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Who Do You See in Your Bathroom Mirror?

traditional-makeup-mirrorsThis is a question I ask my clients all the time. The reason is because if you can’t see who you are meant to be, who could? This poem, posted by my friend Donna Henes on her Beliefnet blog, said it all.

 

The Heart Is The Home of Wonder

By Edie Weinstein, PA

www.liveinjoy.org

Breathe in the warmth of this place, allowing yourself to feel a sense of welcome
It is your own love, your own beauty that beckons you inside
How long has it been, since you have crossed this threshold?
The door has always been open, the invitation always extended
Will you accept it now?

Through the windows streams sunlight, casting rainbow designs on the walls
As prism glass reflects the scattered sparkling illumination
The floor beneath your feet is soft
Caressing your skin as you tap your bare toes on its surface
Daring to dance upon it to the lilting music that only you can hear.

The table is set with all manner of lusciousness
Nourishment for body and soul awaits you
Always plenty to savor and share; a bounty spread before you
Every imaginable treat to delight your senses
The sweet aroma that curls around you.

The mirror on the wall reflects your exquisite nature
As you gaze into the eyes of the One who has been with you
Through all eternity, questioning what has kept you from recognizing
Your own ineffable Divinity
Express your adoration for the Goddess who winks back at you.

Feel the all-embracing comfort of this structure that was created
Brick by brick, log by log, though your daily intention
The experiences and the people you draw into your world
The thoughts that permeate your mind
The wild magic of your infinite imagination.

Remembering Who We Are & That We Can

POSTER-HELL-YESThis arrived in my inbox from the ever-elegant Donna Henes at the perfect moment for me. I hope it’s as perfect a reminder for you.

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

By Daina Puodziunas

Many of us reached midlife with highly developed multi-tasking skills—we figured out how to juggle many balls in the air.  Then life decides to start throwing us curve balls! They come out of nowhere and can easily throw us into panic mode.

You find yourself suddenly without a job. You find out you have a chronic illness. A family member dies. Your spouse decides he wants a divorce and the list goes on. There is no way to really breeze through a crisis, but there is a way to move through it so that you actually use the crisis for your own growth and evolution instead of allowing it to use you.

If I have learned anything from the curve balls that life has thrown me it is this:  It’s not what is happening that matters, but how you approach what is happening that makes all the difference in the world.

A little angel once told me that the universe likes to throw us curve balls to see what we do with them. But because it can feel so bad, we often judge what is happening as a negative event. It’s so automatic, we don’t even notice we’ve made this assumption!

As I engage with women in the midst of a variety of midlife transitions, it seems that these curve balls are coming at us faster and more frequently. We can either let life drag us down or we can rise up to the challenge and get good at utilizing curve balls to make us wiser, stronger, more creative, and more resourceful.

Last week my good friend and I were exchanging techniques for staying in the game when life and love take unexpected turns. It was an exciting and stimulating conversation. I thought I would share what we were talking about in seven easy steps.

7 Steps to Reduce Stress and Reorient in a Positive Direction:

1) Take Charge Of Your Attitude: Your attitude, orientation, or where you “come from,” is the key to learning how to dance with change. When we embrace adventure, we automatically open to new experiences with a sense of curiosity about how the world works. Many people live lives directed by habit, afraid to step beyond the familiar boundaries of their comfort zones.

This is the reason that I named the Midlife Adventure Club as I did. The attitude of adventure takes us out of our everyday lives and thrusts us into unfamiliar but ultimately novel and exciting situations. We can discover new practices and philosophies that we can incorporate into our lives.

2) Stop Wishing Things Were Different: This will only make you feel like you are striking out and can easily lead to depression. Accept what is. Stop resisting it. Everyone gets their share of hard stuff in life. It’s the resistance that is the problem, not the situation at hand. Develop your skills so you can hit whatever pitch is coming at you right out of the park!

3) See Your Situation From Multiple Viewing Points:

~ Think about who you admire in the world and imagine how they might view the situation.

B ~ Imagine yourself looking back on the situation a year from now. What would your advice be? What about ten years from now?  How do you want to remember yourself when you look back on this time?

C ~ Take on the perspective of the other key players in the situation. How are they seeing things?

~ Connect with your heart and center yourself. Ask your soul to speak through your heart. What might your soul want you to see, learn, and do? How might your soul be looking at the situation?

4) Ask Yourself:  What Is The Worst Thing That Can Happen? Project the worst-case scenario in your head. Then ask yourself if you could handle it. Most of the time the answer is “Sure I could, I’ve handled worse before.”  This frees up an enormous amount of energy. The psyche is not in panic mode anymore.

5) Take Action To Get Grounded: So often we are resistant to taking action when we have no idea whether it’s the right action to take or when we can’t see the bigger picture, the plan. We can stay stuck trying to figure out what is happening and where we are going or we can surrender to the fact that we can’t figure things out but still move forward by taking a step even when we are not sure where it may lead.

A ~ Shift your perspective by answering: “What am I free to do now?” “How can I use what is happening to learn self-sufficiency, independence, a new skill that may take my life to the next level?”

B ~ Pema Chodron says: Knowing that death is certain and the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?” What is the most important thing for you right now?

C ~ Understand that you can’t do an idea, a project, or a plan. You can only do the next action. So what is the next action? Oftentimes, it is only after you have completed an action that the next one is revealed to you.

6) Implant Life~Affirming Concepts Within The Subconscious Mind To Support New Choices:  Use symbols, words, affirmations, and pictures to create a vision map (a collage on poster board) of your new perspectives, choices, and answers to the above questions. Hang it by your bed and look at it for at least a few minutes in the morning as you rise and also during the evening.

7) Design A Personal Ceremony For Your Transition: A personal ceremony symbolizes a psychological, emotional, and spiritual transformation. You can create very elaborate ceremonies, but here are the nuts and bolts of the energy.

First create a sacred space (whatever that means to you.)

A ~ Write what you want to release on a piece of paper. This may be the need to control a situation, losses that you experienced, resentments and other yucky feelings, etc. Burn the piece of paper as you feel the release.

B ~ Find a symbol of what you are free to do now. Use water or incense to bless and baptize this symbol. Keep it on your personal alter or by your bedside next to your vision map.

C ~ Invite at least one other person to witness your ceremony and support you.

These seven steps can help you create a new relationship with change, challenge, and crisis.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to reduce stress and reorient yourself in times of change and challenge. It’s all about reorienting yourself so that you are proceeding from the inside out. The difference is that you see yourself not as a victim reacting to life, but as someone learning how to show up for yourself and play full out.

***

One of the things I’ve been realizing since I got to California is this:

Emile Zola - Live out Loud

Mother Nature

Mother NatureThis is a stunning essay on Mother Nature—perfect for Earth Day.

 

Nature, Our Mother

by Donna Henes

In the beginning, there was woman. And she was versatile. She breathed, she stretched, she strode, she sat, she foraged, she trapped, she planted, she cooked, she ate, she bled, she danced, she laughed, she slept, she dreamed, she played, she prayed. She made art, she made ceremonies, she made love, she made babies. Our modern minds automatically make a connection between these last two activities. But this is only a relatively recent conception, if you’ll pardon my pun.

Woman, like the female of every species, produces young. And she appears to do so with out any particular help. Parthenogenic. Of course, we now know that this feat is accomplished with a certain modest participation by the male, but the outcome of copulation was not always apparent. What was perfectly clear and obvious, was that she was somehow able to fashion from herself the stuff of life. To bear from her own blood and body a new generation. And, as if that wasn’t wondrous enough, she could also manufacture the substance of sustenance so that she could continue to nurture her consummate creations.

She was prolific, capable of repeating the entire miraculous process again and again. In fact it was — and still is in large parts of the world today — quite common for a woman to wean one child only to immediately conceive the next. Our own grandparents commonly came from families with eight, ten, twelve children. Mme. Vassilet, a nineteenth century Russian peasant is the undefeated record holder in the World Fertility Cup. It is well documented that her twenty-seven full term pregnancies produced sixty-nine children, most of whom grew to adulthood. She gave birth to sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. Mother Vassilet was well known in her time and was honored at the imperial court of Czar Alexander II.

Is this not the way of Nature Herself? Does She not constantly produce and provide? Reproduce and recycle? Engender and embrace? The Earth is alive with the fruit of Her fecundity —inconceivable multitudes of animals, vegetables and minerals. There are more than a million species of animals, 4,000 species of mammals alone. There are more than 350,000 species of plants, 100,000 species of fungi, 100,000 species of protista (algae and the like) and 10,000 species of monera, including bacteria. Each species made up of how many families, how many individuals?

Nature, then, must be female: Mother Nature, Mother Earth. Father Earth was a totally nonexistent concept and has forever remained so. I have never heard, read or dreamed even one reference to him. Have you? Herodotus wrote that all of the known names for the Earth were female. “Nature is our mother,” the Latin proverb proclaims. The Gypsies say, “The Earth is our mother. . .the secret of life comes from the ground.” Asase Ya is the Earth Mother of the African Ashanti. They tell, “We got everything from Asase Ya, food, water: we rest upon Her when we die.”

The land is a mother that never dies.
Maori Proverb

Humankind, in its infancy, clung to the primal comprehension of a maternal Earth, in the same way that any completely dependent child hangs onto her mother’s hip. The reality of our utter reliance incontrovertible, we held on for dear life.

Until only five, six thousand years ago, the archetypal Great Mother, creatrix of all existence, matriarch of the races of god/desses, reigned supreme everywhere. Homer sang her praises, “I shall sing of Gaia, Universal Mother, firmly founded, Oldest of all the Holy Ones.” Foremost in all early religions, She was personified and identified in many ways, but always everywhere She was regarded with reverence and deference as a living mother.

But now, we, her naughty children, have managed to deface Her every surface and sully her beneficent life-giving gifts. Have we no shame? Like bad seed, humankind seems hell-bent on matricide. Unless we — the Mothers, the Grandmothers, the Queens — have our say and demand our way. It is up to us. We have the whole world in our hands.