Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
What are the consequences of putting off your decisions to change?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
How does our inner incongruence demonstrate our quirks and creativity, our way of showing up in the world?
What does it tell us about what we like to create in our lives?
How does it help us to connect more fully with our own authenticity and with others we care about?
The suit with tractor symbolizes how I've always been able to live in multiple worlds, dress up, dress down, and get dirty. I can be articulate, profound, and professional, or my mind can become so wild I barely make sense. Although I'm not the most mechanical person in the world, I can operate small or large equipment on a good day. I can dig into the earth, paint a wall red, or clean pond scum, even on a cold day. I connect with the earth in multiple, magical ways. The crystal champagne flute, an heirloom from Auntie Gitta, symbolizes my love of life, my longing to express gratitude for all the joy in my life, and my honoring of family. Gitta always reminded us, "enjoy, enjoy." What a powerful, wise woman. And there's something else. Though I value family and tradition, I also like to consider options outside the lines defined by my culture, even if it means I don't fit in sometimes.
What I find in these musings is an unveiling of some of my values. By being conscious of my values, I empower myself to align my choices accordingly so that I feel less conflict and tension in my life. Similarly, I find myself journeying towards more and more fulfillment as I align my choices with my values.
If you were to pose in a way that makes transparent your incongruence, how would that look?
What do you learn about yourself and your values from this place?
In what way would you like to align your values and choices?
In addition to feeling my rich calling toward my values, this whimsical photo and my thoughts around it help me to remember to play when I become too serious, or my drive to work and produce results dominates my life, or I over-commit out of habit, or I lose track of the present moment and forget to be joy-filled. So I offer the above as my playful, creative, whimsical learning around incongruence. And, there's something more to explore here, around creating congruence by aligning our thoughts with our actions, which will come in my next post, "Living with Incongruence, Part II."
How can you bring more playfulness into your life?
What of your incongruence would you like to share with others?
Saturday, September 5, 2009
About eight months before my university position would end, my partner, Dana, and I found the home of our dreams: small home, lots of property and privacy, and enormous potential. It also came with a price tag somewhat higher than what felt like a play-it-safe deal. About the same time, I began reading The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D., found of Academy for Coaching Excellence (http://www.academyforcoachingexcellence.com/).
Dr. Nemeth offers a model of the process great ideas must go through before they become outcomes in our lives. First, she explores physical reality that we know so well. This is the place of cause and effect. Much of what we wish to accomplish in this realm involves taking simple steps. In order to balance our checkbook, we have to actually sit down and crunch the numbers. Holding the intention to balance isn't quite enough to get the job done.
But there's also the metaphysical reality where energy is "free-flowing and unbounded" (p. 21). This is the place where we receive ideas, visions, and dreams, which are weightless and inspiring because we haven't yet weighted them down with promises and commitments.
In the space between physical and metaphysical realities, we hold our life's intentions, which may include to be a writer, to be a healer, to be a leader, to be a visionary. They connect us to concrete goals, to write a novel, to take a Reiki class, to run for political office, to publish a theory. To accomplish our dreams we need the inspiration of metaphysical reality, but it's equally important to find the drive and courage to take needed steps in our physical reality.
However, right there between the metaphysical and physical we find "Trouble at the Border." When our weightless ideas encounter the density of physical reality, we may meet, "doubts and fears so strong that they seem to stop us in our tracks almost before our journey begins" (p. 26). We may hold subconscious beliefs that limit our potential, such as life is hard or no pain, no gain. This phase is inevitable in the process of overcoming our own inertia.
I've found that it's easy to discount these fears and doubts as intuitive. Rather, they are of "monkey mind," a term borrowed from Buddhism to describe, "a self-criticizing aspect of our mind that swings us from doubt, to worry, and back to doubt" (p. 27). In my coach training, I've also learned to identify this voice as the "saboteur" or "gremlin." By any name, it's a survival-related mechanism of our brain designed to prevent change or risk-taking. Whenever we try to reason with these doubts, they only become louder and more provocative.
To say the least, the Border is uncomfortable. We have a choice to use that as a teacher, an opportunity to express our courage as we step beyond our comfort zone and address any challenges we experience. Clearly examining our intentions and our choices helps us to create a realistic plan to get where we want to go. It helps us to identify where and how we will direct our energy and actions. Dr. Nemeth tells us, "life is hard when you don't do what you truly value because you are putting all your energy into trying to get rid of your fears rather than into materializing your dreams" (p. 31).
In the process of deciding whether or not to purchase our home, Dana and I encountered doubts, but we couldn't differentiate them from intuitive hits at first. We wondered: Could we afford this even as I ended my university career? Could we interpret the plumbing and mechanical problems on the house as signs that we were off track? Could we also afford a four-wheel-drive tractor for snow-removal and landscaping? Would we sell Dana's house quickly enough to avoid two mortgages over an extended time?
Well, we now have the home and tractor. All the plumbing and mechanical problems are resolved, with compensation from the former owners to cover the repairs. We received an acceptable offer on Dana's house the first full day it was listed. Yes! Even in this housing market! We are now living the life of our dreams! Now if I could only get Dana to come in off that tractor for dinner...
What does intuition feel like in your body?
What do fear-thoughts feel like in your body?
What do you notice about your thoughts in general?
How do you respond to your thoughts?
Which conscious and subconscious fears keep you from approaching your dreams?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Especially because of our economic recession, many of my plans, such as buying a house and launching a business, have seemed particularly risky. If only momentarily, I wondered: Will we keep our house? Will our lifestyle radically change? Will we be okay? Such worries fall on the other side of my leap of faith, in other words, my sense of trust and faith in myself and the world. Instead of dwelling on what-ifs, I've learned to follow my intuition, which has led me to create the home, relationships, profession, and life all designed to suit me perfectly. Learning to discern intuitive hits from fear-based thinking offered a critical step in the path.
But there's another component to this. Nearly everyone I know has been experiencing huge energy shifts, especially since the beginning of July. A few friends and clients are having the most remarkable experiences, coming together with loved ones in new and powerful ways. Some are having the most intriguing spiritual gifts come to them, such as extremely heightened intuition, powerful yet intimidating. Many just feel remarkably fatigued. How does one plan for such things?
Because of my own health issues and fatigue over the past few years, I never knew what my energy would be like from day to day. Planning and commitments were problematic and precursors to disappointment. I truly learned to dance in the moment while focusing on my two most important goals in this order: 1. restore vibrant health and 2. embrace my new vocational path and create its reality. I reduced planning down to these two goals, focusing all my strength, energy, and intention on these so that I would experience success. I think that there is learning in this for many of us. More than ever, it's time to focus on "what matters most," to borrow a phrase from FranklinCovey.
Really, how can we prepare for what is completely unknown? That will be a highly individualized process, reliant on the tools of intuition and profound curiosity about what our lives are meant to hold for us. The process will include an intensive view of our values and priorities.
Who and what do you deeply value?
Who do you love to be?
What brings you joy?
How can you honor and practice non-attachment to what you love?
What will you choose to do with your insights?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I acknowledge that this doesn't really make any sense and that it ends with a preposition. It's a horrible poem! Yet, I received these words like a sudden cerebral or spiritual download when I was but seventeen years old. The circumstances? One of the most important people in the world to me was really disappointed in and angry with me, and rightly so, because I was being cruel with my words to someone who really needed and wanted my love and approval. In those shame-filled moments, hearing the testimony against me, I wished away my entitlement to emotions, caring, and vulnerability as if my life depended on their absence.
I tried for years to analyze this. What could it mean? My obsession with interpreting it faded as years passed, but my curiosity about it never did, as my mind would hit the playback button and bring the poem and the experience once more into vivid reality. Why on earth would these words be so important as to re-emerge over and over?
Nearly thirty years later, I've discovered my truth in them. They relate not only to my personal journey, but to our collective human journey as well. They portray a transformation in progress, bringing death, if you will, of personal and collective ego with the birth of spirit-identity.
I have had three really significant "noble friends" or "troublemakers" (terms borrowed from Carolyn Myss and Pema Chodron respectively) in my life. I have certainly served in this role for others as well, including these very same people. I'm referring to those who serve our spirit development, often in uncomfortable ways. They show us the aspects of ourselves that need work, or they challenge us to come into our power, or they offer other trials like that. Each of my noble friends has taught me about fierce love and then betrayal. With each, I had profound moments when I have fallen out of their favor, when I have sought their love and approval with all my heart. This approval seeking often came from an egoistic tendency more than from a longing for soul-deep connection. However, the fact that I'm a natural people-pleaser has made these experiences incredibly painful for me.
In each instance, I have experienced a bit of death, or transformation, from my people-pleasing, approval-seeking ego-self into what I call my spirit-self. My spirit-self strives for a unique voice and altruistic role in the world, for discovering and living the divine destiny that no one else can fill, whether or not others approve of what I'm doing. Fulfilling these needs and desires requires risk. As I enter my life purpose, some people resonate with me, my life, and my energy, and some really don't. I learn not to take it personally. I learn to live serenely on, increasingly detached from the collective world of ego that I've known, even as I become fabulously connected - richly and meaningfully - with more and more people in my life.
Speaking of the collective, this transformational "rebirth" happens on the global level as well. What's more egoistic that materialism, individual and corporate greed, corruption, and even throwing money at problems created by the ferocious avarice for money? As we witness the decomposition of egoistic aspects of life and the systems that support them, we have within grasp the opportunity to create ourselves anew, with spirit-driven ideals defined by our spirit-selves. We also have the opportunity to envision new systems and ways of constructing our cultures and societies. We have within us amazing capacity right now to serve as change agents. That change originates from within us, related to our own transformation. Yes, it's in the depths of our inner world, where first there is darkness, and later there is light - the Hero's Journey that awaits us all.
Although Ego and her best friend, Fear, still make routine appearances in my life, my own transformational journey promotes overall a sense of faith and trust in what is and what will be. This emerging faith in the face of my former fear-based thinking creates serenity and bliss, a profound sense of gratitude for all I experience in my life. This sense of well-being attracts even more of the same. I now feel fully prepared to step into an unknown future in perfect trust that all is as it must be.
Would you like to join me?
- What from your past haunts you, and what's the lesson here now?
- How can you release what doesn't belong to the present?
- What aspects of your life are you rebirthing?
- Who do you wish to be to promote your serenity?
Friday, June 26, 2009
Does this seem familiar? Even for those who shelter their sensitive natures from the effects of the media and subsequent awareness of current events, there's no shortage of information outlining the paradox of our times. Stories of dismal consequences of war, resource shortages, global warming, and economic upheaval pepper the news like shotgun spew. Change, these days, not only seems constant, but comes in even more abundance.
In the rubble of broken-down political, economic, corporate and all manner of systems, lies the fodder for radically improved ways of being, a cultural revolution. More and more, I experience among my family, friends, colleagues, clients, and others, an increasingly calm acceptance of what's happening in our world. I'm not talking about complacency in the face of injustice, but rather a willingness to embrace what is. Even those I know who have lost their jobs, or experienced foreclosure and other hardships, are now finding that their lives hold more opportunity for love and partnership, for creative expressions, and for connection with others, where being too busy served as barrier before. Somehow, they not only get by, they thrive in many aspects of life.
My own life these past few years has mirrored this process. I've known transition, boy howdy, saying a painful goodbye to a beloved partner and life of fourteen years. I left a university faculty post that's been the most rewarding career of my life. At the same time, wondrous new openings have appeared - a new kind of unprecedented love, a remarkable home of my dreams surrounded by nature, and a new vocation that more closely aligns with my higher purpose in life. I now have the opportunity to create a new life paradigm, being of service, coming from my heart, and creatively living within the context of my highest values.
And I've learned some things. Each day, I must choose who I will be regardless of what's happening around me. All my fears have emerged, provoking intense emotions and upheaval. "But I worked through that years ago!" has been a surprising new theme in my life. "Well, it looks like it's time to go deeper," seems the best passage to the new learning in old events and feelings.
What old patterns persist in your life?
Which ones serve you and which would you rather leave behind?
What do you want to do about it?
In this global transition, we have the opportunity to design and expand into new ways of being in the world. We may unearth and overthrow socialization, acculturation, and any other subconscious programming we've received and expressed that no longer serve us. Connection and collaboration may replace individualism and competition. Building fulfilling, joyful relationships may fill voids left by consumerism and other past-times of our former lifestyles.
Whatever it is, and whatever it may be, why not consciously create the life we truly desire right now? Why not invite transformation of our dreams and visions into reality?
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Sage, my animal companion of fourteen years, lived with a brain tumor during her last several years that provoked intermittent seizures increasing in intensity as she became older. The first one permanently removed her hearing, and so we learned a new way to communicate using hand signals. Through it all, she would accept life each day, just as it presented itself.
Sage remained in her body long past her time to go because she knew that I still needed her. I felt her spirit slip away from me during her final seizure, three days of complete incapacitation. My selfish, anguished tears brought her back into her body. They fueled her determination to hang onto life in spite of her suffering. Once she committed herself to life once more, she channeled her perseverance into relearning how to walk, even with huge neurological barriers. What always remained, no matter what she faced, was her innate sweetness, her loving spirit, and her capacity to accept her life, whatever came.
Here are some of Sage's qualities that I wish to invoke in my life, coaching, Reiki, and writing:
- Kindness and loving compassion
- Sensitivity to emotions and energy
- Natural healing abilities (her tongue worked as well as any antiseptic, but her sweet energy alone worked miracles)
- Loyal but playful and always ready for adventure (especially camping and road trips to her closest friends)
- Cunning (she would use the back of my cross-country skiis for a lift, and she learned the gliding motion so well that I wouldn't notice for awhile)
- Resolve to live authentically in the moment
What better mentor for my work here on earth? Ah, and I have yet another named Myo, a two-year old Australian Shepherd who shares many of Sage's qualities. She, too, has become one of my greatest teachers. Mostly, because she is an alpha-dog, she has helped me to claim, honor, and express more of my personal power than before.
I'm sure I'll write more about Myo later, but this blog is about Sage Spirit. So, I've asked myself, "How can I enfold Sage's spirit into my life and work?" This is what has evolved in my creation of Sage Spirit:
My clients experience a spiritual nudge to make life changes that feel too big, such as changing jobs, residences, relationship styles, or partnership status. They may feel stressed, confused, fearful of the future, or unfocused on their dreams. Their bodies give them indicators of needing attention, such as changed dietary needs, increased or reduced exercise, insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, and/or digestive problems. Health and vitality seem to slip away, but they are unsure of how to respond. They sense that they are off path somehow, a little lost, and unsure how to re-align with, or even identify, their life's purpose. Perhaps they are diagnosed with chronic health problems, and traditional medicine offers only part of the solution, while spiritual exploration seems to be an important component to consider in the healing process.
As a life coach, I help clients to explore their underlying beliefs about themselves, their world, and their capacity to heal or transition. My clients define new ways of living joyfully, vibrantly, and abundantly. They create a life that's aligned with their authentic self and higher purpose. Together we explore their dreams and visions, create action plans, identify support structures, engage in powerful actions, and evaluate their progress.
I welcome your responses to the following coaching questions, either on this blog site, through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (775.970.5476). Also contact me for your free coaching or Reiki sample session (local or distance sessions available).
- Where do you find inspiration in the plant or animal kingdom?
- How can you use your challenges and barriers as an avenue to express your true essence?
- Each day, each moment, we have the choice to fill our experience in ways that inspire our hopes or provoke our fears. What will you choose to place in your experience today?