirit emerging. But I am still, at times, reluctant to give myself fully to it.

I must respect the timing of the flow. Sometimes it is moving slower than I think I would like, or faster than I think I can keep up with.

Vitality always demands that I be present in the moment. I need to breathe and to sink into presence countless times during a day.

I need to be a clear space to receive and sense the flow of Vitality, and to radiate it back to others. Sometimes there are the boulders of my cluttered mind, and I need to open up spaces for the flow to make its way through, in its full flow.

Sometimes I need to clear away an ancient beaver’s den of old outdated beliefs and assumptions, so that Vitality can flow clearly and fully.

But as much as Vitality demands of me to be committed to allowing its flow, and as much as it needs clear space within me, I’m in.

In welcoming Vitality as my constant companion for this month, I have felt the joy of inspiration and the power of radiating energy flowing. I have had moments of knowing that this is how I want to be in my life, living as one with the Emergence of creative spirit from deep within.

Vitality is a commitment I am willing to make.

 

 

In the Flow of Vitality

In my exploration of Vitality, my February word, I am learning that Vitality is living in the flow of our creative spirit within, as it unfolds.

I have let this be my life’s practice for years, but I never understood that in this, is my Vitality, until the dots connected for me in my “listening time” this morning, as I continued to contemplate Vitality.

Then I remembered a Martha Graham quote that I have always loved. When I pulled it out, I noticed that she uses the word vitality to describe the flow of creative spirit within:

“There is a vitality, a Life Force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action.

And because there is only one of you, for all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that activate you.

Keep the channel open.”

 By Martha Graham

Written to Agnes de Mille

Graham is specifically referring to the creative artist expression of dance, but I believe – I know – that our lives can be an expression of the creative spirit within us, unfolding and coming to life. And this process certainly isn’t limited to what we may think of as the more traditional forms of art or artistic expression.

I have seen this for over 20 years, in my profession as a life coach, when clients release into the knowing – the direction – of just the next step that is arising from within them, and they respect that deep knowing. They know the truth of it; they can feel the “rightness” of it from deep within.

Then, by paying attention to that deep inner wisdom, and honoring it, there is a creative unfolding, called their life, that’s very unique and completely authentic to them, that begins to be revealed.

What connected for me this morning was that this is Vitality, this “being” the creative unfolding of our life force or life energy, that which arises authentically from deep within us.

This is Vitality, this full engagement or fusion with the flow of our own unique creative energy.

It is very active and alive. It is empowered. It is real.

How do you keep your channel open? How do you live as the fullness of your own Vitality?

Vitality is Waking Up

Vitality is waking up to:

  • the generosity and stunning abundance in my life
  • the wholeness that is already present, not what I think needs fixing or changing
  • the infinite stream of opportunities to flow love from within, to others, myself, nature, conditions
  • love the journey, regardless of how foggy or messy it gets

What brings you alive to the vitality within?

The Pursuit of Vitality

Throughout my day, I find myself thinking about my February word, Vitality. I pursue Vitality, and it peeks its head around the corner, teasing me, only to disappear again, like a wisp from an elusive dream.

It’s as if I don’t know Vitality yet, but my mind is a portal through which I can pass, to begin to understand Vitality in my heart’s nature.

So, Vitality, for me right now, is a concept. It’s a compelling concept. I long to live with a strong sense of animated, radiating, alive energy, and a Yes to life, quite apart from any current physical condition that I may be experiencing in the moment. This idea excites and intrigues me. I want to live eagerly.

Vitality seems like a choice, but what are we choosing, and how do we choose?

For me, Vitality seems to be an energy that originates from deep within.

So, then, it isn’t that I find a Thing that is my “passion,” and then as I do that Thing, and it animates and awakens me, and then I am living and being Vitality. I feel like it is an essence that stands apart from conditions.

It’s an enlivening, animating energy that is already there. It’s my birthright, our birthright.

The questions for me now are: how do I invite this animating energy to be fully present, in and through me? How do I awaken fully to it, deep in my heart? How do I allow it to awaken me?

What is Vitality to you?

 

 

Meeting Vitality

The first question for me, when I meet a new word, of the 12 Words, is: What is it?

February’s word is Vitality.

I have the sense that I know more about what Vitality isn’t, than what it is:

  • Going through life distracted and preoccupied
  • Just putting one foot in front of the other
  • Walking through the day with a sense of obligation rather than purpose
  • Stoic forebearance

But, what is it?

I know it when I see it.

We have all seen people who are very challenged physically, or quite elderly, and who light up a room with their sense of radiating energy of aliveness and Yes to life. What is that quality of being that they are tapped into, radiating, choosing, or allowing?

Having seen and known people like that, I believe that Vitality is different than being an outstanding specimen of physical health. It is a quality of being.

And, I know it’s an inside job.

What is that quality or essence?

How do we “be” Vitality?

 

Waiting

My neighbors keep honeybees, and the bees are waiting right now, inside the hives.

They are waiting for the warmth of Spring, when they will go out of the hives and begin their work of gathering pollen and nectar.

What are you waiting for?

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