November 4, 2012
Your environment matters. If you live in a dark place, chances are you won’t feel as bright as someone who lives under the sun 365 days a year.
The landscape matters. If you are in an urban jungle, you might not feel as consistently grounded as someone who lives amongst the red rock of Sedona, Arizona, for instance.
I had the pleasure of visiting Sedona this week. Known for its vibrating vortexes of energy swirling up from the minerals in the ground, Sedona holds a special kind of vibe I have never experienced in my life. Go there and you will realign with your highest self. That’s all I have to say.
Even if you aren’t apt to make your way there, consider where you live as your sacred space. If your office is lifeless, without plants, water or some kind of sunlight, consider placing a portable water fountain on your desk. Place special rocks or other meaningful items around you. They hold positive energy, something everyone could use a little more of!
It is easy to tap into your extraordinary when you have peace of mind. All it requires is a little time to reflect, go inward and really listen to yourself. Take a few breaths, light a special candle, and think about how extraordinary your life is. Every day you get a new chance to live that life to the very best of your ability.
Some times all it takes is a beautiful landscape to set you free. You can create it right where you are. You really can.
November 3, 2012
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.
“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.”
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.
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 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 22, 2012
Tanja didn’t believe me at first.
“Hug a tree?” she skeptically looked at me over her steaming mug of coffee. “Alright then, Christine.” She refrained from rolling her eyes at me. For the moment.
I explained the power of trees, of their grounding nature, of their ability to speak to you if you listen closely. Tanja didn’t seem convinced, but a month or so later, she confessed that she tried it one day while traipsing through the woods.
Eyes lit with a fire I’d rarely seen before, Tanja recounted the experience.
If you haven’t paid attention to the trees in your life lately, you might want to take a look at the nearest one. How old do you think it is? In a recent visit to Switzerland, I found the most gracious giants, standing tall like sentries of a long-lost secret you can only access by hugging them tightly.
And hug them I did! This tree spoke to me in a language beyond words. Its solid grace made me bow before it. Before drawing closer, I asked its permission to give it a warm embrace. It nodded a “yes” in the wind. It told me of a time before the cemetery on which it stood was built. It told me of horses and wildlife and romantic lovers meeting under its limbs. I was astounded at the stories it told in that precious moment of connection.
Trees are the lungs of the Earth. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They are one of our greatest resources, not only for the air we breathe, but for those times of Slow that bring us back to our truest selves.
Do you doubt what I am saying? Give your neighborhood tree a squeeze. You, like Tanja, might just be surprised at what happens when you do.
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 14, 2012
If I were a bird, I would slice the mist with my wings just to see what it felt like. On a morning like this one, it must be nice to be a bird. Birds don’t need to physically see where they are headed. They already know.
Even without wings, we can learn to fly if we have an inner vision. Much like our avian friends, we must learn to rely on our inner navigation system to move about the mist when things aren’t clearly laid out in front of us. The more we tune into our internal compass, the stronger our connection to that purpose becomes and the higher we can go. No amount of mind talk will get you to where you are meant to be. It is the heart and its innate wisdom that carries your secret map.
While life is indeed a mystery, we can more acutely interpret our experiences when attuned to the voice within. At first in a whisper, the voice will grow in strength when you feed it what it needs. It takes courage, trust, patience and love to do so.
I can promise you this: That voice will guide you, especially when you are in a fog. When you see with your heart, the beauty of your life is revealed.
Are you listening?
October 12, 2012
It was not one of my finer moments. Eyeing the soft, dry grass, I knew it was a now-or-never moment to whip out the lawn mower for the final cut of the season.
In between phone calls, I raced around the house, collecting the extension cord and my tennis shoes for a quick jaunt around the yard with our electric mower. I read somewhere that grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer so I opted to mow without the clipping basket, making the mowing experience a tad louder and messier.
That’s when my neighbor decided to say hello through the hedge. In my breathlessness, I waved her off, although I hadn’t seen her all summer.
“Things to do!” I shouted over the mower’s drone.
“That’s right,” she said flatly. “You never have time.”
How could this be? Did I really give my retired neighbor the feeling I never have time for a chat over the fence? Did she feel slighted because I wouldn’t turn off my mower and have a gab in the light of the setting sun?
Maybe she heard the ticking of the clock in my cranium. I was busy and gave her the feeling she wasn’t important.
Back at the task, I sloppily pushed the mower around for a few minutes until our tiny lawn had been slaughtered into a diminutive version of itself.
As I flew back into the house, I caught the extension cord on the pedestal where my Buddha statue placidly rests. He tumbled to the ground, leaving a dent in the wood floor and shattering his right knee.
It was a sign that I needed to slow down. Now.
In that moment, I knew what I had to do. I headed back outside and called out to my neighbor.
“Where have you been, my friend?” I asked her calmly. She smiled. A warm exchange ensued. She suddenly felt heard, important, loved. It made me smile from the inside out.
I’m sorry, Buddha, for shattering your knee in the process. But since my mom saw the Dalai Lama live last night, I hope you’ll forgive me.
It’s a lesson I hope I’ve learned for the last time.
October 9, 2012
The average American spends nine years of his life watching television and two million commercials. Only two weeks of his life is spent kissing another person. Imagine if those numbers were reversed (and probably are in some countries!).
The average Joe spends 4,050 hours at a standstill in traffic (that is the equivalent of 506 nights of sleep), 4,320 hours at traffic lights, 5,365 hours talking on the phone and 122,400 hours working. He will have walked 35,000 miles in a lifetime, which is equal to walking from Paris to Shanghai and back ~ twice. At the same time, he will drive 798,000 miles: That’s 3.5 times to the moon and back.
If you look at these staggering statistics, it makes you realize how much of our time is spent with machines, not Nature or even each other. It makes me want to hug a tree and remember that we are all connected to everything: Not just through Facebook, but through our ultimate purpose in life, which is to love each other with all our might.
How will you spend your day today?
October 7, 2012
This weekend I attended a workshop by my brilliant acting coach and friend Gabrielle Scharnitzky called Acting from Your Sacred Space. It is based on ancient Native American wisdom that involves connecting with Nature and yourself. The centerpiece of the work is honoring that space within that we all have, yet all too often freely give away to others.
Tending to our sacred space is like tending to a garden. We need to cultivate it, give it enough room to grow and fend off predators that might wish to wreck it completely. It involves a listening we don’t often practice. How could we then? Most of us are brought up without the ears to do so. We do what we’re told, conform to the norm and stifle our creative inner child until it withers.
Your sacred space is where everything is allowed to be without judgement. It is where your inner beauty originates. Imagine a world in which everyone honored their sacred space.
That world begins with you.