What happens to the creative is that they have one foot planted in the mundane and the other in the magical and hopping on one for a moment and then the other gives an awareness of the beauty of each in and of itself and the truth of both and then the transcendence occurs and the portal to truth opens and the wonderment of one’s life pools through to inspire. The story lies in trying to interpret the divine within the dross and understand we are both. One foot on earth, the other in heaven and balancing in ether between both is where the magic happens. We are the bearers of gifts we hold for a moment and then pass on to whomever needs the spark to see the way. And so it is told and so it is.
I am reading a book and listening to the television, and at exactly the same time (3:10 p.m., 9/27/22), I see and hear the word “focus.” And again, the same word “syncs” at 6:20 p.m. today (9/28/22). What is the message, I might wonder, but it seems fairly obvious: focus is needed in one way or another. It is a little odd that 6:30 is twice 3:10. Further meaning? Normally, I don’t spend much time trying to figure out the meaning of the message. I simply accept the message from some aspect of the universe, say thanks, and move on. I receive syncs frequently. Like all the time. I used to write them in a little notebook, and then I kept them in my phone. Now, I grab an index card and simply note the occurrence. But, today, I am pondering if perhaps this is a specific message from a specific person. My dad would have been 97 today. He transitioned on July 5, 2004. He was, in life, a skeptic of what I know to be true—there is no such thing as death, there are no dead. He believed that when you died, the lights went out, and you were gone. I told him, “Okay dad, when you get there, you can let me know I was right. An hour and a half after he passed, he let me know I was right. He impressed on me to get his WWII photo showing him in front of his plane. I found the picture, took it out of the frame, and turned it over. It had a message written on it, which I had never seen before, to my mother, “The greatest of these is love.” These are the same words that were read to him in the hours before he passed. That sync was all I needed to know he was okay. For the next year, he did “tricks” to let us know he was around. Very specific things occurred at very specific special moments. Perhaps, knowing I am finally laser-focused on my writing, he was encouraging me to focus, and repeated it twice, in the way it did, to make sure I got the message.
I heard the sounds of sorrow before I saw the trees piled horizontally near the road as I jogged by. The sight and sound stopped me: horizontal is not a position for trees. I felt deep grief for them, and not a little disgust at the man who was clearing the land for yet another RV campground. He owns property all over the area, from which he has removed any sign of nature that stood in his way of development. There had been no warning of the devastation. The suddenness tore at my heart. Beyond their inherent beauty and purpose as providers of clean air, these trees had furnish a habitat for red-winged blackbirds, orioles, tanagers, woodpeckers, goldfinches, cardinals, bluejays, and sparrows, and foxes, deer, beavers, and racoons, all of which we have welcomed to their new home. But this was unnecessary. They all had had a place to live and thrive, and the thoughtless removal of the trees and all the benefits they offer, was another indication of the apathy of those who covet money rather than cherishing nature. I still grieve the loss of our leafy neighbors.
“Tap your inner truth to live every day with integrity.” I have a large vision board I study daily to determine if I am walking my talk. Some days, when I don’t quite know how to begin writing— whether a post, an essay, or a poem—I take a look at the board and see what jumps out at me. The title and the quote of this post are what are inspiring me today. I look out at my trees (pause). They are not MY trees. I do not own them. They would have a rich and rewarding existence if I had not come to live here by the river seven years ago. They are my friends. I care deeply for them and can feel that they care for me, too. They are juniper trees, which are sacred and healing for many indigenous groups around the world. I have always had a deep relationship with trees, from the cherry tree outside my window as a child, to the trees in the forest where I sat, listening to what the forest spirits who lived there had to say to me. Trees tap their inner truth and live every day with integrity as a community, for trees are connected to each other, both physically and spiritually. They hold wisdom for us to learn from, if we only stop and listen. I am pleasantly surprised at the direction this post has taken; not the one I thought it would, before I stopped to listen to the trees and they helped me write this. Thanks, friends! (Picture is of my friend)
Spirituality is different from religion. Religion is based on dogma created over time as a way of forming community and, too often, control. It is very much Earth-based. Although there are instances of spiritual awareness within various religions, these are overwhelmingly based on the singular moments of physical manifestation when nature inspired thought and action. For example the changing of the seasons from one of sowing to one of growing, to one of reaping, and then to silent replenishment of the earth is not based on prayer, but rather the natural order. People like to think they have control over these aspects of their environment by praying to an idea of a higher power for good weather for growing and a successful harvest. In reality, nature provides the seed, the rain, and the sunlight necessary for this time of reaping. Nature knows how to tend to itself and us without intervention from a “higher” power, aware that the omnipresent spiritual energy imbues everything on the planet. It is the spiritual energy that manifests the seed, the rain, the plant, and the sunshine. Nature is well aware of this and is fortified by it. It is only when humankind, blinded by the idea that we have dominion over everything that things can go horribly wrong, the balance inherent in nature becomes unsteady, and humankind, not understanding their own part of the natural world, destroys by polluting the waters and the air and the natural order of things. Ecospirituality is the awareness that the environment around us is imbued with the same spiritual essence as we are and that by working in harmony and community, we can attain the balance that the spiritual framework provides, and that it is this interdependent web within which everything exists in all time and space.
I am reminded that we first need to find our balance, then take a step or two, and then walk, and perhaps run. I look at balance as a state of being that allows us to move in a certain direction from a space of confidence and anticipation beyond/within the here/now. The balance one finds in, for example, meditation, provides a quiet focus from which to move forward in the direction of our dreams. In balance, there is a stillness before action, a time for reflection and self-knowledge. I am streaming this with little understanding of where it is going. I think trusting the process is important in trusting the end result will be what we needed, if not what we wanted. I am curious about the direction in which this is going. I had thought that a continuation of streaming writing would lead me to a place different from that in which I find myself. Sudden realization: the process is the proof. I have released control. I am balanced gently between thought and thinking. There is quiet and anticipation. The direction I am going in is being led by intuition, trusting my intuition to bring me to the place I need to be. When we release control, after having found our balance, our center through the active stillness of seeking a message, we discern that the way is the message. Relying on intuition within the process presents a way of access. Streaming writing allows the message to appear before me and I then know the direction has been the correct one all along. We are moving toward accessing intuition as a tool for living in this time/space.
There are ways to silence the inner critic. I have found that overriding its power, while not easy, is fun. The best way to silence the inner critic is to now think at all about what you are writing but just keep the words flowing down the page as the words want to nd not how you want them to. It rake almost not though to practice no thought and just see what coms out as you slid4e down the pag like a skier down a steep hill. Or water flowing in a river. Just let your fingers keep moving and then you won’t have time to think even when someone entered the room and despite noises that now encorqh on the silence. ait is a time for quiet contemplation of the messages without thinking about the messages. it is a time for total freedom and any mistakes madein spelling, etc. can waily be cleaned up. This is called by carious names, It is ree writing, or morning pges (though i don’t like to keep them jaile into a specific time fram. I myself, the me that is I, likes to call, and by that I mean the me tht is the i am which is an important part of me that nered to be heard, like to call itstream of consciousness. and it trquires no thought at all. In fact is epends on no thought at all to be successful because the moment you let any other thoughts come to the surface, spread through your finger, then the flo stop and you might lose such an interesting phrase as the skiing on abpv. it frees you to just let the words floe and the critic cannot bridge that gap, cannot because there is no gap. it is your essence writing down tits thoughts without mpediemtn. I i freeing. It is fun. Done. (Now, I have consciously stopped the flow and will clean up the misspellings—yes, you can do that and the critic still can’t raise its voice because the lack of gap in the process prevents it from being heard. In fact it silences it to the point where you can come up with whole phrases without thinking, in the gap between the thinking, in the space that is just thought.)
Here is the cleaned up version: There are ways to silence the inner critic. I have found that overriding its power, while not easy, is fun. The best way to silence the inner critic is to not think at all about what you are writing but just keep the words flowing down the page as the words want to and not how you want them to. It takes almost no thought to practice no thought and just see what comes out as you slide down the page like a skier down a steep hill. Or water flowing in a river. Just let your fingers keep moving and then you won’t have time to think even when someone enters the room and despite noises that now encroach on the silence. It is a time for quiet contemplation of the messages without thinking about the messages. It is a time for total freedom and any mistakes made in spelling, etc. can wait to be cleaned up. This is called by various names. It is free writing, or morning pages (though i don’t like to keep them jailed into a specific time frame. I myself, the me that is I, likes to call, and by that I mean the me that is the I am which is an important part of me that needs to be heard, like to call it stream of consciousness. and it requires no thought at all. In fact it depends on no thought at all to be successful because the moment you let any other thoughts come to the surface, spread through your fingers, then the flow stops and you might lose such an interesting phrase as the skiing one above. It frees you to just let the words flow and the critic cannot bridge that gap, cannot because there is no gap. It is your essence writing down its thoughts without impediment. It is freeing. It is fun. Done. (Now, I have consciously stopped the flow and will clean up the misspellings—yes, you can do that and the critic still can’t raise its voice because the lack of gap in the process prevents it from being heard. In fact it silences it to the point where you can come up with whole phrases without thinking, in the gap between the thinking, in the space that is just thought.) And you can do this any time of day using any method of recording the practice you like. But, you should keep these writings because you may find useful nuggets in them for further writing. Have fun!
Why did you write that? That really was a lame way to start a blog post. Start again. Maybe you aren’t up to doing this. Maybe you should be working out instead. Or doing anything but trying to write when you are still half asleep.
Well, okay, there’s that inner critic, that primitive part of our brain, the reptilian part. The lizard brain. The one that is in charge of our fight or flight response when we are being signaled that the saber tooth tiger is getting ready to pounce and the one that says stop writing. Start over. This sucks. This is the part of your brain that breaks your flow in life as well as in writing by casting doubt. Trying to protect you from looking like a fool, or worse. It actually doesn’t know what it thinks, so how can it tell you what to do? It is the inner critic. The one that can stop the flow of what you sense may be something important, something that might change the world, or at least your life, or the moment. You hear it. So you pause, and in that pause the delicious and pertinent thought that was trying to make it from you know not where, dissipates. It stops its flow down your arm and through your fingers to the keyboard. Now you are stumped. Where was this going? What was I saying? And so, in that moment the flow of thoughts and words stops dead in its tracks and your fingers freeze just above the letters you were about to type. The inner critic can screw around with your mind until you think coffee would have been a better way to start the day. Where was I going with this? Oh, I remember! When you write, write; don’t think. When you start thinking you drift away from flow; that is the inner critic throwing you off the tracks. It takes an inner struggle (which can sometimes feel as arduous as fighting off that saber tooth tiger) but you must keep writing. That is imperative. Editing is for later. Ignore the critic’s voice and just keep writing. There is nothing to fear. Keep writing. More on this tomorrow. Time for coffee.
I am listening. With that message to whomever is listening to me, I wait for words to flow in some order so that when I am done listening—and by that I mean hearing, because listening is the precursor to hearing—thoughts begin to flow from a variety of places. Sometimes I can sense I am listening to the otherwise still small voice within. My inner self likes to stream the words without much conscious thought, though having written that, I am aware that a lot of what I write seems to originate from a different space than within. I listen to the thoughts of other spaces and times sifting toward me from the vastness. The first hearing focus is what I know, or what my spirit knows, and I am being reminded of things from a different time of which I have been or will be a part (the sense of where/when is fickle).The second hearing focus unites a tad more stillness of thought. It flows from the universe, a sector of that universe. A variety of dimensions, some of which I have visited and others new to me. But I digress. I am listening. I am hearing. I am writing. Words flow and often I am surprised, not shocked, by what my fingertips have roughly tapped into meaningful (I hope) ideas for me to savor or to share. I once spent a year taking dictation this way on a theme of daily meditations. Writing without a net and keeping balanced on a fine space within time. If I listen and hear, but don’t think, I get to enjoy my first reading of these with (autocorrected to “wordsmith,” an interesting choice) curiosity of what is now before me. Like opening a gift I wasn’t expecting and surprised that it is exactly what I need.
There are many paths before me. Which one do I take? If you are like me, you are drawn to more than one. Maybe more than several. Maybe you lose count and create a frenetic life, bouncing from one path to another in rapid succession. Even though I buy all the supplies for a project, or map out all the details for a possible business, the project or business never really gets started and, even if something is started, it takes on the characteristic of a ball of yarn the cat unravels while I knit. But in this analogy, I am both the cat and the ball of yarn!
It has taken me a while (a long while) to realize I simply can’t do everything. I have a part-time job as a proofreader, so every moment not working is committed to . . . laundry, shopping, cooking, preparing for clients, maybe even sleeping. And though I tried walking disparate paths, I couldn’t seem to start on one and keep going.
Finally, I sat down with myself and prioritized. What do I love to do? What don’t I love to do? What can’t I live without doing? Something I love so much, I could do it all day and never tire of it? Writing! I love writing, from poems, to essays, short stories, to novellas, and fiction and non-fiction books. But! With everything else I have committed to doing, I am unable to focus on, as Seth Godin so wisely encourages: create and ship. I am good at creating, but with everything else vying for my attention, I can’t find time to ship. Until now. Having examined every path open to me, I have closed them all but one: writing!
If you are wondering why you get nothing done, although you try hard to do so, I cannot recommend strongly enough making a nice pot of tea, and creating a list or a mind map of everything you want to do. After you have listed everything you can think of, start crossing out the things you would not miss doing. Keep at it. It takes time to discern the small voice inside you that knows your priority mission in this life. Keep listening and crossing out. And when you are down to a few paths, really examine how following these paths might make you feel. When you land on one that fills you with joy, that’s the one to follow. This method worked for me and I know it can work for you.