Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walden Zone digital free space

Every morning I read the paper looking for that one tidbit that will inspire me. Today it's an article called Screen-Free spaces, on creating a digital free zone in your home, in the Globe and Mail Life section.  Imagine setting aside a room in your home where there is no TV, no blackberry, no computer, no Ipad, no Iphone.  They call it the Walden zone.

"What if "Walden zone" became a sort of shorthand for families to remind themselves to live 'deliberately' a la Thoreau, when the kids are zoning out in front of their third hour of video games and parents are glued to their BlackBerry's?"  The idea comes from a book by William Powers, Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age.  

While you may not have a separate space in your home to meditate or do yoga in, consider that what we really need is a quiet zone, or space where we have the right to download only our reflective thoughts of the moment, or a calm space to look out the window and see blue sky.  I'm lucky to have the sun rising in the east over the lake out my kitchen window, and that becomes a privileged moment.  I also have a room with only bookshelves and a piano, where I can escape from the TV or music in the other room and just read.

Building a Walden moment or zone may be more about your frame of mind than building a room in your home, for instance, removing my laptop from my bedroom has also allowed a different energy in my sleeping space. It's no longer my daily work space, since I brought the laptop down to the kitchen counter. It's been a week now, and I'm still automatically looking towards the place where it used to be to check my emails.

How can you create a little more awareness, a little more quiet - or even an Internet Sabbath day?  If you can't even walk the dog without checking emails and phone messages, perhaps you need to unplug for a few hours just to restore the habit of enjoying nature, smiling at people passing by, interacting with clouds in the sky.

Our kids need us to model a balanced lifestyle if they are ever going to create one for themselves. We need to find that quiet space within us, too. Enjoy a digital free zone today!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Speaking My Truth

One of my favourite things is to collect inspiring quotes and post them on Musemother facebook page. It's something innate in me I guess, the need to share immediately what I find, especially if its a resource or article or quote that has helped me and could help someone else find clarity or understanding.

The one I picked a few days ago was about integrity:  
Living with integrity means: not settling for less than what you know you deserve in relationships, asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might lead to conflict or tension... Barbara de Angelis.

It's a theme that is popping up in my life in different places, in not always comfortable ways. Speaking my truth, even though it might cause conflict - is not my strong point. Or else, I speak my truth but in a strong bossy voice that precludes any acceptance or trust from the another party.  Or I leave the room, slam a door, withdraw and retreat. How can I ask for what I need, and make choices based on what I believe, and still keep in harmonious relationship with others? Can I live with someone close to me not agreeing with my choices? It's time to put that baby to bed - you can't please everyone around you by being plasticene bendy.

Really, the ego self just wants the world to go exactly my way, the way I want it. I would love to control the universe, but that's just a fantasy.  My kids are very good at deflating that balloon. They don't want to be controlled, they want respect and trust, and even sometimes to talk about how they feel. They tell me flat out when I'm too bossy. And I need to really listen to what they are telling me.

So Living with integrity could also be about listening, really hearing what my significant others are saying to me, really standing in my own heart space and hearing them, even if I disagree. Sometimes not speaking up would honour my integrity more. Making choices about when and where to speak, when to hold council, when to hold the silence.  Allow people to come onto my island and not meet them with walls, arrows and all my defenses. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and still know what I know to be true.

I pulled a card today to help guide me in my discussions with a friend, and it was an angel card about the Heart Chakra, or heart energy. About coming from a place of love, really hearing what the other party says. My inner child is challenged by authority, by strong voices, by disagreements. But I want to soothe her enough that she will stick around, stay open, not run away at the first sign of tension or conflict.  Breathing into my own heart, standing by my heart with a firm intention to stay grounded. Stay true to me, and true to the moment. I cannot give up on myself, I cannot withdraw and retreat anymore.  I felt vulnerable and shakey but I breathed through it, and I tried to listen.

I want to learn more about integrity and speaking my truth, that's all I can say right now. Bottling things up and letting them explode in unexpected ways and places, is not a healthy option.


Monday, November 07, 2011

Reimagining Life without Fear

Life is benevolent. It wants to give us our hearts' desires. We don't have to wrestle what we want from a resistant life. (WOWAffirmations, Patricia Lynn Reilly.

You discover there is nothing to be afraid of. If you walked through the world with this feeling, what would you do or be differently? 
(Life's companion, Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice, Christina Baldwin)

The above quotes coincided to bless my life experience this past week. It started with a dream I had the day after a Rolfing session (more on Rolfing later, but it's a kind of body talk experience, a gentle touch that releases fascia and emotional baggage trapped there). 

First, the dream: I am sitting in my backyard with my husband. I look up and there is a huge wall of grey shimmering water, taller than a high-rise, coming towards me. I turn to climb the chain link fence behind me, and can't lift myself up. I have no strength in my muscles. My husband tries to help me, on one knee, giving me a hand up, but neither of us can move, frozen in fear.

The dream work I did in the Rolfing session surprised me - after taking turns inhabiting all parts of the dream, being the wave, being my husband, being Jennifer frozen on the fence, I discovered the wall of water was actually not harmful but benevolence itself, a huge tsunami of love wanting to enclose me in its embrace.

(photo of Kennebunkport, Maine, October 8, 2011)

So, fear of disappearing into the wave of love has frozen me. Revisiting the dream, I felt the fear melting and the heart open in gratefulness. 

This week in journal class, we wrote using the quote from Life's companion as a prompt. If I discovered there was nothing to be afraid of, how would I live my life differently?  If life really is benevolent and wants me to realize my heart's desires (instead of living in struggle, fear, poverty mode), then perhaps I can begin to move through life in a more relaxed and open way...  It changes everything to start imagining this is true.

It works against my background of tightness and fear, always tense and expecting the worst, afraid that beauty and love are "too good to be true".  It works against my expectation of what I deserve.  It invites me to feel accepting and worthy of my highest good.  It nudges me out of my frozen on the fence mode, unable to take steps, take risks, move forward, and invites me to feel the deep embrace of the higher love inside me.

The strangest thing is how it manifests in the outer world. Once I open my heart and melt the resistance to love, all of a sudden I receive more love.  It's embarrassing to receive that much love. For instance, this year I received more birthday wishes on Facebook that I have ever had, not to mention emails and phone calls wishing me happy birthday.  My open, vulnerable self, that I call Baby Jennifer, revels in this love and the ego shivers and quakes like a small dog in a thunderstorm.

To accept this reality helps me take steps in publishing my next book, The Tao of Turning Fifty. It helps me be less shy to meet the people who can help me manifest my desire to reach as many women as possible with the resources and knowledge I want to share. It helps unfreeze me from not wanting to 'sell' myself or appear too pushy. My good girl self would like to hang back and let people come to me. But if they don't hear about the work I'm doing, how does that serve the purpose? 

Anyway, I am working with this new awareness. I will breathe myself into it, in my body.  I continue to explore the margins of fear, the echoes of love, feeling the shimmering possibility of moving forward in trust and love, knowing that Life is benevolent. It wants my well-being. We have a partnership going on here, and I can learn to trust that, bow to that, surrender to love instead of to fear.

have a great day/week,