spirituality

Be the Light and Come Fly with Me

Be the Light and Come Fly with Me
Butterfly “In The Moment” Energy Painting by Julia Watkins

“You are in transformation. It’s a beautiful place to be.” These are the words I heard from a dear woman who is part of a women’s mastermind circle I’m part of that just began in January of this year.

We meet once a month to support each other in our celebrations, guide us in our challenges, and speak our truth in order to not only move forward in our own individual lives, but to hopefully be the example that shining our light can positively affect those around us.

On this, International Women’s Day, I’m riding on a cloud of gratitude to have been with these five amazing women today and in this time of great change.

For three years I was in transition, which I’d ultimately come to realize was a gift and I write about in my latest book, Wisdom Found in the Pause – Joie’s Gift.

From that transition I realized I was being called to offer creative workshops for women to guide them through their own transitions and transformations, and help them step more fully into their being. It is something I’ve become very passionate about.

But the road hasn’t always been easy because it meant I had to let go of what was in order to accept the call. I had to let go of an identity I had tied myself so closely to, and really, how so many others identified me with as well. That role of sharing the message that dogs with disabilities can live a quality life.

That will always be a part of me. But underneath my work with Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, my little dachshund in a wheelchair, that little light of mine was gaining new insights.  I was growing stronger in my confidence and my belief’s as a woman. 

As one of the women today talked about her own transformations over the years, it is her horses that brought her to the awakened place she is today. Tears sprung to my eyes as for me, it’s been my dogs. I wouldn’t be who I am today without opening to the lessons they were teaching me.

And while those lessons remain embedded in my heart, and I’ll always have room in my heart to love dogs, I’ve felt called to expand on who I am, (besides someone who loves animals deeply) and share that with others.

So my friend was right, I’m in transformation. Frankie and Joie (as well as my other dogs) gave me the courage to begin to test my wings to see what I was made of. And now I stand on my own.

It’s a place I want to be. But it also means I have to step out in other ways in order to continue to transform and do the work I wish to do, which is facilitating workshops for women – to be a guide in helping others to tap into their intuition, through creativity and connecting with nature and animals – and my belief that when we take more time to pause and listen to our soul, it will ultimately help us to live more meaningful lives.

Being in transition came the understanding of the importance of letting go and accepting. Now being in this stage of transformation means spreading my wings more fully and shining that light that is being called to shine in a new way.

I’m not alone. This I know. Women all around the world are feeling what they sometimes can’t put words to – but I believe it is that little light within you that wants more than anything to shine in your own brilliant way.

So on this International Women’s Day I celebrate each of you and say from the depths of my heart, Let that Beautiful Light of Yours Shine!

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Search for Yourself, by Yourself

Search for Yourself, by Yourself

Do not allow others to make your paths for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. Accept yourself and your actions. Own your thoughts. Speak up when wrong, and apologize. Know your path at all times. To do this you must know yourself inside and out, accept your gifts as well as your shortcomings, and grow each day with honesty, integrity, compassion, faith, and brotherhood.  ~Terri Jean

I love this quote though may I add, “sisterhood”  to this as well. The quote is from 365 Days of Walking the Red Road – The Native American Path to Leading a Spiritual Life Every Day.

I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the Native American culture. The more I learn and understand, the more my heart breaks for what I feel is such a disservice we did to the Native American’s in our history. How we thought our way was better. How that caused great distress and harm to the Native American’s and to the earth and to our ourselves.

Their connection to the earth, plants, animals,  sky, and the Creator, and the wisdom this offers is something I feel more drawn to everyday of my life. How their connection to all living things is what they instill in their everyday practices and rituals to guide their lives. 

Author Kent Nerburn quotes Ohiyesa, a great Dakota teacher and thinker in his book, Voices in the Stones – Life Lessons from the Native Way, “Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone.”

He goes on to write, “There is no need to justify the purity or sufficiency of your spiritual convictions, no need to defend them through theology or philosophy or argumentation. All that is necessary is that you acknowledge the Great Mystery that is behind everything and present in everything.”

Having read this last night and then the quote from Terri Jean about walking your own road alone this morning, accepting your gifts and your shortcomings, and understanding that the road is yours alone to travel really hit home for me today.

We all take wrong turns in life. I was reminded of that today having just let go of something I thought I wanted to pursue and realizing I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons. I’d lost my way of who I was.

What I’m grateful for is that I found myself back to what matters most to me in a relatively short period of time and didn’t spend too much time traveling down what I feel was the wrong road for me.

It was by being in silence and having an honest conversation with myself that I realized an opportunity I was looking to follow wasn’t coming from my heart. When I took the time to tune back into who I authentically I am it became clear that the intention and committment I made to pursue teaching workshops and SoulCollage® workshops is exactly where I want to be.

While the other road I took for a very short time may have afforded me the opportunity to gain more financially, it didn’t speak to my soul of how I want to continue making a difference where I can.

As I read the teachings of the Dakota teacher in Nerburn’s book I was reminded that being open to the Great Mystery, having faith, and trusting the path ahead when walked with integrity and from the compassion in my heart is the right road for me to walk….

And my spirit soars for having found my way back to myself, by myself.

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Space still available for Talking Sticks Workshop at Joyful Pause Studio, this Saturday, March 4th, 10am-12:30pm.

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Finding a Soft Place to Land

Finding a Soft Place to Land

Something came even more fully into my awareness this past weekend with all that is happening in our world right now.

While I knew this in many ways about myself, it has in one sense caused me great inner angst the past three days, it has also challenged me to dig even deeper into what my values are – and how I can use my gifts to instill change, and do my part in helping create more lasting peace.

I didn’t join the women’s march in my local area. Instead, I listened to the coverage. I also tuned into the inauguration, and with both, I did so with an open mind. And honestly, I had so many emotions watching both, some feelings whirling quite wildly, some confused, some saddened, some worried, some frightened, some concerned, some angry, and even among all those emotions, I still felt hope.

And I’m still feeling hope, but also many of the mixed feelings remain too – and I’m striving for a soft place to land in my heart. This, I know, I’m not alone in. I’ve struggled with how to share my feelings here on my blog, or if I even wanted to. Afraid of confrontation, but yet, feeling called to express myself in a way that feels right for me.

I applaud each and every person on this planet that exercises their right to speak their truth with respect and honor. This – respect and honor – kept coming up for me time and time again over the weekend – how these two values, so important to me, were present in many passionate speeches on Saturday with the coverage of the women’s march, but sadly in some cases, weren’t – well, at least, I should say, from my point of view. In part, I was disappointed with myself for thinking how could I be so naïve?  We are all human – and we are all deeply flawed – and I absolutely include myself in this.

I find myself struggling with not wanting to fall into judgement because for the truth that we indeed are all flawed. The great angst for me, and what has come more fully into view, is how very sensitive I really am to all that is coming undone, which for me means that tears come easily and often.

I realized that I had, and will continue to, process all of these emotions. And this is key I believe that we each have to do what feels right for each of us in helping us move through this unsettling time.

The call – more urgent now than ever for each of us to dig in and go within, find our voice, and express it in a way in which we feel most confident….and finding a way in which we can find that soft place to land within our hearts for reflection, renewal, and moving back out into the world again each day.

One thing I did after watching the inauguration was to tune into a prayer vigil offered by a fellow SoulCollage® facilitator.

She, a spiritual mentor, gathered together a reverend, another who practices Native American tradition, and another open to many views of faith – plus anyone else on the call who wished to offer up thoughts, prayers, or meditation—all with different backgrounds and of all colors. It was so soothing to my soul, and helped me to release much negative and worried energy that was feeling stuck, and was pulling me downward, draining me.

And it’s my hope that others will find a way in which to go inward, whether in prayer, or meditation, or walking in nature, or whatever it may be – but something to bring you back to center – to ground you – so that we move forward, and continue to, in conscious, passionate, helpful, positive thought and not anger, blame or shame.

I also found solace in shamanic teacher and visionary Sandra Ingerman thoughts:

“We must experience all the feelings coming up for us and then we must do our spiritual work to hold the light. Otherwise we have no power to create positive change. Let us stand together and shine.
I know what I am asking is not easy.
But we cannot feed the anger, hate, and separation. What we feed grows!

This was, at that moment when I read this, a soft place for me to land and simmer in for a moment, but I know it isn’t going to remain – it will ebb and flow —and that is where I believe the real work is – to revisit it often and find a way to work through our own inner turmoil.

There should be no judgement on whether one marched or did not, or that it makes one less than or not…though that is the dark side of what comes up as I’ve, and many others, have been witnessing in some of the news outlets and social media. Though to be fair, there is so much good being expressed too and those are the places and people I find solace and solidarity with to keep moving forward in a positive direction.

This is our chance to practice true peace – true humanity – in that we each have something of value to offer — whether you marched or not, agree or disagree with our current president — but to practice kindness and peace with each and every person you come in contact with — and to do our very best to really open, become aware, and really listen to each other.

Whether we stand together as so many on Saturday did, or we stand within our own sacred space as one, holding the collective energy of wanting true and lasting peace for all, it all matters, and makes a difference. And I really do believe we all truly want the same thing.

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