“Is Nothing Sacred No More?”

I sit here on this Friday almost-summer morning, unable to attend to tasks I anointed for today. A practical list consisting of tending to my car’s need for an oil change, to weeding long neglected, and to tending my business. I spent yesterday in a similar sort of funk, telling myself it was due to a particularly challenging session with my mentor. Or due to my youngest child becoming a high school senior and the seismic changes ahead for us both. But in my soul, I know neither is why I feel so lost and in such deep sorrow.

candles

9 people were killed in their church while in prayer group. 9 people were killed while tending to their faith and to each other. 9 people killed because of the color of their skin and being trusting souls with their killer. Just writing these sentences makes me cry, feeling such pain and sorrow I cannot attend to my day as usual. 9 people dead whose souls are calling out for me to respond, to take action on all our behalves.

We live in a time when children are killed in school and adults are killed in church. We used to believe childhood was sacred, that a church or a temple was sacred. How did this become not so? My youngest child grew up with children being killed in school and shared with me how being in school doesn’t always feel safe, despite their SWAT team drills and safe room protocols. She shares how she feels safer jumping her big horse over a 3 foot fence than sitting in her classroom some days.

Now you may be telling yourself how your church or your school is safe because can’t happen because of where you live. Yet my (white) daughter who lives in one of the best parts of Charleston less than a mile from the Emanual AME Church, doesn’t feel safe. I keep reliving being inside this church but a few weeks ago, feeling the sacred power of the countless numbers of prayers offered there. Only now, I’m wrestling with the image in my head of the blood stains of  the 9 people killed within the sacred space I had offered prayers.

When did we agree that nothing was sacred no more? When did it become easier to distract ourselves from tending to the outrage of “never again” with the actions necessary for making it so? That nothing really changes in the aftermath of another act of violence against another human being? When what is sacred to us-childhood, church, life-is violated and we ignore the call from our soul to attend to it, to repair it, to mend the wound in what is sacred to us?

I don’t have an easy answer for the violence and racism rampant in our times. An easy answer will not suffice to change what is wrong and our tolerance for allowing it to prevail. What I do know is I seem unable to distract or ignore what I am feeling inside until it goes away. Something deep within me is stopping me in my tracks, waiting for me to respond, for me to take action on the pain and sorrow I feel. I do know our souls are calling for each of us to take better care of what is sacred again.

“What Frogs are Boiling in Your Life?”

Frog

“The Boiling Frog Syndrome”(BFS) is an anecdote about how a frog placed in boiling water will jump out immediately but when a frog is placed in cold water which is then slowly heated, froggie will not perceive the danger and will boil to death. Although science disproves the truth of BFS, it’s cautionary tale of the cost of ignoring the small and subtle messages you feel of something being off, is truth.

Women’s history of being told to “behave and make nice” for being safe in life and love means women often dismiss and deny what they are feeling and noticing. Especially when paying attention to what they are sensing will “make waves” with people they love or are dependent on. Yet ignoring what you are sensing does not keep you truly safe in either life and love. Ignoring what you are sensing only keeps you from taking action in time to attend to what your wisdom is telling you is wrong.

More than one woman has come to me angry with herself for not listening to her feeling of something being”off”, for time had proven what she was sensing as correct. A women will often ignore her innate “early alert system” for not “rocking the boat’ in a relationship or where she fears reprisal for speaking up. Yet ignoring messages from the powerful sensitivities you possess as a woman can land you in troubles you could have prevented or mitigated.

So, just how do you balance speaking up and standing up for what you know with your desire for safety and acceptance in love and life?

1. Commit to learning about and loving yourself as a priority in your life. Learning about yourself is not optional for being happy and fulfilled in life. When you know what makes you happy, what you love, what’s important to you in life and relationships, you can care for your needs consciously. Expecting those you love to be your primary source of approval and support only places others as a parent with you as the child. And while we all need a little help from our friends, learn to love and support yourself as a job you are the best at and your privilege.

2. Update your relationship with anger. Anger is the element of fire offering its power to protect you as well as transform what challenges you. Instead of smothering (ignoring/fearing) your anger or letting it become a wildfire, develop a conscious relationship with your anger. Anger is not wrong nor bad; only when you do not tend to anger’s presence does anger cause you problems. Denying your anger for “not making waves” does not keep you safe in relationships nor in life. Learn to receive and decipher your anger, for within your anger is wisdom seeking to protect you and transform what IS dangerous to you.

3. Learn the difference between your sensory system and your intellect (aka your body never lies).  The sensory capacity of a woman is intimate to her biology as a woman and offers women sensory information for her protection and for deep wisdom. ( No, I am not saying women are better than men, rather different and viva la difference!). Ignoring your perceptions and receptions of information is a cultural norm, not your innate capacity, and gets you in trouble. Choose to honor your sensory capacity, take action informed by your sensory information and perceptions,  and watch your happiness blossom.

4. Get help outside of your family and friends for making the changes you want in yourself or your life. Family and friends at their best are your cheerleaders in life…. and family and friends can resist you changing. Just as cheerleaders do not serve as coaches for their team, don’t expect your cheerleaders in life to be your coaches in life. Your decision to take up your challenges as your opportunity for personal growth offers you being inspired by doing so.

The new normal in our world is change change change. One big change is relying less on outside of you for direction and support, and trusting in yourself more. Change can be really uncomfortable and challenging and going it alone is no longer a sign of strength. We all need help dealing with the angel and the devil on our shoulders. To live your life with heart, you need the strength of your soul….a soul clear and strengthened through transforming your challenges in life. 

The Contemporary Spirituality of Women

 I am blessed by my work of guidance and support with women transforming challenges to their happiness through the strength and skills of their spirit….or as I say, “taking the grit life delivers to us as our divine instructions for engaging our grace!”.  I remind women how spirituality is not following rules and obeying authority outside herself; it is actively living her deepest values and visions and making her choices with integrity. I remind her how spirituality is not something separate from her daily life; her spirituality is lived in showing up, speaking up, and standing up right where she has been planted.

Contemporary spirituality is conscious partnering with our spirit and soul for practical guidance and support in our daily life. Contemporary spirituality is living grace that is practical and honoring the grit of life as sacred.  Contemporary spirituality honors the teachers that are animal, plant, and “the other” and contemporary spirituality honors our body as not simply a vehicle, rather as a teacher and healer divine.

Contemporary spirituality demands we update our beliefs, definitions, and concepts for daily living of our active, embodied, and emboldened spirituality as women.  Ask yourself these questions-your answers create your choices for living your life: 

  • If you knew you were always being divinely guided and supported, how would you live differently your life?
  • If you were to embrace “where you were planted”-to the beauty, to the challenges, to the gratitude-what would be different? 
  • If you took 100% responsibility for your life vs deferring your power to “karma” or “God’s will” or “I have no power to make things different” where would you take up your voice, your power, your outrage? 
  • If you truly honored your spirit and soul as your most intimate partner in life, how would the priorities for your time change? Would time for meditation, prayer, and self-care become less luxuries and more essentials in your daily life?

Contemporary spirituality is not about furthering our means of control; it is daily living our power, our purpose, and our presence as guardians for all life.  Contemporary spirituality honors relationship, integrity, and creativity and where these are lacking, the responsibility for bringing them forth. Contemporary spirituality is living there is truly no separation between what is spiritual and what is not spiritual….and that our humanity is simply divinity in a body.

 

Choosing to be Queen

As women, our roles often involve supporting and accomplishing things for others can leave us with an unease about whether our own life is being supported and accomplished as well.  Symptoms that we are not doing so well in honoring our own life show up as feeling overwhelmed, a lack of time and energy to engage in what has meaning and value for ourselves, and crankiness towards those we are supporting and accomplishing for.  In short, we have forgotten we are Queen; yes, with the tasks it takes to rule our kingdom..and, not as much through doing for others as through envisioning, empowering, and leading the way.

One of the challenges we will face at mid-life is deciding whether we want to honor being Queen of our life, or not.  To be Queen means acknowledging [Read more…]

Our Sensory Invitation

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, or insecure these days, you are in very good company!  Most of the people I know-both clients and peers-are experiencing sensations that reflect a measure of the turmoil of transition that is going on outside of themselves.  And while we know that inside and outside are simply reflections of each other, in times of transition, the level of turmoil that comes with any transition-let alone one of the magnitude we are all in-can be a challenge to navigate while living everyday life.

Overwhelm, anxiety, insecurity, fear are simply mental states that invite us into remembering we have more than our minds with which to navigate and negotiate what life brings our way. We are [Read more…]