Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Steve Jobs quote March 13, 2009

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something . . . almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

~ Steve Jobs

 

Moving February 27, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 2:09 pm
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Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
~Albert Einstein

I love to move. Okay, so maybe the act of packing up all my belongings and actually locating them from one home to another isn’t my favorite activity ever, but still, at the end of the day, I love to move. For me, moving is, like most things in my life, more of a spiritual exercise than a physical one. I love the way changes to my physical environment change the flow of energy–even when I’m not moving from one place to another, I periodically rearrange my furniture, shifting the things that fill the space and seeing how the new arrangement feels. I love the way moving gives you an opportunity to sort through the things accumulated on this journey through life, purging what is no longer needed and celebrating where you come from with the memories uncovered through the process. And I love how a new home represents a new era of your life–the good and the not-so-good, the new challenges and victories, the new experiences that will shape the next stage of your life, just the way your past experiences helped shape where you are today.

Like any transition, there’s a sense of nostalgia involved. Whatever your reasons for wanting to be in a new place, whether it’s a home, job, or relationship, the old place had it’s good times. Our current home saw us moving from an era of financial difficulties to times of prosperity. This is where we lived when we got engaged, when we got married, and when we found out we were having a baby. This is the home where I spent the 15 months of my self-discovery and exploration, the place where my days began with the question of “What do I *want* to do today?” This is the home where I trained for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, walking up and down the incredibly steep hill that we’re perched on. And this is the home where my breath never ceases to get taken away every time I drive down that hill to my apartment, and every time I step out onto the balcony, with its spectacular views of the bay, the bridges, and San Francisco.

At the same time, I am ready to begin creating the new memories that this next phase of our life will bring. As Christy Snow sings, “There is always change / And change is good.” Life is always unfolding in new and wonderful ways. What transition are you in the midst of? How can you both savor where you’re coming from and enjoy the movement into the new? We are living in exciting, change-filled times. And I, for one, am enjoying the ride. Namaste.

Photo: “Moving Day,” originally uploaded by Osbornb

 

Writing on a blank slate February 20, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 2:47 pm
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Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it. Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing, where something might be planted, a seed, possibly, from the Absolute.
~Rumi

New beginnings can be wonderful, feeling like a fresh start and a clean slate. If you’re anything like me, you like to play with the idea of reinventing yourself, of becoming that person you’ve always wanted to be. But it may seem like often you find yourself falling back into old patterns more quickly than you might have expected. It is challenging to be a truly blank slate. The past is essentially a habit, and it shows up in the way we think and talk and act. We may think that we need a change of place or people in order to achieve that state of newness, but wherever you go there you are. Unless the change begins within, it isn’t really change.

So it was with both nervousness and excitement that I started my new job in January. After a blissful 15 months without a “real job,” I was looking forward to getting back into regular interaction with people and putting some new skills into practice. The time off had given me a real perspective shift and an opportunity to make some real and lasting (I hoped) changes to the way I thought about work. I was a little nervous about the apparent loss of my freedom, but I was mostly nervous that I might fall back into the same negative patterns that had left me so miserable at my last full-time job.

I’ve been there for six very intense weeks now, and while you could argue that isn’t really long enough to know how things will play out long term, I have seen quite a bit of evidence that things really are different this time around. The time off to regroup and put some key concepts into practice outside of a full-time job enabled some new patterns to take root, and that investment seems to be paying off big time now that I am back in the workplace. And while I would not say that I have handled every situation that has come up perfectly, I’ve managed to stay calm and collected even when things have gotten pretty stressful, and on my best days, I feel like I’m demonstrating to my co-workers that balance can exist even within the midst of apparent chaos.

The best part about this experience is that it feels like I am creating it consciously. I had a choice about how I approached this from day one. I could either experience this job like many of my co-workers do, as a highly stressful and chaotic workplace that requires you to work around the clock. Or I could begin by knowing that a true work/life balance was possible for me here, and that it was an opportunity for me to show up not just as a good employee but as a spiritual individual, sowing seeds of peace. I look for, and find, the good in everyone I work with and in everything that I am doing, and I truly feel like while this might not be the Work I was born to do, it is definitely the work that I am meant to be doing at this moment in time.

I may not be a true blank slate, but I can take steps every day to overwrite past patterns with the new ways I choose to think and talk and act. What choices can you make today to begin to shift your perspective and enable change to begin to take place in your life? And are you noticing and appreciating even the smallest changes that are already showing up for you? This is my daily challenge to myself, to stay conscious and present enough to make a choice about how I respond to my work and who I show up as while I am at work, and then to appreciate the good that comes out of these choices, reinforcing the new patterns and allowing them to grow stronger. If you choose to take this challenge on for yourself, I would love to hear how it goes for you, and I wish you the best on your journey! Namaste.

Photo: “beginnings…,” originally uploaded by Sir Mervs

 

Aristotle quote November 24, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 8:00 pm
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Change in all things is sweet.

~Aristotle

 

Seeking the Source

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 5:04 pm
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It’s been an upside-down and inside-out kind of month. With Thanksgiving approaching, I’m choosing to follow the wisdom of Rumi and seek my Source, relaxing back into Who I Am and what is truly important to me. It’s a time for reflection and for connection. Enjoy the process. Namaste.

Seeking the Source
by Jelaluddin Rumi

a voice out of this world
calls on our souls
not to wait any more
get ready to move
to the original home

your real home
your real birth place
is up here with the heavens
let your soul take a flight
like a happy phoenix

you’ve been tied up
your feet in the mud
your body roped to a log
break loose your ties
get ready for the final flight

make your last journey
from this strange world
soar for the heights
where there is no more
separation of you and your home

God has created
your wings not to be dormant
as long as you are alive
you must try more and more
to use your wings to show you’re alive

these wings of yours
are filled with quests and hopes
if they are not used
they will wither away
they will soon decay

you may not like
what i’m going to tell you
you are stuck
now you must seek
nothing but the source

Photo: “Let go,” originally uploaded by Nataly

 

Shifting gears November 3, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 5:38 pm
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Since everything is but an apparition perfect in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may as well burst out in laughter.
~Long Chen Pa

I kind of got lost the last few weeks, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. I can certainly point to all of the wonderful things I’ve been doing and the sense of urgency around them as the unbalancing factor, however I suspect that underlying drumbeat that you can practically feel and hear around you everywhere you go would have permeated even my best attempts at staying centered and grounded.

Yes, tomorrow is Election Day. I’m guessing you would have to live in an unplugged bomb shelter somewhere to have missed what promises to be the largest election in America’s history. What started out as an optimistic, hope-filled embrace, however, has turned into a conversation steeped in fear. When I’m not careful, I can feel the country’s anxiety and negativity seeping through into my own consciousness, and don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s all the other side. No matter which candidate you are supporting, in the desperate final days prior to the election the national conversation seems to be centered around all the terrible things that would happen if the other guy won. It’s hardly surprising considering the culture of fear we’ve been living in for at least the last eight years, but my challenge to myself and to the world today is to rise above this fear-based thinking and focus instead on your intention.

What got me excited about this election in the first place was that it represented an opportunity for another voice to be heard — the voice of the optimistic, the spiritual but not religious, those who recognize that every moment represents a choice about how we’re going to live today. In other words, my voice. I want for my country what I want for myself — the opportunity to spread your wings and fly, to live life to its fullest, to experience expansion and freedom. And I recognize for my country what I recognize for myself — the best way to encourage change in another is to begin with yourself.

And so when I got dressed this morning, I pulled out my LIVE MINDFULLY shirt as a reminder to myself to truly stay present and be mindful this week. Because no matter what happens tomorrow, it’s all going to be okay. I’m not going to kid myself and say I won’t be disappointed if my candidate doesn’t win, but I have to remember that life is an unfoldment and an evolution, always moving me in the direction of my highest good. I set my intention, I make my choices, I get out there and do what I can do, but I also allow the unexpected to come in and show me possibilities I might not have thought of on my own. And most of all, what I want to remember is not what I am against, but instead that I am FOR change, I am FOR hope, I am FOR living life fully. Namaste.

Photo: “blown open,” originally uploaded by sookie

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Things that make you go hmmm… June 12, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 11:42 pm
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So many very cool articles and videos have come my way this week. As one friend mentioned, you can actually FEEL the shift happening right now, in this very moment. Very cool stuff. I’d like to share just two of the many inbound messages I’ve received along with a poem that feels very appropriate to the times from my dear “friend” Hāfez.

One Minute Shift
The Institute of Noetic Sciences has a website with one-minute videos dedicated to the concept of “shift.” It’s part of their Shift In Action program, which I just happen to be a member of. I viewed a handful of these videos today — you really can’t go wrong, they’re great little slices of inspiration — and my favorite was one by Marianne Williamson talking about how you don’t need a majority to change the world, you just need 11%.

You can view the video at http://oneminuteshift.com/videos/eleven_percent.

Obama as Lightworker
I really never thought I’d see the day when a political candidate of any kind was called a lightworker, especially not a presidential candidate. And while yes, it’s the San Francisco Chronicle, and yes, it’s an editorial, it was still pretty amazing reading this article. What do you think, are you a believer?

Awake Awhile
by Hāfez, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Awake awhile.

It does not have to be
Forever,
Right now.

One step upon the Sky’s soft skirt
Would be enough.

Hafiz,
Awake awhile.
Just one True moment of Love
Will last for days.

Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics
For Knowing Him,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
Far,
So far from Summer’s Divine Gold.

Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.

Say,
“Love,
give me back my wings.
Lift me,
lift me nearer.”

Say to the sun and moon,
say to our dear Friend,

“I will take You up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful Dance You promised!”

Photo: “Glimpse,” originally uploaded by Bev Sykes