Friday, June 6, 2008

Guilty Stagnation

Dearest Goddesses,

Apparently somewhere along my life’s journey, I decided that it was up to me to make sure that everyone was taken care of. And when someone isn’t taken care of - regardless of my ability to control the situation – I feel guilty. And when in the process of making sure I am taken care of, someone’s needs aren’t met – I feel even more guilty.

Yesterday John and I were out of the office at several meetings. We had a conference call with a group from the US and because we would be out of the office, we weren’t able to make international calls and requested that our partners conference us in. At 11am, we had pulled over and were waiting for their call. It became clear that they weren’t going to conference us in (they also apparently have difficulty calling internationally.) After about a minute of frustration and crankiness, John was over it – but I couldn’t seem to stop obsessing. I started thinking of all the things that we coulda, woulda, shoulda done differently to make sure that we were on the call. After awhile or realizing that I was the only one at the table obsessing (and this has been something I’ve been trying to actively investigate lately) I asked John what was up – why was he calm and collected and I was obsessing (it wasn’t even my call!!)?

He said simply “it all boils down to confidence. When I was in the shower this morning I made a decision that this meeting across town was not one that I should miss and I decided then that I wouldn’t be in the house to be able to make the call and I requested that my partners conference me in. If they decide not to conference me in, then it means that they didn’t need me on the call afterwards – or that I can fill in some blanks at a later time – or perhaps they’ll reschedule the call.” Duh…??!!! But in living it – it’s definitely not that easy for me.

I suppose that it goes back to that issue of guilt…I happened to be carrying around Jack Canfield’s book and looked Guilt up in the index and it showed up in a chapter titled “Transform your inner critic into an inner coach”:

“Guilt happens when you think words such as should, must, ought to or have to. Here are a few examples: I ought to spend more time studying for my bar exam…I should spend more time at home with my kids…I have to exercise more. As soon as we feel like we should do something, we create an internal resistance to doing it.

“You will be more effective if you replace guilt-tripping with phrases such as I want to…It supports my goals to…It would be smart to…It’s in my best interest to…Guilt is never productive. It will stand in the way of achieving your goals. So get rid of this emotional barrier to success.”

This whole idea of making sure others are taken care of regardless of how it leaves me reminds me of an article I read a few years ago about parents who put their children’s needs above their own or their spouse. Ultimately when you continue to do that – what is left to “give” to your children is less than because you are depleted. You are actually jipping your kids of your full self when you put their needs ahead of your own. They went on to say that it should be Self – Partner/Spouse – Kids. (Obviously if your kid has a pencil sticking out of his neck or something and it happens to be during your meditation time…you know what I’m saying…;)

Anywho…I’ll leave you with a quote and a challenge:

I will not should on myself today
Seen on a poster
Love to you,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Increase the Flow

Dearest Goddesses,

I really enjoy Jack Canfield's monthly seminars - mostly because they're free - but in all seriousness - I get out of my head and he always has the most unique perspective on questions.

One question today was about clutter and how to get rid of it.

Clutter essentially represents something that is incomplete or an unmade decision. For most of us, we can just look at our desks (or cars, or closets...) Things get piled up instead of what Jack called - the 3 D's - Delegated, Decided or Dumped. It is our BELIEFS that keep the clutter in place. Beliefs about lack and scarcity can have us hold on tight to our possessions and our clutter. Or how about "I don't know enough"?? That one hit me! Piles of books, magazines, articles to read - it all becomes a distraction, keeping us from truly being successful. (on any given day you can find 3 open books on my desk of things that if I only read, I'll have this insight that will help me get started...!!

Think of energy like a river - or blood through our veins. If that flow gets interrupted - the river stops flowing, the blood stops flowing and there is the possibility of disease or death. The same is true for energy - and clutter is like a blood clot, blocking the flow (of life force, of ideas, of new opportunities or new things.)

We have so much in our lives these days that keep us distracted and keep us from not being present. Email, voicemail, Facebook, Myspace, television, the news...When do we just be??Imagine sitting in a silent, empty room - alone with your thoughts - now think of yourself at your desk - do you have the space to think?

In addition to connecting with the belief that is keeping your clutter in place and the incompletes that you are allowing to distract you (try delegating, deciding or dumping), here are some practical clutter clearing applications:

1. The MTO Approach (Minimum, Target, Outrageous). Think of a task and then write down three milestones. For instance, de-cluttering your garage: Minimum - Spend 1 hour going through the toolbox; Target - Spend 5 hours organizing the boxes; Outrageous - Take everything out of the garage, scrub the floors, paint the walls, go through every box and put it all back neatly. Because you have it all written down ahead of time, the momentum you create in getting started could lead to the Outrageous!
2. For everything you bring into the house, let two things go. If you go out and buy a book, give two books away.
3. Schedule the time to go through your clutter space instead of waiting for "someday".
4. Get a partner to challenge you. YOU are ATTACHED. They are not.
5. Enroll people to help you sell stuff on Ebay, or a garage sale or get stuff fixed that is broken.
6. Get boxes and as you are organizing, write whatever you place in a box onto an inventory sheet so that if you need something, you don't have to dig through the box, you can simply refer to the inventory sheet. If at the end of a year, you haven't looked in a box - let it go.
7. Acknowledge that you wear 20% of your clothes about 80% of the time. You don't have to keep that shirt that never fit right or the outdated shoes.
8. Ask the questions: "Why am I keeping this?" and "Can I replace it?"
9. Check out the book Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morganstern.

Happy de-cluttering!!

Love to you,

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

To Say or Not to Say? That is the question...

Dearest Goddesses,

I've always wanted to be one of those people who rarely opened her mouth, but when she did the room was so silent a pin could drop. Instead, I find myself tripping over what I want to say, not being clear and fighting to be heard in some of the most mundane conversations. I also wish I had the power to tell people off that leaves them feeling reproached, but grateful for it.

I was with John and our friend Antonio the other day and we came across a house for rent and decided to go check it out. The landlord lived next door and as we got out of the car and we introduced ourselves, she looked at Antonio (who is Dominican) and asked if he was our taxi driver. I was embarrassed for her - because, really - does it matter? John was quick to say - no, Antonio is a great friend of ours, and she replied Oh, well most people become friends with their taxi drivers. In that moment, I knew that there was no way in hell that I was ever going to give this woman any money, let alone be subjected to her as a neighbor. I wanted to tell her off right there - say - hey, thanks for your time, but you've just offended a dear friend of mine - once as perhaps a stereotypical mistake, but the second time?? We're not going to rent from you - have a nice life. Instead, I went along with the little tour of her house and although she didn't say anything as offensive, she was just not likeable. What is WORSE was that I was so aware of my disdain, that I began overcompensating and being overly generous in my communications with her - almost being accomodating.

I really suffer over delivering communications with people - I become way too concerned with how the message will land, how the other person is going to feel, taking the time to stand in the other person's shoes. I either don't want to be confrontational, or I don't want to sound petty. Ultimately, I want to make sure the other person is taken care of, to the extent that my world is not taken care of.

It seems like those people (in the movies) who are thoughtfully listened to respond to problems with quotes or riddles. Perhaps I need to study my quotes or lines from the Bible or something. Maybe I'll start to speak like Yoda.

I suppose it would be appropriate to end with a quote:

Abraham Lincoln once said "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Love to you,

Monday, June 2, 2008

Return of the Wanderer

Dearest Goddesses,

I have been wandering lately lost in my own head, not quite sure how to put what I've been experiencing into words - not sure if I still will be able to. I suppose it is connected to this week's goddess, and the idea of grief. I suppose what I have been grieving isn't a loss as we we would normally think - the loss of a loved one, of a relationship...I feel like I'm grieving my expectations of where I should be, what I should be experiencing. I feel like to overlook the effect that expectations might have on us is to overlook a huge source of grief.

A few months ago I signed up to Facebook and for the most part it has been a lot of fun connecting and reconnecting with people in my life. Well this guy that I graduated high school with "friended" me (for my high school friends, email me if you'd like to find out who, but since most of you don't know him and since this is posted online, I will not include his name.) I always felt an affection for this guy, but he was very awkward in high school and didn't have many friends. When he contacted me, I immediately sent him a message (Facebook is weird in the sense that you can just "friend" someone without any note of hello.) And it was very good to hear back from him, but I was pretty sure that not a whole lot had changed since high school - BUT that is really my assumption that I'm basing on 2 paragraphs.

I couldn't help but start to think about this kid - from what I remember, he was brought up by his sister - I feel like his parents weren't in the picture. I don't think he was the sharpest nail and he was quite socially awkward. From his profile, it didn't look like he went to college, but I was really pleased to see that he had moved to Chicago from our tiny town. And then I got to thinking about the distribution of "gifts" in this life. And why this kid seems to have grown up with what I perceive to be very few "gifts" (I am making some major assumptions here) a solid family life, good looks, above average intelligence, a college education, lots of friends, a support system. While I seem to have so many. And this kid, despite the odds, made it out of my hometown and is living in Chicago and I couldn't help but question what I have done with my gifts. (I'm not fishing for compliments here - I know I am a great person that makes a contribution). If I really sat back and assessed it, I feel like I spend a lot of time thinking about what I don't have, comparing myself to others who seem to have more gifts than me, comparing myself to others who I percieve are doing more with their lives than I am, wondering why I haven't accomplished what I feel like I should be accomplishing, etc. etc. I mean, honestly - if I spent that time and energy actually focused on some goals, I would be changing the planet!

But I couldn't help but feel this sense of grief - at what could have been. At what I would be doing only if__________ (fill in blank). And then comparing myself to this guy who despite his lack of gifts seems to be completely lit up about his life in Chicago.

I'm not sure what the answer is - but I know it has less to do with what society or family or friends or whoever thinks I should be doing, being, having and more the pressures I have put on myself. I think the answer is simply in plugging in - to the beauty of the world, to friends, to community, to spirit. And so, I return from the wandering - to plug into my favorite community of powerful Goddesses.

Love to you,

Coatlicue - Grief

The following is excerpted exactly from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and the illustrations are by Hrana Janto. For more information on their work, please visit the following websites:

Amy Sophia Marashinsky:
You can download the meditations included in the ritual suggestions at

Hrana Janto:


With my head heavy with loss

with my eyes blinded by tears

I wander

unable to rest

unable to find ease

I am dry

my bones

are dust in the desert sun

my heart

ripped out

lies broken on the ground

each step I take in living

tramples it anew

each breath I take in living

ruptures my wounds

how can I bear the unbearable

how can I survive the insurmountable

will my sorrow ever end?

will my loss ever be filled?

will my longing ever cease?


Coatlicue (pronounced co-at'le-kew), or Serpent Skirt, is mother of the Aztec deities. She gets her name because she wears a skirt made of swinging rattlesnakes. She is worshiped as earth mother and life-and-death mother. She found some white-plumed feathers one day and, placing them on her breast, became pregnant. When the other Gods, her children, discovered her pregnancy, they swore to kill her to keep er new offspring from supplanting them. Only her beloved daughter, Coyolxauhqul, the Moon Goddess, warned her mother. Coyolxauhqul was decapitated by the Sun god and the grieving Coatlicue placed her daughter's luminous head in the sky.

Meaning of the Card

Coatlicue is here to help bring you face-to-face with your grief. She is here to tell you that there is no way around grief, there is no place you can hide from grief. The way to wholeness lies in going through your grief. Have you been afraid to face the pain that accepting grief and going through the grief process will bring? Have you been hiding from grief, pretending you are really okay? Perhaps you fear the grief is so great that you will remain in it for the rest of your life. Have you done some of your grieving, but not all of it, so that it catches you unaware in odd moments? Perhaps you are staying in a situation you need to leave, but fear the grief that leaving would engender. It is imperative for your healing process that you grieve. It is time to wail and keen and moan. It is time to ask for support from friends and family. Life is about loss and loss is part of life. The seasons change and all is in a state of transition. Even grief, if fully faced, will finally lesson. In time you will feel stronger and more alive. One day your wounds will fade to scars. Remember that your process takes as long as it needs to take and that everyone's time of grief is different. Coatlicue tells you to feel the grief so the healing can come.

Ritual Suggestion: Drumming Your Grief

You will need a drum with a beater. Do not use your hands, as you could hurt them or, to protect them, not go fully into the emotion.

Find a time and place when and where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Take a deep breath and release it. Let everything go. Take a deep breath into your womb, the center of your body, and release it. When you feel centered and relaxed, give yourself the space and permission to open to your grief. Find the place in your body where you are holding grief. Is it in your heart? in your lungs? in your solar plexus? If you are visual, open yourself to let images come to you. If you are kinesthetic, allow your body to feel the grief.

This can be a recent grief of a past one. A grief that was never acknowledged or a grief that was only glanced at. You may find that once you open to grief, many griefs will come flooding into you. Or you may find it hard to grasp. Let what comes up, come up, without censoring, without judging. Just accept.

Once you begin to experience the grief, you are ready to drum. It is not important how you sound. It is important that you make sounds. Allow your own grief rhythm to be expressed. Allow yourself to vocalize. Give yourself permission to move or dance or go crazy with grief. Do whatever you need to do. The more you can involve yourself, the more profound and satisfying the experience will be. Let yourself howl and moan and keen and cry. Perhaps your sounds and rhythm will evolve into a specific song that you can sing whenever you need to grieve. Perhaps it will be different for you each time. Do whatever is appropriate for you.

Keep drumming the grief until it changes to something else. Keep going deeper. Ride the frief until it transforms. If this is not the time to do all your grieving, just get your feet wet in the waters of grief now and do more later. Do what is appropriate for you.

When you have drummed your grief and it has transformed, or when you feel you have done what is appropriate for you, put the drum aside. Take a deep breath and release it slowly, inhaling the energy you have raised. Give thanks and praise