My M.O. is hard to shake. In the process of trying to shake it, I am “shoulding” myself up the ying yang and doling out doses of shame and guilt. Great, huh? I am supposed to be my own best friend and supporter, and yet, that has been a real challenge.
My usual way to approach the new year, changes, transitions: Make a list of 500 things I want to accomplish or experience by the end of the first quarter. Start doing them, checking them off the list as I go, and get stuff done. Except when I don’t.
That’s when the flying monkeys start circling my head letting me know what I’m doing wrong or not doing at all and how disappointed they are in my behavior. Not my favorite monkeys. Those little suckers really @#%&^ me off.
But, I’ve got to be honest with you. This change and transition stuff is hard work. It’s challenging every cell in my body and some of those cells are kicking and screaming. I am just now shaking the tail-end of the flu/bronchitis that lasted for over a month – taking up a good bit of time that I felt I didn’t have to spare. You know this, though… when the Universe wants you to put on the brakes and slow down, if you don’t have the guts to do it yourself, it’ll help you out.
While all of this battling with myself and the monkeys was going on, some friends, who are angels in disguise, came along to offer some tidbits of wisdom:
- You don’t have to have it ALL figured out to move forward.
- Look at the big picture… your relocation and ALL that it entails, your work changes, your personal life changes – and chip away at each of them on a daily/weekly basis.
- Don’t just jump into the next thing workwise without putting some real thought into it. Don’t just do something because you know how to do it – think about what you want and how you want it to fit into your new life in your new location.
- This is your opportunity to discard and add.
- One bite at a time. One step at a time. You’ll get it done.
So, I’m listening. Instead of going like a bat out of hell towards what’s next, I’m figuring out what “what’s next” can look like for me. And, to my surprise, the biggest “what’s next” that became the Numero Uno most important thing for me to tackle was my overall health and taking care of myself. Not just saying I was going to take care of myself, but actually doing it. Creating new habits and coming up with a plan that I not only could follow, but would follow on a consistent basis.
And, it’s happening, mainly with the help and support I am getting from my West Coast sistah, Kat Tansey, creator of Choosing to Be Fit. Being a part of the beta program for her new offering was what lit the fire for me. It all boiled down to – what do I want to change/incorporate into my life and what will I commit to?
Those changes (old and new) for me included:
- daily meditation
- daily stretching, yoga, or pilates
- exercise rotating between resistance training 3x each week, interval training 3x each week, biking, or walking
- making even smarter food choices but allowing myself some food joy, too
- sleeping at least 7-8 hours each night
Being the anal, check-it-off person that I am… I developed a spreadsheet to help me track how I am doing with my commitment to me. And, for the last 4 weeks, I am proud to say, pretty damn good. What’s even better? After 4 weeks of this daily plan, not only am I feeling incredibly better, but my posture is better, I feel stronger and I’m getting enough rest. You know, that really makes a difference.
And, what’s so fabulous about that? Well, not only will I be a much more active and alive woman – I’m hoping that’s what I’ll radiate to others. There’s something really exciting about taking care of yourself when you know you need to and making it a habit. I don’t think I want to fall into neglect anymore.
The energy this commitment has given me has given me the oomph I needed to start tackling the other things on my list – to start taking the small steps that will make other “want to do” things happen AND a much more clear heart and mind when it comes to letting stuff go by the wayside. Yay!
You know I love it when I get a cosmic wink that says I’m going in the right direction, so I loved it when I received the Monthly Power Path Forecast from one of my favorite shamans, Lena Stevens. This is what she had to say:
“This is a month of putting yourself 100% behind your choices and decisions. It is about setting new rules, weeding out what doesn’t work, being disciplined about what it takes to manifest your intentions, and doing your work. It is about taking all of the grand dreams and goals and grounding them into a practical “to do” list that you follow even when you don’t feel like it.
This month you will see what you are made of and you will be inspired by your ability to persevere and take action. How you handle this month will set you up for managing any challenges that may come your way in the future. There will be opportunities to handle more power and to be resolved in your choices and decisions. It will be critical to anchor your commitments in your heart and to be clear from that perspective about what you are willing to get behind and what you are not willing to put any more energy into.
In the aftermath of the RELEASE theme of February, there is a lot of emotional, psychological and energetic debris floating around that has nowhere to go. All of this debris needs to either be cleaned up and disposed of, or integrated in a way that serves a new direction and new dreams. Practicality has its benefits this month as well as paying attention to the details and keeping track of your discipline.
Take the grand vision and pull it back so you can see what you can fully commit to in the moment and make a practical action plan full of attainable baby steps:
If you want to lose weight, what can you commit to every day that is part of your discipline? If you want to get into shape what can you commit to daily that will help you in that goal? If you want to succeed in a new business, what are the attainable steps you can commit to every day? If you want a better living situation what can you do now every day to move towards manifesting that?
There is “waiting for and allowing right timing”, and then there is such a thing as showing the universe that you are ready for that right timing to show up. It is called commitment.”
Ummm, yeah. I’m with you, Lena! And, by the way, if you want to read more from Lena Stevens about this fabulous month of March, click here.
So here I am and here I go. Forward. Committed. Discerning.
And, as always, I would love to here your stories of transition, change, how you tackled the monkeys, and what’s supporting you and working for you.
I have great faith in us choosing what we want and allowing it to come together, monkeys be damned.
“Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want.”
- Sue Bender, quoted in The Feminine Face of God
I was in a gathering several weeks ago full of amazing women ranging in ages from their early twenties to one wise crone in her eighties who is still full of life and laughter. We all came together in circle to share and to learn from each other – women representing just about every decade of womanhood.
The subject of our discussion was “passages”, and I was most interested in being a part of this circle because of the big passage I am about to enter – the one of being in my sixth decade of life and of packing up my home of nineteen years to start anew in a different place and in a different way.
From our birth to mid-life, our passages are pretty well defined. We complete school. We find a job. We may find various partners or a life partner. We may raise a family. We may work diligently to establish our career and what we perceive as our identity. We may become active in our communities. We may take up causes.
Many of these life passages are just expected and we sail through them on autopilot. Or, we carefully hit each new passage with deep thought on how we want to navigate them.
Interestingly enough, there are no defined “passages” for us once we hit the fifth decade and beyond. It’s WIDE OPEN. Where in the past, our grandmothers and even our mothers may have felt they were entering “old lady” territory, that’s just not the case anymore. Without the worries of building a career or making sure the kids are taken care of, mature women can choose from a gazillion options. They can do more of what they already love with more freedom or they can try new things until a new passion is discovered or a new flame is lit.
Cultural anthropologist, Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., says, “The second half of life presents us with the opportunity to develop increased depth, integrity, and character – or not. The choice is always ours… May we be the ones to reclaim and model the dignity, grace, and authentic power that true elderhood confers… May our conscious legacies and wise stewardship make the world a better place.”
So, as I sat in that circle observing and listening to the women of all ages talk about their passages, I realized how important it is that we value the passage that each of us are going through. One is not better than the other. Whether one is speeding up or slowing down or redefining self, it’s all good. It’s all priceless. It’s all perfect.
Before we left that day, we hugged, we kissed and we expressed our gratitude to each other. We encouraged each other to ask ourselves what is really important and then have the wisdom and courage to build our life around the answer – no matter which decade, what passage, or what path we are on.
More things to think about. More ways to expand.
Five provocative questions answered by an inspiring and fabulous woman – a woman with something to say.
Meet Cherry-Lee Ward
Cherry-Lee Ward, M.Ed., is a contemporary shaman and healer – a gifted practitioner drawing from traditions around the globe and her inner wisdom. She is deeply connected to Goddess and strives to embody the gifts she has found through relating with the divine. She is an Internationally known teacher, mentor and inspiring presenter. Cherry-Lee is passionate and enthusiastic about bringing healing, wholeness, and a joyful sense of possibility to the lives she touches. She believes we change the world most effectively by healing ourselves and offers support to others in that sacred pursuit.
People would be surprised to know that: I love a good evening of guilty pleasure TV watching! Scandal, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother … I think there are lots of good shows on these days and I love binge-watching a new favorite. It’s winter now so I set myself up with a fabulous cocktail, a big bowl of home-made popcorn, a roaring fire and some time to watch and enjoy!
The WTL 5:
What’s the conversation that changed your life?
I felt sick throughout the pregnancy with my first daughter and worse at my 32-week check. I was put on immediate bed rest. My doctor told me she trusted my intuition and body wisdom and wanted me to trust it too. She said I would know the right time to come into the hospital. While she kept on top of things, I continued with misery and self-doubt. I had great support at home. And … the night I chose to go to the hospital, I went into renal failure, placental abruption, DIC and would have died elsewhere. This one conversation and the trust it created forever changed my relationship with my intuition!
What are you most conscious of today?
These days I am very aware of the suffering on the planet. Both President Obama and Pope Francis are attuned to it for which I am grateful. There is more hunger, despair, poverty, stress, fatigue and depression than I can fathom. I’ve read the quote (many sources) – “Be kind: for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. I’m really conscious of that these days and find more gentleness and patience with the world around me. I also find a strong desire to give back!
What part of you have you yet to give voice to?
I interact with archetypes for clients, students and for myself. I write about aspects of the feminine – Maiden, Lover, Mother, Queen and Crone; and aspects of the masculine – Lad, Lover, Father, King and Sage. I dance with each and look to express these in my life amongst others. My challenge now is giving voice to the combined sum of me. I find it easy to slip into a whiney or excited maiden voice. I find it natural as a mother to bring order and compassion. I’m learning to weave together and give voice to all of who I am.
What’s the conversation women need to be having collectively?
I would say that there are many women frustrated with the masculine. It seems that women are still working on sorting out who they are and their relationship with the feminine – yet have become extremely impatient with the men in their lives. There is a feminine rage that needs addressing. We need to discuss the masculine that lives within each of us, embrace it, seek balance and healing. From this place we can help bring balance and healing to the masculine that lives in the government, in institutions and in the world around us.
What needs to be said bigger, louder, stronger?
We need all of who you are, here now! The time is over for showing just your good girl, just your cooperative team player, or just your compassionate mom! All the other aspects of ourselves come with gifts even if we’re not proud of them. The raging bitch knows how to get things done. The insecure girl at parties needs air time too. Honoring all that we are allows for incredible kindness to ourselves and others. This is our most important life – we needed to bring power and create change. We can most effectively do that as whole people!
Thank you, Cherry-Lee, for sharing your powerful voice
with WomanTalk Live.
I’ve been making a “to do” list. It’s the list of all the things I have been wanting to try but never felt I had time for. Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m sure I actually had the time. What I didn’t allow myself was… the time.
So, I’ve had a fabulous time making this list deciding that “transition” time is the perfect opportunity to refigure my life and start adding in items from this list not as special occasion things but as things that may become a normal part of my day. Also included are the good habits I want to reinforce and make permanent. You know, the ones like exercising, meditating, eating good food, and having fun on a daily basis.
One of the things on my list is to cook more. I love cooking but over the past several years have looked at it as a chore instead of a pleasure. Therefore, taking some cooking lessons and trying new recipes each week are going to have a big priority in my life going forward. After all, I’ve got this new, beautiful gourmet kitchen and I do not intend to let it be idle.
Imagine my surprise as I was cleaning out more stuff yesterday and ran across the very first cookbook I ever had. Since that time, I have amassed a big collection of cookbooks and now have an Evernote and Pinterest online file full of recipes I want to test. But, this cookbook from the 60’s brought back a ton of memories and taste treats.
It was Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls published in 1957 and just full of good stuff. Not healthy, by today’s standards. However, when I was making something out of this cookbook, you would have thought I was Julia Child.
As I scanned the index, I was right back in the tiny kitchen in Virginia with an apron tied securely around my waist. Sometimes my sister was involved (she had her own specialties) and sometimes, I was on my own. Our mother had gone back to work when I was in the third grade and my sister was in the seventh – the first time since she had been a Rosie at the Martin factory in Maryland during WWII. As a result, we often helped with dinner and on special nights, one of us or both of us were in charge of the meal. Thank goodness for Betty Crocker.
Dream meals like Sloppy Joes , Pigs in a Blanket, Swedish Meatballs, Hot Dogs with melted cheese and wrapped in bacon, and Creamed Chipped Beef. Ummmmm. Didn’t I tell you they were healthy?
Regardless, they were made with love and each meal we mastered encouraged us to try more. I’m convinced that these earlier experiences are what lead to my sister’s fascination with bran in the late 70’s. At that time, you couldn’t go to her house without a good portion of every meal being made with bran. Ever need a bran muffin? She had 10,000 in her freezer ready to go. Everybody who knew her was always regular, at least.
Whether I’ll be making Pigs in a Blanket once I get settled in Vermont is hard to say. Nah, not really. There will be no Pigs in a Blanket gracing my table. I’m really looking forward to diving into Tracey Medeiros’ much acclaimed, The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook – trying out her recipes that look as if they could warm your soul on the coldest of nights and make use of the freshest ingredients regardless of the season.
Thanks, Betty Crocker for stoking the fire and reminding me of the things that I love to do. Now, I’ll make sure I have time for them.
Any cooking memories or stories from you? Would love to hear them or about any old passion you’re reigniting or even discovering for the very first time. Let’s encourage each other to make the time.
In the throwing away, cleaning out and decluttering frenzy I have found myself in over the past five months, I’ve had to make a lot of ruthless decisions. Throw away or keep: a box full of Alpha Gam sorority stuff from college, Valentine cards from high school boyfriends, autograph books from junior high, dried corsages from high school dances, reviews from my bosses over the years, matchbook covers from all over, and record albums.
I was able to come to terms with most items… but, the record albums. I don’t have anything to play them on and yet, I couldn’t get rid of them. And, I mean hundreds of them. Looking at each one of them brought back a host of memories – times of hairbrush singing and pajama parties. Rich memories.
But the ones I loved the most were the collection of Beatles albums. How could I possibly throw away Meet the Beatles, Introduction to the Beatles, Rubber Soul, Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper, Revolution and Let It Be? Each one of them meant something and tracked my own growing up.
When I was in the sixth grade in a tiny, little country town in southside Virginia, right after the Christmas holidays, a boy named Doug brought the very first Beatle album to school. Our teacher let us listen to it and I was SOLD! Shortly thereafter, I even heard them on WBZ – an AM station out of Boston that we could pick up at night if the antennas were pointed in the right direction.
My sister and I went to the record store in town to get this album. It cost $3.50. In this little town, the record store also sold appliances and televisions and the “record” part of the store was a wall with some hanging racks on it that held a few new albums. After college when I moved to Houston, I would often laugh when I went into Sound Warehouse that looked as if it stretched for several acres and was full of albums as I compared it to “my” record store growing up. But, I digress.
Meet the Beatles….. we went on to play the grooves off of that record and we could hardly wait until they were to make their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964. In the days before the show, Cousin Brucie, the DJ on WABC in New York, interviewed them and actually asked them when was the last time they washed their hair and not much else about their music. On the NBC Evening News, the night of the Ed Sullivan show, Chet Huntley said he wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about when they showed the film of the Beatles arriving at LaGuardia to a crowd of screaming girls. I guess he found out.
Along with 74 million other people, we crowded around the TV that night and we knew that our world of music had changed. A new era had started. And, who would have known it would still be so out of this world popular fifty years later?
As I watched the special this past week, The Beatles: The Night That Changed America, I was glued to the set and singing, bopping and smiling the entire time in awe that these four young men literally changed everything. How could they write and sing so many songs that are still so loved today? If you’re like me, you can’t pick a favorite song. There are way too many to try to narrow it down to just one. In the New York Times, music critic Jon Pareles said, “If there’s one thing pop has learned in the last 50 years, it’s that Beatles songs never wear out their welcome.” True, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the world will be listening to any of our current musical talents fifty years down the road. Maybe that’s just the old coming out in me.
And, what I loved about the 50th anniversary special was the fun that Paul and Ringo were having. Full of joy and still loving what they do and who they are and paying tribute to John and George who you just know were tuning in on their own wavelength.
Ok, did you need another article on the Beatles? Probably not. I just wanted you to know that I am soooo glad I didn’t throw those albums away. Some things are just worth keeping, don’t you think?