Wednesday Wisdom: Acknowledge Your Creativity & Genius

power of intention, Wayne Dyer, affirmations, intention, manifesting, oracle cards, personal growth

Once a week or so, I pull a card from my Power of Intention deck. This 50-card deck uses content from Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, alongside vintage/retro drawings, to explore concepts that he discusses at length in the book. It’s a great companion to the book and has helped me considerably in my own personal growth and spiritual practice.

This morning’s Power of Intention card is Acknowledge Your Creativity and Genius. “The qualities of creativity and genius are within you, awaiting your decision to match up with the power of intention. Genius is a characteristic of the creative force that allows all of material creation to come into form. It is an expression of the divine.”

Once again I laughed at the results of my card pull, as it’s definitely what I needed to see today. A couple months ago, I began shifting my focus for this 16-year-old blog toward more spiritual and personal growth content, and it’s brought me a lot of creative fulfillment and joy to write more content that aligns with this new focus. That said, there are a few key tasks that I have yet to complete, and I’ve had a long list of excuses as to why those tasks haven’t been done – the latest of which is ongoing pain in my right shoulder. (Watch your body alignment while doing yoga, folks! Especially if you are over 40!)

But the truth is that I am working through some deep-seated fear related to my self-worth, and a long-standing desire for outside validation. These things manifest in indecisiveness and procrastination when it comes to matching up with the power of intention. And I believe it’s also manifested as pain in my shoulder.

Calvin Coolidge, quotes, persistence, determination, nothing in the world can take the place of persistence, personal growth

There’s a quote by Calvin Coolidge that I’ve loved ever since I first read it:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

This quote has been a powerful motivator – and yet that motivation does nothing if that initial decision isn’t made to align with intention.

Once we acknowledge and address the fears and beliefs that keep us blocked, we get the power boost necessary to match up with intention and it sets us off on our journey toward self-awareness and spiritual growth. By allowing our creativity and genius to travel alongside persistence and determination, using intention as our compass, we will reach our destination.

daily writing rituals, writing, morning pages, journaling, daily journaling rituals

Daily Writing Rituals

Over the past 7 years I have developed a daily ritual that has become a key part of my self-care routine. Soon after I wake up, I fix myself a beverage – hot coffee or tea when the weather is cool, and cold-brew coffee over ice with almond milk and stevia in the summer – and sit down in a comfortable spot with my journal and a pen. The pen is usually a fountain pen. I love fountain pens for making my handwriting look beautiful, plus there’s a huge variety of ink colors and it’s much less strain on my fingers and wrist to glide a fountain pen across the page.

daily writing rituals, writing, morning pages, journaling, daily journaling

 

In the course of an hour, I sip my drink and write out my thoughts. Sometimes this includes a recap of the dreams from the night before (in recent months I’ve taken to using a different color ink for jotting down dreams). Often I go over some of the happenings from the previous day. Some days I have a pastry or waffle to nibble on while I write. And I frequently have one of my 2 cats lying nearby, flicking their tail and blinking at me.

Establishing this daily writing ritual has proven to be such a blessing. It starts my day with a quiet, soft reflective activity that allows me space to process and set my intentions going forward. I don’t rush myself or set a timer. I let the words flow out as they need to and I stop when it feels right.

Some days the ritual is a little different. I may do more stream of consciousness writing or a free write in another notebook dedicated for that purpose. Or if the thoughts & ideas are coming really fast, I sit at my laptop and type them out. On multiple occasions the laptop writing sessions have turned into a blog post. But mostly they are for my eyes only.

journaling, daily writing ritual, writing

I’ve had people ask me how to establish a writing practice, or they want to know the “right” way to do what are often referred to as “morning pages.” I’m not a big fan of rules when it comes to generating content, whether for your own personal use or in your career. But here are a few things I’ve learned over time when it comes to journaling as part of self-care and creating a daily ritual that involves writing.

  • Pick a time when you can set aside at least 15 minutes to focus solely on writing. This time may be different from day to day, and there may be days when you cannot squeeze out 15 minutes. But if you can spend 15 minutes scrolling through social media feeds or reading articles online, you can devote 15 minutes to a writing session.
  • Find the writing tools that feel good to you. Don’t want to write by hand? That’s fine – you can use your computer or other device. You can even do voice to text if that works better for you, but know that voice recognition may lead to some unusual copy when you review it later. Do not ask me how I know this.
  • When you don’t know what to write about, keep it simple. Sometimes the blank page can feel intimidating, especially if you are just starting a writing practice. Here are a few opening lines that can get you started. Pro tip: when you really feel stuck, write down a list of things you love or hate.
    • Here is what I know:
    • Here is what needs to be written right now:
    • All the ways in which I have had it: [This is a personal favorite for when I need to rant.]

If you’re interested in exploring analog options for writing, visit my other site, Pensplaining, for product reviews & tips.

Finding Joy => Finding Love, Part 2: Marriage

Here’s another post that originally started in July 2011. It’s undergone some heavy editing, but the core idea of joy and love remains.

A few years ago I had a couple single folks tell me that a divorcé(e) is someone who was once loved enough to have had someone marry them. My mind is still boggled by this logic, because it seems to discount the possibility that love wasn’t even a factor in getting married. Some marriages happen because “we’ve been together for [insert number] years, I guess I owe him/her,” “he/she asked and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by saying I wasn’t ready,” family pressure/expectations, a pregnancy. In some cases, marriage is used by abusers as a way to gain control over a partner. Those things don’t constitute love. Obligation and fear, yes. Love, no.

Part of the issue here is that society and the media can really screw with our notions of what makes for a healthy relationship, what constitutes a good, loving marriage, and what love is. I know I’ve had some wacky ideas for a number of years about love and relationships. Personally, I blame “Love Boat.” I should have never been allowed to watch that show. The story lines basically went like this:

        • boy and girl meet, flirt, sit at the Captain’s table for dinner
        • boy and girl look at the stars and share a passionate kiss, then end up knockin’ boots in someone’s cabin (which are WAY bigger on the show than actual cruise ships, as I understand it)
        • boy and girl fight on the Lido deck the next morning over some crazy misunderstanding, with the girl stomping off, nearly flattening Jill in the process
        • boy gets sage advice from Isaac the bartender, while girl flirts with Doc and realizes she can do way better if she stays with whats-his-name from the night before
        • boy and girl reconcile and leave the ship arm in arm, telling Julie the cruise director and Gopher they’ll be back on their honeymoon

The truth is more like the Supremes’ hit song “You Can’t Hurry Love”, or Frank Sinatra’s “Nice and Easy.” Love needs time to grow roots and blossom. Rushing to get to the good parts rarely leads to a loving, supportive relationship, much less a lasting marriage. You want all of that? You have to work for it – and it starts with working on YOU.

I try to be compassionate to the men & women I know who want to be married, or in a long-term relationship. But so often the conversations descend into whining and bitching over the dating pool and a big honkin’ glass of self-loathing. Sometimes the self-loathing is couched in “I’m totally fine being single” or “I’m happy with my life,” as if that negates all the whining and bitching. Sorry, I’m not buying it.

Because here’s the thing: if you truly are happy, you’re not going to throw any energy at those moments when your phone isn’t blowing up with OKCupid messages or when the person you thought was Mr./Ms. Perfect (and potentially Mr./Ms. Right) turns out to be emotionally unstable, a philandering narcissistic asshole, or worse. If you have faith that, at some point in your life, you’re going to find the perfect partner, those instances of dealing with nitwits will be like a SnapChat image in the big Smartphone of Life: it will (ideally) disappear within seconds.

How do you get to that level of happiness? I recommend a three-step process.

  1. Shut the hell up. Drop the bitterness and the attitude problem. Stop telling the world how upset you are with online dating, with the guys/girls in the town where you live, with navigating relationships. Even if you feel that way, stop talking, tweeting or posting about it, because you’re putting all this negativity out in the world and it’s harshing any possible mellow you could achieve.
  2. Fight your demons from the inside out. Y’all know how I love analogies, so here’s a good one: some of us have nasty demons or dragons inside of us, put there by unfortunate circumstance or choices we’ve made over the years. These creatures demand food and attention, and can be so unruly that often we don’t know how to tame them. Work with a counselor or therapist if necessary to do one or both of the following: a) find your sword that will slay the beasts; b) find compassion to turn those monsters into docile pets.
  3. Open your heart, even if it’s just to the smallest things. Maybe it’s working with those in need, such as shelter animals, disabled veterans or the homeless. Maybe it’s being compassionate to friends and loved ones who are struggling with personal challenges. Whatever it is, opening your heart and filling it with light that comes from being kind to others is the best way I know to show the universe that you’re in a space where joy and love are welcome.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll end up married if you follow these steps, but at the very least you’ll feel better about yourself. That being said, I’ve seen enough friends find the relationships they were longing for, all because they stopped working against their own best interests and started loving.

Are you ready to try? Isaac thinks so.

Isaac Washington, Ted Lange, bartender, Love Boat, Isaac the bartender

 

Finding Your Joy => Finding Love

Note: This morning I discovered I have 24 blog post drafts in various stages of completion. I decided to start going through them and see what was still relevant and interesting enough to me to finish and post during NaBloPoMo. This post is one I started writing in July 2011. Since then, Ms. Chick found her Mr. Right and married him. As for me, well…you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Earlier this year I met local blogger Ms. Chick. She writes some very funny posts about online dating and life in general. But she also writes about her frustration with her search for Mr. Right.

While I’m not focused on finding Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now, at this point in my life, I do understand the frustration. I think many women go through phases when it seems as if all their peers are hooking up, shacking up, getting married, engaged or having babies, and they are left holding the Party of One sign. I’ve been there. It’s actually part of the reason why I left SoCal: everyone I knew seemed to be moving on to coupledom and I wasn’t even dating anyone. After one incredibly disastrous relationship and a couple blah ones, I was done with trying to find a good partner. I also believed that if I stayed, I would feel pressured into dating much more quickly than I was ready for, just so I wouldn’t be the odd-woman-out at gatherings with my friends and their significant others.

Spending the summer of 2010 in a small college town didn’t do a hell of a lot for my social life, but it definitely helped me get some perspective on who I am, what I love and what I want. The answer became clear very quickly: I am someone who loves to laugh and entertain, and who loves being laughed at (and with) and entertained by others. I love helping people connect in ways big and small. I want joy and peace of mind, body and soul.

A few months ago I asked Ms. Chick what gives her joy and what makes her laugh, really laugh from the pit of her stomach. Because it’s my belief that it’s when we focus solely on finding our joy, everything else falls into place: relationships, career, home, health. All the wrong drifts away and we’re left with all the right – including finding, dating and coupling up with Mr./Ms. Right.

It’s hard to get to that place, though. We’re all so conditioned for wrongness, whether we are feeling wrong or trying to make others feel wrong, intentionally or not. And looping on our failures can be affirming even when we claim we want things to be different. As this letter from Miss Information at Nerve.com says:

Failure sucks, and is frustrating. But really listen in: even when you’re pissed at yourself, there is often some perverse pleasure in it.

It’s emotional self-flagellation, really: we beat ourselves bloody for our failings and never quite fix them. T-Wizzle calls this “beating yourself with the Wrong Baton.” Because fixing them means honing in on key beliefs and attitudes we have about ourselves, seeing which ones are unhealthy and unhelpful and working hard to replace them with helpful, healthy beliefs.

I’m not suggesting that in order to find love, you need to become Pollyanna and drop the jaded, cynical tones. I’m saying that in those moments when the bitterness and anger is threatening to ruin your day (and maybe your life), acknowledge its presence and agree to disagree. (Yes, I’m anthropomorphizing feelings, deal with it.) Let the angry, cynical ego self be what it is and choose to do something that brings you joy.

sunset, Anna Maria Island, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, beach
What helps me find my joy.

 

Coming Clean

T-Wizzle and I talk frequently about clean communication. When we express our complete truth without fear of criticism, we cleanse ourselves and allow others to be cleansed as well. Yet this type of communication requires us to be vulnerable and share those parts of ourselves that we believe are impure or dirty.

As a matter of hygiene and principle, people don’t like dirt. We feel wrong when things are grimy. So we create wipes, solvents, lotions, and soaps to eliminate any filth and make our surroundings clean, shiny, and beautiful.

What we often forget, though, is that there is no growth without dirt. Nature needs soil in order to plant seeds. That same soil offers nutrients and protection while those seeds germinate, bud, and blossom. People aren’t much different. We have to reach down into our dirt in order to plant seeds of compassion that can grow and blossom. It’s that compassion that allows us to truly connect with others.

This message came through to me so clearly when I saw Babel a few weeks ago. In the film, Susan Jones (Cate Blanchett) and her husband Richard (Brad Pitt) are touring Morocco in an attempt to reconnect after the loss of a child and a brief separation. While eating dinner, Susan criticizes Richard for putting possibly unclean ice into his drink, and she repeatedly uses hand sanitizer to keep away any germs. But when she is shot in a bizarre accident, and there is no hospital available, she cannot ward off the dirt. It’s getting dirty that enables her and her husband to finally come clean and express themselves fully, without fear of being misunderstood.

Seeing Babel made me think about my communication with myself and others. Am I digging into my dirt and expressing my feelings? Am I being as clean and clear as I can in what I say? Am I speaking my deepest truths?

Society doesn’t promote clean communication: it’s all about making sure someone else isn’t hurt. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” right? But what about saying something helpful? In my experience, nice words are often enabling of bad habits and poor behavior. Saying “he deserved it” or “she wasn’t worth the time” may be “nice words” that seem clean, but they are just another way to make things look shiny and pretty on the surface. They aren’t the words that get down and dirty and address the truth.

Yes, it’s hard to come clean. And yet once you do, the truth that comes through is fresher, purer, and brighter than you can ever imagine.