Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today's Medicine: Action

Wear your 'action pants' with pride and think "love." - from a Clive's Cats cartoon bookmark

Now for those who aren't in the know, in the United Kingdom "pants" refers to underpants. So what this is saying to me is "put your big girl knickers on with loving intention and get to it!" And these days, I need the not so gentle reminder to do so.

The last several years, Winter has become a rough ride for me and I find myself more prone to navel gazing and contemplation than during the heady green energy of Spring or the blazing energy of Summer. Autumn starts the slowing down process and I have been finding that come late November I am more than ready for the cranky weather of the Pacific Northwest to settle into freezing rains and maybe even a bit of snow. (Let's be honest, here: a LOT of snow.) I want to settle into a comfy chair with my journal, a book or a good movie and be a bit, well, fallow. I don't feel as much like creating (other than cookies), engaging with others in any sort of meaningful way becomes a real struggle and my motivation subsides to close to nil. Action is not exactly the first thing on my list, as I'm wholeheartedly practicing not doing something but just sitting there. And almost completely at peace when doing so.

Now before anyone suggests I am saying it's better to be busy than to take time to renew, please note that I am NOT saying that at all. I believe one of the primary purposes of Winter is to make us slow down a bit, to regroup and reassess where we are on our life journeys. Bad weather gives us permission to stay at home, spend time in solitude or with loved ones and perhaps even do something that brings us that enlivening energy: joy. We are being blessed with a sacred pause. And that pause is as necessary as our breath and the beating of our heart. It's that pause that allows us to gather our scattered selves so we can continue doing our work in the world.

And for me, that's where Action message comes in. I am coming up on three months without working outside my home, and that's been a blessing that I cannot begin to quantify. It has taken that long for me to begin to feel within a spark of joy, of creation and of generosity. My last job was one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever experienced, even if it drained my heart and soul to a breaking point. I learned a lot about myself, how I want to be of service to others and I don't ever regret the cost. Now, as Imbolc draws near and I begin to feel the stirring of creativity, of curiosity. I find I am willing to consider actions that before cost too much time/energy/effort or that I feared would leave my well within depleted. This contemplation of choices is altogether liberating, and a little frightening, and I'm doing my blessed best to keep my heart and mind open to the process.

Although Winter will not end until mid March, and we're sure to have many days of wet, chilly and windy weather ahead, I have to say I feel a hopeful optimism that has been decidedly absent for a very long time. I think I'll have to go shopping for new undergarments and see if I can find some with huge pink and red hearts on them. It is almost Valentine's Day, so there should be some options out there. And lord knows, I could use another tangible reminder of choosing to act with love in all things...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Today's Medicine: Impermanence

This week we experienced a full-on blast of Winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don't get snow all that often and when we do, folk have a variety of responses. Some frolic in the falling flakes, some groan and grumple, while others start stocking up on foodstuffs like the end of the world is at hand. I am one of the folk who sit inside the warm and cozy house, watching the birds feed on the extra seed I put out for them or taking the dogs out for a romp. I could sit for hours watching the snow accumulate and the land become blanketed in white. It's a suggestion to me to slow down and enjoy a sacred pause, something I don't do often enough in my daily life.

Now that the rains have come, the great thaw begins. The tree branches are almost bare and the icicles are dripping back into liquid form. As I watch the snow drop from the trees with an audible "flumph," I am reminded that most things do not last. (The jury is still out on some processed foods out there.) It reminds me that that no matter what's going on in my life, positive or negative or somewhere in between, it too shall pass. Sometimes it's circumstances outside my control that shifts the frozen places within. Other times it's my conscious choices that shift me out of stasis into joyful action. And just to say it, even a mediocre action is okay, as long as it's action in some form. Joy doesn't care if the steps we take are grudging and small and reluctant, we reap the bounty just by taking them in the first place.

Today that choice involves sitting still, drinking a cuppa tea, and watching the rain come down. I expect we'll have more snowy days before Winter's end, and I'll enjoy them if they come. For now it's enough to take the gift of a sacred pause forward into the coming days and be grateful for what is NOW.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Today's Medicine: Gratitude

'Tis been a fair while since I last chose to post anything here. 2011 was a year of revelations that are still settling into my being. I have been wanting to get back to writing each day and now have the time to do so. I figured starting here was a good plan and I'll see where things go.

I used to do a Thankful Thursday quite regularly. Nothing too lengthy, just a short list of simple pleasures and abundances in my life. I got to thinking today about gratitude and how powerful a tool it can be for shifting perspective. A simple prayer of "thank you for my life" can motivate me to shift from a place of lack to a sense of abundance. Most of the time I think we focus so much on what we don't have, what we feel we need to feel whole and complete. I forget to pause and see the truth of my abundance.

It's not just that I'm grateful for having a roof over my head, food to eat, electricity and heat, good health, clothing and folk who love me as much as I love them. It's the fact I have a home that I love and enjoy on a daily basis. I have food that I LIKE to eat and have the means to go out occasionally and celebrate living with dear ones. I have a wood stove that brings the a sense of cozy solitude and mellow companionship. I can dance and walk and be aware that my health is impacted directly by my choices. I have clothing that I enjoy wearing and I have choices that allow me to decide how I want to armor myself or express my inner being. And I have folk (two and four legged) in my life who not only love me, but accept my quirks, help me learn how to communicate better and laugh lots. All of these things, and so many more, help me recognize the richness of my life. That's a whole lot of stuff to be grateful for.

So today, as I watch the snow shift into rain, I will be conscious of how gratitude shapes my perceptions. And be grateful that I don't have to be anywhere but here, in the now.