My students often ask me what I do, on a daily basis, to stay present, grounded and focused on what matters most. Everything I teach and share is a response to this question, but — distilled to its essence — my daily practice is an ongoing communion with the Sacred in the everyday world.
The central organizing principle of my life is Wholeness, which is the expression and activity of Source in all forms of life. By embracing wholeness, I become a Source of all the qualities with which I want to fill my life and my world.
So, in everything I do, I seek wholeness, harmony, right relationship with my world.
From that first waking moment, emerging from the undertow of dreams, to the last mumbled litany of thanks before surrendering to the embrace of night, I measure the choices before me against one question: Will this choice bring me into greater wholeness, coherency, harmony and integration, or take me further away from it?
The choices I make each day emerge from this profound commitment to wholeness. Wholeness speaks through my heart’s deepest desires; through the wild, clear call of my soul; through the patient wisdom of my body. So, I listen — for what is being asked of me by my world, for my heart’s true response.
Then, I choose the course of action that brings my inner ecology into a state of greater harmony and wholeness.
At its simplest, my daily practice is one of attunement to wholeness, and to the soul qualities that are part of the ecology of wholeness. By expressing these qualities in my own life, I contribute to the sum of these qualities in my world.
So, today, I extend my love, appreciation, and blessing to everything I encounter – to my own body, feelings, desires and needs; to the air I breathe; the chair in which I sit to type these words; and to the communion of our relationship – you and me, communing heart-to-heart through these words.
The daily practice of being a Source of wholeness, participating in the activity of wholeness, is a living reminder that we are all fractals of the Sacred. We shape our world through our thoughts, feelings, choices and actions. We are the activity of the Sacred made manifest.
This poem, an excerpt from Adrienne Rich’s long-form poem, Contradictions, sings of this wild, windy, October Sunday. And of all the things that arrive “before we’re ready” — great, crashing angels bearing the spilling light of our future in both hands.
“This high summer we love will pour its light
the fields grown rich and ragged in one strong moment
then before we’re ready will crash into autumn
with a violence we can’t accept
a bounty we can’t forgive
Night frost will strike when the noons are warm
the pumpkins wildly glowing the green tomatoes
straining huge on the vines
queen anne and blackeyed susan will straggle rust
as the milkweed stakes her claim
she who will stand at last dark sticks barely rising
up through the snow her testament of continuation
We’ll dream of a longer summer
but this is the one we have:
I lay my sunburnt hand
on your table: this is the time we have”
–Adrienne Rich, from Contradictions: Tracking Poems.
When I was a child, everything spoke to me. I experienced my world with intense ecstasy, my body and senses absorbing the beauty of the natural world, its scents and sounds, tastes and textures, until they became part of me, streaming in my blood, singing in my bones. I blended with the jungles and mountains that surrounded our vacation home, and with the sea, crows, and sun-seared sky in the big city of Bombay, where I grew up.
Well into my teens, I was in ecstatic, loving relationship with everything around me. The natural world, yes — but also my bed and pencil-box, the statue of Saraswati in our living room, the chairs and couches I curled up in to read, the books I held in my hands, whose pages smelled of trees and ink, the clothes I wore to school.
When life got scary — when my family began to fall apart — the things around me offered comfort and consolation. They reminded me that I was safe, I was loved, I was blessed, and blessing.
Out of my heart-relationship with things, I developed a simple practice that remains part of my everyday life now, more than sixty years later.
Each time I encounter a thing or share a moment with it, I let it know how much I love and appreciate it. And, I feel its love and appreciation flowing back to me.
Each time I care for my body in any way — eat a meal, rub balm into my lips, take a shower, go for a walk — I extend my love and appreciation to whatever I am nourishing myself with. I bless the food, the lip balm, the shower water, the path beneath my feet.
Then, I ask it for its love and blessing. I ask the food to nourish and fill my body with joy and health, with sustenance & replenishment. I ask the shower to fill my body with love, with creative inspiration & delight. I ask the path to bless my body with grounding and support, with safety, beauty, provision.
I soften and let myself receive their love, take in their blessings, as fully as I can. I feel my deep, deep gratitude for them, for the love and tenderness they offer, for the beauty of their being. I feel my cells filling up with their blessings, with these qualities of soul so generously shared by everything in my world.
It only takes a moment, but when you do this with every activity, throughout your day, it changes you. It changes your body, your heart, and your relationship with the world.
Every breath becomes a reminder that you are in loving relationship with the very air you breathe. Every breath is an opportunity and a choice — to be in love, to take in love, to extend love. Each ordinary action of your day becomes a blessing, taking you deeper into relationship, deeper into incarnation.
As the year draws to a close, and the nights grow longer, we turn inward, to dream. We dream our stories into being. The stories of our lives. The stories of our businesses.
On November 15th and 16th, I’ll lead the sixth session of Dreaming in the Dark — a two-day virtual retreat to celebrate and release the stories you and your business have lived through together, in 2013. And to craft the new story of your business in the New Year.
Our individual stories are part of the larger story of our community and our world. Over the next three weeks, we’ll weave a tapestry of our stories together, to prepare for Dreaming in the Dark. We’ll do this on Pinterest and Facebook, the night-sky that holds the constellations of our dreams, and our unfolding stories.
Today, I invite you to consider this week’s question:
Who will you and your business be, in 2014?
As you sit with this question, let the flow of your life carry you into the land of dreaming, which holds all of the stories that belong to you. Every dream that you have, for yourself and for your business, is a story, waiting for you to claim it and invite it into your world.
Who will you and your business be, in 2014?
The soul speaks in images, symbols, metaphors. It sings its vision through poetry and music, art and imagination. Share your dreams and vision for your business’s unfolding story, on Pinterest.
Use the hashtag #DreamingInTheDark, in your pin description. Include the question you are responding to. We’ll review your posts daily, gather your images and visions together, and re-pin a selection of them onto the Pinterest Board, Dreaming In the Dark.
My Pinterest Board is a magical place.
Everything that’s placed there becomes part of the creative flow of the Universe.
I hold space for your vision’s perfect unfolding – and miracles happen.
You’ll find quotes and images to inspire you, on the Dreaming In The Dark Pinterest Board. Use them to spark your own creative imagination. Share them on your own boards, re-pin them to serve your vision.
You can also click on #DreamingInTheDark, on Facebook and on Pinterest, to see past posts, view others’ dreams, and to share yours with the Dreaming in the Dark community.
Happy dreaming and pinning!
Once Upon a Time…and the time is November, 2014…
This morning, I’m living inside the first of the questions that I’ll invite the folks who participate in November’s 2-day virtual retreat, Dreaming in the Dark, to explore: What is the central theme of the story you tell, about your life and your business?
The central theme of my own story has been a shifting shoreline — shaped and re-shaped through my encounters with the tides of experience, culture, relationship, my own soul’s desires and the choices I make in response to my world.
Today, the story elements that I’m playing with are focused through the lens of questions that have filled my heart since I was a child.
Who am I — now, today?
Why am I here — now, today?
What is calling me into greater love and engagement with my world?
And, this one, with which I begin most of my days:
What do I deeply and truly want, today? And where does my desire meet the world’s need, today?
Our deep questions are the light of the sacred, illuminating our path.
What questions are you living inside, today?
One of the essential elements of creating and teaching any program, is the delicate art of rhythm, timing, and sequence. It forms the beating pulse of deep learning.
Back when I trained teachers, this trifecta of rhythm, timing and sequencing was one that my students either understood intuitively, or struggled with in their practice teaching sessions.
Sequencing is an art rather than a science. It emerges naturally from an inner sense of order, alignment and attunement.
I experience it as a felt sense, in my body, of rightness — of dropping down into the natural pattern that is woven by the relationship between the material I’m teaching, the energetic container of the class, and the women and men participating, who are engaged in a collaborative process of exploration, discovery and transformation.
Each of these elements in the ecology of the classroom has its own frequency, its own energetic pattern. A masterful teacher blends them together the way a great conductor blends the music from individual players in an orchestra.
The difference between teachers who use rhythm, timing and sequencing effectively, and those who don’t, is largely a function of Presence, though practice, skill, and experience also factor into it. Teachers whose teaching is grounded primarily in their intellect, rather than in their wholeness, miss the deeper rhythms that pulse through the ecology of the classroom.
A simple example: When you introduce a transformative process – a guided meditation, a teaching, an experiential exercise – without first taking the time to help people get grounded, centered, and present, you introduce a destabilizing element in an already unstable field. Energetically, this creates static and chaos, both in the classroom ecology and in your students.
Transformation, which is a fluid force, requires a container of structure, safety and stability.
Rhythm, timing and sequence are the bones of that structure. They allow change to happen with the least amount of friction, and they serve the graceful integration of the new patterns that emerge.
Even if you’re teaching a primarily practical program on various aspects of building and maintaining a business, for example, there is a natural shape to the sequence and flow of information. When your program materials follow that sequence, each element that you present builds upon the one before it.
You build in pauses and breathing room, in the structure of your program. Depending on what you want your program participants to walk away with, you include a structure for connection, engagement and community — a forum, perhaps, or live Q&A and coaching calls. You include a structure for practicing the skills they are learning, in between class sessions. And you offer a structure for integrating the new skills and learning into their lives and businesses.
Sequencing is at the heart of organic learning and growth. It creates the shape that holds your emerging self. It creates the shape that holds the becoming of your business.
How about you? Where, in your life or your business, are you using rhythm, timing and sequencing effectively? Where do they need some fine-tuning?
It’s my birthday! And I have gifts for you that I trust will remind you to play, laugh, and bathe in your own splendid, squirmy delight.
We sometimes forget, in the midst of the daily noise, who we really are and why we chose to make ourselves at home in this beautiful, bewildering world. When you’re focused on scrambling over the wall in front of you, you can miss the wide horizon that invites you to melt into its embrace.
So, here are some gifts to remind you of your gorgeous, creative Self.
Please click the links above, to download your gifts. The poster and video poem are always available to you. The link to a gift copy of my poetry ebook vanishes – poof! — at 9 am PST tomorrow, September 19th.
Enjoy! And, if you feel inspired, please offer your own beautiful, creative heart to your world in whatever way calls to you, today.
Phone a friend, and tell her what you cherish about her.
Write a poem, take your camera out on a photo-date, paint, cook a meal, or put on some music and dance.
Share your joy and exuberance. The world needs you, O Miraculous One!
Make your life a celebration, today!
Registration for this September’s session of Become Your Own Business Adviser closes tomorrow. I know some of you want to join us on this adventure, and are feeling the pinch of indecision.
In the past week or so, I’ve had a flurry of emails from people asking me some variation of this question: Should I take the program now, even though ___________ (I am super busy; getting married; having a baby; haven’t yet launched my business; can’t afford it; etc.) They ask: Will the program be offered again? Will I miss out if I don’t take it now?
If you’re asking yourself these questions, consider this: If you trusted yourself completely, what would you choose? If you knew there were no wrong choices to be made, what would you choose?
For some of you, this session of the program comes at just the right time, and the voices of doubt and hesitation arise naturally because you are considering a journey that will change your life forever.
For others of you, the timing simply isn’t right. Your life is layered with other desires, needs and priorities right now.
To all of you, I offer this: Any time you’re faced with a decision, choose the invitation offered by love and true desire, not the overheated demand of urgency or fear of missing out.
Become Your Own Business Adviser is offered twice each year, in September and April. So, if this isn’t the right time for you, there will be other opportunities to play, grow, and create within the container of this community.
And if it feels right for you to join us now, but you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list and not sure if you’ll have the time to dive into the program as deeply as you wish, remember: You have the power to choose. BYOBA alumni have lifetime access to the program. So you can work at your own pace, during this session, work and play with the program materials once the session is over, and join us again for any future session.
In any case, before you make a decision, breathe and rest in the spaciousness, ease, love and abundance of your heart. Your best choices will always emerge from there. The power to choose is yours — and nothing that is truly meant for you can ever be lost.
- 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.
- 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.