Word for the Year Follow-Up

I did it. I finally found my word for the year.

Or, rather, it found me.

As 2018 ended, I went through my end of year review and my year ahead intention-setting. And I began to live in the questions: what did I want to be my guiding word, an anchor as I traversed the days of the year ahead?

What did I want more of in my life? What was I calling in?

I kept circling around different words. I’d try them on for a few days. I’d think I’d found it. I’d think I’d found it, but in time, something would not feel quite right about it. t was like wearing a new sweater that looked great in the store, but doesn’t really feel like me when I get it home and wear it for the first time.

And then one day, as I was driving home, just sort of trying on the sixth or seventh word, free-associating, a new word came to me. And as I repeated it to myself, I found myself deeply moved. So much so that I had to pull over.

And then I just knew. It was “the one.” It was something I was ready to live in, to aspire to, to own.

The word that I heard was “Core.” And then “Ownership.”

So 2019 is all about Core for me. And Ownership. It is about living from my core. Owning my truth. Knowing and expressing my true feelings.

Getting to intimately know my core self. My power. Living from my power. Listening to my gut. Trusting my intuition. Living from my creativity.

Trusting my own sense of reality and living as fully and freely as I can from a place of deep authenticity.

Expanding and deepening my inner strength. I have been doing Pilates for a few years, but I want to really gain mastery over the deepest, inner-most and lowest abdominal muscles. To fully know my own strength. To move from my strength, my Yoni.

It makes so much sense to me now that this is the word that found me. The work of the past few years have set me up for where I am now. From Track Yoga:

The third chakra—the manipura chakra—is the center of personal power. As you’d expect, it’s located in the core of the body, at the solar plexus. To fully be ourselves, we need a strong core. Balancing the third chakra means maximizing personal power and strength.

When energy flows through the third chakra, we feel a strong sense of purpose and self-worth. We’re able to exert power without being controlling or dominant. In other words, we take our rightful place in the world and live in peace among all beings. We are energetic and enthusiastic about the life we are meant to live.

The first and second chakras govern our sense of security and our ability to express ourselves creatively and emotionally. We need a strong sense of our own personal power to use those abilities. The third chakra, then, unleashes our creative force when we feel secure in the world.

And so here I am, 29 days in. It is my guide as I move through my day, making decisions. Am I listening to my core? Am I acting from a place of ownership?

I remind myself to breathe. To listen. To sense.

It feels so right. I cannot wait to see how the year unfolds.

What is your word for 2019, if you have one? How is it going so far?

#wordfortheyear #2019 #guidingword #intuition

I share my posts here.

The Path

A year ago, out-of-the-blue, I was overcome with the desire to challenge myself to post daily. The idea was to do it for a year.

I had been struggling at the time with unexplained, extreme fatigue. My ability to be active in my normal life was severely impaired.

The posts became a daily lifeline to my creativity. A way to keep being in the world creatively, even if I could not be physically.

It has been an amazing gift.

That daily connection to readers and other writers has been crucial to my well-being. I am so very grateful for whatever wisdom inspired me to self-challenge myself.

I missed a day or two. But I did post a day for about 362 days. I wish to celebrate that. I could easily just bypass it, which is my tendency of all actions I take.

But not this time. Today, I acknowledge and celebrate my having posted daily for over a year, with a few three exceptions.

I showed up no matter what. On sick days, depressed days, vacation days, super busy days, days I really did not want to write.

And I learned to just write no matter what. To let things be less than perfect. To “just do it.”

I “met” amazing fellow writers and have been exposed to so many wonderful, different verse blogs.

And now, just as suddenly as the idea came to me to do it daily, I find that my desire to continue posting daily has gone.

I am so curious about this. Is it because I am now fully back into activities of my life?

Or are my creative impulses unpredictable?

Is it because I “completed” something and so desire some new challenges?

That has yet to be revealed.

For now, I accept that I challenged myself to do something, loved it, learned a great deal from the doing of it.

I thank those of you who have read me daily or several times a week (or any time!)

I look forward to finding my new pace. Perhaps every other day…

I welcome the wisdom that will surely guide my next step. I have learned to trust my own process. Look where it has brought me so far!

Inspired by The Daily Post Word Prompt: unpredictable

Welcome 2018!

I may need to change the name of my blog.

You see, I am in the midst of doing some exercises that I do each year to help me let go of the passing year and welcome the new one with a clean slate, set intentions and get clear about how I want to feel in the coming year.

Two of my favorite exercises come from the work of Susannah Conway. She generously offers a free Find Your Word program each year, and this year I am deep in the midst of it. Some people do it before the year ends, but I do mine the first week of the new year, in tandem with another process I have learned from her: Unravel Your Year.

With her Unravel Your Year workbook, I go over the year and look at what happened. I celebrate the wins and I embrace the lessons. I identify the things I want to keep doing and the things I would like to change. I ask myself what I want more of in the year ahead, and what I want less of. I envision what I would like to be doing and how I want to feel in the year ahead.

There is so much in both of these free programs — I am barely touching on the content here. I get so excited about them that I just had to share them with you. I highly, highly recommend them! (Thank you Susannah Conway!)

But back to my blog and the name of my blog.

I am in the midst of these year end/year ahead processes and am choosing my word or phrase for 2018. So far words like SOAR, BELIEF, SHINE, GOLDEN, REAL, YES and RISE are coming up repeatedly for me.

I began this blog as an attempt to start moving myself out of my self-contained shell of introversion, secrecy and shame and into the world where I could be seen, known and heard as I really am instead of the presentations I had so artfully created and utilized throughout my survival years on this planet. Hence the “skinny branches,” as I was moving out onto the skinny branches.

But now, I am finding that I want to fly. I want to leap off of the skinny branches and soar to new places, new dimensions. I want to test my wings in the sky.

So I have a dilemma. I love the name of my blog and it has meant so much to me. But I am ready for more than just life on the skinny branches. Do I change the name of my blog, or do I just keep growing and writing about it and let the name stand?

That will be a question I live for the new year, amongst many others.

Maybe that will be my word for 2018: Question.

I am not afraid of living in these questions today, of being “in process.”

2017 taught me how to really allow for that. Unexpected events of the year got me questioning everything in my life. And I mean everything. It was scary at first, and I am still in the midst of it so cannot tell you where it has brought me exactly, but I can tell you tat I know in my gut that it is very important and that where I am going through it is very good.

So we will see what lies ahead.

More to come.

However you choose to usher in the new year, I send my very best wishes to the world and to you for much peace and love in 2018.

A gift I also want to share with you today on this first day of the year is a wonderful 2018 welcoming resource by one of my favorite people (and bloggers) on the planet, Lisa Adams.

Her post today was just too beautiful, inspiring and nourishing not to share. She is a chef amongst her many talents and gifts, so it makes sense that her blog posts are always nourishing.

Enjoy! And Happy 2018!

 

Leap of Faith

Once you start there’s no turning back.

Not a glance, or a slight pause, even if in a jiffy,

Even 1/100th of a second’s worth of hesitation

Sends a ripple that tells the Universe, “Maybe not.”

“Maybe, I’m not sure.” “Maybe I’m not ready.”

 

You have to just take the leap, full-throttle.

Let your heart jump to your throat

And your stomach drop into your feet.

There’s no turning back. There’s only here, now.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: jiffy

More on taking risks: Freefall

 

 

 

That Man Behind the Curtain

So what? So what if I am not up to “par?” What if I am “substandard?”

What the hell does that even really mean?

When I dissect the judgements I have revolved my life around, it is as if I pulled the curtain back to reveal the sweaty, little man who is the voice of the Great Wizard of Oz.

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

There is a Them I have made into a kind of God.

Others against whom I have constantly measured my worth, my performance, my right to be here.

Others who often know no better than what they’ve been taught to believe by the Them that they also believed was The Great Oz.

I’ve pulled the curtain back, and I see what I have been buying into.

It is time to ask different questions. Instead of “What’s wrong with me?” “What can’t I be more like that?” I now ask:

“Less than” …less than what?
“Unworthy of” …as decided by whom?
“Inferior” …to who’s idea of superior?

The standard. Who’s standard? Who sets the standard? The industry? Who is that exactly?

What if in trying too hard to live up to The Standard I overlook or even destroy something that could be truly extraordinary?

Pardon my French, but it has all been one big mind fuck if you ask me.

Well, the fuck stops here.

I belong where I say I belong.

I determine my own value.

I’ve been using the wrong gauge.

I’ve been using the wrong measuring stick, and I’ve been measuring myself against the wrong things. Random ideas I either imagine or have had impressed upon me by others.

No more.

I have another gauge within, one that runs truer than any other, and just like Dorothy’s power to go home again ended up being with her all along, it has been with me all along.

It is my own heart. It is my own unique blend of desire, creativity, will, love, joy, bliss, determination, work, craft and passion.

I belong because I am. And I am. Worthy.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word prompt: substandard

Cutting the Cord

I am on a quest.

A quest to trust myself more. Especially in the arena of decision-making.

It sounds easy enough, right? I mean, I am me. So it makes sense that I should be able to make decisions and act on them. Easy-peasy.

I have thoughts and feelings. I reference the information stored in my brain and body that I have gained through experiences in my lifetime until now.

I know my values. I have my goals, my aspirations. My action plan. I have one, five and ten year plans in place just like experts tell you to. These are supposed to be the touchstone from which you make decisions. Check in with what they are, and if the thing is in alignment with them, voila, you have your decision. What’s not to trust?

But the process above is not the way it goes for me. I agonize over decisions, major and minor. Whether it be deciding what restaurant to go to for dinner or if I should buy a new apartment.

In my decision-making process, I am riddled with doubt at every turn. There is a constant loop of second-guessing that plays in my head. What “should” I do? What are other people doing? What if I pick the wrong thing and ruin my life forever? What if I regret my choice? What if I could have made a better choice? I torture myself.

I used to explain this away as a Libran “ism.” As a Libra, I am prone to weigh the different sides of things. I can see the value in opposing sides. Fairness is of high importance to me. I can see the good in the bad and the bad in the good. It makes decision-making a tedious mess. I end up feeling torn.

I have also pointed to my being an actress, a storyteller, as part of the issue. When posed with a scenario, my mind naturally starts to put together paths of logic that stem from every possibility. I have a vibrant and active imagination and can envision potential outcomes in great detail. This does not necessarily make for easy decisions.

I have even thought that my difficulty making decisions had to do with being the youngest. Often, as the youngest, you grow up doing what others want you to do and going where you are told to go. You learn to follow your older siblings’ lead. You want to do what they do. You want to be where the action is. You don’t know there is any other way than how the family treats you: as the littlest: you are usually just told what to feel, think and do.

I also come from a Protestant people who I think are quite fear-based, so it is in my genes to be cautious and to fear bad things happening as a result of one’s own actions. Don’t rock the boat. Go with the flow. Don’t make waves. This desire to fit in and to protect myself by blending in is often at war with my other desires and impulses, making decision-making all the more tricky.

I also know that due to traumatic events at a pivotal time in my early childhood, I learned to discount my own experience and sense of truth. To doubt my inner truth in favor of what others’ think. That certainly has messed with my ability to reach within, make a decision and trust it.

Though all of these may indeed and probably do contribute to the problem, they aren’t the root cause of my decision-making difficulties. The root, I have come to learn, is satellite thinking.

Satellite thinking/living occurs when a person makes other people’s ideas and opinions and actions have more meaning than one’s own. To be constantly seeking outside evidence, clues and advice as to what to do.

I didn’t even know that is what I was doing for many years. That I was always looking outside of myself to decide what to do.  It is incredibly painful to live that way. It’s exhausting!

I know it now, and I am so grateful.

There’s no fulfillment in that way of living. Ever.

It has been quite an awakening to realize this and to shift into my own core. It has been perhaps the most amazing healing work I have ever done in my life. It has taken patience and tremendous love. I have had to learn to really listen to my own voice within and to discern it apart from those other voices inside my head that have worn their groove into my neuropaths.

And I now feel that I am at the last phase of becoming core-centered. I am at the phase where I actually jump off the psychic edge of the familiarity of looking to the outside to guide me. Where I willingly fall into the unknown abyss that core-centered living feels like.

It is flat-out terrifying. And exciting.

When I think about truly entering into this relationship with myself: asking myself alone what is the next right action; when I think about asking questions of myself such as how do I really want to lively life, and what does a meaningful, well-lived look like to me; what will I feel was a “worthy” life when I am on my deathbed…when I begin to live with these questions, really listening for the answers within underneath the cacophony of those loops, I feel dizzy and disoriented, literally.

It feels like I will become like the astronaut in 2001 A Space Odyssey who is disconnected from the mothership, floating away into black nothingness…

A terrifying image. That is truly how scary it feels. My entire relationship to life is changing. Scary, to be sure. And yet.

It also feels like finally coming home to roost. Like the Eagle has finally landed.

Like I have finally found what I have been looking for and missing my whole life.

Can I ever truly erase that ever-playing loop of doubt in my head? That constant tendency to look to see what is happening “over there,” to ask what are “they” doing in order to decide what I want to do? To question my own sense of reality and defer to what others say is the truth or what I think others would do or what I imagine they want me to do. Can I halt that loop?

Maybe not. But I know it for what it is now. It is just old static. I can brush it away, like a stray hair that is tickling my face.

I can tune the knob and find my own frequency inside. Sometimes it takes awhile to find, but it is always there.

Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz discovering the power to go home again, I find I’ve had it in me all along.

Turns out, I am my own mothership.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: loop

 

The Qualm Before the Storm

I have developed a fascination with intuition.

This comes out of necessity. I used to blame this on being a Libra, but I have come to admit that I am a person who has such fear of doing the wrong thing, that I make decision-making miserable.

Intuition is defined as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.”

Intuition. Also referred to as a hunch, instinct, clairvoyance, second sight, sixth sense…

I really like the idea of second sight. A way of seeing, not with the eyes, but with the body.

What?! How amazing is that to contemplate? The idea that my body can figure things out for me if I will but listen to her.

I have in the past called it the “uh oh” or the “red flag” feeling I can get in my gut. Usually around a person or entering into a space…an internal grab and/or a turning over of the stomach (similar to something I feel on a rollercoaster.)

That qualm in my stomach when something feels “off.” When I am about to do something or have just done something and I experience a seeping, creeping sense of dread around something having to do with it. A small wave of nausea followed by a feeling of dread…

At times I have honored these signals, and have been glad that I did. Other times, I ignored them, only to wish later that I had heeded their wisdom.

(Especially when I was dating. Turns out my body was always right about “reading” guys while my conscious brain worked hard to give them the benefit of the doubt, not wanting to “know” what my body was trying to tell me. Once I simply held my boyfriend’s little address book while moving it off a table in his apartment and I was flooded with fear and a sense of doom. I suddenly just “knew” that he was having an affair. I brushed this little feeling off, judging myself as paranoid. Turns out, I was right on the money. Months later and in a very horribly public way, the truth was exposed. )

That gut feeling, that little inner voice. The part of me that is wiser than my conscious mind.

Sometimes my intuition is very hard for me to sense or “hear.” I can struggle so much around certain decisions and am told to listen to my body for the answer. I sit and meditate, I journal, I ask, but at times, that inner sense, that “knowing” feeling, that little voice can feel so darned elusive.

Why is that? Am I blocking the signals by my looking for them so hard?

As an actress who has been trained extensively in the modern Method, I have learned to listen deeply to my body and not to discard any clues that she gives to me when approaching and working on a role.

Performers learn to follow their impulses and instincts for their craft, and while the intellect is certainly utilized, any one of us will tell you that it is crucial to “get out of your head” and into the body. We train in ways of strengthening our connection to our unconscious, to listening to our bodies’ responses to stimuli, to acting on the impulses our body generates.

Mental and physical tensions are the buzzkill to our creativity, our unconscious, or non-conscious. I have been addressing and exploring that for years.

These days I am on a mission to expand and deepen my relationship to my intuition. Not just for my work, but for every area of my life, especially decision-making. Practicing tuning in and developing it. Growing my trust in my own innate wisdom. Wow. I feel a qualm just writing that sentence…

I found a terrific resource in Jack Canfield regarding “cultivating intuition.” (I love that framing — I will cultivate my intuition!)

He says that “Just like memory, critical thinking, and intellect, your intuition is a mental muscle you can strengthen and use to create success and become the best possible version of yourself,” and suggests some ways to do that.

I am excited and nervous (in a good way) as I continue my journey with this. I can’t wait to see where I am led. I sense that it is gonna be good.

#intuition #JackCanfield #bodymind