January 27, 2013

Journaling what you love supplies= blank page + favorite colored pencils + a few old day dreams...

Settling In

I landed safe and sound a couple of weeks ago and have settled into a cozy Art and Crafts style home with two other women. They are both inspiring in their work, friendly, fun, and welcoming. I knew it would be a great fit from day one; this shared space is covered in plants, super cozy, and endearingly referred to as "The Sparkle House".  Thank you universe.

 I have been surprised by the kindness of the community in Ithaca in general.
I was not sure if people would think I was crazy or not for saying "hello" on the streets, or striking up a conversation at the grocery checkout. It ends up the people here are even friendlier and more chatty than they are in Lexington. I actually had a women reach into my cart at the Salvation Army in admiration of my tea set! She eyed it, picked it up, and quietly whispered  "Ahh, Japanese tea set...that's very nice. I almost bought that...". I loved that interaction.

My first days were filled with unpacking, searching for furniture and nesting into my new home. I have finally fallen into a groove of comfort as of this week, though, still discovering much of the town. So far, I have helped out at the school only a few days; making plant medicine, filling orders of tinctures for the local co-op, and running errands. I had a beautiful drive up with my partner, Marty. We took the Westward route along Lake Erie...one of the most magnificent bodies of water I have ever visited. I like to drive along there as often as I can. I shared several photos from my are my favorite places along that coast in my post, For The Love of Thing....Gather, Create, Listen. 

Slowing Down is an Acquired Art

{some are more skilled in than others}

This entire trip so far has been a lesson in being comfortable with slowing down. So many of us live life in a state of constant stress and motion. At times I have felt a kin to a windup toy; I was either completely wound up and "on", or, completely unwound, possibly falling over in exhaustion, and likely very still in my activities.

I think that's why I do what I do. I know what it is like to run, run, run; I love to help others find ways to slow down. I also love to find a cozy respite when I receive energy work, bodywork, or counseling. Nothing for me can replace that. However, this year, I am hoping to expand my self-care medicine cabinet to making space for more of things that I love.

Anyhow, when I say "things", I don't mean objects of acquirement. I mean activities...the kind that are completely nourishing to the soul, and often do not cost a thing.

Time to Daydream about what you love

This week I was thinking about daydreams and how they conjure up emotions, imagery, and notions of what we would love to experience and/or offer in life.  I had read this quote online,

 "The more time you spend thinking about things that could make you happy, the less time you have to actually do the things you already know will make you happy."

 ~Author Unknown

From Sun Gazing on Facebook. 
 I am actually a fan of daydreaming, but, this unknown author has a point. As inspiring and joyful it can feel to have our heads in the clouds,  it can also waste a lot of valuable time. It's important that we take time to ground our thoughts, and root ourselves into our true selves so we can tap into our true desires for this life.

I always believed in the saying, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience". Being humans, we an ability to actualize and create. As children, we are told to believe that we can do anything in our lives, yet, as adults, we tend to live our lives through complete reason and in fear. 

This idea came from Timothy Farris, author of the New York Times best seller, The Four Hour Workweek. He has some great arguments against the 9-5 routine our society has structured for us as well as great advice and exercises to actualize your happiness when it comes to work.

I began reading the book very slowly this week; much of it alludes to an aspiration where LOTS OF MONEY=HAPPINESS, and so I have been a little skeptical. I disagree with the whole happiness/money perspective, though, I do like the secure feeling of having bills are paid, saving money, and having some money for good food, clothing if I need it, and treats. I can see and respect why becoming a bazillionaire may be a desired path for others. That having been said, there is depth and reason between the dollar signs if you are one who desires a simpler life. 

What I perceive as the bottom line in the book is that is indeed possible to discover and harness a life filled with activities, projects, and goals that excite you. Too much of anything leads to boredom, and, there are ways to life a life full of excitement without completely for-fitting responsibility or an income. 

Farris offers some fantastic reasoning as to how the typical 40-80 hour work week can lead to lots of tired and unhappy people {just in case you need convincing}.  More importantly, he offers reasonable steps and exercises you can try in peruse of something different. 

Do you have any alternate visions for the life you currently live? 

Living Plan B...it has to still be possible after the age of 35!

I know that much of my life, I always had an imaginary and super exciting "plan B". "Plan B" always felt more like like a flavor lingering in my imagination rather than a possible reality.

Personally, when I would follow the straight and narrow path, I would often be bored, tired, and see little results. My life got much more exciting when I started to listen to my heart, gut, and, I believe, my soul. Not to say that walking a path less conventional does not sometimes take a little more work.

Over the years, I finally recognized that many visions can be obtained. Like the wisdom of so many books and spiritual people have shared; It is up to us to break the walls of illusion and rebuild them with our best intentions. Granted, it takes time and those vision may also change with us, it is worth taking a look at.

We only have one life to live as ourselves! Well...maybe...maybe not...who knows, right? Well, in a case scenario where you only have one chance, would you rather spend your time imagining that alternate life through hours of daydreams or would you prefer to physically live out a life that feeds your soul?

What if an imagined life could be obtained by simply opening yourself up to it?

Drawing Your Reality: A living Vision Board

Last week this idea came to me: sit down with colored pencils and a blank notepad to sketch out those imagined flavors, imagery, and scenes in hopes to gain clarity. I am sure I am not the first person to think of this...but, I invite you to do the same. I enjoy the life I live, but, I am still fine tuning details big and small.

I feel like I have observed in many, a tendency to imagine our life paths as something {as seemingly}concrete as the society we live in.

 Instead of creating a reason-based vision, why not just scribble out your emotions, feelings, colors, sensations, and scenes that come to you on paper? Not everything in life has to be governed by reason. I mean... many cultures value the reason of the heart, and gut over the mind and they function just fine. Who says we have to reason with our minds 24/7? (Well...most of our school systems do)

What do you want in life? What excites you in life? Though your dreams may not come true over night, you can at least actualize them enough to be in paper form...it will only be that much closer to living reality.  Make a living journal with magazine clippings, articles, and word randomness...and see what comes to you. Maybe this living journal will change over time and with you. Consider it a living vision board.

Okay, this super cute little gal is excited..
From Sun Gazing on Facebook. 
If you are more technologically inspired, you may want to make a private (or public) Pinterest board, or Picasa photo collage. If you like using your phone camera, take photos of images around you that evoke a feeling of excitement for life.

You can also make a collage of found objects and memories, arrange them on a table, and then take a photo of them all together.

You don't have to be an artist. This exercise is simply a tool to get your heart and mind flowing with life-possibilities you otherwise may have chocked up to impossible.

You don't have to follow a "right" path getting there...I mean, is there really a right path?

There is the path you live and a path you long for. Hopefully they are one and the same. You deserve to forge your way through them in a fashion as unique as your own DNA. It may not have to involve college, credentials, or notoriety. It doesn't have to sum up to piles of money, or admiration from your peers. It does however require you to listen to your heart, gut, and soul!

Updated 2/5/13 This post was originally written prior to reading Farris' book. His concepts of doing what excites us, versus what seems to make us happy seemed to fit in just right. I wanted to share the concept of how when we are kids we are told to believe the sky is the limit....yet, as adults, we are expected to give up our dreams to be completely practical and monetarily concerned.

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