Just returned a little while ago from doing one of my favorite things…teaching about creativity. My friend Peggy Tileston and I offered a class for social workers and therapists for an organization called Social Work prn, which provided a set of skills to assist them in incorporating creative ideas into their practice with clients and patients. From start to finish, it was pure joy. We and they danced, drummed, sang, chanted, drew, and shared wisdom born of likely a hundred or more years of combined experience in our collective fields. The 6 hours flew by and when we were finished, I felt as if I was ready to fly/float out of the room. I had arrived bright and early this morning, having spent nearly 90 minutes on the road in the rain, at the beginning of rush hour. As I unloaded my car and hauled in drums and boxes and bags of stuff to use in the class, I was feeling buzzy and not particularly grounded. It didn’t take long for me to sink my roots into the Earth, my branches stretched to the sky as I breathed my way into bliss. Throughout the day, it was heartening to observe the impact on the folks in the class who had gathered from their various corners of the world and diverse settings in which they work and the different populations they serve. They laughed, smiled, nodded absorbing of the concepts; offering their own take on the subject matter. We left all the richer for it.
I was especially glad to have two of my special drums; a frame drum with a celtic knot/Star of David design and a ceramic dumbek with a spiral design on the head with one of my favorite Rumi quotes “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” They were lovingly painted by my friend Shari Kestanbaum Ubechel many years ago and carry her energetic imprint.
The cool thing for me, is that although it takes prep time and it is the accumulation of years of education and experience, this feels not at all like work. It is where I live, it is what athletes call ‘the zone’. I remember back in the early 1980s, I worked for the South Jersey Council on Alcoholism, offering trainings for teachers who, in turn would do drug and alcohol education for their students. I was young (in my early 20’s) and newly graduated with a degree in Psychology. I was partnered with someone who had been in the recovery field for many years and had an encyclopedic knowlege of the subject matter and an engaging presentation style. I watched in awe as he had the audience eating out the palm of his hand. I, on the other hand, had brought notes with me and used them liberally in my part of the presentation. I felt awkward and decidedly unprofessional. I asked him afterward how he did it. His one word answer? “Stories.” He went on to explain that when I had anecdotes to share, my presentations would flow more readily as well. All of these years later, I wish I could see him and tell him….”I finally got it. I have stories.”
I am so grateful that I get paid to play, which is really what my writing and speaking feels like. So, in what areas of your life do you get paid to play? And if you don’t what would you need to do to shift into that mindset?
The Sanskrit word for ‘play’ is ‘lila’, which is pronounded ‘lee-la’ and it is one of my favorites, since it beckons stretching our comfort zone so we can think, move, dance and dream outside the box in which we may have incarcerated our creativity.
I wish you enlightened lila.
http://youtu.be/TC4mH6nACm8 Micky Hart….Global Drum Project
What if life was like an amusement park, with rides that are fast paced and thrilling and others that are easy going and flowing? And imagine that you have unlimited passes to go on any of the rides for as long as you wish….no line, no waiting. Would you run from one to other, trying out each one or would you only stick to those that are familiar? Are you a chill kind of person who prefers the merry go round, watching the world from the perspective of a pastel decorated alabaster steed? How about enjoying the view from the tippy top of the ferris wheel and then the middle and then the bottom; a consistent change of perspective? And the log flume that you know ends in getting soaked? And then there is the loop-de-loop roller coaster that has you screaming in the betwixt and between terror/excitement, face flushed, heart racing, hands in the air as you seem to be flying over the hill, screaming at the top of your lungs.
I know that when I view my day to day this way, it is that much more full and adventurous. I state emphatically that I am never bored, and I’ll let you in on a little secret…it’s all about being endlessly fascinated with life and viewing it as an amusement park. The types of rides you prefer is a great barometer for the ways you choose to live your life.
Can you truly allow yourself to stretch into a different kind of ride of a lifetime? Yeeeeehaaaaa!
A scene from one of my favorite movies: Parenthood beautifully and brilliantly offers an illustration about roller coaster people vs. the merry go round people.
I have read this message numerous times over the years and it never fails to light a fire under me and provide a wake up call when I am tempted to get grumpy about life circumstances. Way too often, I find myself (or actually, lose myself) in those pity parties where the walls echo with my complaints, since I am usually the only guest there, so I wise up fairly quickly and leave. It can take the form of kvetching about an interaction at my full time job, where my perception is that I am expected to do what seems impossible (miracle worker…social worker…same thing) with people who have such sincere and severe needs and at times, unreasonable demands. It may look like not getting ‘my way’ in an interpersonal interaction. It may present like feeling unappreciated when someone asks “What have you done for me lately?” And it may seem like things aren’t moving fast enough in my creative endeavors.
Even though I have slowed down considerably since last year when my beloved Mom passed the day after Thanksgiving, I still have been keeping a schedule that might make most people’s heads spin. In the past week, I have worked at my full time job, went to a book signing for Mike Dooley’s Leveraging the Universe, which I wrote about yesterday, spending 3 hours or so prior to work and 3 hours or so afterward writing articles, doing marketing for my book, which just came out, setting up my own book signings, prepping for a class I am teaching with my friend Peggy this coming week, went to the gym several times, activities with friends, attending a concert/kirtan with Deva Premal, Miten and Manose , planning a trip to Arizona…added to that ‘normal people stuff’ such as household responsibilities, as well as eating, sleeping, bathing and, oh yes…breathing. And still, at times, I feel like I am standing still…what’s up with THAT? Have I forgotton the adage “Delays are not denials”? Apparently so.
The part of me that demands superhuman effort wants to see the results of my actions blossom more quickly and then the spiritual amnesia that has had me in its grip, abates as I look at my accomplishments and where I was a year ago. The High Holidays have just passed and I have long viewed them as an opportunity to ‘take stock’ of where I was and where I am now. Twelve months ago, I was traveling back and forth from PA to FLA to be with my Mom on her hospice journey, wondering when it would be the last trip. I was questioning if I would ever complete my book, dragging my feet in fear, but calling it “I’m-too-busy-how-could-I-possibly-complete-it-in-the-midst-of-all-this-other-stuff?” I dreaded handling her estate afterward, and yet, with the support and guidance of a financial advisor friend, am nearly complete with the major tasks. I question my grief process which has me feeling far less entrenched than I imagined I would be and yet, I know it’s perfect, since I am aware of her presence so strongly at times. Tears flow when they do and then they cease and I move forward into the next moment.
I know ultimately that I am the only one in charge of my atty-tood and the only one that can shift from where I am to where I choose to be. I can cut myself some slack and as I did in the wee hours this morning before writing this, allow my monkey mind to have its say; screeching and complaining about what didn’t feel fair…’How come…why not….what’s wrong with this picture?”, rather than supressing as I sometimes do and then covering it over with shiny paper. One thing I have learned is that if you wrap dog poop in pretty paper and tie a ribbon around it, it is still dog poop. Instead, I have used the metaphorical mess as fertilizer for my dreams and visions. Once I did that, I was able to ask “What’s right with this picture?” and the answer arrived that it is again the exercise equipment that strengthens and stretches me. And the rest is still unwritten…
http://youtu.be/TtGY4G7II6s Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
Words have always fascinated me and I have been tickled by the ways in which they can either enliven or disempower. Our minds are like those velcro dart boards that attract and let stick all of the daily input that swirls around us. On any given day, I am told, we think 60,000 some thoughts and the majority are yukky-sucky, self or other deprecating and tripping up, roadblocking and keep us stuck where don’t wanna be. What if we could, instead, engage in life affirmation in practical, effective ways? A silly question, as I ask it, because it is not what if, but what is!
Enter Mike Dooley, a tax accountant by training and many years experience working for Price Waterhouse, whose spread sheet now has fun and frolic dancing across it and not just facts and figures. He stepped onto the international stage as one of the transformational movers and shakers in the now iconic film The Secret with three key words “Thoughts Become Things.” These days, he travels the world, offering the not-so-secret concepts that we are loved by a benevolent Universe that has our best interests at heart and has messages to offer if we have the ears to hear them. He willingly has become a pen for such missives that he calls “Messages From the Universe” that can come daily to your email inbox.
Here’s one for your reading pleasure:
“The absolute, most sure-fire way
of physically moving in the direction of your dreams,
on a day-to-day basis, without messing with the “cursed hows,”
is living them, now, to any degree that you can.
And you can.
Isn’t today going to rock?”
I heard about this book via an email announcing that Mike would be doing a book signing at Barnes and Noble on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. In preparation for attending, I set my intention for a smooth and effortless commute during rush hour in one of the busiest areas in the city. I called on our family parking angel, my mother’s brother Jim who always found the perfect spot no matter where he went and ta-da an “Uncle Jimmy spot” showed up directly across the street from the store. I arrived as he was getting started and the audience of raptly listening attendees numbered at least 50, in the chairs and spilling out onto the aisles. Mike spoke loud and clear about the ability each of us posesses to create the life of our deepest dreams and passionate desires. He read excerpts from the book that were like a fire lit under anyone willing to be positively incendiary.
Broken down into easy to digest ideas in the form of chapters, Leveraging the Universe is really a primer with some fancy embellishments, which means it would appeal to readers who are new to the concepts, as well as those, like me who swim in this stuff, drinking it in, absorbing it through every pore and then recycling it back out into the world.
1. Understand Your Power introduces the reader to the concept of ‘the cursed hows’ and the erroneous belief that we need to know how something will manifest in order to put the idea out into the universe. I laughed at that, since I long ago learned that my ‘how’s’ and those of the I AM are sometimes a good distant apart.
2. Chart Your Course allows the reader to set intention by asking what it is that is really desired. Whatya want? Mike shared a story in his presentation about going into a store and wondering what brand he should buy, before asking himself “What brand do I want to buy?” and if hungry, questioning “What should I eat?” before realizing to consider what he wanted to eat.
3. Take Action and Delegate invites the reader to discerning what physical steps to take and what aspects of a desire to surrender to the Universe. He offers ideas for momentum rather than passivity when it comes to casting our wishes out to the cosmos. I call it ‘putting legs under’ my visions.
4. Leverage The Universe creates the impression that it is essential to be aware of patterns of thought that may be sabotaguing intended outcome. Mike encourages using the power of our imagination to visualize what it is we want; as a full sensory experience. Each person may have a different learning style, but by merging the best of all of them, there is a far better chance of bringing it to fruition.
5. Align Your Beliefs brings to the fore, the question of beliefs vs. thoughts. Both are essential to be aware of when plotting with the Universe for the highest good.So often we think we need to understand the origin of our beliefs before we change them if they are not serving us. What if we just changed them? Mike asks the reader to align their thoughts with the intended outcome. One of the most enjoyable exercises is asking yourself what beliefs you think someone would have in order to acheive their particular level of success.
6. Engage The Magic starts out with the laughable example of a mama duck needing to call on the baby ducks to line up and follow her across a stream . Naturally, she doesn’t wait for them to line up behind her; she just waddles ahead and they are close behind since she has set the example. The same is true for each of us. If we waited until conditions were ‘right’ or comfortable, we might never take the next step. Persistance is a key to continuing to cross the stream, even if the waters rise.
7. Adjust Your Sails encourages honesty about what it is we truly want, rather than what we are expected or think we should want. In this chapter, Mike fields readers’ questions and the answers are gently humorous and encouraging. One of his closing questions is “Is life fair?” What do you think?
Taking a pause here while you consider that.
Mike’s take (and mine as well) is that life isn’t fair and that it, indeed is weighed in your favor, on your side, for your best interest, regardless of form or appearance. What if you really, truly, ab-soul-utely knew this to be so, as much as you know you are wearing your own skin, feeling your own heart beating, looking out through your eyes and hearing through your own ears? Not belief, not faith, but a KNOWING. That, to me, is the essence of this book.