Booger-fingers will not break my spirit

Yesterday I attended the Women Business Owners Network (WBON) Winter Conference in Manchester, Vermont. Everyone of the speakers was fantastic and one woman noted she felt “drunk on the energy.” I can’t begin to share all the things discussed but I will tell you, it was powerful!

I believe in serendipity, in the power of positive thinking and envisioning your future. In this blog I have attempted to pass along my own experiences to serve as inspiration to anyone who is ready to receive it. I knew there were a few out there who also followed these principals and either saw them enacted in their own lives or were searching for it. I have also recently become aware that there is a move in the community conscious towards these things. The Secret and What the [Bleep] Do We Know are two examples of Quantum Physics and science of positive thinking being brought to, and beginning to be accepted, in the mainstream population. I don’t pretend to understand the science behind how thoughts effect our energy but I have personal evidence and a strange feeling like this is something I have always known but didn’t know I knew. That’s all I need.

But in general, in my little corner of the globe, I felt I was alone with my new “wierd” (hippie/new age) thoughts. Then over the last month some crazy things have happened:

1. Hubby left his job as an employee to become a private practitioner at a Holistic Wellness Center. He is not by training a holistic healer, he is just open to many options and has always been spiritual in nature. Daily he is surrounded by spiritually-minded people and he is happier than he has ever been.

2. Hubby starts coming home telling me things about positive thinking and I’m like: Hey! Preaching to the choir, bud! I’ve been telling you you can achieve this kind of understanding through journaling for, oh, I don’t know, ever!

3. Through this new job he is recruited to become a founder of a new venture: The Center for Spiritual Unfolding (much more to come on this – it’s gonna be good!). I am asked to join the board.

4. Hubby brings home The Secret on his iPod and I begin to listen to it (I had not read it). I’m listening to what I have discovered by myself but increased in power and possibility to almost the point of “it’s too good to be true!”

5. I have a meeting with a minister to arrange for the possibility of my journal workshop being held at the church. He asks about my religious background. No judgment. He understands. Our conversation is great and a relief. While assimilating our talk I begin to – for the very first time with clarity – see how the tattered strands of my religious beliefs could tie to my new belief system (eg. prayer is just positive thoughts being sent out into the Universe).

6. I attend the WBON conference: Making your Vision a Reality. Business women? Yes. Passionate? Yes. Spiritual? Yes! Every speaker spoke of the incredible power of envisioning and positive thinking. Vision boards, meditation, gratitude journals, affirmations, self love, self care, yes, even quantum physics and the power of positive energy in our personal and business lives. These women were talking MY language!! I drove home on a high!

My worlds have come together. First Hubby and I get on the same page, even working out of the same building, reading the same books, and journaling to make sense of it all. Then the realization that there are others just like me – passionate, creative people who are took a leap of faith to start their own businesses and who believe with every cell of their bodies that some higher power gave them wings with which to make the impossible possible.

So why the tears this morning? I think the immensity of my dreams and new-found knowledge suddenly felt squashed by the reality of my everyday life. My mind is spinning with possibility while my son is threatening his sister with a booger-finger and she in turn is squealing with a pitch that could shatter her plastic cup.  The calm and commaradie I experienced for eight wonderful hours yesterday was instantly washed away in a tsunami of missing boots and splattered oatmeal.

It’s a fragile animal, this soul-body we live in. I have a fabulous, inspiring, enlightening experience, I come home excited and so ready to get on with my life and then whap! I’m crying, angry, anxious, and ready to crawl under my bed covers for the rest of this roller-coaster ride called Life. But I recognize this feeling, I’ve had it before and thankfully I now know the nausea and the tears are just the big-toe in a cold sea. It hurts at first then it starts to feel good and soon you are floating, face to the sun, content – and fulfilled. (Shortly after I wrote that miserable post I quit my job and launched Wisdom, Within, Ink.)

I am choosing to believe the tears and anxiety was just fear having a final say before exiting my body…

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Ready. Set. Goals!

I love the New Year. I love starting over and the feeling of getting back on schedule (especially after the nutty holiday season).

But above all I love starting a new journal! For the past few years I have just continued using the current journal until a) I ran out of pages or b) I got bored of it and excitedly bought myself a new one just ‘cuz. With a 1/6 of my journal still empty I had planned to keep write on going in that one, but then I realized this January 1 is special: Not only the start of a new year, but also a new decade, and for Hubby and I, a new life.

I went out and purchased an unusual journal (for me). It is full-sized (8×11) and the brown and pink polka-dotted 1977-esque front cover is more “fun” than I usually go for. But for some reason I was drawn to it (I believe we are pulled towards what we need). The large pages reflect the size of my hopes for this year and decade and the whimsical cover is for the fun I plan to have pursuing them.

On New Year’s Eve I spent a few hours in blissful solitude christening my new journal. I wrote four titles:

Mental

Emotional/Social

Physical

Spiritual

For each topic I wrote sub-titles: Current Status and Goals. Within that structure I let my pen go wild. I assessed where I was and how I was feeling about each area of my life. I wrote and wrote. I then used those thoughts to determine goals for the coming year.

I know the large pages of my new journal helped me think big(ger). I felt free – unrestricted.

From there I started a new page for just Work. I wrote down every project, workshop and collaboration that is either a done deal, in the works, or a possibility. The golden potential of this list inspired and exhilarated me! From here I moved onto Work Goals for January. The list was long but do-able. I was anxious to get started right away.

When we give ourselves a PURPOSE (or MISSION) and look forward with INTENT, the path in our mind’s eye and in reality becomes clearer. Written goals are a way to clarify these things.

So, now onto to 20-10! Forget those resolutions. Set goals. Do-able goals. Goals that look towards your dreams.

And if you wander off the path on the way towards your goals, don’t give up! Just get back on where and when you can or find a different path that leads in the same direction (or a slightly different one – you have the prerogative to change your mind).

And always make sure you have your MAP (Marker And Paper) or GPS (Good Pen [and] Stationary) (goodness, those were lame!) aka: your journal to help you find your way.

(Also read my Examiner.com article on making goals)

Channeling my inner Madeleine L’Engle

While journaling yesterday I discovered I have an inner Madeleine L’Engle. When I picture the author of ‘A Winkle in Time’ and ‘Circle of Quiet’ (my favorite) I see a comfortably-sized lady in a African-style moo-moo, lots of large, clunky jewelry and a laissez-faire attitude about housework and bedtimes. I don’t know if I have her pegged exactly but this image of her has taken residence in my soul.

On the outside I am a jean-wearing (no, NOT mommy jeans, mine are boot-cut and come nowhere near my natural waist, thank you), anxiety-ridden, not-so-much-fun mother. I don’t know how to play and baskets of laundry piled in my office can send me into a frenzy. I don’t have the patience to do much with my brillo-pad of hair other than stuff it away at the back of my head or put more on my face than a swish of bronzer and a dash of mascara. I do “do” jewelry – my hands feel embarrassingly naked without the oversized rings I prefer, but I frequently forget to wear the many necklaces and bracelets I angle for each birthday and Christmas.

But inside there resides a different woman. This woman wears long, floaty skirts, with boots in the winter and sandals in the summer. She has bangles up her arms and huge wooden ear-rings peeking from beneath her wild hair. She raises early to walk with her large dog and comes home to a tidy, sunny, beautiful, antique and art-filled office where in perfect serenity she writes all morning. She laughs easily and plays in earnest. In her sun room she dances with abandon to Indian and African drum music.

I have had this authentic person inside for many years, I just didn’t know she had Madeleine for a muse.

Being authentic doesn’t always go over so well when you’ve forgotten the cupcakes again for your daughter’s snack day because you’ve been writing since 5AM. But through my journal I do hope to introduce and forge a relationship between these two selves. I truly believe if I can envision the life I want I will make it happen. My inner Madeleine peeks out sometimes when I am dancing with my children to a Bollywood video on YouTube or when, on a (rare) special night out I reach for the long skirt and complicated shell and bead necklace. This is the authentic, slightly eccentric me who Sarah Ban Breathnach urges us all to recognize and become one with in her book ‘Simple Abundance.’ It will take a little coaxing to get her out, she is a little shy right now, but I am working on her.

Just a quickie

No, not that kind (get your head out of the gutter).

No, this is just a quick, boastful post to say…

I GOT PUBLISHED!

In Mama Says (this is the link to their blog, not the zine itself). My understanding is it is just a small Vermont publication, but I don’t care. You have to start somewhere, right? and a homegrown zine in my own state is as good a start as any. It is an essay on talking to my children about God and religion. I can’t wait to actually see my name in print.

And, on another happy note: It is official… I will be teaching a journal workshop at the end of February. I will be listed on the Writer’s Center website with bio and everything (not that I have much of a bio).

I believe the life of my dreams is beginning to unfold. Ironically, it is happening at the same time as my day job, my dream job, is becoming a bit of a nightmare. It seems serendipity is poking in its nose making sure I am fulfilled and feeling appreciated at a time when I could be feeling far from it. And I have more proof of this.

Even though I am tired from work, battling children and housework, I have started singing again. Like Agnetha from Abba, I could sing almost before I could talk and I have been singing alone or in a group my whole adult life. My highest achievement was singing with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra chorus, which I had to leave when my unborn child insisted on sleeping on my lungs. Since then, I haven’t sung much at all (which I will also blame on my children). But recently I joined a church choir that has an amazing reputation and an even greater repertoire. A few weeks ago after the performance of Messiah, the soloist approached me and hugged me because she, amazingly, remembered me from my VSO days (over 6 years ago). She told me she remembered I had a beautiful voice and was glad I was singing with Rip (the incredibly talented director of the church choir). I don’t know where this will lead but I’ll keep singing and wait to find out.

I tell you this, not to boast, but to prove my point: DO WHAT YOU LOVE… you WILL have success!

Waiting for the serendipity to stir

I realized I hadn’t said much about serendipity or positive thinking lately. Since I started the job that was the result of a serendipitous event, life has become kind of run of the mill. Despite having not worked (out of the home) for 4 years I have slipped back into the routine and mindset of being in an office as if I just returned from a extended vacation. Thankfully this job has yet to stress me out like my last “real” job where I had publication deadlines, front-of-house crowd control issues, and the pressure of being a new, working, breast-pumping mother.

Even so, I think I’m a little down. I had finally started writing – or at least got my head in a place where I was (truly) ready to start – and now I’m wrestling The Schedule. I have marked up my planner until it looks like the departure board at Logan airport, blocking out every hour with this chore, that errand, appointments, work, and writing. But then that errand takes an hour longer than it should (due to the rice having been moved from aisle 4 to aisle 13 and pizza dough apparently no longer made) or a staff meeting and work project running over time, shrinking the scheduled writing time from three hours to one (which, of course, means no writing).

I’m glad I’m working and I especially can’t wait to write a grant. Plus, we definitely needed the extra paycheck to get through this heating season. But I also feel that maybe – once again – I have put my own dream on hold. Did I do this on purpose; subconsciously sabotaging myself because I was getting too close to actually doing what I have dreamed of?

When you no longer have an excuse to fall back on, the responsibility of a dream can loom large and scary.

I think I have stopped thinking positively and looking for serendipity because my life has become, well, normal, and a normal life – boring life – doesn’t foster spiritual thoughts. But I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m making a mistake. If I did start thinking more positively about merging my working, mothering, and writing lives into a more do-able, less scary whole, I would most likely start to see the serendipity stir.

Serendipity

Something amazing has happened.

The universe saw that I, despite the Fear, was working toward my goal of becoming a writer and journal-writing teacher/therapist; believing in myself and my abilities. I cannot tell the whole story yet as nothing is official.

I have been trying hard to believe in what some call “manifesting” for many years. Long before the book The Secret hit the scene, I had read the same thing over and over: if you do what you love, success will come, the universe will align in your favor… Marsha Sinetar, Julia Cameron, Sarah Ban Breathnach; they’ve all said it and I’ve seen it.

I have been journaling for years so I have written evidence that when I have made decisions based on my dreams, not my fear, eventually – the good is not always immediately apparent – the road has turned in that direction, seemingly through no imput of mine… serendipity.

Take, for example, my family’s crazy, asinine decision to move to Mississippi, of all places. We quit our jobs, rented out our house and hauled every last one of our belongings 1500 miles south to go live in a swamp. Why? Because we were both unhappy in our jobs (I wanted to be writing or least doing something more creative), we were sick of our drafty shack of a house, and I wanted to be home with our new daughter. Three years later, I am here having pursued various artistic ventures, and continuing to do so. I had to leave home to understand my true dreams and to trust them. To know what I truly wanted in life. And my husband? It worked for him too. He now has a Master’s degree and is enjoying a new career.

We’ve moved back home now; another step out into the dark but one that yielded – and continues to yield – more success.

We took risks – a step away from stability, the known, the rut – and we have been rewarded with a new stabilty. Fulfillment.

Serendipity.