This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my long journey as a seeker. I learned this from my t’ai chi teacher, and the concept is a lifesaver. I have written about the many lessons stillness and patience give you before, here and more recently here.
Picture yourself being in the stream grounded and ease, moving a bit without being overwhelmed and knocked over. Neither are you being rigid, trying to change the stream’s flow (we all know how effective that is!).
You know what I mean? I bet you do.
Water yields, it goes over, around and through things. Yet, although water is soft and weak, it has the capacity to erode solid stone and move mountains.
It is said that this teaching — the action of non-action — came from Lao Tzu. In t’ai chi I was taught this as the central idea in effortless combat. There’s never a reason to go looking for a fight. Never. Let go of every piece of that ego that seeks to punish, or even to win. When someone comes at you with weight, or anger, each response of yours, each and every move, can come from you effortlessly, without conscious planning. This allows you to react and respond to everything that comes your way easily, expending just the right amount of effort, and without any harmful results (to yourself or anyone else!).
Like playing with clouds, yo.
Yes, inspired by Fran Sorin — and modified by me — Love Bombing 2014 took place on Valentine’s Day, and it consisted of me handing out beautiful red roses to strangers around Oakland’s Lake Merritt, with each interaction captured on video by my volunteer videographer.
You bet it was bold. Especially after the first two… I was turned down! The first two people I approached didn’t want to take a rose. I boldly kept going. Even though I was feeling daunted and self-conscious. I kept going, and it got to be so much fun!
You bet my execution was imperfect! I forgot to tell my volunteer videographer to take horizontal videos, not vertical, never ever vertical! And here I am sharing my imperfect, bold, love-drenched beautiful interactions with you. As I’ve learned from my best teachers, as long as I’m in it, in action, in the game, I’m coming out ahead. Even if I fail, I’m failing in forward motion.
So even though the video is not what I wanted, even though…I’m sharing three of the short videos with you right here, and if you’d like to see the other four, you’ll find the playlist here.
I hope this lands for you, in you, in the way it was intended. This was an incredible experience, and I’d love to hear from you what brave, bold, expressions of love you’ve risked, perfectly, imperfectly, or anywhere in between. Please let me know in the comments!
This is the third article I’ve written about Love this month, and it’s a theme I’m seeing everywhere. I shared my Self-Love promise with you here, and talked about how loving thoughts lead us to loving actions — and vice versa — here.
Fiery Leo ignites passion, incites loving thoughts, words and actions. Don’t hold back. Let the love out — loud, proud, and unexpected! We’re inching closer to Spring here in the north, and in most places, even the coldest places, you can begin to see signs of new growth. The color red is everywhere: red roses, store displays, red buds on the swelling new growth on bare branches. So while it still may be gray, and cold, and even frozen, celebrate. Accept the invitation: wear red and gold in a mid-Winter fiery burst of self-expression. Give out flowers and Valentine’s cards. Give them to those you love, or even better, give them to strangers. Give love, get a smile!
Love is in the air! Being immersed as I already am in the theme of Love these days, I was an instant Yes when Christine invited me to write a blog post about the branch of self love I want to grow this year and come up with my self-love promise (and to invite you to make your own self-love promise; more details at the end of the post).
I went and found quotes for each branch of the tree, words of wisdom to guide me as I grow in love. And reading through these words helped me come up with my promise.
My self-love promise: focus on the good; take exquisite care of myself; be of loving and sacred service with every thought, word and action — and have fun!
Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.
We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
Ooh too many good ones, I’m sharing two!
Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.
One is definitely not enough here either!
Whether you call it Buddhism or another religion, self-discipline, that’s important. Self-discipline with awareness of consequences.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.
The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.
Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.
Self esteem comes from doing something and accomplishing something.
A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.
Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there.
How do these words land for you? What branch of the tree is going to get your feeding, watering, and nurturing this year? I invite you to share your self-love promise with me, in the comments.
I want to invite you to join me (and Christine, and so many others!) as we blanket the world with love. You can do your own self-love pulse check and get the self-love promise kit right here.
I learned an important lesson a long time ago, in one of those church basements I’ve grown to know and love in my 12-step career. It was a critical piece of learning for me, because without it I was very stuck. Here it is:
This was the exact teaching I needed to get my transformation started.
I didn’t know I could be a loving person. I didn’t know I had it in me to transcend that baggage I was carrying around: the grief, the regret, the disappointment…
But I got it that I could pretend. I could kinda trick myself into being a better person by doing better things. I glommed onto this “Acting as if” tool right away, and it may have saved my life.
It was not a requirement for me to believe in my own loving heart in order for me to write a gratitude list. It was not a requirement for me to know that I am a good person in order for me to do something for someone else.
And I did. When I began writing 15-item gratitude lists every single day, when I pulled things for which I could be grateful out of me, despite my negativity, a space opened up inside me, a softening around the crust of my heart.
When I began to do things for others, asked and unasked, I could actually feel new pathways being formed, pathways to and from a loving space.
Try this, it can (it will!) change your life.
- For the rest of this month, write a gratitude list. Yes, the big one, with 15 gratitudes. Start each line with “I am grateful for…” and write 15.
- Also, for the rest of this month, do something for someone else Every.Single.Day. When someone cuts you off on the freeway, blow them a kiss. Bring some food or blankets to the homeless if you have any nearby. Smile at the person ahead of you in the express lane at the market who has more than 15 items in her basket. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Tip more than usual at a restaurant.
I want to hear how this experiment goes for you. Let me know in the comments how it feels to open your heart through your actions!
I used to be very absolutist about this, and say to my clients and friends and loved ones that “You can’t think your way out of this.”
I really wanted to bring a clear message today. And I don’t have one. My heart and mind are in a bit of a turmoil (like that swirly foggy crystal ball over there). There’s a distinct lack of clarity in the house.
I spent a day, nearly two, in the hospital this week. I got a transfusion which I really needed, but then left against advice because I was getting not-so-good care, and the only doctor available wouldn’t look me in the eye, told me I couldn’t possibly have had the experience I had, and made jokes instead of answering my questions. Plus I was hungry. No food after midnight for a test that was promised to happen by noon. Instead of feeling calm and clear, I feel a bit guilty and more than a bit stressed.
I know there is a lesson in this for me, one that will likely benefit you as well, but I don’t have it to share yet… I will share it with you, beautiful, just as soon as I know it!
When the Moon is New, the Moon and the Sun are aligned in the same sign. A New Moon is always a time when something hidden begins to poke through to our awareness, allowing new growth to be nurtured.
This month, the alignment is in Aquarius, the fixed Air sign.
An Air New Moon is an invitation to communicate and inspire. >>>This time around, best to focus your energy on ideas like these now because our friend Mercury is going retrograde on 2/7.<<<
The Horse loves to compete. In five-element theory the Horse is also connected to Fire, which helps Wood to burn, making your flame endure.
The last half of this past weekend was very challenging for me. Physical symptoms were flaring and I was too weak to walk a block without stopping to rest, and too much pain to sleep more than three hours.
A bit worrisome.
A lot exhausting.
I canceled everything I had planned to do — including postponing writing this article — and rested. Long soak, reading, napping (or trying), watching TV.
It’s still hard for me to expose my truth to my kid. Even though she will be 28 in a couple of weeks, I still have this old reluctance to be transparent. Because I think projecting some facade is going to protect her? I rolled that way for a long time — revealing what I thought Rose should see, telling her what I thought she should hear — but I finally gave it up. Thank the Goddess! Because the references I was using to tell myself how I should be were completely unrealistic and bogus. Seriously — Donna Reed and Barbara Billingsley? Some ’50s–’60s image of the good mother? As if I ever wore pearls or vacuumed in heels and an apron! As if I ever vacuumed at all! Oy!
It’s amazing where this shit comes from, isn’t it?
There’s a deeper truth here. Growing up as I did with a desperate, harsh and physically punitive mom, no wonder I reached to some model, any model but the one I was raised with, to base my own mothering on. And I thank the Goddess again that both Rose and I survived my lunacy long enough to grow as we have.
I’ve learned that revealing what’s true to my beloved Rose is the one of the most important things I do these days as a mother. I learned it late, but I’ve learned it, and it has not only changed my relationship with her, but I know in my heart that every uncomfortable truth I tell is giving her a reference for how she rolls, in her own relationships. Big and important.
My reluctance to reach out to her is different. I don’t hold back on the details with her, I know she can take it, but I hold back because I don’t want to be a burden.
I get all up in my head about leaning on her too much. As the single sister, I’m a little sensitive about this, I start telling myself that I’m too much, too big, and why would she (or anyone) want to hear this?
In fact, I’m blessed. My sister wants to know, wants to support me and loves me.
The reluctance here is that I think I should appear strong, invincible, like I can take anything that comes my way with grace and still be useful. The facade here is not Donna Reed, or Beaver’s mom. It’s more like: “If I reveal my vulnerability, my fears, who will want to work with me or hire me?” The gift is that I know that every single thing I go through and survive, every healing, every tragedy, every loss, becomes part of the gift that I give, part of what I teach and part of how I can help others as they move through their own stuff — the good, the challenging, the bad, the really really really hard-to-endure stuff.
This Facebook community! Made up of people I’ve known for decades, some of whom I’ve recently reconnected with, and some people I’ve not yet met face-to-face but with whom I have deep and profound relationships: clients, colleagues, teachers, inspirers, sheros. People I love, and cherish, and appreciate, and support.
I posted yesterday afternoon that I was having a rough day. And I got waves and waves of love and support. Offers of calls. Offers of rides. Love and more love. From people I know, people I coach, people I serve, people who teach and inspire me, and people I don’t remember ever having met. I got and am continuing to receive oceans of unconditional support and love.
That’s a very big deal. As a woman in business — a passionate spiritual businesswoman with heart — it starts to feel natural to do everything alone. And beautiful you, you don’t have to!
Is this you?
If you and one or more other women are ready to sign up for three months (or more) of individual coaching, and you sign up at the same time, here’s what you’ll get:
I know from years of working in groups of all kinds how the potency of your intentions and actions gets magnified and multiplied by group energy.
When we cast our circle, in our sacred space, your sacred intentions and actions are fed and watered in the most powerful way.
I have 9 openings in the next few weeks (until the end of February) for you to schedule a fee-free discovery session. I can’t wait to get on Skype or on the phone with you so we can look together and see what is meant to be for you and your beautiful business and if Sister Circle coaching is right for you! The call is free and here’s the link to schedule it.