Monday, April 25, 2011

Grounding Myself in Self-Knowing

"Can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else's love? ... I believe that true identiy is found as Eckhart once said, by 'by going into one's own ground and knowing oneself.'" Gift from the Sea,  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I am trying to discipline myself this morning, through writing in my journal after meditating, and before getting to the To Do List.  To discover where my own ground is, and how best to know what I want to work on. I am trying to put my work on the front burner, on the top of the list.  But it's very tempting to let the world decide for me what is important. My daughter or my son, the quartet or the chorus can all throw 'stuff' at me that needs to be done. The house is an octopus with tentacles in every room, and piles of laundry await me every Monday. I still need to put away the table and decorations from our Easter Brunch yesterday, and my son came back from residence with suitcases full of sheets and things to put away.

So I was reading some quotes from Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsh
that inspired me and I share some of them here:

"I am is the strongest creative statement. It sets in motion what you call forth.

First think about what you want to be, do, have. Think often until very clear. Think about nothing else. Discard all negative thoughts, pessimism, doubts, fears, disclipine your mind to hold fast to the original creative thought. When your thoughts are clear and steadfast, begin to speak them as truths. Say them out loud. Use the command, "I am".

I tell you this...your life proceeds out of your intentions for it."

So here goes, I'm going to take my own advice, and think long about some "I am" statements that I want to manifest.  Affirmations written in "I am" form may help me get where I'm going.

I am focused on helping women give themselves permission to take care of themselves.

I am worthy and deserving of putting my full attention on writing this book, Tao of Turning Fifty.
I am reaching out to other women in mid-life to share their stories with me.
I am worthy and deserve time to pursue my own interests and have my needs met.
I am growing in self-awareness, self-knowledge, and this make the world a better place!

I am enjoying the sunshine on the lake this morning and a calm meditative mood.
enjoy the Spring Sun,


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day and Easter

There's a reason Earth Day is in Spring - we are giving thanks for newly green sprouts, tulips and crocuses poking their greenery above earth, snow melted, and wetness falling to provide more green leaves.

Easter, as my sister put it in her blog Aurum, is about rebirth and fertile earth. Tammuz and Adonis were  middle eastern gods celebrated during spring rituals celebrating the dying and resurrecting of the seasons - they were both beloved of goddesses who represented Mother Earth - Inanna and Astarte or Ishtar, much like the Greek story of Demeter and Persephone, who lived in the underworld for 6 months of the year, creating winter. See this website for the mythological stories behnd Easter. //

The very name "Easter" is derived from Eastre, or Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring and dawn. So there are many ancient pre-Christian references to this spring festival.

I also remember loving the newness of a Spring Coat and Hat (worn with little white gloves and patent leather shoes) for Easter Mass every year. Later this turned into a lace veil, when hats were no longer required at church. Easter was a magical time of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and candy appearing on the dining room table behind closed doors, no entry until after attendance at Mass. And of course, Good Friday was a solemn walk around the stations of the cross contemplating a dying god.

Earth Day is a relatively new phenomenon, founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to put the plight of the environment on the political front burner through a grass-roots movement (much like the anti-Vietnam protests which blossomed on university and college campuses).  Read his story for the background on how the environmental movement got started with a concern for what humans are doing to the earth we live on.

I am grateful to both mythology, Christianity, Earth Day and grass-roots environmental protesters in the 70's for bringing attention to how we treat the abundant gifts of the earth, for the cyclical beauty of recurring seasons, for the potential for regeneration and new life out of death. For we have reason to celebrate life after a long cold winter, and to wonder at the circle of life and death and our place in the mystery.

I will spend this Easter in the company of family, celebrating two new births (great-grandchildren for my father-in-law), remembering recently deceased family members (my mother-in-law and an uncle), and eating from the bounty of Mother Earth in a Spring Feast.

How will you remember and give thanks?

Happy Easter, Joyeuses Paques

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Honouring the Heart's Call

excerpt from the Artist's Creed by Jan Philips, Marry Your Muse

I believe that the time I spend creating my art is as precious as the time I spend giving to others.
I am worth the time to create whatever I am called to create.

These messages about self-worth and creativity are very timely. While working with the Visual Journaling workbook, I chose to write about an inner conflict, and the one that came up for me was the conflict between serving and writing (whether non-fiction, stories or poems). It's very easy for me to respond to a call for help, or get involved in a project that is worthy, giving my time to others, or "othering" as I have started to call it. It's like mothering. I respond in a flash to my kid's needs, especially if they're sick or unwell. Partly for selfish reasons, I think, because it feeds my "good girl" image of myself. It makes me feel good to do good deeds. There's nothing wrong with that. However, when it becomes an obsessive-compulsive reflex, to always respond to calls from others and never make time for my own work, that is a problem.

The problem is also that my 'work' doesn't always pay. I may send out a story or poem and get paid in copies of a magazine, or get paid $50, or more if I am lucky, for a book review. I have chosen to work in the creative side, not the journalistic side of writing, and there is no immediate reward. This makes it justifiable in my sub-conscious, anyway, to put it off. The other volunteer jobs I am doing are not paying me either, to be coordinator of my chorus' management team, to be teaching writing classes at the Cancer Wellness Center, to find speakers for my women's circle, even writing this blog, but they do give back in terms of a feeling of fulfillment, or community giving.

Having been brought up enamoured of the Christian ideal of serving others first, plus living in a community environment where service was highly prioritized for most of my twenties, has made this my built in default mode. How to retrain my thinking and value my own creative work, even if I am not paid for it? Even if the book deal is far off, and the draft has been sitting on my computer for two years....waiting for me to give it my attention, waiting for me to value my own work. I've been running after workshops and retreats to try and jump start my commitment to a project outside of me, but I'm beginning to think the problem is on the inside of me.

That is why I am loving reading this book, Marry Your Muse. I recommend it to all you creatives who are torn between doing your paid job, your housework, your caretaking work, your volunteer work and your heart's passion. Consider this: you will be at peace with yourself when you respond to the voice of your own heart. We can better respond to all things from that awareness, whether it be the call to serve or the call to write.

Entering my own quiet place, in the silence, I listen and learn what is next for me, where my path is leading, and how I can be of service while remaining true to the work to which I am called.

Maybe my being creative and writing is the greatest service I am being called to perform. How will I know if I never give myself the time to find out? to practice listening.

Making time to create is like making time for prayer.....


Friday, April 08, 2011

My imagination is a lake

the lake is a mirror with ice chunks this morning
sun, gulls, a few ducks resting.
how do I receive inspiration? randomly
from the earth, air and sky
I am nature bound. Connecting to my essence
flowing with it.
I relax and access my imagination. Even
a minute staring at the lake calms my mind.

The ice melts, the water flows.
It is just the way it is. Enough warmth
in the air breaks up the frozen, gets
it moving.

Let the imagination warm up too!
let the intuition speak in a loud voice!
Receive and give, receive and give.

Heart - your true excitement comes
in creation.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Self care and Journaling

We all must learn to believe that we are worthy and deserve time to pursue our own interests, to have our needs met and to enjoy lives that are rich, full and abundant in every way. Until we learn this soul lesson, we will always be in conflict as we continue to put others' needs ahead of our own.

My growing makes the world a little better for everyone....

Be the best you can be....Allow yourself time and space to Grow.

from Visual Journaling, Going Deeper than Words
(using art to get in touch with feelings and give voice to your soul, even if you can't draw).
Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox

Friday, April 01, 2011

Real Meditation is the Rhythm of this Breath

Want to know what the true meditation is like? watch this clip about the Breath of Life.