November 16, 2012
Actually, you are. Everyone is. Each of us builds our lives by the decisions we make.
Because I am susceptible to gloomy thoughts on gloomy days, I carefully contemplated how to spend my fall and early winter. It occurred to me that I could avoid what I used to think was the inevitable seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that plagues me at this time of year if I were to reconstruct the way I do things around the holiday season. So, like an architect, I drafted up a blueprint of how I’d like to feel.
“Cheery, joyful, at peace,” I wrote at the top of the page. Knowing that lack of sunlight makes me less than happy, I booked a flight to California, the sunniest place on the planet, or so it seemed, the morning after our arrival. It helped tremendously.
Even though I am back under a blanket of fog, just looking at the photos and videos I took remind me that the sun will shine again.
If you feel trapped, take a moment to consider what might be causing that feeling. Is it your circumstances or merely your feelings about your situation that are holding you back? Do you need a mindshift or a physical shift to release blocked energy to put you back into the flow of life?
Life architecture doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to deconstruct every aspect of yourself or your life to alter your plans. Perhaps you only need to tear down a wall or two to make room for new space. Or maybe you require an addition to your already fabulous construct to make yourself feel complete? It could be that you need a complete overhaul, in which case you’ll need to invite some friends to help you out.
What I have learned this year is that those friends are there, waiting for you in the wings, if you ask them. With hammers and pencils and casseroles in their hands, they want to contribute to you just as you have always contributed to them.
Architects rarely work alone. It takes a village to build something new. Assemble your award-winning team and get on with the business of life.
Your dreams are waiting for you. Build a life that welcomes them and I promise you they will come true.
November 15, 2012
Blame it on 2012, but I’ve been getting visions left and right that won’t leave me alone. They are begging for my attention, wanting me to listen, then act on them. My entire being has become a manifestation station. The messages about aligning your path are there, if you listen closely.
It’s the same for my mother whose uncanny ability to see things others don’t that sends chills up my spine.
And so it was about a week ago when she told me, unprompted and completely relaxed, as we breakfasted one last time before parting ways in Arizona: “I see a new friend coming into your life this week.” She described in great detail who the person would be: English-speaking, a single mom with, uh, let me see…two children. It will be unexpected, but expect it, okay?
I have learned when my mother sees things to believe them. They always come true.
Three days and a continent later, I sat in the waiting room of the orthodontist’s office, waiting for my daughter’s turn when I overheard a mother and her daughter chatting. It sounded distinctly American so I couldn’t help myself but ask where they were from.
“Scotland!” The lovely lady said. “But my kids grew up in international schools so their English is very American.” Sitting three tables away, we chat nonchalantly until she told me she had spent eight years in India and couldn’t quite find her way in Germany. I discovered she is now a single mom with two teenage children. That’s when I drew nearer, inviting myself to sit right at her table and look her square in the eye.
“I’ve never met you, but my mom told me I would.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here she was, the new friend my mother had seen. She smiled deeply and said, “Yes. There are no accidents.” In her tone, I could hear “I’ve been waiting for you too!”
We’re meeting for coffee today.
And those chills? Yeah, they continue to tap dance up and down my spine.
November 14, 2012
As I peered out into the night sky last night, I smiled at the inky darkness and thought what a sleepy little town I live in. An occasional beam of light shot through the air as commuters returned home after a long day at work. Breathing in the nocturnal dampness, I wondered how such a place could also be a showcase for so much stress: not externally, mind you. But internal turmoil can be found even here.
I began an inquiry as to how big our stress box needs to be to handle the daily demands of modern living. Even in as pastoral a place as this cow town that I’ve called home for ten years, I wondered what it takes to push the limits of that stress box to one in which you never touch its sides. What is required to leap from the box into a state of peace and calm?
We all have stress boxes of various sizes. Some of us touch the sides of our self-imposed cage rather quickly. We hit the edge, explode (or implode, depending on your nature), and lash out about us. Others rarely touch the sides of their box, having recognized how much room they need to expand and contract with ease.
Lately I have seen the sides of my stress box a tad too often, but once I recognize that it’s a box of my choosing, the sides seem to vaporize like an apparition of my own imagination.
How big is your stress box?
November 6, 2012
The framed picture spoke a thousand words in just a few:
“I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile I keep dancing.”
Your heart can dance even if your feet cannot. As I recently posted, life is a dance. The partners we choose make all the difference. You might not be able to choose the family you are born into, but you can choose the people that surround you. You can choose who to hang out with and who to let go. You get to decide whether to waltz or do the Texas swing.
You might fall down every once in a while, or trip over life’s unpleasantness. But as long as your heart keeps beating, you can remain somewhere in the dance.
Where are you in yours?
October 28, 2012
Intuition mostly comes like a flash of lightning. It is a strong inner knowing about something you couldn’t possibly know about through facts or even experience. It can be a guiding light in the storm of confusion. It can be your saving grace.
Listening to your inner voice requires that you slow down long enough to hear it. In our hustle and bustle of every day life, it can be challenging to take pause and reflect, much less stop for a moment when that intuitive voice decides to speak. It’s not something you can plan, really. It’s not as if that voice works on a schedule like you do.
So when it chooses to speak to you, you had better listen. It’s your divine intelligence showing you the way. You may not feel lost at the moment, but if you ignore your inner voice, you are not on the path you are meant to be on.
Some people tell me they don’t have an inner voice. Maybe they have never actually heard it before, or knew what they were experiencing when they did. But it is my deepest conviction that we all have the Divine Within. Give it a chance to express itself and it will take you on a journey of incredible beauty.
It takes fortitude to trust that voice. Sometimes you might get visions that accompany your intuition. I sure do. That’s usually when my ego mind jumps out of its chair and shouts:
“You’re crazy, right???!”
Take Sedona, for instance. For weeks I heard a voice that said, “Go to Sedona and you will heal.”
Sedona, Arizona? Really? I already have weeks of travel ahead of me both in Europe and America. How could I possibly squeeze in another trip this year?
Then it occurred to me to see how far Sedona is from San Diego where I had a few unplanned days to explore the area. It is well within a day’s drive.
Plans started to form in my head. Then, as I told my mom about the idea, she said, “I have a movie called ‘Sedona’ right here on my desk. Let’s go together!”
And so the flame of intuition that started to burn over a month ago has grown into a roaring fire. I do not question the “why” of things. I trust in this voice as it has never led me astray. The more I do, the more vivid my ideas have become.
What intuitive thoughts have you had lately that you have disregarded? What if you were to follow just one of them? Where would it lead you? It might take you out of your comfort zone, but it is only there that you will grow. How far are you willing to follow that voice?
With a treasure chest full of trust and love, I’m ready to take that journey. Are you?
October 24, 2012
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, fretting that you cannot sleep? Does it distress you beyond belief that you are awake when it seems that the rest of the Earth is not? Have you ever considered what an opportunity it is to be aware in that moment of wakefulness? That it is a gift to be alive?
A friend once told me that before electricity, people would sleep at odd hours, wake up whenever they did and used their time to make love, think or even talk to one another? The clock did not dictate their days.
In our modern age of productivity, we are forced into a rhythm that our bodies often reject. If you “suffer” from insomnia, I ask you to consider the power of the night.
Nighttime has a special quality of solitude and introspection that we don’t often get during the day. No phones are ringing, no demands are tugging at you, no secretaries telling you to sign this paper or that. All you have is the sound of your own heartbeat, pumping in your chest as sure as night follows day. In those quiet times of wakefulness, you have received a gift that we often deem a curse. It is time for you to simply be.
Nighttime offers you the moon, bright and shiny, smiling down at you to remind you that the sun is shining somewhere on the planet where you might not be. It gives you the stars and the brilliance of the planets that encircle themselves with the force of an ever-expanding Universe.
The night offers you the sound of the trees and the last falling leaves before they make their final descent, saying farewell to the time they have spent with you.
It gives you the hoot of an owl, resting placidly on a branch to let you know you are not alone. You are never alone.
The night encompasses you in its dark cloak, hugging you with a power far greater than you can imagine.
It gives you a chance to listen to your breath and the sound of children laughing in their sleep.
When sleep alludes you, remember that the rhythm that keeps you awake has a story to tell.
That story is your life. Your time.
That story, my dear one, is you.
October 23, 2012
Behold the gift of silence. It marks the spaces between our thoughts. It cleans the edges of our minds. It gives us room to breathe.
Martin Heidegger once said: “We make space inside ourselves so being can speak.”
But do we really? Many people struggle with silence, as if it is the absence of something, like air or water or food to eat. But silence is a necessary, yet sorely lacking part of our day. When we enter the silence, we are greeted with our inner core. For many, it is a sad sight to see. Ruins formed by neglect float on the inside. It is painful to observe how poorly fed our true selves have become.
For years you may have had the habit of filling your time with distraction, not wanting to look inside yourself for what will truly make you happy. Then one day your body, the emissary of all thought, finally strikes you down with an illness or malaise. You are forced to notice something is not right. It affects everything about you. Your body knows.
Or perhaps you have forged on as a result of your circumstances. You held on to a belief system so tightly, even as it strapped you into a straightjacket of your own making. You knew something wasn’t right, but you held on for dear life to the only thing you were taught was true.
Only, it turns out, it wasn’t.
Then you receive a wake-up call, as we all do, to what is really going on inside your soul. It cries out for the nourishment it needs so badly. Some of us have pretty strong pain points. We can go on for years without paying attention to the deep-seated pain caused by ignoring our truest reality. Others more attuned to themselves feel it much more quickly and take action right away.
Wherever you are on your journey, know that this is your life. There are no mistakes, just experiences that change your direction. We each have a personal bank account of time. The choice is ours as to how we spend it.
Bathe in the silence today. It will speak louder than any words you can tell yourself.
October 20, 2012
Going Slow means saying no.
But not always.
When we say “no” to certain opportunities, we are saying “yes” to the possibility of others. We are creating space for what is meant to come into our lives. But many of us fear that space, that moment of nothingness, that void in our hearts and souls that we feel compelled to fill with something, anything. Oftentimes we fill it with noise ~ whether it’s the TV, the radio or our own chatter.
Taking time to be quiet will give you the strength to get to “yes”.
The principles of “yes” do not mean you affirm everything everyone wants from you. Nor does it mean you are a yes man to anyone. It means you are standing firm in your power and in your belief in yourself. You are saying “yes” to the life you want to lead.
As I have often said, when we say “no” to someone or something, we are actually saying “yes” to ourselves. The first tenet in the principles of “yes” is to be clear about what is important to you.
- Name five things that have a priority in your life.
- List an action for each one that you can undertake to support that belief.
- If you can’t think of an action, reevaluate your list of priorities. Are you walking your talk or just paying lip service to those things? You may find you have entirely different priorities than you realized. Knowing this will help you get back into alignment with “yes”.
The second tenet of “yes” is to understand that even when we say “yes” to something, it may not turn out as we had planned. Maybe we say “yes” to a project that we think will be fulfilling, only to discover it wasn’t at all what it seemed. You may feel disappointed that things turned out that way, but in saying “yes,” you learned exactly what you needed to learn at that time. Trust that saying “yes” with conviction will lead you down the path you need to take, even if that path seems scary.
The third tenet of “yes” requires that you listen deeply to what you are affirming. Are you saying “yes” to the actual experience or are you saying “yes” to that pretty picture in your mind, painted with wild expectations? This tenet is based on the high involvement/low attachment idea. You are highly engaged in what you are doing without expectation that it will turn out at all.
Pretty Zen, huh?
The final tenet of “yes” is the contagion factor. When you smile out into the world with an aura of “yes”, others will notice and want to know where you got it. Glowing from the inside out, you can share your “yes” story with them.
Sharing your “yes” moments with others will make the world a better place. It will encourage them to do the same for themselves. Can you imagine a world in which we all dance to the rhythm of our personal “yes”? Oh, yeeeeeesssss!
October 19, 2012
It never ceases to amaze me how selective our memories can be. My best friend remembers things from our school days that I can’t even conjure up in a dream. I have no recollection whatsoever of some experiences, while she can’t remember other things I do. I am not certain whether it was our adolescent minds, not yet fully developed, that allowed for such lapses in our memories or if we are simply wiser today and carefully choose what to remember.
We place blinders on to filter information. Our world would otherwise be too overwhelming if we were to take in every nuance in our surroundings. But lifting the blinders, if only a little, would also widen our lens and our view of things.
They say we tend to get more narrow-minded as we get older. Our horizon shrinks, our attention span shortens. But what if we were committed to fully embrace every aspect of a moment as it is laid out in front of us instead of putting it through our translation machine of meaning-making nonsense? What if we were to take on the entirety of the experience, such as eating an ice cream cone on a sunny day, instead of checking our smartphone while we lick away at it? Would we have a different memory of it then?
There aren’t many things we do with a singular focus, except perhaps sleeping. Even then, our subconscious mind is active, feeding us dreams and processing data in its memory bank of time.
Dreams can be helpful for memory recall. I recently had a dream about an actual car accident I had ten years ago. In my dream, the car swerved toward another car. All I could think in my dreaming mind was :”This is it.” I had a similar thought in real life as the car turned 180 degrees one way, then bounced back in the other direction, but luckily there were no cars in sight. In my dream, I was ready to take on death with a singular beat. It was a moment of full acceptance of the experience.
In our dreams we are capable of doing things we can’t do in real life, such as fly. But the symbolic meaning behind the dreams, such as the one I had, can tell us a lot about what we are really thinking.
Pay attention to your dreams for they are the land mine of our memories. If you can’t remember your dreams, go to bed at night telling yourself you will remember at least one aspect of the next dream you have. As you wake up, write it down right away. After a time, you might start to be able to remember more. You might also start to see patterns.
In your waking moments, absorb the entirety of one experience today. It might not help you remember your dreams any better, but it will help you remember the life you lead.