Each morning (OK, most mornings…) I ask myself this question: “Dear Higher Self, how do you want me to show up today?” Then I get quiet and listen. Spirit never lets me down, and it’s always just what I need to know for a great day. Today I woke up decidedly flat, and slow, and lacking in luster. So when I sat down with my journal and asked my daily (almost!) question I was pretty surprised to hear the word “vim”. My Higher Self would like me to show up with VIM! I had to laugh first, and then I asked Her if She was sure. Yes, indeed, show up with vim.
I’m not sure about you, but this isn’t a word I regularly use. I know it hangs out a lot with the word vigor. I like how short and decisive it is. I had a good sense of what it meant, but of course I needed to look it up. Do you do that, look up words? I love to look them up, read the definition and then look at the synonyms. And just like that, I fell in love with the word “vim”. It means energy and enthusiasm, but what really got me were the delicious synonyms – what amazing words we have made! Words like zest, brio, punch, moxie, pep, ginger, esprit, juice, gusto, oomph, zing, and verve. Wow!! I find I’m feeling better already! Ironically, the antonyms of vim were exactly how I felt when I woke up: lethargy, listlessness, torpidity.
What a difference a word makes – really!! In A Course in Miracles it says that words are symbols of symbols. So, they’re basically a couple of steps from the truth of something. And yet, they definitely have the energy of the things they represent. They’re guideposts to the realization of some inner truth. At least that’s my take on it. I think we learn the word, or hear it, or think it, and then we can feel it. And after we feel it we can be it. And I believe that all of this is ruled by choice. Our choices. Today I woke up one way (torpidity anyone??). That was a choice even though it didn’t seem like one. And then I heard a new word, I looked it up, I thought about it, I felt it, and I was given another option. A choice.
Well, I choose VIM! I love how these things work – I mean they’re like magic! I went from listlessness to gusto. It’s possible that some days listlessness is, perhaps, the better choice. I may need to rest, to check out, to not make lists! But my Higher Self knew that today I have another energy to experience. I’m really glad I asked, and listened!
Today I show up with Vim! How will you show up today?
Image by Cheryl
Last night Fear woke me up – again. Lately I’m pushing up against some old stories and beliefs that tell me what I can and can’t have. These are stories of LACK and LIMITS and UNWORTHINESS…not fun. Really! And yet, they contain gold for me if I’m willing to do some digging. So, there in the middle of the night I had a little talk with Fear. (To me Fear appears as a dark figure in a trench coat and hat, you can’t see his features, but he’s menacing, lurking in the shadows ready to pop out and wreck my day – or night, That is why I call my fear “him”.) “Fear”, I said, “I’ll talk with you in the morning. I know you want to help, but I need my sleep.” Eventually, he left me alone and I slept, but I knew this was an appointment I needed to keep.
After breakfast we sat down with a journal and a pen and began talking. This is a practice I do when I feel tense, scattered, confused, stressed. Or when I keep waking up in the night! It always helps. I start by letting Fear say his part – for as long as that takes – I write down his worries, fears, concerns, character assassinations (my character, of course), etc. At some point he begins to repeat himself and that’s when we stop. As I write I’m not judging, just listing. Sometimes an insight will come up and I note that down to come back to later.
Today Fear told me:
- I have nothing of value to offer.
- No-one likes me.
- I have no skills.
- I’ll starve and end up in a horrible place at the mercy of horrible people.
All of this (and more) keeps coming up, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. But that’s how Fear works. I actually know he cares about me, he wants to help, but his methodology is really screwed up! He thinks that by scaring me he’ll get me to stop doing new things and stretching myself. He thinks that makes me safe.
Oh, he of little faith.
Ironically, stopping assures that the worst case scenario can happen. Not to mention the hell of living with my fears as my MO in the world. No thanks!
Here are a few tools I employ to deal with the fears that come up, and how I get Fear to help me, for real. These tools will help give you some space away from your fears which allows more clarity, more sanity, more joy! Assuming your fears are here to help you can make them less upsetting and scary too. (Note: There are times just writing out my fears clears the air and I can move on – these ideas are for when that doesn’t work.)
- First, I look at each fear and see if it has helpful information for me. For example, I might look at “I have no skills” and ask what skills I feel I’m missing that would be honestly useful. It’s true there are some skills I want to take the time to learn – particularly technology skills. So, now I can schedule time to address that. Because I listened to Fear he feels better already!
- Next I search my fears for “truth”. Using the same fear as above I ask, “Is it true I have no skills, like zero?” And of course that isn’t true at all. It is something I fear though, regardless of how ludicrous it may be.
- So, next I find evidence. I look for the things I know I can do – this can start really simple (and may need to if the fear is pretty strong) like: “I am skilled at walking. I can drive like a boss. My eating abilities are amazing!” By the way – laughter is a great antidote to fear, so rock that too! Keep going with the evidence. And if you get stuck ask someone who loves you. They know your skills and will share some with you that you didn’t even know about or see.
The most important thing here is to really feel the delight of being skilled. Sense into the opposite of the fear. No one likes you – ha! Everyone you like also likes you. Feel it. You have no value? You are not just valued, you are value, inherently. We’re not dismissing or running from our fears – we’re getting honest about them. These can run in the background and mess with our ability to make good decisions for our lives. We’re acknowledging them and allowing them to be useful. That is a win-win!
- Finally, for any fears that didn’t work with the previous tools, try this…
Ask Fear, and yourself, what is this really about? Allow yourself to let the answer come up. You can say “If this happens/is true, then _______” to get more information. For example, the last fear I have listed “I’ll starve and end up in a horrible place at the mercy of horrible people” is a future-type fear. It’s practically a national-obsession-type fear. So I ask, what is this really about for me right now?
The real fear here, and in most future-type fears, is loss of something that you have now that you value. Like a safe home, a good income, a lot of amazing people you love, relative freedom, etc. These types of fears are pretty insidious because they require faith to overcome them. We can look for evidence that this has never, ever happened to you before, or that it has and you overcame it. But we also have heard cautionary tales of the horrible things that have happened to others. We might have seen it firsthand. We fear It could happen to us in the future. This can be scary stuff. They’re also the types of fears that tend to show up during times of transition in your life – when things are changing.
For these my first step is to turn it over to a Higher Power – your Higher Power of choice. I ask for help. I have faith that I am heard, and I am safe. I see and feel how safe and blessed I am right now, and I focus on that delicious feeling. I focus on how grand my life is right now. I live right here. This will (if you’re anything like me…) require repetition, and more repetition. The number of times you have allowed your self to go over and over the bad things that could happen, that is how many times you need to recall that you are safe, life is good, and you have access to just the help you need right now.
And then I have faith in myself. I see how I’ve managed to take care of myself all of my life until now, even when it wasn’t perfect it was OK. I note when I handled things well, when I overcame heartache, tragedy, sadness – knowing I can handle anything at all that I need to. I give myself credit – I know that I am the hero of my life!
Next, I ask Fear to help me by telling me why he fears this outcome. Many times when I have these fears I find there are areas of my life where I’m not giving it my best. I’m not focused, I’m not paying attention. You’ll be amazed what helpful information is running around in the back of your mind waiting for you to just give it some air time! I pay attention and then I take steps to care for myself, for my money, my home, my freedom – whatever addresses my legitimate concerns. Taking inspired action is a great way to dispel fear!
Fears are scary. That’s how they get our attention. But they’re also trying to help us. I believe that. I hope these tools are of use to you in living & creating your amazing life! If you have any questions you can contact me here or schedule a free session here. I’d love to hear from you!
Note: The information above is meant for normal fears and fearfulness. There are times when fears will not give us good information – when they’re overwhelming and too much to tackle alone. If you’re in a situation like this please contact a professional – a psychologist or other therapist can help you.
Image by Sebastien Marchand
My dear heart, never think you are better than others. Listen to their sorrows with compassion. If you want peace, don’t harbor bad thoughts, do not gossip, and don’t teach what you do not know.
Each Monday Whenever I feel like it I share a poem or quotation, an image or idea that I find lovely, or meaningful. Things that inspire and touch me. Maybe one will become your favorite too.
Image by Joe Beck
I’ve been “gone”. I’ve been distracted, busy, crazy, stressed, lost & confused, creative, making things happen, transforming….all of that and more. I certainly haven’t been “here”. You may have missed me, you may have been busy yourself, you may not have noticed I was gone. But the point is that I did. I have missed myself.
In the past 5 months I’ve lost a cherished family member, got married, shopped for and bought a house, prepped a house to sell (twice – both full and empty), renovated a house to live in, packed, moved, unpacked, and spent lots and lots of money. And that doesn’t include the strain of the incredible events on our world and national scenes that have affected us all. I know most of us have been through a lot lately. I don’t know about you but, I”m pooped! And all of these things were lovely, crazy, sad, miserable, transformative; and also either necessary, out of my hands, or fully my choice. They happened, and now I get to decide how I feel, think, and believe about that, and myself and my life going forward.
One of the big things I noticed is that when life gets crazy the first thing I jettison are the things I do to keep sane and clear about who I am. My rituals, practices, and meaningful life steps go by the wayside. Some of these things include making things (like dream boards or books), meditating, walking outside, taking catnaps, writing in my journal, drawing oracle cards, being silly. Some of these things I manage to do in shorthand – my prayers become my meditative time, I make a pretty image with a camera, I read in short spurts between crazed actions – especially funny books. This helps, but the truth is that after so many changes and not taking the time to really check in with myself I’m wondering who the heck I am now. That lost, ungrounded feeling isn’t fun. In the past not stopping this train has made me sick.
So, it’s time to get back to me – to explore how all of these outer changes have impacted my inner person and how I see myself. This may sound fluffy, or selfish, even ridiculous, but the truth is this is where the deep work is – inside. This where my behavior comes from – those unexamined beliefs can have a huge impact on how I react in situations and with other people. And the exciting thing is that I am really beginning a new life – new town, new husband, new home, new office. I’m a wife, I’m no longer a cat servant (at least for now), I’m the mother of a 20 year old(!), I’m starting from scratch with my garden, I’m a business woman…again!
As I work through this process more things will change to reflect this new place and person I’m becoming. I’m planning a revamp of my website, new offerings, courses both locally and online, more posts and ideas. And in general I feel a strong rekindling of my desire to help, to serve, to share with you insights, tools, practices, ideas, and concepts that really will help you deal with the tough stuff, and especially to uncover and bring to life your audacious dreams. This is who I am, and it feels amazing to be back!
Here’s to a new-ish me!! And a delightful New Year to you!
With Love, Cheryl
Christmas Past: My sweet kitty under the tree.
It’s at this time of the year I remember my mother’s wisdom most. Our family was really busy at Christmas time with 2 stores to run and all of the holiday’s excitement as well. And yet Mom always made Christmas special – she loved it and created an amazing experience for us from food, to decorations, to presents, to fun things to do. Until I was a mom I had no idea how hard that was to accomplish. Or what a joy it is to make something so delicious.
I’m having an extra busy Christmas season this year. We’re fixing up the house we’re moving to, keeping the one we’re selling in pristine condition, packing, moving….Whew! And please, let’s not even talk about Christmas preparation! It’s pretty stressful and I tend to start rushing, running, getting breathless, not sleeping, always planning and thinking ahead. I’m certainly not spending time in the moment where I am so I can enjoy my life and this gorgeous season. And that reminds me of a saying of my Mom’s: “The hurrier I go the behinder I get”. It always used to make me laugh, but it’s true! My rushing and stressing isn’t making things go faster or more smoothly at all. In fact it made me sick and farther behind than ever.
And, of course, I know better! I kept telling myself this was no way to do things, but I just didn’t listen to myself. Today as I’m feeling better and starting to rush around again I heard my Mom’s voice “The hurrier I go….” And I laughed and tuned in again to the world as it is right now. If you tend to get wrapped up in all there is to do in a busy season here are few tips I can share that work for me to come down to Earth, slow down, and, you know, get less “behinder” – or at least have more fun (and stay healthy) while I do my work:
- For goodness sake – Breathe!!! When you’re holding your breath or breathing shallowly you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Or making life easier or more delightful. Pull in a nice deep breath and let it out, be grateful that it’s so easy, and available, and calming to just breathe.
- While you’re breathing, wiggle your toes. Notice you have a lovely body, toes that move and support you. Lungs to breathe into. Legs to stand on, arms to hug someone with, a head to lay on your pillow when you rest. You can dance, and sing, and make things with such an amazing body.
- Open your eyes (really open them) and look around. Where are you? What do you see? Do you see beauty, or something comforting? Do you see loved ones, nature, your home or office? Be where you are and look for the most delicious thing in that place. Let the experience of that object, person, situation, or sound fill you with joy! Rest there, in that joy; soak it up.
- Next, think (calmly…) about what has you rushing about. First, I want you to assume there is an easier and more pleasant way to do whatever it is. Know that you will discover this easy, pleasant way when you allow yourself to let go of your preconceived notions of how things must go and what you need to do to make it happen. Let me say here you can (and will) certainly proceed the way you want to proceed, and if that means you will go on rushing, that’s fine. Hey, I’m with you. There are times that is the only way for me too. But I want you to be honestly aware that there are other choices, for sure. Other ways to make it happen that are different and probably a lot more fun. Ways that allow you to drop perfection, allow you to enjoy the process, allow you to ask for help, ways that honor your needs. These ways will certainly make the process better not just for you, but for everyone around you (just ask my poor sweet husband what a drag I’ve been the last few weeks!).
- Brainstorm, make a list, allow yourself to dream of the perfect solution, write it down as if it has already occurred. And then step away for a bit. Sleep on it, rest. And come back to your dream process. Do you see new ways to do this? Is there anything that can be dropped, farmed out? Can you at least see how you can do what you want, achieve the outcome you desire, and still have fun, as well as a healthy body and mind? What would be the best outcome and a delightful way to get there? How can you make that happen?
I know I’ll be following this list of steps for the foreseeable future! I have my brainstorming done and now I’m going to take long rest and see how things look in the morning. I already feel more hopeful that I can make everything happen – and in a lovely way. I hope this is of help to you too. And I want to wish you delight-filled holidays and all of the pleasures of the winter season!
Lots of Love, Cheryl
Autumn in IWest Branch, Iowa
I don’t know about the place you call home, but in Iowa Autumn is glorious! And thank goodness, because after it comes Winter and we need that glory to get us through a long white/grey, cold streak of days. I love the crisp air, deep blue skies, amazing colors, the smell and sound of the crisp leaves, raking (yes!), bonfires, hay rides, local football games on Friday nights. Even the windy, rainy days are wonderful for cozying up with a book. Soups! Hikes! Alas, it seems so short. Every year I hope for a nice LOOOONG Fall season. This year I decided I was the one making it short and that is was up to me to extend that glory for myself.
What, you say? Yes, I CAN extend the season and I will tell you how to do it too. Of course, this is the first year, so it’s an experiment. But I have reason to believe, based on brain research (not to mention Eastern philosophy), that this will work. And if it isn’t perfect we’ll just tweak it for next year. The theory is that time is relative…you’ve heard that one? It all depends on our perception. A 5 minute wait in line always seems longer than 5 minutes of hot kissing, yes? So, let’s use this to our benefit!
I realized that the minute Autumn began to make its appearance I already was mourning its end – and dreading the long Winter to come. Of course it seemed short; it was over before it even began. This year I’m living in the moment and the season! Here is how:
- Sloooooowwwwww down. Good advice anytime but especially if you want time to also go slower. Breathe! Ahhhh, take in that delicious air. Feeling better already.
- Pay attention. Savor the things you love about this time of year. Look at the trees and sky. Smell the spicy scent of fallen leaves. Notice the pumpkins and Halloween decorations. Spend time in front of the fire on a stormy day. Cheer on the local team at the football game. Immerse yourself in Fall-nees. Yum!
- Make a list.What do you delight in about this season? Make a list and enjoy the heck out of each thing on it. I love my fall clothes. Most of my favorite clothes best fit this in-between season – and in my favorite colors too. Brown tights, denim skirt, cowboy boots; leggings and tunics; Dresses with patterned tights; so many cute jackets it’s embarrassing! When it is 20 below I won’t be venturing out in any of these ensembles. I’ll have to rock it right now!
- Schedule it. Each year I want to capture the glorious colors and beautiful harvest landscape. And each year I don’t take the time. Crazy! This has gone on for years. What was so important that I rushed through my favorite season? Dishes? Bills? Laundry? Tomorrow I’ve scheduled in a nice long photo shoot walk. And next week I’m hitting the backroads to see what I can discover there. Make a list of what you want to do this season and schedule it in. Walks spent kicking up the leaves in the woods, check. Your favorite soup on the stove, yep! A bonfire, haunted house, pumpkin patch – take the family and invite friends. Rake and put the garden to bed, sure (this one sounds a lot like work but I love it, could be the hot cocoa I bribe myself with).
How will you enjoy the season? I’d love to hear! I’m off to stir my potato cheese soup and pull a good book off the shelf to read in the lamplight while the wind whistles outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warmer, I already have my tights and skirt and sweater picked out for my ramble in the leaves.
Wishing you Autumn Bliss!