Dare to Blossom Blog
March 2016: Coming Home
Reflections: Coming Home
Sitting in the garden on a rare (for this winter) sunny day, wondering what the theme will be for my reflections this month. Smiling at myself - wrapped up in layers of warm clothes - and a sun hat. There is a chill wind blowing in the trees around me. It feels like a March wind even though it is still February as I write. Crows cawing; small birds singing; two young cats (no longer really kittens) playing rough and tumble nearby.
I can also hear hammering from work on the conversion of old farm buildings, saving them from decline and ruin and giving them a useful purpose once more. Observing, observing not only the sights and sounds around me - ooh, the flutter of a sparrow's wings almost ruffles my hair as it shoots past low over my head. Observing also my chain of thoughts - that take me next to remembering that despite the conversion of the buildings, we have seen barn owls again recently. And what a glorious full moon has been shining the last few nights.
Not random thoughts, even if the chain that links them seems tenuous or even disconnected. They are, in reality, very much connected. Linked to this place, this physical place, my home for almost forty years now. And connected with my internal home, myself. This past year, in fact the past several years - have been a process of coming home to myself.
Only very recently, as I continue to focus on refreshing and renewing my coaching work under Dare to Blossom, has this seemed to open out into new potential. Into the rediscovery, not only of myself, but of my power within, my sovereignty (to use one of my words for this year).
This has been about recognising and reclaiming many lost or overlooked parts of myself - and about reintegrating them into my life. I was going to say 'my working life', but my intention is to create a life. A life that includes work and that also has a good balance of all the other things that are important to me. Now, for me, (unlike in the past) I feel there is no separation between these essential aspects of me, and my business.
Art, creativity, health, spirituality, family, friends, walking, nature, reading - all these things are part of me - part of the 'myself' I am coming home to at last. Including the work I love to do. I have begun to realise that all my past experience is becoming integrated - many of those experiences have been uncomfortable, even painful at the time. I don't believe that bad experiences are necessary, but they are the way most of us learn what we need to know - in coping, in finding strength within we had no idea we possessed, in coming through.
The more I allow myself to live a life I love, to allow it flow with ease and grace (my other two words for this year) - then the more I have to offer to others.
For you, to reflect in your journal or meditations:
February 2016: Grace and Ease
In this Issue
Reflections: Grace and Ease
Archive piece: Compassion and Change
News and Events - including an offer to exchange coaching for assistance at an event
Reflections: Grace and Ease
For 2016 my 'words of the year' are Grace, Ease, and Sovereignty. I will write more about the last of these in a future piece, today I am reflecting on grace and ease. After many years of working, and running my business, and writing, and doing things around my home .... etc,etc., like many people, I often used to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I am working full time on 'Dare to Blossom' activities of various sorts at the moment - including art and creativity, plus time to read, meditate, walk - and of course - play with our two kittens, who are rapidly growing up.
So, I am still working hard; still experience anxiety about finances and paying the bills; still have challenges of various sorts. And, as 2015 ended and 2016 dawned, I have begun to feel a softening, a yielding, of my commitment to worry and stress. I was surprised, as you may be, to find I was using that word 'commitment' - but it feels true. Now I feel that I was almost determined that I 'should' feel that way. Not all the time, over recent years I have been feeling less and less lke that, but it was there all the same.
Since those words popped up in my mind for this year and I have relaxed into them, I have found things beginning to flow. Many coaches and writers talk of feeling the emotion you want first and then reality will follow. In my experience this is true, though not always easy to achieve. With my adoption of 'grace and ease' almost as a mantra to live by for this year, it seems that I can slip into those states quite readily, and then circumstances do seem to shift around me so that things work out, gracefully and easily.
January 2016 Delving Deep
This month we have a guest writer, Cate, who has been a regular reader of this newsletter/blog for a number of years. Many thanks to her for offering this contribution. If anyone else would like to see their words featured here, feel free to contact me.
In this Issue:
Reflections: Delving Deep
Guest Article: Geraniums and Life by Cate
Workshops and Events: Magic Carpet Ride Workshops and On-line Group
Coaching one-to-one intensives: special offer on 'Rediscover your Spark'
Reflections: Delving Deep
This time of year feels to me like a time to go within, to withdraw. The sun has passed the shortest day - the longest night - here in Cornwall, but the nights (and often the days too) seem dark. A time of rest, of hibernation even. A fallow time when most plants are resting too - even in the exceptionally mild weather here when some are flowering early.
The feeling of going within is also associated with the ending of 2015 and beginning of a new year - wherever you are in the world, whatever season you are in, this may still ring true for you. In the rush and bustle of festivities, of gatherings and celebrations with family and friends - it can be easy to let this opportunity slip past. The opportunity to pause and review; to reflect and look forward.
December 2015 - Beginnings
In this Issue:
Unusual gift ideas
The theme of 'Beginnings' may seem more suited to a newsletter for January. However, this card has been coming out regularly for me in my daily meditation practice, so I decided to follow that lead and see where it takes me. Before I settled on that I looked through all the past 'December' pieces I have written over the years since I began writing this in 2007. Sometimes I find an article in the 'back issues' that feels very current and relevant and I choose to share it again.
This time my experience has been totally different. How interesting! I felt that I didn't recognise the writer of those words in earlier years, that I had changed so much. I plan to review the past year for myself in detail before I write to you in January. So this is just the beginning of that review process in a way. There have been many endings this year as well as beginnings. Not always a direct correlation, though often there is - the ending of my contract of employment on 31 May meant that from 1 June I was self-employed full time for example.
Lost for Words
Sitting down to write to you this month, I truly do feel lost for words. I do a lot of writing: daily (except Sundays) I write a reflection on my 'card of the day' on the Dare to Blossom Facebook page (link in the box on the left if you would like to take a look); I write emails - often long and detailed for various reasons - to friends, family, people I am coaching; currently I am writing content for my new website. A lot of writing. So, sitting here, I feel lost for words, empty.
Maybe that is a good thing? Maybe - as in a coaching session - silence is to be welcomed, rather than something to be afraid of? Leaving a space to breathe, a blank canvas, room for the new. Now I am doing more painting again I am coming back to that feeling of not knowing, not needing to articulate or frame. Especially with the abstract, intuitive work - learning to just let the colours do what they do, look at the patterns later and see if any adjustments or additions would add to the final result - or if best left alone.
As with this painting - after I had drawn the heart shape with ink, and decided not to worry that it was lop-sided, not 'perfect', I was able to let the wax paint medium flow and make the patterns, with a little help from me. The result I have titled "My lop-sided heart".
The other book is Conscious Writing by Julia McCutchen. I attended a retreat with Julia in May 2014, at which time she was developing this work and the book that has now evolved from that. In a piece on intuition she writes: "Intuition is a distinct sense of direct Knowing that transcends the use of intellectual reasoning."
In my current 'lost for words' state, I don't feel able to use any 'intellectual reasoning' to develop any deep conclusions to offer you from these two examples - so I simply offer them as ideas to explore further if you wish. Maybe a shaft of light will illuminate the way for us?
For you: to explore in your journal or meditations:
- Is there any aspect of your life where you feel 'lost'
- Are you able to hold that lost feeling gently and let it be the way it is?
- Can you somehow be comfortable with 'not knowing', for a while at least?
- If words are not the way to explore these questions, maybe you would like to collage, paint, doodle, draw?
Reflections: Gone to Seed
My reflections this month are inspired by reading Goddesses in Older Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen (thank you to Amy Palko for introducing me to her writing). She discusses how the phrase 'gone to seed' can be used in a derogatory way, and also how it can be a positive concept for the third phase of life (and for me, this applies to men and women).
In the discussion (pages 202/203) Jean comments on how the 'planting the seed' botanical metaphor only goes so far. The wonderful aspect of passing on the seeds of wisdom that have been harvested throughout a life is that:
"In the physical and economic world, if I give you something, then I no longer have it. Wisdom and love behave altogether differently: if I give you my love or wisdom, both of us can have it. And even more remarkable, you may pass it on and not only still retain it, but it will grow with each transaction. The more we give away, the more there is and the more we have. Another remarkable quality is that if I give you my wisdom and it rings true in you, what I gave you was really already in you, and you recognised it as your own. The more we bring our wisdom into the world, the more wisdom there will be, and the easier it will be fore other women to find it in themselves." (p. 203)
Reflecting on this, it helps me find a path through what I might previously have seen as a contradiction, a dilemma. If my role as a coach and through the Rediscovery Cards, workshops and writing is to help you 'rediscover your inner wisdom', who am I to feel that my experience, my learning, my accumulated wisdom - is relevant or valuable?
However, using Jean's words, I can see that if I trust my own inner wisdom and dare to share that, to pass on those seeds to others - then you may "recognise it as your own" This helps me acknowledge my strength, to recognise it as a peaceful, serene, calm inner power and allow that to shine and radiate when I meet people.
For you, to reflect on your meditations or journal. This time these are suggestions for flow writing, visualisation, collage-making or art:
- explore the word, the idea "Wisdom" - what is it? What does it mean to you? What images does it prompt you to picture in your mind's eye?
- where is your Wisdom held? Head, heart, gut? Your ability to listen, or to speak?
- follow your thoughts and intuition where it may take you.