Dark Spots Get the Needed Light To Live Forward

Today I get the honor of participating in my first writer’s blog tour! I have to admit I had never heard of such an event. However, as I took a peek at the other awesome writers on the tour before me and read their writing journey, I was thrilled to get a chance to share and promote other writers.

I was invited to participate by Lea Bayles.

Lea’s piece about her wild river lover was awesome! I found her words rich, moving and wonderfully human. Visit her site: http://www.leabayles.com/blog and read more!!! 7399966

Now for my own writing journey ….
Dark Spots Get the Needed Light To Live Forward…why I write.

When I was seven, living at camp with my family, I was gifted a baby bunny that had been saved from the camp lawn mower. I was thrilled to take the little being in my hands, feel its rapid heartbeat. I found the bunny a home in a box, which I made quite comfy with grasses, leaves, and dirt. I was so ready to protect and nurture the little being. I sat beside that box for hours watching the bunny breathe and sleep.

Late in the day, my Mom called me to go to dinner. We had to leave our cabin for the lodge. I would be gone for at least an hour or more. I knew I needed to protect the bunny from our dog and the camp cat. So I put the box in our car. Off, I went to dinner. When I returned, I found the baby bunny very still, clearly not breathing, yes, dead. The car had gotten too hot. I was devastated. I couldn’t find words for what I was feeling. The horror that I had killed the little baby bunny was overwhelming. I didn’t speak about it. I went quiet for days. I silently buried the bunny. I didn’t know how to come back from such a mistake and loss.

In the fall, when I returned to school, my teacher asked us all to write about our summer. On that blank sheet of paper, I reclaimed my heart. I wrote about the joy I felt with a new life in my care, the pleasure of creating a home for it, and the hours of being a protector. I wrote about the tragic choice to put the little bunny in the car, a decision made with good intent that went horribly wrong, and finally, the pain of holding that little lifeless bunny.

The piece wasn’t long. It was a series of simple seven-year-old words, with some words missing and some misspelled. Yet those words captured the life and death of my bunny and my emotional process. When my teacher chose to read my piece, and I heard my words, I finally cried. My life returned. The pain was freed to live forward.

Since that first piece, I have used writing as a path to process the stories of my life that otherwise would have shut me down. When I write my heart opens. My defenses drop, and the armor that I have used to survive, begins to melt.

When I was dealing with cancer at 24, I wrote to wrestle with the gods about fairness. When I was dealing with nightmares and memories from my childhood, I used prose to share the pain that was trapped in my cells. When I lead a Come Alive, I am holding a space in a circle for peoples’ stories. I write then to find my heart, clear my mind, so that I can stay present and connect with their world, not stay stuck in mine.

Writing frees my emotions, and clears my pain so that the dark spots get the needed light to live forward. Writing allows the broken pieces to reform and become art.

I have wrestled with whether or not to write a book, but my path seems to be more an on-going river of short pieces.

I had never called myself a “writer” because my written words were rarely kept. I’d share them in circles and with friends. In the sharing my armor would finally soften, and the stories would melt away. That still seems to be the heart of my purpose in writing.

4972425Maybe someday I will bring the pieces together, and a book will emerge. Maybe the pieces will remain fragments in a blog post, a newsletter, a poem, or a piece shared to honor a friend’s passing. I am uncertain. I just know I am a better person when I write. My defenses drop and my heart opens when I let the words find a place on a page. The cracks those words create, let the light in and my broken heart beats on.

The memory of a baby bunny’s journey in my hands is complete – life and death, joy and sorrow. No hero. No happy-ever-after ending – real, raw and messy, human after all.

Now for the super fun part of being on a blog tour – the three Writers I would like you to meet:

Meet Martha Jo: Dr. Martha Jo Atkins that is. She is all out loud and proud about death, dying, and grief. She helps grieving folks find new ways to be in the world after someone they love has died. She also helps people + businesses renegotiate and step into identities after big change or loss. Visit her blog and enjoy! http://www.marthaatkins.com/blog/

Meet Xanet: Xanet Pailet is a former health care attorney turned sex and intimacy coach, certified sexological bodyworker and Tantra teacher She works with women and men who are sexually shut down and helps them rediscover their sexuality and find more pleasure in their life. Read more: http://powerofpleasure.com/sex-advice/

Meet CrisMarie: CrisMarie has gone from Olympic athlete to Top Five Consulting firm to Actress, Writer and Coach. Her quest continues to be stepping more and more into her authentic self. Having gotten lots of practice, CrisMarie will help you reclaim your life and bring more of who you truly are to what you do to get the results you want. Visit her blog and be inspired! http://inspireplaycreate.com/

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Travels and Where They Take Us To!

It's all in where you travel to!
It’s all in where you travel to!

Some people are travelers. They love going out into the world, seeing new places, learning new languages and discovering different cultures. When I see the photographs from other lands, I find myself curious and interested. However, I seem to be someone who is more inclined to travel the vast inner landscapes of the world.

For more than thirty years, a significant amount of my time has been spent sitting in a circle, listening to people reveal and share their stories. A majority of those circles have been in the same room. Sure there has been some refreshing of the carpet, the art on the walls and a new paint job. Plus, the ages and faces have changed over the years. But that circle has stayed the same.

For me, it has been the center of amazing journeys. The stories people share have taken me to dark caves, vast oceans, difficult interactions, impossible circumstances. The joys, sorrows, demons, and angels of those that come to the circle, are profound.

Out in the world, differences seem to be dividing us, separating us and there doesn’t seem to be a path to connect. Yet, whenever I arrive for the first night of a Come Alive at The Haven, I am reminded that we as human beings are innately relational. My experience has provided me with proof that people can, and do, find ways to courageously connect, even through immense pain and insurmountable differences.

Often someone will ask, “Why don’t you move the circle outside?” There are days where it would be quite wonderful to sit out on the land. Nature is an amazing healer and does often play a significant part for people during the breaks. However, I get sometimes it is the simple act of sitting, without distraction, in a circle that can lead to an opening that otherwise is all too easy to avoid, focused on the beauty of nature, we might miss the beauty of nature in another human being sitting right across from us.

Though we long to connect and relate, as adults, have too often learned to protect, guard and hold back. As people arrive the first night to the circle, it is clear that it takes time to relax that habitual armor.  Then someone throws open a door to their soul, sharing a long held pain that simply can not be kept hidden anymore, and we are off on a wild ride.

Whatever is presented is much like the picture travelogues. I see, hear, touch and deeply feel the rich, deep wonder of the human soul, longing to express, be seen, and be acknowledged. We are each invited to hear our own deep calling and response.

The sounds in the circle are never quite the same, yet there is a melody that plays through, and weaves each circle together to hold and reflect the wonders of being human. The journey is worth the effort, and always adds depth and new possibility to my own inner landscape.

Yes, I too am a traveler.

Here is a short video, click here to learn more about Come Alive at the Haven.

SLDP: Horses & Golf

406 thrive! Golf Team
406 thrive! Golf Team

SLDP, my Summer Leadership Development Program. You may be wondering what do horses and golf have to do with leadership. Well, I am beginning to think quite a lot.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am currently engaged in an Equus Coach Training program with Koelle Simpson.  As a result, I am spending many hours getting to know horses.  They are amazing teachers, especially when it comes to leadership.  Horses simply wouldn’t follow a leader unless that leader is congruent and clear.  They have a very high BS meter (yes – I mean bull sh*t!).  If I am pretending or incongruent, they read it, and quickly move away or simply ignore any efforts I make to take control.

Seriously, they pick up my emotions much faster than I do!

Currently my work with the horses is mostly mucking stalls, going and bringing a horse in for a vet visit, or walking a horse from the pasture into a coral for a training session.  These probably seem like very simple tasks.  However, when it’s a 1000 pound animal, and they really don’t have to do anything I request, it quickly becomes about my leadership.  Plus, when I watch people with their horses, it’s amazing what there is to learn about their leadership style.

The key with the horses is developing a strong sense of self, and being willing to be clear, and committed to translating that direction to the horse.  Not through force, but through clear signals, and solid presence.  These are major keys to any type of effective leadership!

Then there’s golf.  This is year two for our 406Thrive golf team in the Whitefish Lake Ladies Golf League. This year our team has moved out of being ‘firmly in last place.’  We may return to last place, but we have been riding a solid start!

However, the lessons in golf aren’t as much about teamwork as they are about doing the inner work to stay engaged, even when I am way off the fairway, or I am whacking my third sand shot.

I started this team, and invited folks to join based on having a fun competitive experience learning golf, and playing regularly together.  When I’m overly focused on my game, and struggling to recover from a bad hole, it is easy to forget the bigger vision.  It seems I am no longer satisfied by simply finishing a round or finishing ‘firmly in last place.’  No, I expect more.  I want to par a couple holes.  I want to have a better short game, and not three putt a hole.  I want our team to play well, and win a few matches.  However, all that desire to do my best, and have our team finish strong, so easily results in getting tight when it’s not happening as easily or effortlessly as I think it should!

Now, isn’t that like leadership!  Wanting great results and having to live through the pain of learning, making mistakes, and recovering.  OMG – golf is all about that!

So my summer is focused on leadership, be it relating to the horses or whacking my way out of a sand trap!!