When Things Fall Apart

Caroline's seagull 1Between the harbours of our pain and our joy, the sunlit bays that lull, and the rocky coves where beached whales gasp for breath, is the journey. Learning to navigate through clear waters and perfect storms keeps us learning, keeps us evolving, keeps us awake.

Sometimes all it takes is the right book to help us chart our way.

Pema Chödrön’s ‘When Things Fall Apart’ is one of those books I gift to folk and re-read every year, drinking it in to quench a thirst that never goes away. She takes all of life, wraps it up in a gentle smile and makes me grateful to be here right now… and happy to be me. If you haven’t got the time or energy to read one of my long, rambly posts, skip to the bottom; there are some great quotes.

Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives. ~ Pema Chödrön

A new me reads it every year. Last year, a death in the family changed us all; the year before that, I lost two friends to cancer and four survived. And every year, this book speaks to me like a friend who knows and understands the essential me but is aware of my constantly evolving circumstances, offering relevant advice for each one.

This is no bright white toothed self-help guru, survivor turned writer, making me mutter “Oh, give me a break!” This is a person who gently unravels all the pain, happiness and conflicting thoughts and emotions that make us human, but who points out that there, there where we notice those states in ourselves and in others is the learning, the living, the enlightenment and the loving. In the space between the inbreath and the outbreath, the silence between the notes, the glide between the beating of a bird’s wings, that’s where all of our peace and wisdom reside.

Chances are, if you visit my blog, we’ve a lot in common and you’ve probably read this book. If you haven’t, and you’d like a gentle introduction to Buddhism and an instruction manual for a simpler, kinder, richer life, please give it a go. I reread it last week and today’s the happiest I’ve been for months. I accidentally pressed publish on this post earlier instead of saving a draft; the original detailed some of the challenges I’ve had and dealt with this week, but to be honest, I bored myself reading them so I deleted all but one.

I stepped on and broke my cherished old Kindle and feared I’d lost the hundreds of quotes and passages I’d lovingly curated over the years and all the ‘collections’ I’d organised ruthlessly, even though the books themselves stayed safe in The Cloud. But I trawled dozens of forums, tried what folk suggested, and hours later managed to rescue the quotes, because they mattered, because they were pieces of life that had resonated with me and were already distilled right down to the essence.

Which brings me back to Pema. These passages from ‘When Things Fall Apart’ were highlighted in my Kindle. I was going to share them with you gradually, but life’s too short to hold onto things that cry out to be shared.

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy…

…Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs. To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior…

…Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors—people who have a certain hunger to know what is true—feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.

        From ‘When Things Fall Apart’ ~ by Pema Chödrön.

 

How We Love

I’ve been stalling, putting it off, but sometime in the next couple of weeks, I need to temporarily shut down the blog for some work that has to be done over at the server. I say “temporarily”, but tech-savvy friends have told me, sadly, that things often go wrong when you change root domains.

Even if I back up my content before I initiate the process, I could lose all of the subscribers I have left and that’s the heartbreaking part. Those of you who still read this and who have stayed with me through bustling bistro days and cyber-hibernation silences are very, very special to me.

If you want to reconnect with me again, I know you’ll find a way; the domain name will stay the same and most of you have my blog email address. But if this is it, if this really is the end of my blogging journey here because I lose what’s left of the blog’s quiet continuity, I’d like to leave you with one of my favourite songs, from my favourite singer-songwriter. It describes how I feel about about life, love, legacy and us.

I believe with all my heart that if you’re still reading this, if you still visit this blog, then you’re a kind, supportive person, a detail lover, a creative who wants to connect with others, with your best self and the world around you.

Some days you feel that who you are and what you do makes a difference, because you do little things with great love and presence.

Some days I can almost hear your creative soul screaming with pain as you wonder why you bother.

But still, you connect, you go online to enjoy the journey home to yourself; you seek out people and places who make you feel like you belong, like you make a difference.

Rightly or wrongly, that’s the you I’ve always written for, the you who makes me feel grateful for the gift of your presence.

Please wish my wee bloggling luck. I feel like I’m about to watch a loved one being wheeled in for elective surgery. ~ Janice

If the YouTube video doesn’t work for you – and I’m sorry, I’ve tried but have NO idea how to fix the UK/rest of the world  problem – then please try it on your version of YouTube or simply buy the track or the album. I promise you, How We Love is worth it.

How We Love ~ by Beth Nielsen Chapman

Life has taught me this
Every day is new
And if anything is true
All that matters when we’re through is how we love

Faced with what we lack
Some things fall apart
But from the ashes new dreams start
All that matters to the heart is how we love

How we love, how we love
With the smallest act of kindness
In a word, a smile, a touch

In spite of our mistakes
Chances come again
If we lose or if we win
All that matters in the end is how we love

How we love, how we love
I will not forget your kindness
When I needed it so much

Sometimes we forget
Trying to be so strong
in this world of right and wrong
All that matters when we’re gone
All that mattered all along
All we have that carries on… is how we love

Meant to Be

I’m not on Twitter much, but one of the things that keeps me going back is synchronicity. Some days it’s like the universe curated a reading list just for me, even though I know it’s because at some point I followed friends with common interests. (I found today’s inspirational people on Twitter a while back, courtesy of Joanna, a wordsmith and photographer many of you already know.)

Today’s message?

“Right this moment, you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.”

Earlier today, after I finished writing a piece about parallel homes and homesickness, which may or may not make it out of my drafts box, I logged on to Twitter and found this post by Catherine Drea.

A few clicks later, and I was reading a beautiful poem called ‘The Gift’, highlighted by Anthony Wilson.

After retweeting Anthony’s post and deciding I’m an idiot for not making enough room in my life for poetry these days, I found this poem. The link will take you to an astonishing young poet, Sarah Kay, reading one of her poems aloud, in the treasure trove that is Brain Pickings.

‘The Paradox’  by Sarah Kay

When I am inside writing,
all I can think about is how I should be outside living.

When I am outside living,
all I can do is notice all there is to write about.

When I read about love, I think I should be out loving.
When I love, I think I need to read more.

I am stumbling in pursuit of grace,
I hunt patience with a vengeance.

On the mornings when my brother’s tired muscles
held to the pillow, my father used to tell him,

For every moment you aren’t playing basketball,
someone else is on the court practicing.

I spend most of my time wondering
if I should be somewhere else.

So I have learned to shape the words thank you
with my first breath each morning, my last breath every night.

When the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful
for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.

All those places I made it to,
all the loves I held, all the words I wrote.

And even if it is just for one moment,
I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.

Learning from Trees

In Greece, at the corner of the church square near my school, there was a solitary evergreen tree, a pittosporum tobira, rising triumphantly from the concrete; when it blossomed, it filled the whole square with its scent, and every evening, before I walked home or joined friends in a seaside taverna, I’d stand under it and breathe it in like a prayer. I still remember the deep brown eyes of the young man who first told me its local name in Greek – angelikí – as he plucked a waxy white blossom and silently gave it to me.

All through my life, no matter where I’ve lived, I’ve always had favourite trees. I just didn’t realise it until I was sitting in tears, in a supermarket car park the other day, parked under what I’ve been thinking of these last few years as The Crying Tree. Often, after visits to my my 91 year old dad’s house, to do his shopping, or take him out, I park there till I’m calm and collected enough for the long drive home, along narrow, winding roads, through hills and valleys that require full concentration. Stuck there in a city, between a fenced off car park and a busy road, with nothing but scraggy, prickly bushes at its feet for company, it seems to understand the overwhelm, exhaustion and stuckness that can come from being a sandwich generation daughter, a menopausal mother whose teenagers have recently left home. Yet it expects nothing, asks for nothing in return for its constancy and sheltering branches.

When I got home, and logged on, I found this excerpt from Cigdem Kobu’s Homecoming course in my inbox.

(Excerpt from Bäume, Betrachtungen und Gedichte, Hermann Hesse)

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.

In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured.

And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.

Gifts

The following piece first appeared in 2008, in the column I wrote back then, called ‘Coaching Moments’. In my last blog theme, I had a sidebar widget showing some of my own favourite posts and ‘Birdsong’ was one of them. What I like about ‘Birdsong’ is how it still transports me back to that morning, to the overwhelming feeling of peace, joy and clarity I was left with.

Every time I read it, it reminds me of the difference between writing with a clear purpose, for a defined audience, and blogging.

I blog for connection with like-minded folk, for fun and friendship and to capture and curate some of the moments that matter to me, but back then, my writing was sharper, more focused; I wrote for coaches and specifically for those who were aiming to get certified. As a certified coach who’d struggled to get certified, despite living and breathing the concepts integral to coaching, I wanted to help others do what I’d managed to do. Ego was never involved; I never needed an excuse to write, and really just wanted to inspire, to support and to connect. Doing that in a monthly newsletter over which I had no technical or design control and which had no comments, comment numbers or public replies, meant I could simply focus on writing.

All but one of my editors actually liked my work and were supportive and easy to work with, but here, on my blog, I get what I call blank cheque-itis. Too many choices of what to write and for whom; too much design and technical freedom; not enough information about what folk want, need or like to read here. Just doing whatever I want makes me feel like I’m slipping uncomfortably into the realms of ego. But a blog that helps no-one, inspires no-one, supports no-one makes me feel equally uncomfortable. I have regular visitors here who are better bloggers, better writers, better coaches, better photographers and more together people than I am. So why do I blog?

Not being able to answer that question easily, confidently, when faced with sneering, nosey, scoffing cynics – yes, there are people whose reasons for reading my blog are questionable – is one of the many complex reasons I’m a deciduous blogger and often lapse into periods of cyberhibernation.

But what always brings me back to my blog is clarity around one thing: all I’ve really offered over the years, in my column, my blog, my coaching and my life is one message, something I captured years ago in a post about harnessing the power of authenticity:

“Be brave enough to explore the depths, to find a way out and shine a light for others to find theirs. Don’t be scared to live, to hold out your heart in both hands like a trembling bird and say “Here I am, love me as I am or leave me.” Be more afraid to die with your song still in you, to cheat your loved ones, your readers and the world of the greatest gift you have to give. You.”

A friend who visits my blog regularly and who knows why I obsess about themes, CSS, functionality and creating a welcoming feel to the site, recently commented in an email about my new blog theme; what she said, with joking sternness, gave me a heartwarming shove in the right direction… “Give us all a gift and write something instead of worrying too much about the wrapping paper!”

Birdsong

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~ Kahlil Gibran

I woke very early today, too early to start clattering and clanging in the kitchen so I grabbed a book, a pen and spiral bound notebook and wandered out into the garden, heading for the table,  sipping the glass of blueberry juice I’d poured for myself.

I laid my books on the table, the blue and white tablecloth dew-damp under my sleepy arms, and I sat there thinking ‘These birds are really loud!’ Cheeping, cooing, chirruping, whistling, trilling, tweeting, chattering…I slowly started to single out each songbird’s soaring celebration of a new morning.

The sun, burning off the last few patches of mist, cast shafts of light through the laurels, turning web-hung droplets to twinkling crystals whenever the fresh morning breeze rustled the branches, dark green against a clear blue sky.

I breathed in the fragrance of moist earth and caught the scent of the mock orange blossom by our back door. Feeling more alive than I had for months, I thought about writing some morning pages, hoping to explore and dispel the shadows that have been settling round me.

I opened the notebook, half heartedly fiddling with my pen as I sat listening to the birds.  Soon I would hear the sound of distant traffic; the humming of an aeroplane across the sky; the faint clattering of cereal bowls and spoons; the sound of kettles and radio alarms carried on the breeze. I put down the pen and leaned back in my seat, unwilling to leave the moment even to capture it.

A big fat bee came buzzing around the bushes by my feet and made me smile! I hadn’t seen one for months. So many tales of the bees disappearing; with them would go the soundtrack to my childhood garden memories of damp grass and daisy chains, dandelions and buttercups.

Suddenly, a flash of red and a choot choot choot –  a robin, on the fence behind the berberis bush. He stopped, looked at me, bobbed his head three times  and flew off.

And I knew, knew then as I know now, with a certainty that leaves no room for fear or doubt: I was meant to write this piece. I was meant to write. I was meant to wake up early, to love that bee, to be that robin, to share with you the beating of my “winged heart” on a grateful spring morning.

And you were meant to read this. For without the life and the breath and the experience you bring to these words, they would only be pixels on a screen. Like the bee, you touch the lives of strangers, you’re woven through the fabric of a million memories, you create moments that leave the world a better place. You and I – like the robin – have a message to bring, a song to sing in the eternal dawn chorus.

Today, as you choose to wrap your heart around the moments that make up a life, how will you share your precious gift with the world? You were born with talents, you’ve worked hard to build skills, to create connections – but they’re just the channel.  You are the gift.

Meet the Kid

I gave up the gun-toting five decades ago, and these days, all I corral are thoughts and ideas, but this is still pretty much me… pathetic eyebrows, huge soulful eyes, unflattering hair and a pen and notepad surgically attached. I no longer own a plastic horse or look after a herd of cuddly toys, but when I nurture my inner child, this is how she shows up. A loner, bright and bullied, who always felt a bit like a foreigner, at home in her head, in other languages, other lands, making up languages and teaching them to those same, obliging cuddly toys.

Our class at primary school was part of an experiment in teaching kids to read and write using a system called ITA, which was based on the international phonetic alphabet. ita policeman book

Here’s an example of one of our text books. Many of the kids in my class suffered because their families couldn’t help them to read and write, then suffered again when they had to transition back to normal English, which, ironically, was like a second language for us anyway, as we all spoke mining village Scots outside the classroom. Luckily, I not only coped with the language swapping, but thrived and went on to become a linguist, language teacher and translator.

In some ways I became a translator of life, too, as a parent and later, a life coach, helping folk make sense of their own lives and translate their dreams into action.

My favourite TV shows are still made in the USA, I’m still obsessed with clapboard houses and wooden porches and I still spend a ridiculous amount of time in my head or with a notebook, hoping to be a writer when I grow up.Puppies and Kittens (ITA version)

Who were you as a child?

How do you nurture your inner child?

What were the signs back then of your essence, your destinies, the person you are now?

When was the last time you and your inner kid went out to play?

I buy my inner child pens and notebooks, coloured yarn, DVD’s and books as presents. What do you buy yours?

A Lyrical Leave-taking

Back in 2009, I set up my blog using the Thesis theme; it was a trailblazer in its day, allowing non-programmers like me (and many others who visit/ed my blog) a lot of built-in flexibility and control. For years I tweaked it as much as my limited skills would allow, but when you hit the wall with Thesis, you really hit the wall. Last year, I spent more time delving into CSS – changing layouts, fonts, and colours and trying to make Thesis responsive – than I did writing.

Which is daft.

But then I asked myself Why? and that was really smart. I realised that the feel of my blog has always been important to me; creative self-expression, does, after all, sit quite comfortably at the heart of personal blogging. We all evolve and recalibrate as we get older, reaffirming our values and letting go of what doesn’t serve us any more and it’s been happening as much here as anywhere else.

I’m old school; my blog’s not just a place to showcase things that make me go mmm… It’s my online home, and as such, a place that needs to feel cosy and welcoming, yet reasonably light and airy and uncluttered, like my real home. I need it to be functional and responsive but – and here’s the Aha! moment I had last year – it doesn’t have to be toned-down, like the home I currently share with my husband, teenage son and daughter who don’t share my craving for colour. (My longing for a patchwork, floral-patterned, vibrant, multi-coloured sofa recently met with horror.)

After years of deciduous blogging and jeremiads, it stuns me that I still have visitors, but now that my blog is kitchen table intimate at best, a boarded-up ghost town saloon at worst, I decided to change the theme to reflect how I’ve changed as a person.

Sharing the Journey started off as a bustling wee online bistro; I wanted to fill it with music, photos, writing, film clips, quotes, and above all, community. I wanted to be a barista who knew everyone’s names and stories. People used to drop in, write comments as long as posts and even chat with each other in the comments boxes when I wasn’t there. I didn’t fully realise at the time how blessed I was with the quality and quantity of visitors I had here and discovered recently that 2009 was considered to be a noteworthy year for personal blogging, especially blogs written by women.

My tagline used to be Soulfood and Support for Coaches, Writers and Homemakers. It showed up in Google and was emblazened across my header tulips. For a while that’s what my blog offered – and Thesis made sure I had lots of search engine traffic – but it’s hard to be supportive of anyone when you’re not even posting! The new tagline, on the surface, is a better description of what the blog has become, a synaesthetic memory scrapbook…

…a lyrical album of moments

I’ve always enjoyed capturing, exploring and sharing those fleeting, intense moments when presence and learning align, when inspiration flits in and life overflows, but my decision to warn readers of impending lyricism may raise some eyebrows. Lots of folk are repelled by lyricism, but I’m tired of being ashamed of my lyrical tendencies; to be honest, the layers of meaning in the word lyrical actually seem like qualities a blogger should feel no shame in aspiring to:

1. (of literature, art, or music) expressing the writer’s emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way.
synonyms: songlike, lyric, melodic, musical, melodious, rhapsodic, poetic; expressive, emotional, deeply felt, personal, subjective, passionate

I decided to keep my tulips – they always make my heart sing – but this time, I’ve used a photo that includes one of my favourite jugs. Jugs are very symbolic for me; it’s how I write. Life simply fills the jug and overflows. I gave the photo ripped paper effect edges and used a typewriter font for the title because my blog’s curated itself into an old fashioned memory scrapbook.

I spent weeks, probably months, swinging between four or five free themes I like. The others were clean, simple and minimalist – which I love – and one was very easy to customise, but I finally decided to activate the one you’re seeing now (horribly named Lovebirds) because I find it quite gentle and unassuming and it doesn’t rely on fantastic photography to bring it to life.

Just after my last post, we had a death in the family that’s led to tragic knock on effects like dominos falling in a line. When I logged on last week, after yet another lengthy cyber-hibernation, I was glad I’d tweaked this theme to remind me of spring, flowers and new beginnings.

It’s been a season of letting go: I’ve been able, finally, to let go of Thesis, of the dreams I once had for my blog and of the sadness I used to feel scrolling through the archives.

I have fun experimenting with new themes and will probably ‘redecorate’ again, but what you’re seeing now is a victory in my struggle with anxiety and perfectionism. There’s still a lot of theme-tweaking I want to do – evolution is what keeps us creative, alive and human, after all – but I’ve decided it’s better for me to focus on tweaking one theme rather than five.

And what’s even better still? Writing again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~X~~~

How often do you change the appearance of your website, if at all? If you do change it, what criteria do you use? How concerned are you by the functionality and feel of other folks’ blogs?

 

Every December Sky

The first time I met Beth Nielsen Chapman, I told her Every December Sky is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I asked if I could have her permission to perform it, and she gave me her blessing. I felt like I’d been trusted with a child.

This song is my response to dormant trees, dark days and nights full of fear, doubt and loss.  It expands me and connects me with heaven, earth, nature and humanity, with those I’ve loved and those I’ve lost. It makes me feel calm, hopeful, trusting, prepared, full of faith and lucky to be loving and living with every fibre of my humanity. It makes me glad I believe in angels.

Every December sky
Must lose its faith in leaves
And dream of the spring inside the trees
How heavy the empty heart
How light the heart that’s full
Sometimes I have to trust what I can’t know
Sometimes I have to trust what I can’t know

We walk into Paradise
The angels lend us shoes
‘Cause all that we own
We’ll come to lose
And Heaven is not so far
Outside this womb of words
With every rose that blooms
My soul is assured
It’s just like a song I’ve known
Yet still unheard

And every leaf of fire lets go
Melting in the arms of earth and snow
And if I could hold you now
You’d enter like a sigh
You’d be the wind that blows
The answer to “why?”
You’d be the spring-filled trees
Of every December sky

Manhattan

Sara Bareilles’ song Manhattan, from the album The Blessed Unrest, reminds me of movie soundtracks and piano bars at midnight. The haunting power of this heartbreakingly beautiful song is heightened by simple city photography. (Sorry about the horrible YouTube/google ads.)

Why am I posting this? Because I love it and because I love sharing music and you may not have come across Sara Bareilles. When I was a teenager, before the days of Walkmans and iPods, we used to listen to each other’s records on vinyl and talk for hours about music, film, books and poetry; when cassettes came out, we made each other mix tapes. Manhattan speaks to me of human resilience, of creating beauty from sadness and of knowing when to let go. The whole album is an anthem to brave authenticity and creative renewal. These are the lines I sing along with most loudly in the car:

“And so it goes, one foot after the other till black and white begin to color in…”

If you like her voice and lyrics, and you sometimes experience bouts of cyber hibernation, inner conflict and creative self doubt, then check out Hercules; there are a couple of discrepancies between the video lyrics and the song that bug me, but with lyrics like hers, it’s still worth pointing you to the song.

Your Assignment

 “Did you know, you were born as the first, and the last and the best and the only one of your kind, and that eccentricity is the first sign of giftedness?”~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Dr Estes’ words found their way to me twice yesterday, once today. Once would have been enough, but now I’m really listening.

Your Assignment

I assign you to be a beautiful, good, kind, awakened, soulful person, a true work of art as we say, ser humano, a true human being. In a world filled with so much darkness, such a soul shines like gold; can be seen from a far distance; is dramatically different.

Want to help? Show your deepest most divine self to the world. There is nothing more rare, more strange, more needed. Why would you wait? Not worthy? Oh piffle. Not ready? Okay, so when? Next lifetime? Don’t be silly with me about this. Inferiority complex? Okay, let me put it this way to you: you’re not good enough to think you’re not good enough. And you can quote me to yourself whenever you have need… Dr. Estes said so.

Have you forgotten that you made promises to your Beloved before you ever came to earth? The time to fulfill these is truly now. You want to cease feeling helpless, and you want to help the aching world? Serve someone and something. Everyone on earth serves someone and something. This means being your truest self now, fulfilling the promises you made to heaven long ago.

Anything you do from the soulful self will help lighten the burdens of the world. Anything. You have no idea what the smallest word, the tiniest generosity can cause to be set in motion. Be outrageous in forgiving. Be dramatic in reconciling. Mistakes? Back up and make them as right as you can, then move on. Be off the charts in kindness. In whatever you are called to, strive to be devoted to it in all aspects large and small. Fall short? Try again. Mastery is made in increments, not in leaps. Be brave, be fierce, be visionary. Mend the parts of the world that are “within your reach.” To strive to live this way is the most dramatic gift you can ever give to the world.

Consider yourselves assigned.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Xx~~~~~~

This song is from the album The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles, one of my favourite singers. I bought it for myself at Christmas after hearing only one track; I’ll share that track with you later, but for now, the universe told me to post this. In Spanish. (I do what I’m told!) It’s my favourite car listening album at the moment, and yesterday I was sent SO many signs along the winding road home through the hills that I’d have posted four songs from the album right there and then if I could have!

I heard this line “Maybe one of these days you can let the light in… and show me how big your brave is…” as the sky looked like this…

and I passed a truck with this Glenfiddich whisky advert on it…

 

Image result for glenfiddich ad one day you will

Which lines of Dr Estés’ beautiful invocation or Sara Bareilles’ song stand out most brightly for you today?