Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

  • Engage fully
  • Accept no limitations
  • Give freely
  • Breathe deeply

These are four pieces of advice I got through a guided meditation with a healer once. I remember complaining, “I wanted specifics!” and she laughed and said, “You don’t get much more specific than that.” I suppose not.

I’ve been sitting with them pinned to the wall in front of me for four months now, and I suddenly noticed a common thread. They are specific actions for overcoming specific fears.

People often seem to have the impression I have everything figured out, or at the very least, that I don’t really struggle with the questions the way they do.

That’s both true and false. There are a lot things I kind of mulled over in my own head until I was happy with the conclusions that are widely applicable, and so I share them. But I do struggle with things in my own way. Not as suffering, but as we’ve previously defined the term, I do find certain things challenging.

They are difficult things for me to remember, and to live. They respresent, to me, at least the tasks of Heracles, simply something I must overcome in order to free myself of my personal constraints, in order to grow into something bigger than myself. You know, after Heracles completed his labours, he  freed Prometheus, impregnated 50 virgins in one night and helped sack Troy. Just sayin….

So I’m going to share my biggest struggles and shortcomings with you. I hope it comes as no big surprise that I talk a lot: it will be a series.

Engage Fully

Accept No Limitations

Give Freely

Breathe Deeply

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Weekends.

I never had ’em. At least, it seems, not as most people seem to define them. As a glorious break, a space in time where workaday responsibilities are distant and you are unfettered and unscheduled and nothing needs to get done.

Or maybe that’s the romantic mythology we’ve built around it. Hmm.

I’ve never had weekends since I began my working life. Even now, when I wouldn’t (technically) have to work weekends, I like to, because the input stream dwindles and it’s easier to focus.

I wanted to have a kind of weekly ritual, kind of like my Salon Day, but for the whole FTS community. But on the other hand, I have such a vibrant, active community that it seems like I would be creating something for forms’ sake that awkwardly replicates what’s already happening here organically. Besides that, I couldn’t find a day for it that pleased me. Which brings me to weekends.

What are they?

Until I launched my practice online, I never had weekends, and to be honest, it never really occurred to me that they were necessary. On the ranch where I was raised, you worked if there was work to do. And there was always work to do…

In high school I worked in tourism, which of course meant that holidays were out. In the oilpatch, people brag about how many consecutive days they worked. I’ve heard numbers as high as 180. (Patch-work is hard on your home life, as you can imagine). When I left the patch, I launched my practice full-time at the same time as I was trying to get a retreat centre off the ground. Days off? What are those? It’s only been since January that weekends have actually meant something to me, and even then I hardly notice.

Yesterday was my birthday.

Please, no parades. 🙂

I’m 25. (And no, I don’t feel grown up yet. Maybe at 28. More likely, 98. Most likely of all, never)

I’ve been taking stock, course correcting, and I’ve concluded I need to spend a lot more time doing nothing. Not even recreation, though I surely don’t do enough of that. I need to spend more time in contemplation. I feel this sense of burgeoning creation. There’s something in me that needs to come out, but it needs space, it needs quiet.

That’s why I couldn’t choose a day for a ritual. I need to get quiet enough to even have rituals of my own. I reread one of my very first posts, back from when this blog was just for me, and a year and a half later, I still have the same problem. I can’t find my rhythm. I’ve found my Work, I’ve found my path, and I’ve started finding my people, but I’m hoping to get that loping gait down, the one that feels effortless and eats miles.

You know? You know that groove you get in where the words fly off your fingers and shit just flows so smoothly, and even the things that look like they might be obstacles just melt away as you swoosh by?

What if Garbo had the Right Idea?

If I have one main flaw in my operating system, it’s that I don’t turn off. I might occasionally go into hibernate, but I never really shut off. I’ve developed stellar coping techniques for this constant “on-ness” but I have started to notice…wear and tear. It takes longer to rejuvenate. I have difficulty with self-discipline. I have fewer and fewer dreams (I always know when I’m getting over extended when I notice I’m not dreaming).

It has been a busy month for me, and I could tell myself that if I simply waited it out, I’ll unwind. That’s partially true, but I don’t think that it’s quite a solution. I’m still feeling my way through it, but I think there’s a lot of wisdom that I’m simply too busy to listen to, all the time.

Havi Brooks’ declaration for the new year was to make her body CEO. Jen Hoffman at Inspired Home Office takes monthly retreats to a monastery.

I stayed at a monastary once. There was a bed, a sink, a table, a chair and a lamp in our rooms. Nothing else. The idea of that kind of space to fill scares me. And exhilarates me. I can feel my yearning for it, so I know I need to build some space in my life here soon. I want what will come in to fill that space.

Forgive me my self-indulgent post, but I thought it would be illustrative to show you a subtle process whereby when I noticed all the half-submerged issues that surrounded something I thought would be a good thing ( a shared ritual with you) and teased them out to recognize and articulate something I’ve been feeling my way around for at least several weeks. I actually realized that the ritual is a symbol of something I’m feeling my way toward building– a community. At least, I think that’s what’s growing inside me. Something cooperative, and compelling, a loose fellowship of people with a shared vision or purpose. Not quite sure yet, but I’ll let you know.

And now, do me a favour and go do some journalling. I’m sure there’s something niggling at the back of your brain too.

Mwah!

Shanna

Capital-T Truth

This was inspired by Reba’s post at Navigating by Heart, and largely lifted from my long-assed comment there.

I know there is no Truth, but I get really frustrated when people imagine me a nihilist for saying such things.

I think the problem is that people depend on a dogma or an idee fixee as a sort of North Star by which to mark their inner compass. They tend to believe that without Truth, we would all be rudderless, and, often, they tend to believe that we would do terrible things, or at least, never live up to their potential or achieve any kind of legacy.

You can correct me if I’m sounding condescending here, but I think these fixed points, this insistence that “THIS is true” and THIS is true, and here are my landmarks by which to steer my life, come from a deep uncertainty of how to handle change. Or that change and chaos even CAN be handled, and not merely waited out.

So for me, my small truth is that things are only “true” moment by moment, and that each new moment brings the possibility that what was once true is not true any longer. Accepting the ephemeral nature of “truth” means that I am less able to delude myself by steering by these landmarks, rather than always assessing the lay of the land and my interaction with it. Rather like the NLP saying “The map is not the territory”

I’ve been told by some people that it’s just too hard to have to keep re-assessing the situations and circumstances of life and that they just want to relax and not feel like the sky will fall because they’re not paying attention. I must admit that I don’t know quite what to do with that reaction, because to me, keeping a weather eye on the horizon is psychologically much easier than wearing a blindfold and telling yourself that “Probably nothing much has changed.” That might be true, but wouldn’t it be easier to know for certain?

Oh, and to get back to the nihilist thing. I find the idea that nothing is fixed to be kind of freeing, in a footloose kind of way. Because you cannot reasonably expect anything to stay the same for long enough to measure any kind of progress by, it follows that the only kind of progress you can even mark is your own, against yourself. I just kind of envision where I’d like to be, or what I’d like to do, and I head in that direction, following the lay of the land. It’s at once tremendously difficult and stunningly simple, but as far as I’m concerned, nothing has very much meaning, and that’s how I’ve decided to spend my time, like a weightlifter trying to beat her own record. The only true mastery is over self, and all that.

Now, it might be that you don’t feel the need to work at self-mastery, and that instead you have other ways to occupy your time in this world. Maybe you live in service, maybe you travel and become an ambassador to humanity and a citizen of the world.

I invite you to think about it: If you knew that nothing you did would matter, if you knew that your presence on this earth would leave no lasting mark, that no memory of you would grace the cosmos… even knowing the futility of it all, how would you spend your time?

Chaos Magic

Chaos Magic posits no beliefs — at least none to be considered absolutely “true”. Nothing is true. You are therefore free to take anything you like and use it AS IF it were true. Everything is permitted. And the amazing thing is that even if you’re faking it it still works!

A belief system, ANY belief system, even one cobbled together from bits and pieces, copied or original, if it’scontinuously subscribed to as being absolutely true by the magican, it ceases to be Chaos Magic.

Chaos Magicians are magical agnostics. They don’t know what might be absolutely true, and suspect that nothing is — and they DON’T CARE.

Chaos Magic sees nothing but infinite chaos, stochastically dragged into existence by each and every observer according to their predispositions, and by manipulating these predispositions it can be bent in desired directions by a canny intelligence.

Abby posted this a couple weeks ago, and it’s a monument to how much other good stuff I had on the go that this… this… BRILLIANCE … had to wait.

I am officially a Chaos Mage.

That’s all there is to it. This completely nails my worldview.

  • There’s no way to know what’s absolutely true
  • It’s quite possible nothing is
  • But if you can take anything you like and MAKE it true, at least for a while
QED

So, who else is a Chaos Magician out there? I have it on good authority that Abby started a list. (And also, you’re welcome to be on my Lyst. I believe Chaos Mage falls under the subheading “hell-raisers and shit-disturbers”)

How do you make tough decisions? You weigh them according to your values and principles, right? You thoughtfully examine the issue, do your gut check, then decide.

Or do you?

Perhaps you scour the internet, looking for experts to weigh in. Perhaps you ask your friends and mentors. It could be that you’re just covering your bases, but it could also be that you want reassurance.

The funny part is, there are two flavours of reassurance. One is where you know the right move and you just need confidence in making it, and the second is where you want to make the “wrong” choice, and you want someone to tell you it’s the right one so you can defend it. 🙂

It’s that last that I want to talk about.

 Making the “wrong” decision

If we take as a given that trust in yourself is crucial, and that you already have it in spades, then we can start to examine the deeper conflicts that surface.

Sometimes it’s just that you didn’t realize your own drive. I know that, until recently, I couldn’t figure out why I felt that throwing myself into social media was completely wrong for attracting the clients I wanted to work with. I’m a very gregarious person, and have no trouble talking about my brilliance, but the whole game seemed to be out of sync with me.

Finally, Chris Anthony pointed out to me that if the primary traits I wanted in my clients was confidence and drive, it made sense to arrange my intake in such a way that people had to come to me on purpose, with a purpose, and so even if they actually felt lost and uncertain, I could point out that they had, in fact, demonstrated the types of traits I was looking for.

And then all my resistance melted away, and I was in my power again.

 Fighting the Enemy Within

Even more sneaky is when the right decision for you runs counter to what you think of as an integral part of your personality. For instance, as I make plans to move, even though I know that it’s in the best interests of me and my family, I’m struggling with it. There are lots of things I had taken responsibility for that I’m now having to withdraw from. This makes me uncomfortable because I think of myself as a responsible person, and when I say I’ll do something, I feel honor-bound to do it.

Pride goeth before a fall

It’s not quite true. It’s ego that goes before a fall, the parts of your personality that you personally identify with. Responsibility. Caring. Independence. Capability. Resilience.

If you think of yourself as a “capable person” and you’re forced to ask for help, that creates cognitive dissonance. If you think of yourself as “caring” it’s far too easy to find yourself a doormat.

Furthermore, that inner conflict is hamstringing your confidence, like having an enemy in the castle keep. And that’s why you seek out gurus and experts, desperately hoping for the way out of this harried, unproductive state you’re in . Because it’s not you, right? It’s not like you to struggle to make these kinds of decisions, is it?

If there’s any advice I can give, it’s to pay attention to your visceral reactions. I noticed a friend diffidently offer me help, worrying that it would hurt my pride to take it. And I, noticing my instinctive, “Thankyou, that’s very kind, but I’ll handle it myself” wondered why I wouldn’t.

It wasn’t the pride, apparently– it was the sense that if I couldn’t handle the problem now, when exactly WOULD I develop that ability? To me, it’s very important to have the skills to handle almost anything.

Noticing those reactions is very akin to reprogramming paradigms: they’re little brother version called “belief systems”. They’re often quite laughable when you identify them. Useful up to a point, of course, but not as dogma.

Just like I’m still a capable person when I find someone to guide me through a problem rather than trying to figure it out on my own. Sure, it’s not the same as hands-on experience and struggle, but now the decision is “How important is it to me to have this experience?” not “Since when am I the kind of person that lets other people fix my problems?”

So tell me, my darlings, have you run across this dynamic before? How did you handle it? Are there any belief systems that have become suddenly apparent to you? Share in the comments!

When people look at a problem, there’s a tendency to look for expert assistance. To the gurus! As if they had some divine insight.

 But I’ve never been on a big quest for a teacher, someone to teach me, to affirm my path and choices. It’s not that I’m not willing to be taught, and I certainly love to learn, but I just don’t see where studiously absorbing the accumulated paradigms along with the wisdom is very effective long-term.

To me, looking to a guru says “I am a child. I am a child, and I acknowledge it, now please teach me what I am lacking.” Which is great up to a point. I do agree with being humble and teachable.

But what I do not see is the expectation of growing up.

To me, that’s a problem.

Everyone needs to be taught from time to time. But for too long, we’ve given away our power, our intellectual and spiritual freedom to experts, talk show hosts, and gurus.

Affirmation.

Guidance.

That’s all we’re after.

It all boils down to a confidence issue.

We don’t trust ourselves.

We don’t think we’re enough.

We can’t find our power, or if  we did, we don’t feel confident that we can access it at will.

The lack is not ideas. It is not style. It’s not knowledge. It’s trust. 

Trust in ourselves, in our abilities and our resilience.

Trust in our decisions.

Trust in our vision.

When a friend approached me to ask if I was setting myself up as a guru, I was appalled. Never, never, NEVER.

If I’m in my power, doing my Work, and people come to see me as a guru, that’s not something I can help. I’m nobody’s guru, I’m a traveller, same as you, with maybe a bit of a unique perspective on things. I don’t take apprentices. I only take people under my wing for a short time.

My endgame is always to get people to grow up. Allow them to abandon the safety nets of following where others lead secure in the knowledge the don’t need them. 

They own the power.

The resiliency.

The vision.

It resides within them and is easily accessible to them.

We are all children, all blank slates, waiting to be written on. But we are also beings of unimaginable power and potential. And we have the answers. We’re just afraid to trust them.

Trust is essential. Trust and self-confidence. Not arrogance, ego, or fatalism.

Believe me, when you finally find your power, you’ll know the difference. You’ll blaze with it, and nothing will be the same for you ever again. You will truly know what it means to be limitless.

The Godhead in me greets the Godhead in you. Namaste.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Tell me your thoughts.

I like talking to people, because once in a while I’ll hear Something Very True cross my lips, and I’ll have a “eureka” moment. I love eurekas. Last week I told Abby (@oriridraco) that I was studying “the courage and discipline to only do what’s worthwhile to me.”

Have I mentioned before how fucking brilliant I am? (Humble, too, you’ll notice.)

After long reflection, I am announcing the following policy change:

I am now only taking clients by referral. In order to get my email address, you will have to get it from someone I’ve worked with. If you don’t know anyone who has worked with me, you will have to get creative.

Once you get my email, there is a process. This is to weed out the people who want me to wave my magic wand and make their problems go away. They mistake me for their fairy godmother, I think.  I only want to work with you if you’re going to work with me.

My People

Every who gets into this biz does it to help people. I’m no different. God knows it isn’t for the luxury goods and the Caribbean cruises. I want to serve my Right People. And Catherine Caine makes a very good point. I must turn away my Not Quite Right People.

My People are gutsy, driven, and willing to take chances. I want people with passion, and purpose, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. I’m here to be Merlin to your Arthur, Dumbledore to your Harry Potter.

I will not bestir myself for dilettantes. I am looking for dragon slayers.

There is one other way you can stay close to my white hot presence: Join the CataLyst. (Affectionately referred to as the Guinea Pig Army.) That’s where I recruit volunteers to test my ideas, try out my (unorthodox) methods, and shower with my peculiar brand of story-telling and wisdom. Oh, and the only other place I mention openings in my schedule. I start recruiting for my next project in a couple weeks, so if you’d like to be close to the action, you can click here to sign up. I promise not to use you as cannon fodder. Or your email address, for that matter.