A dear friend of mine and I were talking about our “dark nights of the soul”. We'd both experienced them fairly recently, and the emotions were raw and the memories still fresh.
I created a little ebook from the depths of my heart. It's so raw and personal, I can't bear making it an “ebook that I charge for”. So I'm giving it to you, free.
I've been attracted to the Muses for quite some time. I began writing little prayers to them in my journal throughout the day, asking for help, showering them with gratitude, and crying out to them with frustration. It's been an incredible release for me.
Recently, I read The Aeneid by Virgil, and now I'm reading The Odyssey by Homer. These are two of the oldest books we have access to. I was shocked and surprised to find them petitioning the Muses in the middle of their books! (But Spirit works that way- I'm interested in the muses, why wouldn't I be led to read these ancient texts?)
These two ancient authors both petitioned the Muses in their works, right in the middle of their verses. Homer opens The Odyssey with,
“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns…”
“Launch out on his story, Muse, daughter of Zeus, start from where you will- sing for our time too.”
-(From Robert Fagles' translation)
Start from where you will… working with the Muses is a collaborative effort. When I trust them to bring their work to the page, they show up alongside me.
My connection with the muses has deepened my work, grounded me, and given me a secret delight in my writing I didn't have before.
Muses, I know my greatest work
Will come from my deepest sense of play.
Help me find the joy, the spark, the wild
Childish abandon in my art today.
Help me move like water, sing
Like birds, dance like leaves
Falling from the great oak.
Can you come out
I would love to know how the muses inspire you, how this book affects you, and how your creativity ignites under the precious spark of these ancient creatures.
Sending you my dearest friends,
How to Process Big Emotions
1. Get Big Paper. When thinking about how I would work through some of my emotions, they felt huge and overwhelming. The only way I could see to get them down was on a big sheet of paper. I use a big white craft roll and lots of markers, starting with a big sheet and pulling out more paper from the roll as I need it.
2. Write “I am ANGRY” (or sad, or frustrated, or afraid, or…) in the center. (I started with “I am ANGRY”, since that was my prevailing emotion.)
3. Write everything in the world you're angry/afraid/sad/etc about. Write big, small, haphazardly, or in pretty colors. Just write everything you're feeling, no matter how black, how un-ladylike, how scandalous, how ridiculous, how small. “I am angry because I can't control…” and “I'm angry because I wish ____ would….”
4. As soon as you're prompted to start a new emotion, do it, and go back to each one as needed. I ended up with a big panel each for “I am angry”, “I am afraid”, and “I am empowered.” (Writing my angry emotions lead to a feeling of empowerment. I'd be interested to see if that happens for you, too.) “I am afraid if I don't…” “I'm afraid ____ will…”
5. Keep going until you feel better. This was incredible cathartic for me. I put on some music, spread out on the floor, and started writing. All the weird fears that have popped up that I hadn't acknowledged came out. All the little things I've been angry about but ignoring are out there in bright markers.
6. Pay attention to the one-offs versus the recurring themes. There is no emotion too small to acknowledge, so write them all down- but you might notice that you have a recurring theme of being undermined at work, or are constantly fearful about a simple thing you can change, now that you can see it's a major issue for you.
7. Go forth and make a difference. Pay attention to your emotions. Are they motivating you to act? Take a little step and see how it feels. You'll make a difference and you'll feel better.
The post below is from Kerilyn Russo, who graciously offered to write for us here. I can relate to Kavanaugh's poem- I think you will, too.
The Search by Kerilyn Russo:
I’d like to start with a deep and humble bow to the beautiful mama to be Belle for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you all today about something that has been keeping me quite occupied most of my life. Most likely, it’s something you’ll recognize within you as well.
I love the names and descriptions Julia Cameron gives all the brands of creative saboteurs. In her book, Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity, she names our creative saboteurs: Wet Blanket Matadors, Amateur Experts, Bad-News Fairies, Very Important People and Very Serious People. All have their trademark ways of, at the very least, making us second-guess ourselves- but the very good among them can derail entire creative projects.
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Last week, while checking in with my creativity, returning to my Morning Pages, and getting real with myself, I realized I had become a media glutton.
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The opposite of fear is …
Peace? Courage? Bravery?
I believe you can have all of these and still be fearful.
Fear is with us often. We’re afraid of being bad parents, we’re afraid of living the crazy lives we dream of, we’re afraid of saying what’s on our minds- whether it be “I love you” or “this isn’t working for me.”
We’re afraid of exactly what we need to be doing.
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“Tell your stories. Your neighbors may not understand you, but they will understand your soul. Stories are the last bridge left to allow different cultures to communicate among each other.” -Paulo Coelho from his blog
For many reasons, we’re afraid to tell our own stories.
Maybe we believe people won’t believe us.
Maybe people haven’t believed us in the past.
Maybe it’s too good to be true.
Maybe it’s too bad to be true.
Maybe we think it’s boring, that no one will be interested.
Maybe we think it’s not important to talk about where we’ve been.
Some might tell us it’s not good to stay stuck in the past.
I couldn’t agree more. Did you know we inadvertently stay stuck in our past when we don’t tell our stories?
Telling our stories allows us to “own” them, and let them go.
When you tell your stories, you free them. When you keep them inside, you cage them inside you, causing discomfort for you both.
It’s an act of trust to yourself to tell the truth.
From the moment I stumbled upon Julia's blog, I knew she was a kindred spirit – a soul sister. She is the most beautiful embodiment of pure love and truth. She freely shares from her heart in everything she does. I am so blessed to be able to call her “friend.”
I had been to Julia's site a few times and read her magnificent poetry. I admit I was more than a little in awe of her- she truly lives the presence and mindfulness that has become so important to me.
To my total delight, when I asked Julia if she would do an interview with me for the site, she said yes!
You'll never guess what happened next.
I completely missed my appointment with her.
I was so embarrassed. I completely messed up. And she handled it with such grace and presence that I was not only lifted from my total embarrassment, but was privy to an incredible lesson in handling unexpected situations. Before I even got to talk to her, I was learning from her!
Right-click and save this file to your hard drive if you want to listen to it in your car. Otherwise, just click and you'll be able to listen to Julia's incredible advice to us all. (30 minute audio)
Thank you, Julia, for sharing your (rescheduled!) time with me and your wisdom with us all.
“We do not encourage unnecessary starkness. Enjoy life while you are learning. All of the elements of your Self are created for the expression of Divine Love.” -Alan Cohen, The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore
I'm so peaceful when I'm meditating. Often, I'll feel a profound and encompassing peace that re-sets and re-energizes my spirit the way a good night's sleep resets my body.
For perhaps an hour, I'll be on the floating cloud of calm joyfulness. My emotional sea has nary a ripple. All is truly right with the world.
Then someone calls.
Or an email filters through my inbox.
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