Creating Tribes

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As my life changes, I find that my “tribes” change.  Sometimes I need to be alone and reflect.   Other times, I need a group of like-minded people to bounce my ideas off of.  Sometimes I like to connect in face-to-face settings and with the world as connected as it is now, I find I enjoy the freedom of on-line tribes.

Tribes change and need to be re-built as we grow and change.  Core-values and friends, I find, remain constant, but there are different group “needs” at different times in my life.

Do you find this to be true?

I have discovered that I can go through my past and see the different “tribes” I have been a part of through my early years as revolving around school and neighborhood.  As I grew older, different work environments and social activities defined my tribes.  Now, as I have a family of my own, I find myself pulled into tribes revolving around their social lives.

But as I continue to create my own business, create my own life amidst holding down a day job…I have begun to reach out to new people; to create a new tribe based on these new life changes.

Tribes…how do you find yours?

I have recently found that some “tribes” or groups work for a certain amount of time…a certain purpose.  But then I need to gracefully leave the group as I change and grow.  I find that I am sometimes called to lead groups, and sometimes to follow.

Sometimes, I notice that I have “friendships” that are not really a part of a specific group at all.  They are just that, friendships, with a different set of norms.

While some groups are created spontaneously through social or work engagement, the tribes I am looking to form now work best with defined parameters and a specific time-frame.  These are working tribes that grow and evolve based on a set of goals with a specific purpose.

Here are the steps I have taken to support the type of online “tribe” I am creating (and needing) now in my life.  Perhaps these steps might work for you, too.

1. List out the attributes that you would like to see in your group…what would you like to achieve, to be held accountable for, and to learn and to grow?

2. Reflect on that list and get clear with 3 specific ideas that emerge

3. Which 3 are calling out to be honored by a group setting?

4.  How do you wish to connect? (face-to-face, phone, social media, etc.)

5.  Form or join a group based on those ideas

6.  Create a finite amount of time for this group to meet (both in the “now” and the final closure)

What “tribe” is calling out to you right now in your life?  Are you happily ensconced in that tribe?  Or are you working on creating your next group to support your life right now…as it evolves?

See what you discover as you create a new tribe!

Looking for an online tribe where you can create and share with others as you discover the simple beauty that surrounds you? I am opening Elemental Observations on October 1…I want to connect with you through walks and photos! A wonderful group has begun to form! Want to join in?  Click here for more info and to register!

Waiting…the In-Between Time

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Waiting, feeling impatient, wanting to have “arrived” to be “there” living in the future. This makes me crazy…sometimes I feel like I will jump out of my skin! Yet I know that living in the moment requires, well, some waiting….sometimes LOTS of waiting…like years. There are times when slowing down and allowing the process to unfold on its own is necessary.  This brings me back to center.

But what does my restless, creative-self do in the meantime?

I wrote an Acapella Affirmation a while back, as I have been in this place many times…waiting.  (You can click here to hear it.)

I see that in these times of waiting, I write in the morning and find that I am in a dark place…my shadow-self begins to emerge.  This is a place I like to go sometimes. And often, I am just there. It can be scary, but it allows me to dig around in my subconscious and discover what my desires truly are.  It is a creative place for me.

Why is much of the creativity in my life in the “shadow self”?  

A lot of my creativity has negative, swirling attachments that I do not always show the world. Many years of being taught that creativity and the arts is a “fun thing to do, but you cannot make a living at it” still hang out in my shadow-self or God-forbid share the dark-side of the human existence with others…yikes!  The shadow self holds these taboos, or negative thoughts and reminds me that they are still there…that I can go there to look at them and perhaps bring some of them into the light.  I have to be careful though….because others are always watchful (perhaps you, dear reader) and I need to be centered in the knowledge that I may be judged for going against the norm, or what Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls the “over-culture”.

What the hell am I talking about here?  What does waiting, creativity and the shadow self have that brings about this blog post?

Let me back up just a bit…get back up in my head for a minute here.  I have been working several part-time jobs over the past years. While in said jobs, I have opened (and closed) and opened again this blog and my creative work and business.  (…and let’s face it…while I was working nearly full time, I had my creative work going always on the side)

GUILT!

Enter in the shadow self…taking me down, down, down and reminding me of the dangers of being creative!  Yet, paradoxically, showing me how I HAD to continue to create!  HAD to share at least bits and pieces of my creative life journey with others.  Even knowing much of this creative work connects to the wild side…tarot cards, dreams, visual arts, sexuality, music, storytelling, dancing…what will people think!!!

However, I must create.  I have a drive to bring the bits of my humanity up from the depths and share them with the rest of you humans who do take the time to look at and read what I share.  I need to fill my waiting time with the creative work that sustains me until the intentions I have set begin to emerge in their own time.

And I want to connect the parts that seem disconnected.  I want my creativity to be my work and my work to be creative.  I want to share with others the bits of humanity that are dark and scary and ugly…yet beautiful to discover as they form our greater whole.  I want to fill the waiting time to be fully present in the moment.  I have set out the intentions that will create my future…for now I will let go and trust.  See what unfolds

I have more to say on this…but for now, I will leave this on the page and go off to fill the waiting time with a walk.  Nature always brings me into the moment.  I am allowing and trusting in the trees and the air. I am present in the “becoming” of myself.

How do you fill the waiting time so that you are fully present in the moment?

One of the ways I like to connect to my creativity is through Elemental Observations.  Sharing walks and art elements through photos in an online group!  Interested?  Click here to join me! We begin October 1…be fully present while you wait 😉

Reflection on a Gratitude Practice

img_7386I have spent the past few weeks setting the intention to write out what I am grateful for each morning when I awaken and each evening just before I go to sleep.  The images above show a few of the phrases that were written in my journal.

This journey took me into a world where I needed to remind myself what is important to me in the day-to-day.  Little things that seemed mundane were written.  I kept it simple and practiced noticing and stating my thoughts this way:

 I am grateful for…

This seemed so simple and in my over-analyzing way, I attempted to find fault with this simple way of stating my gratitude.  I felt I needed to embellish…be more poetic or wordy…make it more important! I continued to come back to center and write,

I am grateful for…

My mind swirled and whipped around attempting to get me to see that this was just too simple.  But I remained true to the ritual I was setting in place.

I am grateful for…

and I wrote in my morning journal I began to notice something.

Some little sparkles and gems began to appear.  I noticed that opportunities began opening up to me.  I found that I smiled more during the day.  I felt a deeper vibration to what is important to me. I felt (and feel) lighter in body and spirit.  I am feeling clarity.

Huh…does writing out gratitude cause these shifts and changes?  What is happening here?

For now, I am going to continue to write and continue to notice.  Life is good.  I will leave it at that for now.

What are you noticing in your life?

Susan

Create a New Habit: How to Bring a Pattern of Joy to your Daily Life

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Do you take time to reflect on what you do each day?  Do you hear yourself saying “Why am I so busy,”?  “Why does there never seem to be time for the simple things that are so important to my health, happiness, and well-being,”?  How do we create habits in our lives that bring us joy, support a creative outlet, or rid us of unwanted routines?

Take a Look at Your Daily Routines

What do you do each day that is routine?  Take a moment to write out a typical day.  This could be a journal entry or a day from your diary/planner.  Look at the details.  Read back through your writing, looking closely at how you spend your time-even the smallest details.  Write down what you notice. These are your habits, your daily routines.

What works? What does not work?  What is missing that you might like to add?  Is there a habit within your day that you wish you could drop?

Create a Habit

Habits are ways of building specific day-to-day activities into your life through routine.  We live in a society that wants things NOW, but taking the time to reflect on your day-to-day habits may give you some insights into this rush.  To do this, you must bring your unconscious patterns (habits) into your consciousness (routines).

Creating a habit relies on time, patience, reflection, and repetitive actions. Putting a routine into place that eventually becomes a habit (an unconscious pattern), takes observation and close reflection upon your daily activities. For example, you may brush your teeth at the same time each day, or you may put your keys in the same location to be able to grab them quickly as you go out the door, or you might check your email as soon as you wake up.  It took time, commitment, and repetition to build these habits into your routine.  And now, they are so built into your life they may seem like breathing.

Perhaps you noticed that you have built habits into your life that take up, or waste your time.  What is something that you do routinely that you wish to drop from your life?  Say, eating too much chocolate or sugar, surfing the internet too often, biting your nails, or chewing on pen tops.  How can you rid yourself of these unwanted habits?

Here is a way you can begin to create a habit into your daily routine or rid yourself of a habit that is no longer necessary to your life.

What do you love to do?  What is something that brings you joy and you wish to be a part of your life?  Is there something missing- times when you say, “I wish” or “I wonder,” or “If only,”?  Choose something you wish to make a routine.  Ideas for this would be things you wish to bring into your life each and everyday.

Look back through your journal or the exercise from the start of this article.  What is missing that you would like to add? Is there something you have done and enjoyed, but have dropped out of your life?  Keep it simple-just one thing.  You may choose something such as practicing yoga or meditation for 15 minutes each day, or writing in your journal at a specific time each day, or listening to a favorite piece of music or drawing.  Whatever it is, it needs to be important to you and worth the commitment.

On the other hand, what is a habit that you wish to drop? Anything that you do that you could observe and stop doing for a month is worth a look.  Again, keep it to one thing that you really wish to commit to quitting. Again,routines took time to establish and will take time to change, should you wish to get rid of them.

Once you have chosen a habit you wish to build into your routine or drop from your routine do the following:

  1. Write it down-this gives focus and clarification
  2. Each day, once you have completed your routine or dropped it for the day, check it off on the calendar.
  3. Take 30 days- check each day off on the calendar as after you have accomplished your commitment for the day. If you miss a day…start over and look to routinizing for the full 30 days.
  4. Observe/Reflect in your journal each day. Do you see a pattern?  Have completed your task each day?
  5. After 30 days-observe/reflect in your journal-What do you notice?
  6. Reflect on any changes.
  7. In your noticing, think back on the first day…what comparisons can you make?  What differences?
  8.  Will you keep this routine?  Have you dropped the habit?  How does it benefit your life?

This exercise can be repeated each time you wish to begin to create a new habit or drop an old one.

Enjoy the little things in your life.  Take time to reflect and find the joy that is yours in each moment. Create a habit.  Why not start now?

Want to join me in creating a habit of walking and noticing each day?  Elemental Observations opens on October 1!  Click here to learn more and to join in!

Reflecting on Summer’s Creative Fire

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Each summer I spend time creating.  I so enjoy the free time in Michigan summers.  The weather is usually delightful and encourages creative behavior in big, brash bold ways!

I set the intention to fill the summer with some form of artistic expression.  It might be painting or drawing.  It might be cooking organic meals from the weekly trips to the farmers market.  One summer it was drawing images that come to me from my morning tarot readings or dreams.

Many summers have been filled with photography! This summer…lots of selfie work and digging deeper into the “self” through imagery…

But I digress…

I work from my own “creative fire” that energy that sparks in the spring and ignites in the long and drawn out days of summer.   Sometimes I work from my own inspiration. Sometimes I take an on-line class that sparks my interest.  And many times I combine the two!

Why am I writing about this now…in the fall?  Well, this is a time for “harvesting”.  Harvesting the crops and harvesting the beautiful “nuggets” of time spent in the sun and creating.  Now is my time to reflect on all of the abundant creating and set down the joy it has reaped in writing.  Into the fall months, I can have these thoughts and reflections to support me when the schedule kicks in and I feel overwhelmed.

What wonders occurred? What insights were gained from months of creative fire?  How will I use this created energy?

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Here are the steps I take to set the intention for summer creating:

  1.  Ask myself…what creative desires are cropping up into my conscious mind?  What do I wish to explore?
  2. What supplies will I need?  Will I take an on-line class to support the journey?  Or will I create on my own?
  3.  Purchase supplies…set the tone for excitement!!!
  4. Organize supplies so that they fit smoothly into morning or creative ritual
  5. Ritual  set the intention Physically (time space) and mentally (intuitive linear spiral) into my day to create

These are the steps I set out for the summer…but I wonder if they can be used into the fall?Yes indeed!  I am opening the next Elemental Observations E-Course on October 1!  Will you come and walk with me and share what you see where you are?   (Elemental Observations E-course starts October 1!  Carrying the creative fire into the fall!)

For now…what did you discover this summer?  Reflect back on your own “creative fire” and shoot me an email to let me know what lit you up!

Elemental Observations~Fall

linesel·e·men·tal

eləˈmen(t)l/
adjective
adjective: elemental
 
1.  Primary or basic.  “elemental features from which all other structures are compounded” synonyms:  basic, primary, fundamental, essential, root, underlying
  • What if you took 5 minutes each day to look for the simple art elements that are all around you?
  • Where do you walk each day?  Is it with intention?  Or do you just meander?
  • How do you “create every day” when you are so busy?

These are the constant questions that I ask myself on a daily basis.  In answer to these questions, I find tiny moments in each day to notice, really notice what is around me through the lens of my camera.  My phone camera…I love that I can do this!  I am so grateful that I this tool at my finger tips!  Do you have a camera with you each day?

I so enjoy looking for the art elements that show up all around me.  I spent last summer and fall finding these elements and posting them in  tiny “collages”.  The response to those simple images was amazing.  Something so simple that touched others so deeply.  I love this and created and e-course around it last fall.

Now that it is almost fall here in the northern hemisphere, I want to get out and look for those art elements again!  I want to take time each day to observe and delight in the newness that surrounds me!  Want to join me?

I am opening Elemental Observations:  #EO2016 on October 1, 2016 to invite you to “walk with me” and look for the art elements that are all around you.  This course will last 21 days and will have a private Facebook group so that we can connect with one another to see what we discover as we notice the elements that are in the mundane things we pass by each day.

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What you will receive:
1.  Daily emails for 21 days inviting you to notice certain elements for that day (starting October 1, 2016)
2.  An invitation to a private Facebook group to share what you “see”
3.  Intentional focus using any camera that you have available to you daily

Simple.  Clear.  Elemental observations.
21 Days for $21.00. 
Click the button below to register:



21 Days of Gratitude

21 Days of Gratitude


Getting back to a gratitude journal practice has supported my re-entry into the fall schedule.  Taking the time to notice and appreciate all that is around me is a beautiful practice that lightens up my days.

It sounds simple…write a list of things I am grateful for each morning and each evening.  However, I find that it can be a challenge.  I sometimes do not want to write, even though I know how much better I feel when I do.

So, that got me thinking about you.  Do you have a gratitude journal practice?  Are you looking for some encouragement to write what you appreciate each morning and evening?  Would you like to receive email reminders each day for 21 days to be supported in this practice…see where it leads?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, sign up below*.  Starting September 1, I will send you a reminder each day to encourage you to write a list of your gratitudes each day for 21 days.

Click here to join the list!

You will need a journal (I like sparkly ones!) and a pen or pencil.  That is all.  We will use the hashtag #21daysofgratitude to connect on Instagram (if you wish).

I will start by reminding you that I am grateful for you 🙂
Hope to see you!
Susan

*I will add you to my main newsletter list at the end of the 21 days.  You can unsubscribe at any time 🙂

Simplify~Bringing Time at the Cottage Home with Me

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Up to the cottage for a week…preparation and planning was needed to create a simple stay.

This year, I decided to focus on two things while we were on our vacation up north at the cottage:  make food and read.

Really.  That was it.

…and you know what?  I did it.  I kept to those two things being the only things I KNEW I would do each day.  Everything else would be as it came…in the moment.

It took the first day to get through the rush, rush, rush of cleaning out the cobwebs and getting the perishables at the grocery store that is 45 minutes away.  I had packed all of the dry goods the days before we left.  It took some time to calm that frantic pace of preparation.

By day 2…I watched myself fall into a dark, quiet place in my mind.  We had the family up with us…8 people in all.  I listened, cooked and read.  I did not speak much…and my mental self-talk got quieter, too.  A sort of day-to-day meditation of being present in the moment.

When I thought about checking my phone…I remembered that the reception is almost nil up there.  When I tried to check my phone anyway…knowing full-well that I would not be able to read much of anything, I told myself to put my phone away.  This was a focused event for me. I discovered (once again) how very much I check my phone and social media.  Way too much…with no real intentional purpose.  I know this, but it was humbling to see it in action.

I went for walks, wrote in my journal and swam.  I did all of the things that can fill up time with mindful exploration of the physical, the spiritual and the mental.  At the cottage, I stopped myself and really noticed where I was in space and what I could see/hear/smell/touch in so many more moments.  Time shifted.  The days ran together until I actually thought one day was another.

I read a whole book…and started another.

I did take some photos…but not my usual amount.  I focused on a few family images…and the moon was full, so I caught that!  This became my creative focus.  My family up north doing what they do.  And I was a silent observer.

What also began to emerge was my intuition on the next steps in my personal journey.  I had the time and space to “listen inwardly”.  When the focus of daily activities was simplified, the expansion of my inner voice showed up!

I am home now.  I am writing in my gratitude journal in the AM and PM.  I am appreciating my place in the world.

Simplifying is more difficult than I think.  Holding on to a simplified existence is tricky for me.  I am a busy person following the world’s fast pace.  I want to be less busy, at least spend less time wasting time.  I know I can do this…but can I hold on to it in my current schedule back at home?

Intentionally slowing down and noticing creates its own space.  Its own peace.  Its own meditation. My monkey-mind tells me I am wasting time when I slow down to this pace…or that I can only achieve it on vacation.  I am working on changing this thought to: “I am at peace in my day-to-day.” or  “I notice what is going on around me” or “I take the time to savor each moment.”

I will continue to be mindful of how I fill my time.  I will simplify my day-to-day activities. I will remind myself of my time up at the cottage and what I noticed.

What do you notice when you simplify things in your life?

 

Gratitude Practice

flowers 2016

So many things to be thankful for in this time on earth; how do you reflect on your gratitude?

Taking the time to say “thank you” fills the soul.  Even just saying the words aloud “thank you” can bring a smile.

Part of my daily routine is given to gratitude.  Sometimes it is said aloud, sometimes it’s written, sometimes given alone and sometimes shared in the presence of others.  The morning, during the day and the evening…three times to stop, notice and say “thank you”.

The ritual I have put in place in the evening is the one that I make sure I do each day.  Just before bed, I get out my gratitude journal and write.  I list out all of the things for which I am grateful.  I am usually amazed at the length of the list!  But sometimes, I am just not motivated, I may be feeling stingy.  However,  I make myself write at least one thing.  Then, the flood gates open, and I find that I have much more to say.

Intentionally stating my gratitude before sleep calms my dreams, gets me out of my “negative” thought patterns from the day and helps me to wake up smiling.  I have tested this theory.  When I miss a night in my gratitude journal, I am crabbier and have dreams that are more disruptive.  Try it yourself!  See if writing down your gratefulness brings about a calmer and more positive attitude.

Gratefulness as a meditation.

  1. Upon waking up in the morning, say “thank you” 3 times with a big cleansing breath in between.
  2. Mid-day choose a time, say just before lunch, and say “thank you” 3 times with a big cleansing breath in between.
  3. Just before bed, stop, say “thank you” 3 times with a big cleansing breath in between.
  4. After each time of giving thanks, notice.  How does saying “thank you” make you feel?  What happens to your body?  Take time to be grateful and reflect.

5 ways to share gratitude:

  1. Write a note to a friend and mail it!
  2. If you have a blog, devote a post to another individual you wish to thank.  Share your post.
  3. Hugging more often.  Connect and appreciate others.
  4. Smile.
  5. Acknowledge others from your highest self to their highest self.

Enjoy the bounty of this life.  Share your gratitude daily.

What is your gratitude practice?