Category Archives: Cultivating Courage

Gratitude Friday

frozen feather

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Roasted Vegetables. I could eat roasted brussel sprouts every day of of the week. I like them even more than french fries.

2. Responses to a Cultivating Courage dare. The goal was to ask 5-10 people our strengths, gifts, superpower and to be able to hear, accept, allow their response, to take the compliment instead of brushing it off or shutting down. As in the last time I did this, I loved the responses I got, was so grateful for the people who took the time to answer, to make the offering. It’s such a powerful exercise to hear how other people see me (and they only tell you the good stuff).

3. Walking with the dogs. It’s been nice to get back to our routine. Over Winter Break, with both Eric and I off work, all four of us would go, and I love that, but there’s also something great about just me and the dogs. It is a beautiful world out there, and I love having a reason to go see it, to walk around in it and look, to be.

4. My health. A very nasty crud or two, along with a few varieties of the plague are out there this season. I am trying really, really hard not to judge, not to get frustrated or irritated when people who have the option of paid sick leave don’t stay home and get well, when they risk infecting other people with the same thing that’s making them feel so crappy, how that makes what is going around continue to go round and round. Instead, I shift my focus to being grateful for my continued good health, and to sending anyone who is sick healing vibes and compassion, and a wish that they know it’s okay to take care of themselves, that for most of them no one will die if they didn’t go to work for a few days–and I’m also washing my hands like a mad woman.

5. Videos of my dogs. I love being able to see Sam as a puppy, to watch Obi and Dexter play (even though it makes me sad too).

Here’s one of Dexter, rolling in the grass, one of his favorite things, growling and grunting like a pig.

Bonus Joy: Dexter is still here, still doing well. Just a bit ago, when I went out to clean up the backyard, he brought a ball for me to throw, and we played fetch for a bit. He and I have spent hundreds of hours this exact same way over the last 9.5 years.

The beam of sunlight in this picture from one of our walks this week makes him look like a unicorn.

Unicorn Dex

P.S. I remember back when I was so excited anyone read my blog, that I took a picture of my stats page when I hit 2000 views. At some point today or tomorrow, it will reach 50,000. I can barely wrap my mind around that number. All I know is that I have the kindest and gentlest readers, and I bow deeply and with such gratitude to each and every one of you who took the time to show up. Thank you.

I Surrender.

treeshadowicecrackThe ponds at Lee Martinez are singing as they melt–humming, gurgling, snapping and cracking. The places where the ice is softening around the edges form patterns that look like the shadows of trees, their bare branches stretching out over the surface of the water.

Today feels like it could be spring. The sky over Fort Collins is clear and bright blue, the sun is shining and it’s warm. It seems like the population has suddenly doubled because everyone is outside.

aqua

I feel like my color this year is aqua–sea glass, soft turquoise mixed with deep blue. The color of water, the color of the sometimes sky, the color of the typewriter and the water and the arrows on my 2013 vision board, one of the colors in my eyes. Bridget Pilloud wrote about it on The Intuitive Bridge today, saying of the color:

It’s speaking your truth. It’s hearing the truth of others. It’s synthesizing intuitive information with observed information.

Aqua is especially important to speakers and writers, to singers, to teachers, because in an Aqua year, you grow in your ability to speak and listen, to synthesize information, to integrate your energy.

Aqua also gives the gift of the greatest healing and the strongest connection. And when your heart is healed, you learn that life is much simpler than you’ve thought, that you’re a better person than you ever imagined and that you knew the whole story all along.

myeye

I feel inspired by the students in Mondo Beyondo, allowing themselves to want what they want, to dream big, some of them for the first time in a long time, some of them for the first time ever.

I feel inspired, as well as supported and encouraged by the students in Cultivating Courage, who are practicing bravery, making big and small moves every day, who are pushing against their edges, daring greatly, opening their hearts and telling the truth.

I am inspired by my friends who are learning to ask for help when they need it, who are reaching out for support, asking for assistance.

I am inspired by Andrea Scher, who creates safe spaces for her students to connect, to contemplate, to dare, to take chances. I’m also inspired by her own acts of courage, her willingness to ask for help, her willingness to invest in herself.

In the midst of this contemplation, this thawing, softening, this cultivation of courage and inspiration, this practice of bravery and dreaming, I am considering the obstacles to my freedom, and what I need to do to dissolve them.

freedomthanksgivingcrow

Last week, I had to make a big deal doctor’s appointment. There was some shame, guilt, anxiety, panic involved in the multistage process, and after it was all taken care of, scheduled, I ate half a bag of chips (popped and organic, but still), two slices of toast with butter (organic bread, but still), and a whole box of Annie’s Organic mac and cheese for “lunch.” I have told you before that I am a highly functioning food addict, and there was something about this particular incident that brought me to a “I give up, I surrender, I’ve had enough” moment.

I feel afraid or stuck when I see myself falling into old and discursive habits, ways of being and thinking. While I’m better than I used to be, more aware, kinder and gentler, healthier, when I get too stressed or tired, overwhelmed, when I start to go off the rails, when I feel my body getting heavy and my thoughts racing and my heart feeling dull, it’s hard to not freak out, hard to not feel trapped, having never truly been without this “thing,” this monster that lives in my belly, this frozen spot in my mind and my heart.

And you know what, kind and gentle reader? I’ve had it. I am over it, done. I need to be free of this. I surrender, and I’m admitting I need help. Just before I started writing this post, I contacted a therapist (whose practice is a mix of Western and Buddhist theories) and requested a meeting.

crow

I surrender. I surrender to radical self-acceptance, to truth, to reality, to this:

There is no love affair, no perfect best friend, no all-mighty parent, no incredible career, no ideal body, no distant and separate God/dess that can make up for the aching want, the hole, the yearning, that exists beneath the surface and at the center of our lives. It can only be healed by cultivating a dangerously authentic, reciprocal love affair with the bare truth of who we are, and allowing ourselves to become infused with a sacred courage that teaches us how to embody and articulate the essence of a truth that we’ve had since before we were born. Holding that truth so close to ourselves that it cuts into our hearts as a real, deep love and moves through our breath as the sound of our truest voice is all that we have ever looked for in anything or anyone else. It is also the only thing the universe has ever looked for from us. ~Grace Emilie