Ripe Impulse – Learning to Trust the Source of Your Creativity

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Red Plums

Now it is the crickets
that say Ripe Ripe
slurred in the darkness, while the plums

dripping on the lawn outside
our window, burst
with a sound like thick syrup
muffled and slow

Margaret Atwood, from “Late August”

::

 

I feel the impulse. It rises up inside me from deep in the dark. It rises up on its own, like breath.

This impulse is alive, like breath, like me.

This impulse is whole. Everything is contained within. Everything I need in order to express this impulse comes along with it.

This impulse is ripe. And, because it is ripe, the entirety of it is ready to be eaten, tasted, digested, and made new again through expression.

This impulse is wise. It knows what I don’t know. And when I admit I don’t know, it comes. In its own time.

This impulse is responsive. When I listen to, and feel, the deepest longing inside me, and actively create, and engage within, a space for epiphany and insight, it comes. It always comes. In its own time.

My willingness to trust and admit that I do not have the answer to a question I truly want to know serves like a clarion call to grace…to be graced.

Grace comes on its own, in its own time. That is what it means to ‘be graced’.

::

 

Something subtle happens when you finally realize there is no better version of yourself to become, when you realize that voice in your head isn’t telling you the truth. After so many years of trying to be more, you stop trying, pushing, and striving so hard. It is then that a presence begins to more clearly make itself known. This presence doesn’t fluctuate between ‘enough’ and ‘not enough’ like our personalities do. In the realization that there is nothing else you can be other than who you are, this fluctuation begins to soften and subside. And as it subsides, this presence becomes clearer and  more palpable.

This presence simply is. And, there is a pulse to its expression that moves through each of us, an impulse to move and express in a certain way.

I call this the creative impulse and we all have it within us.

We could also call it the love impulse. It is love and it wants to have its way with us.

Last week, in my current group of Becoming a Force of Nature, we explored module five and its corresponding practice, “Follow the Ripe Impulse.” Every time I teach this work, I practice again, alongside.

This practice of following the impulse is at the heart of leading from your personal creative resource, what some might call Essence, or Soul, or Spirit. I also call it Love.

The creative impulse always comes from within you. It is never outside of you. Ever. It can be like a nudge. Or an arrow shooting straight up through your core. Or a soft tap on your inner flesh, a sudden silent utterance from your heart, a sensuous swelling in your womb.

The beautiful thing about it is that once you begin to follow it, you soften for you realize there’s nothing to figure out, only an impulse to follow. The impulse will guide and everything you need to know is inside. When you trust this, you become the vessel, and you begin to follow.

The process to getting to the place where you feel and know this presence and impulse isn’t linear at all. It’s a deep dive into the unknown. You come upon rocky terrain, dark shadows, creatures who seemingly have bad intentions, but who ultimately are there as some of the wisest Sherpas you could be blessed to come to know.

And even when you know this presence and feel the impulse, it doesn’t mean the mind doesn’t flare up over and over again, trying to figure out. This happened to me this week. My mind went wacky. I could feel it flare up and, when it did, I lost sight of this impulse. Instead, I got caught in the crazy looping of trying to figure things out, of circular emotions, and almost a panicky feeling. Thank goodness it wasn’t too long before I caught myself, realizing that I felt so crappy because I was caught up in it. Sometimes when this happens, all I can do is laugh, because it is so funny how the mind makes up these entire worlds filled with only dire possibilities.

In the course, this week we are following the live-with, ‘Follow the Ripe Impulse’. A live-with is a guide to help you put what you’ve learned into the real world – it is contextual learning.

I wanted to share it here because I think it is such a helpful thing to realize that who you really are is leading you from within. When you begin to feel this and follow it, you become less and less concerned about what others think and more aligned with this impulse. It is very freeing. And it isn’t easy. I don’t know anyone who has had any easy time with this. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

 

Here’s a snippet from the course live-with, in case you want to play alongside of us!

Feel for the Ripe Impulse: desire, question, longing

Always, the live-with is relatively simple. If you do nothing else, simply feel for the ripe impulse.
You’ve let go of expectations and relaxed the judgment.
You’ve become awake and aware, and can hear and feel and sense the wisdom of your body.
Right here is the present moment. Here is the sea of infinite possibility.
Here is where the ‘New’ is breaking on the horizon, bubbling up from the sea of possibility, making itself known.
Before the ‘New’ breaks open, we have no idea what is coming.
But, we CAN feel for the ripe impulse that tells us where to place our attention, what to feel for, how to respond, and what to respond to.

 

And if you’re interested in finding out about the course, (Becoming a Force of Nature), or wish to sign-up to be notified when the course opens for registration again, you can do so here.

 

‘Red Plums’ by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

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Remembering How to Live is The Great Work of Our Time

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sanfraciscobay

The reason why the universe is eternal is because it does not live for itself.
~ Lao Tzu

You can feel the lineage of love as you read these words; a lineage to the future. Life is always in flux, always becoming, always giving birth to itself and then dying away.

Maybe, just maybe, this is why we humans are facing extinction. Too many of us live for ourselves – solely for ourselves… and maybe for our immediate loved ones.

When we live this way, we are not living the eternal Tao.

We are not living The Way.

We are not living in harmony with Creation.

 

The Creator created the People of the Earth into the Land at the beginning of Creation and gave us a way of life. This way of life has been passed down generation-to-generation since the beginning. We have not honored this way of life through our own actions and we must live these original instructions in order to restore universal balance and harmony. We are a part of Creation; thus, if we break the Laws of Creation, we destroy ourselves.

~ from the Council Statement at CaretakersOfMotherEarth.com (the Spiritual People of the Earth, of North and South America, working in unity to restore peace, harmony and balance for our collective future and for all living beings).

 

I have found myself with my ear to the ground over the last several years…sometimes literally, but mostly metaphorically. I’ve found myself drawn to listen deeply to the Earth.

I’ve found myself in odd places at odd times because I heeded the call of intuition and guidance: an early morning labyrinth walk during a full-moon eclipse; a pilgrimage to Ireland where I walked on sacred land and sat with the holy flame of Brigid (and arriving to be with this flame only happened because of a dozen synchronistic moments aided by at least six other human beings); a muddy walk up the side of Haleakala, the dormant volcano of Maui; praying at the burning ghats in Varanasi, India.

Each place on our Earth has its own song. Each place has its own rhythm and cadence. Each place can guide us to remember our place in the Family of All Things.

sanfranciscobaysunsetfullmoon

Look up into the autumn sky.
Lay your hands on your heart and attune to what is really happening here:
There are yellows coming into existence that have never made their way into this dimension.
There are oranges, reds, and purples that have been sent to remind you of
how rare it is to take birth within the particles of love. ~ Matt Licata

 

I am blessed to have had the resources to listen and go. I know this. I also know this is part of what I am here to do – to reconnect deeply with our Mother, to find, once again, the roots of my indigenous connection to Earth, the beautiful being who is the source of my life.

None of these things were for me. It’s taken me some time to come to know this. I’ve lived as if they were. I see clearly now that anything given is not for us to keep. Just as the Universe does not live for itself, it does not give to itself to keep for itself. Everything given is given to be given again.

I know I am privileged to  have done these things, and with this privilege comes responsibility to live what I’ve been shown and given. Many of us find ourselves in this place right now. It’s the nature of the time in which we live. We have a deep responsibility to not live for ourselves, but to live for and serve all of life.

In listening, I’ve come to see that what is truly holding us is not the culture or institutions that we humans have created. What truly holds us is the fabric and flesh of life here on Earth. Mother Earth does not live for herself. She lives for her children. But, she is struggling mightily right now trying to support us. We are, and have been, tearing down the very fabric that gives us life.

In my own life, I fight the learned, conditioned reaction I have to live for myself – my wants, my desires, my way. I have to be truthful about this. There is a strong, conditioned, trance we live in that reinforces this as THE way to be. But it is just that – a trance…a trance of the ego.

This trance is leading us to our own demise. Why? Because ego doesn’t really want to get…it wants to want. It has a voracious appetite because it does not want to be satisfied. That is the nature of ego – to want. It’s why when we are mired in ego we feel like we have a hole inside of us the size of Jupiter – a hole that cannot be filled no matter how much stuff we stuff into ourselves and our lives. In our culture, we want unlimited and unfettered growth. Our institutions will do anything to prop up this unnatural never-ending growth. A cycle of growth without death and decay is unnatural – it is not in accordance with Creation.

Instead, when we live as the Universe does, we’ve remembered our rightful way of living as a part of the Whole. I see ‘remembering’ our rightful way of living in Creation as the great work of these times for so many of us who have forgotten what it is to be a member of the Family of All Things; remembering what it means to not live for ourselves, but to live for life.

When we are ‘wanting’ we aren’t really happy, no matter what the ego tells us, because behind the whole setup is the mechanism to never get that which we believe we want. What is real is the longing that is underneath all of this wanting. It is the longing to remember that we have taken ‘birth within the particles of love’.

It is indeed rare and when we live the wonder of this rarity, we live the eternal Tao.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Well So Deep

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A well so deep.

I’m finally beginning to see that this emptiness,
can never be filled.

Not long term,
that is.

Oh, for a moment, yes.

A moment when the sun comes through the petals and illuminates them as though
they were filled with silent kisses from the stars.

Or, a moment when a warm, sweet breeze ever so gently blows across my face and I am lifted up
just a mere breath above the ground, captivated by the softness of divine breath against flesh.

Or, a moment when I’m dancing with another and our hands come to meet,
together,
just so,
skin to skin,
in a way that could never be planned or calculated or anticipated.

This longing hungers for the emptiness and the emptiness feeds the longing,
and somewhere
between the two I dance.

::

inspired by this beauty by Irwin Keller of Itzik’s Well

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True Belonging – one of the most important things we must find in these times.

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On Belonging.

I’ve been immersed in this topic since last Fall when I was asked to speak at TEDxIsfeld in British Columbia. For whatever reason, it seemed to keep coming up in my mind. That seems to be how creativity works. Things arise out of that big dark void from which everything emerges. For me, it was around belonging and finding a way back to being a human being connected to the land.

At the time, I wrote about becoming indigenous again, or finding my way back to reverence for the land. I’ve never shared that writing. It was writing for only my eyes. I was longing for something. Longing to feel connected, longing to be wise enough to know how to be with the land. Longing to no longer think of just me, but to begin to consider how I can serve the land.

I squirmed writing those words, “becoming indigenous again”. Sometimes words just come out and then you wonder what they’re about.

I know I am not an indigenous person and totally respect those people who are and the difficulties they face. And, I know indigenous cultures have a reverence for the land, and know a deep responsibility to it that many of us who’ve lost our bearings of belonging don’t seem to live. (I will share much of that writing in my new course: Belonging – 21 Days to Find Your Way Home, because it’s at the heart of what it means to be a human being.) It’s taken some time to see that what started as a seed back in the Fall has begun to blossom as new work.

And what has blossomed from that early writing is an exploration into belonging.


::

Many of us were disconnected from the land of our ancestors. We’ve lost our connection to the land in a way the indigenous cultures have not. We’ve lost our connection to the matter, to the mother.

 

Many of us are displaced beings. Yet, we all belong to the earth. The earth is our mother. We are her children. 

Regardless of where we were born, regardless of where our ancestors came from, we all belong to the earth. And, I am coming to see that this is what gets us to the heart of being a human being – one who lives her humanity. Of course, I guess there are many interpretations of the nature of humanity. I know it can take dark forms…and I know we are moving to evolve toward a living of our light.

At the heart of coming to know a deeper relationship to earth is coming to know we belong.

I have come to see that one of the most important things we must do is come to remember that we belong. To ourselves, to each other, to the earth, and to all beings. Without remembering belonging, we drift aimlessly, believing someone else will take care of the very real responsibilities we have to life…and belonging helps us come to remember this forgotten imperative of relationship.

I hear from so many women that they don’t feel they belong, that they want to find the place where they feel safe and comfortable for being who they are, for living the values they hold dear.

Is this what belonging means to you? Finding a place where you are a natural part of the community, where when you are simply who you are and live what you hold dear, you feel safe and valued? Does it mean finding a place where you feel you are able to fully give of yourself, fully valued, wanted, and respected? Does it mean finally being able to be of service because you know that in relationship there is a shared give and take?

Isn’t that what any human being wants, to be valued, respected, and able to give something back, to be a part of a community?

We’ve devalued half of life’s qualities – the feminine half that exists in all of life, and we’ve devalued half of the population – women, and at the heart of it all, we’ve devalued, dominated, and controlled the material world, including the earth, animals, crops, air, water, etc. Everything that sustains us has been devalued and harmed, including the very vessels that bring human life forth – women’s bodies.

We don’t see the earth as a living being – we see her as material goods. 

In trying to find our way back, we begin to devalue the masculine. To find fault with it. When what is true is that we are woefully out of balance.

When we look at our culture and the values that seem to be linked to it, it’s no wonder we don’t feel like we belong. Our current cultural landscape is far from balanced, far from a reflection of the beauty we hold dear as women, from the capacity we know as women to nurture life itself.

In a culture that teaches you to conform, you can lose connection to your own values and needs. You slowly forget what matters to you most, and you begin to turn your attention to what will keep you connected to the culture, to what seems as if it will bring a sense of belonging. But this is not belonging. You will never feel you belong when you can’t be who you are. Never. And, somewhere we know this.

Belonging only comes when you are yourself and awake to what is real. Belonging can only happen when you are connected to the real world, to the world that has been here all along.

Our systemic devaluation of the feminine has a direct correlation to how much we feel we belong. When we lose connection to the mother, we lose our connection to matter.

When this devaluation pervades our culture and our internal radar is pointing to this culture for a sense of home, we’ll never find home. Patriarchy causes us to feel out of place because it is out of place. Patriarchy is out of place and alignment with the earth, our home, with the feminine, and with the masculine, and place is where we find belonging.

Everything seems to be coming out of the woodwork. So much violence. So much greed. So much sadness and grief. So much. How can we find our ground, our own ground amidst all of this? How can we touch into what is real when so much destruction is swirling around us?

How can you stay with your values when it seems as if the world that has a voice is telling you they are not valuable? How can you tap into what is real and true for you, when so much around us tries to convince us of what we should believe?

Through the body.
Through the land.
Through the connection with women.
Through the real world.
Through these we find our way back to our own connection between this female body and the earth. 

There is a ‘real world’ in which we exist. The earth and the stars, the sun and the moon, flowers and birds, animals and another’s warm hand. Nature. We are nature.

These are the elements of belonging. Knowing these in our everyday lives is what brings us back to here. And, here is the only place we can truly belong.

This is where we remember who we are, what we came into the world to do, the nature of our unique gifts, and our connection to a land that is not ours to own but rather ours to serve.

::

Please join me on April 1st: Belonging – 21 Days to Find Your Way Home. Finding our way to a true sense of belonging may be one of the most important things we can do in these times.

At this time, the course is only for women. I’ve had men ask if it would be for men, too. Perhaps after this first iteration. Let’s see what happens.

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Love is the Teacher. Am I Willing to be the Student?

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most vulnerable…

Touch

I’ve been hovering over the keyboard today, burrowing down into some deep writing time and I’ve been sitting with the question of what feels most vulnerable in me right now.

I couldn’t find the words so I went out for a run. As I finished up, I found the tears beginning to flow, once again. These past few weeks have been full of intense energetic days: the full moon eclipse, Solstice, and Christmas. I’ve felt an unnamed vulnerability over these days, a shifting and unsettling as previously buried experiences come up to be seen again.

I came home and tried to warm my body by making chicken soup, and then following that with a long hot shower…a very long hot shower.

I can’t quite put my finger on what I am feeling. Something in me is longing to be nourished, to be deeply fed. I can feel the longing all the way down along my body.

As I stood in the shower letting the hot water run down my back and inhaling the steam into my cold-air-induced tight lungs, I flashed upon the poem that continually calls me back to read it, over and over again. It feels as though there are gems in the words just waiting to be discovered and savored, as I invite the words to work their magic on my soul. The poem, “If You Want to Change the World, Love a Woman“, speaks not to my mind but to the deeper recesses of my woman’s body. The poem calls to me, over and over. It’s as if I read it, but I don’t yet have access to something…

I long for this…

Somewhere in this body, I, too, long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of.

And then, very serendipitously, I came across this quote from one of my favorite books, A Woman’s Worth, by Marianne Williamson:

Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman’s toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace.

And in reading these words again, my body quivers with longing and my heart craves to know this sincerity from a man longing to love me.

I’ve written before about longing to be touched with the tenderest of touch, and I’ve heard from others who instruct me that if I want to be loved in this way I must first love this way.

I know this to be true and…

I then come across this quote, as if Life is dropping me tasty bread crumbs along this path of discover:

“Are you willing to trust love rather than your mind’s protection from hurt? If you are willing, then you will taste the possibility of living a life of love and conscious innocence. This is possible for everyone. Love is the teacher. If you are willing to surrender to love rather than trying to control it, love teaches you who you are.” ~ Gangaji ~

And the pieces fall into place.

I can touch with the tenderest conscious touch. Yet, I know I protect myself from hurt. I long to experience what Marianne speaks of, yet I can’t say I trust enough that there is a deep sincerity in the heart and touch of my lover…and the fear of trusting love keeps me from knowing love.

To be moved in this way, to live a life of love and conscious innocence, I must let love teach me… really teach me… and this scares me.

How does loving a woman change the world?

Perhaps our hearts are protected, afraid to surrender to love, afraid of the shame and humiliation we have suffered over the past milienia. Women aren’t the only ones to have suffered, yet I know, personally, that painful experiences to my female body, have caused me to not trust, when what I long for is to open to the most exquisite touch I could imagine.

A woman’t body is vulnerable. We take a man into ourselves. When we’ve been abused it is hard to trust again.

Yet, perhaps it is a woman’s openness, a woman’s trust, a woman’s receptivity that might heal much of what is broken in our world.

When a woman trusts, when she is fully open and receptive, when her vulnerability shines from within her, what does she create that she does not have access to when she is afraid to trust?

Lest you think I believe this can only happen with a woman and a man, I do not. I have a sense that it is a woman’s openness, a loving and responsive openness to Love that could move mountains, regardless of which gender the woman longs for.

For me, it is a man, so I write from this place.

Can I trust…

that love itself is the teacher?

Am I willing to be the student?

What I now know is that Love must be at the center of my heart…not my partner, but Love. Love, God, Conscousness…whatever name we give it, must be my beloved. When my partner is my beloved, I place my power in their hands, and vice versa. It’s taken me a long, long time to know this.

And when Love is my beloved, and Love is the beloved of my partner, perhaps then we can enter into the vulnerable, soul-feeding place of deep love – where we are both taught by Love.

::

And, you?

Do you long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of? In a way that would change the world?

Do you long to experience what Marianne writes of? Something that would bring world peace?

What do you know of this longing? I’d love to know…

::

Touch – Attribution Some rights reserved by mysza831

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For Longing

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A friend shared this poem, and I cried tears…

Tears for the beauty of these words.

Tears for the beauty that was this soul, this soul named John O’Donhoue.

Tears for the longing of the soul.

Tears for the beginnings of a glimmer of this knowing: “May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.”

His books, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, are gorgeous works. I’ve read them, and re-read them, and still I can tell I will read them again. While the words are gorgeous and full, there is something that weaves between the words that lights me up in a way nothing else does. Light moves through his words, through the pages into my own soul.

Let these words of his pour over you, filling the cells of your being with the love that is in every cell of existence. This is our inheritance. To know love like this. To know that God is longing for us with urgency. All stories fall away in the power of this knowing.

::

For Longing by John O’Donohue

Blessed be the longing that brought you here

And quickens your soul with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire

That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease

To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–

Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which
your body inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.

May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

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