Monday, January 18, 2016

a message finally decoded

I confess: I get attached to things. I love pretty things like colored glass. I love inherited objects that remind me of my parents: pewter vases and candleholders from Scandinavia from my dad, and old glass bottles and vases from my mom. Sometimes I hold onto sentimental things, like postcards and cards from when people regularly communicated that way: some for the picture on front, some for the writing. I hold onto silly things: paintings of flowers from a calendar I had 10 years ago because I love the colors and the way they make me feel.

At the same time, I long to shed what I no longer need. That's true emotionally, energetically, mentally and physically.

Every few years, I purge some small corner of my physical life. About a year ago, a dear friend helped me clear my office at home; what began as a space for writing and doing distance healing evolved into my Etsy shop headquarters (photography, inventory, mailing supplies) and then into general household storage. For several months, it's remained in limbo, an hour's worth of work away from being usable space.

I dove into some piles of papers in there this week, looking for things to use in making collages. I found those flower painting calendar images, postcards I had bought in Norway and Italy as souvenirs, cards and postcards sent to me years ago. I found pieces of sea glass, postcards from the farm where I buy flower essences, Christmas cards from previous years.

As I expanded my search for collage items, in the gazebo I found seashells from my trip to Cape Cod last spring. In my office at the church, I found cards from parishioners, 4x6 prints of some of my favorite photos, and 12x12 photos from the past few calendars I've made.

Why this focus on collages? Last year, my friend Tricia and I did a creative Lenten project. Each week, we created two diptychs: one with her haiku and my photo, and one with my haiku and her photo. This year when we talked about a Lenten project, Trish suggested collages. I was all in, and since it's been years since I've made a collage, I decided to do a practice one.

I used one of the calendar flower paintings as the background and pieces of Christmas cards in three corners. I added bits of postcards and notes, and anchoring the bottom right, a mounted phrase in three languages: "never action-fruit motive should arise."

It was given to me by a beloved teacher in high school. I instinctively loved it — but didn't understand it consciously. This week, though, when I came across it, I realized I finally can explain what it means to me: don't take action with motive, or intended outcome. For me, this means living from my true self — making decisions from my soul, not from my ego or out of some effort to create a certain outcome.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

beginning to weed

The day after learning it was time to weed, I began thinking about what tools I needed. Love, I immediately knew, was first. 

Love? I'd been thinking about a serious, heavy-duty tool like a dandelion prong — big and strong. Still, I prepared to settle in and begin to work with love. I was expecting to get my hands dirty in a messy weeding session. 

Instead, I was guided to sit with my heart open and release the weeds. 

Love, and release. What an amazing process. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

gardening in my heart

I'm working on being my soul — being who I'm meant to be. 

If you read my healing blog, you've heard this many times: I believe we're born with a divine core, and as we go through life, we accumulate junk around that core. When we're living through those layers of junk, we're not living from our authentic selves. 

For many years, I've been working on shedding my junk. Years of talk therapy and intense energy work have helped immensely. At one point, my inner voice was practically silenced, drowned out by the louder junk voices; now my inner voice is strong and almost always the first one I hear. 

As I reduce constant criticism and limiting thoughts and expectations, I become more free and able to live my truth. 

But what is that truth? 

I know I'm here to help people. I've always known that. I help people in my healing practice by balancing their energy and helping them feel better. I help people in my job at an Episcopal church by helping to create opportunities for people to connect with God. I help people in my non-work life by trying to be kind and respectful. 

All of that is good, but it's not complete. There's something missing; I don't know what it is or how to get there, but nevertheless I've been approaching it one step at a time. 

I'm a high-structure, control-happy person; I figure out where I want to go and how to get there, and I do it. How can I move forward if I don't know where I'm going? That's where the one step comes in, and I find that step by listening to my heart, my strongest connection to my divine core. 

Is this all too vague? Here's an example of an early step. A few years ago, I realized that the most fulfilling part of my job at the church (talking with people one-on-one in a pastoral care role) wasn't officially part of my job as Communications Director. My step, enormously scary at the time, was telling that to my boss, Kate. If there was any potential for more of what fulfilled me, I said, that would be wonderful. Kate, rector (priest in charge of the parish), said she didn't know what it would look like, but if we remained open, she was sure it would come. 

One day about six months later, I worked on opening my heart fully to my higher purpose. "Okay, God," I said (substitute "Universe" or another word if "God" doesn't work for you), "here I am. What am I meant to do? I'm ready."

And immediately my heart closed a little — not quite ready, after all. 

That was about a year ago; this deep processing takes time for me. Years ago in therapy, my psychiatrist suggested I learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That's some of the best advice I've ever received, and it definitely applies to this one-step-at-a-time business, where my destination is still a mystery. 

I've been off since Christmas Day — a real gift (I go back to work today, as soon as I finish this post). Other than a doctor appointment, I scheduled nothing, leaving myself time to recover and relax. A handful of days ago, I meditated/prayed and tried again to fully open my heart to my higher purpose. This time my heart stayed open. And then a seed was planted in my heart. "What do I do next?" I asked. 

"Wait," I was told. 

Yesterday I thought about the seed. "Time to weed," I was told. So one more step was revealed: I set about identifying the weeds. How I define success and worth/worthiness are obvious — they're big buttons for me. Thinking more deeply about it, I decided they have something in common: the external voices disagree with and overpower my inner voices, covering and choking them. 

My next step is figuring out how to pull those weeds. I'm imagining it will be a messy process, just as real-life weeding is. I've never been a fan of gardening gloves, so I'm prepared to get my hands dirty. I'll need tools, I suspect; identifying and gathering them is next.