I joined an online group called “First 37” which started on January 1st. What drew me is the intention behind the purpose of the 37 day program. The description said it was for those who want to live more meaningful lives, one day at a time, who want to start the New Year with intention. First 37 is designed to help me explore what I want to create in 2019, and set me on the path to creating it. I get a daily prompt that includes 3 different steps, and there is the opportunity for dialogue in a community of people on the same journey. Some of the prompts include noticing things and I love to capture those images in photographs, instead of just writing them down on an index card. I love to include visuals. I am using an app on my phone called LiveCollage to put together the quick collages you’ll see featured below.
Sometimes I can be really serious. I am sensitive to world events. My heart hurts when there are painful and sad things happening. I struggle with the big issues regarding injustice, violence against women and children, as well as hurtful actions against animals, which is why I adopted a vegan diet 6 years ago. I also happen to be in my fourth year of writing for Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine and while the first years leant themselves to me writing about inspirational uplifting topics, we as a collective group have dug deeper into more challenging topics, especially this year where the theme is Taboo. I have now tackled the topic of Naked Vulnerability, “Death” in We Are All Going to Die. Poetry Can Help , “Ambiguity” in Shades of Fucking Gray or Delicious Ambiguity? and the most recent, sexual abuse of children, in The Bogeyman Under the Bed. Goodness I sometimes feel like this series is putting me through the proverbial wringer.
In my off time from contemplating and writing about topics like death and abuse I can also get caught up and focused on chores, to-do lists, keeping my car clean, organizing my emails and hanging up my clothes according to color scheme. (Oh dear, I am revealing my idiosyncrasies.) Yes, there are aspects of my moderate OCD personality that likes everything in a certain order. It is the last trait that can trigger my irritation about towels hung up haphazardly, the bed not made, books and homework strewn across the dining room table, too many things cluttering up the house, jackets thrown on the floor…well you get the idea. It is something I feel I have to tame regularly if I am to avoid the true grumpy grumps and grumbles about wanting to live alone, so I don’t have to clean up after other people. I love my children and my hubby. It is terrifying to consider a life without them, so obviously moving out or moving them out really isn’t the answer. What I aim to focus on instead is making peace with things I cannot change. Not always so easy, but when love trumps everything else, you do what you need to to make it work.
So in consideration of how serious I have been feeling, and in all honesty, the blues I have been struggling with for months now (yes even Cowgirls get the blues), it was timely to receive a newsletter that reminded me of the importance of Play. It also seemed appropriate for the magical month of December. I laughed, but related especially to the description of FDD ~ Fun Deficit Disorder. Let me share with you the inspirational message from Kathy Tyler of Innerlinks that struck a chord with me.
Maximize every moment of liveness. Experience
pleasurable involvement in all your activities and enjoy what you are doing. Have Fun!
Play is at the heart of our creativity and animates our being in our most carefree moments. It helps us live with absurdity, paradox, and mystery. It feeds our childlike joy and wonder. It keeps our search for meaning grounded and on to earth.
There is so much going on in the world, and within us, that our stress levels have adjusted upwards to a new ‘normal’ creating a hidden epidemic of fun deficit disorder (FDD). Play is an antidote to stress. It can totally absorb your attention and cause a cascade of feelings that greatly impact your happiness quotient.
Play engages us with the imaginal realm and supports and enriches our metabolization of life. It is integral for generating insights and effortless realizations. Play literally gives us a ‘breather’ – restoring our vitality at a core level.
This month find a fun activity that totally captivates your attention to the point where time seems to slow or even stop, and the voice inside — (the one giving constant commentary on what you’re doing, have done, or will be doing) — ceases. Laugh heartily at jokes, situations, and yourself.
Wishing you playful, joyous moments throughout December. And, transformed FDD to F:):)….
Ways I am choosing to have fun this month ~
Created a new holiday music mix and will be designing the cd cover.
Prepared the annual family holiday letter with photos and news about our 2014.
Getting creative with our Elf on the Shelf named TwinTweety.
Delighting in putting up lights, including a new heart and star
on the porch that make me happy.
Decorating the candy house with the family.
As one who loves finding and giving that oh-so-perfect gift
I’ll delight in wrapping and preparing gifts for loves ones.
Before I head off for the fun task of
plotting the next adventure
for our Elf on the Shelf
I encourage you to consider how you
can make this a Season of Magic.
I’ll also close with another
inspirational message from Innerlinks.
You are important.
Your thoughts create.
Your actions matter.
Your presence changes everything.
Be an Intentional Butterfly,
a participant in the ripple effect of caring.
This is the beginning, now is when you start. It is time to awaken to your presence, to be inspired in your actions, and to hold the highest and best outcome for the planet, humanity, and all life on earth. You make a difference and you decide what that difference is. What you think about yourself affects how you feel and how you act. What you think about those you meet affects how they view themselves. We all create each other. I am cannot be a teacher if there are no students. I cannot be a student if there are no teachers.
It is not a question of whether what you think matters. It absolutely does. Your participation is mandatory regardless of your perception. You are here, you are a part of life, and you make a difference. You are a participant in the creation of our future. So, the only question is; what kind of difference do you want to make? It is up to you to decide to be a conscious or unconscious participant. Non-action, to do nothing, is a choice and one you are ultimately accountable for. And, sometimes, non-action is the most courageous choice. But, to do nothing because you do not want to get involved is an excuse to stay disempowered and unaccountable. So, make choices with intent. Be willing to learn, grow, and evolve in your ability to discern what to do and what not to do.
As you go about your daily activities, you touch numerous people most of which you do not even meet. The woman or man behind a cash register who serves you at the counter, your interaction adds or subtracts from their day and how she/he then interacts with the next customer or co-worker. Your interaction with them may tip their inner balance point in the direction of kindness or anger. What kind of influence do you want to be? What is the ripple your energy is creating?
Become a beacon of intention. Intend kindness, peace, grace, appreciation, and recognition of the spirit of the person who is in front of you. You do not need to ‘know’ them to extend your good will and good heart. It is not the receptivity of the other that prevents you from extending your best to each moment.
Practice goodness, become an intentional butterfly that lights upon each interaction with the blessing of the true reality that is our shared humanity. Add your presence to the love and compassion that are the healing agents that free our spirits and open our souls to the knowing of our true selves.
Each interaction is an opportunity to start a chain reaction of caring. Of giving the moment a magic touch that reverberates and carries out like a ripple on a pond. Endless in possibilities to affect an outcome many steps down line from your initial incidental action.
This is a way to contribute to the phase shift where change can happen. Like water heating to the boil, there is a moment before it reaches the temperature to start to boil, but if the heat remains at that point or drops, the water never makes the phase shift to actually boil, to become steam, to change its frequency. You can be that moment; you can choose to add to the phase shift of another. You can be the butterfly with the gentle touch that contributes to the phase shift, to the change. You may just be the difference that changes everything. Don’t miss your opportunity.
Join the circle, become an Intentional Butterfly. Make a difference. Start now, be a conscious, caring, human being. You are part of a larger picture, a much grander plan then what you may perceive. What you give to one gives to the whole and ultimately gives back to you.
Keep your acts of intention simple.
- Open a door for someone and as look in his or her eyes, smile.
- Let in front of you the driver who is waiting to merge.
- Ask the cashier how they are.
- Compliment your partner.
- Give specific appreciation to your children.
- Return a shopping cart to the door.
- Recycle your cans.
- Make a phone call to someone who lives alone.
Build on simple acts increasing in frequency. Frequency meaning both: more often and increase in vibration. Upping your intentional actions. Extending your loving presence to touch that in another.
Then, ask for more opportunities to be an intentional butterfly. Keep your heart open. Stay alert to the seemingly incidental moment that can change the outcome of someone’s day.
A new year can feel like it offers up fresh starts, new beginnings, and opportunities to do things differently. I found myself wondering how long the tradition of proclaiming resolutions has been around. I did a little reading and found that Wikipedia had some interesting notes about the topic. “A New Year’s resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.”
While resolutions may appear to be a secular concept Wikipedia also offered some of the religious origins of this practice. “The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility, in fact the practice of New Year’s resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.”
This year I have noted many people, in lieu of sharing resolutions focused on improving oneself, (ie one of the common ones involves joining a gym, working out 7 days a week and losing weight) are instead choosing resolutions regarding doing things that makes one happier. Part of this shift is a movement away from the guilt that accompanies not following through on resolutions and they might be onto something. According to a “2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying ‘lose weight’), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.”
I have also noted a lot more people sharing how they have chosen a word for the year. Artist Kelly Rae Roberts has shared that her word for 2014 is trust. She shared this on Facebook: “My word for 2014 is trust. I’m gonna practice trusting my little heart out. Trust in others. Trust in new beginnings. Trust my voice. Trust the leaps, the falls, and the timing of it all. I can tell that 2014 is gonna be epic.”
Artist Pixie Campbell also wrote about selecting a word for each year on her blog. Her word this year is Mother and I encourage you to go visit her site and read more about this choice.
What is your word for this year? (I’ll share mine later.)
A great post to read about finding closure for 2013 as you embark upon 2014 is also by Kelly Rae Roberts. Pop on over to this blog post of hers and enjoy her always insightful musings. Here are the key questions she addresses to close out her year:
1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2013? (What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)
2. What is there to grieve about 2013? (What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?)
3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete? The next step is to say out loud, “I declare 2013 complete!” How do you feel? If you don’t feel quite right, there might be one more thing to say…
My hubby and I have a tradition for New Years Eve that involves us reading a letter we wrote for one another the year before. We also do two inspirational card readings. The first is with the Lakota Sweat Lodge cards that my husband has owned for many years. We then select from one of my decks of cards and do a second reading. This year we used a new deck called The Enchanted Map. We record our readings in the same journal each year that is reserved for this annual ritual. Here some photos showing two of the readings.
I haven’t really ever selected a word as part of my new year ceremony. This year however after reading the first posting by Rob Brezsny my word came to me. The recommendation for me was as follows: “Deep bronzes and smoky cinnamons and dark chocolates will be your lucky colors in 2014. Mellow mahoganies and resonant russets will work well for you, too. They will all be part of life’s conspiracy to get you to slow down, deepen your perspective, and slip into the sweetest groove ever. In this spirit, I urge you to nestle and cuddle and caress more than usual in the coming months. If you aren’t totally clear on where home is, either in the external world or inside your heart, devote yourself to finding it. Hone your emotional intelligence. Explore your roots. On a regular basis, remember your reasons for loving life. Stay in close touch with the sources that feed your wild soul.” (If you want to read yours click here.)
My word, as it came to me in that forecast, is Groove. The meaning for me has to do with release, flow, easing into, relaxing, movement, sensuality, letting go and breathing. Here is my creative expression with my word so that I can hang it up as a reminder through the year.
How does your word translate into art?
Could you dance it, sing it, write poetry about it, paint it, sculpt it, photograph it or plant it?
Gossamer threads of life hold me,
Perched between Earth and Sky,
Weaving the web, dreaming the dream,
Through the two worlds I will fly.
With you as my muse, Mother,
I create the substance of dreams,
Allowing the artist within me
To fashion my life with esteem.
I mold the clay of experiences
Into a sacred Medicine Bowl,
Capturing the essence of living
As it sings deep in my soul.
Your secrets of creation, Mother,
Have taught me when to destroy
The chains that have bound me,
Limiting the expression of my joy.
You have taught me how to labor,
Giving birth to the visions within,
Setting them free like silver arrows,
Kindling the fire of Creation again.
~ Jamie Sams
On Saturday I traveled up into the mountains to meet with my Vision Quest spirit guide and to gather with some clan sisters. As we talked and shared about the experiences so far this month I realized how fitting it was that an extra burst of creativity had been very much a part of my life. As part of the Vision Quest spiritual journey we are reading the book The 13 Original Clan Mothers by Jamie Sams. It just so happens that the month of October is represented by the Clan Mother of the Tenth Moon Cycle, Weaves the Web. “Weaves the Web represents the creative principle within all things. Her moon cycle falls in the month of October and is connected to the color pink. Working with the truth is her Cycle of Truth. She teaches us how to use our hands to create beauty and truth in tangible forms. Pink is the color of creativity. Weaves the Web shows us how to use crafts and art to create our ideas and dreams in the physical world. Through using our hands, we show our willingness to be of service to All Our Relations.”
In addition to the writing I do for blogs and Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine, and the creative process included in my Vision Quest, I have also been participating in the amazing course by Jenafer Owen called Storywalking: Retrieve. (You can find out more about Jenafer’s on-line courses at Inspired Inquiries.) We have been creating collages the past few weeks and then this week during a guided meditation the most amazing traveling companion revealed itself to join me on my journey ~ a whale. Below is an artistic rendition of my friend as I envisioned. The message my whale had for me ~ “We are going to plumb the depths…and swim among the stars.”
I also could not resist participating in the course being offered by Brene Brown (and sponsored by Oprah) called The Gifts of Imperfection. During the first week of class I wrote permission slips for myself, took the pledge and created a courage heart, which included a short list of my most trusted confidants, or as Brene Brown puts it, the list of those who love me because of my imperfections.
It was rather interesting that even through I had read the chapter She Who Weaves right at the beginning of the month, I had not fully connected all that had been blossoming creatively in my corner of the world. Of course October is also the month that includes Halloween, a favored holiday in our home, and there have also been creative opportunities in the creation of costumes. My twin daughters chose to be a fox and and owl this year and we put together playful , comfortable and simple costumes for them to wear.
There is more from the introductory chapter about Weaves the Web that also bears sharing. “Weaves the Web is the Guardian of the Creative Forms in all things. She helps us express our creativity in a positive manner and use the energy available to us. The Clan Mother is also the Keeper of Life Force and instructs us to create health, to manifest our dreams, to develop and use our talents, and to access our spiritual potentials.
The Clan Mother of the Tenth Moon Cycle is the Mother of the Creative and Destructive principles; she shows us when to destroy limitations and create anew. She also teaches us when to nurture our creations, because she is the Keeper of Survival Instinct. When our physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual survival is at risk, Weaves the Web shows us how to tap into the life force to grow beyond this stagnation. She is an artist, a creatress, and the muse who beckons and inspires us to create the beauty found in our heart’s desire. Through making something tangible and filling that creation with beauty, we are shown that the stuff of dreams can be expressed, giving form to our visions. She is the Clan Mother we turn to when we are afraid of failure or lack self-expression.”
The last sentence above “She is the Clan Mother we turn to when we are afraid of failure or lack self-expression” is one that I had somewhat suppressed this month, but has been ever so present in a deeper and more subconscious way. On Saturday I also experienced a heart tuning by a beautiful young woman from Costa Rica who practices Reiki and is also a yoga instructor. After the heart tuning she shared with me that there was one message she was receiving for me which was that “It was okay for me to release the fear. That the fear was not necessary.” I nearly teared up at hearing those words for I knew I had been suppressing deep seated fear for a couple of months. I had been pushing and stuffing it down, in an attempt to make it go away, and here I was being told by a messenger that I could just release the fear.
Let us return to the final paragraphs about Weaves the Web from The Thirteen Original Clan Mothers.
“When we follow the steps necessary to bring our dreams to life, Weaves the Web shows us how to use the life force found in the four elements of air, earth, water, and fire. We learn how to mix these elements with the creative essence that is our gift from the Great Mystery. This creative spark is called the Eternal Flame of Love and live inside our spiritual Essences. When the desire to create is in place, we are then able to make the decision TO BE. We then give form our our Spiritual Essences or Orendas through self-expression.
Weaves the Web, life Grandmother Spider who wove the web of the universe, teaches us how to weave the web of our experiences. She shows us how every circle we create grows to touch the circles created by all other life forms. The webs we create can trap us, if we do not create them in truth. We are asked by the Clan Mother to work with and for the truth in order to manifest a world dream that all living things can share. A web that is created in greed with eventually trap and devour the one who wove it because it was woven too tightly to allow giving, receiving, and sharing. A web woven too loosely, without care, lacks the craftsmanship that is necessary to make it strong and durable. A web woven from fear will attract the lessons needed to overcome that fear. A web woven from the love of creating and desire to share the abundance caught in the web’s silvery fibers is a web that will endure until the dream is fulfilled.
Weaves the Web is the Clan Mother we turn to when we need the skills to make our dreams real. She shows us how to take the actions necessary to tap our creativity and go with the flow. Giving birth to our dreams is always accomplished by having the desire to create, deciding to create, and taking the actions necessary by using the flow of life force to give birth to the dream in the tangible world.”
Has creativity been flowing in your corner of the world this month?
Are there dreams that you have been longing to birth?
Are there fears (fear of failure) holding you back?
What would it take to release your fear?
What do you desire to create?
Are you taking actions on your desires?
Consider this quote from the chapter Weaves the Web:
“Weaves the Web taught the children that every painted symbol had meaning to an artist and that every color had a significance when an artist created an object of beauty.”
What symbols resonate with you?
Do certain symbols show up in your dreams, thoughts, art or objects that draw your attention?
What colors are you currently drawn to at this time?