Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Running when you don't feel like it

This isn't actually a post about running. Running is a metaphor for anything that is inconvenient, painful, at the wrong time, irritating in some way, but actually good for you. Which could also include running of course, and sometimes does in my life. In this case, I was lying in bed wanting in my small self to just go to sleep, and in my bigger self, I was writing a preface to a book. What book, I can't say yet. But in it, I was being more honest than I really am in real life, and then I thought, I should write that down. It would be irritating to have to get up and write right now, but writing doesn't just come at convenient times, and the point is, doing anything good, or that might be good one day, takes some amount of being bigger than what just feels nice at the time. So, I got up, and started the internet, and it took so long maybe that honest voice is gone again. I don't know. I can say that it sounds better in my head. In my mind, I write poignantly and powerfully. I'm sure you do too. But I got up, and maybe in some tiny way, it will help me with the next inconvenient step and the next in doing all the great things I want to do. Maybe it will help you too, in doing the great things you want to do. Go do them.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

why I want to run

Tonight is the first night of the half-marathon clinic I signed up for at the Running Room. The 10-miler I wanted was cancelled and now, all of a sudden, I'm training to run 21K. Yikes. I still don't quite believe I can do it, but I'm starting out anyhow. This post isn't about whether I can do it though. It's about the feeling underneath that's compelling me to do it. I tried explaining why I wanted to run longer distances to a friend recently, and realized that it wasn't easily explainable. I'm not sure I know all the reasons why. I can feel why though. Underneath the very physical experience of putting one foot in front of the other is a calling towards something more subtle. The image I have of it is of open space and light, and a runner in that space, expanding it. I want to enlarge the space within which I live. Out of my physical comfort zone. I want to feel more competent outside of the very comfortable space of city life. I want to feel free, strong, and more connected to nature and my soul. That's a lot to ask of running. It doesn't feel that way most times when I'm slogging along on a run (especially uphill). But that's what's underneath. And I get hints of it sometimes during running. Whether longer-distance running ends up taking me to a greater feeling of freedom and expansion, the feeling is what I'm aiming towards, and this is an arrow I'm shooting.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

inner critics and your comfort zone

Whether it's as big as Alaska, or as small as a teaspoon, we all have comfort zones. Places, people, activities, habits, feelings that we are comfortable with. And we all seem to have a safety mechanism that goes off when we stretch outside of that zone. When we play at our edge. Inner critics get stirred up then and may scream, cajole, shame, coddle or soothe you into staying right where you are. No jumping off into the unknown please. Of course some people go anyway. Thank god, or we would have no works of art, scientific discoveries, adventure in the world. And some people are more naturally primed to be able to do it. But everyone has an inner critic they have to navigate at some point. One that wants to limit in the name of safety. Being able to recognize that voice can help you not fall into the pit it wants to drag you down into. Instead you can take it a little less seriously, and at least, sometimes, step right around that thing. Taking my writing into class, like I'm doing this morning, or putting my writing out into the world in any way, can set my inner critics off. Some experience I've put into writing I was formerly looking favourably on can turn into something my inner critics will call pathetic or boring. Of course writing something out can help you see it in a new light. Maybe it's not so good out on the page. There's a different feel to discernment compared to critical attack fuelled by fear. It can be hard to tell them apart since one may quickly morph into the other. Taking some time away from the writing can help. Come back to it later. Look again with fresh eyes. Read it out loud. To yourself or others. Get some honest feedback. It's all a learning process anyway. Here's another place you can learn more about your inner critics: https://dannygregorysblog.com/category/books/shut-your-monkey/

Monday, June 6, 2016

life dreams

Amazon delivered two new books to my house today - two on psychodrama, and I have another new one called "Being a Brain-Wise Therapist" (Bonnie Badenoch). These books excite me. They inspire, validate, add to my knowledge, and remind me about the direction I want to take my life in. I spent the morning reading through different parts of each, and started daydreaming again about going to graduate school. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I haven't had the financial resources or time to make it happen while raising children, but I'm going to go. The expressive arts therapy degree I want to do is in Massachusetts, and I will have to be away for a month for three summers. Now that my kids are teens, the possibility of this is getting closer. I also don't have to wait to go to graduate school to act on my dreams. School is just a way to gain some more skills, and meet people with the same interests. What I actually dream about is publishing my writing, making lots of art, and leading expressive arts groups and workshops focused on love, sex, intimacy, relationship, and spirituality. That allow people to share and support each other through the light and the dark in their lives in community, in an action oriented and expressive way. I have half of a personal essay written, and I've started making more art in the past few months. I facilitated my first sexuality workshop, and I plan on doing more this fall. These dreams have been brewing and developing for decades, and now I see new growth. They seem to come from somewhere bigger than my conscious mind, and my job is just to follow them best I can, feeling my way along as I go. What are your life dreams?

Friday, June 3, 2016

why make art?

Art has been knocking on my door for about 6 or 7 years. Usually, not always, but often, when I opened the door, I said, "what are you doing here?" and slammed it shut. I was confused about why it was showing up. I was confused about why I kept seeing beautiful images everywhere. On the fridge, on the wall, in my mind's eye. Stunning images that made me feel dreamy and came with a strong longing to make them. But I'm not an artist. It seemed like so much trouble. Unlike writing, you need lots of materials, expensive ones, and you have to throw paint down the drain, which I hate doing. It's also messy, and I don't think I liked the way it made me feel less in control. I also believed that writing was my art form. I have been writing since I was a child. Maybe dance, too. I love to move. Maybe even singing, which brings me such joy sometimes. But art? It is the form that I feel most clumsy with, the one that comes the least naturally (except playing an instrument - that I thankfully have no calling towards). I tried to talk myself out of it many times. How about photography? I'd say to it - much more practical - you can take photos of your kids and have a lovely history of their childhoods. And no toxic paint. Stick with writing, you're already doing that, and you can keep getting better at it. Anything seemed less trouble than art. But gradually, especially lately, I have succumbed to its insistence. I became more open to doing so when I noticed how certain images have been attracting me for years - mostly circles and flowers. Once I opened my eyes to this, I saw that they were all over my house - on my pillows, blankets, purses, clothes, everywhere. And in my paintings. These images, along with the longing to make them, were coming from a very deep place in me I couldn't see. Something from the soul. Spontaneous and ephemeral. The images and longing don't come with instructions, or a known meaning. I can only guess at it. My best guess so far is that they are trying to teach me openness. I feel drawn to open-faced flowers particularly, and the endless depth in the centre of the circle. There is also play and the no-purposelessness of making art. A part of me wants everything I do to have purpose, if only that I am at least good at the thing I'm doing. Another more soulful part seems to have a very different agenda. I'm feeling more aware of these two aspects of my being - ego and soul. I'd like to write about that more soon. I read a lovely interview with women's leadership coach Tara Mohr yesterday on the purpose of creation, and how to be with the feedback we get - critical or praising. Tara believes that feedback has nothing to do with the creator, but all to do with the one giving the feedback. She also believes that nobody will care about the work we do more than us, even when it is helpful to others. She believes that we create, most essentially, because we are growing ourselves. She says, "We write the books we write [or make any of our creations] because of our soul’s questions, our dilemmas, the topics we are drawn to in our hearts." Check out her interview here: http://honestmum.com/interview-with-tara-mohr-author-playing-big/. Happy playful soulful day to you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

exciting goals and faith in the unseen

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once declared, "To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily; to not dare is to lose one’s self." I read the quote above this morning on a weekly newsletter I get from Barbara Stanny, who is an inspiring wealth coach for women (http://barbarastanny.com), so I thought I'd share it with you. I'd like to make this blog not only a recording of my own brave steps, but a collection of inspiration, bravery, and aliveness being lived by others. Because we can use all the help we can get! It's a big hot world out there. But our hearts are even bigger, especially together. I ran 50 minutes today, no walking breaks, the longest run all year. I was able to do it partly because I knew I'd be posting here about it! This has become a way to keep accountable. I was thinking on the run about faith in the self you can't see yet. How do we keep running, or writing, or whatever we're doing towards the self and the life we want when we can't see it yet? One part of the answer for me is for the goal to be exciting. For it to be new. Something I haven't done before, something I think I may not even be able to do. It also has to be in a realm that I feel inspired by. Being active has always been inspiring to me. Running, aerobics, yoga, dance, martial arts, biking, long walks, have all played an essential role in my life and well-being. I don't know how I'd be without them. I want to take it up a notch or two though now. A 10-miler is a fairly modest goal, but enough outside what I've done to be exciting. The excitement of that vision, and what it means to me, is what helps me plod through all the steps it takes to get there. Up that hill, through the boring parts, as well as the moments that shine. Other people help a lot, too. People to run with, people to tell. Check out Danielle LaPorte's words on keeping your vision while walking your steps: http://www.daniellelaporte.com.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

crappy days and telling the truth

Today felt, after a certain point in the morning, kind of crappy. Anxious crappy. Triggered crappy. One thing after another - something I read, a social situation, then another social situation, awakened feelings of unworthiness. I texted with my BF about it, I went for a run. I felt better for a while, then back to feeling bad again. My 16 year old son offered me a hug, which helped, then back to feeling it. One of those days. It will be better tomorrow probably. But it brought up the question of how to talk about it here. Telling the truth is a form of bravery. A big one. In public and in writing is a certain kind of bravery, and skill. I'm not sure I have the right skill of it yet, but I thought I'd start practicing it here today. So, here's my tiny start. Tomorrow I'd like to start talking about making exciting goals. Goals which feel new and big, and maybe even redefining. Stay tuned. :)