#IPromiseMe: Music Reveals the Secrets

On my quest to identify my personal guideposts, I quickly found music. Didn’t even have to think about this one. When Spider Woman asked the question, music erupted.

I often hear music in the world around me – even in the silence of my heart. Music has always helped me make sense of the world. It comforts, heals and inspires me. I thought I knew all about it as a guidepost in my life.

However, as I’m giving a great deal of attention and consideration to my other guideposts, it seems dismissive to not do the same with music. Added plus, I get to  be in music!  Woo Hoo!

For me, music is like mathematics; it’s a universal language and it cannot hold a lie. Sure, one can use math or even music to support an illusion or an outright lie – but the math and music themselves can only be who they are. Music goes right to the core and speaks directly to the heart. Lyrics can focus it, but it’s the music itself that tells you the truth of the lyrics.

Better yet, music opens me to the secrets of the universe and illuminates me, myself and I. It is within music that I most understand myself. Music, often through my SpiritSong practice, helps me untie the knots of my own doubts and fears. Music shows me clarity and opens the path before me. Music calms and excites me – it holds me in it’s loving arms and reminds me of who I am.

A music major at Central Washington University recently sent me a beautiful talk about music and how it might save the world. It’s well worth the read and explains wonderfully the power of music to heal and transform. It’s by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Boston Conservatory. Read it.

As I sit with my guidepost, music, it’s beginning to teach me how the guideposts interact with each other and how they move through the web we create in our lives. The sensation I’m receiving is quite like hearing a really resonate bass note, or a didgeridoo, or a crystal bowl; I feel it vibrating deliciously through my bones, my heart, my body. I cannot resist the joyful merging for it makes everything more vibrant. It makes everything better. Ah, hello guidepost of alchemy! Ooh, and welcome guidepost of sensual nature being. I see them co-creating a symphony that manifests into the matrix from which my web is woven. It is as soft and subtle as the music of sunset, changing the landscape with every breath.

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Photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

Once again, music reveals to me the secrets of the Universe. I am in deep gratitude!

I am also, as always, in deep gratitude for you, my readers. I welcome comments and sharing of your stories.  ~ Coleen

#IPromiseMe: Make Sacred Space – A Crossroads Requirement

My quest to become more embodied and to find my guideposts continues. In the last post, I shared a second guidepost: I am a sensual nature being. To truly explore this and what it means started me on a journey with my body. One needs a body in order to be sensual, right? As a working empath and psychic I spend a lot of time between the worlds and have lost significant connection with my body. (I’m happy to report this is already changing.)

As you know, I’ve entered into a conversation with my body. Each day, I work with a different part – sharing what I love, thanking it for how it helps me, and asking what it needs from me to feel respected. Here’s just a few things I’ve discovered.

Toes: want to be longer and to squish in the mud.

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photo by Mellissae Lucia, oracleofinitiation.com

Foot: wants more breath and to be pampered more with lotions and massage. They want to walk on grass.

Ankles: want their own identity, separate from feet and calves. They want more movement and breath.

Calves: are so tired of undo responsibility. They want to dance and to play without so much burden.

My butt told me it ‘s job is to carry the stories that do not serve me. I was stunned by this, yet immediately felt its truth. All the stories that aren’t mine, that have been projected onto me, that I carry for others – my butt has willingly and even proudly carried. We had a long talk and I revised my butt’s idea of its purpose.

I’m so intrigued by these conversations and surprised by them in a delighted sort of way. I’m incredibly grateful for how loving and even matter of fact the various parts are. I’m experiencing none of the angst, blame or shame I anticipated. I’m finding loving kindness in my body; I’m finding trust in our new cycle of relationship; and perhaps most freeing, I find I am no longer at odds with my body. I am what I am. I’m becoming something new and delightful as I continue this journey. This can only happen because I’m allowing the space, I’m seeing the sacred and staying open to what’s next.

#IPromiseMe: My Offering at the Crossroad

I’m in the process of changing my story in a world of chaos that longs for new perspectives – new pathways to write our future. I believe these kinds of change need to begin at the personal level and that we need to trust that the change will ripple out.

As you know, I consider story to be the most vital (and available) tool for re-creating our world into a more loving, sustainable and easy reality. I’ve danced around it, because well it feels so darn personal, but it’s time for me to take the leap, dive in, and openly share my story. It’s clear to me that it is part of my promise to myself – no more hiding.

(excerpt from an earlier post)

I am a large woman. I started putting on weight in grad school, then stayed steady and at menopause gained more weight. The reality is that I’ve been a large woman only half of my life, but I’ve been called fat since before I was a small child. My mother has lots of body image issues and also seems to find her sense of acceptance and being loved in feeding people. As a result, what I felt and saw in the mirror never matched what my family and the world seemed to be telling me. When it came to physicality, I didn’t know what to trust.

 

I need to say that my size has not been a stumbling block in my life. I was often told I was pretty; I’ve always known that I’m smart, witty and creative. I’ve had a good life. I’ve been happy. But I have not been truly connected to my body – my physicality has always been less significant to me.

In the last few years, I’ve experienced inflammation, significant joint pain, teeth issues and low energy. The truth is, I have limited mobility and that scares me.

I’ve been playing a shame and blame game around my body for the last couple years and in my anxiety as I searched for the right foods and answers to my body’s issues – I’ve gotten worse. Then Spider Woman came to me in a journey and taught me a few things about being an empath. Because we’re so sensitive to those around us, empaths often lose track of themselves, of who they are. As a result, we’re often on a lifetime quest to find home.

After chatting, Spider Woman challenged me to find the guideposts upon which to build the web of my life. These guideposts are constant – even when we shed old webs and stop onto new ones. She suggested that my anxiety about not knowing home was directly linked to not identifying my guideposts – and to my physical health.  When you find your guideposts, you will immediately know how to trust them. Your work between the worlds is beautiful, she told me, but you must learn to return to and honor your physical structure.

My first guidepost: I am a sensual nature being. I know the absolute truth of this, immediately. But where is this guidepost? It feels like it’s in an overgrown and neglected garden. Like in the Secret Garden movie, it seems walled off, full of dead things and locked. But I know it has wick; it is alive.

My quest then is to unlock the garden of my first guidepost and tend to it. I commit to this  and to sharing the journey as part of my sacred story.  It feels raw and vulnerable to make this commitment. Voices in my head are asking all sorts of questions – like, what if they think you’re ridiculous or crazy, …

Earthen Body Pic

Photo by Mellissae Lucia http://www.oracleofinitiation.com

But another voice is telling me that this part of storytelling is not about the listeners; it’s about the person living the story and watching it unravel. And another voice is smiling and simply asking me if I’m going to walk my talk. Yes, I choose to risk sharing my story so that you may know my heart.

This photo is from when I participated in Mellissae Lucia’s Painted Body Initiation. I realize now that the experience was a ritual engagement with this guidepost – but I didn’t understand its significance. The link will take you to a post about that experience. Can you sense the guidepost in the experience?

***

I wrote that back in October. I’ve been making small shifts that are feeling very significant. They really seem to be about my relationships – to myself, my work, … I keep coming up on this one particular theme/lesson; I need to stop looking for what might harm me.

It’s so easy in our world to lose our sense of hope and connection, our sense of personal power. Our culture focuses around war, competition, and antagonistic relationships at every level. Even heart-centered campaigns to promote goodness in our world are often offered as a “Fight Against (fill in the blank)”. Our language is full of warlike words.

My relationship with my body, and specifically my diet, as been a campaign to stop bad habits, avoid the poisonous additives, get rid of inflammation, fight off free radicals,…  Is it any wonder that I’ve been struggling? All of these put me in opposition.

In December, I gave up. It was actually a surrender, an acknowledgment that I couldn’t keep up the fight. Since then, I’ve been hearing voices that tell me to rest, to enjoy, to savor. I paid no attention to what foods were good or bad. In fact, I refused to judge them. I ate what I wanted, but in a pretty conscious way. I gained no weight, my pain and inflammation actually calmed and I found an ease that I can’t ever remember having in my relationship with my body. This act of surrender was enough to get me out of my rut.

Two weeks ago, I felt ready to shift things – not because I should; or because if I didn’t I might die or get some horrible disease; or because I needed to look or act in some expected ways. I felt ready to shift because I want to walk the hills in the springtime and I want to dance and play out in nature without worrying about losing my balance. These desires emerged somewhere deep in my being and I chose to join with those desires – to resurrect and reconnect with my sensual nature being.

I re-read a book that I’d found a year ago about the Abascal diet. I’m on the first stage of resetting my body’s baseline needs (my words, they call it the elimination diet, but I am choosing a different frame of reference). I’m doing beautifully and noticing all kinds of little shifts. I was really tired the first few days, but didn’t judge it. I just noticed and let myself sleep. I’m using this stage to rediscover my body and it’s needs. I’m using it to help my body learn to trust me so that we become integrated rather than separate. It’s not optimal to experience my body as something separate, so I’m talking to each part and we’re becoming team mates. I am not separate from nature or from myself.

Today, I got really excited when reading about the intestinal flora. The book talks about how different foods support different bacteria. Their perspective is to feed the friendlies (those bacteria that really help us be more vital). Again, I felt this sense of joining hands for a common purpose. “I have to eat more vegetables.” has shifted to “OK, friendlies, I’m sending you what you need to be vital and I graciously wait for the goodies you will send me to help me be vital.” I am becoming the “hostess with the mostest” – providing well for my guests and reaping the rewards of their generosity in return.

I am carrying such a different story about my physicality. I’m finding the wick in my secret garden and tending tenderly to new shoots as I gratefully clear away and compost what has died.

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Photo by Johnson Chou on Unsplash

I am enjoying this process of rediscovery and having fun learning to become more and more in harmony with myself and the world around me. I’ll tell you more about conversations with my body in the next post.

Thank you for witnessing my story.  ~ Coleen

#IPromiseMe: An Alchemist without a Cauldron

From my last post  you know that I’ve made a promise to me to center my life through me. My dreams, longings, desires and health are vital; I need them in order to do my work in the world, to be of service.

When Spider Woman suggested I discern what my guideposts were, I was intrigued. What are the structures upon which I build the tapestry, the web, of my life. What’s always there, even when I jump an outdated web.

Music was the first and most obvious guidepost. I discovered long ago that if I’m not doing music of some kind, I just don’t feel like myself. My family sang, we all played instruments and without Barry Manilow I’m not sure I would have made it through my teens.

The next two guideposts took more thought, but the last one was quite a challenge. It took me weeks and when I wasn’t even thinking about it, it suddenly occurred to me.

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Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash

I’m an alchemist, always have been. This conjures up images of fire, smoke and some chemical reaction. Merriam Webster offers this definition of an alchemist: someone who transforms things for the better. I like to think of alchemy as the blending of two or more elements, the combination of which is greater than their sum.

I like working with other people, blending our gifts and talents. I love cooking and how one ingredient can totally transform a dish. I love the secrets of how to take the sour out of tomato sauce or how toasting a grain before adding it to water can make a dish sparkle with depth and flavor notes.

I have a gift for seeing the many aspects present in a person, group, piece of music, … I sense how the different elements combine to create possibilities – like a kaleidoscope changing with a shift in light or touch.

I am brilliant at story – catching the nuances of telling that can shift an audience, a heart, a life.

I have experienced the incredible beauty of a circle of strangers, stuck in their own stories, transforming each other and ultimately the world. This is magic, alchemy.

I feel most centered as an alchemist when I do SpiritSong. The whole world becomes a cauldron, filled with all the elements, potentials and possibilities. I simply open; I become the instrument – both most purely myself and most free of self. Spirit moves through the song like a ladle blending the contents of the cauldron until it’s “better”.

Ritual is the other place where, for me, alchemy is so tenderly present. The work of seeing the micro in the macro; the internal and external; of using movement, music, intention, connection – to heal and transform. It’s all remarkable to me to feel these shift and see them ripple out into the world.

It’s only since my work with Spider Woman that I’ve identified this aspect of my being, which speaks so sweetly to my heart. Naming it has been quite powerful. As I move through life, I find myself saying, “yes, alchemy is what I’m doing here.” It’s a regular dance, this alchemy – whether I’m cooking, singing, healing, writing, leading circle, inviting just the right combination of folks for tea, …

Last week I had an appointment with a new primary healthcare practitioner. I’ve been putting it off because my experiences in the last few years can be characterized as painful and unhelpful. I’ve felt like a statistic and when results come back that don’t support what they were statistically sure was the issue, they shrug their shoulders and send me on my way (after offering meds for the issue they were sure I had, but can’t substantiate). I received my health intake in the mail and dutifully filled it out. I realized that their questions were going to take me to the same experience I’ve been having. I wanted to cancel, but something in me rallied.

“I’m an alchemist. I can make this better.”

I sat down and made a list of all the things I’ve been noticing about my health. I included my concerns and a list of my goals/priorities. I kept the list handy and over the next few days added to it until I felt it represented who I am and how I feel in my body.

Then, I adjusted my attitude. If I wanted the best of this new practitioner, I needed to bring my best – including an expectation of a positive, hopeful and practical coming together in support of my health and well-being.

I left the appointment feeling positive and hopeful about our plan. I had practical steps to take immediately, some tests scheduled and even a tentative diagnosis that actually makes sense to me. Best of all, as she left, my practitioner said, “It’s an honor to be on this journey with you.” I felt deeply listened to, cared for, supported and really motivated. Alchemy!

As I promised me, I brought myself fully into the process. I made it better by stepping into the center of those statistics and saying, “This is me.”

I’m grateful to share this direction from Spider Woman and the ways that I navigate it all.  I also love hearing from you. What are you promising yourself?

Thanks for reading and being part of my circle.

Blessings, ~ Coleen

#IPromiseMe

The fallout, at least for me, from all the eclipse activity since August is that I can no longer not attend to me. Yes, there’s a double negative in there. My apologies. I just had to say it in that way, once.

You see I’ve finally caught up with myself.

All these insights and teachings have been coming through me for the last couple years – particularly around co-creativity, authenticity and the deep feminine. I’ve been writing, speaking, blogging, posting and teaching. I’ve felt the importance of it all – and its immediacy. It had to get out in the world. I had to do my part.

On the side, I let the teachings and insight come into my personal life. You know, when there was time.

I know I’m overstating this a bit. In fact, I might be exaggerating outrageously. But I do know, without any doubt at all, that I was not at the top of my list or at the center of this work.

Perhaps, it wasn’t required. Perhaps I needed to get it down and out in the world as it was coming through to me. But as keenly as I sensed and gathered what needed to come through, I sense that they now must move through my living them. I cannot be on the sidelines of my work.

It’s time to stop holding stories for everyone else and story my life in a newly focused way. This might take a bit of courage.

As I write this, I feel my body humming. Aspects of myself that have been half asleep are rousing, dusting themselves off and looking around with great excitement and anticipation. I hear a whisper:

“One’s work should always come through the story of one’s life.”

WOW! That’s a game changer, isn’t it? I am not what I do. What I do is an integrated part of the whole of who I am.

Those newly awakening parts of me are shaking their heads yes, and doing it enthusiastically. Other parts of me are looking around anxiously. What will this look like?

This is where storying one’s life get’s interesting. I feel like I’m facing an auditorium full of people waiting expectantly for the play to begin. But the key actor has left the building and there’s no understudy. Who opens for me now? I find this frightening, but also intoxicating; I’m off book – anything is possible!

Spider Woman drops down into my view and smiles. “Tell them about your guideposts,” she encourages. “They’re the only pieces that are always there. You can weave a story later. Tell them about your guideposts.”

Right. When it’s time to jump one’s web, guideposts are vital. What are they? They are integral to everything I am. This is what it’s all about right now; promising me.

I promise me to see who I can be. I promise me to serve the world by being fully present to myself in my life. In doing this, I offer more of myself to the world – not just what I can do, but who I am. What joy! What magic can happen?

Guideposts are the things that are always true, the “structures” upon which the web of one’s life is woven. What is always true for you? What foundations are your life built upon? For me, music is an essential guidepost. Can you guess what the others might be? Here are some photos to give you clues:

 

I’ll share my guideposts over the next couple of posts. I wonder what yours might be?

I’m grateful to share this new process with you as I learn to navigate my life differently and work from a new perspective. I love hearing from you and look forward to your stories of new walksguessing what my guideposts might be or sharing your guideposts .

Thanks for reading and being part of my circle. Comments are welcome below.

~ Coleen