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Creating a Personal Writing Retreat

Posted by on Apr 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Creating a Personal Writing Retreat

 What: A personalized, no cost, at-home writing retreat for aspiring writers When: Four days leading up to the new moon: a creative, reflective time of the cycle. How: Choosing a writing project and creating an environment to accelerate it. Why: Because I desire to give myself every opportunity to successfully complete this project. Who: For me and my wild and windy brain.   A number of people have let me know they would like to do a personal writing retreat.  I’ve done exactly two now, so of course, I’m an expert and thought I’d share what I’ve learned.  Truthfully, writing this out is simply a way of capturing for myself what I’m learning since I don’t always know it as it’s happening (which is pretty much the reason I write anything). That, and convincing myself to share this seems to bully me into finishing the task.  Hopefully, in the end, everyone wins.   Here are some of my learnings from this personal writing retreat, in no particular order: 1.   Imagine the shock when I suddenly remember that I don’t have any reason not to do this. It was a total wide-eyed wake up call to realize that I have everything I need to create my own writing retreat – the space, the time, the commitment, the supportive tools, the freedom. The fact is, I have had all this for quite some time already but didn’t see it because I had become such a master at listing reasons why I couldn’t do things. This reminds me (swift kick to the butt type of reminder) how powerful those life-long patterns of thinking are and how important it is to keep checking them. I am re-committed to noticing how my excuses, like jangly keys to a baby, are a huge clue as to where to look for what I want. I wish I had allowed myself to create whatever shape and size of retreat would work for me much earlier so I could explore what squirts out when I give myself an intentional, uninterrupted space.  2.  One over-riding excuse has been that I don’t seem to write well in my home. There are always tasks and errands creating distraction, so I find retreating has transformed my home into a ‘hovel for my novel’. The part of me that longs to support the artist in me does all the pre-work – I imagine a beloved, amazing writer coming to stay at my home and I clean and prepare for her. I shift furniture creating new spaces to give her creative options. I turn off the ringers, the clangers, and beepers. I strategically place things to draw on, read from, paint on, and write on.  I set a timeframe for the retreat so the creative brain knows how to pace the race that’s set before it. And then I light a candle and invite her in. 3.   I require fuel for the journey.  Yes, good food and a variation of refreshments (clink). But also inspiration that aligns with what I’m working on. I’m always amazed at how I stumble upon exactly what I need. This time it was Mario Martinez’s work, The Mind Body Code.  I got a sniff of it through a post by the delicious author, Liz Gilbert. I followed Mario’s trail and came across Sounds True – a website that hosts oodles of amazing people. I downloaded (for free) and listened to a number of audio recordings with Martinez and also tripped across Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ latest, The Dangerous Old Woman, on the site. This super-charged fuel greatly injected my writing mind with new insight and dare I say, verve.  (Last retreat it was Goldberg’s book, Writing down the Bones alongside, Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird). There are timely guides to assist us along the way when we are searching for them. 4.  No two retreats are the same. First off, the weather was gorgeous this time, so I made sure to get out in the sun for walks on most days. And my project is at a different place this...

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The Master Cleanse, Menopause and Movements

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Master Cleanse, Menopause and Movements

Q&A: Master Cleanse, Mighty Menopause and Majestic Movements (bowel, that is)  This post is written in gratitude for all the people who put their own experiences online while on the Master Cleanse.  It was comforting and instructive to be able to read personal accounts about all the unique aspects of this particular Cleanse.  Like many others, I am not a doctor or health care practitioner and simply make my experience available for those who are curious about whether this Cleanse is right for them.  Plus, I saw almost nothing written about doing the Cleanse during the menopausal years. Even if you’re not in that season or gender, I trust you’ll find some valuable ideas in this post.  I’ve written this in a Q&A format so you can easily skip to parts that interest you.  First, the good news! Q:  What are your most amazing outcomes from successfully completing a 10 day Master Cleanse? A:   I feel like my body is mine again. I lost 10 pounds of stomach bloat, so my clothes fit properly again my skin and hair are soft and less greasy my cravings for sugar have subsided inflammation in my right finger joint and the plantar fasciitis in my left foot have completely dissipated hot flashes are less intense and much less frequent.  I have the healthiest looking poop I’ve ever seen (get used to being a little obsessive about your poop if you plan on doing this Cleanse!) I’ve learned a lot about what role food plays in my life.  I spent the time I wasn’t preparing and eating food researching the latest on food and health.  As I was coming off the Cleanse, I gathered a host of new recipes to create a comprehensive nutrition plan so I could successfully sustain these outcomes.     Q:  What made you consider doing the Master Cleanse? A:  Like many, I had always dismissed the Master Cleanse as something for the uber-healthy crowd.  It sounded like the extreme sport of cleansing to me.  And then a year ago I started dating a guy who went on the Master Cleanse a month into our relationship.  I was able to watch his experience up close and personal.  I still didn’t think I would ever put my body and mind through it because, well, for a zillion reasons, not the least of which is the, you know, not eating anything for at least 10 days!  Then I turned fifty, with Christmas a few weeks later, and it felt like my body just couldn’t process the amount of ‘celebration’ it had endured.  By the end of January my body still seemed confused and imbalanced.  Peri-menopausal symtoms had been coming in waves over the past year already but now it seemed to really be kicking in: weight gain, more frequent hot flashes, excessive bloating and missed periods.  It felt like I was drowning under the strain.  Like when a boss drops a huge project onto your desk when you’re already struggling to just get the day-to-day tasks done, my body seemed overwhelmed and ill-prepared.  It appeared that desperate times required a new approach.  Q:  What was your process leading up to starting the Cleanse?  A:  I asked my guy to forward the complete document on the Master Cleanse, written by Stanley Burroughs in 1940, and I read the thing from start to finish.  I resonated with his premise that the body is a self-healing unit and given the right conditions (a break from the job of digestion for starters), it will adapt and heal many afflictions without the need for synthetic medication.  I also went online and began to research.  I read a myriad of articles, paying close attention to the stream of personalized comments below the links.  I read the nay-sayers’ arguments against and the glowing accounts in support of this regime.  I could feel myself internally preparing to start the Cleanse but there were a few things I needed to get more clear in my head first.  It sounded all good that countless people through the decades had successful experiences on...

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My Imaginarium

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

My Imaginarium

I call it my Imaginarium. In this place I am most able to allow juicy half-thoughts to rise out of their state of primordial goo and eventually morph over to the part of my brain that will actively create with them.   I love how walking offers inspiration and how showering allows ideas to bubble up faster than the lather in my shampoo. But it is in my Imaginarium where the brightest stars streak across the galaxy of my mind. It is in the moments as I wake, where the magic happens.   Since I’ve created a lifestyle where I rarely require an alarm clock and I have no one else’s schedule to consider, I get to hang out in the Imaginarium many mornings.   While we might believe that all things happen first in mind, then in action, it is still a challenge to justify staying between the sheets when there’s work to be done. But come back to bed for a moment where it’s still warm for there is a meeting of the minds about to begin. It feels a little like the Vegas Bellagio Hotel fountain display, complete with lights and music, is about to start.   The Imaginarium is where the first inklings of consciousness squirt up, and with it, all manner of random transfer of information from the beyond to the now. I float on the current of oddly-shaped ideas and images and allow them to swirl around with no need to direct them. Like an astronaut in space without gravity, there is a buoyancy and freedom to the way things move.   Since I am not aware of time, it’s difficult to calculate but ideas keep coming until I sense a few that keep coming around. As my attention goes to them, suddenly there are more words in this space. Questions are posed with no expectation of an answer. They simply appear. Less as a solution, more as a growing magnetic force of knowledge. They are not chronological nor logical. They simply are. And most arrive dripping and slippery and playful.   My time in the Imaginarium in the past few months has bubbled-up, confirmed and embraced my plans for the fall. And since the Imaginarium is largely free from limitations and fear, it is a plan so much bigger and bolder and more beautiful than I could have ever simply ‘thought up’.   Our daytime thinker is often limited by so many beliefs. The Imaginarium is limitless and free from regular rules of engagement.   For all its recent attention, it still seems that how we access the brilliance of our minds is largely underestimated. We make plans. We worry our way through the details of how life will unfold. And all this focus on the “get ‘er done” has separated us from a very internal partnership that knows so much more than our conscious brain is able to offer to us.   Some people access this connection in meditation or a yoga practice. Others in prayer. The brain tools used in coaching have been the greatest gifts in how I’ve personally enhanced the connection.   There are no rules or absolutes. You will know it. It feels like truth right down to your toes, and then some more. It may be a soft “I already know this and now I also really know how much I know this” kind of calm peacefulness.   It is a growing YES! A rising joy. An anchor descending to the core of you. An expansive field of being where the ends of your fingers brush against the active world and silence, all at the same time. It’s a ‘hell yeah’. It’s heaven on earth. It’s where your human meets being.    ...

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A trip to YES

Posted by on Jun 9, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

A trip to YES

  What: An international adventure birthed from of my wildest dreams Where: Italy and Greece When: October and November, 2013 Who: Me and my cousin, Anne. Our grandmothers are twins.  Our desire map for this trip is identical. How: By following the YES-brick road Why: It called, I answered   Here’s how it unfolded … Marianne Williamson writes: “What would it mean to fulfill my destiny? Ask yourself that question and see what emerges. Don’t over-think it…just see what comes up for you. Then there is nothing to do so much as something to embrace … to say YES to. To know that the programming for doing and becoming that thing already lies within you, no different than the architecture for the oak tree lies within the acorn. The blueprint is already there; what you bring to the process is a continuous attitude of YES!”   I began noticing, and then actively following, my internal YES in the last few years. And what a transformative life force energy it is. Slowly even the uncertainty of the unknown feels like a delicious mystery to be revealed. The internal YES taps into one’s intuition and deepest knowing. More and more, the NOW becomes available because the present is not so busy over-thinking. It’s safe to say that it’s pretty much the complete opposite of the life strategy I employed for most of my life!   My latest huge YES came a’callin a few months ago in the form of a trip. It started as a cool idea during a conversation with my cousin, Anne. Although the door had closed on the plan for both of us a year earlier, now it was cracked open again. Every day it called to me. After a week of increasing volume and a consistent tugging at my core, I sent an email to Anne. I told her how strong the YES had grown. Her response came back in capital letters that read, ME TOO! The morning we were to begin discussing actual trip details, I woke slowly allowing my sleep world to download to my conscious mind. I became aware that I would be getting home from this trip just before my 49th birthday.  Where do you want to be on your 49th birthday, I asked myself? Alone in a foreign country, was the clear response.   As I allowed that answer to gain momentum, I asked myself what it was about turning 49 that elicited such a specific and immediate response. The first interesting observation was that 7X7=49, which made this year unique. Every 7 years is historically a Sabbatical year, a time for reflection and rest (and in some careers, it’s an opportunity to take a year away from teaching or pastoral work in order to renew ). And apparently every 7 years each cell in the body that regenerates will have done so at least once resulting in a brand new person, on a cellular level. So the 7th cycle of this seven year transformative regeneration becomes a super-sized time of renewal. Well, that sounded like reason enough to create some time away. But there’s more, something inside prodded. Then I remembered. The day after I turn 49 is the first day of my 50th year. The 50th year is The Year of Jubilee, an ancient Hebrew custom I learned about way back in my theological training. Among other things, every fifty years slaves would be allowed to return home to their families, released from service. Additionally, all land would be returned to its original owners. It was a way of ensuring the community would be called back to a state of renewed grace and economic balance.   What might a Year of Jubilee look like in my own life, I surprised myself by asking?   On a personal level, what would it mean to release my internal indentured servants … the parts of me that have been slaving away all these years in an effort to protect me from fears, clinging to beliefs that no long serve me. And what could it mean to return property back to its original owners, I wondered? The answer...

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I am a sexual goddess

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I am a sexual goddess

 I am a sexual goddess! And guess what, SO ARE YOU!  Oh yes, sweet, ravishing body-spirit, YOU are divine and truly sublime! Oh please don’t cringe at the title.  Save your energy for things that are much more important and life-giving.  Like how you will show up even more brightly in the world as the burgeoning creature of spectacular love-light you already are. This proclamation has little to do with HAVING sex; the ACT of coitus.  This is about the energy that announces, I am ALIVE and HERE … RIGHT NOW!  It says, I am capable of outrageous adventure AND the most tender of exchanges.  It whispers, I bathe in the mysteries of this moment and slipstream on the currents of time.  Joy will rise.  All are welcome.  It is a sad state of affairs that our sexuality is limited and tied so tightly (oh, loose those ties that bind our sheets) to whether we are ‘doing the deed’ with our spouse, our boss, a lover or a random who fills the spot for a time. In truth, it’s always been about HOW we show up in ALL of our life.  WHO we are on our side of the bed.  Where we are headed and how we intend to get there.  It’s about WHO WE ARE in this breath and the scary, luscious, fragrant next inhale.  That is all.  That is everything. For the greatest display of sexuality is truly how we feel about being in our body and expressing our exposed soul … especially when there’s no one else in the room. Not sure what that means?  Oh, but yes you do, sweet, vulnerable lover of life.  It’s when you dodge your own powerful eyes in the mirror, ensuring the makeup [or stubble] is attended to but resist a lingering glance into your depths.  It’s the moment when you adjust your breasts [or your manhood] but forget to wait just a moment longer to feel how fiercely you desire to engage your heart’s truest longing. Our sexuality knows about things that the rest of us doesn’t always receive in that memo.  It outlines the key points in our swagger and it paces how we move through the world. It is the split-second sweet spot in our smile, the engaging flash in our gaze. It has full access to the blueprints of our spiritual unfolding and physical remolding.  It lays out the blanket for our very best offerings to the world.  It allows us to BE complete, and completely vulnerable, in our naked selfhood. Think bigger, Expansive One. Think  w i d e r.  Feel to the outer edges of who you are becoming and you will be a soulful drink for the thirsty one beside you by simply being present.  You will be salve for those who seek healing through the ways you engage your creative spirit.  And beautifully and mysteriously – your gifts of love will come back to you ten-fold and breathtakingly retold in the stories of those you meet. And if fairy tales hold ancient, reviving truth, you may also connect the magic of YOU with the most enduring and alluring that the universe introduces to you.  In which case, open your arms in connection to your soul’s song, your meant-to-be, your fate-mate, your can’t-quite-shake. Open generously to the soul in human-form who walks alongside and helps you make more sense of life than any other. But regardless of relationship status at any given time in this life, always remember that you, oh skin-draped-soul, are a unique radiant energy living in a DNA’ed frame who walks singularly and profoundly in this world.  Your mate is not your sexuality.  You are a love-light who radiates from your innermost, your sexuality is your stunning stained glass mantel. Do not miss the train and do not train so long that you miss your shining life. Plant your heart in the deep truth of you and spread the love that blooms from there.  For you alone are commissioned to do just that with your life.  Right.  N o w.  Oooohhh yes!                  ...

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Rope Swing Decisions

Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Rope Swing Decisions

I squinted trying to make out which of our kids was the next to jump.   I could hear each unique battle cry from my vantage point on the dock of the rustic cabin where we were staying with family friends.     Initially I was simply impressed at their naïve courage as they pushed off the edge of the cliff and sailed through the air on the home-made rope swing only to plunge with precision into the startling cold water again and again.      I decided to paddle out to the little island in the middle of the lake and watch from close up.  I wondered how they could be entertained by this for so many hours.    While their fearlessness made it look easy, from my adult perspective, I slowly assessed just how dangerous this truly was.  Simply climbing to where the rope was attached was a feat of bravery.  But the bigger challenge was the fact that once you pushed off, there was no turning back.  If you let go too soon, the water wasn’t deep enough and the large jagged rocks just below the surface would surely do lasting damage.  If you let go too late, you landed in the same fate.  If you decided not to let go, there was nothing anyone could do.  You would be hovering impossibly near the shoreline with no easy escape.     From somewhere, a small inner voice ushered me to check things out from where they each lined up for their turn, while a much louder voice screamed, ‘are you crazy!’ I scrambled my way up to the jump off zone, despite myself. There I watched a few of the more experienced teens fling themselves off the edge with complete faith in the rope.  The swing broke on us one time but it’s fixed now, they assured me with no apparent irony in their voices.   As each kid took their turn, I found a dozen reasons why I didn’t need to take this risk myself.  Watching it from this vantage point was exciting enough, I rationalized, eventually paddling my way back to happy hour at the cabin with the other adults.   But the next day, the same desire to go to the rope swing called me.  This time I swam the distance to the island and received detailed instructions from those who stood in line for their turn.  Just whatever you do, they cautioned, don’t let the bottom of the rope get caught around any part of your body.  I hadn’t even considered that.  Another reason not to do this, I protested to myself.  And still a larger part of me knew I was going to.  I’m not sure I even knew why I was going through with it, all I knew was that I needed to GO.  Right now.   I took some deep breaths to calm the rapid clanging inside my chest, re-gripped the rope in the spots I was directed … and I jumped.    I was told later the kids were yelling at me to let go at the right time, but I didn’t hear anything except the wind in my ears.  I let the rope do the work as I swung out and just as it reached its full extent and I felt weightless, everything natural and terrified and logical in me, knew it was time to release.    It wasn’t a pretty landing.  I could tell by how much adjustment my bathing suit needed.   But as shocking as the water felt as I hit, a predominant feeling of exhilerating pride surged through me and I felt buoyant in the water.  The adults told me later they heard my scream of terror and delight from inside the cabin.   My one and only  rope swing adventure happened about a decade ago and I haven’t thought of it for some time until a few days ago.  It occurred to me that many decisions we make in life are ‘rope swing’ decisions.  There’s the initial decision to ‘go’, and then there’s the crucial secondary decision to ‘let go’.       The commitment to take action followed by trust in the timing to allow the rest to fall into place.   ...

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