Well, We’re Not There Yet…

Life, I realize is a continual work-in-progress. I AM a continual work-in-progress. 

And, part of my learnings from the past year has been that you don’t ever get “there.” We might go around and revisit the same places, each time with a new perspective, a new twist and new learning.

Remember when we were little people and we’d be on our way somewhere and we would be so anticipatory of “getting there,” we’d be impatient and drive our caretakers or the driver nuts?

I do, and I have been doing it a lot lately.  Still!

The thinking, “I’ve already been here.”  “I’ve already healed this.”  Or, aren’t we through this? Or, when:

Will it get better? 

Will I be more clear? 

Will the pain end? 

Will the storm pass?

Yep, or the comments, “when this pandemic is over…”, or “when things get back to normal…”, or “when we have a different leader in the White House… or City Hall…”, or “when… “, you get the picture.

And, all of these prayers, yearnings or complaints are keeping us from BEING HERE. Right Now. In the midst of Life. As it is.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to fix stuff. That’s why I was successful as a Recruiter, Human Resources Director, Consultant, Board Member, Coach. You bring me a problem, I’ll give you a solution, or 10 options for one.

And that worked well. Now, I’m learning that it’s not my job to fix other’s problems. Or give unsolicited advice to friends. Or tell my daughters, partner or ANYONE, what to do. What they ought to do. 

It’s a new way of growing and developing. Internally. 

Moving my own energy back INSIDE, where it belongs. 

I can still provide answers, share wisdom or facilitate trainings. However, it’s not my job to MAKE anyone take this information. It is my job to ask good questions, offer ideas or new ways to see the world.

When I operate in a space where there’s trust in the “other” to open, receive, learn, grow, shift and see things with new eyes, it’s my happy place. 

When there’s a curiosity to learn a topic, or I’ve been given an area to “unpack” and provide some understanding around, I can be a Light-Bearer, showing the next steps and inviting others to come along.

And, the best way for each of  us to learn? Is by listening to what our own internal guide/guru is saying. 

And, we need to listen constantly. Contemplate regularly. Ask questions and open our minds, ears, eyes, hearts and allow the answers to arrive. Not demand the answers. Or put a time limit on them. 

Trust. Learning to Allow. Accept. Then Embrace the constancy of Change. The continual Growth. The concept that we never cross a finish line. There’s always another “there” we want to reach. Or to shift our paradigm to “How do I want to FEEL right now?” And know that we are in exactly the right place, right now. And, that we will not ever be complete, finished, done. 

Last week I was in the deep dark of discomfort and resistance. Then I remembered I signed up for the Fast Track. And Growth means Change. Mother Nature shows me that over and over. New shoots, weeds and blooms and leaves springing up daily, remind me that this is constant work. This personal/professional growth thing. That’s why they call it Development, right?

In this moment, Life is Beautiful. Expansive. And my Heart is on Fire. Growing right here alongside of you…and allowing it be as it is. Celebrating how it is even on some occasions!

Thank you Nature for being such a great teacher. And Happy Earth Day too!

How are you?

Musings in the Midst of Growth and Change

Have you ever woken up in the morning and just wanted to cancel the day? Feeling off and not in the mood to talk to people, go about with work responsibilities, even go for a walk? All things I enjoy normally!

That was this morning. And, I had an exercise appointment, a blog deadline, incomplete and overdue responsibilities of editing some podcast episodes, and prepwork for a debrief! Ugh. It all felt too much. 

Having gotten the vaccine a few days prior, I wanted to blame it on that. And, not wanting to go to exercise (which I typically enjoy as a way to kick off my week and day) felt like honoring my physical system by NOT exerting myself. 

When I shared this with my partner, he replied, “you know you’d feel better if you go.” 

Not what I wanted to hear! I wanted sweet approval of my decision to listen to my body. Not to be called out for wanting to not feel the way I felt.

So, cranky and out of sorts, not getting the “approval” I was seeking externally, or a “pass” to stay in bed, I went back upstairs and sat thinking about what I did want. 

This is the process my mind followed:

  • I enjoy the process of getting the podcasts completed and published, learning the new software and the sense of creative accomplishment. 
  • I also enjoy sharing my musings by blogging. 
  • Guiding clients through their debriefs of their Leadership Circle Profile results is often very rewarding, though lately they’ve been sensitive and complex.
  • What was my body needing? That wasn’t clear. To NOT do anything?

That’s it. I realized. I am not allowing myself to be the complex and messy ALL of me. 

Just like the recent Equinox, I was the sum of all the inner turmoil of the growth and shifts I’m in the midst of. This feels awkward, like I’m not balanced, and my body is moving at a different pace than my heart and head.

So, a walk, in silence, is what I desired. It’s easier to hear when I slow down and tune in.

I got dressed, called the gym to reschedule for the next day and as I was putting on my shoes, informed John that I was going to go for a walk. In silence. I needed to allow my spirit to lead and inform me and help with this transitional discomfort. He agreed to go with me.

The deep need to be in silence has been calling me. I speak to it and emphasize it, actually, in the Equinox Contemplation I hosted live on YouTube, yet, what had I done all weekend? Focused on fixing, editing, publishing, connecting, sharing, learning, laundry, cleaning, etc. Not on downtime, slowing down, pausing to be in stillness and silence. To Listen.

I talk about dropping into the Schumann resonance, Mother Earth’s heartbeat, to receive the electromagnetic energy and be nourished. Yet, it’s so much easier to talk about, than do. Actually Be.

So, here I am, owning up to my own “need” to read news on my phone, play puzzle games or get lost in work-related reading or meetings. It’s an addiction, I believe. 

My phone is such an excellent tool, it reminds me to take walks when it’s been a few days since I’ve logged enough steps. It also now tells me how much I sleep and how much screen time I have each week. EEK!

That was a wake-up call. 

If I added the phone time to my computer time, to the streaming movie time on another screen, I’m not a very good example of walking the middle path…of being and doing. Of contemplating in silence to listen to the ultimate in creative entertainment and inspiration, Spirit. Of balancing the constriction or numbing that happens when I’m pushing away the Flow of Life and trying not to feel it.

So, back to the basics for me. Morning spiritual practices to tune in. More walks in silence to hear the birds sing and my footsteps on the Earth. A timer on my phone to track my reading and game-playing and scrolling through social media.

When I slow down I’m able to show up to life, fully. I know that. And I feel better too.

And, a huge hug of appreciation for the messiness of being Human. Gratitude for the hum of anxiety I feel both within and in the Collective, AND for the beauty of spring’s blossoms, the serenade of birdsong, and the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze of the season available to see, hear and feel. For the excitement of growth and new beginnings and the uncertainty and uncomfortable sensations of moving into a new phase. We are all BeComing. Re-Membering. Up-leveling, and expanding. And, it’s all good. It’s why we are here now. To lead, love, and live with all of the radical human emotions and thoughts and feelings. 

So here’s to growth, newness, holding it all, and allowing it to be as it is. First step is to ALLOW. Then I’ll work on ACCEPTANCE. Finally, getting to EMBRACING these uncomfortable shadows, reactive patterns, painful emotions as all reminders of my divine imperfection and divine perfection. All of me. 

Thank you for being you and for allowing me, holding me, as I am me.

I see you…I am you…I love you!

Dancing with Shadows

This February full moon is highlighting our brilliance. And as much as we are uncomfortable with vulnerable showing/sharing of our shadows, we are often equally uncomfortable with owning our Brilliance.

As we move from February into March the theme shifts to honoring ALL of us. Equally. 

In honor of the Equinox and equanimity, expansion and equilibrium, egalitarianism and equal rights for all. (Liked the alliteral play there?)

Easier said than done. 

We hide, especially as we begin to share from our heart and soul or expand in our visibility in our roles in the world. As our Great Work in the world grows, so must we. And often it can be too much for our system to handle.

So many women are finding, the more their impact and influence grow, their Shadows of insecurity, unsafeness, or gnawing doubt in their abilities create walls of Fear.

I capitalize Fear because it is currently at the base of our world’s issues: racial and social injustice, misogyny, economic inequality, political division, devastating effects of climate change, and a global pandemic on top of all that.

And, we are falling back into the “already healed, I’m done with that” space of old stories, patterns, reactivities, programming and tendencies. 

So, even though this was an area of clarity and spaciousness before 2020, you may find the revisiting of the anxiety or depression or sadness or anger that was tucked away nicely and neatly in the past. 

AND, it’s all good. The full moon this month reminds us to feel our brightness. Our wholeness. Our holiness. Our Beauty, Strength, Safety and Wisdom…all regained by tapping in and tuning in to our Divine Center. The Oneness that can help us reclaim these lost parts of Self, and sit gently and hold the brokenness, the grief, the anger, the Fear. 

Because many of us are very sensitive to the collective energies, we can feel the Desire to move into Love, the fear of the Fear, and our roles during these evolutionary times to be a bridge for these polarities. To allow them to co-exist. There is room for Love amidst it all.

And, no more sweeping the ugliness, brokenness, anxiety or fears under the rug…that helps them to grow in power. Facing them, with Love and Light, shines the truth onto these old ways of operating, many of which we’ve inherited through ancestral and cultural programming.

So, just like Spring Clearing and Cleaning, we’ll take out and examine each pattern, behavior, reactivity or story and ask ourSelves, “Do I love this? Do I need this? Does it bring me joy?” (thank you Marie Kondo!)

And after lovingly appreciating, holding it and seeing it as it is, (often a younger version of Self or an inherited story/pattern) we can thank it and allow it to be sent off to be recycled or reused elsewhere. I like to imagine it becoming the compost for new energy for creativity and play!

Let’s appreciate the Moon this month for shining her light on us. For helping us to remember our own Light…sometimes shadowed, but always there. 

And thank you for all of the enlightening and beautiful stories shared by my sisters and brothers of color who helped us to learn and grow through Black History Month…your sharings opened my eyes and heart over and over.

Seasons, Cycles, Rhythms and Changes

Why am I so keen on following the seasons and Nature’s cycles? And how do they give us insights as to our own transitions and developmental growth?

Often people ask me, “How does the moon cycle affect me in my leadership or personal/professional development?”

As human beings, we are intricate systems, with our own cycles and rhythms. And honoring them, i.e. pausing to integrate big learnings, sleeping more when we aren’t feeling well or hunkering down inside more during the cold months are ways to do so. 

The earliest memory of my own relationship with the patterns of Nature was with the moon and stars. I remember staring out at the full moon “following us” as a child in the car with my parents or lying in bed at night being comforted by her Light. Stars, in general, and the Milky Way and shooting stars in particular, have always held a fascination for me.

Then came the play with astrology, which has never really become a deep understanding, even with more involved science and planetary aspects being talked about more and more since my chart is incomplete. I have never been able to track down my birth time!

It’s been about 3 decades since I began tracking the moon, at first for my own monthly cycles as I was preparing to get pregnant, and then for noticing how they affected me in my general life.

A bit later I was using a Moon Journal to track cycles and use them for reflection and introspection. Full moon completions and new moon initiations.

Early in 2000, I began studying Native American spirituality. I felt at home!  Nature had always felt like my Church, and Mother Earth and Father Sky, Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun, like family. And animals did feel as though they had messages for me as much as the sunset colors, or the wind singing through the trees. Ecology and all things “green” and holistic became passions. 

That deep study and the book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and experience moved into further understanding of planetary aspects, solstices, equinoxes, eclipses. 

Gardening has been an ongoing school for me as well. It felt like the seasonal shifts of planting, tending, harvesting, and winter cleanup was indicative of where I was in my Life. Learning to save seeds, buy locally grown food, and eat foods fresh and during their normal harvest cycle has become a way of life for my family.

Business Leadership Development programs that were based on spiritual and personal development added another layer.  Some teachers’ use of the Enneagram added yet another.

Deep dives into Strengths-Based Leadership came next, followed by an introduction to The Spirit of Leadership white paper by the founder of The Leadership Circle 360 Profile. Quickly after I became certified in this assessment and added the evolving wisdom of our multi-dimensionality and up-leveling my own and client’s human development consciousness.

The Shamanic Business Mastermind I participated in a few years back was a brilliant way to see how our businesses, our lives, our physical bodies are all immensely enmeshed with the seasonal cycles. How pausing during Winter, for example, was the inner reflection and stillness required by both my physical and emotional and mental health, as well as that of my business’ health. 

All of these new learnings felt “at home” to me like they were “speaking my language” and as natural as my breath. (Another beautiful rhythm of Life and ongoing cycle!)

And each brought me new ways to describe my views of life, train on leadership, and experience love…as if all of these facets of Self were merging with my work in the world!

Cycles, seasons, Nature’s many signs and lessons, and all the changes we’re experiencing now with our economy, society during a pandemic, education systems, and political upheaval are all creating complexity. Even our choices of nourishment…media and food/drink are cycles…what we partake must be digested. Time is needed to process, allow for the nutrients to be received and the waste to be released. Our bodies know how to process food much better than we do with our mental consumption.  Time away from our technology and screens and seriousness to be playful, fun, creative, and connecting with others, Self, the Divine. Not an easy thing to do in these times…

Which is when I try to find the simple pleasures of Rituals. 

Pausing. 

Remembering Who. I. Am. 

Connecting with loved ones on Zoom. 

And breathing it all in. With grace and compassion for mySelf and all of us. 

How are you finding these cycles of change? The ending of 2020 and beginning of 2021? What are your favorite seasons and cycles? 

(PS I receive no commission for the books and resources listed and linked in this article)

Making Holy-days of the Holidays

Enjoy this old episode of a podcast I did on called Wednesday Wisdom Radio. And this particular episode was called Making Holy Days of these holidays. 

Welcome. This is Deborah LeeAnn and this is our Wednesday wisdom radio show. Today’s topic is about holidays, versus holy days. It feels ironic that when we celebrate. 

We go to all this trouble, to have all kinds of gatherings and we bake and we have special breads and special meals and maybe not the gatherings this year that we’ve had in the past but we arranged to take time away from the office, which creates either more backlog, or more stress around getting more stuff done before the end of the year. 

It doesn’t feel very holy. 

What we’ve done right to cram so much into these last few weeks of the year, year after year after year. So, to honor ourselves and our spirits during this very spiritually invoked time. 

Let’s just drop in and get present with who we are, what we’re here to do, and what our body wants to talk to us about and what our soul wants to whisper in our ear. So as we drop in and feel our feet, very heavy on the floor, connecting in a way that is like lovers embracing after not seeing each other for a while. That really pulls our energy down, and allows that gravity to do its work for us, and pulls our energy back into our bodies. 

It almost reminds me of the Peter Pan thing where they have this shadow that they have to tack on to their bodies when they lose their shadows. There’s something very mystical for me to feel the grounding again, and to remind myself that this is the physical body, that I am in this time around in this lifetime. And I’m just curious for you in terms of how it feels to be back in your body, and not scattered all over. 

So let’s just allow our feet to feel heavy and allow the connection to Mother Earth to happen naturally and gracefully. And then focus down on our lower belly and into our pelvic bowl. Feeling our hip bones and our sits bones in the chair, being held so beautifully in the lap of gravity of Mother Earth. 

You can kind of move your hips back and forth to feel that energy down there and feel again, almost as if we have a grounding cord heading straight down into the root chakra and into the center of Mother Earth. Just tugging us gently, letting us know that she’s got us, right, like a belay person makes us feel safe when we’re climbing. 

The next part is to just be still enough and shut down any of the places where we’re multitasking, whether it’s virtually multitasking, or physically doing so. For me, that meant I needed to just go sit down and stop trying to control the noises that are in the house. Which is what happens when you have other people around, and the animals that don’t want to be outside because it’s raining or cold. So, just be still, closing off all of the other places where our attention has been sent to put out fires, or to manage relationships, or to control our schedule, our time and space schedule that is anything in the past. We can let go of because we can’t do anything with it anymore. 

Anything that’s coming up later today or tomorrow or the next day. During the rest of these holidays. We can’t do anything about that in this moment, either. So let’s just be here and give us a treat of being present. 

We’re going to breathe into that and allow that to settle into our system. And then, calling in our connection to our divine light, we’ve celebrated solstice, and that is the celebration of light. It’s the celebration of the days getting longer and how beautiful it is to allow that light to just be this golden, or silvery, shimmery piece. It’s calming influence, its connection to all of that beautiful energy that we very often forget that we’re attached to and can call upon at any time. 

So we’ll just let that flow in us around us, and fill our inner and outer self with that additional energy charge. And now to keep that charge up as that’s all working. Let’s take a breath, receive a breath and settle into your system, pulling your energy and my energy from way out in front of me. Back in, and settling down into this beautiful temple of a body. We’ll start from here. 

So this conversation around holy days, the original celebration of this time of year was around the days getting you longer and looking forward to the warm weather that would be coming, the planting season, and the warmth that comes with that. The misconstruing of so much that’s gotten into this time of gift giving and decorating and baking. It all started with really lovely intentions of wanting to create a beautiful space. create homes that welcome family members. Create a time for sharing our love with all of our friends and family. In many cases, it’s gone too far. And what I want to say is that the meaning underneath it all has very often been lost. 

It was this time of year most years that I would choose to get sick. This was a way of my body knowing that there was a break during the holidays. And this was a good time to get sick. So, this was the time that I would choose, because I could get away from work and hide away from family, whether it was during college on break or actually in my early career days when I was a workaholic. I knew it was a safe time to get in bed and be sick. I knew I would not be able to see my family that way. I also knew that somebody else could feed me, and I could relax and do what my body was asking for rest. 

We’re still in the dark enough days where our bodies do need rest. And just because the light is getting more and more each day doesn’t mean that we’re at the end of, we’re ready to plant seeds. We’re still in the germinating phase. We’re still in the darkness of the wild winter night where we get a chance to be still. Many times during this time of year we don’t have time at all to be still. My own meditation schedule, my own eating schedule, very simple routines and rituals in my life have been disrupted. And I can’t blame anyone else. But, in trying to be there and take advantage of opportunities to spend time with loved ones, or to see friends right now virtually for morning for coffee or to fit in work around what I probably need to be is quiet time. 

And let what has happened in this year germinate and percolate in the inspiration of what’s going to happen. Come to me, instead of forcing things to happen. This is where I feel very much right now is that we’re in a time where we have to do lists, and we’re so busy doing that we’re disconnected from our imagination, our inspiration, our intuition, and even just being still enough to listen to any guidance from any of those parts of our beautiful, creative, self. So as we look at what are ways that we can celebrate and be true to ourselves and be our holy whole selves. What would that look like? Can we plan to make smoothies on Christmas morning versus jumping right into coffee and mimosas, which is what my family will be doing. What if we started off with a green smoothie that morning, you know, what if we could introduce new ways of going for a walk. Just to get everybody outside and into nature. 

What new kinds of rituals can we introduce? Mine is, I don’t really necessarily like giving and receiving gifts that are all wrapped up or in paper bags and need to be recycled and, or get used again. But I have drawers and drawers of those bags. 

I would much rather use that time to do fun things with my family. And yet, anything I go to right now it’s expected that you bring a gift, you know, for a round robin or just to bring something and you exchange or for the host or hostess. There’s a group of my girlfriends where we have a great time gathering. And what’s called a white elephant party. And we bring all the things that we got that were gifted to us that we then choose to wrap up again and give away. I don’t get many of those because I’m not in a position of receiving or giving gifts as much anymore. And a lot of people get these ridiculous things. Makes me wonder, because so many things are never going to get used. So we bring those wrap them up beautifully. And we play a game and we laugh hysterically at some of the things that we’re given and what people might do with them and how much we fight over these wrapped presents to see what’s really inside. It’s a great time. And one of my favorite times of the year, because I don’t think I laughed that much in one evening, any other time. So much fun, the appropriate gift giving the appropriate not going into debt to get things for people and honoring ourselves is what feels right. 

You know, if somebody says you’re required or you’re expected to bring a gift to this thing. Honor yourself. Is that what you want to do, how can we go along with culture and family traditions and be the odd man out. 

I’m learning right now that I don’t have to hide anymore, because I’ve been little by little letting my family and friends know who I am. And in fact, invited some friends over for the solstice the other night and shared my tradition with them. A couple of the friends got that, they understood. They’ve been following me and they know my traditions and rituals, a couple of the others not so familiar and didn’t really want to talk about what they wanted to let go of. 

We got a good laugh out of that finally because somebody said, we can let go of denial, that there is nothing to let go of that was brilliant. It broke the ice and everybody ended up sharing. And for me it was a coming out party of sorts, you know, with some friends that I’ve not shown all of my pagan or priestess side two more and more. I am putting myself out there. I am showing all of my sides and inner and outer selves. And I am asking others to do the same. So far, you know it’s not changing too many of my relationships, it is moving us into a different level of intimacy, which is good. And if we weren’t that good friends before, it’s not going to change things, and my family, they’ll always love me and my weirdness. That’s true. Now, I am enjoying the fact that my sister will act. What essential oil should I use with this situation with my son. You know, we’re starting to talk about alternative ways of being and choosing a word to focus on for the year that we want to grow and aspire to have more of just little practices that are not your typical denying of what is and what wants to be. So as we move forward through the rest of these holy days and holidays. I am going to pose a challenge to you. If you’re listening, and you catch this before the end of the year. How can you bring more of you into these days. How can you bring more of your rituals, your beauty and inspired ceremony, whatever it is that you want to create during this time. 

How can you begin a new tradition and honor yourself and your spirit and your heart, more and more. At this time, intellect, even you know, do we really want to watch the news, or would we rather listen to music, that makes us happy. What is it that we can change in our schedule? When I looked at my calendar for today and saw all of the things that I had set up today. I wondered. Okay. Is there something that I don’t have to do this afternoon? When I can find time to make peppermint bark, or check in with my daughters, because that to me is a holiday memory that I am ready to create. 

And that is what my challenge is to you. Do you need to be at each and everything that’s on your calendar. Is there something that if you sat down and gave yourself 15 to 20 minutes now and lit a candle and just sat still and asked that you would like to learn about yourself going into the next year. Is there a way to create more rituals, more beauty, more joy, more openness, more spaciousness for you. 

I will leave you with these questions and wish you a very merry. Happy Holi-day season, holiday season, light, bringing season, and a beautiful, beautiful end to the year, and a beautiful beginning to next year. I look forward to staying in touch. Talk to you soon.