Posts Categorized: Remembering

What’s Your Trellis Look Like?

I was a lazy gardener this summer.  It took me until August to reclaim the garden beds on the side of my house, having torn down all the vines last year to paint. It was immediately obvious that the clematis and Virginia creeper were not thriving.  Without the support of a structure to hold them up, vines sprawl, unable to reach to the sky.

Sound familiar? Without the stucture of routines and rituals, I notice my direction and inner focus begins to sprawl, too.  Not to mention my waistline, but that’s just one of the signs I’ve lost touch with the structures of daily life that sustain me. Creativity and inspiration require routine.  I learned this when I taught writing.  Classroom routines set the stage the most imaginative writing.

So now that the school year is almost upon us, I look at my own trellis.  Morning quiet time to meditate, to stretch to write.  A food plan that sustains and fuels my body.  A calendar that allows me to manage the complexity of my appointments. A daily check-in on my To-Do list. Each year I examine my trellis and see how it needs to be strengthened. This outer focus is a big part of the commitment I make to my inner growth. I keep experimenting with ways to make this easier, and technologies from I-Cal to scheduling programs to blog support makes it all work better for me at this time. But I’m still very fond of the classic approach of a small calendar in my pocket with a to-do list.

The creeper is now climbing a standard trellis, and the clematis is climbing an innovative trellis consisting of a large chain suspended from the roof. But both now have all the support they need to flourish.  And my own new new trellis, the infrastructure that will sustain my spirit and allow it to bloom,  is almost in place.

What does your trellis look like?  What will sustain your growth in the coming months? Now that the sprawl of summertime is coming to an end, it’s a good time to ask the question. And to allow your own unique trellis to be constructed from your answers.

The World is Full of Yes

This is my newest morning mantra.

I believe in morning mantras. I like to remind myself, as soon as I come to consciousness, of something which I know to be true, from my own direct experience. I have discovered again and again all the ways the world answers my longings with invitations, and each offer is a Yes to my own essential self, my own kind connection with Life.

First light of day has some sacred juju. There’s a thin veil, a softness between worlds. Every single morning when you wake up, there’s a distinct second when some part of you declares yourself “awake.” There’s a nothing in the nanosecond between asleep and awake.  And then there’s a something, as you move from the distant lands of dream into this multi-storied existence we inhabit daily.

On this side there are lists, memories, plans.

Also the mindless habits of yesterdays past. They  get rebooted, too. In a nanosecond.

A very valuable nanosecond.

Because there is a moment no longer than a blink of an eye, before the old hardwiring is launched.

In that moment the world is full of yes.

It’s as if a shy part of me is waiting to be heard and knows just when and where to show up in the early morning. I set an appointment with it, set a timer (with a kind, gentle signal), and there she is, patiently waiting.

Early mornings offer a soft launching pad for this new relationship with life. In that moment, the world summons us, if we can catch the new wave. Yes to gravity. Yes to movement. .Foot on floor. For me, sitting quietly in meditation before picking up my journal and engaging in my writing practice opens the doors to Yes. Then perhaps I capture a dream, perhaps I begin with a list of possibilities. Perhaps I begin with a perhaps. My pen shows me the way and slows down mind enough that it can be heard. The Yeses expand as the day unfolds.

The World is Full of Yes. When I begin the day this way, I live beyond gratefulness and into possibility.

How do you greet that Yes with your own? Here’s how it might look to live into the yes of possibility:

  • First, if possible, Go to bed with enough time to awaken gently.
  • Get the harsh alarm out of the picture except in urgent situations. If you must use a timer, set it on a soft setting.
  • Don’t jump up. Luxuriate in the liminal time between sleep and wake. Come back to your body gently with a blessing of awareness and slight rotations or stretches.
  • Give yourself a few minutes of quiet, meditation or prayer. Evoke a new relationship with life by affirming it.
  • Invite your mind to wander and discover all the ways your world is full of yes. ~When the time is right, follow that flow to what’s next. When you’ve allowed time to engage in an early morning practice, there’s time to explore your world in slow motion.
  • Instead of mechanically moving to email or robotic old habits, move back into stillness. with a yes to the invitations of the Universe.

Poop and Spring Breakthrough

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be in Anchorage during Spring Breakup, when the thawing of all those feet of snow brings a whiff of hope and possibility. Along with a whiff of something else: the dog poop that has accumulated during the winter sometimes permeates the spring breezes.

It’s like that, isn’t it?

There’s the fragrance of freedom as we melt old painful patterns to meet life as it is. And there’s some smelly stuff, too.

“Aha’s” on Epiphany

Jan. 5th (or 6th) is my favorite holiday. For years I thought I had it all to myself. Having already failed at whatever New Year’s Resolutions I had thrown at the dartboard, I would try again to envision my next year after the decorations were put away and the rich holiday foods were consumed or thrown away.

When I was raising a family, this would hit after the kids were back in school and we were once again held by familiar routines. I discovered that arranging some time for myself and myself alone on this day was the last and best day of the holiday. It was like my own personal clean-up, my revisioning time.

Later I was giddy to learn that there was a date on the liturgical calendar called “Epiphany,” and that it coincided with my private holiday.

Dipping Deeply Into the New Year

It’s pretty darned hard to miss the flashing ads and headlines that remind me, and all of us, that this is the time for resolve, discipline, will power. My own natural desire to get more in touch with my healthy body through diet and exercise at this time of year always finds plenty of support from the culture around me. I don’t mind riding that wave. But anybody at my gym will tell you that the new spurt of activity lasts about six weeks.

What makes it stick is when I dip deeply to discover what’s been in the way of change. I’ve discovered for myself that any resolutions for the new year just don’t take unless I spend some time thinking about where I’ve been, getting my bearings for what’s ahead.

Because the unquestioned past seems to have a way of becoming in the future.

Hitting Refresh

Have you ever wished you’d come equipped with an Auto Refresh button? If I had one, I’d use it today. Where was I before the weekend? Oh, right. There. A place to start on Monday morning. A place to Begin Within. This is the time of year when Things come up. Things to prepare for. Things to complete. Friends and family, too. Their things. All of those things we call life with others, life of community.

I’m one of those people who needs to stop and listen to my own directions before I can go into the world and do my thing.

Simply dropping in to a deeper level of connection with my own needs, wants, and inner promptings can be….well, a little more difficult than hitting Reset. There are days I’d give anything for a little curvy upward arrow that I could click and magically reset my screen, putting me back in the loop of my own deeper thinking/knowing.

When the Outside Messes with the Inside

I was just so proud of myself a month or two ago. I was fairly convinced that I’d figured out the major puzzles of my life. Or at least one major puzzle, the tendency to put stuff in my mouth when I wasn’t hungry.
I honestly believed that attending Geneen Roth’s residential retreat and living the Women Food & God Way had brought such a bolt of enlightenment that I would never eat compulsively again.
That was before I started moving everything out of half of my house for a long-anticipated remodel. Before I began traveling and celebrating the freedom of summer. Before I started working on a book project, or at least before I experienced my favorite procrastination technique.