Dreaming can be seen as indulgent, unimportant, even counterintuitive. Not only have I been judged by others for having a curious mind and vibrant imagination at times, I have also judged myself. Harshly. In a world that praises logical, linear, productivity above most else, dreaming and giving valuable time toward the "unreasonable, unrealistic, creative fodder" is a target for labels like avoidant, silly or even stupid. Surely, this is not how all people view (day)dreaming and creative play, though it seems to be commonplace. As I have noticed the judgments around creativity, I have been asking new questions. These have sparked new discoveries, revealing the reason behind my own daydreaming nature and how it can serve everyone to dream a little bit more.
Why do I dream?
Why does it matter?
Why should you dream, too?
Wired for anxiety, or at least living with it for much of my life, dreaming and accessing the nonlinear, creative side of my self has saved me from sometimes debilitating worry. Without this outlet, the ability to redirect energy from anxiety into curiosity, I have plummeted into depression and ill health. Through creativity I have accessed my wholeness. This has been a journey, both of courage and experimentation. I denied the dreamer in me through my loyalty to producing, having something to show for myself... all to no avail because the To Dos are never ending. Dreaming must be prioritized to be profited from.
Dreaming is not living in a fantasy world where the daily tasks are ignored, nor is it denying the hurts or difficulties of our current world. Dreaming is a doorway into a grander perspective, a language beyond words, a world of possibilities that aren't yet tangible. Dreaming connects us to our spirit, bringing us from the world of mental into that beyond thinking. When we dream we tap into what is possible and a path is paved to bring us there.
Have you ever made a bold wish only to find "coincidences" or synchronciities all around you that made the desire, the one that seemed outlandish, come to pass? This is the reality of dreaming. Until we dream it, it cannot be. Everything in this world is the result of somebody's courageous dream.
Think about it, every invention and creation and staple of society was once a thought someone called unrealistic.
Dreaming is a creative act. This can come in many forms, whether writing, drawing, wandering through a book store, collaging, cooking or gardening. This act of creativity includes seeing from multiple perspectives instead of just one, considering another's perception and seeing how it might apply to your own experience.
Dreaming + Creating = Visioning.
Without dreams, without curiosity, without creative questions, change cannot be accessed consciously. Dreams bring us to new heights, guide us in overcoming our hurdles with a sense of purpose and meaning.
I dream to escape the habits that I spent many years forming, those of worry and fear driven thinking and action. I dream because it connects me to something greater than myself, to spirit and life that cannot be predicted. I dream because I know there is something beyond what my eyes can reach that will be powerful and pioneering. I dream because I want to grow, because I am driven to become greater, to increase my capacity and make an impact on the world around me. I dream because it's fun, because it rattles me out of my ruts and into my essence. I dream because defying the odds is more worthwhile than succumbing to fear and being mediocre. I dream because I'm human and want to know what superhuman feels like, even if just for brief moments. I dream because there's magic in mystery, in tapping into the pool of unknown, grand, mystical, awe inspiring ideas that my mind can't wrap itself around. I dream because it challenges me, inspires me, pulls me forward.
Why do you dream?
Whether you are running from a nightmare or running toward a dream, expand your edges. Allow the creative to sweep you up, to guide you, to comfort you, to smooth your edges, to soften your fears, to lift you into a new perspective, to delight you and irk you and anything else it will do with you.
DREAM. Dream yourself into the vision you have for your life, for the world, for what's possible, for what could be, for what could no longer bind you...
What do you dream of?
If you don't know how to dream, click here to be in touch with me for a few ideas on how to stir the creative in you. It can be simple. It can be scary. It can be sweet. What I know for sure is that you are designed to dream & if you can dream it it can be.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one..."
With Huge Heart,
Need help turning your dreams into real life? Contact me for coaching.
I have been in the midst of great changes. Ironic, right? The reinvention coach and mentor for empowered change is living another great transformation. Well, that's me at the moment. The inevitable changes of life are happening and I am choosing some more. Fears are being faced. Vulnerabilities are being exposed. Beliefs are cropping up to be digested, reframed, thrown out and turned into fuel for forward movement. With these changes and transitions, more time on my own has led to a sense of loneliness. Or so I thought...
I am on my own in a new place, another stage of life, in unfamiliars on many levels. The thought "I'm lonely" has been making surprise appearances consistently, and I'll admit not to my liking. Initially, I took this thought as fact and started the dip into momentary depression or sadness. Lonely! Oh no. The idea of loneliness set me into fear mode, like loneliness was some goblin guaranteed to turn me into stone, a scarlet letter on my chest, code for "you're unlovable." Left unchecked, the thought "I'm lonely" would quickly become a belief with a disempowering association. Through the practice I've cultivated, I didn't plunge into a dark hole when I definitely could have, believing loneliness meant something was wrong with me or where I was going. Instead, I asked a few of the right questions and turned the looming thought into a great insight.
So, I feel lonely. Okay.
Is that really true?
Are you really lonely?
What does lonely even mean?
If I am, is that such a bad thing?
What else is true?
What's the gift of going solo?
These queries got me to pause rather than run with the initial thinking, thoughts that would undoubtedly lead me to mean self talk and defeatist mentality. Ah, that precious pause. It does wonders for anything. Stopping to breathe gave me a moment to see where I was, actually looking at where my feet were and assessing the facts of my present situation. Reality check! Asking my inner wisdom a few questions and sitting with the answers that came, I became delightfully surprised to find that I was not lonely after all. Yes, I was alone. That was true. Yes, I had thoughts of missing someone and experiences of another time. That, too, was true. What else was true? I was tapping into independence on new levels. I was healthy and whole on my own. I know how to be with myself and live a meaningful life, one morning or afternoon at a time. I actually love being able to choose on a whim where I'll go and what I'll do, a benefit of being independent and in my own company. So, I'm alone, what will I do now? Dancing in the kitchen, yoga moves in the living room, clips of The Office while making a smoothie, changing my mind mid move, silence while meditating, the world is mine to choose as an independent woman on a mission to live fully and love myself completely. The options are endless, what fun!
Looking at my concept of lonely, I transformed the definition into something neutral and eventually elating. Left unchecked, it would hold power over me, and who likes to be controlled by a thought or feeling? With a willingness to explore what frightened me, it became just another word I could use or not. Talk about freedom! When the thought "I'm lonely" came, it means I'm not tuned into my relationship with a higher power or myself. Feeling alone is an invitation to befriend myself in simple ways, to turn up the music and dance, to do something that nurtures my spirit. Being alone does not equal loneliness. Neglecting the amazing relationship I get to have with myself is what feeds loneliness. Talk about a reframe. Challenging previously unquestioned beliefs is where the gold lies. This question and answer session shook me up in the best kind of way. The downer became an upper. Loneliness turned to luscious aliveness as I chose to delve deep and shift my thinking.
Loneliness is just a convenient label, for spaciousness, sacred self time, independence. The negative connotation placed on being alone is silly when I really look at it. As a few of my clients with children would remind me, having a minute alone to go to the bathroom is precious let alone an entire afternoon! Don't get me wrong. Being alone all the time isn't healthy, nor is it why we are here in human bodies. Connecting with community is life affirming, validating, pleasurable. No doubt.
"My people" near and far remind me to stay the course when fears crop up or I feel wobbly. I cherish them more than words, those close to me and part of my previous chapters. This being said, an inability to be alone and content in the solo moments is such a shame. Some of the most meaningful, spiritual, fun, endearing, heart opening moments I have experienced have been when I am in my own presence. Turning inward then reaching out to others is the foundation for the strongest friendships and bonds. Love mastered inside makes it possible to share with others and stay centered in yourself at the same time. Know yourself and you'll attract the tribe you've been waiting for.
The next time a sense of loneliness moves through your mind, take it as an invitation to a party of one with you, turn that music up and start dancing, curl up and read a book, light the candle, draw a bath, do what soothes your spirit and lights your soul on fire. In other words, do something just for you & be kind because you are amazing. Being alone is something so often taken for granted & is really worth celebrating. The longest relationship we get is the one with ourselves, might as well make it an incredible one. What is one thing you'll choose today to cherish your self?
To Enthusiastically Alone Living & The Tribes that Inspire Independence,
Do you want to feel more comfortable & content in your solo time? Message me to find out how.
What do you do when life interrupts your best laid plans?
Things seemed to be going so smoothly. I mean really smooth.
I felt happy, on point, breaking through fear and experiencing what I dared to ask life for both in personal relationships and my professional life. Then there was a hiccup. Let me be more direct, then there was a slap in the face. Smooth sailing came to a screeching halt, at least that’s what I thought.
What had I done wrong?
Did I not use my tools?
Was I deluded to believe that things were working out?
The hiccup, trip up, back track into old beliefs and self blame turned out to be another wake up call. Jealousy, fear, insecurity, second guessing, self blame, survival mode, a sudden stall to what felt nearly too smooth, thinking it’s all gone to hell. Life interrupted? Or was it something else??
I had a choice to make.
Was I going to see this unexpected event, finding out about something that rubbed up against some of my great fears - as my downfall or opportunity to rise above?
The “crisis” label forming, red flags...oh yes, I know where that doom and gloom thinking takes me. It is not comfortable and I KNOW that it doesn't have to set the stage, especially not if I want to live in a place of balance, peace and satisfaction. I want these things and I do live with them most of the time. Life interrupted, can be just a simple interruption of life. Perhaps any hiccup is a reminder to show me just how much choice I have in how I live. Turning the attention back to me has been proven necessary. Truth be told, the focus on who I am in relationship with others was taking center stage. With compassion, devotion, celebration, tenderness, embarrassment and honesty I came back to myself with intention. Balancing the scales and feeding my inner resources brought me to new clarity. A bonus has been detachment from what others say, think, want or do. I get to choose how to be in any situation, just as others do.
Slowing down, meeting basic needs, feeling the feelings, taking care of me, relying on those in my inner circle, slowing down again, recognizing fears, talking about them, having real talks with trusted allies, slowing down (yes, again), using what I have to soothe anxiety so that clarity is possible. Moving at lightning speed in the whirlwind of heightened emotions and thoughts leaves little to no space for a fresh perspective. This is why the toolkit is so important. These are the tools that turn me toward solutions. Keys to open me up, to invite me to step beyond the story, circumstance, warped and one sided belief, or “crisis” rabbit hole. What lies beyond fear’s "limited vision" is a greater clarity and strength than you might imagination.
Looking between the black and white thinking, I now see that change does not equal crisis, disappointment does not mean everything has been a sham.
Crisis = Plot Twist.
Choosing to see how I am being taken care of in the midst of difficulty, is vital. Maintaining calm and seeing from a broader perspective, when details are triggering old beliefs and feelings that I’d rather not be with, is an art that comes with persistent practice. I have survived countless hurts, moments of overwhelm and debilitating fear. By asking a few simple questions, stepping back from the feelings, beliefs and assumptions that seem to be ultimate - other possibilities become visible. This past week has been a return to simplicity for me. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Do I need a pep talk? What is this feeling trying to tell me? What would I choose if I knew how loved I am? What lies beyond this fear?
When you think you've arrived and you get knocked down, life is intervening. Slow down, breathe, check in with your feelings, ask what else is true [beyond what is going on between your ears], seek support from trusted and trustworthy allies, distract yourself in healthy ways and ask important questions.
In asking myself these questions and practicing self care in simple ways, I see this hiccup as a blessing. Yes, there is pain, insecurity, awkward energies and some sadness. There is also strength, recognition of love, faith and tenacity. I am growing through this, whatever the outcomes are. Devoted to myself, I am choosing to see how life is taking care of me beyond any circumstances. It is a choice. This is peace. This is bliss. This is possibility.
Life interrupts us on occasion but that does not mean you have to feel the full weight of a Life Interrupted. Slow down. Feel the ouch. Breathe. Stay curious. Love yourself. Move on.
Life interrupts. Take it as a love nudge.
I am in a space of flow, of success, of abundance. Every day is bringing with it more blessings, answered wishes, new experiences inviting me to step in and shine.
Life is good. Scratch that, life is great.
Amidst change, both unanticipated and long awaited, I am stepping up to the plate. I have been rolling with this feeling great-ness for a handful of days now comfortably, even happily. Claiming my strengths and learning a lot about myself as well, I have been present and vibrantly alive. To be honest, it has been surreal. Slowly and subtly I began to notice shadowy thought patterns creeping in. Do you know these with the same familiarity as I do? The sly, sneaky, passively condemning, coyly bullying gremlins” Things are good now but you know the other shoe is going to drop, don’t you? This can’t last forever…
Setting off a string of similarly negative thoughts, my go with the flow, trusting and elated self started to shift into the skeptic: This is probably too good to be true, I better not get used to this, is everything really okay or have I been fooling myself?
These thoughts, if entertained, can and will likely lead to self sabotage and a self fulfilling prophecy. I know they have for me. If, on the other hand, they are identified, questioned and called out for what they really are (just big, scared bullies), they can and will dissipate and fade away.
The truth is, the other shoe doesn’t have to drop. Things do not have to “go wrong.”
It is perfectly safe, acceptable and marvelous to experience continued success, positivity, and pleasantness even when challenges arise. The belief that after some success (in whatever ways you define and experience it) there must come drama, tragedy or lack is what I have come to call the upper limit problem. When life is going smoothly, it becomes uncomfortable or intolerable and sabotage enters in on an unconscious level. Self sabotage can happen before we know it and cause a train wreck where we had been sailing along, leaving us asking flabbergasted, “What just happened?!”
There are a number of authors, speakers, writers and spiritual traditions that speak to the upper limit problem in their own voices. I particularly enjoy how this is described in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
The common themes that I see in these discussions on hitting an upper limit with problems include fear, faith, and choice. Disbelief that it is safe or acceptable to experience what we desire leads to behavior fueled by the depleting states of fear or even terror. When fear comes, we can either believe it without question and follow it blindly into whatever dark corners it leads, or we can choose to question it and feed the faith instead. In short, we can become conscious. With awareness enters choice. We can choose to feed faith instead once we see the thoughts or behaviors for what they truly are: fear. Choosing faith means believing in the goodness of life, in our inherent right to have positive experiences, participating in the process of learning and growing and transcending our former limitations.
As much as it can seem like there is no choice, especially when fear has a strong hold on us, the truth is, the choice is ours. The fear will come. This is just part of being human. What we do with it when it arrives is what dictates where our path leads.
As the sneaky, sabotaging, trickster of a fear came in with “the other shoe is going to drop, don’t get too comfortable here” I met it with a formula I’ll share with you here. Here it is: I acknowledged it, questioned its validity and looked for what else is true. In this brief and powerfully transformative exercise this is what I came up with: Life will bring what it will bring. Right now, life is full of blessings and I am choosing to enjoy them. Even when I get nervous that this will not last forever, I remember that change is the only constant so more new experience is surely on its way. If this, too, shall pass, well then I am going to savor it while it’s here!
After getting in touch with myself, I asked a few simple and powerful questions:
Why am I afraid of feeling good?
Is there something I can do today that will support my feelings of safety?
If I saw this success, joy, and abundance as gifts sent to me from a loved one, how would I receive them?
Am I willing to release the fear and feed the faith?
How will I take care of myself if the other shoe does drop and things go wrong?
In what ways can I love and accept myself through all that I encounter?
Lastly, I returned to the practice that grounds me and lights me up simultaneously. The Gratitude List.
Being so in my head can get overwhelming, so returning to my center is vital after this type of self exploration process. Pen in hand, I grabbed a piece of paper and started listing my “thank you, life” items. The page was full before I knew it, and not just of the external experiences I have been graced with. Interactions with family, the fragrance of tuberose at the market, fresh picked blackberry tasting on the sunset walk, the smile of that loved one and other moments filled the page, too.
Letting life be, whatever it is, is the exquisite privilege and ongoing challenge of a lifetime. Good, bad, difficult, easy, fabulous, aggravating, inspired, ho hum, sacred, mundane, the list goes on. Whatever you are going through, just remember, it will change. So why not take it for all that is being offered now? Today, this hour, this breath, will never come again. The path could turn in an instant, what I know for sure is that right now is what we’ve got. Whether the shoes are on tight and cozy or have been flung off by the tidal wave of life, hang in there and join me in the High Tolerance for Feeling Great Club. It really is the place to be.
See you there,
Shifting seasons into Summer brings more light to us in the Northern Hemisphere. With increasing sunshine and more daylight, there is a lightening up of much more than the atmosphere. The dresses and shorts are out! School is out of session, people of all ages are invited to holiday and spend time outdoors with family, friends and community. There are barbecues and festivals, farmers markets and concerts. Invitations to mix it up from the sometimes monotonous day to day routine are everywhere. Summer reminds us that engaging new-ness is the spice of life. Whether during a specific season of the calendar year or particular stage of life, turning off the auto pilot and choosing something unfamiliar or out of the norm is revitalizing and invigorating.
As the light increases in the physical world, there is a readiness in me that is also rising and growing in visibility.
I’ve been waking up to what’s next for me. I feel changes happening and more coming. Have you, too? The call to spice up the routines and roles has me identifying intention, setting goals, and exceeding them in many aspects of life. Professional opportunities are finding me, new clients are seeking me out, my skills are wanted and being valued, the courage to discontinue habits and patterns that no longer empower me is strong, personal relationships are flourishing, I am inspired creatively, the list goes on.
I’m living some of what I only hoped for last season and beyond. How did it happen?
I mixed it up! The art of trying something new is the spice of life after all. I was ready for a change and stepped into it. I was became ready for something new to set off a domino effect of other new and fulfilling experiences. I realized to get something new I’ve got to do something new. Pretty simple, right? It took me a bit to grasp onto just how profound this statement is when put to practice. Letting go of the familiar routine can be challenging, scary, unsettling. I know!
Recent example: I was invited on an impromptu camping trip to a place just outside of Yosemite National Park. Beautiful, majestic, all inclusive trip away for a few days.
Who would turn this down, you might be asking. The answer: me. My initial reaction was, “I can’t, I would have to find a place for the dog, cancel this, reschedule that…” Excuse, excuse, excuse to stay in my comfort zone. The auto pilot answer was sure to get me more of the same: staying home in a routine that was fulfilling in areas and also ready for some major revitalizing. Who couldn’t benefit from a holiday?
Before answering, with what can only be described as a habitual reaction, stopped me in my tracks. “Just say Yes” swam through my head, drowning out the excuses for long enough to get my attention.
So I listened. I said Yes. I have learned to trust my gut through some painful lessons of ignoring this wise inner guide. Saying yes meant letting others support me, to give up control. I allowed others to watch the dog, packed a bag (well, two and some bedding to be exact – I am not the lightest packer, but who is really?) got out of my comfort zone, gave the auto pilot five days off and had a peaceful, meaningful and play-filled getaway with family. For days I was I was fed in ways nothing else could: new experience. I rarely looked at a clock, read on grass surrounded by trees three thousand feet above sea level, wrote pages and pages of the book I have been grappling with more recently that is due out by Fall (can you feel me smiling from here?!), soaked in some sun, hiked by streaming water, listened to bull frogs, tag teamed my nieces with sunscreen and mosquito spray, and laughed. The simple choice to try something new, to choose a different route and expose myself to unfamiliars, brought me face to face with the power I have to mix it up. Saying yes to getting out of my comfort zone is key, while maintaining basic safety, necessary boundaries and self care of course. I chose to be teachable, to let go of control, to open myself to unfamiliars, to practice flexibility. I spiced it up!
How are you called to mix it up and let the new swing in?There are ways to do this available to us all, everyday. Here are a few methods I use to spice things up on a regular basis:
What might enter in when the art of trying something new is nurtured? Go ahead, spice things up. What’s the worst that could happen? Letting out a few laughs, showing those pearly whites, maybe shedding some tears, looking silly or strikingly brilliant while creating new neural pathways (our brains love them some learning, after all). It’s what we’re here for so go out and get it, you spicy thing you.
This article is published in Simply Woman Online Magazine here.
Balance: How often do you hear, see or say this word? I, for one, hear it a lot. From childhood learning, to meal planning, health magazines, doctor offices, board rooms, food labels, therapists, teachers, bosses and world news, the term is widespread. We can use the word often, but when it comes to defining it, I find many are at a loss. As a Balance, Wellness and Movement Coach, I guide others in the quest to define and create their life on their terms. Rediscovering and defining for ourselves what some basic terms and concepts mean to us as individuals is the key to living authentically and meaningfully. This balance thing is no exception.
For a long time the concept of balance eluded me, too. To be honest, sometimes it still does. I have often wondered "does this balance thing even exist? And if so, who has it?" This initial curiosity has set me on a journey that continues daily, no end in sight yet.
In looking more closely at this all elusive state, I discovered some of the ways I have defined balance. I have equated to stillness and calm, success and perfection. This is a nice theory, a grand ideal, and a trap when I attach to it. Balanced living might include all of these things, though it is not dependent on them. Balance is not a state of complete stillness, as I have thought most of my life and until now, assumed, and become quite frustrated over. Looking at this belief now, it appears more like death to me. Accepting that I had been confused in previous interactions with balance allowed me to rediscover what it is in my life.
If balance isn't what I thought, what does it even look like? How will I know when I'm living it? Am I just waiting for someone else to tell me I have arrived at it?
Asking the question "what is balance to me?" while weaving in the tool of curiosity brought even more questions. Question, question, doubt, frustration, question, comparison... and then I had a revelation.
Sitting on one of those almost too fun to exercise with bouncy balls of all places, I noticed how when I got still and found my center, to remain there, upright and erect, I had to make continuous small adjustments to my legs, back, abs, and arms. A lot was being asked of me: my breath and focus were required as I kept these systems working together to keep me “balanced." This working to stay centered did not feel stressful or agitating, it did ask me to focus and stay committed. "This was it, balance!" poured from my lips, and then I tipped off and met the mat. I had met balance for a moment. My physic al body was not completely still though it might have appeared so from the outside. This moment on the yoga mat remains with me. A simple exercise with profound teachings.
Balance is not what I had previously thought. In an instant, my definition broadened and so had my experience of balance. No longer stagnant and fixed, I was free to explore balance in new terms. Stay curious and the answers will come.
Such is the way balance shows up in my day to day life. Accept the imbalance, ask meaningful questions and assess the situation from the inside out. Bring to awareness one area of your world that feels a bit off kilter. Get in touch with the situation or relationship and apply these questions to it:
Feel into these statements and practice how it will be to actually strike the balanced life you so desire. In celebrating the process of finding our own balance, new insights become available that were hidden from view when we were in resistance mode.
The idea that balance has to look a certain way will keep it in our future, never in the here and now. And who wants to wait for balance? I know I don't. Some equilibrium now and ongoingly sounds wonderful. As long as we stay in the "if...then" and "when...then," our power to choose the reality we live remains in the hands of others: other people, institutions, and circumstances.
My definition of balance is one that continues to grow, change and reveal itself in new ways. While I still wonder how balanced my life actually is, when I ponder on the balance thing there is a peaceful presence that definitely hasn't always been there. Putting to practice the tools of acceptance, curiosity, assessment and application (trying things out) have changed my relationship with balance into something rich, menaingful and rewarding. Balance is something unique to each of us, undefinable by anyone else. Continuing to identify what balance means to me has become fun as I've taken the pressure off and given myself a break for not being perfect. Both of these are daily spiritual practices. I might not be perfect, I definitely tumble, and there are areas of my life that are beautifully in balance right now. These are worth celebrating! And learning from for that matter. Where we are in balance can direct us to find balance and live it in the areas that are ready for a newfound centeredness. Take a moment and learn from your successes. Practically applying what has worked for us before is a simple and efficient way to attain our goals.
Ways to communicate with that balance thing and strike it where you want it include: make small adjustments, look for what's already working, practice adaptability, flexibility, patience, letting go of assumptions, have trust in your process, take the lens off other people's balance or lack thereof, shake the constantly available opinions of others, following your intuition, ask those you admire how they strike the balance they do.
Explore these concepts and apply them to your day to day when you want to find balance again. Remember, balance, like us, are continusouly growing and changing. Allow the balance of yesterday to transform into something equally satifying.
Remember, there is no one way to live in balance. Freedom comes from knowing what works for someone else might not work for you. We are all in this together and only you can discover that glorious formula for balanced living perfectly tailored for you! Question those assumptions, explore your world, stay curious, get on the bouncy ball, be gentle with yourself and find your way to balance as it is showing up today.
Ready, Set, Go, I believe in you!
I do not have children. The truth is, I don't know if I ever will. The call to motherhood, in the traditional sense, is something relatively foreign to me. Since I was very young, I noticed other girls and boys talk about having a family, being the mom and dad to their own little girls and boys. I did not share this fantasy. I did, however, dream of having animals, traveling to unknown places, interacting with people from across the globe and helping in places where love was needed most. Where kids and a "normal" family were concerned, I didn't hear the call. I still don't, at least not now. Being a woman is so tied to being a mother. With my inner compass guiding in directions other than family life, having and raising children, putting on the Mom role, I have felt a sometimes subtle, other times glaring alienation. Is there something wrong with me? If I don't have kids, how can I be a complete woman? The questions and answers have come over time, continuously changing and evolving as I myself grow and change. What I have found is that I, as much as any other woman, am a mother. If to no one else, to me.
I have held space for and nurtured many ideas, periods of experience and transition. I am compelled to care for and provide comfort in way only a mother can. Being a mom is about more than having biological children. Motherhood is an archetype all women channel in their own unique ways. Mothers are the nests where precious life grows, the watchers and protectors, the teachers and guides. Mothers are generous and caring, masters of compromise and creativity. The decisions and circumstances that lead to the external role of mom are just one aspect of this archetype. Parenthood and motherhood are not one in the same. This being said, I honor all parents. My mother and the women I have been raised by and with are incredibly compassionate, resourceful, dynamic, generous, intelligent, insightful, supportive, brave human beings. I have learned how to be a woman in the world by their examples and through their encouragement. They have shown me to how channel the archetype of motherhood and lent me the courage to forge my own path.
I am my own mother. I nurture and protect the seedlings within that are taking root and in the formation stage. I wrap a warm blanket around the shoulders and heat the tea kettle when I am sick. I look in the mirror and say I believe in you when fear is telling me to give up on my dreams. I tend to the details like only a mother can. I hold on when it is needed and let go when it is time. I am always present and stand by me no matter what. I stand up for what I believe in and offer others the respect to choose their own way. I am a mother, to myself.
Claiming this powerful archetypal energy is available to women everywhere. It is built into us, a birthright. Regardless of the decisions or circumstances that have shaped the outer world, if their are children running through your house, have been, or ever will be, you are a mother. Whether your experience of motherhood leaves a smile on your face or tenderness in your heart, there is space for expansion and healing. Choosing to recognize the mother within is a life affirming move. When the mother within is found, seen, and allowed to express herself, the whole world changes.
Can you recall a woman who has shaped your life in meaningful ways? Perhaps it is your biological mom, perhaps it is not. Whoever comes to mind represents a loving mother to you and can be honored. What did she do, what energies did she embody and what did you learn from her? Tap into this wisdom and channel it. Now try on the motherhood cape, just for yourself, and notice what you find. Becoming what we desire from others is the key to living a peaceful, deeply fulfilling and vibrant life. If you have children, I have no doubt that providing and showing up is a constant. Giving is honorable and important, and so is receiving. Looking in the mirror and seeing my own inner mom gazing back is the sweet stuff I wish for all of you. Whatever you've been through, wherever you're going, that inner mother companion and guide is there cheering you on, sometimes with a quiet sweet smile, other times hooting and hollering. It might take practice to find her or make sense of how she speaks to you. Good things can take time to cultivate. If you feel lost, simply start by asking "what would a loving mom do?" and go from there. You know the way...
Have you ever played with dominoes? Something I have been mesmerized by since childhood is creating a path around the living room and beyond, setting up hundreds of dominoes in a winding line. The pieces wrap around the room, circling furniture and man made obstacles, all lining up one after the other. Forming the path is a process, setting intention and planning out the route ahead only to tip over one piece and see the path change. One domino sets the rest in motion, the power of that one small piece fascinates me still. When one piece is touched, the whole line is shaped and shifted. The slightest touch of one domino changes the game for all the others.
We all lead by example. We all set the path in motion, like the lead domino we influence hundreds of others in any given day. There is no way to know how one small choice, action, word, thought, intention, smile, smirk, wave or tear will influence the world as we and others know it. Every choice matters, however small it seems. Each of us has a responsibility, to live with awareness and choose the example we will lead with. Having such awareness can seem daunting sometimes, as can the reality of personal responsibility. The wonderful part of this domino effect thing is that it comes as much from doing what gives us joy as it does doing the conscious and responsible thing. There is so much room for joy. Haven't you been around someone who is enjoying the moment so much it rubs off on you, too? We touch one another every day. How we do this is ours to choose.
Our domino effect is never ending. The choices we make, how we treat ourselves and others, is shaping our path. Acknowledging that I have a responsibility to the world around me is humbling and empowering. I am part of a greater whole, what I do matters and I am just one among many. I choose my attitude, I lead by example, I how I effect others is mine alone and I can always choose again. I have no idea how much my choices influence others. What I do know is that I’d rather err on the side of kindness. If my smile will help someone else out, why not smile? After all, it takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.
What you do matters. If you knew your choices in this next thirty minutes would alter the lives of others for many moments to come, what would you do? Thoughts and intentions create our experiences, so choose wisely. Take a minute and ponder, explore, & decide how you’ll tip the stack o’ dominoes in front of you.
Go ahead, it's your turn.
I can barely wait to see what you set in motion,
"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." -- Scott Adams
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas