Monday, July 15, 2019

Throwing out the Ancestor's Trash

I've long been a fan of Turkish Coffee. I'm not sure if it's the cardamom, the bit of sweetness (I usually drink coffee black) or the presentation, or a mix of all three. But something tells me it might just be the presentation. I'm an artist and a visual person, after all. After a friend sent me a Turkish coffee pot and two beautiful mugs with saucers, I set my mind to finding a metal platter to use when I served this coffee to guests. In the meantime, I made use of one of my favorite Christmas presents from last year, from one of my favorite people - a handmade wooden serving tray. But I still kept my eye out for a metal one.

When I say that I kept my eye out, I mean that I looked at second hand shops and the like. I let people know I was looking for one. This is generally how I go about acquiring things I want, but don't need at that immediate moment. It keeps me practicing the art of manifesting rather than simply buying. And it makes what I do acquire generally all the more special, for the reason that it came to me, with a story.

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out a shed on my parent's property. It was a huge and daunting task, dirty work that I had been putting off for, well, years. My parents were raised by parents who survived the Great Depression. They had been taught to save everything. Because no one anticipates major and debilitating medical issues or dying suddenly, nothing had been stored in a proper way. It was all stored with the idea that it would be gone through by them 'one day.' Letters, old photos, household items, clothes, cookware, etc. Opening the door to the shed was like stepping right into an episode of the television show, Hoarders. Only, this wasn't true hoarding, it was just holding on to things they thought they might need one day the fear of letting go of the familiar, and the difficult work of sorting through it all to make space for what they wanted to keep.

Yours truly, getting ready to roll.
And it was hot, sweaty, buggy, difficult work that took several days and still isn't 100% complete. What surprised me was, how much I enjoyed doing it. It felt great, and not just because of the physical exercise, there was something more. I was sharing this with a wise and wonderful friend and she summed it up in one sentence...

"You're throwing out the ancestor's trash,
 physically and emotionally." 

And that was it. In a nutshell. I was not only physically discarding junk that no longer served a purpose, but I was feeling emotionally unburdened as well. 

My parents never got around to going through the shed.They never got around to doing many things they intended to do. They became masters of procrastination, always waiting on a perfect moment of readiness. 

That moment never comes.

And I was haunted by all the things they never got to do.

The universe knows what you are ready for, and generally presents it to you when the time is right. The trick is knowing when to trust that is what's happening, and move forward in that knowing. In doing so, we can let go of what no longer serves us while making space for not only what's to come, but what we want to keep.

I found my tray in a box of dirty and rusted household items, stored for years without being covered properly, but I was able to clean it up with a bit of work. 

There were many more items that caught my eye, things that brought to mind a moment or memory from childhood, but the tray is the only thing I kept, the only thing I needed to keep. Most items, due to poor storage, sadly, were not salvageable, but I passed on a few that were to those who would appreciate them. 

What I learned from this experience is how much we hold on to out of fear,. how we put off the dirty work because that's what it is, dirty work. And how much junk can build up while we are waiting on that perfect moment of readiness. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Boldness of Saying No....

I have a friend who always inspires me because she's one of the most in-the-moment people I have ever known. She's never without a positive word, even when times were difficult and the situation she was in wasn't going exactly as she'd hoped. And having known her for over 20 years, I have born witness to how she made the best of  her circumstances, even when they seemed impossible. She might have vented about it a bit, but she didn't complain or expect others to step in and save her. She just saw it through in the best way she could imagine, always believing that things would work out. And now, she's in a new and amazing chapter of her life, and talking with her, it's so easy to see how all roads led to where she has arrived, even the darkest and loneliest ones.

She will tell you that she ended up on some of these dark and lonely roads because she was afraid to say yes a few times, when life presented something unexpected, because saying yes would mean change. It was easier to say no. No shuts doors. It closes avenues. It keeps things the same. Saying yes can mean an adventure, but saying no gets you home in time for your favorite television shows. 

In her mind, saying no would keep things from getting out of control. It would prevent drama. It would prevent failure. Only, it didn't, because the things she said no to weren't replaced by things meant for her...they were the things meant for her. And no is so often a default, a word we say out of fear, because we think something is going to be too difficult, too challenging, too much.

But sometimes, it takes a bit of boldness to say no. Because no can also mean no more
I'm done. 
I don't want this

It can be as bold a move as saying yes. 

**stock image, not generated by me**
Saying no can be one of the ultimate ways of setting healthy boundaries and caring for ourselves. It can also be how we honor our intuition and respect divine timing. 

I recently read an essay by a lady who makes her living primarily online. As business swelled, she had to hire more staff, but over the years, the work had taken too much from her personal life and the office environment she had created became toxic as the business grew. The money was pouring in, but everyone was stressed and overwhelmed. Her first initial thought was to hire more people, but then she realized, though it contradicted everything she had learned about running a business, that she needed to say no to this. She needed to say no to the life she was currently living, the toll it was taking on her health, her well-being, and the well-being of her family. So she restructured the business, let go of her entire staff, and went back to the level she had managed before. It was a difficult decision, as it wasn't what others wanted. But her staff found new jobs and her family is thrilled to have her back, the old her, the her that isn't always tense and on edge all the time from running a mega-business. Her smaller-scale business is now enough, her income is enough, and she finally feels like she is enough. And it all came from saying no.

I have said no to many things over the past couple of years, things I knew seemed like logical, rational choices, but in the end, weren't meant for me. Or they were things I had been doing for a long time, but they didn't bring me as much joy as they once had. It was time to step away, to say no, to clear a path for new things to come by releasing what was no longer serving me. Sometimes it was hard, because I knew my no was affecting the lives of others. However, in saying no to these things, these situations, these possible life paths, I cleared the way for change not only for myself, but for others as well. 

Saying no. It can be just as bold as saying yes, if not more so. 
Happy Monday!

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Power of Stating Our Intentions

I have been an avid knitter for almost 10 years now. It's more than a hobby. Might be bit of an obsession....
Still, there's many skills related to knitting that I had not yet attempted to tackle. And there's no real reason why. I had been knitting for a couple of years, making primarily simple scarves, wraps and such before I braved following a pattern. Even then, I didn't go beyond the comfort zone of basic. That took a while, but once I moved past the comfort zone of basic, I moved on to skills using multiple needles at once, following charts, complicated lacework, etc.

The comfort zone of basic. Basic is one of those words that's taken on new meaning in our society. And it's not one I want to define me.

As my skills and confidence in knitting grew, I took on more challenging projects. But despite my love of all things Nordic, I had never yet attempted the intricate colorwork that knitting style is known for.
From the book, Nordic Knits: 29 Stylish Small Projects. Link follows post. 
Colorwork of any kind was something that seemed so intimidating...the grand poohbah of knitting skills. Master level stuff....

...until I actually did it! Isn't that the way it goes? Things can seem so overwhelming, so out-of-reach, so impossible...until we just sit down one day and say, okay, I'm going to do this.

Not "I'm going to try to do it," but, "I'm going to do it."

The intention in our words matter.

I recently taught a healing art workshop and we discussed the importance of intention in our words. Not saying, "I hope to do this," or "I'm going to try to do this," but stating clearly "I want to do this," or "I'm going to do this." There's a power in words that affects to the wiring of our brains. There's something about stating an intention, through writing it down, saying it aloud to others, or just saying it to ourselves, that sets wheels into motion.

This summer, I was going to learn colorwork. I stated it to others. I put it on my list. I told myself.

Of course it takes more than stating an intention to accomplish something, but it's a powerful first step. We open a door. We move into accountability. We started planning. We begin visualizing.

Stating our intention in a clear, precise, definite way is one of the boldest things we can do because it  moves us forward, out of fear, into possibility.

Happy Monday!

**The Snowflake pattern I followed is in the book, Nordic Knts: 29 Stylish Small Projects and can be found here

***The second colorwork pattern is called Leaded Glass Mitts and is available here.