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


Coming home May 13, 2008

Filed under: gratitude — jennsheridan @ 6:41 pm
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I know it’s been said before (and I’m sure more eloquently), but the best thing about traveling is coming home. I just returned from 5 days in Georgia visiting family in Atlanta, Rome, and Marietta. As wonderful as it was to see everybody, it is so very good to be back home again. It was absolutely beautiful in Georgia–green and lush and really perfect temperatures mostly in the 70s–and I wondered how my tan hills would compare. But not to worry, California is still very much my home, and my first glimpse of the Bay Area through the airplane window this morning brought a huge smile to my face. My husband, Sean, picked me up at the airport and I was so grateful to get to spend some brief time with him before he had to head back to the office. And while my grandparents’ new kitten, Sweetie, completely stole my heart, my girls, Gryphon and Morgan, were waiting for me here and haven’t left my side even for a second since I walked in the front door. Travel brings newness, curiosity, reunion, but home brings a comfortable bliss that just can’t be beat. Namaste.

Photo: “California Poppies,” originally uploaded by docentjoyce


Best laid plans May 1, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,notes — jennsheridan @ 11:50 pm
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This week has left me wondering if it’s possible to have jet lag without getting on a plane or traveling from one time zone to another. My return from vacation has left me a wee bit disoriented this week and I’m having to completely let go of the idea that I am “on top of” just about anything. Ultimately, this is a very good thing for me, releasing me from my sea of “shoulds” and allowing me to just be. However it does mean that my idea of returning to our regularly scheduled programming this week was a little premature.

The good news is, I’ve got a lot of fun and exciting stuff going on…

Chinese Medicine. A lot of my time this week has been taken up with the basics of getting started with a Chinese medicine regimen. I’ve gone to the clinic twice this week for acupuncture and massage and I’m on day two of my yummy and delicious (yes, that was sarcastic) herbs. It’s all a lot more involved than I realized it was going to be when I signed on, but I really appreciate the holistic approach to wellness they take and feel like it dovetails nicely with my spirit-based approach. It feels like a way to release old patterns and behaviors and their effects on my body as I do the same with my mind.

Training Walks. As my walks get longer, more and more of my time is invested into my Avon Walk training. This weekend, I’m squeezing in a 14-miler on Sunday and a 7-miler on Monday. Even my weekday training is expanding, moving from 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays to 4 miles. I’m still loving the process and just going with the flow, enjoying the ride, and trying not to focus too much on the time aspect.

Globe Sound Healing Conference. I was recently introduced to sound healing and discovered there’s an institute in San Francisco that specializes in this concept. They have an annual conference that happens to be this weekend, and I managed to get myself on their mailing list in time to volunteer to work the conference in exchange for free admission. I am especially interested in anything having to do with voice and music, but really I find it all fascinating. I’m sure to learn a lot from this experience and I’ll have much to share with you all next week.

Family Visit. Next Thursday I head to Georgia to experience some true jet lag, traveling to visit my family there. I don’t know how much internet access I’ll have while I’m gone, but I am sure I will have plenty of stories when I return. Spending time with my family is wonderful on many levels, and provides me ample opportunities to practice what I’m learning. Wish me luck.

And, as always, I have a lot of things I want to share, but I will limit myself to just one today. CNN recently published a great article of Martha Beck’s from a back issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, entitled, “How to feast on joy every day.” In a world where dieting is ubiquitous, it was wonderful to read this article about truly feasting. Let me leave you with the thought that concludes this article:

“If you have a choice between a feast of love and any other option, go with love. Compared with other activities, love-feasts will mess up your life, complicate your career, wear you out, make you crazy. But I guarantee that when you look back over the time you’ve spent on earth, the feasts of love will be the events you’ll remember most joyfully, the experiences that will make you glad you have lived.”

Photo: “Distilled Moment,” originally uploaded by Angelo Juan Ramos


Strength January 11, 2008

One of the joys of being between jobs is the flexibility inherent in the situation. If I wake up in the morning and need to spend some time on forgiveness work, I can. If a book falls off a shelf asking to be read, I can follow that urge. If nature is calling me out into its luscious depths, I can pack up and go for a walk. I am spending a lot of time listening and following the guidance I receive. Ultimately, my hope is that it will lead me to an income source, so a lot of my focus is on my life’s purpose and seeing what the next step on that path looks like.

Earlier this week, the daily “big idea” email I get from thinkArete.com was about Dr. Mark Seligman’s Authentic Happiness. The short idea is that if you figure out what your strengths are and use them, you will find happiness. I was, of course, intrigued and checked out the Authentic Happiness website and discovered a whole slew of interesting looking questionnaires, including the one calling to me — Signature Strengths. My results were both unsurprising and edifying, and I feel compelled to share the top five (of 24) with you today.

My top strength is Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith. Not surprising considering how much time I am currently dedicating to my connection to my Source. I would guess that if I had taken this questionnaire a year ago, this would not have turned up number one, but today it truly is the best thing I have going for me and the source of the contentment I find in each day.

My second strength is Appreciation of beauty and excellence. This is definitely one that I try to cultivate. I happen to believe I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, so most days this is easy, but I can find beauty in anything, anyone, anywhere.

My third strength is Love of learning. Oh, if Ms. Tinsley could just see me now. I was the bane of many a schoolteacher’s existence — that kid who didn’t pay attention in class, never did her homework, but still did well on tests. I always had an affinity for learning, but was so often bored it didn’t come out in school until I was about halfway through college. As an adult, learning is a source of great pleasure for me, and I find myself taking classes whenever I can.

My fourth strength is Perspective (wisdom). Who knew I was so wise? I definitely do believe that we each hold a unique perspective, and mine is valuable precisely because it is uniquely mine. The unique perspectives of other individuals help me to hone my own, and I hope vice versa. The world is such an interesting place full of such interesting people. And hey, I’m one of them!

My fifth strength is Capacity to love and be loved. I love just about everyone I come in contact with. Now, that doesn’t mean I always like them, but I can always find something in them to love. I am also blessed with parents whose love for me I have never had reason to doubt, affectionate and loving family members, a burgeoning family of choice (aka my friends), and the love of a supportive husband and adoring cats. It’s a good place to be.

I love having the opportunity to explore and celebrate my strengths. I have spent too much of my life being my own biggest critic, focusing on all of my weaknesses and flaws. Just thinking about my strengths brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Isn’t that a much better place to live? I already feel that authentic happiness flooding into my life, and I’ve only just begun. Namaste.


Greetings from Connecticut December 27, 2007

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 1:44 pm
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I feel a little like I’m living in a postcard this week. I’d love to find one of those old fashioned “greetings” cards. I could upload the photo for you. 🙂 Being back in Connecticut is always an experience for me. In some respects, it’s awesome. I get to see places I hung out as a teenager — as much as they’ve been transformed, they still bring back memories. I get to see good friends and family that I just never can connect with enough from 3,000 miles away. But there’s always reminders of the reasons why I left, the obnoxious people on the streets and the attitudes out at restaurants and stores.

But this trip has been different, more positive than negative. I’ve been trying to put my finger on the why of it, and it seems like it’s a matter of attachment (or lack thereof). I’m just not feeling attached to anything. Now, that might not sound like a good thing. It might smack of apathy or indifference. But that’s not it at all. I’m much more present this trip. I’m not experiencing Connecticut through the eyes of the past, I’m actually seeing it as it is now. I’m enjoying its beauty and not being bugged as much by its flaws. I feel more contentment, less agita. I’m focusing on the yummy Chinese and Italian food, the beauty of the snow and the rivers and the trees, the joy of connecting with friends and family. I don’t have a picture in my head of how things should be; instead, I’m just enjoying what is. There’s a lot of power in that kind of detachment. And a lot more happiness.

Wish me luck with the remainder of my travels. Today I am off to New Jersey to continue this journey of contentment. Namaste.

Editor’s Note, 12/30/07: I went back and found one of those postcards — I love those images! I just started re-watching one of my favorite TV series of all times, Wonderfalls, and had forgotten that they use that type of postcard as part of the titles. I’m not sure which came first — my love for the postcards or my love of the show, but the synchronicity is making me smile today.