Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Self-Love: a Book with Useful Tools for Growth

I admit I am a bit of a self-help book junkie. There is always a new book on my night table, one that I am convinced will heal my wounds, change my life, advance me past my fears into a great fulfilling life of my dreams. That's what they all promise, right?

But sometimes you come across a book that really does have tools you can use and feel the effects of immediately. Sometimes, one of your mentors (this time, Dr. Christiane Northrup, an author I admire) points you in a direction that feels like an important next step, and I'm very grateful I stumbled on the link in her newsletter.

The book she recommended is The MindBody Code, by Dr. Mario Martinez. The subtitle says it all: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit your Health, Longevity and Success. That may sound like a tall order, but I promise you, it's not another 12 week course in journaling, chakra realignment or magical thinking.

I found a really good interview and synopsis of the book online (below), so I won't write my own review here. Check it out:

Suffice it to say, this week I've been reading the book, and writing in my journal as I do some of the simple exercises. I had put the book aside for several months, then some members of my family came to visit, which usually triggers some old wounds and past emotional snaggles. So it almost jumped off the bookshelf for me this week, and I opened it randomly to the chapter on Forgiviness as Liberation from self-entrapment.

I have read a lot of books lately on self-care, self-love, lovingkindness, and while they offer worthy affirmations, thoughts and exercises, somehow I always get tripped up by not being able to put them into practice. Dr Martinez says that's because underneath our good intentions to love ourselves, are our feelings of not being worthy and deserving.  He uses simple tools to bring to mind memories of wounds, then bringing to mind memories of corresponding "healing fields". "What heals is the mindful recognition that you are the owner of these empowering deeds", he says.

There is much more to this, and of course, I'm still reading and rereading the book, so I'll let you check it out for yourself, and learn how to rescue your empowerment and feel gratitude and self-love increase in your life.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Energy

I am learning something powerful and useful in my 61st year. I'm starting to become more aware of what feeds my energy and what drains my energy, and where my cycles flow up or down.

For instance, this winter I laid low., very low, lots of resting and napping to get me through the cold winter and lack of light. On sunny days, I sometimes laid on the rug with the cat and dog, soaking up the light. I made a lot of art, collages and SoulCollage(R), but no lesson plans.

My coach had suggested to look at my calendar and schedule a year in advance, and notice in which parts I felt most inspired and energetic, and when I usually felt low energy. Up until now, I used to begin teaching classes every January and April following the school year. But this winter, I realized I'd be tired after the holidays and put it off.

And put it off, and put it off.

I spent the months of January til March recuperating, as well as dancing and singing in a Broadway show, but I didn't teach any classes. (I did lead my first long distance retreat, in Costa Rica, which was fun & challenging). But I kept thinking my energy would come back, and it finally did - once the play was over, end of March!

In some ways, this has been a Year of Living Selfishly, by which I mean, soulfully listening in to my Self to see what need comes up first  - what my body, heart and soul need.  (and since my kids are studying out of town, it's mostly  'me time' anyway). It's taken a lot of patience, (and I am not by nature very patient) but I'm learning to listen in.  Actually, I keep thinking I've found the "next thing", the next project, the ideas on the back burner come forward, and then go right back to simmer mode. It's been hard to not dig up the roots and stir the earth around the little shoots to pull them up out of the ground.

I did, however, come up with a Seasonal Retreat plan. Instead of deciding last minute, I've actually got a women's spring retreat for April 30 and one for August 6 (Summer Retreat). The Fall and Winter retreats will be end of October and end of January. 4 Seasons, 4 Retreats.

What have I learned about myself in this process? that there's no point pushing things - I'm a Type A person who likes to organize and plan ahead - but this is not a full-time job for me, there is no where to punch in. I am my own boss and I can adjust my schedule. What I do need, at this venerable age of 61, is to envision my work as a cycle that feeds me as well as feeding other women - all the Creative Circle classes and retreats I've lead in the last 8-10 years, have been very fulfilling. But as a teacher and facilitator, sometimes I'm on the "leading" side of things and not receiving as much as I need to.

I'm just musing here, but it is slowly become clearer. I journal every morning, and that helps me see patterns. I practice collage in my Art Journal and SoulCollage(R). I make myself mini-retreats to check in on a weekly basis and ask for guidance.  Having a creative life is not a linear thing, and surprisingly, I'm just learning that.  The spiral of life, and of life energy, moves in and out, around and back. The cycle of the year, of the months and the moon, is connected to my energy cycles and even sleep cycles.

So it begins with listening in. It begins with circling my self, with keen awareness. Sitting down and paying attention, hearing the still small voice that guides me so subtly. Making a friend, yes, befriending that soul energy that is flowing underneath my list of 'to do's and my activities. Changing gears at the last minute, if it feels right to.

Mapping and making art with Cat Caracelo has been very nurturing and nourishing. thanks to this artful process, I'm gaining new insights.

Spring Energy is definitely here!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where is Beauty, A Poem for April, National Poetry Month


in the eye
or somewhere inside
the body


on its wheel


in sunlight

Study the humility
of grass

the steadfast

Hold on to this breath-thread

to calm my


Jennifer Boire