The Power to Choose: An experiment in freedom

giving

One way to experience any soul quality – power, love, gratitude – is to play with it. Be curious. Create lighthearted experiments to explore how this quality shows up in your life.

Here’s an experiment to explore how the power to choose shapes your life and your story around giving and receiving. Play with it; share your discoveries here, if you wish:

Pick one day this week – Monday! Or Thursday! Or any day, really — and declare it a transaction-free day. Announce it out loud: “Today is a transaction-free day!” Write it on your bathroom mirror. Declare it to your beloveds.

Today is a transaction-free day!

What does this mean? Well, it’s your experiment. You get to choose what it means for you.

The essence of it is this: Make this a day when you experience your power to choose, fully and freely. Without any agenda beyond your own desire to play with unconditional giving and receiving.

Declare this a day when you’ll give freely, just because you feel like it. No expectations, no intended outcomes, just free play — to see how you feel, who you are, and what happens, when you give just because you want to.

Make this a day when you’ll receive fully, just because you choose to. No guilt, no shame. No holding on or holding back or holding in. Just receiving — fully, honestly, because you have the power to do so.

My 3-year-old granddaughter is masterful at this. She admires herself in the full-length hallway mirror, turning this way and that, looking over her shoulder at her reflection, lost in wonder. She pats her sparkly new birthday dress, strokes her arms, flashes her rainbow-colored fingernails, her blue eyes shining with delight.

Enthralled by her own beauty, she is oblivious to the grownups hovering in her vicinity. Nothing exists for her but her own joy. I’ve never given a birthday gift that was received so fully.

And when she gives, it’s with the same unconditional delight. “Would you like a bite of my sandwich?” “Do you want to come and play with me?” She doesn’t much care whether the answer is yes or no. She’s immersed in her choices, acting on her desires, and oh, she is a powerful little girl!

So, play with this if you wish. If you’re at your local farmer’s market buying a bag of produce, offer the vendor your money as a gift, freely given. Receive the food you’ve chosen as a gift, with delight and gratitude.

Let yourself experience the essential truth of life – it is all a gift.

Notice when transactionittude creeps in. When you’re choosing to give because you want to be admired, or loved, or approved of, or because you believe you should, or are afraid of what will happen if you don’t.

Notice when receiving is fraught with contingency. Fear that you’ll have to reciprocate; doubt about what you deserve, and why, and how. Shyness about expressing your joy, your gratitude. Notice when you contract away from the gift, the compliment, your reflection in the mirror.

Breathe. Return to your chosen declaration. Return to your transaction-free day.

What happens when you exercise your power to choose what and how you’ll give, what and how you’ll receive? When you give without hesitation or expectation? When you receive everything as a gift?

Who have you become, at the end of your transaction-free day?

If you want to explore the nature of power, and its essential role in shaping your story and the story of your business, please join me for a free teleclass, Create With Power, next Wednesday, September 3rd, at 10 am Pacific Time. Get a taste of energy alchemy in action, and learn more about my 12-week program, Become Your Own Business Adviser, which begins on September 15th.


Story Power

holding power

Anytime you face a situation in which you feel powerless to effect change, remember this: You are a sovereign being. You have the power to choose.

You may not have power over the weather – rain, sun, storms – but you have the power to choose how you will respond to the prevailing winds; how you will think and act in the face of whatever blesses or assails you.

Power is a quality of your soul. It is always available to you. You carry within your very cells the memory of power, the energy and experience of power. You can tap into it at will.

Think about the stories you tell yourself and others. Stories about powerlessness: I can’t help it, this is just the way I am | just the way things are. He did this to me, she did that. If only I had | he had |she would. How could they do this | act this way | get away with this?

In the midst of telling your story about powerlessness – even if it’s a story about someone else’s powerlessness, the massacres in Palestine, or the murder in Missouri – stop. Check in with your body. How do you feel? Check in with your breath, your pulse, your heartbeat. How is this story affecting your biology?

Then, ask yourself: By telling this story in this way, am I contributing to healing and restoring wholeness? Or am I projecting onto this situation, onto these people, onto myself, the shadow of fear, victimization, helplessness?

Your thoughts are powerful. Your stories are powerful. Tell a story about power and agency, see yourself and the people in your world as powerful, able to participate in miracles that transform themselves and their world, and you lend them your power. You help them access their own power. Most important of all, you act to mobilize the immense powers of wholeness on their behalf. You act to change your world.

Tell a story about victimization, and you weaken yourself, and the central nervous system of everyone involved in the situation, even if you never meet them or live halfway across the world from them.

Develop the habit of power and the capacity to hold and use power effectively, and you can use your creative resources to shape a world of kindness, peace, provision, safety and sufficiency for everyone.

I’m looking forward to talking with many of you on my live preview teleclass, Create with Power, on September 3rd. For now, pay attention to the stories you tell about power and powerlessness in your everyday life. Be mindful of how they affect you and your ability to create what you truly want, in your life, in your business, in your world. And then, change the stories you tell. Use your power to choose a new story, and serve your deepest, truest desires.


Habits & Creative Play

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image370875

We are adventurers at heart. Our souls love to splash around in newness, to explore and discover the wondrous worlds that lie beyond the safe shores of home.

Yes, we have fundamental needs for security, home, belonging. Without the foundation of safety and protection that these give us, we never feel fully free. But our needs for discovery, play, and creative exploration are just as essential, if we are to live joyfully and flourish.

You can meet these needs most easily when you create containers – sandboxes, art studios, writing corners, red-clay riverbanks – that hold and nurture your creative energy.

Habits have an undeserved reputation as unconscious, rigid patterns that stifle creative flow. But, consciously cultivated, habits can be the protective riverbanks that guide the effortless flow of your creative energy.

By cultivating habits that support your creative process, you align your power with your soul’s deep desire for exploration, discovery, and ongoing evolution.

Consciously cultivated habits are the engine of momentum. With the right habits to support you, you won’t have to make a new choice each day to overcome inertia and play freely, creatively. You’ll add color, richness, texture and depth to your life. And you’ll have great fun doing it.

My own creative habits are eclectic, chosen as much for their capacity to delight as for their ability to hold my creative process. And, they change and evolve. Crafting them is fun, a lighthearted response to the call of my soul, which dances gleefully over shifting terrain.

Variety keeps the structures of habit fresh and interesting.

Mostly, my creative practices arise spontaneously from a life-long spirit of curiosity, play, adventure and exploration, anchored in a container of time and space, energy, presence and attention.

Some of these practices are as constant as breath – I’ve practiced them all my life; they are the mainstay of my world. Others are inspired by an image, a feeling, a word or phrase that brushes fleetingly against the skin of my attention. Or by a deep communion with Nature that leaves its fingerprint on my heart.

These creative explorations are internal, but they are rooted in my relationship with the world around me. They have their own rules of engagement: They command my presence, my love and willingness to explore with an open heart, to learn what they have to show me.

Most of all, they call me to be changed by my encounter with Otherness – to discover who I become, as a result of my relationship with the people, places and energies I meet along the way, and to embrace whatever emerges from our play together.

The container of habit itself is simple enough.

Mornings are my most creative time, so I keep them free for adventuring. Sometimes, I stay in my pajamas – a signal to my whole being to remain as softly receptive as when I first wake from sleep. Others, I shower, dress, light a stick of incense and a candle, and attune to the Deva of Love, or the spirit of Blessing, or whatever soul quality I want to embody, explore and play with that day.

Some mornings, I stretch out in my favorite chair, drift into the vista across the bay to the blue mountains at the horizon’s rim, sip a cup of herbal tea, and day-dream.

Day-dreaming is a vastly underrated activity. Most of us are really good at it, as kids, until it’s shamed out of us, or we succumb to the metronome of busyness that doles out time like assembly-line aspirin.

Me, I choose to play in ways that slow me back to heart time, pulse time. I read poems whose rhythms are heartbeats. I write longhand in an unlined 5 x 7 spiral-bound sketchbook. The thick-textured paper, the open white-space of the page, feels expansive, generous – as spacious as free play.

It’s a bowl of habits designed to invoke and hold the rich broth of feelings in which my creative energy feels most at home.

What happens next depends partly on serendipity, and partly on the particular practice I’ve crafted to explore something I’m curious about.

For the past several months, for example, my daily practice has been to let myself have all of what I truly want. To notice when I hedge, hold back, make-do, or otherwise shrink from my desire. And to observe who I become and what I create when I say a full and wholehearted Yes to everything my heart desires.

The results have been both interesting and delightful. My days hold more spaciousness, more fun and play, more connection with my world, more travel, more engagement. More of what I want now — very little of anything that doesn’t feel right for me in this moment.

More trust in my creative capacity. Trust in the gifts of Grace, in Divine Timing. A rich flow of abundance to support it all.

This experiment has also yielded a deep vein of wisdom in daily writing, a new collection of poems, and two other projects that will serve you and my world in ways that make my heart very happy.

If this sounds good to you, take a daily swim in the river of your own radiant, powerfully creative life. Shape habits that suit you, ones that work well with your own natural rhythms and temperament.

The habit of creativity serves you and your world – it helps you craft a life and business you love, and contributes to a world that supports the perfect unfolding of all forms of life.

What habits and practices do you already have in place, that nourish your creativity, day to day? Celebrate these. Refine them. Bring them up to date.

If you’re feeling creatively stagnant, begin by shaping a container in which your creative energy loves to play. Set up a space and time that’s just for you — one where your allegiance is to your creative self alone; where you can play undisturbed. Buy or borrow tools that feel perfectly balanced in your hand, and keep them close. Use them with love and delight.

Breathe.

Ask yourself – where does your energy and attention naturally want to flow? What awaits you, just beyond the harbor of routine and familiar thoughts, feelings, ideas, grooves of attention?

What structures and habits can you create, to hold this play time, this exploration of freedom?

Get support, to get started. Check out resources close to home – friends to play with, classes or workshops in your community. Dance, sing, draw, paint. Make music. Write or sculpt or cook. Make love. Make waves. Make your art.

Trust your heart’s deepest, most compelling desires – especially the ones that seem whimsical or frivolous, frothy beyond all reason. See where they lead you. Discover who you become, when you say Yes to them.

You are an incarnate soul. Creativity is in your DNA. Nurture it, and you nurture Wholeness.

Your creative exploration is part of the Divine Play of the universe itself.

And, you’ll have the time of your life!

Here we go…!


If you want to explore, grow, play, and shape the world of your business using the powerfully creative tools of energy alchemy, please join me for the Fall, 2014 session of Become Your Own Business Adviser. This session of the 12-week program begins On September 15th.

Word. To take advantage of the best early registration discount, register by September 8th.

To learn more about the program, join me for a free preview teleclass, Create With Power, on September 3rd at 10 am Pacific Time. If you can’t make it to the live call, you can download and listen to the call recording in your own timing.

Details and registration here.


On right relationship with power

lightning

To heal a world inflamed by abuses of power, each of us must take responsibility for exercising our own power wisely. Know the shape of your own, unique genius. Embody your soul’s gifts. Bring the healing balm of love and grace into each encounter, through the creative power of your presence, choices, actions.

Right relationship with power isn’t just a good idea, to be added to that long, who-knows-if-it-will-ever-happen, perhaps-someday list — it is as essential to your well-being and mine, and to the well-being of our world, as your | my | our next breath.

Today, I’m restoring wholeness and peace to my heart by swimming in its deeper currents. Today, I’m listening with my fingertips pressed to the pulse of the world. Putting my hand to the page. Writing, writing…against the fist of misused power pressed against my throat, your throat. Feeling the wind’s salt lift in my ribs. Writing my eyes clear so light can enter and be reflected, without impediment.


What’s your creative process?

dark alley in venice

Thinking about this quote, today, from American photographer Robert Adams.

“The operating principle that seems to work best is to go to the landscape that frightens you the most and take pictures until you’re not scared anymore.” –Robert Adams.

For me, there are creative projects that emerge from “the landscape that frightens you the most” — and then there are ones that invite me into their world with such glad welcome that they are, quite simply, a return home. More and more, my relationship with my creative process is an encounter with the heart of belonging.

When I take the time to restore my inner sense of safety and well-being first, then the thing that seemed frightening at first glance, turns out to be kin. There is a dimension in which all things are in me, and I am in all things. When I meet the landscape that frightens me up close — not as an idea of what it is, but by touching its soul and presence — then I recognize my kinship with it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t use discernment in what I choose to encounter. It does mean acknowledging the life that holds us equally in a web of belonging.

How about you?


Holy Yes and Deep Devotion

beach sunrise

It begins simply enough. A tug in your belly. A longing in your heart. Restless feet aching for the grit of the road. The call of…something.

It pulls you out of your warm bed, your tangled sheets, just in time to glimpse the stars dissolve, the sky reveal its morning face. You stand barefoot at your window.

Next thing you know, you’re breathing sea air. Eager, thrilled, bewildered, you stumble towards the tideline. The ground under your feet gives way to crumbling sand, to shell-pricked tidal flats. Mud squishes through your toes. Salt stings your legs as you wade through foaming waves.

Ahead, a shimmering horizon. You can’t see any details yet – not from this far away. A rim of violet mountains squats at the edge of a pewter sea. A pale sky, breathtaking in its simplicity.

Spaciousness. Freedom. Beauty. Joy. The call of wild geese, high in the sky. The call of the unknown, echoing all around you.

Your heart lifts, soars across the bay to those mountains, to that glimmering horizon, in a single swift breath.

Oh, yes! With all your heart, you say Holy Yes! This. This is where you belong!

But then…Your feet in the shallows, covered in seaweed…You’re still on this shore.

How will you get from here to there?

How will you cross that immense body of water undulating between you and the place your heart knows intimately, but where you’ve never been?

You can’t swim there, it’s too far away. You don’t own a boat, though the bay is dotted with craft of every kind – white sails and little red dinghies, Crayola colored kayaks, hulking oil tankers, sleek cruise ships. None of them belong to you. You have to find or buy or build your own boat. You’ll figure out how to navigate it later, once you’re on board, engine started, skimming the waves.

You contemplate the distance you’ll have to travel. You veer between delight, determination and despair; bright faith and lurking heartbreak. Notebook and pen in hand, you make plans, sketch out schemes and strategies, write impossible lists.

You gather supplies, roll up your sleeves, fling yourself into action — and the horizon that beckoned so compellingly dissolves in a flurry of screen-time and Facebook updates, to the staccato soundtrack of barked orders from that little fascist voice in your head: Do This! Do That! No, Not That!! That!!!

Every time we create something new, we hold in our hands the crackle and zing of that current between Here and There. It arcs between the horizon of our heart’s desire and the shore on which we stand. Deep devotion holds us steady throughout the journey.

Without vision and bright faith we’d stay asleep, or we’d shuffle dreamily along the familiar shore, ignoring the call of our true desires until we fall ill, or the safe harbor we’ve so diligently clung to collapses in some inexplicable way.

Without the Holy Yes of deep devotion, we would never take the risk of making art or raising a child. Building a business, abiding by our true desires, growing an intimate relationship, growing ourselves – each of these demands love and courage, grit and grace, power and the humility to listen to the voice of our hearts.

Our Holy Yes summons our intelligence to learn new skills, our creative genius to lead the way. It calls on our willingness to live true stories and abandon hollow tales. Our deep devotion feeds our determination to do the work, to build that boat, to cross that sea, to give ourselves, body and soul, to the task at hand.

Devotion also holds us steadfast for the long haul. There are no shortcuts to this journey. It won’t all be transcendent bliss and angel wings wafting us home, though both angels and bliss will reveal themselves when we do the work of clearing our vision of the scrim of beliefs, patterns, stories and pictures that obscure the view.

We are accompanied by all the evolutionary forces of the universe. We don’t make this journey alone. And, no-one else can do the work that’s ours to do. Our Holy Yes is ours to declare, not just at the start of the journey but every step along the way.

Our Holy Yes launches us out of the safe harbor of Here. Deep devotion keeps us moving towards There, towards our heart’s horizon, where the emerging soul of wholeness lives.

Holy Yes, deep devotion — these are the gifts we offer our world, the gifts that accompany us on every evolutionary journey.

If there’s something calling you now – a new horizon in your business, a vision that won’t go away no matter how often you dismiss it as impossible or impractical – try softening into the Holy Yes that sings in your heart. Listen for the pulse of deep devotion.

If what’s calling you is a new horizon in the world of your business, please join me for a free, 21-day e-course — Unfold the Miracle of Your Business: A 3-Week Experience of Energy Alchemy for Entrepreneurs. It begins July 14th.

I offer this e-course with the wish that it will lead you to your emerging Holy Yes and Deep Devotion to your heart’s horizon. You can read more about it and sign up here.


On Communication and Communion

Hand weaving

This morning, I’ve been re-reading the transcript of a conversation between poets Allen Tate and Stanley Kunitz that took place in 1966. The excerpt quoted below is from their riff on communication and communion.

“If you’re reading a poem, you are not receiving a communication, you’re participating in a discovery, and as a reader, you participate in that discovery as a collaborator. We use communication; we participate in communion. Any genuine work of art…is a discovery of a kind of knowledge about the human condition that we did not have before. On the contrary, the mass-medium commentator is trying to move us toward some course of action, which may be deplorable or of uncertain consequences. We had better beware of these people who communicate. I think it’s best to go off and sit by ourselves alone and read Shakespeare.” –Allen Tate, 1966. From: Communication and Communion, A Dialogue between Stanley Kunitz and Allen Tate.

To me, both communication and communion are necessary elements of culture and relationship. Both play a part in how we, as entrepreneurs and artists, meet and participate in shaping our world. But, when the exigencies of communication override or outweigh the soul’s deep desire for creative communion, we lose something essential — not just in our own lives, but in the life of our culture and society.

How do you weave the warp of communication and the weft of communion into a seamless work of art, a beautiful whole, in your business? How does the tension between these elements inform your marketing, your relationships with your readers, clients and customers? If participation and collaboration are essential values in the world of your business, how do you make a place for these in your offers, and in the culture of your business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories and experiences around this.


Summer Altar

from my summer altar

This is part of my summer altar. Invoking the blessings of the Devas of Love, Harmony, Healing, Prosperity, Sovereignty, Power, Form, Flow.


Poets are the soul-keepers of our world

Reading this poem, by Czeslaw Milosz, I’m filled with gratitude for his exquisite voice, for his wisdom and vision, and the devotion with which he served what he loved throughout his long, working life. Poets are the soul-keepers of our world, and he was one of the finest.

LATE RIPENESS

Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former lives were departing,
like ships, together with their sorrow.

And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas
assigned to my brush came closer,
ready now to be described better than they were before.

I was not separated from my people,
grief and pity joined us.
We forget–I kept saying–that we are all children of the King.

For where we come from there is no division
into Yes and No, into is, was, and will be.

We were miserable, we used no more than a hundredth part
of the gift we received for our long journey.

Moments from yesterday and from centuries ago–
a sword blow, the painting of eyelashes before a mirror
of polished metal, a lethal musket shot, a caravel
staving its hull against a reef–they dwell in us,
waiting for a fulfillment.

I knew, always, that I would be a worker in the vineyard,
as are all men and women living at the same time,
whether they are aware of it or not.

–Czeslaw Milosz, Late Ripeness, from New and Collected Poems

Round

Devil's Marbles, Australia

She won’t be held
in pants with tightly buttoned waists,
their tailored creases knifing into
glittering conversations. She won’t enter
the clamorous avenues of your angular world.

Her roundness deflects your demands.
She will not offer you mirrored surfaces, the comfort
of your own high-powered reflection. She is mute
that way. She holds her counsel as she holds
the undulant hive that spins sunshine
in the moonlit chamber of her symmetry.

Her home is in the round hills. You have to climb
a long way to reach her and then
the mouth of her cave is hidden in thickets of box thorn,
prickly pear, nettles, desert mallow.

You have to want her enough to go looking for her.
You have to shed your city clothes, risk being stung
on the soles of your feet. You have to be brave.

You call, call out.
Your voice echoes off the red hills, disappears
in the thin, sage-scented air.

You turn away. And then, just perhaps,
you’ll hear it—
a single thrumming note that builds, reverberates,
a stream of golden honey from a hundred thousand bees
pouring into the startle of your ear.


  • You are a sovereign being,
    a fractal of the Sacred,
    a fractal of Wholeness.
  • The flow of your life.
    The soul of your business.
  • Grow your business.
    Grow yourself.
  • Expand your life. Evolve your business.
  • The art of alignment. The miracle of action.
  • Trust in the power of your perfect unfolding.
  • Permission to grow, to flow, to know.
  • You learn about freedom by experiencing what it feels like to be bound.
  • Beyond your beliefs, beyond your drama — the truth of your life.
  • Success is becoming the person who can ask for hugs and holding when your own strength has deserted you.
  • Embrace the mystery at the heart of creation.
  • Your soul sends out tendrils of light and fragrance into the world.
  • You are the gift — and the giver.
    You are the Love, and the lover.
  • At the heart of all things — even limiting beliefs and painful programming — is wholeness.
  • Surrender is an act of will. It is aligning your will with the will of the Sacred.
  • You learn about sovereignty through the experience of being dethroned.
  • Love transforms.
  • Your soul's purpose is to participate in wholeness, to express wholeness.
  • True Desire is a messenger of your soul.
    It leads directly to your soul’s purposes.
  • Unfold the miracle of your life and business.
  • Business = Love in action.
  • Everything you need is already within you, waiting to unfold and express itself.
  • Your inner world shapes your outer world.
    Success is an inside job.
  • You are the story, and the story-maker.
    Your life is yours to shape.