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Posts Tagged ‘letting go’

“You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Mix them, mix them!” – Hafiz

What do three friends, a book, a dozen squabbling woodpeckers, three caterpillars, Neale Donald Waslch and Joni Mitchell have to do with each other? Anything and everything and they have all conspired to lift me to a new level of awareness. They have at once been the container and the ingredients of a personal insight. Do you have a few minutes? Here’s the story and a little music too…

There are some big changes afoot for me, big decisions to be made and I will be writing about them; revealing more as the weeks go by.

Decision making is not my strong suit, or has not been thus far. What I notice is that I will receive an incredible opportunity, get very excited and then begin the downward spiral of analysis paralysis. The rabbit that takes me down that hole is my fear of making a mistake, of being sorry I made the choice I made, finding out there was something better, feeling trapped.

Well, at least I thought that was my fear. And it is. At least it is the trunk of the tree of that fear. I got a clear insight that it was not the true fear when the first friend, Pemma, asked me “So, what if you do make a really big mistake?” I started to laugh. I didn’t know why in the moment, but I knew that the answer was simply, then I walk away and do something else. For a shining moment, my fear of making a mistake, even a really big one, had vanished, poof!

Later, my friend Joette, sent me an email and asked what the root of my fear was. I set it aside for further musing. Sometimes the mere invocation of a question allows an answer to reveal itself down the road.

Fighting Woodpeckers

Acorn Woodpeckers (K J Loh)

I stepped outside to photograph the dozen or so Acorn Woodpeckers squabbling over territory. Woodpeckers are symbolic of mental activity (red caps) and these completely mirrored my inner experience of the discord between my body, mind, spirit and heart, not to mention my higher and lesser selves. My mind was in a distortion spin cycle. Several of the woodpeckers were drumming loudly and furiously on trees and posts. Their drumming encouraged me to invite new rhythms into my life.

That afternoon, I was scanning the book The Trance of Scarcity to gather some abundance momentum, muster up some courage for risk-taking, and remind me that living small creates smaller living. Author Victoria Castle tells a story of a trip to Yosemite. She writes of wanting to take in all the grandeur and beauty on her day of departure. She tries to breathe it in, but can’t seem to hold it, to keep it. As she walks back to her cabin disappointed, she hears something rumbling deep inside.” She stops to listen and hears,

“How about if you let us absorb you?”

She then allows the majesty of Yosemite to absorb her and that is how she “knew the oneness [she] had longed for.”

Reading these words, I knew that I would not lose what I was leaving behind, if I allowed it to absorb me. I don’t have to try to pack it all into my memory or find some way to take it with me or recreate it. I can be absorbed by it and know that, in our oneness, these days, these places, these experiences, these people are always with me as I am with them.

Later, my friend Alicia held a beautiful space of mindfulness in our conversation and I got in touch with how my wounded ego uses drama to scare me; the drama and pain of good-byes. I also discovered how I make up that I need to suffer mightily in letting go to prove my love for something or someone.  It can’t look like it was too easy. Alicia reminded me to express and receive gratitude for these people, places and times and release the drama and story about goodbyes that create suffering.

Neale Donald Walsch’s message for the day read:

On this day of your life, dear friend, I believe God wants you to know…

…that when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it

is not beneficial to go out and build more tunnel.

Cocoon/chrysalis copyright (c) April 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Dissolved (K J Loh)

I thought of the third caterpillar that had crawled across my driveway, up the front wall of my house and attached itself a fair distance from two others, to begin its metamorphosis. When we have been through the chaos of transformation, why would we want to create more darkness for ourselves? Why would we not wholly embrace the emergence as a winged creature feeding on the nectar of life? The only answer I can come up with is fear.

I return to Joette’s question, what is the root? What is the threat my wounded ego holds over me regarding mistakes? The answer came through:

If you make a mistake I will never forgive you. I will shame you and berate you for your stupidity. I will punish you mightily.

I used to do that to myself, but it’s hardly how I am with myself now. It’s more an old habit than a current reality. It’s a flinch with no punch to back it up.  I think this is why I could see it. The root is no longer submerged in my unconscious. I am aware of my self-talk and have changed it to be more nurturing than critical.

I made a pact with myself that enabled me to move forward with my decision making process. I will love, respect and forgive myself if it turns out that I want to make a different choice in the future. I will not punish, berate or shame myself. I will make another choice and move on. I will look for the gratitude for all that the apparently mistaken choice has taught me.

You see, it’s not the mistake that feels so bad; it’s not the coulda-shoulda-woulda’s, themselves. It’s how mean we are to ourselves that scares us.

For me, this insight was an invitation to release the delusion that mistakes have to inflict painful consequences; that learning is painful and if you don’t feel enough pain, you haven’t learned much.

I awakened the next day at peace and the woodpeckers had stopped squabbling. Only the original family remained.

When we contract, we pull in our energy, our world gets small, our thinking becomes circular or numbed by habit. We become an energy vortex, sucking things in an inward spiral. We feel the pain of separateness. There is never enough of anything and at the same time we refuse and are even blind to all that is offered to us.

When we expand, our energy grows; alchemy and synthesis are available to us. The world becomes a friendlier place; even enchanting. Our thinking evolves and there is always enough. We are open and we receive. We know we are not separate.

The important thing to remember is that contracting and defending in order to create a sense of safety actually results in less safety.  It’s dangerous territory when you live with a sense of “me against the world.”

And Joni Mitchell? Where does she come in? As a post that came across my Facebook feed, it was yet another wink. Both sides now – child and adult – before and after – caterpillar and butterfly.

The aspect of me that thinks there is such a thing as a mistake or a failure thinks there is something to know about life. Something to learn that will be the ultimate key for success and happiness.

What is there to know? Hindsight is not 20/20. It’s a story.

“It’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.”

And I have to say, in this moment, that feels darn good – a huge sigh of relief! The beauty of not knowing and not having to know leaves lots of room for play, exploration, adventure.

A caterpillar undergoes total dissolution in the chrysalis/cocoon. It becomes fully absorbed by its new form.

The chrysalis on my wall will be abandoned in 7 to 10 days.

I’m celebrating immersion and emergence!

What is the sound of butterfly wings clapping?

Butterfly Copyright(c)April2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

photo: K J Loh

Note: for more information about the symbolic meanings of butterflies and woodpeckers, see Ted Andrew’s Animal Speak.

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

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This post was inspired by a coaching session. I have asked for and received the permission of the client to blog about it. The name I use herein is fictitious. Although the client is a musician, I invite you to consider your own craft or passion as you read about his discoveries.

One of my favorite coaching experiences is coaching a musician, in person, at their instrument (or with it, as a singer might be.) It’s not always possible to do this though when your clients live all over the US, Canada and Europe. I discovered that there is much we can do to create in-the-body and in-the-moment experiences for our clients even over the phone. Here’s an example of that.

Recently, while coaching a long standing client, whom I’ll call Tom, we got into a perennial discussion around readiness, or lack thereof, for an upcoming recital. As a university professor, Tom’s schedule is full and practice all too often takes a back seat to administrative duties.

His goal in the conversation was discover how he might “bring peace to chaos.”

We explored preparedness. Tom feels he needs to be extra prepared for concerts. What rattles him about performance deadlines and not feeling well enough prepared is that he experiences some measure of performance anxiety which impedes his ability to read the score. So, even if the score is there for memory slips, he can’t rely upon being able to see it.

[ I am all too familiar with this experience. Why we are expected not to have to see when we are in fight or flight mode is beyond me and I know it’s caused by the blood being pumped toward the torso that causes this effect.]

While describing his experience, Tom came up with this metaphor:

“I feel like I’m spinning in a blender, trying to focus but in a soup of chaos.”

I asked him, “Do you have a piano there?” He said “yes.” So I asked him to put down the phone and go over and play part of the piece for about 1 minute and to do so as if he were spinning in a blender. I wanted to bring the experience home to him in the current moment. I could hear him playing.

When he came back to the phone, we discussed what happened for him and what he noticed as he played “in a blender.” It was helpful to him to recreate the experience while not actually in rehearsal or on stage. In this way, he could bring more awareness to the process.

At one point, I asked “what do you need to create peace in the midst of the chaos of a spinning blender?”

He responded, “I need a minute to center myself.”

This was the off switch to his blender: “I need a minute.” It would become his private internal mantra.

As we explored how this would show up, he said that it meant he would deliberately allow himself the time to create the mental space he needs. He would allow himself to move a little more slowly before diving into playing. He would also allow himself more practice time in his schedule for any performance.

Tom needs to stand up for himself. He decided that if it’s about keeping himself peaceful inside, then his fears around disappointing others, making them wait, failing or playing miserably needed to take a backseat to creating peace within.

This peace within, in turn, creates peace in motion.

Tom said that standing up for himself also means not letting other people define him.

piano keyboard (c) March 2010 Kathy J Loh

So back to the keyboard he went. This time, I suggested he take his time, expand into the peace he wants to create (which I just now notice is a kind of double entendre for the piece he wants to create), and then play. He set down the phone and, after a pregnant pause, I heard him begin to play.

What he discovered in that second exercise was, in his own words “I need to take up space.”

We then compared actual performance with practice.

In practice, especially the early stages, we are listening with a critical ear, with curiosity, there is a sense of constant refinement and we are working individual measures and phrases at a time. We are getting the lay of the land and familiarizing the muscles with the routine; introducing them to nuances of expression. We move from shorter to longer arcs. I like to say, we are courting music at this point.

In performance, we are music’s only way to be heard. We are music’s instrument. Imagine you are music. You whisper into the ear of a composer who translates the whisperings into notes on paper. You then come fully alive through a skilled and talented musician like Tom. What do you care about?

I’m not so sure music cares about a bobble or dropped note when the arc is so much longer than that. In the same way that we can read this sentence:

Mry hd a lttl lmb

we hear the full message of music despite the occasional error. In fact, most audience members don’t miss a thing and only those with the most trained ear notice.

Let’s face it, we can assume a lot of forgiveness here. All too often, we assume none.

What music wants is to come alive.

It’s about the pure essence of the art and delivering the message sincerely, rather than being keenly focused on perfection of technique and score. And I say this as a composer who cares about every note I write. There’s a message in the music, that only music can express and it’s about that message, not perfection of each note.

I asked my client; “If you took out your ego’s ambition (which is also driving the fear of failure and concern for what others think) to be in the top tier of all pianists in the world, what would be the next tier?”

He replied: “All I have to do is be a seeker and co-create with music.”

Can you be a seeker and co-create with music and still reach the top tier?

If we are co-creating with music when performing, we are taking up space in a very special way. It’s not about our ego taking up the space. It’s about offering ourselves to the music, to the experience it will create for our listeners, in a way that requires that we command the space. In other words, we create a whole new wondrous space of music, sound, vibration, resonance, emotion, energy. We can’t create that space as magnificently when we are rigidly controlled and cautious.  It takes full on letting go, being a lover to music. It means not holding back, because music will meet you wherever you are from tiny and constricted to the full expression of Beauty.

Please note, I am not making a case for sloppy musicianship. I am assuming that the co-creator in this scenario is someone who has dedicated many disciplined hours to their technical chops.

Co-creating with music means stepping up to ownership of the true skills that all those years of dedicated practice have delivered to us.

You ARE a musician. Stop waiting to become one or receive some seal of approval. From this point on, it’s all play.  Proving, deserving, or earning are not needed. We don’t know what we can truly do until we stretch into it. The stretching will create learning and broaden our musical horizon. It will deepen our relationship with music, our instrument and ourselves.

Tom and I concluded the session by talking about what it means to claim ownership and to take up space as a performing musician, including the structures and accountability for that.

Tom offered that, as a “seeker and co-creator with music,” he thinks of practice time as sacred. It is not an after-thought or luxury on his schedule. He agreed to create that sacred practice space in his schedule and to hold boundaries with others around the use of his time.

From this perspective, saying “no” to others is honoring the sacred “yes” to music.

He also decided that, in rehearsal, he would arrive early and, as uncomfortable as it might be, he would take the time to make others wait while he centered himself before playing.  He also mentioned that ownership brings him the confidence he’s lusted after.

Ownership, being a co-creator with music, a seeker, a lover, creating sacred space for his passion, risking, stretching, taking up space; these are Tom’s off-switch to the chaos blender. He is now at choice. The switch is in his hands.

And now you, dear reader:

What passion awaits your loving, co-creation?

What will have you decide you have arrived and just dance with it, recognizing that there is always more to refine, explore and learn?

When is the more powerful yes the one that you say to yourself and your art (or even your life) than the yes that you say to the opinion of others?

I’m right there with you and taking a lot of my own medicine.

Copyright (c) March 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Looking to create a sense of peace and balance in the midst of chaos? You’ve come to the right place. I invite you to check out my website and set up a complimentary consultation with me to see if coaching is appropriate for your situation.

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Happy New Year!

Last night I danced by the light of the blue moon and sang whatever song illumined my heart. Any day I have written and walked in the woods is a good day. Any day that sends me a sprinkling of synchronicity is one that sparkles. Yesterday was one of those good and sparkly days.

I am contemplating the word “open.”  It’s not my new word for 2010.  It’s a 2009 spillover.  Just because I turned the calendar page, doesn’t mean I’m done with the contemplations of 2009.

Soul-time knows no calendar.

My body, in its infinite though sometimes painful wisdom, is having me look again at this word “open,” by way of a very swollen tendon in my right-hand thumb pad. I did not do this in some noticeable way, like an accident. It just came on and the explanation is likely connected with some way I held the steering wheel during my long drive home. It’s painful. I type very slowly. It hurts to write with a pen. To hold or grasp anything with my right hand, I have to use the fingers only. It’s giving me a new appreciation for the evolution of the opposable thumb!

In Heal Your Body, Louise Hay writes that issues with hands are about how we handle life. I took a walk contemplating how I might be trying to hold on too tightly, steering too much with the masculine (right side of body) “doing” aspect of my being; how it might serve me to release and open more. I took my hands out of my pockets despite the chill, and opened them wide.  As I left the woods and approached the driveway, I thought “I need to get rid of all that stuff I’m holding on to in the garage.” Then I stopped in my tracks and laughed out loud when I heard, “You don’t even need to hold on to letting go.”

The either /or of hold on – let go is a polarity that keeps me distracted with the game of it all rather than living life more freely. There is the baggage without and the baggage within that weighs me down, physically and psychically. In this contemplation it was about stuff, but in the bigger picture, it’s about life.

It’s not the stuff in the boxes that weighs me down. It’s how I think about them. It’s not my past that holds me back, but the story I tell about it and this notion that I somehow have to be entirely free of the sadness and anger in order to feel alive and happy. It’s also some idea I have that if it crosses my mind at all, I didn’t really release it.

I don’t have to do anything. I can do whatever I want: pick through it, let it go, give it away, sell it, never look at it again, let it rot, mold, be destroyed by mice. It’s not about letting go of the stuff. It’s about awareness of my fears; that there is one right or best way to handle it, that I will be letting things slip through my fingers, that I have to honor it, hold on to the lessons, understand everything about it, to release it and be complete. That’s precisely how having to let go makes letting go nearly impossible.

I don’t have to permanently forget people and pain from the past. I don’t have to make them saints for the lessons I learned from them. I don’t have to do anything other than what I want, which is to accept it for what it is, and open wide to accept new people and new experiences into my life. If tears come through now and then, it doesn’t mean I’m not healed. It means I have an open heart and energy moves through and around an open heart.

I want to hand-le life with an open heart!

Clay figure from Bell Pine Art Farm "Open Heart"

"Open Heart" Bell Pine Art Farm* (K J Loh)

*you can get this and other lovely clay figurines from Bell Pine Art Farm.

Interlude: Breathing is a cycle of inhale and exhale and that curious space of nothingness (no-thing-ness) in between.  I use both my fingers and my thumb to grasp things. They are in opposition, like the poles of hold-on and let-go, and they work better together than alone. So, as I open to grasping, I grasp opening. Giving and receiving, I hold one hand turned outward and one hand facing me, and both are open. It’s becoming clear that the lesson for me here is in giving and receiving open handedly.

Living in the paradox (hold on, let go: give, receive) means living in the question. Living in the question is living in that curious space between the in and out breath.  It’s what Julie Daley wrote about in her blog today as the “blessed unrest” and what Beth Follini wrote about in her New Year post as “living with not-knowing.”

I call this space “creative tension.” It’s where we are always at the edge of our frontier as creative, evolving beings and consciousness; where the drop knows it is the ocean and yet still the drop. It’s unfamiliar, edgy and completely natural.

It’s a muscle we build, this willingness to be and live in the tension of the question. The friction ignites our creative embers. I want to warm and heal the way I handle life by the wisdom and courage of this fire. I want to use its light to illumine my way through the ever-unfolding Mystery.  And, while I’m driving the distance, perhaps I don’t have to hold the steering wheel so tightly!

Oh, and my new 2010 Spirit Cards (chosen during my New Year’s Day ritual)?

I Am – Mercy

I Will  – Inspire

I’m dancing with these to the music of Open.

I’m dancing to this song by Abbey Lincoln that my friend Joette Tizzone played for me after I told her about my contemplation during our New Years Eve chat. Enjoy! (The lyrics are below)

Throw It Away (Abbey Lincoln)

I think about the life I live

A figure made of clay

And think about the things I lost

The things I gave away

And when I’m in a certain mood

I search the house and look

One night I found these magic words

In a magic book

Throw it away

Throw it away

Give your love, live your life

Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open

Let the sun shine through

‘Cause you can never lose a thing

If it belongs to you

There’s a hand to rock the cradle

And a hand to help us stand

With a gentle kind of motion

As it moves across the land

And the hand’s unclenched and open

Gifts of life and love it brings

So keep your hand wide open

If you’re needing anything

Throw it away

Throw it away

Give your love, live your life

Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open

Let the sun shine through

‘Cause you can never lose a thing

If it belongs to you

Copyright (c) January 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved (excluding artwork, video, music, lyrics)

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Today, the day after the Winter Solstice, the sun will be around a tiny bit longer than yesterday.

Today, my seeds of intention are one day new.

Am I any different today than I was yesterday?

Are you?

Yesterday the skies were thickly overcast all day long. This did not bode well for my sunset Solstice ritual at the beach. Still, I was determined to go and I did.

It was blustery at La Jolla Shores in San Diego. The first thing I noticed was how I’d miscalculated. In my town, Santa Cruz, the beaches face south, so we get to see the sun set in the water there. Here, in San Diego, the beaches face west. The sun looked like it might peek out from under the clouds before it hit the water, but it was going to be on the other side of the point.

I reminded myself, play with what is and be willing to be surprised. So I began my walk northward. I called in the elements.  I called in four Arcangels and I asked them to co-create with me. As I invited the angels, I came upon a white feather. This has always been a sign to me that I am not alone.

I picked up four rocks and infused each one, in turn, with what my body, mind, spirit and heart wanted to release. Then, I tossed the rocks, one by one, toward the sea to be reclaimed by the elements. With each toss, I declared my new intentions. I planted the seeds of new energy, new emotion, new thought, new form. Well, maybe they are not so new, but now they will have room to grow. Let’s say, I did some weeding.

All along I was humming whatever came to me; improvising something without words, something new yet deeply familiar, something from my soul. After I tossed the final rock, I turned and headed south. The humming grew more courageous.

There was a tug at my heart as I recalled my youthful summers at this same beach. I chose to remain present and brought myself back by taking in the richness of the cool salt air.

Breathe, simply breathe.

thin layer of sunlight

Feeling disappointed (c) K J Loh

The sky grew grayer and there was a slim line of golden sky at the southern horizon. I tried not to be disappointed. I considered driving to the point in hopes of seeing the sun, but decided I wanted to remain connected to the ritual rather than attached to my original vision of watching the sun set in the water.

I was sitting in my car writing in my journal when I glanced up and saw the most amazing red sky. I gasped. Then I grabbed my camera and walked back down to the water’s edge. People dotted the sand and stood spell bound. Some, like me, took photos. The sky was afire. It was one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.

blazing sunset La Jolla Shores

Surprise Surprise (c) K J Loh

Had I been attached to my original vision, I could have been sitting at a traffic signal, fighting commuter traffic to get to the point and missed it all.

(I just noticed what I wrote – “fighting…get to the point…miss it all.” A lovely double-entendre reminder to take the scenic route, to dawdle and enjoy the journey)

Hey beautiful mischievous angels, thanks for the surprise!

Fire, you really strutted your stuff!

In the night, a gentle rain fell washing away the dust in this dry town.

Today a huge wind is up; for many, just an observation of the weather and a potential inconvenience.

For me, it’s an affirmation from the elements I invited to play with me.

If it’s all made up anyway, why not have fun?

So again, am I different today? Has anything changed?

I planted the seed.

I weeded the weeds.

Already today, I’ve had the opportunity to choose not to hold the old way and to invite and embrace the new.

Sometimes form (earth) takes awhile to catch up with energy, thought and emotion.

What appears to be a so-so ho-hum shift just might turn into something really amazing.

We’ll see what unfolds in the months to come.

Meanwhile, I trust.

And I remain willing (and not so secretly eager) to be surprised.

Copyright (c) December 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Winter Solstice is Monday, December 21st. It is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Energetically, it is an excellent opportunity to mindfully and powerfully release old baggage that no longer serves us; habits, ways of thinking, dark and stuck energies. From the 21st December until the Summer Solstice in June, the length of the days, the number of minutes/hours of sunshine increases and we can play with that as expansive energy. That expansiveness can feed the seeds of intention that we plant now.

sun

Solstice (c) Kathy J Loh

There are three parts: preparation, ritual, follow-through. I am sharing my process with you in this post in hopes that it will give you inspiration, ideas and a gentle nudge.

Preparation

This morning, I did a meditation, specifically requesting assistance with my own Winter Solstice ritual, which I will hold on Monday. While the whole of Autumn has been a good time to prepare (as in gathering acorns) for this ritual, now is the time to determine what ritual will work for you and what you will want to do to be ready for it.

In my meditation, after calling in my unseen support team, I created a meeting of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. I let the format come to me intuitively. I’ve been working with the imagery of leaving bags on the platform and getting on the train to a chosen new destination with clients. So, it’s no surprise that this is what I worked with today.

Body was the first to speak, followed by Heart, Mind and finally Spirit. While I won’t reveal to you the specifics, I am happy to share the structure.

Create your metaphor or story-scape – set the stage

My stage was a train boarding platform, bags that were to be left behind, trains with destination signs to be filled in as part of the meditation.

Release –  What are you no longer willing to carry? What no longer serves you? What will you leave behind?

I asked:  What bags will you leave behind on the platform?

Intention – With what do I want to fill the energetic space I’m creating for myself? Where do I want to powerfully point myself?

I asked: Where is the train, you are boarding, headed?

Follow-through – What is one action I will take to give energetic support to my intention?

I asked: What is the first powerful action I will take on board that train?

Body, Heart, Mind and Spirit were interviewed one at a time and their responses were both expected and surprising. I love the imagery I got from Mind. Rather than the usual flood of words, I got the intended shift in the form of a symbol that unfolded into a new symbol.

I then asked them the same group of questions as an aligned whole. Again I got an image that showed how unaligned they’ve been and a symbol of what their new alignment would look like.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Ritual

Before closing this meeting of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart, I asked for guidance in creating my ritual. Knowing I will be away and unable to enjoy the complete privacy of my own woods, I wanted it to be “portable.”

Again, I am sharing this with you to prompt your own creativity. You know best what will work for you.

Create the space

  • Make the space on your calendar
  • Give yourself the amount of privacy or community you want
  • Ground yourself and become present, align Body, Mind, Spirit, Heart
  • Call in whatever unseen help you like through invocation and invitation
  • Perhaps honor the Four Directions or Elements of Air, Water, Earth, Fire

Carry out the ritual

Release:

  • Do something that symbolically transmutes that which you are releasing (I am collecting rocks to represent the bags to be left behind and placing in them those things that BMSH told me they are releasing)
  • Let your body feel the heaviness or stuck-ness you are about to let go
  • Let your mind feel the constriction of holding on to the old thoughts associated with what you are now releasing.
  • Let your heart feel the gratitude for what this meant to you in the past and the sadness or joy of goodbye
  • Let your spirit feel the how trapped it has felt and the new expansiveness about to become available to it
  • Align into the whole of you and offer up these things you are letting go for transmutation. (I am going to listen to the rocks and let them tell me what to do. I’m not sure yet if I will be in the canyon or at the beach. If I’m at the beach, I will probably place them where the water can tug at the energies I left in the rocks and dissolve them into the great ocean.)
  • Know that you are not releasing negativity into the world if you ask the Divine and Nature to transmute them

Intention:

  • Take a moment to breathe and reground
  • In some way, demonstrate your commitment to your intentions: declare them out loud to your surroundings or to your circle, create a line you will step over, write them and put them in a jar on your altar, whatever comes to you. Perhaps you will get a melody to hum or your body will want to dance, walk, jump, skip.  (I plan to watch the sun set in the water)
  • Save room for being surprised by what shows up in the moment, a bit of improvisation and play

Closing:

  • Take a breath and reground
  • Let yourself be infused with the energy of the planting of this new seed of your powerful intention and know, have full faith that it will be.
  • Suggestion: say “This or something better, with harm to none. Let it be and so it is.”
  • Connect with your circle if you have friends with you
  • Thank the unseen friends/Divine/guides you called in at the beginning of your ritual

Follow-through

  • Remember to take the simple action steps that you set for yourself in your meditation/preparation
  • It might be helpful for you to create reminder notes and to ask friends for support
  • Don’t be surprised if some things in your physical reality, emotional, mental or spiritual health shift as a result of this
  • Keep a journal to track your follow-through and what shows up along the way

I made this up. It’s a synthesis of other rituals of which I’ve been a part. You can make up whatever you want. You might enjoy creating a collage, using a fire to burn the old, writing a letter about your intentions and putting it where you’ll find it in June or next December.

The point is the power of consciously and intentionally letting things go and making new choices, taking new actions that serve the life you want to be living. Doing so at any time is empowering. Doing so on Winter Solstice aligns you with the cycles of nature which brings a powerful boost to the process.

Co-Creating with the Universe

Pay attention and watch for signs. I have had repeatedly seen, read about, and come across red and white roses. I will make sure to have at least one of each with me on Dec 21st.

Resource

A great resource for solstice rituals and working with nature is Nature-Speak by Ted Andrews. It contains a wonderful visualization as well. I highly recommend it. (While searching for the link, I discovered that Ted passed away October 24th of this year. What a bounty of gifts he left in his wake!)

Many blessings to you, dear readers.  May you walk in Beauty.

There are so many things to celebrate in a year and one of the main ones is YOU. When you hire me as your personal coach, you can design the goal of the coaching to uniquely suit you. I have a number of clients who use our coaching to help them develop their spiritual practices, awaken in a way that transforms their lives and harness the wisdom of their own hearts. We invite soul and earth to assist us. Are you ready? Email me at kathyloh@coachkathy.com and we can have a conversation about how I might serve you and your beautiful life.

 Copyright (c) December 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I can’t even remember if I was sitting at my computer desk or walking toward it when this happened.  What I do remember is hearing a very loud sound, looking out the window and seeing  a 100+ foot oak tree falling toward me. It hit the ground, branches bouncing around, and ultimately came to rest pressed into my window like an impetuous “please don’t leave me” lover’s embrace. The canopy was so wide it completely darkened a second window at the other end of the room.

The rest of the general story is fairly predictable. My landlords were quick to respond and the details that are generally left up to those who own property were in their hands; assessing damage, contacting tree services, etc. All around there was gratitude for the limited damage and the fact that no one was hurt.

This left me with the freedom to explore and play with it as a sign of some sort; to imbue the event with meaning, as is my nature.  I’m aware that some people prefer to see it as: a tree fell, end of story, move on. I can see it that way too. I choose not to. I choose to live in a more enchanting world. I have been deepening my relationship with Nature for a long time and animals in particular have become lively and important messengers for me. I go to stands of trees to find healing and comfort. We have “conversations.”

Old Vista with Oak (K Loh)

When the oak stood tall (K Loh)

Fallen Oak (K Loh)

Fallen Oak (K Loh)

The lease on another oak’s life is up as a result of the threat it poses by being so close to the house. It will be taken down because of its potential. I could not help but cry about that during my evening meditation; grieving the trees. At the same time, two pines, about 10 and 20 feet, are about to get a break as they no longer stand in the shade of the oaks.

I thought too of how the squirrels have been working so hard to collect their winter’s stash. I didn’t see them yesterday, but today I noticed they’ve already determined their new commuter route. They don’t pause for a moment to complain about the loss or the inconvenience (unless they do). They simply do what must be done and continue “squirreling away” for the cold months to come.

As I waited for the tree “morticians” to show up and improvise a requiem from chain saws and chippers, I wondered what happens when Cosmos decides that it has outgrown the form of an oak tree? Where does the energy go? What will be the new form? Chipper shred or something else? We see the tree, we see the chips and firewood, but there is something else we don’t see. Cosmos is always unfolding and moving and re-forming.

This week, the Tarot of the Spirit card upon which I’m meditating (as part of my class with Lightning Spiral Mystery School) is Seven of Wind – Many Tongues. There is change afoot. Articulation eludes us as we move into a new consciousness. Old structures need to give way as they, fashioned from an old perspective, no longer serve. It makes me ask: how can my mind, having created those structures as a mirror of itself, fathom a new one? What’s coming?

I am in that place between knowing and knowing anew. I have a sense, I have intuition, but I don’t yet have the words. The energy that was the oak tree and outgrew it is moving on and showing up in some new form, but I don’t know what. All I see is the fallen oak.

What comes with the fallen tree is the opening of a new vista. I can now see the previously hidden stands of redwoods and there is more sky which means more light, fuller sunsets, more moon and more stars.  The birds and squirrels will be farther from my view having moved to the trees further down the hill.

A friend and colleague drew an angel card for me, regarding this event. She drew Aspiration which indicated it was time to set my sights higher.  Now I have the vista and sky to do so and it may require the toppling of some structures.

This tree fell directly at me and if I crawled out my window, I could crawl directly down its branches to its main trunk and straight on down to the unearthed root ball. I can make up that a great groan of “done-ness” has arisen from its roots and shot straight up the trunk to me, entered into my field of awareness and left me with that same energy. All the things I am reticent to release, from beliefs to old stories to the stuff of clutter, are gathering, energetically, in me into a full surrender roar of enough!

It’s edgy business, this being done with no sense of what’s to come. There is no new structure already built and in place for me to inhabit and by which to live. I’ve purposefully invoked the unknown, the Mystery and here it is; a big gaping hole in the space where once a mighty oak stood; a hole where the light can now shine and from which the stars can be viewed.

I am setting my sights higher, wider, deeper,  broader. I’m setting my sights and getting insights; familiarizing myself with the lay of this new terrain and feeling incredible gratitude for the Beauty we call Nature. In these ways and so many others, I allow myself to be enchanted an  in-formed by a fallen oak.

Copyright (c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within. “ – Horace Friess

“ My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?” – Charles Schulz

It was a Monday (Oct 2008) I will never forget…(hopefully)

Strike One:

Construction had begun on the remodel of a garage-soon-to-be-family-room to which my granny unit apartment is attached. Sledge hammers and crow bars were being used to rip away the old wall. I work, on the phone, on the other side of that wall.  It was disruptive and annoying and the nightmare, as I called it, was only beginning.

Strike Two:

Let me back up for a moment. On the Friday prior I got a warning signal. My computer crashed.  It summarily told me, by way of some error message I can’t recall, that it was done and it died. I was grateful I had a back up drive and I used it regularly. I still had time on my 3 year warranty, so I picked up the phone and waited to have a conversation with a techie in India. Secretly, I hoped my computer would be pronounced dead so I could go out and buy a Mac.

The techie took me through a number of fruitless steps and then told me all we could do was wipe out my hard drive and start over. With her supervisor on the line, she asked me if I understood what we were about to do. I said yes and that I wasn’t happy.

We wiped the drive clean while re-installing the operating system. (Sometimes I wish I could clear my “drive” and re-install my own internal operating system. Do they outsource for this service as well?)

I spent the weekend re-loading software. The only reward was the speed I now experienced with the newly cleaned disk.

So, now back to Monday’s strike two.  It comes in two parts. My back-up drive died after downloading a fraction of what it held. My computer’s wireless card died and some other, less memorable things got funky. Again, I called India (I mean my computer company’s Technical Service). There was a program the techie wanted to download to my computer, but since my wireless card was not working, that was not possible. I had to go around to the landlord’s place and download it through their computer to transfer to mine. This had me traipsing back and forth across the property  into the dusky hours of twilight, carrying my computer at all times.  I was hurrying back to get his return phone call at my place when…

Strike Three:

I stepped down the two stairs between my bedroom and office and missed the second one.  My ankle folded in half and my computer went flying out of my hands and into the desk leg. (Would this be my Mac opportunity?)

The phone rang and we continued our work on my computer, while I had my leg up on the desk with ice on it. The techie came to the conclusion that my problem could not be fixed over the phone and they would now honor my “in home service” warranty and send someone out to the house to fix things. (Gee, wonder why he hadn’t come to that hours and a healthy ankle ago.)

Before the choice comes the surrender

Tuesday found me propped up in bed with no online service available, painstakingly moving from spot to spot in the house with the use of a borrowed walker, unable to drive, listening to hammers, saws, and loud music as the construction crew continued their demolition fiesta. I was trapped. I felt like a cornered animal. My daily swim/float in the pool had come to an abrupt end. It was like the powers that be said “no more fun for you little missy” and pulled the plug. What’s with my life mirroring my computer anyway?

I had a  call with my writing coach and she let me whine and blame for a bit. Then she reminded me of my exquisite imagination. There, on the phone, lying in the bed, I began to float on water. I was as much in the pool as on the bed. As we completed the imaginary float, she asked,  “What did you hear while you were floating?” I was surprised to realize I’d not heard the hammering at all. I’d heard it, but hadn’t noticed it. I was no longer triggered by it.

Floating (c) Kathy J Loh

Floating (c) Kathy J Loh

In that moment, I integrated what, until then, I’d only known intellectually.

Happiness is a choice.

Despite the circumstances, I knew I did not want to feel miserable as well. How I feel is within the realm of my control.  Days prior to this strike-out, I’d been blissfully happy and carefree. I did not want to lose that joy. I may be “out” but I’m not going down! I decided to feel happy. I surrendered to the what-is of a sprained ankle, a lack of internet connection, non-mobility and invasive noise. I asked for help. Rather than spending the hours in anger and frustration, I spent them following my heart’s desire in each moment.  I was truly happy.

So, I suggest following these steps for the next time circumstances knock you sideways:

  • Stop and breathe
  • Notice what is
  • Ask:  what can I change and what is out of my control?
  • Surrender to it
  • Let yourself wallow for a little bit; feel what you are feeling.  (I discovered something about why I’m so triggered by loud noises when I did this.)
  • Ask for help
  • Choose happiness
  • Follow your heart’s desire and create it for yourself in whatever responsible (ability to respond) way you can

Oh, and my laptop computer? I still have it. The in-home technician replaced the wireless, gave me a new keyboard and an incredible deal on more memory and extended the warranty. ( Uhm…can I get one of those extended warranties for me too?) And the Mac is on hold for now.

Copyright (c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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