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Life throws us obstacles, bumps that come out of nowhere.  The goal is to stay loose enough to adjust to the changes and centered enough to keep in control when the shit hits the fan.  When the ground beneath us moves so fast that it’s hard to focus, we have to tune into our intuitive knowing, stay in that controlled out-of-control state.

Skiing and snowboarding teach us this flexibility.  If you want to enjoy your journey downhill there’s no option but to be 100% present; aligned body-mind-spirit.  Adjust to the shifting terrain, in the moment.

Our core (third chakra), center-of-gravity is in the bliss zone, balanced with velocity, snow and the contour of the mountain.  When another skier crosses our path, a mogul, rock or tree faces us, we turn but we don’t turn permanently away from our intended path.  We take a turn that avoids collision and another turn that returns us to our direction of choice.

In the moment we may recognize that our chosen path is not taking us in a direction that is going to bring us pleasure, success or good circumstances, so we permanently redirect our course. If we don’t foresee the need to turn or the obstacle throws us out of our center we’ll crash.  Varying degrees of wipeout occur, depending on how tuned-in we were to our body and our surroundings.

We make graceful turns when we are centered in our truth, tuned-in to our surroundings and willing to adjust course when the flow points us in a different direction.  Practicing mediation tools each day gives us this core strength when faced with any challenge. To do this we:

  • Take the time early in the day to clear our mind (sixth chakra) of the past and other people’s energy or agendas.
  • Ground (root chakra) our energy in the present day.
  • Call any of our scattered energy back to ourselves and visualized it filling every cell of our body.

Being grounded and saturated in our true essence is the bliss zone.  It allows us to be present for the obstacles in life and to navigate them without feeling as much trauma. It feels aligned, peaceful and full of possibility.  Taking responsibility for our life by owning our energy space teaches us that we can keep our focus yet be flexible enough to make graceful turns.

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My desire for a spot close to the front of the airplane had me sit in a middle seat between two women on a fight home to Denver last week.  Expecting the usual, ignore the stranger next to you, behavior of business travel, I was surprised to immediately be in conversation with the woman sitting to my right.  I can’t even remember how the conversation started but it didn’t pause until we landed two hours later.  By then I had heard 72 years of stories, Naomi’s life in a nutshell, and more importantly witnessed her joyful perspective on life.

Her vibrant energy created a shift in me, revitalizing my sense of appreciation and possibility.  Inviting me to match the level of joy she lives in.  If I blur the lens of the words that passed between us, the pure vitality Naomi offered through her positive perspective was transformational.

Each of us radiates energy that is a combination of our natural essence, our beliefs and energies we’ve held onto that we’ve accumulated along the way.  Often we don’t notice our own energy, what we are presenting as a vibration to the world.  When our energy is clear of fearful beliefs more
of our natural essence shines and we attract energy that matches what we want in our lives. In order to experience the spark of inspiration that generates transformation we have to be available to human connection.

The most powerful insights can come from the perspectives of strangers. They have a fresh perspective, one we haven’t been exposed to before.  They don’t know our history and we are inclined to listen more closely to someone we just met.  Our awareness is heightened.

The type of connection I experienced with Naomi was wonderfully unexpected.  We can prepare ourselves to recognize these opportunities and be open to the transformational energy that is available through connection.  We prepare by taking time to align our vibration with our essence. Start in a meditative space:

  • Send a psychic “hello” to your essence, your soul, your authentic Self.  Allow your inner voice to ask if there are beliefs that are pulling you out of alignment with your essence?
  • Visualize those fears, disturbances and non-aligned energies moving out of your space into a bubble.  Watch the bubble float to a distant mountain top and pop, transforming the energy into a new form.  This makes more room for your own essence to expand.  You may want to repeat this with several different focus areas in your life. Where you are showing up with a certain identity, such as work, romantic relationship, friendship, health or creative practice.
  • Imagine a big golden ball of light hovering above your head.  In the center of that ball is a magnet calling your energy back to you from any places you have left it that you are ready to retrieve it from. Once the golden ball of light is full of your essence, in your minds-eye reach up and pop it.  See the energy of your essence flow down into you, filling in all the space that was opened when you moved out the non-aligned vibrations.

We naturally attract matching vibrations into our lives.  Sometimes we have the fortune of attracting a connection that wakes us up and elevates us to a new level of self-awareness.  I believe this happens when the person we encounter can see past our current state and notices our soul’s essence.   The practice of consciously setting our energy invites connections that are transformational.

The Magic of NOT Knowing

Natalie —  October 26, 2011 — 6 Comments

True creation requires stepping into undefined space where our question stays open, unknown.  When we latch onto an answer too soon we limit our potential to see.  We shut down the magic that comes from wonder and curiosity.  We engage the analytical mind without allowing space for our intuition.

This empty space full of potential “the void,” can only exist if we allow it to.  The void is an exceptionally challenging place to live.  It’s counter to our survival instinct, that wants to feel safe by having answers. Yet allowing space for the unknown is where we experience breakthroughs in awareness.

Breakthroughs are precious moments where our consciousness shifts and we see from a new perspective.  Unless forced by circumstances, most of us don’t intentionally make time in our lives for the creative void.  When life wants to get our attention, we find ourselves in a challenge that requires we wait, pause, slow down and NOT know.

Our analytical mind wants to have the answer and move on.   It gets frustrated by delay.  It is compelled to solve whatever dilemma or puzzle is before it.  It doesn’t like to be put on-hold while we allow ourselves to be in the unknown, waiting for new possibilities to be reveal.

Our intuitive mind has a more gentle approach.  It gives us signals, hints, opportunities to notice the contribution it can provide.  It doesn’t bark at us but calls to us.

The analytical mind harasses us for explanations, justification and evidence before we act on our intuition.  The  intuitive mind invites us to trust the creative zone of questions that have no pre-defined answer. It leads us, one awareness at a time, in a direction we might never have imagined, to places we never knew existed.

The magic of creation expands when we honor the gifts of both our capacity to look at what we experience with logic as well as trust our intuitive observations.  We are culturally taught to let the analytical mind direct our lives.  By doing so, we miss many opportunities to get out of a rut and onto a new path.  We repeat the same old annoying patterns in our lives.

To cultivate a juicier life, we can intentionally create spaces of NOT knowing.  Instead of jumping to the way we’ve always done it or repeating what we see others do, we pause in the void to allow room for a new creation.  It is uncomfortable to hold this undefined space. Yet it is critical to choose to NOT know long enough to deeply listen to our intuitive signals.  When we do, we hear spiritual direction that guides us on a path less predictable, more magical.

This blog post was inspired by a speech given by Ron Walters at a technology conference in Boise on the importance of boldness, curiosity and nothing/allowing space for the unknown in the design process.

Last Friday at our family ranch, I stretched out on the grass in a cow pasture looking up at the pale blue sky.  Doing nothing but listening to the sounds of birds, bugs, gurgling water and a breeze gently blowing in the trees.  The moment of rest and nothingness penetrated my soul.  It dropped me into a place of awareness of all the distractions I’d been carrying in my body and mind from the psychic density of living in the city and the busyness of day-to-day activity.  It felt as if the earth instantly absorbed the entire disturbance that had been filling my mind and the tension in my body.

I found a deep inner-peace and gratitude for the beauty, raw ciaos and simplicity of plant and animal life.  It made me think of our human tendency to seek purpose.  In the desire to find some greater meaning in life, we believe the cultural programming that our purpose is outside of us, something we do, some function we fulfill in the world. 

Those things that make us feel joy tend to be attributed the label of our purpose: creative arts, music, writing, activities that have an element of service to others. We want to clearly see what our purpose is and we want it to be fixed, one thing for our entire lifetime.  When we experience purpose for awhile through some activity like being a parent, or working on a creative project, then that stage of our life comes to transition or completion; we feel a sense of meaninglessness or lack of purpose again.  The self questioning begins.  

We struggle with a desire to know our purpose and want a life focus that is guaranteed to give us a sense of fulfillment.  We are haunted with a subtle yet chronic dissatisfaction and sense of yearning, feeling unfulfilled, looking for this purpose outside of ourselves.  We decide that we are doing the wrong job or in the wrong relationship because we don’t feel satisfied.  We give our power to this concept of finding a purpose beyond simply living.  We feel disappointment and self-judgment that we haven’t figured it out yet. 

It appears from the outside that other people have figured it out.  We see the bright light of successful athletes, actors, writers, politicians, healers, musicians.  We believe that they have a sense of purpose and are at peace because they are living their dream.  Yet it is an illusion. Those in these positions that venture to reveal their humanity will confess they still question their purpose.

We have been sold a collective lie, a belief that if we discover something to do that is our purpose we will feel forever fulfilled and at peace.  But the source of fulfillment and inner-peace isn’t a job or a relationship; it’s in our approach to every day activity. 

While I sat in the pasture noticing the cattle grazing, birds soaring and little bugs foraging for food, I realized that they were at peace with simply eating, drinking, sleeping and creating a nest. They didn’t experience dissatisfaction.  There was no belief that something out in the future, some bit of insight or self-awareness that they hadn’t figured out yet was going to make them perpetually feel better.

A more satisfying focus of our energy, than this illusive question of purpose, is identifying what creates a sense of meaningfulness in our lives. Here are some possibilities to contemplate:

  • Connecting with others through conversation and touch
  • Creative expression and sharing our creations with others
  • Having interests that keep us curious to know more
  • Setting goals that are attainable
  • Teaching, parenting, learning, nurturing
  • Knowing we have friends to call on when in need
  • Spending time outdoors or creating a beautiful sanctuary in our home

The belief that we haven’t figured out or are not living our purpose, denies our power to create a meaningful life.  It leads us to focus on people or activities outside of ourselves that we think are to blame for our lack of satisfaction and to judge ourselves.  The deeper need behind the quest to find our life purpose is our desire for fulfillment.  Sustainable inner-peace comes from choosing what inspires, expands and energizes us day-to-day.

Past experiences alter the lens we perceive our life through, causing our perception of certain relationships to be tinted, foggy, distorted and even blinding us.  When we act on inner-guidance that is skewed by a false perspective we don’t generally get positive results.  These past reference points are often the biggest block to accurately interpreting our intuition.

Our relationship with our inner-guidance is similar to our relationship with a friend. We build trust through experiences together.  In all relationships we enter with assumptions based on our past.  Those unconscious beliefs and expectations effect how long it will take us to create a sense of safety and trust with the person.  If our past experiences have been full of betrayal and pain we may never feel safety and trust.  We may not be able to embrace the positive a person has to offer as we see them through a false belief filter.

Most limitations we face in relationships start with false beliefs.  The lens through which we perceive the world attracts familiar experiences and has us automatically respond to life in a way that gives us an expected result. We formed these beliefs through our own encounters and the examples shown to us by family and society.  In the moment of their creation they had truth and relevance. That doesn’t mean they are true and relevant today.

To build a sense of trust with our intuition we need to form a conscious relationship with it, becoming aware of our filters based on outdated beliefs.  This means when we check-in with our inner-guidance and get a response, we dive deeper.  We ask ourselves if the information is true for us in this specific time and place.  We ask if it is in alignment for our body, mind and heart. What feels good to our body can harm our mind and heart. What feels good to our mind may not be the best choice for our heart or body. Alignment is the key.

Awareness of our experience based lenses and how they distort our view in relationships can help us understand why we aren’t interpreting our intuition clearly.  The experiences we have that show us our intuition is true, protecting us from harm and directing us on a positive path, help develop trust.  When we clean out false beliefs influencing our perception we build more trust in our inner-guidance.  This encourages us to seek out its company and deeply listen to what it has to say in every situation.

Snowboarding and skiing exercise the same muscles we use to access our intuition.  Here are five ways that they can contribute clarity to other areas of your life:   

1) Align with Your YES

Flying downhill at high speed with gravity as your motor, split second decisions are your power.  Every turn, every choice of direction is an inner yes that aligns you with the mountain and puts a smile on your face.  When your choices align with your yes they bring pleasure.  Your intuition is validated and responds by informing you with increasing speed and accuracy.

2) Wipeout Prevention

To survive and stay injury free skiing you must pay attention and be present in the moment.  The consequence of having your mind on anything but what you are doing is painful. The same is true when acting on your inner-guidance.  Being distracted muddles your perception, often with painful results.

3) Give Your Analyzer a Break

Snowboarding connects you with your inner child.  As a kid you didn’t spend so much time analyzing life. You were curious, playful and stuck your tongue out to taste the falling snow.   Trusting your intuition requires that you approach life with child like openness to non-linear answers.

4) Read Your Surroundings

Navigation of the slopes includes maintaining awareness of the skiers around you.  A portion of your consciousness is engaged in quickly reading what those in your path will do next to prevent collision.  Your intuitive guidance is meant to help you navigate life through perception of how those around you are behaving. Then direct your life in a way that stays on course and avoids negative impact.

5) Move Forward in Whiteout Conditions

When there’s poor visibility, flat light or blizzard conditions, the way to stay injury free is to relax your body, trust its perception and response to the terrain.  If you try to be in physical control rather than flow, your body will be stiff when you hit a bump, launching you in an unintended direction.  When you strain to see what is not ready to be seen you meet whiteout conditions.  Relaxation of control is required for supportive information to flow.

So get out there and rip it up! Your body and soul will thank you.

Positive Diversion

Natalie —  November 24, 2010 — Leave a comment

Our manifestations come from a state of feeling.  Ideally that emotional state is positive, pleasurable even blissful, fueling the future with love rather than fear.  This week I divert from my usual reflections to take you someplace juicy in your thoughts with the hope that it will feed a positive state of creation…

My Love Letter to the Deep Woods

Beloved your sweetness swallows me whole, fills my lungs and blood with tangy oxygen.  The sun draws last night’s mist from your soil, wrapping its arms around me.  I run freely within your wild undergrowth, my feet know your solid springy touch.  I see you and it delights me.  Monstrous fern and elderberry congregate beneath fir trees that reach up to touch the sky.  Fox gloves drip lavender spotted flowers, rising from your curved mountainside.   You receive me without judgment, whisper with honey breath through the delicate breeze of pale green moss dangling from your branches.  You’ve forgotten what season it is for a day and given me the gift of summer clarity, warmth and radiance in the midst of autumn’s slow death.  I rest my face against your meadows, trimmed low by deer grazing.  You hold me firmly as I sink into you, the perfect mattress of chocolate loam.  Your frog and meadowlark sing to me. The red dragonfly hovers.  I’m in love with you.  I’m not afraid to commit to you, my heart is open.  I trust you.  I feel your healing touch hold my hand.  You lead me to peace, a waterfall rushing from its source springs forth from deep within your core. We unite in naked appreciation for one another.

Moving Forward

Natalie —  July 2, 2010 — 7 Comments

At times I get stuck in a pattern of belief that my mind can derive the bottom-line truth in a given situation.  Yet my brain is just a measuring device for the sensory messages it receives from my body.  The body sends messages that are interpreted by the mind through the senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste.  The mind takes these bits of information makes a conclusion, and then asks us to do something about it.  The spirit uses different points of reference to calculate the best way to move forward.  Our intuitive guidance system taps into a non-physical knowledge that can also lead us safely through life experiences. 

Last weekend I was climbing Mt Yale, a 14,000 foot summit in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Hiking at altitude creates sensations in my body that are interpreted by my brain as repetitive signals to “stop, turn back.”  The lack of oxygen and steep terrain challenge my lungs, muscles and circulatory system with forms of resistance that feel life threatening.  I hike at high-altitude to experience a sense of mind or over matter, to somehow prove my mind wrong by overriding its interpretations with a higher truth.  I know I can do it.  I know I will survive. 

On the ascent I can briefly distract my mind with the sight of aspen and pine trees, the sound of the gushing glacier-melt creek, the smell of wildflowers and conversations with my friend.  Yet the distraction is always temporary as my mind continues to want to regain control of the situation.  Hiking Mt Yale I was conscious of my spirit experiencing the hike.  When my body began to feel exhausted and my vision was a bit dulled, to the point where I didn’t see every rock on the trail, instead of feeling fearful that I would stumble, I noticed my spirit was guiding me.  I saw with clarity the parallel existence of how my mind interprets its experience beside how my spirit interprets the experience.  Both are equally capable of providing guidance that keeps me safe.  The difference is that when I’m listening to my spirit it is not concerned about reaching the summit or measuring the energy left in my physical body relative to what is required to get me to where I need to go.  My spirit is present in the moment.  My spirit says, “I am moving forward.  I will keep moving forward.  I want to move forward.”  

Mind-body measurement of our experience is 100% in the physical/material realm.  The challenge is that the mind does not know how to interpret intuitive information.  If the message it’s receiving from the body contradicts intuitive guidance the mind goes to battle with spirit and tries to override the spiritual knowing in an act of physical self-preservation.  The mind does not know how to interpret the emotional indicators beyond the physical sensations they generate, pain or pleasure. 

Next time you notice that your mental and spiritual guidance are in conflict, acknowledge both the indicators from your physical body experience and what you know intuitively.  Let this awareness of the source of data help break gridlock that can keep you stuck.  The mind is not the final truth.  It is one source of information available to you.  Intuition offers insight that can help us move forward when the mind is resistant.

Personal Transformation

Natalie —  June 16, 2010 — Leave a comment

Rarely do we wake up and ask ourselves, “Will I ignore the messages from my soul or listen to them today?”  Instead we dive headlong into the moment: shower, coffee, breakfast, dog, kids, commute, work, exercise, dinner, lover, social activity, household to-do list, TV.  We say YES or NO to whatever requests cross our path.  In the midst of it there is our inner observer always on-call to assist us in making choices that define our life.  It is one of the greatest challenges we are presented with in the human experience to stay aware of our inner guidance, to recognize our truth in any given situation, to say YES to our YES and NO to our NO.

Change is constant and unstoppable.  When we resist change or stay stuck in a behavior that we have outgrown, we build up a backlog of denied requests from our inner guidance.  As time passes the dam begins to fill with this avoidance, resistance and control.  We are blinded by busyness and the path of least resistance often is the familiar more comfortable one.  Saying yes to a little piece of inner guidance feels like a crack in the dam that could burst and flood our entire life with change.  Beneath the fear is a desire for personal transformation, the kind that brings greater joy and peace.  We want to feel free to be our authentic self.  We want to choose our life rather than simply run from one demand to the next.

Taking a step in the direction of our intuitive truth may require facing a backlog of self denial.  When we don’t choose to get un-stuck of our own free will, often life helps us along though introduction of unavoidable changes in those around us, our job, our health or some other wake up call.  The more frequently we acknowledge and act on our inner truth the gentler the process of personal transformation and change becomes.  Today say YES to your intuition; establish a co-creative relationship with it, a dialog that expands your awareness of the subtle ways your spirit communicates with you.  Intuition is your tour guide to life.  It is within you, free and always accessible if you listen.