So many have asked me why we sold the B&B and left Italy. Here's my first blog post about this.Read More
Joy is of the essence.
Once we tap into our own resilience we see that our suffering level is related to our ability to allow joy. Joy does exist even when we feel it doesn't. Feelings are deceptive. Often, they don't reflect reality. They more often reflect our exhaustion, our momentary concerns, our scattered synapse responses.
If we can learn to stop at the moment when joy ceases and regather ourselves outside of our feeling world rather than as a victim of being inside of it, we can call on what we know to be true. Once we've been knocked over and have gotten up, we know it's possible to get up, and so getting knocked over becomes less terrifying. It feels more like part of the process.
These mechanisms, available to us when we are in the throes of change and pain and hurt, can keep us balanced enough to remember to connect with the source of all energy. If we can manage to connect with energy, we won't completely contract and we will have a shimmering thread of light to grasp on to.
That light is joy. Love.
Man, this is important work. It's so needed. Bouncing back is a learned behavior. It's possible even in the most difficult of circumstances. When I started putting together ideas for this course, it amazed me to learn about resilient people and their habits. Their focus. Their drive. For some of us, resilience feels like a distant dream. For others, it's second nature.
These are the processes that are the core of the upcoming course on Resilience. You can find the course description here. There are 13 days left to register for the course.
If you feel this course would be good for you, or if you know someone who really needs this information, please register yourself or pass it on. I've priced it in a way that everyone who really needs it should be able to afford it; I did that with intent, because I know myself how I could have used this kind of course not so long ago.
Being resilient is very much part of living a happy, healthy, self-determined life. I look forward to your joining me on this journey.
This is you. It's me.
We're all the same and at the same time very individual. Every little experience enters our prism, and we absorb it with knowledge and circumstance, and radiate it back out.
Two people can have the same experience, and radiate two completely different things back out about it.
Some people are resilient to events, even very difficult ones. Some struggle much more. One person can be traumatized by an event, and another not.
An event in and of itself is an event. It is what we bring to the experience of the event that determines how effected we are by it.
Some stand back up and push new shoots out of a rocky ground quickly, regardless that the rocky ground doesn't make new growth very easy. Some see the rocky ground as creative earth necessary to individuality and development.
The physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual factors that influence our ability to accept change and move on are such an interesting and moving study. I've been studying this material for months. In order to make sense of our own feelings during times of trauma, change, and grief, it's important to know what's happening to us and why.
I invite you to join me for the four week course, Resilience: the Art of Moving Forward. The course is comprised of four weeks worth of study - videos, pod casts, and written text - that are geared to give you a full understanding of moving forward during trying times.
This isn't about religion. Or particular beliefs. It's about finding your own way to shine with the spiritual set with which you feel the most comfortable. You don't have to buy into any specific way of thinking in order to gain a much deeper understanding of how to comfortably move on in your own very individual way.
Upon registering and paying, you will receive an email with access to a page on this blog for the course materials. This email will be sent out on April 26th. Don't worry about whether or not you will be able to attend any on line events. I formulated the course so that it can be taken as a self-study, with support through a secret Facebook page. You can read and do the exercises at your own pace, and communicate with me at your own pace, too.
I am offering this course at a price that is affordable to just about anyone in need of this information. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may know that I have been, for quite a long time now, preparing to teach a course called I Am Resilient for an intuitive online learning concept called Woo School, created by a woman named Tracey.
Last week, for reasons of her own, Tracey chose to pull the plug on the entire project.
Tracey asked me to become part of the project last spring, when I was recovering from the tumultuous events of the prior winter. I felt an entire energetic world open up; she had faith in my ability to be part of what I saw as a beautiful concept. As she gathered smart, intuitive women to be part of the process, I moved my life from one country to another, continuing a phase of seemingly endless transition, knowing in the back of my mind I would at some point be coming back to creating, and knowing that there would be a format for me to create into. It was a good feeling.
The months flew by and eventually the group was formed; lovely women from different time zones and perspectives, all brought into the flow by Tracey. She worked endless hours and invested so much of herself into creating something absolutely stellar-level beautiful. I felt so fortunate to be part of the entire concept. Deeply grateful and fortunate.
I saw the potential of something beautiful and decided that I would dedicate something big to the school. In December, I blocked out the entire month of January to create a course called I Am Resilient - combining science, psychology and spirit to help people who had undergone change and trauma understand how they could best move forward with new information, energy, and realities.
In creating the course I interviewed experts, read several books on different aspects of the subject, and meditated. I learned about my own process while doing the research, and found it incredibly interesting.
While this was happening, there were indications that the actual process of Woo School itself were not going so smoothly. In my need to be part of the group and to create my way forward, I ignored these signs.
I know better than to ignore signs. I am, after all, a soul caller.
Instead, I got bullish on the project, doubled down and worked twice as hard. This is a bit of a pattern for me. If I just trudge forward, everything will work out. It really hasn't worked well for me in the past, and this time would be no different
Around the beginning of February, I started to have backaches almost every day. I tried to walk the pain off. The only thing that helped, temporarily, was going into my pottery studio without any Internet devices. I felt such a level of inner spiritual disturbance that I could not identify.
I tried to communicate about what I saw as issues with the marketing of the concept. I should have known, when I couldn't get my message across, to stop investing my own energy in a concept that wasn't mine to begin with.
My back pain continued to grow. The energy was so off. I was drowning in something I did not understand. All I wanted to do, in good conscience, was produce a beautiful product. To collaborate with other women. To have a vehicle for my work. To give something to a person, a lovely person, who had given me a chance that I treasured.
I didn't see it falling apart until it fell apart. When the plug got pulled, it released the disappointment of what I actually already knew: that Woo School was over even though I had given it my all. I was a combination of angry and hurt and tired. Angry at myself that I had invested so much, albeit it on my own. Sad that the plug had been pulled before it had ever been given a chance. Tired because beyond the creation of the course, the whirling confusing energy that came before the pulling of the plug was terribly draining.
I expressed my anger and hurt and exhaustion. We had a confrontation of words, the only one we had ever had.
We seemed, in my mind, to leave the conversation in a friendly and conciliatory way.
The next day, I woke to find that Tracey blocked me on Facebook, cut me off from communicating with a Woo School associated Facebook group to which my private friends and clients had been invited, and seemed determined to forget about my existence.
I've chosen to meet this with love. It's the only way for me to make sense out of it. Love and gratitude for having had an experience to teach such deep, soulful lessons.
All weekend, I pondered the irony of having to call on my own resilience skills that I gathered during creating the course. About accepting this new normal. About moving on in a different way. Maybe this was the lesson of the whole thing? Quite possibly. The story of Woo School itself has become a case study in resilience.
In the wild ride of emotions over the past few days, my back pain has all but disappeared. I feel the burden is lifted. There were other energies at work that had nothing to do with me. I chose to work so hard at creating content because I was so thrilled to have been asked. Now that I don't have to bear the burden of trying to hold up "my end of the deal" anymore, I feel lighter.
I've learned a wildly important lesson about being aligned energetically and professionally before starting any kind of collaborative work. That lesson alone has been worth the price of this experience.
You know, woo is a funny word. I suppose that people use it to describe things that are not of this world and energies that are spiritual in nature. We each have our own idea about things like woo. At this point, I'm distancing myself from the word and refocusing on my very pragmatic approach to spirituality. The one where compassion and forgiveness top the list.
That, I must say, has always worked well for me.
I am letting the entire story go with compassion and forgiveness. I will always be grateful to Tracey for including me in her group of wonderful women.
As far as my course goes, I am repackaging it. It's way too good to let it crash and burn! In fact, I am adding to it and making it even more definitive than it was as a WS offering. It will be available here on my website and through selected friends' websites - people that I know and have strong personal relationships with.
I've renamed the course. It's now Resilience: The Art of Moving On. It will cost you a third less than its original incarnation! It starts on April 27th. If you are interested and need more information, just shoot me an email.
And with that, I'm moving on, unencumbered and with a spring in my step, letting my own resilience lead the way.
Back in the studio.
My neighbor waved over to me the other day while I was outside, collecting firewood.
"Wie gots?" she asked, her local dialect altering the German wie geht es greeting. How's it going, she wanted to know.
We would have needed two bottles of wine and more than a box of tissues for me to sufficiently address the question, but instead I went with the decidedly American "Gut." I'm fine. Really.
None of it has to do with her, or the fields of blue white snow that stretch in every direction, ending only when the black pine woodland begins. I am grateful for all of that. My neighbor is a salt of the earth kind of woman; she shovels her own snow and moves her horses from pasture to pasture every day before hiking her six kilometers in the Black Forest. It's only when you look at her closely that you see the deep lines in her smiling face, or the scar that runs from the middle of her neck down to below where you can see, telling nuances of her life's story.
I'm very happy to have a neighbor like her; one who takes things at face value and doesn't bother judging.
I'm also happy she has horses, because they make me laugh. When I walk outside, one of them always makes herself known by walking to the gate and staring at me until the other follows suit. They have me well trained, seeming one hundred percent certain that there is a carrot in each of my pockets.
No, that's all good. The storm is inside of me, not in the bucolic village of two hundred year old timber frame houses I live in. The storm is a silent one; it rages and recedes, knocking me flat and then allowing me brief respite in its eye, only to hit me again, twice as hard.
This is happening because I'm creating again, for the first time in a very long time. It started with the writing and research for my upcoming class on resilience the first week of January and its door got blasted open with the arrival of clay and art supplies a few weeks later.
I advance with caution, allow grandiose thoughts at times and retreat in horror at my own arrogance at others. I love my work one day and detest it the next. This is my process. I know it; it doesn't shock me. It always gets me where I need to be. But it's a stunning wake up call because I have not gone through a real creative bender in a very long time.
I swear to God, I forgot about all this during the last year. All I've been focused on is not falling through the cracks and changing countries and bureaucratic garbage and getting rid of my shit and getting new shit and getting off of the anti-depressants that kept me afloat through selling the project that represented my life's work and my dog Max dying right after that. When I came off of the drugs, after only eight months on them, I realized how much they had robbed from me in exchange for keeping me alive. A deal with the devil, those mother fuckers are.
When I got back my ability to cry, I also got back giving a shit. And with giving a shit came the desire to show why. Enter stage right creativity.
Max died just as we were shifting from life in Italy to life in Germany. He was our companion and guide for the last life. He let us move foward into our new life, knowing his work here was done.
I cried for weeks in October although my Max died in June. When I could finally feel again, I ran through the woods and screamed in complete and utter despair. I thanked Source that I had been drugged when he died, because I really don't know how I would have gotten through leaving a project that had literally taken everything out of me as the farm in Italy had plus losing the creature that had kept me going while everything was being taken out of me. In October, completely sober and without anything to delay or numb the pain, I felt like my guts were turning inside out.
But I knew that I had to swim in those waters. I had to let myself feel it all if I were to move forward in this drastically new life at the age of 56. I had to let Maxie go and allow space for whatever was coming my way.
I counted my blessings: a husband with whom I enjoy a mutual adoration society. A house that presented itself to me in the most magical of ways - by mistake - making me bless happy accidents. An aging mother that stayed healthy while this craziness happened in my life, allowing me to live it out and get better to be strong for her when she needs it. That I have been given a place of complete quiet to be able to hear my own voice again as it has grown from chortling to monstrous.
All the goodness that had been laid at my feet didn't stop my need to enter my own creativity pool from the deep end. I knew what I had inside of me, and I knew that in order to stay healthy, there was a long swim ahead.
So here I am. Swimming, treading, fearing, swimming once more.
My neighbor told me that there was someone in the village that had taken a course at night school to do pottery and if I wouldn't mind letting her fire a piece or two in my kiln. Word had gotten around that I was opening a studio.
I gasped. My new start had made it through the village gossip round. It must be real, then. Recovering, I smiled and said, "Sure."
She smiled. "Dass ist ja guuuet". That's good, she said, and that she'd let her friend with the pottery pieces know.
Even as the river rages on between my own ears, I see myself opening my door to a lady with a bowl in her hand, welcoming her to enjoy a cup of tea in my own workspace. I take her bowl and place it in my kiln.
That thought comforts me to no end, and makes me feel the storm will subside.
My first piece of this new phase a mixed media collage, is entitled Ti Aspetto (I'm waiting for you). It's me opening the door to my own creativity. She's an old friend. A moody old bitch, but I sure do love her.