April 30, 2011

Image Credit: HeyZee’s A Solitary Ranunculus

Spring is in full bloom out here in California and I hope it is for you as well. This time of year I never miss a chance to visit my farmers market. There are bright bunches of ranunculus, peonies, and sweet peas to fawn over. Heads of lettuce are blooming full and chickens have layed eggs in abundance.

This past Tuesday I went to the market with my dear friend and colleague Lani Klaphaak who’s a relationship, sex, and dating coach.  Yeah, love having her on speed dial.

We spent our afternoon filling our baskets and dishing on coaching. We got talking about the core challenges are clients are facing and what themes we were seeing. Lani said that more than any other issue, her clients struggle with some form of fear of rejection.

Ooh, that’s a fierce one, isn’t it?

I see it in many of my clients and I’ve certainly known that gray cloud over the years.

But here’s the thing:

People will reject us. We will go on dates, want a second one, and be shut down. We will shine our soul at work, labor and love it, and still find our boss just doesn’t like us. We will speak our truth, create our art, and show up as our most authentic self and there. will. be. haters.

So how do we deal?

I use The Pineapple Theory.

Let me explain:

I haven’t seen every episode of Oprah, but I have seen my share, mostly on home-sick-days, and back in 2006 while watching an episode I had a true “a-ha” moment.

Her guest was Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology and relationship/sexpert. Dr. Pepper offered this gem: “Some people don’t like pineapple. Some people don’t like me. Some people do like me. I’m okay—it’s just taste.”

Bam.

You are just a pineapple.

Some people will love you.

Actually most people will love you.

You’re sweet and juicy and exotic in your own way.

Still there are those  who won’t love you, no matter your awesomeness…and their preference for something other than your unique flavor is no reflection of you.

You’re just a pineapple.

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How do you deal with the fear of rejection? How have you worked through it? Where does it still hold you back? What would you do if you were not afraid at all that others would reject you?

April 23, 2011

Image Credit: Eva Juliet’s “Take, a big, deep breath” from her Etsy shop

“Our willingness to rest depends on what we believe we will find there. At rest, we come face-to-face with the essence of life.”

This quote comes from Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by the wise Wayne Muller. This book was pivotal in my life. It renewed my commitment and connection to quiet, to play, to ritual, to spaciousness, to my spirit, and to myself.

And while Muller is a best-selling author, it always surprises me how few people know of this text or the many others he has written. Had you heard of him? Have you read this book? I hope my little shout-out love letter here will bring many of you who hadn’t to know his powerful work.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from Sabbath:

“What if our life is simply a time when we are blessed with both sadness and joy, health and disease, courage and fear — and all the while we work, pray, and love, knowing that the promised land we seek is already present in the very gift of life itself, the inestimable privilege of a human birth? What if this single human life is itself the jewel in the lotus, the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price? What if all the way to heaven is heaven?”

Nearly every page of my copy of Sabbath is covered in aged yellow highlighter and inked underscores of the places that moved me. If you’re life is calling out for reconnection and your world is too noisy for you to hear yourself or whatever divine source you relate to, I hope you’ll make time for quiet rest and for Muller’s writings.

More musings on keeping sabbath to come….

 

April 20, 2011

So much of unfolding our life path is seeing what’s right in front of us.

Despite the fact that I’ve always felt creative, that following my creative spark has transformed my life, despite the fact that I knew I wanted a BIG portion of my site to be about creativity, and despite the fact that my tag line is even “coaching and CREATIVE projects for a full and well-fed life” it still came as a big shock when people started to come to me for creativity coaching, when my site analytics showed that my Creative Projects were the most trafficked pages, and when people added me to their creativity Twitter lists. Who me?

I don’t yet know what this new room in my life’s house is called (Creative Provocateur?), but I’m moving in, because it feels right.

And I’m moving in because there’s a welcoming party that includes Connie Hozvicka, the beautiful artist-force behind Dirty Footprints Studio. Connie is admittedly a talented artist and a stunning goddess (not a word I use lightly), but it’s her courage and wisdom that really drew me to her. She’s brave and brilliant. Her words and the way she sees life are as powerful as her paintings.

It’s such a pleasure to share her juicy thoughts with you today as part of The Well-Fed Woman series.

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What are you TRULY hungry for?

More pauses.
More soft space to exhale.
More white on my canvas.

I am truly hungry for moments where I can slip into silence like a silk camisole…move into stillness like a feather falling gracefully…and relax with doing absolutely nothing at all.

Since I started my journey with self employment almost a year ago, I have found myself running my passion like a marathon. One project to the next–one painting to another–without ever any time to simply be. To simply enjoy life for what it is at that exact moment. Instead of just another opportunity to fill it with what could be–what should be–and what will bring me flying ahead.

I have started making movements to feeding this hunger. Slowly, mindfully. Making sure not to make the pauses just another thing I need to do. But instead the natural flow of creating a life that may not be balanced…but instead well rounded and nourishingly fed.

What’s a craving that you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?

For years I have been craving to go deeper into my Yoga practice. For me, that has always translated into registering for a year long Yoga Teacher Training program at the wonderful studio that I belong to. But for years I found a million excuses why I couldn’t afford it, how I didn’t have enough time, and that my body was in no way good enough condition for such an intensive endeavor. And this year, I found myself with the same excuses, reasons, and fears but decided to indulge this craving instead. Now, three months into the program, my whole life is shifting and transforming. The money always appears, the time is only a matter of being real with myself, and my body–it couldn’t be more happier. But I–I am learning how important it is to simply follow the cravings of my heart to insure living a fully authentic life.

What are you a conduit for? What comes through with ease, meaning, and spark?

Creative Source.

I am by no means perfect at this beautiful relationship. But I am getting stronger at it every day as I practice surrendering to Creative Source. Again and again I hand over my power as I allow Creative Source to work through me. If it be a painting, a workshop, a conversation with a loved one, or even a last minute dinner recipe…I always remind myself of the connection I have–of the responsibility that comes along with being a conduit to Creative Source. It is my job and my greatest devotion to help inspire others to clear their own path to Creative Source as together we each make positive change in our lives and others.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

Recently I had dinner at a friends’ house and they are native Costa Ricans. For dessert we had a common Costa Rican dessert of ensalada de frutas or fruit salad. But this was not like your ordinary, boring American fruit salad. No way–this fruit salad was brought to this planet by angels–made of fresh papaya, banana, pineapple, orange juice, and a special Costa Rican ingredient called sirope de kola. Yum, yum, yum. My tastebuds died and went to Heaven! I could live on this stuff forever!

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Connie has some exciting online and in person workshops coming up, a fantastic podcast, and a soul-stirring video series. You can learn all about her and her projects at Dirty Footprints Studio. You can find her on Twitter at @dirtyfootprints.

April 17, 2011

{One of my favorite pathfinders, Julia Child}

It’s true — there is so much I can’t do for my coaching clients.

I can’t give them courage (oh, but I wish I could).

I can’t make them ready to unfold or guarantee that if they take leap they won’t twist an ankle (I trust them to do it all in their own time).

I can’t instill in them a solid knowing that they are lovable, good, or crazy amazing powerhouses (though I try).

And I can’t paint the ground under their feet so it reads:

You are standing exactly where you are supposed to be standing, you are not too late, or too early, and if you’re wondering where to go next, go steadfastly towards the spark or just sit quietly

(though I am seriously considering getting some sidewalk chalk).

But one of the many things I can do is share my story with them, where it’s useful, and I can point them to my guides, who’ve helped to blaze trails for me.

I know from personal experience how catalyzing it can be to know that someone has gone before you and not only survived, but kicked ass. Pathfinders don’t even have to travel the same path (in fact they can’t) to give us a powerful idea of how to go forth. Stories of how others navigated the river rapids of their life is sometimes just enough of a map to get us going in the right direction.

I’m calling on you to help me gather a few such stories to for one of my incredible clients, whom I’ll call Love.

Generally speaking, Love wants desperately to change something in her life, but doing so may rock the boat and bring disagreement/disappointment from her family. She wants to find the courage to take the leap in the face of a paralyzing fear of causing an earthquake in her otherwise peaceful life.

Do you know of a story somewhere that tells of someone who did this? Someone who leaped in the face of fear of making others unhappy so that they themselves could live?

Perhaps it’s your own story, or a favorite book, radio interview, or blog post.

Please share your recommendations for these stories and any names of people who have blazed a trail for you in the comments below.

With gratitude + awe,

Rachel

April 14, 2011

Nathan Trivette’s “Vanishing Power – Electric Lines in Fog

If you tune into the news or open a newspaper you are going to hear about our global energy crisis. Aside from the fact that we (especially Americans) use far too much energy, as you know by now, we also use power sources that are neither sustainable nor renewable.

I’m fascinated by how this global issue parallels what I see as an epidemic of people dependent on unsustainable sources of personal power.

I think of this as false power. It’s short-lived, fragile, and externally derived.

On the flip side is true power, or em-powerment. This kind of power is rooted, renewable, and strong. Empowered people are the force of their own lives, regardless of circumstances. Those who run on false power oscillate between bursts of feeling strong and petering out. They are dependent on outside forces to recharge them.

Where do you get your power from? Is it sustainable, dependable, and renewable?

How much do you need? Do you burn through it quickly? Do you worry there isn’t enough?

Where you get your power determines how you walk through the world.

Power is about your hungers and satiation and, sometimes, desperation. It’s about finding peace.

We all get power from unsustainable (or false) sources and that’s fine.  Like junk food, you just don’t want it to be your whole diet…or even most of your diet. Have a looksee at this list of unsustainable, non-renewable, unguaranteeable sources of power:

  • Money
  • Beauty (in a traditional sense of the word)
  • Youth
  • Thinness
  • Things
  • Sexual Power Over Others (not to be confused with having an empowered relationship with your sexuality).
  • Other’s Approval
  • Your Parent’s Approval
  • Your Sibling’s Approval
  • Your Child’s Approval
  • Your Friend’s Approval
  • Your Significant Other’s Approval
  • Your Boss’s Approval
  • Your Client’s Approval
  • Being “Good”
  • Being “Smart”
  • Being “Pure”
  • Being “Hip”
  • Having lots of Twitter Followers or Unique Visitors or RSS subscribers
  • Getting your book on a best seller’s list
  • Being a ‘published’ author
  • Being a ‘tenured’ professor
  • Being a doctor
  • Being a lawyer
  • Being part an exclusive club or group or clique
  • Praise from the media

If you lost it all, your money, your things, your youth, your health…could you still be and feel powerful?

A lofty and/or radical idea, perhaps, but true power comes from within and is available no matter the circumstances. True power comes from our spirit, the clarity of our connection to it, and how we receive life.

Truly powerful people are empowered…powered from within.

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Tell me, where do you get your power? What’s your “go-to” false power?  Do you believe we can we solve both the global and/or individual power crises?

April 13, 2011

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold:
the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go. Save your strength to swim with the tide.
The choice to fight what is here before you now will
only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts
to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes
through your days whether you received it gently
or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith; the mind may never find the
explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward
nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams
or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of
rest and peace, and certain transformation.

Danna is a poet and yogi, her books include Go In and In: Poems From the Heart of Yoga (from which this poem came), One Soul: More Poems From the Heart of Yoga, and From Root to Bloom: Yoga Poems and Other Writings.

April 11, 2011

Amanda Jozaitis’s Familiar Element XIV 

“I wonder why I start and end each week feeling empty”

“I hate waking up feeling empty”

“Feeling empty.. Feel nothing.. It feels weird.. Like I’m missing something.. Something important in my life but I just don’t know what it is”

What you’re reading here are tweets, written by others, by strangers to me, put out into the Twittersphere. 140 characters, or less, of honest sharing about a state we call ‘empty.’

I searched for “feeling empty” on Twitter a few months back on a night when my own internal check in yielded this result. I was curled up in bed, feeling listless for no apparent reason. When I listened inward, “feeling empty” is what I heard.

At the time, I wondered “What does it mean to feel empty? The fact is we’re not empty. On a physical level, we’re full of organs, fluids, bones and millions of cells of life.  On a spiritual level, we’re whole, soulful, and full of love. So what does it mean to feel empty? Why do we go there? What should we do when we arrive and how to do we navigate our way back to feeling full?”

I don’t have all the answers to these questions and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I do know this:

When I listen attentively for what’s there, I’m always amazed to find that it’s a pretty rich place. I love myself through the fog and quiet of feeling Empty. I hold steadfastly to my knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ and that experiencing it is normal and bonds me every other person (on or off Twitter) who’s ever only been able to describe his or her state of being as ‘feeling empty.’

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Here’s a little story I wrote about this place called Empty:

Empty does not have a town weather vane to help you find your direction. The Sun doesn’t rise in the east or set in the west. There’s no bell tower either to chime on the hour, day or night.

I can tell you Empty is further north than the town of Depressed, but south of Happy and just down the road from Numb.

It’s foggy in Empty, nearly all of the time, leaving the residents in a bit of haze and longing for brighter days.

Have you ever been to Empty?

I bet you have.

Most of us pass through now and then. Though if you’re wise, your time there is short and purposeful.

I know Empty well. I used to hang out there a lot of the time. Now I only make the occasional, unscheduled visit.

There’s a terrible rumor going round that if you fill yourself up with shiny new things, or food, or external approval, or any number of distractions that you can avoid going to Empty. It’s not so…I don’t know who made that up, but you can’t fill up on these things; they can’t help you from stopping in Empty now and then.

I thought it might be helpful if I shared my packing list for fellow visitors so their stay in Empty might be more pleasant; If you’re going, consider bringing at least a few of these items along and you might find your stay rather brief and useful:

A smile (or half-smile), because as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

A soft place to sit, so you can be still and present with just what is happening.

Your walking shoes, for getting fresh air and wiggling your toes when you feel flat. No walking map needed, wandering is a perfect activity for exploring Empty.

Pen + paper, for capturing all you meet, hear, see, feel, and uncover during your stay AND to write yourself a love letter.

Your wisdom (or what you know to be true), so that you can challenge any naysayers you encounter who might try and convince you of things that simply aren’t true (i.e. “What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it! Don’t you know that people have bigger problems than you? You should be happy!) Your wisdom will help you to just be you, where you are, nothing more.

X-ray glasses, so you can see through the illusion of Empty and know that fullness and fulfillment are really always available.

Your favorite animal companion, real or imaginary, because they make everything better.

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Tell me about your trips to Empty? What do you bring when you go? What do you want your fellow travelers to know? What other ‘place’ needs a guidebook?

April 1, 2011

Somewhere, right now,

there is a future student of yours

traveling their own path.

They will arrive at the place you are now

at the same time you arrive ready to guide them.

ready to teach them.

How do you need to live

so as to be of service

to them

when they arrive?

What will you tell them

when they get here?