Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rollercoasters, Avalanches and Staying Positive

Last week, the sewage pump went in our home.  It was a mess.  The long story made short is that the Board of Health, Housing Court, Plumbers, Electricians, Fire Department and EPA were all eventually called in to demand the landlord resolve the problem.  My family and I were instructed to vacate the premises on a moments notice.  The house was deemed condemned and unusable for human habitation.  It was suggested we find a hotel and get reimbursed by the landlord.  Pretty dire, eh?

So, for the last week, the van has been carting around the necessities:  toothbrushes and toiletries, clothing and pillows, art supplies and library books, bicycles and laptops and yes, even my printer.  Because, even when you're displaced, life goes on.

We made due at the tiny abode of my partner.  Kids sleeping on the floors while my partner and I camped out under the stars in the night air.  While I am literally covered from head to toe in mosquito bites, I couldn't find a thing to complain about.  The kids took long walks in the woods, rode their bikes down the winding New England dirt roads, swam in the river, laughed hard and slept harder.  I put more miles on my car this week than I usually do in three months.  I made more phone calls, took more notes, talked to more officials and followed through on more details than a high powered stock broker.  Yet, beneath it all, I stayed calm.

I kept waiting for the avalanche of emotions.  You know what I mean, right?  The moment when the weight of one more thing makes it all unbearable.  That moment when you realize you're no longer breathing deeply, the lump in your throat makes it too hard to form a sentence, and you just fall apart and hope against hope (because it never really happens) that someone else--some Great Mama--will soothe your brow, pick up the pieces and make it all better.

The avalanche never came.  And, in the midst of camping out on decks, in tents, on floors and later in beds at my brother's house, everyone was just fine.  The details came together.  Appointments were kept.  We didn't, really, miss a beat.  I kept slowing down, stilling myself and checking.  "Am I so overwhelmed I'm not letting myself feel this?  Am I so shielded I'm not as present as I think I am?"  Nope.  I'm right here.  Present.  All parts accounted for and on board.

In fact, the kids and I were able to have a good time.  Rather than wallowing in sorrow, drama and a sense of victimization, we cloaked ourselves in a sense of adventure.  Can't go home?  Great!  It's summer!  Let's play! 

Don't get me wrong.  We came home last night and sprawling out across my own bed never felt so good.  Awakening this morning to the mess of sleeping bags, suitcases and gear to be unpacked, laundry and dishes to be done, correspondence to be answered didn't send me into a panic.  It'll all get done.  No big deal.

It's been a wild roller coaster ride.  There's a lot going on in my life right now.  But, looking back over the years I have to laugh and ask, "When hasn't there been a lot going on?"  And, looking around at the lives of my friends, family and clients, I nod quietly and think, "This is the human condition.  There's just no planning for it.  No getting around it.  Chaos happens."  Perhaps the Time we find ourselves living in makes us more vulnerable to chaos.  More likely, this has always been the case with our condition.

No matter how well we plan or how safe we think we are, no matter how organized or structured our lives, the unplanned for will intercede.  The sewage drain breaks, accidents happen, a family member gets a scary diagnosis, the loan isn't approved, the flight is delayed, the event is canceled, the baby is up all night teething, our hearts are broken.  The question isn't how to avoid these inevitabilities, but rather, how will we respond when the structures and safeties we've erected come tumbling down?  Will we ride the roller coaster with our eyes wide open?  Or will we resist the momentum of the fast forward motion?

My tradition is often called "martial," as in Bushido or Karate.  This kind of Warriorship doesn't avoid conflict.  We don't go looking for it, mind you, but we don't avoid.  Rather, we read and discern the energy patterns and enter the fray.  Here we bend like the willow in a great wind.  Here we strike like the cobra when provoked.  We engage.

Engaging fully, completely, honestly and deeply with Life we become resilient.  We engage not only with the sweet, uplifting parts of our human experience, but with the dark, messy, scary parts as well.  In any given moment we ask, "What can I learn from this?"

Notice the difference in asking "What can I learn from this" from "What is the lesson?"  The latter assumes the lesson is being done to us, against our Will by some outside force "for our own good."  Hello, bearded white guy in the sky, it's not so good to notice you hiding there again, still.  The former, question, recognizes our agency or, if you will, our own Divine Authority, our ability to discern for ourselves how we will interpret our circumstances and how we will Act.

I'm choosing to write about this week's Odyssey here in Soul Alignments because it's a very personal example of conscious alignment within one's self and the circumstances one might find oneself in as we live and move through our human experience.  It's one thing to be aligned at the altar when we are in the midst of our practice.  It's quite another the carry that wholeness into the messy unpredictability of our lives and still another to embody it in the midst of crisis.  I'm not talking about making lemonade when the universe hands us lemons.  I'm not advocating for a Pollyanna approach to life.  Rather, I'm asking us to consider the uses of adversity and our ability to Surrender fully while working our Will precisely.

Enjoy your ride!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heart and Soul

Let's take a breath and allow ourselves to relax, soften, go deeper.   

Sometimes, as we face the realities we do--career, family, world news, self care, spiritual practice, community building, our myriad responsibilities--our impulse is directed and dedicated to our Warrior nature.  We want immediate transformation and manifestation.  We can tend toward the misunderstanding of Will as force. Even though the Gifts we intend to deliver may be sweet we find ourselves donning our armor and and sharp weapons, ready to storm the gates amid shouts and clanging. 

Let's be clear.  This is not at all what I mean when I say, "Do Whatever It Takes!"

The Warrior without Heart is ruthless.  

The Warrior without Soul is on a suicide mission.  

We need to engage with our Warrior nature, but not at the expense of Heart and Soul.  If we are going to define and invoke our highest Will (what I call our Gift), we need the particular sensibility of our wild hearts as well spiritual wisdom.  To disengage or negate the heart and soul is to abide by the old paradigms which have so obviously shown themselves to be unworkable.  

If we are claiming our Gift and are intent upon carrying it forth now, when it is more needed and more necessary than ever, we must do whatever it takes.  But, now, whatever it takes means we bring not just our cunning and our ambition, but our heart and soul--
                          our wild intuitive feeling innocent self
                          our wise trustworthy loving spiritual self
But how do we even begin to do that when it's true that we push ourselves too hard, eschew time for discernment, de-prioritize caring for our selves?  We must create rituals of self care and self love.  Rituals of self forgiveness and deep listening.  How many times have you set out to perform these rituals and "forgotten" or been "distracted?"  It's time to move beyond intending and into practicing.

We practice a skill until we become skillful at it.  When we become skillful, we can rely upon those skills to carry us through the hard times and lift us higher during the good times.  And, when we become skillful, we continue to practice--just as a musician practices the scales, just as a gardener continues to plant seeds and harvest vegetables, just as a writer continues to write.

The thing is, practice will probably never make us perfect.  But, it will make us better.  The first step in doing Whatever It Takes is self care.  From there, all else flows.  The old maxim is still true:  "If Mamma aint happy, aint nobody happy."  In other words, we cannot carry forth the Gifts we're meant to deliver if we're trapped in busy-ness, crisis management, ill health or poor self esteem.

What are our bodies trying to tell us?  What is Life trying to teach us?  What messages of wisdom and warning are being constantly carried to us only to languish unheeded as we run from one pressing commitment to the next emergent crisis?  The crow calls during breakfast.  That song is playing on the radio again.  There is still a recurring physical ache in the joints or that gnawing feeling in the belly or that sense of hardening of self against Self which resides in the heart.  There is the 6 o'clock news and the words of people who care enough about us to comment.  And though we listen and know something must be done, we are just so busy!  So much else demands our attention, time and energy!

As we watch and react to all the information coming at us, our impulse is to do something.  Our impulse is to set a course and, come hell or high water, follow it.   

But what if doing Whatever it Takes means going within?   

What if it means taking a breath?   

What if it means sitting still with our impulses in order to discern their wisdom?

What if it means postponing a decision or carefully considering our actions and their consequences before we leap?  

What if doing Whatever it Takes means taking pause, taking care, taking ourselves more seriously or more lightly?   

What if doing Whatever it Takes means committing to really witnessing the artistic display of fuschia bleeding into purple bleeding into eggplant bleeding into darkness as the sun disappears beyond the horizon?   

What if doing Whatever it Takes means making and keeping a promise to ourselves to sit down while eating a meal, to savor the pleasure of a cup of tea or to light a candle while we bathe?  

What if doing Whatever it Takes requires reading a poem, laughing with a child, listening to music, allowing for pleasure, engaging deeply with what's present for and in us here and now?

In reviewing what I've written recently about Whatever it Takes, I see the pushing there.  I feel it.  And, when I step back to really sense the energy (again)  behind the writing, I still feel the excitement, the enthusiastic thrumming within the words.  I also notice that they assume (and promote) a kind of anxiety.   I want to clarify that doing Whatever it Takes might require we take decisive action.  But that decisive action may well involve committing to sitting quietly as we watch as breath comes in and out of the body.  It might require we slow down and deepen and from that depth consider how we might wish to expand.

Some of the people working with me to do Whatever It Takes are focused on reducing anxiety, better managing time so they can focus on spiritual practice, paying closer attention to their choices around nourishment of the body and soul, building life force and stalking beauty they usually ignoreso as to increase their capacity and appreciation of Life Force (chi, prana, manna). Some are discovering they need to pay more attention to their rational/thinking nature, while others have recognized a need to honor the emotional/intuitive self and still others are ready to reach into their Divine nature so as to touch the aspect of Self which is utterly trustworthy, wise and unconditionally loving.

While Whatever It Takes might correctly be defined as a Warrior Path,  I want to be clear that the Warrior without Heart is cold and calculating and the Warrior without Soul is disconnected from wisdom and grace.  Whatever it Takes, necessarily, engages the rational in cooperation and agreement with the emotional and spiritual.  Nothing less will bring about true and lasting transformation.

When we ask ourselves to do Whatever It Takes, we commit to doing First Things First.  And, the First Things always have to do with slowing down, deepening, softening, opening, paying attention.  It is from this place of relaxed vulnerability that we are most likely to engage with the Truth of where we are, what obstacles we face and what we need to do next.  Without stillness, we cannot hear wisdom.  Without wisdom, we cannot define True Will.  Without True Will, we cannot engage in the meaningful activity which opens the road to us delivering our Gifts.

I’ve said in other posts that Whatever It Takes is a “high intensity” ninety day commitment to get you to your goal.  High Intensity needn’t mean high anxiety.   Rather, it means setting aside some time on a daily basis to meet yourself and engage more fully so you can gently transform what keeps you stuck and gracefully move forward.  "Intensity" in this instance, means "Deep."  Doing Whatever It Takes requires deep commitment—to self, to stillness, to beauty, to awareness, to loving yourself enough to follow through.  Doing Whatever It Takes requires Heart and Soul. 

Power and vulnerability walk hand in hand.   

Passion partnered with wisdom generates a life of spectacular beauty, abundance and joy.  

It is from that life that our Gifts flow abundantly and powerfully into exactly the places they are most needed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Truth of Who We Are

The whole of humanity needs each of us to
stand up and LIVE the full
Truth of Who We Are:

The Truth is that we're Spirit Enfleshed.

The Truth is that our Spirit is Threefold.

The Truth is we are
the Spirit of Mind,
the Spirit of Innocence
and the Spirit of God.

(God, Goddess, Universal Spirit, Divine Presence, Holy Wow, Eternal Wisdom, Sacred Wonderment. Let's not get hung up on names, here. We don't have any more time for that.)

The Truth is that when these Spirits start Communicating with each other, coming to Agreement with one another and begin working Together in Unison, we are Unstoppable.

When we Think, Feel and Bless we can Manifest just about Anything.

And, it's time, now, to manifest your Gift.

"Who, me?" 

And YOU. And YOU. And YOU!

"But, I don't think I'm many of those things. I might not even be any of those things. I'm not powerful or brilliant or intuitive at all!"


You've been lied to. A lot. You believed it.
And then, you started lying to yourself.

You already know what your Gift is. It might not seem like a BIG DEAL.
It might be something you do all the time without even thinking about it.
It might be something SO SIMPLE that you continually overlook it.
It might be something so seemingly ORDINARY that you don't think much of it at all--except it makes you happy when you do it.
Hell, it makes you happy when you think about it.
Or it might be something BIG.
Or, Really Big.
It might be SO HUGE that you won't even talk to anyone about it.
It might be that you have more than one Gift.
You may have so many you don't know to choose which one to get to first
or where to even begin.

But, the TRUTH is: You really do know what it is.
The only real QUESTION is: What are you going to DO about it?

Whatever it Takes is a high intensity, highly individualized ninety day coaching program.  I'd be thrilled to help you do Whatever it Takes to identify, hone, develop and bring forth your Gift!  Let's get to the Truth of Who We Are! For more details, go to The Bottom Line.  Be sure to sign up for my FREE Teleconference!

The Universe Wants YOU!

If you're like just about everybody, you're asking yourself almost continually, "What can I do?" I mean, everytime we tune into the news, call friends to see how they are or review our own day before sleep, we're just struck by what a mess things are. It's all so overhwelming and the hits just seem to keep on coming one after the other until we're kind of immobilized. People are on edge. Something BIG is happening. And here we are, stuck in our daily routines with bills piling up and a schedule that never seemed so busy. But, there, right under the surface is that anxiety, that niggling feeling, that impulse to DO something. But what can we do?

What can we possibly do during these Times of Great Change?
For example:
Speak up, write something, paint, sing, run, make art, meditate, start a garden, be grateful, raise chickens, dance, read books, open a business, build community, make music, share organic seeds, recite poetry, make magic, encourage children, cook a meal, recycle everything, fall in love, plant a tree, teach a child, visit the sick, pray, create beauty, smile, get healthy, choose well, volunteer, bike, change your career, share what you have, offer a class, march in the streets, conserve, take pictures, love deeply, eat well, talk to strangers, sit in silence, do accounting, brainstorm, learn another language, lead, get to know your neighbors, share resources, make a phone call, chant, home school your kids, network, run for political office, speak only truth, be brave, pay attention, reach out, find your core, donate your time, take inventory, light candles, follow your bliss, release your fear, find medicinal herbs, study, ask questions, stay positive, get clear, buy local, offer solutions, take a workshop, support micro-business, know your worth, give praise, say hello, give to charity, count your blessings, release your shame, stand proud, use soft eyes, offer help, show up, follow through, share your knowledge about everything!
Say, "I love you," and "Yes" more often and with much, much more enthusiasm!

And undertake to do it joyfully.

Now is the time. 
We must bring forth our Gifts.
You were born for this.
We were all born into this Time of Great Change for a reason.
You came in carrying Gifts only you are fit to deliver.

discern what those Gifts are
and deliver them to the world.
We need you! Right now!
We need the unique and precious Gifts only you can bestow!

Whatever it Takes is a high intensity, incredibly individualized ninety day coaching program.  I'd be thrilled to help you do Whatever it Takes to identify, hone, develop and bring forth your Gift!  The Universe Wants You!  For more details, go to The Bottom Line  and be sure to sign up for my FREE Teleconference!

Get Ready!

. . . . to do

Let's work together to do 
Move past your blocks to success.
Participate fully in the Time of Great Change we are undergoing.
Eradicate the fear, shame and guilt keeping you from your
most potent self actualization.
Bring forth the Gifts you are meant to deliver.
Align your Highest and Best Intention with Action.
Define what's holding you back and burn through it like wildfire.
Create opportunity for your Truest Vision and Highest Will to manifest.
If you've had it with Indecision, Procrastination
and Failed Attempts at Liberation, I invite you to
join me in Inciting a
Personal Revolution!
People all over the world are rising up
against dictators, tyranny and oppression.
Even in the Western World people are
gathering en masse to say "No More!"
Never before have so many people simultaneously
poured into the streets to raise
their voices in unison against unfair practices,
policies and prohibitions.
Never before have so many risen up as one
gorgeous mind to proclaim the
Sacred Authority of Human Nature.
We are declaring our Birth Rights!
The Time has come! A Great Change is upon us!
We are lifting our collective heads high, demanding self authority,
freedom,full expression of our passionate creativity
and our inherent dignity. It's an exciting,
dangerous time crammed to the brimwith our brightest hope
and our darkest fear. We stand
balanced between devastation and a renaissance,
wondering which way the scales will tip..
Now, more than ever, it's apparent that we'll rise or fall together.
Now, more than ever, choice is in our hands.
We're no longer willing to let things happen to us.
We're ready to take responsibility, make things happen
and live on purpose
no matter what it takes!
Now, more than ever, we're compelled
to actually DO SOMETHING other than sit
on the sidelines watching the 6 o'clock news,
reading the paper or following the online feeds.
But, what can we do?
What can YOU do?

Whatever it Takes is a high intensity, highly individualized ninety day coaching program.  I'd be thrilled to help you do Whatever it Takes to identify, hone, develop and bring forth your Gift!  So, get ready and do it!  For more details, go to The Bottom Line.
Be sure to sign up for my free Teleconference!