Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 16,246: Libra Full Moon, Balance, and What to Keep and Release

The Full Moon in Libra arrived last night at 10:25 p.m. It didn't dawn on me until this morning on my way to work when it caught my eye and breath on its way to setting. How did I miss the signs that it was coming? Have I gotten that far out of touch?

The mantra for the Libra Full Moon is "I Balance." I could not think of another that is more appropriate in my life right now. I have been going through some big-to-me changes over the last six weeks ... changes that are ultimately for best, I suppose, but challenging nonetheless. Please don't let the insinuation of a big picture perspective lead you to believe that I've been the least bit graceful in the process. There has been much flailing. That's been on good days.

Despite my ambitious expectations, I have realized that I simply can't do everything that I had planned for Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop this year. Not if I have any intention of attaining and maintaining a sense of balance, both personally and professionally. What's more is that, if JMBW is to continue, I will have to find ways to simplify, streamline, and make peace with releasing whatever needs it. It's possible that, in the end, only a hard prune will do.

With that said, Mandala Mondays have been discontinued. I have loved sharing these mandalas with you each week the last couple of years. Maybe I can return to creating them again some day. But for the foreseeable future, I need to focus on other things. I do appreciate your understanding and hope that you will check in here for updates.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 16,237: Dear Twitter

Dear Twitter:

You and I have been messing around together for awhile. No argument that there is some chemistry between us, but what seems to be lacking here is substance. I will come right out and say what needs to be said. I am somewhere between relatively certain and flat-out positive that no one really gives a rip about what I'm doing on a tweet-by-tweet basis. Heck, I don't even care that much ... and I'm ME!

I know that you can be a helpful marketing tool, but as a result it seems like most of us are out here, fumbling, bumbling, trying to get each other to look at what we have to offer. (Some more literally than others.) I feel like I'm back at a middle school dance, hoping to be noticed and yet hoping that I'm not. Awkward. Am I the only one who feels like, most of the time, you are far more work than fun?

I fantasize about quitting you, but don't feel right about following through until I have given you fair warning and a chance to change my mind. I will hang in there awhile longer. Another month. Maybe two. Tell your buddy, Facebook, that we have issues too. Maybe I'm too old-fashioned for social networking. Maybe blogging is outreach enough for me. Nothing personal.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 16,236: Happy Vernal Equinox!

No, I haven't forgotten that I've promised more tools. I have been taking a break to make good use of them. As much as I welcome the return of Daylight Savings Time, it always amazes how fatigued I feel the first week or two. When I say that I am having trouble finding the time, I mean it literally.

My husband and I took a road trip earlier today along S.R. 52 to Ripley, Ohio. The mighty Ohio River is chocolate milk brown and swollen from melting snow upstream and abundant rain around here. The trees are showing the barest hint of their intentions. Spring always takes its sweet time getting here. A lesson in patience for us all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 16,232: The Toolbelt (Part III)

Onward to the next 10 tools ...

Where did my love for mandalas begin? I swear I can't remember, but drawing and coloring mandalas has been a beloved tool of mine for a long time. I highly recommend any of the resources offered by Dr. Judith Cornell.

I'm certain that I have shared this story many times, although I am too lazy to dig around my archives to link to one of them. Forgive me. The short version is that my maternal grandmother crocheted constantly. I do not exaggerate. The woman was a master multi-tasker. She taught me how to crochet when I was about eight years old. As a matter of fact, I still hold the hook and yarn the way that I did as a child. It looks awkward, yes, but feels perfectly natural to me. Crocheting, period, feels perfectly natural to me. I believe that every form of needlework can be a meditation. I also believe that when we do needlework our female ancestors rejoice.

Artist Date:
Thank you, Julia Cameron, for the Artist's Way and artist dates. This is where many of the things that I've already listed might fit in, but an artist date can be just about any outing that refreshes and inspires me. I can always tell when I haven't left the front yard in awhile ... it's time to plan an artist date.

I feel so lucky to have the most beautiful outdoor labyrinth a mere 20 minute drive from my house. It sits beside a river. I have seen deer, ground hogs, heron, and even a coyote that was as surprised to see me as I was to see it in the afternoon. If you have never walked a labyrinth, then I can't encourage you enough to find one near you. I can't explain why it is so transformational, but I assure you that it is. Take a problem to the path. Walk inward. Walk back out. See if you don't feel better for having taken the journey.

Animal Reiki Treatment:
Many thanks to my dear Animal Reiki teacher, Kathleen Prasad, for her books and workshops. I have learned so much. Although this tool is often used indoors with my two greyhounds and two cats, it often takes me outdoors where I send Reiki to wild animals and birds in the area (from a distance, of course). I don't always know where it goes, but I always feel better for having taken the opportunity to send it.

Gratitude Letter:
It sure feels great to give thanks where thanks is due. Gratitude letters are the gift that keeps on giving and this is a great tool when I find myself stuck in a mindset of lack. I pick someone who I would like to thank for being in my life or for just being themselves. Anyone, whether the impact was large or small. Maybe I send the letter or e-mail, but then again, for whatever reason, maybe I don't. But in the writing, I always know that the energy of gratitude gets sent.

I have to admit that I haven't employed this tool for a long time. I don't know what happened ... maybe just the changeover from tool to business, perhaps. I am working my way back to it. I haven't forgotten, though, how the wrapping process effects me. I don't plan the designs in advance, but rather let the stone or crystal let me know how it wants to be wrapped. I bask in the process.

Fresh Flowers:
A very simple, yet effective, tool to lift the spirits and energy. I am counting the days until my peonies bloom.

New Clothes:
This one is pretty simple, as well. Who doesn't feel better in a new outfit ... even if it is just new-to-them? What we wear affects how we feel. Period.

Another biggie in my toolbelt. I handwrite in a journal almost every single day and have been doing so, with a few breaks, since I was teenager. When I miss it, it's like forgetting to take my vitamins. I swear I feel it. Nothing of any particular consequence or worth is going into these notebooks. I often wonder why I continue to pile them up because, surely, future generations will pity my apparent self-absorption. Oh well, it is a chance I choose to take because writing this way is such a big part of what makes me, me!

We're not finished. More tools to follow!

Day 16,230: The Toolbelt (Part II)

Okay, time to share a few more of my tried-and-true tools:

Moon Studies:
This tool came to me a couple of years ago when I took Dana Gerhardt's Twelve Moons Workshop. What a treat to spend a full year paying attention to how the moon was moving through my days, weeks and months. It tuned me into the cycles and seasons. I have to admit that I don't always pay that level of attention anymore. But when I find myself feeling out of sorts, it is helpful for me to take note of what phase the moon is in and what sign it is traveling through. Sometimes that is enough. Other times it is helpful to me to set intentions for the waxing and waning periods, based upon what I want to receive and release in my life. Good stuff.

Lunch with a Friend:
I know it may seem silly to consider this a tool, but that is exactly what it is ... healing balm for my soul. Life is busy for us all and it is so easy to lose track of our friends for weeks or even months at a time. I try to schedule lunch or tea with one friend once a week. The time together may be brief, but always meaningful and replenishing.

Foot Massage:
This tool is similar to reflexology, except I get to do the work. I keep a tin of Burt's Bees Hand Salve on my nightstand. Right before going to bed, I try to spend some time massaging it into into my poor, tired feet ... paying particular attention to those places that are tender and tight. A couple of minutes per foot is all that it takes. (Don't forget to tug the toes!) Then I slip on a pair of cotton socks so as not to funkify the sheets. I always sleep better for having invested this time.

Breath of Fire energizes me. Alternate Nostril Breathing calms me down and balances me out. Pranayama is the kind of tool that can be whipped out at a moment's notice when I need to press reset. It has never failed to profoundly shift the way that I feel.

Guided Imagery:
My dear yoga teacher, Julie Lusk, is a guided imagery expert and I have the good fortune to have her wonderful guided imagery CDs to listen to after a bumpy day. Yoga Nidra is amazing, but sometimes I like to go on a vacation in my imagination too. I always return refreshed.

This tool could be a post in and of itself. I have logged many a retreat over the years. Even the briefest of them has been restorative, if not transformative. As with classes and workshops mentioned in Part I, I like to schedule a retreat for myself when I start feeling bored or depleted. Maybe I will go with a friend. Maybe not. Some of the best retreats have been one day home alone, so don't assume that you have to go away to benefit. Just set the intention that you are on retreat, decide what you will and won't do during that period, and then see what unfolds. Jennifer Louden's The Woman's Retreat Book is a wonderful resource.

I have tried sitting in meditation with a couple of different mantras that resonate with me. There is genuine power to this. But my favorite way to work with mantras is to enjoy them set to music. Anything by Deva Premal lifts my spirits. I end up singing along whether I intend to or not. I have other favorites, like Chanting the Chakras, which can snap me out of a slump, pronto.

Advisory Committee Meeting:
Okay, this one requires a trip out on the limb, but it has helped me so much in the past when I have grappled with a big problem. In meditation, I visit a large, comfy seating area where I meet with people who I admire and whose advise I would hold in esteem. Maybe I know them in real life, but in most instances I don't. I bring the problem before the Committee, devulging all of the gorey details, and then I wait for each Committee member to give me their feedback. Yes, maybe this tool is a bit woo-woo, but give it a try. You may just come away with a potential solution that you wouldn't let in any other way.

Feng Shui:
Ah, another tool that deserves to be a post on its own. I went to feng shui school in 2005 as a 40th birthday present to myself. It has proven to be an incredible tool. I am always aware of the energy of my surroundings and how important it is to keep things clean and clutter free. (Although I must admit that I'm not always so good at keeping them that way.) I also know what enhancements might help to support my intentions. You don't have to go to school yourself to benefit from this tool. There are many wonderful books on the market. And, as a matter of fact, I am working on an e-course to help walk you through the process, so stay tuned.

I have a Canon G9 and a Lomo LC-A camera. Sometimes I long for a big camera like the cool kids use, but I know that these two little guys provide all of the photography fun that I need. A day spent snapping away works the same magic on me as a vacation or retreat. The perfect weekend pick-me-up. Although I love the instant gratification of digital, there is something special about working with film. You just don't know what you will get until you get it. Most rolls from my lomo develop about 15 duds, six that are so-so, and three photos that knock my socks off. Those three make it so worth it.

That's all of the tools for today. More to come!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 16,228: The Toolbelt (Part I)

I had lunch today with a dear friend who, like me, tends to lose her toolbelt frequently. We all have one. A toolbelt ... that bag of tricks that each of us has to take good care of ourselves, especially when the going gets rough. My feng shui teacher referred to it as our chi-raiser list and I like that name a lot.

I promised my friend that I would share the contents of my toolbelt, if she would be so kind as to return the favor. We all can learn from each other, so I decided to share the list here. So far, I have sixty (60!) tools, but the list keeps growing. Here's the first few (in random order) for you to chew on. (Feel free to add your favorites to the comments.)

I try to schedule a one hour treatment no less than once a month. There is something so sacred about having the feet and hands worked on. I find this to be as beneficial to my sense of well-being as a full body massage, but it's a bit easier on the budget.

Reiki Self-Treatment:
No surprise here, I'm sure. I took my first Reiki class as a birthday present to myself almost 10 years ago. I hoped it would help me with my migraine headaches. It did. And then it sent me on a journey that I never would have anticipated. Reiki-self treatments help me to keep stress at bay. I always feel better for having spent that hour on myself.

Raw Living:
I feel my absolute best when I nourish myself with fresh juice and green smoothies throughout the day and then have a big salad for dinner with a side dish of whatever my family is eating (so as not to feel deprived). But I'm not always this disciplined and I find myself far away from this lifestyle more often than not. Thankfully, all it takes is one green smoothie to bring me to my senses and help me to get back on track.

Spirit Winds:
This is a cool little new age shop near my home, but you can fill in the blank with any similar store in your area. It is the perfect pick-me-up when I want to let something pick me out. I have found wonderful beads here ... crystals galore ... incense for the hippy chick in me ... great music, too. More than one perfect gift has been discovered here. It's a magical place to lose myself for awhile.

Transformation Game:
This game rocks my world! It takes some time to setup and play, but it is well worth the investment. I always come away with more than a few insights into the problem/intention that I am "traveling" with each time.

Laughing for One Minute:
This tool came from the Abounding River Logbook. I know it sounds silly, but you must try it. It's not easy to laugh ... I mean really laugh ... for one whole minute. It gives the belly a good workout, which is never a bad thing. But the goodness of it goes far beyond the belly with an often profound shift in energy in such a short amount of time. It makes for a great daily vitamin.

I love, love, LOVE to learn new things. When I find myself in a rut, I start to wonder what it is that I might want to learn. It need not be anything related to my work or business. Taking a class for the fun of it is often the best class of all. It isn't just the knowledge gained that is the gift, but the new friends that I make and new things that I try which help to shape a new me!

Divination Cards:
I have quite the collection of these cards, especially those of the angel persuasion. (Is it possible to have too many?) My favorite cards online are the beautiful Gaian Tarot. Divination cards come in handy when I am wrestling with a problem and need a fresh insight ... a view from a new direction. They make great journaling prompts, too!

Chakra Clearing:
Okay, like the divination cards above, this tool may not appeal to everybody, but it has proven to be helpful to me. I learned this process as part of my Reiki training and also through the Melody crystal classes that followed. It is a meditation for me. It's something that I can do after I have come through a situation with heavy, charged emotions or when I've been with someone who is going through a crisis. Even better if I can remember to do it before climbing into bed at the end of each day. It feels like setting a reset button and brings me back to myself. Those who do healing work and/or are empathic will certainly understand what I mean.

A Date with My Man:
Is there anything better than time spent with the one that you love? We have been together for over 20 years and married for over 18 of them. We have busy lives and it is easy to become disconnected as we go through the course of our week. It is so nice to have an honest to goodness date so that we can be reminded of what brought us together in the first place. The plans need not be extravagant. It is the investment of attention that counts. But a good margarita never hurts.

More to follow ...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 16,221: Master Peace

Dear Masterpiece
Your arrival was celebrated
You were deeply loved
And your short time here

Monsters are real
Their hearts lack reverence
For innocence, baby things
I am so sorry
That they got to you

I pray that your spirit
And those who loved you
Find peace
And all who know your story
Never forget your name

Monday, March 1, 2010