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Reflections on Growth and Change

We have entered a New Year and a shift to increased light in each day.  Light to shed on the new possibilities and opportunities ever present as we walk the path of our lives.  It is the custom of many at the beginning of the year to make “resolutions” and be very committed to them for the first two months or so – then lose interest, or momentum, as time moves on.  I know – I’ve been there! But for the last two years I have chosen to do something different.  I have created vision boards from a place of openness and receptivity.  Last years focus was on “coming as you are” – in other words no hiding anything and fully expressing!

Vision Board 2010

This year I sat with two women friends on the first day of 2011 again creating vision boards, and taking part in ritual to shift each one of us into a receptive space of letting go, and opening to bringing in.  Part of that ritual included making a list of the perceived positive and negative events/experiences that happened over the last year that has just ended.  After sharing with each other we burned them in a ritual of letting go, and then proceeded to meditate together for 11 minutes (for 2011) before starting our creations.  Reflecting back on this time together a day later I find that ritual with other women feels like “coming home”.

 

Sitting down to start selecting images and words to remind of intentions around actions to be taken, energies to embody, and paths to explore,  it seemed more important to put the focus on one word for the entire year.  Every experience in 2011 would be informed by the energy and layers of that word.  My word was WEALTH – in all of its many meanings.

 

For some guidelines on choosing your word for the year go to Christine Kane’s – Your Word of the Year Discovery Tool at: http://christinekane.com/blog/a-free-gift-to-uplevel-your-2011/

In ending this post I want to say that I sometimes wonder about the  “shells” that we often encase ourselves within – patterns, beliefs,  and self imposed limitations – keeping us from expressing and being the fullness of who we are as women and unique beings.  I know that has been true for me.  Are we really “protecting” ourselves, or is it time to break through the shell and shine, show our light and our strength, and challenge the engrained and contracted self imposed boxes we sometimes place ourselves in.  The mere act of breaking the shell ignites the process of coming home!

 

I say in this first post of 2011 – what if you decided to break through the shell?

Rachel of Mandala Custom Homes (FB) posted a link to the blog of  Anthony Lawlor – author, muse, and architect.  I post it here for all of you to read the wise words he has written, and to witness the miracle of the determined life form to break from its shell.

dwellingherenow.blogspot.com

 

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www.BreathingSpaces.net

Most Recent Post: Ignite – New Beginnings

The Money Paradox – The Power of One Honoring Their Path

Over the past few weeks, as I continue to straddle several worlds of livelihood in my own life, I have been lead to reflect deeply on what will not only bring sufficient cash flow to sustain me, but most importantly will be in alignment with who I am in my fullest and deepest authentic expression and my deep desire to bring good into this world.  There are many of us who have worked diligently on our own “money wounds” and have attempted many strategies for clearing away the “shame” and illusional beliefs around this particular form of energy called money. 

 

 

Recently I have come to the conclusion that a lot of our own self worth has been tied into whether we “have it”, whether we “have enough of it” and whether we “are enough” in order to make/create “it”.  It seems such a waste of precious life energy to have so much of our time and attention tied into such a paradox….and this global scarcity paradigm pervades everything!

 

Many of us are finally coming around to deeply honoring whatever it is that we are called to do, whether it be in the arts, health professions, or business….and disengaging it from having to make large amounts of money from whatever it is that we are doing.   Though that may naturally happen  – it is not the “end all” goal, nor does it define who we are and what we have to bring.

 

When I had my own business in massage, breath work, yoga therapy and women’s  retreats, I remember the thoughts of “needing one more person to sign up” or “having enough clients for the week” which seemed to be a never ending cycle of  “not enough” and struggle – which then translated inside of me to “I guess I am just not enough because I don’t know how to do this and sustain my well being at the same time in the manner that my culture tells me I should be doing”!  In fact, I loved what I was doing, but the self imposed pressure to “make more money” took away from that natural feeling of fulfillment and creativity.

We all know that this is a journey that most all of us have to walk, until we find the peace inside of ourselves to do what it is that deeply calls to us from a place much deeper than monetary gain.  Sometimes that means we will have “lean” times, and sometimes we will have “abundant monetary” gains….but amidst it all is the knowing that we are listening to what moves us, honoring our creativity, heart, intelligence, and intuition –   and giving it out into the world as the video above reflects to us.

 

This week a Facebook connection that I think highly of posted a piece that you will find below.  McCall has been consciously walking her path for awhile now and I found this piece deeply honest and real.  This may touch some of you and others may disagree,…but what is important here is that we speak what is moving in us, share our stories, and support each other in walking the path of “enough” – ourselves and the resources we have at our disposal.  I have asked that we start a revolution – a revolution of ENOUGH – of perhaps more than enough – as we look in the mirror at our magnificent beings and recognize the “power of one” walking a soul path !  Thank you McCall for this piece and for stimulating dialog!

The Money Paradox: Feeding the Belly and the Dream

by McCall Erickson: Loving Life At The Edge

So many of us are feeling it now. The urge to do deeper work, to excavate our deepest gifts, passion, and truth, to be the change we want to see in the world.

Not only are we feeling it, we’re doing it! We can’t help but do this. And in doing so, we’re often called to leave behind many traditional life patterns. Including traditional jobs.

Enter money.

Yikes.

How do we continue to pay our bills while following our hearts? We can’t turn away from our soul’s work any sooner than we can avoid death and taxes. We also can’t turn away from the fact that our rent is due, we have mouths to feed, and god damnit it still takes money to live in this world. (Don’t worry; I’m working on a revolution to change that) But for now…

Let me share with you a few key points that have helped me shift and soften this money conundrum since leaving my 9-5 job five years ago to follow dreams.

First, we must must ditch the “Do what you love and the money will follow” saying.
I don’t know where this woo-woo-feel-good tagline came from, but evidence shows it’s serving the credit card industry, NOT the soul-saving-change-the-world-with-your-dreams industry. It’s just not reality for most people to instantly make money doing what they love, and I am “most people.”

Let’s face it; we are in a culture that doesn’t pay change-the-world-creative-types the big bucks. We pay doctors, lawyers, athletes, and Hollywood mega stars. Many of us are called to follow a soul path of music, writing, art, healing, mentoring, and teaching that doesn’t pay the big bucks. So? We’ll do it anyway if that’s what our souls call us to do. We’ll do what we love and figure out a way to pay the bills. Some may call this limited thinking. I call it reality.

Next, we must must stop attaching our worth or how well we are following our true path to how much money we are bringing in from it.
There’s a saying among writers that goes, “The only difference between not being published and being published is being published.” Same goes for making money from our gifts. One of my greatest mentors is an amazing writer. All of her books are self-published and as good (and more life-changing) than many books I’ve read on the best-seller list. But she doesn’t pay her mortgage from book royalties. (Few authors do) But she is hitting her soul calling right on the mark.

As for me, I felt like the most dreadful failure a year after quitting my job, writing killer songs, creating my own buzz in the indie music scene, and expecting the money to follow, because “God damnit I was following my passion!” but instead I had a $10,000 credit card bill in my hands and no way to pay my rent.

And I couldn’t go back to a 9-5 job. I just couldn’t.  I’d come too far on my own path.

Rock
and
a
hard
place
!

Learn to negotiate to fund the dream.
So, I got a waitressing job, knocked out my debt, kept food (organic food, of course) on my table, and kept writing songs. Strangely, that waitressing job made me feel less of a failure and more at peace knowing I was taking care of shit on my end. I’ve gone in and out of seasons of needing my waitressing job to pay the bills since then, because sometimes I’m making enough from my dreams than other times. I am no longer ashamed or prideful about that either way. It is what it is. It’s all an energy flow, and there are greater things at play here than I have control over.

These days I’m not picky about where the money comes from, as long as I’m living true to my heart and bringing good to the world. I can do that while waiting tables too. Some people can even do that while working a 9-5 job. Truth be known, you’ll find me more often than not advising my clients to keep their day jobs as long as possible. Day jobs can be a blessing. They can fund the dream! I say, stay until staying truly interferes with your soul moving forward, not until you merely have a case of entitlement and wish you were somewhere other than there. Only you can know when that is.

Embrace the paradox.
All this said, I still find myself falling into the trap of thinking “Someday when I figure out how to really make money with this. Someday, when I’m discovered. Someday….then the money paradox will go away.” Hmf! It never goes away. It might soften and get easier over time, and yes, we really can (and do) make money following our hearts and using our gifts. But the paradox is always there. Even for Oprah, Meryl Streep, and James Taylor. We all need money to live. Embrace the paradox, and it softens. I promise.

Alright my friends, that’s all I have for now. I just gave you my best on the money issue. As always, open to hearing your take on things. We all grow together when we share our experience, strength, and hope.

From one dream-builder to another,

McCall

McCall Erickson: Loving Life At The Edge

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTTwww.BreathingSpaces.net

It Is Our Imperfection That Connects Us

As the holiday season gets fully underway the stress of attempting to be “perfect” in doing all that “needs to be done”  hits us with full force.  Connection with others becomes foremost in our every day experience as we juggle shopping, working, parties, entertaining, and on and on.  Emotions run their highs and lows, and at times we end up
wishing all of it would just “be over with”.

A couple of weeks ago a video came my way which was a very well done interview by Patricia Gras with Dr. Brene Brown.  Dr. Brown has done extensive qualitative research on the emotion of “shame” and its intimate connection with perfectionism.  She states that shame is a very primitive emotion and that it has to do with fear of disconnection.

Connection is “hard wired” into our being as humans and is a basic need.  Shame is an intensely painful feeling or belief that we are flawed in some way and somehow inadequate or unworthy of connection.

Our culture, through media and advertising, blasts us with perfectionism and ridicules those who are not – claiming that we will be accepted and loved if we are perfect.
We end up struggling and creating the very disconnection that we fear the most.

It is here that we are invited to look at areas of our lives where we struggle with perfectionism, and more importantly to share the stories with others we trust when we experience shame.  It is our imperfection that connects us with each other – our shared humanity.

Thus, in attempting “perfection” we are actually disconnecting from the very connection we long for.  In authentically sharing our experiences and receiving those stories from others with empathy we are connecting on the deep levels that call to us from our primitive instincts.  Dr. Brown states “shame cannot survive empathy”.

(Go to Part 2 for the second half)  (Thank you to Lynn Walker for this video!)

This holiday season let go of the perfection and appreciate your own humanity and that of others.  Tell stories, listen to each other, and connect on real and authentic levels.  Let go.  Might this contribute to a different holiday season?

Now go to this video and see how easy it is to be connected just by being yourself as you are in the moment and simply waiting for the love to be reflected back to you.  Don’t let anything get in the way of living your life in connection!

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT: www.BreathingSpaces.net

This Weeks Post: Vibration – Another Look At Sacred Geometry

A Mantle For Inner Awareness

“A shawl or mantle – This is an insulating instrument, if not a portable sanctuary: a protective veil between you and the world. Such a cloak, if it is a well-used one, becomes saturated over time with your peace-filled devotion to Creator, Creation and Peace. Such a tapestry is effective during meditation and prayer, when sitting still in your home or nature sanctuary, when strolling, listening to uplifting music, and even sitting at your desk working. “

-Dr C. Forrest McDowell  www.onesanctuary.com

So, it is here that I introduce Kay Moates of On Slender Threads.   Kay, like many of us, went through a radical change and shift in her livelihood, as well as her inner creative awareness of what her next leap in life would be not that long ago.  I have the distinct honor of owning a mantle by Kay and use it daily to create my own sanctuary of inner peace and reflection.   The process that she goes through in order to create one of these mantles is a reflection of the depth of the shift that she made.  Kay was invited to write of the leap that she took from a dance world to one of reflective creation.  Below is her short story of the moments that took her through the passage and into creating On Slender Threads.  Go to her website to learn more!

A Gaggle of Leaps by Kay Moates

Last class taught, performance encored, stage struck, accoutrements neatly pack away . . . well, how about the passions, how about forty years of teaching deeper living through dance and movement . . . how do I fold them up and pack them away? How do I tell those images that dance in my head it’s time to stop, time to be done, over, kaput? “You’re hereby retired!”

No way would the images curtsy. “Fan those passion embers, Kay, fuel the flames!”

Ah, I remembered what I’d taught for years, ‘there’s more than one way to do the same thing’. How many times have I asked dancers to do that? “Well, now you do it, Kay!” So I descended into pondering. Gathering my favorite things into a new expression that kept shifting like a kaleidoscope. First one shape, then another, and another . . . Finally all the parts began to congeal.

What a re-defining this would require of me! Skills that were so different I was a stranger in a foreign land. In most cases I didn’t even know the vocabulary for framing questions. And so, the gaggle began. What, use words, write them down, but I’m a non-verbal specialist . . . leap. I must become competent with my Mac . . . leap, understand the internet and surf . . . leap, leap . . . join established internet sales venues . . . leap, purchase and learn a new camera . . . leap, take photos that give a virtual touch . . . leap, learn photoshop . . . leap, and leap yet again and again. Leaping is a playful game now.

Probably the biggest leap is yet to be landed. How does a contemplative who creates in Silence market Mindfulness Mantles via social media? Here goes. Are you watching?

Inhaling, bending knees, pushing off, air borne, straightening legs, softening joints, opening heart into full fall . . . arms spread wing wide . . .

To Find Kay at On Slender Threads please go to: 

http://www.OnSlenderThreads.com
http://www.facebook.com/OnSlenderThreadsWearableZenMoments

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTTwww.BreathingSpaces.net

In Beauty May I Walk – Leaps Are Optional

Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.
– Carlos Castaneda

 

 

 

Here is the cast for this post, for without each one this awareness would not have been birthed:

Shakti-Samtosha (Peace-Contentment) yoga practice

Carl, representing Health and Wellness coaching

Jan, who is unraveling the grief around the death of her beloved husband after many years of illness

Ron, who is facing an activation of the cancer that he has been living with for the past year

Adam, who is caught in his own world of mental illness, but does not know it

Lea and her personal story on returning to a state of ease

Unexpected income –  who shall henceforth be named “Wealth

Now that the stage is set, the story can be told.  Have you been told that in order to succeed, or get unstuck you need to leap off of the cliff, precipice or ledge and trust that you will fly?  Well I have, and in fact guided others in this free flight as well.   In fact I have done it many times in my life – leaping, flying, and sometimes falling on my face – with great lessons to be learned.  The question is – are you leaping away or towards yourself?

What if it is true that all the events in our life are personally orchestrated by us in order to come “home” …and without each event, each person, each experience we would not understand why we are here, and certainly wouldn’t be able to make those choices that serve our highest well being, and that of everyone and everything we touch.

This awareness may not help when we are in the midst of unbearable grief, full on fear for our lives, intense worry about financial well being, distorted thinking and a feeling of utter abandonment, or uncertainty about what our next step will be.

Yet, it is here in this rich territory of choice and head-on life that we find that it may not be as dramatic as jumping off of a cliff, but instead, like a powerful dream of mine several years ago.  A realization that as you are standing on the edge trying to think your way down to “safety” or the next leap – a path suddenly appears as you turn your head to look at what is around  you.  A path that is uniquely yours and leads in an easeful  and clear (although sometimes not seeming to) way to your next destination.  All you have to do is listen, feel, and start walking…

So, here is the story.  There is an older woman that has done many things in her life that she feels good about.  She has given birth to and nurtured 3 boys into manhood; spent many, many years in the healing professions bringing people into embodiment through touch, breath, energy, listening, guiding, and love; has created 3 businesses on her own and enjoyed the creative process of each one; spent a total of 21 years in living relationships with men who taught her a great deal; owned houses; taught yoga; traveled to far away places, had adventures,  and learned from shamans and healers; called dolphins to her in the wilds of the ocean; continues to act on her passion for writing; and adores the creative and uninhibited joy of dance and art.

This woman feels she is now at a crossroads – a pivotal point.  Many options and possibilities are open to her.  Does she start another business in health and wellness coaching, join a community of evolutionary visionaries, write her book, or stay where she is which is out-of-alignment with who she knows she is and what she has to bring?

In this only two day journey, the beginning is marked by a yoga practice focused on peace and contentment. A yoga practice that she has put on the shelf for a period of time.  Falling into her body, breath, and surrendering her tight and contracted body she cries.  The waking up has begun.

She receives an e-mail from one of her readers, Jan, that shares the fragile place she finds herself in the aftermath of her husbands death, and the knowing that she did everything she could to help him.  The reader reports that she can hardly find her way to reach out to what she may need at this time.  This honesty touches this woman reminding her that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have – including her, and that sometimes it is not right timing to reach out – that each person’s journey can only be chosen by them.

This is emphasized even more by her brother Rons quest for health and life in his journey with cancer, having to deal with some very difficult treatment choices – and her son Adams mental illness that has him locked within his own mind unable to accept the fact, or even be aware, that he needs loving assistance to come back to life – his life.

Waves of energy hit her and clarity begins to filter through.  There doesn’t have to be a leap, free fall, or soaring as the case may be.  It isn’t fear or uncertainty that make the decision not to pursue the health and wellness coaching with the large training company.  An e-mail is written to Carl, the director of marketing.  She now knows that it is alignment with beauty, peace, essential nature, and ease that has been calling for days now – not the path to growing yet another business, no matter how qualified she is.

On the second day of this awakening a friend Lea (www.ReplenishYourSoul.com) writes of her journey back towards ease in her life, having seen the effects of struggle and pushing patterns in body, mind and relationship over this last year. Just a gentle walk to another location inside that says here – here is where you are to be.  Trust and honor what you know.

Guidance is coming in many forms now as the waking up – speeds up.  A letter arrives in the P.O. box which says in the window – Pay To The Order Of – with her name on it.  Unexpected income.  Flow of Wealth. The message – honor your path and the flow returns.

Not making a choice because it might be “good for her to take yet another leap”  – but acknowledging and honoring the place inside that says TRUST – it will be shown to you.  There are many ways to return to and know your path.  Listen in to your bodies messages.  Just turn your head and start walking.  Leaps are sometimes necessary, but always optional…

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
– Henry David Thoreau

P.S  The woman is me. Deep gratitude to the cast!

OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTTwww.BreathingSpaces.net

If I Were Brave

May today I find peace within.

Green Tara

May I trust my highest power
that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received
and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be content knowing that I am a child of God.
May this Presence settle into my bones,
and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

– St Teresa of Avila (16th Century Spanish Saint)

It is with the quote above that I start this post on being brave and courageous in your life.  I too, like so many of you, stand on the precipice.  As I stand here I remember that you are here with me as well, but that somehow doesn’t stop the thought – Gee, you would think that it would be easier by now since I have been here so many times before.

Perhaps that is the definition of a life well lived….you stand here many, many times and have the opportunity to create your own unique leaping dance trusting that even if you fall on your face….. there will be a “lifting up” that inspires you to leap yet again.

As Chameli Ardah states on her Awakening Women blog “the Green Tara above embodies the fearless and protective aspect of the feminine, but it is not courage which resists fear. If you think of fear and courage as two ends of a spectrum, we need to be willing to move through the whole range”.    This means that standing in the fear is part of this leap process.

Thus easy isn’t quite the word that defines this passage.  I have learned that when we are seeking alignment with our passions and the Divine plan for our life, it is then that we consider taking those leaps and making those choices that bring us into the discovery of what that still small voice has been saying to us for oh so long.

It is here that faith and trust in the wholeness of who we are comes into play.  It is also here that we remember who we really are….and say YES!  Yes, to the healing, yes to one more day to love and be loved, yes to starting over again one more time, yes to the creativity that sometimes rocks us with its insistence that it be brought out into the world, yes to the risk of finding more of who we are, yes to being vulnerable, being “seen” and surrendering the resistance, yes to giving back from a full place with every fiber of our being.

It can come in big leaps, but also can come in stages like the walking of a labyrinth where each step brings you closer to the edge of discovery…and then to the heart of the matter.  The clues are all around us right now.  All we need to do is be still and listen carefully.  The answer is always there.

As you watch this video by Jana Stanfield remember that you are also one of these women that reached deeply inside, found her strength and courage, was not afraid to ask for support as needed, and leapt into Herself, settling into this Presence deep within  your bones.  Rock on!

Thank you to Jana Stanfield and the sponsorship of Robin Rice (The Awesome Women Hub)  and Randy Grossman  (Randy Grossmans Amazing Music Portal)
for birthing this project.

If I Were Brave – by Jana Stanfield

 

Other Blogs by Gaye Abbottwww.BreathingSpaces.net

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