Inner Guidance

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Let me make no mistake about it, we are living in difficult times. Whatever our beliefs and values may be, they are under siege by opposing values or by the tenuousness of “truth” itself as a standard upon which we can collectively agree.

Some call it a return to tribalism: a refraction of identity into sub-cultural group affiliations. Clan-like factions abound; whom can you talk to or trust? Any stranger might explode at any moment in a public space, opening fire upon the innocent.

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What matters then, in such times of potential turmoil? What goals may still hold value? Where can you turn for reliable guidance? 

On a more positive note, you can always Go Within to find truth by attending to your own ‘inner counsel’. I assure you this is not merely a solipsistic response to collective uncertainty; it is an age-old, universal capacity that has steered the course of history. I believe that when we seek our highest Self and the companionship of Spirit or Divinity Itself in our deepest repose through active contemplation, prayer or meditation practices, we can connect with that which is greater than ourselves alone.

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“The One with the All One” is a spiritual image that comes to mind.  Or, “One for All and All for One!” In other words, when we seek our own answers that ‘ring true’ within our highest (NOT our lowest or our conditionally biased!) states of positive, life affirming consciousness, we assume our relation to the Whole of Life Itself. To me, this brings us to a position of unconditional love. If we act from this love, all will be in accord with that which serves the highest Good.  That’s my hopeful belief, anyway.

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This month I am inviting you to reflect on the role of Helpers in your own—in all of our— life journey. Inner Helpers come to meet us where we seek them out—be it in a contemplative state or in our dreams.  If you keep a journal that includes a dream diary to record your insights that arise from your inner guidance, then reviewing your journal entries once a week or once a month can help you to recognize the help you are receiving in the form of your own Inner Guidance.  Maybe you will uncover a Theme recurring in your dreams or even in your daydreams.  Keeping track of your dreams and daily insights holds open a channel of communication with your ‘inner counsel’ that can help to always to steer you in YOUR right directions.

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images are from pixabay.com

There are many excellent books on the subject of dream techniques and inner guidance. Two I have learned from are THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING, by Harold Klemp, and INNER GUIDANCE by Anne Archer Butcher.

I welcome always your insights and stories!

 

 

 

Checking In With Your-Selves!

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Are you engaged in some process that takes a long time yet brings a personal goal to fruition?  School can be like that, or now for me, writing for mainstream publication. I find this activity proceeds necessarily sometimes in fits and starts. During the fits or slow slog periods of editing yet one more time, I find it helpful to check in with my internal selves: those archetypal persona character modes that each have their own perspectives on our shared as well as their distinctive goals with regard to the project at hand. For it may be one or more of these Archetype Allies that has slowed the progress as a way to call attention to an opportunity for improvement before I can move forward more productively again.

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Mindfulness is a popular term these days for this sort of checking in with your Self–or, more accurately for my purposes, your selves!  I like using an Archetype Dialogue Practice to help integrate conflicting internal viewpoints. I use an active imagination technique, such as Jung recommended, to “sink” into a subconscious level of awareness where I can make contact with my internally diverse viewpoints or parts of Self.

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You can think of these archetypal personas as being associated with the various roles (or, masks) you occupy in life, as all of us develop somewhat distinctive points of view from the perspectives of each of our role types (e.g. Parent, Teacher, Lover, Nourisher, Idealist, etcetera).   You can have a conversation inwardly and/or journal a dialogue while you are imagining connecting with these internal parts of Self.  Just allow the interaction or conversation to proceed naturally. This is actually a level of subconscious interaction we take part in unconsciously much of the time, as we weigh a decision or an action.

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Below is an excerpt from a journaling form of Archetype Dialogue I engaged with just a few days ago about the slow process of editing for publication:

ELDER LEADER     You need to finish the edit and begin taping for the webinar. Time is waning on our sabbatical.

NOURISHER.     Let her be, Marshall. She knows what she needs to be doing.

 LW:  Well I could use all of your input, actually. The editing feels too mechanical now. Taking stuff out is not so much fun as putting ideas into the book. It pains me to have to be removing the lined journaling pages, stripping down to only providing the instructions for library readers to do the techniques externally.

ELDER LEADER.    Yes we understand but that is what you need to do, so library readers will not be tempted to write in the books. That’s the editor’s decision. Why are you balking so much?

ARTIST    I know what you really want to be doing…and it is what I want to help you with… to redesign the Toolkit as a separate aid that readers will be able to download or receive directly as a workbook companion to the book.  The cover art your cousin has provided will fit beautifully with the Toolkit.

LW: Yes but then I also need to get rolling with the webinar production. And a larger than usual docket of classes looms just around the corner in August. Argh!

TEACHER.    One step at a time, dear. That is the best way forward. What is the ONE THING, as you tell people to consider with their own life mapping, that YOU need to be doing, Now?

MYSTIC.   Yes, dear Soul, what is your ONE THING, NOW?

LW:  Well, I want to have a clearer overview of the Whole–of where all this is heading, really. So much work for so many years, and yes we have a publication date, but the whole process feels like it is starting to get away from me, you know? Master, can you help me to re-center, to regain a stronger focus at this interval as I need to deliver these products in full strength and beauty, to best serve the Whole?

MYSTIC    Go within to find your answer, dear. What is your ONE THING, Now?

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As I continued with this internal musing (a fine expression, by the way!), I did arrive at answers. My new process is to produce both the edit my publisher needs and, concurrently, I will generate the Toolkit from the extracted material. So I do not have to lose any of the vitality I want for the book to contain. As well, this contemplation led me to write a full draft script of the opening webinar sessions, so I feel back on track now!

I invite you to develop your own Archetype Dialogue Practice.  I will be sharing a full process for this approach with my upcoming book (March 2018), Your Life Path.

What are some of your own archetypal “parts of Self”? Allow them to present themselves to you. Just offer them a safe, open space for communicating with you. Keep in mind that these are not external “voices” or entities, at all. (If they feel as such ever, then it could be helpful for you to discontinue the exchange! ) These are simply your own INTERNAL points of view that much too often we tend to ignore. So, lend an ear!

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

Revelations Can Carry You Forward

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The last few months I have been focusing a lot in these posts on the trials and descent process necessary in order to embark well on one’s journey of self discovery and fulfillment. Of course that is exactly what is needed. A Quest, to be worthwhile, advances you toward achieving your deepest aspirations so you can express your unique talents and potentials.

This is the High Adventure of the Soul of which Joseph Campbell speaks. The initial threshold guardians, descent and trials are to help you to clarify your Goal, to claim your mission and purpose, and to develop your resolve. You have crossed the first threshold into the adventure itself, but you must illuminate the passage ahead so that your adventure will not simply be wandering through a maze without a centered destination to reach. The revelations from your initial trials are essential. They allow you to refine your goals.

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I think of Castaway as offering an excellent example of the value of trials and revelations. Chuck, once marooned on his island, encounters many failures in his early attempts to escape until the realization after testing a possible suicide ploy that also fails, that he must face up to the immense challenge and strive actively to survive, opens the possibility, this reader would say, of his ultimate success in leaving the island and sacrificing his solitude there to return to his social arena of life. Chuck Noland learned he could survive on his own yet that was not enough to be truly living. The metaphor of the angel wing sail that let him finally overcome the tidal forces imposing his solitude served literally to deliver the character from his prison of isolation even while that isolation itself brought invaluable lessons about the meaning of life itself.

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A similar narrative framing the import of trials and revelations is found in The Life of Pi. There the psychological drama brings the stranded ocean wayfarer to the point of challenging his faith in the goodness of God, yet at every critical point of facing the likelihood and the inevitability even of death, Pi thanks God rather than cursing his fate, and it is then that new positive opportunities abound. Pi, too, like Chuck Noland, survives to live out his life more fundamentally assured of the love of God and the interconnectedness of life in its entirety.

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images are from pixabay.com

JOURNAL PROMPT: What revelations have you gleaned from your times of trial or testing that have or can carry you forward to fulfilling your Soul purpose in this life?

I welcome YOUR COMMENTS AND STORY!

[P.S. to Readers: I will be traveling until the 25th so will not post again until after that trip, but I look forward to reading your Comments!]

Trials and Your Life Lessons

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Here’s a helpful self discovery tool: Make a timeline of the challenging times of hardship or trials in your life. Map these life events according to your ages when each event has occurred.

First, do you see any pattern in terms of the clustering of these events? Have they corresponded with any other major events such as big moves or regular time cycles?

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Second, make a separate list of these events and the ages they occurred, then journal reflectively about any Life Lesson that you gained from each ordeal.

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Can you see any connections among your Life Lessons? Is there a deeper underlying theme, or a realization you can glean? After you have learned a Lesson, has your life experience changed course in any significant ways?

Sages say we often repeat similar tests or ordeals, revealing deeper and deeper levels of a major Life Lesson. Why, do you believe? What might this prepare us for?

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Sequel stories and some television series serve to dramatize this observation that life lessons can unravel over time, resulting in a gradual transformation of character. The popular Big Bang Theory–one of my favorites–is a good example, where every character undergoes gradual, transformative change based on learning their life lessons from relating with one another in the ensemble cast over time.

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images are from pixabay.com

So now, what is your life about?

I welcome YOUR Comments and story.

When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare? Adapt!

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June brings our new monthly theme at Better Endings for Your Life Path (see Monthly Topics); the next stage as we proceed forward with the Hero Cycle process is:  TRIALS AND REVELATIONS.

I can certainly relate right now at this juncture in my own life’s journey.  This past month, while blogging here about “Descent into the Belly of the Whale,” I sank into a deep contemplation one day while sitting in the center of an outdoor stone labyrinth. I asked my Inner Guide:

“What is it you/Spirit would ask me to improve upon or change as I proceed forward into the next phase of my journey?”

I received a clear answer:

“Adaptability”

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This answer has lingered in my consciousness.  Adaptability is certainly an important TOOL for me to employ as I approach retirement next summer and the release of my book, Your Life Path, next March.

A few days ago, I had a breakthrough with regard to adaptability. I have been conceiving of one and only one destination for retirement.  Yet when I visited that location through the month of March into April, I encountered a terrifying series of ordeals in the form of an invasion of my very body (and my dog’s and car) by parasitic insects. It took six weeks and a heavy load of new credit debt to clear that scourge, and I find myself left with PTSD around these ‘bug issues’ that I am still working on. When I think of that truly wonderful location, it now brings forth a sense of dread: how could I ever feel entirely safe were I to live there? I know this is not rational yet it is deeply entrenched.

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images are from pixabay.com

So I have been thinking about today’s topic: What Can You Do When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare?

My answer is clear: ADAPT!

With Life Path Mapping, I always encourage people to remain FLEXIBLE and OPEN TO CHANGE. Future life mapping is not about setting a specific location or job or relationship as a necessary or fixed destination. It is about  projecting your VALUES forward into a future set of conditions that will fulfill your sense of purpose, mission, and life satisfaction.

So I took out a map to see where else could I go to satisfy my interests in a retirement community: closer to family, a vibrant community, a lake.  And I found an amazing location I have known of but had not realized how near it is to where I have wanted to be anyway.  I have a new location focus now.

Adaptation rocks!

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I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

 

Re-Emergence: Ascent from the Darkness into Light

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Descent into the Belly of the Whale is followed by a re-emergence, a resurfacing into conscious awareness after having gained perspective on the rest of the journey ahead. I love the notion that a descent is followed by Ascent.  We must sink to the depths, yet we bring up from those depths vital tools and gems of newly gained awareness to carry forward. This is an alchemical process.

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Luke Skywalker’s Jedi light saber is a good example. After Luke’s uncle and aunt are killed by the Empire’s storm troopers, Luke seeks to “learn the ways of the Force,” first from the Jedi Knight Obiwan Kenobi and later from the great Jedi Master Yoda. Luke is given a light saber, a tool by which to concentrate the Force and direct his own positive attention.

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Such devices of Awareness are quite common in mythology, as in life. Theseus is aided by a skein of thread woven by Ariadne, daughter of King Minos. With this thread Theseus is able to ascend or reemerge from the labyrinth after he encounters and kills the half-bull/ half-man Minotaur and delivers his compatriots from being imprisoned there. Theseus thereafter assumes his father’s throne in Athens.

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What about you? What Tool or Lesson have you acquired from a time of arduous descent that has helped you to proceed toward fulfilling your deepest purpose?

A degree, for instance? Or some lesson of patience and perseverance? What then is the Quest that your Tool specifically prepares you to accomplish?

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

 

Liminal Passages (Liminality, Part Two)  

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Victor Turner said of the betwixt-and-between (where one is likely to experience marginalized feelings during this Transition stage of a Rite of Passage) that one is caught up, as it were, within a Liminal Zone—like a limbo or purgatory—which Turner describes as Anti-Structure.  You have left the settled life of being part of the Structure of a society to enter into this no-persons land. You have stripped away or have had stripped away much of your former identity (this point is for my sister to read re. her recent dream of identity loss; Hi, Lee!).  You have obstacles to face in your Descent as you pass through the Forbidden territory of Anti-Structure, before you can (with your successful passage) re-enter Structure but in a new role and status based on the transformation of your consciousness and personhood you will have attained during this important, meaningful Transition. There is usually a role model or Guide to lead you through this stage; s/he has been where you are aiming to go and has achieved the new status/ level of consciousness you seek to attain with your Quest. Your Guide will help you so far as you need, or ask.

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Liminality is such an important stage for anyone (or group) seeking to bring about a positive, transformational adjustment in order to realize a deeply beneficial goal, that I want to share more examples here for you to ponder in their possible relation to your own contemplated, desired changes.

Hiawatha and the League of the Iroquois (A Whole-Society Revitalization)

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Hiawatha has lost his wife and three daughters, who were murdered by a chief of his own village during a blood feud among the Iroquois tribes and other regional tribes.  He wanders in the woods, desolate and alone. Some say he develops cannibalistic (Windigo-like) thoughts which he despises in himself.

Hiawatha, either from a boat looking into the waters or in a cabin looking in a pot of water, sees a figure—a god, as he is called—named Deganawidah, looking back at him. This figure—some say a real man with a speech impediment also in the woods—conveys to Hiawatha a Condolence Ritual to help him and his peoples grieve their losses, and he imparts guidelines for a new political confederacy, an alliance of the member tribes: the League of the Iroquois. Six tribes eventually joined this League, which still has relevance today. They put aside their internal fighting and agreed to select lifelong delegates (sachems), installed by the Clan Mothers, who would adjudicate disputes. Greater peace, and strength, ensued for many generations to follow.

Lost Horizon (A Personal Calling and Realization of True Potential)

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Robert Conway and a small crew of allies (unknowingly hand-picked) are hijacked when a small plane leaving China-controlled Tibet (in the post-WWII era) suspiciously crash lands in the deep snows of the Himalayas.  Porters carrying just the right-sized and number of coats appear and the porters escort Conway’s group through a difficult passage in the Himalayas over several days. Eventually they round a bend and see the spectacular, verdant and temperate valley where the Abbot and staff of the amazing Temple of Shangri-La welcome them.

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Conway comes to understand after meeting with the aged Abbot that he has been called to replace this spiritual giant when he (soon to be) passes. Yet he has to reach a degree of faith in the validity of this calling and of the purpose of Shangri-La itself in both a world-beneficial and personal sense.  He escorts his cynical brother away from the Temple when his brother nearly convinces him Temple staff have been lying, but once his brother dies in an avalanche and the woman who claimed she was not protected from aging at the Valley suddenly ages and dies, Conway develops but one core ambition: to return to Shangri-La even after he returns briefly to the US. Following another arduous adventure and crossing (a Second Threshold), Conway returns to Shangri-La to return to the woman there he had fallen in love with and to assume his unselfish, divinely inspired role.

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Star Wars Episode 5: Return of the Jedi (Spiritual Warrior Training and Transformation of Consciousness)

A name that you all recognize: Yoda.  Luke Skywalker departs (separates) from his compatriot rebels to find this Jedi Master so he can train to become a Jedi Knight, “like his father before him.” Luke’s training has all the character of a Liminal Passage. He feels frustrated and powerless at first, doubting his own abilities and doubting the veracity of Yoda’s capabilities as a Teacher. Yoda shows patience with young Luke and reveals his own strengths only as needed, asking the Acolyte to work at self-mastery instead of relying on his master’s techniques. When Yoda sends Luke into the mysterious, swampy domain where he will meet his own negative side in the form of Darth Vader (his Dark Father nature, after all), Luke disregards Master Yoda’s suggestion that he leave his light saber behind. Luke ends up defeating only himself by allowing his fear and anger to lead him to confront the image of Vader therein, a lesson very important for Luke to learn.

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Luke gains Jedi skills from Yoda, yet he has more to learn in the forge of experience as the saga continues. He returns to the fields of battle to save his friends and to serve the Rebellion as best he is able.

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To conclude this reflection on Liminal Passages, consider their role in your personal Life Story.  The more deeply the Liminal Zone is entered into and absorbed, the greater the transformation of consciousness that may occur and with that, the greater the benefits may radiate out from the Hero(ine) to the Whole and its values they are pledged to defend and uphold. The Hero is a Role Model for those s/he serves and  hence can become a guide or Teacher for other Acolytes.

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images are from pixabay.com

And so the Great Cycle continues, life after life, purpose after purpose.  What is YOUR PURPOSE for being Here? What strengths can you develop to be of greatest value to the Whole?

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

 

Descent–Into the Belly of the Whale

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For this month of May let’s explore here the stage of the Hero’s Adventure which requires Descent and Re-emergence.  Once an adventurer set upon their glorious Quest crosses the (first) threshold to enter into the domain of their field of action to achieve fulfillment, they are often initially “swallowed up” or they descend into a “forbidden (verboten) zone” of a sort that accords with their needs.  Descent signifies allowing oneself to explore the fertile realms of archetypal unconscious potential. Descent is a necessary process to undertake before you can claim any true progress in attaining your most worthy purpose or goal.

Many an epic narrative illuminates the rich though challenging encounter with ‘denizens of the Deep’, such as is represented by the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. This is a descent into the “dynamism of the Unconscious” according to archetypal psychologists including Carl Jung, James Hillman and Joseph Campbell.

Your unconscious psychological Innerscapes that you may feel are “below” or ‘beneath’ your surface level of conscious awareness are vital like rich loam, oozing with multiple, too often “buried” perceptions, feelings and insights.

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Halloween, for example, is a time of year set aside to release and engage with such a ‘dark,’ shadowy level of consciousness that may actually represent your own unconscious, ‘inner’ worlds. Who do you like to dress up as on Halloween? What might that say about your own archetypal ‘shadow’ selves?

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This month I invite you to “step down,” to accept and listen more closely to your own subconscious and deeper unconscious–often called “gut”–voices. They are YOU; facets of your own total consciousness that derive in part from the various roles and lived experiences you have accumulated and enacted in your life, including those usually more ‘hidden’ parts of Self that might feel stunted, silenced or in “Shadow”.

Sink Into Deep Waters: A Creative Visualization Activity

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As a self-discovery, active imagination technique that you can use to facilitate the psychologically energizing experience of Descent, I invite you to imagine sinking deeply into a body of water. Remember the scene from The Graduate when Ben Braddock (the title character played by Dustin Hoffman) is overwhelmed by his conflicting feelings and relationships, so he dives into a backyard pool and lets himself sink to the bottom? He stays there as long as he can in this depth domain, performing a sort of soul searching.

Try this in a bathtub.  You can fill your tub with bath bubbles (if you wish), with time apart from family or others, and sink back (not really putting your head under the water for so long!).  Imagine sinking to the bottom of a pool or of a lake or even of an Ocean. You can breathe, though; do make sure you give yourself this ability.

Now explore: what is ‘on your mind’ or heart?  What deep questions or decisions are you contemplating, do you need answers about from your own inner parts of Self or inner guidance?

I just did this exercise myself about an hour ago and loved it. When I asked my Self what I needed to better understand I found it is my fear of being alone in my retirement.  My dog Sophie was at the bathroom door and I knew she and my cats will be with me, but I do have a fear of leaving all my friends and outer spiritual community behind me in Colorado when I move in just over a year across country.

So I stayed in the tub, continuing to imagine being underwater like Ben in The Graduate. (Actually this turns out for me to be a very apt fictional analog, as I conceptualize retirement as a graduation from Academia as a professor.) I found my inner selves piping up about the various aspects of Self I could connect with in seeking new friends at my new location. I can connect with writers, and readers, and retired teachers; with pet lovers, Scrabble or other game players, hikers, neighbors and of course my family will mostly be closer, plus a highschool friend still there. Even further, the thought arose that through today’s social media, I don’t have to wait until I make this Big Move before connecting to seek out some like minded others.  I can find online networks and begin connecting even before I leave. I have a full year left to do so before I leave. This last awareness felt very liberating to me; an idea I had not focussed on very ‘deeply’ before now!

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pictures are from pixabay.com

And so, dear fellows, Go For It! I invite you to try this creative visualization technique, either in the tub or in any environment that allows you to engage in an active contemplation session.

I invite and welcome your comments and story!

Build a Bridge to Your Destiny

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Who Are You? How did you get where you are today? Where are you wanting to go from here? How will you get there?

Here’s a quick creative Tool to help you discover a pathway to a desired next step that you might feel it is too hard to attain:

On a piece of construction paper of a color you associate with Fulfillment, paste or draw an image of a BRIDGE. This can be any sort of bridge you choose, but make sure it is strong, a bridge that will definitely convey you from one side (where you are now) to another (where you wish to “belong”).

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You can place or draw images of where you are and of where you wish to arrive at as a destination on either side of the bridge.

On or above the Bridge Path itself, place action words, phrases or images that are actual steps or transitions you CAN make in the foreseeable future that can lead you clearly n the direction of your goal.

For example, “pay off debt” or “exercise 2 times per week” or “write a chapter outline” could be statements you write on the bridge.

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images are from pixabay.com

Then, DO THIS!  Place one action before you that  is easy to set into motion and let that motion carry you over the bridge, across a threshold to your desirable new state or condition.

I welcome YOUR comments or story!

Alternate Futurescapes: A Crossing-the-Threshold Tool

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As Shakti Gawain presented in her excellent book, Creative Visualization, it can be of utmost value to put into practice your divine gift of Imagination when you wish to manifest positive attitudes and experiences in your life. The quality of your consciousness affects your capacity to create the life of your dreams, and you are responsible and therefore free to establish and maintain a positive state of consciousness.

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In my book YOUR LIFE PATH, I will be providing 75 self-discovery Tools you can engage with as a life mapping process that will let you review your Life Story; reflect on your Life Themes, Life Chapters and your archetypal parts of Self; and also engage in future prospecting or what I like to call Future Casting.

One fun Future Casting technique to help transport you via creative visualization to Cross the Threshold into a desirable future is to journal or creatively represent in any medium a set of Alternate Futurescapes:

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Write in first person (I), present tense(from assuming a NOW perspective)about a possible future that is desirable to you because it fulfills your sense of your Life Purpose, Values, and Goals. Describe the conditions you have established in this Futurescape of your fertile imagining. Where are you, what are you doing, what relationships and activities are prominent in this Future dream-come-true. Describe in detail the distinctive features of your Future landscaoe of consciousness. The more descriptive you can be, the more you can assume a perspective within this possible future; the more of a probability it becomes!

Now then, envision a different alternate futurescape, maybe one even more desirable than the first, more ideal. Or imagine where you will arrive if something you need to change currently you do not change. Write several of these Futurescape scenarios, perhaps limiting yourself to one page each.

Later, look back at these Alternate Futurescape scenarios you have described. Are there some common denominator factors that your more desirable futures share? Can you further envision a pathway to bring about the most desirable future conditions you have imagined?

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images are from pixabay.com

If you can conceive of a desirable future you can perceive a path to attain that.

I welcome your Comments and I invite you to share your stories!

Life Lessons

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Life is a Teacher in and of Itself; we learn daily through the forge of experience. How often have you said, “at least I learned something” about an experience in your life that may not have turned out exactly as you had planned for or expected it would?

“Chalk it up to experience!” we say.

Or maybe:

“Live and learn”

“It was a learning experience”

“I’ll know better next time”

Then there’s the infamous:

“No pain, no gain!”

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This week, I invite you to celebrate Life’s Lessons.  Large or small, long term or short term, what “Life Lessons” have you gathered as gems of experience along the road or Labyrinth of your Life Path so far?  

Make a list of some of your Key Life Lessons, organized however you choose. Then I encourage you to choose one of these to journal about; let that be a Life Lesson that feels relevant to your understanding of an experience with which you are currently engaged.

Let me try this life mapping Tool myself as an example. I will list some of my own Life Lessons and make note of the source of some of these.

LIFE LESSONS

  • Always Give UP, Always Surrender (to Spirit and Higher Consciousness; learned through contemplative inner guidance)
  • Patience is a Virtue (DM; this one has clearly stood the test of Time!)
  • The turtle only makes progress when she sticks her neck out. (from a ceramic figurine  I had as a teen)
  • Love all with unconditional love but reserve your warm sentiments for those you can trust to return that friendship deeply. (School of hard knocks; a spiritual principle)
  • Drive the car; don’t let it drive you. (My father, teaching me to drive)
  • “When you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (a Goethe quote on a poster I once gave to my sister)
  • “Way Will Out” (a Quaker expression learned from a friend.)

Way Will Out

This is the Life Lesson that feels most relevant to my current experience this week as I am confronted with a question concerning copyright matters with an element in my book manuscript as I prepare it to go to the publishers. I had adapted a set of techniques I thought would be helpful in the book, but after a conversation yesterday followed by some sincere contemplation, I realize there is a GIFT in this experience. The GIFT is that I will redesign these elements completely to present wholly new techniques that are more directly grounded in a central feature of the overall approach in the book. This will be of even greater value than what I had before because they will add substance to a more coherent, fully unique “process.” The original concepts were in retrospect merely place holders until I could arrive at this awareness, and the timing has been perfect as it is just now that I am editing this section of the manuscript.

“Way Will Out,” to me, has always been a very calming proposition. It says to RELEASE any sense of conflict or concern, to Trust in the Universe or Spirit, and to act accordingly, with good intent.  It works!

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images are from pixabay.com

Your Turn: 

Print out this post if you would like to write in the space given below a list of Key Life Lessons in your life and an account of how ONE of these is relevant Now. (I invite you to send your own story here if you would like me to post it for others to read.)

List Your Life Lessons:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6) 

 

Journal about the Relevance of ONE of these Life Lessons to your experience Now:

 

 

Your HEALER in the MIRROR

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One technique I have offered before that seems relevant this month as we close the September focus on the HEALER Archetype is a Look-in-the-Mirror technique.  Remember the Snow White fairy tale (“Who’s the Fairest…?”)  Simply imagine standing before a full sized mirror and seeing your Inner HEALER part-of-Self looking back at you, beaming a smile!

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From a wonderful blog post published by MarDrag I have been led to this Message below (from March 14, 2013 at From the Desk of MarDrag ) that I imagine your own Healer might say to You:

Your Beautiful Self

 “You are beautiful. Know this. Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply lying. You are beautiful.”  ~ Steve Maraboli

“In your own life it’s important to know how spectacular you are.”  ~ Steve Maraboli

“Did your mom ever tell you, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything’? She was right–and talking nicely also applies when you’re talking to yourself,

even inside your head.”
~ Victoria Moran

“Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful.”  ~ Stephen Levine

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.”  ~ C. JoyBell C.

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”  ~ C. JoyBell C.

“Allow yourself to enjoy each happy moment in your life.”  ~ Steve Maraboli

from The Desk of MarDrag:

While the Great Tapestry of Life is being woven with our threads and the threads of all those around us, our own smaller Tapestries are being woven to fit into that bigger picture. The threads of our individual pictures are made up of our experiences, our actions and our energy…..but the most important component that makes up those threads….are our thoughts about ourselves. Those thoughts and impressions that we hold about ourselves weave the very fibers of our threads together and then those threads weave into our pictures, and those pictures are woven into the bigger picture….and our place in the world is made.

So each and every fiber of thought is important. They are essential to the kind of picture we would like to have recorded in our own Tapestries, and then, in the Great Tapestry.

We think many thoughts about ourselves throughout the day. How many of them are good thoughts? How many are thoughts that acknowledge our wisdom and celebrate our innate beauty? How many of them are about how much we love ourselves? For what we think of ourselves is what will be woven into our threads and recorded. And our pictures will either be bright and joyful, or dark and sad.

The definition of Beautiful is this: a) having qualities that delight the senses; of a very high standard; excellent; wonderful; generally pleasing; having qualities of aesthetic beauty. And we ALL….every one of us…..have these qualities. It is just that, sometimes they get buried under stress and worry or we forget to let them shine for one reason or another. Most importantly, we forget to remind ourselves that we possess them. We inundate ourselves with frequent chatter about all that we feel is wrong about us….but we forget that we all have this innate beauty that deserves to shine. We deserve to Feel our beauty…as well as show it.

I love the quote above by C. JoyBell C. that says, “I am my own worst critic, but I do not want to spend my life with someone who is always critical, so it is high time I accept all the great things about me.” It is so profound in that…we seem to easily accept the things we think are wrong with us and criticize…but we have such a hard time accepting the wonderful, spectacular, beautiful things about ourselves and acknowledge them, Be them. And then to weave all of those fine and lovely fibers into our threads so that our Tapestries can be the pictures that we so much want them to be, that they actually truly are, if we can but see them that way. See ourselves for who we truly, and beautifully, are.

You are beautiful! You are magnificent! You have qualities and gifts that no one has exactly like you. Know this. Remind yourself of it daily. Write it down and post it somewhere you will see it every day. Because it is the truth. Believe it….and watch the beauty of your threads weave a glorious picture of a brilliant life for you. And it will be all because….YOU thought it!

Blessings!

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images are from pixabay.com

So try it, you might like it! Stand before your Inner Healer in the Mirror. What other message does S/he wish to impart to you directly? You can write it in the space below, if you wish:

I always welcome your Stories and Comments!

Walking the Labyrinth: A Healing Journey

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Lately I have been taken to Walk the Labyrinth, often. I find it to be a superb physical template for the spiritual journey of supplication and immersion that can lead to greater Clarity and Wholeness.

Wholeness is one of the key motifs of the labyrinth path. It is thus a healing journey, a winding, twisting, road that leads one into the Center for a period of contemplative repose, then back out to bring one’s awareness from the inner guidance there received back to one’s daily life.

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When I walk a labyrinth I experience an unwinding and a rewinding of newly harvested potentials.  On the way in, I am winnowing through the concerns of the present, sorting to extract the essential core of the questions or situations I wish to draw attention to spiritually. I am preparing the ground, planting the seeds for deep contemplation at the Center. I am also opening myself to the Presence of Spirit in my own way.

Having arrived at the Center, I feel fully exposed to Spirit and the Divine. I surrender my cares and am the supplicant, asking for inner guidance or resolve, but mainly seeking clarity about the situation being reflected upon. How shall I manage or approach the situation? How can I improve my relationship with all of life inwardly and outwardly in relation to this? I become silent, I go within and actively contemplate, in a state of utter repose and surrender.

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When I feel ready to leave the Center, I re-emerge from the inner focus. I gather my insights, look to see if there is any one idea I am bringing back from the contemplation that can help me to advance with the situation I have been focusing upon. Sometimes there is a new sense of alignment with Spirit in relation to this situation, other times I just feel more integrated, supported, and ready to return to my daily life knowing I will know what to do when the situation calls for action or further reflection.

Walking out from the labyrinth I am “stepping down” with the awareness received, bringing the clarity or sense of love and resolve within me, carrying this like a newborn babe.

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After walking the labyrinth three times over the past week and a half, yesterday I was walking in a shopping mall, partly for a necessary purpose and partly just to walk for exercise. I realized I could still walk a labyrinth there; anywhere you go if you go mindfully and with deep intention to focus your attention in a grounded, holistic way, you are essentially walking Your labyrinth, your path of life, winding and unwinding, attaining a Center and opening, surrendering, accepting with gratitude the vision or lesson received, and bringing that back into your outer, daily life.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories!

Create A Golden Child Vision Board   

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Now that August is waning it is a good time to harness the Leonine energies of your Golden Child part of Self. I invite you to create a Vision Board of your future aspirations from the perspective of your Golden Child viewpoint.

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An easy way to compose a Vision Board with your computer is simply by going to a graphics site you like (I recommend pixabay.com, as all its images are free to use online; or you could use clip art or simply Google Images).  Create a blank Word or Publisher page, set up in landscape mode.  Next, Imagine! Assume the perspective of your Golden Child persona, that part of You that is bold and adventuresome and often even gregarious. What does THIS You wish to project into your future with regard to any situation or with regard to your Life Dream as a whole?

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Your Vision Board will be an image collage representing various aspects of your future (or, situational) Vision. All you need to do is to copy and paste from images you find online onto your ‘blank page’.  For example, if you see your future self living in Hawaii, find an image that evokes Hawaii for you and copy and paste it onto your page. Assemble your Vision Board collage by simply adjusting the size and shapes of the images you gather and arranging them in a meaningful way on your collage Board.

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I always pilot every self-help Tool I develop first for myself before inviting others to utilize that Tool. So below is the Vision Board collage I created a few days ago to channel, as it were, my Golden Child vision for the future of our imaginings. Needless to say I won’t explain my images here; your vision is private. You can share it with others but be careful not to dilute its energetic force for you by explaining it overmuch to others. I can share that without even intending it as such, the little writer-girl image I placed on the bottom right of my collage does portray my Golden Child persona very directly.

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I invite you now to create and compose your own Golden Child Vision Board. Be sure to use images of what CAN BE and include images that portray your means of manifesting your Dream!

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all images used above are from pixabay.com

After you complete your Vision Board, I encourage you to save it on your computer Desktop but also to print it out in color and place it somewhere important to you where you can see it often. Let your Golden Child Vision Board remind you of your Dream, of your Vision and of your CAN-DO attitude.

I welcome your Comments, Insights, and Stories!

See Your Golden Child in the Mirror

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Here’s a fun technique for bolstering your self-image: See Your Golden Child archetype (part of Self) in the Mirror!  Your Golden Child is that part of you that is bright and outgoing, full of charm and generosity in (her/his) most positive expression.

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Look your Golden Child in the eyes in your mirror (outwardly or inwardly).  Notice her or his shining expression and gleaming smile, maybe with a bit of mischief in the eyes. Let her or him speak to you, too. What is your Golden Child telling you? What is s/he asking you to do TODAY in order to allow this important facet of your Self to express itself through your thoughts, words and actions?

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Feel free to print this post out and write out a dialogue with your Golden Child in the Mirror space below. Just as an example, here is a brief version of my own Mirror Conversation with my Golden Child today:

GC:   I SEE YOU!

LW:  Ahah, I remember that from Finding Dory and from Avatar too.

GC:  But, do you get it?

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LW:  Sure, “I SEE You!” And since you are ME, too—

GC: Well, a “part” of You as you soooo like to say—

LW: OK, as you are an important part of US, thank you for Seeing Me, and for Being Here!

GC:  Go get’em Tiger!

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pictures are from pixabay.com

LW:  Excuse me?

GC: You know what I am saying, now FEEL IT. BE IT. The Bengal Tiger you were when we were on the Buff State Fencing Team, right?

LW:  You were with me a lot back then…

GC: You bet I was/am! Time is an Illusion, remember? So, ET LA! EXHALE! LUNGE!!!

   I invite you to write YOUR OWN Golden Child dialogue or affirmation in the MIRROR:

MIRROR

Advice from your Golden Child

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A major advantage and goal of getting to know your archetypal ‘parts of Self’ is that you can call upon various of your archetypal sub-selves to draw upon their specific perspectives and strengths of character. After all, these archetypal energies are facets of your Self.  Your Golden Child is that charismatic part of yourself that is always willing to step forward to help you express yourself boldly when the situation calls for that. But Golden Child is one of those archetypal personae that many of us—not Leos, for instance—tend to suppress or bury.

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Can you think of a current situation in your life that could benefit from your stepping forth to make bold proclamations? Well then, even if you may not be ready to let your Golden Child shine forth fully on your life stage, I invite you to a technique that can help you allow your Golden Child to give you (or others) the advice It is ready to proclaim.

This is an active imagination technique such as Carl Jung and James Hillman have used to encounter  archetypal personae in their own unconscious domains.

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Set some alone time to spend a half an hour or so in a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. With eyes closed or open (your choice), imagine! Let yourself sink into a part of yourself where your Golden Child lives. Ask him or her about a situation in your life where you could use strong advice. Have a conversation or just listen/attend to what this bold facet of yourself wants to say to you about the situation. You could also imagine someone else there with you, someone you wish you could be bold enough to say something to that you really wish you could say.

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images are from pixabay.com

When you complete your active imagination session, I encourage you to journal about it. Either write out the dialogue as you remember it or at least record the bold statements that your Golden Child proclaimed as messages from your unconscious. By the way, what is she or he like, that part of you that gets to say everything you’d like to be able to express? How might you allow that part of yourself to have more of a voice in your life? Maybe in that situation you were contemplating? Write ONE STATEMENT that boldly proclaims what you need to say. You can print this out and write your statement below if you wish to:

 

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

 

“Let’s Meet on the Inner”: An Internal Dialogue Practice

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For this month of the archetypal Communicator, I offer you a method for working with a challenging relationship conflict in a positive, constructive way.

For a difficult situation involving communication challenges, you can “go Within” to engage with the person(s) involved, or alternately, you can meet with an Inner Guide and have a conversation with him or her about a snaggly situation. This is a form of what Carl Jung would call Active Imagination.

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If you are having troubles communicating with someone because of a personality conflict or in relation to a sticky situation, you can set some quiet, private time aside. Go into a light contemplative/ meditative ‘zone’ (eyes closed in a semi-darkened space or in a natural setting) and imagine that the person or persons you’ve been having trouble with are present in a conference room (or create your own internal environment that is appropriate for your visit).

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Start a conversation. It can be very simple and does not have to be directly about the challenging situation you are facing. What is important is that this is a positive exchange. Allow the internal conversation with your ‘alter’ to proceed naturally, as if you and this person or persons are meeting Soul-to-Soul with a shared intention to move beyond your snaggles and to arrive at a positive, win-win solution.

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As an example to demonstrate the approach, around 15 years ago I faced a difficult situation with a workplace colleague. Coming from polarized theoretical approaches for teaching, the impasse between us reached the point—very uncomfortable for me—that we would avoid contact with each other altogether.

Then one morning I woke from a lucid dream encounter with this person (let’s call him Carl). In this dream encounter, I simply met Carl in passing. I beamed a positive smile, made Soul-to-Soul eye contact, and said, “Hello Carl!”. That was it. But it had the most amazing effect! That very morning at work, I was in the mail room when Carl walked in. Seeing we were ‘stuck’ alone in the mail room together, we made eye contact for the first time in several months.

               “Hello Carl!” I beamed, smiling.

               “Hi Linda,” Carl replied also with a smile.

That was our entire conversation, just as in the morning’s lucid dream. Somehow, it set into motion an immediate, significant thawing of our relationship. We no longer avoided one another, and in fact shortly after this encounter, Carl applied for and received an out-of-state position that would allow him to advance in his career. (I had put the job notification in his mailbox!) Within 3-4 months, Carl left, with the two of us in a much improved relation, as I even organized, as department Chair, a farewell party for Carl.

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free images are from pixabay.com

I invite you to try this technique for yourself. Imagine an internal conversation with someone you seek to have a better relationship with. You are not trying to change this person, but you are simply allowing a Soul-to-Soul encounter that may be difficult to engage in “out Here.”

I welcome your Comments and Stories.

(P.S. I will be on a road trip for the next month, so blog posts may be on a less than regular schedule.)

June, Month of the COMMUNICATOR

 

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The COMMUNICATOR Archetype

 (per Debra Breazzano, LPC)

Mission: To link, be a messenger

Shadow: Chatterbox or silent treatment

Strength Qualities: Synthesizing, curious

Being a Communicator is a fundamental capacity of being human. As we learn about how best to communicate, or also how worst to express ourselves, we develop and cultivate a “Voice” which is distinctly our own yet which may represent as well a style of communicating which feels natural or effective. That part of you which has the ROLE of being The Communicator is a member of your Archetypal ensemble cast of personae that together comprise your personal Self. This month, I invite you to explore and celebrate your own COMMUNICATOR nature.

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What have been some of your most significant positive (Strength mode) and negative (Shadow mode) role models for developing your Communicator persona? What characteristics have you learned from them that are embedded in your own Communicator part-of-self?  For example, from a high school English teacher mentor, Mr. Scelsa, I learned alot about communicating as a teacher: asking good questions and listening from the heart to help students progress from wherever they are at to a next level that suits their own interests or needs. From a graduate school mentor, Betsy, I learned about how to simplify academic writing in order to reach a broad interdisciplinary audience.

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From blogging I am learning how to use common language and very open prose to communicate with a public readership. I highly recommend blogging to all writers and artists! Also from a friend, Jan, I learned many years ago and continue to try to develop the art of sharing feelings and engaging deeply in friendship. Yet, I have also observed in myself and others communication faux pas‘s and miscommunication, usually involving generalized mistrust; these are ways of communicating that I prefer to avoid.

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Communicating about what matters to you, and listening from the heart to what matters to others, is important in and of itself, always. Communication allows you to exteriorize your thoughts and feelings. Often it is best to start that process inwardly, though, or by means of journal writing.

One technique you can use to increase your facility with communicating about what matters to you is to have a conversation, either in active contemplation/meditation or in writing, with your own Inner Guide or higher consciousness. Just this afternoon, for example, while waiting for food at a restaurant, I journalled an internal dialogue about something I have been worrying over in the form of a conversation with my spiritual Guide (I call him Zee). It worked wonders! He helped me envision more flexibly about some future concerns, and said: “Do not let externals determine your level of happiness or fulfillment.” Thanks, Zee!

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images are from pixabay.com

So try it, you might like it. Just start a conversation on paper, and allow it to proceed naturally, perhaps in question and answer mode. Let it continue until you have arrived at some insights that help you progress in a positive way with your thoughts or concerns.

I welcome your Comments and stories!

The Art of Better Rendering: Mining YOUR Story

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Humans are inherently Storytellers. We conceptualize  and tell others about significant events and time frames of our lives as narratives. Stories have beginnings, middles and ends; stories have challenges the protagonists face. Stories are comic (with positive resolutions or ‘happy endings’), or they may be tragic or as yet unresolved.

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Recognizing our human capacity to spin a good tale, especially about significant or critical events in our lives, carries tremendous potential from the perspective of this blog’s focus on Better Endings. Let’s talk about “better-endering” or perhaps better even, “better rendering!” We can apply the PRINCIPLE of Better Ending envisioning to events from our own life, either in the Past, Present or Future, by SEEING and then TELLING these potentials, weaving them into the story we would tell about our experiences.

For the Past, for example, we can revisit our significant events with an eye to seeing the LESSON we have learned from that experience. Some say that the more we can MAKE SENSE of our past events, the more likely we are to face similar challenges more successfully in the future. Live and Grow becomes a story in itself. I invite you to print this post and  write the Lesson or Strengths you have gained from some past event in the space provided below:

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For the Present, we are the central protagonist, on par with mythical heroes or Everypersons in literature. What can YOU DO to bring about a Better Ending to some thread of the Story you are currently living? What are the inherent potentials of the Moment you are presently constructing—whether positive or not? WRITE/ TELL the most positive outcomes of the life you are living NOW. This is important. I encourage you to journal, talk with a loved one, or artistically visualize and represent the positive potentials of your CURRENT Life Chapter. Here is some space to jot some ideas about this story:

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For the Future, well, here the ground is So-o-o-o RIPE for you to envision Better Endings. The Future, I believe, is NOT fixed in stone. We can consider the future as a relatively open, endless set of possibilities. Now then, which potential becomes a STATE in some future Present is ultimately up to YOU. Current or lifelong patterns and habits of thought, motivation, and action certainly orient us along a pathway from Present to Future that sometimes SEEMS relatively fixed and immutable.  That is where MINDFULNESS, however YOU can practice this, comes in. One technique I offer in Your Life Path is to envision several “Alternate Future Lifescapes.” Envision a desirable Future Scenario. Write it out or practice active contemplation about it. Then, either on the same day or later, creatively envision an Alternate future scape; several even. What does this desirable imaginative future CARRY that reveals your deepest values, goals and motivations? What CORE VALUES does your desired Future embody? Here is some space to jot some ideas, but I invite you to write this out elsewhere as a descriptive STORY of the life you can be living as you REALIZE this desired future set of conditions and lifestyle:

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Now then, PICTURE your Life Story as a WHOLE. What is the MESSAGE of Your Story; your Legacy that you would like to leave?

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And finally, how? What are some things or ONE THING you can be doing Now or in the near, realistic, practical future that can help to bring about your most desirable future conditions, your own Better Ending?

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Better Rendering means to re-tell your Story focusing on the lessons, messages, and strengths you have gained that you can APPLY to your Present in order to manifest the life of your dreams.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

 

 

 

 

Picture Your Life BETTER

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Imagine each Chapter of your Life Story as a picture. You can look at any of these pictures in your mental bank, as it were, to reflect and to examine that chapter like a single event framed in a dynamic, holographic wide angle photograph.

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Imagine the Big Picture of the Life Chapter you are in Now. Where are YOU in this picture? I invite you to journal, discuss with a loved one, or visually represent your response:

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How do you envision your current chapter might end and the next one begin? What IMAGE comes to mind as you imagine a coming TRANSITION? Journal, discuss,  or visually represent this coming Transition:

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Finally, draw yourself into the most positive potentials of a desirable future life chapter. Is this your next chapter or are there one or more other transitional chapters you can anticipate between now and then? See if you can imagine the series of chapters that can bring you to the fulfillment of your Life Dream, your Dream Come True. Journal or visually represent your response:

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Transitional Chapter

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Transitional Chapter

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My Life Dream Realized!

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As you engage with this imaginative technique you are drawing upon your Artist archetype Ally. YOU as Artist are a Visionary. Imagination is your Divine gift that can lift you from any situation and help you to manifest a Better Ending!

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories from engaging with this imaginative self-development Tool. You could Comment to this post or send me a Facebook or email message and I will share your response in the Comments section.