Help upon awakening

If you are among the many of us experiencing a heart awakening, you’ve likely been overwhelmed by other people’s anxiety or fear. That’s why boundaries are important. But I don’t want to wall out everyone. I want to stay as open as possible—present and compassionate—without soaking up all the ick that folks are releasing.

So I’ve been asking for help, and this morning, I received it in a dream.

Objectively, the dream made no sense, but there was no question it carried a message. As soon as I woke, I wrote down all the details I could remember.

My turquoise dream

I stood inside…

  • A glass-faced building (like a car dealership), looking out through
  • Automatic sliding doors (like a grocery store).
  • A number of round turquoise balls (like Chinese lanterns)
  • Were hanging from the ceiling
What I took from it
  • It’s possible to be transparent to the world around you while still being protected. (Me in a glass structure.)
  • You can let things in and out as you choose. (The doors.)
  • Turquoise gem stones can provide exactly this kind of protection. (The lanterns.)
  • Try wearing them on your body, perhaps as earrings. (The ceiling.)

After writing this down, I went to check my gemstone book. Here’s a bit of what it said:
“Turquoise connects physical and spiritual awareness. Develops inner strength and calm. Stabilizes. Heals the emotions and the emotional body. Traditionally used for protection.”

You can bet I’m wearing turquoise earrings today!

If this information benefits you as well, I’m thrilled. Heck, once I catch a glimpse of your turquoise jewelry, I’ll even invite you into my glass house for a cup of tea. Just step on that mat—the door opens automatically.

Photo credit: futureshape

“Leave her alone. She’s in a circle process.”

What inspires you these days? What are your inherent strengths? What have you outgrown?

Answers to these questions may be as near to hand as arranging five universal shapes — circle, square, triangle, spiral and plus sign — from most preferred to least. It’s called the Preferential Shapes Test, developed by cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien.

Arrien found that these five shapes not only turn up in artwork around the world, but also carry the same meaning, cross-culturally. Cool, huh?

Take a moment now to look at the five shapes. How would you rank them? Which one do you most prefer? Call that #1. Repeat until you’ve ordered them 1-5. (Imagine that my crude spiral is actually smooth as you consider it.)

Using their cross-cultural meaning, Arrien demonstrates how these shapes describe five processes all of us use. Your ordering of the shapes will change over the years as you move in and out of their associated processes. In other words, this is not a personality test. Instead, it can be a useful tool in figuring out what would bring you the greatest satisfaction and joy right now.

No peeking until you rank the shapes!

Here’s what your ranking reveals
  1. Your current source of inspiration. The thing that has your attention. It’s where you think you are, or where you want to be.
  2. An inherent strength you’re already demonstrating and which has already attracted feedback.
  3. Where you really are right now. A source of unlimited creativity, connection and possibility, if only you attend to it.
  4. The past process that motivated you to move where you really are.
  5. A process you’ve outgrown, or possibly something you’re denying and refusing to look at.

And now that you’ve decoded the ranking, it’s time for the big reveal…

What the shapes indicate
  • Circle. Wholeness, independence, individuation and collaboration. Answers the inner desire to know oneself. When we’re here, we need to feel there’s room for us to be creative, so don’t tie us to tight schedules or rigid expectations. Give us space.
  • Plus. Relationships, intersections, connection and bridge building. Answers the inner desire to connect through relationships. When we’re here, we need quality time with others. We’re gifted at networking, bringing people together and building relationships.
  • Triangle. The visionary. Answers the inner desire to actualize our life’s calling. When we’re here, we see the potential within ideas, teams and relationships. Put us to work planning.
  • Square. Foundation-setting. Stability, grounding and manifesters. Answers the desire for safety, stability and security. When we’re here, we bring results. We can make it happen.
  • Spiral. Growth, evolution and change. Answers the call to change and grow. When we’re here, we need to make some changes in our own lives, and we become excellent catalysts for change in the lives of others.

What did you learn? How did that feel? My current ranking shows me in a Plus process, so I’m excited to see the Circle turn up as an inherent strength. Who’s up for a collaboration?

Learn more about Angeles Arrien and her work, visit her site.

Photo credit (sculpture): brian glanz
Photo credit (cat): eva101

How to you respond constructively to a passive aggressor?

“That’s so ’80s. That’s nothing new.”

I blinked in surprise that this woman would so abruptly interrupt me as I described something I admired. Her tone was both dismissive and condescending.

We’d only just met, through circumstances that had seemed magical, but I wasn’t seeing any magic in the abrupt way she cut me off.

I thought, maybe I’m not expressing my thoughts in a way she can receive them. I tried again. Again, she shut me down. I was baffled. I gamely changed the subject. A moment later, she said, “I didn’t mean it to sound like I was attacking you.”

“Well, it did,” I answered, not willing to be a doormat.

“But I’m not sorry I said it,” she said a minute later.

The rest of our visit registered a couple minor blips on my why-does-this-feel-judgmental radar, but I left her house feeling generally happy we’d connected. I’d been on her mailing list for ages and always had the impression of her as a superbly-grounded creative spirit and spiritually-inclined teacher. In fact, it was a spontaneous expression of gratitude that brought us together. Surely, I’d just caught her on a bad day that day. Or maybe I was being sensitive.

Now, a couple of emails later, I still get the feeling I’m being sniped at. It’s subtle, as passive aggressive attacks often are, but it’s annoying.

Don’t put your “stuff” on me

We all have icky “stuff” we don’t want to deal with. But whatever her stuff might be, it feels like she is projecting it on me and judging me for it. Not cool.

I’ve debated calling her on it. I’ve debated simply letting the fledgling relationship die in silence. Neither feels good. Finally, while in the shower, I realized there was only one thing to do for someone in this kind of pain. I sent her love. I filled my heart with it and asked that it flow to her in whatever way served her highest good.

And I’ll leave it at that for now, trusting all is well.

What’s your experience in dealing with passive-aggressive types? Have you ever fallen into the pattern yourself?

Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

Miracles in the everyday

I’ve been practicing a miracle mindset. Not in the sense of hoping for a “rescue” from unpleasant circumstances. Rather in the sense of allowing room in my life for the possibility of what some might call impossible or at least unlikely.

Part of the fun of a miracle mindset come when you neglect to draw a distinction between “big” and “small.” A miracle is a miracle, whether its biting into fruit and finding its sweetness and texture match your preferences exactly, or hearing a suffering loved one is suddenly and inexplicably cancer-free.

How I know Team Sally has my number

You may remember my love of a game I call, “If this were a message, what would it be?” Many of us play it spontaneously when we noticing things showing up as a pattern. Well, I saw a pattern, driving home from the grocery store the other night.

I happened to glance at the odometer. It read 70,700. I smiled. What a fun, rhythmic number. On my next glance at the dashboard, I saw that the outside temperature was 78 degrees—but it changed to 77 degrees as I watched.

That’s a lot of sevens.

What would playing the message game suggest? Perhaps:

  • the lucky sevens were telling me to play the lottery
  • it was a reference to something important that happened when I was seven years old
  • learning more about what sevens mean in numerology would shed more light
  • a simple reminder it’s about time for an oil change

Compelling as the pattern was, I didn’t play the game that night. I already knew what the message was. This everyday miracle was here to remind me I’m not alone. And that’s no small thing.

Do you remember experiencing miracles in your life? How do they tend to show up for you?

Photo of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades compiled by jimkster

The truth about creativity

“I always said when God handed out creativity, he skipped right over me.” She glowered as she told me this, as if she’d been nursing the wound ever since.

Not creative? Hah!

This lovely woman works in the supplements/natural products section of my favorite supermarket. She asks and answers questions for customers seeking to optimize their health. I asked her, “If you mentioned Supplement X and I said, no, it makes me ill, would you be able to help me figure out another way to meet my needs?”

“Sure,” she said.

“Voila! You’re creative,” I told her. “Creativity means bringing together familiar elements in new ways.”

She tried to receive this, but along with her excitement, I could see she intended to protect herself from fresh hurt. After decades of beating herself with a “you’re not creative” stick, it didn’t surprise me that she’d be cautious.

At length, she nodded, promising to think about it. Hooray!

Who do you know who still beats herself with self-limiting lies? (I’m seeing one in my mirror right now, not about creativity, but there are many lies. Sigh.)

Who will you bless with the truth—and permission to believe it?

Let’s all do that for one another, shall we? Perhaps it will help us get in the habit of doing it for ourselves.

You are worthy. You have permission to believe. So be it.

Photo credit: Andrew Vargas

The gift of delays

Another vivid dream. I’m in a traditional diner, casually talking to the owner as I wait for my carry-out order. (My dream’s cast included guest star Beth Chapman, wife of Dog the Bounty Hunter, as the no-nonsense owner. Perfect choice.)

I mention the road construction in the area around the diner and ask if they’re also working on roads near where she lives. Yes, she says. I smile and ask, Don’t you just love it?

An invitation to escape

I can tell from her expression, this is not a turn of conversation she expected. How could anyone love road construction?

Road construction, I say, is a cosmic invitation to escape into the present moment.

And I woke up, thinking I’d be just as surprised by this idea as the diner owner, since I often spend delays speculating about the future or reviewing things from the past. But my dreaming self sounded so sure (and so wise!), I began a list of ways she/I might be right.

Potential gifts of road construction delays: a starter list
  • A chance to notice the natural beauty of the place where I live
  • An opportunity to check in with the car that carries me over these roads, noticing whether its purring or asking for attention
  • Time communing with my neighbors as I consider that we’re all on this road/path together in both the literal and metaphorical sense
  • Appreciation for all those involved in improving the road

Everything on my list sounds more appealing than grinding my teeth in frustration or spending the time worrying about what might or might not happen to my ultimate plans for the day. So heck, I’m going to throw in a couple more things to do while waiting:

  • Practice sending silent blessings to the road crew, all my fellow drivers and their passengers
  • Make up a song about the day. Or turn on some recorded tunes and do some car dancing
  • Just breathe
  • And of course, sneak the fries from my carry-out diner order

Where do you spend your delays? In the past? The future? Or if you are already as wise as my dream self, escaping into the present moment, what is your practice?

Photo credit: Kyle May

Does thee love “me?”

I just received an email praising me for my “inherent kindness and ability to be so conscious” of those around me. I guffawed at the very idea before reflecting that, yes, that’s probably as true for me as it is for all of us. We are made from love and of love, so kindness is in our nature. But until relatively recently, I would never have made it past the guffaw.

So easy to believe the worst

Negative self-talk pervades our culture. We’re told that to really love and appreciate ourselves is not only unspeakably vain, but selfish as well.

Like so many, I grew up with a rich array of tools for making sure I never thought too highly of myself. Not only was the media showing me large-breasted (yet otherwise emaciated) women, lauded as the epitome of feminine beauty and glamor, my primary role model—my mother—is so phenomenally creative, I felt I could never measure up.

It’s not about feeding the ego. It’s about believing in our full potential

Back to that amazing email. When I guffawed, I was in part comparing my perception of my kindness with that of others. I was also remembering all the times my behavior and attitude have not measured up to my internal ideal. But these things only reinforce a self-image of being less than perfect.

I thought, “If she only knew the truth about me, she’d never say such nice things.”

Do I see you nodding? You’ve been there, too, haven’t you. Thought so.

Let’s change the channel and try an new program

The new program goes something like, “Wow. She’s recognizing something beautiful in me. What a gift, her showing it to me so I can recognize it and help it flower further.”

Programs like this don’t try to keep me in a box labeled, “awkward,” “blunt,” “shy,” or anything similarly unproductive. Rather, they expand my idea of what treasures might be hidden beyond those old habits of self-limitation if only I have the courage to see.

What might you see? I reckon it’s worth a long, loving look.

Photo credit: dotbenjamin