Am I enjoying this ride?

Am I enjoying this ride?, via theorganicsister.com

I dreamt that I was riding a bike. The town was new to me, the road was foreign. And I was faintly aware that I was not familiar with this whole “bike riding” thing.

But I rode anyway.

As the roads went up steep hills, I was only aware of the tension and burning in my thighs. It didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have the thought of walking the bike up the hill instead. I was just aware and steady,  my attention to it like a mindful parent: encouraging, calm, focused, and invested in this uphill-ness.

As the hills went down, I picked up speed and recognized I had no brakes and I quickly realized my expectations of controlling this thing was a joke. But instinctively, I shifted, leaned forward, and found that I could slow things down by leaning heavier, pressing my feet into the pedals themselves. And I marveled at it, just slightly. Like a “Huh. I’m not totally screwed after all.”

The corners were sharp, and often on the downgrade, but I found I flew around them with grace and ease. Aware of the cars or pedestrians or bikers around me, but without paying attention to them.

My mind was only on my body, the feel of my legs, the wind wrapping around me.

Once I got distracted (by a woman with a badass mandala tattoo, I might add) and found myself nearly tangled in the road with a handful of others. But I simply shifted back to myself and found my way easily around the traffic. And once I noticed a middle age man doing some pretty wicked tricks with his own bike. This was about the only time I really connected with another person, as I laughed and admired his Tony Hawk-ness. Celebrating with him, in a way.

What struck me most about this dream was my inattention to the Outside World, and my mindfulness on my own experience. I was fully present in my own body, in my own sensations. My mind wasn’t wandering, wasn’t worrying how I looked as I slowly pedaled up those hills, didn’t feel less awesome than the trickster flipping his ride like a pro, didn’t take it personally or get wrapped up in the traffic jam, but just was simply present in myself.

It came with its “ups and downs, twists and turns”. It challenged me but I didn’t get lost in my ideas of being challenged (“I’m not good enough. This is hard. I’ll never make it.“). I didn’t worry about “the road ahead” either.

I simply stayed present to my body, my movements, without judging them. And I found myself traveling just fine.

In real life?

I would’ve hopped off that bike at the first sign of even a tiny hill, and complained as I walked it the entire way up.

I would’ve panicked on the way down, likely wiping out (or walked it down as well).

I would’ve done everything in my power to slow down, stop, and avoid the sharp turns, including mapping out my entire route ahead of time to ensure nothing out of my control might happen, and quite possibly not even getting on the bike in the first place.

I wouldn’t have even noticed the badass tattoo, too absorbed in my own BS to pay attention.

If I found myself in a traffic jam, I would be frustrated that I didn’t foresee it, embarrassed that I couldn’t avoid it, profusely apologetic for being a part of it (possibly under the assumption that I may have somehow caused it – because it’s always about me right?), and I would’ve been self-conscious as I tried to move on from it.

And I would’ve seen the flips and tricks, then heard my thoughts criticize for not being able to do the same thing (even though I’d likely have done everything in my power to avoid such risky business in the first place).

And I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the ride.

(Care to continue this thread with me? Join in on the Sisterhood.)

How Your Life is Like A Riptide

You know that most riptide deaths are not caused by the riptide itself? They are actually caused by the swimmer’s exhaustion as they fight the tide trying to regain their control and sense of safety.

#wideskydays #beach #ocean #pacific #sandiego #california

Last week, after a long day on the beach, I was connecting with a girlfriend online around the idea of surrender and allowing when it dawned on me…

This is life at times: A riptide in the ocean.

We dip our toes into Mama Ocean, playing with the idea of jumping in headlong, with the thought of independence and glory and Big Ass Dreams of the moves we’ll make and how cool we’ll be. Then comes the time when we’re finally ready and we dive in (thinking we look like sexy mermaids, of course) feeling happy, excited…feeling the excitement of freedom and exploration as our Big Ass Dreams become Big Ass Plans.

But the ocean sometimes has another idea.

Sometimes it laughs at our mermaid-esque attempts and our Big Ass Plans and it wraps it’s arms around our waist and says “This will be more fun.”

And then it shows us what we really get to see.

And that loss of control, the pull in a deeper direction, feels dangerous. Our natural inclination is to fight against the current, swimming hard toward shore, toward what looks like safety. To regain our authority, our rightfulness, our power. To be the commander of our own direction. To push through the fear, fight the resistance, or force our way forward.

But that’s how deaths happen, you know.

Surrender Saves Lives

They say if you’re caught in a riptide you should do one of two things to save yourself from exhaustion and your ultimate demise.

:: Swim parallel to the shore: Don’t lose sight of your bearings, your safe ground, your desires. But don’t fight for them. Just move yourself out of the chaos by side-stepping it and getting yourself into a new place (a new frame of mind, a new environment, a new idea, a new rhythm). But sometimes that current has other plans and won’t relinquish you that easily, and so your safest bet is to….

:: Lay back and surrender to the flow: The riptide will move you, it will pull you beyond your comfort zone. It will show you things you’ve never had the courage to explore on your own and take you a bit farther than you thought possible. And then the calm will come, as you pass beyond the rush and you can find your way back to solid ground with a new understanding of the power that surrounds you, a new respect for the forces that envelop you and yes, more clarity on your path.

Yes, Life’s been teaching me a lot about surrender, about allowing, about dreaming and actualizing with an openness to Trust.

It’s been helping me to release the tension and the resistance and lay back with my arms spread open and surrender to the flow, or the sunshine, or the sweetness of rest.

It’s been showing me when to DIG IN and focus, and when to let it all go. And it seems a disproportionate amount of it looks like surrender, especially when it comes to juggling three businesses and family connections and spiritual grounding. Surrender to what my heart really aches for, for what my mind really can’t focus on, to the idea of doing jack-shit all day, then staying up “too late” to get three solid, uninterrupted hours of work done.

And here are my frantic efforts to swim against the current: chastising myself for going to bed at 2am and waking up at 10, feeling guilty for too much time working, feeling guilty for too much time playing, stressing over the taxes due and tires that will need replacing soon, the needs of a daily changing son and the upcoming events on my calendar, and my deeper need to escape to the mountains with my nomadic mamas. Thoughts of rudeness as I just can’t find the time to catch up on emails, when I am instead writing in my journal at the beach. The old tapes that play out when I measure my own needs against the needs of others.

And all the while hearing The Ocean, as it allows me to fatigue myself, whispering to my spirit with the words,

“Release. Surrender. Let me take you deep and far beyond your comfort zone and show you what awaits out there. Lay back and let Me carry you. You are safe…but only if you let go.”

 

Full Moon Gathering with the EcoWomb (Video)

We spent the first full moon of 2012 camping and eating, laughing and talking, playing music and connecting with the EcoWomb family and many new friends. It was also when I burned my dreads and the first week I had to play with my new phone and it’s many awesome apps.

It’s funny; I recently remembered I set the intention to create some fun home videos over two years ago.

It makes me smile to realize yet another forgotten intention came to fruition in its own timing. Mmm…the things I used to stress over I’ve learned to trust and allow. That feels good (now to learn how to apply it to other areas). 🙂

P.S. Apparently, YouTube censored my video because of the song I used to show our videos and pictures. Ironically, it was the song “One Love” by Bob Marley…you know, the guy all for love and gratitude, instead of greed. Apparently, the record company didn’t get the memo. I wish I had time to redo it but I don’t – and I’m leaving it up because I can still watch it. 😛 But I’ve included our photos of our time below as a lame alternative to an otherwise great video.

Bonfire with friends...yes please. http://instagr.am/p/fUVg1/

Full moon rising...

And our full moon gathering...

Stay clear of pier...

Under the pier...

Angela!

Our first time at the Atlantic :)

Love these trees!

5 Principles of Personal Growth to Absorb Right Now

we must die to one life

[This is Part 2 or a 3 Part series.]

If any of the 11 signs of personal growth described in my first post resonated with you, or if you agree that we’re undergoing something major and world-shifting and if you’re feeling ready to take one step forward, I’d invite you to start by bringing your awareness to and absorbing these five principles.

I can almost guarantee you that without understanding and fully embracing these principles, your own journey will be slower, punctuated by more pain and self-doubt and peppered with more challenges.

Trust me, I would know.

But embracing these principles of life and personal growth can lift the heaviness of where we are from our shoulders and create an environment of peace and even excitement in our lives. It can shift us from overwhelm or apathy to clarity, acceptance and motivation.

Here they are, pretty much in the order of importance.

1. You are not wrong, broken, bad, or crazy.

It’s so tempting to use those words to describe ourselves. After all, conventional wisdom tells us if we’re feeling happy one moment and sad the next, if we can’t stop crying, or if we suddenly desire something more than what we’re accustomed to that we’re either bi-polar, depressed or experiencing a mid-life crisis.

I say screw them.

You are not wrong, broken, bad or crazy. You are human. You are diverse, sometimes messy and constantly evolving. You experience life deeply and it moves you in sometimes uncomfortable, but always opportunistic, ways.

All of this is good! And don’t for one minute think it’s not, for all of this is exactly what has been experienced by the great movers and shakers of the world, the creatives, the philosopher’s, the leaders and the world changers. They just didn’t had the burden of judgment or expectation like we do today.

2. Everyone does the best they can with the tools they have.

If you or someone else is not doing their personal best or the best you think is possible, it means you/they either lack the necessary tools or something else is getting in your/their way.

Understanding this gives us the ability to view ourselves and others with compassion and patience. It also begs to ask what we can do to help.

Life isn’t a sprint for everyone. We’re all going to move at our own pace. Treating yourself and others with gentle compassion and trust is the only way to ensure we’ll all keep growing. Judgment, guilt, fear, impatience…they are surefire ways to shut growth down.

Along with this principle is the fact that we are all looking and moving toward a greater good when we are fully authentic and feeling whole. We all ultimately and truly want what is best for everyone, even if we don’t know or are confused on how to get it.

If you’re struggling with personal growth, keep this one in mind and seek out new tools or self-awareness to get yourself unstuck.

3. There is no such thing as a lost opportunity.

Life is cyclical. Things always come back around.

If you feel as though you (or someone else) missed an opportunity, or maybe you just don’t feel ready for it, you can rest assured it will make its way back to you.

Be careful pushing things aside for later though; sometimes it’s harder to accomplish the second time than if you embrace the opportunity the first time around.

Instead, I’d recommend trusting that there are no mistakes and that the timing is perfect, even if not from our limited perspective.

4. The bigger your game, the bigger the obstacles.

Who here has ever been onto something really, really juicy and suddenly been blindsided by a string of bad luck, innumerable challenges or some serious self-sabotaging? (*raising hand*)

It can feel like everything is going wrong. It can feel like the cards are stacked against you. And you can begin to question what you’re doing – is it the right thing to do or am I the right person for the job?

Often times this looks like chaos, until we can be still and clearly see what it is: It’s not life or fate conspiring against us. It’s not bad luck. It’s just our own junk finally demanding face time.

Every time you’re about to experience a serious breakthrough, everything that does not serve you or will not serve you in the future, every old story you’ve told yourself, every fear that has held you back, every personal challenge you’ve ever had and never dealt with will suddenly surface.

Why?

Because they have no place in what you’re trying to create and in order to move forward into your future, you’ll have to spend some time with each of the things that has been holding you back.

Without giving them their face time, you won’t be able to leave them behind and without leaving them behind, you won’t move forward.

You can think of it a little like life testing your resolve. Or you can think of it as a spring cleaning of your soul to prepare you for the summer of your life.

Whatever image resonates with you, get ready to bring you’re A-game. Cuz it’s on.

5. This Too Shall Pass – If You Allow It

I don’t only mean if you allow it to pass, although not holding onto discord, drama or pain out of comfort or fear of change is important too.

What I really mean, though, is that you must allow yourself to be in this uncomfortable place for it to finally and fully come to pass. Resisting where you are or what you feel just postpones the process, and since life is cyclical (as described above), it will come back around.

This is the paradox of personal growth: Only by embracing What Is (the reality, the emotions, the everything) exactly as it is – with radical acceptance and without expectations of change – can it finally let us go.

You’ve got to be with it to be without it.

Sit with the sadness, the anger, the memories, the questions. Call them out and acknowledge them fully. Spend some time swimming in it. Without pointing fingers (at yourself or anyone else), just dwell in your experience. Allow it all to bubble out until there is finally nothing left to bubble and it detaches itself from you and you can experience the weightlessness left in its place.

By allowing it, it detaches itself from you and you from it. Then it becomes something that simply is, that has no power over you, and you can look at it with gratitude or compassion but no longer with pain or discomfort.

Included in this principle is a message of patience. As much as we’d like to, we simply cannot rush the process.

Deep breath. You’ll soon be glad you couldn’t.

Join the conversation:
Which of these principles is hardest for you to absorb?

Part One: 11 Signs Your Life Is Demanding Personal Growth (And It’s Time To Listen)

Part Three: 8 Ways to Make Personal Growth Happen

A Week in Transition (Or Surrender and Acceptance)

We’re aiming to make this our last week off the road. By Friday, we will be heading toward Southern California; Disneyland to be exact.

Transition is always emotionally and spiritually full. We get filled with thoughts of what needs to be done, timelines and deadlines and regret. We scurry, we ebb and flow, we forget and remember and forget again.

And we oscillate, between looking back and looking forward, and all the world conspires to compound the dichotomy of here and there by pouring on the rain, piling up the hurdles, throwing in a little more madness.

I think there are two reasons Murphy’s Law is real and true:

  1. Because madness creates or attracts more madness.
  2. And because life loves to test our resolve.

I used to confront these maddening times of resolve-testing with a strong mix of doubt and added resolve. Was I on the wrong path? And what did I need to change?

My approach was one of sheer will and barreling through.

Today, as I sit with a mind full of tasks and exasperating challenges, piles and piles of paperwork to scan, a fender-bender to contest and repair, and an old friend demanding more than I will give, my approach is different.

No task lists, no sense of urgency, no feeling of obligation, no impending deadline.

My approach now is one of surrender.

Of savoring.

Of slow, methodical movement.

Of earphones and blueberry muffins.

Of trust.

Of quiet and breath and acceptance.

Instead of frenetic energy, of compiling and pushing, of resistance or fixing or spiritual darting…

I’m allowing.

Allowing the emotions to sweep through me, observing the place where I am, feeling peace as things go undone, as they remain imperfect, and being whole in that imperfection.

Something funny happens when you allow your world to be imperfect and messy.

It ceases to be imperfect or messy.

Perhaps it’s the people whose lives have taken sudden new twists – people who have learned to embrace the creative possibilities of change – who stand the best chance of penetrating life’s mysteries. – Hugh Mackay