Have you ever found yourself halfway back in time and space? Not entirely in the present and yet surely not having fully left the previous. This is where I am today.

It maybe because my present is so unformed and amorphous right now, unsettled, without shape or definition, that this slippage into a place from before could happen. Have I taken a step back? Am I searching in my past for some remedy to the present?

I have to look at that, see how it feels to wear that for a while. There is reason enough to feel that my current circumstances and choices are far from working in the practical, sensible, material sense. The past looks pretty damned good from that angle, with the little house and garden, predictability and companionship. It is easy to ignore the past discomfort, reasons I didn’t stay, and deny the person inside that I am re-finding now.

Much has changed for me, and those directly affected by my choices and the continuing unfolding of my life. It is true that we are independent beings, responsible for our own lives but we are also social beings living to a greater or lesser degree in community. The interactions with the other independent beings in that community impinge on our individual lives and choices.

I know that I cannot dismiss that reality and part of living as the independent being that I know I am, is to respond to the overlapping stories with integrity, compassion and truth. So, on the journey within my present there are times when the past asks to be seen and heard. It is not the same of course. I have evolved – things and people, times and places have changed. But the whisper of that reality, perhaps unresolved and still hanging, is in my present. So here I am.

  I realize, with a burst of clarity, that it is not because I  am physically and emotionally un-tethered in my present material circumstances, that I am in this current situation. It is rather because I am so fully in the present. The present that lives in me – in my center, my certainty and my comfort – that allows me to be again in a past physical place, with surprising comfort and ease.

Where am I? I am back in the house where I lived until six months ago. I am here to mind the dogs, water the garden and fill the space for the place-keeper who stayed when I left. He is away on a much needed and deserved break from this space. Time in a different space to re-find, as I have been doing, his present, new inner place.

It is testament to the patience, wisdom and courage we have both independently and uniquely drawn on that we can be in this place. A place of asking and receiving, giving and accepting. A place where each of us, for different reasons that have to do with our very different journeys, have to face whatever it is that is difficult to do. It is a step on the path to full healing from the old place, free of expectation or keeping a tab.

We can never go back – the past is the past. Looking forward robs us of the present and thus the opportunity to embrace the gift of the Now is missed. So I am indeed back where I used to live, temporarily, with no plans for the future beyond this Now. The trailing memories of the past after the initial explosion into my senses and heart, are now just that – soft clouds in the sky of my mind – as I am able to live in this Now.

The gift I was given, to come and be here for someone else, has given me peace and power in equal quantity. It is surprising isn’t it? When unexpected comfort rises from the discomfort, when the blind leap sets us free, when the conscious placement of old stories opens new possibilities.

So I am fully in the old space with a new present. I have picked tomatoes (new), watered roses (old) and worked out the new internet system. I am running the old trails, sleeping in the old bed oriented newly in the room. I clean the same counters and sit at a different desk.

I won’t be here when the present place-keeper comes back. But I will have had my present here and will give his to him – through my being here in this place while he is away in a different place making space for this one.

My story will continue, with a new present unfolding every day, and the memories of the past trailing quietly behind me. The demarcation between the past and present, the half way back and half way here, always gives way to and, in fact, is the present. Sometimes we just need to bump right into that line to know that. I am here, now, and doing fine.

And how is your Present?

 

Hello All. It has been a long, strange, many-stringed journey since late  March this year. Much has changed, much has been released and more  has been added, blooming in the desert of letting go.

I find myself invigorated through the deep work of live theatre even as I am almost totally bobbing like a cork on the oceans of uncertainty. The energy of creating in collaborative endeavor is like the sun and rain that feeds the vastness of an otherwise desolate terra firma. Fred & Mary, the world premier production that I began with in September last year, is finally fully underway. 14 actors, 4 designers, the playwright and director, stage manager and volunteers – we are all only 2.5 weeks from that surely coming opening.

Directing!

With so much of my life spread out among 4 different locations as I slowly drift into the unfolding of this next chapter there are two pillars of strength. One is the daily responsibility and community of the theatre work. It reminds me I am valuable, worthy, capable and smart. The other is the little grey horse who has managed to stay pretty close to me as I survey the possibilities while living in the moment.

Riding in the red rocks of Sedona, my path blessed by the heron, coyote and deer whose creeks and land I travel through on my four-footed partner, any fear and doubt is gently lifted. I am reminded that the universe is far greater than the tiny piece of my corner of it. Conversely ,and perfectly aligned, is also knowing that my corner of it is the most valuable gift that I have been offered.

Magic indeed is all around me and while there are times when it seems almost impossible that any order will come from the chaos, I am nestled in the arms of something as ordered, as calm and as powerful as any reality I could conjure.

Red Rocks/Grey Horse

As I say in the very first paragraph of the introduction to the Personal Magic book, ‘Personal Magic offers a way of being in the world, a way to live your life with power, resilience, hopefulness  and – ultimately – with joy.’

I am glad that I have spent a life time uncovering and embracing my personal magic, that I took time last year to articulate that in a book. It is guiding my ‘walk’ now as I have to follow up on that ‘talk’.

There will be more work and sharing of the book, more blogs and newsletters. For now I am busy and spreading out into myself again after a hiatus both of choice and circumstance. The balancing opposite poles of my life, the creative arts (theatre) and the earth (horses) are both, in their own ways, giving me haven and strength to nurture and share my magic.

I can only wish you similar opportunity and joy.

Since the last blog post on Kindness I have had the experience of true kindness in action. This was kindness of a practical and unselfconscious nature. There was nothing sentimental, reluctant or even ‘special’ about how it was expressed. It was simply what is, how it is and part of this household’s living arrangement.

That the average age of these kind, strong and creative people was about 30 added to the delight of it all. Whoever thinks that the 30-somethings of today are self-indulgent, lazy, disinterested or inept have not met enough 30-somethings.

In my book ‘Personal Magic’ I write a little about the digital age:

We live in an age where friends are found and made on the net, and many of our interactions, dialogue and socializing occurs through a medium that precludes direct human touch, sound and visuals. Personal Magic becomes more valuable as well as possibly more elusive.

I visited with Teresa in Santa Fe last week, and stayed in her house shared with other young people. Even though there were computers and a TV, the expression of direct human interaction daily in that environment was visceral, real and natural.

Teresa is a vibrant, beautiful, smart and creative 28 year old woman. She is also quadriplegic, on a remarkable journey of healing. Teresa, like many of her age, shares a house. In this case it is a spacious Santa Fe house with 2 others; Jen who is a long time Yoga instructor and studying massage, and Jafari, a young man returned from service in Iraq studying Somatic Polarity. Regular visits from other young women – most of whom are also practicing or studying in similar areas – allow Teresa to be at home, with people of her age, engaging in meals, discussion and work as well as her therapy and healing.

From the moment I arrived I felt welcome and as if I had landed in some kind of protected space. I had driven many miles up from Arizona, leaving the beaten path to camp in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. It had been a small adventure, deliberately invited, instead of making a straight-line trip. After circuitously arriving at a place I had never been and didn’t know existed, I hiked for an hour in the moonlight, bright enough that no hand-light was needed. Snuggled into my sleeping bag, car-camping in an area of absolute silence, I slept with the moon on my face through the windows.

Waking to incredible cold, the sun rising almost before the moon had left, I had to find my way out before heading on to Santa Fe. It was a long way and I was glad to land in the sunlit house, with its aura of peace and power.

The work that Teresa and I did together was not easy. There is much sadness and struggle when you are finding your way back to wellbeing from such catastrophic injury. We did some guided writing, healing with essential oils and Shamanic Chakra work. We also addressed the needs of the nonprofit organization that Teresa is founding and on whose board I am honored to serve. (Check her site, Our Nerve To Breathe and offer your support.)

Another unique young woman that I know from my theatre days in Oregon had, barely 3 weeks before, moved to Santa Fe. I introduced her to Teresa. Turned out they live less than ½ a mile apart! The spiritual practice and personal journey that Teresa follows offers much to Cecily as she explores and grows her capacity for facilitating healing and her spiritual journey.

We read a short play I had written and needed to hear, sitting around a table, laughing and being ‘actors’. Another shining young woman who is apprenticing to be a midwife and is also a musician, came by. We sat in the sun on the porch, talking about fundraisers using music and writing. Teresa is creating her story as a performance piece with Cecily as her actress until such time as Teresa is ready to perform it herself.

This house, with its wooden floors and cabinets, group artwork canvases waiting to be completed and hung, opens its doors from the front and the rear, with people moving into the space and out again in easy flow. The fridge was thoughtfully stocked with good healthy food, and bursts of sustained kitchen activity – knives chopping, pots boiling and yes, the microwave beeping – brought meals made by hand and offered to whomever was there.  Coffee in the morning, chocolate after dinner and hot tea during the day. The entire place hummed with kindness and energy, independence and solitude, balanced with community and care.

Personal Magic can be expressed in myriad ways. When you bring it to community the power of magic is enhanced and nurtured even as you are giving out. When you offer your hands for lifting and cooking; when you hold someone’s hand and let them cry out their sadness; when you share your laughter and joy in life, then you share the magic together.

I define Personal Magic as:

“… the uniqueness that you, and only you, bring into the world. It is the tangible expression of your connection through your Soul to the Great Spirit, Creator, Higher Power, God, whatever language you wish to use, by which we are all connected. It can be directly accessed through the creative endeavor. Personal Magic both encourages and is encouraged by Awareness of Self, leading to true Empowerment and Freedom, most of all, freedom from fear.”

 The less than 48 hours I spent with the household in Sante Fe gave tangible expression to the words above. I wish for you all to experience such simple, straightforward magic in your daily life. Please share your story of this kind of Personal Magic with us!

The last week has seen me in the garden every morning, right after coming back from feeding the horses (most mornings), and just after the sun has cleared the hills around where I live. This is not unusual. Ever since I started following the Shamanic way I have incorporated the Morning Water Ritual into my day with very few misses.

A daily ‘quiet connect time’, even when as short a time as this takes, really warms up your Personal Magic. Here is what I have been doing.

I leave in the barely opening dark to feed the horses, returning about 30 minute later. Collecting a glass of water I walk out to the side garden and stand the with cactus, mesquite and rose bushes, my feet (even in their shoes) firmly and consciously on the earth. My face is turned toward where the sun is finding its way through the parting darkness. (This was a challenge on the Oregon coast where I often had to imagine the path of the sun through fog and rain.)

This time of day, before any food or liquid enters my body, when I connect with myself through the earth, air, sun and water has become a ritual that anchors and lifts me into the activities to come.

It goes like this.
• First, lift the glass of water toward the sun, ideally in a direct shaft of light, and focus attention on the four basic elements that make up life. Feel through the solid earth below you to the depth beneath; note the touch of early morning air cold on your face with the warmth of the sun brushing over it, and really look at the water clear in the glass. Give thanks for all that surrounds you and these four elements.

• Next, still holding the glass up in the light, acknowledge where you need assistance, place your Attention on Intention. Try and be specific. You may also simply ask for help and leave it at that.

• Now move your awareness to friends and family and even those outside your immediate world, whom you know need assistance. Ask Spirit/Creator/God (however you name it) to bring empowerment to those people in the way that best helps.

• Lastly, pour some of the water into the earth (or if inside onto a potted plant), offering power back to the earth.Then drink some of the water, with thanks and intention clearly in your mind. Pour the rest of the water to the earth (or plant) with those others in mind.

In the summer, the cold of the morning before the heat increases is a promise that things renew. In the winter, this morning sun is a reminder that the warmth is coming. I love to be still and totally in the present standing there. It feels like camping, when you are exposed to the natural air without the filter of indoors. It feels huge, as if all is possible. I am in the space between the resonance of past mornings and the promise of those to come.

On these cold mornings I am grateful to head back inside, hold the hot coffee mug in my hands and stand in front of the wood fire. However, that ‘connect’ I bring in with me from the Morning Water Ritual will sustain me through the day regardless of challenges and darkness. My Personal Magic is percolating steadily and underlies whatever the next 24 hours brings me.

In the Personal Magic book I address the value of daily warm-ups for good health and nurturing your Personal Magic. I write:

The trio that serves your needs (body-mind-spirit) responds well to a daily workout or at least regular recognition. Like athletes or old friends, they are then more able to be there when you really need them! The following is a sampling of some simple ways to stay in touch with the trio. You will add your own as you go through these and as you further uncover what it is that YOU need.

 Daily Rituals

Morning

Begin with acknowledging you are awake and alive, even if you feel rotten or have a really hard day ahead. That moment that you first come to consciousness can set the tone for what is ahead.

Greet the day – consciously and with attention to the sun, sky, air and where you are standing/seated.

Stretch and breathe – honor your Body.

 During the day
Drink lottsa real water.

Evening
Stretch and breathe – honor your Body.

Oils – lavender in the room.

These and others can be found in the Personal Magic book and I encourage you to find and develop your own Personal Magic warm-ups. I invite you to post one of your favorites here and we can all  add them to our Personal Magic tool kit.

Hello Everybody out in Blogger-land and beyond!

What a fabulous way to begin 2012!! I have the honor of passing on the Liebster Award. I was delighted and surprised to receive it from Carol LeFevre (Tips For Empowerment) back on Dec 23rd, 2011. Now, after all the rushing about and what-have-you that is the end of the year, I have been able to spend a glorious hour or so rambling around some of my favorite blogs and selected the requisite five choices listed below. As if that wasn’t hard enough, of these I had to choose one!

There are so many wonderful thinkers, dreamers, writers, healers, and creators out there, all fully engaging in their Personal Magic, how to choose? I finally simply went with the one that I have been reading the longest. When I first joined WordPress I found a namesake, Kate, aka Grateful Kate. Everyday since, she has sent  an image, a few sentences, delight and gratitude my way.

Many of us (me too) are wordy and while that is not necessarily bad, I admire Grateful Kate  so much for her joy, pithiness and her absolute regularity. Welcome her to your inbox, you’ll be amply and easily rewarded.

The Award; The Liebster Blog Award is given to up coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

The Meaning; Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog
4. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
5. Let them know you choose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

So below are the total five wonderful bloggers I selected for this list. There are many more and I find more and more each day. The good that goes out into the world is worth connecting to, and only serves to expand all of us.

http://gratefulkate.wordpress.com
Kate, and her dog Sally, share pithy, fun, kind and beautiful thoughts and photographs.

http://collectingyourself.wordpress.com/
Rae is and offers an explosion of creative energy and building of community! Check it out and see which of her community endeavors you may join!

http://jbournesblog.wordpress.com/
Jason is another generous, sharing writer who both brings his personal journey to the table as well as offering a venue to others.

http://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/
Leigh is a writer who shares her story and insights with honesty and a unique take on everyday things  as well as a good dose of humor and great images.

http://pointsthruprose.com/
Jackie is the most recent queen of communal creativity that I have been lucky enough to meet – easy to read, beautiful to look at, and a wide variety of points of view and wisdom wrapped in the creative endeavor.

I am grateful for the opportunity to send these introductions out there, and know that I will meet others along the way. These writers both manifest and share their Personal Magic and in doing so inspire others to the same. Happy New Year Everyone!

So here we are at the time of year when the giving of gifts is, for many of us, an expected and sometimes challenging ritual. There are those people for whom it is easy to select gifts, people whom we can trust to appreciate what we give them and to do so with real delight.

Alternatively, there are the ‘problem’ people; not the ones who say ‘I don’t need anything,’ and mean it, but those for whom no gift is right and yet they seem to be wanting something. How do you handle that?

And how do we handle it when the gift we have carefully, chosen, made, found, bought, is rejected in some way by laughter, disbelief or lukewarm thanks?

When it comes to giving gifts, the first step is to CHOOSE to give it, not because you have to but because you want to. Then, address the reason you give the gift in the first place. Ask yourself, do you have something that you expect in return by giving the gift? Is it to win favor, to be appreciated? Or is it to simply give pleasure to another?

In the Personal Magic book I write:

Giving a welcome gift with an open heart and with no expectation of ‘reward’ brings its own reward – of goodness, of peace and of honorable power.

 Perhaps counter-intuitively, you are most empowered when you give, and the gifts that have the greatest capacity to stimulate empowerment are those that are created with courage and truth, offered as gifts with no expectation of reciprocity. A gift is only a gift if offered as such. When we place a condition or price on it, it becomes a ‘deal’ or a sale.

I also consider this question:

What if the gift is not appreciated or is ignored? If you have created it (*) from your personal place, creating your own magic, then it still has value.  The value is in the act of creation.

 (* this also applies to carefully selected presents that you have bought.)

 So, in this season of gift giving here are some basic steps to enjoy the giving of gifts.

1. Agree with yourself that gift giving is just that – something given freely without expectation of return, of any kind.

2. Accept that once you have given it away then you have no say in what happens to it or how it is received – indeed you have let it go.

3. Understand that generally a negative response from the person receiving the gift is not directed at you, but can arise from their own dis-empowerment.

(Have you noticed that truly empowered people are always delighted with their gifts and the most fearful or needy rarely are?)

4. Know that the real value of a gift is not in its $, but resides in the freedom with which it moves from one person to another.

5. Finally, as you may be receiving gifts, ask yourself, ‘How do I receive gifts? With an eye to what it means, how it stacks up to what I gave (or didn’t)? Or with an open heart and mind?’

Also acknowledge that when you empowered you will recognize when a gift is coming with a price or tag, and you will be able to avoid playing that game. It maybe that your best choice is to do so silently and perhaps at another time address that issue, but at least you will be able to quickly shed the ‘ickiness’ feeling of being ‘bought’. You will see that it is the dis-empowered person who tries to make those deals and you don’t have to join in!

This season, choose to be an Empowered person, steady in your own center, your worthiness independent of the power of others. Be one for whom the gifts that are freely given are a joy received. (Those with attachments are removed, with compassion, to their own place!) Be one who gives gifts freely and with joy.

In writing the book Personal Magic I asked, ‘What is a gift?

I turned to those desk dictionaries for a brief look and found this: ‘natural endowment, talent, faculty miraculously bestowed’ (Oxford English Dictionary). And this: ‘the act or power of giving’ (Random House). ‘Miraculously bestowed….power of giving’. Well! 

Your Personal Magic, the uniqueness that is YOU, is your empowerment; the miracle of your being here is the gift with which you have arrived.

I also write this, and it is Very Important:

The act of creation is first and foremost a gift to and of yourself, and then you give away the ‘object’ or thought or love. Note: this is different from giving yourself away. You are the goose that lays the golden egg – keep yourself and give away the eggs!

So, enjoy this season that is associated with giving gifts, practice being a truly empowered giver and receiver. Carry that into 2012. Everyday is a day with gifts to give and receive, and everyday we have the opportunity to live our Personal Magic. That said, also remember to Have Fun!

I am interested in your stories of gifts given and received in which you were able to overcome the present splurge pitfalls! Write a comment below!

It would have been easy to lose consciousness over the last couple of days. On November 2, the Personal Magic book was officially and actually published, appearing to the public through Amazon/Createspace and as an Ebook through Smashwords. And now the mad rush to get the website completely together and functioning with all the options clear and working.

In the Personal Magic book I define the concept of Consciousness this way:

There is being conscious physiologically; you hear people talking to you, you feel hot and cold etc. And there is being Conscious in the spiritual/intellectual sense when you know who you are and how you operate in the world. Thus, you make choices and respond to situations, people and life itself.

I was unprepared for the extent of work that goes into what happens after the book comes out. I thought that the learning curve had been steep before this but today I am quite sure that I am about to step off the planet of possible! It would be easy to float away in the enormity of it all, to lose consciousness as it were.

The list of ‘To Do’s’ seems to be growing rather than reducing, and as fast as I strike one off, another arrives – or worse, in the attempt to eliminate one, more arise. And there is always something new to learn. (Today I spent time with Paypal, the Postal Service and Extensions/Module Management at the back end of the website to no great result it seems.)

However, it helps that it is cold and wet – an ‘inside day’ – today because at least it doesn’t feel ridiculous to be once again glued to the screen. I am also very lucky to have solid support – my publisher, Yoly at HouseofLit; website guru Derek by email and phone from Georgia; friends and family who send Woot! Woot! emails and Facebook posts; and David who is bringing me food today, and busying himself with his clay while I am completely consumed by the deadlines and demands of this work.

There are reality checks everyday too, and those are perhaps the most helpful of all. To start my day by rising in the barely light to go feed horses and wield the rake and barrow removing manure gets me right into the earth. Surrounded by the energy and challenge of the mixed grade elementary school students where I am teaching an after -school drama program connects me to the juxtaposition of creativity and fear. Pursuing funding for  Fred and Mary:An Unconventional Romance,  the Arizona Centennial play I am directing next year, reminds me there are other creative endeavors worthy of energy and time.

Indeed I am perhaps more conscious than ever, as the intensity, focus, variety and value of all that I am doing leaves no room for inattention.  As you uncover, express and then share your Personal Magic in the world there will be times when it is overwhelming, when you want to sleep, run away from it or take a short cut.

Expressing your Personal Magic requires that you are Conscious all the way through the process, making choices and responding to the myriad of options that emerge on the journey. I am grateful for this intensely rich period of Personal Magic manifestation and wish you the opportunity and consciousness to perceive and then ride the wave of your Personal Magic.