Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Joseph Campbell quote August 18, 2008

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A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: “As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It’s not as wide as you think.”

~Joseph Campbell


Notes from Jenn’s World April 27, 2008

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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.


Slowing down March 12, 2008

I believe there is a gift in everything. As August Gold says, what happens to us is really happening for us. While I am still recovering from the concussion I received this weekend, I’m so grateful to have been able to see the gift in this experience. Now, I’m not saying that every moment has felt like a gift–someday I’d love to reach that level of presence–but when I take a step back and look at the big picture, I’m definitely more on the grateful side than not.

One of the biggest things I’ve gotten from this experience is the gift of slowing down. I am almost always busy, which often means I’m multitasking. The last few days I’ve been nearly incapable of focusing on anything other than what’s right in front of me, so I’m having to do things one at a time. And since my thoughts aren’t cooperating with me by moving at their usual speed, I’m also having to do everything more slowly. I love the picture above because it reminds me of how I’ve been feeling lately. I might have been practicing mindfulness last week, but I’ve been living mindfulness this week.

Here are some examples of other gifts I’ve received:

* My presence is a gift. At the hospital on Saturday, I was conscious of the pain and suffering around me, but also the love and caring. I chose to build upon that energy and add my own healing energy into the mix. I closed my eyes and practiced conscious breathing, pulling positive, life force energy from Source into my body through the top of my head (or crown chakra) and sending it out into the hospital through the middle of my chest (or heart chakra). Then I reversed the flow, pulling all of the suffering I sensed out of the hospital and sending it back up into Source. It was a variation on a Ram Dass mediation I used to have on tape that I’ve always loved. It made me realize that my presence in the hospital that day was a gift to those around me, and it gave me something other than how I was feeling to focus on–a win-win situation!

* Surrender to the experience. I’m not always capable of focusing on something other than how I’m feeling. Sometimes the nausea or dizziness is just too great and I get caught up in it. Other times, I am incredibly aware of all of the sensations in my body. It’s like I’m overly sensitive or something, so every time I turn my head it’s almost like I can feel the different signals being sent throughout my nervous system. When I resist the experience by attempting to fight it or ignore it, it just gets worse, probably because I’m adding a level of anxiety or annoyance to it. It leaves me feeling frustrated, heavy, and sad. When I surrender to it, I become fully present in my body, in my breath, in this moment. I can feel the aliveness of my body and for a moment, there is no past or future, there truly is only now. It’s like I’m falling into an ecstatic trance where I notice everything that is happening or that I’m feeling in that moment. It leaves me feeling light, peaceful, and connected, a welcome change of pace for sure.

* Remove your head from the sand. There’s nothing like an illness or injury to send me scurrying for my shovel so I can be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. I tell myself ignoring and avoiding will make me feel better than dealing with things, which as we know is never true. At least this time I buried myself shallowly so I could pull myself out from time to time and take care of the business at hand. I’ve kept the apartment clean, I’ve taken care of some paperwork for my freelance gig and for my insurance company, and I even managed to call the doctor this morning for the follow up recommended by the hospital. The result? I feel organized, capable, on top of things, and I’m much more aware of the fact that I am getting better each day as my daily tasks get a little easier each day.

* Ask and ye shall receive (especially when it comes to help). Oh wow, is this one ever a biggie for me. I grew up believing that I needed to be strong and independent, which meant I needed to take care of everything for myself. Help was for the weak. I’ve been slowly releasing this concept over the past decade, but it’s like a dandelion with deep roots and lots of scattered seeds. This experience has helped me to uproot it a little bit as I’ve been forced to call upon my husband and other friends for help. And everyone has been wonderful and supportive, of course. My friend Melanie wrote a guest post for my blog on Monday when I wasn’t feeling like I could string words together to form full and complete sentences. My friend Beth is picking me up in a couple of hours to take me to a reunion dinner we are going to tonight. My husband has pitched in wherever he could, from helping with breakfast and dinner preparation to picking up around the house to running errands for me after work. And that doesn’t even touch on all the long-distance love, support, and prayers that have come down the pipeline. When you ask for help, you get to experience all the love that is always present in life, sometimes even from unexpected sources.

What this all amounts to me is “Stay Fully Present,” a lesson I’ve been attempting to learn for years. That’s the funny thing about the way the universe works–sometimes you have to literally be hit over the head with it before you finally get it. Keep your fingers crossed the effects are long-lasting this time. Namaste.

Photo: “Slow The World Down,” originally uploaded by Taro Taylor

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The last lecture March 11, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 5:08 pm
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It seems like this video has been making its way around cyberspace rather rapidly (I got links to two different versions of this yesterday alone), but if you haven’t had a chance to watch this video yet, it is definitely worth 10 minutes of your time. A great reminder about what’s important in life. (Warning: tissue alert.)


The Alchemist Quote February 24, 2008

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‘My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,’ the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky. ‘Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.’

~Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist


My dark side January 19, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 4:48 pm
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My dark side is rearing its ugly head this morning. It’s like a cacophony of voices ringing in my head, the voices of fear saying, You’ll never be good enough… you’re not special… there are thousands of writers and coaches and intuitives and teachers and healers out there. What makes you think you’re special? What makes you think you’ve got something unique or different to say? And the best one of all — Who do you think you are?

Ah yes, the dark side. My negative self-talk that often masquerades as rational, critical thinking. It can sound so self-protective sometimes, like when a parent is trying to let their child down easy, or give advice the child doesn’t really want to hear. Other times it sounds harsh, cruel, angry, throwing past failures (or even current) in my face as if to say, See? If you’d just listened to me in the first place, this never would have happened. And when I’m feeling a little down, what those voices are saying make so much sense. I start thinking you’re right, I’m being totally silly here, I should try something more practical, something safe. But something inside of me knows there’s only one thing that voice of fear has said that’s entirely true — if I had listened to it in the first place, this never would have happened. The voice means it to be reprimanding, to suggest that next time I should follow its advice. But the real truth is that making those mistakes, putting myself out there in such a way that there’s even a possibility of failure is the only way I’m going to grow, the only way I’m going to learn.

You’ll hear people talk about not being able to follow their dreams because look how old they are. I can’t go to film school, medical school, etc. — I’m already 30, or 40, or 50! But what they aren’t considering is that if they don’t go follow that dream, they’ll still be however old they are and stuck in the same unfulfilled place they are now. I do not want to be one of those people. What I want more than anything else in this life is to shake off all these feelings of “should have” and “supposed to,” all this practical, intellect-based thinking, and really FEEL, really and truly LIVE. And the only way I’m going to be able to do that is to take leaps of faith, to continue to push the envelope, to come out of hiding, to integrate all of the facets of my personality into one ME and show her off to the whole world. And sometimes I’m going to fall flat on my face and bang up my knees (literally and figuratively), but I will always have the support I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again tomorrow.

What is your dream? What would living your life fully look like? What aren’t you doing today that feels like a gaping hole in your life, even if it’s a hole that has never been filled? You show me yours and I’ll show you mine. And then maybe, we can give each other a boost, help each other unfurl those wings, and give flying a try together. Namaste.