Archive for June, 2015

Finding Your Way

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

My husband saw a butterfly the size of a monarch today, and he said it reminded him of how many generations it takes for those royal butterflies to migrate.

“If it takes several generations to get to Mexico,” he said, “how do they know what route to take?”

¬†It’s a great question. We think of butterflies as the iconic symbol of rebirth and transformation,but they also have much to teach us about trusting an inner knowing to follow a path we’ve never seen before.

Here’s what a news report said about the monarch migration:

“Every fall, monarchs in North America begin their long journey back to Mexico for the winter. Then, in March, they start breeding, and fly north to lay eggs in Texas or elsewhere in the South. Successive generations move north, before reversing their course in the fall. On average, the journey spans four generations, although it can take as many as five.”

Clearly, there’s no elder monarch leading the way, telling the others, “This way! Follow me!” Instead, each new generation along the route somehow finds the path, using the sun or magnetic fields as clues about general direction.

And how do they find the same spots in Mexico year after year? No one knows.

There are many things¬†we¬†don’t know, either, about our own paths and how we follow them. Why do we move forward with confidence some days, while other times are filled with self-doubt? Why do we end up in a relationship that doesn’t serve us when we make consistently successful choices in our work?

And how do we know which way to go when there is no road map, and when each new stage of life feels like another generation in our life migration?

This week, take time to journal about the inner knowing that serves as a compass along your way.

1. Think of times when you were certain about decisions in your life. How did you know they were right for you?

2. Revisit a time when you needed to leave an old relationship,¬†job, friendship or home behind. How did you know it was time to leave…and what inner knowing directed your path forward?

3. Do you trust your inner guidance system? Why or why not? How could you strengthen it by seeing how it has served you in the past?

Affirmation: Today I follow my inner guidance. By going within and listening carefully, I know the path that’s right for me.¬†

What’s your story?

Saturday, June 20th, 2015
 
On National Public Radio last week, a man by the name of Dave Isay talked about his StoryCorps project, which has recorded more than 50,000 personal interviews in everyday places like Grand Central Station.

In those interviews, kids pose questions to parents, husbands reminisce with their wives and childhood friends interview one another. In every interview, a treasure is uncovered–a sentiment that’s never been expressed or a story that’s been untold.

These first-person stories–which are uploaded to the Library of Congress–capture the exquisite feeling of knowing someone acknowledges your existence and cares what you know and feel.

That kind of listening is central to Tending Your Inner Garden. In every workshop, we give women an opportunity to give and receive active listening.

But deep listening is important not just between one person and another. It’s also vital between you and yourself.

StoryCorps now has an app that gives you everything you need to interview someone and upload it to the Library of Congress. But Isay says something interesting is happening.

In addition to people talking with each other, they now are interviewing themselves with questions like these:

* What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

* How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

* What are you proudest of?

Those questions (and many others, available on the app) are similar to the ones we pose each week, but the app format gives you the opportunity to record your answers rather than saving them in your journal.

We encourage you to take the time to honor yourself this way. Even if you don’t upload your finished interview, the act of recording it will give you a voice you may not have had before. To find the app, go to http://storycorps.org.

And, since we’re on the topic of questions, here are a few to ponder as prompts:

* I want to interview myself because….

* By telling my story to myself, I’ll be better able to…

* The question I most want to ask myself is…

Affirmation: Today I listen to myself with my whole heart, deeply honoring my story and that which matters most in my life.

Are you listening to your body?

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Your body is the ground metaphor of your life, the expression of your existence. It is your Bible, your encyclopedia, your life story.”
–Gabrielle Roth, dancer and musician

Are you listening to your body? Do you seek its advice? How to you respond to its fatigue, aliveness, tenseness, or its desire to move or be still?

Your body accompanies you throughout life, being present for both your birth and your death. That makes it the most complete and intimate record of what you have done, what you have felt, whom you have loved, who has caused you anger or pain, and what has brought you joy. Is it any wonder it wants to talk with you?

Too often we decide to change our lives without consulting our bodies. We take stressful office jobs and develop back pain.

We tackle an arduous home remodeling job only to recall that we aren’t as nimble, strong or flexible as we once were.

We get by on five hours of sleep a night and fall victim to a string of illnesses.

If asked, your body might give you valuable guidance. For example:

What career should I pursue? you ask.

I like being outdoors and moving about, your body says. Find something that allows us to do that.

How do you feel when I get up at 4:30 every morning? you ask.

Our ability to make decisions is impaired, your body responds.¬† That’s important to know, right?

What do you think of this new guy I’m dating? you ask.

When we are with him, I feel relaxed, energized and happy, your body responds.

By conversing in this way and by acknowledging what you hear, you and your body become the intimate friends you were designed to be.  Find out for yourself.

This week, try this:

Pause periodically during the day. Notice how your body feels. Do you sense pain, fatigue, tenseness–signs you need to rest? Or do you feel the aliveness and joy you desire?

Start a conversation with your body or part of your body that is calling for your attention. Perhaps that is a lower back pain, a headache or simply a feeling of constriction. Ask a simple question like “What is going on?” Or “What do you need?”

End your day with gratitude. Reflect on all you have done today. What contribution did your body make? Thank it for allowing you to participate in life.

Gabrielle Roth, American dancer and musician, regards the body as a sacred text with a storehouse of memories, wisdom, gifts and personal history. Read it with reverence, consult it with respect, and trust where it leads you.

Affirmation: Today I commit to developing a closer relationship with my body.