Staying on the Path…

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Pitching in for a friend/artist colleague from whom I have learned so much. Thanks Lani!

Time to give back. So this Monday, I am posting a “Monday Challenge” and linking in to her site.

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Mindfulness and self-compassion are my areas of growth for the present moment and the present moment is the only one we’ve got. Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, this life in which you find yourself incarnated, is all you have; this present moment is yours to savour and to learn from.

In a little Facebook group we’ve carved out to learn more about “Elephant Training”  we’ve been talking a bit about goals, their uses, their benefits, their drawbacks. How and why to set them – and when not to.

I’d like to go across the grain and say that I feel there is a seduction in goal setting that can get us stuck, keep us procrastinating and often push us to be self-critical in the extreme. I have good company.

Leo Babauta has helped me to view goal setting as counter-productive if it takes me off that perfect path, out of the present moment.

Jonathan on “Paid-to-Exist” speaks eloquently on goals as a means to cultivating your path, but unhelpful when they pull you off it – which really speaks to me.

But as I reread for the third time, “The Mindful Way through Depression” I came across this, “Over time these goal-driven mind states will become more familiar and less of an enemy or an obstacle…Rather than a reason to despair, however, such goal-driven and judgmental mind states can be treated as cues, reminding us of how easy it is to get caught in difficult emotions around ‘getting somewhere’ or ‘making progress.’”

Kent Nerburn speaks so poignantly about not letting “goals” get in our way here:

Your Assignment … should you choose to take it

Just for today try to be more in the present moment, not letting goals – yours or someone else’s – get in the way of the wonder that resides in that unique and fleeting space in your life.

Tonight, write or sketch about that in your journal and smile, enjoying that presence and that moment twice in your life.

Be well!Image

Risking Peace

What would risking peace look like?

Each day I pull a card from a deck of self-care cards published by Cheryl Richardson as a jumping off point for morning journaling. A couple of days ago it looked like this:

ImageSure got me to thinking… risk peace, risk peace, risk peace…whatever can that mean. Because really and truly it seemed more than a coincidence that these two words seemed to be forming a complete thought that resonated deep within me.

I journaled about what they could mean. Put them on my desk with other collage materials and played with images. Here’s what that looked like.

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Just an aside you can send one of Cheryl’s self-care cards as a postcard…just go here

Now I realize that today’s word is actually two words, but once again they came to me by happenstance and together they say something a little different than if I just put down risk AND peace as my words. And they would take up 2 days instead of the one I have left b/c the 6th of January is the “real” New Year for me. Because in all actuality January 1st being the beginning of another year is arbitrary and patriarchal so I’ve decided to ignore that.

All decisions must be in place by the New Year I’ve set for myself. The goals set. The direction begun. Otherwise, I’ll just drag this out until around September which is really and truly the beginning of a new year for me. Honestly, every day is a new beginning so it’s hard for me to just pick ONE day in 365 (or so) and label it thus and so.

In case you are interested I am an Enneagram Nine…

“While peacefulness and serenity are two of the principal traits of healthy Nines, there are also times when Nines can be angry, aggressive, and anxious. However, they virtually always think of themselves as peaceful and return to various forms of peacefulness (for instance, passivity and complacency) as their ‘home base’.”

For Nines passivity often passes for peacefulness and we are often perceived as “slothful” or “lazy” because decisions are so … so … so … well aggressive. We don’t want to be seen as aggressive, or angry, or anxious and so you can see my dilemma about picking a single day as a deadline. I need deadlines. Desperately…but someone else has to set them … and even then I may balk.

There I’ve digressed enough. Sorry.

Back to where we started from:

Risk Peace.

Notice what is on the back of these cards by Cheryl Richardson

ImageThe risk card also mentions that we need to use our power. That really speaks to me because as most women do, I often acquiesce my power to others. So if I am to take risks I must realize that I have power to use gently, carefully, kindly…but never to give it to another.

The peace card refers to peace in not knowing all the answers. What an aha! that was for me. Yes! That would be true peace for me…to risk trusting, to risk confusion, to risk just being with a question AND not knowing. Risky peace for sure.

What would risking peace mean for you?

Going deep

Oh my goodness, school’s out for the semester and I am able to join my Jamie Ridler tribe in Wishcasting Wednesdays. So what question does Jamie post this week (this week after her birthday! Happy lately) “What is your deepest wish?”

Now this is difficult. Because if you really go deep you sometimes hit gold, but you might also hit bedrock. It can be brutally hard to really go deep and state out loud (as some of my “tribe” have done) your deepest wish. It takes a lot of courage. Do I have the patience? Do I have enough courage? Do I have wisdom to really know when I have gone deep enough to know that yearning that whispers in the shadows of my self what it is that I wish for?

I just had a most important call. That stirs something inside me. This opportunity would give me a chance to serve in a very meaningful way; to serve the people…ALL the people…ALL the Treaty People. And that is what I yearn for…to serve. To share my gifts to touch people and to heal hurts that go back hundreds of years.

Props to my hubby, Jeff at Mythic Landscape for the spiderweb photo. Even if I took it (and I can’t remember if I took this exact one) he was beside me coaching! He is a great coach!

Just a day or so ago, I created this page…so now that moment of Aha! is here. Now I must go deeply until I hear that Aha! That Ahhhh!

Today that is what I woke up knowing and aching for. Service is what I yearn for. Connection, purposefulness, and meaning. That is my deepest wish. May it be so! Aho!

Full Cold Moon

Walking to St. Thomas Anglican Church last night to deliver cookies for the Cookie Walk today all i could feel was the welcoming silence, snow under my feet, snow clouds overhead, twinkling lights all around…and silence like a hug wrapped all around me.

Getting back to journaling, reading, making collages…has stilled the nonsensical need to have approval, more letters after my name, an institutional stamp on my forehead (in a manner of speaking) … and has allowed me to reconnect with my self, to hear my own voice, to reclaim my own dreams. And today Jamie Ridler’s tweet about her Full Moon Dreamboard inspired me.

If classes were still going on, I would have ignored the pull to engage in a full moon activity of any sort, but today i do have the time. It’s what I choose to do … for me.

What I did this time is a 2 page spread in my journal.

Here is what came to me today.

closeup of left side

(just click on the image to “embiggen” them)

close up

of right side

As Jamie taught me you just open up the nearest magazine or flyer and cut the pictures, the words, the colours that speak to you. Don’t ask why! Just snip, snip, snip — even tear, if you’re brave.

Then arrange them on your page (you can do them really big … poster or bristol board size) or like me just do a page or two in your journal of the moment. Remember this is not “art” … it’s intuitive. Try to just clear your head, put your brain in neutral and just feel.

After it’s all put together, I let it rest for a bit. Later, I’ll light a candle and ponder the images, the words, and i’ll journal what they are whispering to me. I’ll still myself and lean into the silence … who knows what I’ll discover?

I’m hoping to inspire others in my own community to do the same. I’d like if we could do it together. Would you like to join us? I hope so. If you do just comment and I’ll get back to you with more information. Make 2012 your year to connect with your self…the one that is waiting in the shadowy silence to speak her (or his) own voice.

And a little eye candy for you on this Full Cold Moon (taken today)

courtesy of Jeff Suchak at Mythic Landscape

Back at the sewing machine

It’s been a great while…indeed too long…since the hum and whirr of the trusty sewing machine was heard around this ol’ house. But I happened upon a video from Teesha Moore got me to thinking about making another fabric journal. Not a fabric book, like this one i made aeons ago for Kate (youngest daughter)

Hebrew letters spell out Jonah

Jonah working in his garden hears a voice

Jonah snaps back, "NO" at the "Voice"



And then he tries to hide...but you guessed it, no such luck

Aboard a ship in the opposite direction to Ninevah, Joppa to be exact

Realizes he is the cause of the storm and urges sailors to chuck him over the side of the ship right into the briny drink!
Caught by a fish…A Very Big Fish!

Swallowed...in the belly of the big fish (for how many days, boys and girls?)

Sorry, i digressed there, didn’t mean to teach a bible lesson. LOL

but this project will be a journal covered in fabric with lots of random sized pages of good weight paper in which to scribe and draw and paint in.

I couldn’t find a couple of starts that would be perfect…but they will show up. So inbetween doing the RBBP i decided to give myself a break and work on this a bit. There will be a lot of hand stitching in this. It will be a work in progress for a while, but since i have made the painful decision to forgo spending a year in London away from home, studying…while couch surfing i might add. No that was the right decision. There is too much else that calls to be done. So i’m off to the studio to stitch for a bit!

Cutting Loose

Words are inadequate as i deal with the impact of a decision i made yesterday.  Suffice it to say that i took a walk around the back yard…images are the only thing that i can manage…take this walk with me…

So a walk after a rain…even in a very messy yard … can be enlightening and lighten the load. It puts things into perspective. all is well and all shall be well. Resistance is futile … the universe has spoken. and so it is. And it is indeed GOOD!

Wishing can open doors…

Jamie Ridler has got me to dreaming. Dreaming big. Dreamboards and all. And she has also got me connected to a tribe of wishcasters. We do our wishcasting on Wednesdays and join each other in supporting all of those dreams and wishes and I’m absolutely certain that if you wanted to join us absolutely everyone would welcome you in with open arms…Today we are wishing to open doors. And we invite you in!

Join me as I cast wishes and dream big imagining doors opening, inviting in creativity, newness, and enthusiastic adventuring…

It is a time just within our grasp, not yet, but not far away.

It is autumn in the country. The sky is that intense blue,

the clouds scuttle across the sky.

The Bay is aglow with a million star-like sparkles.

The air is crisp and everywhere your eye falls it is passionate purple

Photo Credits to Jeff Suchak

sparkled with opals and oranges, scarlets and golds.

Photo Credits to Jeff Suchak http://mythiclandscape.com

I can see it now. I know what my wonderful wish for today is:

I wish to open the door to Songbird haven,

http://rosschapin.com/Plans/Houses/Songbird/Songbird.html

bringing in an armful of wildflowers; cooking a hearty breakfast for me and my hubby.

Then off to open the door to Back Bay Studio

http://rosschapin.com/Plans/Cottage/BackBay/BackBay.html

to prepare for the next group of retreatants coming to tap into their wild and wonderful selves through a series of profoundly passionate and pleasurable journaling experiences. I will be their companion and guide through this process.

You are invited and I am so looking forward to sharing time with you here in this place we reverence with its natural stained glass.

And we will all be opening doors to deeper understanding of where we fit into the universe,

Photo Credits to Jeff Suchak http://mythiclandscape.com

where we are called to share our gifts, and where we need to take those next small steps into our wild and precious lives. This is where we will weave together all those loose ends into an incredibly rich and precious tapestry.

I am so glad you are joining me…

Nourishing dreams…

“There is power in wishing – putting your wishes out there sets mighty forces into action” … Donnaonthebeach

Photo credit to Jeff Suchak @ http://mythiclandscape.com

For the past few weeks i have been joining Jamie Ridler and a great group of wonderful wild women in Wishcasting and it has been wonderful, wondrous, miraculous (dare i even say it aloud?). And i want to encourage anyone who happens upon my blog today, my regular readers, someone who stumbled on to this post by accident…please, do this. Put your wishes, your hopes, your dreams out there…in a safe place, with a tribe who will support you. If you have some real, live, flesh and blood peeps…great on you. If not, find some. We live in a wondrous age when you can feel supported and part of a community though we all live in our own little corner of this beautiful blue marble that is Earth.

It does work. Tomorrow i hope i am home in time from the doc (heck, i might just change my appointment) to participate in a chance to make a dreamboard. I have started collecting things for August full moon’s dreamboard, but that’s not all i want to do.

I want to dream big, bigger than i’ve ever dreamed before. And i want to make it happen…or at the very least help the Universe to open up and let it happen. Nourish my dreams which feed my “business” which is to help people to come together into “tribes” (it’s a metaphor) so that they can nourish their own dreams. I’d like to do this vis à vis (face to face). I want to bring people together in a space and place that nourishes them, to write, to journal, to make beauty in their lives.

Because what i do is important. People depend on me. Most of them don’t even know that yet, but as i nourish this wish or wish this nourishment … they will, in time, come to realize that we can connect and that the result will be exponential to what either of us is or can become. I believe that.

My tribe supports me. My family supports me. So i am going to nourish that belief. And maybe someday, we’ll be together in a retreat centre, sharing peace and blessings, and supporting each other’s dreams, encouraging each other’s self-trust, and won’t that be fine!

May all your wishes be supported. May all your dreams manifest. May you blossom into your very best you! May it be so.

As you wish for yourself, so i too fervently and reverently wish for you!

Blues…

Well, yeah, it’s the dog days of summer. Humidity higher than the hot. And here’s what happens when you take out the wax paper insert between pages during times like these…

Grrr grumble grumble.

Upside? 1. all four pages were in their infancy stages so not too loud a wail from me. 2. makes room for more pop-ups, inserts, and the like. Short of it…i get to play a little more. But still… I hate to lose even one page.

So how did i let those feelings go? How did i hoist my canteen out of the down and dirty dumps?

I journaled of course!

Nothing better to shake the blues, for me, than to get out the scissors, the glue, my files of images from old magazines etc. and some pens and watercolour crayons and just go to it.

Often when there is no strong impetus…i’ll just reach into the text box and pull out a couple of words and phrases and force myself to come up with something.

In a pinch i will fall back on some themes i have cooking on the back burner.

Closeups for those detail oriented…

Even with this page the humidity seems to have messed with the setting of the blue Sharpie pen i used for the lettering. You can see a smudge at the ts of the word gets where the ink smeared. Just remember to chant this mantra…”it’s the process that counts…it’s the process that counts…it’s the process that counts…om mani padme hum.”

I take my own photographs of my journal pages. It’s another part of the process…a learning, growing, stretching kind of place for me.

If you’re feeling slightly wonky or adrift at sea…give it a try and see what comes of it. Just get into the process and have a whale of a time.

(These photo credits go to Jeff Suchak of Mythic Landscape

Finding your sacred…

This is one spread i am working on today…along with one other…no where near finished, but thought i’d share it so far…

So far just finished the collage process…more to come!

But wait, there’s more! I am searching to express my own spirituality. It may not be yours; may not resonate with you…and that’s a good thing. Our spirituality needs to be deeply our own … and it may need redefining now and again. Spirituality isn’t some mumbo jumbo stuff either. It is (in my own opinion) what makes us human. But it doesn’t need to be separate and apart from religion. And religion doesn’t necessarily mean organized religion either. Religion (as many of you will know) comes from “the Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are obscure” which gives us the English word (go here to see my sources) with an equally misunderstood or at best confusing array of “meanings”. Not only can the meaning be interpreted in many ways, but the word … like many others … has a connotative meaning … which means it is emotionally loaded and laden. Perhaps you have had an enlightenment similar to this wonderful lady! For me this has great significance and forces me to examine and re-examine what i mean by both the words spirituality and religion.

I am a Christian. I was born into a family who revered Jesus and his teachings. That shaped me and still forms and informs me. Now, that said, i must confess to a heap of misgivings about “church” and the hierarchy (and patriarchy) that has given fodder for the many who would poopoo any attachment to “religion” because they believe that the two are intertwined and inseparable. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps not. Perhaps it invites inspection and introspection. That’s what these pages will do. See you tomorrow with more progress.

Pssst…if you’ve gotten this far you deserve a little bon mot or tidbit … i prefer the definition that Joseph Campbell and Tom Harpur prefer.

More about that tomorrow! Bet you can hardly wait…. smiling and chuckling to herself on this blistering hot day on the shores of Georgian Bay!