Imagining a world where there are no mistakes

As I move through my coach training and certification process, I frequently hear my teachers saying that it is OK to make a mistake. To not worry about “getting it right”.  I heard this a lot, too, when I was going through my initial Reiki training.

This advice strikes a chord deep within me since, as a double Virgo who is nearly obsessed with getting things to be perfect, I’ve been struggling with giving myself permission to make a "mistake". So in a moment of recognition, I decided I needed to understand why the chord was struck in the first place. I realized I wasn’t struggling with taking a risk, or being OK with taking a risk, but with this concept called A Mistake.

Take a look at these synonyms:
Ø    Error
Ø    Fault
Ø    Blunder
Ø    Gaffe
Ø    Inaccuracy
Ø    Misstep

How do those words make you feel?

I don’t know about you but I feel like crawling into a hole.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my spiritual work is that there is no concept of right and wrong. Viewing actions, behaviors, and emotions as either right or wrong keeps us stuck in feelings of fear, guilt and shame, of judgment. As a result, we go into a state of energetic resistance, which then blocks us from achieving our desired results .… To take it a step further, right/wrong thinking blocks us from seeing the Divine within.

The word Mistake is laden with negative energy. So when I tell myself, “It’s OK to make a mistake” it means that such a thing exists and I am undoubtedly going to commit a WRONG, incorrect, unwise, or unfortunate act caused by bad judgment. That I should have known better.

Wow! No wonder people are frightened to step out of the comfort zone – who would want to invoke that energy, even if they are encouraged “to be ok with it”.

New Perspectives on Mistakes

One of my favorite anecdotes about mistakes and “failing” involves Thomas Edison. When asked to comment on how many times he failed to invent the light bulb, Edison stated that he did not fail but discovered a thousand ways to not build a light bulb. To quote: “I never failed once – It just happened to be a 2000-step process.” He confirms my view that the path to success is actually predicated upon all of the paths that lead to non-success – that our actions and decisions represent paths that lead to us to exploration. Sometimes the pathways don’t yield the desired result, but there are always lessons to be learned – lessons to be built upon, that lay a foundation of knowledge and wisdom.

Transforming the Energy

One of the exercises I do with my Reiki clients is to create an intention for the session so the energy healing can not only resolve what’s going on in the moment but also help manifest what is desired. The goal is to focus on what we want to happen, but in the present tense and in a positive way. For example, we focus on “I feel great – I am completely healthy” as opposed to focusing on “I am not sick with the flu”. I have been told the brain cannot process negatives so if we say “I am not sick with the flu”, the brain interprets it as “I am sick with the flu”. To focus on the negative, even in an effort to transform it, is to remain bound by it.

So I invite you to release yourself completely from the chains of Mistakes, and in thus doing so, invoke creativity, and invite explorations beyond what you initially imagined.

The Winter Solstice - The Sun King Returns and Asks Us to Reflect, Review and Renew

In my spiritual tradition, the Tradition of Ara, we are getting ready to celebrate the Winter Solstice holiday, a night when, it is said, the Goddess gives birth to the God. On this night, our indigenous European ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King ~ the Giver of Life that warms the frozen Earth. From here on in, the days will become longer as the God grows into his full strength.

Winter Solstice In Nature
As the Wheel of the Year turns, we mark the distance we’ve come since the autumn equinox, where day initially equals night but quickly gives way to more darkness. Winter Solstice marks a crucial part of the natural cycle, where the night is longest, darkness is at its maximum ~ but there is hope as the light gradually increases. In a real sense, the sun begins its journey toward longer days, heralding the promise of new growth and renewal.

Winter solstice has been celebrated for so long in so many different parts of the world, not only because it’s a time of optimism for the coming spring, but because the physical sun symbolizes the spiritual sun. This is the time of spiritual rebirth, a reminder that an old path has come to an end, and a new one emerges.

Spiritual meanings of the Winter Solstice
For those of us who recognize the natural cycles of life and the year, indigenous European holidays, such as the Winter Solstice (also known as Yule in some traditions), are like rest stops that allow us, as travelers in time, to pause and reflect upon particularly auspicious moments on our journey. We can become quiet enough to see the design of our lives and begin to see the cycles of our life as part of a whole, part of a larger pattern. We can slow down for a moment and stop to get our bearings, to make sure we are moving forward, in a spiral motion, and not just going in an endless loop.

The holidays mark an opportune time to ask ourselves some important questions, such as:  ~ Where have we been?  ~ Where are we now?  ~ And toward what are we moving? Are we stuck in an endless circle and not moving forward or are we moving in a spiral? Is the path one of conscious movement or of unconscious patterns? 

A ritual to celebrate the Return of the Sun
Even though darkness now prevails, we know that this is the dreamtime, the time for germination. Just because we may not be aware of movement, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. The structure of the next cycle of life, of our lives, is being formed.

Now is our opportunity to make this moment a ritual of conscious co-creation, to help us remember who we are, and why we are here.

What you’ll need:

  • Lots and lots of candles, designating a large gold candle as the Sun Candle. The candles do not have to match.
  • A cloth to cover your table or altar.
  • Any other Winter Solstice inspired decorations if you’d like.
  • Holiday cookies  :)

1.    Cover your table or altar with candles. Keep them unlit.
2.    In the center, place a sun candle on a riser, so it's above the rest.
3.    Turn off all the other lights, and face your altar. You can cast your circle now, if you’d like.
4.    Face the candles, and say a prayer of recognition, or chant, regarding the retreat of the darkness and the return of the sun. One of my favorites is to sing Here Comes the Sun King by the Beatles. : )
5.    Light the sun candle.
6.    Beginning with the candles closest to the sun candle, and working your way outward, light each of the other candles. As you light each one, say:   As the wheel turns, light returns.
7.    Repeat this until all the candles are lit. Take a moment to think about what the return of the sun means to you. Take a moment to answer these questions: ~ Where have you been?  ~ Where are you now?  ~ And toward what are you moving? Are you stuck in an endless circle and not moving forward or are you moving in a spiral? Is the path one of conscious movement or of unconscious patterns?
8.    Take the time to bask in the light of your candles, and in the awareness of your path, and eat some treats. When you're done, extinguish the candles from the outside of the altar working towards the center, leaving the sun candle for last.

** I posted this ritual to the Temple of Ara's page on Facebook, in case you would like to join others who are of like minds in this celebration. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of … DREAMS

Last week I wrote about how “going within” both literally and figuratively to a place of solitude triggered deep residing fears. Indeed my whole physical body was responding – my heart was pounding in my chest like I was running for my life and I was constantly short of breath. No amount of deep breathing exercises was helping.

The coincidental awareness spurred on by a writing assignment on silence brought me to a level of recognition … that I was afraid of my own Nothingness. The exercise was extraordinarily helpful … BUT…

Sometimes awareness is not enough for complete transformation or for complete healing.

I need to be in a wholesome relationship with myself so I knew that I needed to not only see those fears but engage with those fears. In my heart I needed to be present in the fear, embrace it … thus transform it. But how?

During a session with my own life coach (yes! Even coaches need coaches), I mentioned this experience to her, that the going within made me feel like I was running away, with my tail between my legs, that I was falling into despair. I told her that I recognized that life is a series of hills and valleys but the valleys were dark and scary places for me.

She asked me to relate to that feeling in a different way – physically – by enacting that fall. As I fell on to my bed, she asked me to describe the sensation. I discovered that by being aware that I was falling, my body felt softer, my knees were soft, my shoulders were soft … that my body was preparing for the descent, to cushion it, to protect it from a hard landing that would hurt. Then as I was lying on the bed, I realized how relaxed I felt and told her. She asked me to stay with that feeling, and from this perspective, to sit with the prospect of going into solitude. An image sprang to mind … of giant pine trees. And through those pine trees, I could see that within the valley existed a village. An active village, populated by people who were creating, working together happily to build things.

Here's my little Village in the Valley of Creativity. Perfect for the season, too.

As I lay on my bed, relating to my descent in this new way, this village became my Valley of Creativity. I felt so free, when I realized that my going within, my going downward, was really to access my creativity, which I can’t unearth as freely when I am busy trying to climb up the hills.

Even now, when I think of myself, here, alone in my kitchen, typing these words in the absolute silence (except for the ticking of my clock), I don’t view myself as a failure for my aloneness. I congratulate myself on my CREATING.

How can you change your perspective on your “nothingness”, to move to a place of being whole, of acceptance of who you are? I look forward to hearing more about your journeys.