Zoom in on Happiness

There’s a lesson in the clouds today:

Where do I choose to focus?

 

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On looming dark clouds

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or a patch of lovely turquoise sky?

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Zoom in on happiness!

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Gestation–A Poem in Process

…A poem about seasonal changes, changing and evolving…

I woke at dawn this morning and as I watered my thirsty gardens this poem came so easily, starting w/ “being present” and flowing into a memoried future dream:

Winter is getting seedy
cilantro becoming coriander 
demure parsley flaunting golden umbels on four-foot tall stems…
Spring has sprung!
fruit tree blossoms long gone to mulch
(except those strange persimmon flowers that are now setting fruit).
Now the buzz in the ‘hood is all about wildflowers and mesquite blossoms
and oh the colors of verbena and hollyhocks
a bit muted but wait a few weeks for the bold palette of summer
brazen hot pinks of zinnias next to dayglo orange tithonia!
We will devour sweet juicy melons, sweet corn a few steps from stalk to pot
the honey of ripe peaches dripping on your breasts
delicious late summer kisses…

I went to Small Stones–Writing Our Way Home, my FaceBook poetry forum, to post my rather long poem…on “Six Word Saturday”!  So I composed a bon mot of a 6-worder to excuse my long posting:

6-word saturday                   feeling/ too verbose/ for six words!              [will post what came from today’s dawn inspiration….

I proceeded to post my long poem, and instead of also attaching photographs as I usually do, I had the inspiration to break the “today’s observations” portion of the poem into 6-word stanzas, posting each separately with its photo, thus returning to the mindfulness intention of Small Stones  [Once again,you will need to view these w/ your head cocked to the left, as WordPress doesn’t make it easy to rotate photos–which were rightside up in my collection before I uploaded them here somehow 90 degrees tilted!]:

6-word saturday Act I

Winter
getting seedy
cilantro becoming coriander

Cilantro Becoming Coriander

6-word saturday Act II

demure parsley 
flaunts 
huge delicate umbels

First Parsley Umbels--IMG_0445

6-word saturday Act III         

strange persimmon flowers 
now setting fruit

Persimmon blossom fruitset

I may play further with this poem, perhaps creating a renga (series of haikus) to be similarly spare as my 6-worders but with more [struggling for word here….poetic pizzaz?]

Could be fun to switch mood w/ a limerick!

Probably more inclined to move on to the next flash of inspirtation!

What would be your choice if this were your poem?

Ostara’s Blessings of Balance, Renewal and Creativity

Blessings of the Vernal Equinox!  We celebrated that moment of balance between Light and Dark/ Day and Night, Winter and Summer, and now the Great Rabbit Mother brings us the gift of rapidly gestating and birthing our creations in the waxing Light.

What have you gestated in the Dark that you are ready to bring forth into the Light?  Now is a time when the tides of the seasons are auspicious for doing so!

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For me, I am renewing the fertility of my garden soil, working compost and organic amendments into the soil between the still producing plants of my winter gardens in order to add the summer plants that will shade or replace those cool-soil growers.  I am eating Dianthus and Viola flowers, blended with chard and kale into voluptuous green smoothies, grateful for their beauty in the garden and their deep nutrition and antioxidant properties to feed and heal my body.  I’m completing my ARTbundance coaching training, eager to begin launching my new business.  I’m taking my slothful body out into the sunlight to work in the gardens at dawn, ride the magic chaise lounge or make art under the mesquite trees of the Healing Grove in the afternoon, and walk barefoot on gritty earth at sunset

I’m still dreaming, but also taking steps to wo-manifest those dreams.  How about you?

Blessings of Springtime be yours!.

My Big Vision for my Right Brain Business

Right Brain Business Plan for NatureWisdomJourney.com!

Right Brain Business Plan for NatureWisdomJourney.com!  Well, tip your head to the right so you can read the collage elements, since this right-brainer can’t figure out how to rotate the photo for you!

I created this business vision collage in January, during Jennifer Lee’s Creative Live Right Brain Business Plan workshop.  I’m inspired to post it now, halfway through Jennifer Lee’s “Right Brainers in Business Summit”.  Being in her very lively chat room makes it seem more real that yes, I am becoming a “creative entrepreneur”!

Here’s my 2-sentence summary of Nature Wisdom Journey that I wrote for my scholarship application for her Premium Pass program:  “Nature Wisdom Journey will soon be a women’s mystery school that assists midlife women to re-create our lives.  It will offer e-courses with supportive forums, group and 1-on-1 coaching using techniques from ARTbundance and basic NLP, and intimate work/playshops, ceremonies and retreats, using a synthesis of Nature re-conncection, shamanic journeying, goddess and Earth-based spirituality, art creativity, and aspects of permaculture.”  That may look like a crazy combination, but it’s “me”!*

Here’s the reason I’m applying for the Premium Pass:  “Being on the Summit is helping me believe I can become a creative entreprenuer. The Premium program will help me actually become one!

I feel so full of vision and ideas, teetering on the brink of actually manifesting this amazing business…. The extra boost from your coaching calls and the Facebook forum will encourage me to do the “hard stuff” that is so easy to procrastinate on without accountability and support….”

Here’s my status:  “Preparing to launch my first programs!” and what I’m doing toward that: “Creating the website, finishing free download and course content; training to become an ARTbundance coach.”  Here’s what’s holding me back:  “A case of temporary technophobia caused by the complexities of website design, plus the distraction of being in a (wonderful) coaching training program.”

And here are some of my “takeaways” from the first week + one day of this 2-week summit :

Gratitude=GReat ATtITUDE!
Gratitude accumulates [make a Cool Stuff Jar w/ gratitudes written on slips of paper to see gratitude pile up!)].
“Perfectionists must LAUNCH and THEN create final content.” [Gee, how that hits home!]
“Budget”=”Map of Intention”! [Rename budget categories to make budgeting more fun and visionary].
Ask what my business believes in! See her as a person separate from myself.
MICPD=Multiple Ideal Client Personality Disorder 🙂 –Just pick a clear focus for right now.
Create, then share my content via social media!  Blog, Facebook posts, Tweets….
Fear and excitement elicit the same physiological responses. When afraid, lie! Tell myself I’m excited.  [Definitely gonna try this!]
Show up as “authentic me”!* (One presenter got a client because she swore in something she posted)  [Nice to have permission to be real.  Watch out world!  And stay tuned for Nature Wisdom Journey’s eventual birth, to be announced sometime in 2013!]

Imbolc–Bright Blessings of Brighid!

Bright Blessings this cross-quarter (between Solstice and Equinox) day!  The Sun has returned enough that we can notice (and celebrate!) longer days and increased light on the north side of our homes (apologies for my Northern hemisphere perspective to all those easing out of Summer!).

Before she was co-opted into the Catholic pantheon of Saints, Brighid was the Sun Goddess of my Celtic ancestors, so for me (and many others) this pagan holyday is sacred to Her (and my priestess name is Brighidsdottir).  Although the church fathers did not recognize the Sun Goddess, they kept Brighid’s sacred powers as Smithcrafter (transforming by Fire), Muse of bards and poets, and Healer.  Like the Virgin, she wears a cloak that comforts and heals, but it is her hair–often depicted as flames–that bring her energy to me when I’m tired.  I envision Her mantle surrounding when I’m sad or ready to sleep.

Brighid--by Wendy AndrewPainting by Wendy Andrew, copied from a Facebook post and used without permission.  I hope she approves my sharing this gorgeous vision of Brighid!

If you didn’t celebrate Candlemas/ Imbolc/ Brighid last night on the Eve, all day today is sacred–and secular (look for the groundhog or its equivalent in your biome today!).  Think about emerging from hibernation now–or slowly as we approach the Vernal Equinox (the groundhog is our Guide in how quickly to emerge each year).  Plant seeds–literally in my desert garden or in pots for transplanting after your garden thaws (or my soil warms enough for summer crops)–or metaphorically as seeds of intention.  I love to combine literal and metaphoric seeds to get the garden planted and cast spells of intentionality as I “work.”  Take wheat stalks and weave Brighid’s crosses (sunspirals!).  Invoke the Sun and light candles in honor of Her return.

Celebrate (again!) at Lunar Imbolc/ Lunar Brighid at the upcoming DarkMoon (wonderful for divination and letting go of what no longer serves us) and NewMoon (perfect for planting seeds of intention!)–one week from today.

fyi if this is unfamiliar:  DarkMoon is the day and night (or several) right before NewMoon, when the moon is invisible in the sky and the energy is most inward for attuned we’moon.  Our energy turns outward after the balance point called “New Moon” on our calendars, that astronomic point when the Sun and Moon are closest together in our sky.  I like to celebrate NewMoon when I first see the lovely tiny crescent in the evening sky a day or two after the astromomic balance point–isn’t that a special sighting?!  The evening just before New Moon is when I love to hold DarkMoon circles.  I will resume after the Sun returns enough for us to meet outdoors in the Healing Grove; meanwhile I am doing my Imbolc magic as a solitary, mostly indoors by lamplight pagan, except for daytime seedsowing and moonsightings whenever the sky is clear.

Wherever, whenever, solitary or in circle, celebrate as you are called to do!  And when you need comfort, know that Brighid’s mantle awaits to cover you with Her nurturing warmth.

Blessed Be!

Great-full for Hard Life Lessons

I’m taking Jani Franck’s wonderful (and affordable) Creative Journaling e-course,  Our second week of the month-long course focuses on gratitude.  The Day 1 exercise was to list 3 people we’re grateful for. Mine grew to so many I was limited only by the size of my journal page!  I’m so grateful for mentors/ guides/ teachers, friends, some of my family, and strangers becoming online friends!  On Day 2 we listed or doodled about 3 possessions (My life is so abundant!).  Day 3’s assignment will likely challenge most of the class, but I’ve done a lot of thinking about this already…and am extemely grateful to be on the other side of this four decades-long “hard life lesson”!

Day 3:  This Hard Life Lesson–What I’ve Learned the Hard Way

It’s not hard for me to choose from the many possibilities of hard life lessons offered by my getting-to-be-quite-long life story (single parenting, Mom’s death too early in our beginning-to-resolve troubled relationship, chemical sensitivities, painful endings of too many relationships, “mistakes”, this loss, that loss, …). Because one huge challenge almost killed me (literally), and at many points I declared it had ruined my life.  [Note passive voice here, yep, that old poor-me victim consciousness!]

“WHAT on Earth?”  you ask.

“Bipolar II,” I answer.  [“The dreaded” modifier implied and understood]

For this assignement, I’m going to do an art page, but I need the newly risen Sun to warm up this cold Winter day so I can set up my paints outdoors.  This journal page will not be one of my signature colorfully cheery kid-marker doodles!  I will do it with the darkest blue watercolor (acrylic being too shiny).  Blue, color of the West and home of the emotions in my Medicine Wheel, dark because depression is “seen” as darkness in western culture.  [Note to self:  memorize name of this color!  2nd note to self:  blog about Wisdom of the Dark.]

I’m imagining jaggedy, disorderly pokes at the page with the end of the largest square tipped brush, overlapping blotches covering a lot of the page, darkest on left side and bottom (representing my “foundation” of depression and my life extending a bit past “mid”life).  Then some words of gratitude diagonal across the upper page, getting happier toward the top right, where I’ll paint the sun.  Maybe I’ll paint the waxing crescent moon top left as well, for balance….and add glimmers of sunlight yellow down into/inside the jaggedy blue, because it was the hypomania that gave me courage to survive the depths.

[Not yet having achieved the artistic expertise to match my emerging identity as an artist, I may or may not post the painting here.  It will for sure be on the course Facebook page where I feel safest to share].

I am grateful to my BiPolar II “disorder” for teaching me that quality of life is a totally subjective thing.  That nothing stays the same forever.  That there is always hope of something better after the hardest times.  That healing IS possible!  That even the most established cycles can be transformed.  That “stability” is not static and boring, but more continuously joyous in a quieter way than hypomania’s unsustainable flights.  That the overall effect of Lithium orotate, Equilib, and Traveling Light Discovery and Breakthrough processes is a marvelous “dynamic equilibrium” that is long-term sustainable with infinite possibilities for further healing on all levels.  That there always IS hope, somewhere, somehow, that it’s okay to ask for and accept (and pay for) it. That choosing life was the right choice after all!

I’m also grateful to BiPolar II for giving me a doctor’s excuse to bail out of the oppressive academic science career world, where I never really fit, for living close to Nature at my own rhythms and inspiration, and for helping me become the strong person I am.  Amazing things are possible when “survivors” become “thrivers”!  I’m also grateful that the experience of this life-threatening illness, and its eventual healing, have given me the ability to become a healer in my “wisdom” years.  Blessed Be!

 

 

Saguaro You? A Haiku Blessing

 

Saguaros at sunset

Arms raised to the sky,

Saguaro stands tall and proud.

Wind sings through sharp spines.

May your succulent, juicy self greet the New Year tall and proud and joyous, and may those necessary spines sing in the winds of change and transformation!

 

….thanks to John Slattery of Desert Tortoise Botanicals or Darcey Madrona Blue (two wonderful Tucson area herbalists) for the lovely photo!

 

 

Solstice Eve 20.12.2012–Grateful to Be Here Now!

I am Deeply Grateful to Be Alive at this Amazing Time!

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[photo by Jesse Coffey of Yule Tree Decorated with Small Birds, copied from Facebook, I think, and used w/out permission–I hope that’s okay, Jesse!]

I love how the main themes of this season’s “cosmic consciousness” (at least in my personal universe!) seem to be “Lighten Up for the New Paradigm,” and “Focus on Gratitude.”  I’m on quite a few “self-help” and “spiritual entrepreneurship” and “holistic healing” mailing lists, as well as enrolled in several self-help programs, and the themes of releasing what no longer serves us, in order to call in what we truly desire for the new year (or New Age), and focusing on gratitude, are predominating the subject matter of my Inbox these days.

Early this year I did “Personal Breakthrough” work with Scout Wilkins, and started a daily gratitude journal at her suggestion.  After a while, I found myself spontaneously thinking grateful thoughts, or asking myself what I’m grateful for during times of mental or physical pain.  I’m currently deep into Scout’s  yearlong group program, Traveling Light, grateful for her guidance for self-transformation and empowerment.  She had us start the year program with a “Toleration Blitz,” which catalyzed my huge, still slow, ongoing decluttering program (using miniscule “kaizen steps” due to my fatigue challenge), and recently led me through a deep process to release Fear.  I believe that this has prepared the way for me to heal from decades of multiple chemical sensitivities (and have already noticed a significant lessening of symptoms from venturing into the city or breathing laundry fragrance from my visitors—yay!  I am grateful, deeply grateful!).  [Check out Scout’s programs and free offerings at www.scoutwilkins.com, and Google and library wordsearch “kaizen” for more info on how to do the apparently impossible beginning with astonishingly tiny steps].

SARK’s Great Life e-Letters have cycled through Time for Gratitude, Time for Forgiveness (a huge lightening up for me), and Time for Miracles these past moons, and I’m currently enjoying her Awesome Anytime Adventures and the online community of her Creativity Clubhouse (www.planetsark.com).  She inspires me to greater playfulness and “succulence” and gives me permission to feel all my feelings (along with techniques to gently release those pesky “negative” feelings and return to happiness).  Clubhouse members are also inspiring, supportive, and generous.  I’m particularly grateful to have met “glitterbomb” Jani Franck there.  I’ll be in her art journaling e-course in January. [http://creativejournaling2013jan.eventbrite.co.uk/ or www.janifranck.com; she has great freebies and other very affordable courses].

This month I’m participating in Amy Czadzeck’s free online program “30 Days to Fill Your Cup,” and really appreciate her gentle cues to nurture myself in a different way each day, and daily queries about my challenges and celebrations.  (You can join any time during the month if you wish, at www.amyleeczadzeck.com).

I have noticed that (along with deep “discovery” and “breakthrough” work, loving self-care, and indulging in playful artistic creativity), returning regularly to an attitude of gratitude has transformed my life.  It’s difficult to believe from my current “happy place,” but a year and a half ago I was struggling out of a year of deep, dysfunctional depression with associated anxiety—a repeating, three decades-long pattern that, along with “environmental illness” and “chronic fatigue,” had forced me into a reclusive life with months spent in my bed.  A special mineral formula developed for bipolar (called Equilib®, available online but prescribed for me by a wonderful holistic psychiatrist), the work I’ve done with my awesome life coach, and the online communities I have joined have given me (as my Okie father used to say) “a new lease on life.”

I have become a happy person—which I had not been for 30 years except for too brief (and rather crazy) “hypomanic” intervals!  Regularly reminding myself to focus on what I am grateful for has been an easy and effective practice for my healing journey (which also benefits from spiritual practice and ceremony, good nutrition, permaculture gardening, journaling, collage and beadcrafting and “playing art.”

Yesterday, during our regular group coaching call, Scout went deep into her wisdom place and channeled some amazing insights about the 12.21.12 “portal.”  She (THEY?!) declared that we are in a ten-day window of opportunity for transformation, with the peak of the energy on the Solstice, and that Gratitude is the way through into the new paradigm.  Scout led us in Tapping on Gratitude–EFT without a setup of “Even though…,” just rounds of “I’m so grateful”, then rounds of “I’m so grateful for my teachers, all my teachers” or other general statement that my mind filled in the specifics around.  Twenty minutes and some heartfelt tears later, we were soaring.  Or at least Scout and the other student were.  When asked, I confessed that I felt really tired, so I was not ecstatic like they were, but I was grateful my cozy bed was waiting for me (mid-afternoon).  Scout reassured me that it was totally okay to be grateful relative to my capacity in the moment.

People, we aren’t expected to “live up to our potential” because that’s a goal always out of reach (which leads to our Inner Critic beating us up); rather we may express or do what we are actually capable of in any given moment, whether it’s being grateful or loving, giving, creative, productive, etc.).  We ended the call and I went outside to go to my bed in the other trailer, but after a few deep breaths of cool fresh air I decided to finish transplanting seedlings into my garden, a task that I hadn’t finished the day before.  Amazingly, I got ALL my starts into the ground under the auspicious waxing Pisces moon, and had a lovely simple supper with a movie and some time on Facebook before climbing into my bed after delicious deep breaths of frosty air and a short moonbath.  It appears that by deeply honoring yesterday mid-afternoon’s “small” capacity as being okay, it expanded amazingly!

This Solstice Eve morning, I journaled using Kristi Shmyr’s Last Year Ever Review   (from her Goal Ninja newsletter).  She took a unique approach to the question of what 12.21.12 means, and suggested we act as if the world will end on Friday, and directed us to look back at what positive impacts we have had on other people (etc.) during our lifetime.  [You can find Kristi through http://www.goalninjas.com].  My Last Year Ever Review left me deeply grateful for the cumulative positive impacts I have had in the world.  In spite of so many “lost” and “self-involved” years of depression and dysfunction, small kindnesses and charities have truely “added up” over the course of the forty years of my “adult” life!

While appreciating this retro-perspective, I did find myself frustrated by the exercise’s “world ends tomorrow” assumption, because I am so deeply motivated to “get my message out” and “womanifest my vision” via Nature Widsom Journey, the business I am gestating and intend to launch—on the other side of the 12.21.12 portal into amazing 2013.  Thankfully, I agree with the sensible majority of new agers (including Kristi), who seem to agree that, yes, “the times they are a’changin’,” with something really amazing happening around this year’s Winter solstice.  I’m “pretty darn sure” (quoting Dad again) I’ll have the opportunity to wo-manifest in the “new” year (or “New Age”!) what has been so amazingly catalyzed in this one.  (Blessed Be!)

 

[Imagine a cool doodle of fairy lights, or holly swags, or cute little birds on a tree branch across the page here–or at least my current level of doodling, abstract curlycues and spirals….  and send me the power of believing I will actually learn to post my own art on my blogposts in the New Year!]

…Oops, once again I have blogged beyond most readers’ attention spans–too many words and not enough pictures!  Time to cease and desist, even though there are more synchronicities to comment on, more awesome thought leaders to cite and recommend, more more more things to express my gratitude for!  I’m going to eat my well-cooked porridge, which has thickened into a dried-fruit filled “figgy pudding” as “breakfast time” is approaching the noon hour.  My appetite is “keen” and the sun has risen high enough for me to dine “al fresco,” grateful for the freedom to write for hours whenever I wish, and to be living in this beautiful Sonoran desert where winter days are warm and garden greens and wildflowers grow and “snowbirds” sit in glorious sunshine, and to be “here now” in the 2012 Portal with the GRATITUDE that will take me through into a beautiful future.

May your life be so blessed this season!

Fountain of Youth

Daily Prompt: Forever Young

by michelle w.

If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water?

Interesting question today from WordPress blog insipration maven Michelle!  Personally, I would drink just enough from the Fountain of Youth to regain my vim and vigor.  I’d know I’d drunk enough when I had the energy to resume country dancing, yes!  But I’d be careful not to drink too much of these addictive waters, because I love the wisdom that I have earned over the course of the six decades of my life.  It would be terribly unfortunate for that accumulated wisdom to be washed away into the foolishness of youth… Ugh, the though of having to learn those “life lessons” over again, no thank you!

How about you?  To drink or not to drink, that would be a difficult question, or wouldn’t it?

Fearlessly Traveling Light[er]

Tonight is the Dark[est]Moon, and tomorrow morning the New[est]Moon, so tonight is an auspicious time to do ceremony for releasing what no longer serves our highest good, then set intentions for the coming month.  Let’s prepare now for what is coming: the most anticipated Winter Solstice in millenia, 12.21.12, followed by the somewhat anticlimatic but always wildly celebrated Julian New Year, 1.1.13.

Artist Veronica Funk recently shared a personal tradition on her blog http://www.veronicafunk.com/1/post/2012/12/word-of-the-year-wisdom.htmlInstead of making a list of New year’s resolutions, which she found are easily forgotten, she finds one word that represents her intentions for the year.  She paints that word on the cover of her annual journal, so each day she is reminded of her intentions (and, I imagine, often creates entries based on how that word and the intentions it represents are showing up in her life).

Today I am immersed in DarkMoon introspection and magic.  My weekly coaching call took me on a shamanic healing quest where I heard my WiseWommon advisor tell me to let go of fear in order to regain my health (thus easily and enjoyably launching my work in the world, wahoo!).  The healing image that came to me in this trance was of a huge golden eagle, soaring effortlessly up a thermal.

And so I will consult  both my “intuitive” and Roget’s thesauruses (thesauri–Who knows proper Latin nowadays?) for my YearWord.  Fearless?  Health? Wellness?  Light?  Soar?  Suggestions, anyone?   I have a week to find my word–and to purchase a new journal (I have the acrylics and brushes ready to install the title and “cover art”–yes, stomach butterflies, I am no longer afraid of making imperfect art!  I will use those new paints!

Here I am Traveling Lighter on the Beauty Way last September:

TL--Personal Balance on the Beauty Way

I intend to embody that playful spirit even in winter, when the trees are bare and the flowers frost-killed and my feet squeezed into wooly socks and clogs, even when I’m “building” my website, even when I’m “working” or “organizing” or “decluttering,” as well as after a 4-day Traveling Light Year retreat.  A carefully chosen one-word reminder will definitely be useful.  I’ll post it here when I’ve committed it to paint!

Do you have a word for the transformation or commitment you are resolved to manifest next year?  [Veronica and] I suggest you post or paint it somewhere you will see it every day.  If you find sharing your intentions brings useful accountablity, post your YearWord here, on Veronica’s blog, on my Facebook page (where you can “share” the link to Veronica’s blog w/ your own FB tribe, Tweet it, wherever!

May we all have a magical Solstice and a truly wondrous New Year!