Full Moon Insights: Magic, Focus, and Gratitude

Full Moon

Detail from art journal page I just finished.

Over the last week, I’ve watched the moon reveal herself against clear midnight blue skies and it struck me that I’ve been watching my own reveal too. My feral nature has come alive and I’m reveling in the freedom that comes with living inside the skin of my truest self. With that freedom has also come challenges – not completely new challenges, but they have a new level of intensity I haven’t dealt with before.

I’m not sure how much faith to put in astrological meanings, but the information I’ve read about this full moon in Taurus got my attention. To paraphrase and sum up from different sources: The full moon in Taurus asks us to shed the layers of ourselves, allowing the most authentic self to shine. There have been some intense shifts and it’s time to release what no longer serves us.

Yes! I’ve had some “intense shifts” and it sure feels like time to let go of some things that just don’t work. It’s been quite a process, and one that continues to unfold.

I’ve always struggled to some extent with staying focused, organized and managing my time, but I managed well with occasional bouts of tears and frustration. With all the energy available to me now, and the projects I’m working on, tears and frustration have come in regular waves.

For a while, I felt convinced I had Attention Deficit Disorder and even talked to my doctor about taking medication. After tons of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever my troubles are with focus and organization they aren’t serious enough to go to medication as the solution. Especially medication that has some profound effects on creativity and personality. The last article I read sealed my decision  it described ADD as the result of having a brain that registers most things as boring, especially after focusing on them for a time, and as a result jumping to the next novel thought or activity; this doesn’t describes my experience.

Still, I’m grateful for the serendipity that led me to begin to investigate ADD because I can see my thought process more clearly in contrast to the process described for ADD. Rather than boring, I find even the most mundane aspects of life interesting and full of possibilities. I often feel flooded with creative ideas, and even after picking one idea to run with I see so many avenues and perspectives I can work with that it’s difficult to organize my thoughts. And because I find myself overwhelmed, not only is focusing a challenge, but I procrastinate to avoid the overwhelm. Along with all that, I’m also highly sensitive to environmental factors and the energy of the people around me. Yep, overwhelm and exhaustion!

full moon

I’m kidding, sort of! (Another detail from my art journal page.)

I realize that I thought of being a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) as only having sensitivity to things outside of myself. I’m beginning to see that it can also be sensitivity to my own internal workings, whether those are emotions, thoughts or physical sensations and it’s time to create new rituals and strategies for navigating it all. I’m collecting new ingredients for making my magic in the world. They include things like timers, planners, and flexible structure along with more magical sounding things like creating rituals, diving deeper into spiritual practices and finding new ways to celebrate the gifts that come with being a HSP. Yes, it comes with challenges but I’m so grateful for the insights, experiences and learning that I’ve had as a result.

Passing along a wink and a load of appreciation to those of you who have listened to me and supported me as I processed all of this! My Sweet Man, Kira Elliot, Rachel Cole and Julie Daley– sending you my love and gratitude.

And big thanks to all of you who stop by here to check in on me! What’s the full moon revealing for you?

Much Love.

 

 

Freedom to Trust My Feral Nature

FreedomI just returned from the Fill It Up Buttercup retreat where I enjoyed the sweet company of creative women in that magically slowed down space. As we gathered to close our time together, an urge rose up through my body to get home and strip everything off the walls, off the table and counter tops, and off the shelves – to make space.  It didn’t come from a need to sweep away clutter, we live simply (and I don’t like dusting much!).

Nothing felt clear except for the need to make space, but just beneath the surface I felt an energy moving up my spine and spreading out in branches though my body. Once at home, restless and buzzing with energy, I began the process of creating space. My internal thoughts weren’t fear-filled, just questioning what was happening. I kept telling myself that I’ve come a long way –  I work with my coach, submit my writing, I’m writing a book and am on the verge of completing the preparation to unveil something I’ve worked on most of the past year, I lose myself in art. What was I making space for?

To get out of my head and into my body, I sunk into Yoga and swimming with intervals of silence and stillness in between. Outer stillness, that is. The energy still rippled through me looking for a way out, a place to go. I paced too, going from one room to another and back again as if I were searching for something that kept shifting just out of my reach.

And then everything changed and stayed the same too. It was a Monday, just after my afternoon meditation, when I walked through my studio and the pent-up energy burst through. It felt sudden, bewildering, exhilarating. A proclamation from my wildest, feral self - freedom, the word I claimed for this year.  It wasn’t that I’d been living smaller than I’d like to, I’ve lived smaller than I am. I’ve been living truer than I ever have, but there’s all those bits I’ve held back, so careful because I worried about what might happen or who might not like what I do and who I am.

 “I want to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding” – John O’Donahue

Or like a tree grows without questioning its longing for the sun.

I’m not stewing in regret or giving myself angst filled lectures titled “Why didn’t you get this sooner?” As sudden as this breakthrough felt, it’s evidence of all I’ve done to dismantle the dam that held the river back. I put the cracks in the foundation and the force of the river did the rest. The force of my truest self that found her way through the fissures and leaks until the need for protection crumbled away.

Freedom to live fully into my feral nature. No need to hide parts of myself, for apology or excuses, and no need to muster up my courage by saying to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it – I don’t need to pit myself against anyone or anything to live whole.

My body feels sensual and alive. I’m fierce, ready, and active as well as soft, reverent and still. I stand up for myself and others, sometimes with fire, but ground myself in compassion.  I create with passionate dedication. I come undone, I come together. I weep, sing, sigh, whisper, laugh out loud. I dance, wander, wrap myself up in comfort, push against my edges. I make mistakes, I make amends. I go ahead and try again.  I’m embracing all the facets, some full of contradiction, that make up who I am.

Working on this post, I remembered something else from the retreat – we got a prompt to fill an art journal page with the words that would complete this sentence: The job of my heart is . . . I wrote the first thing that popped into my mind: The job of my heart is to open to it all. Part of me wanted to yell out, “Oh, but hell no!” But I trusted and wrote it in bold script down the length of the page. Yes. Trust.

I don’t know what will happen, what will change, what will stay the same. Here’s what I do know – I’m excited and curious to see what happens!

Listen to the rumble and whispers just beneath the surface of each heart-beat. Just beneath the surface of your discontent, unexplained urges, your bewilderment. It’s your wisest, feral self finding her way out into this world. Trust. We need you. We need all of us.

Much love.

Sometimes Resistance Tells the Truth

2005-06-16 21.21.05

The storm gathering around us isn’t always an illusion created by resistance. Sometimes we need to heed that strong hesitation we experience about our creative work, especially a specific creative project. Our wounded intuition can’t tell the difference between resistance meant to distract us so we don’t risk rejection and resistance actually meant to protect us from doing something we might regret or putting our energy into a project that’s simply not a good fit.

In the planning stages, this series of posts started out as an open letter to Steven Pressfield, the author of “The War of Art. ” Every time I thought about it the wall of resistance felt like an avalanche of boulders coming my way, but I chalked it up to resistance playing its usual tricks on my perception. Instead of exercising some compassion and letting my resistance have its voice, I barreled ahead with my hard-hat and handy boulder blaster. As a result, I ended up with some of my worst snarky writing – not something I would be proud to post.

If I had listened to my resistance, I would have still explored the feelings that Pressfield’s ideas triggered, but in the spirit of introspection that put the focus on me, why I was triggered, and what I needed to do to move past the triggers to what I really wanted to communicate: a compassionate way of dealing with and learning from our resistance. When I finally did sit down for a heart to heart with my resistance I found that, though I don’t agree with some of Pressfield’s views, the intense reaction I had to those views had nothing to do with Pressfield and everything to do with some old wounds to my creative expression that needed my attention.

The healing and clarity I gained from that realization led me into writing from my heart and not from a wounded and frightened place within myself that I hadn’t given adequate love and attention to. I do agree with Pressfield when he writes that we can get stuck in healing mode, a perpetual state of “I’ll get to my creative work as soon as I feel completely healed from x, y and z.” This year, I’ve discovered myself in just that mode; it’s a great place to hide and keep from taking any risks and kept me thinking of myself as a broken person. I had to move ahead with my creative work, wounds and all.

Healing takes place over the course of a lifetime, waiting would mean never creating and living our entire lives in the past tense – always looking back with little energy or motivation for right now or tomorrow. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t turn our attention to healing when those wounds throb. In my view, that’s part of the job of resistance. Whether it’s trying to distract us or it’s trying to give us a legitimate warning, opening up compassionate communication with that part of our psyche teaches us about ourselves and with that clarity we can make meaningful change. Healing doesn’t just belong in the realm of  what’s commonly labeled our “personal life”, it’s impossible to heal any wound and have it only affect one part of our lives and not another. Everything is connected, my personal life is my creative life, my professional life, my political life, my spiritual life – it encompasses all of me. Each time I come to terms with anything that troubles me, most especially what shows up as resistance, my writing becomes freer. There’s more clarity, fewer places I’m afraid to explore, more authenticity – it adds up to less resistance; making war with resistance destroys that possibility.

Let’s make peace with our art, with the resistance that gets in the way, and instead of a narrow path fraught with danger we can find a wide path full of choices and insight. The wider path has its troubles, but the tools of peace lead to an increased motivation to create rather than turning creativity into a battle to endure.

I planned on other posts for this series, but I’ve found that the rest of the material I have fits with another project I’ll share with you next year.  I hope you’ve found some benefit in what I’ve shared here.

Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-entry Wobbles

Fill It Up Buttercup

Fill It Up Buttercup

Just getting back from the Fill It Up Buttercup retreat and I’ve spent a couple of days resting, knitting, napping, reading, writing. But today it seems a stomach bug has nabbed me. The Peace of Art series of posts will pick up again next week. If you have any good “chase stomach bug away” vibes send them my way please!

Much Love

Our Feral Nature

Feral

My print of Palmero’s “Starlight Stallion”

“I lived my life as a disguised criatura, creature. Like my kith and kin before me, I swagger-staggered in high heels, and I wore a dress and hat to church. But my fabulous tail often fell below my hemline and my ears twitched until my hat pitched, at the very least, down over my ears and sometimes clear across the room.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In my Southern California neighborhood we get regular visits from flocks of feral Amazonian parrots. No one is quite sure where they escaped from, but they have thrived for more than thirty years without having any negative effect on the environment. I’ve grown to love them for their resilient and resourceful free spirit, even with their sometimes unpleasant squawking and screeching at sunrise.  Sometimes I feel more affinity with them than I do with some of the people I come into contact with in everyday life.

We’ve learned to associate bared fangs and red angry eyes with the word ‘feral’, but at its most basic it just means returning to a natural state after captivity. No animal, unless it’s rabid, exists in a constant state of “fight or flight.” When a feral animal does go on the offensive, they do it to protect themselves – perhaps from returning to captivity. I admire the feral among us for their ability to survive in a world that prefers them tamed and docile.

Most women grow up memorizing the rules of civilized behavior – how to look, dress, walk, think, and even feel. We learn to bend to the mandates of family, school, media and all the rest of mainstream culture. Too often, politely and quietly, women surrender to cultural domestication or we rebel without direction or reason – we end up brittle, saying “NO!” to everything, even the things that might serve us well. We are animals denied our natural way of being in the world. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, we live as “disguised creatures.”

Even though we often can’t remember a time before we internalized all those rules, we dream of ditching our false masks so that we might live as our natural selves. We dream of going feral. And when we do, like the squawking of the feral parrots, some of the people around us might not like the less tamed version of ourselves. This is a risk we take in setting ourselves free and returning to our natural state.

The only map is found inside
the cells of your own heart. -Matt Licata


Like the feral parrots, we have an internal compass made of our instinct, intuition and creative resourcefulness that leads us back to ourselves. With a feral compass there isn’t just one true north – it could be true west or true southeast! Our task is to turn down the noise of all those ‘shoulds’ and cultural expectations so that we can begin, small step by small step, to live into the feral truth we find.

I have been finding and following my own feral compass my whole life, many times without an awareness of my truest self! – feeling my way through the dark, taking wrong turns, and stumbling. And it’s been worth it. As this year comes to an end, I’m wrapping up some work around sharing what I’ve learned along the way with other women. In the mean time, I’ll write a bit about my experience finding my feral nature and post it here most Mondays.

One last thing I haven’t told you about the flocks of feral parrots: Although they’re all Amazonian parrots, they’re not all the same species of Amazonian parrots. In the wild their habitats, behaviors and appearance change from one species to the next. Essentially, they’re like neighbors that never speak to one another. Yet, in their feral state they’ve banded together to not only survive, but to thrive! I’m not only in awe of that, I see how women can and are doing something similar.

When we do the work of finding our own way in the world, we begin to connect with other women doing the same thing- we can truly see one another to make those connections because we’ve thrown away our disguises. Women who may have never reached out for one another because of differences in location, different life-styles or even appearances, find one another and thrive in their personal and collective lives.

The world needs our best, and most wild, selves. We’re being called. This is not a time to stay safe, small or “good.” This is the time to shake of the shackles of the identities that no longer fit and experience the power of one more woman coming home to herself.

Much Love