Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Notes from Jenn’s World July 4, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 1:44 am
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Just a quick check-in about what’s going on in my world . . .

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

It’s hard to believe that the walk is almost here! Next weekend, July 12th and 13th, I’ll be walking over 39 miles in San Francisco and Marin. Wow. What an absolutely incredible ride. I have met so many truly wonderful people — survivors, friends and family of survivors, others who have lost loved ones. While the walkers are phenomenal, I’ve been even more in awe of the crew, mostly husbands of walkers who provide water, snacks, entertainment, and rides for the injured, keeping the walkers happy, healthy, and safe. This whole experience shows you the softer side of people as total strangers hose you down on really hot days or stop you in the street to give you a few dollars. And the event is still to come! Be thinking of me next weekend and send me lots of love and good energy! As of this writing, I am at $2179 — only $21 shy of my goal. If you’d still like to donate, you can reach my personal page by clicking here.

I’m working!

Just a couple of days after my last “Notes from . . .” I had a lunch meeting that kicked off a conversation about my doing some work for the Hoffman Institute. I just wrapped up a database project for them this week and I’m officially starting my long-term contract work with them on Tuesday. Yay for steady income working with great people and for an absolutely fabulous organization. They’re well worth checking out — I can easily say that the Hoffman Quadrinity Process is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, literally life-changing all in good ways.

4th of July escape

I’m super excited to be driving down to Los Angeles tomorrow where I will meet up with three good friends from college. We’re taking a mini-cruise to Mexico, essentially three nights and two days with a single stop in Ensenada. I’m looking forward to catching up, great conversations, putting my feet up, relaxing, and visiting a country I haven’t yet been to. While I’m sorry it is so short, if it had been longer we probably wouldn’t have been able to squeeze it into our busy schedules this summer, so mostly I’m just grateful.

So what’s new in your world? How are you treating yourself this summer? I’d love to hear all about the love and fun and flow happening in your life now. Namaste.

 

Adjustment June 23, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 8:59 pm
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Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
~James M. Barrie

The past couple of weeks have been a wild ride. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I had a sudden shift in the work I was doing from very little to quite a bit in a matter of days. Not only did several freelance projects come up, but I started working part-time for the Hoffman Institute. At the same time, my mother was arriving from Connecticut last week and this weekend was the last of the long training walks for my upcoming Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Today is the first day in almost two weeks that hasn’t been absolutely chock full of activity. While I am definitely enjoying the respite, it also gives me an opportunity to review some ideas about adjustment periods that have been rattling around in my brain of late.

I used to have the idea that when there was a major change in my life, it was a good idea to extend it to include other changes as well. For example, when starting a new job, I would think it was a good time to start going to the gym or perhaps to make a shift in diet. What I’ve since learned is that the stresses combine almost exponentially, and often not only does the gym or diet fall by the wayside but it is replaced with equivalently unhealthy behaviors like eating whole pints of ice cream in one sitting. Instead, I’ve found that thinking in terms of moderation works much better, and from the place of relative relaxation I can be much more present throughout my day, enabling me to possibly park farther away from the office or make a healthier choice at lunch. Somewhat unintentionally I can begin to move closer to my goal because I’ve given myself the space I need to make the adjustment to the new job.

That idea of staying present is key to not just surviving an adjustment period but coming out of one completely on top. The change gives you an opportunity to pay attention in an easier, more natural way. Going back to the example of the new job, it isn’t the same ol’ commute, the same ol’ coworkers, the same ol’ lunch spots. There’s an opportunity to see the world through new eyes precisely because things are new. It is significantly easier to create a habit of seeing the positive in, say, a commute before a part of you is convinced that the commute is miserable.

While I haven’t been absolutely perfect at this the past couple of weeks, this idea of staying present, taking things as they come, has gone a long way toward enabling me to stay relatively productive, centered, and grounded even everything around me has felt like a whirlwind. And that doesn’t mean I’m not tired, because I am. But I’m still excited about the work that I’m doing, still looking forward to seeing what evolves out of this new set of experiences that have come my way, and still here, being me, putting one foot in front of the other, living each day as fully as I can. Namaste.

Photo: “swirly game adjusted,” originally uploaded by Robert Judge

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A life worth living June 5, 2008

Filed under: shift — jennsheridan @ 10:26 pm
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“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements in life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
~Charles Kingsley

What an absolutely amazing week. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s like the clouds parted and the light came through, shifting my energy from hazy, listless, chaotic to clear, enthusiastic, on purpose. There are many aspects to that breakthrough in energy, but I would have to put people at the top of my list. This week has been chock full of incredible conversation with a variety of people. The common theme? How to live life more fully.

Whether you’re spiritually oriented or not, you have probably become aware of the energy shift happening around “work.” A friend I was speaking with this morning considers it a generational shift — although I have seen it happening with people of all ages, there is definitely a higher concentration within the late 20’s to early 30’s age bracket. It seems as though more and more people are shifting away from the more traditional perspective where work was something that took up the vast majority of your time, wasn’t necessarily something you enjoyed but it paid the bills and felt secure, and someday you would get to retire and do all the things you’ve always wanted to do.

The new concept of work has more to do with creating a life worth living. People are beginning to recognize the value of building a life that includes doing what you’re passionate about, placing the priority on living and not working. It doesn’t mean that work isn’t valuable, but work for these people often isn’t just a job. They’re doing what they love and getting paid to do it. If it doesn’t pay very much then they might pick up a side job to help make ends meet, but not at the sacrifice of living their lives. It may seem as though the mid-life crisis is just starting younger and younger, but interestingly enough, it doesn’t hit crisis point for most of these people. When you wake up at 50 and ask yourself what you’ve done with your life, discovering that you haven’t been really living is a true crisis. When you have that realization at 28, the transition is a lot more painless.

To me, it’s just so exciting to have people popping up all over my life who have recognized they have a choice about how they live and are exercising that choice to bring them greater joy. How about you — what choices are you making in your life today? Do you feel as though you’re living your life or are you on a roller coaster spiraling completely out of control? What small changes can you make today to shift that energy and make living more of a priority? The first step may be challenging, but once you begin to shift that energy, you’ll be amazed at where it can lead you. Namaste.

Photo: “Light Wave…,” originally uploaded by Kıvanç

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Notes from Jenn’s World June 2, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 8:59 pm
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Just a quick check-in about what’s going on in my world . . .

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Only 40 days to go! I am absolutely loving participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this year. Of course, I did just have a short training weekend — only 9 miles on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Ask me again next weekend after I’ve walked 20 miles on Saturday and 9 on Sunday — it might be a different story! Actually, it’s been a wonderful experience, even on the long and hot days. It’s a testament to the fact that you can do anything, truly anything, especially when you have the love and support of those around you. My team, the Urban Dog Walkers, have been amazing, so much fun to train with and just an incredible support system. They make this look easy! The fundraising appears to have slowed down, so I lowered my personal goal to $2,200. As of this writing, I’m 77% of the way to my goal, 94% of the way to my requirement. I’ve raised $1,689 of the $1,800 I need in order to walk. Do you want to be the angel who kicks me up over $1,800?

Looking for work

As much as I have been loving watching things unfold these past few months, my income has not yet grown to the level that I can afford to live off of. So I am expanding my net, looking for work of all types. While I would still prefer a part-time gig or more freelance work, I am open to full-time work for the right organization. If I can work from home, the office could be literally anywhere in the world. Otherwise, it would need to be fairly close to home, i.e. the peninsula south of San Francisco. If you know of anyone looking for a project manager, writer, jack-of-all-trades, or really any interesting position they’re willing to train for, please holler. I am certain that the right work is out there, and I’d bet they’re looking for me right now, too!

Tarot readings

One of my favorite things that has come up out of this self-discovery process are my tarot cards. As explained on osho.com, the Osho Zen Tarot is not about deepening your understanding of the past or seeing into the future, it’s about gaining clarity about the present moment. Based on Zen wisdom, these cards provide insight into what is happening in your life right now and seeing whether or not that is in alignment with your goals. I’ve found that while I can receive messages through many mediums, these cards speak to me with a clarity and consistency that I haven’t found anywhere else. While I’ve mostly used them to do readings for myself, I’ve started branching out into readings for friends. Interested in receiving a reading yourself? I’m offering complimentary readings right now as part of my practice. I’m able to do long-distance readings for those I know well; otherwise, it would need to be in person. Let me know if you’re interested!

So what’s going on with you? What goals are you working towards these days? What new things are you exploring? I’d love to hear about all the flow and synchronicity that is happening for you as your life’s journey continues to unfold. Namaste.

 

What does "work" mean to you? April 11, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 5:24 pm
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Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
~Harvey Mackay

The title of today’s post on one of the blogs I read totally caught my attention this morning: Killer Career Advice Goes manga, meet Johnny Bunko. Intrigued, I clicked through and discovered promises to be an awesome way to transform the concept of career planning in the form of a manga career guide. The best part? The video trailer promoting the book:

Johnny Bunko trailer from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

Obviously, only having heard about The Adventures of Johnny Bunko this morning, I haven’t read it yet, but it really got me thinking about how the consciousness shift across the planet is changing everything, literally everything. It is possible that mine will be the last generation burdened with the idea that work is drudgery, just something to get through so you can enjoy the rest of your life. While many people of all generations have broken free of that belief, the generation that is graduating from college in this decade is benefiting from the awakening that has been happening. They tend to have higher expectations about work as something that had better be fulfilling since you spend more time doing that than just about anything else you do in your life.

For me, work was always a struggle based in conflicting beliefs. On one side, I knew that if you do what you love, the money will follow. On the other side, I believed that work was, well, work, something that was difficult and complex and the harder you worked at it, the more you would be rewarded. The problems for me in breaking free, or so I told myself, were that I didn’t know what it was that I loved and that I was just too practical not to have a “real job” while I was figuring that out. What has become clear over the years is really that fear was keeping me small–the longer I stayed at jobs that I didn’t love, the longer I could stay “safe” by blaming the job for my unhappiness. If I took a risk and became a writer or healer or spiritual mentor, then there was a chance that I would fail, that I would discover I was mediocre, that I didn’t have any true gifts to share with the world.

Since I left my job in September, I’ve really focused on turning my concept of the word “work” around. “Work” and “play” are no longer opposites for me. I’ve come to think of it more as you would “a work of art.” It’s a matter of where you place your attention, what you’re putting your energy into, the product of your natural creativity. While I do not have “a job,” I invest a lot of time and energy in my work right now–my work is to live my life as fully as I know how to today. Some days that includes activities that earn me money and some days that doesn’t–I still have some unlearning and relearning to do, but there is daily progress on that front. At the end of the day, I judge whether my time was well-spent by how much joy I’ve experienced, whether or not there’s a smile on my face, how authentically I showed up in the world today. The more that happens, the more the work I’m doing is seen as valuable to someone else and I am compensated.

How do you define “work”? Do you feel that your current work is your life’s work? What steps can you take today to shift that concept for yourself? Join me this week in being part of the consciousness shift taking place around “work.” Doesn’t it make life more fun? Namaste.

Photo: “cubicle,” originally uploaded by Kat

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My vision February 21, 2008

Filed under: vision — jennsheridan @ 4:28 pm
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Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
~Tallulah Bankhead

I love synchronicity. I met a friend for lunch yesterday whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. At one point I felt compelled to share a vision I have. Before I’d finished, she started to laugh and shake her head. It turns out another friend of hers has a similar, overlapping vision. She’s down in Southern California right now, but she plans to move back to the Bay Area at some point during the next year to put her vision into action. My friend is going to introduce us to see if our ideas overlap enough that we could work together. How cool is that? The funny thing is I don’t talk about this idea very much these days. It’s been feeling too “future” for me to give much energy to, but this seemed like a wonderful reminder that the only place we live is in the present.

So I’ve known that I’m on a healer’s path for quite a while now. I’ve spent most of the past decade focusing on my Practitioner work in a Religious Science community, and I am in the process of evolving this work into more of a spiritual coach or mentor. Within the past couple of years I’ve had an idea for a Center develop as part of my larger vision, mostly coming up out of the desire to create the kind of community that I’ve wished already existed in my area. I want it to be a place that is there to assist people along their life’s journey, whether they would like to work with a coach, they are in need of acupuncture or massage, they are looking for inspiration and learning through books or seminars, they are looking for a psychic or energy reading, or they just need a safe haven where they can break bread with fellow travelers.

I envision a bookstore that isn’t just a bookstore, it provides an atmosphere of community. There are books on metaphysics, religion, spirituality, psychology, personal growth — great examples of fiction and non-fiction that open you up and stretch you and become good friends. There are candles and lamps and incense, cards that make you laugh and cry, jewelery and bath products, gifts to soothe the soul for yourself and your loved ones. It’s a simple store of wood and stone, with comfortable chairs scattered throughout so you can rest and soak up the good energy that gathers from the products and the patrons.

Upstairs or in the back, you might find a yoga class or a workshop or a poetry reading is being held that afternoon, or perhaps it’s a movie night where something like What the Bleep Do We Know!? or a Spiritual Cinema Circle selection is being shown, or maybe a 12-step meeting is happening, and various readers have openings in their schedules for you to meet with them. Whether you’re interested in energy work like Reiki, astrology or numerology, tarot or shamanism, or want to invest in some long-term coaching, there is someone associated with the Center for you to work with. There are offices in the building where various healing practitioners have full-time practices or you might find a table in the store where readings are held on a more impromptu basis. You might also find a writer or a musician or painter in one of the offices, lending their energy to the space and feeding the Center’s energy back into their work.

Attached to the store is a cafe where you can get a variety of juices and coffees and snacks from a counter, or you can be seated in the dining room for a healthy and delicious meal. Perhaps a jazz trio is playing in the corner, or a singer-songwriter is just getting started, or there is a beautiful, revitalizing CD being played through the speakers. The produce all comes from local farmers and is organic wherever possible. The drink list features sustainable wineries, breweries, and distilleries in addition to the juice and coffee drinks from the counter. While not exclusive, much of the menu is vegetarian, introducing you to foods you might not have had the opportunity to experience previously. Mostly it is a place to relax and connect, and there are several community tables in the restaurant if you are interested in meeting new people during your meal.

While much of these ideas flow from my imagination, I’ve been blessed to experience little pieces of this idea around the country. This Center has its roots in at least three concepts: Golden Braid Books and Oasis Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah; The Grotto in San Francisco, California; and Sacred Center in New York City. They are all amazing examples of spirit in action, and I cannot wait until I, too, am a part of a similar creative expression.

 

We’re walking, we’re walking January 28, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 10:57 pm
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Oh sunshine, how I do love thee. It promised to be another gray, rainy day today, especially during the hail this morning. I find hail absolutely fascinating, by the way, one of those oddities of life that always remind me of the infinite nature of the universe. Shortly after the hail stopped, the sun came out. I was almost bummed because I really needed to get some work done this morning, but I promised myself that I could go for a walk after I was finished. I got to practice a sort of waking meditation as my lack of focus was greater than usual. But I continued to gently close browser windows, return my attention to my work, and wrapped everything up within a few hours.

I headed up to one of my favorite places on earth, the Crystal Springs reservoir, along which the Sawyer Camp Trail runs for six miles between highway 280 and the water. It is simply spectacular over there, with a nice paved trail for easy access. Even if I’m having an absolutely lousy day, a walk at the reservoir heals all wounds, renews my sense of connection, restores my energy. I think it’s the grounding created by the meeting of the sky, the hills, and the water — it grounds me, too.

I needed that grounding today — I had let myself get off track this weekend. I’m not sure what it is about weekends, perhaps old habits that die hard, but my routine gets thrown completely off and sometimes I don’t regain my rhythm until Monday. That’s what happened this time, so much so that it was after breakfast on Monday before I even started laying the foundation for regaining my rhythm. But I did the work, plugging away at my resistance until it had dissipated. The walk was the icing on the cake, but necessary icing. I think it was what I needed to finish the restoration process so that the remainder of my week could be more on track. I feel like a new person already, but I know there’s still inner work to be done, in addition to the outer work.

It’s one of the funny things about this path. I did so much good inner work last week that things continued to bubble up and bubble up all weekend. My mind wanted a rest and kicked up all the resistance it could muster. But those bubbles kept coming. And when I sat down to do my morning pages this morning, I practically had a laundry list of all the work that was on tap for this week. It’s some pretty good stuff, too, all about what the next steps are for me on my journey to do my soul’s work. It includes finding work writing about the things I’m passionate about, starting a spiritual group with meditation and reading and discussion, surrounding myself with interesting, passionate, soul-searching women. And from there, well, the sky’s the limit, really. Wish me luck . . . and gentleness. I suspect I’ll need them both. Namaste.