Hello, Love. I know I’ve been away for a while and I always miss you when I’m gone. Today, I’ve been reflecting on where I’ve been these past few weeks and what I learned (& affirmed) along the way. What bubbled up were 10 Lessons that I'd love to share with you.
Since we were last together here, I followed my heart’s calling and sailed high above the Arizona desert, experiencing the peaceful wordlessness of a sunrise hot air balloon ride. There I released floating dreams on behalf of myself and others (you, perhaps?) while sharing in the majestic silence with old and new friends. It was an experience potentially missed if a sprout of fearful discomfort had become overgrown. I’ve discovered the importance of learning to differentiate between fear and exhilaration. Fear holds us back. Exhilaration lifts us higher. When your heart sings YES, you can trust it’s moving in the right direction... even when it seems a little scary. Lesson #1 – Follow your heart.
Following the early morning balloon ride, 300+ of my cohorts gathered in Phoenix where I was able to explore the beauty and dissonance of life together as one big family. While we are all profoundly connected in unnamable ways, we don’t necessarily click with every person in the room (kind of like a real family). Expectations aren’t always met and sometimes they are exceeded when connection greets us in the most unexpected places and ways. Lesson # 2 – Be open to whatever shows up.
A highlight of the time in Phoenix was when my alter ego, “Sassy Girl,” sashayed onto the scene and whooped it up with fellow Sassy Cats during an evening of Cabaret. Our giggles and laughter resounded like a babbling brook after a refreshing spring downpour. Even “grown ups” have an amazing capacity and desire to pull out the over-the-top duds and play dress-up. Lesson # 3 – Put on your sassy and play, play, play!
Upon returning home, I hunkered down and added the final touches to my recent workshop, Exploring Archetypal Energies through the Expressive Arts. Simultaneously, I made space for some additional playtime with out-of-town guests and my sweet hubby as we became tourists in our own town. Lesson #4 – Make essential space for connecting with friends and loved ones, the rest will follow. (Refer to Lesson #1.)
Ready or not, off I went to St. Andrew’s House on the Hood Canal for a magical time of retreat and awakening. Surrounded by 10 amazing women and my fabulous co-facilitator, Christine, I was reminded of Lesson #5 - We are all teachers and there are lessons to be learned in everything. The bonus of being a group facilitator is that I am blessed with learning from the wisdom of other’s life explorations. During our retreat together, we danced, created art, read poetry, got quiet, and dug deep. The mountains peeked through the mist and the sun made a guest appearance as we walked the labyrinth. The moon did her dance alongside 10 royal queens who proudly stepped into their personal sovereignty.
My re-entry time has included snuggle time with golden kitty, Aslan, a delicious massage, fine wine and the darkest of delectable chocolates. I am, after all, a widely-proclaimed, self-care practitioner. Lesson/Affirmation #6 – Self-care is the best way to restore, rejuvenate and prepare to offer our gifts back out to the world!
And lest one might think that life is always easy and full of light, Lesson #7 arrives: Re-entry can be challenging! Somehow, I often manage to get blind-sided by that one! With all of these glorious adventures and soul nourishment, I was a bit annoyed to find myself overwhelmed and uptight as I looked at my week ahead... not to mention the Big Question: “What’s next for me?”
Lesson #8 – 'What’s next?' takes us out of the present and into the future. The question What's next? has a powerful ability to pop me into high alert mode if I’m not careful. If it’s too far in the future, What’s next? sends me spinning like a top (and I don’t mean the fun, colorful kind.) So, when the spin feels out-of-control, it’s time to pause and get off. (Easier said than done, I know.) Fortunately, Lesson #9 is available. Have a previously assembled tool box nearby at all times and use it! and remember this...
Lesson #10 – Sometimes it takes a full arsenal to pry yourself out of the spinning top, but with time, the spinning will stop!
This time my tools included...
1) Getting quiet... although today the noise increased.
2) Get something done (anything)... alas, confronting my to-do list raised the anxiety.
3) Distract myself... choose your distractions carefully – email and Facebook kept me spinning this go 'round.
4) Bring presence to someone else... helping someone else feel good feels really great! (However, please keep in mind Lesson #6 re: self-care.)
5) Name my stuff... “I’m overwhelmed and out of control” (even saying it begins to slow the spin.)
6) Take a walk (Move!)... feeling the ground beneath my feet is... well... grounding.
7) Witness the beauty everywhere... notice the sun on my face, blooming daffodils, a curious chickadee, warm java, a neighbor’s smile. Ahhhh.
8) Come back to the basics... Breathe.
9) Write and reflect... (This is my favorite ritual... What’s yours?)
10) Share your ritual with someone... Today I'm sharing with you, Love. Yes, You!
So that’s where I’ve been and a few things I’ve learned in the last weeks. How about you? I’d love to know where you go when the world spins out of control. What are your favorite life lessons? Do share, pretty please. A person can never have too many tools!