Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 17 - The Light of Devotion

Day 17's focus was devoting myself to a daily/weekly practice that will connect me to my soul and shift my priorities from an outer-driven life to an inner-driven life.
For the cleansing ritual Debbie asked me to make a list of things I have been devoted to that no longer serve me. Here are a few that I wrote:
- procrastination/rituals which keep me from writing
- complaining (oh boy, am I committed to this one at times!)
- holding grudges
- the computer/email/my blog (ooops!)
Then I was asked to create my own devotional practice that will serve my higher good. Here's the plan:
am - stretch, breath, meditate
- evaluate my internal flame
- choose a focus and mantra for the day
noon - sit and breath after lunch, recall my mantra
- keep my business hours for writing (min. 2 hrs everyday)
pm - look over my vision board, breath and say aloud my soul's desires
- read over my contracts from Day 14
- forgive immediately
- plan adventure/joy once per week
- laugh/smile

Day 16 - the Light of God's Will

Well, as you may have noticed I've been dragging my feet for this day. All Debbie's God talk sets off little alarm bells in my head sort-0f-like if she had showed up at my door with a bible!
For Day 16 Debbie writes:
"God's will can become your internal reference point from this day forward; it is your choice - God's will or your ego's will."
I understand that my ego is insatiable and if I follow its advice I could end up an unhappy shop-a-holic or write-a-holic, or enlightenment-a-holic!
But I don't think it neccessary to pit my ego against my spirit. Makes me think of the good-angel-on-one-shoulder and bad-angel-on-the-other kind of thing.
That being said, I did agree with the following:
- I have something to contribute
- my ego can get in the way or it can serve to keep my on track
- I am supported by something greater than myself
- I must listen to my soul/spirit to know which direction is best for my journey
- there are no mistakes - just interesting/sometimes painful detours

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 15 - The Light of Realization

On Day 15 I was asked to "realize" that all levels of consciousness are open to me at all times. Meaning - If I'm unhappy, sick, or distressed I can chose a different thought, outlook, feeling, or behavior which intern, will put me on a different level of consciousness.

But what if I get stuck at say, a very low frequency, how do I pull myself out of a negative funk, or a I-can't-believe-they-pulled-out-every-last-kleenex rampage?

Which leads to today's cleansing ritual -

1. Pick 3 sacred and holy frequencies for the foundation of my future.

I picked a) Abundance (for the girl whose ego wants and wants...) b) Open-mindedness (to keep the forgiving and unhooking from my kids business going c) Joy (to free my laughter and encourage adventure)

2. Gather images, prayers, poems, and songs to remind me, inspire me, and evoke my holy frequencies.

For this I gathered a few poems, affirmations, and wrote down a few songs. Then, just for fun, I thought I'd put together a little slide show of the people I love and all that I've been blessed with (to watch when I feel trapped or like I'm missing something). I added the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". When I checked out my handiwork, I'm telling you, I bawled like a little baby!! I had no idea it was going to affect me so powerfully. I highly recommend this exercise to anyone who ever feels their life is lacking!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 14 - The Power of Truth

Why is truth so hard to swallow? to see? to face?

Day 14's truth seeking took me 20 minutes to digest, a day to see, and a second day to face.
Elizabeth Lesser (author of the Seeker's Guide and Broken Open), refers to the soul (life energy/spirit...) as a lantern. A lantern which shines unobstructed when we are born, but as we become conditioned it is layered in soot. The soot dims our soul's light. I love this image and think it is perfect for Day 14! Time to do a little cleaning.

For Day 14's cleansing ritual Debbie asked that I find any place in my life where I am living inside a lie or area where I am living a smaller expression of my soul's desires.
Then I was to imagine that in each area I've identified that I've made an agreement in the past that has kept this pattern in place.
Here are a few agreements I didn't even know I'd been keeping:

  1. I promise to take care of my body and mind after I have cared for my family, friends, and sometimes strangers.
  2. I will respect Pat, Jess, and Kaylem's work time but not that of my own. I will "fit creativity in when I can" and devout a greater amount of time and energy to my children's success than to my own.

I don't know when I signed these agreements?! Here are my new contracts which reflect my soul's desires:

  1. I promise to put the care of my body and mind before that of my family and the care of my family before friends or strangers.
  2. I will set a time (which works for me) to write and respect that my work time is as important as Jess, Kay, or Pat's. I will invest the same amount of energy in my own success as I do in the success of my children.

Wow, I think my lantern is a little brighter!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 13 - The Power of the Present

"So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify with your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind the light of your consciousness grows stronger." Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart first opened my eyes to the power of the present moment with his book The Power of Now. So, today's focus was familiar. Familiar, but not easy.
At times during the day, my mind was in the past or the future, but when I noticed I pulled myself into the present moment.
One moment, in which I was present, stands out (yes, I will look back to the past for just a moment). Kaylem read me the fantasy story he has been working on. Wow, I was surprised by his incredible imagination and beautiful imagery! It was a blessing to really hear it!

Day 12 - The Power of Risk

"The comfort of the self that you know, always comes with a false sense of security that you will be tempted to hold on to."pg 157

Sooo true! I think a big part of my feeling stuck/uninspired has to do with 1. being unconscious to my repetitive behaviors 2. not taking risks!

As I've gained experience and responsibility my tolerance for risk has definately decreased! It was a huge challenge for my grist mill of a mind to even consider new behaviors but once it got started it bounced back and forth between tame and ridiculous:

- pack my bags and head to Florida to write

- stay in pj's all day with Tate and Clara

- go out and buy a new wardrobe

- donate to the Red Cross for Haiti

The crazy thing about giving myself permission to take risks made even the ridiculous risks very tempting (especially any thought involving a warmer climate!) Here are a few of the risks I did take and it made for a pretty great day, I have to admit:

- dressed the little ones and took them to a new play group

- wore something I wouldn't normally to play group

- parked in a no parking zone (to get closer to the door for Jess) - very funny result!!

- make dessert with my kids at 7pm and ate it

This experiment with risk is not over for me - I'm going to explore it more and more in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 11 - The Power of Acceptance

I have accepted - most things in my life that I can not change.

I ask for the courage to - continually treat others lovingly, forgive, and keep my soul's desires at the top of my priority list.

Wisdom - I feel with each new experience I gain a little more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 10 - The Power of Humility

I was so confused about this day's focus that I had to give myself time to sleep on it! Day 9's focus was described by Debbie as follows:

"You will need to ask for assistance and for courage. By asking God,
"Please do for me what I cannot do for myself," you commit fully to living the humble life of a spiritual servant." pg 149

Asking God, the universe, my inner spirit... for assistance and courage - I can do. Actually, I probably do this relatively often, especially when things get really rough, but committing myself fully to being a humble servant - I'm not so sure! Maybe it's a question of semantics (the word servant, perhaps) or maybe it is that I am not willing to relinquish the power to make my own decisions.

I feel strongly that I live my life in accordance with my soul's desires (or that I strive to - hence, this 21-day cleanse). To me, this is being a well informed, well connected, spiritual person, not a slave to my spirit/God. Maybe this is what Debbie Ford is talking about and I'm just getting tangled up in the language (and it's association with organized religion).

It could be that my ego gets in the way of my faith. For now, I'm not going to draw any set conclusions but I will accept myself where I am, as I am. After all, today (now day 11) is the power of acceptance.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9 - The Power of Responsibility

The word responsibility pretty much says it all.
"You are present to the fact that nobody is coming to save you, nobody is coming to care for you, nobody can shepherd this soul into the life it was meant to live but you."pg146
This ain't your mama's kind of responsibility, no way. The "oh, you better do your dirty laundry or everyone's gonna think you're a mess!" There is no guilt, or no resentment here - just loving, honoring, protecting, and doing for yourself in line with your soul's desires.
Today, I realized that I can serve my family and it is still in keeping with my own soul's desires - to be loved, have fun, to be kind and gentle to my children...
But I do have to keep reminding myself to put first my soul's desires that involve only me - writing, creating, SLEEPING... (with that I say goodnight!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 8 - The Power of Liberation

Day 8 Freedom. In morning practice I was asked: What is the condition of my freedom flame? Here is what I wrote:
My freedom flame is circling around its pen like a dog who sees the door is open but is afraid to leave.
My intention today was to set myself free and create a feeling of lightness and joy.
After my morning practice I slipped back into bed and fell asleep. Tate woke me up an hour later. Something had shifted inside me. My head felt clouded, my body tired, and my mind began shooting off complaints and listing things to do. I struggled to regain clarity, and peace.
With so much to do, how could I "fit in" freedom? Is it possible to be free when you have four children, laundry, and a house to clean?
My husband was still in bed when I entered the room to put in a load of laundry. He opened his eyes, smiled, and beckoned me over. I didn't even hesitate. I recognized immediately the call of freedom.
Later in the day, Pat and I snowshoed through the woods and fields in front of our house. Pat made a little campfire and bbqed hamburgers for me! I felt loved, adventurous, and free - all in my own big backyard (well, technically my frontyard)!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 7 - Self Acknowledgement

For Day 7's morning practice on worthiness I created the intention to claim my own power. Now, this is something I am not used to!
I felt out/experimented with what it meant to utilize my own power as I interacted with my kids this morning.
At first, I was being bossy (this is my usual exercise of power) but this didn't feel right to me anymore. So I was kind of floundering around with what shape my power could take when we sat down to breakfast.
Clara spoke to me, and in response I smiled at her. Her face lit up and she said, "mama." in the prettiest, most loving way.

At that instant it hit me. This is my power. A smile is power! And as the day wore on I saw that a kind comment is power, telling your truth is power, lovingly speaking to your frustrated husband is power, not getting frustrated yourself is power... Wow!

Today's focus on self-acknowledgement was explained as follows:

"[When you celebrate the best in yourself] In the presence of your own living attention, you create the inner conditions that are necessary to step into the next greatest evolution of yourself. Right now, there is a stronger, more vibrant, more inspired version of you that is wanting and waiting to emerge." pg123

Today's cleansing ritual was a total love fest - acknowledging what I have done well, courageous actions, things I have accomplished, and contributions I've made to people around me - and I loved it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 6 - The Gift of Surrender

For the morning practice, all about strengthening my faith, I chose the mantra:

"I am safe in the Universe. Life loves and supports me."

But for some reason I just couldn't swallow the first part - I am safe in the Universe. My mind kept saying, "I don't feel safe - What about all those things that are out there to hurt me or my kids."

So, when I read today's focus: surrendering feelings and was asked what emotions I have deemed awful, scary, or unacceptable one major emotion came to mind: FEAR.
In the cleansing ritual, Debbie asked the following questions:
How old was I when I deemed this emotion unacceptable?
- I was very young.
How have I resisted fear?
- pushed it away, made excuses, ate, blamed/doubted those I trust, resisted fear with words, tortured myself by replaying scenes of fear in my mind, pinned labels on people, imagined ways I/my kids could be further terrified...
Then, as always, Debbie brought the hurt/vulnerability I had found into a place of wisdom by asking:
What gifts/lessons/wisdom have these emotions brought you?

Fear has brought me empathy, understanding, direction, compassion, motivation,
clarity, a great connection with my sister, forgiveness, surrender, and
faith in myself!

This realization affected me profoundly. I feel as if I am no longer holding the burning coals of fear and trying to run away from the pain, but rather that I have stopped, seen the coals for the first time, and let them go.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 5 - The Gift of Reverence

"The more love and reverence you give your body, the better you will feel." pg 112

One thing I know for sure is that I always feel better about myself, my life, and the future when I take good care of my body. When I feel really awful (mentally) the best thing I can do for myself is exercise, eat well, and sleep. So basic, but so true.

I had a hard time to do the cleansing ritual today not because it was so painful but because most days I actually do love my body. I think it is beautiful - curvy, strong, soft, and the root of so much of my joy.
However, I am guilty of choosing my mind over my body. My mind says, "Do just one more thing" whereas my body says, "oh for god sakes, go to bed."
Note to self: Body first, mind second!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 4 - The Gift of Forgiveness

I loved the focus on forgiveness today!! Debbie put it so eloquently:

"It's bad enough that you have been hurt so deeply that you still remember the event for days, weeks, years, or decades, but then the kicker is that your grudges become your jailers, locking you into thought patterns, habits, and feelings that deny you your soul's expression." pg 106

Now, I have done a lot of work on forgiving people that have hurt me deeply. I freed myself from these events long ago because they were just too scathing to hold on to. What I didn't realize, is that I am holding a lot of relatively small grudges (the kind that causes you to make a sour face behind a person's back or sigh deeply).

When I was asked to list all my grudges, disappointments, and resentments (and how long I've held them), here are a few that surprised me:

1. grudge against Clara for peeing her bed (3months)

2. grudge against those who have critiqued my work (3years)

3. disappointment toward myself - that I have not traveled more, never been published... (7years)

What is the price I've paid to hang on to my grudges? Peace of mind, Creativity, Love, Intimacy, Energy, Confidence, Possibilities, Vitality....

Such a heavy price!!

It amazed me that I would be grudge my own kids! But the truth is I do it all the time! and the reason I know this to be absolutely true is that each new time Clara would pee in the bed, or Kaylem would forget his homework... I would become increasingly upset, nasty, resentful, even furious with them!! Not only am I punishing my kids but I am teaching them that they are unforgivable. WOW!

My favorite part of Day 4's cleanse came at the end when I was asked: If these experiences were designed to deliver you some wisdom or some gift, what would that be?

Here are the gifts I found in the three grudges I shared with you:

1. love and accept your children. When you forgive them for their mistakes they learn to forgive themselves

2. creativity is a gift I give to myself to be enjoyed, not a commodity

3. I must make my soul's desires a priority!

I really embraced the practice of forgiveness today - every time someone did something I didn't like (like merging super slowly onto the highway, or trying to run away from homework...) I forgave them immediately. It was very, very freeing!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 3 - The Gift of Release

This day, for me, was all about negative thoughts - They are what truly keep me from being All that I Am!!

They keep me separated from spirit like a malicious little school girl that has spread lies about me and I feel alone and unlovable.

Here are some toxic thoughts/beliefs I caught myself firing out today:

- taking care of children is a burden/not important
- I deserve to suffer for my mistakes
- kids continually do things wrong
- having fun is a waste of time
- I'm too tired
- I don't have time for that
- I'm unworthy of success
- what I do is unimportant

Yikes!! Why in that world would I tell myself these things over and over (in different forms) all day long? I don't even believe (on an intellectual level) any of these statements!

As instructed I drew a picture of what it looks like in my psyche and burnt it! I am free to imagine a new future, unburdened.

Day 2 - The Gift of Self Awareness

Totally intense Cleansing task today! Questions to answer like: What do I wish I had never done? What do I wish I could forget?

I love how Debbie sets you up for this task, though - be a neutral observer, gather the information as if you were watching someone in Walmart. I've done so much of this self analysis stuff that I was surprised some of my issues were still in my closet. I know I kicked them out years ago! How did they sneak back in?! So, I dragged them out into the light.

A few questions Debbie asked really put things into perspective for me:
1. What behaviors have I participated in that have intentionally or unintentionally brought harm to others?
- ignoring my needs, doing things for others when I should be doing things for myself, submitting to guilt, resenting, blaming, criticizing, playing god, doubting myself, lying about how I feel, exaggerating, complaining

The weird thing about most of these behaviors is that at the time I did them thinking I was doing someone else a favor.

The answers that came from this question really surprised me:
2. How do I punish myself for these things:
- eat, beat myself mentally, procrastinate, listen to my ego, get physically ill, scratch, berate and feel guilty, don't exercise, cut myself off from my sexuality, poor sleep, disappoint others and intern myself.

The surprises were - scratch (never even realized this until today!), cut myself off from my sexuality, disappoint others (I let them down so this will make me feel worse!)

Day 2's ritual ended so beautifully with the question - What would be available to me if I let go of all these behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and experiences?

Just bringing these things into the light of awareness I realized how ridiculous they are! Why would I choose to carry them around? No, thanks.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 1 - The Gift of Desire

- Rose at 5:30am.
- slow, deep breathing. Answered assigned questions:

What is the condition of your flame right now?
confused, scattered
On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate it?
Where would you like it to be at the end of the day?
What is your intention for the day? What intention can you create to strengthen
and fuel your flame?
What is the primary feeling you want to generate from your intention?
What will you need to do to ensure that your intention becomes a reality?
write down and do only what are my soul's priorities. Do these things deliberately and fully in the present moment.
What will you have to give up—what thought, belief, or behavior—to ensure that you fulfill
your intention for today?
I will have to give up the belief that what i do is unimportant and that there is not enough time to do it all.
What healing mantra—what sentence or phrase—can you repeat to yourself throughout
the day to soothe your soul and manifest your intention?
I am deeply fulfilled by all that I do
How many times throughout the day do you need to hear this?

I Love where this cleanse begins - with Desire!

"It is the impulse that gives you the ambition and the energy to share your
unique talents with the world." pg85
Basically, day one is about giving voice to what your soul longs for most.
So, I quietly listened and was surprised to see (as I wrote them down) that I have known most of my desires for quite some time!
What caught me by surprise and caused me to tear-up was Debbie's "soul food" for the day:
"My soul's desire is the voice of God."

This hit me so hard, I think, because I just don't think of my own desires that way. Most of the time they just seem like another thing to do on an endless list!! But what else is my soul here to do?

I'm so hooked in to my kid's business and numbing, distracting, and doubting myself that I've edged out or thrown only the scrapes to my own desires. No wonder I feel uninspired, depleted, and on the worst days - resentful.

In the afternoon, (when I actually said "Not right now" to Jessica) I followed the cleansing ritual and started revamping my vision board.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflections on 21-day Introduction

The intro hit a few cords for me:
- I'm tired of mediocrity (especially when it comes to my writing...)

- I find myself in repetitive patterns. I find myself in repetitive patterns. I find (ha ha, just kidding!) Like when I procrastinate in exactly the same way before getting down to writing

- the "hungry ghost" inside me craves money, acknowledgement, material possessions and is never satisfied

- I'm either living an ego driven life or a soul-centered life.
"The soul discerns with laserlike sharpness. The ego judges and rejects with
disdain and aggressiveness. The soul takes responsibility. The ego blames and
transfers responsibility. The soul moves through life with grace. The ego moves
through life with recklessness, chaos, an drama. The soul feels good about who
it is and what it wants and needs. The ego never has enough..."

But my most favorite part so far is "Unhooking from the outside world"
- basically, every time you pay attention to something or someone else's business it's like you are physically hooking yourself to that thing or thought and letting it drain you of energy. Interesting!!

21-day Consciousness Cleanse

well, here we go... the start of my 21 day cleanse that Debbie Ford promises will connect me with my soul, my life's purpose, and an unlimited supple of creativity! How could I say no to that? I've set my alarm for 5:30am and we'll see what happens.