Meaningful Moment | Detached Consideration 🍂 I took this photo in October. The sky was brilliant blue and the tree effervescent orange.
I am often awe-struck by the beauty (and the chaos) of our world. I find I am challenged daily to avoid getting caught up in a response that is based in utter sorrow, polarized by rage, or results in apathy and avoidance.
This weekend, the men and women of our country who took an oath to stand side-by-side to defend our borders from REAL threats threw tear gas at unarmed asylum seekers. Men, women, & children that left their place of birth where their families reside and their homes stand because war, hatred, and greed prevail. They came to our borders not to relive the war they left but to find refuge in a country founded on possibilities, freedom, and independence.
This weekend we celebrated and reflected upon our individual reasons for gratitude and, hopefully, our country’s history of contradictions. Ironically - or not so ironically - those in power choose fear and fight over wisdom and possibility.
That said, while my approach is one of “detached consideration” this does not mean I am giving up or shirking my responsibility as an activist. We each have a path to walk. Mine is one of constant reflection and deduction - watching human behavior and then pushing concepts forward to encourage: 1) awareness 2) personal responsibility and soul-level work to 3) encourage creativity and the possibility of a paradigm shift.
We must first become aware of what is happening and how it makes us feel. We must then heal ourselves to achieve neutrality and objectivity. Once we’ve done our personal work we can manifest a life that upholds the truths we uncover and ignites others through positivity.
Despite the storyline being pushed by politics - I encourage you to find ways to detach yourself, even for a moment, to consider your feelings, your unconscious responses, and methods to find objectivity to allow for new approaches. Once uncovered, spread a flame of love and hope to extinguish the smoldering effects of fear, hatred, and shame.
#findingessentia #aveclavie #livingconsciously
Meaningful Moment | Detached Consideration 🍂 I took this photo in October. The sky was brilliant blue and the tree effervescent orange.
Meaningful Moment | Into the Woods 🍂 I see opportunity for metaphor in almost everything around me. Nature is the most prominent source of inspiration. I love drawing meaning from the elements. They represent a patchwork of choices; lessons for reflection and growth.
Today is Thanksgiving in America. This day represents many things to many people. On one hand we shine light on our accomplishments and express gratitude for what we have been gifted. Indeed, we should not feel individual shame for the mountains we have traveled nor the barriers we have overcome. But on the other hand, there exists a very real component of societal regret and broken promises that lives on in the subconscious shallows of our country’s story.
Because I am a social thinker (and an empath to the core) - I find this day, and many other holidays, conflicting to me. While I embrace the here and now, finding gratitude and reverence for the struggles we have overcome and the love and faith I have cultivated from life’s ebb and flow, I also find myself saddened for the hearts that have been hurt by the deeds of others.
Knowing what has been done cannot be undone, I take leave in silent reprieve to honor those souls that have sacrificed; holding hope that peace and love will be gifted to those that have passed and those struggling today. On days like today I go into the woods to find unexpected strength hidden in the shadows, take responsibility for my deeds, and discover enlightenment in every meadow.
To those before me, the ones here now, and those yet to come, may peace be with you and love befall you morning, noon & night. #morningnoonandnight #intothewoods #findingessentia #handtoheart #healing #gratitude #peace #love #responsibility #aveclavie #consciousliving #livingconsciously #inspiredliving #livinginspired
My deck and my intention, driven by a desire to be inspired by our possibilities as a species, isn’t unconscious or immune to the reality of the world we live in. I read the headlines every morning and my heart sinks a league. The work I am trying to promote is not blinded by an ideal that life is lavished with roses. Most certainly not. I am far too attuned to the ubiquitousness of our dark side to be so naive.
When I read this quote by the Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico (Juan Manuel Gastelum) I was immediately struck by the utter contradiction and audacity. “Human rights should be reserved for righteous humans.” Front to back this quote is 8 words long; too short for the human who uttered it to make excuses he got lost or confused in his thought. No, this statement is very clear. A titanic expression of righteousness cloaked in distorted morality.
I’m exhausted with this reality. Koala wisdom, the keeper of our stories, reveals a sad (but steady and unfaltering) pattern of self-importance vaulted by egoism.
I refuse to be sucked into the vortex, viscerally responding. Instead, I am witnessing our collective experience, ruminating on this storyline, and crafting ways to diplomatically and respectfully encourage brave conversations (with ourselves and others) that are meaningful and substantial. We need to move this “needle” or we will maintain this storyline for infinity.
While writing “Finding Essentia” I find myself reflecting. It would be impossible not to. The lessons within the book are not my stories alone. Indeed, it is a book of collective wisdom. A decade of watching and participating in human chaos; events my patients (and even myself) endured that were absolutely awful.
It is clear, we HAVE to live “through” it. But we DO NOT have to make it more complicated. We need to do “our work” and take responsibility for the impact we have on others and our environment. We are catalysts. The questions is, what do you want to ignite?
It’s time to roll-up our sleeves, till the soil, and do our work. #aveclavie#findingessentia #livingconsciously
Morning Moment | Connection & Resolve 🍂 I had a few really wonderful conversations this weekend that spurred me into rumination. Those who have met me know, not much is required to prompt me into a philosophical conversation about human behavior.
Pulling these two cards (Shark and Buffalo) this morning pushed me to consider where we have arrived as a human race. True, we have made monumental leaps but in some respects we have failed to let go of some very old stories, archetypes, beliefs, and modalities that perpetuate a non-evolutionary reality. Ascribing these patterns to “power, fear, and hatred” (as I shared earlier this week) serves to place the blame on one side. Fire requires oxygen and social oxygen is in large supply these days.
Buffalo and Shark, though seemingly opposite creatures, both offer varying metaphors to arrive at the same outcome. Buffalo offers us her story, teaching us lessons of mistakes, shame, forgiveness, humility, and connection. Though a victim of greed, she defies the expected and remains noble in her essence. Shark on the other hand, witnessed as an aggressor, teaches us about ignorance, struggle, and resolve. Feared and respected for his threatening presence, Shark forces us to consider the effects of unwieldy power and the darker sides of suppressing vulnerabilities. Two sides of the coin or positions on either side of the table; we must consider both: Connection & Resolve.
What causes connection and how do we achieve it? In the traditional sense we feel connection when our mind, heart, or spirit feel tethered to someone or something. Like imprinting, connection feels good. It is perceived as safe, nurturing, and unified. It offers a feeling, despite imperfection, that we will find forgiveness and grace when we stretch ourselves and, perhaps, make mistakes. Connection offers both overt and covert bonds that propel us to be invested in something larger than ourselves. It fills our yearning heart with a feeling of fullness and eases our existential query of existence. On good days, connection makes us one - a community. On bad days, it divides.
Here is where the metaphors of Shark and Buffalo intertwine. A symbol of resolve, Shark emboldens our human traits of tenacity, power, fortitude, and fight. In simple measure, these traits can be admirable. When faced with adversity, finding resolve is essential to the day-to-day demands of simply maintaining and, as with any struggle, ensures we win. However, taken to the extreme, Shark’s story can lead to polarization. A desire to overcome without regard to the impact of one’s position on another’s; to become the victor regardless of the demise inflicted elsewhere.
Having little concern for the impact of your actions on another can result in personal, familial, community, and societal dis-ease. It infiltrates the minds, hearts, and spirits of the “other” and can birth a “victim’s story” founded on blame, resentment, and hatred. The victor sits in one room while the other sits in another. A community once connected is easily divided and separated when an individual (or the desire of one group) fails to consider their impact on the whole.
Sitting at the bedside, tending to bodies, minds, and souls - I witnessed these forces at work on many levels. From the very cells within our body to the structures of the healthcare system. I knew conflict (or a transfer to the ICU) was inevitable when polarization (a failure to work together to maintain equilibrium) from organs, providers, patients, and families grew. Coming back from this cliff is harder than you can imagine. When the temperatures rise, emotions escalate. It becomes challenging to quench the hunger of righteousness. Like the extremes of Buffalo and Shark, we back ourselves into a corner and find ourselves pushing forward viscerally - without diplomacy - so we can achieve the outcome we think is right.
Resolve in this example depreciates the value of community. What was once one organism, or system, is now divided. To heal the wounds, energy needs to be diverted, either immediately - in the case of an emergency - or in the long-run when denial sits at the table.
Today - in our communities, we are witnessing this level of polarization. While I am but one person and my ideas and ideals are as singular and flawed as the next, I do believe that what we need now is silence. Stop talking. Stop yelling. Stop hating. When the fury of the moment forces energy to a tipping point, we find ourselves in chaos. On a physiological level, when faced with fear and panic, the simplest step toward equilibrium is to “breathe” and “listen” to your body.
In an individual, this leads to oxygen infusing our brain which in turn sends a signal to our nervous system to disengage the “fight or flight” response allowing for a level of safety to ground ourselves. In a community, stepping back (i.e. pausing and taking a breath) permits us to observe the milieu of the moment and allows wisdom to witness the activities. When we actively and consciously choose to “pause”, neutrality and objectivity have an opportunity to assess and evaluate the situation. Much like oxygen arriving at the brain and notifying the nervous system to shift toward cautious calm - we are able to find solutions to our problems and recall that each individual (defined as one person and/or a group) is as important to the whole as the other.
None of us, no matter how noble we perceive our cause, can say we haven’t walked in either pair of these shoes. And for that matter, wearing one pair over the other limits our options simply through the reduction of choice. I have practiced “pause” for years. Perched on a stump of cautious calm, consciously and objectivity witnessing the activities of our human behavior, I have resolved to commit myself to connection. I am not an activist. I am not a pacifist. I am a social thinker and I question everything. I ask hard questions that others are afraid to ask. And I have practiced for decades, how to craft my message to encourage those individuals or groups who feel backed into a corner (either through self-imposed choices or the demeaning behaviors of others) to come forward in a controlled manner to be seen, to be safe, and to be heard.
Dedicated to community, I encourage you to consider the many faces of Buffalo and Shark and, while in that process, take a moment to consider your position to uncover what common-ground we all are searching for. I believe life is less about winning as it is about equilibrium. Highs and lows create discourse, just as polarization wedges community and causes chaos. I have hope that one day we will have the resolve to create a new, evolutionary story of connection.
#hope #connection #resolve #animalwisdom #buffalowisdom #sharkwisdom #faunainspiration #consciousliving #livingconsciously #findingessentia #aveclavie
Week End Reflection | SHIFT 🍂 Each of us has a path. Simple it is not. Simple it will never be. But we have choices, even if minute in their appearance.
Choices are not ascribed to only large life events. In fact, most of our choices are so small we fail to recognize their impact on our daily disposition.
For example, we make choices when we make assumptions, experience emotional reactions, make facial expressions, have conversations with ourselves, choose (or not choose) our words, and permit fear, hatred, anger, and opposition to make choices for us.
These “little” choices take on the appearance of naïveté; innocent or inconsequential as “white lies”. However, the sum of these decisions (conscious and unconscious) establishes a defined way of being - an approach to life. As minutes progress into days and days into years and years into decades, these decisions of instance become cemented and impervious to movement. Iterations on our options become deceptively challenging, even impossible — or so we think. Would you be surprised to learn, we’ve made a choice to perceive it that way?
It is my honest belief, change (as contracted and limited as we may believe) is only an instant away. It is available through choice — and choice is available anywhere at anytime. It is as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. It can be as subtle as a shift in perspective (like choosing objectivity over position) but can result in immediate, monumental impact to self and lead to future change in others.
The stories we hold onto, the realities we permit can take new form when we engage our consciousness and acknowledge choice is around every corner. #shift#choice #consciousliving #livingconsciously #findingessentia #faunainspiration #aveclavie
Horse | Passion = Get Curious! 🐎 As I researched and wrote about each animal in my new Fauna Inspiration deck I opted to highlight only one meaningful word in this edition. I did this purposely because they are referenced and discussed in my forthcoming book: Finding Essentia. And, while each creature is far more complex than one word, I believe that highlighting a key characteristic offers us an external, and often more objective, opportunity for contemplation and reflection as we face life’s challenges. For example, I chose Passion as the primary definer of Horse. .
It’s a loaded word. We inappropriately hang our hopes on it - placing too much existential angst on trying to find our passion; concluding that without it we must be unfulfilled.
So, what if we didn’t think passion had to be found but understood that it was a natural, readily occurring side effect of trusting ourselves, nourishing ourselves, and loving ourselves. That sometimes the reason we feel blue is a result of inquisitive suppression. .
Being curious about life’s unexplained mysteries opens doors to exploration. It welcomes connection and encourages us to uncover concepts, communities, and consciousness we were unaware of previously. .
Finding passion does not require an arduous journey. It lies squarely in our capacity to find interest in anything and everything in a manner that is genuine and authentic. With this approach, passion has the capacity to be present in our lives every single day. #faunainspiration #consciousliving #livingconsiously #inspirationalwriter #aveclavie #horsewisdom #animalwisdom #askquestions #getcurious
Tenacity & Reverence 🐥 Quick pick last night with my son Jonah. Chickadee (Tenacity) and Eagle (Reverence) = APPRECIATIVE DETERMINATION. A reminder to be grateful and respectful in our pursuits. I love the juxtaposition of the two. In every instance there are countless angles to consider. Every path is equally relevant. In the obscurity of life there exists a canvas of endless creativity. We can craft whatever magic we want. We only have to trust ourselves. #faunainspiration #aveclavie #eaglewisdom #chickadeewisdom #animalwisdom #animalspirits #consciousliving #livingconsiously #purposefulliving #inspirationalwriter
Meaningful Moment | Iterations 🌊 Is it possible to revisit places you once inhabited and feel the same magic? I recall times that were so vivid, so real yet I wonder if my mind only framed it this way to support my heart and confidently assert my existence. .
Leaving that wandering allegory to the side, is it possible to iterate and improve? Having watched the answer unfold in my life and in other’s, I feel confident saying yes. Life is one constant iteration. An opportunity to look inward and improve. An opportunity to participant in the activities and moments we find meaningful and abstain from those that drag us down. .
While others journey, they are iterating. Some of their follies will impact our lives. These are their stories, their moments that they must reconcile. It is not our responsibility to own these moments unless we find meaning for our own advancement. Aspects of that story may serve to define us positively (such as courage, fortitude, and integrity) while others entrap us, lingering as depression, anxiety, regret, remorse, and anger. .
Shedding the latter and refusing re-entry of those tired, old, negative stories is a sign of self-respect and advocacy we often under embrace. We do not have to permit passage of someone else’s transgressions while on our path to healing. Take only what is needed, absorbing the aspects that serve to further your story in positivity and leave the others to be rectified by the individual who bestowed them. That is their responsibility. .
Circling back around, I do think we can rediscover magic. Moments will never be the same. We age. We learn. We change. This is the natural and expected course of life. .
However, memories of bygone times entice us to cultivate meaningful moments again - those moments when we felt whole and connected. Being present, open, and authentic, collecting all the little moments like fireflies in the sky, invokes the magic, making the memory fulfilling, and worthy of being carried. .
In honor of our self, may we shed what fails to serve us and embrace only that which lifts our soul! ♥️ #findingessentia #aveclavie #iterations #socialthinker #inspirationalwriter
Meaningful Moment | Personal Responsibility • Confidence • Purposeful Living 🐝This has been a summer filled with bee wisdom. Seems like every time I sit down to photograph a flower a bee swoops in and steals the show. I know full well these bees aren’t about showing-off but they certainly have become the center of my attention.
I love that this bee is covered from head to toe. It offers so much metaphor. Just like the pollen jacketing this bee, maintaining the course never feels weighty when the reason is right. When we are certain we are determined, when we are determined we are confident, when we are confident we see things through.
With purpose in our lives obstacles are not negative, in fact they are an integral part of the road to achievement. They expose passion and, when peppered with friction, offer opportunities for reconsideration, redirection, and recommitment. If the goal in life is to find equilibrium then accepting the existence of challenges becomes an anticipated and welcomed aspect of life.
All this being said, in our confidence we do not need to be narrow-minded or self righteous. In fact, confidence grounded in honesty, responsibility, and humility paves the path for practical, plausible connection that engenders meaningful participation from ourselves and others. With integrity and a commitment to communal truth, healing can happen that will withstand the test of time . .
Like this bee doused in pollen, we have the capacity to manifest a reality of contentment, connection, and purpose when we trust ourselves, remain responsible for our impact and actions, and are present daily for ourselves and others.
Thank you little bee for pollinating my mind. 🐝