Planning with the Placemat Process

Daisy, by Cheryl

This is one of my favorite planning tools. And by favorite, I mean that I actually use it, and it works! If you’re a bit like me when someone says – “Now just write down everything you have to do and then schedule it!” – you want to never ever do anything ever again because if it has to start that way you’d just rather not, thank you. Well, this practice might be useful for you too.

I call this the Placemat Process with God.

It’s a combination of a tool shared by Abraham Hicks, and the idea of using a God Box from Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness. It’s simple and allows you the focus and clarity to get the things you really want to do…done. And here’s how it works:

Step 1: (the set up)

Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, and sit in a fairly quiet spot. Write the date at the top of the page and then draw a vertical line to divide the page in half. Above the left column write ME, and on the top of the right column write GOD (or Source, Spirit, Universe, etc). (By the way, it’s called the Placemat Process by Esther Hicks because the first time she and Jerry did this was in a restaurant and they used their placemat to write their list out. Cool, yes?)

Step 2: (make a very small list)

Now, on the left side of your paper (under ME) write down the things you definitely need and/or want to do today. Not everything, everything, because a lot of daily “musts” you already have down pat – eating, sleeping, going to work, caring for your children, etc. But perhaps you have to write a blog post for your 30 Days of Blogging Love Challenge (you know, just for example), or you may need to pay bills, help a friend, find your tax information, make an art journal page, run a mile, etc. (And keep in mind that it doesn’t work to list a big project like “Write my novel” as one of your tasks for the day.) List no more than three of these tasks for today.

I know, only three! But trust me this is best. You can add more later if you really want to, but three is generally do-able. Even if the water pipes freeze and you have to spend a good part of the day dealing with that (ummmm, true story…), you can still get your three or less things done.  And getting things done is the point, after all, not having a gigantic, important busy-ness list. You feel good when you get things done, you have a sense of completion, and you learn that you can trust yourself to accomplish the tasks that are important to you. And, oh yeah, the rest of the stuff is being taken care of anyway.

Step 3: (make a larger list)

So, on the right side of the page (under GOD) write everything else. I know – we don’t want to write everything we need to do, Ack! But this is different because this is God’s list. Everything else you have on your mind that you need, want, should, would like to do. Write it here. Do not be logical – just write. Some days this list is quite long, especially at first. You may need more paper. Other days it’s shorter – or you might just refer to yesterday’s list. My lists change daily because I’m just getting it all out and not trying to be organized or strategic in any way. It’s a form of mental dump.

Step 4: (hand it over)

The final step is to offer this longer list to God. I ask God to handle these things for me. I say something like, “God, if these things should be done, or You want them to be done, please help me. You know I can’t do it all alone, and I don’t want to. I sincerely value Your help and guidance. Thank You very much!” Next I quickly look over the list again and imagine everything being done with ease, support, and love and I say, “This can all be accomplished with God”. Then, cut I the paper in half and place the right side in my God Box and turn it all over to Him. Whew!

Sometimes I make a copy before I put God’s list in the box so I have it to refer to. I might use it for longer term planning, or to choose something in case I have extra time after I get my list done. Later, you may want to look back at what gets done – it can be truly amazing! Many things just resolve themselves, like, I didn’t need to do them at all. Other things have attracted interesting and surprising assistance or brilliant solutions. And in case you’re wondering what a God Box is – it’s a place (a lovely box, bowl, or jar work nicely) to put your concerns, worries, and anything else you want God’s help with. You also might place affirmations, and prayers, and dreams in there. By putting your massive to-do list in the Box you’re turning the process over to Divine Order and Assistance.

I also ask for help with my smaller personal list and know that it will happen with God. And if it doesn’t (and there are occasionally days when it does not happen!) I know that it’s still all OK. What did happen was just fine. Sometimes the timing just wasn’t right, or I was pushing something that really didn’t need to be pushed. The magic of this practice is in having space to focus. It is in being clear about what to do today. It is in releasing your overwhelm and accepting Divine Assistance. It is in allowing things to happen in the best way – not necessarily in the way you think it should. This is good stuff!

Now you can begin your work with clarity and peace, and the knowledge that you’ll get some important things accomplished. And the rest is being worked on by Someone with mad skills!

Wishing you a delicious day with plenty of serendipity and assistance.

Lots of Love,

Cheryl

3 Practices for a Better Morning (or to start anything with more joy)

winter flowers, a gift from me to me

Do you leap out of bed excited about everything and rarin’ to go? If you do, bless you! I’m super happy for you (and I really mean that). I used to do that too, but then I hit puberty and that pretty much ended it. 🙂 Now, some days I leap with joy, and others with panic – but mostly I like to give myself a bit of time to adjust and allow myself to become the person I want to be today.

Below are 3 practices to start your morning – or really anything – with greater clarity and pleasure. And they make it much easier to carry that good feeling right on through the day too!

I call this Breathe, Pray, Love – yeah, I know, but it makes it easy to remember!

Breathe:

While you’re still in bed take some time to slowly come into your body, mind, and emotions. I begin with a practice called 9 Breaths, it goes like this: You are going to take 9 deep, restful breaths…

  • With the first 3 breaths, release any tension in your body.
  • With the next 3 breaths, release any emotional tension you feel. This may also be felt in your body as emotions tend to lodge there.
  • Finally, with the last 3 breaths, release any mental tension you have.

Ahhhh, already better, yes?

While we’re here you may find it helpful to check in with your body, emotions, and mind. You can just turn your curiosity to one area at a time and see what you learn. Or you can have a talk – “Hey, Body, my friend, how are you?” And listen. Then do the same with your Emotional and Mental Selves. You’ll often get very useful information here! For example, my Emotional Self reminded me that we have some grief work to do today – and I’ll be sure not to forget that because it’s important self-care.

Pray:

This step is about what you want today. So many days are about what we need to do, must do, think we really should do, what we want to do for an outcome we desire – but don’t really want to do (painting my staircase comes to mind here…). But let’s start our day with desire, motivation, and pleasure. What do you truly want today? This could be a way you want to feel, a step you really want to take, a person you want to see, art you’d like to create, or – imagine that stair painted! Whatever it is imagine it, feel it, soak it right in.

This is like a prayer. It’s a connection of your essential, spiritual self to your everyday, social self. When you ask this question and imagine it happening, you open yourself to guidance from your truest self and from Source (Spirit, God, the Universe). And as you dream, you may send these delicious feelings about fulfilling your desires as a prayer to God, to the World, to a loved, one, etc. More good feelings floating around is always a win, win, win!

Love:

So that leads us to love. Right here, right now, you can make a choice to allow your greatest self-care, and open up to your desires – you can have and do what you truly want. Love is what lets this happen. Love yourself enough to allow the time, space, energy, help – whatever you need to fulfill at least one desire today. It can be big or small (I want to take a walk and really be present in nature, I want to sleep 9 hours each night for a week and see if that helps me feel better, I want to make something with my hands, to eat more vegetables, to learn photography, etc.). And then love yourself right through the excuses, and the missteps, and possibly even the falling off of the wagon – right to the experience of your desire!

This love makes life more fulfilling, more satisfying, more fun! This love will also help you to offer love to others, see their desires, and help them. Oh yeah! It’s all connected, my friend. Aren’t we lucky?

What desire will you fulfill today?

Let me know how it goes!!  (cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com)

To better beginnings,

Cheryl        

Letting Go (A Simple Tool for End of the Year Releasing)

Fireplace by Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Today I’m preparing for a whole new year!! It’s exciting and I’m thinking about how I want this next year to be as I say goodbye to 2018. How about you? Are you thinking of all of the fun you can have next year? Isn’t it lovely to have a whole new blank slate to dream and create upon?

I always like to stop before the end of the old year and also think about what I don’t want to bring into the fresh, clean new year. A quick little tool you can use to transition from year to year is to consider what you really don’t want to drag along from the past. It helps you know what you don’t want, and also be clear about what you do want as you move ahead to 2019!

I begin with a little collage, or a drawing of flames. You can see my collage for this year below. And then I made a list of the things I want to burn off, release, let go of, not carry forward as I move into the new year. You can write this list on the flames (a paint marker works great for this), or use small scraps of paper to write each item to release on and adhere them to the flames. Now, imagine those old habits, things, thoughts, ways of being just burning away and leaving you with a whole new world! I also list these on a piece of paper or write them in my journal and then with each one I use this prompt: “When I release ________ then I can ________.” It’s a really great way to envision my life without these things.

For example, One of the things I don’t want to bring forward into a new year is envy (or compare and despair). For this I wrote, “When I release envy I can…See everyone’s beauty and celebrate it. I can be as thrilled and happy for them as I would be for myself. I also don’t limit myself (or them) because I accept that anything is possible for everyone – even me! I can see the glory that is available to all of us.” This tells me what I want and how my life can be now, without envy. Pretty delicious!! You can do this quick practice with each of your words and see what is available to you when you release the things you no longer want.

My “Burn it” Collage for 2018

I want to wish you all a really wonderful New Year!! I hope you find this little tool as helpful as I do. It’s such a great way to clear the decks and dream of a new way of being – one that fits who you are now, and helps you to create a life that you adore and that empowers your dreams!

Lots of Love,

Cheryl 

 

 

The Positive Aspects of What We Fear

On the road to who knows where…

{simple tools series}

The other morning I was involved in a practice I like to do a couple of times a week. I sit down with some coffee and make a list of positive aspects for negative (even scary) things – specifically, things I see as uncomfortable or miserable in my life. The process is simple: quickly create a list of 6 positive insights about this thing/person/situation that I complain about, fear, or dislike. (This idea is from the very useful book My Law of Attraction Project Planner by Pamela Thompson and Donna Hawkins). I was feeling annoyingly and sadly lost that day, so I decided to explore what beauty there is in feeling lost (since, ya know, I’m already familiar with the ugliness). Perhaps you can relate!

My Positive Aspects List for Being Lost:

  1. There is no need to give directions. You don’t have to be the tour guide, no need to control things – that’s exhausting! You can put the reins down. Yes!
  2. You can open up to what’s around you – in fact that’s a wonderful thing to do at any time – look around, be aware of and even enchanted by the path you’re on. Even seemingly scary paths have magic and delight along them.
  3. Enjoy spending some time just being befuddled, and you will see that it isn’t the end of the world to be unsure. Plus, isn’t “befuddled” an amazing word! Truthfully, I really like that I don’t always have to know exactly where I’m going.
  4. It’s the perfect time to look for signs – not stressfully and desperately (that is rarely helpful), but with curiosity and delight. What will show up? This is one of my favorite things to do anyway, but it’s especially lovely when you feel lost.
  5. Practice having faith. Know that when the time is right and you are ready that things will become clear again. Have faith in yourself and the Universe (God, Spirit, Source).
  6. Why not catch up on some sleep! You’re not going anywhere right now anyway. In fact, lack of sleep alone can lead to feelings of being lost and confused. Anyway, sleep and taking good care of yourself is always a good step when you feel less than satisfied with your life and yourself.
  7. It can also be a great opportunity to connect and ask for guidance or help. Talk and share with a wise friend. Or check in with your own higher Self for guidance. Here are a few ideas: Try bibliomancy – randomly choose a book, or a passage from a book, with the intention of being guided and see what it has to tell you. Meditation or prayer is a great way to deepen your understanding of what steps to take next on a foggy path, or to just learn that it’s OK to be lost for a bit. You could draw an oracle card (like Tarot, but there are many, many others) and see what message you discover for yourself in the cards. Journaling is another great way to connect with yourself and find answers.

You know, I had to laugh that my list segued into a list of things to DO when you’re feeling lost. And then it became a blog post! (And don’t think I haven’t noticed that another of my recent posts was also about feeling lost…it has a different approach though, so it’s all good! But you can tell where I’m at right now, huh?) I guess what I felt I needed was some action to take – even if that action is to choose inaction.

So, if you’re feeling lost you can look at my positive aspects list and see if anything there is helpful to you. There are some useful tools for when you’re feeling unhappy with how things are or unsure about what’s next.

You could also make your own positive aspects list – which I highly recommend! It helps to see that even when you really dislike something about your life you can look for what isn’t all that bad, and then you can choose which aspects of the situation you want to focus on now. I’ve done it with my messy basement, financial concerns, people who upset me, stressful events, and other situations that I get worked up about. It always helps me to find some balance, and to look at things differently – more happily, in fact!  And, of course, I sometimes even come up with ideas for things I can do to make life better. Which is something I am all about, you know!

I hope this simple tool is of help to you. I have more simple tools in other posts and you can find those here. Best wishes for a fabulous day and certainly contact me at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com if you want to share your journey or have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!

Love,

Cheryl

 

Helpful Things to do When You Feel Lost {or stuck, or unsure about what to do next}

my feet on the ground

Lately I’m regrouping, revising, and just plain starting over in several ways. I’m trying to get across the ground slowly, letting it support me, allowing myself to feel my way. I know that some days require lots of movement, but overall I’m trying to go slowly, be at peace, and mostly to rest and have fun while I allow clarity to come. Some days I really think this is way too hard!

I’m used to pushing, go-getting, working hard, making it happen. Or panicking, stressing & feeling paralyzed. Whew! Neither of those approaches are fun when you’re feeling lost. (Ummm, or very effective…) But they are “easy” because I’m used to them. And yet, I know that when I can let myself slow down, feel my feelings, lighten up, enjoy life, and look at the resistance, then I’m on my way to clear knowing about what to do next. Here’s what I’ve been doing to move slowly & joyfully to my next steps, and to allow the panic, fear, and resistance while not letting them stop or define me. Maybe there’s something here to help you too. I hope so!

The first thing is to not be too bossy. Bossy Girl is a fun and intuition killer, that’s for sure! Instead I check in with my desire, my heart, and I do what feels like pleasure. I let myself let go of the “rules”. I cut myself slack. I tell myself things like: “I always have plenty of time”, “I’m taking vital steps right now by relaxing and allowing my intuition to speak up”, “I’m gradually releasing all resistance and fear”, “I’ll know when the time is right”. Right now it’s time to relax and let go of the strain.

Next, I look under the bed at those monsters that keep me from moving out of my safety zone. For me the resistance is always about thoughts I’ve picked up along the way that aren’t in the least bit helpful. I used to try to change them, but often that brought up more resistance. Now, I write and write until I think I’m to the bottom of them (those beliefs of inadequacy, and idiocy, lack, and shame of failure – messy, ugly stuff). I let myself feel how crappy they feel. I accept the pain of them. And then I set them aside with love (after all, I do think they want to help me) and do something life affirming. I let them work themselves out. And usually they do! They’ll probably pop up later, but I know what to do, and each time they’re a little bit different and I know I’m getting clearer and clearer, and kinder and kinder, and that is what helps me to work with them and not be stopped.

The next part of this process is to do something life affirming. Do something that makes you feel alive, happy, and awakens the feelings of joy you expect to receive from those things you really want to do, but are feeling lost, or stuck, or unsure about. Open up to potential, and serendipity, and messages, and help. Life affirming activities will vary from person to person, and situation to situation, but here are a few things I’m doing now:

  • Listening to a LOT of Abraham-Hicks – Divine Intervention, I call it! Anything that inspires and/or calms you will do.
  • Getting back into a good self-reflective groove. For me right now this means spending time journaling, thinking, resting and thinking not at all, watching clouds go by, pulling oracle cards and seeing what they have to say to me, taking naps, making tiny art projects, listing ideas (so many ideas), and generally getting to know myself better. It’s amazing how I can lose myself in the rest of the world and other’s needs and ideas – so, time-out to focus on me.
  • Taking my sweet time….it really is sweet when I go slowly too. Why the rush anyway? I’m amazed at how fast I think I need to go. Is there plenty that needs doing? Heck yeah! Has rushing around ever meant I got it all done? No, not really.
  • Hanging out with my dear son while he’s around – delightful!!
  • Participating in August Break (a daily photography mindfulness practice) with Susannah Conway on Instagram. In fact, this post was inspired by the prompt for today’s photograph – Ground. Serendipity indeed! Such fun to engage in the photography and especially to interact with other participants. If you don’t participate in this already you may want to give it a try!

The best part for me about the process above is that now my focus is no longer on the stress and strain of “Whatever will I do next!!!”, but on the way life is gorgeous, and safe, and full of promise. Do I know yet what I’m going to do next? Nope. But each day more and more ideas come, and more and more confidence, and more and more delight, and that is how I want to live. And I have faith that the rest will come too. In fact, the last part of this process is FAITH. And when you get all worked up again remember your faith, and repeat the process as needed.

Part of making things happen is taking action, but a huge part is inspiration, and action without it is often just hard work.

Lots of love! I hope this was of help or there was an idea here that resonated. Contact me with any questions or comments, or to share your story, at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com. Or set up a time to talk (for free, of course) right here.

Cheryl

Being or Doing {or, you know, both}

collage by theintrepidgoddess.com

Magazine Collage by Cheryl

(Simple Tools for Changing Times)

I was talking with a client recently about how to “be” instead of constantly “do”. She wanted more peace and flow in her life. She wanted less stress about her huge list of things to do, she wanted to enjoy life more in the moment. I want those things too! How about you? Here are few little tools I shared with her, I hope they’ll be useful for you as well!

“Be” WHILE You “Do”

“Be” here right now, no matter what you are doing. Indulge in immersing yourself! It’s like the the Zen proverb “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” – you don’t have to wait or have special circumstances to “be”. Bring your whole self to a task. Don’t think ahead, plan, ruminate, or worry. It sounds a bit easier to say than do! But it’s such a relief & pleasure when you allow yourself to really get into what you’re doing right now. This is “being” as a form of focus or immersion in the present moment or task, and it’s pretty delicious!

Set a Morning Intention

How do you want to experience life today? With peace, or joy, or acceptance, or (your word here)? Choose how you want to “be”. Now, how does that feel to you? Do other words or feelings come up when you sense into this desired state? When you’re peaceful (or joyful, or accepting, etc.) how do you embody that in your life? Try a mantra: “I am _____ as I embody and embrace ____, ____, and _____. Repeat as needed – and especially feel the feels. Now, choose from your big to-do list based on how you want to feel, and at the same time feel how you want to feel no matter what you have to do! This is “being” through choice and intention.

Be Who You Are and Be OK with it…or Forgiveness 101

Who are you right now – in this moment? If you check in with your inner self often you are well, and that can be a surprise to the part of you wrapped up in a drama! But maybe you aren’t OK. It happens. I spent too much of the month of May frustrated and upset due to some ongoing dramas, but mostly I was distressed because I spent precious time in judgment of myself (and others – it kinda goes together!). I would have been a lot happier if I had just let it all be what it was. Being miserable, or angry, or catty, or sad, or whatever….you can let it be OK. Go there, feel the contrast, as Abraham says. Let it speak it’s full to you. Expression is a relief valve. What is your feeling telling you? A simple step for dealing with upsetting emotions and stories is to forgive yourself (first and foremost), but also that asshole, your parents, your spouse, etc. Just be who you are, let them be who they are, let it be OK. And if you’re feeling fabulous – please, let that “be” also! No guilt, or feeling you don’t deserve it – this is the time to revel!! This is “being” as an expression of acceptance and forgiveness, one of my favorite ways to “be”.

How Can You “Be” the One Who Loves & Cares for Yourself?

This is about “being” as a form of really caring for your own being – loving yourself. If you’re hurt or sad, how can you care for yourself? If you feel lost or angry, do you have ways to tend to your needs and address your deep concerns? You are responsible for this, no one else. For example, maybe you’re feeling like you aren’t valued. You can’t make someone value you, but you can see your value for yourself. If you aren’t willing to see your worth others may not be willing to try either. These may seem like harsh words to some of you, but the truth is they are words of freedom! “Be” what you need for yourself. You’ve got this!

The truth is “being” and “doing” are pretty interwoven in life. It’s delightful to take time to JUST BE, and I highly recommend it as something you set aside time for every day. But personally, I need more than that! So I came up with these ways to “be and do”. There are a variety of ways of “being”, choose your favorites! Or use the ones you find easy to tuck into even a busy day. Let me know what you think – I’m always excited to hear from you! You can write to me at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com. And I have a new FREE course to help your engage with your Word of the Year in fun and meaningful ways. I hope you sign up!

Lots of Love,

Cheryl