The Beginnings of My Spirit Doll

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The Universe if a crazy place and every day, I am guided to where and who I need to go next along my path.  It affirms my belief in a higher power, yet baffles me at the same time.

Last week was one of those weeks where you are shaken a bit.  Life feels cluttered, too much is coming in, events happen that upset the apple cart.  I remained true to meditating and listening to my inner voice, and one morning I opened an email that was just junk.  An email from Pinterest that suggests other pins you might like.  If you are on Pinterest, you get these daily and I typically just delete them.  Well, on this day, I was guided to check them out.  Mind you, it was 8:30am ~ it’s very dangerous to go on Pinterest this early in the day, especially when my mind is at it’s peak and I should be doing more constructive things. . . like WRITING!

Regardless, I was sucked in.  Too late.  Hooked by the dragon.

I was led to a spirit doll.  I love dolls.  Years ago, when my children were small, I made cloth dolls from recycled clothing for craft fairs and shops to earn extra money.  Every doll was a part of me.

Then, as my kids became more involved in sports, I began teaching full-time, the doll hobby was neglected and eventually I sold all the material and collections I accumulated for doll making at a garage sale.  It was extra weight that I needed to clear out.  I needed to make room for the new.

But still, I’m drawn to dolls and doll makers.  I feel a pull whenever a doll maker talks of her work or I see a handmade doll.

This particular spirit doll let me to a woman’s spirit doll wall page of which I began pinning away from.  Inspiration rose inside of me.  I could feel my soul coming alive and my mind swirling with possibilities.  I knew I needed to make a spirit doll somehow and venture back into the world of dolls. I missed them so much and they were calling me.

After a substantial loss of time, and feeling a little giddy, I decided I needed to thank this lady for the inspiration she brought me today.  I found her on Facebook and sent her a small message of appreciation.

Immediately, she messaged back telling me about who she was.

I was intrigued and was nudged to ask her about her journey.

She replied, “Why don’t you give me a call.  Here’s my cell #.”

Wow.  Really?  Cell #? Who does that?

I told her I would sometime.  Truly wanting to, but, I know how busy people are and honestly hate bothering them.  I was sure she was just being polite.

“How about now?  Do you have a minute?” she continued.

“Ummm. . . okay,” I replied.  Holy Kamoly.  This amazing woman was serious.  

This was just too much.  But, my intuition said, “Call her.”

And. . . I actually did have time.

So, I did.

We talked for 2 hours.  I filled 18 sticky notes with thoughts.  She felt like an old soul who had gone before me.

I shared with her my apple cart tipping over and my forks in the road and she told me I needed to make a spirit doll for guidance.  Gather a group of women together and create spirit dolls.  There is power and energy in this, she said.  Your spirit doll will tell you what you need.  Listen to her.  

She led me to  Joanna Powell Colbert’s website, where a How To Make A Spirit Doll e-book is free.  Thank you, Joanna.  Oh my goodness, my energy centers were just spinning and flowing.

I am so grateful for the women that have come into my life as mentors and guides.  Miraculously, when my journey with one woman ends, another appears for the next leg on the path.

Off to the thrift store I went to snatch up anything that spoke to me for my Spirit Doll.  I know my theme/intention for this doll will be of fearlessness, protection (energy) and peace.  I did not googling and was brought to ancient Goddess Tara.  Hmmm. . .

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it feels right.  

Sometimes, we just have to trust.

Who will join me?

Shari 🙂

 

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What Does It Mean To “Just Be”?

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“You need to Just Be.”

I’m hearing this voice over and over lately.  It’s summer time and people are trying to Just Be and take time off from their busy lives.  Emails in my inbox from spiritual writers encourage the world to Just Be.  My body tends to want to Just Be.

Just be.

But, what does this really mean?  To Just Be?

I was telling a friend about my plans for summer and possibly next year in my work.  I get excited about my work sometimes when I begin to think of all the possibilities. Every year, in education, is an opportunity for renewal.  My mind spins at all of the things I’d like to do differently next year.  I can always do better, I know.

This person listened compassionately and then said,

“Shari, my hope for you is to Just Be for awhile.”

These words are still ringing in my brain.  Now, I know this person has my well being in mind, not wanting me to take on too much, or really, just wanting me to slow down and not think about school for awhile.  I honestly believe my work supports my purpose in life, so I don’t always think of it as work. For some, work is work and life outside of work is, well. . . life. We teachers are in a different category, as they we always thinking about our profession.

I had to ponder on these words long and hard.  Because, I consider myself much more of a BE-er than a DO-er.

I let the words, Just Be,  marinate in my brain for awhile and decided that Just Be has different meanings for different people.  Not only this, but for the same person, it means different things at different times depending upon what they are doing and their understanding of the depths of Just Be.

Here are some of the ways I think we define Just Be:

Definition #1:  I’m taking a break from work or doing anything that involves a lot of work.  That break might be for a moment, it might be for a week, or a vacation or a summer.  It might mean vegging out in front of the tv, conversing on facebook, or doing anything that takes them away for the stressful lives they live.  Don’t start any big projects or do any planning at this time.   I did a lot of this kind of Just Being after my daughter’s wedding.  Actually, I slept and read books instead of any fall work in the yard.  I used Just Being as my excuse to not do the stuff I was supposed to do.

Definition #2:   Leave me alone.  When my daughters used to go through those teenage hormonal weeks, they would often say, “I want to Just Be!”  Really, this meant to get out of their space.  Leave me alone.

Definition #3:  Be content. Stop seeking.  Accept what is and be happy with that.

Definition #4:  To be present in every moment of your life.  If someone is speaking to you, stop what you are doing and fully listen.  BE in the moment.  If you are watching tv or a movie, BE there to feel the characters/people you are watching, connect to them.  If you are eating, savor your food, eat slow, be grateful for the nourishment.  This means shutting off your phone just to Just Be with the act of what you are doing.

It means to look for opportunities to JUST BE in your day.  An interruption in your drive to stop at the railroad tracks for a train is just this. Rather than being annoyed about a delay in your plan or to occupy the few minutes reaching to check your phone, you have an opportunity to take deep breaths and listen, look around you, pay attention to the world.  Say a prayer.  Think of a friend in need and send her your loving energy.  Just take some long deep breaths and quiet the mind.  Listen to and focus on your breath.  Stop the rampant thoughts.  Always, waiting for trains is just this chance to do this.   Waiting can be a gift if you look at it that way.

It means to slow down your pace.  Take small snippets of time to be grateful.  Write something down in your journal.  Send a note of “You Matter” to someone who needs to be reminded.  Stop living at the speed of a to-do list that only Superman could accomplish.  Glorifying busyness is not a healthy state of mind to live in.   We can so easily become  a victim of busyness.  This is ego who needs this.

It means to take time every day for listening.  This may mean meditation.  It may be prayer.  It might be yoga.  It could be sitting on the front porch with coffee watching the hummingbirds.  It’s a silencing of the mind.  Be mindful.  Be conscious of your thoughts.  The only way I can hear what God wants me to do is if I silence Bernice.  It takes daily work and constant practice.

It means living the life of who you truly are.  It’s Being authentic.  If I spend all day writing and reading, it’s because I love it and it’s who I am.  If I strive to train for a marathon, it will take time and dedication, but it will be because that’s a dream and it’s who I am (you would not really find me doing this though).

It means to follow your dreams.  God’s plan for us is way bigger than what our little minds tell us.  Ego keeps us small.  Dreams mean work.  To make dreams happen, you have to DO.

Be – Do – Be – Do – Be – Do – Be – Do

In Just Being, we listen.  We hear what our heart and soul intends for us to do.  Then, we Do.  Without the Doing, we are not following through with our listening that comes from Just Being.  And, I’m not talking about our mind telling us we should scrub the floor, although, sometimes when we are Just Being, we hear a voice that says to clear, de-clutter, clean.

It’s Being Present in whatever we are doing.  It’s a way of life.

Do we ever master it.  I don’t think so. Maybe if you are a Zen Master.  Not I.  The need for me to constantly be conscious of my thoughts and bring myself back to a place of being will be my life’s work.

I’d like to be able to live Definition #4.

What do you think?  What is your definition of Just Being?

Shari 🙂

 

 

To Push Through The Pain? Or Not

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It’s 2:20 am and the biffy is calling my name.  Sadly. . . I can’t get out of bed. Every muscle in my body hurts; abs, thighs, arms, neck, you name it.  I was not in a serious car accident, no.  I did not run a triathlon.  Nor, did I do hard physical labor all day.

I worked out this week. . . not once, but TWICE!

About every other month, I decide I need to get in better shape, ummmm. . . I mean, in shape.  I usually only walk a few of times a week during the school year otherwise, so when these urgent calls from my body tell me to pay attention and strengthen up, I tend to jump right in and try to fix it.  Too much, too soon, too much pain.  Then, what do you think finishes off the cycle?  Yep, I rest and kinda quit.  And, the cycle continues.  Been goin on fer years now.

I wasn’t always this way.  Throughout my first 40 some years of life, I was obsessed with exercise, my eating, weight, and perfection.  Then,  a surgery that put me down.  I softened.  In a good way.  And, I started liking who I was becoming.

So, now, almost 50, I’m listening more to my body and she’s telling me I have zero core strength, I’m pretty weak and my flexibility is nadda.  But, keep up the walking – daily, Lady.  Oh and by the way, your arms are starting to look pasty and, well. . . whatever, you are almost 50.

Well, that kind of talk gets me riled.  I become driven to fight back, so I pop in those DVD’s and do everything that perky young thing tells me to do.  Push-ups? Sure.  Squats?  You got it.

Here’s the rub.  Now, my body is cuuuuu-rying!  First, she wants it, then she doesn’t.  She says to push through it and then she says to rest, it’s too much.

My daughter Lauren, who is 25 and a wellness coach, scolds me, “No pain, no gain, Mom. Push through it.  You gotta keep it up or you won’t see any results.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I tell her.  I’m her worst client.  But, I can be that way to her.  I’m her mother.  She rolls her eyes.  I’m sure I frustrate her. She says these words with love, but it’s my own voice that I hear in the background. Yes, that’s her in the photo above.

My friend who is my age consoles me, “Shar, we aren’t 25.  We’ve been down that road.  Accept who you are.  We are ok.”

I love my friend because she understands me and where I’ve been, and my daughter IS only 25.  I should rest.

But, the whole world screams, “NO EXCUSES! YOU ARE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL.”

It bothers me that I even spend time thinking about this when I could be doing something constructive, like writing or reading.  It all seems so ego-driven.

Bernice. (said like Seinfield says Newman)

I’ve grown wiser with age and have learned to not strive for the perfect anything anymore.  I just want to feel good; mind, body, heart and soul.  If any of these “friends” is left out, the others suffer.  It’s a constant state of mindfulness I need to be in, always checking in with each.  Wait, I hear a small voice of reason. . .

“Just move your body, Shar.  It doesn’t matter what you do.  Move.”

Aw, somebody with sense.  Heart and Soul are speaking up for Joy, my body.

I think I’ll just go for a walk today and do a little yoga. 🙂

Who do you listen to?  Do you push through and work through the pain?  Or, do you rest – and forget what you started?

(And, this doesn’t just pertain to exercise, you know. . . )

Shari 🙂

Listening Lesson #1: Pay Attention

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Earlier this week, I was reading a thought provoking post by A.J. Juliani titled the Power of Writing Every Day, and some of his words stuck with me that I could not shake loose, so I had to write about them.

He wrote:

Instead of focusing my blog as only a place for reflection (which it sometimes is) I’ve tried to make my posts as useful and helpful for other teachers, writers, and learners as possible. Really, I try to teach with my blog as much as possible.

Thinking about my own blog posts, I began analyzing how many were reflection posts and how many were teaching.  There are probably too many reflection posts, as I use my writing for reflection, although, we also learn from these reflections, so sometimes, reflection and learning go hand in hand.

The voice of self-doubt then started to creep in and by the time I’d spent a more than adequate time thinking about it, I’d convinced myself that I spend too much time thinking about what to blog about and then actually choosing a topic for my blog to blog about and then wrestling with the content of the blog, revising, editing, etc. . . that by the time I’d finally spent a half a day with a post and hit publish, was the whole mess even worth it?  I mean, reflection or teaching ~ what’s it matter if no one reads the dang thing anyway?  Seriously, the only one who benefits is me, because maybe I learned from it.

I sat there. Defeated.

Suddenly, a pillow of smoke arose in front of my eyes at my desk.

My candle had decided to go out.

This was strange because there was plenty of wax in there to keep that candle going.  But, at that precise moment, it died.

As I looked at the candle, the “Message from My Angel” card sitting next to the candle hooked my attention.  It’s message:

You have an important life purpose involving communication and the arts.  Please don’t allow insecurities to hold you back.  I will help you.

Archangel Gabrielle ~ the angel of communication sits at my side.  She is a constant reminder to keep going.

And the candle? It’s message:

Don’t let your dream die out and go up in smoke.

It’s this kind of listening that guides me in the direction to go each day. This stillness of the mind that allows me to pay attention to the quiet whispers God is sending me is a constant conscious effort every moment of my life.  I often let my mind do all the thinking and get lost down the wrong path.  On days that I allow to unfold naturally, these messages appear constantly. They uplift my spirit and give me inspiration and courage.

Paying attention takes practice.  Most of us are rarely paying attention because we have so much on our minds and when we don’t, we reach for technology to occupy it.  These are distractions that keep us from the signs we are meant to notice.

Today, I challenge you to be still and pay attention.  You don’t need your phone with you in the bathroom.  Quit checking facebook. How many email messages do you expect to receive in an hour – do you really need to check every five minute?  Just unplug for awhile and breathe.  Your listening skills will improve and before you know it, you won’t be searching online for the answers to your questions, you’ll just be sitting still to hear them.

Shari 🙂