Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Live With Intention

What do you think of this poem called Live with Intention

How does it make you feel?

Mary Anne Radmacher , the author of the poem, often has her profound writing quoted. Mary Anne has a powerful way with words and has written the following inspiring books: Lean Forward Into Your Life, Live Boldly, Promises to Myself, Courage Doesn’t Always Roar and May Your Walls Know Joy. Her latest book is called Live With Intention: Rediscovering What We Deeply Know.

In this latest book here is what Mary Anne has to say about her poem Live with Intention.

“This poem contains ten elements that summarize my ‘one thing.’ How I want to live my life. When I ask people to identify ten components that enliven them, that improve their day, that make their heart sing….consistently they identify things amazingly close to the elements in Live with Intention. I love that the word ‘intention’ has the ‘ten’ just build right in!”

If we do everything else but that one thing, we will be lost.
And if we do nothing else but that one thing, we will have lived a glorious life.
~ Rumi

“I take Rumi’s reference to the ‘one thing’ to mean the collection of elements, activities, attitudes, and actions that enliven and invigorate an intentional life.”

Mary Anne continues on in the introduction which focuses on intentions with the following:  “It is easy to grow into forgetting. Forgetting our personal priorities. Forgetting the things that bring us zip, verve, and fundamental joys. We roll into the habit of meeting the expectations of others, seeking approval by fitting in and, in general, responding to a status quo that is not resonant with our soul. How do we remember those things that have been set aside, disregarded, or positioned last on the ‘list’?”

“Rediscovering, reconnecting to your intentions….will restore, renew, and bring to the forefront the life that you long to live.”

How does one do that… “Observe your life. Watch how your days unfold. Notice what invigorates or inspires you. Pay particular attention to the things for which you have unbounded energy and excitement. Making a list of these things is especially helpful. Some things are so deeply embedded into our experience, it can be difficult to see them. Part of this observation process involves being aware of what tires you, burns you out in an undesirable way. Perhaps there are events in which you are regularly involved that seem significant, but upon closer examination, you find actually drag you down, rather than elevate you. Many discover that their most significant intentions get the least amount of attention. Oddly, the ‘one thing’ to which Rumi makes reference is often the last thing on lists of things to do. It is that proverbial carrot that is saved for a someday that hardly ever comes.

Do you know the one thing or the collection of things that together comprise the ‘one thing’ that invigorates all your actions and sets you on fire? If you know it, do you measure the activities and focus of your day by it? If you do not know it, how do you make decisions and what do you measure them against?

Over a period of a week or a month, watch how you make decisions. To what do you dedicate your time and attention? Learn from those things to which you say yes and those that receive your ‘No thank you.’ It is helpful to make notes on a daily basis. At the end of your observation period, you can draw certain conclusion. Categorize the events that both invigorate and drain you. Consider the balance between them and follow those threads to discover your intentions…your one thing.”

Do you already know “your one thing?” or are you still seeking?

If you are still uncertain and exploring, consider using Mary Anne’s recommendations to discover your intentions.

As we stand on the edge of entering into a new year, this too can be a most opportune time to focus and set some goals and make decisions on what you want to accomplish.

You might also want to write your very own personal and legendary proclamation for the new year. Here is an example of my personal statement for this past year: “This is the year of passionately embracing my soul’s creative calling.”

Cosmic Cowgirls is also offering a new session of Spark in January and March!   Sparking is a great way to set an intention and really give it daily attention and focus. You can learn more by clicking here.

I’ll leave you with a special new piece by Mary Anne that she shared on her web site.

She writes “This is from a new piece I’m working on. If it inspires you it’s a gift: download it and use it for any non- commercial use. The title of the poem is THIS IS WHAT YOU SHALL DO. I feel strongly that it may take a place alongside LIVE WITH INTENTION as a legacy piece of my life’s work.

The full version is going to be available as a time limited new year’s edition. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Sweetness in your days - THRIVE! Mary Anne

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Who Are You?

Who Are You?

This past Monday and Tuesday the fost-adoption agency I work for brought in a presenter for a two-day management training. We did some interesting interactive activities. I wanted to share some of them because I thought they might prove interesting for you to try at home with a family member or a friend. Additionally it can be interesting to try it in a group as well. The process can lead to some interesting discussions and realizations about yourself and those you know or think you know.

The first activity was to start off by pairing off with another person. Before we were given the question we would be asking we were to choose who would ask the question and who would answer. The question was “Who are you?” and one of the persons had to ask this question over and over for a minute, with the other person answering again and again, maybe with a different response, maybe repeating some answers. After the minute the partners then switched and went through the same process for another minute. Then finally they would switch back and forth for one more additional minute.

The next question we asked and went through the same process again was “When you are afraid who do you pretend to be?”

Following these exchanges we then gathered back into a larger circle and we then had to take turns standing behind our question & answer partner and introduce our partner as if we were he or she by stating the following.

Hi my name is: ___________

I am a ____________ person.

In order for me to feel safe I need ________________ from the group.

Later we did another rather fun activity. This one will require you to write down some simple answers and later I can reveal more about what your answers mean.

1) Write down your favorite color. Now list three adjectives for this color.
2) Write down your favorite animal. Now list three adjectives for this animal.
3) Write down the word “Night” and list three adjectives.
4) Write down the word “Water” and list three adjectives.

I will tell you more about what these mean in a comment to this post.  Be sure not to peek

Another very interesting test to take is the Human Metrics Personality Test

The results will tell you the following:
  • Your type formula according to Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers typology along with the strengths of the preferences
  • The description of your personality type
  • The list of occupations and educational institutions where you can get relevant degree or training, most suitable for your personality type - Jung Career Indicator™

Share your answers to the questions above and if you take the Human Metrics test come back and share your results.

If you take the time to try the “Who are you?” answer and question exchange with a friend or family member share what came up during the exchange.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ ~ Letters & Prayers for Shiloh's Rite of Passage

On Saturday, December 11th an evening reception was held in honor of Shiloh Sophia McCloud.

Part of the ritual included the creation of a ceremonial treasure chest that was to include letters, prayers, and testimonials honoring our Chief Laughing Cloud.

If you already wrote something for this treasure chest please share with us or feel free to write something to Shiloh now.

If you attended the event perhaps share with us a taste of your experience.

Here is the letter I sent to be part of the treasure chest:

The only word that I could speak upon entering The Wisdom House gallery was "WOW!" I was in awe of Shiloh's art and then as I explored her journals and spoke with Mary McDonald I felt something stir in my soul. In the following months I would visit Shiloh's web site to view her art and to learn more about the Cosmic Cowgirls and when I learned of the Bountiful Conference in October 2008 I was drawn to attend.

The first time I heard Shiloh speak at the conference my response was again "WOW!" It was incredible to see that not only her art represented a "wowness", but so did the woman who created that art.

Months later while framing a print of Shiloh's to display in my home, one of my 3 year old daughters asked to see what I was doing. I turned over the piece of art and the one word out of her little girl mouth was "WOW!" I actually wrote to Shiloh of that experience because here again that word "WOW!" was coming from the mouth of a mere baby whose own young soul was stirred by what she saw.

My heart knew no other path than to become a Cosmic Cowgirl and over the course of the past two years as I have taken painting classes, Sparked, attended conferences, written blogs and articles and interacted with other Cosmic Cowgirls, I have also been blessed to have grown to know Shiloh more personally. I have been so incredibly impressed and inspired by this remarkable woman who is firmly grounded (while wearing her red cowgirl boots no doubt) and yet is also reaching for the stars and encouraging everyone in her presence to do the same.

I would like to share a poem/song called Remember Your Wow-ness by a writer who is also a personal friend of Shiloh. It is by Patricia L. Reilly and appears in her book Words Made Flesh.

Remember Your Wow-ness

Verse 1
Do you ever look up at the night sky and say WOW?
Well you're made of the same WOW-ness as the night sky.

Verse 2
Do you ever get lost in it's bigness and say WOW?
Well you're made of the same WOW-ness as the big sky.

Verse 3
Do you ever feel held by its darkness and say WOW?
Well you''re made of the same WOW-ness as the dark sky.

Verse 4
Do you feel the tug of the full moon and say WOW?
Well you're made of the same WOW-ness as the full moon.

Verse 5
Do you ever try to count the stars and say WOW?
Well you're made of the same WOW-ness as the night star.

Voice Choir
You are composed of the same stuff as the Milky Way.
You are an exquisite dimension of the Galaxy's development.
You are a space the Universe fashioned to feel its own grandeur.
You are an individualize expression of WOW. WOW!

Thank you Shiloh for all the "WOW" you add to our world and the Universe!

much love ~ Michelle Fairchild

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Character Strengths

It has been said that one of the secrets to happiness is finding ways to be able to operate in areas of strength as much as possible. One way to identify more of your strengths is to take the VIA Character Strengths assessment test. Researchers in a field called Positive Psychology identified 24 character strengths. The test they designed helps you figure out which of the 24 are your greatest strengths. The idea is that after you discover your strengths, you can work to improve ones you’re weaker at, but also play to the ones you’re stronger at.

You have to create an account so it will save your assessments. After you make your account, click on the test called “VIA Survey of Character Strengths” to take the test. It’s 240 questions long, but it goes fast, and I promise it’ll be worth it!

After you take the test, please share your Top Five strengths here on the Red Boa blog.

For the record, here are my top five:

1. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

2 Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

3. Perspective (wisdom)
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

4. Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery

5. Gratitude
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hallelujah as performed by K. D. Lang

This stirs the soul. What an amazing performance. The standing ovation and K. D.'s reaction at the end is so very touching.

hallelujah, halleluiah [ˌhælɪˈluːjə], alleluia [ˌælɪˈluːjə]

1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) an exclamation of praise to God
2. an expression of relief or a similar emotion
1. an exclamation of ``Hallelujah''
2. (Music, other) a musical composition that uses the word Hallelujah as its text
[from Hebrew hallelūyāh praise the Lord, from hellēl to praise + yāh the Lord, Yahweh]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cosmic Cowgirl Magazine

The Cosmic Cowgirl magazine was officially launched yesterday!  Woo hoo!
Come check out the wisdom, wit and wildness of the Cosmic Cowgirls magazine by clicking here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Dear Santa

Today my 4 year old twin daughters wrote letters to Santa Claus asking for particular gifts for Christmas.  They let me know before we stared that we needed to include pictures for Santa Claus.

After they completed their letters and I explained that I would mail them to Santa Claus I sat there pondering what my letter to Santa would include this year if I still wrote one.  Then I considered why not write my own letter to Santa. 

There is a song I know called My Grown Up Christmas List that captures many things I would ask for as an adult and you can watch a video and read the lyrics below. 

Yet what about my inner child? What if I was 4 years old again or maybe 12? What about fun and adventure?

My 4 year old self would ask for that race track I always wanted and never got.
My 12 year old self would ask for records to play on my stereo.
My 41 year old self would ask for some fun and fancy paints from Dharma Trading so I can paint my black boots with a wild kick-ass design, an iTunes gift card (because I do so LOVE music), as well as ask for a greater power to help me not feel scared so much and help me embrace being courageous this next year. A bonus list would include a request for more time for creating and more peace in my home, which is sometimes challenged by the moods of my twin 4-year-olds.

What about YOU?
What would your 4 year old self want Santa to bring?
What about your 12 year old self?
What about this year? What would you put in your letter?

Lyrics to My Grown Up Christmas List
By Jane Monheit

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown up Christmas list

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zainab Salbi ~ Powerful Insight About War

In war we often see only the frontline stories of soldiers and combat. At TEDGlobal 2010, Zainab Salbi tells powerful "backline" stories of women who keep everyday life going during conflicts, and calls for women to have a place at the negotiating table once fighting is over.

About Zainab Salbi
Iraqi-born Zainab Salbi founded and runs Women for Women International, and has dedicated her life to helping women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives and communities.

This is a MUST-SEE video.

Some of the powerful moments that hit me is when she describes how a woman who was raped and mutilated in front of her children and also had to watch as her husband and her 9-year-old son were killed worries that her surviving children will have hate in their hearts and that they will grow up and want to fight the killers of their father and brother.

The tears flowed when Zainab shared how these women who have survived horrible wars are still dancing and singing everyday.  They are women standing on their feet in spite of their circumstances. 

She ends with a beautiful quote from Rumi "Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there." 

She then asks us all to meet one another there.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Giving Thanks

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melodie Beattie

Here is a wonderful photo montage that plays to a beautiful song called I Give Thanks by the talented Kathryn Mostow.

This week the majority of people in the USA will gather on Thursday for a holiday called Thanksgiving.  The origins of the holiday may have a complicated historical past, yet the idea of families and friends gathering together to share in a day of Giving Thanks and expressing their Gratitude is inspiring.    

I have been in some circles where we have gone around the dining table in order for each person to express his/her gratitude.  I have also experienced meals where we each wrote down something for which we were thankful on a piece of paper and then they were all read at the table.

Share with us here on the Red Boa what you will be Giving Thanks for this year.

“Embrace your ordinary life, whatever its wrapping, for in the embrace you will hear the whisper of Gratitude. Listen for her in the ordinary activities of your day, in the ordinary encounters with loved ones, and in the ordinary challenges that greet you each morning. She speaks from the depths of you, in the voice of your ordinary life.” —Patricia Lynn Reilly

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If I Were Brave

Jana Stanfield is an inspiring speaker, singer and songwriter.  You can learn more about her on her website by clicking here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

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.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Wabi-sabi

"Usefulness is not impaired by imperfection. You can still drink from a chipped cup."
~ Greta K. Nagel

Wabi-sabi means to appreciate or see the beauty and harmony in imperfection and simplicity. It originates in Japan, where artists will often leave a crack in a piece of pottery or a flaw in the design of a kimono as a reminder of the wabi-sabi nature of life. Wabi-sabi recognizes that all of life is in a constant state of change, and that decay is as much a part of life as growth.

"Wabi-sabi is a concept that originated in sixteenth-century Japan with the tea ceremony, a ritual that provided a way to step out of the chaos of daily life and reconnect with that which was simple and tranquil," says Diane Durston, author of Wabi-Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life and curator of culture, art, and education at the Portland Japanese Garden. "Through the centuries wabi-sabi came to mean an approach to life and art that is in harmony with nature, one that values the handmade and rustic and that recognizes the impermanence of life. It encourages us to be respectful of age, both in things and in ourselves, and it counsels us to be content with what we have rather than always striving for more. It's a hard concept to define in words, because it's about emotion as much as philosophy. Wabi-sabi has a hint of wistfulness about it."

 Lori Erickson wrote in her article called The Joy of Imperfection, which appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine, “Not long ago, I realized something as I stood in front of the mirror. Even if I squinted hard, even if the light was just right, even if I was wearing make-up and a flattering outfit, no one was ever going to mistake me for a sweet young thing anymore. I saw that the lines around my eyes didn't disappear when I stopped smiling. I admitted that I was the sort of woman who looked perfectly at home in a mini-van. And as I stood there, contemplating the changes that had somehow snuck up on me, at first I felt a twinge of sorrow for my lost youth (Where did it go? Where did I go?) — and then I began to appreciate how wabi-sabi my face looked. The concept of wabi sabi is one that I think every woman (and man) should have in her mental bag of tricks, particularly after time's winged chariot has pulled into the driveway.”

 Photo by Matt Hoyle

Here is an artistic video about wabi-sabi

Take a look in your space right now. What do you see that you would consider wabi-sabi?

Take a look in the mirror. What do you see? Do you immediately see flaws and tend to criticize your appearance? Or perhaps you like what you see and look at yourself with love and acceptance. 

Does the idea of looking at yourself and life with a wabi-sabi philosophy that there is great beauty in imperfection change anything for you?

"The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise."
~ Alden Nowlan

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Women's Right to Vote

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

(Lucy Burns)

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars over her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate,Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

 (Alice Paul)

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)

(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown , New York )

(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)

Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place, Washington , D.C.. L-R: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon--standing

(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn.)

Helena served a three day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner that read Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The film Iron Jawed Angels is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that we could pull the curtain at the polling booth.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Remember to Vote on November 2nd.

Consider the fact that women in some other countries will go to vote even when they fear for their lives. Or consider that women in some countries can still not vote. They still do not have any say in decisions that affect their way of life.

Let us not take for granted our hard won right to vote.

What are your thoughts about women's rights and about voting?

Have you ever spoken to your mom, grandmothers or great-grandmothers about their thoughts on what it meant or means to them to vote?

** The majority of the text and all the photographs come from an email I received several years ago. I received it this year too as it is still circulating around the internet. I do not know who the original writer is so I cannot give credit to that person.