Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's Blocking You?

Winter is an excellent time to retreat, to nourish our inner lives, to withdraw and make plans, whether it be for a new project, a new garden in spring, a new writing schedule, or a new self-care program you want to begin.  Our energy is naturally centered near the hearth, near the warmth of indoors, at least for the solitary non-skiers amongst us.  My favourite activity is curling up with a good book beside the fireplace or a sunny window when it's minus 20 outdoors. The dogs and cats have it right - find a spot in sun, on top of a comforter or quilt, and nap.

But sometimes the lack of sun in winter can create a lethargy or winter blues in us northern climate dwellers. A lack of energy that translates into resistance to doing the creative work you usually love. Or from starting that creative project you've been dreaming about. Or maybe it's not that the lack of sunlight, you just feel blah and uninspired and blocked and you don't know why.

As I was surfing my favourite inspirational websites this week, I came across a post on resistance that really spoke to me. I have several writing projects on the back burner, and not sure why I'm blocked about getting started on the next stages, so I've been journalling about it, asking my guides for clarity. Here's the post on resistance, by Marjory Mejia.

"Are you feeling the pull towards expression but are encountering some resistance in your life? Do you wish you could do something you have always wanted to do but somehow you can’t get started? Are you afraid to fail? Scared of criticism? Do you doubt yourself? This is resistance, which can happen around anything and everything.

We may be tempted to see resistance as our enemy. As the Dalai Lama states, “The enemy is a very good teacher.” We can envision this resistance as a demon and start feeding it to satisfaction until it finally releases its grip on us and we reclaim this energy to do our work.

We can look at resistance in terms of forces of nature. Just like there is a force that is expansive and propels our blooming there is another that is shrinking and contracts our spirit. For all of you facing some blockages around creative expression, it might help to realize that all those fears are a measure of how important it actually is to do the work you came here to do.

What is waiting to be born within you? Can you nourish it this winter? Author Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art, states that resistance is the block between “the life we live, and the unlived life within us.” Let’s not wait all our lives to start living."
posted by Marjory Mejia on Owning Pink.

What this may translate into practically is sitting down and doing some journalling around the question, why am I feeling stuck? or what is blocking me? how and where does resistance manifest itself?

List the ways you feel stuck, starting with how it feels in the present moment to be stuck.
Then add another column of What I want to feel - instead of feeling stuck.
and a third column of What fulfilling that want will look and feel like, practically.
(excercise borrowed from Writing down the Soul)

Ask yourself also, do I deserve to have a creative, fulfilled relationship with my work? Are you feeling a tiny bit unworthy or undeserving of help from the universe? Explore that feeling in your journal.

Do you value your work?  What came up for me this morning was how little I value the time and effort I put into my writing and teaching work.  I say I value it, but deep inside, I allow it to be belittled by my inner critic or pushed aside by other priorities.  I don't stand up for it.  I don't always make time for it, put it at the top of my list.

So, in facing the demon, accepting the lessons of what being stuck means and feels like for you, you may be able to turn it around into a self-nurturing moment of understanding.  With a little quiet nurturing of your soul/spirit, a little rocking of the injured self that feels not capable of advancing instead of beating yourself up about being lazy, you might just feel more open to getting started on something.

have a creative weekend, even if it's curled up the fire reading a good book,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Feminine Wisdom

The world needs our feminine values, to return to balance. But sometimes when we're overwhelmed with busyness and the work-life balance takes a plunge into overtime, I wonder, what will it take to find ourselves as resplendent, strong, centered women in touch with our bodies and our own rhythms?

Our ability to tune in and find wisdom through our insight and self-reflection calls on our creativity and compassion.  Yes, we can help heal the world.  Our influence is already being felt in the ecology and peace movements, wherever taking care of others is happening. But first of all, we have to make self-care a prioirity. It takes some downtime, some quiet time and that takes Making Time.

If we can begin by trusting our own instincts, standing up for life, valuing the feminine ways of knowing (in women and in men), learning how to listen to our intuition.

One way to grow these skills is through paying attention to the body, to your own monthly rhythms.You can become more self-aware through journalling, and/or make yourself a short retreat at your monthly period time. Feminine power is the kind of power that can sit and patiently rock a teething baby for hours in the middle of the night, or give birth after many hours of labour.  Female wisdom resides inside the body. It values awareness, sensitivity, the ability to nurture, and it honours the bleeding time with solitude and retreat - with self-love.

"Women don't have to do anything" to receive this wisdom, according to Lara Owen; in fact, the less they do the better.  (adapted from Lara Owen, Her Blood is Gold

Above all, be gentle with yourself.  If you hear the harsh voice of criticism, soften it, for yourself and others. Give yourself some breathing room to welcome your growing self.  Your intuition will be heightened if you give it a welcome place to land, if you don't pooh-pooh it out of existence.  Be willing to be open, curious about your self, your habitual thought patterns, and don't second guess your immediate instinctual reaction to something from the gut that wells up, that comes as 'just a feeling' or an image, or a book that jumps off the shelves wanting to be read.

"Whatever the source, I have learned to pay very close attention. To ignore these promptings is usually not in my best interests. This irrationality, sometimes called women's intuition, is often demeaned and dismissed as an invalid way of knowing....I am a woman trusting my intuition."  I Am A woman Finding my Voice, Janet F. Quinn

Give yourself time this month to rest and retreat occasionally. Whether it be a nap, a long bath, a walk outdoors at lunchtime, let your body have some downtime,( and your mind), so you can tap into something irrational, out of the ordinary, be it as simple as listening to your breath as you sit or walk. Listen in....


Monday, January 18, 2010

Journey into Presence

The journey to the centre of the universe is not 20,000 leagues under the sea, nor is it 50,000 miles to the moon.

The greatest journey is the one where we travel through our own inner landscape. Nelle Morton says, "the journey is not much a journey ahead, or a journey into space, but a journey into presence. The farthest place on earth is the journey into the presence of the nearest person to you."

I would add that sometimes the farthest journey is the journey into our own presence.  We are often fragmented, our attention scattered in this fast-paced culture where distractions abound, pulling us outwards.  Every sense is stimulated and hyperstimulated in the quest for the 'best', the best food, the best house, the best job, the best movie, the best book.  We are urged to pack the most into the least amount of time, whether we are rushing to read our emails, our blackberries, our laptop, the TV, radio commecials...we are bombarded from without.

The journey into presence implies being in stillness, finding our ground, our root, sitting with the question, letting the answers come from within.  

I am very pleased to be offering a day-long retreat on Sunday Jan 31, in Hudson, called Journey into Presence.  It's my favourite thing to do for myself, take some quiet time to unplug from the outside world, play some soothing music, light a candle and write in my journal.  

I invite anyone in the Montreal area reading this blog to send me an email for more information.


Monday, January 11, 2010


What do I love, what do I want to do right now? I wrote in my journal sometime before the Christmas holidays began.

I was away in the mountains this past weekend with my kids. While they skiied with their Dad, I sat and read, wrote in my journal, did yoga, some writing exercises. It felt very grounding and peaceful. After the rush of the holidays, the marathon of friends and parties and family do's.

Reading this journal entry put me back in touch with the space I was in then, and the space I want to be in right now.  The wisdom of the heart.

Right now, in this moment, I want to allow the wisdom of my heart to bypass the strategist. I want the dreamer to awake and tell me her deepest cherished dream. I want to hold her hand and shush and rock her until she dares speak out loud her deepest wish - she has not shown herself for fear of being judged, and she is hiding underneath the bed.

She doesn't like to compete, she hates hype,  marketing, meetings and pressure to produce goals.  She is anti-goal. She lives for the feeling mode, under the surface of things. She is a shy fish. My outer voice is too loud, sometimes; it frightens her. I courted her in the past, but gave up, bured her under convention, under the 'should's', the must's, and Duty.

Right now I want to listen.
Right now I want to receive guidance.
Where are my life's interests sending me - a book, more classes, healing?
I do want to be healed.

Sometimes you have to let the wounds show, let the air at them.
Here's to opening up to heart's wisdom in 2010.

that's as far as I can go with 'planning' or goals.
Trust, surrender, giving myself the space to explore in.