Image by My Life Through a Lens
I was thinking today about Imagination and the Presidential Race, as one does…
I wondered if Bernie Sanders imagined himself the beleaguered, scrappy, but honest and appealing, underdog. And if that is why he achieved what he did. And then I wondered who of the current candidates could really imagine themselves as President of the United States of America. Who could see themselves living in the White House, vetoing bills, appointing people to important positions, talking with other world leaders, working with Congress, going to Camp David? I wondered if that person would be the winner in this surprising and sometimes ugly contest.
And that, of course, set me thinking about what I can imagine for myself and my life. As Goethe said (or perhaps not quite; apparently an Irish poet named John Anster published a translation of Goethe which was a bit loose and poetic, and this is his version of an excerpt from Faust – info from Quote Investigator):
“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it…”
Or more to my purposes, here is a quote by William Arthur Ward:
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”
Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about this, and it isn’t a new thought at all! It is a telling consideration though. What do you imagine for yourself? Do you have sweet, hidden dreams you believe you’ll never truly achieve? Can you see yourself living the life that includes those dreams, or are you content to just…dream. When I asked myself this question I could definitely see ways I’ve let myself play the beleaguered, scrappy (but honest and appealing!) underdog in my own life. And that’s perfectly fine – if it’s what I truly want.
I love/hate these sorts of revelations! I don’t like feeling that I’m failing myself, or especially others. I don’t like thinking I’ve “ruined” my life by not doing things “right”. I don’t like thinking I could be President by now – had I only dreamed it! – but instead I’m just a goddess dreamer. These are the nasty thoughts of my dear, inner Mongol Horde, of course (read about the Horde here). Happily, I am a multitude, so I have other feelings and thoughts about this as well. What I love is that with each revelation I can make changes that are delicious to me and make my life the delightful romp I want it to be!
This all makes me think about the actual intentions and dreams behind the actions I take each day. Because you can definitely take action and not be aware that you’re creating something you don’t really want. Here is more of the quote by Goethe/Anster:
“Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and the work will be completed!”
This could be about being lazy *gasp* and finally getting off your behind to take action – but I think it’s more about being unaware of your true beliefs and motivations behind the actions you are taking today. As I tell my clients (and really most anyone who will listen) awareness is everything – in making changes, living a life you adore, knowing who you are and what you want, and in pursuing that All-American goal of happiness.
In order to learn more and be aware of my own motivations today I asked myself – “When I’m eating this cookie am I fulfilling my dreams of losing weight?” And then I wondered – is losing weight REALLY a dream of mine, or am I actually happy the way I am and can quit striving for the “ideal” weight? Why do I want to lose weight? Can I really see myself and my life as a thinner person? These are pretty important questions if I don’t want to “lament o’er lost days” and weigh the same next month. Or perhaps I just don’t need to beat myself up anymore over a goal I don’t really care about.
Or I may look out there at all of the courses that offer a way to “Make 6 Figures!” and wonder what I really want. Do I want to make 6 figures? Why SURE! Do I want to live the lifestyle that many of these thought leaders live? Probably not. I don’t care that much about world travel. I like working from the local park – a far off beach isn’t necessary. I don’t care about being on Oprah or convincing people I’m the only true expert in something. Honestly – I feel my clients are the experts in their lives. But I do want to help people as a career, I know I can help people, and I do want a continuing income I can live well on. Can I imagine that life? What does it look like? Is it different from the one I have now? How?
And then after I ask myself lots of questions and clarify what my dreams really are I can get in touch with what Cassie Parks calls my “future self” and figure out what the two of us DO want. Usually that process of getting in touch with the future me who is living exactly as I want to live, and doing just what I desire to do, yields some good ideas about next steps to take. So, naturally, then I can get off my duff and “Begin it, and the work will be completed”! OK it may take a bit more time, but beginning truly does have a magic of its own – plus it’s the only way to get here to there.
So, as you can see I have some contemplative days ahead while I scrutinize my reasons for my actions. But I’m still wondering…I do believe that “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” At the very least I believe that if you can’t imagine it then it will be pretty hard to bring it into your life – for real. And that still begs the question – who in the Presidential Race can really imagine themselves as President? And more importantly (at least to me) – what can you really imagine yourself being? Make it good!
Image by Clem Onojeghuo
I’ve always had songs in my head – you know those songs that get stuck, for whatever reason, and can drive you almost mad? Yeah, you too? Well, I used to think they were just an annoyance, and then as I learned more about how my subconscious (sub in here higher self, inner guide, God, etc.) communicated with me I began to think there might be information there for me. The question many times though was: “What information?” Because sometimes these songs aren’t obviously of help. Two days ago the song in my head was “Everyone Else is an Asshole” by Reel Big Fish, it took a bit of discovery to figure that message out I can tell you! The thing is I’ve had some really rich discoveries by following the thread begun by the music in my head, it’s been such a help – and lots of fun.
The aforementioned song was pretty useful really. I’ve always enjoyed its funny, tongue-in-cheek approach to suggesting that if you think everyone around you is an asshole perhaps you should look at yourself first. So, of course, I looked at that. For the most part I don’t think people are assholes, I usually like them and try not to judge, but the truth is I can definitely still use more work on this. And sometimes I can be an asshole myself. It helps me to be aware of that. But the larger message seemed to me to be twofold: First, humor is a fabulous way to get out of that grumpy, judgmental place – if you can see the humor in a situation you’ve stepped outside and have a bigger, clearer view. And it’s fun! The second message is that what you see outside is also what’s inside – and that refers not only to people who appear to be assholes but those who are beautiful, who are successful, kind, rich, etc. What you’re seeing outside is what is inside you too. And you can be sure there are people who are seeing their beauty, their kindness, and even, perhaps, their own assholiness reflected in you. It’s a great lesson to remember because it helps you find the truth of a situation.
“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” Hermes Trismegistus
If you’re interested in getting more from that annoying song in your head here are a few ways I use to tease out the meaning. See how they work for you. (And if you are feeling brave the “song” is below. Note, there is profanity – obviously, so please don’t listen if you’ll be offended):
- First I focus on the specific lyrics and tune that repeat in my head to see if there is an obvious message for me there. Consider how you feel when you hear it. Does it bring back a memory? Does it make you want to move your body? Is the tempo slow, zippy, danceable? What energy does it have? Does it remind you of something or someone? If so, how? I usually write in my journal about this – partly because I can access my intuition easier that way and partly because then I can remember it an hour later – (really, steel trap!) This may be all you do and it’s very helpful on its own.
- Next, if I’m still not sure, or want to know more, I like to look up the lyrics. This can be tricky if you can’t recall enough to find the song and songwriter/performer, but there are such amazing search engines for this now. Google it and you’ll probably be lucky. Reading the lyrics can often help you figure out more about the meaning for you. Today the song in my head was “We Built This City” by Starship and the meaning wasn’t completely clear for me until I read the full lyrics and got a better sense of the message of the song. Then I considered how that related to me and my life and there it was – some great information for me! I realized I can benefit from remembering what I build my own “city” on (what my foundation is). It’s really key for me to be true to that right now.
- Next, I might look for the video – this is one of my favorite parts, especially if there’s a good video of the song – my faves are old MTV videos and live performances. You really experience the energy of the song from the performance of it and that can be an eye-opener. Sometimes I think my subconscious just wants me to lighten up and sends me a song with a great, funny, or nostalgic video to help me gain perspective on life.
- With each type of exploration take a moment to check-in to how you feel, what the message might be – it can be very simple. I’ve had messages to slow down, to laugh, to pay attention to my money, etc. The message will be helpful and kind – even when suggesting that you just may need to look at how you judge other people.
- If you want to carry this further you can write the message down where you can see it, memorize it, say it out loud to yourself, or just listen to the song a few times today. Allow it to inform you as the day goes on.
In my monthly newsletters I share a song that has been in my head lately, and news and tips for a life of delight. If you aren’t on my email list you can sign up here.
Lots of Love, and Happy August!!
Everyone Else is an Asshole
My Blooming Trumpet Vine
I’ve been enjoying my Word this year more than ever before! I’ve been much more connected, and interestingly for the first time I’ve seen my Word in a more complete way – one that tests my ideas about what’s “good” and what’s “too much”.
My Word is “Flourishing”, and it’s a bigger and stronger word than I ever expected. This isn’t a word that plays small! But as I observe how the word is playing out in my life I can certainly see that I’ve played small, and also what my feelings are about too much. It has been pretty fascinating and so eye-opening. I say I want plenty, a lot, abundance! But then I get uncomfortable with “too much”, and that’s a vibe I don’t want to continue! So, I’ve been learning to welcome too much and to “prune” it when I need to, with the understanding that will bring me even more of what I need, but with some life enhancing boundaries included.
Some very real evidence of this is my trumpet vine which basically took over my entire front porch and made the front door practically unusable – that plant is flourishing, let me tell you! So, I applied some judicious pruning (boundaries) – it’s still abundant, burgeoning, and growing like mad – but now it’s also flowering for the first time since I planted it 3 years ago. More flourishing in a delightful way.
So, one idea for getting in touch with your Word this quarter is to see how it’s showing up in your world in signs and symbols. I saw that trumpet vine as a sign of flourishing and learning to accept BIG growth, but also to know how to set some boundaries so that I can still move freely. You can take pictures of the signs and symbols you find and/or write about them. I’ll be doing both for July in my Year Book.
Here are more ideas for playing with your Word:
- Mid-year is a great time to assess what you’ve done over the past 6 months and celebrate it all! Look at your accomplishments, do they reflect the influence of the Word you chose for the year? Are there any lessons here for you? How does it feel to be living your Word this way? Write about this and keep it with the rest of your Word practices for the year. It’s also a great time to look over the practices you’ve done with your Word so far this year and reflect on what you’ve discovered.
- I suggested a vision board and vision cards in the previous Word of the Year posts, but this takes that a step further. I created a vision board for June using the phrase “My greatest desires and joys help me to Flourish, these are….” And then I used my intuition to pull images and words and create a vision board. I used what I learned from that to make small cards to tell what flourishing is like for me each day (see image below), then I placed them in my Year Book where I can access that wisdom easily. This has been amazingly delicious and helps me to remember what a flourishing life is all about! I tend to get locked in on something and just push through in misery when that is absolutely not necessary. How about you? Do you forget the things that make life grand in the rush of daily life? This is a great time to reinvigorate daily fun and joy!
My Year Book page: My Greatest Desires and Joys Help me to Flourish!
- I’m going to create “oracle” cards for Flourishing. I’ll used all I’ve learned about it as I’ve played with my Word this year then paint, draw, collage, photograph etc. images to make cards that express these lessons and ideas. I’ll write a paragraph on the back about what it means to draw this card in response to a question. I’ve never done anything remotely like this and it may turn out just horrible, but I’m so excited to try! I’ll share mine, and if you do this please share yours too.
Living with one chosen word for a year is a profound way to grow, learn, and have fun with a focus that takes you in a direction you really want to go. May these ideas for getting to know your Word better be of help. Happy Mid-year! And I hope you’re having fun with your Word, and in your delightful life.
PS: Here are the other Word of the Year posts – Quarter 1, 2016 and Quarter 2, 2016
Image by Cheryl Haezebroeck at theintrepidgoddess,com
This is a quick practice to maintain peace, or to introduce it into a trying day. It’s simple, only requires a bit of attention, and you can do it over and over (in fact, I recommend using it as needed). Here we go…It’s so simple I feel a bit silly sharing it! But it does work, and the more you do it the more you realize you can have an effect on how you feel and how you take the things that come up in life.
Peace in All Things Practice:
- Breathe in slowly and completely, exhale the same way. Allow yourself to stop and look inward, at yourself.
- Drop your shoulders (I know they’re up around your ears – mine too!).
- Smile, or grin. Feel the lovely energy this washes through your body and mind. Ahhhh!
- Love where you are right now. In this very moment let yourself appreciate yourself, what’s happening, what you have, who you are with, etc. Let it all be OK, and more than OK, for this moment
- Rinse & Repeat as needed.
It can seem hard sometimes to do this in the swirl and pulse of the day, but practice makes it easier and more effective. Introducing this still time into your life has all sorts of benefits from greater mental clarity and focus to more calm and happy vibes. I especially use it when I know it’ll be a hectic day, and I know it will go much better if I take the time to check in with myself and allow love and appreciation to bubble up. You may already have a practice like this that you use – if so, just think of this as a gentle reminder to use it and care for yourself in the thick of things.
Wishing you a glorious and peaceful day! I’d love hearing your experience, and if this works for you or if you have another practice that you use to access peace.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska
I can journal with the best of ’em, but there are times when a bit of a nudge will allow me to access areas I don’t get to when I’m free writing. For this I like to use prompts or mini scripts to help me. I’ve answered each of the below prompts in numerous ways, just allowing my intuition to answer. The results are always pretty amazing! Things I didn’t consciously know I wanted to address, or things I really wanted to do but had been ignoring, or how I really feel about something – will all flow right out.
Here are a few prompts to try. Set aside a bit of time, grab a pen, your journal or a sheet of paper, and just write what comes up. All answers are correct! Write as much as you want – involve your senses and imagination. Choose just one prompt or several. One word answers are just fine, but won’t give you as much insight as longer ones. I also like to set the scene with a delicious beverage, a cozy chair, and a quiet place.
- I thrill to the sound (scent, touch, sight, taste) of ___________.
- While I was sleeping last night I learned________________.
- Home is where I______________.
- ________________ feels so fresh and delicious to me right now!
- My perfect health is supported by_________________.
- Today I really love__________________and I feel it (how, where, why)_________________________.
- My perfect path (for… you can be specific here if you want) appeared today! It looks like___________. It feels like___________. It tastes like_________. It sounds like_________. It smells like___________.
- I realize it’s time to ____________, because now I know______________, and I can express this desire in my life by ______________.
- I recall that time _________________ (something you want to have happen, written as if it has happened). I was just so scared, but I tried anyway because I ________________. And it was perfect, a dream come true for me because _________________ (the amazing thing that happened and how). And now I’m so grateful, and also proud of myself!
When you’re done you’ll likely have new information about yourself, or perhaps reinforcement for something you’ve been considering, or a new idea of something to try. I like to follow this practice up with some action. I used the last prompt recently and realized that I had been waiting to teach classes locally because I felt I wasn’t ready. But journaling inspired by that prompt helped me realize I really know and have all I need right now, and it even suggested several ways I can begin. So, I can get that ball rolling right now!
I hope you find these prompts are of help to you too.
PS Since this post I had an interview and will be teaching this Fall at the local community college! I might have waited forever if I hadn’t written about that prompt. I’m really happy I followed up too.
Pages from My Year book
Welcome to Spring, the second quarter, and more ways to integrate and connect with your Word of the Year! The end of the quarter (or change of a season) is a great time to look back and see how you expressed and lived your Word in the past 3 months. I made a list of ways I’ve flourished since January 1st. This included big steps and small, things I did for fun, scary things – anything that felt like flourishing to me! I collect these activities in a “My Year” book along with other things I do that help me envision and remember my year. Here are some other ways to play with and embody your Word:
- Do a Word photo shoot. This is a lot of fun! Especially now, with the world warming up. Walk around your home, neighborhood, town, favorite park, etc., and find images that speak to you of your Word. Or you can look on the internet, or in magazines, for these images.
- That leads me to the next idea – create a Pinterest or vision board of your Word and how its expression motivates you, or how it feels to you. This is a great visual reminder of what you want to learn and experience through your Word.
- Choose an oracle or tarot card for each month asking a question like:
- What do I need to know about (your Word) this month?
- How can I (your Word) more this month?
- Where am I now with (your Word)?
- How can I embrace (your Word) this month?
- So, for example, using my Word, a question would go…”How can I embrace Flourishing this month?” Then use your intuition to see what the chosen card has to tell you.
- You can look for quotes with your Word in them that inspire you and post them where you can see them. You could make an art project with them too – create a meme, or a painting with the quote on it.
- Write a script about what life is like when you live your Word. How does life look, smell, feel, taste, sound? What do you do more, or less, of? How do your days go? Scripting is a popular LOA practice – for more about scripting look here for Jeanette Maw’s experience.
I like interacting with my Word more than just at the beginning of the year, or when I remember that I’ve forgotten it! Activities like these are fun, and help me to connect with and express what I’m hoping my Word will bring into my life this year. I’m learning more and more about the value of ritual and practice, and how they form a bit of structure to enhance and promote my dreams and plans, I hope these ideas may be of help to you too!
Here’s a link to my first Word of the Year post.