Are You a Life Architect?

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.

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How Big is Your Stress Box?

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?

The Lessons of Now

November 13, 2012

Some days we climb buildings in a single bound. Other days we can barely raise our heads off the pillow. Life can get overwhelming at times. When everything seems to be happening at once, know that you can only do so much.

For the past week I have blogged in my head a hundred times. And I’ve missed it. A lot. I am in the process of doing some back end work on this site to serve you better and to spread the word more easily about the Power of Slow. And yet, it seems, there are forces at work that have set me back from my desire to improve this blog even more for you.

As in all things, there is a gift to be found in setbacks. We often want things yesterday, as if now, or even tomorrow, isn’t soon enough. We get frustrated when our computers don’t boot up “fast enough”, when the person driving in front of us is “too slow”, when our loved ones don’t answer our emails/phone calls/text messages “right away”.

But it takes time to let things grow. They must first germinate, then grow roots, then push themselves slowly out of the ground. Only then can they come into full bloom.

So if my blog has yet to have the beautiful character I wish it to have, know that I’m working on it.

That is the lesson of Now.

Somewhere in the Dance

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?

No Quantum Leaps Required

November 5, 2012

Stumbling blindly through life is something I have found myself doing whenever I leave the path of my vision. When my inner sight is clouded, I get lost in a place much like a damp, dark well. The only thing that accompanies me is the drip, drip, drip of my weirdest thoughts.

Vision questRecapturing your vision takes courage, especially if you are apt to think of everyone else’s welfare but your own. To stand in the strength of your own truth is a daunting task when it is at odds with what society deems acceptable. Rather than carry the inner conflict out into the world, we bury it deep inside, fearful of the reaction our environment might have about our wildest dreams.

Mae West said good girls don’t change the world. Stepping out of our self-made prisons is the first thing required. Self-understanding informs everything we do. So if we think we can’t do something because it’s not proper or we’re worried about what other people will think, we’ve totally missed the point that this is our life and we get to decide how to live it.

Building a vision is a lot like building a house. You first need a plan. How many rooms do you want to build? How big should they be? What is the reason for the space you are creating?

Then you need to find the resources: what can you afford to take on, what not? What kind of materials will you need to support the house you want to build?

Then comes the execution. Will you build the house yourself or hire help to do so? How long do you anticipate the implementation will take? Are you flexible enough to accept delays or last-minute changes? Can you live with the outcome, even if it isn’t perfect?

Coming to the light is what your vision is all about. When you have a focus, things fall into place more easily than if you have no clue what you are doing. You don’t need to know every last detail. Trust that what you feel is right. It will guide you to where you need to go next.

Baby steps will get you there. No quantum leaps required.

Two days ago I was cruising up I-8 on my way to Phoenix from San Diego to pick up my mom at the airport. If you have ever driven out West, you will know how straight and narrow those highways can be. You can go 100 miles without really seeing civilization. With good tunes on the radio and a bit of mindlessness, it is easy to go a tad over the speed limit.

It is embarrassing to admit to you that, right after a pitstop in Yuma, AZ for some breakfast at IHOP, I was pulled over by one very nice Officer Sanchez for going too fast.

Picture it.

“Hi, Ma’am. The reason I pulled you over is because you were going too fast.”

“I was? I thought the speed limit was 70!”

A warm smile.

“I clocked you at 81.”

Oops.

He asked me where I was going, where I am from and what I do for a living. I cheerfully explained that I had had a spiritual prompting and was on my way to Sedona. Admittedly, I thought the spiritual angle might soften his heart. And I told him how ironic this all was, given I am the author of The Power of Slow.

He made me wait a full ten minutes while he checked out my profile in his car. When he returned, he kindly handed me a warning instead of a ticket, told me I really needed to slow down, and ,”Oh, Christine? Read your book!”

I giggled to myself all the way to Phoenix.

Thank you, Officer Sanchez. You are right. Slow really is faster.

Travels to Myself

November 1, 2012

Whenever I board a plane, train or automobile to a new place, I am guided by my internal GPS. Every interaction I have or person I meet opens my eyes in new ways. I am informed by the novelty of the situation, but also by the ever-unfolding plan of the Universe that places me right in the middle of whatever I need to experience. It is particularly astounding to me how many cool people fly on airplanes.


Waiting at the Dulles International airport with Husband, I noticed a cute young couple in the corner, sharing food and body warmth as we waited to board our five-hour flight to San Diego. Husband and I had to change seats at the gate to ensure we sat together so our once randomly assigned seats were once again rearranged for that purpose. In other words, I wasn’t supposed to sit where I did, but I am so glad it worked out that way. I met the most fascinating doctor-in-training who laughed with me across the continent. When we got up to stretch our legs, I noticed the cute couple was right behind me in the next row. That’s when the girl engaged me in some small talk. It turns out she and her husband were returning from their honeymoon cruise just in time to miss Hurricane Sandy. Then, to my delight, she asked me if I might go to lunch with her.

“I just love your light,” she beamed. I beamed back and we made a date. A few days later we spent a lovely few hours together, chatting over lunch then walking on the beach. We revealed that neither one of us was supposed to be in the rows we were sitting (she was supposed to be on a different flight altogether). I shared with her the mystical-magical that we all possess. She already knew that. What impressed me most was when she said we already have everything we need. At 24 years old, she knows who she is. I was encouraged that the next generation’s consciousness will be higher than ours.

Travel brings us closer to who we are, guiding us to people of all ages and backgrounds. It shows us that no matter where we are on the planet, we expand a piece of who we are when we are engaged with each other, just like the Universe itself.

Dance in the light, my friends, wherever you are. Know that everything will work out just as it should. And that you are not alone.  Ever.

Some Day is Now

October 31, 2012

Eckhart Tolle teaches us about the Power of Now in his book of the same name. Now is all we have. So when you find yourself saying “Some day I’ll do this or that,” know that some day is now.

When I was a kid, my cousins went on a safari to South Africa. It was such an impressive experience that my aunt and uncle feeding giraffe, power of slowdedicated an entire room to the photos they made. They aptly named it The Safari Room. From that day forward, I told myself I too would take a safari ~ some day.

Life doesn’t always allow us to immediately implement our some days into a single day. But when you see an opportunity to live your dreams with some day in mind, you had better go for it.

When my dear friends in San Diego told us about the Safari Park near their house, I saw an opportunity to live my dream ~ even if it wasn’t the South African plains, it was filled with the same animals my family had seen years earlier.

When we put off our dreams in the name of security, safety or assurance, we are often shortchanging what could be the most transformative experience we could have in our lives. If you want to do something, do it. Trust me. It will be worth it!

The other day we took an open air van to an area where giraffes, rhinoceroses and other exotic animals roam in near-native conditions. I got to feed several of them and I must say it was, apart from giving birth to my own children, one of the most moving experiences of my life. Yes, I was terrified, but I did it anyway. I held fast to the dream of taking a safari and there I was amongst very safari-like animals on a beautiful day in Southern California.

Some day is now, people. If you have a chance to live one of your life’s dreams, do it. It will bring you to higher heights and empower you to live the life you’ve always wanted.

Forget the excuse as to why you cannot embrace every moment in all its preciousness. Your life is always happening in the NOW. What will you do with it?

Planting the Seeds of Joy

October 30, 2012

Merrily plant the seeds of your vision. As with any living being, those seeds grow in their own time. In my experience, planting seeds and leaving them to grow does indeed take time.

Patience is a virtue I was not born with. It is an acquired skill. But when we truly surrender to the process of sowing good ideas, it comes back to us tenfold when left to breathe and grow.

Oftentimes I receive intuitive thoughts that I call “messages from the Universe” that come floating into my brain and stay there. Last year on a walk, for instance, I kept hearing “You are a healer”. I was on my way to my twentieth college reunion and was in no state of mind to hear such things. But there it was. And for a year I’ve been grappling with what that means. Slowly, but surely, as I meet new people who come to me with their stories, I realize that indeed listening to them is a part of their healing process. In essence, I needn’t do anything but be who I am.

How often do we think we have to take this class or that, prepare ourselves formally for what is ahead or strive to achieve things that we think we must, only to find out we have all the resources we need at our disposal, right here, right now? I have come to believe that these sacred messages I receive are merely gentle reminders of what I already possess.

You can hear them too. We are all capable of listening to know which seeds of joy to plant. It might take a few years for you to see the results of your efforts, but the wait is well worth it indeed.

The Flame of Intuition

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?

 

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