“I‘ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write…. and you know it’s a funny thing about house cleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

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From Google Images: http://www.domesticcleaningtips.co.uk/must-read-kitchen-cleaning-tips/“Perfect way to stop a woman.” Ouch.

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For me, this is not about the cleaning. It’s about the metaphor: all the things that keep me from doing what I say I most want to do. All the seemingly important tasks that clamor for my attention. All the distractions. More to the point: all the inhibitions and insecurities that crowd and clamor and consume.

I’m not naive, nor am I an idealist. There are things that need to be done. Responsibilities that beckon. Important work that is required. But for me, those tasks, burdens, and endless lists tend to become excuses, delays, even weirdly-grateful-for hindrances that keep me from the better part.

There’s an old, old story told of two sisters. One day a renowned Teacher graced their home. One of the sisters sat contentedly at his feet while the other scurried about in the kitchen – managing the critical details of hospitality.

Eventually the sister in the kitchen complained. “Don’t you care that she has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

The Teacher said to her: “Dear woman, you are worried about many things. Your sister has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

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Ouch! A few examples of my own stuck-in-the-kitchen reality?

  • I must be losing subscribers because they don’t quite understand me. I should re-tool my “About” page.
  • My social media strategy needs attention, time, and work. Surely, that will help me turn the corner.
  • I need to create some kind of passive revenue stream; something that would be a fail-safe income generator so I can focus on my real writing.
  • Maybe I should craft this blog post in a way that allows everyone to resonate instead of just some. Yes, that seems wise.

This is only the tip of my iceberg. Each of these – and so many more – keep me “in the kitchen” and busy with details that matter on some level, to be sure, but that deflect me from my true desire, true calling, the better part. I grouse about the way things seem to be for everyone else. And I justify lack of movement, avoidance of risk, aversion to exposure, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear. How convenient. How neat and tidy.

The better part. What is that exactly?

  • Doing the hard(er) work of putting myself out there, others’ opinions (and my own self-critic’s) silenced.
  • Trusting that I actually know.
  • Not giving one more thought to “perfect clients” or platform or market share or SEO-optimization.
  • Letting people in, no matter how messy my kitchen, my mind, my heart, my world.
  • Writing, saying, being in ways that might probably go against the grain, but that feel so true, so right, so real, so me.

The better part, the better choice, the only choice, really, is to allow for and invite the messiness, the risk, the passion, the unbridled creativity, the unrestrained voice, the rampant imperfection.

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The better part
is to listen to wisdom within and without. To stop fussing and laboring and yes, cleaning. To come out of the kitchen and sit, stand, and stay in places of meaning and beauty.

The better part is to not be stopped at all, ever, by anything.

Perfect!

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[Deep appreciation to Martha and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]

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BlessingsThe story that inspired this post is but one of the many stories I love, but one of the many women of and for whom I speak through the Blessings I offer each week to those who are subscribed. I tell of them in even more detail in the private Blessings Facebook Group. There, alongside an ever-growing and beautiful community of women, I look at these stories more deeply, these Blessings more deeply, and the blessing inherent in our own story most deeply of all. Subscribe, then join me/us! It’s all free: the Blessings, the group, the wisdom, the beauty. Gifts from me to you.

If you resonate even the least little bit with my quick reference above to comparison – seeing/perceiving others’ lives as better, easier than your own – then run-don’t-walk to the newest offering from Tanya Geisler and Lauren Bacon: Beyond Compare. It is profound, generous, wise, and a must…I cannot say enough good things about it. Really. 

Listen to the audio version of this post by clicking here.

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    Doorknob as seen on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/36310340718248752/)Same thoughts. Same frustrations. Same choices. Different day.

    To open the door, or not…

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    Your hand trembles on the knob, uncertain, not ready, afraid.

    No. Not yet. Step back. Stay safe.

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    But you don’t want to be safe, do you? Not really. You want to fling the door wide and dance through its frame. You want to write poetry and paint wildly and speak prophetically. You want to move through your world with the freedom and abandon of a young girl – dandelions in her hair, trees bowing down to her in worship, grass the grandest of blankets, blue skies that surround in song.

    Tell me why you stay inside? Remind me?

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    Listen. You already know this. Nothing that you want, desire, or deserve remains on this side of the threshold. You’ve given it every chance. You’ve been patient. You’ve been gracious. You’ve stayed seated. You’ve been silent.

    You know this, as well. Until you step over the threshold and turn your back on the familiar, the entrenched, and yes, all that seems safe, you won’t be able to taste the wildness that awaits.

    You don’t know what will happen (which, of course, is why you have continued to stay inside). You don’t need to. Turn the knob, open the door, breathe in the brisk, fresh air, and move. Don’t look back. Be impatient. Choose yourself. Stay standing. And start speaking, shouting, yelling, singing.

    Who cares what the neighbors think? You’ll be free.

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    Will you stumble and fall from time to time? Probably. Will you know grief? It’s a given. Will people sometimes often misunderstand you? Mmm hmm. But will you be alive? Yes.

    How about this? I’ll stand on the other side and just keep knocking. Eventually, you’ll get so tired of not accepting the invitation that is so clearly yours that you’ll open the door anyway. And there, waiting as I’ve always been, I’ll grab your hand and pull you into the world, the beauty, the life that awaits you.

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    [Deep appreciation to Jepthah's Daughter and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]
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    BlessingsThe story that inspired this post is the one whose voice and heart is heard in this week’s Blessing. And it’s the story we’re looking at in the private Blessings Facebook Group – a beautiful community of women with whom I explore these stories more deeply, these Blessings more deeply, the blessing in our own story most deeply of all. Subscribe, then join us! It’s completely free – a gift from me to you. 

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      Happy 16th Birthday, magical, amazing girl!As you well know, Abby, my words seem to know no end. In the midst, I hope you hear those that express my love for you in addition to those that make you nearly insane. I believe and trust that somewhere in the middle, between the two poles, you know my heart. But just to be sure, it says this:

      I have never loved you more than I do this day.
      Every part of you – seen and unseen.
      Every emotion – expressed and hidden.
      Every sadness – revealed and withheld.
      Every joy – known and secreted away.
      Every hope – yours to hold, mine to marvel.

      Though I do not begin to know everything – even most – of what goes on in your brilliant mind and beautiful soul, I do know that another’s words speak profoundly and poignantly to both. Instead of my voice, his – expressing my heart:

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      Protect Your Magic

      the problem is you think
      you are not magic.
      from any distance you
      appear as all things stunning
      do; they force us to forfeit
      all we knew before.

      you are exploding stars
      and tragically forgotten truths
      the way the ocean sways
      and ever so illuminating
      moons.

      you are as magic
      as magic gets,
      as brilliant as brilliance
      is,
      as unexplainably
      beautiful as anything
      has ever been.

      to think you are not magic,
      well, darling,
      i guess even our thoughts
      can betray us
      and be fools.

      protect your magic.

      ~ Christopher Poindexter

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      You are magic, Abby. In so many ways you cannot begin to fathom, imagine, understand, or dream. And an obvious, but severe understatement: your presence in my life, from the moment I knew of your existence to this very day, can be described as nothing else: “you are as magic as magic gets…”

      Happy 16th Birthday, sweet girl. 

      I love you.
      Always.

      Photo by Emma Joy Photo

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        Listen to my voice recount these verses (and the refrain). The Audio Version.

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        Creative Commons via UnsplashVerse #1: There is good news.

        Nothing about you is broken. Nothing about you is wrong. Nothing about you needs fixing or undoing or redoing. Nothing about you requires that you look over your shoulder, wonder how someone else feels, or worry what others will say. Nothing about what you long for, want, or desire is bad.

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        Verse #2: There is more good news (or, Verse #1 stated in reverse).

        You are whole. You are right. You are together and strong and ready. You can look forward, pay attention to the head on your own shoulders and the heart between them, and state your truth no matter what. Everything you long for, want, and desire is good.

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        Verse #3: Since Verses 1 and 2 are true, then this is, as well:

        Risk boldly. Reach beyond. Drink deep. Step up. Speak out. Press on. Lean in. Dare greatly. Love deeply. Sing loudly. Dance wildly. Express passion. Create with abandon. Leave things behind. Explore new territory. You’re not alone. Expect the sacred. Hold nothing back. Nothing and no one can stop you.

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        The Refrain:

        May it be so.

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        SacredReadings[Deep appreciation to Eve and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]

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          Listen to my voice telling you this story by clicking here.

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          Something within you knows that you bring a seeing, a knowing, a perspective to this world that, once expressed, might just (and probably will) change everything. So far, you’ve kept it under the radar and off the grid. But within, you are intuitively certain of the capacity you hold, the reason you’re here, the gift you have to give that defies our every expectation. You can (sometimes) feel it. You can (usually) sense it. You are (mostly) sure. You have been waiting and watching and planning and dreaming and…holding back.

          It’s just out of your reach. It’s just on the edge. It’s (seemingly) just outside your door. And…it’s a lot: unleashing this much power, this much might, this much brilliance, this much passion, this much you. 

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          You’re not quite ready to leave this place. Not yet.

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          One day, one moment, probably when you are least expecting it, your very Heart will knock on your door. You will watch it step boldly, winsomely, breathtakingly across the threshold. You will feel its energy, your adrenalin, the thrill. Every condition will be right and you’ll know, with a flash of insight and wave of emotion, that this is it. And you will hear it say, “Yes. This is it.” Finally. At long last. The Breakthrough.

          Or so you think.

          On that same day, just a moment later (or is it sooner?), right on its wings, another guest arrives. You didn’t invite this one, but it always seems to show up – forceful, pushy, well-known. It’s your Head. Wrestling its way into the room, it sounds something like this: “Oh no, no, NO! Now is not the time. You’re not strong enough, smart enough, known enough, important enough, brave enough…yet. Wait a while longer. Think on it. Don’t rush into anything. You should hold back.”

          But something about this day and this moment is different. Something shifts. Stars align. Your confidence soars. Your body knows. And your wiser, calmer, truer, bravest self invites both your Heart and your Head to join you. You welcome them in. You offer them unparalleled kindness, hospitality, and conversational reign. Your Head gulps strong black coffee; determined, focused, on-task. Your Heart sips peppermint tea; bemused. You open up an Excel spreadsheet for one and open up space, period, for the other. Your Head goes to work while your Heart “just” dances. You allow the familiar fear, insecurity, and cynicism, the checks and balances, the pros and cons, the conservative, safe, protective stance, the logic, the reason, your heavy sigh. Simultaneously, you are captivated by the lack of restraint, the hope, the magnificence, the imagination, the passion, the risk, your pulse. This day, this moment, you sit back and take it all in – amazed by the vastness of both.

          After a while, caffeine wearing off and certain it’s been heard, your Head finally relaxes and takes a well-deserved nap. It’s so tired. It’s been working so hard and for so long. And then, late into the night, unhindered, unrestrained, unafraid, you and your Heart desire and dream and yes, dance.

          The day, the moment will come when, Head resting comfortably and Heart ablaze, you will reach out, turn the knob, swing wide the door, and step over the edge. You are ready to leave. You will confidently and compassionately cross into the world that has been eluding you for far too long. You will look around and be overwhelmed, humbled, transformed. For you’ll see us. We’ve waited to honor you, to witness your courage and strength, to soak in your beauty and wisdom, to dance to your tune.

          Yes, your Head wakes up, disoriented at first, then pacing to and fro, awaiting your speedy return. And to be sure, from time to time you come back – to consult, to strategize, to plan. But this is no longer your primary home; it’s now a place to visit. Your Heart is your home. And with each day, each moment that passes it seems to grow larger, stronger, fiercer, gentler, wiser. You’ve entered new territory. There’s no going back.

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          It’s not about head vs. heart. It’s about opening the door, ushering in and acknowledging what frightens, limits, and restrains. It’s about pouring it some coffee while you drink some tea, and then dancing on the Excel spreadsheets. It’s about opening up space, listening to, and trusting the steady beat-beat-beat of that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within. It’s about being grateful for how brilliant your head actually is and reminding it (and yourself) that it’s your heart that rules this roost. It’s about realizing that home is where your heart is…which means you are ready to go.

          Unleash all that power, all that might, all that brilliance, all that passion, all that is you.

           

          No more holding back.

          May it be so.

          [Deep appreciation to Jael and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]

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          You and me. Together. It's time. Hear my heart (and my head) on your behalf. I am opening up space for four new clients this Fall. I’d love for one of them to be you. Truly. Learn more.

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