Sunday, January 27, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. What If You Were A Hermit In The Woods?

What If You Were A Hermit In The Woods?

So many of us have daily pressures involving time, other people, commitments and obligations that we can barely hear ourselves think, let alone take the time to feel what is going on in our bodies.

Obviously, the reason I am writing this post is I have experienced this! Sometimes around the holiday season when things are hectic, when I have a stressful day at the office, I’m having a difficult conversation with someone I love, the to-do list has gotten too long, and especially when all of those things happen at once! 

So, I decided to create a fun exercise called “What If You Were A Hermit In The Woods?”

Imagine you wake up tomorrow morning somewhere secluded in nature…with no obligations, no people in your life, no job or business, no need for income, and the ability to create exactly what you want, when you want it.

Sounds impossible? Of course, that’s the point!

The deal is, you can simply nod your head, wrinkle your nose, rub a genie lamp if that’s what you want to do…and there before you are the ideas, tasks, things, beings, to lead you to your most authentic self and most fully engaged, enriched and loving life.

I will give you an idea of what my Hermit exercise looks like in the beginning, to get you started. J

My place happens to be a small cabin made of wood with stone in the front, including on the front porch. It is both sunny outside and there is a fireplace inside, wherein I have a Duraflame log burning so I don’t have to deal with flint and kindling. It’s not cold outside, but I like the flames.

Several candles are burning, but only one of them is scented – and that is with lavender.

I make myself a cup of tea. English breakfast. I step out onto the stone porch, wrapped in an afghan I have knitted myself. (Now that is a stretch! The last time I knitted, a scarf turned into a cat blanket, and I got a C on that Home Ec assignment in high school! Andy the cat loved the cat blanket in his basket, though.)

I suddenly know how to play the guitar (along with the instruments I already play) and knowledge of how to play three Eagles songs comes to me. I sing and play, with the furry kids close to me. 

I set down my cup of tea, blow out the candles, and walk along the river with my hand-crafted journal in hand. I find a nice rock to sit on, while I completely absorb the natural beauty around me, in all directions. I close my eyes, and…

And that is where the beginning of my Hermit exercise ends, and yours begins. Have fun with this exercise. Go through an entire day if you can. Once you know more from a feeling place what might be lacking in your life, or where you might like to remove some things, you can start to create some changes, a little at a time... It is very empowering!

Authentically Yours, Laura 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Oprah with Caroline Myss

Oprah’s Interview With Caroline Myss

Just a few weeks after my blog post on archetype collage cards I created using Caroline Myss’ SACRED CONTRACTS, along comes this Oprah Winfrey interview in the January, 2013 issue of O Magazine. Caroline just released a new book: ARCHETYPES: WHO ARE YOU?, which I intend to order for my Nook.

Here is a segment of the interview, which I find pertinent to the subject of authenticity.

O: So going back, how do you know for sure that you are on the right path, what dream belongs to you, or what husband or job belongs to you?

C: Here’s your clue. You’re not put in a position where you feel like you have to compromise who you are.

O: I got that. It’s like if you’re at a job, and you know you’re really gifted and talented, but you come in to work every day feeling ‘I’m really not valued OR I’m not being respected for what I do.’

C: That’s right.

O: So when you have more respect for yourself and put yourself in a position where you feel your sense of value or worth, that’s how you know you’re on the right path.

C: You know an action is the correct one for you because you don’t think, ‘This is costing me my power.’ I can be tired after a day’s work at the right job, but I’m not psychically drained to where I feel like I’m losing life.

O: Or losing myself. Speaking of…I have a lot of married friends, and over the years I’ve interviewed a lot of people who are married. Everybody talks about how relationships are so much work. What is the difference between betraying yourself and compromising because that’s what you have to do to get along?

C: A compromise is done willingly and out of love. You don’t go away thinking, ‘I betrayed myself.’

O: It goes back to what you said earlier: Every choice is either going to enhance or drain your spirit…I think there’s nothing worse than betraying yourself.

I am so happy to say that my current job, while stressful at times, does make me feel valued and respected. As does my relationship!

Just something to think about, for all of us…

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. How We See The World: Authenticity and Selfishness

How We See The World: Authenticity and Selfishness

We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is. Someone – our parents, teachers, analysts – hypnotizes us to “see” the world and construe it in the “right” way. These others label the world, attach names and give voices to the beings and events in it, so that thereafter, we cannot read the world in any other language or hear it saying other things to us. The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become undeaf, unblind, and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices and write all its possible meanings in the new book of our existence. –Sidney Jourard

How do YOU uniquely see the world – beyond what “they” told you? Can you begin to look at your world differently? – Patricia J. Hutchings

If we are looking at the world through the lens of what we have been taught, handed to us by others, who had it handed to them, how do we know how we authentically view our world, and therefore experience our daily lives?

The older I get (I am 48 years young writing this post), the more I realize it’s really all about me. I mean this in the way of taking personal responsibility for my choices, my behavior, the way I treat other people – and, perhaps most importantly of all – the way I choose to view the world, which is now based on my internal compass – not what someone else told or taught me. God-willing, I make this choice every day.

I thought I could change the world. It took me a hundred years to figure out I can’t change the world. I can only change Bessie. –Bessie Delany (written at age 104!)

I have been called many things in the past. (I’m referring here to the adjectives which may not be necessarily positive – beautiful, a brilliant smile which reaches your eyes, awesome butt, great legs, warm, honest, generous, etc. I am not referring to in this post.)

Transparent is one, even naïve, and I take that as a compliment.

Selfish is another. I did not take that so much as a compliment!

Yet, suddenly, I am learning that being “selfish” may be one of the best things any of us can do in regards to how we view the world, and therefore how we treat other people. Resentment never helps anyone. Ever.

Here is a simple text I recently sent to someone I deeply love and am in a close personal relationship with (while in the midst of recovering from an over two week head and chest flu:) “I simply want to eat when I am hungry. To sleep when I am tired. And to not have to explain being tired, or hungry, or sick…to another person. If this is selfish, I will take selfish.”

The cats I belong to, Lady Jane and Katie Mae.

Did you catch my post about animals and authenticity? The furry and feathered beings among us never need to have these conversations, which is why they are some of my greatest teachers!

I deeply encourage you to be extraordinarily “selfish” this week.


Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Animals and Authenticity

Animals & Authenticity

Pets have been in my life my entire life.

Mom tells me my first word was “kitty.”

I grew up on a farm in South Dakota, surrounded by animals. Wildlife. Birds. A milk cow.  Horses. The cattle my father raised for beef. Indoor cats, outdoor cats, Lucy the dog, and Princess the part-Welsh pony buckskin horse - who became my immediate best friend when I first met her on my 9th birthday. 

And she was no “princess”, trust me! Princess had been abused, and came to us with a four inch long saddle sore on her back, refusing to accept a bit or a saddle even after I had nurtured her enough her head was no longer hanging close to the ground and she had her spirit back! Dad was absolutely confounded when she broke even a very strong nylon rope when he tried tying her up in the barn.

I rode Princess with a hackamore, bareback. Her neck and mane absorbed the tears of my adolescent angst as I was going through those tough years human girls often do as they are heading into young adulthood. I loved Princess perhaps even more than I loved the non-furry people in my life at that time.

I admit it irks me when I hear people using the word “owner” or “master” in reference to their relationship with the furry kids. I use the word “Mom.” And that’s not accurate either, because in so many ways, animals are my teachers. There is no pretense when it comes to the furry or feathered kids. They are completely, 100% authentic.

When I adopt animals, I adopt them for life. Which means I will likely outlive them.

When Fargo the dog passed in October, 2007, it was at my hand, in a manner of speaking. He had been diagnosed with a severe disk herniation and arthritis throughout his pelvis and spine at the age of nearly 11. He was living on pain medication, would have been recovering from surgery for the rest of his life, and pulled himself around with his front paws as his back end wasn’t functional. I held him up while he peed and pooped, and had wonderful neighbors who took care of him when I was working at the office.

It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, finding a vet to come to my home and “put him down” there. Fargo’s front half still functioned, and his face was still smiley as he would crawl to the living room when I got home from work. I am getting teary remembering this, five years later.

Fargo and I were so bonded; I knew it would take a lot of grief time before I would be ready to adopt another furry kid again.

Guess what? I lasted one week.

Then I was at Salem Friends of the Felines adopting Lady, who had been in the shelter for almost a year and a half, at the age of 5. The day I brought her home, she talked to me incessantly from her crate during the drive, and I talked back. “Reaaar!” “You’re coming home with me. This will be your home. I’ll make it really nice for you.” “Reaaaar!” “I know you must be scared, but I promise I will take good care of you, and you will be happy.” “Reaaaar!”” Etc. When we got home, she crawled under the bed and hid for about 45 minutes. Then she came out, found her litter box, water and food, explored the entire place, and curled up against the small of my back that night, purring the whole time while we slept together. Bingo! What an incredible, awesome match!

Then, about 8 months later, came Katie, who had been in the Animal Aid shelter for five years, almost her whole life. This was much trickier, involving separate rooms for the cats, slowly introducing them, and having absolutely no idea what Katie’s personality was like as she had been sleeping in a corner in the shelter for so long. She was quite traumatized.

On Thanksgiving day morning, 2008, I woke up to find Katie sleeping on the sofa, finally making herself at home. I didn’t want to disturb her, so I just said something under my breath, something like “Good Morning, Sweetheart,” and went into the bathroom to have a full-out happy dance with everything in me, but very quiet! I turned my head up to the ceiling and said, “Praise be!” Yes, I actually did say those exact two words.

By the way, as I am writing this, Katie is at my feet, purring like gang-busters, and I am reaching over to pet her head and rub her ears and neck.

The two cats with whom I am fortunate enough to share space are two of my wisest teachers. (And I thought I rescued THEM from long term assignments in no-kill shelters!) In periods of MY stress, Lady Jane gets right in my face as a mirror. We tend to poop at the same time. When I have diarrhea (which I did four days in a row), she does, too. When she wants carbs she doesn't need, as I often do, she does this yowling kind of talk anyone who has ever had a bold cat will recognize. Katie Mae, on the other hand, is so sensitive to any stress I experience, she goes to her usual under-the-bed hiding place. After she senses my energy shifting, then she will come out. Or, I will call her, and she knows "Mom is okay now."

I know the four-footed furry beings, and the two-legged feathered beings amongst us can be some of our greatest teachers when it comes to authenticity.

Here’s to your furry and feathered creatures and teachers. Cheers! (Apparently Blogspot is telling me I am no longer able to post photos from my computer - bummer! So this post will need to be photo free for the time being.)

Authentically Yours, Laura