Writing: A Blog Tour, Part Two

Set sail and discover more sparkling waters…

sailboat sparkling water

I’m so excited to introduce you to these uniquely talented people and writers today!

Many thanks to Tina Meilleur for extending the offer that allowed me to be a part of this writers’ blog tour.

I’ll begin by sharing a bit about each of these wonderful people, and then will provide links for where you can go to check out their work.  Hooray; here we go!

 

Lisa Meece

Lisa has been a yoga teacher for 12 years, and a learning designer for closer to 20, in various incarnations. The longer she lives, the more she realized that the most important answers we need to understand are already inside of us, and are unique to each individual. This understanding led her to shift her professional practice more towards coaching. This will give her a chance to work with people to uncover their own answers and put their own path into place in the world.

Lisa’s blog, which has run intermittently for years, is largely reflections on life as understood through her own journey and the slightly different (some say crazy) way she looks at the world. The name, Shattering Samskaras, speaks to breaking down the mental ruts that get worn in our brain by habitual thought processes. These ruts are called Samskaras in Sanskrit, the root language of yoga. Lisa’s experience is that the ruts we grew up with are not necessarily the thought patterns that will serve us well in this changing world – so why not take a crack at reconfiguring them to serve us better.

Visit her site and read her writing here!

 

Sora Garrett

Sora Garrett is a visionary creator who’s inspired a number of innovative social change programs through her life. Her current project is an online membership philanthropy. The SHINE Connection celebrates everyday hero-beacons while guiding members to connect with their deepest joy and step into heart-inspired service.

When she’s not sharing her positive, inspirational, love-infused messages with others through writing & connecting, Sora is happily flowing around her home and yard.  While she believes ‘Home’ lives in our hearts & travels with us, she also loves creating her living spaces as an inviting sanctuary.

“Family is an expanding circle of friends, with her loyal husband of 36 years, her two highly-creative adult children and her most amazing grandson at the center of the sphere.  She is grateful for it all!

Visit her site and read her writing here!

 

Thankful Thursday: An Irish Folksong

Walking up the stairs from taking Dino out for his evening bathroom break, music flowed out of my neighbors open window.  I was surprised to hear the tune of “The Parting Glass.”  I didn’t know other people my age even knew that song!

“But since it fell unto my lot, that I should rise, and you should not…I’ll gently rise, and softly call, goodnight and joy be to you all.”  My eyes well up with tears and  I sing the song quietly to myself as I enter my apartment.

Images begin to flow through my mind and I suddenly feel like I’m in three different places at once.

I’m cozy in the living room watching the end of the movie Waking Ned Devine with my family on the big red couch.

I’m wearing a black dress, sitting in a church pew at my dad’s memorial service, watching pictures of my beautiful family flash across the screen in a special slideshow.

I’m sitting in front of my computer listening to the song over and over, allowing it to help me grieve.

So today I’m thankful for this song and I’m thankful for music.  For the way it transports us, and the way it touches our souls, helping us express what we cannot articulate with words.

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And just in case you’re curious and now want to listen to the song on YouTube…

The Parting Glass

Writing: A Blog Tour, Part One

I just jumped aboard a blog tour train!  So that means, this week I’m sharing some personal reflections about writing and next week, I will introduce you to three other lovely people with blogs!  Here are my answers to the blog tour questions – journal style.

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I’m currently working on developing a friendly relationship with my inner critic; the kind where I can consider whether or not it has something valuable to say and can also firmly but kindly tell it when to take a hike!  For me right now, it’s all about embracing and working with the natural flow of the creative process.  And as I do this, various ideas for projects: books, articles, blog posts, e-courses, retreats, workshops, etc. keep appearing in my mind like a rabbit out of a magician’s hat.  There are far more than I can keep up with actually completing in my present health situation but I welcome them all with delight and write them down, grateful to be generating a collection that I know will be there when I’m ready.

My writing is all about fully experiencing life first and taking the time to describe and articulate the meaning of my experiences second.  I love taking a closer look at the seemingly ordinary aspects of life, the small or simple things, because I’ve found that that’s where the truly extraordinary nature of life can be discovered.  It helps me stay on the look out for the good stuff in life so it’s kind of like a treasure hunt – except that it’s often one where the treasure is hidden in plain sight.

I love to write.  And I write what I write because it creates a safe space for me to process my life experiences, to make meaning, to find healing, to experience growth, and to share in the journey of life and love with everyone around me.

I write anytime during the day when the mood strikes but here is a short description of my morning routine.  I start my day with a short breathing meditation that helps me feel relaxed and grounded.  Then I sit quietly in my comfy navy chair, often with my dog on my lap, while I sip some coffee.  I let ideas for what to write about that day surface gently for awhile and usually about halfway through my cup of coffee, I’m up, over at the computer typing away. I let the ideas flow through me, joyfully crafting each sentence.  And once it stops feeling flowy and fun, when the forced feeling starts to set in or when I feel to exhausted to continue, I stop.  And as Panache Desai recommends with his analogy of writing as water that flows through the writer, I am thankful for whatever message flowed through me onto the page that day.  Whether it be a few drops, a bucketful, or enough to fill a swimming pool, I give thanks for the writing itself, and for the experience of creating it.

 

Thankful Thursday: Messages from People I Love

Today I received a card in the mail.

I knew it would be special the second I saw the edge of this stamp poking out from the middle of a small stack of mail that was piled in my mailbox.

nemo stamp

You see, this stamp has become kind of a signature.  It’s the stamp of my cousin’s love, meant to remind me of the fun she, my brother, and I had when we went to go see the movie Finding Nemo in theaters.

Inside the envelope I found a beautiful card.

Inside the beautiful card I found hand written messages from each of my family members that live in Mexico, Missouri.

And inside the hand written messages I found a sense of hope, of faith, and of love.

I’m thankful for the people I love, who wrote the messages, that were brought in the card, that was sealed in the envelope, with the Nemo stamp that made its journey possible.

What is the kindest thing?

I start to feel the pressure in my forehead mount, as the pain in my neck expands, and the surge of dizziness becomes stronger.  I’ve been on a roll washing some dishes in the kitchen sink but now my body calls out to me with a quiet intensity, asking me to allow it some rest.

Slowly but surely I’m learning how to listen to my body and respect what it needs, which can be quite frustrating when your mind wants it to do something else.

In a recent phone conversation with a life coach instructor, I explained how I quite literally take everything one bit at a time each day, focusing on how I can best take care of myself in everything I do.  She suggested that I ask myself a specific question periodically to help frame this focus.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve used the following question to guide my actions each day.

“What is the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?”

strawberries in hands

 

 

 

 

 

For me, it is often as simple as taking care of myself by drinking a class of water, eating a healthy snack, or taking a nap.  When I’m feeling up to it, it means taking time to do something I enjoy, like sitting down to do a little writing that could turn into a blog post.  And sometimes it requires taking actions that are in my best interest, like making a phone call I’ve been dreading because I care about the results I know it will bring.  But no matter what the specifics, the act of consciously considering and kindly responding to whatever my body, mind, or soul needs in any given moment makes everything I do feel more joyful.

The act of asking and answering this question with a genuine desire to know and a willingness to respond with love turns the idea of self-compassion into a practice.  It takes us from the space of thinking to a place of action, where we can welcome this kindess and care to become a part of our daily lives.

At some point during the day today, try asking yourself, “What is the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?”  Maybe it will help you decide what to eat for dinner, allow you to realize what evening activity will be most fulfilling for your soul, or provide the space to uncover some painful thoughts you want to talk through with a friend.  Whatever it is, may asking with an open heart and responding with kindness help you treat yourself with the loving compassion that you deserve.

 

Thankful Thursday: Water Droplets

 

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It rained last week; poured, in fact.  Water droplets in unknowable quantities plummeted from the sky, cascading down toward the earth.

As a non-native Portlander, my reaction surprised me.  Instead of resisting or resenting the fact that it was raining, I welcomed it.

Rain.

Water.

Giver of life.

I found myself appreciating the scent that filled the air and the gentle sound of the droplets hitting the ground.

Gratitude welled up inside of me, thankful for the wave of calm that it seemed to bring me.

And with that, I add this memory to the handful of times that I’ve felt at peace with the rain, the collection of moments where the water droplets seem to capture and perfectly express the way I feel inside.

DadClass 2: What you tell yourself matters. Big time.

He whacks the tennis ball with dad-style force, and it flies over the net, heading my direction at top speed.  Once again, it arrives before I can get my feet planted, with my racquet set to return the hit.  My high school kid eyes widen with disbelief, “How could I have missed it again?  Ah, it was going WAY too fast!”  Just then, he motions to me, pointing from one ear to the other, and says, “It’s between the ears, kiddo.”  This was his shorthand reminder for me to believe in myself, that knowing I can do it is a key ingredient in making things happen.  And it was my introduction to a far reaching life lesson.

Fast forward about 5 years and you’d find my dad in the middle of the ultimate battle of his life – the battle FOR his life.  I remember the day he showed me the mask, plastic with tiny mesh-like holes.  Form fitting, it had been molded to fit around the contours of his face and around his entire head.  It held specific markings that indicated where to focus the radiation during treatments.  I was in awe and confused when he told me that while receiving each treatment, he’d tell himself that he wanted the experience – that he was choosing it because it was the path to shrinking the tumor, or to at least slowing its growth.

Fast forward another five years and you’ll find me where I am today – in a health situation of my own. Even though he’s not here to give me advice, I have his example to refer to for guidance and I have needed to put this lesson into action sooner than I ever would have thought.  So instead of saying, “I can’t eat that because it has too much sodium,” I tell myself “I choose not to eat it because I want to avoid the exaggeration of my symptoms that sodium causes.”  And I don’t “have” to do the vestibular rehabilitation exercises that make me feel worse but I “choose” to do them because I want to get better.

Changing our language from “I have to” to “I choose to” and from “I can’t” to “I choose not to” restores our sense of personal agency and puts us back in the role of protagonist within our story.  We have choices.  We make hundreds of them each and every day.  So we are not merely observers in the background without any say.

When have you noticed yourself with an “I have to,” “I can’t,” or “I shouldn’t” thought that makes you feel small?  How can you flip the language around in way that is empowering?  Maybe “I have to go to the grocery store,” becomes “I will go to the grocery store because I want to have healthy food choices at home.”  Or perhaps “I have to take out the trash” really means “I want to take out the trash because I like living in a house that doesn’t stink!” Consider the reason behind your choice to create a statement that you believe to be true – lying to yourself doesn’t do any good – and see how it feels.

 

Gandhi on happiness

My mom shared this quotation with me one summer afternoon last year and I’ve loved it ever since!

It reminds me to be myself.  And it inspires me to marvel at the power of authenticity.  When we are true to ourselves and share our unique gifts with the world, I believe that incredible things are destined to follow.

Today, may you embrace the true you in everything you do.  Oh, how I love to rhyme! ;)  But seriously, thanks for being you and for sharing your awesomeness with the world.

Thankful Thursday: This Little Dog

As I finish making my coffee (half-caff), I head over to sit in the navy chair that feels like home when I notice this little guy soaking up some sunshine out on the balcony.

I’m thankful for the way this makes me smile.

And I’m thankful for the way he convinces me to forgo my usual spot to sit next to him and get some fresh air.

Today I am thankful for this little dog, my one and only Dino.