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“Anyone else having a bumpy re-entry? Today was one of those days where by noon I was already back curled up under the covers and needed to do a bit of yoga to re-center.”

A lovely, creative colleague of mine posted those words (above) on her Facebook page the first Monday of 2015. It caught my attention, because I’d already posted to my business development group that I was finding myself in a state of huge resistance to returning to work after two weeks “off.”

I enclose off in quotes because truly the weeks of Christmas and New Years are not a time of rest and retreat. All that time “off” is needed to attend to the busy-ness of the holidays. I posted my agreement as a comment in her thread and was comforted to see others, especially my creative friends, do the same.

While I didn’t feel like I wanted to crawl under the covers, I did want to stop time. I especially wanted to stop the tidal wave of emails coming in from marketers with whom I’d traded my email address for freebies this past year. It seems that the new year, the time of making resolutions, putting away the last year and gathering (or in most cases re-gathering) our hopes for the new year, is a good time to market your programs to people. But, to me, it all came across as too much noise.

photo of apacheta

Apacheta, offering to Gaia with gratitude – I later added rose petals from my solstice ceremony

Add to that, the noise of my panicked inner slave-driver chastising me for not having my own program launching with the others and that was all it took for my inner dragon to arise from its slumber. That’s good actually. I can use a little fire. Healthy anger is an indication that some boundaries have been crossed. I needed some boundaries. I needed to quiet the noise and shut off the inner slave-driver. I started opting out of all the lists and deleting emails. I refused to get on the new year-new you-productivity bound train. Instead, I stood on the platform and watched the train roll out of the station. As I did, I began to wonder. Why?

Why do we think that turning a calendar page from one year to another means we suddenly have a boatload of will power we didn’t have before?

Why do we think it’s time to rev our engines? If your holiday has been as relaxing as a two week silent meditation or spa retreat, perhaps you are ready to go on January 2nd. But for many of us the holiday has been go, go, go and January 2nd feels like jet-lag after a European whirlwind tour.

Yet, there is more at play here than a busy holiday.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, January falls in the dead of winter. The days are very short and the nights are long. Unless you are a night owl, trying to fit all you want to accomplish in the daylight hours is extremely challenging. It’s not natural to begin pushing ourselves to adopt new schedules and achieve high productivity in the winter months. OK, for you, maybe, but not for me and certainly not for the others who responded to my colleague’s Facebook post.

For me, what is natural at this time of year is to slow down, hibernate a bit, plan, and look within. As Ted Andrews wrote (in his book Nature-Speak):

This is actually a time for withdrawal from our outer activities, so that we can give birth to the light within our own darkness. To bring new life from the darkness of the womb is the goal of this season…These universal rhythms converging upon us are keyed to enable anyone who is seeking to awaken the interior gifts and light….Unfortunately, society has created an attitude of participation in continual gatherings and outward celebrations. This is contrary to the energy and rhythms of this season. The energies playing upon humanity stimulate great introspection and facilitate meditative states of awareness, and time should be given for these.

If we have attended to the gathering and preparations of Autumn, then we are ready to pay attention and receive the whispers, signs and messages from the Mystery that help guide us on an inward journey where we may commune with our soul and shine a light on our shadow.

All I really wanted to do, besides meditate, journal and walk, was put away the holiday decorations, clear the clutter, clean up my office and make it a beautiful and welcoming space within which to work. I wanted to futz and putter. I liken it to stretching the canvas, sharpening the pencils, noodling at the keys, ordering seeds.

Every creative knows that a good deal of puttering and dream time is needed to get the flow going. Futzing evokes the muse.

The other thing that happened was I reviewed my journal from the turn of 2013 to 2014 and I discovered that I had not accomplished all I’d hoped to. Honestly, I already knew that, but there it was in black and white. It was deflating to see that year after year, I wish for the same thing that does not materialize and it was disheartening to assume this year would be different. Still, I know I didn’t fail, because I certainly lived a wonderful year. I grew. I loved. I played. I stayed in business doing work I love.

What if I just let these perennial wishes go?

If I want to grow a garden, I first plan it. I browse seed catalogs. I dream of the harvest in Technicolor savoring, in my imagination, the smell and taste of fresh ripe tomatoes. I determine the space that I will designate as garden and when the soil is ready, I till it. I amend it. I till it some more. I will not plant until the days are longer and the frost is past. Why not do the same for my life?

At the Winter Solstice, I did just this. My planning consisted of setting the resonance for my future and in so doing, I invited my future to reach back and show me the way. The tug I feel upon my heart; the messages I receive from animals and experiences of synchronicity; those chills I feel when I make a proclamation or someone else says something to me with which my soul is in alignment; those events are my future speaking to me, beckoning me, the one for which I built a resonant field, not with specific form, but with how I want it to feel and who I want to be when I am living it.

When dreaming a future, form can be so limiting. Resonance is generative. My Solstice ceremony was to build that resonant field that invites possibility, while releasing with compassion and forgiveness the past and anything that does not align with that field or hold that resonance.

photo of a collage

2015 New Year Collage

So, when the first Monday of the new year arrived, for me, the soil of 2015 was nowhere near ready to be tilled, not to mention harvested. I want to hear my own voice, not the voice of others telling me what is missing in my life, what needs fixing and their method for doing so. Oh boy, can the “never-enough” ego get hooked by all that advertising!

It is winter and I want to hang out with my soul; the two of us cozy by the fire. I want to hear my soul acknowledge my journey thus far with love and compassion, as it will. I want to know the truth of myself, not as someone who is broken and needs fixing, but as a unique expression of the Divine, whole and complete; a perfect rose unfolding more and more each day. I want to have a clear sense of what is truly productive and not mere busy-ness.

Together my soul and I can dream the delicious future that calls to me, putter about and weave it into a visionary tapestry. I may not know what it means yet and I may not be able to control the form, but I can listen deeply, beneath the ego’s complaints and rest in the inner knowing that I am deeply loved and held. It’s OK to simply be me following my own rhythm. That rhythm is what gives me my desired sense of experiencing time-out-of-time.

photo of collage detail

Under the window of the collage

And you, dear reader, how will you dance to your own rhythm and fashion a life that suits your soul and invites the assistance of the Universe in a profound way?

A coach is a powerful ally who assists you with visioning a future in alignment with your true rhythm and soul’s calling while also helping you stay the path when the forest gets thick and the way unclear. I offer several options to help you fall in love with life again. Watch also for an upcoming FUN way to move through your fears (group program). To sign up to be the first to hear about my new offerings or to contact me for a consultation, check out my website

Copyright© January 2015, Kathy J Loh, All rights reserved
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Spring Equinox – when the day and night are of equal length – is tomorrow for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

With a new storm coming in and the lights flickering threatening to take me off line and detain me from posting this, it doesn’t much feel like Spring. Then again, Spring can be expected to be every bit as active as Winter, in its own way. Whereas stormy Winter is a time of hibernation and going inward, Spring is a time of emergence and new life. So, maybe I can think of this latest storm, after a week of truly magnificent weather, as a new foal kicking up its heels for the first time; everything and everyone feeling their oats. (Oh gosh, now I’m hearing Marvin Gaye singing “Let’s get it on.”) And I digress…I know, just when you thought it was going to get interesting!

This Spring Equinox, I invite you to explore, describe or express the landscape you will cultivate as the days grow longer and the Winter fights to be remembered but will, as it must, give way to Spring.  Write it, paint it, dance it, sing it, drum it. Allow Spring to introduce itself anew to you in dreams and meditations. However it feels right for you, let it flow out of you from your deepest connection to what matters most for you.

Then take another look and see what, in metaphor and symbolic, soulful dreamscape, you are creating for the landscape or the field known as you.

(A note for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere:  Fall is a time of harvesting the fruits of our labor and letting go. The first storms will rip the leaves right off of the trees and the first frosts promote deadlines for harvest.  What is the landscape you will create for Autumn?)

mushroom

Back to Spring. I’ll go first….

The landscape of my Spring

I want to work with the natural wild landscape that is already here.

Put some benches in the best sitting spots for all kinds of moods.

Some memorable moments will come for me on those benches and often, they will be shared with others.

I will cultivate invitations to birds, butterflies, wildlife and fairies.

I want to prune the fruit trees to give them the best chance to produce new fruit on last year’s wood.

I want to clear open space for Medicine Wheel work, meditation and ceremony.

I will nourish the energies of play and love.

I will grow flowers with color and express delight at every mushroom that pops up under the pine needles.

I know that each corner of the landscape has its own gift to offer.  Beauty is not always pretty.

If it doesn’t rain enough I will water the land.

If there is too much sun, I will provide shade.

In all instances, I will honor this landscape and if something wants to go, I will not argue; will not hold on.

I will gather the fallen twigs and branches and burn them.

I will till a specifically designated bed for growing organic vegetables and herbs and will compost the remains of what I have consumed to nourish what is just now growing.

I will wander and I will be still.

I will listen

and

I

will

make

noise.

And you, dear reader, what is the landscape of your Spring?

Copyright © March 2013, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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With the help of a small pre-lit tree, borrowed from a generous friend, and a Christmas music channel on Pandora, I am beginning to feel like it might be Christmas. Which is helpful, since today is Christmas Eve.

I moved in early December and I am still getting things into place. Last night, I finally got my home theater components hooked up and in the entertainment armoire (which took a lot of reaching, bending, flexing and patience). I’m still missing the speaker wire for the sub-woofer, no boom-boom sounds for now. My printer is still offline since it was not installed to communicate with the AT&T wireless modem that AT&T insisted I buy to use instead of my perfectly good Netgear model.  (Yes, I’m complaining. AT&T has always brought out the best in me – challenging me to find my most patient and compassionate self.)

I think I have bought  two gifts. Thank goodness our family event is not until the New Year, almost.

I have had the magic of snow, the frustration of things gone missing, the unnerving of trees swaying wildly with the wind and rain and power outages that, in this neck of the woods means I can’t pump water either.  It also means I wear long-underwear and polar fleece jackets indoors.  I have had ice that dares me to go anywhere in a car and forces me to walk with tiny baby steps across my deck to the garage and laundry. I know, it’s all sissy stuff compared to what most people live with.

Today, though,  the sun is shining and I am absolutely in love with my new home. Trees make for wonderful companions. The other day, I saw two jack rabbits that came right up to my deck and peered at me through the window. Today, I saw the coyote who is their likely enemy, chasing after something down the hill in the direction from which I’d seen the rabbits come the other day. Though my first view of the coyote was right out my kitchen window, by the time I got my camera, it was weaving in and out of the trees. Coyote was so intent on the hunt, it did not even notice me as I stepped into the yard for another peek. They are fluffier and healthier looking up here than the ones I’ve seen up in the Marin Watershed.

Here are some photos of the coyote in the morning woodland fog. I did not touch them up. I like them looking as mysterious as it felt.

copyright (c) Dec 2012 Kathy J Loh All Rights reserved coyoteEnlrg

Animal sightings are pure magic for me.  My delight rises from my wild nature through my heart and out my mouth as a simple gasp and single word of surprise “coyote!”

Coyote is the trickster; reminds us of how we lie to ourselves in a way that makes rational sense. My lie was that I did not need to decorate for Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve already and I am having holiday meals at other people’s homes. Why would I go to all the trouble to get ornaments out of boxes and deck my house and then have to go to all the trouble to put it all away in a few days? Why?

Coyote reminded me of magic. There is a magic I want to feel around the holiday and there is a child in me who insists on decorating the tree. So, I listened to her. We put on the music, we chose just-right ornaments that speak to me now – most of them woodland creatures. Enchantment rose in me and illuminated my new home.

Later today, I will go for a hike with my friend who is now my neighbor. We might even go snow-shoeing which would be a new activity for me, one I look forward to experiencing.

I said I moved here because I wanted adventure. I have not been disappointed yet. It’s just the sometimes it is hard to remember that adventure is not always comfortable. There is no predicting the Mystery and yet, there is no need to wait for enchantment.

We are all magicians traveling this Full Moon Path.

What illuminates your path?

How is the Mystery speaking to you today to get you to follow it into the woods of timelessness and create a little magic of your own?

Sending you all love and enchantment!

copyright (c) Dec 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice” ~ Nora Roberts

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” ~ Wolfgang Von Goethe

“Once you awaken, you still use the word “I”, but it will come from a much deeper place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

The word magic comes from Magus or Magician. In Tarot, the Magus is the energy of all possibility, The Fool, brought into focus as a singular idea. The root of the word “mag” means “to do or make” and is also the root of imagine. In sacred geometry, 1 (the Magus) emerges from the center of unity (0 or fool).* It is the beginning of creation.

So, I make up, it is when the Cosmos first knows itself as separate from itself, in a way, through each of us as individuals. We are each the result of a singular focus out of all possibility. Following that, I make up that we are all both magic and magicians. We are all magicians on the frontiers of unfolding consciousness.  And yes, it might be said, we are all fools as well.

Last week, a client came to her call wanting to invoke more magic in her life. She is aware of the way I work with messages from the Mystery, which I relate to as the more real, and wants to experience more of that in her life; more winks and cosmic whispers, more enchantment. I left the call reflecting upon my own path to trusting the whispers and messages.

It’s an interesting path to journey. Most of us are delighted by synchronicity and momentarily pushed into our right brain by déjà vu. Somewhere along the line it becomes all to “woo woo” for most. We create for ourselves a false sense of security in what we can say is real.

“Mystics understand the roots of the Tao but not its branches; scientists understand its branches but not its roots. Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science; but man needs both.” ~ Fritjof Capra

What is real, what is illusion? What is true, what is false? What senses are we using to ascertain the difference?

copyright (c) March 2012 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

We have senses that we think we can rely upon – taste, smell, sight, sound, touch. To see it is to believe it. But any good magician with their sleight of hand will have us believe we’ve seen a woman cut in half in a box with her legs still kicking and face still smiling. Can we rely upon our sight then?

We have senses that we think we can’t rely upon; most of which fall into what we call intuition, right brain, gut instinct, sixth sense. In a Lucid Living course on Trusting the Unseen: The Magic of Resonance Causation, we refer to them as unfamiliar senses (whereas the others mentioned above are our familiar senses). These have been, for most of us, shut down early on.

My own path of magic has been one of solitude, particularly in meditation and in nature. It has led me to trust my unfamiliar senses and to discover that the world around me is speaking to me, co-creating with me, dreaming (with) me all the time. All I have to do is notice and be willing to dwell in the inquiry of being both the dreamer and the dreamed.

Some might say I am deceiving myself. I might be. You see, I figure I have an option of deceiving myself in an infinite number ways and so I choose to focus on a path of Enchantment and Beauty.  I choose to resonate in the key of Love. I’m no model of perfection. I am a fool and a magician walking the path.

Others choose to deceive themselves by thinking that they can find a way to control “reality” and that war might be one of the answers. They see themselves as separate from all others, as victims, and live in a state of us-against-them scarcity. They rely upon the tools of blame, shame, manipulation, pity. I’m familiar with these. I’ve used them plenty myself, but to little end other than a whole lot of suffering.

What’s real? If we think it is something finite, then we forget that we are conscious creators. We hand off the responsibility for consciously co-creating our evolution. If we are each a unique expression of one unified Source, then we are the scouts on the frontier reporting back on the experience.

We are in dreamtime, but if we are not consciously and responsibly so, then we are not free.

This is why I think it’s important to become as present to the now moment as possible, because there is no future that does not come out of now. Our choice in this moment is the cause of the effect we experience in our future. When that future arrives whether it is the next hour, next day, next year, it arrives as now. To be free is to move with the current. But it is not to be the victim of the current.

“We may be floating on Tao, but there is nothing wrong with steering. If Tao is like a river, it is certainly good to know where the rocks are.”  Deng Ming-Dao

That is why I talk about “dancing into the Mystery” – it is a way of expressing what I see in my imagination as the experience of living in the present moment, so awake as to be open to every pivotal moment and make conscious choices; claiming full responsibility (ability to respond) and authority (being the author of my life). In other words, I cannot blame the rock for my inability (or my unwillingness) to see it. I do claim responsibility and authority for living in the question, not becoming overly attached to the answers with which I play and recognizing when I have.

I’ve deceived myself in so many ways and every day, more is revealed to me.

Again, what is real?

Is the glass half empty? Is the glass half full? Is the glass an illusion?

What is the way in which you have chosen to deceive yourself?

Whatever your method of deception, it is having an impact on us all.

What magic will you create?

Please enjoy this TED talk by Marco Tempest. I watched it this morning and it inspired me to write this post. It’s entertaining and may fill in some blanks where I’ve made assumptions.

Notes:

*For more on Tarot, I highly recommend Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins

** For more on magic and resonance, I highly recommend courses with Leza Danly and Jeanine Mancusi at Lucid Living. 

Copyright © March 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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What a fantastic day it is for a walk in our SF Bay area!  The weather reminds me of Hawaii, temperate and humid. Thunder rumbles in the distance. Spring has arrived on time with pungent earth smells released by a week of rain, birds chirping loudly, a fledgling hawk screeching as its mother approaches with a meal in her talons, fresh green ferns and yellow daffodils popping out under oak trees on loamy slopes.

Nature’s exuberance will not be denied!

Exuberance! Remember that feeling?

It’s the dog’s tail when you say “walk?”

It’s the swagger of a young boy in his blanket cape wielding his duct-tape and wooden sword.

It’s the twirling, whirling and laughter of little girls.

It’s the giddiness and innocence of falling in love for the first time.

It’s the way the world sings, trees and all.

It’s life loving being alive.

It’s source energy reveling in the experience of physical form.

sunflower

Exuberance is the music that runs through us all, but we have become really good at turning it off, tuning it out, devaluing it, making it an obstacle to getting real. I’m not kidding – an obstacle.

As a child, my exuberant singing at bedtime often brought a “good night!” from down the hall. True, it was necessary for me to get some sleep and it never failed to scare me silly as it stunned me out of my reverie.

Other variations with which we are all familiar are:

“Somebody’s going to get hurt!”

“You’ll poke an eye out with that thing.”

 “Pipe down!”

“Who do you think you are?”

“What will the neighbors think?”  

I laugh when I think of saying these things to the daffodils or the fledgling hawk.

I knew exuberance as a kid. We were all fledgling hawks at some point, circling ever higher toward the sun, that symbol for passion. I had a passion for making things, for creating plays, for make-believe scenarios, for writing stories, for teaching other kids how to do arithmetic on the chalk board in my garage. I would not have called it passion then and I certainly would not have called it exuberance. I would have probably simply said I was having fun.  I had an idea of something I’d like to try and I set about the task of making it real. In those days it was all about what I could create simply for the fun and play of it, the exploration.

As time went by and the educational system got hold of me, my focus turned more to what I could get for succeeding and what the consequences were for failing. Let’s say I was a good student and maybe too good. (For more on success and failure see my last post “Failure and Success.

We say we have lost our innocence. We’ve become worldly. We say we are grown up now. And our hearts are in pain for it all. I’m not totally clear here, but I believe there is a way to reclaim our innocence and it has to do with holding the more real perspective of who we really are.

Say “I am” out loud and let the numinous silence that follows in-form you of a more real you than all the identities and self-images you’ve held could convey.**

Here’s the thing about exuberance – it’s not something that comes to us because of something we do, get or have. It is something that already exists as can be seen all around us on these fine spring days. Exuberance comes from exuberare which is abundance. We are abundant in our aliveness. The only reason we don’t know that, don’t feel it, is because we’ve choked it off, pruned it back, made it a cause for humiliation, embraced cynicism, let fear tell us we can be pretty much exiled for being overly exuberant.

Exuberance is not something we do, it is something we allow. When we are exuberant, we allow the life force to sing through us freely. It moves us, it makes noise, it dances, it celebrates. My guess is it also keeps us healthy.

If you’ve lost your exuberance, your passion, don’t go looking for it. Stop judging it, criticizing it, blaming it, stuffing it. Allow it to live in you, through you.

Invite life to express its magnificently creative self through you,

as you…

the only you that ever was

and ever will be.

Yes you,

my darling snowflake,

my dancing mirage of stardust,

you!

** for more on “I am” see my post:  Tree of Life (the Movie) and I Am (not the movie)

 copyright(c) March 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Time is eternal…What can happen in 7 minutes?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes for a sound bath?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to offer compassion to all of humanity and this beautiful Earth?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to receive a blessing and heart opening?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to align body, mind, spirit, heart?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to ground and allow your mind to be at peace?

If yes, then treat yourself to 7 minutes of  an exquisite multimedia presentation.

A blessing of photography, video, bells, beautiful chanting by Phap Niem  and voiced by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ Enjoy!

 

The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

 

The music was composed by Gary Malkin and can all be enjoyed as book/audio book co-authored with Michael Stillwater: Graceful Passages

*This came to me by way of Anthony Lawlor, author of the new book 24 Patterns of Wisdom which I also highly recommend.

copyright (c) December 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved - video embedded with permission.

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Consider:

Scattered Hearts

Gathered Hearts

Cloud Shepherd

Picking up the Pieces

These are all titles of original instrumental guitar compositions by guitarist Patrick Smith. I met Patrick on Twitter. His music is that which comes from the heart and ears of one who is awake, paying attention, adventurous and curious.  The songs are reflective, evocative, sometimes “netherworldly.”

To me, they ask questions rather than make statements.

I’ve been looking for a way to share a song of his with you for months now, but neither my blog service nor my Mystery Message service could handle the file size. Today, a You Tube video of images accompanied by one of Patrick’s pieces was uploaded and so now, I can share his music with you by way of You Tube.

Patrick is a generous spirit who also writes about his practice and composition process, Alexander Technique and musings that weave spirit with music in his blog: A Journeyman’s Way Home.

You can sample more of his music on his website. If you like Patrick’s music, please support him by paying the small fee to download it for your mp3 player.

Here is: Cloud Shepherd. Thank you Patrick!

And thank you T J Matthews for your beautiful images! (T J is a neighbor of Patrick’s with no site to which I might link you)

copyright (c) February 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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