Hear myself out

This is one poem in a series from the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. I put them together from phrases that resonate with me while participants read, adding nothing but punctuation and the occasional conjunction. This one is comprised of the words of four participants who were writing on the theme, “Your own voice.

Distractions of the necessary,

Ants scurrying around the concrete of life.

 

But I am not spineless;

My spirit can fly.

A shimmer of aliveness,

Fresh,

Like a baby carries a big lot of love.

 

I remain quiet

To protect my being,

The true essence of me;

This gnarly mess–

My very “I am” self,

A fresh flowing fearless frequency.

 

Sit gently like

A grain of sand in time — rock time

To hear myself out,

Another human hand holding hope, and

Nurture lovingly and meaningfully

Because I am real and worthy of love.

I am alive and not ashes in the ground

This the ninth in a series of poems from the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. I put them together from phrases that resonate with me while participants read. I add nothing but punctuation and the occasional conjunction. This one is comprised of the words of four participants who were writing on the prompt, “To move forward I must…

I have many lessons to learn;
Unlearn things that don’t work,
The too many “shoulds,”
The crazy thinking as a child that has settled
On my shoulders and my heart.

I only get in my way,
A little boy lost in a big wood.
Everything’s discombobulated, but
One step at a time I will move forward.

I have overcome what could have destroyed me —
I am alive and not ashes in the ground!

I have to be upbeat to keep up
And there will be some hellos and some goodbyes.
But I’m able to walk straight,
Leaving the ill-fated voices behind.

I’m the flower lady,
Blooming everywhere.
I have learned to be happy,
The peace I have been looking for…

Never forget me.

I simply decided to live

This the fifth in a series of poems from the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. I put them together from phrases that resonate with me while participants read. I add nothing but punctuation and the occasional conjunction. This one is comprised of the words of five participants.

bricks

Sometimes the way is right in front of you.

Dancing fool that I am,

Breaking down a wall

To feel OK with myself;

Scraping away the negative words

I learn my own true vision.

~
I came from another planet named womb,

A learning person

With fear of being whole.

~
But fear can motivate,

And I simply decided to live!

~
Aware of a new life, I’ve been given time

Tick tock…

Constant contact with God,

No stop signs in sight.

I feel whole now, whole when connected.

~
Yes, I can:

Make my world bright and colorful;

Elaborate my need to be on this planet;

Remove the hate.

~
Paint my life in print —

My beautiful creation,

I will see it through.

Respect me in my uniqueness

Because now it is time to rest.


W.O.R.D.S.: Belief (or What is the definition of love?)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions.*

Belief in a life lived is all I need, because

Every day is a leap of faith.

Living in unity with the All,

Invites me to believe in Trust.

Envisioning the path on which I walk

Forwards my Wholy Self.

Am I a Believer? Yes. I believe in lots of things.

The smell of freshly cut grass in the summer. My children’s downy-soft earlobes. The full moon rising majestically over the Vermont mountains. The melancholy crooning of the mourning doves. The taste of dark, rich chocolate melting on my tongue.

I also believe in writing with groups of supportive, heart-honest people.

I believe in making decisions based on compassion (including for yourself), not rules. And acting from a place of confidence and happiness and love, not reacting from a place of fear.

I believe in equity, not equality. In cooperation and collaboration, not competition and conquering; power-with, not -over. In giving a hand-back to give a hand-up.

I believe in a Universe that is unfathomable, a mystery. A Universe – within and without – that yearns, and endlessly realigns, for balance and wholeness. A Universe that is a web of All That Is: all connected and all valuable to the Whole.  believe when one part is weakened, so is the All.

I believe this is a great and simple definition of love: “Wishing for the happiness of the Beloved.” (Buddhist). And God is Love. Lotus is Flower. Love is God. Flower is Lotus. Love – wishing for others’ happiness – is the definition of divinity.

Yes, I am a Believer: In the divine in myself that is the divine in you that is the divine in all that is the Divine.

But that doesn’t mean I completely understand or know all the answers… and that’s okay.

Prompt: “I believe…”

~~~

*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

W.O.R.D.S.: Acceptance (or what is good poetry?)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions.*

giftboxAcceptance

Allow the words of judgement to be

Cast off into dust.

Care, fully, as a mother who

Encourages her children,

Pushing with a gentle arm and

Tales of loving persistence,

Announce yourself ENOUGH!

No more bullying in silent

Creation of a weakened soul. No!

Ease open your heart to accept the unique gift of You.

At this debut of my new project I immediately want to tell you that I don’t claim to be a poet. But that would be a bit incongruous with the subject matter. This project is not about poetry and whether is it good or not is kind of beside the point.

I wanted the words to just come, not from a place of thinking, but from a place of feeling. If I tried to write “good poetry” (which, by the way, according to a workshop I recently attended is defined as 1. Well-crafted 2. Affecting 3. Beautifully worded 4. Memorable) I would be using my ego rather than my body to write it. I accept whatever comes, trusting that there will be deeper meaning than I could ever plan to say by trying to figure out what I should say.

I was once in a workshop at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health with Hari Kirin Khalsa. At one point during an arduous meditation which, in my mind, I was doing, oh, so complete wrong, Khalsa said: “Do what you can, whatever it is, it is perfect. Even if you just imagine yourself doing it, it is exactly right.”

She told us to, “Release Expectation! Whatever you have is enough to give. Whatever happens is enough.”

Acceptance is giving yourself permission to be a learner. To be learning. To fail. To make mistakes. A “mistake” is just another name for new knowledge. Judging sends you hurling backwards into self-doubt. Acceptance pushes you forward to self-confidence and enlightenment.

So, I may not be a “good” poet but I accept that my poem is absolutely perfect!

Prompt: “I am enough! I accept this about myself…”

~~~

*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

Trust the Process (pt 14): The finale (or the beginning)

credit: Robin Russell

credit: Robin Russell

Three years ago, almost to the day, I was sitting on a bed just like this one. Same ugly, motel-like comforter and surprisingly puffy pillows, the same blank off-white walls. But it’s not the same bed, it’s not the same room, and I’m not the same person.

On that day in 2010, I felt forlorn and petrified as I retired to my room for the first night of my graduate career. I had no idea what to expect from the night itself, from the week of residency, or from the coming semester. I scribbled in my journal as if my life depended on it as I tried to assimilate this huge life step I had taken.

But now, here tonight, it’s that “ahhh, bra finally off!” feeling; home again. Having checked off the “live with a roommate” life experience after that first semester, I have roomed alone for the past five residencies, three of them in this very room. It may not be the Hilton, but it’s mine, all mine, for a whole week. The door locks and I can sit here and write with the guarantee that no offspring will spring from somewhere asking for something. And I don’t have to cook or scrub a thing! This is has been my vacation week every six months for the past three years.

Of course, there was always plenty of work to be done: workshops to attend, mind maps to draw, outlines to plan, bibliographies to research, and deep thoughts to be thunk, all leading to that final ‘Submit’ of the Study Plan before heading home to begin the real work. The first night always held a double dose of excitement and apprehension of what the week had in store, as well as – I’ll admit – a (tiny) sprinkling of missing my family.

But tonight, the only thing I’m missing is the worry.

This weekend is about celebration. An acknowledgement of the work I have done over the past three years. And done well. I can pat myself on the back because it’s not braggadocio to admit that I have accomplished and I learned a lot. I worked hard. I did create a new me, after all!

This graduate process has been intense. It has been exhilarating, painful, overwhelming, mind-blowing, and life-changing. I discovered very quickly that what I thought I was going to do when I first walked onto this beautiful campus wasn’t what I needed to do. But once I got out of my own way and let the study and writing lead me where it wanted, magic happened.

So, tonight, while sitting on my crunchy dorm bed, I celebrate. I celebrate “Trusting the Process” because it works.* I celebrate me and the gift I gave to myself. I am a better writer, a stronger, more confident woman, and a more accepting-of-self mother. I am singing again and I can say with pride that I am a Storyteller. I found my voice in more ways than one.

Thank you, Goddard College and all the amazing people who were traveling their own journey along with me and who have been all part of my new learning. I will miss you dearly. Thank you for the ride of a life time! From the womb room I am reborn. I will now go forth into my new life.

*And still working! Ever since I began this work, I have used a rambling, unclear explanation of all the threads of learning I have connected throughout this process, which was always slightly changing as I discovered another piece of the puzzle. But! After working on my graduate presentation for this weekend, a concise statement of understanding of my entire thesis project FINALLY arrived while I was in the shower just yesterday morning.  Magic. It happens.

Read the entire 14-part “Trust the Process: The Goddard Chronicles” here.

An open letter to those who are human

C.P. Estes (author of Women Who Run With the Wolves) always addresses her readers as “Dear Brave Souls.” I do not know her exact reasoning for this but I can guess that she knows how much courage it takes to live in this world, to face the pains and heartbreaks, unknowns and setbacks. But even more than this, it takes a strong heart to live as a “wild” woman (or man), that is, one who steps out from behind the mask – our persona – shadow and all. It takes strength to live authentically, saying what we truly know, doing what we truly love, and loving how we need to be loved. So, taking a page from the book of the beautiful soul, Ms. Estes, I too shall address my readers so.

Dear Brave Souls:

I am not a psychologist but I am lucky enough to be human. I have my very own persona, ego, unconscious, authentic voice – and shadow. I have to live with myself on a daily basis and I know that I am far from perfect. But no one is! There is no such thing! I have biases, I make unjust judgements, I have anger, I have selfishness, and I also project the unwanted, uncomfortable, painful, most repressed parts of myself onto others. But I also have love and concern and hope and dreams. And I believe it is my responsibility while on this human-life quest for self-actualization – on the path of my potential – to choose love over judgement. And to be honest with and to myself. Every aspect of myself.

I doubt there is a soul in this beautiful but confusing world who does not have anger in their heart. Everyone of us have had experiences that hurt us deeply – tragically. We cannot compare one person’s pain to another. Each of us is a medley of our experiences which blend to make us the unique beings we are. Yes, we are angry, we feel rage sometimes, but these are the voices of our past. They are old recordings from our frightened egos which try to keep us safe from things no longer a threat. But our heart, our soul, knows the truth.

All emotions are messages. Anger is a particularly strong message. And those we are angry at, our mirrors. We must look at – and accept – our anger because, yes!, it is real and should not be denied or ignored. But look at it closely. Look in that mirror. There, peering back at us, are the dark parts of us we’d rather not know (and of which we may not even be aware). That is our Shadow. It tells us things about another person or event that have nothing to do with them. We are not angry with them, we are angry with ourselves. It is our own pain speaking.

Smile at those silly shadows because they are tricksters, making us believe in illusion. The reality is there can be no shadow if there is no light! 

So our Shadows are also there to teach – if we are willing to learn. We must listen to our Shadow – it is there in that scary place that we will also discover our Light. We cannot be whole until we can integrate the dark with the light (just think of the moon).

And we have tools* to help. We have the ability to listen to our true strength, our inner wisdom, our higher self, for it knows the truth. We have to listen hard and with an open mind – it may not tell us what we are used to hearing. But it is our own truth – our own healing truth. It is our truth that can take our rage and turn it to proactive outrage. It is our truth that can take our pain and turn it to strength and compassion.

We are all in this together – everyone of us. And we must forgive those who, like us, are also learning to listen to their truth and inner wisdom.

*One of these tools is to write. Expressive journaling – meaning, to write freely without thinking or editing – this accesses deeper wisdom and allows us to discover our own truth. Once we become aware – and accept – our own truth we live more authentically, and therefore, with more joy.

Prompt: One truth I know is…

Clothing optional

When I arrived at Kripalu Yoga Center to teach a spirituality writing workshop, part of the welcome by a staff member was an invitation to use the whirlpool and sauna… “clothing optional.” At the time I thought nothing of that statement, I may even have dismissed it with a small laugh.

The next day, after two emotionally-charged workshop sessions with an inspiring group of women, I decided a dip in a steaming hot whirlpool was just what I needed.  I tugged on my appropriately matronly bathing suit, layered my clothes back on top and walked down the five flights of stairs to the basement. Opening the women’s locker-room door I realized I was severely over-dressed for the occasion. There was skin. Lots of skin. Women of all colors, ages and shapes un-self-consciously walked around, showered, and chatted adorned in nothing but their natural, wonderful and un-Photoshopped beauty. I was in awe of them. As I peeled down to my suddenly ridiculous suit, my modesty felt prudish. Prude or not, though, I couldn’t bring myself to do the buff-thing – a life-time of conditioning had taught me I should be ashamed of my nakedness. But while sitting in the almost zero-visibility of the whirlpool I thought how very socialized I was being, and how so very, very silly.

And that’s what Kripalu means to me: a place where one can truly be free of society’s “rules.” If you would prefer not to speak for a few days you can request a name tag which says “in respectful silence;” if want to spend an entire day doing nothing but sit and stare out at the Berkshires or lie in corpse pose, feel free; or if you wish to dance around to a drum beat with arms and legs flapping and the blissful abandon of a child, you may. No one is judging you, no one thinks you’re being strange, lazy, or silly. You’re just BEING.

While a visit to Kripalu for me meant new career opportunities, it also showed me a world where Freedom to be your whole, delicious, human self is the norm, not the eccentric. I believe this is one reason Kripalu is a haven for so many. A place of authenticity is hard to find out in the “real” world (irony not lost on me there). People find healing at Kripalu for more reasons than the fabulous food, inspiring workshops, or therapeutic and rejuvenating professional services. It is because when we are real and authentic, we patch a little piece of our broken and fragmented Self. It is essential self-love. And just like the Velveteen Rabbit, the more love we give ourselves, the more Real we become. The more Real, the more Healed.

Clothing optional. Authenticity Required.

Prompt: How authentic are you in your everyday life?

____

Please visit my Examiner.com page for articles on Journaling for Kids, Organization and almost everything in between.
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Forget Will, it’s about Mind Power!

If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right. — Mary Kay Ash

Why we fail

Innocent until proven guilty, right? We all know that it is human nature is to operate under the opposite tenet. And we also tend to prefer Believe Once Proven.

We all have things in our life that we want to change, or at least think we do. A bad habit, those extra pounds, time spent playing video games, smoking, or even a certain way of thinking. And why we do fail time after time? Because we won’t believe we can kick the habit or change our behavior until we have proven that we can. Believe Once Proven.

Well, obviously that system doesn’t work so well. As Dr. Phil says, How’s that working for ya? If we don’t believe we can do something until we see that we can, we never will.  You have to believe first.

Know why you will eat that donut even after you have said, I will not eat that donut, over and over again? Because you are focused on the donut. You brain doesn’t hear the “not” and says, OK, Eat Donut! Turn it around and say, I WILL eat the yummy almonds I packed for myself today. I WILL go for a walk instead of turning on the computer. I WILL have a cup of cozy tea instead of a glass of wine.

But first..

First you have to recognize there is something wrong or missing. Then you must truly want to change. Only then can you take the next step. This is where writing comes in. If you are writing from a place of truth (meaning you are being honest with yourself in your journal) you will know when something is wrong. You will also know when you are ready to make the change. If you have acknowledged a problem but don’t seem ready to face it yet, use your journal to explore this. Ask, why am I not ready to make this change?

But when you are ready, keep writing to help you through the next steps of committing to change and to hold yourself accountable.

Focus on the positive always. What you CAN do, not what you can’t or what you won’t do.

This doesn’t just apply to breaking habits or changing behaviors, it is just as effective in how you change your future for yourself. Yes, change your future for yourself.

Write out your positive statements. Write about why you want this change. Write yourself a love letter telling yourself that even with this issue (whatever it is) you are still a beautiful person and why you deserve the best life you can possibly have. Believe you have the ability to reach your potential.

Dear [your name], I love you. Even though I _____ more/less than I would like at this moment, I love and accept myself. I haven’t reached my potential yet, but I have the ability, the drive, and the self-love to do this for myself…

Yes, I will…!

Yes, I can…!

Use the incredible power of your mind to make your life whatever you want it to look like. Believe in yourself and prove you are capable of unbelievable things. Plug into your own incredible power.

Here’s a new tenet to live by: Proven Once Believed.


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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…