About what matters

Writing about what really matters

Month: December, 2014

Beaming love to the world

Heart 2

In recent meditations, I’ve been getting some intimations of what’s next for me in the new year. One of the primary things I’m expecting is a (figurative) expansion or enlarging of my heart. Today I made a SoulCollage card (above) to represent this idea.

On Christmas evening, after all the festivities were complete, I was shuffling a stack of books on my ottoman to get to a reference at the very bottom, when I was drawn to another book in the stack, Sonia Choquette’s Ask Your Guides. I flipped it open and read a few chapters, one of which was about light beings. (Each chapter of the book addresses a different type of guide.)

In this chapter, Sonia writes about encountering light beings who encourage her and her audiences to help raise our planet’s collective vibration from fear to love–a change they characterize as necessary for our survival.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the rampant fear that often surrounds us, in the form of negativity, prejudice, judgment, war, existential dread, hoarding, lack of generosity, and many other forms of ugliness and unhappiness. At Christmas time we refer to the spirit of fear as Scrooge or the Grinch, but it’s with us all year round. Perhaps you’ve wanted to do something about it. Maybe you’d like to see more optimism, sharing, positive solutions, openness, acceptance, peace, and flow in our world. If you’re reading this, I’m pretty certain you do feel that way.

Here is something you can do about it. I have begun doing this as part of my meditation practice.

To get started, place your hands over your heart, and imagine the energy of your heart chakra arcing clockwise through your hands, around your heart, and back again. You can ask for the support of all light beings who are interested in helping us raise our vibration in this little corner of the universe, to strengthen this energy. After a few minutes, extend your hands in a way that’s comfortable for you, to beam this energy outward. Feel the loving energy flowing through your hands.

As in the lovingkindness meditation, you can direct your loving energy first to specific people, and then to larger groups, ultimately sending it to the world in general with the intention to raise our collective vibration from fear to love. Remember how much stronger love is than fear. Allow the energy to flow for a few minutes, or as long as you like.

If you try this, please feel free to share your experience below.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

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Guided Meditation for Connecting with Your Ancestors

I really enjoyed this guided meditation for connecting with the support of ancestors for 2015, and I think you will too.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Image by Josephine Wall Image by Josephine Wall

“Human beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would look like one single growing thing–rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other.”
~ C.S. Lewis

Today I’ve prepared a simple Guided Meditation for you, to help you to connect into the wisdom, love and support of your Ancestral line. This energy will support you as you open yourself to the possibilities and opportunities of 2015.

It’s…

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The most important lesson

Thoroughbred

As I mentally prepared for an interview this week, I asked myself a practice question I’ve never actually been asked, but that I may ask in interviews myself now that I’ve thought of it–What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in the course of your career?

I knew right away that for me there were two lessons–It doesn’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to be right. (The second lesson I’ve written about before, so it’s the first one I’m focusing on today.)

This first lesson began fairly early, and benefitted my personal life as well as my professional one.

In the mid-90s I worked for a small public company that made computer hardware components. My priorities could and often did change on a daily basis, depending on the orders that came in.

Most orders couldn’t ship without documentation, which was my responsibility, so booking revenue was directly tied to what I produced. The engineers also revised the hardware frequently, which required me in turn to revise the documentation.

I grew up watching one of my parents conduct endless research before making a move. Deadlines were met rarely to never. I found this tremendously frustrating to watch (especially since there was a clear relationship between deadlines being met and money to put food on the table), but found myself repeating the approach, to a much lesser extent.

This job completely broke me of those bad habits. It was clear to me that time was of the essence, and what I was working toward one day could easily change the next. There was no time to be wasted on hand-wringing, and plenty of inherited problems to solve. What I really needed to do was make tangible progress toward a goal every single day.

I had distinct tendencies toward perfectionism, but I saw that I had multiple opportunities to work on nearly every document. My goal became not to make anything perfect–a clearly unachievable goal given the time constraints–but to make everything accurate, and better and/or more cost-effective than it was before. Incremental improvement rather than perfection.

I’d already noticed, as I made significant strides toward dropping baggage, releasing bitterness, and becoming more positive, that I really picked up speed at work. An early manager had noted that my work could be more “expeditious.” And she was right–I spent a lot of time at that job being upset rather than working.

It turns out that eliminating mental–or audible!–moaning really saves a lot of time. What I do these days is simply dive right in to the work.

Occasionally, various delays and obstructions prevent me from doing that. At those times, the (unbidden!) mental image I have of myself is a racing thoroughbred confined to a paddock. All I want is for the starting gates to open so I can run out onto the track and open it up–flying like the wind, doing what I know how to do.

What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned, as it relates to your career?

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made today, Thoroughbred racer + True north.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Q&A: Where do you find your images?

Courage

I was recently asked where I find my images for SoulCollage, and the nerd in me would absolutely love to tell you!

The answer is, almost all of them come from magazines, mostly magazines I subscribe to now, or subscribed to in the past. About half are from ads (some of my most powerful images have come from ads), half editorial. Occasionally I’ll use an image from another hardcopy source, like a museum flyer, or a World Wildlife Federation calendar. The images for a recent card, for example, came from a wide variety of magazines: US Harper’s Bazaar, More, Lapham’s Quarterly, Town & Country, Elle Décor, and Cottages & Bungalows. The last one I got from the newsstand; the others I subscribe to (some free through Recyclebank).

I have always read a lot of magazines, and SoulCollage has finally given me a use for them once I’m finished reading! Some of my favorite sources are magazines from the past, such as Victoria and O Magazine. Victoria is still published and still a great source, although it has changed hands. The emphasis is now more on the photography than the text. The annual British issue is a favorite of mine, and especially useful. I still find the occasional image in O, but it’s much more text-intensive than it used to be (due to the overall contraction of the industry), and no longer features the two-page photographic “Breathing Space,” which was great for background images. If you don’t have your own stash of vintage magazines, you may be able to find one to raid at a relative’s house (sometimes it’s nice to be related to hoarders!), or at a public library’s magazine exchange. I much prefer National Geographic Traveler to National Geographic, but if you like the original, you should be able to spot stacks of the yellow spines at garage sales and perhaps thrift stores.

I find fashion magazines like US Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and W useful, especially the oversize ones (Elle is not oversize, the others are). They’re great for background images and jewelry (which I like to include on a lot of my cards). Oversize magazines are good because the larger the page, the easier it is to get the unobstructed background image you want (SoulCollage cards are typically 5 x 8 inches). European A5 magazines are great for the same reason.

British magazines are especially strong, and this holds true across categories. I’ve found great images in UK Country Living (including some stunning and rare animal images), Scotland Magazine, and Porter. I’ve subscribed to some, but mostly I buy them occasionally at the newsstand. Every few weeks I’ll visit the largest newsstand near me, and generally come home with a new magazine or two.

Art magazines are another good category to browse at the newsstand. SoulCollagers are typically looking for particular totem animals, and I’ve found them before in American Art Collector, as well as good background images. I also like magazines specifically focused on animals, like the British World of Animals (which I buy occasionally at the newsstand), or a regional magazine like Texas Parks & Wildlife. But good animal images are available in a surprising variety of magazines.

Travel magazines tend to have lots of useful images. My favorite is Afar.

Spirituality & Health uses art as illustrations, and is a great source, along with its special issues. I’ve also gotten some nice images from Shambhala Sun, a Buddhist magazine. Both of these also feature great content.

As you might expect, gardening magazines are great for pictures of flowers, but I’ve also found good ones in garden stories in decorating magazines, as well as Victoria. I’ve used pictures of heather on multiple cards, as well as many other flowers.

I generally like to read the magazines I receive or buy, then go back through them, pulling the useful images and categorizing them. (Right now my categories are Backgrounds, Animals, People, Divine, Flowers and nature, Objects, and Architecture.) This way I don’t drive myself crazy by pulling out a page that makes it impossible to finish reading an article. A few magazines, like World of Animals, have so many useful images that I just file the whole magazine in the appropriate box. Once I’m finished with a magazine, I generally pass it on to other SoulCollagers (I usually pull only the images I think I’ll use myself).

If you SoulCollage, which magazines do you find most useful?

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage card Courage + Tiger totem.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

A winter’s quest

Follow clean 2

This time of year it seems we’re encouraged to either scurry about buying things rather frantically, or settle in for a long winter’s nap.

But perhaps something really important is happening in our lives as we approach the solstice. All seems quiet in nature now, as the last leaves fall, and tender, frostbitten plants collapse back into the earth–but perhaps much is really happening below the surface. The same could be said of us.

What if, instead of holiday bustling or napping, we were being called to set out on a winter’s quest? What might your quest be? If you followed your heart right now, where would it take you?

This post is illustrated by the SoulCollage card I made this week, Follow your heart + Winter’s quest. It was inspired by Cat Caracelo’s 12 Nights of Solstice meditations–and it’s not too late for you to join in.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Ready to receive

Receive

It’s been on my mind lately that, even in this season of giving, I must always be ready to receive the abundance of the Universe.

This is the SoulCollage card I made today to represent this concept. I am a slow artist on any given day, but today I was even slower, as the image of the pouring grain I intended to use to represent abundance was hiding from me. As you can see, I finally found it!

May you and I both be ready to receive the abundant blessings that are flowing to us even now.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

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