Monday, December 31, 2012

No Resolutions this Year. Take Time to Dream Instead.

Go confident in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

                                                                                     Henry David Thoreau

So, I am musing on the new year -- it is just hours away.  For some, it has already arrived with the rising of the new sun.  I just saw a post from a friend in Australia of the first sunrise of 2013 and it is glorious.  Of course, it is also summer there.  Here it is a bit grey as the sun is beginning its early descent in the winter sky.  But glorious, nevertheless, a luminious pink that is spreading its tendrils among the clouds over the river.

As I was musing, my thoughts naturally turned to resolutions. 

I have mixed feelings about New Year's resoultions.  I understand what we try to do with them, but I find them a frustrating exercise at best.  Usually, we try to do the same thing year after year -- the very thing we never seem to be able to do, whether it is losing weight or exericising more or being smarter about our money.  And year after year we make a list, probably saying to ourselves, "Well...maybe this year..."  Hardly a great start to something we really want to do.  Sometimes I wonder if the things we "resolve" to do are actually the things of which our dreams are made.  Or whether they are simply the things we think we should do, for whatever reason, that we never seem to be able to do -- probably because we are not really very commmitted to them in the first place.

Winter is a difficult time for me to find motivation.  The grey days and the cold make it very hard for me to feel positive.  I am more of a sunny, warm day kind of person -- and the amount of sun really does make a difference to my temperament.  Reading posts from my friends in Australia and New Zealand, I am noticing a lot more positivity.  And I find myself saying to myself, "Self -- you really need to get it together.  What is wrong with you?"  And somewhere deep within a whisper, "How about a nice walk in the sun?  Give me a little of that and I'll give you some feel good."  Perhaps the deep mid-winter is not the best time to try to fund the motivation needed to make the changes that will help our dreams to manifest. 

Nevertheless, the New Year is upon us and it is the ultimate time of fresh starts.  Great opportunity. New Beginnings. The time that there is quiet activity going on deep in the Earth that prepares her for her bursting forth in spring.  Even if everything on the surface around us seems dead, we know that there is invisible work going on deep within the Earth, and our annual practice of bringing in evergreens is a reminder that times that feel dead, ironically, are filled with life and living things. Actually, considering the Earth cycles, it is a great time to begin to do the deep inner work that is needed for change and manifestation.

I'm just not sure that resolutions are the way to go.

A friend posted a note the other day -- here is what she said:

"Please consider taking just a half hour per day during this next week to clarify your wishes and dreams for the coming year.  You will be amazed at what visualization, commitment, and clarity will do for manifesting what you truly want."

And there it is. Forget the resolutions. Dream instead. Make a wish. Create a vision for your life.  Where do you see yourself at the end of 2013?  Or in the middle, or a month from now? What does this new year look like?  What is the image you see in your mind as you think about where you want to be?  Does it excite you?  Is it compelling?  Does it lift your spirits and tease out your passion? 

Where are you now?  Where do you want to be?  What will it take to get there?  What is your next step? 

The thing that usually keeps us from our dreams and most compelling visions are the limiting beliefs that are formed by a lifetime of unconscious, negative thoughts.  They wend their way through our neural networks like old, deep paths in the forest. And we keep walking upon them.  It takes our considered attention to change these thoughts and turn around these limiting beliefs to be able to manifest something different for ourselves. I like what Henry David Thoreau said around this -- 

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.  To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. 

As we dream new dreams and create compelling visions for our lives, and as we believe that we can make them happen, we naturally do the things that will get us there.  Instead of a list of resolutions for the New Year, we can create a list of new ways of thinking and begin to create new pathways out of which new ways of living can unfold.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Glorious New Form Emerging from the Old

When you come to the end of all that you know, you must believe in one of two things:  there will be earth upon which to stand, or you will be given wings...
                                                                                 Author Unknown
I have always been fascinated by cicada husks. There's something very death and resurrection about them for me. There's something about the way they are broken open that sparks my imagination and always causes me to stop for a moment, notice, and think.
When we come across them they feel a bit like a mystery, reminding us to leave behind our old forms. Here's the why: the glorious new form emerges from the old...

I am writing today, inspired by a photograph I came across the other day. It has simply captured me.  I remember as a little girl, finding the dry husks of cicadas on trees and feeling like I had come across one of life's great mysteries. It took me a long time to figure out what this creature might be.  It obviously was not alive, or was no longer alive, but I also did not remember ever seeing anything that looked like it in my forays in the woods. I could never figure out how those slender legs could support them. I loved the way they looked like they were crawling up the tree, and I wondered what had happened to stop them in their tracks.

As I looked more closely at them, I noticed how they were broken open. And I thought, "Ah, here indeed is a mystery!  What was in there, and what came out?"  I remember coming home one day with my small hands filled with them and my mom relating them to familiar summer evening insect sounds. And, of course, to the prismatic jewel-toned bodies I occasionally saw flying by or lying dead on the sidewalk. 

Periodically throughout my life I have come across the dry, broken open husks of cicadas. They have always seemed to be a message from nature for me.  What must be released so that something new can emerge? 

The timing often has been uncanny. And so often I will have found myself being broken open in some way -- with some new insight, some new understanding, some new knowledge, some new condition in life that has caused me to leave something behind in order to embrace something new.

The mystery of the cicada has continued to unfold for me.  Some years ago I learned that they live underground in the cool, dark earth developing, and it is only when they are ready to emerge in their new form that they make their way to the surface, and the light, to break open and emerge, leave their old forms behind and try their wings for the first time. 

When I came across this photograph I was stunned. How can such a large, juicy, and beautiful creature be contained in so small and dry a husk?  Look at those huge, wide-open eyes and how they are looking straight ahead at the new world into which she is emerging.  Look how straight and tall the cicada is as he emerges? I imagine the cicada flying away, not giving the old form another thought as she lives fully into the new.

All of this is instinctual for the cicada -- a normal part of its life-cycle. The whole point of its life cycle. Death and Rebirth. Death and Resurrection. Shedding what no longer serves and leaving it behind to embrace the new. For us, this may not feel like a natural process even though it is every bit as natural to us as it is to the cicada.  And as with every other issue related to being powerful in our lives, we must be aware around our thinking and feelings so that we allow our natural cycles of awakening, growth, and development. Allow the glorious new form emerging from the old.