Mojo Monday ~ Where Love Is Deep

Where love is deep
much can be accomplished.
~ Shinichi Suzuki

Opening the book where my heart shaped bookmark was hidden within the pages I found myself greeted by Mark Nepo’s essay called Where Love Is Deep.

I find his book The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have to offer up wisdom, advice and new perspectives.   Seeing as how I have been working diligently on a big project, the timing was ideal to read the sage and inspirational words of Mr. Nepo.  

Here are the authors musings on envisioning, dreaming and manifesting.

“Despite our culture’s over-emphasis on doing, there is a a rightful place and time to get things done.  In truth, there is very little we can not do.  Much of the time we just lack either the ability to envision the dream built or the confidence that we can build it.

I remember early on how my grandmother would encourage me to envision even the smallest dreams down through my hands into the world.  She would say, ‘See it her,’ pointing to my forehead, and the she would take both my little hands and say, ‘Now see it here.’  Then she would laugh and say, ‘And soon, it will be here.’ With this, she would look around the room.

It is an amazing thing about being human that we can feel something inside and then build it in the world.  It seems we have this inborn need to love and to create.  At their deepest, these drives of spirit appear to be the same.  For through her love, wasn’t Grandma creating me?  Don’t we help birth another the instant we encourage them to see with their heart?  Don’t we help birth the world each time we give someone confidence to build what they see with their heart?

Somehow we are meant to wrestle the earth –wood, clay, marble — into forms; to seize the air — notes, words, color–into signs; meant to hold other breathing questions like ourselves and shudder as we part.  I go on and on as if to declare that life is worth living.  It makes me ask with joy, What shall we fall in love with tonight?  To what color shall we devote our being?  What instrument shall we be next?

Close your eyes and envision some becoming that you dream of.  It might be the dream of a solid relationship or the dream of a home or the dream of building something lasting with your hands.

  • Breathe deeply and envision the dream fully completed, existing in the world.
  • Breathe slowly and spend time with this vision.  Enter it and circle it.
  • Now open your eyes and look to your hands.
  • Feel the completed dream move into your open hands.
  • Feel your hands pulse with the energy of the dream waiting to be built.

What dreams are you envisioning?

Do the visualization exercises provided by Mark Nepo cause any shifts or realizations? 

Without thinking too much about this question (Just see what is the first thought that comes to mind.) What color is your dream?  
Were you surprised by the answer?  What does this color represent?  How does it make you feel?  

What do you think you would need to do to realize your dream?  

Do you think that it is true where love is deep much can be accomplished?

Mojo Monday ~ If Not Now, When?

Change.  It can hold promise and excitement.  It can also incite anxiety and make for restless nights of tossing and turning.  
For over a month my husband and I rode a self-inflicted roller coaster ride of his getting a new job that would require us to move to a new town.  At first I was filled with only anxiety.  I began to be plagued by irrational fears.  Slowly I worked through those and grew more excited about such a change.  A new town, a new house, a potential new job for me, though it looked promising that I could stay with my current employer who had other offices in that area too.  A bit obsessively I began to scour the homes for sale on-line.  We started to look around our current home with new eyes, the eyes of a seller.  A desire for newness and something to push us our of our comfort zones grew more appealing.  Then the unthinkable happened.  The job fell through. 

Deflation.  Disappointment.   Those were the things I at first felt.  Talk about counting your chickens before they hatch. Yet, I also knew that it wasn’t the end of my story.  Life was going to carry right along.  My desire for change and to take some action and to push myself out of my comfort zone wasn’t reliant on my husband getting that job.  There are still goals and dreams I carry in my heart and soul.  There are things I wish to accomplish that rely only on my personal commitment and efforts.  My biggest realization is that there were other things that needed my attention right now and I had been squandering my time with the what ifs.  This isn’t to discount the benefits of dreaming, but in this case I was too caught up in projecting too much on one possible outcome.

One of my favorite books is called The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo.  I want to share one of the essays called String of Todays that takes on the topic of ‘If not now, when? 

Since surviving cancer, there is a burning bit of truth I live with every day.  Sometimes it doesn’t let me sleep, but most of the time, it brings me great joy.  No one uttered this to me, and I didn’t arrive at it or work at it.  It just revealed itself, the way a broken bone makes us re-feel the immense pressure of air.  And this bit of truth is, If not now, when? 

It keeps coming dow to this: There is no tomorrow, only a string of todays. Still, like mos of us, I was somehow taught to dream forward, to fill the future with everything that matters: Someday I will be happy,  When I am rich, I will be free.  When I find the right person, then I will know love.  I will be loving and happy and truthful and genuine then.

But almost dying seared the sense of future from me, and though I expect to live a very long time, though I make plans and look forward to the many things I plan, I have no choice but to dream now.

I start out, as I always have, pouring the best of me into an imagined time yet to be, but then I hear, If now now, when? and the best of me floods back to the only place it truly knows – Now.

This all helps me understand a story about Jesus very differently.  I’m thinking of the young, rich merchant who approaches Jesus after his Sermon on the Mount.  He admires Jesus so, it truly touched, and wants to join him.  So he asks with great sincerity what he needs to do, what arrangements need to be made.

Jesus opens his arms and says, ‘Come with me now,  Drop everything and come.’
The young merchant stumbles and cites his many ‘yes, buts’: He can’t leave his business so suddenly.  He has to leave word.  He’ll need to gather fresh clothes.  How much money should he bring?

With open arms, Jesus simply says one more time, ‘Come with me now.’
How often do we all rehearse this moment, putting off love, truth, joy and even God, citing our many ‘Yes, buts’ to ourselves, when all we have to do – hard and simple as it is – is to drop everything and Come Now.

  • Breathe slowly and meditate on something dear to you that you have been working toward.  It might center on being happy, knowing love, finding a partner, or learning how to play music, or how to understand the truth of your experience more deeply.
  • Breathe deeply and, for the moment, dream about it now; that is, eliminate the efforts to build it tomorrow.
  • For the moment, imaging that whatever portion of this work you are to know or achieve or inhabit can only happen today.
  • In hale deeply and take the energy of everything you’ve planned and put off back into your life today.
  • Rather than feeling overwhelmed with all this, try to let this energy simply fill you as you move through your day.

Mojo Monday ~ Looking Past Limits

“Can any of you remember what you wanted to be when you were 17? Do you know what I wanted to be? I wanted to be a biker chick. (Laughter) I wanted to race cars, and I wanted to be a cowgirl, and I wanted to be Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book.’ Because they were all about being free, the wind in your hair — just to be free.”  

So begins a TED talk by Caroline Casey.

 Caroline Casey was born in 1971 an shortly after her birth her parents learned she had a condition that rendered her legally blind.  The twist to the story is that they never told her.  They raised her as if she could see.  She didn’t learn the truth about her eyesight until she was 17 years old.

The story of her journey is best told by her.  Come watch this video and learn about the power of belief and how dogged determination can lead one on amazing personal journeys.

The concept of limitations, and the power they have, depending on whether we believe in them or not is very interesting. 

Did you grow up believing in limitations for yourself? 

What if you tossed them all aside?  Who would you become?  What would you do?

Would you become a race car driver?  A photojournalist traveling around the world?  An international spy?  A rock star?

A little more about Caroline Casey ~ She has dedicated the past decade of her life to changing how global society views people with disabilities. In 2000, she rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sight Savers. Then, as founding CEO of Kanchi in Dublin, she developed a set of best practices for businesses, to help them see “disabled” workers as an asset as opposed to a liability. Hundreds of companies have adopted the standards, changing their policies and attitudes.
In 2004, Casey started the O2 Ability Awards to recognize Irish businesses for their inclusion of people with disabilities, both as employees and customers. The initiative has received international praise and, in 2010, a parallel program was launched in Spain.

“She is one of those people who, instead of just talking about changing the world, gets up and actually does it however tough the doing of it turns out to be. “ ~ The Irish Times

You can learn more about Caroline Casey and her work at her web site

For anyone who has difficulty watching videos on their computer here is the complete transcript from the video:

Can any of you remember what you wanted to be when you were 17? Do you know what I wanted to be? I wanted to be a biker chick. (Laughter) I wanted to race cars, and I wanted to be a cowgirl, and I wanted to be Mowgli from “The Jungle Book.” Because they were all about being free, the wind in your hair — just to be free. And on my seventeenth birthday, my parents, knowing how much I loved speed, gave me one driving lesson for my seventeenth birthday. Not that we could have afforded I drive, but to give me the dream of driving.

And on my seventeenth birthday, I accompanied my little sister in complete innocence, as I always had all my life — my visually impaired sister — to go to see an eye specialist. Because big sisters are always supposed to support their little sisters. And my little sister wanted to be a pilot — God help her. So I used to get my eyes tested just for fun. And on my seventeenth birthday, after my fake eye exam, the eye specialist just noticed it happened to be my birthday. And he said, “So what are you going to do to celebrate?” And I took that driving lesson, and I said, “I’m going to learn how to drive.” And then there was a silence — one of those awful silences when you know something’s wrong. And he turned to my mother, and he said, “You haven’t told her yet?” On my seventeenth birthday, as Janis Ian would best say, I learned the truth at 17. I am, and have been since birth, legally blind.

And you know, how on earth did I get to 17 and not know that? Well, if anybody says country music isn’t powerful, let me tell you this: I got there because my father’s passion for Johnny Cash and a song, “A Boy Named Sue.” I’m the eldest of three. I was born in 1971. And very shortly after my birth, my parents found out I had a condition called ocular albinism. And what the hell does that mean to you? So let me just tell you, the great part of all of this? I can’t see this clock and I can’t see the timing, so holy God, woohoo! (Laughter) I might buy some more time. But more importantly, let me tell you — I’m going to come up really close here. Don’t freak out, Pat. Hey. See this hand? Beyond this hand is a world of Vaseline. Every man in this room, even you, Steve, is George Clooney. (Laughter) And every woman, you are so beautiful. And when I want to look beautiful, I step three feet away from the mirror, and I don’t have to see these lines etched in my face from all the squinting I’ve done all my life from all the dark lights.

The really strange part is that, at three and a half, just before I was going to school, my parents made a bizarre, unusual and incredibly brave decision. No special needs schools. No labels. No limitations. My ability and my potential. And they decided to tell me that I could see. So just like Johnny Cash’s Sue, a boy given a girl’s name, I would grow up and learn from experience how to be tough and how to survive, when they were no longer there to protect me, or just take it all away. But more significantly, they gave me the ability to believe, totally, to believe that I could. And so when I heard that eye specialist tell me all the things, a big fat “no,” everybody imagines I was devastated. And don’t get me wrong, because when I first heard it — aside from the fact that I thought he was insane — I got that thump in my chest, just that “huh?” But very quickly I recovered. It was like that. The first thing I thought about was my mom, who was crying over beside me. And I swear to God, I walked out of his office, “I will drive. I will drive. You’re mad. I’ll drive. I know I can drive.”

And with the same dogged determination that my father had bred into me since I was such a child — he taught me how to sail, knowing I could never see where I was going, I could never see the shore, and I couldn’t see the sails, and I couldn’t see the destination. But he told me to believe and feel the wind in my face. And that wind in my face made me believe that he was mad and I would drive. And for the next 11 years, I swore nobody would ever find out that I couldn’t see, because I didn’t want to be a failure, and I didn’t want to be weak. And I believed I could do it. So I rammed through life as only a Casey can do. And I was an archeologist, and then I broke things. And then I managed a restaurant, and then I slipped on things. And then I was a masseuse. And then I was a landscape gardener. And then I went to business school. And you know, disabled people are hugely educated. And then I went in and I got a global consulting job with Accenture. And they didn’t even know. And it’s extraordinary how far belief can take you.

In 1999, two and a half years into that job, something happened. Wonderfully, my eyes decided, enough. And temporarily, very unexpectedly, they dropped. And I’m in one of the most competitive environments in the world, where you work hard, play hard, you gotta be the best, you gotta be the best. And two years in, I really could see very little. And I found myself in front of an HR manager in 1999, saying something I never imagined that I would say. I was 28 years old. I had built a persona all around what I could and couldn’t do. And I simply said, “I’m sorry. I can’t see, and I need help.” Asking for help can be incredibly difficult. And you all know what it is. You don’t need to have a disability to know that. We all know how hard it is to admit weakness and failure. And it’s frightening, isn’t it? But all that belief had fueled me so long.

And can I tell you, operating in the sighted world when you can’t see, it’s kind of difficult — it really is. Can I tell you, airports are a disaster. Oh, for the love of God. And please, any designers out there? OK, designers, please put up your hands, even though I can’t even see you. I always end up in the gents’ toilets. And there’s nothing wrong with my sense of smell. But can I just tell you, the little sign for a gents’ toilet or a ladies’ toilet is determined by a triangle. Have you ever tried to see that if you have Vaseline in front of your eyes? It’s such a small thing, right? And you know how exhausting it can be to try to be perfect when you’re not, or to be somebody that you aren’t?

And so after admitting I couldn’t see to HR, they sent me off to an eye specialist. And I had no idea that this man was going to change my life. But before I got to him, I was so lost. I had no idea who I was anymore. And that eye specialist, he didn’t bother testing my eyes. God no, it was therapy. And he asked me several questions, of which many were, “Why? Why are you fighting so hard not to be yourself? And do you love what you do, Caroline?” And you know, when you go to a global consulting firm, they put a chip in your head, and you’re like, “I love Accenture. I love Accenture. I love my job. I love Accenture. I love Accenture. I love Accenture. I love my job. I love Accenture.” (Laughter) To leave would be failure. And he said, “Do you love it?” I couldn’t even speak I was so choked up. I just was so — how do I tell him? And then he said to me, “What did you want to be when you were little?” Now listen, I wasn’t going to say to him, “Well, I wanted to race cars and motorbikes.” Hardly appropriate at this moment in time. He thought I was mad enough anyway. And as I left his office, he called me back and he said, “I think it’s time. I think it’s time to stop fighting and do something different.” And that door closed. And that silence just outside a doctor’s office, that many of us know. And my chest ached. And I had no idea where I was going. I had no idea. But I did know the game was up.

And I went home, and, because the pain in my chest ached so much, I thought, “I’ll go out for a run.” Really not a very sensible thing to do. And I went on a run that I know so well. I know this run so well, by the back of my hand. I always run it perfectly fine. I count the steps and the lampposts and all those things that visually impaired people have a tendency to have a lot of meetings with. And there was a rock that I always missed. And I’d never fallen on it, never. And there I was crying away, and smash, bash on my rock. Broken, fallen over on this rock in the middle of March in 2000, typical Irish weather on a Wednesday — gray, snot, tears everywhere, ridiculously self-pitying.

And I was floored, and I was broken, and I was angry. And I didn’t know what to do. And I sat there for quite some time going, “How am I going to get off this rock and go home? Because who am I going to be? What am I going to be?” And I thought about my dad, and I thought, “Good God, I’m so not Sue now.” And I kept thinking over and over in my mind, what had happened? Where did it go wrong? Why didn’t I understand? And you know, the extraordinary part of it is I just simply had no answers. I had lost my belief. Look where my belief had brought me to. And now I had lost it. And now I really couldn’t see. I was crumpled. And then I remember thinking about that eye specialist asking me, “What do you want to be? What do you want to be? What did you want to be when you were little? Do you love what you do? Do something different. What do you want to be? Do something different. What do you want to be?” And really slowly, slowly, slowly, it happened. And it did happen this way. And then the minute it came, it blew up in my head and bashed in my heart — something different. “Well, how about Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book’? You don’t get more different than that.” And the moment, and I mean the moment, the moment that hit me, I swear to God, it was like woo hoo! You know — something to believe in. And nobody can tell me no. Yes, you can say I can’t be an archeologist. But you can’t tell me, no, I can’t be Mowgli, because guess what? Nobody’s ever done it before, so I’m going to go do it. And it doesn’t matter whether I’m a boy or a girl, I’m just going to scoot.

And so I got off that rock, and, oh my God, did I run home. And I sprinted home, and I didn’t fall, and I didn’t crash. And I ran up the stairs, and there was one of my favorite books of all time, “Travels on My Elephant” by Mark Shand — I don’t know if any of you know it. And I grabbed this book off, and I’m sitting on the couch going, “I know what I’m going to do. I know how to be Mowgli. I’m going to go across India on the back of an elephant. I’m going to be an elephant handler.” And I had no idea how I was going to be an elephant handler. From global management consultant to elephant handler. I had no idea how. I had no idea how you hire an elephant, get an elephant. I didn’t speak Hindi. I’d never been to India. Hadn’t a clue. But I knew I would. Because, when you make a decision at the right time and the right place, God, that universe makes it happen for you.

Nine months later, after that day on snot rock, I had the only blind date in my life with a seven and a half foot elephant called Kanchi. And together we would trek a thousand kilometers across India. (Applause) The most powerful thing of all, it’s not that I didn’t achieve before then. Oh my God, I did. But you know, I was believing in the wrong thing. Because I wasn’t believing in me, really me, all the bits of me — all the bits of all of us. Do you know how much of us all pretend to be somebody we’re not? And you know what, when you really believe in yourself and everything about you, it’s extraordinary what happens.

And you know what, that trip, that thousand kilometers, it raised enough money for 6,000 cataract eye operations. Six thousand people got to see because of that. When I came home off that elephant, do you know what the most amazing part was? I chucked in my job at Accenture. I left, and I became a social entrepreneur, and I set up an organization with Mark Shand called Elephant Family, which deals with Asian elephant conservation. And I set up Kanchi, because my organization was always going to be named after my elephant, because disability is like the elephant in the room. And I wanted to make you see it in a positive way — no charity, no pity. But I wanted to work only and truly with business and media leadership to totally reframe disability in a way that was exciting and possible. It was extraordinary. That’s what I wanted to do. And I never thought about noes anymore, or not seeing, or any of that kind of nothing. It just seemed that it was possible.

And you know, the oddest part is, when I was on my way traveling here to TED, I’ll be honest, I was petrified. And I speak, but this is an amazing audience, and what am I doing here? But as I was traveling here, you’ll be very happy to know, I did use my white symbol stick cane, because it’s really good to skip queues in the airport. And I got my way here being happily proud that I couldn’t see. And the one thing is that a really good friend of mine, he texted me on the way over, knowing I was scared. Even though I present confident, I was scared. He said, “Be you.” And so here I am. This is me, all of me.


And I have learned, you know what, cars and motorbikes and elephants, that’s not freedom. Being absolutely true to yourself is freedom. And I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief. And if you truly believe — and I mean believe from the bottom of your heart — you can make change happen. And we need to make it happen, because every single one of us — woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever — everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves. I no longer want anybody to be invisible. We all have to be included. And stop with the labels, the limiting. Losing of labels, because we are not jam jars. We are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.

Thank you.

Mojo Monday ~ This is the Year of…

In October of 2008 I attended my first Cosmic Cowgirl event.  It was the Bountiful Conference and really I had no idea what attending that one conference would lead to and how it would alter my future.   Now it wasn’t like everything fell into perfect place and I immediately began to follow my true purpose.  There were some bumps along the way, in fact on my 40th birthday in April of 2009 some news made me feel that my world was crashing down around me and there were some very tough days from that point forward.  Yet, even through that year, which was one of my own dark nights of the soul, Cosmic Cowgirls was one of the things that sustained me.  It was a combination of both the amazing women I had met, but also just knowing that something like Cosmic Cowgirls could even exist.  I was sustained by knowing that there were women from around the country and even overseas, who were connecting and creating a circling tribe full of artistic, creative, passionate, loving, inspiring, kick-up-their-boots hootin’ and hollerin’ kick-ass wild women.

I have learned so much from the classes I have taken with Cosmic Cowgirls.  One of the biggies is about the power of intention.  In 2010 as things in my life were healing and as I delved back into participating more with Cosmic Cowgirls I attended the member conference and then I took the class called A Year of Great Promise.  Meeting in person with some sister Cosmic Cowgirls was good for the soul and during our time together we contemplated what we wanted to declare for that year.  What I ended up declaring for myself was that 2010 was the Year of Passionately Embracing My Soul’s Creative Calling.  We also shared something we were going to release and my personal declaration was “I release perfection and embrace myself with Grace and Love.”  We created collages and special containers to hold our dreams and goals for ourselves for the year.   The course called A Year of Great Promise was really powerful and by the time the course ended I had about a 15 page document that detailed my vision for myself and the life I want to lead. 

The art collage I created in 2010.

Somehow in the beginning of 2011 I did not make a statement for the year and now I see that I was pressing forward with continuing as I did in 2010 to embrace my creative calling.  I joined the Cosmic Cowgirls 6 month long Leading A Legendary Life course in 2011, which was a big dream for me.  Again the work completed led me to feel more confident in my artistic abilities and to gain more clarity on the personal legend I am creating. 

A week ago when I pulled out the letter I had written to myself back in 2010 I knew immediately what my 2012 declaration would be and without hesitation I said to myself 2012 is the year of completion and new beginnings.  I love the clarity that I have this year, but don’t be disheartened if that is not the case for you.  It can actually be fun and interesting to still be in the place of figuring it out and exploring what you are wishing for to happen next. 
As I write this Mojo Monday post I am realizing that I have not yet considered if there is something I wish to release and embrace this year.  The first thing that comes to mind is the fretting I have done over friendship these past few years.  I experienced some shifts in friendships that put me through a great deal of distress for a few years.  I think it has taken this much time to get to this place and makes it possible for me to say that I release those former connections with great love and I embrace knowing deep in my soul that though I am imperfect and may make mistakes I am a loving and good hearted friend who cares and loves deeply and never intentionally hurts others.
My letter I wrote to myself in 2010.

Before I bid 2011 goodbye I will write myself a letter and I will create a new piece of art that will represent my intentions for the new year.  

Consider what your heart and soul wishes for you in the new year.
Join me in making your own declaration and then make the time to go through your own creative process of expressing that declaration. 

Maybe you want to create a collage or paint the vision you hold for yourself. 

Another possibility is to write a poem or take some photographs that capture your intentions.

Also is there something you wish to release and in turn embrace? 
I hope you’ll share your new year declaration and your plans for releasing and embracing.   

If you need time to think it through, explore it this week and come back and share what arises for you.

One other great lesson I have learned is that there is great power in speaking aloud one’s intentions.  One can gain strength from sharing such things within a community or a circle.  

I offer that this is a great place to be witnessed and heard.

With Love and In Support of Your Intentions,
Michelle (aka Red and Ida Shine!)

Some other things to explore as you ponder your dreams and goals:

Oprah’s January issue that is just about to hit the stands has a great article by Martha Beck called You Can See Clearly Now.  She takes readers through a clarifying process of really determining what one wants.  She breaks it down into the four P’s: Pushback, Possibilities, Preferences and Pinpointing. In the simplest terms Pushback involves figuring out what you don’t want. Martha describes it as the “bitch and moan” portion that allows you to figure out that you no longer what to do such and such or no longer want to be with so and so.  The next step of Possibilities involves beginning to use your imagination to see past what is no longer working for you.  She describes Preferences as being the place where you start to notice which possibilities leave you feeling intrigued, curious, and a bit lighter.  When you get to the Pinpoint part this is when you are finally reaching clarity on exactly what you want.  You are envisioning it and can then set your intentions on achieving it.

There is a great book called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  I was given this book a several years ago by the fost-adoption agency I have worked for for nearly 8 years now.  When you buy the book new there is a sealed envelope in the back that when opened provides you with a key to enter into an on-line personality test.  I was really blown away by the accuracy of the results.  The exam identifies your strengths and can be a tool for some people to use in seeking their path in life.

Lastly for fun you can always check your numerology and see what personal year you happen to be leaving and which one you are about to gain entry to in 2012.  Supposedly we go through 9 year life cycles.  2011 was a 9 year for me which means I am at the end of a cycle.  Entering into a 1 year in 2012 means I am embarking on a new cycle.  A common description of a 9 year is that this is your year to finish up all unfinished business, to clean house and make room for new things.  In short the 1 year is described as follows: You are starting a new nine year Epicycle. Everything you do now will affect your future. Do not hold back the inner force of creation. Be direct, daring, bold. You will have more confidence and determination this year, particularly in comparison with last year, which was a time of letting go. This year represents a time of birth. It’s a time to take charge and to apply yourself to your dream.

Two sites that offer free numerology readings can be found here:

Mojo Monday ~ I Promise Myself

Patricia Lynn Reilly, theologian, women’s empowerment pioneer, and author of Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself, contends that a woman’s relationship with herself is the source of all personal power and relational success. In I Promise Myself: Making a Commitment to Yourself and Your Dreams, she offers step-by-step support to make a vow of faithfulness to yourself and your dreams – the first essential step to achieving meaningful and reciprocal relationships with others. Author SARK, describes the book as “A profound and deeply illuminating guide to magnifying self-love.” And adds that “Patricia’s work is wise and resonant.”
The introduction to I Promise Myself begins like this:
An Invitation to Be True to Yourself

Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.
A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her life and capacities.
Who remains loyal to herself. Regardless.
Imagine yourself as this woman.

For more than a decade, I have invited women to journey with me from self-loathing to self-love, from self-criticism to self-celebration. Along the way it has been necessary for us to dismantle the disempowering questions, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Who will save me?” As these questions are ousted from our lives, we return home to ourselves, reclaiming our natural resources and capacities; we author our own lives, participating fully in life’s gifts and challenges; and we remain loyal to ourselves even in the face of challenge and opposition. The journey transforms our inner landscapes and reframes our relationships to the world around us. To deepen these fundamental shifts in self-understanding within women’s hearts, minds and bodies, I have refashioned the wedding vow and wedding ceremony into transformational resources for making a lifelong commitment to ourselves. Each woman’s journey culminates in the composition of a “vow of faithfulness” to herself, which is then witnessed at a commitment ceremony…

Women of all ages, from all walks of life, are vowing faithfulness to their own lives. As a result, they are refusing to ask the questions “What’s wrong with me?” and “Who will save me?” Instead, they make powerful statements with every thought they share, every feeling they express, and every action they take on their own behalf. They use their personal and communal resources to give birth to woman-affirming rites of passage and ceremonies of transformation for their daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and for themselves. They are women ~ full of themselves!

…Pause for a moment and imagine growing in knowledge and love of yourself, vowing faithfulness to your own life and capacities, and remaining loyal to yourself ~ regardless. Imagine a life in which you deepen your relationship to your natural vitality, resilience, and sense of self. Imagine a ceremony of commitment to yourself, culminating with these words of self-blessing: “This is it. This is my life. Nothing to wait for. Nowhere else to go. No one to make it all different. What a relief to have finally landed here….now. Blessed be my life!
Did reading these excerpts from Patricia Lynn Reilly’s book conjure up any particular thoughts or feelings?

Is there something in particular you want to promise yourself?

Consider writing a ceremonial vow for yourself this week.

If you feel inclined to share, come back to the discussion and post your promises and/or vows of commitment to yourself.