Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mojo Monday ~ Happy 2nd Birthday




Mojo Monday was born in May 2010.  This May we are celebrating Mojo Monday's 2nd Birthday! How the time has flown on by.  This Red Boa blog existed prior to the Mojo Monday posts beginning, but it was an addition that brought a consistent voice to this blog.  Mojo Monday was actually created for the Cosmic Cowgirls private member site.  Posts that appear here also appear just for members on The Rodeo of the Soul.  I have learned a great deal from these writing experiences.  Some of my aha moments include the following:

  • When you have a dream or goal you need to set aside the time to do the work to reach those dreams and goals.  For example if you want to be a writer you have to write.     
  • Trust that commitment and applied discipline to a regular practice can feel good and can build your confidence to say “YES” to other opportunities.
  • Learn to let go of expectations and focus on the writing journey. 
  • Be engaged and interested in what you are writing.
  • If you want to write a book, start a blog and begin to create a writing presence in the world.  Breathing life into a project is an important step in the process.






Monday, April 23, 2012

Mojo Monday ~ Raise Your Voice



‎"Half the world's population does not receive enough food to eat. 10-20 million die every year of hunger and its effects. The Institute for Food and Development Policy reports that, "Forty thousand children starve to death on this planet every day," or one child every two seconds.

Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., nearly 80 percent is used in some way to raise animals—that's roughly half
 of the total land mass of the U.S. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals.

The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth. About 20 percent of the world's population, or 1.4 billion people, could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone."

Join a walk, or if you live too far away to participate in person, donate to one.

Fight hunger with every choice you make and every step you take: 

http://www.BayAreaHungerWalk.org/

www.churchworldservice.org
CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world.


Raise Your Voice performed by K.C. Clifford

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mojo Monday ~ A Peaceful Place


This week's Mojo Monday was going to be about one subject, but fresh inspiration struck as I lay underneath our majestic oak tree, feeling very content to see blue skies, sunshine and listen to the various bird calls and tweets that fill our back yard with sound.  


For many years now I have found myself entering into a peaceful zone when I garden and work outside in the yard.  When I was single I spent many hours in my yards and I filled them with flowers and colorful garden art.  My yards in the past were small to modest in size, yet I still managed to spend hours and hours wiling away the time and enjoying digging in the dirt.  When my husband and I bought our first home together we were fortunate to find an older home, built in the 50's, in a neighborhood where most homes have very generous yards and with existing trees and plants.  Our back yard, sometimes referred to as the Fairchild Park by some family and friends, is home to a majestic oak, a giant redwood, a cherry tree, a plum tree, a pear tree and a pomegranate tree.  We have also added a dogwood, a miniature Japanese maple, a red bud and other various plants and a stone patio.  


This past week our neck of the woods saw rainy day after rainy day.  I don't normally complain about the weather and I usually appreciate each season for its own unique beauty and the gifts it brings with it for our natural world.  However I was beginning to long for some sunshine.  Saturday morning arrived sunny and gorgeous after a long rain all night.  My morning began with taking care of some overdue chores like cleaning bathrooms, cleaning a cat box, getting some laundry going and cleaning the kitchen.  After several hours of chores I began to feel grumpy and irritable and I looking longingly out the window.  When I finally headed to our backyard to do some yard work there were still vestiges of the doldrums hanging on.  As I began to plant some new flowers I'd been given for my recent birthday, and as our whole family worked together to finish clearing up some downed limbs into the green waste can or our wood pile, all the gray feelings dissipated and my disposition grew as sunny as the day.  


After hours of hard work I grabbed a refreshing beverage, a magazine to peruse and I went and lounged on a patio chair.  Ahhh, "Now this is the life!" I thought to myself.  I also ticked off in my head the many of the ways I am so incredibly blessed in this life.  


Now before life in the Fairchild household begins to sound unbelievably idyllic and peaceful I feel it only fair to share that there are times when I am in the "zone" of gardening and my twin daughters will scream, cry or begin to fight over some game they are playing.  Shrieking children do not really fit into my peaceful garden world and this can be a struggle for me.  Whining and shrieking children have the same affect on me inside the house too.  In my perfect world I would be grooving to good tunes, painting, writing, gardening, dancing, swimming (let's ignore the fact we don't have a pool) and enjoying a peaceful environment. We can't always have that perfect peaceful world, especially when we share our space with significant others, children and pets.  


When I really begin to struggle with a chaotic (and messy) living space that sets my nerves on edge I try to take deep breaths, remind myself of what is really important, remind myself that this particularly annoying situation won't last forever and if all else fails I can choose to do one of several things.  1) Engage the children in laughter, dance or some such fun to change the energy and mind set in the room.   2) Go outside to soak in the natural world or at the very least look outside.  3) Take a brief time out in my bedroom or my art room.  4) Retreat to the bathroom and hide for 5 minutes.  5) Grab a book, run a hot bubble bath and have quiet time reading for an hour.     


I have also contemplated for many years the following quote:  "peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." 
~ unknown
When I consider this quote I know that I have a ways to go in being able to remain in the peaceful mind set no matter what is thrown at me.  


Do you have a peaceful place?


Is it a place that you can count on to help you relax and/or feel rejuvenated?


If you are feeling anxious, stressed or unsettled are there things you do that help you to relax, unwind, or feel better?


What if you are in a funk or feeling grumpy?  Are there things that lift your spirit and help to center you again? 




All photos from the "Fairchild park."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Imagine



This is one of my most favorite versions of the song Imagine. This version was pulled together by Herbie Hancock. It features Seal, Pink, India.Arie, Jeff Beck, Konono N*1, Oumou Sangare, and Herbie Hancock. Stunning, uplifting, inspirational.

It blends well with my message from the Universe yesterday morning (my 43rd birthday by the way):

Do you know what the former-living celebrate the most, when they consider their earlier times in space?

Not homes bought, cars driven, mountains climbed, or islands hopped, but fears faced, hearts mended, faith restored, and love bared.

A hearty crew (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk) -
The Universe

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mojo Monday ~ Am I Pretty



My most recent article in the Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine is called Am I Pretty?

One of the quotes I ask readers to contemplate is from
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, PhD:

“Destroying a woman’s instinctive affiliation with her natural body
cheats her of confidence. It causes her to perseverate
about whether she is a good person or not, and bases her
self-worth on how she looks instead of who she is.
It keeps her preoccupied , colors everything she does, plans, and anticipates.
It is unthinkable in the instinctive world
that a woman should live preoccupied by appearance this way
.”

Come read the complete article over at the
Cosmic Cowgirl's Magazine by visiting this web link:



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mojo Monday ~ Healing Wounded Hearts

Necklace made by Michelle Fairchild while healing her wounded heart.

Many people are familiar with the term "aha moment."  We Cosmic Cowgirls refer to them as "awe ha!" moments.  I had my own shift recently after attending the latest Cosmic Cowgirl Hodown member conference.  My realization was that I don't feel wounded by the old stories of my life anymore.  This was a truly beautiful realization for me, as in fairly recent years I went through some significant life changes and also experienced some difficult life challenges.  


In fact, I am not being overly dramatic when I describe the period as the dark night of my soul.  My personal struggles led me to retreat from some long held relationships. Thankfully, instead of going down a completely self-destructive path, I chose to dig in deep and accomplish some incredibly cathartic soul work.  I underwent a period of the unburying of the old hurts with the guidance of two therapists, and my husband and I also went through counseling together.  During this time frame I had questioned my lovability and likability. Anger and rage that I had stuffed also needed to be addressed and processed in healthy ways.  There was a point where my natural sunshiny ways of spreading love were dampened and I questioned deeply what love meant to me. This proved to be a profound experience.  I now see that making it through the dark times has led me to a lighter place, one where the love is deeper, the grace so much more profound and the forgiveness so much more freely given. I have also seen my spiritual wings grow stronger and more sure of themselves as I look at the world with awe and wonder.


I agree whole-heartedly with the brilliant author and motivational speaker leader, Iyanla Vanzant, that in order to heal our pain three things to need to happen, we have to feel our pain, we have to deal with it (really deal with it) and then we can heal it.  Feel, Heal, Deal.


I also must add that one of the gifts of belonging to the tribe of Cosmic Cowgirls is the way we are encouraged and even challenged to open our minds and think about things in new ways.  In courses I have taken with Cosmic Cowgirl University I have continually been reminded of our ability to write our own Legendary story however we choose.   I have been going through the process of doing this work with Cosmic Cowgirls for the past four years and there were initially times where my story made me sad.  There were parts that brought up pain and old losses and I would get stuck and just stop.  There was a time frame when I realized that the rose-colored glasses I had been wearing for years had developed some serious cracks in them and I couldn't go on.  


Now I see so much more clearly how everything that has occurred in my life has contributed to who I am, and I really truly love who I am.  My Legendary story is a big adventure with plot twists, exciting heart-stopping drama, exotic adventures and whole-hearted love because of the joys, the losses, the love, the lows and the highs.   

In the eight years I have worked for a private non-profit fost-adoption agency I have learned a great deal about special needs children, wounded hearts and souls, and the therapeutic process.  My knowledge and understanding of how wounds affect behavior and our choices expanded ten-fold during those years.  


Then with my most recent "awe ha" moment it became even that much more transparent how many people are living lives as the walking wounded.  While I will not allow others to intentionally hurt me and I have learned a great deal more about healthy boundaries in relationships, I also have compassion for others, knowing that how some people respond or act is due to their unhealed wounds, which in most cases I have nothing to do with at all.  For example in best case scenarios those who are wounded, but haven't dealt with it, do things like living life reactively, being blind to why things push their buttons, acting defensively, when they would really prefer to act lovingly.  


In the worst case scenarios the walking wounded can cause others grievous harm and pain. These are the situations that lead to violence, cruelty, and committing crimes.  One way of viewing those who are wounded and then act out by hurting others can be through the lens of a quote by buddhist Thich Naht Hahn, "When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.  He does not need punishment, he needs help."  Iyanla Vanzant goes more in depth about all the things stuffing and masking our pain can lead to, such as addictions (ie drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling), criminal behavior, as well as such things as low self-esteem, depression and lack of direction in life.  Iyanla also shared during her live show with Oprah about how people can also become addicted to their story of pain.  She tells one man who had been addicted to drugs and alcohol for twenty years, and after ten years of being sober and is still unhappy and has been thinking about using again, that he has become addicted to his story.  She challenges him on what he would be doing if he was to really choose to be happy and move forward with his life, instead of living in the past.


One of the events that helped push me over the hump and firmly into a new  awareness took place at the most recent Cosmic Cowgirl gathering.  During the closing ceremony, beautifully directed by a member, each woman went around the circle and one-by-one, linked arms with each woman and while looking into one another's eyes said these words, "I see you.  You are my sister."  It was a very moving, and at times emotional exchange, for those participating.  Days following that event, when I was asked by someone, who I had described the experience to, if saying those words was difficult, and my response was "Not at all."  I shared that when those exchanged took place it was about really seeing a person and their inner soul.  In my spiritual practice it was also about seeing that God essence that exists in all of us and is that which connects us all.


Do you feel wounded?


Are there things in your past that still feel left unresolved?


What are your thoughts about healing?  


What are the stories you tell yourself about events that were hurtful?


How do things from the past affect you now in the present?  


What if you decided to start telling a different story?


What would happen if you were to heal and move on?  What would you be doing?  Who would you be?  




More to explore about healing the wounded heart:


There is a documentary called The Dhamma Brothers.  It is about an Alabama prison, known as "the house of pain," that allowed a Buddhist meditation practice to be brought within its walls and taught to some of the prisoners, most of whom will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.  It is eye-opening and moving to hear some of the prisoners share their experiences with the meditation course and the changes it brought to their lives.  One of the prisoners in the documentary shared how he was more a prisoner when he was out on the streets, acting out all his pain in hurtful ways.  He will be in prison for the rest of his life, but the meditation practice led him to finally feel his pain and then deal with it, which finally allowed him to heal.  He actually stated that he feels more free now then he did prior to being in prison.  The reality is that he was in a prison of his own making, as are others out living lives in which they are hurting, unhappy, addicted to alcohol or drugs, which they use to dull the pain.  


Here is a brief video with the director presenting at a TED talk about the making of The Dhamma Brothers.




One other great show to watch is the first episode of Oprah's Lifeclass the Tour.  In the first episode Oprah meets with Iyanla Vanzant who talks about "Stopping the Pain."  You can watch the full episode by going clicking on this link: