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In Remembrance of You

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As I drove to my office this morning, the jacaranda trees were draping over the boulevard. It sent my memories floating back to a post a few years ago that spoke to the spark that came from these luscious trees. Good timing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Here it is reposted and updated just a smidge.

 

The jacaranda trees are in bloom, the landscape sprinkled with its almost indescribable purplish blue flower. It's one of the most beautiful sights in Los Angeles this time of year.

I saw several on a recent walk and stole a few moments underneath one of them, lying on the grass as discarded petals cascaded down on me. It felt a bit clandestine because I was lying on someone's front lawn. But, I didn't care. 

It was delicious and cool and the sweet aroma took me back to another time.  

My body sank into the ground and I was completely present with that tree. It was a reminder of how nurturing and grounding nature is. It gave me a glimpse into the invisible matrix that connects everything and everyone since the beginning of time, across nations and through our ancestral lives. 

With Memorial Day upon us, when we remember and honor those who have passed before us, it conjures memories of those and their histories, victories and tragedies, rights and wrongs, acceptances and denials, and how they intertwine with our own senses of self. Often, it's their voices we hear in times of triumph, strife or decision. How many times do you wonder about what another would say or think before doing something? 

I thought about this while under that tree, in that instant when I was sublimely myself. No deadlines, no internal or external expectations, no judgments, no rules.  

It got me thinking about the possibility of adding another meaning to Memorial Day. 

Remembering Yourself

Truly, the most important person to honor and remember is yourself. Remembering who you really are, at your core. Not the who someone expected, or told, you to be. Not the who society or the environment in which you were raised told you to be. Nor, the who that tries to emulate someone whom you admire.   

So, who does that leave? You strip away all of those expectations and put-upons and you're left with THE who, leading to one of the most eternal questions.

Who am I? Or more to the point, who is the real me?

As I sit here in midlife, this question takes on deeper meanings and is a guidepost often as I navigate my path.

A few thoughts to ponder:

When do you feel most present, the most settled in your being? What are you engaging in? What are you feeling in that moment? Not what are you thinking, what are you feeling?

When you hear the voices in your own head, pay attention. Take a few moments, without judgment, to identify the voices. Sometimes they will be masked in fear, self-criticism and ego. They make you feel bad, and out of your body. And, following them won't feel authentic, like it's not really you. You recognize it when you pay attention.

THE who voice, the soul voice, the one that is truly yours and yours alone will smack of wisdom, truth and courage.

Your own voice, your God voice, is weighted with the intentions of your Summum Bonum, or your highest good. That voice makes you feel grounded and present. Still and exuberant at the same time. Limitless.

I'm not saying that we don't learn from another's experiences and wisdom. We absolutely do. But, it's when we stop listening to our own wisdom, from our heart, when formulating our lives that we lose our authenticity, our true self.

Remembering who you are is also honoring the parts of you that have healed, memories that you've reconciled and lessons you have learned.  

Shed those skins so that you can continue to advance toward true self. And, watch as they continue to occur. Tiny little deaths followed by tiny little births every day.

If you pay attention, you can feel the constant endings and beginnings.  

At the end of the day, listening to you true voice, leading with your heart and allowing your heart to guide you will take you back to who you are. Every time.  

How are you going to remember and honor the real you today?

 

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Some Establishing-Shot Perspective

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It was a clear evening as I headed toward Pasadena for dinner. When I crested a hill on the freeway, the panorama made me pause. It was an expansive view, the roadways curving through the San Rafael Hills where homes were nestled in, and with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

I thought, if I were writing this scene, this would be a great establishing shot of Pasadena.

In classical filmmaking, the establishing shot is the wide or long shot at the beginning of a scene that sets the tone, and indicates where, and sometimes when (time period), the ensuing scenes are to take place. It can also provide an instant glimpse into the concept and/or character relationships in the story. 

What happened when I took in the stunning establishing shot of Pasadena on that evening drive, was I got a sense of scope, with an eagle eye view, of what lie ahead in terms of landscape and architecture, as well as greater clarity on the direction I was going to take.

It got me thinking about what it might look like to apply the same idea to life, pausing for establishing shots in order to gain some clarity and perspective.

What does that mean? To my way of thinking, it means to stop what you’re doing in a given moment and take an energetic step back to peruse the bigger picture. And, also it means to view a total landscape before getting started on something, whether it's starting your day or launching a big program.

I often like to pause for an eagle-like perspective. It keeps me on track toward a bigger goal and also helps me to refocus on the present moment.

It can take place in smaller as well as grander moments. Such as:

  • Taking a broader glance at what’s on your desk, reprioritizing the day
  • Looking at the year ahead with a wide lens, highlighting special dates and deadlines. Navigation is sometimes clearer from a higher vantage point.
  • Focusing in on health – paying attention to the signals in your body, asking ‘where am I and where do I want to be when it comes to health?’
  • Zooming in on your living space – arranging things so they feel fresh and comfortable, and getting rid of excess that doesn't belong.
  • Picturing your life – through a life establishing shot, looking at where things are working and where they’re not, whether it's a job, a relationship or an idea. A broader perspective helps to light the way for more of what’s working. Also, from that establishing shot, you can visualize the life you desire. 

Pausing often to take these brief life establishing shots not only add layers of texture to your roadmap, but they keep you aware and present to your own life story.

Why not give it a shot? 


It's the Mother Lode of Mother Loads

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You’ve hit the mother lode. This phrase floated into my mind this week as I started thinking about Mother’s Day approaching and what I might write about. The mother lode.

I know I hit the mother lode with my mother. Lois Jane Kirk Yantis is da bomb. And, the best mom on da planet.

Hitting the mother lode actually means “hitting the richest vein of something,” initially in reference to the richest mineral or ore. Mother Lode, famously, during the California Gold Rush was what the gold miners searched for, the densest area of hard rock gold deposits along the West Coast. It became the source of their hopes and dreams. Because when one hit the mother lode it could potentially change their life forever. You can just imagine the community chatter at the end of a long, laborious day of mining. “Did y’all hear? Henry hit the mother lode.” And, the room would nod collectively in reverence and hope.

It got me thinking about other things that have been given the auspicious honor of being called the mother, depicting it as a source for its life. 

To name a few -

Motherboard - the premiere operating system.
Motherland - the land that birthed people and nations, or the nation where one is born.
Mothership - the main vessel that serves as home for smaller ships.
Mother Nature - the spiritual origin of all of Earth’s nature.

When something is the mother lode, it’s the pinnacle, the thing that’s worth the price of admission. It seems to me it's the highest honor you can bestow on something. That of Mother-ness.

Mother lode also means “the origin of something valuable, of great abundance.” What a beautiful way to think about giving birth. Birthing a person. I can’t think of anything more valuable or abundant than that.

I don’t have children of my own so Mother’s Day has been a loaded event for me over the years. You could say it’s a Mother Load

I bought myself a Mother’s Day card this week while selecting one for my mom and sister. It read: “You’re such a badass mother that you didn’t give birth to a child… You gave birth to a legend.” If I were writing that I’d change the word legend to legacy.

Following that line of thinking, a mother lode is also the origin, or birth, of a legacy.

Mothering is birthright, whether you’re a mother to children, or not. We all give birth to ideas. And, if you birth creative projects or businesses or buildings or communities, then as the creator of your own offspring, you’re a resident of Motherhood too.

It also got me thinking about Self-Mothering, loading your own container with self-care. Creating your own mother-load.

How do you mother yourself? Hmm.

It helps to start by thinking about how good mothers care for their children and families.

  • Unconditional love - loving us, relentlessly, no matter what
  • Provides physical care - when we’re sick or need to be fed or nurtured.
  • Listens to our ramblings - in only the way a mother does, with rapt attention.
  • Motherly advice - often knows better than we do what’s best for us. And often repeats it until we get it. 
  • Offers support - sometimes both financial & spiritual
  • Makes time - often dropping everything when we need her

Now, how about if you took each of the above to load up on some deep self-mother love? With unconditional love, caring for yourself physically, listening to your heart and soul, heeding your own wisest counsel, staying in tune with yourself financially and spiritually, and making and taking time for yourself.

So, after you remember or honor your own mother on this Mother's Day, how about honoring the motherhood in yourself.

Now that's hitting the mother lode of a mother load. 

 


Allow This to Be Your Guide When Feeling Overwhelmed

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A recent discussion with my niece solidified my inklings around this thought changer. It was her birthday and we got to talking about how we were both feeling a bit overwhelmed. Her, with her increasing responsibilities at her new job. And, me with my numerous projects in various stages of incompletion or development. 

It hit me after we hung up about how much overwhelm is self-inflicted. I know for me, when I involve myself in the energy of the too-much-ed-ness, the I-have-a-full-plate-ness, the I’m-so-busyness, I become the overwhelm. It starts to define my presence, the monkey mind takes over and internal chaos ensues. Fun, right? 

So, I determined it was time to step back. To reflect and feel into what’s going on. The word that sprung to mind, and the notion I was noodling for this post before my niece and I spoke, is Synchrony. Or more to the present point, being out of sync. To me, that’s the epitome of the overwhelm.

The truth is, we also know the feeling when we’re in sync with life. It's different for everyone. To me, it’s when things connect, when they make sense, they're in flow, when I'm in flow. There’s a vibration to it. A sustaining resonance. The word even sounds rather mechanical or even musical.

Synchrony 

When something is synchronized it hums, like a well-oiled machine. Hmm. Now, I get what it means when someone says “we’re humming along.” Or, “Things are going well. I’m humming.”

It means synchronization and synchronicity is in play. Events, situations, projects or opportunities align themselves in such a way that they connect, they fit. And, when you pay attention by honing in with your intuition, then you’ll start making choices that are synchronistic for you and your life.

"I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path." ~ Dalai Lama

So, how does this help as you’re feeling overwhelm? How do you get back to the hum? To my way of thinking, reprioritizing things using your energetic intuition, synchronizing with your soul, might be the way to go.

Feeling Into It

I decided to do some “synchrony testing” with my list of projects. The same can be done when making a decision or a life choice. Through experimentation, what it does is allow flow. Allowing flow means synchrony takes the driver’s seat. The rightness falls in line by surrendering to life’s flow in the moment and by listening to your own energetic wisdom.

"Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life." ~ Eckhart Tolle 

My dear friend, Lisa Greenfield of Truth in Hand, suggests a form of body testing when you’re choosing between options. You write the thing or things you’re considering on separate pieces of paper or 3x5 cards. Lie down on a flat surface (I lay on the floor) and one by one, place each paper just below your rib cage, on your solar plexus. Your solar plexus is your soul’s power center. 

As you do, ask the question, "Is this (...) the most synergistic choice right now?" Whether it’s a career move or choosing between two houses, whatever it is. I asked which project is the top priority in alignment with my purpose.

It’s subtle, but as you pay attention to your body’s reaction to each one, you may notice either a settled or unsettled feeling in your stomach. Or a calm comes over you. Or you feel your engine getting revved up with excitement.

How does it resonate?

What feels in sync with your current goals or your greater purpose?

Another method is to muscle test the idea. My dear friend, Ferrell Marshall of Spotlight Coaching, uses this technique and taught it to me.

Stand squarely. Hold the piece of paper to your heart. Or simply ask the question you’re weighing as you hold your hands to your heart, right over left.

  • Is this the right job for me?
  • Am I to go to Paris?
  • Or on a safari?
  • Is this a healthy relationship for me?
  • Is today the day for this conversation?
  • Should I take this class?
  • Is this the right time to launch my seminar?
  • Is this my top priority project?

Make no deliberate moves but rather rely on your organic energy to move you. If your body sways forward the answer is yes. If your body sways backward, it’s no. If it wavers with no definite move, it’s a maybe or a not right now.

I’ve tried both methods of testing. The first and vital thing they both do is to get you present and out of the monkey mind that feeds on the chaos. From that slower in-the-moment place, I have made decisions based on what my energy flow was telling me. I know it sounds a little woo-woo. But, all I can say is it they’ve often been decisions that felt right and in sync for me at that time.

And, it eased me out of my overwhelm, so there you go.

To quote my niece when I asked her, at 28, what advice she’d give her younger self:

“Be real and be open with yourself, and with others.”

Another way to stay in synchrony and in flow.  Great advice, Peanut!

 

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash