Daily Archives: December 2, 2012

Reverb12: Day Two

reverb12Again, I am answering many prompts, from the various Reverb lists. I might not be able to keep that up, but for now I’m having such a good time, having so much fun with the process–answering all the prompts!

Limits

The full prompt is: “We often learn our limits the hard way. Were there any limits you realized this past year? Alternately, what self-imposed limits were you able to move beyond this year? (Author: Carolyn Rubenstein).”

I definitely felt limited by time and energy. This is an ongoing, lingering issue. I try to be really smart about what I commit to, what I say yes to–it has to be “hell yeah” or I say no. I work to to stay away from energy vampires, time monsters and shadow comforts. I have to keep a close eye on my physical limitations, my energy level and available strength, my body’s capacity for whatever activity it might be.

The self-imposed limits, (besides the ones that are setting reasonable restrictions intended to protect my health and wellbeing), are my beliefs about what is possible, what I’m capable of, my worth and my value. I spent so much time waiting for permission to participate, thinking that the gatekeepers would let me in eventually, that the party planners would send me my invite, that I’d finally earn my certification, my entry into the guild, that the project, my thing, would fall out of the sky fully formed. Then I realized, if I wanted something to happen, I needed to stop waiting and happen.

Help

The full prompt is: Asking for help can be the hardest thing we ever do. When and how did you ask for help? Alternatively, did someone ask you for help, and how did it play out for you?

This year, I realized that one of my superpowers is generosity, I love to help, want nothing more than to ease suffering in the world. With organizations like Kickstarter, Kiva, and Charity:Water (my birthday campaign runs for 28 more days, if you have any interest in helping me raise some money–100% of your donation directly funds clean water projects in developing nations), it was even easier to find ways to help those who needed it. I gave my cousin the $100 I got at the World Domination Summit to help her fund charity work she hopes to do in the near future, I helped John F. Ptak get the cancer surgery he needed, I regularly give to my local dog rescue and meditation center, and I helped save our local independent theater. In return for that last donation, I got to make a slide that is currently playing while people sit and wait for their movie to start.

lyricslidefinal

Writing

The full prompt is: What piece of writing are you most proud of from 2012? How does this piece differ from your other pieces?

This blog, for sure, is the writing I am most proud of from this past year. The fact that I kept at it, that I have continued to show up, have been open and authentic in my posts, that there are kind and gentle souls reading, sharing and connecting with me. I have loved everything about it. The other writing I’ve done that I feel especially good about has the same quality, of being wild and real and on purpose, not fake, not trying to get you to like me, but telling the truth–beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

Two Final prompts so related, they had to be combined for one single answer

Part one: What was your most significant expenditure in 2012? It doesn’t have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact. What difference has it made to your life?

Part two: What was the most memorable gathering you attended (or held) in 2012?

Answer for both: World Domination Summit. It cost me a lot of money–plane ticket, summit admission, car and hotel room rental, food. It was expensive, more than I would normally spend on myself, but it was so worth it. I met so many amazing people, some I already knew but had never met in person, some I didn’t even know existed until I met them there. I was inspired, overwhelmed, gobsmacked. I have stayed connected with many of them. Just this morning on Skype, I had the most heartwarming, encouraging, spontaneous, fun conversation with someone I met at WDS, felt an instant connection to (seriously, it was one of those moments where you meet a complete stranger and think “there you are, I’ve been looking for you”). I continue to do good work, to plan great work, to make a difference because of the spark of that event, that experience.

Reverb12: Day One

reverb12Looking through all the Day One Reverb posts, I came up with a set of prompts I’m going to answer in this post. This has been such an interesting process already–reflecting and making lists and answering questions, considering where I’ve been, contemplating what might happen next. Ever since I turned 45, only a few weeks ago, I’ve had this lingering sense of curiosity and contentment.

Where did you start the year, 2012?

Here’s one place where my blog and journals come in really handy. I can look up the date, December 1st, and see just what I said, know what I was thinking. My blog post from a year ago was titled, Being Clear, Being Open, Saving Myself and Saving the World, and in it I said, “For me, giving in to my impulse, my aspiration to create, to discover and share what truth is for me, is the only way I know to save myself, and maybe help save the world.”

It was really interesting to see how even a year ago, I was struggling with having enough time to do everything I wanted, my paid work and my heart’s work, my living and my loving. I still struggle with the same, but I have much more clarity about what I want, about what living an authentic life, being healthy and whole looks like.

The first line of my morning pages from that same day was, “2011 is almost over.” I went on, after some complaints about an ongoing family struggle, to say “Compassionate visionaries have to exist,” (imagining myself as one), and to explain why:

We have to see what is possible, inspire, move people who will change the world… Art may not save the world, but artists who are alive and following the path of art might just save it, or at least have a small part in it… Art might not save the world, but it can soothe it, inspire it, open its heart, and it most certainly will save the artist.

art by hugh macleod

art by hugh macleod, from that blog post one year ago

Did I try anything new in 2012?

It’s pretty simple really, I showed up. I kept my heart open. I did things that I normally would have been too afraid to do because of a lack of confidence, because I was embarrassed or ashamed or felt unworthy or didn’t think I could do it perfectly, (and doing things perfectly used to be really, really important to me). In 2012, I risked failure, I took a chance that I might look foolish or make a mistake, that people might not like me. I trusted and loved myself anyway, most of the time. I tried.

Where, how am I starting 2013?

Confident, in the way that the brilliant Susan Piver describes it, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

As I am. Just me, right where I am and as I am, reality and love embodied.

Open-hearted. Life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible. There is also basic goodness, an innate wisdom, kindness, and wakefulness, everything is workable. Knowing this, I am going to show up with an open heart, no matter how hard it is, and no matter how much it might hurt.

What was last year’s word? How did it play out?

retreatbuddhalilac

When I initially picked this word, I imagined it would mean rest, balance, practice, and transformation. I thought I would be removed from the irritation and distraction of life, that I would be away and protected, that I would experience ease and peace. This is how I envisioned the year, and holy wow was I wrong.

Yes there was practice, intense process and devotion that left me broken open, raw, exhausted, and sometimes completely confused and afraid. I encountered strong emotions, intense realizations, and deep struggle. I committed myself, studied with many teachers, read wise and sacred texts, extended concentrated effort and attention.

There was also transformation. I am not the same, and yet I am more myself. I know who I am, and I honor that as often and as ardently as I am able. I am done with denying, hiding, feeling ashamed of this brilliant mess that is me. I realize that the only thing I have to offer, my only power is my essential nature.

Balance and rest, not so much. After all the retreats I’ve done, how wrecked I always feel after, I’m not sure how I forgot that this was the nature of retreat, that in choosing that as my word, my theme for the year, this was what I was inviting.

What is this year’s word?

freedomthanksgivingcrow

I was so sure I knew what this year’s word would be: simplicity. I’ve been thinking and writing about it for weeks, was so certain. It seemed so right, so perfect, just what I needed for the coming year.

But then something magic happened as I was working on this post. I was making the above image, a picture I took from my front porch on Thanksgiving morning, where the crow flying across the sky was a happy accident. I added the word “simplicity” and it just didn’t look right. Font after font, different colors and sizes and weights and placement, and it still looked off, wrong somehow.

I started considering the qualities of the word. Freedom and ease came immediately to mind. Freedom. Hmmm. There was something about that, so I tried it with the image: perfect. That’s my word. Freedom: simplicity, space, ease, surrender, clarity. “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; liberty, independence; the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved; being physically unrestricted and able to move easily; self-determination, open, opportunity, play, joy.” I like how that sounds. No, actually I love how that sounds.

Day of Rest

Don’t be motivated by money, or safety, or comfort. Don’t do what you think others want or will like, what you think will earn you love and belonging, what will make you seem cool or help you to fit in.

Be motivated by love.

Be love, embodied and manifested.

This is who you are: wise, compassionate, and awake.