Winter Hibernation …

It is December 28, 2016 as I write – though later as this post is coming to you. I have been listening, deeply, to my spirit, my soul, the voice within. And I’ve heard a message that surprised me. It was a deeper version of something I’ve heard before:

Jeanne, you know that “less is more”. You know that often you feel bombarded by the vast amount of information flowing to your Inbox, through Facebook, through bloggers. You also know that our answers are within and each of us must become willing and courageous enough to pause the input stream and listen. So why do you continue to write, to post, to add to the stream for others? What are you not hearing because you are “talking” more than listening? It is time, Jeanne, time to rest, to take a break from some things.

With that guidance, I am giving myself permission to take a break from these monthly messages, from blogging, from posting to the Songs For Your Spirit Facebook page. I don’t know for how long. I don’t know exactly what I’ll *do*. I do know that I will listen within. I will honor the creative side of Jeanne whose many projects have not gotten much attention of late. I will spend quality, heart-connected time with family and with those of you who reach out for a connection. I will continue to coach and to host Women’s Circles as both are rich with inner listening.

Friends, especially those of you who have faithfully read these monthly messages and the Tidbits of Wisdom blog, to you especially I say:

What do rest, pause, break, listen look like for you?
What impact would winter hibernation have?
What would intentional listening experiences give you?

Again I offer to you several ways you could gift yourself in the time ahead:

Holding on …

I’m experimenting these days with letting go. It has occurred to me that I can profess all the faith in the world, say that I trust that all is well in the big picture. But, if my actions resemble holding on, or trying to control everything and everyone around me, then I truly am not faithful, not trusting.

Have you ever done a trust fall? Here are a few images to give you the idea:

Imagine closing your eyes and beginning your backwards descent without being able to see the person(s) that will catch you. You must have total trust. You cannot control those who are supposed to keep you from hurting yourself. Yet, you cannot experience the joy of the free fall if you never let go, if you continue to hold on to your standing position!

So I ask all of us:

In what ways do we profess trust, but continue to hold on?
In what ways are our beliefs and actions at a disconnect?
What are we ready to let go of?

A hint for the holidays …

For many of us, the holiday season is here – full steam ahead! Perhaps some of the parties are in the past but likely, time with family is yet ahead. And for some, family presents a special challenge: we care about these folks for they are a forever part of our lives if at all possible! Yet, while we may have grown up under the same roof, we have possibly grown apart as adults. Sometimes, connection has disappeared and been replaced by difficult personalities, different values, tension.

This season, I invite you – whatever your personal situation – to consider this:

Love is the answer.

This holiday, try a visioning practice when you gather with others. Imagine that you have pure Love streaming in from the Universe (or, if your prefer, from God or the Heavens, or Spirit or Jesus). Love streaming in! Now, imagine that same Love is also streaming out of you. You are receiving pure Love and spreading this Love and Light around!

Got it?

Now, imagine each precious being around you with pure Love streaming into them and that same Love, the Love that doesn’t originate from their humanness, but rather from Infinite Source, is also streaming out.

Now, to get a really clear visual, add some color to the Love that is flowing. Picture yourself in a roomful of people with ribbons of color floating in and out of the hearts and minds of each person – a virtual web of ribbon floating in the air!



What’s possible with so much Love present?
What’s not?

Miracles anyone?

Whatever your faith tradition, or even the absence of one, today I’d like to offer a message about miracles that is powerful. When I remember it, I am filled with gratitude – and that is a very lovely place to be!

Miracles. Are they magic? Is a miracle the thing that happens against ALL odds? Are they experienced only by someone else? Do they only happen in church? Peter Mayer, in his song Holy Now, suggests otherwise. He speaks of his christian upbringing and the miracles of Jesus, yet he writes:

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn’t one

What is your definition of a miracle?
What if everything is a miracle?
How would that belief impact how you see life?

You get to choose!

The World Needs Leaders … NOW!

Today, I’m feeling the urge to share an idea that has profoundly impacted how I move in the world. It was given to me in 2010 at my final Leadership Development retreat. Once again, I was overcome with feeling small, unworthy of being a leader, lacking belief in the gifts that are mine to give to the world. Finally, I reached out for help.

Karen Kimsey-House, the program leader and CEO of The Coaches Training Institute, looked at me and said:

“Jeanne, the world doesn’t have time for you to play small. The world needs leaders NOW! Get out of your shit and lead!”

POW! That smacked me upside the head and inside the heart. Believing that a leader is someone who sees what’s needed in the world and then puts it out there, I was being asked to stop holding back, get outside my fearful, little self, discern what need in the world is mine to fill, and take action now!

For me, that means saying “yes” when the opportunity to give a workshop or speak presents itself. It means hearing pain or desire in another human being and offering encouragement and hope. It meant releasing a 30 year career in IT and leading on the way out and into a second career as a life coach. It means writing blog posts and articles that are different from the mainstream but which align with how Life is guiding me.

It means saying “Yes!” and then inviting the Universe to support me and provide the strength and wisdom to complete the work.

What is calling your name?
What is yours to say YES to?
What gifts are yours to share?
How are YOU meant to LEAD?

Your Support Team

It takes courage to act on our deep inner knowings and to make fundamental changes in how we live and move and have our being in this world. And, we don’t have to (perhaps dare not!) do this alone. In fact, in addition to gremlin voices (negators who live in our heads), each of us also has a team of inner supporters who believe in us, are ever-present and ready to assist. Our job is to identify the members of our team, hold practice with them regularly, then engage them in the big and small plays of daily life.

A strong team often has these positions (*) filled: the Appreciator, the Listener, the Curious One, the Self Manager, the Intuitive, the Teacher. Your team may have others.

Consider filling your team. Take it easy! Perhaps you focus on one position a day or a week. For each, pause, breathe, turn within and invite your inner wisdom to look in the following places for a likely candidate, one who represents that quality for you: people (past, present, alive or deceased, family, teachers, mentors, friends, foes), fictional characters, animals, a place in your body, a place you’ve been or one you imagine where you can sense the quality, an experience you’ve had.

These questions can help you get acquainted with each team member:

What is your job description?
What is important for me to know about you?
What do you want for me?
What is the special name I should use for you?

Finally, call upon your team regularly!

(*) Positions and questions adapted from the Coaches Training Institute materials

More on believing…

Yesterday, I spent time with the notion of believing in Santa Claus:

Why Not Believe?

Today I’d like to take that one step further and explore belief in a Higher Power, God, Spirit, Universal Presence, Allah or a teaching such as that of the Buddha.

What value is there in faith traditions?
How does belief impact life?

I guess I can only speak for myself here. My own journey of belief has had a few twists and turns. I started life in a christian tradition and believed in God as the Creator of all life whose love was unconditional and who asked me to be and do good. I think the faith that grounded our family was a very important part of how we showed up in the world as good, hard working, trusting, loving people.

Then, life hit hard and I needed the 12 Step programs which talked about “God as I understand God” and a Higher Power. I think the deep pain in my life required me to believe in a whole new way. Trusting in something outside of myself, taking myself out of the driver’s seat in life, asking for help, softened me. I couldn’t keep doing life alone, my way. Believing that there were other powers in the universe supporting me was a gift.

Since then, I have explored many spiritual traditions and belief systems. I continue to expand and soften. I have experienced the power of meditation, come to understand the richness in the writings of many great spiritual teachers. The more I journey, the more I trust, the easier life becomes. This human life experience has challenges – lots of them! And when I focus only at the level of my humanity and try to solve problems on my own, I fail and life hurts. When I see a wider view, when I trust that we are supported by something bigger: Life, Love, a Master Creator, I let go. I allow life to be what it is – even the painful parts.

If believing is foreign to you, or if your belief system doesn’t support you in the way you’d like it to, stretch! Try something new. Read. Find a spiritual group. Meditate. Try a new church. Whatever you do, know that there is no right or wrong. Belief is personal. Your way can’t look like anyone else’s. Believing “is an inside job”.

What value would you find in believing?
How might your life change?

Why not believe?

It’s that time of year. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas with a visit from Santa Claus, you can’t help but hear about him, especially here in the US.  Over the years, I have grown to want less and less of what Santa has come to represent: over-the-top giving of stuff that no one needs.

Today, however, I am pausing to see things differently.

What is the meaning of Santa Claus?

Santa is generosity, magic, joy, delight. Santa gives without expectation. Santa follows laws of cause and effect (have you ever gotten coal in your stocking?) but is otherwise non-judgmental and unconditional love. Santa offers hope. Santa is a guide for children who need a reason to do the right thing. Despite the Santa tracker on the news, Santa is invisible, coming and going without being noticed. Santa is simply Love personified, the real deal, that which many of us aspire to.

Why NOT believe?
What is the power in believing?

As I pondered that this morning, I thought about those people in my life who brought Santa to life over the years for me and the impact of their actions. I felt loved and wanted and seen. I felt the joy and delight that “Santa” wants for me. I felt the excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning. Because of Santa Claus, many human beings gift our world with Santa’s superhuman traits.

What’s wrong with that? Nothing!

No longer a child, I am aware that I get to be Santa now. I get to bring the love and joy and generosity and delight. I get to give people a reason to believe in the basic goodness of life. And I know the joy of giving, of bringing joy to others. How about you?

What if you believed in Santa?
What would believing create in you?

Vacation … and self-care

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It has been 10 days since you’ve heard from me. I’ve been away visiting family, blessed by their love and the smiles of an almost two month old. I experienced nature in ways I could never get at home. I vacationed from many of the usual activities of my days: writing, coaching, making music, connecting with friends.

Yet I chose not to vacation from daily inspiration, meditation and great self-care.

What was the impact?

Freedom. I was free to be fully in the experiences while I was away. Leaving behind responsibilities and self-expectations created an openness of spirit to be present to new and different. Continuing self-care and honoring my body and spirit meant that I felt well and could truly be present to the awe and magic and love which flowed in my days.

What aspects of vacation belong in every day?

It would seem that being “fully in the experiences of life, open to what shows up” is something that would be very valuable every day, not just while on vacation. So I ask:

What is “openness of spirit” in responsibility?
What habits block your openness?

What allows you to be fully open and present?
Now what?

Courage

I see a lot of courage in coaching clients and I often call it out. Coaching has the tendency to invoke whole life change from the inside out and that takes tremendous courage! Why? Inside/Out change asks us, among other things, to:

  • become very clear on personal values and make choices which align with them
  • gain clarity on what we want to create with our lives and do what it takes to prepare ourselves to act boldly in service of our visions
  • face our inner demons and fears, old pain and regret, and move forward from the deepest truth and understanding we know in the moment
  • reconsider and revamp – or even release – habits, activities and relationships which do not align with who we come to know ourselves to be

I recently read this quote:

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”
G. K. Chesterton

It makes me ask:

Where is courage leading you?
What vision are you ready to die for?
What in you is ready to die in service of more?

Inspiring your unique life journey