The Garden Gate

The Secret Garden by Emla, Deviant Art
The Secret Garden by Emla, Deviant Art

“The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.” Rumi

When it comes to motivation and following my purpose I have found that the biggest obstacle in my path had nearly always been Me.  Myself.  You’d think I’d be my best supporter, greatest cheerleader, biggest fan, but no.  I have been my loudest naysayer, setting up traps and making sure I trip, fall, or avoid the path completely.  What is up with Me?  Don’t I know that I will be the biggest benefactor if my dreams come true?  Sheesh, Self.  What is your problem?

Then, a few months back I saw Steven Pressfield on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah.  He was talking about his book The War Of Art and how resistance and self loathing are actually good things.

Wait… what?

“The dream arises in our psyche (even if we deny it, even if we fail to or refuse to recognize it) like a tree ascending into the sunshine. Simultaneously the dream’s shadow appears—i.e., Resistance—just as a physical tree casts a physical shadow.

That’s a law of nature.

Where there is a Dream, there is Resistance.

Thus: where we encounter Resistance, somewhere nearby is a Dream.” Steven Pressfield (very cool article.  You can read the rest of it here)

To consider that Resistance is actually a law of nature, like gravity, or attraction, was hugely liberating for me.  Suddenly I could see clearly all of the ways that Resistance insinuated itself into my life.  It was the same old song, ever time.

The Rise and Fall of the Beautiful Dream

Sudden inspiration leads to HUGE excitement, plan making, visions of euphoria.  That would typically last for a day, maybe two.  I would even get busy making lists and drawing up plans and telling my American Husband all about it.  “I have this amazing THING I am going to do!!” and he would get excited too.

But then.

This will never work.  How can I possibly find anyone to help with this?  And how can I afford it?  Besides, who would listen to me about anything?  I am a nobody.  What do I have to offer the world?  Who am I to set myself up as teacher/leader/guide in anything?

But hey, I’ve dealt with the nagging voice of my own self doubt for my whole incarnation, so I know how to muscle through.  So the next step is to soldier on despite the doubts.  Let’s say, for instance, the Dream is that I will write a book, perhaps about Past Lives for instance. Hypothetically speaking of course.

I decide I will sit down and write, despite the cacophony of self loathing that is singing in my head.  Here’s what happens next.

I sit down to write.  But wait, I have to pee.  So I get up to pee and on my way back I remember that I should take something out of the freezer for supper, so I grab a package of chicken and set it to thaw on the counter.  Hey, maybe I’ll make that yummy lemon chicken we had at Mom’s last month.  I better call her for the recipe.  Beep beep beep, dialing, “Hello Mom, how are you?…”  Twenty minutes later with recipe in hand I realize that we need a few ingredients, so I suit up and head over to the grocery store.  By the time I get back I see that it is lunchtime, so I make some soup, and while I am eating I figure I might as well catch up on my Downton Abbey viewing, so on goes the Netflix.  Part way through my 3rd episode I look down at the laptop, just sitting there on the table, mocking me.  I reach over and close it, trying to ignore the niggling guilt.  I can’t write now, I don’t have time, I justify to myself.  Finishing the episode I jump up and start prepping supper.  So I didn’t write today?  So what.  Nothing will ever come of it anyways.

Debbie Downer get out of my head.

When I watched Steven Pressfield talk about Resistance and describing it as a real, tangible thing, I had a great big Oprah A-HA moment.  If Resistance was a thing, then I could find away around it.  But how?

First I tried to identify how Resistance wages war on me.  I came up with the Big 3.  They are, in no particular order:

1.  Procrastination.  This weapon of mass destruction has lobbed it’s poison at me more than any other.  I will do it tomorrow, after this, once that happens, soon…. Putting my Beautiful Dream off forever into the unreachable future more times than I can count.

2.  Getting busy.  I am an expert at over-scheduling myself.  I fill my days and nights with so many tasks that I just never seem to have time to follow my Beautiful Dream. “Beware the barrenness of the busy life”, says Socrates.  I hear you, Bro.

3.  Self Loathing.  That inner bitch just keeps letting me know I am never going to be good enough, smart enough or gosh darn it, likeable enough. She has been trying to come between me and my Beautiful Dream my whole life.

To set up a viable defense against these three weapons of Resistance, I had to plan my counter-attack.  My line of defense is pretty simple, actually, and so far has worked miracles for me.

I began by making a concerted effort to recognize Resistance as it crept up in its many forms.  Once recognized I would say, “I see you, Resistance!” and then I would imagine that Resistance took the form of a giant bubble, blocking me from my Big Dream.  Huge and unwieldy I would see it there, as a tangible “thing”.  And then I would huff, and I would puff and I would blow it away.

Easy as pie.  Bubbles have no defense against a good gust of air.

This simple tool has not ended the war with Resistance.  With each new day comes new weapons and tools aimed at stopping me from moving toward my Beautiful Dream, and each day I must be aware, fortify myself and blow those bubbles away.  At times I forget and end up stalling.  Sometimes I stall for months at a time, but eventually I remember.

Resistance I am done.   It’s not me, it’s you.  The beauty of my Dream is calling and I intend to heed her siren song.

bubble

“Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”   Steven Pressfield

Do You Believe?

childlike-awe

Do you believe in magic?
I’m not talking about the David Copperfield kind, full of illusion and sleight of hand.
I’m not talking about the boil, boil toil and trouble kind, full of sorcery and black cats.
I’m not even talking about the sorting hat, Dumbledore I-WANT-TO-GO-TO-HOGWARTS kind.
No. What I am talking about is the kind of magic that lights up the eyes of a child the night before Christmas (no matter how old that child is) and fills each moment with breathless possibility.
Magic.
It’s in that space of anticipation, where possibilities become unlimited. Anything can happen! When we keep ourselves in that space of wonder, we allow the magic into our lives.
And that is where we find our miracles.

Ecstatic Motion

findingbliss

“Stop acting so small.  You are the Universe in ecstatic motion.”  Rumi

Confession of a Theatre Geek:

I listen to Broadway soundtracks while cleaning my house.  I blast them loud and proud, and Yep, I sing along, sometimes pausing in my scrubbing to act out certain parts.  It’s who I am.  It’s what I do.

My daughter, Em has known this about me her whole life, and for the most part is not too terribly embarrassed.  As a matter of fact, she quite often sings along.  The only difference is, she is actually good at it.

I have always believed that every person born into this world has a unique gift or talent, something they are the very best at, that they born to do.  Our purpose in life is to discover what that is and to share it with the world.  For some of us, myself included, it is a lifelong process.  We dabble, and explore, trying this and that until we find something that rings our bell.  For others, like my Em, they figure it out before they even know they have anything to figure out.

The year was 2000, a new century was upon us and without any of the Y2K drama we had been warned about.  Em was 3 years old, sitting in the living room playing with her pretty ponies.  I was in the kitchen, scrubbing something or other, belting along with the Phantom of the Opera, lost in the swells and passions of the music.  It was coming to the end of the song, and I stopped singing because even in my wildest dreams there is NO WAY IN GOD’S GREEN EARTH that I would attempt to hit that last high note that Christine hits.  You know the one I mean… where the Phantom is mesmerizing her to “sing my angel of music, SING FOR ME”.  And, man does she sing!

(I googled it.  The note is a high E natural.  For anyone out there with any singing experience, you know this is a super high nearly Minnie Riperton high note.)

So picture it.  I have stopped scrubbing and am standing listening.  The highest of the high note is about to be sung.  I wonder, fleetingly, if I should turn down the volume so that the wine glasses don’t shatter, when I hear this voice sing out, on perfect pitch just seconds before Sarah Brightman:  a perfect high E natural.

What the…?

I look around the corner, and there is Em, singing to her pretty ponies, effortlessly hitting that high frigging E.  3 years old and she nailed it.

So that is when I figured out that she has a Voice.  She is 17 now and singing is her passion, her purpose and her gift to the world.  She is still undecided about pursuing it as a career path, but there is no denying that her Voice is her Dharma.   What is it like, I wonder, to find your passion that early in life?  She seems pretty darn happy about it to me.  Lucky kid.

Here is a sample of her song stylings now, featuring mismatched socks and impromptu sing-a-long by our dog, Jojo.

Emily

Em Sings

My own journey has not been as simple, or as clear cut.  I have tried my hand at many creative pursuits over the years, from painting, to quilting, costuming to acting, and with each new venture I find a different part of myself.  With each new discovery I am putting the pieces of me together.  And now, as I write everyday, I lose myself in the creative process.  This thing, this writing, is as close as I have come to my soul’s purpose here this time around.  I believe I will see where this road leads.  Isn’t it true that to become more like God, a person needs to create?  For what is God but The Creator.

I am the open vessel through which my Divine Creation flows.

The Art of Dreaming

Dream Chaser by Cypherx
Dream Chaser by Cypherx

 

“Let yourself be drawn by the strange pull of that which you truly love.”  Rumi

Don’t you just love all of the inspirational quotes about following your dreams?  “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.  Preach it, Eleanor Roosevelt!  Or what about our buddy Walt Disney:  “If you can dream it, you can do it”.   And since I have reached that 1/2 century marker, C.S. Lewis has become my new BFF with this one:  “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream”.  Makes me want to take up embroidery so that I can put that on a pillow.

I have found that the problem with growing older is that my freedom and capacity to dream seems to have diminished.  When I was young I could look toward the future and know that anything was possible.  Everything I wished for could actually come true.  Life was expectant and exciting and I hadn’t learned to temper my dreams with logic or reality.  What a wonderful, breathless time that was.

But life set in and before I knew it I was paying a mortgage, raising a child, building a career and taking care of everyone else.  I made sure to cultivate my daughter’s dreams, signing her up for classes and driving her here and there, excited to see her so vividly open to her own beautiful future.  I was busy, never having a moment to myself, but that really didn’t seem to matter.

And then one day somebody asked me a question.  It was a simple question, but one I hadn’t  thought about in a very long time.  The question made me pause, and by pausing I finally understood how very out of touch with myself I had become.  Why was it so hard to answer?

“What are my dreams?”

I honestly couldn’t answer.  Dumbfounded and flummoxed I did what I always do in situations like this one.  I googled.  My searching brought me to a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, called Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling.   I recognized his name from PBS specials my Dad liked to watch and decided to give it a try.   I ran down to the local bookstore and picked it up.  It was my first book by Dr. Wayne and I was captivated almost at once.  My family and I were headed to St. George to visit my parents and I ended up reading the whole thing on the way there.  Every word, every new chapter was another AHA! AHA! AHA!

Wayne’s words were like water to my thirsty soul:  “There’s a voice in the universe calling each of us to remember our purpose; our reason for being here now, in this world of impermanence.”  Yes, Wayne!  Yes there is!  ” The voice whispers, shouts, and sings to us that this experience of being in form, in space and time, knowing life and death, has meaning. The voice is that of inspiration, which is within each and every one of us.”  YES!   It IS within me!

I could have danced with joy had the airplane aisles been just a smidge wider.

This beautiful book began me on my journey to finding my inner bliss, my purpose and my calling.  I began to really pay attention to what excited me.  And once I finally figured out what my dreams were, I made efforts, even if they were just baby steps, in the direction of those dreams.  Baby steps to personal fulfillment.  Baby steps to divine enlightenment.  Baby steps to Bliss.

In these subsequent years I have learned a few things about being a Dream Catcher.  Perhaps a list is in order?

1.  Dream big, then grow into it.  There is no sense in attaching limitations to our dreams.  Shoot for the stars and wait for the Universe to build you a rocket ship.

2.  Be specific.  Clarify what you want so that you can easily visualize it.  Write it down and remind yourself as often as possible so that you stay focused on the Dream.

3.  Ask for help.  Call in your celestial team for a meeting and delegate the tasks to your angelic helpers and spirit guides.  In other words, pray. .. whatever that means for you.

4.  Believe.  Trust that your Dreams will come true and they will.  You become what you believe.  Simple as that.

5.  Let go.  The hows and the whens will be sorted out by the Universe.  Don’t try to micro-manage the celestial team, because that is just likely to slow things down or trip things up.  They know what they are doing a whole lot better than you do.

6.  Take a few steps.  With every moment of every day take those baby steps as you are guided.  The path will show itself and you will be guided in the perfect way and at the perfect time to your Dream destination.

Your life is yours to live.  Dream big, and believe that those dreams will come true.