Tender Mercies

springtime buds

On this day of renewal, when we celebrate the miracle of life emerging from broken ground — I offer you the tenderness of this poem by George McWhirter. May you savour, with a joyful heart, “the roughest, dearest sugar of the fruit.”

ON PANCAKE EATING AT THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN
1.
We all turn to sugar, paradoxically,
in the cap, where we have been twisted
hard, screwed on with a snap
by our mother or our father to keep
our love in, fresh, like the maple syrup–

as if mouths loosened with greed,
lips as curdled as the molten
pancake batter across the bevelled
skillet, drooling all around us,
could coax it out of the bottle.

But once love is gone, and this is all
that’s left–a brown rust stuck
around the rim, I am driven
back to lick the place
where sweetness scabbed the glass.

2.
When we walked in the wood, it was June;
the salmonberry leaves were green,
their stalks slender
and ginger; the berries like
jewelled upside-down temples
raised to become solid vessels
for the light. They filled
with the dark worship of the ground–
this prickly vermouth in their mouths

vinted from the sour
sap of the salmonberries through
the lanky spigots rooted there.

I offered you six or seven,
a handful of plump prayers.
hoping you would look at me
and forgive, confer no more
with the conifers about my weaknesses.

I plucked one for myself and bit
into a whitened worm inside
and wondered why we could not always
savour our decay, eat into the corruption
where it has supped and gone granular
to become the roughest, dearest
sugar of the fruit?

–George McWhirter, On Pancake Eating at the Feast of St. John, from The Book of Contradictions

This is what language is…

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Each morning, I read poems — sometimes, a single drop of a poem that widens and ripples through my life all day; sometimes, a dancing river of poems that sweeps me towards a glimmering horizon.

Poems restore my soul, return me to my beating heart, to my breath and body. They deliver me home to the lineage of bards and poets who sang around hearth-fires and campfires, who loved the everyday world and told of its mysteries in ancestral caves, and whispered their songs down the mouths of sacred wells.

Here’s an excerpt from Eavan Boland’s poem, A Habitable Grief, that rings like a pebble flung into a great, copper vat, this morning:

“This is what language is:
a habitable grief. A turn of speech
for the everyday and ordinary abrasion
of losses such as this

which hurts
just enough to be a scar.

And heals just enough to be a nation.”

This is soul food. Drink it in. Let it settle into your cells, into your hungry bones. Feel the golden nourishment of truth, eloquently spoken.


Cheek to cheek: Partnering with your Business Deva

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The single most important element in the world of your business is you. Your energy, vitality, and creativity, your vision and heart, give birth to your business. Your love supports the life of your business.

You partner with the Deva of your business to unfold the miracle of its pattern in the world. You, and the relationship between you and your Business Deva, are the central elements in this creation that is your business.

Your life is your kingdom to shape — to cultivate, to nourish, to grow. The more skillfully you care for yourself, the more fully you access your soul and all of its qualities, including creativity, grounding, abundance, wisdom, strength, clarity and purpose. The more you embody these qualities in yourself and in your business, the more successful your business will be.

Your soul encompasses the whole ecology of your being. It holds your uniqueness — that which makes you who you are.

This includes your personality, your history, your family, your lineage, your likes, your dislikes, your strengths, your challenges, your physical body, everything that makes you, you. Everything in your personal ecology is the particularity of your being.

This is the realm of what we think of as the real world, the three-dimensional world. It is bound by laws of nature, of time, space and gravity. It is a world of differentiation and opposites — of light and dark; day and night; male and female; positive and negative. That aspect of your soul that is incarnate encounters all of the polarities and contradictory realities of this world in which we live.

But your soul also includes, in its ecology, the dimensions of subtle energy and of unity. In this aspect of your soul’s ecology, you are one with Source and with all of Creation. You are one with all that is, was, or ever will be.

Time and space function very differently in this portion of the soul’s ecology. There is no gravity or resistance—the laws of nature in our 3-D world don’t apply to the subtle energy worlds. This means that you can transform patterns very quickly here.

This is why energy technologies work so brilliantly. It is also the reason why, when you know how to work with the subtle energy realms, you can create things very quickly, and in seemingly magical ways.

To bring those creations into manifestation you have to engage the powers of your incarnation — your particularity, which lives in the 3-dimensional world. You have to create structures and forms that hold the essence of what you want to bring into the world.

When the pattern and form of your business — its shape and structure — flow organically from its essence, the world of your business is elegant and whole. This makes your business irresistible to those who truly want what you have to offer. In order to shape it in this way, you have to know how to bring your business into the world of form, skillfully and effectively.

There’s a difference between creating things on an energetic level and creating things on a physical level. There is great creative power in knowing how to navigate the whole ecology of your being so that you can use the skills and capacities of every aspect of your soul, including its subtle and physical energy realities.

On the 3-D end of the spectrum there are a limited number of things you can create. You have a limited amount of time, you have a limited amount of energy — that’s the nature of physical reality.

It’s important to make the very most of your capacity by knowing your true desires, and anchoring them in a clear and concrete intention. Because once you set something in motion in the subtle-energy dimensions, you begin gathering around you a vast array of allies and powers to help you bring your creation into form.

If you set things in motion randomly you will waste an enormous amount of energy and you will end up either creating things you don’t want, or not having the resources you need to carry your creation to completion.

Being clear about your intention helps you align your desires with your soul’s purposes. Partnering with your Business Deva helps you fulfill your intention with the help of all the powers of wholeness.

Take some time each day, to connect with your Business Deva. Deepen your relationship with it. Together, you can develop a unified vision for your business. Your Business Deva can help you with everything from envisioning the world of your business to shaping an effective business model, to creating a winning campaign for your signature offering. It can help you with both planning and implementation.

Like any relationship, your relationship with your Business Deva will deepen and flourish if you nourish it with your love, appreciation, willingness to listen and to communicate. Devas do not impose themselves, so ask for help when you need it. Then follow through and act on the guidance it offers you.

Your relationship with your Business Deva is a partnership. You are no less sacred or powerful than it is. You each have your own spheres of power and influence. So use your discernment. Feel free to say No to anything it proposes that doesn’t feel right to you, or that isn’t in right timing for you. You are sovereign in your own life.

Once you’ve called on it to collaborate with you, pay attention to the people, places, situations and experiences that show up in your life. These will be responses from your Business Deva to the help and partnership you have invoked.


Dream Team : Hiring for your Soul Business

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This past month I’ve felt spring burgeoning in the world of my business, even as winter storms blanketed our part of the world in ice and snow. My business is growing, and I have been in the process of hiring essential new members of my team.

A great working relationship doesn’t just happen. It requires work on both inner and outer levels. Like a good marriage, it is based in a clear vision of what is truly important to you — those qualities, values, skills and ways of being in the world that are essential to you and your business.

So, if you’re getting ready to hire, start by making a list of all the qualities and characteristics that are essential to you, in a co-worker and collaborator in the world of your business. You’re not seeking perfection, here, but rather those qualities, skills and attributes that are both necessary and sufficient to grow the world of your business in harmony with your vision and values.

Think right fit for the job, rather than Mother Teresa!

Once you’re clear about the essential qualities this person must have, make an organized, itemized list of everything their job encompasses. Structure this into relevant categories: project management, team management, website design, writing, and so on.

Add to this a list of all the major systems, software and processes you use in your business, that this person will need to know in order to function effectively in the world of your business. Obviously, if you’re hiring an operations manager they will need a different level of skill with your systems than if you’re hiring a copywriter, so keep this list focused on the requirements of the job.

Based on the above, generate a list of skills and experience that are essential — and a sub-list of skills that would be nice to have — in candidates for this position.

Now that you are clear about the qualities and characteristics, as well as the skills, knowledge and experience this person must have, create an ad for your ideal person. Speak directly and compellingly to them. Tell them about your company and your team: Who you are; what you value; and whom you would love to hire. Let them know how to apply, and if it is relevant, provide an online form with a skills list that they can check off and submit, along with their application.

Give them enough concrete information so that they can discern whether this job might be a good fit for them, and vice versa.

Now, call on your allies – your Business Deva, other members of your team, your friends and colleagues, to help you connect with the right person. Share the link to your job ad with your tribe – online, and in person. Post it on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages, on your business Twitter feed, on your blog, and on any forums to which you belong.

Have a process in place for handling applications. As they come in, divide them up into categories – Definitely not. Maybe. Yes, I want to talk with this person.

Stay open to serendipity. You might connect with the right person because someone you know knows someone they know, and they help you make the connection. Or they’ve been on your team for a while, but are now ready to take on more creative responsibility.

Do your homework. Meet with people on your short-list, be receptive to the quality of their presence, and be guided by your intuition about whether, where, and how, they belong in the world of your business. Look for chemistry, ease, flow — and trust your gut.

When you talk with them, ask questions and listen for how they respond. Give them the opportunity to ask you questions as well. Share your own heart and hear theirs in return. An interview is a place to connect and explore, to discover if there is enough common ground for a fruitful relationship to unfold.

Ask for and check references — talk to people they’ve worked with. Here are some things to consider, as you talk with referees. Has your candidate done similar work for them, or are you comparing apples and oranges? Are the referee’s standards for his or her business comparable to yours? Are there things the referee might hesitate to ask your candidate to do, because they aren’t sure of their ability to do them? What do they love/find challenging about the candidate? What can they tell you about the candidate’s working style, their learning style? If this person is no longer working for their organization, why and how did the relationship end?

Use your discernment to sift through all of this information, while paying close attention to your intuition. Inner and outer work go hand in hand, in this process.

Attune to the soul essence of your short-listed candidate, as well as to their personhood — everything that makes them who they are, unique and irreplaceable. Consider the alignment between them and the soul of your business.

Throughout the process, ask yourself a few fundamental questions: If I hire this person, how will I feel? Check in with your body, to get a felt sense of your response to this question. Ask yourself: Will this person add to the sum of harmony, wholeness, creative power, and coherency in my business — or not? And, can your business offer this person what they need to truly flourish? Will they be happy in this job? How will you help them grow into the job, but also how will you support them in becoming more fully themselves?

There is an element of serendipity and magic in connecting with the right people for your co-workers — those whose vision and values, skill, knowledge and experience are in harmony with the world of your business.

Business — like any creation — is an ecology of relationships fostered through love and devotion, clear communication, integrity, willingness, reciprocity and partnership, generosity of spirit, and a host of other soul qualities.

Different people in your business’s ecology may embody these qualities to greater or lesser degree. We are all individuals, and we bring our souls as well as our personalities to work with us.

If too many essential qualities are missing, if the person you’re considering isn’t sufficiently mature or skilled, doesn’t have the skills and knowledge you need, or if there’s a large energetic discrepancy between you, it will cause friction and difficulty in your business.

On the other hand, if the person has the practical skills, genius, and experience your business needs, there’s sufficient resonance and alignment between you, and you have clear agreements and strong systems to support you, your business and everyone in it will flourish.

To summarize, here are some essential elements to consider, in crafting a soul-centered business relationship:

Is there harmony and resonance — a good energetic fit — between you and the person you’re considering as a potential ally and co-worker.

Do you have the means, capacity, willingness and structures in place to support each of you, so the relationship serves both of you and your business in becoming more whole, integrated, creative and joyful?

Is there clear and honest communication between you? What are your expectations, needs and responsibilities towards each other, towards your business? What is your reporting and accountability structure? How do you negotiate differences? What process do you have in place for handling challenges?

Once you’ve hired someone, offer them welcome, appreciation and hospitality. You are making a commitment to their well-being, and you contribute to the quality of the relationship by your own attitude toward them.

Give them time and support to find their place in the world of your business. Hold qualities of flexibility, appreciation and patience, as you build trust and negotiate the differences between you. Be clear about expectations and responsibilities, and demonstrate that you hold everyone on your team — including yourself — to the same standards of impeccability and excellence.

The best business relationships are those in which each person feels safe, cherished, and encouraged to grow according to the inner pattern of their being; where boundaries and agreements are clearly delineated and understood; and there is a foundation of love, flexibility, trust, humor, good will and clear communication.

A soul business hires by committing to the well-being and fulfillment of everyone involved. Wholeness embraces everyone and everything in your business’s ecology and provides a container for everyone’s perfect unfolding.


Hidden treasure: When what you long for seems out of reach

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The light of our souls veils from us that which we are not yet ready to receive or to participate in.

If you’ve ever wondered why that thing you so want remains just out of reach, or why a particular project doesn’t yield the results you had hoped for — even though you’ve done everything you know of, to make it happen — it may be because your soul is waiting patiently for you to grow into the person you must become, in order to have the thing you most desire.

The interesting thing is that during that journey of growing yourself, you encounter a wider horizon of Desire. So that the thing you thought you wanted reveals itself to be an aspect of the Sacred that is so much vaster and more profound than anything you could have imagined.

That product you thought would help your tribe write more efficiently, or would help them create winning graphics for their next ebook, turns out to be an invitation to express the power and generativity of the Source within. That goal of speaking at a glittering gala to a rapt audience finds its true expression in your soul’s desire to illumine and awaken the pathways of grace.

This process unfolds in Divine Timing. What we think of as stuckness, failure, or procrastination is often an evolutionary process through which you and your desire both grow into your soul’s pattern, until you embody the power and presence necessary to co-create what’s next.


What sustains you?

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The Deva of Sustenance offers us its companionship this week.

Who or what sustains you?
Feel the miraculous ways — big and small — in which you are held, nourished, and provided for.

Feel the earth beneath your feet.
Feel the presence of the Deva of the Earth, which holds you, provides for you, and sustains you throughout your life.

Feel the air entering your nostrils, filling your lungs, sustaining your radiant life with every breath.

Feel the presence of your soul, in your body, in your energy field.
Feel the great, sparkling stream of Sustenance in which your soul dances.

Sustenance is a quality of soul — your soul, the World Soul.
Feel Sustenance flowing into you, filling and nourishing the cells of your body.
Feel it nourishing, supporting and strengthening your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy bodies.

Feel Sustenance flowing through you, flowing out to hold, nourish and support the life of all that you love.
Feel the great river of Sustenance, and the current that is you, within it.

Feel the love and partnership between you and the Deva of Sustenance.

What do you know about the relationship between what sustains you, and what you sustain?


What are you settling for?

chasing a bubble

I’m astonished at, and saddened by, how little we are willing to settle for. We are fractals of the Sacred. Yet we settle for a living instead of a life. Fitting in, as a substitute for belonging. Approval, fame, stardom — each of these is but a pale reflection of our radiance, our deep longing to offer our soul’s creative presence to our world, and to be received with joyous celebration.

If you were to lose everything that you’ve settled for — all the roles, identities, possessions, relationships, and functions that define you — you would still be unmistakably, irreplaceably you. The Sacred incarnate.

Can you really be satisfied with less?


Untether yourself from false identities

Untether yourself from false identities


The Gifts of Difference

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We are each at different places in our life’s journey, yet when we choose to share our stories and travel together, the companionship we offer each other is invaluable.

We learn so much from each other, precisely because we bring our unique personhood and widely disparate experiences to the task of forging new pathways. The richest learning takes place at the boundary between us, where our differences call us to expand, so we can embrace wider horizons, and deepen into greater understanding.

The gifts of journeying together in a conscious way are evolutionary — new growth, richer relationships, the birth of true stories.


Dance Me: Responsibility Troll, Meet the Deva of Responsibility

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Responsibility.

Ta-duh.

The word lands with a heavy thump of burden and obligation. It stands hunched-over and stiff-necked with shoulds and expectations. A painfully bristling virtue that leaves us feeling bad about ourselves because its standards are so high, we’re afraid we’ll never be able to live up to them.

A grim Troll of a word with a Calvinist edge to it, its arrival strikes a sting of reproach — our failure to meet its exacting standards seems inevitable, built into its structure.

So what is responsibility, really? Who or what are we responsible for? Do we get to choose? Or do our responsibilities arrive pre-ordained — the mighty Troll who casts a long shadow over family, work, relationships, business, life…

Part of the confusion we feel arises because responsibility is both a body energy, and a spiritual quality — and the two are very different from each other.

As human animals — particularly if we’re female human animals — our bodies are genetically programmed to be responsible. This is Nature’s way of ensuring the propagation of the species, of making sure we’ll take care of our children through the long years it takes for them to grow to maturity and be able to survive in the wilds of the world.

It’s this Responsibility Troll that brings my whole being into a state of instant alert when I hear a child’s panicked voice calling: “Mommy!” at my local grocery store. Even though my sons are grown men, happily living their own lives, that cry of “Mommy!” raises the atavistic hackles of my body. My heart beats a quickstep and adrenalin surges through my arteries. Mommy is ready to leap into action — to protect, shelter, comfort, respond to a child’s distress.

Because the Responsibility Troll is a body energy, you can’t will it away. It has its own purpose, its reason for being. To function effectively, we must understand its nature, honor it, and negotiate a working relationship with it.

When there’s no obvious place for the Responsibility Troll to direct its considerable power, it fixates on work, or on the people around us. It’s convinced it knows what’s best for everyone, and also convinced the world will fall apart without it.

When it’s doing what it’s meant to do, it’s an evolutionary and useful being. Not so helpful when it lumbers in where it doesn’t belong.

You can experience the Responsibility Troll by thinking of something or someone you feel responsible for. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? That heaviness, that sense of overwhelm? Or that punishing self-righteousness. All of these point to the presence of the Responsibility Troll.

On the upside, it is hard-working and reliable, determined to make things work no matter what.

If the body energy of responsibility is a troll toiling in a coal mine, the soul quality of responsibility is a creature of sunlight and wings. Because it emerges from wholeness, as all soul qualities do, it understands that you — and the situation and everyone involved in it — are a radiant soul, filled with infinite power and potential. It knows that each of us has everything we need to be whole, healthy and fulfilled. No-one is broken; no-one needs to be fixed.

The Deva of Responsibility knows this. So when you fill yourself with its presence, you naturally respond to people and situations in ways that honor your own sovereignty and that of everyone else as well. You experience yourself and everyone else as already whole.

This doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to pain and suffering. Suffering exists. You meet it with kindness, honoring your own and other people’s vulnerability and need as aspects of wholeness.

When you become part of the activity of the Deva of Responsibility, you respond with empathy, support, respect, and love — offering what your heart calls you to offer. Knowing that the person to whom you are offering your support, is also supporting you — that you are in a dance that weaves together call and response, love, support and kindness, giving and receiving.

Both you and your partner are participating in the activity of the Deva of Responsibility, learning the steps to the dance so you can dance it more effortlessly, with greater joy.

Ultimately, our responsibility is to cultivate those qualities within ourselves and in our lives that bring us to our natural state of wholeness. This requires discernment and choices.

We choose what we say yes to, what we say no to. And our yes-es and our no-es shape who we become. They also shape what we offer to the world.

If you work on your business hunched over as the Responsibility Troll, gritting your teeth to make it through that next project, pushing yourself harder, you add to the suffering of the world. Each time you treat yourself unkindly, telling yourself the end justifies the means, you increase the sum of unkindness in the world. You contribute to a lack of empathy and generosity.

How you do what you do determines the quality of your life. So when that Responsibility Troll shows up, give it something to do that lets it fulfill its natural function. Then invite the Deva of Responsibility to dance with you too. Become its shining, winged self, and see what happens next.

Oh, and listen for the tune that brings the Deva and the Troll onto the dance floor together.


I’d love to hear your stories. How do you feel when the Responsibility Troll shows up in your life? Do you have rituals for welcoming the Deva of Responsibility? Share on my Facebook page, or write about it on your own Facebook wall, with a link to this post.

  • 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.