Feral Wisdom: Listening to Our Bodies

our bodies

Feeling like the Come-Back Kid after a month-long illness lasted about 48 hrs. before my body got assertive telling me, “Stop it. Now. Not kidding.” Even though I know better, I hadn’t listened to all the quieter clues – like almost falling asleep at the dinner table while trying to eat and converse as if everything was all dandy or the way my lower back ached for the first time in a long while. My mind and spirit felt enthusiastic, creative, and full of all kinds of want-to (along with a bunch of should-do) and I tried to drag my body along when all it wanted to do was take naps, get massages, eat yummy restorative food, take more naps, snuggle on the couch with the Sweet Man, listen to cats purring and go to bed early. With lots of compassion for myself and my body hijacking ways, I surrendered. A bit of hard won feral wisdom I needed to revisit.

We’ve all done this at one time or another, driven by enthusiasm or should-do’s or some combination of the two. We tend to think of our minds and spirits as separate entities from our bodies when, in reality, our bodies are the kit and caboodle that includes the other two. When we’re listening to our bodies our minds and spirits feel energized – no matter which part of the our whole body we give attention to the other parts benefit. Our bodies have feral instinct and sharp intuition, that’s why we talk about gut feelings or opening our hearts.

It works in reverse too – our whole-self suffers when we stop paying attention to our bodies, or if the attention we give comes from that box of emotional weapons we use to beat ourselves up when things go wrong. Now that I’m feeling better I can see that the creative energy I felt while pushing my body shrinks in comparison to what’s happening for me now. And it isn’t just the amount of energy, it’s also how and what I create. When one part of us closes down because we don’t offer what it needs, the rest of ourselves can’t access the ingredient that only the part of us suffering can give, nor can we access whatever we might need from the visible and invisible world that surrounds our lives.

Except in the worst of scenarios, living our best lives doesn’t hinge on whether we’re ill, but it does depend on how well we listen to our bodies. I’ve lived with chronic pain and other health issues for years and my level of self-care has made the difference between living in  limbo or living life as fully as I can. Sometimes living life fully can look like getting out all the art supplies to experiment and play, sometimes it can look like intentionally making myself a nest on the couch with purring cats and sleeping on and off all day rather than waiting until all the springs in the caboodle start popping out – otherwise known as crash-n-burn.

How often do we tell ourselves we don’t have time for the kind of self-care we really want? Either way, we’re going to have to take time. It’s up to us to choose whether we want to take the time to care for ourselves, or end up out of fuel and having to take an even longer time to get back to wholeness.

Take a moment with your body and find out which part of your kit and caboodle needs your attention.

Much Love

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Feelin’ Like the Comeback Kid.

My ankle isn’t throbbing, I can breathe through my nose, I don’t sound like a walking, talking whooping-cough germ, no one has canceled my plans without actually telling me. In the midst of it all I started coaching clients, finally had a community adventure and calmly (though I will admit to having a smirk on my face) deleted something intended to shame me from my FB timeline without even the slightest compulsion to respond. Now that I’m feeling better, I want to do something extra crazy-good – oh yeah! I’m the comeback kid! (Perfect timing hearing Brett Drennen’s new song today.)

Next week I’ll be back with posts about lessons learned from a community adventure at the Bower’s museum, some hard-won feral wisdom, and that extra crazy-good thing I don’t know about yet.

Would love to know about anything extra crazy-good thing you recommend. Or times you felt like the comeback kid in your story. Inspire me!

Much love.

Community Adventures: Still Got Moxie

community adventures

An interesting couple of weeks have gone by, but without much community adventure. The first week’s setback extended into the following week’s plans to take the Basic Sewing 101 class at Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts. It got sad – Mr. Scott Pollock, District Manager of the store, never called me even after a follow-up call  to customer service. So now I’m waiting for the refund check and I’ve crossed Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts off my list (but still have that phone number in case the person responsible for sending checks has the same habits as Mr. Pollock!) . I felt some impatience, but mostly stayed grounded in the idea that I got some great practice at asking for what I want, setting boundaries and letting go.

I’ve learned so much from Randi Buckley‘s course Healthy Boundaries for Kind People and there’s a sense of satisfaction in being able to stand in my power with integrity and kindness. One of the things that keep many of us from wandering to far into our communities is the fear of encountering unpleasant people or situations. We have a foundation for stepping out into the world when we set up a basic road map of our boundaries, the kinds of people we want in our lives and have a few guidelines for putting it all into action. Scary at first, but the sense of empowerment we feel after putting it into practice shrinks ‘scary’ down to its right size.

The third week brought a different kind of disappointment – the talk about Art and Cognition got pushed forward to March at the last-minute. I’m familiar enough with the Bower’s Museum that I know the rescheduling wasn’t done lightly. And I had a cold, so I just took a walk instead and smiled at as many strangers as possible (but I promise I didn’t wide-eyed stare them down, regardless of how those eyes look in my illustration. That would’ve been creepy.) Though I did have a few moments of feeling jinxed, or worse, like I had somehow made all these things happen because my energy got all clogged up with the fears I had before making the effort. Maybe. Maybe not. I reminded myself of two things:

1.  I don’t believe it’s always a direct cause and effect between what we think/feel/do and what happens in our lives. I figure that since each of us is not the only critter on the planet putting out thinking/feeling vibes and doing stuff there’s a good chance some things have nothing to do with us. That said, I won’t put a big lump on the baby’s head by throwing it out with the bath water. If we go around bemoaning and in general not expecting much good, we’ll probably miss the good stuff most of the time and won’t put much effort into creating fulfilling experiences. A wise woman I used to know once said to me that whether things go well or completely fall apart  “sometimes we reap from fields we did not sow and other times we reap from our own field.”

2. This is the big one. Either way, the response remains the same. Give ourselves room to feel whatever comes up for us with kindness and compassion, regroup, make new plans and stay curious about what will happen if we don’t quit. We take our power back from the old stories that keep us small and contained.

I’m keeping my moxie and energy moving – this week I plan on attending an exhibition and talk by the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Rick Rickman about his series The Wonder Years. I don’t want to miss out on the experience, the chance encounters with like-minded souls, or even just a great cup of coffee at intermission!

If you begin your own round of community adventures I’d love to hear about it in the comments or you can use the hashtag #FCcommunityadventures so I can find you on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Much Love.

 

Still Time To Throw Your Name In for the Give-away

Give-away

I’m bursting with gratitude and excitement! The last of the regular spots are filled. But there’s still time to get in on the give-away! Just leave a comment, send a FB message, or an email to feralcompassliving.com@gmail.com

I’ve spent the last few months conjuring a little magic and it’s time to give that magic a test run. I’m beginning the journey as a witness and guide for women who are ready to uncover their truest self – what I call our feral self. You can read about what it’s about here: http://goo.gl/moawdb , how it works here: http://goo.gl/Ot3Ppz and all about me here: http://goo.gl/iMrhj2

Does it sound like a good fit for you? Is there someone you know who might be interested? I’d be excited and honored to work with you. I want to open four spots, one as a give-away and three others. I’ll draw a name for the give-away next Monday, January 19th. The other three paid slots will go to the first three names on my list (unless one of you snags the give-away!) Just send me a message or comment on this post.

The details

For how long? Six months, beginning February 1st

How often will we meet? We’ll come together via video call or phone twice a month for 75 minute calls.

What is the cost? I’m just beginning to test the waters, so the cost (unless you received the give-away) is only $25 per month for six months.

Let me know if you have any questions. Hope you’ll come along on this new adventure with me!

Community Adventure: Joann’s Fabric and Crafts

CommunityThere’s only one way to make local face to face connections, I have to go where other people do stuff that I like doing. Or at least think I might like doing. So, once a week, I’ll be out in my community attending events, classes, and anything else that beckons. Through illustrations and posts I’ll chronicle my adventures here – the cool or not so cool stuff and the inspiration and/or learning that’s bound to happen along the way.

In conversations with others, I’m finding out that many of us long for local connections, but one thing or the other, usually fear based, keeps us tucked in at home with our online peeps for company. Now, I adore my online friends and, contrary to the criticism I often hear about online friendships, I experience them as real and often deep connections, but I long for a few women to call for coffee dates, sharing and giggling. Sounds like some of you do too. We may not meet our best friends on day one, or even on day forty-two, but if we don’t get out in the community we’ll never meet them.

For my first adventure, I signed up for a Knitting 101 class at my local Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts. During a retreat with Liz Lamoreux and Kelly Barton, the truly patient Teresa Rehmann taught me the basics and I wanted to reinforce what I’d learned and get started on some new skills.

Toting my bag packed with knitting supplies, snacks and a little extra cash in case of a “gotta have that yarn” attack, I showed up at the store. I know my eyes had happy sparkles jumping around in them, but the associate I asked to point me in the direction of the class definitely didn’t have sparkles – she got all frowny and concerned because the class had been cancelled, and it turns out the cancellation happened before I ever registered for it. Yep. Exactly. I felt all my sparkles drain into my flip-flopping belly.

The whole saga really started a few days before that when I went into the store to sign up. Here’s a quick run-down of the timeline:

Tuesday 1/6: I go in to the store to register for the class, first a cashier comments that I am “lame” when I asked where the carts were because I didn’t see the three carts at the end of a long hallway at the entrance. She also didn’t have any sparkles in her eyes once she realized I heard her. After a prolonged search for the magical employee who can help me with registration, I finally get it done. She’s a nice lady and she tells me I don’t need to buy supplies. So I buy more yarn, of course.

Thursday 1/8: I get an email confirmation for the class that includes a list of supplies I need to buy. I suspect the nice lady that registered me wasn’t really the magical class registration employee, all the people calling back and forth on their walky-talkies just got tired of looking for her and sent an impostor. I get back over to the store and buy my supplies without much incident, except that neither I nor the employee helping me knew anything about worsted wool and we pretty much had to climb the shelves to find it -my sprained ankle isn’t happy about any of this.

Saturday 1/10: I arrive to find the class got cancelled three days before I registered. The real magical class registration employee showed up, quite unhappy with the impostor who caused all the problems – she also made sure to give me a run-down on all the other things she was unhappy about including that I should never have gotten the 50% off from the coupon I used because it didn’t apply to classes. Also, no one ever listens to her. She tells me it’s too late for a refund and schedules me for a class for a Saturday in February.

A complete fail, right? Not exactly. I stayed mostly centered during all these shenanigans and found out I have more patience that I know and that I can speak up when my boundaries get crossed with a bit of grace and kindness (Thank you Randi Buckley! Her amazing class Healthy Boundaries for Kind People has benefited me so much.)Because I could find some inner stillness, my compassion bubbled up when I noticed how tired and haggard the employees all looked. The store is understaffed and the employees run in twelve directions at once – I worked retail back in the day and this kind of situation causes so much stress and frustration.

When I got home from the store Saturday, I allowed myself a 3 minute rant with the Sweet Man and then I got on the phone to their corporate offices and talked with someone about the situation with calm and with clarity about what I wanted – a refund and/or a transfer of the class to another store. It’s a little further away, but I’m familiar with it and think it might be a better fit. The district manager is supposed to call me tomorrow to work it all out.

Then I took a two and a half hour nap after the Sweet Man fed me his scrumptious stir-fry that he made on the spur of the moment while I was gone.

I found I have a bit of patience, experienced compassion, stood up for myself in ways I can feel proud of, was reminded of my Sweet Man’s love and got a delicious nap. I didn’t get the opportunity to knit or make connections, but I did remember that I am my own best friend.

Any stories to tell about your adventures?

Much Love

P.S. – Want to go on a different kind of adventure with me?

I’ve spent the last few months conjuring a little magic and it’s time to give that magic a test run. I’m beginning the journey as a witness and guide for women who are ready to uncover their truest self – what I call our feral self. You can read about it  here: http://goo.gl/moawdb , how it works here: http://goo.gl/Ot3Ppz and all about me here: http://goo.gl/iMrhj2

Does it sound like a good fit for you? Is there someone you know who might be interested? I’d be excited and honored to work with you. I want to open four spots, one as a give-away and three others. I’ll draw a name for the give-away next Monday, January 19th. The other three paid slots will go to the first three names on my list (unless one of you snags the give-away!) Just send me an email at feralcompassliving.com@gmail.com and I’ll put you on the list.

The details

For how long? Six months, beginning February 1st

How often will we meet? We’ll come together via video call or phone twice a month for 75 minute calls.

What is the cost? I’m just beginning to test the waters, so the cost (unless you receive the give-away) is only $25 per month for six months.

Let me know if you have any questions. Hope you’ll come along on this new adventure with me!