inner voice

Message from Hippo. Welcome Home to Who You Are.

Message from Hippo. Welcome Home to Who You Are.

For over three years I’ve been giving thought to forming a women’s circle, which I’m in the process of preparing for, and gearing up to do, in the new year. I’m also collaborating with another young woman to offer a workshop on a Native American tradition about Talking Sticks. It will be December 21st, on the Winter Solstice.

As I move into this new space in my life I’ve been asking for guidance from the deck of Animal Wisdom Tarot cards and also from my deck of SoulCollage(r) cards I’ve created the past two years.

My question is simple as I shuffle the animal cards and my SoulCollage(r) deck: Please provide guidance for me around facilitating workshops for women.

Shivers ran up down and my spine when Hippo is the card that has revealed itself on three separate occasions in the past seven days when I’ve posed my question and Hippos wise message of Welcome home to who you are. Each time I think of this message it just makes me so happy.

And the SoulCollage(r) cards I’ve been drawing which have not been the same, but they have revolved around what I feel are reminders to follow my heart and are about the lessons I’ve learned around keeping myself grounded, going within often, and trusting in my intuition.

The first time I posed my question for guidance around doing workshops, the SoulCollage(r) card that came up was one of my spirit animals – the animal that came to me during a guided meditation in 2014 – Wolf.  The message I received at that time was to continue to open my heart and follow the fire within.

The other two cards that surfaced during two different occasions are reminders for me that no matter what I may do going forward, it is important to take time each day to refill my own well with time for reflection and meditation in some form.

And so it is. And I’m recalling when I decided to write my first children’s book – how I had feelings of fear and excitement all at the same time – and not sure where it would take me. And how I went on to write another children’s book and now two memoirs. I can’t say as I ever saw that coming or really ever planned it – but followed what felt right.  And oh, what a journey it has been!

And in many ways, I feel like it has led me to where I am today – venturing into somewhat new territory as I give thought to doing more workshops in my studio, Joyful Pause. I don’t know how it will all unfold, but trusting that if it is meant to be, I will continue to be guided.

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Who Says it Has to Be this Way?

g and flowers e

Maybe it was the poem I read last night by Mary Oliver, What I Can Do that inspired me to follow my impulse today, which then led to another impulse to write this journal post.

I’ve been working on a writing project on and off since November 2013. Making more progress with it lately which has me feeling so alive and eager to greet each day.

This morning after finishing my ritual of standing in front of my mandala, reviewing my desires for the year and conditions I wish to live by, I then picked one of my SoulCollage cards from my deck, an angel card and then an animal card. I posed my question to the cards and found answers in them that lit me up inside.

This does not always happen and I have to search deeper for the meaning, but when it feels so right on and so clear, well, that to me, is magical… and inspiring.

I did my yoga practice and as I was moving through each pose I heard my inner voice suggest that after I was done I should go right to my writing desk and work on my writing project. It felt so freeing to think this. But then the other part of me, who is so conditioned to follow “rules” of which I’ve for the most part imposed on myself, showed up.

And the loop began, “You can’t write first. You have to first get ready for the day, put your make up on, curl your hair, eat your breakfast,” and on and on the list went of what I normally do – my normal routine.

Thank goodness my free will side was stronger today and it was having nothing of what my conditioned self was trying to tell me.

I fought back. “What do you mean I have to do those things first?  Who says? I want to write first. Who cares if my hair isn’t curled or I don’t have make up on. Really, does that matter?  I want to follow this impulse and see where it goes.”

I was challenging that part of myself that has to always have things in a neat orderly fashion and it felt incredibly liberating to know I was going to follow through on what was calling me to do.

And I did it. I rolled up my yoga mat and immediately plunked my butt in my chair. My fingers flew across the keyboard, much like they are right now, eager to share my voice with the page.

There are so many “rules” and how society says we should live our lives that our inner voice gets lost in all the noise. I don’t want to live like that. I want a life that is meaningful to me. One that matters most to me.

What I can do is follow the path that is right for me. What I can do is live from the heart and center of who I am. What I can do is be an example of what it means to follow our impulses and see where it can lead us.

While there may not be fireworks going off in the sky announcing that yes, Barbara Techel, just went against the “rules,” and followed what felt right to her, I must say that there a is a welcome and warm fire burning inside of me that feels delicious.

That flow of life, that when you are in it, you never want it to leave. But I won’t worry about that now. Because what I can do is ride this wave. Enjoy it. Savor it. Recall it when I need for next time my conditioned self tries to win a battle.

What I can do is life by my own inner light of desires.

Though it is expected to be well below average in temps this week and another blast of cold air on it’s way Wednesday and Thursday, what I can do is think Spring — and so the photo of Gidget above I share from last summer after a successful day shopping at our local Farmer’s Market.

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Are You Listening to Your Inner Voice?


When I saw this quote it made me think, How many of us drown out that inner voice or stuff it down when it comes up?” I’m guilty of it. But I can also say that I have listened to that inner voice. And I’ve learned to do that more as I get older.  It’s part of the reason I love this getting older thing– lots of good stuff is coming from it. And I can say when I have taken the time to listen and then follow that voice,  the results have been life changing.

I talk more in depth about this in my upcoming book. I wrestled often with what my heart was trying to tell me. But I kept pushing it down. One of the reasons being is because the path I had been on, I was afraid what others would think of me if I jumped off that path.  Society seems to have a set of rules and regulations that is applied to all of us and how we should live our lives. While those rules may work for some, it does not work for all.

How come we don’t hear more about listening to that inner voice and following it? Why aren’t we taught to follow our heart?  Why aren’t we taught that it’s okay to try different things in the course of our life?  You also hear that it is great to be you, but yet we are swamped with all these images of perfection– or what seems to be perfection.

What if everyone today listened to that inner voice?  Can you imagine?  Imagine how different our society would be?  We’d all be living our dream and no dream would be too small or too big, and no dream would be right or wrong. And listening to our inner voices would by default create more happiness. How cool is that?

My inner voice started nagging at me when I was around 38-years older. Over the next few years it grew louder and louder.  There were some days when I just didn’t want to live in my head- it was not fun!  It began about a year before 9/11. Then the tragic event of 9/11 took place along with a personal event for me that  happened around the same time.  You can read more about that in this excerpt from my book if you haven’t already.  But that inner voice started to gain strength as the next few years would unfold. And it really started to sing from the lessons I was learning from the wonderful dogs in my life.  As I started to listen that is when my Joyful Paws moments really began to unfold.

Just before I hit the publish button for this post a wonderful article popped up in my email, so thought I’d share the link to “How to Live a Heart Centered Life.”