For the Expressive Soul

In the women’s spirituality group I help facilitate, we’re doing what I guess you could call a series on spiritual tools for the journey.  These are a few things that, along the way, I have found to be beneficial to me for hearing the inner longings of my soul.

  • Journaling  Of course, I am a writer by nature, so this one comes easily to me.  But I don’t take this journaling gig lightly.  I have a dream journal, which is written in first before those slippery
    dreams from the subconscious slip away again.  I always date the dreams
    and try to mark when it’s a full moon (because the dreams are usually
    particularly vivid and significant then for me).  After documenting the dreams, I pull out the Gratitude Journal (idea from Sarah ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance).  I list at least five things for which I’m grateful, and these range from people to things to ideas to states of being.  Lastly, there’s the “morning pages” (term coined by Julia Cameron in her Artist’s Way books) where I vent/muse/list/write for a while.  The goal is three pages, but sometimes three short paragraphs is all I have time for.  Some days the whole process takes about 15 minutes.  I’ve been known to take two hours.
  • Collage  This is another process inspired by Cameron’s Artist’s Way.  My partner in spiritual direction and I use this tool frequently to either find where we are in the present stage in our lives or to help visualize what it is we want or need.  Collages can be done given a prompt, given a time frame or given nothing but freedom of expression.  Most recently, I collaged a manila folder, and it will store items in it particular to this phase of my life.
  • Movement  When our mind and spirit are expressed through the movement of our body, when the energy is released, I anticipate great things happening.  This is an area that I hope to explore more in the future.  I hope to learn t’ai chi.  I have another woman leading this session this week, and I can’t wait to see what we do, how it feels.  Honoring my body, caring for it well, is something I have to work on, but if our body is not well, we are not available to others, let alone to ourselves.  Maintaining a balance and allowing the energy to flow freely improves our overall well-being.
  • Meditation  I was first introduced to sitting meditation (zazen) through a Buddhism class in college.  For this, I am ever grateful.  I went back many times to the Monday night “Journey into Silence.”  I met wonderful people there, though the truth is we didn’t talk all that much.  25 minutes of sitting, 10 minutes walking, 15 minutes of sitting was the schedule, if I recall correctly.  Truly, there are many forms of meditation, and I won’t list technique here.  The point is silence.  Prayerful listening.  Stillness.  Quiet mind.  As busy people, sometimes we don’t have hours to sit in prayer to receive guidance, to experience the presence of God, but we can bring a mindfulness into our present task.  We can do things with a full-bodied awareness that embodies stillness and with prayerful listening be able to hear the still, small voice of Spirit or to experience the joy and gladness of doing the right thing at the right time.

These are just a few of the tools that I use, some more regularly than others, of course.  I encourage you to find what you use to express yourself creatively, what helps you hear the inner voice, what helps guide and assure you in your journey, and make it a regular practice.  You are only too busy if it is not a priority.

If finding what you are supposed to be doing is a priority to you or if you want clarity on anything, you have to be still and honest with yourself long enough to glimpse the truth of the matter.  This isn’t easy, but the rewards are great. 

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Perfectly Dreary Day

(Pardon my blogging absence; I’ll play catch-up the next couple of days.)

The temperature dropped throughout the day, and the skies grayed more deeply until finally it rained, softly at first, now steadily.  Today is a day to wax poetic . . . to sip tea before a fire, completely engrossed in a fantasy novel, whatever your fantasy might be, or to sit and gaze out an open window, feeling the wind carrying your mind and soul above and beyond where you ever thought you could go.

But me, I’ll visit with friends, catch up on e-mail, stop by the post-office, eat leftover chili and pick and choose which tasks need to be done first.  How does that make today different from any other day?

The air feels more like fall today.  The maples are getting particularly vibrant, and I feel that soulful restlessness.  I must create.  I must live vibrantly.  Do the ordinary tasks if I must, but the yearning for something different won’t subside.  That may be why when my son “had to go pee!” I pulled into our favorite park, let him use the restroom and then agreed to let them play at the castle for a few minutes.  We followed each other round and round the rock “castle” in the mystical, forceful air.

Perhaps I will wax poetic this evening and focus on writing or knitting or something besides household chores.  As a fall baby myself (and as I’ve mentioned before), I feel more aligned in the fall, like I’m where I’m supposed to be.  It’s okay to wonder, to question.  I believe that’s how we make soulful discoveries and find new paths, new ways to do things if not new things to do.  Perhaps my intuition speaks more loudly this time of year, or I listen more deeply.

Maybe the wind was blowing so hard today to wake me up, to clear my mind.  Stir my soul, o God, that I may be in perpetual motion and perfect ease within your Will, and thank you for this dreary day.
 

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Beyond Balance, To Thrive

daisies_base_79679_l.jpgI’ve mentioned before the topic of balance, the importance of prioritizing aspects of our time and delegating it appropriately.  This is necessary.  What has been brought to my attention since then is the notion of thriving, going beyond being balanced, finding what it is our soul yearns for and going full speed ahead to make sure we attain what it is we most desire.

Be very aware, for this shouldn’t be taken lightly.  In fact, my husband’s life coach was guiding him (and indirectly me, too) through the process.  You have to find out what it is you truly need, what your values are, what your true interests are and which of those are what you feel your soul’s calling is. 

If each of us have a purpose, I like to think that discovering what it is we want to thrive for will give us a pretty good sign of what that purpose is.  Maybe it’s teaching art classes to children in your community, helping at a local clinic, tutoring, writing novels, opening that cafe, having a gathering center or intentional community, starting a business with your unique ideas.  We all have gifts.  The universe has room for and welcomes what we have to offer. 

Our time is precious.  Get your plan in action for how you can do what it is you dream of.  You have to take care of necessities, but when it comes time to take that leap of faith, if it’s meant to be, the universe will help carry you through.  It’s not as easy as simply finding balance (and who said that was easy?).  But I’m sure the reward for the soul is manifest in more ways than one.

May we all find a way to thrive truly and thus bring fulfillment to our souls and richness to the universe.  Think about the wonderful example it sets for our children, too, as they grow up knowing that dreams aren’t always hokey, that even Mom trusted enough to follow at least one of her dreams.  Maybe the rest will have to wait until the kids are in college . . . or have kids of their own.  Be realistic.  Give yourself time.  Allow your soul to thrive.

* * *

I wrote this meditation last year.  A year ago, let’s just say we were putting all our eggs in a basket for a business that didn’t take off like it was supposed to according to our plans.  How often do you hear success stories from Plan A or even Plan C?  Who knows what plan we’re on now, but I feel great about where I am now for several reasons.  Perhaps this will help you, too.

I know, I’ve mentioned it before, and I know it seems hokey . . . if you’re not ready for it.  Apparently I was ready for it.  The realizations that I had a year ago (above meditation in mind) are reiterated in the book.  It’s just that in reading the book, a new level of clarity was attained for me, which is just fabulous.  But I can’t be attached to that.  : )  Others are having similar experiences.  Read on.

  • Purpose

The above book focuses on inner and outer purpose, your life’s purpose.  Everyone’s inner purpose is to connect to the Divine, in whatever lingo you prefer, with your ego diminished and out of the picture.  Great.  Now, with the ego gone, you’re more receptive to the Greater Calling.  Consider your gifts and passions.  How do they mix?  This will lead you to your outer purpose if you’re still enough to listen to that still small voice that speaks to your heart.  I’ve been wondering about how my spirituality, connection to women, writing, mothering all work together.  Well, here I am, writing almost daily on this blog I love, loving my children without owning them, and developing a role in the birth activist realm.  I’ve published my first article to DivineCaroline.  Read it here.

  • Thriving

God only knows the potential of the Universe.  If your ego is out of the way, you are tapped into that energy.  On days like yesterday and mornings like today where the wind is blowing and the sun is shining (at least most of the time), I feel like the energy overflows without and within my being.  I feel like I am that conduit of Divine Love and Potential.  I can’t do enough to share this with others.

  • Work

To my husband and to many others, all I do looks like a lot of work.  Looking at my lists, it looks like a lot to me, too!  But I LOVE all I am doing.  I feel like this is good stuff.  I tend to feel guilty, like I’m having too much fun, meeting too many wonderful people, receiving too many blessings.  BLAH!  This is GREAT!  No ego here.  I’m just tapping into the wonder that is Life.  Don’t worry.  I have bad days, too, when I don’t feel the connections so strongly.  But today, right now, is where I am, and now is good!  Echart Tolle mentions that the outer work might look like stress, but when you’re passionate, “in the zone,” (you know what I’m talking about), the vigor of your work is perfectly healthy.  With awareness, you know when your time comes to rest, and if you miss the clues, you wind up sick.  We’ve all been there.

hand_blue_light_796135_l.jpgThank you for sharing this journey with me.  I cannot wait to see what is to come.  While I cannot carry you or show you your purpose, I can inspire you to connect with the Divine.  I can carry the Light, a reflection of the Light that is within you if the real you chooses to see.

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