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Self-Care for a New Year: Your Vibrant Body

“Our body creates our soul as much as our soul creates our body.”

– David Spangler

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

— Jim Rohn

Happy Beautiful 2017!

In this post, my intention is to share with you some of the holiday reading and viewing I’ve been doing over the past several weeks, and to recommend resources you may find valuable aids in a New Year filled with love, light, and new levels of embodied vitality.

Two weeks ago, as I began this series on self-care for MIND, BODY and SPIRIT, I described the mind as an activity, not a thing. With this post, I invite you to bring that same awareness to your perception of your body. In his book, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul (2009), author Deepak Chopra asserts that your physical body is a fiction. Your real body is energy.

Before I share on my recent return to Chopra’s work, I feel compelled to relate that my experience of developing a health “condition” many years ago, in my twenties, led me onto a spiritual path; and at that time, Chopra’s break-out book, Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind Body Medicine (1989), was one of the first places I went to for good news. I describe that significant turning point in my book, Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity, when a long-ago diagnosis once viewed as sad and shocking, actually became my catalyst for greater levels of health, personal growth, and conscious creativity.

In Chopra’s teachings, he emphasizes the power of focused awareness in caring for and influencing the body. An endocrinologist by training and practice, Chopra scientifically supports his claim that not only can we improve our health with chosen mental and behavioural practices, but we can even positively influence our genes. (See the interview link below, where he discusses epigenetics.) Moreover, Chopra repeatedly emphasizes a crucial connection between our emotional states and states of bodily health.

As a high-performance coach in personal transformation, I regard SETTING STATE as a crucial factor in improving wellness and success in ALL areas of life. Our ability to generate our own mental and emotional states of being, a highly calibrated feeling-tone in the body – regardless of our present circumstances – is paramount to living at what mystic Hildegard of Bingen called “the green growing edge of our own becoming.” (Here I gratefully credit my coaching mentor, Mary Morrissey, for introducing that metaphor into my life …)

In researching videotaped talks by Chopra, I came across this less-than-high-resolution 2015 interview which nonetheless is quite helpful for its content. The discussion runs for approximately 20 minutes (mysteriously, and perhaps for emphasis, the final 12 minutes are a repetition of the opening). I highly recommend you carve out time for it, especially if the topic of quantum healing and mind body medicine is calling to you right now. This recording may be a gateway to further exploration, especially as you form resolutions for upping your game in life mastery and well-being this year.

For a slightly shorter dose of Chopra, here is a table of contents I created with running times. Take your pick of topics:

  • (0 – 2:00 min.) Chopra discusses his medical background, including the discovery of the “MOLECULES OF EMOTION.” He describes how emotional states influence our biology, noting the neurochemicals associated with feel-good states: oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, opiates, and endorphins. Chopra also notes the chemicals associated with sadness and stress: adrenalin and cortisol; and he makes connections between contractive emotional states and inflammation, as well as immune system damage.
  • (2:02 – 5:00 min.) Chopra explores the reasons why the Chopra Centre has grown, due to 1) developments in science, 2) the power of social media, e.g., the Oprah Winfrey – Deepak Chopra partnership, and 3) growing public awareness that Western medicine has tended to treat the symptoms and not the root causes of illness.
  • (5:00 to 8:10 min.) Chopra lists 6 SIMPLE THINGS you can do to improve your well-being right away. I recommend listening to this interview segment for the details; here is his list, in a nutshell:
  1. Sleep well
  2. Meditate daily
  3. Move (during the day, frequently, and ideally including yoga)
  4. Avoid processed food
  5. Create conditions for healthy emotions
  6. Stay hydrated (Drink plenty of water!)
  •  (8:15 – 9:38 min.) Chopra elaborates on THE SCIENCE BEHIND MEDITATION. Specifically, he discusses the influence upon enzymes, chromosomes and genes. He supports the assertion that meditation actually changes our gene activity and cell biology.
  • (9:40 – 10:50 min.) Chopra unpacks the Self-Directed Transformation Initiative (SDTI), including factors in addition to meditation such as a healthy diet, sleep, yoga, breathing techniques, and massage. I personally love that he explains how massage with certain oils positively affects bacteria which leads in turn to a reduction of inflammation in the body. ALL of the factors in SDTI have the power to positively influence genetic activity.
  • (10:51 – 12:52 min.) Chopra talks about some of the problems associated with present-day healthcare reform, and specifically his opinions on the pitfalls of “insurance going to the wrong things.”
  • (12:52 – 14:30 min.) Chopra focuses on STRESS, which he describes as the number 1 epidemic of our civilization. Number 2, he adds, is addiction. He discusses the biological chaos which ensues when we don’t bring awareness to our own stress levels. “The more you learn about yourself,” Chopra emphasizes, “the more you participate in your own well-being.”
  • (14:30 – 15:49 min.) Chopra reveals WHERE THINGS ARE GOING at the frontier of medical research. In this segment, he notes that only a rare 5% of disease-related gene mutations are “fully penetrant,” meaning you can’t stop them. With 95% of disease-related gene mutations, he adds, their expression is influenced by LIFE STYLE. He speaks specifically about the power of emotional states to influence such diseases as Alzheimer’s and cancer.
  • (17:10 – 19:37 min.) Chopra provides simple ways for decoding Eastern approaches to understanding the body. Specifically, he discusses the doshas and chakras as principles and points of awareness in the body. He argues we need both kinds of science in our journey of wellness: empirical science, which focuses on “what’s out there,” and natural, or experiential science, which focuses on “what’s in here.”
  • (19:38 – 20:31 min.) Finally, Chopra explains the work he is presently involved in. He explains how advances in technology are leading to significant advances in our potential to self-regulate and raise our level of health.

For so many reasons, Chopra’s teaching illuminates the tremendous power each one of us has to influence our own biology with our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. We shape this “earth suit” called the body, indeed the only place we have to live, for better or worse.

I can’t help but find Chopra’s work a glowing affirmation of the importance of the emerging field of life coaching. With specialized support, and a willingness to learn and apply, each of us can accelerate the process of reaching new levels of wellness and, in fact, greater results in ALL areas of life.

Another book I revisited over the holidays is Christiane Northrup, M.D.’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing. I love her thoughts in a section called “Self-Care During Menopause.” Northrup writes, “Your body was designed to be healthy for at least a hundred years and probably longer. Menopause is nothing more than a halfway point.” She goes on to emphasize, “Dementia, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer are not inevitable – no matter what your mother or grandmother experienced.” Next is my personal favorite on her list: “Menopause is the springtime of the second half of your life.” Yes!

Here is Northrup’s key message, which applies to us all:

“The time and energy you are willing to invest in yourself now will pay off in spades for years to come.”

And so I ask you …

What amount of time and energy are you willing to invest in your own self-care and well-being in 2017?

What would you love more of?

What would you love less of?

What would you love?

And finally, what if answering those questions and taking action were among the most important things you ever did?

I look forward to bringing you the third post in this series, on self-care for your SPIRIT, soon …

In the meantime, if you want more help in making those New Year’s resolutions manifest, let me know. Helping you live into your Vision brings fulfillment to us both. I would love to see you thrive.

To Your Beautiful Dream in 2017!

 

 

 

P.S. For those who’ve expressed interest in attending the Vision Workshop originally scheduled in Toronto on January 14, please note that I have decided to reschedule at LucSculpture and Yuri’s Village in the spring. My 2017 public talks and workshops will appear on my newly revised website shortly. With that said, I’ve been working on a video series you won’t want to miss. Watch your inbox this month!

Self-Care for the Holidays Part 1

As I write this holiday message to you, the snow is falling here in the beautiful province of Quebec where I live, and where, for the first time in many years, I am absolutely loving winter. Up until very recently, I would not have predicted such a paradigm shift. Now I embrace it, albeit with a sense of humour. And irony. My husband still shakes his head and laughs to witness this change in me. On my Wish List for Santa? Snow pants.

In this moment, I am setting an intention to connect with the core sense of harmony, peace, and love that is our true nature. That being said, it’s a fact that for many, myself included over the years, the holiday season can so easily take a stressful turn. It can become so rife with to-do lists and obligations that we forget what it’s all about.

And so …

To make calm centeredness, joy, and inspiration WELCOME this holiday season, I am creating three separate blog posts devoted to generating full-spectrum health, wealth, and your highest state of being. In each of these posts, I’ll share suggestions, tips, links to motivational videos, and books that I feel blessed to have either discovered or revisited in 2016. Here is an opportunity to hit the pause button on overwhelm and press REFRESH.

Because I believe self-care is a holiday essential.

I also believe it’s an everyday-of-the-year essential.

And self-care is the last thing from self-ish, since caring for your MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT helps unleash the very BEST in you and me, and allows us to give and receive our true gifts. When you commit to taking care of YOU in powerful, core ways, you bless and prosper not only yourself, but a great many others.

The first in this three-part series is on caring for that part of you which determines so much else … Your MIND.

Taking charge of your own mindset is essential to creating a state of calm confidence and to making joy welcome. Your mind is really an ACTIVITY, not a thing. Regardless of your present circumstances, you can literally set your emotional state by choosing where to focus your thoughts. The act of consciously making that choice, again and again, is the supreme needle-mover in personal development.

In my coaching practice, I am frequently asked this question: Where do I place my attention when I don’t like the facts and feelings of the moment?

There are a number of longer answers to that question, and strategies specifically tailored to meet the needs of each unique individual seeking success.

Here’s the short answer. Gratitude.

Generating a state of gratitude in the early morning, and at a moment’s notice, is a POWERFUL daily practice. When you and I feel grateful, we raise our emotional state to one consistent with feelings of prosperity and the enjoyment of abundance. While coaching others in success and transformation, I often say that gratitude and abundance exist at the same vibrational pitch. We can learn to tune our inner dial to this energetic frequency (like tuning to a radio station) by consciously choosing grateful thoughts and allowing positive feelings to follow.

In singing the praises of a book entitled The Happiness Advantage, one of my amazing clients recently reminded me of the work of Shawn Achor, a Harvard specialist in the field of positive psychology. Achor studies the neuroscience and benefits of happiness. I have enjoyed getting to know his work over the past couple of years, particularly as Achor makes such clear scientific arguments for how important it is for us to A) take charge of our mindset and B) make it positive!

Here is a clip from a longer 2014 talk Achor gave on “Creating Lasting Positive Change.” It’s no surprise that the very first topic he focuses on is gratitude.

Tip: If you already have a daily journal practice, I encourage you to expand it by incorporating a gratitude list. If you don’t keep a journal, you can easily designate a light, simple notebook as your go-to place to list 5 – 10 things each day that you are grateful for. Keep your notebook with you during the day, so you can add to your list any time you wish, and read it over when you realize it’s time to turn up that inner dial again.

When you and I raise our emotional state to one of heartfelt appreciation and a higher awareness of abundance, inspired ideas and solutions often just seem to “drop in”.

We’ve all heard it said that the little things in life matter most. When we REALLY appreciate the little things, learning to delight in them and do them well, they ultimately amount to the big things. Nothing is too small to include in your gratitude list. After all, what is a successful life? It’s a string of beautiful moments. We build our lives not in years, but in moments.

In that spirit, here are links to a couple of seasonal clips – since movies and videos can help us quickly reset our dial to a place of expansiveness, appreciation, and even joy in those times when the to-do list begins to feel like it might “undo” us. Press pause on that thought, and focus on something, well, wonderful.

• 9 minutes of gratitude Frank Capra-style. Who can forget the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life? We all can. So here’s a reminder! And if you’ve never seen this film, I recommend you skip the clip and watch the whole thing this year. If 9 minutes feels too long right now, and you’d like something shorter and just as sweet, skip ahead to the next link …

• The opening scene of Love Actually, one of my favourite ruminations on what’s most important in life. A minute and twelve seconds. Love this.

Tip: Which movies do you love to watch at this time of year? Create your OWN feel-good list of movie beginnings, endings, and in-betweens. Start your day with it if you like. When you find links to clips you absolutely adore and would love to share, post them here in the comments section. After all, it’s the season of giving.

And while you’re at it, search YouTube for uplifting montages on gratitude. Here is a TEDx Talk by veteran nature photographer Louie Schwartzberg. His passion? Connecting with NATURE as a way of generating gratitude for simply being here, and being inseparable from the whole that is our experience of Life.

Those of you who work with me may have seen the film that Schwartzberg shot, entitled Gratitude, and narrated by David Steindl-Rast. I sometimes pass the link along in emails. This embedded video is a little longer, and contains more of Schwartzberg’s story and artistry.

Finally, I can’t resist ending this post with a poem by one of favourite go-to sources of inspiration, Mary Oliver. I discovered this piece, “The Swan,” on Facebook and recently shared it to my Birdlight page – deeply appreciating how social media brings us together, including octogenarians like Oliver who remind us we are ageless in our calling, our Life Force, and the creativity that is our birthright. Somehow, this lady always combines the topics of nature and gratitude in ways that speak to my soul.

The Swan
By Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

On that note, happy holidays. The next post in the series will follow soon; until then, keep warm.

Love and light to you and yours.

In gratitude,

Birdlight: International Best Seller

BIRDLIGHT Freeing Your Authentic Creativity

 

My heartfelt thanks to all who have supported the highly successful launch of Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity!

On Tuesday, the book reached #1 in three categories on Amazon.ca, and it hit the Best Seller List in the U.S., making it an International Best Seller within hours of its launch. By Wednesday morning, Birdlight had broken the top 50 of all books (in all categories) sold on Kindle in Canada, at #35.

I share this news in gratitude for the beautiful communities this work has led me to! I could not have done this without you.

This book came to me in an hour of darkness. It came as a series of thoughts giving way to light, a series of birds, a gift, not just for me, but for others like me navigating obstacles in the creative process.

We are, every one of us, powerful creators, and each day we have an opportunity to create by design. This book frees you to do just that.

One of my great joys in bringing Birdlight into form has been engaging with other creative souls who have each brought their own artistry and unique gifts to the work. Once a book is in print, there is no such thing as a “solo artist” behind it. This was a team effort.

To community and artistry, and to singing the song you came to sing.

Blessings,

robin-blackburn-mcbride

P.S. On my website you’ll find my new Birdlight Book page which tells you more about the book. There you’ll also find my FREE gift to you – an audio visualization excerpt from the forthcoming Birdlight audio book which will be released shortly after the paperback in 2016. Simply fill in the fields to receive your MP3 download today. Enjoy!

Birdlight Book Launch Today!

Birdlight Cover

It’s today!
Weaving memoir, folklore, drama, and poetry with the power of brain science to shed light on the creative process, this warm and friendly guide is a must-read for budding artists, innovators, and decision makers at any age and from any walk of life.
  • If you know in your heart that it’s time to finally act upon that creative calling you feel deep down inside…
  • If you tend to begin great creative projects but never finish them, stalling as your energy, enthusiasm, and vision fade…
  • If you ever see yourself as an “uncreative person” and you’d love to free the creative spirit that’s been locked up inside too long…

Then Birdlight is written just for you!

Today is the launch of the electronic version!

Here’s How You Can Help …

If enough people get a copy TODAY, there is a great chance of getting the book onto the best seller list, helping to spread its message of creative courage, confidence, and empowerment.

As a thank-you for supporting the message, on book launch day there is a Special Friends & Family Price of Just $1.30 CAD and .99 cents USD for the Kindle edition.

Remember this is TODAY ONLY – so please act right now; it’ll only take a minute.

Please click the image or link to get your copy now.

Click the Link:

Canadahttps://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01FSZHZJA

United States  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FSZHZJA

Thank you for your support in making this vision come true! I appreciate you.

 To Your Beautiful Creative Vision!
robin-blackburn-mcbride
P.S. Check out my new Birdlight Book Page for more info.
Here again are the links to order the book:

Why Birdlight is for You

I am delighted to share that tomorrow, Tuesday, May 31st, is the launch of Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity.

Here is a short video I made for you, the third in the Birdlight series. In this one I talk about why this book is such a great fit for you!

Thanks to those who’ve sent me such lovely messages of anticipation and congratulations. Writing Birdlight has been a labor of love, and I can hardly wait for Tuesday’s Launch Day Special Announcement!

Here’s to Opening Your Gifts!

Warmly,

robin-blackburn-mcbride

P.S. I invite you to hop onto my Facebook page and join the Birdlight Online E-Book Launch event. It’s open now, with lots to check out and more news and pictures to come soon!

The 7 Birds of Transformation

 

What is this book is about? Why “Birdlight”? And why does it matter to you? In this second of three videos, I explain.

Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity launches on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016. Look for the third video installment and more launch day details soon.

To Your Creative Vision and Fulfillment!

Warmly,

robin-blackburn-mcbride

 

Save the Date: BIRDLIGHT Book Launch May 31st

 


I am pleased to officially announce the upcoming launch of my book, Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity.

 

birdlight

 

Weaving memoir, folklore, drama, and poetry with the power of brain science to shed light on the creative process, this warm and friendly guide is a must-read for budding artists, innovators, and decision makers at any age and from any walk of life.

  • If you know in your heart that it’s time to finally act upon that creative calling you feel deep down inside…
  • If you tend to begin great creative projects but never finish them, stalling as your energy, enthusiasm, and vision fade…
  • If you ever see yourself as an “uncreative person” and you’d love to free the creative spirit that’s been locked up inside too long…

Then Birdlight is written just for you!

 

 – SAVE THE DATE –

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

 

Right NOW, please mark it on your calendar.

On that date you will receive a message on how to support the goal of empowering as many people as possible to unlock their ability to consciously create by design in any area of their life, and in alignment with a clear sense of purpose, passion, and calling.

Details will be sent via email and social media posts on the 31st – Launch Day!

My vision is that a great many people benefit from this work and contribute in ways that make a profound and positive difference. THANK YOU for supporting me in making this dream come true!

 With best wishes, and warmly,

robin-blackburn-mcbride

A Person of Increase

Oaxaca March 2010 237

The term “person of increase” comes from Wallace Wattles who, at the turn of the 20th century, looked upon abundance and affluence from both a scientific and spiritual perspective. Wattles urges each of us to know and remember, “You are a creative center, from which increase is given off to all.” He advises to hold to “the unshakable faith that you, yourself, are in the Way of Increase,” and to let “this faith fill and permeate every action … Do everything you do in the firm conviction that you are an advancing personality, and that you are giving advancement to everybody.”

Wattles had studied the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson who, in an essay entitled “Spiritual Laws,” asserts that each one of us has our own vocation, a unique call. When a person heeds this call, “He has no rival. For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other … By doing his own work he unfolds himself.”

“What attracts my attention shall have it,” writes Emerson, “as I will go to the man who knocks at my door, whilst a thousand persons as worthy may go by, to whom I give no regard.”

In 1980 came a knock at my family’s door.

The person standing there was an elegant, immaculately dressed 30-something woman named Monique Bordeleau who was dating my 40-something uncle, Derek. No sooner had she entered our house, than she placed an elaborately wrapped package into my hands. I can still feel the silk ribbons giving way to a burgundy snakeskin belt with gold links that fit my 15-year-old waist perfectly. The belt was wonderfully disturbing and exotic in my suburban environs.

Monique was French Canadian. She had lived abroad for years and, I could tell, she was “emotional.” My soon-to-be aunt delighted in her act of gift-giving. She exuded pleasure in meeting me and went on to say that if she were ever to imagine she’d had a daughter, with my permission, she would imagine me.

I was as startled by this stranger’s  affection as I was enthralled by her sense of glamour.

And while she relished pointing out her strategy in giving me the gift of the belt – shamelessly exposing it as a ploy to win my heart – my heart was already won.

Monique rocked my world.

When she and Derek took up residence together in a stylish Ottawa apartment, I found myself riding the train there from Toronto, alone. She offered a hideaway where I could feel both grown up and, at the same time, nurtured. With Monique I discovered the joys of eating pasta on fine china and silver, sleeping in a “suite” bestrewn with teen magazines, fresh flowers, bowls of fancy nuts and dried fruit, new pyjamas, sachets of bubble bath, and other carefully assembled toiletries.

Monique took me shopping on Sparks Street. She bought me Bandolino patent-leather pumps (again in burgundy), an Indian cotton skirt, and she spoke of Italy. She spoke of men, giving serious attention to my prospects. Monique talked about her childhood, her parents’ divorce, her most beloved and irreverent aunt, her mother’s death, various romances (including two former husbands), and recovery from cirrhosis of the liver. She and Derek were open about being recovering alcoholics.

I quietly adored the adult details Monique shared with me, pondering the complexities of a world I was about to enter while she smoked and laughed, swore in French, and treated me to bottomless cappuccinos.

Clearly, Monique was committed to my politician uncle. She embraced their life together. When my cousin Carole and I travelled by train to witness their 1982 vows on Parliament Hill, we took pride in our family’s own “royal wedding.” I wore a teal blue taffeta dress with puffy sleeves and a bell skirt, drank too much champagne (regretting only the picture with the Prime Minister afterward), and loved every minute.

Through the years the cards and presents continued, enfolding my own daughter’s life, too. Countless pairs of tiny shoes Monique described as “candies.” She offered a cottage to my former husband and me, for use in July. All the cards in her distinctive handwriting. The ribbons.

In our family, we all save Monique’s ribbons.

When my adult life unfolded with its own momentous chapters, including the array of obstacles that inevitably arise with growing, sometimes not growing, and growing again, she would always say, “Next bus stop, kiddo.”

And of course, nothing was ever perfect. That wasn’t the point.

What more can I tell you? For 35 years I’ve been grateful in this woman’s presence. Monique has been a person of increase for me, and I have not known anyone else quite like her. As Emerson would say, “The Soul’s emphasis is always right.” I see how in heeding a call, some people stand out as models for others. They burn brightly, not because they have titles or fame, outstanding track records, careers, expertise or vast wealth, but because they display unusual levels of generosity, attention to detail, and care.

Next week at Easter, I can still be glad as I board the train to Ottawa. To borrow words from G.B. Shaw, “a splendid torch” waits for me there. A light that cancer will never truly dim. And for a moment I imagine us walking on Sparks Street all day long.

 

robin-blackburn-mcbride

Creating Space for New Arrivals

lamb close crop 2_MG_6280

It’s February here in the Northern Hemisphere, and as the mid-winter days grow longer, we are beginning to hear the harbingers of spring…

Birdsong. Reports of groundhogs seeing their shadows – or not. If you visit or live in the countryside, you may even hear the bleating of newborn lambs. On the ancient Pagan calendar, lambing season corresponds with Imbolc celebrations in Ireland, marking early spring’s arrival. In that particular Old Country, one may pay homage to Brigid, Celtic Goddess of the Hearth, or to the Christian Saint Brigid; or one may simply pay tribute to the spirit of home fires and new life.

Regardless of your traditions, nationality, or the home in which you live, know this:

Even in these cold, grey days of February, this is the season of the sun’s returning. Right here, right now, it’s time to invite new beginnings.

It’s the perfect time to clean house!

Here are THREE home transformation processes for igniting your passion and inviting the next and greater version of Your Life:

1. IN YOUR HOME, RELEASE ITEMS THAT NO LONGER SERVE YOU. In her classic book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, UK author Karen Kingston defines clutter very simply as:

  • Things you do not use or love
  • Things that are untidy and disorganized
  • Too many things in too small a space
  • Anything unfinished

I love the last point, and it’s easy to miss. To what extent are you weighed down by unfinished business? Winter is a great time to take inventory. “Things not dealt with in your home reflect issues not dealt with in your life, and they are a constant drain on your energy,” writes Kingston. Identify anything that currently drains you, and trade it for that which gives you joy and value.

Once upon a time, did you eagerly begin any projects, only to leave them incomplete? Are you living with physical evidence of old, unrealized hopes and dreams? And yes, that includes things packed away in closets, drawers, and cupboards.

In the Transformational Life Coaching work I do, my clients and I use the expression, “Hold your dream with an open palm. Ask for this, or something greater still.” Sometimes, we’re meant to follow one dream simply to be taken to a higher place where we can see still more possibilities.

Welcome a fresh, new FLOW of creative energy by identifying evidence of unfinished business in your home and life, and make a decision to do one of two things:

A. Commit to completing the project. Make a plan, set goals, and make a heartfelt pledge to follow through on your calendar and in your actions. Set due dates for each phase of project completion. Find an accountability partner to ensure you stay on target. If you’d love to accelerate your process with professional coaching support, contact me to inquire.

OR

B. Lovingly release the project. Recognize that in the past, on some level, working on it served you. Take time to reflect on how you grew through the process, and any other gifts it brought your way. Trust that in releasing something which no longer serves, you are actually making space for something new, expansive, and wonderful to enter your life.

Ask the question, “What would I Love?” Let go of all that’s not coherent with your answer.

2. CREATE A CLEAR AND SPECIFIC VISION OF WHAT YOU WOULD LOVE. In her book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, author Marie Kondo advises the following: “Before you start, visualize your destination.” She urges, “What do you hope to gain through tidying?”

Kondo’s instructions are specific, and her approach to decluttering is fresh and very popular. I  personally have found her decluttering processes powerful.

Kondo encourages the creative seeker to “visualize the ideal lifestyle you dream of. If you skip this step, not only will it delay the whole process, but it will also put you at higher risk for rebound…” This founder of the KonMari Method emphasizes, “Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.”

If you are someone who finds releasing old objects from the past difficult, or if you’re confused and don’t know where to start, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up may be the perfect book for you.

3. SET YOUR INTENTIONS AS YOU RE-SET THE OBJECTS IN YOUR SPACE. Assign symbolic meaning to items you love, and place them purposefully around your home. A highly inspirational practitioner and writer on this topic is Denise Linn. Many years ago, reading her book, Sacred Space: Clearing and Enhancing the Energy of Your Home, changed my life. If you understand the adage, “Energy flows where attention goes,” you will appreciate Denise Linn and her many gifts. She incorporates Native American traditions (including those of her Cherokee ancestors) with space clearing and organizing practices from various cultures around the globe. I also recommend Linn’s book, Feng Shui for the Soul.

Finally …

My husband Hugh took the picture of the lamb on this post, a detail once carefully set into a Toronto apartment block.

For the soul.

robin-blackburn-mcbride

Lamb_MG_6280

Photo credit: Hugh McBride

 

The Freedom of Space: Part 1

Oaxaca March 2010 105

Happy New Year!

As I reflect on last year’s many gifts and lessons, and gaze into the vastness of our next tour around the sun, what stays with me is this: dream building is sacred work.

Deep-seated dreams are not gratuitous. They’re not “fluff” – the stuff of insubstantial wishing. They’re not born of greed, or shallowness, or self-centeredness.

Our deeper dreams come from Spirit.

Dream building is about aligning with one’s purpose, with the Soul.

The question, “What would you love?” is really this: What is Love seeking to manifest through You?

So easily, the self-protective ego can doubt the answer – and the question itself. In our culture, it’s easy to laugh them both off.

We forget that the Higher Self doesn’t beg such a reaction. On the contrary.

We need only listen, feel, and see into our Dream – into Love particularized uniquely in each of us, living fully and on purpose.

So what would You Love?

Answering may require courage. It may also bring tremendous relief. And joy!

As you step into the New Year, here are some strategies I find useful for opening into a clearer, brighter, more spacious state for dream building.

1. Begin by already being the person you dream of being.

Most of us were conditioned growing up that in order to “be someone,” we must first have something. (That is to say, we must first have the time, the pedigree, the graduate degree, the life partner, the money, the house, the car, the approval of others, etc.) Only then, the reasoning goes, are we in a position to do something “great” (fill in the blank).

One of the most powerful of the dream-building principles I have learned is this. When we change the order of “have, do, be,” to “be, do, have,” we begin to unlock our true potential.

Begin by being the person you wish to be right now. Imagine the feeling of having accomplished your dream, and let that feeling fill you. Feel that you are enough – that you are loved and Love itself, and you are whole.

In a calm, confident state of feeling fulfilled, take action for your dream. Trust that as you do, what you have will be increased. Better yet, you will grow in the process. As my teacher Mary Morrissey says, “Dreams are not meant for getting. They’re meant for growing.”

Who you become in the process of dream-building is the greatest gift of all.

2. Set a course for expansion, not contraction.

Be who you are called to be. Set your state by seeking experiences that feel most expansive and free-making. What activities and practices expand you? What thoughts help you to feel most alive? What people and places bring out the best in you?

Learn to notice when you are in a contractive state, and interrupt it by choosing to be expansive.

Transformational author Barbara DeAngelis sums this up beautifully in her book, Soul Shifts: “Choices for expansion are always soul choices. They create space for the Highest in you to emerge. They have expansive consequences, not only for you, but for everyone around you. When you expand you are a gift to the world.”

3. Create the space you desire (and require) to live your Dream.

Two essentials:

a) Make “calendarize” a verb to live by. Create space in your day, week, month, and year, by prioritizing and scheduling time to serve your Dream. This can be as basic as scheduling daily meditation, journaling, and “gratitude time” to raise your state. It can also be as elaborate as creating 90-day plans with actionable goals, events, and desired experiences.

b) Create space in your home and office by releasing what no longer serves, and setting the intention to call in what you desire. Freedom, in part, means being open to the guidance required to accelerate growth. It’s difficult to be open in an atmosphere of clutter. Clearing space physically and energetically invites a greater state of flow. Look for more on this in my next blog post.

If you are eager to begin, start by clearing away the holiday decor and (note to self) tidying up! As you do, take stock of all your many reasons to be grateful. Dare to vision!

For guidance on the visioning process, you may wish to revisit older blog posts here at Creative Calls.

This is the perfect time to accelerate your dream building process. Contact me to inquire about workshops and coaching.

Make 2016 the best year ever!

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