Monday, January 10, 2011

Allowing, For the Good of Everything Else

One of the things I didn't write down in what I'm willing to do in 2011 is crafting. I'm a "crafter" - arts and crafts: sewing quilts, doll clothes and stupid sock creatures, scrapbooking, paper crafts, collage (with spiritual overtones) and all sorts of other stuff.

Sometimes it's hard to justify all that stuff. It's not a direct line to say if I make this collage/treasure map of my intention for my business then I will make more money. Especially when sometimes in making that collage I'm not writing an article that would more directly help me make money at my business.

I have learned something about myself over this past year however and it's that I need crafting in my life. I need to create. I need to sew. I need to figure out how to get from the idea I have in my head to a reality in the world that makes me happy.

And when I allow myself that creative leeway, I find that everything else flows more smoothly. My writing is better. I'm more inspired when I sit down to my work for LaPadre and Story-Beads. It's a little like magic.

So, Saturday, after the "snowstorm" here on Friday, I took my camera and "indulged" in some outdoor shots like the one above. I'm not as good at it as Christine Valters Painter over at Abbey of the Arts but it doesn't matter right now. What matters is that the process of it makes me happy and content, and that feeling flows over into the rest of my life.

What needs allowing in your life that could positively influence everything else?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 (a year of willingness)

my writer's set of Story-Beads at Caumsett State Park

Happy New Year! Time to embark on that time honored tradition of feeling guilty for not living up to those rosolutions! Yay!

Or not. This year I'm trying something different and playing with ways to work with my usual resistance.

For me a lot of resistance is just a question of symantics. For example, I've learned that I can't use the phrase "I want to" because as soon as I do I miraculously don't want to. Over timed I've learned (and accepted) that the phrase "I am willing to" works much better. Even when I don't want to do a particular thing, I can often muster up enough oomph to be willing to do it in order to meet the goals behind it. Symantics, pure and simple. But vitally important nonetheless.

And so I offer up this year's...willingness-es...?:

  • I am willing to finish a first draft of my story by January 1, 2012
  • I am willing to write four blog posts/week
  • I am willing to do what Jim Henson suggests and “spark the creativity in others” with my writing
  • I am willing to write an article for LaPadre once/month
  • I am willing to share the gift of my writing with the wider world through Spiritual Anecdotes and
  • I am willing to write an article for Story-Beads once/month
  • I am willing to buy a writer’s desk and chair
  • I am willing to write an article for Social Action Committee once/month
  • I am willing to explore systems that make all this writing work smoothly
  • I am willing to write workshops
  • I am willing to write 19 pages of web copy for LaPadre
  • I am willing to connect with other writers for encouragement and support
  • I am willing to look at my relationship with deadlines
  • I am willing to work AT my business as well as ON my business
  • I am willing to write the first section of the DIY Ritual eBook by January 31, 2011
  • I am willing to finish the DIY Ritual eBook (and rename it)
  • I am willing to develop my craft

    As my friend Candace said "2011 begins! Wishing you much love and creativity!"

What are you "willing to do" this year?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Altar; a New Focus

It's the holiday season and I feellike I need all the help I can get in staying focused. See, although it's not ideal now seems to be the right time to work through writing the copy for my newest website, La Padre, which I really want to launch in January. So this morning I took a lengthy pause beforesitting down to write and set up a new altar - a writing altar.

Altars have always been a focal point for me. They act as a visual reminder of what's important.

They also force me to narrow down my focus and my intention in choosing what items to place there - the symbolism must reflect what I want to focus on and if it doesn't then the symbol has to go...or I need to adjust my intention.

On this altar are my candles for writing spiritual stuff (owl and raven from Zena Moon,) a little figure sniffing a rose that reminds me that "I am enough, just as I am," and several gifts from my friends who did my ceremony when I was initiated as La Padre.

I'm happy with it; it's a good start. I'll add to it and take away from it over the next three weeks as I work on the ritual ebook that will be the backbone of the sites material. That's the beauty of altars - their flexibility and flow in service of focus.

What's on your altar? If you don't have one, what would you put on one if you were to create one?

Friday, November 5, 2010

"A Crack In Everything..."

I recently stumbled upon a most excellent album: Leonard Cohen Live in London. I am always grateful when I find music that sustains me, that supports me in life and in my work. Here's one of the songs sustaining me:

The birds they sang
At break of day
Start again
I hear them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what has yet to be.

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything -
That's how the light gets in.

-- Leonard Cohen, Anthem

I need reminding that it doesn't matter if I didn't write or post yesterday (or even for several months) but rather that I am posting today. I need reminding that "it" doesn't have to be perfect, that I don't have to be perfect to be out in the world providing something worthwhile.

What music keeps you sustained?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Under Covers

Like my cat hiding under the blanket, I, too, have been digging in. My nephew and sister left for their new home in another state. It's been three weeks.

The grief has been...well below the surface. Their leaving, though sad, was not the most difficult part. Watching my children's heart break as their "pseudo-brother" left was tough. Old childhood wounds were tough, too.

But today I cleaned up my inbox of three months plus of unattended emails. I have gotten a grasp on some long overdue projects that I volunteered for. I have sent out orders (blessed orders!) for Story-Beads, feeling so grateful for the patience of my customers.

I am reading a lot, a long-time coping mechanism. I'm journaling some, though not enough; that's coming. I am trying to ease through the anxiety that has begun rearing its ugly head once again, like an old hormonal nemesis. I'm starting to feel better, starting to rejoin the larger world.

So, hello world! I'm still here. Some days I still feel like Sam the cat has the right idea and I hide under the covers, but that's a part of a mindful life, too, right?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday - Learning the Practice of Sabbath

I've been rereading Wayne Muller's book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives and seeing how the idea/practice of a day of rest fits into my life as it is now.

When what you do is spiritual practices and what you make your living on is teaching others about those practices and how to make them their own then the line between work and rest becomes a bit blurry. Practices meant to renew can feel like drudgery and enjoyable things (like movies) can induce guilt for not being infused with meaning.

When I made my set of Story-Beads that I think of as my business set I only had six of the blue - not a number with any significance to me. I couldn't find any more blue ones so I had to figure out how to make it work.

I settled on six blue stones and a locket (which looks like the tattoo I am planning for myself) which would be the seventh day in the week - a day of rest.

The practice is tricky. I've settled on Saturday evening to Sunday evening as my day of "no work" - or at least of not working on my business.

This morning I felt myself holding onto the tension of things left undone in some volunteer work - not precisely work-related. I realized then that the idea of Sabbath is supposed to be more a feeling than sticking to the rules. If I held on the tension I'd be breaking the sabbath just as surely as if I had sat down and done the work.

I let the tension go. Later I had to do it again, but I did it. I relaxed into the day. It's an on-going practice which, like most, will fall through the cracks at some point in time. In the meantime, Happy Sunday! I hope you found it restful, in whatever way you find rest...

Rest? Sabbath?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gathering the Lost Bits

So, this detour has been going on since Halloween morning. We've moved from crisis phase and transitioned into a new, if temporary, reality and though I know things will again change, I'm feeling the tug for a sense of personal normalcy.

That means that over the last few days I have been gathering up the lost bits of myself.

There are four journals which need to be brought back from the four corners of the Earth. A reintroduction is in order for each of them, so that I can say "Ahhh, yes, that's where we were..."

Then there are the half finished craft projects under the coffee table waiting patiently.

And my Story-Beads! My business set (the beautiful blue ones in the photo) surfaced in a bag I hadn't seen in eight weeks.

Last night I crawled under my bed to grab my yearly set which had fallen out from under my pillow a week and a half ago. The symbolism doesn't escape me: literally reclaiming my year, my time, my life from the dark places where they had been mispaced.

I've gathered the lost bits of myself and ever so gently I'll begin putting the pieces back in place. All these precious objects - the journals, the Story-Beads, the projects - they are my focusing tools that help me to keep remembering who I am and what I hope to bring into the world.

When your routine gets knocked off track, how do you come back to yourself?