One way to define love is “sustained, compassionate attention”. These words came from John Muir Laws, a naturalist, educator, and artist who inspires stewardship of the land by sharing his practice of nature sketching. When I read these words, I began to see the importance of my own art practice in developing sustained, compassionate attention for myself. I have noticed, in just a few years of deliberately making art daily, that my well of self-compassion has grown wider and deeper. And gradually, my capacity for compassion toward others — even the ones it would be easy to judge or dismiss quickly — has become more of a habit. Continue reading
Why is “love” such a hot button word for so many of us? It seems we remain as divided with respect to this word as we are on so many other issues. There are “hopeless romantics” and there are “anti-Valentine’s” party hosts. There are those who sprinkle the word “love” over every communication with strangers or friends, and there are those who use it sparingly, like precious strands of saffron reserved only for the finest occasion.
We never said the word “love” in our house, so during my childhood, I formed the belief that something was missing from my experience compared to the outer world of suburban midwestern America I lived in. We didn’t talk like the characters on The Brady Bunch. The emotions expressed in my family were much more raw, more volatile, so close to the surface and not easily contained. The love I experienced was unrelenting, filled with the need to protect me from constant imminent danger, and would never let me off the hook.
Over a lifetime of accumulating ideas of what love is – from what I was told, from what I experienced, and from what I imagined – I decided, other-than-consciously, that it was not safe to love fully. Continue reading
I am in a large group of women artists who have driven up to the ridge of a mountain range and then down a very windy road to a secluded artists retreat program in northern California. All I want to do is stare at the dreamy landscape, watching how the golden green hills go back and back and back, disappearing finally into a fog bank which hovers just above the sea in the distance. I want to watch as the wind blows, the fog clears, and the misty outlines of the hilltops begin to glisten in the midday sunlight. I want to sit and sketch it, and fill in the colors I am seeing, and try to capture the dreaminess, the haziness of it all, the lack of precise outlines which gives it that quality of mystery that makes me want to keep staring.
But we have a schedule. There are ranchers and herders moving us along in this schedule, ensuring that we are on time. I help myself to a large lunch – two servings each of lentil soup and kale salad with some fruit on the side. My idea of a perfect meal. But my stomach feels slightly full after all that, and I am ready to rest and digest.
Having forgotten the schedule momentarily, I’m jarred when it is announced that we now need to move into another room for a “movement activity”. Continue reading
Inspired by the success of the E-Squared Book Club, The Energy Gardeners’ Club will continue the practice of energy experiments to cultivate the seeds of magic in your life, while connecting in nature, and creating a circle of support to empower your actions.
We will revisit certain experiments from the E-Squared book – and the magic wands! – and we’ll go beyond the book into the everyday practice of energy experimentation in our own lives.
Sessions and experiments will reflect the themes of planting, growing, and harvesting the fruits of our intentions, with an emphasis on practical aspects of energy work.
*Bring a sketchbook with blank (not lined) pages, your favorite sketching tools (pens, pencils, crayons, markers, etc), and a blanket or chair to sit on. Wear layers and sunscreen.
Recommended Reading: E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout
Tuesdays, 2pm to 4pm
$100 each session of four classes paid in advance, or $30 drop-in each class
Cash or check (payable to “The Music Within Us”) accepted for drop-in payments.
Limited income: $20 drop-in per class. Supporter: $160 session of four classes
Three sessions will be offered in 2014:
Session 1: Planting & Tending the Seeds
at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach (rain location: Here Comes The Sun Coffee House, 8455 Cabrillo Hwy, Montara, (650) 455-4308)
We will meet at the stunning coastal gem, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Beginning with a short hike in silence, we will gather our circle in the shelter of the cypress grove, with views of the sky, the ocean, and the resting seals.
*If you have not read E-Squared before, please read from beginning through the end of Experiment #1 before the first meeting.
Session 2: Growing & Ripening
at Quarry Park, El Granada
Our gathering place will be next to a labyrinth in a eucalyptus grove at the peaceful Quarry Park. We will begin with a short hike in silence, arriving at the labyrinth to create our circle.
*If you have not read E-Squared before, please complete reading from the beginning through the end of Experiment #5 before the first meeting.
Session 3: Harvesting & Sharing
*Please complete reading the E-Squared book in its entirety before the first meeting.
at Maverick’s Beach, Pillar Point, El Granada
Under the open sky of this protected cove, we will gather near another labyrinth. Birds and sea mammals may pay us a visit. A short hike from the parking lot begins our journey as we harvest and share the fruits of our intentions, and gather the seeds for next season’s planting.
**WE WILL MEET IN THE PARKING LOT at 2:00, and walk together to our meeting place.**
Join in the dialog!
The Creative Conversations series in 2014 will be a *FREE* monthly gathering place to dialog about living creatively and awakening to your own creative potential…one moment at a time.
Whether or not we openly acknowledge it, we each live within a creative process that is constantly in motion. We may alternate between wanting to “stop time” and wanting to “get it all over with as quickly as possible”. Within that turmoil is a space of observation, acceptance, and mindful movement within the eternal present moment.
Each of these one-hour conversations will begin with a space of silence, a moment to experience yourself in creative process right now. Call it “meditation” if you like.
From that space, we invite what wants to blossom.
Bring your questions, your own adventures in creative process, your requests for encouragement, your works in progress. There may be guest interviews, webinars….who knows what the harvest will bring?
This is a virtual meeting on the path we are all on….let’s take a moment to walk together!
Wednesdays at 10am PT/1pm ET
Dial-in: (605) 477-2100
Access Code: 958748#
Can’t make it live? Register to receive the recording by e-mail.
Dates for 2014 Creative Conversations:
At this week’s E-Squared Book Club we discussed the last two chapters. I was sad to get to the end of the book because it’s been so much fun to do these experiments and share what’s happening each week with the club and on the blog.
Once again, the weather at Quarry Park was spectacular – warm and sunshine-filled.
Oneness – We Are All Connected
Experiment #8, the 101 Dalmatians Principle, is about how we really are all connected. That every particle in the universe is in instantaneous communication with every other particle. Wow!
I happened to stumble upon the movie Cloud Atlas this past weekend (coincidence? Or synchronicity?), which addresses this principle in beautiful movie-making splendor.
According to this principle, every thought we have alters the entire universe forever. Imagine that! The other big idea is: Your thoughts about other people change YOU. How you see others is how you will see yourself. This makes forgiveness and kindness and compassion make sense at the level of the universe. It’s not about doing the “right” thing according to a rulebook or moral code. It’s about observing and choosing what you create in your own reality each time you think a thought about someone else. Continue reading
This week we discussed Experiments #6 (The Superhero Principle) and #7 (The Jenny Craig Principle). Both principles relate to the ability of our thoughts to impact physical matter in the material world.
First we discussed the results of the seed experiment. As you may recall, Tammy gifted us with sunflower seeds from her studio garden, along with a little bag of soil. It was such a beautiful gift! I went home and planted my seeds that night.
As I tossed them into the soil playfully, I said, “Isn’t it AMAZING that this one row of seeds is already growing faster than the other row?? I’m AMAZED!”. At that point, of course, they were “just” dry seeds going into soil, sitting on my kitchen table. Nothing had happened yet. Except my thought and feeling of ALREADY being amazed at their growth.
Two days later, I was truly amazed to see sprouts beginning to show. I literally thought nothing about these seeds other than the feeling of amazement that they were already growing faster.
It was a foggy, misty morning, but just before 10 o’clock, the sun began to shine.
We gathered to discuss Experiment #5 – the Dear Abby Principle. This states that we each have unlimited access to a constant source of inner guidance from the FP.
Pam talks mostly about the distinction between our conscious mind (logical, rational brain) and inner guidance. Too often we get the two confused, and we use our conscious thoughts as guidance. Oops!
The conscious mind has these important functions:
- identifying problems
- formulating goals
- making judgments
- comparing current experience to past experience
- interpreting results and building models
However, it’s not the source of guidance when you “don’t know” what to do, or when you want to take a step toward a vision you want to create.
I’m curious: what forms has YOUR inner guidance come in? Continue reading
This is a note for you. You are such a good student, when there’s a teacher standing in front of the class, and other students surrounding you, all learning to do the same things. You are a stellar worker, always taking responsibility for your job, above and beyond the call of duty. You take instructions quickly, correct your mistakes diligently, and do everything you can to get along with others. You are smart, capable, successful, but still feel there’s something missing from your life, even though you can’t quite name it.
So what is it? What is that missing thing?
I don’t know.
But I’m willing to bet that your relationship with Not Knowing could use a little tune-up. A little checking in and refamiliarizing. Continue reading
I’ve been hosting SoulBodyMind Salons in my home, and the most recent session was centered on the theme of “Soul-Care”.
I always start each of the sessions with a story or image that grounds the group in the journey we are about to take that evening. I had easily come up with stories and images for the body and the mind – ones that I had heard from my own teachers as I gathered knowledge in these areas.
But the soul – no one had ever talked to me directly about the soul before. This was the first time I would be attempting to ask the question, “What is the soul?” in front of a group.
I am simply fascinated by the phenomenon of soul, because everyone can relate to the word, although in a totally unique way. It’s a bit like the word “music“. Ask anyone from any culture and any time period, “What is music?”, and they know what it is. However, listen to the music from any culture and any time period and you will get wildly different experiences and sounds.
I was walking around my house, dusting the wood floor, pushing chairs in different directions, thinking about this question of “What is the soul?” and how I would explain this in a brief introduction, without either getting lost in philosophy or oversimplifying.
Naturally, I picked up the nearest object and began thinking of ways to incorporate it as a visual aid.
That object was a can of tomatoes. Continue reading