CRAZY COMMITMENTS

9390288-Cartoon-astronaout-on-the-moon-with-an-American-flag-Stock-VectorThose Put-a-Man-on-the-Moon commitments sound insane at first. On a lesser scale I’ve launched myself into what seemed like Crazy Commitments, but given enough planning and support they have worked miraculously. I have noticed that the ones that are connected to my heart and are in my best interest seem to pull me along on their own momentum once I make the commitment—once I step up to the plate and start the process.

Committing to a life as a professional actress in my mid twenties with no connections and little experience was one of those. “Insane,” my mind said. But what a wonderful career I have had.

Buying a Roadtrek camper van and going around the US by myself at 73 years old was another one—especially as I knew nothing about camping or camper vans when I began. “Insane,” my mind said. But it was a healing, reviving, memorable three month adventure.

Going to Sarasota by myself last winter knowing no one and ending up buying a small villa was another. “Insane,” my mind said. But, I made fabulous friends and found a perfect place for me.

Now, it seems I may be launching into another CC. I came back to CT with every intention to sell the house. I was convinced that my life was over here. But as I went through a massive clean out and “staged” my house, something startling happened. It was as if some mysterious energy began replenishing the house and my life here. My friendships deepened and my workshops in August filled up. Strangely, the house has not sold, so as the months have passed, my heart gets louder. “Find a way to keep the house!” it whispers insistently in my ear.

So, to my utter astonishment, that is what I am doing! I’m researching reverse mortgages to buy out my ex-husband’s half. I am looking into refurnishing the large, private downstairs area to make it suitable for someone to share the house and my expenses.

“Wait a minute,” my mind says rudely awakening me at 3 am. “At your age and with your limited income, you’re going to buy another house having just bought one just months ago?!!!!!” I wake up sweating. “Truly insane,” my fear declares firmly and convincingly.

So in the morning I reread a quote from W. H. Murray that I often use in my workshops: There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.

And as I look back, that has been clearly true. There were many miracles once I took steps and kept moving forward. And, like getting the man to the moon, it took intense and careful planning. One doesn’t just launch oneself at the moon without a plan. Still, the paths to completion have been zig zaggy which required me to always be both committed and flexible by keeping my options open until the way was clear.

Nevertheless, each one brought up a lot of fear and stress. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon said, “Stress primarily comes from not taking action on something that you can have control over. I find as soon as I can identify it, and make the first phone call, or send off the first email, it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.”

Steve Jobs recommended meditation to handle stress. Here’s how I combine the two:

  1. I meditate and get present in the morning. That helps me to get clear about what little steps I can take that day (and I try to break it down into very little steps).
  2. I make some of those scary phone calls and write some of those scary emails.
  3. When I have done what I can do, I let go, turn it over to the Big Whatever and do something fun or relaxing. Sometimes I meditate again to clear my head.

That seems to work to keep me afloat in the river of energy that sweeps me along these CC’s. I’m scared a lot, and this may strike people as odd, but what brings up the wildest fear/excitement are the amazing miracles that show up to support my crazy commitments. And W. H. Murray is right. They have shown up.

So. Yeehaw! Here I go! That river current is sweeping me along. We’ll see what happens.

P.S. Because of all the upheaval, the next CREATIVE EXPLOSION workshop has been postponed until Saturday and Sunday October 3 & 4…go to www.TheFourPrinciples.com for more information.

CLIMBING THE LADDER OF FEAR

Stop sign“I’m not good enough,” my friend says. Ah, the universal lament of artists who are trying to market themselves or their wares. That thought is a perfect block. It stops one every time like a lit up stop sign on the road to fulfillment. The light is red, and the words on the stop sign are written in bold caps. I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH. And though it’s a false sign placed on a road where there are no cross streets, you dutifully brake and wait for the light to change. But it won’t ever change to green because it was put there by the devil. (In my theology the devil equals unfelt fear.)

“Okay,” I say to her. “Do you want to get present?” (She has done my Creative Explosion workshop and knows the drill.) Of course her immediate response is “No.” Right. Who wants to get present when the feelings may be difficult? No one.

But, with a sigh, she finally agrees.

“So, what sensation are you experiencing in your body?”

“I’m exhausted. And my heart is pounding.”

“So, sink into your exhaustion for a moment.”

She does. “My heart is really pounding.”

“Put your attention right in your heart. What does it feel like?”

“I’m getting the image of a huge waterslide.”

“Good. Can you go up to the water slide?”

“I’m on the ladder. I’m really scared. I’m alone. Oh, now, there are a lot of people around.” She sounds lighter. Amused. “Oh, one just gave me a little nudge to go!”

“What are you experiencing right now?”

“I’m going down the slide. It’s exciting. It’s fun! Oh! I forgot that fear and excitement are in the same place in the body!”

“Right. Fear says, ‘I can’t.’ Excitement says, ‘I can.’ But we have to be willing to get out of avoidance and feel the fear before that can happen, right?”

“Right! Okay. I know what I’m going to do to market my book today!”

“Go for it. You have written a wonderful book.”

So simple, and so powerful is this process to get one moving. Here’s the pattern:

  1. Avoiding feeling by believing negative thoughts.
  2. Experiencing the fear in your body separate from those thoughts.
  3. Getting clear about what action to take.
  4. Taking action..

But, sometimes we need a little nudge.

There is still time to enroll in the May Creative Explosion workshop.

EGO OR HEART

Which do you feed?

hungry monsterIf you’re trying to satisfy the ego, that’s a Sisyphean task.  Oh, sure.  For a moment the hungry monster ego feels gratified and happy when you knock em dead in an audition or win some coveted award/contest/game.  The ever-expanding Python-like ego smiles broadly, burps, and looks really pleased—for about an hour.  Kinda like Chinese food though, anything that feeds the ego just does not last.  Gotta keep feeding it. Filling it is not gonna happen.

The heart, however, is easily and sweetly satisfied.  And, oddly, what feeds the heart is open heartabout sharing and giving:  sharing one’s creativity, helping someone else with their creativity, offering a helping hand, contributing to others.  The heart says, “Here.  Here’s what I have.  Let me feed you.  Oh, good.  You like it?!  You think it’s wonderful?!”

And, in that moment, that dangerous moment of hearing someone thinks it’s wonderful, the ego races in and snatches the food away from the heart because it does not have a clue about sharing.  “Gimme that!  They liked it!  It’s mine! I need more applause!  More validation!  More approval!”

Being an artist is so treacherous in that way.  The loud, hungry monster ego is always there ready to leap in.  And if it doesn’t get what it wants, it cries.  It stomps its feet.  It has temper tantrums.  “I didn’t get enough!  I didn’t get that part!  I hate this world.  I’m going to retreat and never come out again!”  And, the poor little heart is trampled all over by the feet of the dragon ego as it races into isolation.

It is so difficult not to fall into the trap of wanting to GET love rather that knowing life is best when we SHARE the love we have.

The good news is that the heart is unbelievably resilient.  It will come back to life in the smallest places.  All it needs is a little room and it is ready to give and to share.

Love the poor ego.  Embrace it.  Hug it, but don’t feed it junk food.

Instead, feed your heart by sharing your light today.

CHOOSE LOVE NOT FEAR

Life really may be that simple.  LoveLiving seems so complicated, but maybe it’s not.

Yes, we have problems to solve.  We have boogie men thoughts that wake us up in the middle of the night and scare us.  We have doubts.  We have insecurities.

We have things to take care of.  Some people have a lot of things.  We all have to take care of our things and whatever box we live in and whatever box we drive.  Sometimes we box ourselves in with these things.  We fear getting out of our boxed-in boxes: relationships, jobs, and life styles.

Fear is practically our default mode.  It’s easy to choose fear.  We can find so many ways to scare ourselves.

But what if you decided to choose love, not fear?  This is such an ancient idea.  It has been said in every language and in every human religion and understanding of enlightenment since the beginning of human wisdom.  So simple.

Start with yourself.  What if you decided to love yourself?  What if you loved yourself as Love?  What if you walked into your fear and embraced it with Love?

What if you said to yourself, “I choose love, not fear.”

Try it now.  Say it as if you mean it and see what happens.

THE WASHING MACHINE

washingmachineOne of the most fun things I do in life is help people get present.  I do it almost every day.  It’s surprising, inspiring, creative, and healing.  I’m eternally grateful and amazed by this simple process that was dropped in my lap by the Big Whatever.

A dear friend calls.  She’s really frightened—scared about money.  (I have observed in the past that fear is attracted to money like mosquitoes are attracted to blood.)  My friend goes on for a bit about her desperation and talks about some not so good solutions she is considering based on this fear.

After a moment, I ask her if she wants to “get present.”

“No,” she says, “I don’t have enough time.  It’s late.  I have to get to bed.”

Right.  NO ONE really wants to get present.  I understand that completely.  Who wants to feel deeply—to go into the body and discover what is really going on?  Getting present takes willingness and courage.

But, she’s done my Creative Explosion workshop, so after a bit, when I gently ask again if she wants to get present, she says, “Okay.  Let’s do it fast, though.”  I laugh to myself and ask the familiar, dreaded question.  “So what sensation are you experiencing in your body right now?”

“Fear.”

“Where?”

“All over.”

“Is there any predominant sensation?”

“In my heart.  I feel a lot of agitation in my heart chakra.”  (She does yoga.)

“What does it feel like?”

“It’s like a washing machine.  It’s agitating too fast.”

“What does the washing machine look like?”

“It’s not like mine.  It’s old fashioned.  Loads from the top.”

(Just like mine! I think but do not say.)  “Can you go to it and touch it?  Don’t do anything.  Just be with it.”

“Yeah.  I can feel it vibrating.  It’s going very fast.”

“Anything else about it?”

“Yeah.  The top is open and the water is filthy.”

“Okay.  Just be with it for a while.”  She’s silent for a spell then says.  “the water is all draining out.”

“Okay.  Just let it.”

Another pause.  “I feel much calmer.”

A moment.

“Oh, now I see myself standing on a crack in the earth.  There is a chasm below me.  On one side is negativity and fear.  On the other is all my spiritual work and trust.  They are moving apart and I’m doing the splits.  I have to choose which side to go to.”  It takes her a moment, surprisingly, but eventually she chooses trust.

She is present and calmer so I ask her to invite her Higher Power or Higher Self to be with her.  (This is an important part of Getting Present.  It’s not necessary to believe in God, and she says doesn’t.)  Her Higher Power turns out to be a guru who gently laughs at her fear.  He is full of good, calm, heart-centered advice.  In a very short time, she has moved from fear to peace and sees her life rationally and calmly.  She decides to continue with her creativity, do the work she has, and if it really becomes necessary, in the future she knows she can find a supplemental job.

That probably took no more than five or ten minutes.

I just love this Getting Present process.  I don’t have to advise anyone or listen to a long story or harangue.  People find their own peace and wisdom inside once they have moved into and through the uncomfortable sensations and feelings.  The images and what happens is usually surprising, healing, creative and entertaining.

I get present too with partners.  We generally laugh a lot.

What could be more fun than that?