Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wisdom from Mark Dodich

"It is time to stop worrying about making a wrong decision, because there is no wrong decision – only choices. Make a choice from a place of wisdom, and then act upon it without judging or second-guessing your decision. All of life is just an experience to take back to creation when you leave planet Earth." --Mark Dodich in  New Connextion magazine Jan/Feb 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WRITE YOUR YEAR - SESSION 3 - BEING PRESENT TO YOUR LIFE

In session three, we worked on bringing more presence into our lives.

We began with a forty five-minute full body meditation. Taking a few deep breaths and then bringing awareness to each part of our body, starting with our toes. Feeling into each part of our bodies, feeling its structures, its movements, its energy.

After the meditation we began to explore the concept of small stones. This exercise was created by Fiona Robyn a writer in England whose website is called Writing Our Way Home.  A small stone is "a very short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment." Writing small stones can help us be more present to our lives and to our writing.

We read some examples of small stones from Writing Our Way Home, then we went out and wrote small stones of our own for 15-20 minutes before coming back together to share our experiences and our small stones.

HOMEWORK:
  • Write at least one small stone every day. It can be short or long, perfect or half-assed. Just write one!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton

"Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a person can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of set rules and set tasks.” --G.K. Chesterton from Rob Brezsny's column Free Will Astrology

For my fellow moms out there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WRITE YOUR YEAR - SESSION 2 - RELEASING YOUR STORY

In this session, we started off with the idea that we all have a "story" about who we are. This is not necessarily a bad thing - it is part of being human - but sometimes our "story" no longer fits and we need to let go of it in order to write a new one.

So ask yourself this question: WHAT IS MY "STORY?" and WHAT PART OF IT AM I READY TO LET IT GO THIS YEAR? (Some examples might be, "I am the 'good girl,'" or "I am the 'black sheep of the family.'")

As a way to let go of the part of the story that no longer fits, we did an exercise from the book, Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping called The Three Letters Process. In this exercise you write three letters (that you DO NOT send) to someone who you feel has wronged you or in some way treated you badly. Choose someone who has been significant in your life and whom you feel forgiving might help to release you from your old story.

Afterwards we all came back together to share.

HOMEWORK:
  • Do some kind of a "release" ritual by burning the letters you wrote or shredding them. (Alternatively, you may want to put them some place safe where you can come back to them in a few months or years to see how things have shifted and changed for you.)
  • Notice any changes in your relationship with the person you wrote the letters to. Does it feel like things have shifted? How? Do you feel differently about this person? Are the feelings stronger or less strong now? Journal about these feelings if you would like.  

Curiosier and Curiosier

"Everything is material for the seed of happiness, if you look into it with inquisitiveness and curiosity. The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame -- or one that is conducive to loving-kindness."--Pema Chodron 

I love Pema Chodron, and I think she gives some of the best guidance out there for living life in the moment, but sometimes I find it kind of hard to put into actual practice. At times I find myself wondering if your average seeker (i.e. me) can ever really get it or if you pretty much have to be a Buddhist nun. 

Today I got confirmation that eventually these things do sink in and make a difference in ones everyday life.

Seven months ago we began a bathroom remodel that was going to take a couple of months. 

We decided not to use a general contractor because we wanted to use our favorite plumber, our favorite electrician, our favorite flooring guy, etc. The upside of this decision is we get to work with people we trust and whose work we admire. The downside of this decision is that seven months later we still have to go downstairs to pee.

Today was supposed to be the day we had waited for. The toilet, sink and shower were to be set and installed. 

The plumber arrived and got to work. He got the toilet in, the water turned back on and then he looked in the bowl. 

And there, right where everything lands, was a crack. An imperfection in the porcelain just where you don't want an imperfection to be. Crap!

We peered into the bowl together, trying to convince ourselves that this was something we could live with, but his expression and my gut said otherwise. 

So he pulled the toilet, cleaned off the wax ring and got it ready to go back, while I called the store we had purchased it from. 

The woman who answered the phone did not instill confidence. Her voice was more "get lost" than "how may I help you?" and I braced myself for a fight. I would return this toilet or get my money back come hell or high water. I was not going to live with this defective bowl.

Then came my Pema moment; time stopped and Wisdom stepped in.

Today Wisdom spoke through this Pema quote: "What if, instead of getting all uppity and demanding, you just wait and see what happens? What if you were curious instead of bolshy?"

So I was. And the woman surprised me. After asking if I had my receipt she confirmed that they had my toilet in stock and told me to come on in and grab a new one.

Even more surprising? When I got to the store she was the one to help me, and she not only gave me an exchange without any hassle, she took me right through the back of the store and had the guys in the back help me load it up right away.

If I had met her with the defensiveness I felt when she answered the phone I am quite certain things would have turned out differently, but because I brought curiosity and not blame, what I got in return was courtesy and great customer service.

Thanks Pema!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WRITE YOUR YEAR - SESSION 1 - Advice to Myself

Thanks to all of you who joined me for Session 1 of WRITE YOUR YEAR last night. While cold winds blew and snow threatened to fall, a diverse and committed group of writers came together in a cozy little nook at East West Bookshop to focus their intentions and write their year.

Here's what we did:
  1. After introductions, I read the poem, "New Year's Day," for a bit of inspiration. 
  2. Then we got down to the business of writing. The first exercise: to write a letter to an advice columnist about the biggest challenge or problem you are facing this year.  Taking this column from Carolyn Hax as an example, we wrote for twenty minutes. 
  3. After a short break we came back together and shared our experience; then spent a few minutes in head-clearing meditation before tackling part two of the exercise.
  4. Next it was time to turn the tables on our ego and write some "advice to myself." Striving to be as objective, kind and compassionate as possible - while keeping in mind these words of Jane Austen, "We all have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be," - we became our own advice columnists.
  5. After a time of sharing we closed our circle for the night.  
HOMEWORK for this week:
  • Take Your Own Advice
We will meet again next Wednesday, same time, same place. The topic will be "Releasing Your Story." Have a great week all!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WRITE YOUR YEAR - TONIGHT!

"I cannot think of a better portent than this day for you...
A clean slate
A fresh canvas
A pristine and absolutely cloudless dawn
Nothing to intervene between you and those potent rays
Of the dawn of a new day.
It bodes well...

May you travel smoothly across these waters
through the unerring Guidance from on High,
and may all that was best in the year gone by
be preserved and all the rest be eclipsed
by the best that is to come!"

-JM

My dear friend Jonathan shared these beautiful words with me in his New Year's Day email. I cannot think of a better way to start the year.

If you are ready to start the year right and to make this your best year yet, join me tonight at East West Bookshop in Seattle and WRITE YOUR YEAR!

Based on my manifestation writing class WRITE YOUR LIFE, this class is designed to help you create the life you desire, using writing as a tool for manifestation and change.

You do not need to be a “writer” to benefit from this class, but you do need a willingness to look openly and honestly at your life, to forgive and let go, to put words into action and to take the next step with courage.

Over the next four weeks we will meet together to honor ourselves where we are, to forgive and let go of the past and to move forward with confidence and love into 2013.  If you are ready to manifest the life of your dreams this year, register here or just show up tonight. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wisdom from Osho

"This is the Zen approach: nothing is there to be done. There is nothing to do. One has just to be. Have a rest and be ordinary and be natural." --Osho

WRITE YOUR YEAR IN ONE WEEK!

Are you ready to make 2013 your best year yet? Join me next week (and the following three Wednesdays) at East West Bookshop in Seattle and WRITE YOUR YEAR!

Based on my manifestation writing class WRITE YOUR LIFE, this class is designed to help you create the life you desire this year, using writing as a tool for manifestation and change.

You do not need to be a “writer” to benefit from this class, but you do need a willingness to look openly and honestly at your life, to forgive and let go, and to put words into action and to take the next step with courage.

If you are ready, go here to register. Hope to see you there!