Personal growth, spirituality


lotus cactus

I was at one of my favourite places the other day.  I call the route the Sacred Mountain hike.  I could drive to the destination, but I like to park at the bottom and walk up to the top of the mountain.  There is a lot to see along the way.  Sometimes I chat with people who live in the neighbourhood.  Sometimes I need the exertion of one foot in front of the other until there is nothing but the step and the breath.

The whole area has always felt special to me, and several of the people who live in the area have told me it’s been a sacred place since it was inhabited only by the indigenous people.

I looked up from watching ants and saw a man stop at the cactus garden, then kneel.  Maybe he was doing as I had done.. kneeling to look more closely at things, then I realized he saw that garden as a sacred place. I witnessed how he used the place for healing, and it was a beautiful thing to see.

That to which we attach meaning becomes sacred.  It can be a place designed as such, used in reverence over centuries, or something as simple as a rock one finds while walking.

I’ve been reading some of dancer and choreographer Martha Graham lately.  What she says about dancers applies to us all.

“Wherever a dancer stands ready; that place is holy ground”

“The body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor. ”

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. ”

If we are mindful to be standing ready, opportunities begin to emerge…. things we were not able to see when our minds were too cluttered with the detritus of the every day.

Begin to see the sacred around you.

Begin to see the sacred in your Self.

Creativity, focus, Personal Development, Personal growth

First Thing

coffee-shadowI was chatting with a friend earlier today who was lamenting the fact that they wanted some consistency and organization in their life, but didn’t seem to be able to find their way there.  Mostly because of their erratic schedule.

And I suggested the concept of First Thing.  Before starting the day.. before grabbing tech.  Do a First Thing activity.  Meditate.  Write. Doodle. Do yoga.  Go for a walk.  Pick a thing and do it before starting the day.  Set a timer if you have to.  Set your alarm to get up a little earlier if you have a busy day, but choose something to do first thing before starting your day.

There’s something magical, I think about using your brain in that place between sleep and wakefulness.  I might be groggy, but often ideas come more readily when I write or do something creative first thing.  And there’s something lovely about going for a morning walk.. although for me that happens after coffee!

I want to reactivate my yoga practice.  I was doing so well until about a year ago I pushed too far and injured myself, and never got back into it.  I’ve been taking time to mediate first thing all this past week.  Either more formally, or at the very least, taking time before I get out of bed to check in with myself.

What will you choose to be your First Thing?

Creativity, Personal growth

The Importance of a Beginner’s Mind

IMG_5610Today I decided to learn a new to me craft.

The process of it is awkward to me, and it’s reflected in how it looks. I found myself tensing up, trying to do it the way it’s “supposed” to be done. So I took a moment, set things down, and checked in with my body and mind. And remembered one of my basic tenets of life: explore the what ifs, rather than have them be blocks and fear-making.

There’s an importance and glory to approaching things with a beginner’s mind. You don’t know how to do the thing yet, your your motor skills are not automatic. Your mind explores the different possibilities.

Unless you come to the table with a lot of rules. Rules can block the creative flow. The inner critic might wake up and parade all the failures you’ve ever experienced. Your body tenses up, and then you fall, or make mistakes, or get so frustrated you give up on trying to learn the thing completely.

So yes, what I’ve made today is clunky and awkward, but I also learned alot about the process of the thing. And I learned probably as much about myself as the craft I decided to pursue.

I’m going to be offering creative exploration workshops soon. I hope you will join me with a playful beginner’s mind.