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?

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)

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!

Freedom to Let Go

It’s July.

And typically July for me has always had a theme of freedom.

And as I explore that whole topic of freedom. It feels like it falls into several layers.

There’s the actual reflection on what it is that I want to be liberated from.

Then there’s the action or allowing, of the liberation, of the letting go. 

Freedom feels like the final state. It’s the result of having reflected, having let go and now basking in this new state of freedom.

So let’s start with a question, or contemplation, about where are we? What are we holding on to that it might be time to let go of? And if you’re like me, it takes me a while, I have to ponder that thought for a day or two. In my case, it’s been the last two or three days of what runs me. What am I allowing to have control over my life?

And there are several feelings, thoughts, patterns, and stories in my head. I’ll play some suggestions out for you and see if they might help you with your self-reflection. 

I was running for a long time the story of money and scarcity. “I’m not secure without financial freedom, without the constant struggling and striving to make ends meet.” So my old story was that I had to constantly struggle, juggle, worry about money. 

Then it became: “Take good care of money. Be a good steward and invest it well. Place it or spend it in ways that I feel represent my values.” 

It’s been a long time coming. 

First, it was wrapped up in gender stuff, and that women need to be dependent and reliant on someone else to take care of them.  All kinds of things have been unraveling around that for decades for me. 

And finally, I can say that money is not something that runs me. AND, I know for several of my friends and acquaintances, it’s still at the forefront in their lives. 

Another one that still has a hold on me in some ways is TIME. 

I feel like I’m in a race for time; meeting deadlines, filling the calendar, or noticing the empty calendar and wondering how to spend my time creating and generating income and new clients. What does all that look like? Am I spending enough time taking care of me? Taking care of others?  Nurturing my relationships?  I look at how I spend my time as it’s my most important commodity. 

Maybe the pandemic times have brought about the concerns of our mortality, or not having enough Life Force. And, the importance of Breath.

What will happen to us as the pandemic continues? What will our lives be like? What will Time be like? How will I spend it? How will I invest in the use of this commodity in a way that brings me the most joy and be of the most service to the collective? 

So Time is still something I’m playing with, that I don’t feel fully liberated from.

Others are old stories of not being “enough” (what is that anyway?), not having enough support, not being loved enough, not being worthy of love, all kinds of good things like that.  Little by little, they’ve been chipped away by choices I’ve made, by risks I’ve taken, by moving forward in one area or another, despite the stories. Proving to myself that they really are not the Truth. 

The power of many of those old stories and patterns has diminished and faded.

So what is your self-reflection about what still has a hold on you? Still creates fear or anxiety or reactive ways that are keeping you small… keeping you stuck? 

Because that is NOT freedom. 

What we want to do this month is look at this reflection of what it is that has a constriction on us. Anything that keeps us from Breathing or holds us back. 

And then, with gentle, loving, self-compassionate, and from a safe self-observation place, allowing them to loosen their grip on us … and to Feel. 

Opening to the liberation of Life. On the other side. The Life where these do not strangle us from our truth, from our value, from our dignity. 

To our safety. Towards our sovereignty. That, to me, is Freedom.

Freedom, Liberation, Sovereignty

Freedom, Liberation, Sovereignty

How do you define Freedom? (let me know, I’m curious!)

I believe it has to do with a state that is felt after liberation. And a remembering that we are all Sovereign Beings.

Liberation from fears, tendencies, patterns, structures, and belief systems that no longer serve.

Sovereignty, for me, is a feeling that I try to re-member, embody, and KNOW deeply. It is the human right of us all to be sovereign. We are “at choice”, personally responsible, and valuable. In the Centering practices I teach, Dignity is embodied when we stand fully in our physical and divine Selves. Sovereignty also reminds us that we have the right to B R E A T H E. (and who do we think we are when we withhold another’s oxygen?)

And, getting back to Freedom, it has a price.

To let go of old patterns, reactive tendencies, and learned ways of being, we must go through some type of release, rejuvenation, renewal. It’s as if we had created vows to remain small, silent, people-pleasing, and high-achieving (stating mine here) so that we were seen, valued, and loved.  Those vows are deeply buried in our emotional body and need to be uprooted, loved, and held with compassion…for once they served us, and we’ve now outgrown them.

The price of Freedom comes in this internal self-reflection ( a centering practice around this process can be found here) and the pain or discomfort of moving into new territory of an expanded Self and open heart. 

The price of Freedom also may look like letting go of old relationships, old clothes, old jobs, old comfort zones. And this is difficult for most of us. We’ve created a circle of support that has helped keep us in these old ways of Being. And, will they want to support our new behaviors? Our new way of speaking up, speaking out, standing tall?

Some may leave. It’s a difficult reminder to them that change is coming and happening all around. And, that hurts.

Another price of Freedom is by standing up for ourselves and what we believe, we may not fit in with certain institutions, communities, or circles. I felt this strongly in my old gated neighborhood, where neighbors didn’t like my wild gardens, my disdain for chemicals on my lawn, and my proud support of public education and liberal politicians.

Ahhh, so after hearing enough of what I wasn’t doing to “fit in” with these folks, a perfect house came available 2 miles away that was as unique and eclectic as mySelf! And, this brought about the wrath of people, even my ex-husband, who didn’t like my choice.

So, Freedom, is it worth it? The liberating of Self from old ways, old clothes, and old patterns?

I say, unequivocally, YES!

The simple 2 swaths of a pair of scissors across a ponytail, on the top of my head, liberated me from several inches of hair…and the new-found saucy bob has brought another joy, and fun, and a new look to boot!

The Importance of Structure and the Need to Destroy it at Times. 

The Importance of Structure and the Need to Destroy it at Times. 

One of the ways that we can integrate our rational and intuitive sides, or our spiritual and physical sides, or whatever duality that we play in, is to recognize each for their gifts and their shadows.

Actually I think we dwell in more of a quadrality.  I believe that we have distinct heart, soul, mind, and body versions of ourselves, as well as many personalities of different ages, or versions of selves brought out during different situations and people. The uniqueness of who we are, the truth of who I am at least, tends to show up when I’m stressed, tired, or emotional.

This last month has been tough, we’ve not only had worldwide pandemic, but we’ve also had change. We’re seeing change. Finally. And lots of ways of Being are shifting, becoming more open, more visible.

Some changes that we’re seeing is around the way law enforcement (and our world as a whole) treats people of color. 

Racism is getting the national stage and has a voice in the Black Lives Matter movement.  And, the world is listening.  It’s become a mainstream theme, and no longer can we ignore the history of how white people have systemically used racism to better themselves. So, we are seeing long-established beliefs and systems beginning to change, evolve, involve everyone to create new solutions that benefit the entire community. 

Along the lines of change, and on a personal note, I have just come off of two weeks of being with family during my mother’s hospice and passing.  The time with her those final days was beautiful and peaceful, especially towards the end.  AND there’s all the family dynamics. 

Our family is diverse in that we have almost every skin tone, belief system, and political view represented. And noticing who I feel comfortable with, and who I retreat from, which conversations attract me and which ones feel so uncomfortable I want to leave, and all the spaces in between. All were ‘growth-full’ for me.

The other thing I noticed is that this time, unlike in the past, I avoided managing intellectually, controlling, running the show. I pushed through my typical role as Big Sister and took a backseat. This allowed my sister to step up, and my middle brother to take on the logistics while staying calm and sane. Everybody has their own way of grieving, I realize now, and there’s no right or wrong. Allowing everyone, including myself, to be: absent, involved, avoiding emotion, feeling deep emotions, it was all acceptable to me. 

What I’m noticing is I’m allowing myself to really FEEL it this time. The heaviness, discomfort, and roller coaster of grief is sitting with me, riding through me, knocking me down with wild waves, and then holding me aloft in a swell. And I’m not trying to pray it away or force it away, but BE with it. 

Also noticing that when I most need my practices; my physical practices, my spiritual practices, and my emotional practices, I haven’t been drawing upon them. I know they would provide a larger bank of Resilience and firm grounding to support me and all my different levels of awareness.

Yet I’m aware that although these deeply held and true support systems that I have built throughout the years were tossed aside, and I threw myself into the storm in the waters, without any safety net or lifeboat.

I really left it all behind!  

As I pack up to head out to our little river place, I realize I wouldn’t leave to go on a hike or camping trip without necessities like food and water…so why would I do that to myself, emotionally, and spiritually, throw myself out there without any of my backpack-full of tools and goodies?

What I appreciate now is my awareness of how I abandon myself. 

And how I don’t always take advantage of the systems that are in place for me.

The beautiful practices, and awareness, and music, and all of the things that soothe me. I’ve gotten much better at accepting love and care and affection from others. That’s a big one, as opposed to pushing them away and pretending like I didn’t need that. And where I want to go back to is getting my journals out. Putting the music on tap, so at any time I can just bask in it. 

And remembering to go sit outside, I did do a lot of that in the last week. Just go sit outside and look at the sky and appreciate the breeze whether it was hot and humid, or cooler, and we’ve had everything in the last week ( it’s been a very interesting week, hasn’t it?). So, noticing, I can take advantage of just looking at nature and remembering. Oh, where am I feeding me? Where am I not feeding me? Where am I starving me? What nutrition is important for me? And getting back on track with those support systems, those structures that allow me to access my strength, my power, my creativity, and capacity to be with all of this. 

This is when I’m not easily knocked off of center by others in my family or outside of my family or in the news. 

And also, allow me to soothe, and be with, and hold, all of the pain and the grief. All the beauty and the joy that life is. 

Here’s to expanding and opening and softening at the same time as holding the structure and the practices, the routines, and the rituals that support me, and you, and all of us.