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Archive for the ‘Visioning and Vision Quests’ Category

First a few questions for you to consider:

Did you have a productive day today (or yesterday if you are reading this in the morning)?

How much did you do?

How do you personally quantify and or qualify productivity?

How important were the things you did and by whose standard?

How do the things you accomplished fit into the big picture of what you want for your life?

Merriam-Webster’s tells us that to be productive is to “have the quality or power of producing, especially in abundance” which is how most of us think of it, but it also says to be productive is to “yield results, benefits, profit as well as yielding or devoted to the satisfaction of wants or the creation of utilities.”

So, if we review our activities at the end of the day with the measurement of how much we got done, are we necessarily speaking to our productivity? Maybe and maybe not. Perhaps we are just bustling with activity or checking things off of our list without being discriminating about the value we are producing.

If you sat under a tree all day, would you be productive? What if you were Buddha?

P1010709fbready

Most of us collapse productive with being visibly busy or producing visible results.   We often feel like we are playing beat the clock. There is only so much time in the day. This leads to multi-tasking (now known to be counterproductive for most people) and myopic vision of what is important; putting out fires.

Busy-ness with no cohesion of direction or intention, with no sense of overarching purpose and lacking in substance, leads to overwhelm and burnout. For a long time now, being the busiest, most overwhelmed person around has been a kind of badge of honor. It is the ego’s way of saying “I am important. I must be, because I am so busy. Everyone needs something from me.” It is also the martyr’s excuse for never being able to get to what matters to them, because they are taking care of everyone else’s business.

But what does the wound-driven ego or the martyr know about what really matters in your big picture?

If you invested your time today in things, thoughts, activities, people that are in alignment with your soul vision, in alignment with your values and priorities, then you have been productive whether we can see it or not. You have surrendered to your vision and your priorities and come to understand what, at the end of the day (literally), really matters to you, no matter what other people make of that.

In the same way that action without substance can lead to burnout, substance without action can lead to a whole lot of potential with nowhere to go and it can lead you to depression or delusion.

So, being productive is about both the visible and the invisible, action and substance. There is a story that Einstein was often found sitting with his feet on the desk staring out the window. Was he being productive in those moments?

The key is not to fool yourself into thinking you are not procrastinating simply because you are being busy. By the same token, your musing, planning and visioning time may be highly productive or it may be a delay tactic. In either case, be honest with yourself.

Were you able to accomplish anything today that feeds your soul vision, your values, your creativity, your imagination of what’s possible for you in this life? If so, congratulations! If not, what were you up to instead?

Were you taking care of another person’s agenda?

Were the decisions and choices to be made so overwhelming that you escaped into the social media vortex?

Were you focused on that mountain of things that you think need to be out of your way, before you get to what matters?

It is time to walk away from the mountain. One thing I have learned about that mountain is that it will never be conquered. It is always growing. Trying to get to the top is about as easy as trying to move a sand dune, one teaspoon-full at a time.

You will need your body to help you out here. The mind sees things as done: whole and perfect. It has little concept of what it takes to birth something. Consider the last time you installed a new program on your computer and ended up online with tech help the rest of the day. Consider the last time you had a remodeling project or thought you might just do a “little yard cleanup.” Consider what you feel like the first Monday morning after we switch the clocks to daylight savings time.

The mind can plug things into your calendar without regard for your body’s needs. It just sees open squares with times next to them. Your body doesn’t care about the calendar whether paper or digital. It is not a machine. It follows the sunlight, your bio-rhythms, the moons, the seasons and the weather and reacts to what you ate the night before. Your body has reliable reactions to your choices and what you consider your priorities.

So, if your mind tries to convince you that you can add this one little thing your friend asked you to do because, it shouldn’t take long or says you can sit at your computer eight hours a day without consequence, check in with your body. Trust your aches and pains, your gut reactions.

Procrastination then is not necessarily detectable by a lack of action, nor is being busy proof you are not procrastinating. Meanwhile, we can just as easily procrastinate on what matters by getting busy with unimportant things or constantly taking care of other’s needs as we can procrastinate by doing nothing.

Sometimes what looks like procrastination is actually a time of stopping so that we can break old habits that keep us locked in our familiar patterns. This happens to musicians all the time. She may find that she’s been playing something incorrectly all along and the only way to break the habit is to leave it alone until she can approach it with a fresh start.

We are evolutionary beings. We are not meant to lock into one way of being and working our entire lives. We are not machines. We are not meant to be grinding our gears 24/7. Sometimes we need to just stop and wait and listen for a sign, a vision, a direction.

It takes love and hope to generate and receive your soul vision.

It takes vulnerability and willingness to stand for that vision.

It takes courage to hold your boundaries around your own agenda. Many will call you selfish for their own selfish reasons.

It takes commitment to invest your time and energy regularly in your soul vision

It takes discipline to meet that commitment time and time again.

It takes flexibility to surrender to the river of life when it takes an unexpected turn.

It takes forgiveness to meet your failings and begin again.

It takes faith to get off the familiar trail you’ve been on for years and follow your heart to blaze a trail  that is entirely yours.

How do you get a vision, develop deep listening, receive signs?

How do you develop these qualities of courage, commitment, flexibility, forgiveness?

That’s what I’m here for. If you are ready to invest in yourself and your dreams by receiving the help of a qualified coach and spiritual anchor, contact me today to set up an exploratory consultation.

I also invite you to read the other entries in this blog for inspiration and illumination.

Copyright(c)March 2016 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved (includes photograph)

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“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ~ Rumi

In the previous post, I wrote about momentum. Momentum is about sustaining action (large and small) long enough that our project picks up a speed of its own and carries us along with it. We don’t feel like we have to push so much.

Motivation is about what gets us into (or out of) action in the first place. It speaks to a need or a desire that moves us. It can just as easily move us away from our target as toward it. Motivation can come from fear as well as love. It matters that our motivation be honest and in alignment with our more real self.

If we are motivated by fear, we may seek to avoid something. Even if we are motivated by a need to fill a sense of lack in ourselves (looking for love, recognition, a sense of belonging from an outside source), we may be trying to avoid the pain and emotion of feeling that sense of lack. In that case, we are afraid of our own emotions more than that from which we think we are running.

Feeling deeply our own emotions is one of the  first steps toward recognizing we are the authors of our lives and as such are the ones who create our feeling loved, recognized and belonging.

If we are motivated by love, we may seek to express a passion, to share skills and insights, to create something for ourselves, for others, for the sheer beauty or play of it.

interesting photo

Our motivation contributes to our momentum. It is important to explore our motivations because, to put it bluntly, if our motivation is to prove something to someone else or to get something from them, then our strategy may well backfire. Our energy reserves will be depleted and our momentum will lose steam.

If you are procrastinating around something that makes your heart sing, you are more than likely avoiding vulnerability. It is vulnerable to allow yourself to be seen in your awkward exploration, grand adventure, playful innocence, sheer majesty.

If you are procrastinating around something that you think you should do, but it doesn’t really float your boat, then look deeply into your motivation. Is this your agenda or someone else’s? How in alignment with your values and desires for your life is it really? What do you expect to achieve or get for this? If you say yes to this, to what are you saying no? What are you avoiding by focusing on this instead of what you really want? Do you need to delegate or ask for help?

Let’s play with “motivation” as both a process/conditions question and one of goals/outcomes (motive).

As a process/conditions question, we are addressing how we can move ourselves into action, build and sustain momentum.

Some responses might be to:

• Build a habit or routine
• Plant a seed the night before to facilitate more automatic action the next day
• Make a game of it
• Have an accountability buddy
• Create a ritual around it
• Work with others
• Go on a working retreat
• A clean office
• Setting a timer
• Play music while doing the work

What processes/conditions motivate you? Are you putting them into place?

As a goal/outcome (motive) question, we are addressing why we want to do what we say we want to do. What we hope to get from it. It may also be a question of why we are avoiding what we say we want to do. Again whose agenda is it? Is it a should a have to a must or a desire? Is it for short term gratification or long term satisfaction?

Here’s an exercise to help you tease out whose agenda you are following (or chasing).

What do you want?

Take a moment or two to write down your answer to that question. Write at least 10 things you want and include the thing you are procrastinating around that you think or know you want.

Some of your wants may be simple, like a new washing machine. Some may be more complex like to have a child or change careers. An avoidance want might be, to get out of my marriage or get away from this town. (You aren’t sure what you want, but you know what you don’t want. If you have to start there, then do.)

What do you really want?

Take time to write down the answer(s) to that question, however it shows up for you.

If your first answer was more of a “don’t want” avoidance item, then write what you want instead of that. For example, I want to get away from this town might now become I want to live in the country or I want to live where the weather is more temperate.

For some people, it will be further clarity around their original answer, like a front-loading, red washing machine or a career in which I can telecommute.

For others, the answer(s) may be entirely different. The first wants become replaced by something deeper, more heart-felt, more vulnerable. Perhaps it even feels risky to put it in writing or say it out loud.

Many of my new clients have difficulty with the question, “What do you want?” It is totally understandable. For the most part, we have been shut down over the years with admonishments about what we should and shouldn’t want, can and can’t have, need to accept, plan B’s and compromises.

We’ve also been told it is selfish to want what we want unless it is for someone else or “world peace.” We are subjected to the opinions and judgments of others about our desires and preferences. It is painful to want something we think we can’t have. So, over the years, we’ve learned to stuff it.

We bury our treasures so deep that finding them is a major archeological dig. So, don’t worry if you are having trouble with the question. Stay with it. You were designed to want what you want at a heart and soul level. Our life energy and time is too precious to waste on chasing after someone else’s (including our wounded ego’s) agenda.

Here is another fun and powerful way to open up to your heart’s true desire, which you may also interpret as your calling). I first heard this from my good friend Joette Tizzone. She says she may have adapted it from elsewhere. You’ve probably heard similar approaches. I am fond of this version.

The Bliss Question

Close your eyes.

You have everything you need to create the life of your dreams.

There are absolutely no obstacles.

You have the money you need.

You have the knowledge you need.

You are surrounded by helpers, and anything you don’t know or think you might need is happily supplied to you by others.

Everything is in harmony as you create your beautiful life.

Allow yourself to feel this….

Now, please describe it to me, in the present tense, such as I am ….

Where are you? ( I am …)

What are you doing? (I am …)

What is around you?

Who is with you?

What does it feel like? (I feel …)

Allow yourself to bask in the feeling.

Open your eyes.

If you take the time to do this with reverence for the spiritual human you are, you will have begun to feed energy to a future that motivates you into creative action and comes back to you as a river moving through you.

Do not worry for now about the how. The how is always revealed as needed.

As Joseph Campbell said:

If what you are following, however, is your own true adventure, if it is something appropriate to your deep spiritual need or readiness, then magical guides will appear to help you. If you say, ‘Everyone’s going on this trip this year, and I’m going too,’ the no guides will appear. Your adventure has to be coming right out of your own interior…You must have courage. It’s the call to adventure, which means there is no security, no rules.*

So, dear reader:  What do you want? What motivates you?

The next post in this series will help you make a distinction between the form and the function of what you want which will help you go further with understanding the why.

If you would like to uncover the buried treasure of your true calling, begin your grand adventure and could use an ally along the way, contact me and we can talk about how coaching might be your best investment in your self.

copyright © October 2015 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

*Joseph Campbell in A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.

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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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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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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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Happy New Year dear readers!

A quick note before the subject at hand: It has been 4 months since I’ve written a post here. It’s not that I ran out of things to say. Actually, it’s more like I have too much to say!

There are a lot of changes coming to both my website and this blog. I hope you will come along for the ride. For now, have a fantastic new year and enjoy this and every perfectly wonderful moment.

I just completed a year-end review for my clients and thought some of you might like to use this as a guideline for your personal review.  So here it is!

I’ve broken this down into categories, most of which are part of the Wheel of Life that clients complete when they first come for coaching. Use it as a guideline, make up your own…whatever serves wonderful YOU.

Each question is meant to stir the pot, but it’s not my intention that you respond directly to the questions posed. They are just there to prompt you to muse about the year past and what you get to celebrate about how you and your reality shifted because of the attention you’ve given you/it. Too often, we are looking to arrive at some point of perfection. This leaves us doggedly running ahead for the next awareness, the next shift, the next accomplishment. We tend to forget how much we truly have to celebrate and for which we can be grateful. So don’t be shy! Pat yourself on the back!

Then I invite you to begin to look forward to 2012 and state something you intend to move, change, grow in each area. It can be a baby step or a giant leap. Whatever calls to you. If you are feeling nervous about committing anything to writing, consider this a beginning point and bring the topic to your coaching call, journal about it, create conversations with friends and family members around it. Better to point your ship toward a port of your choosing than drift at the whim of the wind and ocean swells. That is, unless you like being lost at sea.

Copyright(C) 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Personal Growth

What are you celebrating about your personal growth in 2011? How much more aware are you of the ways you trick and sabotage yourself? How much more self-nurturing and self-loving have you become? How much more often do you say what you think and mean what you say?

What would you like to open up to, develop, unfold in the area of personal growth in 2012?

Spiritual Growth

What are you celebrating about your spiritual growth in 2011? How much more connected do you feel with something greater than you; Divine, Nature, Love? How has your heart opened? What has happened to you around the area of a sense of meaning, purpose, fulfillment that you want to celebrate?

What would you like to open up to, develop, unfold in the area of Spiritual Growth in 2012? What spiritual practices do you intend to develop or explore?

Relationship – Romantic

What are you celebrating about changes in your romantic relationship (marriage, romance, dating etc) in 2011? How have you become a better partner? In what ways have you grown that feeds your relationship? If you are not in relationship and desire one, how have you improved your readiness and what are you doing to find a partner?

What would you like to create in the area of romantic relationship in 2012?

Relationship – others

What are you celebrating about changes in your relationship with others, family, children, friends, colleagues in 2011? How have you become a better listener, communicator, more compassionate, less co-dependent, etc.?

What do you want to create for yourself in the area of these and new relationships in 2012?

Career/Vocation

What are you celebrating about your career, work, vocation that shifted for you in 2011? It may be the actual form and it may be how you are in relationship to it.

What’s next for you in this area that you want to set into motion, continue or complete in 2012?

Money, Wealth, Abundance

What are you celebrating regarding your relationship to money, your sense of wealth, your capacity to manifest what you need and how has it changed in 2011?

What’s next for you here? What do you want to be more aware of, understand more deeply, put into action, manifest in 2012?

Health

How was 2011 for you in this area? What are you celebrating in terms of what habits did you release, which new behaviors did you add, what did you learn? If your body were to say thank you for all you did for it in 2011, what would it say?

What will you change, release, adopt as a new routine, behavior, etc in 2012? If you aren’t sure, ask your body.

Physical Environment

What changes did you make in your physical surroundings in 2011 that you want to celebrate? Who did you have to be to create that?

What are your 2012 visions for your physical environment, where you work, live, play?

Recreation and Fun

Where did you go and what did you do for fun in 2011 that is particularly memorable and that you are grateful you gave yourself the space and opportunity to do?

What calls to you in this area for 2012 – anything from simply more laughter with others and less TV to in-depth exploration of the hiking trails of Yosemite to reading more poetry to ??

Personal Energy Management

What did you become more aware of regarding your expenditure of energy in 2011? What are you celebrating about changes you made in both your awareness of and your use of your energy?

What would you like to see happen in this area in 2012?

Your Own Category:  Add whatever you want here. It might be something like your commitment to community, global affairs, environment, leadership, education etc. Whatever you can think of that you want to celebrate and set an intention for in 2012.

Bonus:

What is one thing you are committed to being DONE with today?

What is one thing you are committed to creating by the end of 2012?

Some additional ways to play with these are:

  • Create a short mantra/phrase for each category that you can post in an appropriate place (or put on your cell phone) to remind you of your intentions.
  • Create a collage of words, images or both that captures your 2012 intentions and either post it where you see it, or stick it behind a door, under a bed and be surprised by how much of it has come true when you see it again.
  • Write your answers on paper and put them in an envelope addressed to you. Put the envelope in a place where you’ll come across it next December – with the holiday decorations or ??
  • Make a copy of your answers. Have a simple ceremony by your fire in which you speak out loud your 2012 intentions as well as what you are celebrating and releasing. Burn your copy and let the smoke rising through the chimney be your intentions carried upon the winds and whispered among the trees into the ears of the Divine for all to be manifested for you as you intention in 2012. Let the remaining ashes be all that is left of what you have released.
  • Send Thank-You notes to the people who helped you along the way this year or to whom you are grateful for encouraging you to be your most authentic and empowered self.
  • Send yourself a thank you note.  Put it in an envelope, stamp it and put it in the mail. It’s very fun to receive something like this from yourself.
  • Write yourself 12 monthly love/encouragement notes. Put each in an envelope addressed to you and stamped. Write each month on the outside of the envelope, so that you will have 12 envelopes for the 12 months of the year. Arrange with a friend to have them mail you the notes at the beginning of each month. You can do the same for them.
  • Hire a coach to help you vision and stay on track – of course, that would be me! email me at: KathyLoh@coachkathy.com
copyright(c) December 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I love New Years Day.

As much as I also love Winter Solstice, it falls too close to the holidays and gets trampled beneath the feet of travel and shopping, for me to completely find rest and peace on that day. But New Years Day falls after all the craziness and I get to be home, me alone, without obligation or interruption of any sort, wandering through the day in any way I choose.

My Winter Solstice ritual is fairly simple. My New Years activities are greater in number.

I begin by spending New Year’s Eve in the way that most suits what my body, mind, spirit and heart ask of me. This year, I had a cold and I decided to, speak with one of my best friends, watch a movie, participate in an East Coast 15 minute meditation with Ping Li for the new year by teleconference (which means I get to do it at 9pm) and then take a bath listening to Hawaiian slack key guitar music.

I decided to get a jump on my New Years divination activities by completing the evening with a Flying Bird spread using Osho Zen Tarot cards. Doing divination is a way for me to co-create with the Divine. So I call it Divine-ing.  I’ve done this for the past few years and last year’s spread spoke to me all year long in the most profound ways, so I wanted to see what might happen this year.

As I lay out the spread, I became disconcerted. I was tired and the quick interpretation I did of it made little sense to me. I decided to sleep on it.

This morning, I reviewed the spread referring to the expanded version of Osho’s book as well as using Pamela Eakins’ Tarot of the Spirit book. I was thrilled with what the cards portend. The cards fell as a continuation of last year’s spread and gave me a peek into an adventurous 2011.

After that, I began my other favorite divinations: pulling a Healing with the Angels card, two Spirit Cards (I AM and I WILL) and sitting in meditation. Near the beginning of my sitting, I heard a hummingbird, but there was none by the window and the sound came from my altar which houses my crystals and animal totems. It dawned on me that I might pull an Animal Medicine Card as the animal guide for the year and then randomly open to a page in the Crystal Bible to find a crystal guide for the year. Not surprisingly, yet delightfully, the two were well connected in essence.

I tell you about the practice without revealing the actual cards, because my meditation practices are for the most part private, unless I choose to reveal them for teachings (as I did in Movin’ On (take 3) Un-boxed and Settling In) I enjoy giving you some ideas for what you might do with divination for the new year. This is a practice aside from vision boards, vision stories, setting goals and choosing words for the year.

Speaking of choosing words, I noticed that a number of my Facebook friends were choosing their words for 2011. Choosing. Great coaching word. At first, I resisted, and then I thought, I will randomly pick a word from the dictionary and see what comes up, for fun.

Floating sculpture in Paris Fountain copyright (c) Sept 2006, Kathy J Loh

Intuition

You see, I love the random choices. That’s why I do divination. If I choose something, there’s a good chance I will choose from my mind. I will choose something I think should be the word, symbol, focus. I do plenty of that with my business and goal setting. What I want is an infusion from my intuition and I use the divination methods as a way to pop my thinking outside of its well-worn grooves. Sometimes, the cards make no sense, at least not to my logical mind and certainly not to my ego’s goals. The ego’s sense of timing is completely different from the soul, for the most part. Divination or randomness has a way of teaching me, through gradual unfolding of understanding, how these cards, these symbols, play out in my life over the year.

Making sense out of chaos requires creative thinking and maybe the process begins with making chaos out of sense. I take the cards seriously and not seriously at all.

The divination from 2010 revealed treasures that sparkled for me, that reflected a me I could not see at first.  They pulled me back time and again to a spacious way of being with myself and circumstances.

2010’s Flying Bird spread unfolded miraculously. I kept it on the wall in my mediation room and referred to it from time to time. I could see how all cards were dynamically active all year long and at the same time guiding me down my evolutionary pathway.

My angel cards from last year, Divine Timing and Manifestation, were a constant reminder to be patient whenever I got upset with the timing of things.

Anyway – back to the word. I pulled a dictionary off the shelf and flipped back and forth until the moment felt right and I stabbed a page with my finger, but the page I struck was blank. I thought the pages had flipped, but they hadn’t.

I decided to try it again with a thesaurus as if a different book might be the key. My finger landed in between entries, pointing to a completely blank spot.

“OK” I said to no one in particular and someone watching over me. “I guess you don’t want me to have a word.”  (I knew there were plenty of other interpretations, but I chose to be disinterested.)

I headed upstairs to unpack from my trip and create a laundry pile. There on the floor, previously unnoticed was a Spirit Card that said:

Passion

I laughed, just as I had squealed with delight when I pulled some of my other cards today. I like the way the Mystery plays with me.

That’s my word for 2011. Passion.  If you knew the other cards I pulled, you’d know there could not be a more suitable word.  There is plenty to explore when contemplating passion. There is so much more for me to know about this word and all it symbolizes, not to mention so much to embody.

So there you have it. I’ve revealed my word. The rest will remain a mystery for now.

I’m heading off to play with structures:

  • What are the structures and practices, what is the scaffolding that will support dancing in the Mystery?
  • What is the framework that will bend and flex with me as I explore the frontier of my own thinking?
  • What is the calendar of the heart, the timepiece of the soul?

I’ll be writing about this over the coming months.

I’m deeply grateful for each and every one of you dear readers. Your comments and email notes mean a lot to me and I love our connection.

Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Coming up: my first ever “predictions” post. Stay tuned!

words and images copyright (c) January 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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