Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Creativity Explosion! March 1, 2010

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 6:19 pm
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I just love how much my creative juices are flowing right now! The new year brought a bubbling up of ideas that hasn’t really stopped. While I don’t necessarily have time to act on these ideas, I’m still spending an hour or two a day nursing, which means me and the baby in a dark room with minimal stimulus — ideal conditions for creative flow. I absolutely love being plugged in and just allowing things to flow out of me. It’s almost like an idea faucet — once the faucet is on, it flows all the time. I’m taking notes in meetings, when I get out of the shower, in the car. It’s a beautiful thing!

The year kicked off with the idea for a book. And then another book. And then last week a third book came to the surface. When I set my goals for the first three months of the year, I included “complete book outline,” thinking I knew what that meant. Well, I’m very excited to say that I have completed a book outline as of today — just not the one I had in mind in January!

The great thing is I’m getting to practice what I preach. I may not have hours that I can sit down and “work on my book,” but I do have a few minutes here and there to take notes. Sometimes those notes are really brief sketches so I will remember what I was thinking later. Other times they are full and complete paragraphs. In an amazingly short amount of time I’ve thoroughly sketched out what I’d like for this book to include, taking notes for each of the eight chapters, and even written a few paragraphs for most of the chapters. This it the ultimate in taking things one moment at a time, not getting caught up in what tomorrow will bring, and redefining what it means to get things done. Booyah!

Wish me luck on this new creative journey. I may not know exactly where it will lead, but I sure am having fun in the meantime! Namaste.

Photo: “Crayola Lincoln Logs,” originally uploaded by laffy4k

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Aaah . . . May 28, 2009

Filed under: inspiration,practice — jennsheridan @ 1:19 pm
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A friend of mine posted a quote from my dear favorite Hāfez this morning: “There are so many gifts still unopened from your birthday.” I realized it doesn’t matter what he’s saying, it just makes my whole being open up, relax, and let go. I was moved to seek out inspiration from another Sufi this morning, Rumi. After a few minutes of surrendering to the perspectives of these beautiful mystics, I felt the challenges of this week fall off of me.

One of the biggest challenges for me this week has been shaking off some of the recent decisions made by this lovely state that I live in, California. First, there was the news that Prop. 8 (banning gay marriage) was being upheld, followed quickly by the governor’s latest budget recommendation that includes, amongst other gems, cutting so much revenue to our state parks that 80% of them would have to close. After moving through my intial feelings of disappointment and frustration, I was able to find peace in the reminder that times of great change are often accompanied by chaos as the smallness and limiting beliefs created by fear are ultimately dissipated by the expansive, creative, loving energy of our ongoing growth. This snippet of Rumi’s wisdom seemed especially appropriate to me this morning:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

From: The Essential Rumi, by Coleman Barks

Here are a couple of other treasures from the realm of Rumi’s wisdom. I hope that they have a similar opening, expansive, releasing feeling for you today, and that your being can relax into the Aaah . . . . Namaste.

Moving Water
~ by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling
disappears. Don’t let

others lead you. They may be blind or, worse, vultures.
Reach for the rope

of God. And what is that? Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness

people sit in jail, the trapped bird’s wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet.

The anger of police is willfulness. You’ve seen a magistrate
inflict visible punishment. Now

see the invisible. If you could leave your selfishness, you
would see how you’ve

been torturing your soul. We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t
insist on going where

you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. Your
living pieces will form

a harmony. There is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear

water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained
under a single tent.

From: The Glance

This We Have Now
~ by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come and go.
This is the presence that doesn’t.

From: The Essential Rumi

Photo: “Sunset gateway,” originally uploaded by Mirko Macari

 

Notes from Jenn’s World September 15, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 9:19 pm
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I’m sorry for going a week without posting anything. There was definitely a lot going on–one of these days I’ll find that balance where I can be busy and active and still write blog posts. But in the meantime, let’s catch back up with a quick check-in about what’s going on in my world . . .

Reiki
I was very excited to receive my first degree Reiki attunement last weekend. I’ve been loving playing with the Divine in a new way through the Reiki healing energies. After learning how to give a table session, it occurred to me that I’ve been using a form of Reiki energy on myself and loved ones for a while now, I just didn’t know that’s what it was. But it was wonderful to learn how to channel the energy in new and more concrete ways, and I’m having fun practicing with both the standard forms and following my intuition.

Rock Band
Have you felt the pull of the game Rock Band? It’s a game sort of in the same vein as Guitar Hero, where you wield a guitar-shaped controller and play a Simon-like game of hitting the right button and strumming at the right time to make the right note play on the screen. Rock Band takes this genre one step farther by introducing the drums and a vocal track. I have a “band” with my husband and two friends of ours (I’m the singer), so Saturday we tackled the Endless Set List–58 songs in a row. It was an absolute blast–exhausting, but the kind of serious fun that could be bottled and sold for big bucks. I suspect it’s because it appeals to several aspects of you at once: my inner child loves it because it’s playing, my creative self loves it because it feels like creative expression even as you’re mimicking the original song, my body loves it because it can dance a little as I go. Fun for the whole family. Next up–a real band. It may take us a while to get it together, but we plan to start pulling out real instruments and seeing if we can’t make some music together. Or at the very least, continue to just have a really good time.

Chihuly exhibit
After spending the day in San Francisco yesterday exploring the Chihuly exhibit at the deYoung Museum and enjoying hanging out with a new friend I met while training for the Avon Walk, I feel absolutely full. Chihuly’s work is so full of joy and creative expression that it makes me feel like I am full of joy and creative expression. I totally want to learn how to do what I’m thinking of now as “fire art,” i.e. anything that uses fire in order to come into being, like blowing glass or making pottery or what have you. I’ve always loved to draw and paint, but I like the idea of having a 3-D, very tangible presence at the end of your creative expression. I’ll let you know if anything come of this urge.

Guinea pigs
So I am currently looking for “guinea pigs,” people I can practice energy work on (or with). I am opening myself up to do more and more with energy, both on the giving end, like with Reiki, and on the reading end, like with the way I do tarot readings. I’m learning a new way of doing energy readings related to the chakras and suspect that about the time I’m getting a handle on that, a new way of reading energy will be given to me. So please do let me know if you’d be willing to let me practice and experiment by giving you an energy reading. At this moment in time, I am looking for Bay Area guinea pigs only, but I will definitely let you know when I am ready to expand to long-distance!

So what’s new in your world? How have you been entertaining yourself? Are all of your different aspects feeling involved in your life? What kinds of new and exciting things have you been learning? I’d love to hear all about the growth and fun happening in your life right now. Namaste.

Photo: “Chihuly glass at the Bellagio,” originally uploaded by Joe Flood

 

A New Earth — A New Earth May 22, 2008

Jenn’s thoughts and learnings from the tenth and final week of A New Earth: The Oprah Web Event.

“I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through–listen to this music.”
~Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky

For whatever reason–resistance, the timing of the Universe is perfect, etc.–it has taken me over a week (two, if you count my trying to watch it on the plane to Georgia) to watch the final week of the A New Earth web event. And I’m kind of glad it did. It’s given me time to really soak this one up, to savor it, linger over it, which seems appropriate for a finale. Eckhart was his usual jovial self but Oprah seemed a little sad to have it all come to an end. I look forward to watching her continue to grow and unfold, to see where life continues to lead her.

My favorite part
I loved the way Oprah put the “what to call God” problem. She said something to the effect of, Spirit doesn’t have an ego so it doesn’t get hung up on what it’s called. Yes!

How to stay present
At one point Oprah shared that her mantra (my word, not hers) is, “Be here, be now.” She repeats it to herself as a reminder to be present. Mine is very similar, “Be Here Now.” I’m not sure why it needs to be capitalized, but that is how it shows up in my head. It’s almost like the words get dropped into my mind one by one, each word their own reminder. Be. Here. Now.

Growing older, growing wiser
One of the most striking concepts in this chapter for me was how all of this applies to growing old. As I’m sure we all do, I know many people who have so identified with what they DO that growing old has been a tragedy for them. Each responsibility they can no longer manage, each task they can no longer perform, is like an arrow through their heart. The process is nothing but pain, nothing but regret, and they spend their time either complaining, focusing solely on what’s wrong, or lost in nostalgia. However for others, they begin to recognize that there is so much more to life than just the doing. It is through having the doing reduced in their life that they recognize the presence and importance of being. They grow lighter, freer, and end up with a luminescent quality. These individuals have been rarer in my life, but are such lights when you come across them. I know which way I’d rather be, but I don’t want to wait until I’m old–I want to start today! (See the poem I posted this morning for further exploration of this subject.)

What you do is always secondary
There was just something about the way this concept was reiterated in this webcast that got me. What you do is always secondary; how you do it is primary. You want to know how to fulfill your destiny? Do whatever it is you are doing, no matter how seemingly large or small, completely and utterly consciously, full of presence. No what where you are, whether you’re mailing a package at the post office, waiting tables at a restaurant, washing up after breakfast, bring your Presence with you. That’s what showing up and fulfilling your destiny looks like. Placing the plate down on the table in front of your customer with full awareness, consciousness, presence, affects everyone around you. It doesn’t matter what it is you are doing–if you are doing it consciously, you are bringing more Presence into the world and playing your role in the greater awakening of the planet.

Goals and visions
This is one of those concepts I’ve been working with for over 15 years, but I feel like it was presented to me brand new. Your goal, your vision, is not something “out there” that is in the future. It lives within you as if it were already a reality, because on some level it already is. It isn’t a goal you are projecting yourself into, something you will reach someday. It isn’t something coming from a place of neediness or scarcity, it is coming from a place of fullness, the way it would feel if you already had it. Because it is something that already exists within you, ready to be born into form in your life. Eckhart talked about writing The Power of Now in this fashion. He sensed that there was a book within him that had already been written. His job, then, was just to allow this already completed construct to come out of him, to manifest itself. This is where true power lies, because all power exists in the present moment. It is about always focusing on this step, just this step. Whatever this moment is, it is a step on the journey.

Acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm
The key point to this chapter (to me, anyway) is that it is time to choose to do everything with acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. If you cannot operate from one of these three modalities, you are not in alignment with the present moment, with yourself, with life, and you are causing yourself and/or those around you suffering. So the question to always ask yourself is, what is my relationship with the present moment? Am I okay with this moment, friendly with it? If yes, then you are empowered. If no, then ask yourself what you can do to move towards acceptance. It may be that you need to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing, step aside and into something that you can accept. Or you may be able to find acceptance just through becoming aware of where you are, consciously shifting your attention towards recognizing that this moment is what it is. You don’t have to enjoy changing a tire, but when you accept that the tire is flat and changing it is what needs to be done, as opposed to resisting it, cursing it, getting upset with it, etc., then you will be able to find peace in the experience.

I loved what Eckhart had to say about enjoyment, that it will replace wanting. Wanting comes from a place of lack, and when you get whatever it is you were wanting, you feel empty and unfulfilled. Enjoyment, however, leaves you feeling full. It brings empowerment to what you do, flowing through you and allowing creativity to be born in what you are doing. Joy does not come from what you do, from another person, from outside of you in any way–it comes from within, flowing out of you into the world around you.

So my exercise for this week, and yours too, if you so choose, is to pay attention to where I am and see if I can shift the energy. If I feel like I’m in resistance, fighting the moment, then it is time for me to move into acceptance. If it’s something I’m already able to accept, then I can make a game out of it, find a way to turn that acceptance into enjoyment. And if it’s something I’m already able to enjoy, then I can look for that extra something that reminds me this moment is a step towards manifesting my vision and allow enthusiasm to come into play. The new earth already exists within us. Our job now is to allow it to come through us, to be made manifest in form in our lives. Namaste.

Photo: “Dream,” originally uploaded by Jan McLaughlin

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Count Your Money March 19, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,prosperity — jennsheridan @ 8:55 pm
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I did my taxes today. It was an interesting experience in staying present, in accepting the situation without negativity or fear. I’d been expecting a sizable refund since I didn’t work in the fourth quarter last year, but it turned out we owe money because not enough was being withheld from my husband’s checks. I turned to my book The Wealthy Spirit for a little inspiration and was reminded of a great budgeting method Chellie Campbell includes. I put together my own versions of the Low, Medium, and High budgets she describes and I already feel better about my finances. I’d like to share her wisdom with you here today–maybe you’ll find it as useful as I did!

Count Your Money
Day 18 of The Wealthy Spirit by Chellie Campbell

“A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.”
~Samuel Johnson

To achieve success, you must think positive and send out ships. But if you want to achieve financial success, you have to add the third step: count your money. Keeping track of how much you’re making, how much you’re spending, and how much you’re saving will tell you how effectively you’re doing the first two steps. In other words, budget.

I suggest that everyone should have not just one, but three budgets, all with complicated names: Low, Medium, and High. You start with Medium Budget, which is the average income and expenses that you have right now. Then you create Low Budget–this is your bare-bones plan to reduce expenses if you have an unexpected financial problem such as a bill or reduction in income. Then create a High Budget–this is your goal budget, how you’re going to spend the money you plan to make in the future. If you don’t have a plan for how you are going to spend and save it, you won’t have a reason to make it, or if you do, you might fritter it away on low priority items. These flex-budgets will give you a written plan to follow, no matter what happens with your money. And each budget is only for one month.

People hate budgeting because they’re afraid of Low Budget. They think that’s the only budget there is and that they’ll be stuck with it forever. Who’d want that? No wonder people don’t do budgets. But Low Budget is never forever, it’s just for now. Anyone can go on Low Budget for a month! And when you’re on it, stay light-hearted about it and double up on your prosperity affirmations. Make it a game! See how much money you can avoid spending each day. Look for opportunities to trade or barter services. Clean out your home and have a garage sale. What work can you do part-time that would also bring in extra cash? What can you fix instead of buying new? Create new outfits to wear by mixing and matching separates in new ways. And each day you succeed in conserving your cash with creative ideas, congratulate yourself on your wisdom and money mastery.

The real fun is creating High Budget. This is your Prosperity Plan. Spend some time each day looking at it and feeling rich. What do you want to have and do when you’re on High Budget? Go shopping and price-compare for the best values. (Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you have to spend it foolishly.) Get pictures and brochures of the things you really want and put them on your wall. Start a special savings plan for major purchases. Be specific: if you want a new car, what make, model, and color is it? What features and options does it have? Smile and feel the pleasure now as if you already owned it. Affirm your ability to create this abundance in your life. It won’t be long before it shows up!

Today’s Affirmation: “I spend money wisely and happily, blessing myself and others.”

Photo: “money roll,” originally uploaded by zack Mccarthy

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W.H. Murray Quote March 2, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 8:00 pm
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Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”


~W.H. Murray

 

The grounding, Part II February 7, 2008

This process of grounding is truly a process. While I did finish the task I set out to accomplish yesterday, it did not leave me with the feeling of relief and order that I was hoping for. The good news is that I can now be lazy and not have to look for things (ha ha ha). The bad news is that it seems the whole apartment needs this type of overhaul. Our place is pretty small and our hobbies tend to take up a lot of space. The office bears the brunt of this and until we have more room in which to set up a system of organization that can actually be maintained, order really needs to be restored fairly regularly or we just have to live with the consequences. Office aside, the kitchen really needs to be tackled, and then when that’s done, I should really do something about old magazines, and then go through the paperbacks to see which ones can be donated to new homes, and then there are closets that need some reorienting, and then . . .

When does it end? At what point does getting organized become just being a perfectionist, or only seeing what’s wrong instead of being able to see what’s right? Or is that just “all or nothing” thinking, where if one thing is organized then everything else should be, and if one thing is disorganized everything might as well be? And what about Nietzsche’s discovery, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star” — where is there room for my creative chaos?

As with everything else, it seems, I need to find a balance here. Order enables me to be still, to reduce distractions, to see clearly, and chaos enables me to mix things up, to get silly and crazy and messy and see what happens. Order provides the grounding so that when I am open at the top, truly connected to that divine creativity that is calling me to expand, I can be stretched yet maintain my connection to the earth. One of the reasons I love Yael Naim’s Far Far so much is that she’s talking about that birthing process, praying for something to happen to her, feeling the beautiful mess inside and recognizing where it will lead. “I guess I’ll have to give it birth / To give it birth / There’s a beautiful mess inside and it’s everywhere.” Sometimes things have to get messy before we can get clear, but that mess needs space in which it can live and breathe and feel safe once the birthing process is complete.

So I will continue to ground myself, to get organized and nurture myself and my family. And I will continue to reach out into the stars, to let things get a little messy and see where it leads, knowing that I have laid the foundation that makes it possible for me to find order and clarity when I need to. Namaste.