Tag Archives: Resolve

Book Writing Saturday: On Hiatus

decembersunriseFour months ago, I committed myself to spending four hours of every Saturday working on my book, (of course, at that time, I had no idea that my sweet Dexter was about to be diagnosed with a fatal cancer, that I was also entering a season of good-bying). I am still committed to the practice, to that text, to that goal, but have decided to take the next month off from it, to take a little break. This won’t be a rest break, or a retreat, but rather a chance to do another practice more completely: Reverb12.

This practice is intended to help me process this past year and to look ahead into the next. I’m going to spend the time reflecting, setting my resolve, contemplating, celebrating, and considering–and sharing the process with you, kind and gentle reader.

Carolyn Rubenstein describes the origins of Reverb this way:

Back in 2010, three woman, Gwen BellKaileen Elise, and Cali Harris started what they named #reverb10. It was a prompt a day throughout December, delivered via email to help you reflect on the year and manifest what was to come in the upcoming year. The questions came from 31 different people across the web.

She goes on to say that

Closing in on December 2011, the #reverb10 team sent out an email
saying that for 2011, they were not hosting it again, and gave steps
on how anyone, and everyone, could host their own #reverb11. So many
people took up the torch—and I am hoping the same will happen again
for #reverb12.

I will be taking part in the Reverb that Kat is hosting at I Saw You Dancing. However, I’ll also be considering the prompts I’ve seen elsewhere:

First post coming tomorrow. For now, good night beautiful people, beautiful day.

Resolve: Mid-Year Review

On this, the first day of the second half of this year of Retreat, I have been reflecting on what I’ve experienced so far, and contemplating what’s to come. My word for the year was Retreat, with the clarifying words being rest, practice, balance, and transformation. Retreat, a time to remove myself from the usual expectations and obligations, to study and practice.

My life, my experience, my path in the last six months has been 1000 shades of love, 1000 shades of weird, 1000 shades of magic. Sometimes, I feel like a starfish caught on the beach, moving as fast as I can but my progress barely perceptible to others, or like a butterfly just out of the chrysalis, slightly confused about my new state of being, sitting on a branch waiting for my wings to dry. I am utterly transformed, but exactly the same. I am as I always was, but suddenly awake, and in that way so completely different.

image by peter harrison

Through all the classes, blogging and regular features, writing and meditation retreats, workshops, books, challenges, practices, the genuine and constant effort of the past six months, I feel a little like I’ve been in graduate school, earning a Master’s of Arts in Wholehearted Living, a Master’s of Science in Applied Practice, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Loving. My teachers and guides have been Susan Piver, Andrea Scher, Susannah Conway, Brene’ Brown, Laurie Wagner, Jen Lemen, Jennifer Louden, Rachel Cole, Patti Digh, Geneen Roth, Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, Jamie Ridler, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Pema Chodron, my dogs, and so many others, along with an amazing group of fellow students on the same path–many of whom I’ll be meeting and connecting with at the World Domination Summit later this week.

room with a view

I still struggle with perfectionism, with lack of self-care and self-love, with being gentle with myself and present with my experience, and yet so much has changed. I don’t suffer from the crushing depression I did for so long. I’m not riddled with anxiety and stress. My path is no longer muddled by confusion or lack of clarity. Surprisingly, much of the transformation has been remembering who I am rather than becoming something else, about getting clear about the purpose and superpowers born into the world with me, a repeated mantra of “This is me. I am enough and I have enough. This is who I am, wise and compassionate and powerful.”

I still struggle to rest. I know intellectually how important it is, that I can’t give what I hope to from a place of overwhelm or exhaustion, that self-care is really just another way of ensuring the quality of my offering–but I long to know this in my gut, in my blood and bones, deep in my heart, to embody it fully. To practice it in the same way I do so many other things that are essential, that I do regularly without having to apply any special effort, like making 1/2 a cup of coffee in the morning, feeding and walking my dogs, or writing morning pages, these things that happen each and every day, no question and no matter what.

dexter and sam know how to play

Since rest is still an issue for me, balance has not been achieved–I find it for brief moments, but it’s not yet sustainable. I still work too much, which means I don’t eat or sleep or exercise or play like I should. Practice, which is deeper and richer (yoga, meditation, writing, reading, dog, walking/hiking, and love) is helping me to contemplate, consider, creep my way towards a middle path, a middle way. I have confidence, curiosity, and more clarity than ever, so there’s no despair or smashing myself to bits about it, (most of the time, anyway).

I’ve experienced so many things I wished for, longed for, imagined and dreamed about–my sense of what is possible has been expanded and reinforced to such a degree that I can start to relax a bit, sink into being, into the present moment, into “this minute of eternity.”

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~Rumi


In Colorado, the wind today is fierce, gusting at around 50 miles per hour, knocking down trees and ruining dog walks all over town, even as the sun shines on. I imagine that the wind is the universe blowing away the yuck not invited into 2012, everything we’ve let go, released, and let loose. The wind is clearing out space for something wild and precious to be born.

image by susannah conway

And like the Hopi Elder’s Prophecy says:

“This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ‘struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

In other words: if you have been waiting for something to happen, stop waiting and happen. Jump into the river with me, won’t you?

There are a few guiding principles I adopted this year when completing a “review, reflect, and resolve” practice, (a process I have never undergone before, at least not with such care, mindfulness, and intention).

1. I am already whole. I am enough.

  • “The self-assured strength that grows from knowing that we already have what we need makes us gentle, because we are no longer desperate” ~Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
  • “We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake” ~Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

2. This is not just about New Year’s, this is not limited to a single date or thing: this is my whole life–connected, integrated, embodied, and manifested as complete and enough.

3. Don’t make resolutions, but have resolve and be authentic. This is my life.

2012: Year of the Water Dragon

image by Will Clayton

This will be a year of power and wisdom, but also one of compassion. It will be a year of great possibility, energy, vitality, excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity. The spirit of the dragon is passionate and brave, generous and fortunate, but must take great care or it can be destructive and dangerous, causing much damage to all involved.

Before class, one of my yoga teachers always asks us to set an intention, something that can focus and guide and center us, through the class and the rest of our day. My resolve and intention for 2012: Retreat is the theme of the year (rest, balance, practice, and transformation), a year in which I will tend to my body, spirit, and heart-mind.
I will do so through:

*Creativity: writing my blog, writing, making art, showing up and being open to what arises, being an expression of kindness and love and wisdom in the present moment, a healing and helpful act, to touch and transform the heart.

*Trust: faith in the worthiness, wholeness, and uniqueness of “me,” practicing and embodying self-love and self-care. Belief that everything is unfolding exactly as it should and I know what to do. “Who you are is infinite; you are a child of The Uni-verse and you have been sent here with a specific gift that is only yours to express. The events that happen, happen to shape us, to mold us and to help us step into who we are supposed to be. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are eternal and a part of a living Uni-verse that supports you. Give us your gift,” (“How to Get Unstuck from Past Trauma” on The Daily Love).

*Health: accept my weak places and parts, my resistance, attachment, and bad habits, (time monsters, shadow comforts, fear, shame, addiction, and self-hate), love what these things have taught me, be grateful, and let go. Ask for help if I need it. Lovingly, gently, kindly connect to my body, embodying attention, awareness, and strength through practice and presence.

My own two feet

My own two feet

I stand here, my two feet planted firmly on the earth, “one foot in the grave and one foot in the shower” (song lyric from “Falling Awake” by Gary Jules), open-hearted and vulnerable, but brave and ready to happen. Jump into the river with me, won’t you?

Good night beautiful year.