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“Every time you break a promise, you are loading your karmic backpack with the pebbles of broken agreements.” Patrick Ryan

Are you trustworthy? Do you keep promises you make to others? What about promises you make to yourself?

First, a story:*

Let’s say you are having a conversation with a friend and you mention that you are going to start running every morning.

Your friend says “Hey! That sounds great. I’d love to run too. Mind if I join you?”

“That will be great,” you respond. “Meet me at the bench by the lake at 7 am.”

“You’re on,” your friend agrees.

The next morning you suit up and head to the lake. You are there five minutes early. You wait for your friend. 7:00 comes and goes. By 7:15, having heard nothing from your friend, you decide to go for your run so you can get on with your day.

Later that day, you run into your friend at the coffee house.You ask them, “What happened?

“Oh, I overslept, but I really want to go. I’ll meet you tomorrow morning. Same place and time?”

“Sure!“ you respond.

The next morning you suit up and head back to the lake, eager to run. You are there before 7:00 and you wait for 15 minutes, but your friend does not show up and there are no texts on your cell. Disappointed and a bit miffed, you go for your run.

Later that day, you call your friend and say “Hey, where were you this morning?”

Your friend responds, “Oh, I forgot. I’m so sorry. I will be there tomorrow for sure.”

Tomorrow comes, you are at the bench by the lake waiting for your friend who is a no-show a.g.a.i.n. You go for your run and as you pass the gas station, you see your friend there filling up his car. All you get is a wave and a smile, like nothing happened.

You run up to them and jogging, in place, you say “You said you would meet me at 7:00 three mornings in a row now and you have been a no-show all three mornings. What is your excuse today?”

Your friend says “Don’t get on my case. I just didn’t feel like it today.”

You can guess how the rest of this story goes.

Is this friend trustworthy? Are you likely to believe him the next time he promises anything to you?

Every time you make an agreement with yourself and then don’t follow through, you are being that kind of friend to yourself. You are completely untrustworthy. You are abandoning yourself.

interesting image

What is the one thing (maybe more than one) that you have been saying you want to do that you never seem to get to. The thing that you’ve toyed with but abandoned, not for lack of interest, but for some other reason: circumstances, not sure how to proceed, money, time, etc.

Do you want to write or pursue some creative endeavor?
Do you want to lose weight, get fit, run a marathon?
Do you want to learn a new language or how to play piano?
Do you want to curtail your Facebook addiction?
Do you want to build a new business?

Commit to a plan to accomplish it and be your best, most trustworthy friend, by following through on your commitment.

When you erode your self trust, it has a far-reaching impact. It gives your inner critic free license and opportunities to berate you for being so unreliable and weak. The sting of “failure,” day after day, as the promise is made and broken over and over again erodes your self-esteem, your hope, your sense of worthiness and sends your dreams farther out on the horizon.

Before long, you begin to lose faith in yourself and your passions. Your trickster hisses things in your inner ear that have you believe you were never meant to do these things anyway. It’s all a pack of lies to which you have fallen prey, by your own hand.

To rebuild trust in yourself, if it feels too overwhelming to take on a large project like lose 25 lbs or write a book, chunk it down into bite sized agreements. Make a commitment you know you can and will meet. Because the point is rebuilding trust and confidence in yourself, you want a string of consistent wins.

Start with something easy and simple, like I will not look at Facebook for the next hour or I will not hunt through the kitchen cabinets for snacks for one hour, or between now and dinner.

Then you can re-commit to the next hour, the next small goal.

Another advantage to a bite-sized commitment is if you fail to meet it, it is short term and you can re-commit immediately. A caveat! This is not a free pass to indulgence as in: Commit, indulge, recommit. That would only erode your trust in yourself and send you down the spiral of self-abandonment.

If it is helpful for you, invite someone to be an accountability buddy; someone who wants to do the same and check in with a phone call, text or email (but don’t read other emails) when you begin and end your commitment. A simple text: going for my run now to start and end with: I’ve completed my run. with some celebration emoji.If your accountability buddy lets you off the hook too often, find another one.

Bite sized agreements also allow you to be realistic about your commitments. They give you time to observe what truly works for you and what doesn’t, as well as the ways you talk to yourself and how your emotions impact your discipline. Too often we make huge commitments and then find it difficult to hold to them in the face of changing circumstances. It’s not that it can’t be done and it is more challenging.

Whatever it is you want to create for yourself, make a plan, chunk it down, and make many tiny commitments to rebuild your self-trust. Put on your “running shoes” and meet your self at the “the bench by the lake.” It will also do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence and you will see your dreams moving in closer and closer to shore.

In upcoming posts, I will cover momentum and emotional aspects of commitments to yourself.

Copyright©September 2015, Kathy J Loh all rights reserved

*This is a paraphrase of a story I heard Patrick Ryan tell in one of his Awakened Wisdom workshops. The opening quote is from his book, Awakened Wisdom.

If you feel the services of a coach will help you get and stay on track, I invite you to consider hiring me as your coach.

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A search engine will return many blog posts related to how to do a ceremony at the full moon to let go of that which you no longer want to think about, carry, or have in your life. This is not an instructional post. This is a personal account of the impact and outcome of moon energy coupled with exquisite attention and commitment.

My last post was about the natural rhythm of the seasons vs the calendar. Natural rhythms ebb and flow and we observe cycles in their comings and goings: cycles of day and night, cycles of the seasons, cycles of the moon. We, as humans are such a curious mix of three brain types. We still have the responses of a reptile, albeit it tempered by a cortex with ever evolving consciousness. So, I maintain that there is something comforting for us in harmonizing our lives with natural rhythms rather than with time clocks and the dictates of the cubicle nation.

The moon will be full Tuesday, February 3rd. (You can find a calendar of moon phases here) If you like to align your commitment and energy with natural forces, then it is also a great day to do a release ceremony.

moon copyright(c)2012KJLoh
The premise is simple enough. When the moon is full, it is a good time to let go of things because its waning process will symbolically represent and encourage, the withering of, or gradual disengaging from, that which you release. When the moon is new, not visible in the night sky, it is a powerful time to invoke that which you want to see grow in yourself and your life. As the moon waxes, it mirrors the growth you intended.

The full moon illumines the dark, helps us see in the night. It empowers us to see with great clarity and humility that which we need to offer up, to surrender, in order to be and become more of our true selves.

Not long ago, I created a release ceremony for myself. I did so by writing names and things, I wanted to let go of, on pieces of paper and ceremonially burning them. Then I buried them in the ground next to my apacheta and stuck jay feathers in the mound of fresh dirt at the burial site. This is one example of what you can do for your own release ceremony.

I encourage you to create your own full moon ceremony, because it works.

Is it the moon? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, as Goethe tells us, commitment is key:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, 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 incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

If we don’t have commitment, then I would not expect the moon to do the heavy lifting for us. If we are willing and fully committed, then the moon may be an ally.

First, there is something powerful about inviting the power of nature, planets, moon, earth, whatever works for us, to join forces with is as we make our commitment.

Second, we will likely see the moon every night thereafter and when we do we will be reminded of our commitment.

Third, when we go to the effort of creating a ceremony and we go about it in a sacred manner, we lock it into the body, it takes on meaning.

Finally, as icing on the cake, there is power in others doing the same at the same time (when two or more are gathered) whether with us or in their own full moon ceremony.

One of the things I released in my last ceremony was the ghost of a man who had come and gone in my life in a powerful and disturbing way. Because he lived in another state, our entire relationship, as brief as it was, consisted of phone calls and visits that took place only at my house, on my property, in my town.

Ever since his abrupt departure, I have had trouble shaking the memory of him and his energy, from my space. There were so many reminders: the stain from his maca root tea in my coffee cup, the Tupperware top that no longer fit because he put it in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, the dreams we dreamed woven among the trees on my property and the path I walk with my dog every morning and evening. I could feel him watching me from the living room chair, as he had most mornings, while I did my stretches and Qi Gong. It did get better over time, but I still felt haunted.

I discarded some things that reminded me of him, but I was and am stubborn about the coffee mug. It was a gift a friend gave me that symbolized my emergence after divorce. I didn’t want to allow him to steal that away from me and somehow the mug became a symbol of that.

When we are ready to release something, the intention has more focus and the commitment more power. If we are not really ready yet, it will spring back like something attached to a bungee cord (more about the bungee cord in my post Bye-Bye Now). Call it the saboteur, call it our inner doubter, call it lack of readiness, call it neural wiring, it all has the same effect. But, when we feel our readiness and we have the self-respect, compassion and self-restraint to continue along the path of release, then attending to it with ceremony and adding the power of nature and her cycles may be just the extra kick (dare I say, in the rear) that is needed.

Between the last and this full moon, I began to notice that my first thought, when I saw the coffee mug, was less and less about him and more and more about my friend and her gift of acknowledgment. What really surprises me is that the stubborn stain is suddenly and almost magically disappearing. No elbow grease was involved. I assure you, but plenty of soul and moon grease came into play, for sure. Additionally, the dreams we dreamed sailed off with the winter winds and my living room chair is empty in the mornings.

photo of path copyright(c)20-14KathyJLoh

This morning, I stood on the pathway, in a slit of sunlight between the tree shadows and took in the warmth as I waited for my dog to catch up. The most incredible freedom came over me. I am no stranger to seeing energy in the forest and feeling the waves coming off the trees, but this was different. The ghost was gone. The memories had no substance.

I felt space, lots and lots of space all around me. My body relaxed and I was breathing a little more freely. I wasn’t pulling my skin in to protect myself and make myself small. Instead I was allowing myself to merge with and be touched by the space around me. I only knew my prior constriction and armor by contrast to this new-felt freedom.

The release was complete.

My inner doubter proclaimed “This s()(*& works!”

There is no continuum to be had going forward, no story about how damaged I am or was, rather the opportunity to start here, today, now, with no ghosts hanging around; no baggage to carry into new relationships. I have a blank canvas before me and I can splash the colors of the ghost all over it if I want to. Retracing my steps and bringing them forward again is an option, but I prefer and choose the colors of spaciousness, breath, and freedom.

With the help of ceremony and the moon, it is easier for me to hold this new resonance.

With great gratitude to the teachers before me who have passed down the ways of ceremony and to the moon and forces of nature and all the unseen helpers who assist us in our Earth walk, I now turn to you, dear readers.

What are you ready to release?
What will you create as your own unique ceremony?
How willing are you to be free?

Be it this full moon or the next, I send you my heart-felt wishes for powerful ceremony and blessed release!

Thank you for walking the full moon path with me.

Copyright(c) Feb 2014, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved

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What can you learn from your clutter and unfinished business?

For one of my clients,  (I’ll call him Sam) it was profound what several boxes of books sitting in his office brought to light. These books had found their way to him through someone’s estate. For whatever reason, the original owner, never having found a suitable home for the books, felt that Sam was the right person to inherit something she could not let go.

This is what we do. We can’t let go of something, so we try to find someone to whom we can give it. Then we can feel good about placing the stuff somewhere “useful.” Often, though, we are just passing our burden along to another. The recipient co-creates the misery by being unable to say no to the offering, or desperate plea, however it is perceived.

Sam, in turn, felt that the library should take these books, but the librarian didn’t want them. There was a bit of a standoff, which the librarian won. Sam was left with the boxes of books and the decision of what to do with them, where to donate them, etc. Like many busy professionals, he procrastinated and the energetic presence of the books in his environment created ongoing anxiety and served as a reminder of his frustration with the librarian.

Sam put it so eloquently, “This is just a story that didn’t end the way I wanted it to and I dragged it out. The fact is, it ended, and I just need to treat it as such and move on. We have a tendency to stop living if our whole self isn’t moving forward. “

Think about it. All the items in boxes, in storage, on shelves gathering dust, waiting for repair, waiting to be used, to find new homes that are piling up day after day because we can’t come to grips with the fact that their time has passed. Whatever and whomever they are associated with (whether another person or an old you), is gone; is an old story.

What if each of these items represents some way that we stopped living along the way; some way in which a piece of us got left behind and hasn’t yet caught up, leaving us feeling less than whole?

As Sam and I dove deeper, he discovered a tape he’s been running in his head since he was very young. It was a kind of rule of thumb he’d followed all these years. I won’t tell you his, but I will make up something similar for illustration: Don’t rock the boat and keep everyone smiling.

This is what we call a fundamental choice. It is a decision we make when we are very young that becomes a rule we follow in life without ever questioning its current validity.  Once I uncover these with a client, we can look at it with an adult perspective and fashion a new, more useful fundamental choice for the client to carry forward (and in many ways, the new choice is what carries the client forward).

Other things revealed in exploring clutter, incomplete projects, etc. are basic beliefs that have to do with what you think of yourself and your place in the world; beliefs and rules that impact every aspect of your life. These are generally unconscious but running the show. Also revealed might be old identities and self-images that no longer serve you.

copyright(c)2011 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

When you awaken to the energetic drag encapsulated in these seemingly innocuous boxes of old stuff, you stand a fighting chance of becoming free.

Becoming free releases the bits and pieces of you held hostage in the old story to come and join you in the here and now where you can be whole and create a new story that speaks to who you are now and who you are becoming. A new story begs new beliefs, new choices, new identities and images, new perspectives. It’s not that you have to make up all of these from scratch (unless that’s your preference).  You are already here and you can already vision what’s next. The story you are writing is your choice. You are already on your way. You just need to lovingly and rigorously invite the outdated you to catch up.

Suggested activity:

Make a list of all of the things you own that you want to get rid of, but have not. Don’t worry about the reason for not releasing them yet, just make the list. Make sure to include items of clothing in your closets and drawers.

Add to the list all incomplete projects

Add to the list the people in your life with whom you have a wobbly relationship; not sure you are still friends, stay in touch with half-heartedly.

Add anything else that fits in similar categories for you.

After you have your list, take a broad general overview of it and ask yourself : What 2 or 3 main themes are revealed in this list? An example might be: college related, scarcity related (might need it some day), old relationships/lovers related.

Then write a brief story that is the OLD story associated with these things. Just a paragraph or two will do. This is not a literary work of art. An example might be:  High School and College Athlete that weighed 20 lbs less. Spent all his spare time training. Proud of his letterman jacket. Found his identity in being an athlete.

Then, ask yourself, what parts of me are being borrowed or held hostage by that old story? Write down those parts of you. Perhaps it is the lover or maybe it is the artist or the adventurer.  In our example, it might be the part that is disciplined and can stick to a program or is passionate or active.

Now, ask yourself, how might these parts of me serve me, if I release the old stuff and bring them into the now, to help me be whole and create a new story? Write down your findings and continue to contemplate this question for another week, preferably on a daily or ongoing basis. Notice what is showing up each day that gives you more information about this question.

At the end of the week, return to your original list and ask yourself, would I rather leave parts of me living in the past and attached to this stuff, or would I rather get rid of the stuff, complete the projects, release them and bringing ALL of me forward into my new story?

The choice is yours. I can’t say there is a right or wrong. There is definitely a difference.

Feel free to comment or email me with your discoveries!

Oh – and Sam? The boxes of books were gone from his office the very next day.

PS – “Sam” gave me permission to use his quote and use him as an example in this post.

——

If this calls to you and you’d like some help with this, consider my 3 month intensive or 6 month immersion one-one coaching program. Find out more about it here: CLICK

If you are interested in an even deeper dive, consider a year long transformational journey by enrolling in my Sacred Life Walkabout. CLICK HERE

Copyright © January 2014, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I was in conversation with a couple of friends the other day and one of them said she knew she was at a crossroads in her life, but she felt like she was sitting in a folding chair at that crossroads, not ready to choose a direction, not to mention a final destination.* I am reminded of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, and that he made a choice, presuming he could return and try the other path one day, but as he discovered, every choice point leads us to another and there really is no return. If you have ever gone back to your hometown, you know this. Nothing stays the same waiting for our return.

copyright (c) May 2013, Kathy J Loh

Many of us Baby Boomers, as we are called, are at a crossroads after having experienced others over the years; college or not, marriage or live together, children or not, divorce or stay, relocate , this job or that.  Now we find ourselves at a shared crossroads that has been called the Encore Years or our Third Act.

Many of us were young idealists during the Vietnam War era. We thought anyone over 30 was not to be trusted. We were wise beyond our years and more naïve than we knew. We’d only been on the planet for 15 to 25 years (well, this time around), but we felt so grown up. (“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”**) This was our beginning and the road we thought we were on was marked by the sign post Change the World.

But, (screeching halt, right hand turn), we hit a crossroads as we reached our 30s, that “untrustworthy” age, and we began to chase after the American dream of another sort, homes, money, families, symbols of safety, security and comfort. Maybe you didn’t and that’s OK, but most of us did. Our idealism was funneled into joining certain political parties, contributing time and/or money to non-profits, following a guru, taking weekend personal growth workshops or haunting the self-help aisles of bookstores.

As we approach our retirement years, our children creating their own families, we find our time and mental space is freed up. We are feeling new (or abandoned) desires emerging or re-emerging. What got left behind? What went underground or became a hobby? Was it the artist, the researcher, the adventurer, the tree hugger, the idealist philosopher?  We have become the elders and some say that many of us only incarnated for the work we are up to now in our later years – to co-create a new paradigm, participate in the Big Shift.

Elders? Yes! I’m not talking about shuffling off to a retirement home and watching TV in your studio apartment all day. I’m talking about wise mentors, guides, creators. I’m not talking about pontificating at a family gathering as everyone rolls their eyes: there goes grandpa again. I’m talking about wise elders with a resonance of being that is grounded, present, trustworthy as well as actions that are in complete alignment with your soul’s calling. That calling may be difficult to hear beneath the cynical or hopeless chatter of a weary ego that has decided long ago that anything outside its comfort zone is unattainable. It takes willingness and courage to stop, pull out that folding chair and sit a spell, be quiet, listen deeply with great patience and curiosity.

For many, the crossroads is the result of being downsized, failing health, empty nesting, retiring from a long-time career, divorce, widowhood. For others it is the simple question that won’t leave them in peace: “Is this all there is?” A sense of urgency can accompany it, especially if you are 60 and older. It’s a completely different question from the one of our youth, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” It’s more like: “ I’m grown up and closer to my end, but I might very well have a good number of years yet to live and contribute.  What still wants to happen for me to know I’ve lived a good and meaningful life and can die with few or no regrets?”

And that is the crossroads you may come to face; the one where you can choose to continue the rest of your days in a comfort zone of the familiar or embark on an adventure into unknown territory, uncertain of the outcome, becoming more familiar with an unfamiliar you.  When I say an adventure, I am not saying that you must change everything in your life. Your life may look exactly the same in form and situation, but how you perceive it, whom you are as you are living it, even how you perceive the life you have lived so far, will be different and everyone will notice.

So, I suggest that when you find yourself at a crossroads, you take your time and pull out that folding chair. There is much to be done in the sitting. I think we all too often are propelled onto a path to avoid the discomfort of being present to our inner world and our soul’s requests.  It’s so much easier and so much more familiar to just get busy doing something again. Instead, take time to be still, to review and celebrate. Heck yes, celebrate! Get out of that chair sometimes and dance around with joy for the life you have lived so far and who you had to be to live it. No one gets this far without a bruised and battered heart and that heart, broken so wide open, is raring to dance.

This is the work that my clients do with me on my year-long Walkabouts.  We stand, we sit, we dance at the crossroads together.  We take a look back and see what needs your attention.  We recontextualize your past. You set down the burdens carried to this point and make a commitment to travel lightly. We laugh, we cry, we celebrate and a new story of your life emerges. This is the truer story that can carry the more real and soulful you forward, whereas the old story might have weighed you down.

You’ll spend some time sitting in the folding chair, or a granite boulder, or on a meditation cushion, listening, contemplating, becoming deeply intimate with you, the beating of your heart, the power of your breath, the stirrings of your soul, your radiant essence, your wild nature. This sitting becomes something that gets woven into your journey of transformation. It is a time of ambiguity, of not knowing and getting more comfortable with that. It is a time where you begin to surprise yourself and discover the sheer pleasure of being a beginner again as you vision and fashion what and how you want to use your wisdom and gifts in the years ahead.

Bring your folding chair along as you embark in your chosen direction. There will be other times you will want to sit a spell while traveling further and further onto the frontiers of your thinking, your emotions, expanding your energy and your world, exploring beyond the familiar and comfortable box that has so neatly contained you all these years. This internal and external exploration begins to weave a tapestry and that tapestry is the very fabric of the new you who now engages in their world in a profoundly new way. Not so oddly enough, that means the world engages with you in a profoundly new and magical way as well.

I call my path the Wisdom Path. What path calls to you?

Discover your unique path on a year long Walkabout with me. I invite you to contact me at kathyloh@coachkathy.com   We’ll set up a phone conversation where I will answer your questions and we can explore whether or not this is the right step for you at this time, as well as whether or not we make good companion explorers.  I am only accepting 6 Walkabout clients in 2014, so it this calls to you, contact me soon.

* The metaphor of a folding chair at the crossroads was attributed by my friend to Stephen Cope, but I have been unable to locate an exact quote.

** From the song My Back Pages written by Bob Dylan, made popular by The Byrds.

Copyright © Dec 2, 2013, Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

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“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela

I notice as I begin to write this post, that it is high noon. I’m reminded of Westerns in which the moment of confrontation is scheduled for high noon.

I have felt myself to be traveling toward high noon. The confrontation is not with any outer circumstance or individual. It is within me. It is that moment when my personality squares up with my soul and says “draw pahrdner!” It is the moment when my mind steps aside in deference to my heart.  It is the portal to a new way of being that can’t be known, but only glimpsed, from this side of the door jamb.

But wait…let’s rewrite the script here.  I think I’ll write it as me riding off into the sunset at the beck and call of soul.

I’m not interested in fighting. Fighting, especially with the negative ego, is the ultimate detour. I’m interested in being an enchanted wanderer in the Great Mystery.

I’ve not posted much here recently, and I’ve had plenty of passion and ideas about what to write. Passion and inspiration are moving through me so quickly that I find myself living those unwritten posts and moving on before I ever get near the computer.  Some of it gets disseminated in my journals, my emails to friends and comments on other people’s blogs. The rest is simply digested.

It used to be that I kept track of every inspiration, every whisper or sign from the Universe that it is friendly and helpful. I wanted to remember the magic, hold on to it forever. Now I’m inundated with messages and it’s all too much to hold; spilling over. Trying to accumulate to remember is another distraction. True remembrance is re-membering; embodying

I have a suspicion many of you have been feeling something similar; an apparent acceleration (or shrinking) of time. I say apparent because the reality of linear time is questionable and so it follows that acceleration would also be an illusion. What if it is about the speed of soul and we are beginning to feel that vibration? I suspect that we will find ourselves soothing our physical bodies by slowing down to speed up; meaning becoming more deeply present to the infinite here and now in order to attune to (or even survive) the new frequencies.

Still, here we are…moments past the actual time of the Super Moon (2:10 pm EDT), hours away from the Spring Equinox tomorrow (March 20 7:21 pm EDT) praying for Japan, praying for the ocean, praying for ourselves.

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

Do you see the dancer in the shadow to the right?

This equinox finds us at a different kind of high noon. We are precariously unbalanced and in great need of realignment. Fear begins to shut down our physical systems. We begin to show symptoms in pain, illness, depression, confusion. We can meet our fear at high-noon and stare it down, hope to God/dess to have the fastest draw, or we can let our fear live out its own story in some other reality while we ride off into the sunset of Love, guided by our hearts.

This riding off into the sunset is not an ending. It is a beginning. It is accomplished in the simplest of steps and awarenesses:

Where is your attention?

To what are you giving your energy?

What do you tell yourself about you?

When you are thinking, who is thinking and who is listening?

Where is the Love? (hint: all around you)

What does it take to open to receive Love even in the face of fear?

How can you extend any amount of Love if you are not opening to receive it?

What will soothe your physical body so that you feel safe?  (hint: it’s the small things)

What in your space and activities is more noise and distraction than beauty and clarity?

What will you do about that? (in the name of Love)

Here’s an example of soothing by way of something I created for myself in an improvisatory moment last night.

I’d been feeling very out of sorts. I had a stiff neck (from exercising my frozen shoulder) and I was feeling some kind of heaviness in my head. My blood pressure felt low. I was also sick and tired of all the rain and dankness in my place. I was miserably cold. I decided to take a bath to get warm.

I set up the bath with the usual candle and bath amenities and I set Pandora to my Hawaiian slack key channel. I immersed myself and let the water work its magic. I let my arms float and make hula movements in the water. I found myself in the warm waters of Manele Bay where the dolphins swim.

I sang along with the instrumental music in Hawaiian style, making up words that sound Hawaiian but are actually nonsense. The amount of challenge presented by singing with harmonies that were unknown to me was just right. As I sang, I pictured Lanikai Beach. My mind drifted to the memory of a game I’d played with Jeff Jacobson and other Lucid Living friends. We made up words and phrases in fake Hawaiian sound-alike language.  In my imagination, while soaking in the tub, I created a reality in which I was having a great time with these friends. Jeff’s wonderful playful energy was with me in that moment. I laughed and sang and laughed some more. I got downright silly.

copyright (c) Oct 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Lanikai, Oahu, HI

By the time I got out of the tub, my entire system had been re-set. I had created community and fun and my heart was filled with joy, love and playfulness. Love was present and I was present to Love.

Question: was it real?

Answer: Did I experience it?

Now I ask you, as you consider riding off into the sunset at high noon: if we create our reality, what reality do we want to create? One of fear and constriction?  One of Love and expansion? (And yes, there are many more choices and we include it all, but I have a notion that Love and expansion are more inclusive than fear and constriction.)

Even if you don’t believe you create it all, you can at least think about your capacity to be at choice with how you will be with the reality you perceive.

My bath time wonderland last night was my oxygen mask. The one I put on before I can help others; the one that enables me to spill over with joy and Love – the same joy and love that powers my prayers and visions for Japan, for Christchurch, for Chile, for Haiti, for Libya, for New Orleans, for polar bears and arctic ice floes.

Tragedy, chaos and destruction in the world do not preclude laughter and play, they demand it.

So, I invite you to leave your fear standing alone in the dusty, empty center of some ghost town and ride off into the sunset of your new reality on a laughing and singing on a horse called Love. It must be high noon somewhere and the world needs laughter and prayers from hearts spilling over with Love and joy.

Here’s a soundtrack for your ride (Led (Ledward) Kaapana):

PS: How about some hope? Lucid Living is offering a workshop: Anchoring New Hope: Sacred Ceremonies for a New World. Click HERE for more info.

Copyright © March 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I’ve started this sentence many times over. It’s not that I don’t know what to say. Rather, I am distracted by (or what I prefer to call otherwise attracted to) the wildlife outside my window. It’s the daily luncheon at the oak diner for chickadees, juncos and woodpeckers. Today they are joined by two robins who are perched still as statues while a jay warns in the distance of a hawk soaring overhead. That same hawk is sharing the air space and the wind currents with two turkey vultures. A crow is showing off its wide vocal range. Several birds follow their feast with a bath in the copper sculpture across the way, while two red squirrels chase each other through the branches with clownish grace.

Such are the magical moments presence in the Great Mystery offers. I’ll sprinkle the images throughout this post.

And I’m feeling a bit like a cat at the window;  my eyes tracking every little movement; “what was that? What was that?”

Crow - copyright (c) December 2010 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

It’s precisely this sense of surprise and wonder that I want to expand as I move, with the passing of the Solstice, into days of more light. And, yes, I mean that metaphorically as well as literally.

The only appointment on my calendar today was a meditation and energy healing with Ping Li of Awaken Within Path. Today’s meditation and energy healing was on abundance and receiving. As I sat in the silence, open to receiving purification of old energies that no longer serve who I am becoming, I brought forth three things for transmutation: money, love, healing.

I distilled it down to three unproven notions still swimming in my energy field:

  • Money is evil (or at least the root of it) [clarification to come]
  • Love hurts (betrayal being my sore spot)
  • Healers suffer for their gift(s), not only have they been wounded, they remain crippled (don’t have a clue where I got this one…past life?)

You can imagine how helpful these beliefs are for one who wants more income, a loving partner and is engaged in healing practices. Uh-huh! Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I’m not much of a scientist. I have the curiosity of one, but I’m not very detailed oriented and don’t like restrictions on my movement.  I’m more an explorer than a scientist. So, I set about to explore these notions to find the one thing that would help me release them, which is to say, to discover them once and for all untrue.  Here’s what bubbled up:

It’s all just history.

Money is evil

The whole money is evil thing is from the Bible, only the words are actually: “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV ) and, according to a Wikipedia article: “A more accurate rendering from the original Greek may be: ‘For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil,’ (New American Standard Bible).”

Money doesn’t create anything. We do. What we do with money and how we are about it, is not about money, it’s about us.

Love hurts

Love doesn’t hurt, we do. We get hurt and we hurt others. We betray, get betrayed and worst of all, betray ourselves. We numb out, freeze our hearts, cheat, create eternal busy-ness in our attempts to avoid pain, thereby creating the greatest pain of all – separation.

We are afraid to love because we are afraid to feel the loss of love. In a funny way, we pre-empt the pain by creating it from the start with our separation and isolation. That’s about as rational as saying: I’m afraid that, someday, I won’t have any food.  So I’m not going to eat anything ever and that I won’t know the feeling of hunger after having experienced a full belly.

woodpecker copyright(c) Dec 2010, Kathy J LohHealer’s suffer or are crippled (as in saints and martyrs and psychic healers struck by lightning and the archetype of the wounded healer.)

People don’t suffer because they have chosen to be healers, they likely became healers,  because they have suffered and it is easy enough to gather evidence that there are amazing healers in the world who are not crippled or ill.

This is a story my negative ego dangles in front of me when, faced with the question, “who am I becoming if it is not who I am now?”  It responds with a lot of very scary images to keep me confined to the shadow of who I think I know myself to be. Because that’s what the negative ego does. It pulls together little bits and pieces of sayings and events, tosses them in a blender and pours a toxic cocktail of half truths and assumptions and serves them to us with a mischievous smile. “Here, have a drink. It’ll make you feel better.”  It’s much safer to cling to my “personality” than to go off on some adventure to find a “me” I’ve never known before.

Sure, I’ve been wounded. Who reading this has not? Opening to my capacity to heal myself and others has no direct correlation to suffering other than it is meant to alleviate it.

Byron Katie’s (The Work) questions help here:

Me: (Supposition): If I open to my full capacity as a healer, I will suffer.

Katie: Is that true?

Me: Yes (tenuously, but I can’t say no)

Katie: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Me: No (I must admit)

Katie: How do you react when you think that thought?

Me: I feel scared and weak and timid. I feel like I’m not living up to my fullest potential as a compassionate being. I’m sitting on my hands, so to speak. I hide out.

Katie: Who would you be without the thought?

Me: (here we are back to that question…who would I be, but this time instead of the great wild unknown of who I am becoming, it is an exploration of life without just this one thought…just this one)

I’d be someone willing to engage with the world with an open and compassionate heart. I’d be someone exploring their fullest potential.

OK – this is a no-brainer now! Without that thought, I can be one who brings healing to others, in whatever form I do, while also being mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically vital. That is to say, in integrity.

The precise time of solstice is 14 minutes away.  At this time of our shortest day and longest night (in northern hemisphere); at this time when there is much promise of hope, forgiveness and new beginnings; at this time when the old structures are giving way and new ones await our creation; at this time:

I release history and dance into the Mystery

Robin in birdbath copyright (c) Dec 2010 Kathy J Loh

wash it all away

What happens when I no longer believe that evil and money are married at the hip?

What happens when I no longer believe that falling in love is setting myself up for betrayal?

What happens when I bring forth my healing gifts with integral health and well-being of body, mind, spirit and heart?

At this point in my meditation I heard, “We’ve been waiting to play with you.”

I smiled and the word surrender bubbled to the surface of my awareness for another go round.

Surrender your history

Surrender to the unknown

Surrender to potential and possibility.

I recall a quote I used in a recent Mystery Message about surrender:

“You can remain in your present idea about yourself, or you can choose again. I like the idea of choosing again.” Neale Donald Walsch

As I type these final words, the solstice moment has arrived, right on time.

Into the light everyone, into the light.

Surrender to the truer, more real you.

copyright (c) December 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

 

Eclipse lunar copyright (c) Dec 2010 Kathy J Loh

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This year, Winter Solstice (in the northern hemisphere) is on Tuesday December 21st. As always, I have left the day open so that I can create an intentional ritual that honors my growth this year and the vision that is unfolding for the next. If you would like some ideas about creating your own ritual, check out my 2009 Winter Solstice post.

For those of us who like to play with astrological, astronomic and symbolic events, there are some exciting things coming.

  • On the day of the Solstice we will also have a full moon with total lunar eclipse.
  • Mercury Turns Direct Dec 30th
  • For a period of about three weeks in early January, nothing in the sky will appear retrograde.
  • The Tarot guardian card for 2011 (which is a 4 year) is IV or The Emperor

Solstice, full moon, lunar eclipse

Here’s what my friend and personal astrologer, Nicki Michaels has to say about the solstice and lunar eclipse:

“The Winter Solstice, at the moment the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, is the time of deepest darkness in the northern hemisphere.  It is when many traditions honor the rebirth of the Sun and renewal of the life force.  In our culture, many gravitate towards family and friends around an illuminated evergreen tree or a menorah celebrating the miracle of light.

One meaning of the sign of Capricorn is community cohesiveness, and so in this dimly lit season, we find illumination through connection to others rather than by the Sun’s light. We naturally renew our social connections and hopefully feel strengthened by them.

This year the Winter Solstice combines with the powerful energy of a Full Moon eclipse, intensifying and deepening the experience.  Both occur on Tuesday December  21st, the Full Moon at 12:13 AM PT, and the Solstice at 3:39 PM PT.

So at this powerful and sacred Solstice moment, rejoice at the rebirth of the Sun out of the darkness and experience the open-heartedness that this season ignites. Notice where you find light in your life and move towards it. Ask what you wish to illuminate in the coming year, and allow your light to shine.”  [see note (1) below]


Allowing our light to shine may also entail facing our shadows. Facing our shadows reveals our light and releases us from the darkness.

 

“If you bring forth that which you have within you, it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.”

– The Gospel of Thomas


Planetary movement

When Mercury goes direct on the 30th, there will be no planets in retrograde until Saturn turns retrograde on January 27th.  Yes, Mercury’s retrograde energy lingers, but this all-planets-direct in the sky period is a window of opportunity.  According to some astrologers I’ve read, it will be a powerful time for getting things done. There will be less energetic resistance to our forward movement. If you’ve felt like you’ve been making slow progress or steady progress with lots of relapses, you will likely find the energy shifting in your favor the first few weeks of January.

Sun in clouds copyright (c) Dec 2009, Kathy J Loh

This informs my ritual in this way

I’m looking to complete anything that still feels incomplete and release the energy so that I can rest in a beautiful space of silence and integration. I am also germinating seeds that I sowed this year, trusting that they are growing under the best of conditions.  I am setting an intention to make myself more available to community and to make community more available to me.

I was at a book-signing last night for Transforming in 2012 by Debra Giusti, et al.  Two authors, Marilyn Schlitz and Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda) spoke. Both spoke to the necessity of creating community as we make the shift from our old-consciousness story to the new story. We are in the process of creating that story now (or it is creating us, which is to say it is a co-creative process).

This delighted me since I have considered posting my very first ever predictions blog post and one of the predictions is the new level of meaning community will have for us. Here you get a preview:

Stop trying to do everything yourself. It’s not going to work anymore. Create community. ‘nuff said.


And what about the Emperor?

He is a symbol of the divine masculine. He is about creating structures that will sustain and nurture that which is birthed. I’m thinking of it as stakes, trellises and netting that will support the seedlings as they grow taller. As Pamela Eakins says in her book The Tarot of Spirit :

“Build a firm base of clear knowledge; do not become too rigid; remain open and lucid to retain control, know and serve a higher force; build your world in beauty and light; do not forget that the Emperor remains Emperor because he has a global sense of things that others do not necessarily possess, yet he will be overthrown if he does not serve his constituents; to remain in power, use your insight and serve those around you.”

Whereas last year’s guardian, The Empress, is the creator of all form, the Emperor illuminates the structure of all form.

Forms will be birthed and there needs to be an ongoing nurturing and sustaining of those forms for them to thrive. In 2011, the energy of the Emperor assists us with that. Whether we are creating a home, a product, a business, an organization, or a new world, the Emperor is with us and offers us wisdom.  Perhaps the most profound message is to serve, from the perspective of what the soul knows and sees.

When we look at our own structures in life, we may think of the word discipline. I remind myself that discipline means to be a “disciple to.” To what will I be a disciple in 2011? We are all disciples to many things simply by way of auto-pilot. What wants, invites and requires our conscious, intentional devotion now? Let’s be discerning about that.

The window and the calling:

Taking this back to the solstice (the time when we shift from ever shorter days to ever longer ones), the full moon – lunar eclipse, the direction of the planets, and the turning of the year, we can use this time as a powerful energetic surge, a kind of wave, to carry us powerfully toward all that we generate.  We are always generating something. Let’s be conscious in our co-creating.

 

It is my belief that all that calls to be created is calling from the new story.

Are we listening? How will we respond?

It is this new story that we are serving.

What is our degree of willingness?


As the days of increasing light return, let’s generate and inspire hope for ourselves, for our world.

We are called forth by our hearts to form community to nurture and sustain this new story. Each member of the community, you being one of them, contributes a vital and unique role. You are needed.

As Nicki advises:  “Ask what you wish to illuminate in the coming year, and allow your light to shine.”


Wishing you all an enchanted holiday season!


(1) For a deeper understanding of the Winter Solstice, read what Dane Rudhyar says about the the sign of Capricorn and Winter Solstice. Learn more about Nicki Michaels and her astrology services. Please note that the paragraphs contributed by Nicki are also copyrighted material and used here by permission.

Copyright© December 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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