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.

Self-Leadership

Self-Leadership

Self Leadership is essential if we are leading anything or anyone else. Whether as a Corporate executive, a business owner, a team leader, a parent or the committee chair of a community project. 

Every new moon brings me to a deeper Inner Awareness and the reminder of how I manage my energy.

Self-awareness, self-management, self-Leadership, includes this inner landscape check-in.

Part of my check-in includes an assessment of where my energy is flowing. Where is it leaking? Where is it being nourished or regenerated? 

Where are my boundaries loose? Or non-existant? 

Where am I pushing? Where can I be more R E C E P T I V E? (yes, another deep topic for another day!)

Where is YOUR energy flowing?

Right now, it’s easy to be leaking, or losing, energy to all kinds of world issues, climate change created fires and storms, political drama, pandemic unknowns and speculations, not even counting what’s going on with our businesses or career and our own family and circle of friends.

Not very sustainable. Where’s the renewal? Where’s the filling back up?

I learned the hard way after decades of exhausting myself to the point of adrenal fatigue or lying on the couch all weekend to catch my breath, or finally falling into bed sick on the holidays.

One of the leadership competencies I coach women around the most is their Sustainable Productivity.  Another is Balance, and yet another is Integrity or Wholeness.  

Each of these have in common the tendency to put others first, to believe they are only valued or worthy if they are over-giving, extremely busy or selfless in some way.

So what’s underneath that? The need to Belong, to feel Safe, to feel in Control. Or some other pattern or learned tendency that keeps us from looking at OurSelf. Our needs. Our wants and desires. And our anger, broken heart or sadness or …. What is your’s?

Mine was if I could just keep all the balls in the air I would be superhuman, praised, loved, and valued. If I could do so much to not have time to look within, I could ignore that mess. (Like having really messy closets, with everything looking neat and organized in the public spaces!)

And, it took a while to “find time” to be with the Inner Landscape. To look around, clear some space, breathe into it some of my own Life Force and Love and Light. 

Wow. It’s the space created by Centering. Being. And, Presence.  To appreciate and know that daily practices of Inner Check-ins are a powerful practice for my soul, physical/emotional health, and business and relationships.

Sacred Anger

Feeling too much? Like your nerve endings are on the outside of your body and the slightest sensation or incoming news can ignite or trigger or send you into an emotional spiral?

I am with you.

One client recently called it feeling the “collective rawness.” Yes, collective internally and as a global society.. 

And with no break since March, it’s been quite an onslaught. 

The chronic news of Black people being killed by the hands of law enforcement (over and over) is one thing. Add the pandemic and all of its societal changes and fears and mixed news from science and conspiracy theories, another. Add to that the political craziness and hate-mongering and divisiveness AND the continual destructive storms, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, and we are tired. 

Cognitive exhaustion, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and even spiritual exhaustion are all real.

Our lives are not the same as before March of this year, and we wonder when, if ever, we will resume something that feels “normal.” Our minds are searching for some way to “solve” these problems or our hearts want someone else to “save” us from this mess.

Steven Covey wrote years ago in the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, that it is never a good idea to try to teach or learn when we are tired or emotionally upset. 

Guess what? Most of us are both. 

And, I’m here to say that Anger is our invitation to create, innovate, move us out of the stuckness and towards what’s emerging. It’s a doorway. How?

Anger has gotten a bad rap. Especially for women. We aren’t shown, for the most part,  models of what it looks like to be an angry woman, on purpose, who is still loving and guided by Spirit.

That’s because we haven’t had many. Neither Mother Theresa, who bore her pain silently and alone, or feminists who came across as anti-men and angry. Not the working mother who is worried about her children while taking care of her community and planet and Self (not in that order) while holding down a job. Not women who have chosen not to have children (for their own reasons, because they have a choice) while marching or actively supporting Earth, Gender and Sexual Equality, Racial Justice and healthcare access for our marginalized citizens, nor for those who quietly go about their day-to-day, signing petitions, learning about their role in racism, finding ways to discuss and grow as conscious individuals while making a difference in their own circles by choosing Love over discrimination or hate.

So many ways to be activists. Even by choosing the food we eat, and how we spend our money. 

AND, it starts by being Angry. Allowing the fire in the belly to be stronger than the fear of staying silent, standing by, or choosing the status quo for comfort’s sake.

Anger is the beginning of a spiral of emotions and truly helps us become innovators and creators and impactful leaders (and activists). 

Years ago, a wise teacher and friend helped me learn about my emotions in this way. Begin by choosing a specific issue that is troubling, that you hate, or that made you angry.

Allow yourself to feel the emotion, speak out loud about it, write it, dance it. 

It tends to fade after some focused attention.

Below is something different. Sadness, grief, or fear. Each could come in their own wave.

By asking ”What about this makes me feel sad?” we can get deeper. Feeling the sadness, the grief may be, and letting it be expressed (again through writing, dancing, speaking/crying out loud) allows it to be expressed, felt, and transformed.

Next is probably fear. “What am I afraid of?” Asking over and over till you start feeling the fear, start knowing its source, and focusing on it, even for a few minutes. Sharing out loud to a trusted friend, who is only observing with compassion, not speaking at all, can be cathartic. Letting it out through words, written or prayed, screamed, or softly whispered brings light to the shadow and gets some space around it.

“What do I want/need?” is next. What do I really want to change this? What do I need? It may be that you want the political divisiveness to end, but stay with what’s under your control. What is it that I want to feel instead of this? Expressing it through dance, writing, drawing, imagining then sharing it in some way with the Universe/God/Source is very beneficial.

Then we get to Forgiveness. What can I forgive myself or another for? Again, expressing it orally, through another format is your choice, but put it OUT THERE.

Appreciation/Gratitude is what follows. Express it. To yourself first, then to another if need be and you are called to.

Last is LOVE. It’s the natural progression of following our emotions down to their Source. Our essence is LOVE and when we fall away, step too far from it, feel disconnected, the other emotions are there to help guide us HOME. 

Let’s not fear Anger. It’s sacred and needed. The more we try NOT to be angry, the more we can make ourselves sick. It’s like trying to imagine we can shake a can of soda or sparkling water and then open it and it won’t make a mess. The anger WILL explode one way or another unless we guide it back Home. Back to Love. 

Want a safe space to do this process? I’m here.