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. 

Stillness of Winter

Stillness.

Not out there, mind you, it’s wild and woolly and full of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complexity and Ambiguity) news, and events. 

And, maybe it’s the several hours of each week spent on Zoom calls where I can see myself, and how I am showing up when with others, that is making me more aware of how I want to be or not be. More self-conscious. More SEEN.

And, maybe it’s the fact that I can’t hide anymore. My own Authenticity radar is on high alert when I’m out of integrity, off-balance, or when others are operating out of their wholeness and truth.

Or, possibly, and more likely, it’s the felt need to constantly be looking at my phone. What messages have I missed? What’s the latest COVID news? Or, like me, the draw to play a silly game that rewards me for solving a puzzle?

So, spending time with mySelf is on the agenda this month. Yet I’m already finding lots of distractions. Ways to NOT look at me. Ways to run, tune out, or turn away.

My calendar is full of deadlines to meet my Self-Imposed date of heading into Tech Sabbatical as well!

My house here in the City is disrupted with plaster repair, new wiring for dining room lighting, and incomplete projects making my craving for Sacred Space dial-up to palpable energy.

The lovely meal from Thanksgiving is needing some cleanup too…stock from the turkey bones to be made, and lots of squashes and root veggies asking to be made into soups.

So, the more I slow down, breathe slower, feel into Center, into Presence, and into my own body’s power center…I am finding more of everything.

And, how am I finding space and the Grace to be Still? Tune into Stillness? Tune out busyness? 

Practicing. Centering. Breathing. Slowing down when I remember. Allowing myself to visit it here and there, in between little rants about messes or full schedules or the physical call to go outside and let it all go.

It’s when we most need it that it feels the most difficult to do. To allow. To receive the blessings that come when we stop or even pause to notice them.

What do you plan to do to complete 2020? This month? The transition of seasons from autumn into winter? (here in the Northern hemisphere that is. For you folks Down Under, as you head into summer?)

This STILLNESS thing is not easy for me, and from what I’m hearing from clients, colleagues and friends, it’s not easy for most. 

We are feeling the frenetic anxiety, hearing the high-pitched hum of millions of media sources trying to capture our attention, sensing the collective grief and trauma of a year that has changed us all in unforeseen and previously unimagined ways…breathing in (through our masks) the air of change, uncertainty, fear, anger.

And, it’s easier to stay busy. Stay above the fray by keeping our minds occupied, with work, solving problems, looking for problems, even! 

Or, numbing out in exhaustion (doesn’t matter if it’s not physical, could be mental, emotional or spiritual exhaustion) through Netflix, eating, alcohol, drugs, over activity, sleeping, _________.  (name your favorite numbing activity here)

I feel like if I stop and sit still, it will all come falling in on me.

And, it may.

Or may not. Maybe, sitting still, letting the grief of Mom’s passing, anger over unfinished projects or lost creativity, sadness of missed opportunities and traditions, or simple discomfort of BEing in the unknown…unfamiliar…flood me. Wash over me. Cleanse, heal, or take me over with emotions. I’m not sure what will happen.

Yet, be still I must. Sitting in it all is a devotional practice I choose over and over now.

It’s one way to hear my Self. That quiet loving voice under all the noise. The stirrings of creative expression. The sighs of desire, or of hope, or of loving compassion. The opportunity to sit in and be held by Divine Light and Grace!

And, rediscover the resilient strength of Me. The beautiful receptive quality of being-ness. The open-hearted feeling of passion and excitement and quickening. The expansiveness of potential, possibility, hope, emerging new ways of Being and Inter-Being.

So here’s to Stillness. For however that looks and feels for you. For following Winter’s guidance as we go inward, go quiet, go dormant and hibernate a bit.

As for me? This month I’m excited as my birthday is also the Winter Solstice, when the days begin to be a bit longer and the pagan celebration of the LIGHT. 

For years I woke up my daughters (and any friends they could rustle up for such an outing) to put on their winter layers and armed with a stack of cinnamon-raisin toast and a thermos of coffee and another of hot chocolate, we would head in the darkness of early morning to nearby Cahokia Mounds to climb Monk’s Mound and await the sunrise.

It’s a ritual I have always enjoyed even though the sunrise was hardly ever visible! 

This year? Not sure if it will happen, but it will be different, with my daughters not around. Maybe I’ll create a new ritual. At the cabin on the River, maybe!

Please Look for a few gifts coming before the end of the year as well…a self-guided or facilitated Wisdom Walk contemplation, and a Solstice to New Year ritual to guide you into a self-renewal celebration to share in a circle, with a dear friend, or on your own. 

Sending virtual hugs of Huge gratitude for each of you and how your Light has connected with mine this past year!

Simple Abundance

Playing such a huge role in our world is the fallacy of scarcity. We steel ourselves and train ourselves and treat ourselves like there’s not enough.

We are not enough. (I am not enough _____, or too much ______)

There is not enough love. Or energy or time Or resources. Or money or food or ?

Who taught us that?  I believe it’s our culture of capitalism or materialism or unconscious consumerism.

So, the more I slow down, breathe slower, feel into Center, into Presence, and into my own body’s power center…I am finding more of everything.

More joy. More peace. More connection. More Love. More energy. More pleasure and satisfaction and, yes, even Time. 

All the things I used to spend a lot of time and energy and Life Force seeking. 

We’ve heard this before, right? Yet, the more intelligent, the more spiritual and the more successful we become, the less time we devote to this simple practice of cultivating our own state of prosperity, sovereignty and abundance.

In fact, the world has continued to show us ways to “play it safe”, disconnect from our own desires to serve others, or “suck it up and keep moving.” 

Playing it safe, keeps me hiding and pushing away all that I desire to flow to me.

Disconnecting from my desires keeps me from being available to love and connect with others or be of service to them authentically.

Putting up tight constrictions or boundaries to protect myself, is another way of protecting or pushing away the Beauty, Love, Joy and Goodness that is flowing toward me in my life.

So, in these unprecedented and wild times, how do we do this? How do we BE in the state of Simple Abundance? It’s about tuning in. Checking in. Noticing. Feeling. Being aware of what our body is needing from us. Being aware of our energetic state and what we are broadcasting to the Universe. Your energy is contagious…even more than the COVID virus!

When I tune in, really sit with what I am feeling, sensing, noticing and allowing, it wakes me up to ME. I feel into the pain or discomfort or pleasure. I let it wash over me. The sensation moves, and the state moves. I try not to name anything. Just BE WITH IT. When I want it to be different, that’s when it gets stronger and digs it’s heels in…just like a puppy or toddler wanting attention.

The allowing and listening and “BEING WITH” time is like having a cup of tea with a friend who just wants to be heard. While we sip the tea and she talks, the emotion is unpacked, looked at, felt and released. It’s quicker than if we analyze, take it apart, push it away, judge it or make it wrong. Asking “why” only creates a wall of defensiveness too.

This practice of unwinding the tension, slowing down and feeling the sensation or breathing simply and deeply opens our hearts, minds and souls in ways we aren’t even privy to yet. I know, for me, it’s meant a dropping into a bigger pool of Beingness. Which feels very connected to ALLness. and interBeingness. 

And, that brings us into the flow of Divine and Universal Love. 

That’s my purpose on this planet in this lifetime. More of the Simple Abundance of Love please. That’s worth asking for seconds during this time of gratitude (and smaller gatherings) of Thanks-Giving, don’t you think?

As always, reach out if you’d like to connect one on one. I’m available for video chats most Tuesdays and Thursdays and will be continuing to send out New Moon contemplations and gather in circle for Full Moon Contemplations. I’d love to sit in circle with you! 

Next month will be about Walking with Your Purpose…and I’ll be offering Wisdom Walk facilitations or self-guided ones through December and into January. More soon!

Saying Yes to Receptivity & Resilience, and No to Resistance

What we Resist persists…not a big fan of the phrase, yet it feels in sync with the Times, eh?

It’s been a wild and wooly kind of ride these past months, literally and figuratively. Colder than normal temps have brought out the scarves, hats, and sweaters and the daily barrage of media, political ads, and Covid transmission numbers and climate-related devastation continues to flood us.

And how are you managing all of it?

Please don’t pretend you are above it all, or that it doesn’t bother you, you’re taking self-care measures to a new limit to cope or that you don’t feel it, deeply, in your heart and soul.

This is the work I’m continuing to unravel within and am inviting all of those I’m in connection with to dive in with me.

Let me back up.

We are all about Love and Light, right? God is love, love is all around us and we are here to spread the Love. Love is all we need…as the song goes.

AND, we can only reach into the Cosmic or Higher Dimensions of Love, (Universal Love I call it) by loosening the constrictions or resistance we have put into place to help us feel like we belong, we matter, we have a place in this world. We are so tightly wound in our reactive strategies from old wounding that we actually aren’t open to receive the Beauty, Love and Grace that is also flooding us at this time.

Hence the saying, “Yes” to Love, “Yes” to Pleasure, “Yes” to stillness and sacred space to BE. 

The old stories tell us that if we just DO more, push more, keep busy, or numb out in our spiritual meditation or eating/drinking/drugging/sleeping habits, we are more valued. If we just serve more, take care of more things, add to our overflowing mind more learnings and news, we’ll be loved, good, valued, needed. 

My practices of shadowy self-care include snacking (on organic stuff, but still not necessary extra calories) drinking more coffee or wine than my body actually wants, but my mind feels it needs, filling my calendar with to-do items, or sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing in defiance of it all, but from exhaustion.

All good habits and routines, but when used as a way to RESIST what needs to be felt, what is calling my attention or creativity, or to actually push away the fear or pain, it’s counter-productive. It allows the pain or fear or thought pattern to get louder.

How do you play the resistance game? Where is your life flow constricted due to pushed away fears, grief, pain or unacceptance? 

Where do you hold grudges? What are you simply tolerating that is keeping you stuck in old places of a no-longer fitting paradigm?

This month I’m deeply experiencing letting go. The Making Space for new. The Allowing and Receiving more of the bounty and beauty that is available. And, to do so, it’s taken a hard look at where is my mind closed? Where is my heart closed? Where in my body am I holding tension? How can I s o f t e n and open my mind, heart, body to more of ME? To more of the Grace, Love, and Light that I AM? And is currently circulating around us all if we choose to feel it?

Only when we open up the old, tightly wound, patterns will we be open to more Love. And, that is truly all we need. And what we ALL want. 

So no matter the outcome of this election or what this winter brings upon us as we close out 2020, let’s open, receive, find the resilience to be fully present. Fully centered in our purpose. Fully accepting of our gifts and awesomeness and the darkness as well. We are here to Shine now, more than ever. The world needs each of us to declare it, open to it, and accept the gifts of our Light.

Join me? Say yes to what is. Feel what is up with you. Allow the beauty to come in. Notice with gratitude what is happening in our bodies at the moment. Center. Get present. Call in your Divine Connections and Life Purpose to nourish you and guide you. And for support, it’s all there. 

Thank you for being YOU. We’re all in this together.