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Archive for the ‘Coaching Tips’ Category

Literature That Lingers

I recently finished reading The Wisdom of the Donkeys by Andy Merrifield (2010).  It is not the kind of reading that one dashes through, rather like an exquisite truffle and a glass of fine wine, it is to be slowly savored.

A beautifully crafted work that leaves me wanting to have a donkey as a pet, and if not, then I want to befriend a donkey somewhere close by and visit regularly.

With a search for slowness and tranquility in mind, Andy Merrifield set out on a journey of the soul with Gribouille, a friend’s donkey, to walk for days amid the ruins and spectacular vistas of Haute-Auvergne in southern France.  While Merrifield contemplates literature, science, truth, and beauty, Gribouille surprises him with his subtle wisdom, reminding him time and again that enlightenment is all around us if we but seek it.  With a forward by acclaimed writer Elizabet Marshall Thomas, The Wisdom of the Donkeys  reminds us that observing, being mindful, and living in the moment are essential to leading a fulfilled life.”   This excerpt is from the back cover, and expresses very well how I feel about this book.

I invite you to into the journey with Merrifield and Gribouille.

The Even Day

The everyday routine is back after the odd-one-day hiatus; domestic chores, paper-work, grocery shopping, plant-watering, cat-caring, ironing (yes, I still iron) and raking leaves day.

But there is something I noticed yesterday that my odd and even days have in common:  The joy I feel experiencing  the life around me. 

The chickadees are migrating.   I love watching as many as ten at a time of the sharply marked little birds taking turns snatching seeds in a flurry of feathered feeding.  The red-tail hawks are back in the hood; and the intense spicy,  outdoor smell is intoxicating to me.  

The beauty of the clouds and the majesty of the surrounding hills;  fir-tree tops  peeking through the sensuous mist that engulfs them, that bathes them;  vineyards turning gold, stunning even in the cloudy light; early blooming Christmas Cactus.

And again, I give thanks for the cornucopia of abundance that dances and weaves itself  throughout the tapestry of my life!

The Odd Day

Yesterday was one of those odd days for me.  No appointments,  car in the shop, no pressing chores.  Plenty to do, but….

What I know about myself and the odd day is that when it comes along it shines a spotlight on my productivity and/or lack of same.  I did get things done yesterday.  But it seems when my schedule opens spontaneously, I get out of my structured rhythm.  It is not about what I do, it is about what I don’t do. 

Many years ago a woman commented to me that she was a much better housekeeper when she was working.  Chores had to be done on a schedule or you would spend your days off cleaning and catching up.  At first it didn’t make too much sense to me, but as the years passed I finally get it.

So, if you missed my blog yesterday, you now know why.  There wasn’t one. Blogging  went completely out of my mind, not returning til much later in the evening.

I am not getting on my own case, just entertaining my observing self and the insights provided.  Don’t know if I am going to do anything to change the odd day; don’t know if I want to. 

Odd days are kinda cool, like little mini-vacations. Enjoy one if it comes your way.

Potlatch

The Potlatch ceremony originated among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest.  Potlatch literally means, ‘to give away’ or ‘a gift’.   Usually a winter festival, one tribe would host another and the ‘gifts’ exchanged were blankets, food, dances and songs.  The potlatch is considered a redistribution of wealth.  I believe that, for the most part, it was a way to ensure survival for all during the winter months.  The potlatch was banned by Canada in the late 1800’s and by the US in the early 1900’s.

I am reminded of this tradition because I recently was gifted by a friend with some awesome hand-me-down clothing.  We dispose so much of  our wealth into landfills when there are so many ways to potlatch.  Passing on unwanted, and unused items to family, friends or the community at large is a wonderful way to recycle.

Although many people attach a emotional stigma to this kind of giving, it is a sensible and easy way to spread wealth.  So, next time you are cleaning out your closets, the garage, the pantry, think about doing some personal potlatching.

The Weasel

At the beginning of  Retreat Weekend each attendee picks a Medicine Card and the animal represented is their totem animal for the duration of the Retreat, (and beyond , if one wishes to work with the energy).

This year I choose the Weasel.  I was surprised as I usually chose a hawk, a fox, a panther, but never a Weasel or member of the mustelid family. However, when I read about Weasel in Ted Andrews fine work, Animal-Speak, I was duly impressed by how much I resonated with the book’s description.  I laughed out loud when I read, “Are you missing the obvious?”

I see complexities with astounding brilliance…but the obvious continually eludes me.  I am thankful for family and friends who unfailingly continue to direct my attention to the obvious. 

Animal totems can be very useful to us for the insight they provide into our own nature.  In many cultures the animal totem can be one of the most common forms of spirit guides. 

I gained a great insight into some aspects of my own nature through the weasel.  I invite you to look into the animal totem in your life.  It will be the animal you feel closely associated with during your life.

Rainy Day

When I commented that the storm door had opened early I didn’t think it was opening to this much rain.  This is a classic storm for January or February, not the week before Halloween.

We are pretty much ready in the physical sense.  The furnace has a new filter and the patio furniture is tucked away til spring, but my psyche is floundering around in the wash. 

Getting out the substantial rain gear, including shoes, gloves, hats and umbrellas, and then just being in out in the storm is feeling really odd.  There was no appreciable ‘summer’ here save for the unseasonably hot weather earlier this month.  I find myself unwilling to welcome the wind and the rain. Their appearance is premature.   I am not ready to don the gear; I am not happy getting wet as I venture out into the stormy days. 

And then in that quiet, unhurried moment, I turn my bare face upward toward the heavens and the rain splashes me.  I taste the water falling from the heavens, I feel it running down my neck, sneaking under my protective wear, tickling me.  In this moment I am wet, I am happy;  I welcome the rainy day.

A Fine Line

I could say, ‘a fine feline line’.  We have a plus 20 year old cat who has lost her companion of as many years.  She is inconsolable; her cries of grief are so powerfully poignant that they bring tears to our eyes.

We are doing our best to comfort her.  However, she is quick to take advantage.  She has always been the ‘diva’,  the ‘queen’ of the realm.  She is able to keep up her vocal demands for attention for hours.  

I very much value her expression of her grief.  It is healthy.  I know that she will begin to heal, as we all will.  In the meantime, we talk to her, we pet her, she gets plenty of lap time.  It is a fine line. She already is demanding more and more.  So, we are giving her what she wants (she loves Doritos).

Just like we can trust that the pain won’t last at these levels of intensity, we also need to believe in our own capacity to heal.  I can extend this to her, knowing that she too will move past the pain and find her own capacity for healing.  We are walking the fine line together.

Retreat

I meant to blog about ‘retreat’ Friday, but alas, the day’s preparations rushed me away toward the Sonoma Coast. 

As it turned out my daughter and I arrived early.  We began the retreat by stopping at the Tides where she treated me to an artisan beer.  Very friendly atmosphere, very relaxing beginning to our getaway weekend.  Arriving at our rental home in Bodega Bay we eagerly awaited the arrival of our retreat sisters.

This special time away from phones, including cell phones, Internet, the hustle and bustle of the daily grind are truly sacred.  We rest, we eat, we catch up with each other, we share the latest successes and sadness’s, we hot tub, we meditate, we hug, we breathe, we laugh…we relax.

In our busy culture this one time a year is really hard to carve out, especially for busy women; women with careers and families.  Yet we manage to pull it off year after year, because it is such a valuable and priceless time for us. 

 Not only is the relaxation important but there is research that suggests that friendships with other women are vital to reducing our stress and improving our health. I invite you to find time to retreat with your friends, for a few hours, hopefully you can find a precious few days a year.

Miracles

The miracle of the miners.  The whole world has been witness to the courage, endurance, community, technology, and amazing faith of so many.

I take with me into this day the inspiration of this miraculous event.  A reminder for me to be grateful for all the beauty that surrounds me, and the tenuousness and preciousness of life.  Take a few moments today to acknowledge the miracle.

Be well!

Reflections

The past several days have been difficult.  As we know living is not always easy.  I found myself unable to blog, so I posted quotes.  Yesterday it took me a couple of hours to find a quote and I was thinking that I could write something in less time.  Later in the day I was reflecting on the nature of this blog.

Cued by the ‘Moods’ post, I decided that I would continue to post information and inspiration, but that I would also put myself  more actively into the daily message;  not easy for me as I am a  private person, and making myself vulnerable is this manner is uncomfortable to say the least.

It’s morning.  As I ambled down to get the paper at about 5:15am, I stopped and studied the sky.  A crisp and clear sky full of  stars.  Breathtaking, humbling, and a good reminder to me that I am not alone.  I want the mood of the past week to shift.  I know well that grief is a process and the shift will come…is coming.  That this too shall pass. 

 It is warm in wine country.  The intense beauty of fall presses hard into my senses.  I am comforted by the sights, the sounds and the colors.  And another day begins….