Monday, December 22, 2008

Breathing Through the Holidays

Last month I left you with a Vision collage of my Santa Cruz life. Once the collage is made, the next phase is working with each of the images. This is done in a variety of ways. One way is to reflect on a collage image.

I use these methods daily as my spiritual practice: that is, I stop to quiet myself and listen to my Self. Collage images are our internal images glued down on paper. Right brain exercises refocus my energy if I’m overwhelmed by my To Do list. Taking several breaks throughout the day also reminds me that I am a human being, not a human doer. As I move through my tasks, I typically get more head focused. Right brain processes move us back into our bodies, or the present. The body is also the place that stores our emotional history. This premise is the crux of this work.

For example, I made a decision to spend the month of December at my mother’s home. Though I have been looking forward to spending time with family, as December grew closer I felt myself growing anxious. For many of us, regardless of age or worldly accomplishments, when we enter the familial home we are suddenly wearing our childhood play clothes. If we have not processed childhood incidents through healing modalities, then the role we played in childhood is instantly activated. Emotional memory is stored in our body, literally. That is, our child self can be activated simply by being around the people and environment of our childhood. As adults our job is to be AWARE of our internal hurts - which is also known as the Inner Child* - and to heal or release this pain. If the pain energy feels overwhelming, then we can ask for help.

Gratefully my collage has an image that will help me manage my energy over the holidays. The first step after completing any Visioning® Board is to look at it 3 times a day for at least 15 minutes per session. This keeps the feeling of the image in our minds eye. Visioning® is about manifesting the feeling of what you want, although specific intentions will manifest as well.

One of the collage images is a photo of two swans. This symbolizes a park near my mother’s house where I often walk. It is important to note that when I was grabbing images that reflect the topic of the collage, “My Santa Cruz life is joyfully peaceful,” the process was extremely fast. I didn’t realize until the collage was finished that I can ground myself during the holidays by specifically walking at this park. Walking is my preferred method of exercise and this also reminds me to stick to my routine. One good surprise of following this image is that I was given tickets to a Christmas play from someone at the park.

Moving our emotions through physical activity is important because it grounds emotional energy. The image also tells me that during the holidays walking is a way to channel any reactionary feelings activated by visiting family. During the often stressful holidays – this is good to remember. Feeling edgy by a brother-in-law? Instead of telling him to jump in the lake, walk around the lake instead. Want to yell at your sister for forgetting that you are a vegetarian - again? Run to the restroom and do a little jig. Look in the mirror. Hug yourself. Tell yourself how fabulous you look. Breathe.

This holiday use your breath to soothe the hurt that statements by your brother in-law activated. These hurts are activated because they need our tenderness. They need the breath of life to be brought fully into the light and released. Fortunately, the holidays are the time when we can resolve our painful past. I say fortunately because being human, we need pain to show us what feelings need to be transformed. Reactionary pain is our reminder to transform the past into our joyful present. So this holiday, use your breath to move through reactionary feelings and give yourself and your family the gift of your loving presence.

Happy Holidays and many blessings to you and yours,


*For a terrific book regarding Inner Child and Inner Family work read
Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione:

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Fire of Creativity

Write Inside November 2008

I’m sitting on the hearth with my 2nd cup of Oolong tea, keeping warm on a brisk Cambria morning. The heater has gone out – so huddling up to the fire or actually exercising are my only options of keeping warm. As fire meets pine cone for that nice popping sound, it finally sounds like fall. I’ve been house sitting since September. I’m in between my old life in Santa Barbara and following my heart to a new life further up the coast in Capitola. In the meantime I am writing a workbook and recording the accompanying music CD.

While this is a sweet, creative vagabond life, living a vagabond life is not easy. For one thing, to do it in a conscious, soul way, you must make decisions from your right brain intuitive mind, as well as the left brain, rational mind. I think of it like this: my scared self wakes up and screams “Dude! What the hell are you doing recording your CD today! You don’t have enough income! You need to find a job! You need to find a place to live! Look at that interest on that car loan! I thought you were moving!”

I have succumbed to this voice during previous transitions and the result was feelings of fear, worthlessness and anxiety. This does not mean I do not take rational steps. I simply start with right brain processes then apply the left brain thinking to support the intuitive information. It means that I make a Visioning® collage based on the book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams by Lucia Capacchione. When I begin, I have a vague notion of a collage about my new life. But as I work through Step 1 the theme of my collage becomes apparent. “My Santa Cruz County life is joyfully peaceful.” I make a double-sided collage on standard size paper. During the process, I play instrumental music. I am happy and feel like a child.

Collage works because I need a visual map of my dream. It works because it takes what I think I need, a job and place in Capitola, and funnels it through my right brain to come up with a statement that feels grounded: a joyfully peaceful life. Visioning® works because it incorporates our shadow energy. While there are many methods of collage, often called Treasure Mapping or Vision Boards, if they aren’t dealing with the part of the brain called The Critic, Shadow, or Monkey Mind, then chances are the dream isn’t going to manifest. The reason is because it is easy to have a dream, but often, our dreams get kicked to the side by rational, linear thinking. Because Visioning® taps into the Critic voice during Step 5 we develop the tools for standing up for our dream.

I trust this journey to Capitola. While I occasionally worry about what I don’t have – a known job with a rental agreement in my hand, I also practice living my dream by writing my goal in present tense: “I now have a two bedroom house and a fun, rewarding, financially abundant career.” Instead of running from fearful thoughts, I balance its messages. After all, if my mind is calling me “Dude,” when clearly I am an adult woman, then blindly following its instructions wouldn’t be my best choice. But the process of feeling my anxiety and using art to move that anxiety is a good choice.

In the same way that I build my fire, I build a life that I want. First, I light the desire of small twig kindling: let the fire get hot. Add small branches of Visioning® and let that burn. Make a tepee of two new musician friends in Capitola – and voila! With a blessing of an updraft of air and I’m enjoying the warmth of a well built fire.

I relish this spot on the hearth, tea in hand waiting for the logs to ignite; waiting for the sun to shine on my writing desk. This morning, my proud effort is giving birth to something creatively nurturing and warm. Yes I still need to move to Capitola. But while a two-bedroom house is my target: being joyfully peaceful is the journey.

May you live joyfully in the fire of creativity,


I am on hiatus from Visioning® events while I write my workbook and accompanying music CD, “My Body, My Car.”

To read more of my writing visit:

To purchase Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, visit: