Thursday, August 6, 2020

How to Shift Your Perspective

 The collage made sense: an experienced writer surrounded by readers and books.

Author Collage 7.2020

But later, while glancing at the collage, my perspective shifted.That is, I’ve thought of writing as a solitary occupation. A renegade act. But what I had thought of as solitary now appeared collaborative and connected. I had learned to write in front of a television with my family around me. In later years, I’d write at the kitchen table while they were in the living room. I love journaling in crowded coffee shops. Editing in the company break room. This shift in perspective was eye-opening and I want more!  

  1. To shift your perspective try this: write down your current point of view about a tiny trouble.
  2. Put on your walking shoes and allow 30 minutes. Leave the earbuds at home and your phone in your pocket. Walk the neighborhood, the beach, the streets.
  3. Your intention is to notice what you like with the walking prompt. "I like..."I like that yard, that plant, that purse, that mask!
  4. The mind chatter will chime in at walking step #2. "A red door! I was going to have a red door. That reminds me to go to Home Depot..."
  5. When you notice you are lost in thought, simply come back to “I like” on the next step.
  6. When you are back home, write down a couple sentences about how you feel about your tiny trouble or about the walking prompt. 
Shift happens when we allow ourselves movement and the moment.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Art of Routine

These days, I’m streaming either comedies or biographies. I love learning about artists, writers, actors, or anyone who has an inspiring story. The movie The Endurance, is one. It's the story of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the South Pole.

The movie is based on the book, The Endurance written by Caroline Alexander. In it she recounts one crew members diary entry about Shackleton. The entry quotes Shackleton's response after the ship was destroyed by shifting ice floes; forcing the men to evacuate into makeshift shelters.

“As always with him what had happened had happened,” Macklin wrote. “It was in the past and he looked to the future without emotion, melodrama or excitement. He said, “Ship and stores have gone, so now we'll go home.”

I am obsessed with Shackleton. He did not allow his crew to get caught up in the story of the tragedy. He insisted on a routine of working, cleaning, and physical activity, thus grounding the men in their bodies rather than letting their emotions run away with them.

Shackleton's main objective was to keep the men unified. Our job is to keep our body-mind-spirit unified.

Depressed and scared? Write it out, accept your feelings, and then take a walk, read, nap or stare out the window. Stuffing down emotions with food or drink or Netflix feels good temporarily, but the emotion is still there.

Feelings are like people. We all want to be seen and heard. The body is where emotions are stored. That’s why a walk around the block feels so good!

Yes, we are in an unprecedented time. But practicing a feeling-fine routine will move us through this very real, yet temporary, situation.

When I play The Spirit of Harmony music that has started most of my work days for the past two years, my emotional self receives the signal that it’s time to focus on work.

Whether you are working from home, or finally cleaning out that closet, a few minutes of routine goes a long way towards weathering both the viral and media storms.

Now, keep your gorgeous self safe. Stay home, wash your hands and before you inventory your toilet paper again, take a deep breath and repeat after me, “If Shackleton can do it, I can do it. If Shackleton can do it, I can do it.”

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Snark: The Martyr

So far this year I’ve felt happy, peaceful, quiet, bored, snarky and really angry. I live with four lovely roommates in one beautiful house. For the most part, it works. But some days.

To be honest, I’ve lived in solo situations that resulted in plenty of problems. Most were all in my mind. Welcome to martyr mode. When conflicts strikes, suffering in silence is a common strategy.  

For example, my current household rotates cleaning tasks on a monthly basis. Yesterday morning I was greeted with the smell of a really full kitchen trash and recycle bins. This has happened before with the same person who has this duty.  Because of religious beliefs, no work gets done on Saturday.

What to do? My first reaction was to grab my tea and run back to my room. I was planning on being out that day anyway.I could just bring it up at the next meeting. I could also just empty the trash and recycle, but that’s doing someone’s job. I am happy to help if asked. If I wrote a note in giant letters on the community board, it may not be seen, and if it was, it was still no-work Saturday.

We all have an internal martyr who sacrifices their inner peace for the group. This works to a certain point. If you find yourself constantly agreeing with the group consensus yet feeling resentful, your inner martyr needs to speak. Feelings are like people, we all want to be seen. 

Instead of playing the martyr, express the energy by scribbling or drawing with your non-dominant hand. Once the energy is felt, seen and accepted, you will no longer carry the resentment. Be patient and have compassion for yourself. It will take a few situations to recognize when you are playing the martyr. My drawing is from 2017.

Martyrdom is a learned energy that I have dealt with many times. However, once I went back for a 2nd cup of tea, another housemate was there, also puzzling over the trash bin. She said, “I’ll take one, if you take one.” We did. Household emergency handled and we have an agenda item for our next house meeting.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Resolution Solution

This year, I'm not making any resolutions.  I only have one goal: to enjoy life more. That’s it. It’s how I focused on finishing writing projects this year, even while my brain hollered about music. Focused presence feels finer than anything I've tried.

I know what it takes to feel fit: morning pages and 15 minute meditations before work. After work, exercise before Netflix.  In between I juggle writing projects, monthly collage calendars, learning Instagram, connecting with friends, and reading. Lately, I've been reading about writing and reading great writing.

Here's an image that keeps my heart on the lighter side of goal-tending. When a pilot sets his course, the plane doesn’t fly in a straight line. Instead, it constantly makes adjustments. In this way, it reaches its intended target. 

Detail from 2019 October Calendar collage

I’ve set my heart on presence. Emotional guidance is my auto-pilot.

Esther Hicks describes it this way. This thought makes me feel a little better. This thought feels a little worse. Thought by thought, action by action, I show up for my sweet California life.

Where are you headed in 2020? 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Celebrating The Eternal Now, Now, Now

One way to access the wisdom represented on a collage is to ask a question using your Dominant hand or DH (the hand you usually write with) and answer the question using your Non-dominant hand or NDH.

Here's an example of a recent conversation with my inner self.

DH: Dear Airplane Man: Who are you?
NDH: I am your practical intuitive business person.
DH: How do you feel?
NDH: Like celebrating!
DH: Why?
NDH: Because I am excited about where I am going!
DH: Where are you going?
NDH: I'm going to my next successful meeting with like-minded lovely friends who love and support me and who I love and support.
DH: What do you want me to do?
NDH: Join the celebration!
DH: How?
NDH: By being who you are-the real you who is excited about life and opportunity.
DH: How do I stay focused on that instead of the so-called problems?
NDH: Practice! Practice positive focusing in a relaxed, light-hearted way. 
DH: Okay I will!!! Thank you!

Reflections: Write down any insights with the Dominant hand to close the energy opened by using this technique. This is a very important step - do not skip.

It's a-okay to do this at a different time, but you want to incorporate the wisdom into your body. 

My insights were that I rarely feel like celebrating when it comes to my Business Self. The reason is that my critic voice is usually boo-hooing about how I should'a, could'a, would'a. It's whining that whatever action steps toward my dream, it's too little, too late.

This journal technique tells the truth about the Real Me. I love being excited about life! Keeping my collage in my office helps me remember that the celebration is ETERNALLY now, now, now. 

Even if it's another Monday morning at work.

October Calendar Collage

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Accessing Our Inner Wisdom

Now that you have your completed your calendar collage, you are ready to dialogue with the images. You will use your non-dominant hand.
This is the hand you do not normally write with.
We use the non-dominant hand to access the right-brain,
which is the seat of our emotions and inner wisdom. 

Step 1.
Take a moment to find a quiet place to sit with your collage.
Give yourself 20 minutes minimum.

Step 2.
Close your eyes and take several breaths.
Release any tension, thoughts or anxiety.

Step 3.
Allow your gaze to take in all of the images on the collage.
Let yourself get curious about one of the images. 

Step 4.
Using your non-dominant hand let the image write about itself in the first person.
Allow it to tell its own story.
What part of you is it expressing? What are its qualities? Why is it on your collage?

Step 5.
If you notice any critical voice regarding the journal writing itself or this process,
simply take a breath and release it. 
This naturally occurs whenever we are trying something new.

Step 6.
With your dominant hand, write down any insights from this exercise.
You may want to write about how the process itself felt to you.

The more you view and write with these images, the more insights you will uncover.
Next post: Learn how to have a written dialogue with your collage. 

June Collage Calendar

July Collage Calendar

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Focusing On Your Creative Self

Create a monthly vision board of out magazine images for work or home. Yes, you’ll be creating a collage for April but don’t let that stop you! There’s plenty of year left.

Gather a calendar, a few magazines, scissors, glue sticks, journal and pen and a bag for scraps.

Create your space. Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for at least an hour. You can listen to music, but choose instrumental. You want a peaceful atmosphere to access your intuition. Take a break to make tea, etc. But try to finish the collage in one session.

Select a Creative Self. Once settled take a moment to center and close your eyes. Allow yourself to relax. As you breathe allow an image of your creative self to arise. This self is your partner in your collage creation. Silently ask it to reveal itself to you in an image.

Open your eyes. Select a magazine and flip through the pages, scanning for your creative self image. It can be a flower, a sunset, a child. The creative self on this calendar was the woman in the center of the kids. Cut out your image and set it aside where you can see it.

Find a focus. Choose a theme for the month. Themes can include a new home, a healthy lifestyle or having a relationship. In above example, I didn’t use a theme, but simply choose the images that I liked.

If you have a theme write it out in a simple phrase. “My ideal home.” “A healthy body.” “Inner peace.” Place your phrase next to your creative self image.

Grab what Grabs You. Quickly flip through the magazines and tear out images or phrases that grab you. Don’t trim, just pull out the entire page. Dig that bright alligator pillow? Grab it. At some point you’ll probably hear an inner grouch grumbling complaints like “Oh, that doesn’t go with the theme,” or “this won’t work.” Don’t listen to that critical voice.  This is your time. Just keep moving. Drown out doubt with the sound of your magazine being torn. This is a fast process. If you find an article you want to read, set it aside.

Select & Trim. Once you gather several pages of images, it’s time to sort. Look at your Creative Self image and phrase. Decide which images feel right. This is an intuitive process, so don’t think too hard. First, sort the pictures into two piles: Yes and Maybe. Don't use the scissors yet. Wait until the next step.

Design. Take your Creative Self image and place it in the center of your calendar page. Now place the images around it. Overlap images, use a small piece of a landscape, set one image inside the other. Trim all of the Yes images and set the Maybe pile aside. Don’t glue yet. This is only the design phase.

Talk Back to the Critic. Once the design is done, stop. Gaze at your layout and listen for any grousing from the critic. Now take your journal and set a timer for 2 minutes. Quickly jot down any internal negative chatter. Don’t filter. Just let the words flow onto the page. After two minutes, stop.

Read what you wrote. Notice how your body feels. If your chest tight? Feeling tired?

Next, reset the timer for two minutes. Hold your pen and imagine you are a feisty little kid that’s going to talk back to the critic. Now read the words again. Start the timer and quickly scribble your response. Let that critic have it. Four letter words allowed. When the timer goes off, read your response out loud at least three times. Really talk back. Take a few minutes to write about what you experienced.  

Glue the Collage. Now it’s time to glue. Take your time. Now that the critic voice has been dealt with, the images might end up in a new arrangement. This is natural. Before gluing, flip the image over and see if there is a picture on the other side that you like better. You may be surprised. This is the time to add images from the Maybe pile.

Reflection. Hooray, you have a finished collage! Journal about the process and the images. View your collage for at least 15 minutes a day. Allow the images to speak to you, and reflect on their meaning. Be choosy if you decide to share. Pick someone who is supportive, not judgmental. Remember, this is your vision. Share as little or as much about the process as you feel guided.

Next month, you’ll learn techniques on how to work with your vision board.

Check out for more information on Visioning(R).