What are most of your rituals or habits around? When I had a trainer the "sounds good" answer to why I work out was "mood control." And I don't feel great when I don't exercise. I see so many people who are afraid of strong emotions. How many of our relationships even with ourselves have elements of controlling or not showing strong feelings?
By the way did you know our "Best Action" comes from tapping into our strongest feelings? Not our "highest" feelings - our most authentic feelings. I did a lot of walking as a child before how much I weighed entered my mind. Yet the heaviness of life was already weighing on me. I walked (many times) around the block and as soon as I was allowed to go further I walked to the hollow of Frick Park.
I loved Frick Park in all seasons. Once when I was back visiting I helped out my sister by taking her kids to the park every day. One of the nephews said "This is stupid, why do you do this same walk every day?" I tried to share with him about how if you were paying attention you noticed things shifting day by day. Then I remembered my mother and teachers shrieking "Pay Attention!" at me and felt bad. Why did paying attention feel like something serious, required and indeed forced upon us as children? What is the difference (if any) between concentration, paying attention and focus? As writers and artists I feel paying attention is our greatest gift and it's a different kind of forced attention we were taught as children.
If you're ready to pay attention to your signs and guidance and also to Discern and Take action read this
In the woods I automatically went on soft focus. As soon as I step into the woods my thinking brain gets quiet and the sensual part of my brain feels more alive. I almost used the word alert and then realized alert (which I think of as heightened awareness) is generally used in the warning "Pay Attention" "Danger" way. Hmm. Let me go look it up. Vocabulary.com popped up with a quiz saying "Alert also means" and gave 4 choices of which the correct answer was alive. Alert = Alive.
Being alive carries with it all kinds of risks and danger. When was the last time you took a risk? Was it emotional, intellectual, physical - some other kind? How much of our lives are structured around avoiding risks? I'm giving myself an assignment to take 3 risks this week.
Why or when does something that brings us focus become something that we use to escape or run away from life? I'm not talking about the times or moments when we need to shut the bathroom door, or go on an hour long walk or on a drive. I'm talking about the "room" in our heads that becomes more important than being in a room with people? The experience we had as children or teenagers (typed that as teen-angers) can get us stuck in a room with a permanent "Do Not Enter" sign on the door and it can be hard sometimes to tell if we are locked in or locked out.
You know I am not advocating giving up the creative, private and precious room that you do your creating in. I am advocating looking at the "positive" and "negative" aspects of where and how we have locked ourselves away and/or never allow ourselves to shut or lock a door.
I require a certain amount of time each day with myself. It's my "writing time" whether I actually have pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Sometimes my writing time looks like staring at a wall, going to the library, pulling books off of a shelf or shooting photos. Sometimes I forget that it is also going OUT to hear other writers read or having conversations.
What you are you paying attention to? Can we force ourselves to pay attention? Didn't work for me. I have to be drawn in by something that compels my attention or intrigues me. I can make myself show up but I can't force interest.
Sometimes it's guidance that is telling us to make an unexpected turn and sometimes it's our inability to read a map (me) that brings us somewhere we hadn't planned on going. People regularly are befuddled that I can't read maps. "It's easy." they say. Not for me. Or is not easy because even if I could read a map I would probably refuse to follow it? The way I refuse to follow or do anything the way it's taught to me? I'll do it for awhile, then I get bored with it and start innovating. How about you? How willing are you to go off the map? Of the beaten path? Are we saying we are going off the map but still following the grooved in patterns in our brain (or in our hands?) Is that "Do Not Enter/Disturb" sign still up? And if so, is it for the reason(s) we want to have it up?
What are our reason for not wanting to be disturbed? Anywhere it's because it would be too much trouble to do things differently, to get involved, to be intimate to come out of a self-imposed shell - let's see if we can take the sign down for a week.
On the other hand if you don't have one up because it would be selfish, because people need me, because then god forbid I may actually have to create something and get out in the world with it, let's put a "Do not Disturb" sign up for a week.
Anytime we "waver" and allow ourselves to see or do things differently - be it ourselves, the world around us, our codes, why we are doing/not something, our marketing, how we define ourselves - in that moment of "waver" we create a new world of "What if I?" and "How about I?"
I knew going into writing 20-30 newsletters in 30 days that it was going to require me being willing to having to write whether I felt like I had something to say or not. That each day would require noticing and paying attention to things that maybe I wouldn't have noticed or paid attention to if I didn't have to write.
Where do you need to allow yourself to not be perfect? To show your "flaws"? We have all created a line that we are afraid or hesitant to cross. It's not a straight line it wavers. We are contradictory beings. How can you embrace and create from contradiction? That's where my lines wavers and it can be challenging yet liberating to step outside of definition(s).
The Truth Teller is Welcome, Denise
p.s. I loved when a New Age person told me if I didn't believe I would go into menopause I could avoid/postpone it. Why would I want to avoid menopause? One of the richest stages of life. What are you trying to avoid/postpone with positive thinking? What we're trying to avoid feeling is where our money is. Our "Best Action" comes from tapping into our strongest feelings.
p.p.s. Margaret Kilgallen was a S.F. Bay Area artist who died at 33. Check out her work (if you haven't already.) I hadn't thought about her for awhile until I made a "wrong turn" walking from the LAPL to Union Station and came across a block of graffiti near Indian Alley and then this poster. If I was paying attention to the map the frazzled librarian at the info desk had printed out for me I would have missed this intersection.