"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Busy-ness

Over the past few weeks, I've come up with a bunch of ideas of things to post here, but haven't actually sat down to write them up. Why? I'm busy. I know, lame excuse, everyone's busy, you hear it all the time. This isn't the type of busy I've had in the past, though, where I was stressed out and overwhelmed. For the most part, it's been stuff that I want to do, creative and fun things that keep me on the go. This movement fits well with the energy of spring, and feels like it's part of the forward momentum that we've been enjoying in regard to Feline Dreamers and living our dreams. So what exactly have I been up to?

Unschooling: I've been spending time with my kids and their friends, which also includes some of my friends. We hosted last week's homeschool group (since our usual hosts are traveling), and have been teaching a cooking class with BlackLion at our weekly co-op. I'm also taking an art class with ElvenTiger at co-op. With teens, there's also a lot of chauffeuring them around. ElvenTiger has her weekly swim class, and hangouts with friends. Dryst is now in a very busy lacrosse season, with practices and/or games every day but Sunday. He's also been to a couple of concerts with his friends lately, Seether being the most recent.

 Writing and editing: I've been working on putting together my book, which I'm still extremely thrilled about! As well as writing articles, keeping journals, and editing scripts for our guided meditation CD. I'm thankful for all the creativity that is flowing through me!

Drumming: My involvement with Dark Follies has really ramped up. We have lots of rehearsals and gigs, plus my own drum practice. I'm a bit intimidated, as I still don't feel like a "real musician" sometimes. But I'm learning so much, and really enjoying the process! BlackLion and I are even creating a skit for the June stage show - faeries will be involved. Tee hee!

Socializing with family and friends: Aunt Peg is doing much better, and I'm so thankful! We've still been helping her with laundry and other tasks. It's also fun to visit with her more often, and we plan to keep it up. We do our weekly evening with Mom and Dad, which is always fun, plus lately we've hung out with my brother and his wife for a birthday gathering, and we have some regular role-playing games that we're a part of as well. And cats to snuggle, of course!

Cooking...and uncooking: Inspired by some friends at Life Rocks!, BlackLion and I have been adding more raw and living foods to our diet. It feels challenging to fit this in with the desires of the rest of the family (for their usual meals) and adapt to the high cost of some of the items. I feel like if I was just preparing foods for myself, I could easily eat all or mostly raw foods. But I'm taking my own advice and practicing "vibe first, then act," setting an intention to eat more healthfully and letting it unfold naturally.

Healing: I have a new Reiki client, and really enjoyed working with her at my home. Usually I make house calls to my clients' homes, but she prefers coming to me, and it's working well.

Radio: I've been doing some on-air shifts at the public radio station, helping them out when people need time off and earning some extra money in the process.

Connecting: Even though I've been busy, I've been making an effort to get on Facebook and make contact with folks there. I have lots of ideas that I'm excited to share! And I'm giving attention to my various daily practices that help connect me with the energy of the Divine.

Even so, there is much correspondence unfinished, a long-intended visit to a friend and her baby that hasn't happened yet, and new plans in the works for our Full Moon circle. I'd also love to do more yoga and walking, moving my body more deliberately. And I'm ready for more prosperity to flow in and help us with our monthly bills. Overall, though, I'm thankful for the busy-ness of a fulfilling life. Bring it on, world, I'm ready!

What about you? What have you been doing so far this spring?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shining From the Inside Out

Note: I wrote this article a few weeks ago, as a "guest blog" submission for Kind Over Matter. I haven't heard back from them yet, so I decided to post it here instead. I haven't given up on posting for them - I love that site! - but I'll craft something new when the inspiration strikes.

I have a bit of wisdom to share, but it might not be something you want to hear. I know I had some trouble accepting it, and still do on some days. But nevertheless, here it is: kindness begins with being kind to yourself.

I know. It's easy to be kind to other people, much of the time anyway. But to myself? I tend to take myself for granted, or worse, focus on all my flaws, unfulfilled potential, and the things I should have done. Even in the realm of self-care, there are often more "shoulds" (as in, I should have done my yoga today, I should have planned more down time this week so I wouldn't be so frazzled, I should take my vitamins) than there are moments of actual nurturing.

Still, I am discovering that kindness that doesn't start with love for yourself simply isn't sustainable. It's a matter of learning to see yourself as a blessing, to appreciate the beauty, wonder, joy, and love that are at your core. We are not taught to do this. We're urged to "for goodness sake, tone yourself down and be more like everyone else." We're taught to rely on others for validation of our inherent worth.

But that just doesn't work, not in the big picture. What happens when you rely on someone else to fill your cup? Even if they love you, they're caught up in their own experience of life, and they may not see your need. Even if you ask, they might not be willing or able to give you just what you want, when you want it.

And the asking can be hard. Recently I've noticed how easy it is for me to ask for help on behalf of others, and how quickly that falls apart when it's for me. Last week we had a huge early-March snowstorm, after a fairly light winter. I had no problem asking my husband, the next day, to drive to my parents' house and clear their walkways. I was about to go get groceries, and I didn't feel like clearing off my car and getting all snowy. He noticed that I was sighing about it, and posed a very simple question: "why don't you just ask me to do it, on my way out?"

Why not, indeed? If you're like me, though, you don't want to have to ask. Why can't someone just know what I need? Well, guess what? Someone does: me - my own inner voice, my intuition. And I can avoid all the expectations and disappointment by getting clear about my needs, providing them myself when that makes the most sense, and asking for help when I want it. It sounds simple, right?

Really, even in the closest of partnerships (with lovers, friends, family, or colleagues), isn't it best to come to your loved one from a place of joy and sharing, rather than one of neediness and lack? When you feel needy, go within. Stop what you're doing and just listen. That deep longing is a sign that you're disconnected from who you truly are. You've gotten cut off from your powerful inner source of energy and love. Don't fault yourself for it. We all do it. We're human.

"You can search far and in hungry places for love. It is a great consolation to know that there is a wellspring of love within yourself. If you trust that this wellspring is there, you will then be able to invite it to awaken." – John O'Donohue

No one's perfect. Being kind to yourself takes lots of practice. You'll fall down, and get back up again. There will be days when you wish Prince Charming would ride in and whisk you away, or your Faery Godmother would just show up and take care of all this crap, already. You'll feel like you don't deserve your own tenderness. But other times, you'll notice your cup is overflowing, and your light is shining especially brightly. You'll have more creativity, love, and kindness to spread around. You'll feel lighter and less guilty. Be patient with the process. Teaching yourself, gently, over time, to return again and again to your inner wellspring is the kindest act.

Friday, April 13, 2012

This Week

Well, hello there! I've been away from blogging for a couple of weeks, which included our amazing journey to the Life Rocks! Radical Unschooling conference. That was a very joyful, uplifting experience, and I plan to post more about it, and about some of the new ideas that inspired me while I was there. But this post is about this week in particular.

It was a busy one, and there were three things that I was primarily focused on. A past version of me might have said they were things I was feeling nervous about, but instead I'll just say that I wanted to make sure they went well. Here they are, in chronological order (although this means the order of importance is reversed).

The first one was running the audio board for a live call-in show on my local public radio station. I worked full-time for the station for 16 years, and then in 2008 I left to pursue my passions (unschooling, writing, creating my own business, and more). Just recently I've started doing some occasional work for them, filling in for other folks. They moved into a new studio, with all new equipment, so I've had to learn the new systems. It's a fun intellectual challenge, and my most recent test was to make sure things went well during my first time helping with the call-in show. And it was fine!

Next was the Dark Follies gig we had this week. We've been practicing all winter to come together as a musical ensemble, and the show went very well! I feel like I'm learning so much by playing with the group, and my drumming has improved. We have many more gigs this spring and summer, so it will continue to get better and better! I'm excited about learning some more new tunes. Here's a picture of BlackLion and I after the gig, taken by my Mom.

Finally, and most important, my beloved Aunt got some good news today at her doctor visit. Her health is her business, so I won't share in detail, but she's been going through a long healing process since Christmas Eve, and I'm delighted to say that things are very positive. I've been including her in my daily visualization practice, and I hope that and the Reiki have helped boost her healing energies.

I'm so happy and thankful for such a successful week! And now this introvert gets to rest and recharge. I'm curled up with Percy cat, the laptop, and jazz on the radio, and enjoying the chill time.