Planting Seeds

My children give me gifts every day. This particular day, the gift turned out to be a  gift of the heart, and a reminder of all I have to be grateful for.

I am sometimes confronted with difficulty in how to discuss certain things with my children.These are most often topics that I don’t feel confident in how to communicate to them. I worry that I may stumble over my words and do more damage than good, or just be dismissed as “Mum, what ARE you going on about?”

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree:

I wasn’t the most self assured child. Yet I was a very hard-headed stubborn child. I doubted and questioned most things, including myself and others. I often felt a bit uneasy and not sure-footed. Or I felt self- righteous and all-knowing. Was it due to nature or nurture? I don’t know. I don’t think it really matters anyway. It was just the way I was. I was an artistic, sensitive, over stimulated heart-on-my-sleeve kinda kid with a curiosity and connection to the supernatural. All of the above felt like (and seemed like at times) a recipe for disaster, or at the least, I was trouble! My children seem wired in similar ways (minus the trouble part), and possess many other strange and wonderful attributes. Their particular uniqueness are obvious to other people who know them, despite whether they themselves know what they have. I feel I get them. I understand them. I know that we all have insecurities at times, but it still pains me when I hear my own children expressing any self-doubt. I just want to take it all away for them. But I can’t. I am only human as well, and I can only try to impart my experience and any tiny drop of wisdom I may receive. I do try my best.

On this particular bright and early morning I was gifted with a wonderful conversation with my eldest son. It began with me nagging to all three of them (more like AT them) about needing to be more motivated, trying harder, getting more organised, on and on ad infinitum. I was being a relentlessly whiney mum who obviously didn’t have much insight of when was a good time to spew a barrage of requests and commands at people. 8 am is probably not ideal (is there any ideal time for nagging, please let me know?!) I know that I was sounding frustrated because I was frustrated. I was offering problems, sighting offences, but not offering any solutions. I was on a serious role, and it could have gone on much longer. Trust me.

Then I stopped. I shut my mouth and I took a few deep breaths. As I inhaled I saw an image of a handful of seeds, and I was immediately flooded with insights that I felt I was meant to share with my son, Asher. (The other two had sneakily left the room by this point!) Because I surrendered and halted my own busyness I was now able to actually hear the deep in my heart and receive direction that he and I could share in dialogue together. The conversation began:

 “Let’s say you’ve been given a handful of seeds, (the seeds being a metaphor that represent your gifts), what should you do with them?”

“You should plant them.”

“What if your seeds were not planted in soil, and were just discarded onto hard ground or in the bin, what would happen to them?”

“They would do nothing, they would not grow, they would only shrivel up and die and that would be a waste!”

“What else do our seeds need?”

“They will need to be planted when the soil is ready, and then looked after. They will need lots of water, sunlight, and good soil. They will need lots of love!”

“What if you did all those things, and then you decided to forget about them after a time and they start to wilt, whither, or dry up?”

“You would be so lucky that they did not die and you now better take extra good care of them, spend even more time and pay even more attention to them then you did the first time. They need extra love, extra food, and extra hard work to get them to grow as big and as strong as they can!”

“Yes, this is all true!  You should remember to appreciate your gifts as they will be your resources in your life. The more lovingly you take care of them, the more you will be rewarded. Others will then be able to share in your gifts, as you honourably and generously give them away to the world!”

“Does everyone have a handful of seeds?”

“Everyone is given many seeds, many talents, many gifts in this life. Some folks seem to have been given better, more fertile soil right from the start. It may appear that they have an easier place to grow their seeds. We all are meant to work with what we have, and adapt to our particular circumstances and environment that we have been placed in this life. Even when it seems impossible to break ground, we should persevere and not abandon our gifts.We are all exactly where we are meant to be.

Be attentive to these seeds as they are your gifts from God. No matter whether your soil is dry, no matter whether you forgot about your seeds for a period of time, no matter whether you even know what the seeds will eventuate into, just plant them. Just water them. Place them where they will receive lots of light. Pay attention to them every day. Love them. You will surely discover what they are as they bloom into a beautiful sight! They will far exceed what you could have imagined in your wildest of dreams!”

This conversation was illuminating, beautiful and unforgettable. For both mother and son.

I gained heaps of insight into myself because of this conversation with Asher. I looked back at my choices regarding my gifts at various times of my life. I was sometimes quite careless and threw them away thoughtlessly.  At other times I lackadaisically scattered my seeds to the wind, praying that God would water and grow them for me when I didn’t want to do the work but I wanted the reward. I landed on rocky ground at times, and wanted to give up and walk away because it felt too hard. I compared my garden to your garden which always appeared richer and so easy to tend. I cried out “no fair!” from the top of my lungs, but this would not change the circumstance in any way shape or form. It was time that saw that I had in fact chosen the rockier soil because of my own neglect or self-will run riot.

I can now tell you that I was given beautifully rich soil from the beginning, I just had to pay attention and keep my eyes on it. It was always there to provide me with a bedrock, and wonderful growing conditions, I just needed to trust and have faith that my seeds would grow. I needed to make sure that my eyes were open, and were focused upward toward the sun.

I am watching my children bloom in front of my eyes. I have a responsibility to help them cultivate their seeds from their own integrity. This is an honour, and a hard task, where the ground sometimes feels unsure underfoot. It sometimes feels rocky, but I know that I only need to look up and I am provided with all the tools I need. This is the most important gift I have ever been handed.

I got to really appreciate one of my son’s gifts this morning. The gift of communicating from the heart. Thank you for giving a gift to me today, son. You are tending to your garden it in such beautiful and eloquent ways.

Preparing For The Unknown

Out Of Utero

I thought it may be useful for me to share how I held myself back from the absolute miracles of the mysteries of life for so long. What I hope to accomplish is to illuminate both this fear and my desire to control everything in my world. I hope to remind us all of what we already know about our Light and our creative spirits.

Fear Was A Motivator

Have you ever been disappointed that things in your life didn’t turn out as you imagined? Has it ever gone completely pear-shaped? One one end of the spectrum is disappointment – on the other, major disaster. I have to say that I was a frightened little creature when I was young. It was often paralysing. In my cellular memory, I can still feel the fear that attempted to suffocate my life source. The ways I tried to manipulate my world placed me further away from the light…the light that was always there to be seen. I was scared of the unknown and unseen. I stayed locked in a dungeon of self-fulfilling prophesies, instead of inspired experiences. Fear was a motivator for all things unseen. The inherent almost inborn fear of the unknown had a wily and stubborn grip.

The Delusional Optimist Verses The Annihilating Pessimist

If I didn’t have an absolute clear understanding or picture of something, I was terrified. I didn’t like not knowing what was around that corner. When I tried to guess or imagine what outcome to expect, I usually made two distinct predictions. They fought tooth and nail, back and forth, driving me to one form of insanity or another!  I “predicted” from the stance of an illusory/fantastical/ego-driven self on one extreme (AKA the delusional optimist), to the impending doom/limiting/ soul-crushing self ( AKA the annihilating pessimist) on the other. Neither were healthy or good or based on any form of reality.  Both had potential to cause disaster across the board.

Stagnation Leading To Death

When I couldn’t control the outcome, or predict the future, I would often times NOT ACT AT ALL. This seemed safest. This caused a withering and wilting of spirit, and was no way to live. It was not living at all.  Hiding out in “safe” self-inflicted malaise, waiting for doomsday to arrive – horrible really. From this safe, contrived prediction comes Stagnation…Paralysis… Death… Stagnation by non action. Stagnation by predictability, conformity, mundane survival with no risk taking. Paralysis born from stagnation. Paralysis leading to death of the Spirit. It became the withering of my soul by withholding its natural desire of creating and connecting to the Divine.

I now passionately fight the very notion of wanting to know what the future holds. Instead I am preparing for the unknown, the unimaginable.  My grandest imagination couldn’t bring about the wildest realities. If I attempt to imagine greatness from the limitations of brain and blood and bone, I am left only with what I started: brain and blood and bone…I want beauty and grace and inspired vision that can only come from above and beyond my finite self. What greatness could I summon from relying on my imagination alone? Figments. That’s all.

Allowing For The Real Adventure

Now I have a bit more understanding of it all. I said “a bit!” When I am in this place of the unknown, I am vulnerable. This very vulnerability is the sprouting seed I need to be open to what’s in store for me. Bigger than me. Bigger than my imagination. Luckily, this vulnerability and unknowing is the ultimate footing, and is the spice and wonderment of life. This allows me to live in a world of that which I cannot control, and that which I do not know. Then comes the real Adventure… Growth… Freedom…

Creative/ Creator/ Creation: A Gift For Humanity

I want real creative input from way beyond my own human condition. I am not discounting the human imagination, I actually think it is vital and essential in preparing for the unknown. But I see it as just that – preparation. A preparation for things unseen and unimagined. I can prepare by developing my skills in life. For instance, from a musicians standpoint I can put some dots on a page, or some words on paper. That is not really creating, though, if I am only creating with known formulas and techniques. The formulas and techniques are a part of the preparation and are valid, but they themselves are not the creation. When I allow creative spirit to guide my life in all creative acts, I begin my adventure. I start to grow, and in this growth I gain freedom.  I let go of thinking it is ME doing the creating. When I allow the art of creation, the end result always astounds me. And in that end result, almost always another creative adventure begins. All this is so much bigger than me. It’s awesome.

If I try to create from an egocentric perspective, filled with expectation and prediction, it will be shrouded in inevitable disappointment, and It will NEVER come out the way it seemed it should. Even that expectation of how I thought it was meant to eventuate would be a  minuscule expression compared to the true majestic wonderment that can only be divinely inspired. True inspiration will always astound and amaze me!

Preparation For The Absolute Wonderment Of Life’s Mysteries

All in all, being human is not the easiest task (well, how should I know what would be easier, but still). It’s daunting to say the least – on top of the challenges of just being human, we have this insatiable desire to DO something significant in life. And look at how many billions of us there are. Then look at how much suffering there is in the world. Look at how much fighting there is always going on.

Then look at the amazing people who actually have creatively changed the world by what they did. Jesus, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, to name only a few who completely changed history forever. The world will never ever be the same because of these spirited people. I am sure they were preparing for the absolute wonderment and mysteries of life, by tapping into the creator, the creation, and the creative spirit inside of themselves.They all had amazing courage, and a brave but softened heart. Because of that conviction and light, they shone – bright as the brightest stars in the sky. We can all shine our light upon the world, if we tap into the light first. It is ordained for us. It is in us. We are part of this creation.

As I Tap Into The Divine Light Of Creation

I’m preparing for surprise.

I’m preparing for excitement.

I’m preparing for  experience.

I’m preparing for challenge.

I’m preparing for humility.

I’m preparing for adventure.

I’m preparing for growth.

I’m preparing for humanity.

I’m preparing for freedom.

I’m preparing for the unknown.

Tear down the walls of my ego, let go of all my expectations, open myself for experiences far beyond my deepest imagination. I am in awe of the wonders of creation, when I can be the observer, the witness to the unfolding. I’m off on another adventure, and another fight for freedom. I am ready to be birthed as my fullest Creative Spirit. I am ready to step into the unknown, equipped with Light and Divine Inspiration…

How ’bout you?

Naked And Unashamed

So if you really saw the true me, would you still think I’m cute/pretty/beautiful (AKA, pruteeful?) I already knew the answer when I was a little person, and it was a big fat NO.

What do we identify as  beautiful? Shouldn’t it be the honest, raw, unaffected self, guts and courage and truth? I got really sick and tired of trying to keep up with the stories I invented to keep everyone “kind of” loving me. I was literally sick from it, in my youth, downing bottle after bottle of whatever I could just to be brave enough to blind myself from seeing any remnant of the true me. As I grew numb, I cared less. A whole lot less. I cared about nothing. I felt nothing. I was free, at a price, in the death of drowning from a bottle of poison. Don’t get me wrong, there were many wonderfully grand times as well, it all depended on the motive behind what I was doing. What was I running from? What was I hiding? Who was I killing? Why did I hate myself so much that I didn’t want to hang out in my own company?

The main point was that my authentic self had been bruised early on. That part was not my fault. It was not your fault either. It was just unlucky.The authentic self of me barely had a chance to form before it was stifled, judged, constrained, criticised. That was enough to stunt the development of authenticity, and breed superficiality and creative role play for survival. A role play game using real people, real feelings, real situations as my actors on my stage. That part was my fault, but I didn’t know it.  I thought that’s what everyone was doing. Weren’t you? I thought that not being authentic was the only real way to stay alive. No one was ever really themselves, because either they didn’t know what that was, or more likely, it had been taught out of them early as it had for me. Or so I thought.

I couldn’t know something was wrong that I thought was real life.  The roles I was playing were real to me. It’s what I thought humans did in order to survive. Maybe some of you did. I just know for a fact that I did. I had to. I had no other choice, and if I did, I didn’t know there were choices. I was just living… Well, surviving.

I did survive, barely. And so did you, barely, and I am sorry that I took you into my green room and kidnapped you, holding you hostage to act in my dramas with me, if you in fact, were actually “living ” and minding your own business and not actually choosing  to be cast in some Teenage Off Off Off Broadway production of mine. I’m sure I owe many of you amends. Please allow me to make them.

I just know that acting and making up fantasies was a heck of a lot easier than being real. It was a heck of a lot safer for me, and I thought that I was being a creative human. I just forgot that I was acting out a drama that was messing up actual lives. Mine not excluded, and yours definitely included. A few black comedies, but I had more aptitude for tragedies unfortunately.

So what is it that made this human so terrified of being seen? Was I living out the story of Adam and Eve? Like Adam and Eve who freely ran naked in the garden until they had the realisation that they were naked, and all of a sudden naked felt shameful. “Naked and  ashamed!” I related to that. I was ashamed for who I was. I always felt naked, and many times ashamed. Society fueled our negative self-image creating ideals of perfection that don’t even exist, dosing us with fast food, fear and consumerism to counteract the shame, perpetuating it on and on ad infinitum. Adam and Eve were awesome, beautiful and  free, and they knew it. Until they didn’t. Until they lost it. Until they thought that they weren’t. Until the enemy inside started lieing to them, placing doubt in their hearts about their authentic selves.  Until they felt that they had to hide from each other, themselves and God (their inner self, their heart, their love).

The enemy inside us affects us in the same way over and over again. Our soul goes to battle, against society’s standards of acceptability, conformity, consumerism, greed, apathy, illusion, delusion, illness, until and not excluding death. It makes us feel we are not even ok, never mind beautiful, awesome or free, the enemy makes us feel that we need to cover up and hide our true selves. Complete Soul Assassination, Spiritual Separation, Self Annihilation. 

Not unlike Eve may have felt, for me the shame game was on. And shame won. Not only was the inside not to be looked at, but the outside needed serious work as well. How could a young girl, with nothing but apparent innocence and beauty only see ugliness? Only hear a monster in her head, and see a terror in the mirror? Naked and ashamed. That was it. Through and through. Shame became the label that I identified myself with. Shame became my badge, and I was waving that flag. Identifying with the image, the actions I took followed and I lived immersed in acting out the lie. The story of my life became a full-scale production, lights, camera, action, an exact reenactment of the first draft when the seed of shame and self-doubt was planted. The seed of the lie. The “not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not rich enough, not cool enough, on and on enough” lie is what ended up ruling my life. It almost ruined my life, it definitely sabotaged my life until I woke up, and realised that I actually wanted LIFE.

I WANTED TO LIVE. Fully embracing all of life, and all the majesty in it, glorified in its jagged perfection of the past, present and future. As it is, unashamed, unapologetic and raw.

So I came to see that my open, honest, courageous truths that I thought were too frightening and ugly to share, in fact have proven to be the most beautiful parts of me.

 No one is cast in my productions anymore, I am not the stage manager, I’m not even an actor at all. I am a warrior for love because I have everything my heart wants, I am love. My spirit is awakened, I’ve heard the calls, and I have a soul on fire.

In its essence, truth is unashamed. Truth is naked… Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, the Princess and the Toad, the stories of so-called ugly misunderstood characters are transformed into beauty, their outward falsities transformed into truth, the ultimate love story that we owe to ourselves. These characters are testament to what is truly beautiful, when they were to be truly witnessed as their hearts were all along.

So, real beauty does exist, in its ultimate truth, the surrendered heart in its ultimate nakedness, baring all…

And I saw myself naked.

And I accepted the ugly beauty that I am.

And I told myself my truth, and became a real person. 

And I learned to love myself as I am. The jagged, raw, honest, naked and unashamed princess that all true fairy tales are made of.

Our Scars Tell Our Story

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

None of us are perfect, but we are all beautiful.

Have you ever messed something up so bad that you didn’t think there was ever going to be a way to fix it? Maybe you made choices in your life that you thought were right at the time, only to find that they weren’t? Or you made blatant choices that you knew deep down were not right, but you didn’t care? Have you ever been in desperation? Have you ever felt that there was no way out of the pain that you were in? Have you ever hit the bottom of your soul, only to have the bottom drop even further? If not, I am surprised that you are even human.
As much as the isolation creeps in when we feel we have messed up, or failed in some way, the most painful part is that feeling of loneliness. That feeling of complete despair, as if we are the only one that has ever been through what we are going through. That feeling of hopelessness, and unworthiness can not only freeze us in our tracks, but can propel us to make even more bad decisions if we stay in the place of shame. Shame is an incredibly debilitating emotion, that serves no one. There is a big difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is necessary to our growth, because it is our barometer of right and wrong action, our conscience, or that still, small voice. Shame is what happens when we identify with the guilt as a description of who we are. It becomes our identity, our label, and we begin to live from this place of shame. If we begin to believe we are bad, or we are evil, then naturally our actions will follow that statement, thus perpetuating the cycle of behaviour that is hurting us and others in our midst.
I’m not implying that we all are walking around with guilt or shame all the time, but I would be surprised if you haven’t experienced either of these. I think it is one facet of being human, and a good place to start sorting out how to live truly awake, truly alive. Shackled by shame keeps us dead, keeps us living the lie we keep telling ourselves to who we are. Eventually we can forget that bright-eyed child we once were, who saw life through amazement and wonder. We forget that we are beautiful, scars and all. We didn’t know that in these moments of despair, we have the greatest opportunity to grow, and to heal. When we surrender to the absolute human-ness we possess, and know that everyone makes mistakes, of varying sizes and we will all make mistakes again. We will see the same old story come around for ourselves if we don’t seize the opportunity to know ourselves through these hardships.
Not only can these errors in our lives teach us about ourselves, bring us into our hearts, but the best part about it is that when we do learn and grow from our pain, we have an amazing gift to give someone else. Compassion. We let them know that they are not alone. What we have done has been done before, and someone has suffered as greatly as you are. Others have overcome the guilt and the shame and have become a success in their lives because of it. They have inspired and transformed those lives that were without hope.

So let’s let the light in. Let’s be courageous in our searching for the truth of ourselves. Let’s love ourselves and forgive ourselves of what we have done. Let’s not forget the past, but find a way to give it away. Let’s express with our unique creative voice what our story is. We all have one, and it is uniquely ours, scars and all.

Honesty Will Get You Everywhere

What is being honest? Is it just “cash register honesty?” Selective honesty is what I think we often times practice, which I am not sure is helping us feel connected to each other. I want to talk about the heart honesty, the real deal. I remember when I was younger always feeling like I needed to explain myself to everyone that asked me anything. As if I had a responsibility to tell them whatever they wanted to know about me, or wanted to hear. It took a long time to realise that this is not the case. Because I felt that I must say something, I would sometimes beat around the bush, or make excuses, or plain out LIE to make sure I didn’t offend anyone or leave them hanging. I didn’t’ realise that boundaries were ok, and even more than ok, necessary. Because I didn’t realise that there was a choice in the matter, where I could discern between what was important to share and what wasn’t, I often felt on the spot to say something… Anything… This led to lots of personal confusion and a loss of knowing what the real truth of myself was. I didn’t like hurting other people, or hurting their feelings, and so this choice to always say something was well-intentioned, just misdirected.

When we are confronted with the opportunity to be honest, and it will not unnecessarily injure another, it is important for a secure sense of self to be as honest as possible. It also allows others to feel connected to you, and even know that they also are not alone, and it can open up a vulnerability and closeness that may have not happened ever between people. We all have things about ourselves that are our secrets, or our shadows, however small or large, they are meaningful to us. They can be debilitating, and even instruct us on how to proceed with our lives. This can be a very dangerous road to travel, as it becomes paralysing in its fear, and also can convince us to make choices that we are probably not meant to make. I feel it is important to recognise that we all have this dilemma. We all suffer from our stuff at times, and yet when we are in the darkest moments, we do feel alone, even if we are surrounded by those that we love. It can be terrifying when we are having our own experience that no one is privy to. Being vulnerable, and admitting that we need each other, is hard. We don’t like to feel that we are not strong, or that we are being selfish when really we are only being human.

How nice would this world be if we all felt we were safe to share the truths of ourselves? How do we feel when we have those moments of closeness and bonding with another person? For me it is exhilarating. It can be life changing, inspiring, teaching. I feel a part of something bigger when someone chooses to share themselves with me. I feel trusted. I increase my belief and love in the human connection, and in our highest purpose. I feel empowered. I feel safe. I feel important. I feel that I can hear and that I am heard. I feel that I can also take the risk of true honest closeness, and intimacy, when I feel you also giving of yourself. A shared experience, and a beautiful one at that. So, as I choose to be open, honest, scars and all, I know that I am reaching out to you. I feel that you hear me, and if you choose to be open also, I will always hear you. This is a gift we have to give to each other and ourselves. Honesty on a new level, as spoken from the heart, not out of fear of being caught, but out of courage that we all have something to give to the world, in the healing and celebration of life.

How To Practice Contagious Kindness

Have you ever experimented with kindness? Have you ever chosen one morning that TODAY you would treat others exactly how you would want to be treated? When I am in a place of seeing what I can give to others, and how I may bring joy or happiness to them, my life changes. It is so easy when things get tough in this harsh world we live, to ask ourselves, “Why should I even bother?” or “what’s in it for me?” or “how am I going to GET what I need?”or “How am I going to be fulfilled and happy when all these obstacles keep interfering?”
I think many of us have had moments of feeling ON TOP OF THE WORLD, and yet end up falling in a big heap when the next mountain seems too big to climb. Usually when we have openings in our lives, we get the inspiration and motivation to start something, it’s fresh, new, exciting, and then comes the hard work. Oh yeah, work… I forgot that anything done well requires WORK. Even the thing that may be your truest talent still requires a great deal of work and perseverance than if you chose NOT to do it in the first place. If you choose not to do it, then there is NO RISK of failure, because you are choosing to stay invisible and safe… This is also called mediocrity. We ALL have abilities far beyond mediocrity!

For instance, falling in love is easy. We feel that it is exciting to be kind, loving, generous, open, when we first fall in love, and then comes the hard work of maintaining that love. When we see each others imperfections, we begin to realise that in order to STAY in this love, we have to accept the other as they are. We have to practice patience, kindness, and generosity, and we have to accept that at moments, we will be let down. This is life as a feeling, thinking spiritual being in a physical body, I accept that….

Being in the awareness of how our behaviours affect the world around us requires a constant open-hearted approach to life, which is easy to get out of our line of vision when we get too busy, feel let down, and become despondent.

So, maybe the question I want to ask is, why do we look at hard work as a bad thing?
We are designed to work hard, we are fit and capable, and in order for us to truly be generous with our gifts, then we owe it to ourselves and the rest of humanity to do a good job of respecting these gifts and seeing them come to their highest fruition. Isn’t that really what we want as an end result? We want to be really skilled, and really successful, and acknowledged for our gifts, don’t we? I do, and I don’t think that is a bad thing at all, it’s just that the hours of dedication, and the potholes along the way can sometimes make us feel that we really are NOT GOOD ENOUGH, and we stop believing in our gifts. We start to doubt. We lose our motivation and our inspiration.
Back to kindness and giving…. We not only need to remember to practice this kindness of spirit every single day to those around us known and unknown, but we also need to give this to ourselves. This will help us in those dark moments and in those trying times, to keep going. Remembering that with a strong conviction, and perseverance, anything is possible. in fact, everything is possible.
So, today, let’s begin.
1. Give generously of yourself in all areas of life.
2. Practice the art of LOVE everywhere.
3. Start looking at hard “work” as a good thing! (it’s where we get results!)
4. Remind yourself of the truest gifts you have, and practice them A LOT!
5. Ask for help when you need it! Others will benefit by you accepting their act of kindness and generosity, and it becomes a contagion!
6. Don’t be afraid of the obstacles along the way, everyone that has been successful in ANYTHING has had at least as many losses as wins. Trust me!
7. Share your triumphs and failures with others, so they too can find inspiration when they are having a struggle in their life. I promise that they will appreciate it, and who knows what new doors will open from this generous gift you are giving…

We are in one GIANT awesome life boat together, and we ALL are equipped with oars and preservers.

Let’s do this…

5 Simple Steps To Acceptance

When we decide to trust in a higher purpose, and we stop fretting over all the little things that can pile up during any given day, we gain perspective. Isn’t everything in life able to be seen from either the perspective of fear, or the perspective of love? Every choice we make we get to decide if we will be in fear, void of trust and hope, or from the attitude of love, where all things are in harmony, and even when they are not, knowing that in some way, at some point, this too shall pass.
I can be in such a state of fear when I feel that I cannot control all of what’s around me. It is an endless and thankless task, to be master of not only my universe, but yours and theirs also. It leaves me feeling like a failure, and in a constant state of worry, that I haven’t been successful in my ability to control the destiny of all around me. My perspective needs adjusting.
What can I control? People? Places? Things?
That question is the first to answer, and it’s an easy answer, I can only control how I choose to react to people, places and things, but not the objects themselves. This is a great relief, as I still am able to have my “control freak” need met, but from a place of stillness, and understanding of my role in this game. When I relax into this, and look at each experience as an opportunity to practice kindness, compassion, understanding, allowing, I am at peace with me. I can continue to march on to the beat of my drum, and enjoy the resonance of the choir of drums of all of you. Then we are in harmony.
Lets think of some ways that we, today, can choose to act in harmony with each other.

1. Understand that other people have every right to have their feelings, even if they don’t match or meet yours.

2. Learn how to be a better listener to others, it takes practice to listen with your heart instead of a critical mind.

3. Be happy with who you are, and the differences that make you UNIQUE. You are a special gift also, and there is only one of you.

4. When you get frustrated with a situation or a person, take a breath and ask yourself, why am I upset about this? What is it in me that doesn’t accept this “thing” as it is? Sometimes its obvious that someone has hurt you, or let you down, and you do have choices around this. You ned to determine if the situation is toxic to you, or workable. Dig deep to get the answer. It’s not about changing them, but what you can do for yourself that is for the greater good. If someone is toxic, then standing by and allowing toxicity is only enabling them, let go with love.

5. Ask your higher power for more compassion, more acceptance of life and all of its ups and downs. We all go through dark times, and have our shadows, in this we are all the same. When we can truly see the suffering of another, and relate it to our darkness, then we are able to let a little bit of light into our hearts and help each other, and mutually evolve from a place of common ground, and empathy.

Are you choosing to be in acceptance today?

Anyone Up For The Openness?

For so many years I would look around me to determine how I was meant to feel. I would take signals from you to decide what I was. I would be affected by everything and everyone around me, but not in the way of an empath, but of a person who didn’t believe in themselves. I would be confused as to who I was, because of all the change and variation around me. I know that life is a voyage of self discovery, but too often I ran from some obvious truths in myself. I was so good at being the chameleon, that I would forget what I did know to be true. Most of this is based on a need to people please, to be appreciated, to feel welcomed, to feel accepted. These are all important to us humans, because we are in need of love, and we do want to be a part of the combined experience, but it can go too far, when it places one in a position of self deflating and conformity for the wrong reasons. These ideals of needing to be “like” each other, also is what breeds the hate we see when one is confronted with someone who believes or feels differently than themselves.

This fear of differentiation makes you feel unsure of your own footing, and therefore plays out in judgement, and separation. Even if you are seeing things differently, there is nothing but beauty in fact that with an openness, we can accept each other for our differences. The fact that we are all different in certain ways is what makes this human experience so valuable. With all of our individual gifts, we actually can make huge changes in this world. So what is there to be scared of? If someone is challenging your beliefs, then that is good. Then there is room to grow. If we can open our hearts to listen to others, and share openly, we have a chance at revelation, epiphanies, and new questions. To be like a horse with blinders is only a way to keep yourself feeling safe, undisturbed, and it is a dulled existence. I love it when you share with me, what is truly in your heart. I love it when I can share also, without judgement. Every time I have an experience like this, I grow a little in my faith in others. I grow to know myself more clearly, and I get to evolve with you, as we hold hands and help each other. if you will trust me, I will trust you. If you aren’t

able tIMG_6889o fully trust, I can understand and respect you for where you are. We are all in different stages and ages, and our personal experiences map out what our beliefs are at a given time. This, too, evolves and changes as we grow from our experiences, and our ability to share openly and trust each other.
I’m in. Anyone up for the openness?

Moving Your Body, Freeing Your Soul

Have you ever just let yourself go?

 

Have you ever just moved your body like there is nothing stopping you?

The very freedom in movement can be confronting and overwhelming if you aren’t used to allowing yourself to move. I know. I find it really strange when I do actually allow this to take place, spontaneous movement of my being, whether I am in my living room, out on a mountain top, or doing intuitive yoga movements. It’s sounds a bit cookoo, I know. It feels that way too, until I absolutely let go. The challenge is in how to do that.

I have always had what I call “dancer envy.” I love seeing the fluid movement filled with grace and angst, and the communication without words that can be so cutting and confronting.(Check out Young Soon Kim with  Emily Pope Blackman and you will see what I mean about fluidity coupled with superb technique.) Dancers have had to learn to let themselves go (and a lot of training to support the ability to communicate so brilliantly as well.) But I am sure that they, too, had many moments of complete vulnerability, and nakedness. It is confronting, moving our bodies, as our body language is more revealing than our words ever are.
What we say with our body “language”:

Have you ever gotten a “look” from someone, and then the words that follow don’t seem to match?  Which part of the communication do you trust more? The body language, or the words? This creates so much confusion and mistrust in our daily communication with loved ones down to the guy on the street, when our words don’t match what our bodies are saying. When we communicate freely with both aligned, then others can “hear” what we are saying, and they can trust us.
Most of us aren’t professional dancers, yet we all have a body to express through, to others and to ourselves.
Back when I was a rebellious pre- teen and into my teenage years, I found a love in a “scene” of folks called deadheads. I loved the music of the Grateful Dead, and I especially loved the free expression I felt from the family of followers. I wanted to be able to be free too. I was so bottled up in knots of who I was, and what I thought I should be, what other people thought, and the hippie scene seemed to have many people hanging around that might just accept me for me. I am sure they did, but I didn’t accept me for me, so there it was. I watched the whirling dervishes dance, I saw the Dead Heads spinning (Jay Blakesburg captures this so beautifully, check out his amazing photos!), and I went along with it. At moments I felt alive, really free, but on and off I still very self-conscious, and a bit silly too if I forgot to stay in the moment for a moment!

I knew I had something to release, I had a story to tell, I had blocks in my body, mind heart and soul that needed freeing…

Fast forward to graduate school at California Institute of the Arts. (Cal Arts). I was in full swing with my cello playing, and had become very skilled in performing classical music, and composing/songwriting, but I still had a longing to get in touch with my body. Even after years of yoga, standing still holding in a pose, and pranic breathing, I hadn’t ever truly let myself move. I decided to take a West African Drumming and Dance class with Alfred Ladzepko. I found it very confronting, as we thrust our feet deep into the earth, with full feminine confidence yet it had a hardness and a suppleness at the same time. It was demonstrative of true release, true grounded freedom. I was not ready for that, yet I learned a lot about myself and where in my body I felt self doubting. It was brilliant. Brilliant because I saw where I was lacking in myself. It wasn’t about technique, It was all about freeing myself up!  I’m not a dancer, but I sure did learn a lot from Alfred Ladzepko. Thanks Alfred!
So many years later, I am a mother, having pushed out 3 babies, “un”self  consciously, and have had many life experiences where I should know myself, and I still had locked up emotions,and tension in my body, and knew there was more to me that I should let out.
I stumbled across a Shiva Rae DVD when I was doing my yoga teacher training and she moved us through some yoga trance dance. Wow! It was intense. I felt so locked, and so stiff, and every free movement I tried to do, was accompanied with analysis. I embraced the challenge, and started to incorporate this into my classes with my students. We all learned so much from this, being in a room of people and fully letting go, without even needing the libations of liquor!
Years ago I read something about how we as humans respond best in curved spaces, architectures and dwellings, because the four walls and harsh edges of most architecture goes against our natural fluid body. If we look at the natural world, most things are rounded,or have soft edges even the symmetrical objects in nature have organic shapes and curves. Our body being forced into these unnatural settings dictates our physical and emotional response to these environments. Even if we can’t escape these “walls”, when we become aware of this phenomenon, we can choose to break free of them by actively moving in more flowing ways. I believe this is why moving in these “fluid” ways can feel so confronting, and can seem unnatural, because of what our man-made environment has taught us. it is so healing and I believe necessary to get back to our natural, organic, fluid state by breaking down these physical barriers society has laid upon us.

A story:
When my first son was born, and he came out of my fluid body, I knew of the absolute miracle of birth, and of life. He had been immersed in the waters for nine months in his perfectly safe environment, and then the realities of the outside world confronted him. He cried. My father who was very close to the end of his life really wanted to see our first born child, so we threw him in a baby capsule at less than 24 hours old. I had the thought “how bizarre to go from the organic world to a car seat!” He had no choice, and I could tell he would not have chosen that plastic child constraint if he had a choice in the matter! In this world we live in, we are trained in life to sit at desks, to live in boxed houses, to put our bodies in confined spaces, more like a “round peg (us) in a square hole “.
This is not our natural state. This is not our natural environment. We are meant to be free, and flowing, yet we put all these expectations and rigidity and formality on our lives to “keep up with the Kardashians”, or whoever.
It doesn’t suit us. But I understand, it is the world most of us live in most days of most weeks, which explains why it is so difficult to remember our natural state of flow and movement. This can be adjusted. We just have to learn to remember. If we start moving freely, our intuitive body will start speaking to us, it will remind us of what being natural is, it will guide us to move in ways that support us, from a muscular level all the way up to our crown chakra

The marriage of our spirit to ourselves.

We all are dancers inside, we all have something to express, we all can heal our bodies by listening to our bodies. Like a morning stretch, which is a natural instinct, so is our movement for the rest of the day, if we break out of the confines of our daily lives, and get on with “pumping and grinding” to the universal song and dance.

Asking Questions, Getting Answers

Choices, choices, choices. We all have them all the time, at every corner. No matter where you live, or your particular situation, you have choices. First thing in the morning we get to decide how to start the day by choosing  how we want to think and feel and act to make the most of what we have.
I am one of those people who freak out on having to make decisions sometimes, I can picture each scenario as clearly as I can, and I can get myself all worked up to what choice to make. It’s because I know the power in what I choose, leads to action, which leads to other choices, and each variable can lead to other unknowns. The unknowns are the scary part for me, because no matter how hard I try to analyse the decisions and all the variations of it, I know that there is a lot that I cannot predict. There is a lot of choice making that I need to have some sort of faith to make, and to feel at peace with.
In my past, I fell victim to my choices, like a pinball in the game of life. Just blindly hit and see where it lands. That was when I was reacting, not choosing. That’s when I was leaving everything to chance, and not having any real insight into where my choices may lead. Making choices this way did not serve me well. It inevitably put me in situations that weren’t good for me, and often I didn’t have enough understanding of myself to figure a way out of them either. So, the chips would fall where they may.
When I make choices based on heart, I know that I can be at peace with them, no matter how difficult the choices may be. No one ever promised that I would live a pain-free life if I followed my true heart, I was just promised peace of mind by knowing that my decisions were based on higher objectives. In fact, the choices I make that are from a heart centre, are usually not easy, they are not always what I think I want, because what I think I want is usually filled with only a singular self objective, and this doesn’t serve the planet, or myself in the long run.
If I make decisions that are based on selfish motives, then no matter what, other selves will be hurt. That seems like karmic law. I have responsibility to choose right thinking and right action.

My Feet Follow when I Listen

Whether you believe in a Higher Power, or God, or the Universe, or your Conscience, you have that little quiet voice that can guide you to right choices. When you are making a decision, if you ask a yes/ no question, usually your gut will give you the answer, whether you choose to follow this direction or not, again a choice. A good technique for this is muscle testing – read more here from Christie Marie Sheldon’s  blog “Love or Above.“. The yes/ no questions are helpful in learning to listen to your innate wisdom, your highest self. This technique has been a wonderful tool for me to use when I am spinning with questions and scenarios and variables to a question or decision that needs to be made. I learn to sit quietly for just a moment, asking for insight into the answer I need. I ask for strength to listen. I breathe deeply, and fill my heart centre with love and light, and I ask. Usually a “yes” will fill me with a sense of lightness, of calm, even if the answer is not what my “self” wants to hear. A “no” usually fills me with a heavy feeling, where I can tell that on a cellular level I know it’s a “NO!”
And, then comes the fun part. I get to decide whether to follow my inner hearts wisdom or not. It’s like advise from a loving parent, nurturing and kind, yet not always what I want to hear. When I do follow this wisdom, I am blessed and rewarded with clarity and peace. When I can feel that the answer was directed from Source, and I act accordingly, I feel stronger in knowing that I chose the right path.
One of the main points of focus I have found helpful, is to be sure of what question I am really asking. That sometimes takes a bit of sorting out. Many times what I thought I needed to resolve was not question I really needed answering.When I  get down to the real crux of the matter, I receive real answers.
So as simple as “what should I have for brekky” to “what should I do with my life” all can be answered for us when we are patient, directed, and willing to listen for the answers. Today, let’s  make the choice to listen for the answers, and act accordingly.

My heart leads, and my feet follow.