Why I’m Going On A Vision Quest

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desolation-wildernessTomorrow morning I leave for Desolation Wilderness. Even though there are LOTS of wonderful wilderness areas to explore in Northern California, something about Desolation Wilderness keeps calling me back.

This time I’m going alone for 7-days with no distractions – no camera, no books, no music, no journal – nothing that could get in the way of my connection with myself, the wisdom of the Earth and the guidance of my Source. And from sundown on Friday night until sunup on Tuesday morning, I’ll be fasting and meditating and praying as I seek guidance and clarity.

Some of the reactions have been quite amusing as I explain that I’m going out into the wild world alone for 7-days with nothing to read, write, listen to, or take pictures with.

“Are you nuts?” seems to be the meaning behind the befuddled looks on their faces.

Perhaps I am nuts!

There is certainly a part of me that feels as if I”m nuts. The part of me that is scared sh-tless about heading out there alone for 7-full days. I’ve been out on my own for 4-days, and that was a long time. How will I survive on my own for 7-days? Well, I’m about to find out!

But why? Why am I taking a week out of my already quite full life to sit in silence with nothing around me other than the granite boulders, mountain water, marmots and ground squirrels and trees?

The easy answer is that I received clear guidance that it was time for me to do this. I was wondering how I could celebrate my 45th birthday in a way that would symbolize the transition from the very challenging period of my life that I am moving out of  and into the new phase that feels expansive and peaceful. And it was clear that this was the perfect time for a Vision Quest.

And what, exactly, is a Vision Quest?

black-elkA Vision Quest is an initiatory experience or rite of passage. It is most often associated with Native American traditions, though almost all indigenous cultures have some form of vision quest. There are as many ways to quest as there are cultures. But, regardless of how one quests, the purpose is the same: To seek personal growth and spiritual guidance from the world of Spirit and the wisdom of the Earth.

Here is what Black Elk wrote about the Vision Quest:

A Vision Quest is an experience of deeper understanding of Nature and Spirit. It is a ceremony practiced by American Indians. To prepare for this “insight” one must first cleanse the body and mind by going through an Inipi or sweat lodge. Then with the help of a Holy Man is told certain things and must go to a spot, usually on a holy mountain, and stay 2 or 3 days. During this time no food is eaten and one does not sleep but spends the time in deep prayer and observation. Many times, but not always, there is a vision. This vision is then shared with the Holy Man to help learn of its meaning. Sometimes the meaning is not shown for several years afterward.

I will quest in the Lakota tradition. On my second day out I will find a spot that calls to me, a space that feels sacred. I will prepare my questing space by smudging the circle, setting up my prayer ties for protection, placing my water and laying out my sleeping pad and bag. Everything else will stay outside of my questing circle.

After a light dinner, at sundown on Friday night, I will enter the circle and I will not leave the circle until after the sun has come up on the morning of the 4th day.

While I am questing, I will meditate, pray, probably do some crying as I shed old beliefs and patterns and thoughts about who I am. And if I open myself enough I hope to receive guidance and perhaps a clear vision of my path. But, whether or not I receive a “vision” I know that this time will bring me into a deeper connection with my true self and my Source.

The Vision Quest is a powerful tool for personal growth because it integrates a deep connection to nature with solitude and silence.

If you have ever been on a silent meditation retreat, you understand the power of silence to catalyze great shifts in your awareness.

Likewise, if you have ever spent any extended time in nature, alone or with others, you understand the power of the Earth to awaken long dormant wisdom.

The wilderness has always been a place where humans can connect with spirit and seek answers to questions and solutions to problems of the physical realms.

But all of this still has not answered the question of why I am going on this Vision Quest.

Certainly the answer I gave earlier – that I received guidance to quest at this time – is not a clear answer. But unfortunately, that may be the best answer there is at this time.

Admittedly, this is a time of some inner turmoil and confusion for me. I have been questioning my path, my purpose, my meaning. I have been struggling to understand why I am here. Certainly, I would welcome clarity and a deeper understanding of my purpose and the next steps on my path.

I am also experienced enough to know that I could come down from that mountain as confused as I am now! As Black Elk said, “Sometimes the meaning is not shown for several years afterward.”

Will the meaning be clear to me when I return, or will I have to wait several years? I will let you know!

Coincidence Or A Burning Ring Of Fire?

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Now I’m not a big believer in “coincidence.” I find that when I remain open to the signs and signals from the Universe my life tends to flow much more smoothly.

That said, there are certainly times when I’m better at picking up on those signs even when the “coincidences” are a bit subtle and require some stretching to turn them into signs.

And there are other times when I’m a bit slow on the uptake and I either miss the sign altogether or the Universe is forced to send me one of those unmistakable, “bang-bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer on the head” type of signals that does not need a whole of stretching!

I think you know the kind I’m talking about!

Well last weekend I got one of those.

It began on Saturday morning at the monthly meeting of the Drop In Law of Attraction group. We were exploring the connection between the Comfort Zone and the Law of Attraction. A great topic by the way!

During our discussion, after I had led the group through a visualization where they got to explore the edges of their comfort zone, one of the participants shared that the edge of her comfort zone was a circle of fire surrounding her. I immediately began singing the Johnny Cash song, “Ring of Fire.” I’m not sure where it came from. I’m not a big Johnny Cash fan and have only heard that song a handful of times. But out it came.

So there’s #1!

Later that night at a housewarming party for a friend who had just returned to Sonoma County, I was playing my guitar and singing along with a few of the party guests. Although my song list is significantly shorter than before my daughter was born, I was doing my best at taking requests. Some of them I could muddle through, most of them I either didn’t know or had forgotten.

And then, out of the blue, someone asked if I could play… you guessed it, “Ring of Fire.”

Now in all my years of leading sing-alongs at parties I have NEVER had anyone request Ring of Fire! What’s up with that?

Someone there knew the basic chord progression and another person knew the lyrics, so we were able to put together a passable version (although Johnny was probably rolling over).

There’s #2.

The next day at our local Farmer’s Market, my daughter and I ran into one of her pre-school friends and her dad, Mike Emerson. Ella and Sequoia started playing a bit while Mike and I chatted.

I knew that Mike was a keyboard player and since I’ve been interested in taking some piano lessons, I checked in to see if he knew of any good teachers in the area. Turns out he teaches as well as performs. Cool.

So as we talked about schedules he said that he wouldn’t be available until late in the month because he’s doing a quick European tour with… are you ready for this? Carlene Carter.

Now if you’re not a Country Music fan and don’t know who Carlene Carter is – I didn’t – she’s the daughter of June Carter – who happens to have written Ring of Fire – and Stepdaughter of Johnny Cash – who as you now know made it famous! And Ring of Fire is one of the songs they play in their shows.

So there’s the magic #3 and Maxwell’s bang on my head!

Yes I got it!

The sign that is. Still working out the details of the meaning. Sometimes with these “coincidences” the meaning is obvious and sometimes not so much. With this one I’ve got some ideas, but I haven’t come to any conclusive opinion.

I do know that I’ve been having fun imitating Johnny’s deep, gravelly voice as I belt out “I fell into a burning ring of fire…”

What do you think? What message is the Universe sending me? I’d love to hear your take. And in case you haven’t heard Ring of Fire, here are the lyrics:

Love is a burning thing
and it makes a fiery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fire…

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns, burns, burns
the ring of fire the ring of fire.

The taste of love is sweet
when hearts like our’s meet.
I fell for you like a child
oh, but the fire went wild..

I fell in to a burning ring of fire…..[etc]

Weave Your Web Where No One Will Walk Through It

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It’s spider-time here. Each year in late summer a slew of little light brown stripy spiders takes up residence outside of our house. Yes, the outside part is good!

Every morning when I step out onto the front porch, at least 3 or 4 of their perfectly woven webs great me, sparkling in the light of the rising sun. It’s a beautiful sight.

Unfortunately there always seems to be one in the bunch that has a hard time with the concept of “Location, location, location.” This one little guy or gal inevitably builds a web right in the middle of the stairway leading to the door. And because of the way the threads are attached there’s no room to duck under or step over.

So unfortunately, there is no choice but to dismantle the web.

I wish there was another way. I wish I could pick up the entire web and move it over. But I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

Usually, I sit on the step for a moment, admiring the beauty of the web and acknowledging the skill that went into its creation.

And then I gently disconnect one of the anchor threads, giving the spider a chance to gather up the threads, before disconnecting the next one.

This morning as I admired an exceptional example of web weaving that happened to be smack dab in the middle of the stairway, I began to consider how many times I have built my web in the middle of a road, metaphorically speaking, of course.

Just like that spider’s web, our creations are delicate things; it doesn’t take much to destroy them. And if we create them in a spot where they will not be welcomed or worse, where they will be seen as a nuisance, it’s very likely that they will be damaged or destroyed.

Have you ever been to a restaurant that was displaying art that was heavy and dark and downright unappetizing? Have you ever heard a musician playing beautiful, sweet music in the corner of a loud, rowdy bar?

For every edition of the Law of Attraction Carnival there are at least 3-4 submissions that, while beautifully written, have nothing to do with the Law of Attraction. So I have to break the news to the authors that their entries will not be included.

Sometimes it seems that we have a collective belief that our creativity is not going to be accepted and appreciated. So we set ourselves up for failure – unconsciously of course – by choosing locations for our creative expression that are obviously inappropriate. On some level, we have an expectation that our creation will be rejected and so we attract that reality into our lives.

Can you think of times in your life when you have built your web right in the middle of a doorway? What did it feel like when that first person opened the door and walked right through it?

Can you imagine a different scenario in which you build your web in a different spot, a place where it will be seen and admired and valued for its beauty and uniqueness?

Now, one thing I’ve noticed about these spiders is that as the season progresses there are fewer webs built on the stairway. Now I can’t tell you if this is because the spiders get smart and figure out that the stairs are not a great place to build their webs or, if it’s because the spiders that keep building their webs on the stairs die.

But what I can tell you is that we’re smarter than spiders (I can sense some of you getting ready to argue that point). Albert Einstein once said, or perhaps it was Benjamin Franklin, or maybe no one of any particular merit actually ever said it: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

It doesn’t actually matter if anyone ever said it. The point is that we can learn from our experiences and try it differently the next time.

What creative project are you working on that might benefit from a slight change in location?

Dragonfly Asks If Illusions Are Holding You Back

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Dragronfly 4

Dragonfly medicine is of the dreamtime and the illusionary facade we accept as physical reality. The iridescence of Dragonfly’s wings reminds us of colors not found in our everyday experience. Dragonfly’s shifting of color, energy, form, and movement explodes into the mind of the observer, bringing vague memories of a time or place where magic reigned.

That quote is from the book and deck Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson.

The picture of the dragonfly is from the grape vine outside our back door.

On Friday, my daughter and I were walking back from the garden, when a flash of iridescent blue caught my eye. We walked over to see what it was: The biggest, most incredibly beautiful dragonfly I had ever seen.

Ella and I moved right up close to it, within a few inches. I kept expecting it to fly away, but it just stayed there. It didn’t move at all, no matter how close we got. I had a hard time believing that it was real and not a jeweled, sculpted replica put there by our neighbor who has a collection of such beautiful things.

It was the eyes that convinced me it was real. They were too… alive, too magical to have been sculpted.

So I said to Ella, “let’s run inside and get the camera so we can take a picture.”

When we returned with the camera, half-expecting the dragonfly to be gone, it was still there.

Dragonfly 2

The images do not capture the infinitely deep, fluid, shimmering, swirling nature of those eyes. As Jamie Sams says, “[The] shifting of color, energy, form and movement explodes into the mind of the observer…” I really got it and felt as if I could dive into those eyes and swim in that pool of magical, swirling color.

The lesson from Dragonfly in the Medicine Cards is about the illusory nature of reality and the shifing of perception. An apt lesson to receive on the day before my Law of Attraction Live seminar!

In the Medicine Cards description Jamie writes:

On the psychological level, it may be time to break down the illusions you have held that restrict your actions or ideas.

Dragonfly medicine always beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which you need to change…

Have you tended to the changes you have wanted to make in your life? If you feel the need for change, call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation.

Dragonfly 1

See how you can apply the art of illusion to your present question or situation, and remember that things are never completely as they seem.

What illusions are you holding onto that restrict your actions?

What illusions do you continue to believe are true?

Is there one illusion you could shatter or shift right now that would make a positive change in your life?

If so, do it, now. Don’t wait.

I’m Not Sure Is Not Good Enough or Pay Attention To Your Fortune Cookie Fortune

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I don’t often advise my coaching clients to follow the advice of their Chinese fortune cookie fortunes. However, from time to time, there are some shining examples of fortunes that are right on.

Recently, I was doing a laser coaching sessions with one of the participants in the Enlightened Entrepreneurs Intensive. His passion is to compose and perform music full time and have that be his primary source of income. He has the talent to do so, however his doubts and resistance continue to get in his way. (Sound familiar?)

In the laser session he wanted feedback on a decision involving his current day job. An opportunity has come up that would allow him to be laid off and collect unemployment for six months or more. His income would decline slightly but still be enough to get by on. And, it would free him up full time to focus on his music.

As he explained the opportunity to me I could tell that there was something missing, something holding him back. So we explored it. After a short discussion, I asked him, point blank, “If you go on unemployment are you ready and willing to commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to grow the business side of your music during  the next six-months?”

He took a long time to respond, which gave me the answer – and when he did respond, he said, “I’m not sure.”

Well, in this case, I’m not sure isn’t good enough. Where do you think I’m not sure would leave him in six months?

More than likely, “I’m not sure” would leave him exactly where he is right now.

But then the he chimed in with another opportunity that he had been holding up his sleeve. “Well,” he said, “There’s another position that they’ve offered me. It would allow me to go down to four days a week. It would be much less stressful and pay about the same as wheat I’m making now. I’d be taking home about $300 less each month. What do you think about that?”

“It doesn’t really matter what I think about it.” I replied. “What matters is how you feel about it. So?”

“It feels better.” He said. “My body relaxes a LOT when I think about taking that route. It feels like a good transitional decision until I can get to that place you’ve been talking about it class. The place where I cannot NOT do my music business.”

So he left the session with a promise to think about it, meditate on it, and most important feel it out.

Literally 5-minutes later I got an email from him that said:

Ed,

While I was doing my laser session with you, I was eating some
chinese food.  After I got off the phone, I opened the fortune
cookie.  Attached is a copy of the fortune.  You may need to magnify
to read, but I think the message is pretty clear!  F**kin” trippy if
you ask me.  I usually don’t pay much attention to these… I’ll
still ask some internal questions….

Kirk

The fortune says “You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course.”

Dreaming Big Living Large In 2007

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Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

“I’m going to be an astronaut.” “I’m going to be a movie star.” “I’m going to be the President.” “I’m going to own a chocolate factory!”

What were your childhood dreams?

We still have the ability to dream big, no matter how old or young, no matter where we live, and no matter what our family believed and taught us to believe. However, most of us need to clear the cobwebs off our imagination. And that’s just what I’m going to encourage you to do.

Why is dreaming so important anyway? Dreams play a significant role in determining the expansiveness or constrictiveness of life. You’ve heard of the “glass ceiling.” Dreams are the glass ceiling we create for our own life. We can create a ceiling just above our head or somewhere out at the edge of the Milky Way!

Michelangelo said, “The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.”

Your life is the marble and it holds the form of every thought you, the artist, have. If you’re thoughts are small and constrictive, your life holds small, constrictive forms. If your thoughts are grand and expansive those are the forms your life holds!

When that glass ceiling is very low, it’s often because we’ve allowed our dreams to be created for us, either by others or by our unconscious mind. Have you ever met someone who chose their career because their parents “suggested” it? I was inches away from enrolling in law school and following in the footsteps of my father.

Do you know anyone who stays at a job they hate because it pays the bills?

Think about your own life. How much space do you have to dream before you hit your glass ceiling? How big can you dream?

Your imagination needs to be used regularly or it will atrophy. In the same way that you keep your heart and lungs healthy by walking, or your biceps strong by lifting weights, you need to exercise your dream muscle to keep it in good shape. But before you can really begin working out your dream muscle, you need to know what gets in the way.

All of us carry limiting beliefs. Some we may be aware of. Others may lie hidden beneath the radar of our awareness. Read through the following list of beliefs slowly. Ask yourself if any of them seem familiar. Notice how you feel when you read each one. If your body reacts with anxiety or fear – fast heart-rate, shallow breathing, tightness in the chest or solar plexus, etc. – you may have discovered a limiting belief that has been hidden within you.

  • I don’t have enough money to do. . .
  • I don’t have enough education.
  • I don’t have the credentials
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • It will never pay the bills.
  • It’s never been done before so it probably can’t be done.
  • It’s greedy, or selfish.
  • It’s not spiritual enough.
  • It’s too risky.
  • People will think I’m crazy.
  • I don’t have any extra time.
  • Some people might be hurt if I do it.
  • I might mess it up, or do it wrong.

This is just a small sampling of the limiting beliefs available for our use. There are hundreds of them, and thousands of variations. Whatever they sound like, whatever form they take, whatever specific words they use, limiting beliefs have but one purpose and that is to keep you small, to prevent you from dreaming big.

Now that you’re aware of some of the limiting beliefs that hold you back, for at least the next few minutes – and hopefully a lot longer than that – I’m going to encourage you to let go of those beliefs and allow yourself to imagine the biggest dream you possibly can.

Let go of all the “yeah buts.” Let yourself drift back to that uninhibited dreaming space you had as a child. We’re not concerned about whether or not these dreams ever come true. Right now we just want to rekindle the dreaming ability.

Take a moment now and enter your dream world and begin to imagine your life in 5-years. Let go of the rationalizations. Remember, you’re dreaming, tapping into your imagination, creating a vision of your ideal life. So if you want to dream yourself into a vacation home in Hawaii, don’t worry about how much it will cost or where the money will come from. If you want to dream yourself into a new career, don’t worry about your lack of education, or your age, or an economic downturn. If you want to dream yourself into the perfect relationship, don’t worry that you are currently single. You are imagining, dreaming, visioning. Let go of constraints, fears doubts. Let go of limiting beliefs. Have fun. Play!

If you’re stuck, some questions to ask about your life five years from now are: Where am I living? What is my vocation? Am I married? Do I have children? What kind of car do I drive? What is my health like? What do I do for fun? Where do I travel?

As you explore this vision, make sure to bring in the feelings. In five-years, how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? How do you feel when you are working, playing, traveling. As you feel into your life, you may begin to get glimpses of what this ideal life looks like. If so, let yourself drift deeper into those glimpses. Let yourself explore the scenes that are lit up in your imagination.

And if you’re still having trouble, try creating the ideal life for a fictional character. Become the author of this character’s life. Make it a really juicy life! What would their dream life look like 5-years from now? It’s likely that parts of the life you create for them are what you would like to have in your own.

Still having trouble dreaming? Here are some other ideas: Make a dream life collage. Ask a good friend to brainstorm your ideal life with you. Look around you at other people and pick out parts of their lives that appeal to you.

The idea here is to begin exercising your dreaming and imagination muscles. Many of us have allowed these muscles to atrophy through years of focusing most of our attention on our doing muscles.

So between now and the end of the year, take some time to dream, to envision, to imagine. As you come up with details of your ideal life, write them down. And keep your notes somewhere visible so you can add to it, change it, allow it to grow and morph as you settle more fully into your ability to dream big.

And, as we all step into bigger dreams and more expansive lives, we can make 2007 the year of dreaming big and living large.

A Commitment to Continuous Course Correction

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Have you ever been so invested in a plan that you ignore guidance – inner and outer – no matter how clear? I do that. I create a certain vision of how a project or plan or event is “supposed” to unfold and I hold on tenaciously to that vision in spite of growing input urging me to change direction.

That happened this morning when I went for a hike in the redwoods … sort of.

I love hiking and, whenever possible I try to get out during the weekend for a nice long solo hike. I love the solitude, the connection with the Earth, the quiet, the exercise.

B.E. – Before Ella – it was much easier to find time for these hikes. A.E. – After Ella – my hiking time is much harder to come by, so when a window opens up I hold onto it tightly, sometimes, as you’ll see, until my knuckles turn white, or get frostbite.

This morning I had negotiated some solo time away from the family, and I was definitely looking forward to an early morning hike in the redwoods.

When I arose at 5:30 I saw that last night was one of those rare nights of hard frost here in Northern California: The bushes, cars and nearby houses were covered with a shimmering frosty white coating. Since I don’t have the proper clothes for long hikes in 20-degree weather, I wisely chose to meditate before rushing out into the frosty, pre-dawn air.

It was almost 8:00 by the time I left, but still cold. My fingers were nearly numb when I finished scraping the frost off the car windows. As I drove I began to hear little voices of dissent in my head, questioning whether or not this early morning hike was such a good idea.

My plan was to hike for 2-3 hours then stop by a café for an hour or two of writing. As I approached my designated café, I heard a clear voice in my head saying, “Looks pretty warm and cozy in there. Maybe we should go there first! Hint. Hint.”

“Don’t worry. It will be just as nice and cozy in there after the hike!” I insisted.

When I got out of the car at Armstrong Woods my first thought was, “It’s friggin’ cold! Maybe I should go to the café first.”

But once again, that old stubborn streak kicked in with, “Once we get moving it won’t feel so cold.”

Yeah, right!

I made it about 10-minutes down the trail – felt like 30-minutes – before I stopped and said, probably out loud, “This is not fun!”

And even then, even after admitting to myself that I was definitely NOT having fun, I still had to argue with the stubborn part of myself that was invested in seeing the morning unfold in a certain way. Finally, I’m thankful to say, my wiser self – or was it just my colder self? – took charge and I turned around, and walked – quickly – back to the car, drove back to the café, and got a nice hot cup of chai.

Much better!

Do you ever do that? Do you ever get so caught up in your vision of how something is meant to unfold? Have you ever ignored, or even argued with, supportive guidance urging you to shift?

Imagine for a minute that you’re the captain of a ship. It’s the middle of a dark, foggy night and you’re attempting to get to a small island. You’re at the wheel and the navigator comes to you and says, “Captain, according to my calculations, we’re heading 10 degrees northwest of our destination.”

“Hogwash.” You say. “We’re right on course.”

Later in the night, the navigator, once again comes by and says, more adamantly this time, “Captain, I’m convinced that we’re now heading at least 15 degree northwest of the island.”

“Thank you for sharing.” You say. “Now go back to bed. I’ve got this under control.”

Soon you get tired and turn the wheel over to your subordinate with the command to, “Stay on this course until we arrive at the island.”

“Yes sir.”

Just after dawn, you’re awakened by a tentative knock on your cabin door. “Enter.” You say.

“Captain?” The navigator says timorously.

“Yes.”

“We passed the island sometime during the night. We’re now approximately 10-miles to the northwest.”

“Damn.”

We all have a navigator. It’s called our inner guidance. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather make that course correction the first time I hear from the navigator. This morning, that would have been long before arriving at Armstrong Woods.

There are no mistakes. There are no right or wrong decisions. There are only choices that will require course corrections and adjustments.

We don’t arrive at our destination by a perfectly straight line. Even the path that “the crow flies” is filled with constant subtle and not-so-subtle adjustments and corrections.

It’s easy to get caught up in the belief that once you make a decision and choose a course you’re done. You’re far from done. You’ve just taken the first step on the journey.

This morning as I walked back to the car, I realized how much easier my life can be if I let go of the need to “be right.” Letting go of my stubborn attachment to how things should look will open the way to fluidity and continuous change. And ultimately, that openness will lead me to my chosen destination much more quickly and gracefully.

I’m all for that!

So from this morning forward I intend to focus a significant portion of my awareness on remaining open to the inner and outer guidance providing me with suggestions for necessary course corrections.

Would you consider doing the same? Let me know. Leave a comment with your commitment to continuous course correction.

When You Hear A Hawk Step Back For A Different Perspective

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I’m blessed to live in a place where the shrill calls of hawks is never far away. There’s a pair of Red Shoulder Hawks that, for the past two years, have nested in one of the big Fir trees in our neighborhood. It’s a thrill to wake up to their calls and watch and listen as the young hawks test out their wings and voices.

The drawback to having these calls around so often is that I can become detached from the powerful messages that these and other wild creatures offer.

Today, on my walk in the woods, when I heard the Red Shoulder Hawk in this recording, I caught myself taking the gift of that communication for granted. Not good.

So I stopped and listened both to the sound of the hawk and to the meaning within the call. The meaning was twofold:

Pay attention, I was being reminded. If I take for granted the thrilling call of a hawk, what other powerful messages in my life am I missing? Messages come in all forms, from all places, and often they are very simple and even boring. So I was put on alert to pay attention to all the messages in my life not just the “knock-you-on-the-head-with-a-frying-pan” type of messages.

The other message was to step back and get some perspective on my life. I sense that I have gotten a bit too caught up in the day-to-day happenings in my life and have lost touch with the big picture. My hawk friend was reminding me to get a hawk-eye perspective on my life before jumping back in to the daily tasks.

What messages are you missing? What messages are you taking for granted? Perhaps you need some perspective. I believe we all need a bit more hawk-eye perspective. Perhaps listening to the call of this hawk will help you rise up above your daily life and see what you’ve been missing.


MP3 File

Note the Flicker calls at the end of the first hawk call and in the space between the first and second hawk call.

Surrendering To Freedom: Stepping Into Grace

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(Note that this was originally included published in my Intuitive Life Coaching: Inspire ezine and then, included in this entry. But I felt it wanted to have its very own entry. So here it is!

Surrendering To Freedom: Stepping Into Grace

Earlier this month as I sat at the desk by the upstairs hall window, looking down on the blossoming apple trees and the vineyard beyond, I suddenly heard a fluttering sound behind me. A house finch had flown into the open window at the other end of the hall. I watched her fly around the hall and into my office where she began banging against the window, struggling to find a way out.

I entered my office and watched as she flew against the window unaware that just 10 inches away, it was open. Slowly and peacefully I approached her with my open hands prayerfully offering guidance and help. At first she refused, fluttering with even more determination and desperation up and down the invisible obstacle that held her captive. I remained calm and present, ready to enfold her gently yet firmly when the opportunity appeared.

But suddenly, she stopped her frantic flapping and flew onto my finger, sitting there as naturally and calmly as if it was a tree branch. There was a communion in that moment, an understanding that passed between that finch and myself. I was reluctant to let go of that connection, and yet I knew that was part of our connection, part of the trust she had placed in me.

Slowly I shifted my hands towards the open side of the window. Somehow the clarity and awareness that had been lost during her struggle had returned in her calmness. She knew the instant she was in front of the opening, and immediately flew out the window to freedom, gifting me with two bright, clear chirps of gratitude as she went.

When I returned to the desk I began thinking of how much I am like that little house finch: resisting the hands that offer me help, desperately running from the guidance that is constantly being offered. The hands may be human, or divine, or they may be the wings of a house finch, but they are always here, always reaching out gently to guide me to freedom.

Admiring the beauty of the Sonoma County landscape, I imagined myself settling into the hands of the Divine, just as that bird settled so gracefully onto my hand. I felt the release of tension and worry as I allowed myself to rest in the hands of God.

Since that day I have been aware of the times when I am struggling like that finch. It sometimes feels out of my control, as if I am watching someone else struggle, unable to reach them and let them know that the window is open just a few inches away. But it is me. I am struggling. I am resisting. And like that finch, I am slowly learning to let go of that resistance, and to allow myself to be shown the way to grace and freedom.

When Your Daughter Picks The Hermit For You, Pay Attention.

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My daughter loves to pick cards from the various “oracle” decks that we have around. We have T. Harv Ecker’s Millionaire Mind cards, a set of cards with sayings of the Dalai Lama, The Medicine Cards, and a couple of different Tarot decks.

When Ella picks a card, she is always specifies, very clearly, for whom she is picking. The other day she opened up one of the Tarot decks, picked a card and handed it to me, letting me know in no uncertain terms that this was my card.

Well, I was not happy to see the Hermit. I have been moving forward and getting myself out into the world with excitement and focus. So having Ella hand me the card that indicates a time of turning inward and disconnecting from the outer world did not align with the vision my intellectual mind had for me.

And yet, even as I tried to deny it, to write it off to the game-playing of a three-year old, I knew there was truth in the message. I could sense there was something calling to me within a retreat space.

But that little spark of truth was not enough to edge out the drive of my intellect. I chose to listen to the more powerful voice and ignore the message of the card. Bad idea!

Yesterday I woke up with a painful earache, stuffy nose and severe fatigue. I had no choice but to cancel my appointments, stay home and rest.

Apparently, since I was not voluntarily going into a retreat space, I was being forced into it!

The moral of the story: When your daughter picks a tarot card for you, pay attention. Or…when your guidance speaks, and guidance speaks in many strange ways, you’d better listen.

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