Life is a ‘carousel’ old chum …

‘Round and around we go …
where we stop, nobody knows,
but the ride itself is joyful and FUN
(in oh so many unexpected ways)
when we ‘play with’ rather than WORK at
finding solutions to whatever situations arise.

Danielle LaPorte … in the first Fire Starter turned SPARK Kit video (on the password protect page) asks: What would it be like if everything in your life, career, and vocation came to you easily? then adds … You might get more of what you want.

What a concept!
What might life be like if …
we allowed it to be easy rather than hard
if we pursued the path of least resistance … going WITH rather than AGAINST the flow?

What if the real challenge rests in …
getting out of your own way
leveraging your strengths to get your work out into the world
pursuing things passionately purposefully and playfully in compassionately forgiving ways?

She’s not talking about the kind of ‘easy’ that comes from laziness, but rather about the ‘QUALITY’ easy that has ‘a gravitational pull to it’ and a ‘sense of grace within you rising’ … expansively in a compelling way. She suggests NOT pushing yourself when things feel too hard, but rather following the ‘8 second rule’ in which you ‘trust your intuition to guide you to say yes, no, and maybe’ … labeling this the ‘Law of Allowing’ … remembering ‘passion is easy’ … and I think that’s especially true once we clear away the weeds & rubble within and around us and decide to surrender to surprise.

How delightful to find permission for such playfulness now that I’ve committed myself to my own passionate pursuit of purpose! It feels like synchronicity and synergy propelling me forward with an exuberant YES … follow your desire and delight and know those meant to read your words will find and accept you … just as you are … meanderings and all!

So … I’ve shared labyrinth pieces with more regularity at my website:
Synchronicity and Truth
Forgiveness, Compassion, Gratitude, and Speaking our Truth
Labyrinth Elevator Message
What I’ve come to know recently …
Clarifying Conversations …
Clearing the way to my ‘ideal’ audience …
and if all goes as planned, there will be another set of pieces with audio recordings added later today.

I feel as though things are ‘falling into place’ … finally. I understand how I’ve been ‘clearing the way’ within myself for this new path ahead by using whatever methods and techniques I encounter to release limiting doubts, fears, worries, and concerns which no longer serve me (or anyone else) … including but not limited to people I encountered ‘virtually’ through ‘The Tapping Summit’ (ala Jessica and Nick Ortner) and a variety of ‘fringe’ experiences shared in two New Wealth interview series conducted by Darius Barazandeh and Jeneth Blackert. ‘Tis wonderful to know there are so many wonderful ‘resources’ out there to choose from … and we don’t have to use them all!

So … on this Sunday morning when I’m just about to place my weekly call to Jan (my 2007 Taos writing buddy) who lives in Minnesota, I close by wishing you a restful relaxing Sunday to rejuvenate yourself for the week ahead. Remember to RELAX and pursue YOUR dreams with passion and purpose PLAYFULLY with joy-filled anticipation and excitement! When you do, everybody wins 😉

Thought for Today
“The essence of pleasure is spontaneity.” Germaine Greer

 

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Living and Learning … Rowing Gently Down the Stream

Laughing and Enjoying Everything …
Even (perhaps especially?) My Mistakes (and the mistakes of others too)
Loving Myself and Everyone Else … Just As We Are


What I really do is THINK DIFFERENTLY and through sharing my unique perspective, I help others learn to think differently too. I listen carefully to ‘what is’ and respond with ‘stories’ that arise spontaneously, widening the field of view for all who hear. In so doing, I serve as a ‘creative catalyst for conscious choice’ by demonstrating new ways of being and seeing that I’ve learned during the past several decades through coping with whatever arises in my own life as honestly and authentically as I’m able … consistently Writing the Labyrinth to access guidance from within myself and all around me as well.

Today is May 28th and I’m leaving soon to have breakfast with friends and then walk a local swap meet. I wrote what’s above on April 19th at 7:53am … shortly after sharing an ‘addendum’ to my ‘Labyrinth Elevator Message‘ at my website. ‘Tis funny how old habits sneak up and sabotage my efforts to move forward even when I think I’m paying close attention. Although I’ve been writing LOTS by hand over the past several weeks and intended to publish along the way, I’ve not done so … until today. What follows is a bit of a quick overview of where I’ve been recently, am right now, and plan to be soon.

I’ve invested considerable time the past few weeks

  • listening ‘within’ to that ‘still small voice for the Divine’ along with a random variety of ‘conscious conversations’ found & downloaded from the Internet
  • writing my way through it all as a means to pay attention to whatever arises with heart-felt interest
  • watching many fears, doubts, and thoughts of judgment or limitation fall away and simply dissipate into the ether when closely examined
  • gaining clarity about next steps in my journey steadily
  • allowing myself to ‘move at the pace of guidance’ … being, doing, and resting as ‘feels’ right to me at the time
  • receiving assistance from the Universe with full knowledge that answers arrive as unexpected (often surprising) gifts in unrecognizable (frequently unwanted) forms
  • saying either “YES, thank you so much’ with relief filled gratitude … ‘Thanks, let me think about it and get back to you on that’ … or ‘Thanks, methinks I’ll pass for right now’ with a newly found sense of ease based on intention which honors internal priorities and outer necessities alike

and I feel an amazing level of supportive encouragement as if I’m propelled forward with gratitude and grace toward specific outcomes.

I’m moving forward with greater ease and joy with intention … without knowing exactly what comes next …

In addition, I’m …

  • taking regular walks on the beach with Molly
  • spending time tending my garden
  • connecting with neighbors and passers by
  • getting together with my sister regularly once or twice weekly
  • connecting with friends on the phone and in person
  • making progress clearing out clutter
  • meeting ‘kindred spirits’ at Facebook and in the Blogosphere

and generally enjoying life fully right here, right now.

Last week I drove to Santa Monica to see I Am, the Documentary created by movie director Tom Shadyac and it was everything I imagined and more! I didn’t even mind the long drive there and the even LONGER drive back in traffic … seriously! If you have a chance to see it, I encourage you to go.

I’m out of time. It’s 8:01 and I’m due at Susan’s house … so I’ll add a quote then publish this. When I return later, I hope to record, scan, and publish at my Labyrinth Journal website the three labyrinth pieces I created yesterday.

Thought for Today
“The course of life is unpredictable… no one can write his autobiography in advance.” Abraham Joshua Heschel

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Letting you know about a wonderful FREE opportunity!

My friend Samantha Bennett from The Organized Artist Company is offering a free teleclass that I am DEFINITELY attending.  I think you might really like because she always shares LOADS of innovative yet practical content (not like those annoying nonstop sales-pitch calls) and she’s funny. Really. Just ask her.

Get Your Work Out There is a Free Teleclass. Once you click the link to register, you’ll receive information about how to call in from wherever you are or listen live via streaming audio online which is perfect if you live outside the USA. It’s scheduled for Thursday, May 26thfrom 9:45am-11am (Pacific Time). Even if you can’t make the call live, register for it and you’ll automatically get free copy of the recording. Click Here: www.GetYourWorkOutThere.com
P.S. I am a Big Fan and an affiliate of The Organized Artist Company.

Sam also wrote this poem that I LOVE
An Ode to the Overwhelmed
And as you stand there
Late again
Because you forgot to allow time to park
And the elevator was slow
And you left 10 minutes late to begin with

With your shoes that pinch
And your pants that are a little too small
Since you started eating white bread again

And as you paw through your bag
Looking for the suite number
That you’re not sure you wrote down to begin with

Let us now praise you.

You, the untidy.
You, the careless.
You, the easily distracted by sparkly things.

The money you spend on late fees alone
Could feed a family in Africa – Which reminds you that you meant to send in the kids’ Unicef money and
Forgot.

And that despite your best efforts,
You rarely eat a square meal,
You almost never get enough sleep
And exercise seems like a word that magazines have developed
Just to make you feel bad about yourself.

But you are good and brave.
You, flying by the seat of your pants
Making it work
Putting out fires
Saying your prayers
And dancing your dance of now and later and maybe and
I’ll-have-to-call-you-back-on-that-could-you-send-me-an-email-to-remind-me-to-call-you-back-on-that?

As innocent as each morning’s sunrise,
You are a fount of good intentions.
Your good humor is as graceful as a baby giraffe,
Even if that joke you were trying to make to the hotel clerk fell flat
And your toast at the wedding came out sounding a little…funny.

But you have gifts that no one knows about.
You have the strength to bend in the wind
You have the joyful spirit that loves a good belly laugh,
You have the wisdom to understand that everything will all come out all right in the end and
You have the faith to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

That is, if you could find the book of matches from that romantic restaurant that you went to for your anniversary but since you didn’t have a reservation they made you wait at the bar for half an hour during which you had two appletinis and the rest of the night is a bit of a blur.

So much for the overpriced lingerie.
You are beautiful.
You are beautiful.

Frazzled and overworked and underpaid
You are the one who forgot your wallet
And forgot your receipt for the dry cleaners
And forgot your keys which you just set down five seconds ago, so where could they possibly have gone?
But you never forget to say, “I love you”
And you never forget to give a big smile to that nice parking guy
And you never fail to show endless patience when the
Too-tightly wrapped and overly-conscientious start to offer their
Oh-so-helpful suggestions about how you might feel better if you would just learn to alphabetize your spice rack.

You are beautiful.

So, wear the lingerie on Monday for no reason.
And why not just refuse to participate in the bake sale this year?
And give yourself a compliment for something you did well today.
Because you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever known.

© 2009 Samantha Bennett
The Organized Artist Company

P.S. You should really check her out: just register for the call and you’ll get free copy of the recording by going www.GetYourWorkOutThere.com

Thought for Today
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Albert Einstein
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Why we need others to become who we’re meant to be …

After generating the last three posts, I’ve taken time to allow myself to simply
S L O W  D O W N … relax, reflect and write without thoughts of publishing anything while remaining open to sharing it all. Interesting insights emerged as I pulled weeds, walked Molly through the neighborhood and along the ocean, visited with neighbors, sat outside on the patio with my journal & pen savoring the astonishing burst of Spring color in my yard and enjoying the quiet company of Ms. Kitty.

I suspect I’ll share some of the ‘labyrinth’ pieces at my website soon, but this morning I want to let my fingers type ‘narrative style’ to see what shows up. I’ve given my inner editor a few hours off. She’s not thrilled, but I insisted because I want to exercise the same freedom at the keyboard as I do with pen on the page. I recall that it took time & insistence on my part to convince her to leave me alone with my pen & journal too … at least initially.

My friend Sharon (aka WGASA Woman) and I rescheduled our follow-up call twice because her days are quite busy, she seems to have more free time at night, and of course, I don’t do well in the evening because I awaken and arise so early. However we managed to connect yesterday around 2pm my time after she finished packing for a trip and before tackling her next task. Our conversation was rich indeed. I awoke this morning with the topic of this post in mind and I realize how sacred and essential the connection is between us.

She feels like a long-lost sister … a kindred spirit who sees me more clearly than I see myself at times … a flat mirror in which to discover and become who I am more fully and step forth in a bigger, more expansive way that I might do alone. She understands (when I lose sight of the fact temporarily) that I know more than I realize, and she holds a space for me to safely explore that knowledge (without allowing herself to be caught up in my limited perceptions) while creating ‘tension’ by asking questions and trusting us both enough to ‘blurt’ intuitive truths that come from deep within as they arise … leaving it to me to consider what her words might mean for my next steps.

Last night she left an insightful follow-up message at Facebook that I discovered and responded to this morning. In it (among other things) she suggested two possible titles for a ‘memoir’ I might write and publish … and I responded (in part) as follows:

Both titles ‘resonate’ on multiple levels with a myriad of meanings. ‘Through the Labyrinth’ evokes ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’ … taking me right back to reflections and mirrors … so I love the synchronicity. ‘Labyrinth Journeys’ brings to mind ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and maybe my true genre will be memoir. In addition, I suspect there will be ‘tools’ and a series of journals to invite others to participate in their own ways for their own reasons.

Not long ago, I downloaded and began listening to the Beyond Awakening Series comprised of calls recorded last Fall regarding ‘the future of spiritual practice’ in our world created by Terry Patten who describes himself as:

… a passionate Integral coach, teacher, trainer, consultant, and writer. He is committed to serving the emergence of Integral consciousness—by writing and educating, and by helping conscious individuals and organizations negotiate extraordinary transitions.

In checking for the URL just now, I see the interviews continue even now … with the most recent one added April 3rd. If you’re interested, you can learn more about Terry, listen to the calls online, and/or download the series by clicking the link above.

I started this post yesterday but ‘life’ intervened and wasn’t able to finish then, so it’s now 3:37am on Tuesday, April 5th and I’m picking up where I left off as best I can … recognizing I’m in a different space intuitively because much has happened in the past 24 hours the most significant of which is that I emailed the following ‘application’ to Jennifer Lee of the Right Brained Business Series:

“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” Stephen R. Covey

Discovery Session Application

1. I’m excited by what I’ve read in your book and seen in your Right Brained Business program, however I’ve only been able to watch a couple of the webinar session thus far, and I don’t have a ‘business’ yet so I’m not sure just how to respond to these questions, but I figure … nothing ventured, nothing gained.

By way of introduction, I’m a writer with a ‘peanut-butter cup’ idea I call ‘Labyrinth Writing’ … that I’ve tested with a variety of people thus far … both writers and non-writers … who tell me it helps them find words and access intuitive information they can then use to shift their perspectives and make changes in their lives, much as I’ve done over the past few decades. It’s a right brained tool to access inner wisdom and promote personal liberation. You can see personal examples I’ve shared at a new fairly website, Labyrinth Journal, and more at my Giraffe Journal blog over the past few months. I’m a ‘happily retired’ public school educator and have been living on a modest pension since 2001, but I’m ready to use my considerable teaching and writing experience to serve others and supplement my income sustainably. I’ve worked diligently since last July when this idea first took root within. I’ve invested significant time and money to do the work required to create this business, and I’m amazed at all I’ve managed to accomplish in the span of a few months.

2. My business vision includes creating and making available a variety of tools & training opportunities delivered primarily via downloads, webinars and phone calls. That said, my 34 years of experience in the classroom, working as a Staff Developer for a local school district, and teaching graduate classes at CSULB left me with excellent presentational skills. I’m an effective motivational speaker on stage as well so that’s a possibility too.

Several months ago I thought the following: The true spirit of my work is to build bridges for women who feel cut off from themselves, bring joy and freedom to their daily lives (delighting in who they are, just as they are with no modifications needed) through playful interaction with unique journal writing processes. More recently I’ve revised this vision as follows: the true spirit of my work is to give (exhausted, frustrated, disillusioned, and/or retired independent) women practical strategies to reconnect with a palpable sense of possibility that comes from looking inward and shifting perspectives to see ‘what is’ and ‘what might be’ in a new, more positive light revealing multiple opportunities to savor life and serve the world in sustainable ways. Two other possible ‘audiences’ for my work are ‘writers who feel stuck when it comes to sharing their authentic message’ and ‘coaches with clients who have difficulty putting what they’re experiencing into words’ …

My core message is a spiritual one has to do with ‘perceptual shifts’ born of authenticity and vulnerability built on gratitude practices and personal responsibility (without shame or blame), forgiveness of self & others which leads to compassionate action … leading to recognition of synchronicity and grace.

3. A few actions I’ve thrown myself into big time since to move myself toward becoming an entrepreneur include (but are not limited to):

* participating in Christine Kloser’s ‘Get Your Book Done Live’ program since last Fall drafting a manuscript with a working title of ‘Writing the Labyrinth to Access Inner Wisdom’ and I’ve gathered together PDFs and audio versions of labyrinth pieces on a variety of ‘themes’ to self-publish with Vervante and sell
* I’m currently developing a website as I participate in a Website Creation training with Christina Hills.
* I’ve created separate public Facebook ‘fan’ pages for my Giraffe Journal and Labyrinth Journal sites, collecting ‘followers’ at each.
* I’m also working with Isabel Parlett, the Soundbite Shaman, using her How to Say What You Do When What You Do is Deep Powerful and Hard to Describe program to develop my ‘true spirit’ message, tag-line, elevator speech, etc. … all ‘in progress’ and in flux currently

I’m trying to be succinct here, but in my last three (soon to be four) posts at Giraffe Journal I’ve shared more specifically and in great detail if you’re inclined to visit and would like to know more.

4. My biggest challenge currently is ‘the money piece’ … creating a sustainable business … learning about ‘legal things’ like trademarks and copyright, how to set up a SEO and shopping cart, decide on prices, etc. I’ve not had any previous ‘business’ experience so everything is new, but I’m gradually working these issues through piece by piece, and I’m confident I’ll figure everything out because I’m determined and persistent whenever I put my mind to something.

5. I’m fully committed to overcoming these and whatever other challenges arise, figuring everything out, and finding ways to collaborate & partner with others … so I’m a 10 on your scale. Several coaches have indicated interest in selling the journals on their sites and incorporating them as part of their training materials already, and listening to Andrea Lee recently has given me ideas about how to have ‘money conversations’ with them. I’ve decided not to hire a website designer because I’m really a ‘do it yourself’ kind of gal, but I’m pretty sure I’ll need a virtual assistant to help with time intensive things I’m simply not interested in doing but need to be done. I’m working with two gals currently to do some collaborative work together, but we’re still in the brainstorm phase at this point.

So that’s about it for now. I hope this is enough information to give you the gist of what I’m about and what I hope to accomplish next. I would love to hear your ideas. Thanks for the opportunity to apply.
Sincerely,
Virginia Ellenson

“Things are only impossible until they’re not.”
Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek, the Next Generation

This email contained hyperlinks I’ve stripped out and am not going to obsessively add back in even though my inner editor thinks I should do so. This is an ‘ongoing struggle for control’ that I intend to win through persistent mindfulness and patience with all parts of myself. To continue with where I left off yesterday …

Through Terry Patten I encountered Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward Thomas. These two women are partners in a venture designed to support the spiritual growth of women that I hope to explore next because I sense we’re on parallel paths at this richly complex time in human history. Apparently they’ve developed a program they call The Keys to Feminine Power. Typing their names into Google and clicking over there just now to get the link, I notice they offer a free download and a seven-week telecourse for ‘the awakening woman’ that looks intriguing. It appears that they’ve created a framework to support a new kind of growth between and among women that ‘mirrors’ my relationship with Sharon and a few other women writers in my life.

This morning I’m mindful that my life is my message.
Perhaps all I really need to do is continue to be myself, just as I am, and invite YOU to be YOURSELF, just as YOU are. Typing that ‘feels’ true, and I’m reminded that when I turned on the computer a little while ago I noticed this message from TUT in email:

“You’ve come a long way, Virginia, from the timid, shy soul you once were. Hiding out on distant planets, befriending alien tree forms, splashing in snow fed streams, and secretly planning your time on earth with a book published launching an internet business and all.

So what do you say we drop all the practical logic, rational reasonableness, and cautious optimism, and give those tree forms something to talk about – before they start making stuff up.

You know trees.

I’m totally with you on this –
The Universe”

Adding this right now makes me laugh aloud at the synchronicity and resonant ‘truth’ I sense within. Are you not laughing right along with me? Might we not create miracles together by being ourselves … just as we are … supporting one another by holding individual and shared visions of ‘what might be possible’ in the face of being present with ‘what is’ right here, right now?

Recently I heard Christine Kloser use the term ‘birth quake’ … and I’ve been captivated by the idea ever since. Looking back at life’s challenges, I realize each was a ‘birth quake’ … disorienting, disruptive, challenging and even painful at the time, but oh so worth the transformational ‘gifts’ on the other side. I’ll write more about this soon, but if you’ve stayed with me through all my ramblings, I’d like to invite you to join me in this journey of discovery because I believe we need each other to become who we’re meant to be.

Thought for Today
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
~e.e. cummings, 1955

 

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Being a witness …

“Whatever is happening,
just be a witness.
Don’t be identified.”
Osho


Ah … so much easier said than done, but I’ll do my best and hopefully my ‘inner editor’ will cooperate as she did yesterday. I did find & fix some ‘typos’ in the previous post this morning as I reviewed it quickly in preparation for answering the final two questions.

What do I know? (in no particular order & by no means an exhaustive list)
I’m …
a seeker after truth
lovable just as I am with no modifications needed but on-going growth desired
capable and creative though not necessarily artistic in a traditional sense
strong, persistent, determined, independent … some might say willful or stubborn
intelligent with a well-rounded education grounded in basic skills
stretched by an inner desire to know & understand deeper meanings & relationships leading me to less traditional teachings

kind, compassionate, caring, forgiving, and exceedingly grateful
interested in a wide variety of fields and issues
able to teach others what I’ve learned with ease & confidence
a ‘catalyst’ for change and
bringer of light

I …
smile naturally
laugh easily & often
enjoy life no matter what’s happening
love giraffes and other animals
devour books quickly
avoid newspapers, television, and movies
retain & can access information easily as needed
collect ‘quotes’ and share them with others
enjoy taking & sharing photographs
savor time alone doing what I love
take long walks (with & without Molly) along the ocean
make friends easily wherever I go
keep things to remind me of experiences after the fact
write endlessly to discover & remember what I know and believe
know how to teach myself what I need to know when I need to know it
need to learn to ask for and accept help graciously
embrace synchronicity and surrender to surprise easily
want to make a difference in the world & leave a legacy of love

Whom am I here to serve? (in no particular order)
Off the top of my head, methinks I’m here to serve:
women who feel …
unheard, unappreciated, and exhausted
cut off from inner awareness as I was for such a long time
tired of listening to ‘nonsense’ in the world and want their lives to be different
ready to assume personal responsibility and take action in meaningful ways

writers who …
believe they have something important to share
feel ‘stuck’ when they try to get their message written

coaches with clients who …
feel distressed, depressed, or at their wits end
have no language to express what they’re experiencing
fear there are no answers
believe things will never change

and possibly (here’s an after thought that doesn’t really ‘excite’ me but seems important to add all the same)
teachers who feel frustrated working in a public education system where creating classroom conditions to enhance learning has become nearly impossible now that …
‘basic’ skills (as defined by standardized tests) drive the curriculum (even though such skills have little if anything to do with ‘success’ in today’s world)
funding gets cut back yearly while the student population grows
music, art, and innovative courses have all but vanished
creativity is stifled in students and staff alike
disruptive students take attention away from those who want to learn
allowable consequences for ‘misbehavior’ do little if anything to effect change
minimal ‘respect’ for teachers exists in our society any longer (if it ever did)

Thought for Today
“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Harry Truman

 

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In which I follow up on yesterday’s post … reflectively

It’s 5:20am
I arose more than two hours ago intended to write & publish this ‘follow up’ to yesterday’s post in which I reflect on the remaining questions posed by my friend last week:

What have I learned?
Where do I think this is taking me?
From whom do I still need to learn?
What do I know?
Whom do I need to teach?

Interestingly, I found myself with pen & journal in hand writing labyrinth style on the next four blank pages. Although it’s tempting to scan, record, and share those pieces rather than respond in narrative style to the questions at hand, I’ve decided to let my fingers move on the keyboard. I hope my ‘harsh inner editor’ will leave me alone for a while. I want to type as freely as I write by hand … and give her this time off.

What have I learned? (in no particular order)
1. I love to learn and take great pleasure in personal growth.
2. I push myself without realizing it and frequently discount, ignore, and/or trivialize my accomplishments by moving quickly to the next task or pursuing the next goal.
3. Taking time to C e L e B r A t E along the way could be an interesting & useful habit to cultivate.
snoopy dancing
4. When I decide to learn something, I put my whole self into it and persist in the face of adversity until success is achieved.
5. I’m a recovering perfectionist.
6. I’m sometimes my own worst enemy.
7. I’m not competitive, nor do I easily work with or delegate to others because I feel as if I must do things on my own … perhaps to prove my worth?
8. Methinks I’d like to cultivate and employ collaborative skills as I move forward because I’d like to focus my attention on what I love and let others help me with tasks I don’t enjoy but which need attention.
9. Through the long-term practice of writing in a variety of forms (from poetry to prose, Q&A, the Labryinth, blogging, and whatever comes next), I’ve learned to know & trust myself.
10. I can write, share, and speak my truth with confidence from within … finally.
11. I listen to & learn from others without losing or giving up myself to ‘fit in’ and be accepted.
12. I possess knowledge, skills, and experiences that are unique to me and needed in the world today.
13. I’m creative and innovative … I think ‘outside the box’ and make ‘connections’ others might not.
14. I believe in a benevolent and supportive Universe where ‘beliefs’ manifest in marvelously unexpected ways.
15. Shifting my ‘beliefs’ in small yet deliberate ways by asking questions and looking for evidence … celebrating surprise & cultivating wonder makes room for miracles to occur and allows for ‘change’ to be more conscious.

Where do I think this is taking me?
I’m not sure of an actual destination or goal, but I suspect it’s taking me wherever I want to go next and has something to do with the following (in no particular order):
1. listening to and acting on my inner guidance with increasing confidence & authority
2. sharing stories honestly with authenticity & vulnerability
3. trusting the synchronicity of human experience to do the rest (as in ‘the heavy lifting’ allowing me to relax)
4. sowing seeds (like Johnny Appleseed) without necessarily ‘hanging around’ to watch the seedlings take root, grow, blossom, and yield fruit as the orchard matures
5. recognizing that just as growth happens when essential elements (soil, air, water & sunlight) work together over time … meditation, prayer, EFT, etc. along with ‘a little willingness’ can bring about mental & emotional, physical & spiritual shifts facilitating growth and ‘conscious evolution’ …
6. continuing to write daily … sharing whatever feels appropriate at the time
7. building relationships with others engaged in similar endeavors with the intention of bringing about ‘awakenings’ leading to authentic action contributing to a better world based on ‘inclusion’ rather than exclusion

From whom do I still need to learn?
First & foremost Spirit … that Divine presence accessible to us all from within
… next from people I admire and ‘resonate’ with who are doing their work successfully in the world themselves like:
Isabel Parlett, the Soundbite Shaman
Mark Silver at the Heart of Business
Hiro Boga of Rule Your World
Jennifer Louden of Savor and Serve the World
Jennifer Lee of Right Brained Business
Samantha Bennett of the Organized Artist Company
who can help me learn how to ‘market & monetize’ my gifts, skills, and talents with integrity in ways that serve the world while supporting myself
and finally … others on the journey just like me including authors I’ve mentioned previously and those I’ve yet to encounter, along individuals I’ve connected with in this ‘virtual’ realm and people I meet in my local environment.

It’s 7:15am … I’ve taken a few ‘walk around’ breaks and chased an opossum away from Ms. Kitty’s food bowl repeatedly.  I’m going to stop here to take a walk with Molly (after checking email & Facebook quickly), and tomorrow I’ll address the final two questions in my next post:

What do I know?
Whom do I need to teach?

Thought for Today
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

 

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What’s happened in the past year?

A dear friend posed a series of questions to me yesterday and asked that I write my responses as a favor to her.  Although it’s raining unexpectedly and I had less than two hours sleep last night because of ‘partying’ next door.   I’ve decided to answer them one by one in a series of posts (as fluently as possible) and (as she suggested) … celebrate at the same time.

snoopy dancingWhat’s happened in the last year?

If you’ve read the posts leading up to this one, you’ll already know some of this because I’ve tried to share my journey as I’ve moved ahead, but here’s an overview of pivotal events from the past twelve months to the best of my recollection.  The list ended up much longer than I expected it to be even though I’ve LIVED these past 12 months day by day.  Please feel free to skim quickly just to get the gist … and it’s okay to laugh aloud along with me, because that’s what I did when I finished writing and tried to ‘proof’ the piece.  Good thing my obsessively perfectionistic inner editor was on the job as I typed because I don’t have the energy or inclination to fix whatever errors remain.

1. In the Spring of 2010 I learned that two friends I’d made three years earlier while attending a Writers Retreat were planning to return to Taos to participate again, and I decided to join them.

2. While attending the 2010 Writers Retreat with Jen Louden in late July, I reconnected with seven friends from 2007, met even more writers & created many new relationships, learned the Dance of Shiva from Havi Brooks, and took to heart Jen’s suggestion to try writing for various versions of myself instead of just me here now.

3. My experience of sharing a writing piece with another friend the next day downstairs at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House sealed the deal by making me see how writing for my 44 year old self from the perspective of me at 66 ‘resonated’ with her own issues & experiences at forty-something.

4. I drove those 960+ miles from New Mexico to Southern California praying for help, and immediately received assistance in abundance beyond my wildest imaginings … each one leading to something else and I dove in eager to ‘invest in myself’ and follow my path purposefully doing the following things which (in retrospect) seems absolutely cRaZy to me now and makes me wonder what I was thinking. Of course, I wasn’t thinking … I was plunging headlong into the future after being happily retired for a decade! Here’s the mind-boggling list of what I took on immediately last Fall in black and white:

  • I signed up, paid for and participated in The Festival of Change at Online Clarity
  • listened FREE to the the Successful Author Secrets teleseries (which seems to be no longer available because the link doesn’t work now that Christine & Lynne are no longer partners) and it led me to
  • Jeneth Blackert’s Mastering Your Dragons CDs (that I purchased), a free link to her Pink Candy materials (a nifty series of downloaded but not yet opened resources that may be obsolete by the time I check them out), and a teleseminar introduction to
  • Baeth Davis’s September Your Purpose Summit at the Wild Horse Pass Spa in Phoenix, Arizona which I readily purchased, brought my sister along as guest, participated in fully and & paid additional money to have my hand read by
  • Kay Packard from the Academy of Hand Analysis then met and worked with
  • Isabel Parlett – the Soundbite Shaman participating in her R&D program for HowYouSayWhatYouDo and joined her Yum Yum Mentoring (currently closed to new members) after sampling her free materials in addition to
  • working individually with Lynne Brodie – the Heart Sage
  • and along with everything else, I purchased & participated in the Get Your Book Done Live program with Lynne Klippel and Christine Kloser
  • attended Breakthrough (in December of 2010) after participating in a program called Opening Up to Prosperity (in November of 2010) with Barbara DeAngelis … and finally to help make sense of and manage everything
  • I signed up with Samantha Bennett for her Procrastination is Genius – Get it Done training too

5. In the midst of all this, I purchased several domain names and started this blog, publishing under my real name rather than a pseudonym as I’d done previously … authentically sharing my progress and challenges in narrative form while publishing some ‘labyrinth’ pieces as well … eventually teaching myself through trial & error experimentation to use AudioAcrobat … adding sound files successfully to my WordPress sites so they don’t ‘vanish’ mysteriously as they did at first.

6. After falling ill from exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed by taking on so much all at once, I set up a coaching call with Jen Louden in late November to talk things through.  I gained clarity, confidence and a sense of direction with specific next steps.  I confess I’ve not yet followed through with all of her suggestions yet, but I’m making steady progress. In yesterday’s phone conversation, my dear friend Sharon (aka WGASA Woman) reminded me to stop and take time to celebrate what I’ve accomplished (much as Jen did when we talked on the phone in November) … and I want to remember to do this often.

6. I listened to LOTS of ‘free’ and for ‘telecalls’ and ‘virtual’ classes on many subjects in a wide variety of ‘teleseminar’ series … posting links on Facebook, Twitter, and even sometimes here at Giraffe Journal as I discovered them because I thought others might be interested too.

7. I’ve continued to ‘invest in myself big time by purchasing products and ‘virtual’ training programs along with several ‘tele-summit series’ of interviews with ‘experts’ in a wide variety of fields on diverse topics … some of which I’ve listened to and others which lay waiting for me to find the time to dig in:

The Festival of Change at Online Clarity
Women on Purpose Summit: From Purpose to Prosperity
You Wealth Revolution
Teach Now
Engaging eCourses
Amy Ahler’s Women Master Series
The Tapping Solution & 2011 Tapping World  Summit
Jennifer Lee’s Right Brained Business Summit
two online courses at the Abbey of the Arts
Website Creation with Christina Hills

8. My Labyrinth Journal website is up even though it needs substantial work. I’ve shared My Story and published four posts thus far … two of the ‘narrative’ variety and two ‘labyrinth’ pieces.

9. I’ve learned a great deal about Facebook after creating an account initially to share photos from Taos with friends. Once there friends from the Your Purpose Summit in Arizona found me, and I accepted ‘friend’ requests to stay in contact. Two of the paid ‘virtual’ trainings mentioned above had ‘closed groups’ associated with them so participants could connect for support & encouragement, and that led me to create a closed Facebook group designed to bring together a community of writers who had worked with Jen in Taos. In addition, I created two ‘public’ pages there … one associated with this blog called Virginia at Giraffe Journal, and the other linked to my new Labyrinth Journal website named Writing the Labyrinth to Access Inner Wisdom.

10. I surprised myself by joining writing communities including Networked Blogs, She Writes, and Tiferet Journal and connected with people all over the internet.  Only recently (quite by accident) have I learned that there are LOTS Google links associated with my name making visible just about everything I’ve shared anywhere … a discovery I felt distressed by initially because I value my privacy, but that I’ve come to see as unavoidable if I’m going to continue moving forward … and may, in fact, prove beneficial once I publish my writings officially and offer services at the Labyrinth Journal website.

11. I’ve gathered ‘marketing’ resources and taken baby steps toward essential shifts from the inside out that are congruent with who I really am so that I might finally make some money from my writing and related services I’m able and willing to share with others.

12. I’ve practiced ‘trusting myself’ and being calm, experimented with ‘Maitri‘ and other meditation practices including the Hawiian practice of Ho’oponopono. I’ve embraced confusion and found some measure of clarity by leaning into rather than away from troublesome issues. I’ve learned to be less invested in what others think of me and my writing as I’ve become more comfortable with who I am … just as I am.

13. Several months ago I created a ‘draft’ of a Labyrinth Journal book (with the intention of publishing) and sent it to people for feedback, acted on their suggestions, and plan to follow through with publication very soon.

14. As always, I write daily in my journal and I’ve worked diligently on my GYBD Live book project … though it’s turning out to be something different than what I set out to write initially. I love to light one of Carla’s candles (available from Zena Moon) each morning and consider the message contained within contextually as I integrate and act on whatever guidance arises on the page while listening to meditative music on my Palm Pre Plus in place of the CDs I’ve listened to for years.

15. I continued to read daily … finding inspiration and encouragement in books by Mark Nepo, Mark David Gershon, Christina Baldwin, and Susan Piver most recently. I’m looking forward to digging into works by Seth Godin, Brene Brown, and others soon.

16. I’ve made progress towards getting myself off of mailing lists that keep my inbox cluttered, though confess this to be an on-going challenge. I’m learning to practice better discernment in saying yes only to that which resonates internally, and no thank you to all else … trusting that whatever I need comes to me in a timely manner.

17. I’ve taken copious notes while listening to numerous calls daily on many different subjects … soaking up information to synthesize and bring me back to myself … learning to trust my inner guidance with some measure of confidence and authority while remaining open to others and perspectives different from my own.

18. As mentioned previously, I’ve left a trail all over the Internet that Google captures … allowing people who look to find me … for good or ill. Even my ‘anonymously’ blogging self under the pseudonyms ‘storyteller’ and ‘happily retired gal’ is secret no more. I have stepped into my present fully to ‘savor & serve the world’ along with Jen and so many others. I hope you’ll join us.

I’d planned to include my answer to the second question about what I’ve learned in this post, but have decided to save that for the next one … just because. Alas, it’s now Monday at 9:35am and there are links to add, but I’m going to publish ‘as is’ so I can take Molly for a walk and clear my head. I’ll return to add the additional links (or not). When composing at the computer, my inner editor is exceedingly intrusive (as in picky, picky, picky) … and never seems satisfied with anything, but enough is enough!!!

I’d like to add that through all of this manic activity, I continue to enjoy working in my garden. I discovered long ago while ‘reclaiming’ my yard (after neglecting it for too long) that spending time outdoors keeps me connected to my neighbors and passers by who stop to comment & chat. Molly and Ms. Kitty keep me grounded and moving as well. I’ve connected with my sister weekly on Fridays and taken a series of photography classes at Ritz Camera with her on Saturdays … attended monthly Retired Gals Luncheons and connected individually with a few friends on a regular basis. My writing buddy from 2007 has retired finally and we continue to talk on the phone Sunday mornings. I still enjoy my happily retired life … learning new things every day … and I’m delighted with everything just as it is … for now.

Thought for Today
“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” Ivy Baker Priest

 

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Four new labyrinth pieces … with sound as promised!

Sound files have been added below and I’m adding this update on 3-25-11
I apologize for taking so long to keep the promise I made on February 28th when I shared these 4 pieces initially with good intentions for adding sound files soon thereafter. At that time I believed it had been too long between posts and I wanted to add something to let you know I’m still writing every day. These pieces are from February 22nd, the day before my 66th birthday. During the past few weeks I’ve considered simply removing the post and adding something different, but the messages contained within these labyrinth writings still resonate with me … so I’ve left them in place hoping to find time to record and add the sound files using Audio Acrobat which I’ve found to be a valuable and easy to use resource.

Life had other plans for me and lots has happened in the past few weeks. I’ve been writing like crazy gathering material for my book. I’ve filled one journal and started another which is already half complete already. Clarity has emerged as I’ve leaned into rather than avoiding or resisting the confusion & chaos. I’ve created a new website called Labyrinth Journal (I hope you’ll want to visit there soon as time permits) and plan to add to it regularly while keeping this blog current as well. I’m hoping the website will become a ‘business’ while this blog will remain a place to share my journey in a more conversational way and that each will help spread the message that writing can be a meditative act to enrich your life as it has mine. I’ve added a second public page at Facebook … Writing the Labyrinth to Access Inner Wisdom about the website in addition to the first one I created initially and called Virginia at Giraffe Journal to be associated with this blog.

I’ll probably ‘clean up’ the ‘graphic versions’ shared here to get rid of the messy black marks at the corners around the edges because I want to add my name electronically or an actual signature to each … just because. That will take me a while, but it’s on my list and I’ll get around to it eventually. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the sound clips of me reading the pieces and let me know what you think in comments or email. If you do some labyrinth writing of your own and decide to share, that would be very ‘kewl’ as well … but it’s perfectly okay to keep your writing to yourself or share it just with close friends if that feels right. If you have a blog and decide to publish labyrinth pieces yourself, I hope you’ll add a link back here or to my Labyrinth Journal website and/or send a link in email so I can visit.

Double click play to hear me read this piece

Double click play to hear me read this piece

Double click play to hear me read this piece

Double click play to hear me read this piece

Thought for Today
“”Life is not the way it’s supposed to be, it’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” Virginia Satir

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‘Tis a gift to be simple and free …

Music travels with me … arising spontaneously as if in answer to questions of my mind and prayers of my heart. I remember my absolute amazement the first time I heard Bette Midler on my car radio singing ‘God is watching us, from a distance’ … because I pulled over to the curb immediately focused my attention to be sure of what I was hearing. Afterward I drove to the nearest Blockbuster and (uncharacteristically) purchased the CD on the spur of the moment because I needed to hear it again and again.

Although born to parents of the Dutch Reformed faith and raised in that church until the age of 12, I feel most at home when or wherever I attend a Methodist service where I spent my teen-aged and young to mid-adult years … before becoming a student of A Course in Miracles in my mid 40s. Somehow the atmosphere and messages there seem universally inclusive and consistently welcoming to me. Hymns from both religious traditions inform my life even now. The music feels mystical and transcends the memories and messages of each denomination, however other songs from childhood pop into mind frequently as well. Lately the Hokey Pokey has taken on new meaning I may write at greater length about another time, but the idea of ‘putting parts of ourselves in and out, turning and shaking them all about’ seems both funny and wise indeed … but I digress.

Several friends who refer to themselves as ‘lapsed Catholics’ tell me they’ve never heard the Quaker song below … yet as I’ve leaned into (rather than away from) confusion these past weeks to learn what I can, it’s this melody and lyric that arises most often:

‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free
‘Tis a gift to come down where you ought to be
… and when you find yourself in the place just right,
’twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend we shant be ashamed
to turn, turn will be our delight
’til by turning, turning, we come round right.”

Upon awakening with this song in my mind, I felt drawn to address simplicity and freedom this morning on my blog. I’ve opted to use my laptop rather than put pen to paper as I usually do because I have limited time to scan, copy, upload, record a labyrinth piece and add the AudioAcrobat button due to scheduled activities and it’s been too long since my last post. However, all too often when my fingers touch the keyboard, my inner editor interrupts my thoughts by ‘filtering & fixing’ words, sentences, and paragraphs compulsively.

Today is no exception. I’m doing my best to graciously thank, dismiss and ignore her presence … though not with much success. I create a labyrinth piece in 10-15 minutes on average, but it’s taken me more than 30 minutes to get this far and there’s no telling how confusing this piece will be to readers because my mind is a strangely wild and creatively imaginative place and it’s easy to lose track of my intentions.

I’m sorely tempted to close the laptop … pick up pen & paper to let the thoughts flow freely … but I suspect if I do so I’ll not publish anything yet again because that’s what’s happened for weeks! So here I sit, continuing as best I can to return to the topic at hand … simplicity and freedom.

For those who know temperament types, I’m an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiver) and ‘decision-making’ is not a strong suit to say the least. My busy mind constantly entertains complexities, examines issues from multiple perspectives and delights in playing with possibilities. I’m a recovering perfectionist and procrastinator so I’m doing what I can to stay present & focused on small, simple specific next steps. In addition to experimenting with EFT and ‘Tapping’ … I’ve been practicing a technique that Carol Look calls ‘the next yes’. Simplicity, clarity, and freedom emerge as I limit options and focus on the present moment asking: Do I want eggs or oatmeal for breakfast? Shall I use the laptop or pen and paper to create this piece? Publish now or later?

I’m reminded of a story Susan Piver shares in ‘how not to be afraid of your life’ concerning the Dalai Lama astonishment to learn (through Sharon Salzburg’s question about how to help people who feel unworthy) that there were people who experience self-hatred and unworthiness. Apparently there is no word for this in the Tibetan language because in that culture everyone assumes ‘the Buddha nature’ exists in everyone.

I experienced similar surprise in multiple settings these past few weeks as beliefs I’ve long held as givens (or gospel) have dissolved into new awareness in simple freeing ways. I’ll write more about this later, but (alas) time’s up for now. I must either publish or save for later. I choose to publish as is even if it’s incomplete and/or imperfect … just because.

On this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to feel and share LOVE wherever you go with whomever you encounter in whatever ways seem appropriate … a thoughtful gift, kind gesture, a simple smile, et cetera(Closing aside: I’m laughing to myself as I type the term which always brings to mind Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in The King and I and never fails to make me smile).

Thought for Today
“Without love, what are we worth? Eighty-nine cents! Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely.” ~M*A*S*H, Hawkeye

Posted in AboutMe, lessons, progress update, stories | Tagged | 14 Comments

Embracing Confusion …

Press play to hear me read this piece. Audio is 1:33 in length …


What an interesting experience it’s been trying to share this on my Virginia at Giraffe Journal page using the ‘Notes’ function at Facebook.  Previously I’ve simply shared the ‘Title’ link there, but I was hoping to get the image to show up in the post so I decided to experiment with possibilities.

Thought for Today
“”What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” ~Brené Brown

Posted in AboutMe, labyrinth journal writing, lessons | Tagged , | 3 Comments