I attended the Co-Active Summit in Florida a few weeks back. I resonated deeply with the opening riff by CTI founders Karen and Henry Kimsey-House. For those of you who have been wondering what my job is….
My job is to believe in the capacity of the Human Spirit.
My job is to stand for Life-affirming principles.
My job is to evoke transformation
My job is to illumine the truth that work is sacred.
My job is to make sure dialogue is embraced.
My job is to be co-active.
My job is to create a world that works for everyone.
I recently led an individual retreat in Cannon Beach, Oregon for one of my private coaching clients. When I arrived at the beach and gazed out at the setting sun over the Pacific Ocean, I felt like I had arrived HOME. I savored the fresh energy of inspiration… it didn’t stop! All through the retreat, creativity flowed with ease. I was so clear about priorities and the flow of each moment. So easily present. Together, we saw beyond the small cage of the seemingly endless day to day priorities out beyond the horizon of possibility. We felt pure potential and easy greatness.
My client chose this place for her retreat and it suited her (and I) perfectly. She retreats here every year to revitalize her leadership, regain her perspective and create plans that enhance her power.
I’m not saying that Cannon Beach, Oregon will have this impact on everyone. In fact, I was sharing this with a friend and she said, “How interesting, I can’t stand Cannon Beach…the waves are way too small. I much prefer…” This got me thinking about how important it is for each of us to discern, very specifically, “our place.” What is the Beautiful Natural Place that calls to you? What is the place that heals your soul and expands your sense of possibility?
Retreat there. Prepare to be awed by your potential.
I got sick with a bad virus last week. Perhaps, you know the drill? Up all night coughing, having to cancel and reschedule EVERY appointment for 2 days.
As I lay on the couch, I realize that I have fallen into an old, old pattern of pushing through physical boundaries in order to serve, running on adrenaline. I have tumbled again into the false belief that I am “the doer”, the one who is making all this happen. The Truth is, I am simply allowing Divine creative energy to flow through me and it is this energy that inspires all my plans, words and actions, fulfilling my destiny step by step. How can I sustain more of this flow without hitting the wall?
What an astonishing teaching! To stop running into it, simply tear it down!!! Per Marianne, and I paraphrase here, “the brick wall is the suffering and pain that we build brick by brick out of our limiting beliefs to protect ourselves and separate ourselves from others out of fear.” I will never hit the wall, when there is no wall AND when there is no wall, there is only love, enthusiasm and absolute freedom. PERFECT.
The message has been delivered, what remains of the wall has been illumined, demolition has resumed and of course, I am feeling healthy and vibrant again.
It is Fall, the changing of the leaves; time to set down our hoe, celebrate the harvest and let go of what is no longer needed as we turn towards winter.
Last week I came across a children’s book called “First Snow in the Woods.” It’s about a fawn in fall, approaching her first winter. She can sense that a change is coming and she’s not sure she’s prepared. All the other animals give her advice. The squirrel says, “Gather your Acorns!!! “ The groundhog says, “HIBERNATE!!!” It goes on and on, the advice not at all appealing or appropriate to our fawn. Meanwhile she is looking worried . She is losing all of her spots and growing a heavy coat that is, well, quite hot.
In the end, with the help of a few key words of wisdom from a wise teacher, our heroine fawn realizes she has all she needs to enter her next season AND she notices that she has naturally prepared for this change in her own instinctual way. The way of the fawn, which is different from every other species.
This fall, may you feel a deeper trust and knowing of your way, your path and your destination. We are all being called to step forward with clear conviction into our purpose and legacy. This stepping forward involves turning points. While you may or may not be aware of what needs to change. We are all in the process of turning toward what’s next.
There is a thread you follow. It goes among things that change, but it doesn’t change. Willliam Stafford
What is something in you that you have that no one can take away? It might be a strength, a virtue or a quality that is the essence of who you are when you are at your best. What’s that brilliant piece of you that you can always count on no matter what? For me, it’s courage, focus and quirky joy, all at the same time. What’s yours?
When we find ourselves exuding these qualities, it’s like we are standing on our ROCK. Our ROCK is the place where we can rest assured we are making choices based on true wisdom vs. the saboteur advice of our limiting beliefs.
The key to success is standing on our ROCK guided by the voice of our Heart, (our wisest Self) vs. the chatter of the mind and it’s “loyal soldier” thought patterns that are so adept at trying to protect us from some old threat that no longer exists.
Are you experiencing the power of your greatness, standing on your unique ROCK? This week, simply notice when you are and when you not. When you find yourself swept off, keep steering yourself back to your ROCK, again and again.
I turn to the words of poets again and again for inspiration and strength. The great ones have left a trail of breadcrumbs that we can decode. David Whyte is one of my all time favorites. In the poem below he speaks to deciphering “What’s next”?
Start Close In
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
the step you don’t want to take.
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own way of starting the conversation.
Start with your own question,
give up on other people’s questions,
don’t let them smother something simple.
To find another’s voice,
follow your own voice,
wait until that voice
becomes a private ear listening to another.
Start right now take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow someone else’s heroics,
be humble and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake that other for your own.
I’m practicing the art of surrender. Right before the United States Independence Day holiday, I realized that I had once again slipped into things being hard, endless trying, stress, overwhelm and a generally lousy place of disappointment. I’ve been grieving losses and unmet expectations. Face down in the mud of my life, I pleaded, if I surrender may I please have things be easier? A voice replied. “What do you give up when you say you surrender?” Well it’s a long list the surrender list.
I surrender my suffering, pain, fear, my trying to achieve a particular outcome and my expectations. I was reading that true surrender is not done from a place of HAVING to surrender. Surrender is something we choose because we WANT to surrender. I’ve been leading personal retreats this month and reading When Fear Falls Away-the story of a sudden awakening by Jan Fraizer It strikes me that how she became fearless is she did indeed surrender to the natural flow of the river of her inner Divine Power. And here’s the thing…rather abruptly joy and bliss took hold of her and never again let go.
Here is a poem that articulates this process so beautifully. The author is a radiant, beautiful, courageous inspiring female executive, who is, as I am…and all my clients are, up to great things in our world. Her vision is huge, her leadership is potent and yes, she has gotten good at losing. I’ll let her say it herself:
Practicing Losing-For Advanced Beginners
I practice losing now. Losing my expectations held on so tightly Losing my expectations of myself, my future, my perfectly stacked ice cream cone. All floating up like pieces of burnt paper from a fire, or the way snowflakes disappear when they hit a warm surface.
I practice losing now, losing an identity I thought I was supposed to have. Losing a mask I was supposed to wear. Losing a practicality that once served in some way and only now seems awkward and uncomfortable.
I’m practicing losing now and seeing, discovering what’s still there.