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)

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 Pleasures

The Art of Simplicity

[spreaker type=player resource=”episode_id=12537754″ theme=”light” autoplay=”false” playlist=”false” cover=”https://d3wo5wojvuv7l.cloudfront.net/images.spreaker.com/original/8a73e84b0d67a78dea52625881c730e2.jpg” width=”100%” height=”400px”]

I wanted to write about Play. The Art of Play. Authentic Play for us adult people.

It felt so beyond my day-to-day experience I was afraid it would come across as inauthentic.

So, starting simply, as I remind my clients, I looked at my morning practices. This morning, in particular, it included saying good morning to the sunrise and sky, then moving into a daily routine of cat care, kitchen cleanup, walking recycling out to the dumpster, making and eating breakfast (today eaten outside in the sun on my back stoop) and checking out the garden.

My garden walk is getting to be more about appreciating the bounty and beauty than noticing what needs to be cleared or worry about the overgrowth of weeds in areas.

Setting up the sprinkler in 3 different places to get the back, side and front yards is the Simple Pleasure that made me smile. Ta-Da! Found my topic for today.

Listening to the water spray and its intensity as it winds back to the original spot is soothing. Great background for meditation…which I’ll complete before recording.

What are your Simple Pleasures? Remember the magazine Real Simple? I loved it for many years. The feel of the paper, the odd oversized shape, the beautiful photos and well-written articles that spoke my language. Even though I didn’t practice what they wrote about, I longed for “that life.”

Little by little, that magazine has been the foundation for this life of mine today. That and the book, Simple Abundance by Sarah BanBreathnach, was life-changing for me as I dreamed this life into being.

We are doing that all the time. Dreaming our one and only precious life (this time around, anyway) into BEing.

So, how are you practicing Simplicity and enjoying Simple Pleasures? Simple, yet elegant tasty meals? Simple, yet meaningful gatherings with friends? Simple and sacred moments for yourSelf? For me, it’s a cup of coffee, staring at the big oak tree or sky and ruminating about my day before heading into planning or meditation or creating this podcast/newsletter.

This is an essential piece of the puzzle for me to SHINE. It’s also a basic principle for the work I do in Authentic Leadership. We are all meant to be living on Purpose, with Passion and experiencing Pleasure. I actually think it may be the other way around.

Beginning with Pleasure.

What makes your heart sing? Do more of that. Really. We would all love you more. And you would be more in love with yourSelf, your Life.

To learn more about The SHINE Principle, visit https://deborahleeann.com/Shine or connect with me at deborah@DeborahLeeAnn.com

© 2017 Deborah LeeAnn All Rights Reserved#SHINE

Push/Pull

The Growing Pains of Showing Up Authentically

[spreaker type=player resource=”episode_id=12290095″ theme=”light” autoplay=”false” playlist=”false” cover=”https://d3wo5wojvuv7l.cloudfront.net/images.spreaker.com/original/5d0a5e80d58b9414c696b5570e7dc00b.jpg” width=”100%” height=”400px”]

We are halfway through 2017. Yikes! (says a part of me)

When reflecting on the first 6 months of this year, I had lots to celebrate. Lots of lessons learned too. And, it pushed me into a growth cycle of wanting to be farther along than my “results” are showing.

So, I got into a fast-paced mode. And, all the Up-leveling is taking its toll.

It’s part of growth and expansion, what we are all experiencing whether we like it or not.

Not only have I began a new iteration of my work – SHINE – I’ve begun a bed & breakfast business. And committed to speaking more. And expanding my consulting services. And publishing a new website.

All in the past month. Whew!

It’s not anything new for most of us entrepreneurs who are constantly evolving and expanding.

Yet, too much too quickly brings about tell-tale results for me.

Scattered-ness. Lack of preparation for a meeting with a potential collaborator. Stubbing my toe on a coffee table (OUCH) and then a mini-crisis with family. Needing to rearrange my day to fit in some extra TLC for my stepdad who is caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s. A technology mess of backup drive not working and a new malware showing up!

And that’s how my expansion tends to show up for me. A fast and furious growth spurt that ends up with physical, emotional and mental anguish.

And, thank you for the lesson again, the opportunity to recognize that slowing down is being called for. Less DOing, more BEing.

That was last week’s show but bears repeating. Slowing down allows us to grow faster.

And, just like my daughter when she was having a growth spurt, rubbing the sore shins or taking a bath or going to bed earlier are all ways to get to the next level.

SHINING and showing up takes more than courage and confidence. It takes compassion. The full recognition that we are human beings who will make mistakes, have accidents and want to re-do stuff. It takes letting go of perfection. AND, the kindness and compassion to allow for the process to unfold. For our SHINING Self to unfold. For our Vision, Value and Voice to ripple out more clearly and consciously than ever before. And to keep growing and shifting and evolving, just as we do.

We are a beautiful work in progress. Art being (re)created each and every day.

How are you showing up?

Sacred Space

[spreaker type=player resource=”episode_id=12114265″ theme=”light” autoplay=”false” playlist=”false” cover=”https://d3wo5wojvuv7l.cloudfront.net/images.spreaker.com/original/4ffef1858bab803f8d7e770550fe45c9.jpg” width=”100%” height=”400px”]

Creating It.  Sharing it.  Opening to It.

Do you have Sacred Space?

Space in your home, job, relationship, a schedule that is just for you?Do you safeguard it? Treasure it? Honor it?

OR…do you feel like there’s no time, no room, no freedom to have such a luxury in your life?

What do I mean by Sacred Space?

My home is my Sacred Space. So are my gardens. My bedroom. My workspace. My meditation room.

Being in Nature is Sacred to me. Time alone is Sacred to me. Space in my relationships is Sacred too! And, especially, time on my calendar each day and every week for tuning into this Space.

And it has been also a place for me to hide. I love Solitude. Silence. Space to be still, be wild, dance and sing as I feel the urge. AND, I’ve used this as a fortress to keep away the intimacy, (both romantic and sister-friendship) that I also crave.

How to manage the Space with the Sharing of it?

I’m a new AirBnB host. I’ve opened up a portion of my small home to visitors from around the world who are coming to St. Louis to visit.

Yikes! This is a big deal. Not just the cleaning and clearing of closets, it’s the sharing of my SPACE. How will this effect my own work and love life? There’s already a day I had planned to be out of town and I’m supposed to be hosting.

Yet, it’s important for me to trust this process. It’s next on the swing back from living with NO space, not even knowing how to find it or own it to the opposite end of the spectrum, creating, protecting it, honoring it and NOT sharing at all.

Now, it’s time to share part time. Open my home. My heart. My business.

The new possibilities are endless. I’m excited to see what comes of this. New friends? A new way to work keeping order and organization? Extra Income? A way to write off housecleaning? The space set aside for VIP Clients?

The connections to all of this are not lost on me. And the timing is exquisite as I open to allowing a broader more expansive version of my work to emerge.

How do you maintain your Space? Physically? Emotionally? Intellectually? Spiritually?

I’d be delighted to connect with you more on this subject. Reach out if you feel this hit a chord and it’s time!

SHINE on dear One. The world needs you and your light.

Authentic Pause :: Slowing Down to Recharge

[spreaker type=player resource=”episode_id=11832987″ theme=”light” autoplay=”false” playlist=”false” cover=”https://d3wo5wojvuv7l.cloudfront.net/images.spreaker.com/original/34af1a3d938707168dad0d8dddbe62ee.jpg” width=”100%” height=”400px”]

How do you recharge? In the 6 days since leaving home, there have been lots of activities, ranging from large noisy family dinners and brunches to my daughter’s graduation from college in Indiana, to partying at houses and bars to flying to Florida, visiting and staying with an amazing group of women friends in a palatial home.

We’ve stayed up late, eating cake and ice cream (to celebrate Merinda’s graduation, of course!) or just drinking wine and getting caught up. Last night, conversations got heavier, deeper, intimate. It was midnight before we knew it!

Swimming, lounging, and sunsets at the beach, combined with my shamanic business mastermind added to my day yesterday and reminded me that I’m neither totally on vacation or totally “at work.”

Yet, this feels right. Just enough of the creative and learning and growing I receive when working as well as the eating, drinking, slowness of vacation activities and time away.

Without realizing it I’m achieving my intention this week. I want to recharge. Reconnect. Remember who I am at a deeper level. Being with old friends and my daughter help me to see myself, learn about myself in a way it’s not easy to do alone.

And healing the old patterns of disconnection, aloneness, not belonging, not being lovable or loved. The old stories in our psyche, emotional space, and physical bodies are literally melting away. The “I’m broken.” “I don’t belong.” “I’m such a weirdo…”

When we are with a sisterhood, that special circle of family and friends who see us deeply, with compassion and love and little to no judgment (we are human after all!) it’s a safe space to BE. Heal. Fall into Wholeness.

And this is where we regain, recharge and remember our power. The universal power that is always present and flows through us, connecting us to all that is and the potential of all that could be. When here, I find it easiest to tap into my vision, receiving wisdom and intuition and then use this passion/life force energy to create. Moving forward in my bigger vision and life’s work.

So, that is where we’ll start today. Not sure with all the swirling around of new learnings and experiences and downloads recently received, where we’ll go!

Feel free to share with me what this full moon energy is shifting, growing, releasing and bringing to you! You are the reason I create these. Thank you for the honor to do so!