How are you staying awake to life?

January 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Creative Risk | 3 Comments
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“Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking. We should amass half dressed in long lines like tribesmen [or women] and shake gourds at each other, to wake up; instead we watch television and miss the show.”

In the above quote Annie Dillard (in her book, The Writing Life) is referring to the capacity of a good writer to rouse us from the mundane and infuse our hearts and minds with a sense of fresh possibility.

Reading is a wonderful way to shake up your perspective, one of my favorites. But what else can you do to juice up your reality? Sometimes the smallest change — like taking a different route to work or trying a new recipe — can transform how you think and feel. It doesn’t have to be a major shift, like learning a foreign language or becoming a political activist or moving to a new town . . . but it could be.

The point is to do something — hopefully, every day — to stay awake to life . . . so that you’re not caught off guard by death or love or crisis when it shows up in your life.  These elements are part of all our lives.  Fear can make us avoid people or situations that make us uncomfortable, but it’s our willingness to embrace drama and break away from the ordinary that keep us truly alive.

How are you staying awake to life today?

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What does your heart need right now?

January 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Emotional honesty | 2 Comments
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It’s really easy for us to get stuck in thinking in a linear way. After all, it’s a pretty linear world that most of us live in, right? The kind of world where reasoning traditionally follows a fairly 1-2-3 pattern. For example, “I need to work at a job that pays well enough, so I can save enough money, so I can buy a house, so I can start a family.” Or, “I need to stay in relationship with this particular person because without him/her I can’t survive financially and we’ve got a family to support and, besides, what would people think?”

Do you hear the fear that can often accompany linear thinking? Fear that if you don’t do things in a particular style or sequence, you won’t get what you need . . .

In his book, The Theft of the Spirit: A Journey to Spiritual Healing, Carl Hammerschlag refers to the heroic journey being one where we recognize and confront our fear so we can move past it to discover our truth. I like to believe that this is what the Authentic Life process is all about — moving from fear-based living to a reality based on trust, becoming more honest and free along the way.

Wherever you are today is exactly where you need to be, to learn what you’re called to learn. When you feel you’ve learned what you can — and your heart is ready for a fresh direction — move on.

There are times when a linear approach is appropriate and other times when it can keep you from movement, growth, change. Sense the difference, release the fear. Take a leap of faith and ask yourself, “What does my heart need right now?”

So tell me, what does your heart need right now?

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