“By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self-seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words: what happens or doesn’t happen is not that important anymore. Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form – no more and no less.” – Eckhart Tolle
It was wonderful to write a bucket list that had nothing to do with what I thought “should” be on it, but rather to just let it flow from the heart. Sound inspiring? I challenge you to write your own! Share some of your list items in the comments, if you like.
My Heart’s Bucket List
Feed and play with baby tigers.
Travel to India and Tibet, alone, on a silent walking and writing retreat. Meditate everywhere, do yoga with very old people, eat delicious fresh foods, and communicate through all of it with just my smile and my open heart.
Attend a huge play retreat with the Play Nexus Faeries at a tropical location and play until I drop.
Travel through Europe with my daughter. Ride on trains and do whatever feels fun in the moment.
Help people to feel better by sharing ways to amp up their vibe. Gently meet them where they are, while still being in my centered space, and, when they are willing, lead them by the hand right up the rainbow, where we can dance together in joyful bliss.
Get a polarity session every week.
Hire a personal trainer health guru who will make healthy yummy meals for me and give me fun physical adventures to play my body right up to full vibrant wellness.
Meet a real Goddess and tell her about my dreams and ask her lots of questions and be held by her, tenderly.
Make lots of money doing my writing so that my family can all do what they love too and not have to worry about paying bills. And hire a cleaning service to keep our home clean and sparkly.
See Derek Hough dance. In person.
Have a cozy little fae cottage built out in the woods on our land, just for me, as my private creative space. It will be filled with books and pillows and rugs and have a fireplace and a hammock and a kickass stereo system and a drafting table with lots of art supplies, and a nifty laptop but no wifi (too distracting).
Feel free every day.
Do you consider yourself a productive person?
I guess it’s not really fair to ask you this question right off the bat, because it relies on defining what we each mean by “productivity.” The basic dictionary.com definition says: “
We live in a world that values being busy. In order to feel like you’ve had a productive day, you might want to get a lot done, check off items on your list, or have something to show for what you’ve been up to. You might even feel like you’ve been go-go-going all day but you haven’t been truly productive at all. This can take a toll on your self-worth.
We are what we do, after all, right? It can certainly feel that way, but that’s not the whole story.
“How’s it going with being Zen?” he asked on the phone last week. “It must be hard for you as a Virgo, with all those goals and lists.”
We both laughed, and a reply sprang to mind immediately. “Not at all,” I said. “I still have lists of things to do, but I’m not attached to them.”
It’s true. My relationship with “being productive” has changed radically. Sure, I still enjoy the feeling of checking things off my list. But it’s no longer tied in with my basic self-worth. On any given day, being “productive” means, to me, that I’ve worked towards my larger goals, been helpful to my family and others, and had fun. I’m more attuned to my attitude and how I feel. Productivity has become less of a focus.
On the other hand, you don’t necessarily want to get rid of productivity entirely. I recently came across the surprising statistic that only 4 percent of people write have written down their goals, and only 16 percent more even have them. That’s 80 percent of the population who haven’t set goals for themselves. Really?!
Going with the flow is one of my mottoes, but still, I can’t imagine not having life goals that I’m working towards. It might just be me, but I’m imagining that without dreams to pursue, life could feel aimless and eventually, full of regrets. Being productive can help get us a bit further along the path each day. Big goals can motivate us, but it’s those small steps we take toward them, the ones that add up over time, that allow us to achieve success on our own terms.
That’s why it’s important to define productivity for yourself. You could be productive by picking up acorns in the park, but what’s the greater purpose? If one of your goals is to learn to make acorn flour pancakes, then your acorn-gathering has a meaning.
What would be a healthy way to be productive, in your life? Think about how your daily actions serve your biggest goals. Do the things you do bring joy to you and others, enhance your creativity, increase your knowledge, make the world a better place, or in some other way help you live the life of your dreams? If not, how can you start making changes so that your personal productivity lines up with your intentions?
I’d love to hear your feedback on what productivity means to you, and how you use it. Leave a comment below. Thanks!
A while back I wrote about how hard it can be to make decisions. After some further musing on decision making, I’ve come to the realization that most of the time when you’re faced with a choice, you already know the answer. By “the answer,” of course, I mean that you know the choice that will work best for you in this situation. There are often several choices that will be perfectly fine.
At the moment when you’re faced with picking from two or more options, though, you already have the answer within you. You might just need to uncover it.
When a member of a group I’m part of was seeking advice about a fairly major business decision, she detailed her thoughts and feelings about the choice she faced. After some discussion, one of the women spoke up. In her experience, she shared, she found that in making decisions you should always follow your first intuitive impulse, because that’s the one that you’d eventually come back to anyway.
It’s an intriguing idea. See if you can come up with a couple of examples from your own life. Are there times when you sort of knew what you wanted to do, but you went through a whole long logical process before finally settling on what you knew all along? What about when you had an initial longing, but you made a different decision? Did you regret it, or even reverse the decision later?
With some reflection, you can see how your deepest self knew what was best, whether or not you followed its advice.
But how do you know what your first intuitive impulse is, especially if you’re not accustomed to listening to those quiet inner voices?
Here’s a little experiment you can try. When you have a yes or no decision, or you’re considering either of two options, get a coin. Assign one option to “heads” and the other to “tails.” Now flip the coin, and in that moment while it’s twirling through the air, think about which option you’re hoping for. When the coin lands and you uncover the results, pay attention to how you feel. Are you elated? Disappointed? Ready to flip again, two-out-of-three? This will give you an inkling of which decision you really prefer.
Here’s another technique to help you follow your intuition when you’re making choices. This works best when you’re deciding what to do with your time. Say you’re invited to an event, asked to volunteer for a cause, or deciding which project to tackle next. Think about the option in front of you, and feel your way into it.
Do you want to go to the party?
You might get an immediate and enthusiastic “yes!” that you can feel in your body. This could be followed by mental rationalizations, like all the other things you have to do, how you don’t have anything to wear, and so forth. But your intuition has already given you a clue, that “yes!” feeling. It works the other way, too – your first response might be “no, I don’t want to.” This could be followed by guilt or obligation, thinking of reasons why you should go, how it could be a great chance to meet new people, or whatever.
But you don’t really want to go, and that’s okay. Don’t overthink things.
Even the old standby of making a list of pros and cons can illustrate your intuitive first choice. Start to make your list, but pay attention to how you feel about each item you add, and which column you’re drawn to most. The “cons” might make logical sense, but if the “pros” feel amazing, it looks like you have a green light in that direction. Your emotions are your soul’s guidance system, leading the way to choices that are best for you.
Going with what feels best isn’t the advice we usually receive in this culture, but it works. Following your authentic longings won’t lead you astray. When you choose what your inner self already knows is right for you, your life will be much more fun, creative, and fulfilling.
And you won’t have to spend so much time backtracking.
Just one more week and it’ll be Summer Solstice. The evenings are long and everything is in bloom. Our weekly homeschool co-op is done for the summer, lacrosse season is over, and we’re shifting into summer mode around here.
Gatherings at our friends’ camp on the lake, potato salad, and road trips. More fireside time in the backyard, reading in the hammock, bare feet. Outdoor work, the screen door slamming, and fresh local veggies.
Just like every year, I’m in love with summer.
Here are some links to peruse while you’re lounging by the water.
Looking for good books to read this season? This list has some fantastic recommendations.
Going on a retreat, or a solo road trip? Here are some useful tips.
As a lifelong night owl and Mom to night owls, I got a kick out of this article.
This article on different types of work schedules makes a whole lot of sense. It’s helping me organize my days more effectively, for sure.
I love these musings on taking a break from social media. So much food for thought…
Have a terrific weekend and enjoy every moment of summer!
Your first response to the title of this post might be something like: “Are you kidding? With all the work I have to do? My list is a mile long!” The question still stands. You’re not going to do quality work without plenty of time to play. Of course, the ideal thing is when your work and play line up, and you spend your time doing what you love best.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
Even when that’s the case, it’s still important to take breaks to rest and recharge, to get re-inspired for the next phase of your work. Creativity isn’t just something that you turn on and it goes endlessly forward, like the Energizer Bunny. There are cycles involved. Haven’t you noticed how sometimes you’re super productive, while on other days you can’t seem to get out of your own tracks? There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s natural to need some down time, even in the middle of a big project. When you work with your natural rhythms instead of resisting them, you’ll find you’re more productive overall.
Play is a key part of this cycle. It’s vital to living a happy and healthy life. Why?
You’re going to come to a problem or challenge in your work or life. You can’t always force yourself to keep pushing until you find a solution. When you walk away for a while and do something fun, your brain is still humming along in the background, working on the issue. Often the best solution will come to you seemingly out of the blue, in a flash of intuition. You’ve gotten your conscious mind out of the way, and let your deeper self tune in to what’s going on. Through play, you’ve also provided yourself with new stimuli, which can bring inspiration.
Playing helps you relax and not take things so seriously. When we take every little thing to heart, stressing out over what are mostly minor details in the scheme of things, we add stress to our lives. Stress, when it becomes a daily part of your experience, can build up and cause or contribute to chronic illness. That certainly won’t feel good, or help you accomplish your goals.
Cultivating a playful attitude also lifts your spirits and brings up your energy vibes. When you’re working with consciously manifesting your dreams, this is a great way to stay on track. Allowing yourself to play brings more joy into your everyday experience. When you’re already having fun, you won’t be so attached to achieving certain goals, which paradoxically can allow them to flow your way more quickly.
You still want to get there, but you’re not deferring your happiness until you arrive. Danielle LaPorte calls this “relaxed determination.”
Playfulness and creativity go hand in hand. If you’re “just playing,” you’re tuned in more to the process than the results. This lack of expectations gives you more freedom to try new things, take risks, and step outside your usual habits. If your work is creative, try playing in a different medium. If I’m working on a writing project and I get stuck, I find that playing my drum or doing some doodling in my art journal will often help free up my energies and create space for inspiration.
Each of us has different ideas about what “play time” involves. For adults in our culture, it’s often assumed that when we play, we go out for drinks and dinner with our friends, watch a sports match or movie, or spend time at the beach. Those things may or may not resonate with you. Have play time on your terms! You might want to play Dungeons & Dragons with friends, learn to juggle, take a long walk with your dog, make up a new recipe, or dress up like a faery princess. Play for you might even look like cleaning out a closet or waxing your car.
If it feels good, relaxes you, and feels like a special treat, go for it!
Play is a personal thing. We’re all different. BlackLion finds video games relaxing, while for me, playing them feels like a form of torture. I love to curl up with a big thick book, but others would consider that a horrible homework assignment. Find the activities that make your play time feel amazing. Then make it happen. If you don’t have time to play today, put it in your calendar for tomorrow, or the weekend.
Play is good for you. Like exercise and vegetables, make sure you’re getting enough play time.
In the past ten years or so, I’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital. Not because I was ill or hurt, but in support of family members and friends who were patients.
Before I had kids, this would have been completely unthinkable. I’ve always been a really sensitive soul, an empath, and this came with a huge phobia of hospitals, doctors, and pretty much anything medical. Seeing (and feeling) other people in pain was the worst thing I could imagine. The sensations would overwhelm my entire consciousness.
When I was eight years old, I went to visit my grandfather in the hospital. He was dying of cancer, and I think the reason my parents brought me was because they knew it would be the last time Grampa and I would see one another. I took one look at him in his hospital bed, face drawn and pale, wires emerging from everywhere, and promptly fainted, right there onto the hard cold floor. Needless to say, I never wanted anything to do with those types of places again.
Fortunately, I was healthy enough not to need to, for quite some time. Even when my Mom was in the hospital off and on during my teens and early 20s, she understood why I would call and send cards and care packages, but not show up to see her in person.
After having kids, I pretty much got over my phobia, as often happens. I still wasn’t thrilled by the idea of hospitals, but I knew how to cope.
And then my Mom was in a terrible car accident in late 2003. She spent two months in the intensive care unit, mostly unconscious, and then two more in a rehab facility. My Dad, my brother, and I more or less lived there, in the hospital. I learned a lot about how to manage my own energies and to be helpful to those who were patients (and to not be a pain to the staff, who are there to do their job). Having recently had another experience of spending time visiting a loved one in the hospital, I thought I’d share some of my tips.
- Keep your energy filters up and running. This post will explain what I mean by filters, as well as showing you how to set them up and maintain them.
- Be extra kind to your loved one. They are under a lot of stress, which means they might be illogical, snappy, or weepy. Sure, you’ll be triggered by that sometimes. Breathe through your own fears and sorrows. If all you can manage is to smile and hold their hand, that’s a lot. Being there is what matters most.
- Always bring something to read. Chances are you’ll be waiting a lot, and the person you’re visiting will be sleeping or having procedures done some of the time. Don’t just rely on your phone or tablet; you might not have a place to recharge it, and reception can be spotty. A good old-fashioned book (or your knitting project, if you prefer) is a good backup.
- Memorize where the public restrooms are. Besides the obvious uses, they make a good place to escape to for a few minutes when things get overwhelming. Splash cool water on your face, and take some deep breaths.
- Bring your own water bottle. Stay hydrated. Remember to eat, too. Protein is good and keeps you going a long while. Avoid gobbling down a bunch of sugar and caffeine; the eventual crash isn’t worth it.
- Be patient. Be prepared to wait longer than you think you will, or than you’ve been told. This is really no one’s fault. It just happens.
- Smile and be kind to the staff, even when you’ve had to wait a long while and repeat yourself a zillion times. If they ask you to move, get out of the way quickly and politely. They work hard, often under challenging circumstances. Don’t make their job harder.
- Be cooperative, but still stand up for your loved one. Know or research which treatments and procedures are optional. Educate yourself about patient rights. Mistakes do happen, so the more you know what is going on, the better you can help your loved one, who is probably in pain and thus not focused as sharply as usual.
- When you’re walking around the hospital, always look like you know where you’re going, even if you don’t, and no one will bother you. If you’re truly lost, look for one of the many kind volunteers (who are often elderly people with name tags) and they will help you.
- Bring headphones or earbuds and some music or audio books to listen to. Hospitals are noisy places, with much beeping and paging and other annoying sounds. Having your own audio stream (especially when you’re in the waiting place) can help with your sanity.
- If your loved one has one of those finger clips on that monitors the oxygen in their blood, encourage them to breathe deeply. It’s not only healthy for them, it keeps the monitor from beeping. Breathe with them. It’s good for you, too.
- Learn Reiki. It’s the easiest and best way to help someone who is ill or injured. Also, when you share Reiki energy, you are receiving it yourself at the same time, so it helps refresh your own energies rather than drain them. Reiki is awesome.
- You don’t have to watch TV just because it’s there. If it’s a good distraction for you, fine, but if it drains your energy, ignore it. Change your seat so your back is to the screen. If appropriate, ask for it to be turned off or down.
- Get rest when you can. You might finally come home from the hospital, where you’ve been with your loved one, only to see stacks of dishes in the sink and piles of mail to be dealt with. Ignore them, and get some sleep. They’ll still be there later.
- Ask for help. I know, it can be hard to ask for help when you’re a sensitive sort. Do it anyway. Most often when there’s a crisis, your friends and extended family really want to help. Give them some tasks that you just can’t face right now.
- Express your emotions when you’re outside the hospital. Cry on a friend’s shoulder, go for a run, write it all out in your journal – whatever works best for you. Don’t keep it all inside, as that can lead to chronic stress, which leads to illness, which can lead you to a hospital bed of your own. You don’t want that. Get it out, safely.
While these ideas all came as a result of being a visitor, not a patient, I imagine that many of them would also apply if you need to spend time in the hospital yourself.
Please feel free to add your own suggestions, and ask questions, in the comments section. I’d love to hear your feedback.
This morning I was excitedly detailing in my journal the curriculum I have lined up for the rest of 2015. Nope, not for the kids – for myself. Nope, I’m not kidding or being sarcastic.
I have a stack of books and notebooks ready, along with e-books and videos. My topics of study range from novel-writing techniques and ethical marketing for authors to sacred geometry, desire mapping, and advanced meditation techniques.
To get right to the point of this post, I think the best way to encourage your children to be lifelong learners is to be a good role model. Be a lifelong learner yourself!
Truly, learning is a whole lot of fun. Without the whole buzz-kill of compulsory study on topics you may have no interest in whatsoever, discovering new ideas, skills, and philosophies is amazing. I always say that I would have made an excellent unschooler myself, if my family had known it existed back in the 70s and 80s.
Sure, my ways of learning look different than those of my kids. ElvenTiger, now 16, was recently talking with a younger girl who wanted to know about homeschooling. She was questioning how my daughter learned without textbooks and curriculum. “Well,” ElvenTiger quipped, “there’s this thing called the Internet…”
When my teens find something new they want to learn about, they start with a Google search. They know how to weed through forums and find video tutorials, and can sift through various sources like pros. They are savvy about advertising. They both know the necessity and value of practice, and will spend hours on pursuits that are meaningful to them.
Just like me.
If you’re looking to encourage yourself in the pursuit of lifelong learning, thinking outside the box helps. Many of us were brought up to believe that the only knowledge worth having was taught to us by official teachers in a classroom setting. Maybe that’s your best method of learning – but if not, don’t worry.
There are many different learning styles, and discovering your best way of exploring new concepts and skills (and your kids’ best methods, too) can be so empowering. Most of us do best with a mix of methods. I know that I learn best when I first read and write about a subject, then begin to practice it on my own. Learning in groups is not for me (too much pressure, which becomes distracting), and listening to new information is more challenging than simply reading the material myself.
Think about how you best learn something new, and then pick a subject that you find fascinating, mysterious, and intriguing. Now, get started! No authorities needed, just you and an open mind.
The more you learn and really get absorbed in the process, the more those around you will become inspired to do the same. Learning really is a joy and a blessing, not the drag that we might once have thought it was, on those nights when homework loomed and we longed to be outside in the warm evening air, watching the stars.
BlackLion got a telescope for $10. at a yard sale this weekend, and he’s already been checking out the moons of Jupiter and the craters on Earth’s lovely moon as well. He could wait to take an astronomy class, or brush up on what he learned in college, but instead he dove right in, letting his enthusiasm lead the way. Direct experience is learning, too.
Go and check out the world, alone or with your family. Life is a learning adventure, no matter your age or profession!
The lilacs are blooming! I love their lavender beauty and that delightful smell. Ah, full spring, with summer right behind it. I love it! This weekend I’ll be spending some time in our new hammock, reveling in the gorgeous weather and this lovely place where I live. I’m so very grateful!
Here’s some good reading (and watching) for your weekend. Enjoy!
Speaking of gratitude, here’s the start to a whole alphabet of gratitude. Thanks!
I’m not usually a huge fan of videos, but this one blew me away. What a fantastic message. Yes!
Listening to your body before saying yes to Too Many Things. This is so me – both the tendency to schedule too much, and the relatively new skill of listening within before saying yes.
Quiet time amidst the chaos of life.
Had an epiphany lately? Do you know what happens next? Words of wisdom from Danielle LaPorte (one of my new favorite authors – I’m reading The Desire Map and loving it).
We just hung up our first hammock at home, and now I’ve been hearing about hammock camping. Intriguing…
This is a really interesting take on the practice habits of some of the top achievers in music. It can apply to other creative pursuits, too.
Thinking of starting your own business? Check out these little secrets.
How to honor your own divinity.
And a quote for today: “The nature of your personal beliefs in a large measure directs the kinds of emotions you will have at any given time. You will feel aggressive, happy, despairing, or determined according to events that happen to you, your beliefs about yourself in relation to them, and your ideas of who and what you are. You will not understand your emotions unless you know your beliefs. It will seem to you that you feel aggressive or upset without reason or that your feelings sweep down upon you without cause if you do not learn to listen to the beliefs within your own conscious mind, for they generate their own emotions.” – Seth through Jane Roberts
Come on over to the Feline Dreamers website and check out our new video series on core beliefs! We’re doing a 4-part video series as a lead in to our new online course, The Alchemy of Core Beliefs: Unearthing Your Hidden Framework, beginning June 1st. Hope to see you there!
I’m sitting here on a rainy May morning, contemplating how much my life has changed over the past few years. On the outside, it might not look like things have shifted all that much. I’m still living in the country, enjoying my writing, still working at the radio station part time, very involved in the lives of my family members, happily unschooling, with many of the same interests (books, spirituality, drumming, dancing, art journaling, hiking).
But on the inside, it’s a whole new landscape. And I mean that in the best way possible.
I’ve taken a journey to self-love, learning to treat myself as I would a beloved child. I’ve embodied a sense of inner relaxation, where there used to be a constant ball of stress and low-level anxiety. No, I’m not always relaxed, but I’m familiar enough with the sensation to return to it when I get off-center. Rather than fretting about my creativity, productivity, and prosperity, now I’m letting them flow through me. I have the inner resources in place to trust in the process, and have fun with it every day.
Best of all, I’m still learning and expanding, and as I grow, more and more of my most cherished dreams are coming true. It’s such a terrific feeling!
How did I get here?
For most of my adult life I’ve been on a spiritual quest to find ways to be more joyful, creative, and healthy. At first I just read about it a lot. That’s a good start, but reading about personal development doesn’t really get you anywhere on its own. Then I figured out that I needed to practice the techniques, and make them my own. Spiritual practice is such a powerful tool for growth. I would venture to say that, for me at least, it’s essential.
Still, it wasn’t quite the whole picture. I found that I was still spinning my wheels, somehow ending up dealing with the same challenges over and over. Sure, the situations would look different, and I would have a greater ability to cope with what was going on, but it was still frustrating. “This? Again?!! Really?”
(My personal trouble spots? Prosperity – especially in connection with doing my soul work – and self worth. How about you?)
The key to the biggest shift in my inner life has been digging deeply into the core beliefs that I unconsciously internalized as I was growing up, and those I had added throughout my spiritual quest. I found that they often contradicted one another, and left me feeling stuck.
“Core beliefs are those about which you build your life. You are consciously aware of these, though often you do not focus your attention upon them. They become invisible, therefore, unless you become aware of the contents of your conscious mind.
“To become acquainted with your own ideas and beliefs, you must walk among them, symbolically speaking, without blinders. You must look through the structures that you have yourself created, the organized ideas upon which you have grouped your experience.” – Seth through Jane Roberts
Over the past few years, I’ve been digging deep, unearthing the belief structures that I’d forgotten about, getting to know them. By first becoming familiar with them, then making updates to the framework, I’ve made the shift to a more positive and empowered life. My favorite tools for this work have been journal writing, meditation, energy work (such as Reiki and polarity therapy), and mindfulness.
It’s really amazing how different I feel, on a daily basis. My basic foundation is now one of joy, love, and creativity. When I’m feeling “off,” it’s much easier to notice and to return to that foundation.
I want this for you, too.
Next month, BlackLion and I are offering our first-ever Feline Dreamers online course. We want to share with you the techniques, ideas, and inspirations that have helped us to revitalize our own core beliefs. The course is new, but we’ve been working on the supporting material for the past several years. We’ve put it all together in a brand new way that will help you to access your own core beliefs, then transform them so that you have a strong foundation for living the life of your dreams.
Join us for The Alchemy of Core Beliefs: Unearthing Your Hidden Framework. This four-week course, starting on Monday, June 1st, will include a daily email with a brief reading, an audio guided meditation tailored to the day’s topic, and specific exercises designed to delve deeply into your underlying belief structure. Weekly videos will encourage you to unearth your hidden treasures and a private Facebook group will give you up-to-the-moment support with us and other folks who are also on this amazing journey of self-discovery.
Intrigued? You can learn more over at the Feline Dreamers website.
I’m so excited to work with you! You’ll see such an amazing transformation. Blessings!