Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Cracks In the Universe


Mother, teach me how to see
The shining lights of stars,
The faces of the Ancestors,
In worlds both near and far.

Show me how to welcome
The visions appearing to me,
Seeing the truth in detail,
Unraveling each mystery.

Walk me through the Dreamtime
Of altered time and space,
That I may share those visions
With every creed and race.

Doorkeeper of all dimensions,
I seek your Medicine ways
Of how to earth my visions,
Seeing truth, inside me, today.

~ Jamie Sams from "Looks Far Woman" chapter
in The 13 Original Clan Mothers

Wings and fins.  They have been appearing in unexpected places lately.  I don't always pay attention to signs or my muse.  I get caught up in the daily routine and my focus starts to narrow in on work and a busy family calendar schedule, which has me jetting off to play volleyball on Monday nights and shuttling my sweet twin daughters to softball practices and games twice a week.  All of this is after eight hours a day of supporting social workers, families and children at a foster-adoption agency.  On many a evening I just want to kick back and do some Netflix streaming with the hubby, in lieu of checking in with the oracles or my muse.  Yet if I stray to0 far from the creative energy within things also start to feel off kilter.  I know that on a soulful level it is important for me to make time for quiet, for reflection and for pondering.  Listening to my intuition and my creative impulses is also key for me to staying in touch with my soul.  It is through my writing, my art and the courses I take, that I am reminded of the deeper meanings to life and also of a spiritual web that connects us all.


There are several things that I turn to to keep me connected to the muse and spirit.  The first is creating the space for writing and creating, be that painting, collaging or some other form of creative outlet.  Fortunately I have writing commitments that require me to write at least three articles each month.  Those commitments can be a taskmaster at times (monkey on my back so to speak) but there can be a gift in discipline and accountability.  There have been months where the written words have flown easily and sweetly from my mind and heart over to the page.  There have also been weeks and months when I have procrastinated and struggled to get the ideas flowing, the stress growing as deadlines loomed over me.  In the end it comes down to making the time and doing it even when it feels like work.  Even when it is hard I still feel drawn like a moth to the flame, to compose words like music on a page into some form of lyrical story.  I am grateful for the results of showing up, even when I don't always feel like it.

Painting, collaging and general ol' creativity is another great love.   That I may go days and weeks without playing in the art room seems mad, but that is the reality from time to time.  If there are extended time frames when I am not playing and creating I now see that this coincides quite regularly with feelings of lethargy, sadness, boredom, general malaise and so on.  Here is where being involved in a journaling class can give me the kick in the ass I need.  Its like my muse has this wicked sense of humor and entices me to sign up for something, even when the practical office manager in me is saying, "But you already have too much to do my dear, how ever can you make the time for this class?  Get real."  Fortunately the muse is very persuasive and manages to lure my inner artist to retrieve the credit card and sign up while the office manager is busy doing taxes or organizing her files.  It is so worth it too, for I have loved, loved, loved, the several Storywalking courses that I have taken with Jenafer Owen.  The current one began on March 1st and is called Storywalking: A Very Daring Tail.  Click here to read more about the intriguing details and take note that the next course begins April 21st.  These courses have forced me to be more in touch with the muse, my intuition, symbolism, signs and creative visions.   

Mermaid fin

One of the recent activities we were asked to complete in The Daring Tail course involved an Oracle.  If you want to try it out for yourself visit the Oracle here and write down what it has to tell you.  Visit it three times in row, recording each cryptic message.  Then sit with it.  Ponder it.  Look up the true definition of key words.  Be surprised sometimes to learn that words can mean something other than you thought.  After much reflection how have you translated the message of the Oracle?  Let me share my recent communication.


It has grown more obvious to me how, when I am closed off and in task master mode, that I can be oblivious to noticing the nuances of spirit.  When I slow down and open myself to creative spirit the influx of synchronistic images or words can be profound.  In January and February I had felt like I needed a break from any new commitments and had abstained from taking any on-line courses.  I was still in the mode of not taking anything new one, but at the last minute I signed up for The Daring Tail course, which started on March 1st.  

There is a theme regarding mermaids and sea life in this course.  Once I was signed up I had several occasions to note that mermaids and sea life images had been showing up around me for several weeks, but that I had not noticed.  A couple of weeks into the course I also remembered how I had just read the novel The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd only a couple weeks prior.  Even in the prior December Storywalking course I was astonished when flipping back a few journal pages to discover the funky mer-creature I had drawn, as well as my companion animal from a guided meditation, which was none other than a while who had a very specific message for me: "We are going to plumb the depths...and swim among the stars."

Plumb the depths

Lastly, one other way this past year that I have seeked out greater vision and communion with spirit, has been by participating in a personal Vision Quest with a spirit guide.  One of the inspirations for the journey is the book The 13 Original Clan Mothers, by Jamie Sams. Each month I am to read the assigned chapter and create my shield.  My shields took the form of prayer flags and that particular vision came to me the first day I spoke with my spirit guide.  There are also additional monthly assignments to complete.  The journey began last June and will come to a conclusion at the end of my 13th month. I will admit that sometimes I have felt like throwing in the towel. Sometimes I have felt like an imposter.  Sometimes I have questioned if I am doing enough and/or doing it right.  Yet I have committed to the journey and have grown to embrace that it is mine and is not to be compared to the journey of another.  This Vision Quest has also pushed me to reside in a space of greater spiritual reflection.  

Storyteller ~ my first prayer flag from June 2013.
Storyteller ~ my first prayer flag from June 2013.

What are some ways that you stay connected to source?

Do you have regular creative practices that
feed your soul and keep you inspired?

Have you ever noticed that if/when you drift away
from doing those things that feed your soul
that you start to feel down, blue and disconnected?

Any words of wisdom about how to keep your soul fire burning bright?

"Looks Far Woman is the Clan Mother who is the 
Guardian of the Fourth Moon Cycle, which falls in April.  
The full spectrum of pastel colors is connected to the 
Clan Mother's cycle, because she carries the 
Medicine of Prophecy, see the truth in all colors.  
She is the Doorkeeper of the Crack in the Universe 
and the Golden Door of Illumination that 
leads to all other dimensions of awareness.  
She stands at the Crack in the Universe 
and safely guides all human spirits taking Dreamtime journeys 
into the other realms and then, back home, 
being present and fully conscious of their bodies.

This Clan Mother is a Seer, an Oracle, a Dreamer, and a visionary.
She teaches us the validity of our impressions, dreams, visions
and feelings as they exist within our inner potential.
Looks Far Woman instructs humankind on how to unravel
the symbols found in psychic impressions.
She shows us how to see the truth in every vision we receive
in the tangible and intangible worlds.
In her wisdom, Looks Far Woman assists every seeker
in finding the seeds of personal and planetary prophecy
that the Great Mystery planted inside all human beings."

~ Jamie Sams from The 13 Original Clan Mothers

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Scheduling Joy and Growing Your Soul

Find Happiness NowIs your calendar full?  Do you wake up thinking about the things that have to get done?  Does your chore list seem a mile long?  In the midst of the laundry, taking the kids to softball practices, doing your time in the 8 to 5, feeding the pets and making meals, have you scheduled joy into your day? Jonathan Robinson, author of Finding Happiness Now: 50 Shortcuts for Bringing More Love, Balance and Joy Into Your Life has some ideas and recommendations for getting happier and one involves actually scheduling joy into your life just as you would a doctors appointment or a meeting at work.
What if you aren't clear on what brings you joy?  Jonathan Robinson recommends writing out a Pain and Pleasure List (PPL).  The PPL is a list of at least 10 things that you enjoy doing and and a list of 10 things you don't particularly care for.  He states the point is to clarify what really turns you on in life and what you do only because you have to  -- or think you should.
As an example he shares a list that a client completed when given this assignment.  Here is the clients lists:
Ten Things I Don't Like To Do
Go to work
Market myself or my products
Clean the house
Be around disagreeable people
Spend time with my parents
Taxes and paying the bills
Give my wife a massage
Go shopping for clothes or gifts
Argue with my wife
Ten Things I Love To Do
Ride my bike
Be by myself, reading a good book
Play with the dog
Eat good food
Get a massage
Spend time in nature
Make love with my wife
Drive & listen to music
Watch a good football game
more joy and laughterThe author then shared that after his client completed his list he asked him to estimate the number of hours every month he spent doing each activity.  Jonathan writes "When he finished this part of the exercise, it was brutally clear why he was depressed, stressed and messed-up with his wife.  The total number of hours on the 'pain' side of the list was a whopping 215 hours per month.  The total number of hours on the pleasure side of the list was a meager thirty-two hours a month.  That's almost a seven-to-one ratio of pain to pleasure.  I've found that when the degree of pain compared to pleasure rises above a five-to-one ratio people dislike their life.  In order to feel good again, such people need to spend less time doing 'painful' activities and more time doing what they enjoy."
The author then adds for his readers "The first key to changing your life and behaviors is to be aware of whats currently not working.  If after completing your own PPL, you see a similar pattern to James' then you'll now you've been denying yourself too much.  You need to put pleasurable activities at a greater level of importance in your life."
Take some time right now to complete your own PPL List.  I'll complete one too.
Ten Things I Love To Do
Read (extra bonus points if it is in a hot bath)
Be in nature and soak in the beauty
Take photos of things that make me happy
Listen to music with positive lyrics
Play/do something fun with the family
Create (paint, draw, make collages)
Share juicy and uplifting conversations
Feel connected to others/nurture relationships
Eat/drink something delicious that also enhance my health & vitality

Ten Things I Don't Like To Do
Clean the cat box
Be in a cluttered and messy living space
Cook after a long day at work
Have too much work to complete in a day
Deal with technical difficulties
Be overbooked
Fall behind on writing deadlines
Listen to complaining
Experience conflict or be around conflict
Take care of sick people
Add some of the things on your Things I Love To Do list to your calendar, be it techy style in Outlook or iCalendar or the old fashioned paper one hanging on your well.  How did it feel to add these onto your calendar?  Does becoming more conscious of making time for joy shift anything?
How about growing your soul while also making time for more joy?  Does the concept of growing your soul sound daunting, challenging or even painful?  I have some good news.  According to Kurt Vonnegut growing your soul can be both simple and fun.
Kurt Vonnegut quote
In 2006 Ms. Lockwood, an English teacher at Xavier High School, asked her students to write a letter to a famous author. She wanted them to discuss the author’s work and ask for advice.  Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007) was the only one to write back.  He even signed off with a drawing.
Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:
I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.
What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.
Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?
Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.
God bless you all!
Kurt Vonnegut
Right now let's do Kurt Vonnegut's assignment and write a six line poem.  Keep it simple and easy and just see what flows out.
Did you learn anything new about yourself after completing your poem?  Was there a message from your soul?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ What Do You Want to Feel?

what do you want to feel
"When you lean into your desires, you liberate your power - and your joy."
Danielle LaPorte
I have been contemplating the question "What makes me happy?" for a few weeks now.  I have a Mojo Monday writing partner though her articles only appear on the Cosmic Cowgirl member sites, where my Mojo Monday musings also get posted.  Trish O'Malley has been brilliantly covering the topic of happiness for a couple of weeks now.  What I shared after her last post was the following:
"I read the intro to Danielle LaPorte's book called The Desire Map on Amazon for the first time a week or so ago. It really stuck with me when she shares how she and her former husband were making lists about things they wanted in their lives.  And how it was a great aha moment when they suddenly realized that it wasn't so much the things, but the feelings they were hoping to attain.  She shared how that shifted their list."

Desire Map

Danielle then goes onto list the words that flowed forth and the ensuing conversation:
Earth. Nature. Eco-love.
True love.

Desire Map 2

The posts on happiness by Trish and checking out the contents of the book The Desire Map was timely for me.  My home life is good.  My hubby and I are in a really good place with one another.  My twin daughters are almost eight years old and are such a total joy.  They are fun and blossoming in so many ways.  I love coming home to them and spending time together as a family.

Where I am struggling is in my professional life.  At the end of March my 10 year anniversary with the agency I work for will come to pass.  10 years.  It kind of blows my mind that I have been doing this job for 10 years.  I still hold such deep gratitude for all I have learned and how my life has been enriched doing work that makes a positive difference in the world.  My peers for the most part are all social workers who have masters degrees or who have gone onto get licensed.  It has been a beautiful fit for me because I do have the soul and spirit of a social worker.  Recently when I took one of those Facebook quizzes about which career would be best for me the answer was Humanitarian, and it listed social worker for a career.  (You can find the quiz here if you would like to take it too.)

While I may have the soul of a social worker I don't have a social worker degree, though I wish I would have been better informed about my options in college.  Instead I have a degree in History, another in French, along with a minor in English and certificates in editing and publishing.  My creativity, organizational strengths and technology skills have served me well in administrative and office manager jobs in printing, education and then social services.

For a number of months I truly have been making myself miserable and sad with my own thoughts about success/lack of success and so on.  I have had this storyline stuck in a loop-feed in my head about my being 44 years old and only making "X" amount of money.  This partly surprises me because I have never been about the money.  However, I know that tied up in this is feeling like I have hit the ceiling in my current position.  Not to mention that I have also been in limbo for many months in regards to where a writing project might be leading.  Waiting, when it could likely end with rejection, has been stressful.  (Note to self ~ I really need to work on more letting go and anxiety/stress-relieving techniques. Perhaps re-read my own post about anxiety that can be found here.)  

In exploring the topic of what do I want, I am now asking the more important questions regarding what makes me happy and what do I want to feel.  I have been setting my sights on getting clearer on what makes me sad/angry/frustrated/stressed, and then even more importantly what makes me feel happy and inspired. I think starting there will be a key ingredient to choosing and creating more happiness.  I believe those answers can help me make some decisions about the future of my writing and art, my creative dreams/goals and my professional aspirations.  

Desire Map 3

 How do you want to feel in your life?

What makes you happy?

What makes you feel inspired?

Does writing a list and getting clear
on those answers shift things for you?


Want to do some explorations of the soul?
Consider joining a course with Jenafer Owen
that begins March 3rd called 
A Very Daring Tail.