Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Happy Gratitude Day! November 27, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 3:50 pm
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If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.
~Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I mean, a whole day dedicated to gratitude — what could be better than that? I know not everyone remembers that aspect of this holiday, choosing instead to focus on football and turkey. And don’t get me wrong, the holiday “trimmings” do play their part. But for me, it is always such a great opportunity to remember what all I am grateful for.

Today that gratitude begins with my family of choice, those friends who have been more than just friends, who have been such a deep support system that they’ve become family. My mom and I started celebrating Thanksgiving with friends of ours about 20 years ago. We’ve all moved around a lot during those 20 years, and managed to continue the holiday tradition in many different locations over the years, but now we find ourselves together again living within 40 miles of each other. I am truly grateful to be celebrating Thanksgiving “old school” this year, with this very important subset of my family of choice.

There are so many things I find myself grateful for today that I’ve put together an ABC’s of gratitude. Not only was it fun, but it encouraged me to explore my gratitude in a different way, enabling me to enjoy the surface and yet go a little deeper with it. Give it a try yourself and see how it goes. Namaste.

Autumn beauty     Being peaceful, powerful, and playful     Connection with Source     Dancing and drumming     Expanding consciousness     Family and friends     Grounded     Having my mom and Bonnie & Clyde (her cats) nearby     Intuitive insight     Joyful noise     Knowledge and understanding     Love and laughter with my husband     Morgan and Gryphon (my cats)     Nature in all its glory     Opportunities on the horizon     Power animals     Quiet time to just be     Release of the past     Shamanic journeying circle     Trust in my inner wisdom     Urban Dog Walkers     Vision     Women helping me to connect to my divine feminine     eXcitement and passion for life     Year of exploration     Zeppelin in the sky (I want to take a ride!)

Photo: “Autumn orange,” originally uploaded by Jurek Durczak

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Notes from Jenn’s World April 27, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 2:01 pm
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Just a quick check-in about what’s going on in my world . . .

Happy Anniversary!

Sean and I are celebrating our second anniversary this weekend with a mini escape to Point Reyes. We have a little cottage on Tomales Bay–it’s wee, but so peaceful and beautiful. We had dinner at a wonderful spot in Point Reyes Station last night, The Station House Cafe, which I would highly recommend the next time you’re in the area. This morning, I woke up early and went for a walk on the little beach off of our deck, watching the sun rise up over the hills across the bay. While I was out there I meditated and did a little Qigong, experiencing such a deep feeling of connection and sense that all is right with the world. Today, we’ll probably head over to Point Reyes National Seashore and do a little exploring on their trails. We spent a weekend up here back in 2000, but it was during the rainy season, gray and damp and cold. It feels good to see it in a different light this time.

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

I feel so blessed to be participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this year. Yesterday I did my first “official” Training Walk, joining the Urban Dog Walkers team for one of their two 9-mile loops through Redwood City. I parked a mile and a half away from the starting point so I would completely my full 12 miles in one fell swoop. The energy of that training walk was so motivating–a large group of friendly, welcoming, and kind people, joining together to support each other and the cause. There was pink everywhere you looked, and I realized it’s time for me to start unfurling my inner pink! While I will continue to savor my 3- and 4-mile walks by myself, I am looking forward to continuing to train with people for these longer walks. In the meantime, I continue to be blown away by everyone’s generosity–I am up to 41% of my personal goal and 82% of my required donations with 11 weeks to go. Thank you!

Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

We return home tomorrow afternoon. For Sean, that means going back to work on Tuesday after a much needed 2-day break. Working weekends has been taking its toll, so it’s especially good that we’ve been able to unwind for a few days. For me, it means that I will return to my regular blogging schedule. Look for me to post on weeks 8 & 9 of A New Earth this week. I am also looking forward to a busy freelancing week. I’ve had to postpone the Spiritual Fitness class, but I know that just means the timing wasn’t right. I’m shifting my focus now towards a monthly Abraham / Law of Attraction group as well as fleshing out a book idea that I’m working on with a friend. I already feel rejuvenated and look forward to getting to work!

So what’s going on with you? What are you working on these days? How are you taking time to unwind and reconnect? I’d love to hear about all the flow and synchronicity that is happening for you. Namaste.

 

Inspiration: The Invitation April 22, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 3:19 pm
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I remember when Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation was just an email being forwarded from friend to friend. It was relatively early in the friend-spamming-friend era, but you still got more of those emails than “real” emails and it was tough to pick and choose which ones were worth your time. I know that I usually just skimmed those emails and deleted them, barely absorbing the messages within. This email was different, however. I remember doing my usual skim and then stopping, returning to the first line to read each word and allow it to truly sink in. To this day, I still get “Spirit bumps” when I read her words. I feel my whole body tingle with aliveness and I yearn to “dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of [my] fingers and toes.” This is definitely a message about living life to its fullest, celebrating life in all its glory, and learning to fly.

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon . . .
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Photo: “Big Range Austin Dance Festival,” originally uploaded by Andrew Baron

 

Hugging back April 10, 2008

Something I was reading this week recommended hugging a tree, saying that if you get still and pay attention you should feel the tree hugging back. Somewhat by accident, I ended up participating in a tree hug fest yesterday, and I am so glad that I did. What a magnificent way to connect with nature and the universe. Booyah!

I’ve been feeling the pull towards the beach this week–it takes about 30 minutes to get over to Half Moon Bay and I tend to fill my days with so much busyness that I don’t feel I have time to make the journey. Every time I go I think, wow, it’s so close, why don’t I do this more often? The intellect can be so silly sometimes. Turning it off and letting the greater wisdom within me do the thinking always nets better results.

So while I was there I had two goals: to walk my 3-mile walk for my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer training, and to soak up as much beauty and peace and, well, beach as I could. It was absolutely gorgeous when I arrived–a deep blue sky reflecting into the sparkling blue ocean, relatively warm (I’m thinking mid-60s), a handful of fluffy, white clouds. I set off in a northerly direction along a path that ran along the top of the cliff. At some point I reached an easy access point to head down to the beach and I did, walking along the water and just enjoying the smell, the way the clouds dancing across the sun cast shadows on the sand, the feeling of the sand giving way beneath my feet.

When I turned around to head back the other way I realized that dark, heavy clouds were coming in, slowly obscuring the sun, but it was an almost tangible blanket with distinct edges–when you looked out to the horizon you could see the sun reflecting off the water on the other side a few miles out. It was absolutely breathtaking in its own way. On the way back I made a game out of walking in my own footsteps, half running in the sand and laughing at my own silliness. At the car, I knew I was having too much fun to go home, so I just kept walking past it towards a clump of trees I saw hanging on the edge of the cliff.

And man, as much fun as I had walking on the beach, exploring these trees was definitely the highlight of my day. It’s only Thursday and I don’t want to squelch any upcoming joy, otherwise I’d claim it as the highlight of my week! I had to cross a little bridge to reach this grove of cypresses and it was like crossing into another world. A deep peace fell over me and I felt as though I’d walked into a large cathedral with the kind of deep energy that collects over many years of reverence. My steps got very slow and I could feel my energy shift in response to the trees, keeping the playfulness but almost mutating it into a sense of celebration, a joie de vivre, that resonated all the way to my core.

There was a single cypress hanging off the edge of the cliff, completely bent so that its top ran almost parallel to the ground. I walked up to it and wrapped my arms around it, resting my chin on its bark and looking out over its vista. I’d been soaking up the beauty of the beach for almost an hour, but it was like I was seeing it for the first time, I was seeing it from the tree’s vantage point. I stood there for a few minutes, soaking up the energy of the tree, not even really conscious of the fact that my toes were just a couple of inches from the edge of a cliff. I just felt so safe, so centered, so grounded, so connected.

The next tree I came to was sticking out of the earth at about a 45 degree angle. It wasn’t one I could really hug, so instead I ran my hands along it, really seeing it through my palms and fingers, feeling the intricacies of its bark. There were a couple of knots that looked a bit like the deep, soulful eyes of a horse or a whale or something, and I looked deeply into them, feeling like I was looking into the tree’s soul. The tree emanated such a sense of grace, and I felt honored to have it share its presence with me.

After that, I ran through the clumps of trees I found and explored them like I was a little kid, seeing them as great places to play games, making different rooms out of the trees’ canopies, seeing how many I could walk between along the edge of the cliff without going back out to the path. These trees brought me to a place of such joy and gratitude. I felt childlike in their presence, totally in awe of them, yet having so much fun with them.

I am so grateful to have had this experience yesterday. I needed this connection, this reminder of the magnificence of the universe and my place in it. And now I know exactly where I can go if I ever need help reaching a place of peace and serenity. The grace of these trees will always show me the way. Namaste.

Photo: “the lone cypress as seen from the 17 mile drive,” originally uploaded by Vaidyanathan Krishnan

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Spring has sprung March 20, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,links — jennsheridan @ 6:02 pm
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The first day of spring is one of my favorite days of the year. Every season is my favorite until the next season comes, but I love watching the days lengthen and the feeling that the world is waking up from its winter slumbers. Today I feel such deep gratitude for the path I find myself on, for the blossoming that is taking place inside of me, for the beauty that is showing up in my life and the world around me. There is an incredibly bubbling of ideas and opportunities happening for me right now, which just feels so timely with the advent of spring. I want to celebrate, to dance and sing, to be silly and playful and, well, me–yet another thing to be grateful for!

While working on a project this morning, I stumbled across some fun blog posts talking about spring. I had lots of fun and learned so much from some of the posts I found that I wanted to share them with you. Consider this Jenn’s ode to spring, ending with a lovely poem from the wonderful Risking Everything collection.

For anyone who is curious about how the vernal equinox works and why we are celebrating the first day of spring on March 20th this year, I give you the farmers’ almanac:
http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather_chatter/?p=163

For the Irish, spring began over six weeks ago:
http://pandapeters.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/the-20th-of-march-the-49th-day-of-spring/

Spring on the farm means a new season of growing potential:
http://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/spring-events/

I loved this celebration of rebirth and renewal by a self-described eclectic Wiccan. Now where’d I put that Chia Pet?
http://violetsun.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/springtime-magick-planting-runes/

Curious about what happened on this day in history? And hey, happy anniversary, Legoland!
http://lifetussle.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/happy-first-day-of-spring/

Welcoming spring means celebrating a happy new years for the Persians:
http://rielworld.com/2008/03/20/spring-and-the-persian-new-year/

And finally, some lovely photography celebrating spring and the Persian new year:
http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/08/03/20/

i thank You
by e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Photo: “Believe in the Spring!” originally uploaded by Hamed Saber

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The passage of time January 22, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 11:44 pm
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I’m feeling a little under the weather today. My whole body is just crying out for me to curl up in bed, to turn off the rest of the world and retreat. It doesn’t help that it’s raining. Antonia’s Line came from Netflix so I may give in here in a minute, but I did want to do a quick post.

It’s my husband’s birthday today. I love birthdays, mine or otherwise. I think I’ve had more fun celebrating this birthday than Sean has, but that’s probably pretty usual for us. I believe that life should be celebrated, and that includes the passage of time, the gaining of wisdom. He likes to joke that we’d be old by now except that we have neither kids nor a mortgage, apparently requirements for that title in his book. I don’t think about getting “old” so much as I think about flexibility, agility, knowledge, practice. I think in many respects I grow younger as I age, so there may be a point at which Sean is robbing the cradle.

In any event, wherever you are today, please take a moment to honor the day that Sean was born in whatever way seems suitable to you. His idea of honoring it is to play video games, of course. Namaste.

 

Music makes the world go round January 18, 2008

Filed under: music — jennsheridan @ 12:19 am
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I’ve spent a substantial part of the day today working. Shocking, I know. I’m really enjoying freelancing because it gives me something a little different to sink my teeth into each day. Today, however, what I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to sit in one place for most of the day listening to music. I have such strong associations with the concept of “work” not being fun — even though I always laughed a lot and made having fun at the office a priority — that I felt a little guilty having enjoyed this background aspect of my workday. Yes, something for me to eradicate before I create my next work experience, because I genuinely believe that when your work is play, you are more productive and happier to boot.

Not really surprising after my giddy post last night, I’m enamored with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I made myself a “Falling Slowly” station on Pandora and have been listening to it for the past few hours. It’s given me additional joy by reminding me of songs I love by Damien Rice (Cold Water), Rosie Thomas (Kite Song), Blue October (Into the Ocean), and Colin Hay (Overkill). Across the universe, Ellis, who has the honor of being the most recent musical love of my life, sent out an email update and included a music video she made for one of her new songs. While it is silly and obviously low budget, I absolutely love the song and played it a few times and danced around my office for a bit.

I swear, music makes the world go round. It is one of the primary ways that I connect emotionally with the rest of the world. Each song has its own little universe contained in it full of love and heartbreak and passion and life. A good song fills up me, makes me FEEL in such a way that my heart wants to burst with its emotion. I’ll laugh, and cry, and laugh and cry some more, and then replay the song and do it all over again. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would pick a handful of really talented but mostly unknown singer-songwriters and fund their music careers so that they could share their powerful magic with more of the world.

Who do you love right now? Who knocks you out and makes you want to dance and fills you with passion? Help me in my eternal quest to expand my musical horizons, and thereby my heart and soul. Namaste.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Don!