Your Beautiful, Messy, Crazy Life

The blog post you’re reading now, is not the first draft. Not even close. The first draft of what I’m writing now could hardly be recognizable as the same post that I started with. Usually when I write, I start with rambling. I write down anything that comes to mind until something pops up that interests me enough to direct my focus toward it. Then I start with jumbled words and sentences that squish together haphazardly to form an idea or a story, or whatever it decides it wants to be. Then I write and re-write, and hopefully out of the sculpting process, I’ll come up with something that is decent enough to share—but even then, I never know if it’s ‘complete’ because it’s always changing form.

Sometimes, on very rare occasions, an idea will pop into my head, and I’ll scramble to write it down as quickly as I can, and when I do, it is complete. It’s five minutes of magic. But like I said, that is very rare, and if it happened like that all the time, then I probably wouldn’t value the beauty and ease of it as much as I do.

Creativity usually takes time. It’s good, then bad, then hopefully good again…it’s messy and crazy and beautiful as it stops and starts and ebbs and flows, and as a conduit for creativity, all you can do is play along and enjoy the ride.

Your life is one big, ever-expanding, expression of beautiful, crazy, messy, creativity. You are creating all.the.time. You create this moment, and the next, and the next. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but usually it’s always good again as it stops and starts, and ebbs and flows. You are a conduit for the ever-expansive expression of the Universe, so essentially, you’re playing with God. Or Buddha. Or Energy. Or Spirit. Or Goddess. Or whatever you want to call ‘IT’.

And it’s not a game of winners and losers. It’s a game of playing make-believe. A game of creating solution and dissolution. Stops and starts. Ups and downs. Twists and turns. There can’t be any winners or loser’s because there is no end to it all.

Think back to the darkest day of your life. The day you thought you couldn’t go on; in fact, perhaps you didn’t even want to go on.

What happened?

You went on.

And things got better.

And then, probably, things got bad again, and then better, then bad, and on and on it goes…

There’s no beginning or end; it’s all just creative flow.

This moment in your life is not the first draft of your masterpiece, and it’s certainly not the last. You’re somewhere in the middle of the creative process, and when it’s good, perhaps you share a little bit of that juicy goodness with others, and when it’s not so good, you keep sculpting. Or maybe you just crash and burn for a while as you catch your breath and get back on your feet.

And sometimes, on rare occasions or maybe not-so-rare occasions, you’ll be hit with a spark of insight or a shift of perspective, and you’ll experience five minutes of magic. And in that moment, you’ll remember who you really are.

And you’ll remember that you are not lost, because you’re right here,
playing a beautiful, messy, crazy game called life.

And it is perfect as is.

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Dear friends: Please join me this Saturday, February 27th from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. for a couple of hours of discussion, yoga, meditation and introspection on building a foundation for creating a life you love. Get all the details here.

Practice Peace

I’m never quite sure what to do with the emotion that rises after these violent attacks on innocent people. I don’t know how to help or how to grieve or how to return to normal life without feeling guilty for still having a normal life.

Another senseless act of violence. Another set of emotions. Another set of fear. Another set of grief for those affected.

Another reminder to love.

To love the people that are easy to love and also those who aren’t.

And most importantly, a reminder to love the person who’s the hardest to love.

You.

There is very little I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening in the world, but what about the violent attacks that are happening close to home—the violent attacks that are happening in your own body, expressed through your own thoughts and your own behaviors? I’d like to think that I’m not violent toward myself, but when I look closely at the dialogue I choose or the way I react to behaviors that don’t suit me, sometimes it can look like a war-zone. I’m not sure that I can go around wishing for world peace, when there isn’t peace right here, within myself.

There isn’t much I can do to prevent violent attacks on innocent people, but there is a lot I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening within myself.

To allow diversity. Different emotions. Different thoughts. Different moods. Different behaviors. And to accept each one as unique and special and exquisitely beautiful as it builds a colorful array of variation and rich culture within myself.

To accept. The light, the dark, the deep, the shallow. To accept these varying aspects of myself, and recognize that even the things that seem imperfect lend themselves to cast perfect shadows in order to allow the light parts to shine even brighter.

To release. Release anger, release fear, release hurt, release resentment. And not just to release it, but to transform it into something that will enrich my life. To learn from these things; to alchemize my emotions into something beautiful: from sorrow to compassion; anger to activism; envy to inspiration; and fear to love.

To love. Not just to love the parts that are easy, but to love the parts that aren’t easy. The parts that scare me, trouble me, annoy, or irritate me. There is something there, beneath them, and the only way to find the gift is to love through the shadow that engulfs it.

To learn. And if, despite my best efforts, an attack still occurs, I’ll learn from it. How did it happen? What led to it? Where was I not paying attention? When did I stop listening? How can I get in front of the assault; in front of the build up; in front of the mindless cruelty toward myself?

Practice peace. Peace isn’t a onetime deal. Self-love isn’t graduation. Acceptance doesn’t show up and then stay without being entertained. It’s ongoing. It’s practice. It’s patience. It’s trying again and again and again.

World peace starts with inner peace.

Will you try?

Maggie-Lochtenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Maggie Lochtenberg

Maybe You Were Meant To Fall

“Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall….”

These are the words that go through my mind whenever I go rock climbing. Yes, I’m secured to a rope. Yes, I have a trustworthy belay partner who would catch me in his arms if he had to. Yes, I’ve done this. Yes, I can do this….Yet, when I’m clinging to the side of a cliff; muscles shaking, fingers aching, and tiny footholds holding the weight of my body, all I can think is…

“Dear God, Please. Don’t let me fall.’

Time after time, climb after climb, this mantra played in my head, until one day, I fell.

And guess what?

It was the very best thing that could have happened to me.

You know why?

Because then I could stop worrying (so much) about falling and focus on the climb.

Now here’s the lesson in this story:

You’re going to fall.
You’re going to fail.
You’re going to have to start all over…

Probably again and again and again.

And I think it’s important for you to know that falling, failing, and starting over is okay.

It’s better than okay.
It’s necessary.
It’s part of growth and expansion and witnessing the miracle of you expanding into YOU.
It’s about glorious evolution: Rise. Fall. Rise again. Bigger, Better, Stronger, Faster….

And here’s another scenario that’s happened to me, too many times to count:

I tune in. I do the work. I trust my heart. I trust my gut. I listen to my intuition like it’s my job. I meditate like a monk, pray like a priest, and do updogs and downdogs like my life depends on it. I step up; show up; and take action….I’m brave, goddamnit….

And you know what happens?

Sometimes, in spite of all my honest efforts, I still fall.

Do I like it?

Nope.

Do I recover?

Eventually.

Do I try again?

Usually.

Do I learn something?

Every.Single.Time.

I learn about listening. I learn about trying. I learn about falling gracefully. I learn about desire vs. want vs. need….but mostly, what I learn is that what I think I want is not always in line with what this life wants for me.

Because no matter how in touch you are; how in tune you are; or how anchored you are to the truth of who you are…sometimes you just don’t know what life has planned for you.

And sometimes you’re not meant to know.

Maybe you were meant to fall.
Maybe you were meant to fail.
Maybe you were meant start all over again and again and again…

You know why?

Because it makes you stronger.
It makes you wiser.
It carves out your courage like a motherf*cker.
It makes you more compassionate; understanding, and honest with yourself and others.
It helps you recognize what you are capable of; really capable of.

And it helps you remember that you don’t have to run the show, because you are being held and supported in the most loving way….

Every time you fall; you will be caught.
Every time you fail; you’ll be redeemed.
Every time you start over, the new beginning will be sweeter than anything you could have ever imagined at the onset.

So the next time you’re out climbing on the proverbial path of life; remember:

Sometimes you are meant to fall.

If only, to remind you,
you’ve been held all along.

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The Magic In You

Within the act of waking this morning, you have started something big. You have set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread like magic throughout the entire Universe. Everyone and everything that crosses your path will be affected.

Yes, you are THAT important.

As you grace the world with your presence, you become a force; your energy spreads, your desires search for their counterpart, and life unfolds to embrace you.

At the center of it all is you.

Every day you have a choice—a million choices—on how to move forward, how to respond, when to stay quiet, and how to act. With every choice, you can either be guided by habitual thoughts, old ideas, fear-based patterns or you can be guided by your heart, clarity and truth.

You have a choice to be guided by a force in you that is so big, so powerful, and so full of magic, yet so simple. It’s the simplicity of it that makes it easy to overlook, and sometimes difficult to recognize. It’s like the keys that go missing, and you search and search only to find that you’ve been holding them all along.

Those keys are your intuition.

And it is with you all the time.

And just like anything, your awareness, practice and dedication to it makes it stronger.

Here are a few ways to fine tune your intuitive pathways and clear out space so you can recognize its presence in your life.

• Care for yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Sleep. These basic components help keep you at an optimal level of functioning. Of course, life shakes things up and you won’t always be able to adhere to a strict and perfect balance; but always, always work toward it. If your body is tired, hungry or overworked/underworked physically, then it will overshadow the delicate and subtle energy of your intuition and make it difficult to feel and hear the truth that lives beneath your skin.

• Clear your mind. Monitor your thoughts. Be selective about what hangs out in there. Is it positive? Is it kind? Is it true? Is it the same damn thought repeating over and over again? Get it out. Bring your awareness to it, so that you can clean house. When your mind gets clear, intuition speaks the loudest, and it’s the only voice you need.

• Understand your emotions. Most of the time, intuition isn’t a thought at all, but a feeling. Get to know the way you feel. Emotions are usually attached to an outside event or physical response. Emotions don’t necessarily warrant action, they can come and go as you allow. A feeling that arises, unattached to any outside force is usually associated with your intuition. A feeling is a call to action; it needs you to listen and respond. Pay attention to the way you feel. Is it an emotional response or is it a feeling that comes from something inside; something deeper?

• Practice listening and act on it. Make a call to the friend who’s been on your mind. Take a rest day when you’re feeling run down. Try that new class that keeps popping into your head. When you practice, intuition appreciates the response and then gives you more and more to practice on. Start wherever you are—what do you feel like doing right now? How does your desire make you feel? If you feel open, spacious, or joyful, then it’s probably your intuition guiding you. Do you have the courage to act on it?

• Trust. Sometimes you may never know why you feel prompted to do what you do. We’re all connected, so sometimes your intuition is in service to someone else. Trust that the messages that come through you are a gift to you, but also a gift to the Universe, and sometimes you will see the purpose clearly, and sometimes you won’t. Trust that no matter what happens you’re right where you need to be, serving on the path you’re meant to travel.

This life that you’re creating with every breath, every thought and every action is your own beautiful creative offering. It is an offering to yourself and an offering to everyone and everything on your path.

Take care of it.
Be selective.
Listen.
Practice.
Honor it.
And be brave.

And if you’re still not exactly sure what intuition is or how to tune into it?

Try.

Your willingness to try is a force so powerful, it’s the only force you need.

Now go and set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread throughout the entire Universe.

Because you are THAT important.

And the world can’t wait to receive the magic in you.

xo,

e.

This post is also the topic of a KSL Studio 5 segment that aired on Friday, October 9th at 11:00. If you missed it, you can catch the replay right here. (If it’s not showing up just yet, check back a bit later…it will be up soon!) xo.

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You’re Right Where You Need To Be

There will be moments in your life when you feel stuck.
Moments when you feel left out; lost; alone; forgotten.
Moments when there are no ideas, no direction, and no pathways.

There will be moments when you can’t stand the skin you’re in.
Your life may spread before you like a giant, starless sky…vast, dark and empty.
You will want to expand; explode, or implode…anything other than this.

These moments may frighten you.

They might make you question everything you know.
Burn it up. Tear it down. Start all over. Run away.
Maybe you should. Maybe you shouldn’t.
My challenge for you, when you encounters these moments, is to stay.

Just stay.

Sit in the dark for a while.
Maybe even accept it.
Maybe even find relief in the unknowing.
Breathe it in; breathe it out.

Because even though you might not see it yet, something is happening.
Birth is happening. Life is happening. Death is happening.
You’re like a whole galaxy of stars that glimmer and fade and glimmer again.

We sink into the dark so we can experience the exquisite return of light.
Your job is to allow the experience of it; whatever it may be.

And listen.

Listen carefully to the quiet unknown.
Listen to the dark.
Listen to the silence.
Listen to the feeling of being lost.

If you’re listening, you won’t miss a thing.
You’ll catch the next spark just as its being born.
The light will burst out from within.
And you’ll be graced with a new path; a brilliant idea; a fresh perspective.

And you’ll realize that you were never lost.
You are always right where you need to be…
Right here.
Right now.

RightWhereYouNeedToBe

You Always Have You

I vividly remember the day my husband and I were sent home from the hospital with our brand new, first born, tiny baby boy. The hospital staff required that I be wheeled to the hospital doors while holding our baby, because—gasp—what if I tripped and fell? So, they carefully wheeled me and our precious package to the doors and dropped us off where we were then left alone—alone!—to care for our son. As we carefully placed him in the back seat of the car, all buckled and bundled, we suddenly felt the weight of the reality we were facing—we would be caring for this little person—we would provide all of the loving, caring, teaching, protecting….and we felt completely unprepared. Neither of us had done this before, and for the most part, nobody was coming to show us how.

It’s these big moments in life that teach us that we may not know what the hell we’re doing, but we’re willing to show up and figure it out.

And of course, we did. By trial and error, we learned, we messed up, we learned again, and then just when we thought we had it all figured out, we had another baby—a completely different little person—and started all over again…and then one more time, because we must really love a challenge.

And so it goes…

Stepping into the unknown, finding the light, and then stepping back into the dark again. In and out. Ebb and flow. Start and end. Again and again and again.

The amazing thing is…we survive. We figure it out, we find a way, we get through it. Because we are meant not only to survive, but thrive and flourish and then perhaps, help each other along the way. What’s interesting is that the way it’s done usually happens intuitively. Think about the biggest moments of your life–falling in love, having a child, choosing a life path, choosing to leave a situation that is no longer right for you—for the most part, these moments can’t be learned and prepared for beforehand. It unfolds as you trust your heart and take it step by step.

The one thing you do have is you. Your instincts, your intuition, your inner knowing and your connection to a Divine source, (should you choose to have one). So if you’re ever feeling stuck about what to do or how to proceed, look in, not out. You’ve made it this far, and you’ll continue carving out a beautiful and magical path for yourself based on your own inner truth and wisdom.

All you need to do is be willing to show up and figure it out as you go.

And you will.

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Playing the Edge

Every time I teach, I experience fear.
Every time I share my work: fear.
Every time I say how I feel; start something new; end something old—there is fear.

It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fear heightens your senses; makes you alert; gives you a pulse you can feel. It brings your awareness into the present moment like nothing else can. The key is to get to know your fear.

Is it survival fear? Truly life and death?

Act. Now.

Is it imagined fear? Unreal outcomes and scenarios living in your head?

Let it go.

Is it expansive fear? Does it stretch, challenge, and help you grow into your power?

Listen up.

Breathe into it. Pause. Breathe again. Move forward, then slightly retreat; forward again; slight retreat. Real growth moves in waves. Play on the edge of your fear—not too much, not too little—just enough to keep expanding.

Step into a new role.
Say how you feel.
Share your work.
Change your course.
Walk away.
Say no.
Say yes.
Ask for help.
Birth.
Death.
Life.

All evoke expansive fear.

And that’s good because expansive fear teeters on the edge of love.

It’s the gateway to something big. The dark before the dawn; the first breath; the last push; the beginning, the end, and the middle.

It’s finally letting yourself be who you are.

If you’re uncomfortable, it’s because you’ve outgrown the space you’re in, and it’s time to expand. Don’t shy away from that type of fear, because it is what teaches you about your own brilliance, strength, dedication and love. It teaches you about you.

Take a tiny step or a giant leap.
Either way, play the edge.

You just might fall in love.

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Photo: Alisa Kozlova

For the poetic version of this piece, hop over to www.emilyparkinsonperry.com

And please come see me on Instagram

with gratitude,

e.

Discipline: The Good and the Bad of it

Meet the deadline. Check the box. Hit the mark.

Structure. Boundaries. Organization.

It’s all good when it helps you stay on course.

It’s not so good when it holds you back.

After I had my first baby, I had an epiphany that sort of went like this: ‘Oh, my body needs to be cared for; my mind needs to be cared for; my heart needs to be cared for…huh…I guess I can’t just sit back and wait for all of that to happen…’

And so it began: my love affair with discipline.

I fell deep.

Every day, no matter what: I did what I thought I had to do to take care of myself—my body, my heart, my mind, my work. Meditate.Yoga.Running.Writing. On task. On course. Disciplined. Dedicated. Devoted.

And it worked really, really great…until it didn’t.

It’s funny how something that is really good for you can shift into something that, well…isn’t anymore.

That’s what happened to me. I found that I had become so rigid in my structure that I was missing out on the spontaneity of life—the joy, the freedom, the expansion. Yet, I was so afraid that if I let things go…even just a tiny bit…everything would collapse.

It took my third child to snap me out of it. Babies have a very unsubtle way of shattering any and all structure. And this one really shook things up. No matter how hard I tried he would not conform to any type of structure, whatsoever. The only thing I could count on was that he would definitely not sleep, eat, or poop on a regular schedule.

So, I had to let go of it all: the yoga, the meditation, the reading, the writing, the running…I grabbed a moment here and there, but for the most part it all just dissolved for a while.

And you know what?

It was one of the very best things that could have happened to me.

You know why?

Because instead of falling apart, it all just fell into place.

Chaotic. Messy. Unstructured. It was a perfect storm.

Since my meditation practice was no longer a scheduled seated event, I practiced all day: while breastfeeding, changing diapers, rocking him to sleep. My writing became quicker, clearer and more focused. The precious moments I spent on the yoga mat were sublime, and despite my significant decline of exercise, I felt healthier and stronger than ever before.

Furthermore, letting it all go gave me something else to slip into:

Trust.
Surrender.
Faith.

And ultimately, a lot more freedom.

My suggestion?

Build a structure. Create something that will hold and sustain you; especially as you’re starting something new.

But, be flexible.

Don’t allow discipline to be so rigid that it boxes you in—use it as a springboard so you can soar even higher. Let things slide; let things slip; and take a break now and then, just for the hell of it.

You just might discover that you no longer need that worn-out map of discipline…

…because you’re flying now.

Flying

PHOTO: REUBEN WU

What’s Calling You?

This process of ‘finding your purpose’ or ‘calling’ isn’t easily defined. It doesn’t come with a map or a set of clear instructions. It’s fuzzy; in and out of focus, like something you can see from a distance, yet, you can’t quite make out a clear picture of what it is.

It is meant to be that way.

Because, the moment you define what you want or where you’re going, your mind has taken over. The mind can’t define your dream, because your dream is bigger than that.

Your dream lives in your heart. It calls to you through feeling, and guides you by instinct.

The heart doesn’t project into the future; it doesn’t know what will happen next, or how. It doesn’t need to, because it lives here, in this moment.

So if you’re crafting your vision; look in, not out. Feel your way to the next step.

Your calling is what’s calling you right now. This moment is your calling, and five minutes from now, that will be your calling. And if you live this way—moment to moment, aligned with your heart—everything in your world will shift to support whatever desires live in you.

So if you ever find yourself frustrated by what you consider your ‘calling’ or ‘purpose’ then stop trying to define it with your head—it’s way bigger than that.

Feel your way home.

What’s calling you right now?

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Move Mountains

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a new car, or a friend buys a new car, suddenly you see that same car everywhere you go? It’s like the moment you start to pay attention to it; it pops up everywhere you look.

This is how awareness works. What you pay attention to becomes bigger—it fills up more space and becomes a larger part of your reality. This is good news and bad news, depending on where you place your attention. The good news is that this gives you the power to attract the situations and experiences that you want to show up in your life—yes, the power of your awareness can change external events! The bad news is that when you’re unconsciously throwing around a lot of negative dialogue and feelings, then your experiences will reflect that negative energy.

When you look in the mirror, do you zoom in on all of your beautiful qualities or do you zoom in on what you don’t like?

When you perceive your life, do you focus on all the positives or do you focus on what’s not working so well?

When you think about your goals and aspirations, do you feel excited about the challenge or overwhelmed by it all?

This isn’t another ‘half glass full’ lecture, because in order to facilitate positive change, sometimes you must look at what’s not working. The key is to look at it in a different way. How about, rather than hate or resist what you find difficult to accept, you nurture it instead?

Because, here’s the thing: the foundation of positive change is acceptance. If you try to facilitate change from a place of non-acceptance, hatred, fear or discontent, then you’re setting yourself up for an uphill battle. Positive, sustainable results cannot rise from a negative start. What do you expect to grow out of soil that is contaminated with toxins? Initially, you might find some growth and progress that rises out of fear-based actions, but it won’t be sustainable. The same negative energy and dialogue will follow you every step of the way until you find that you’re right where you were, regardless of what changes have been made. If you’ve ever found yourself still feeling frustrated or discontent after completing a lofty goal, then you know what I’m talking about.

When you’re ready to facilitate positive change in any area of your life, start by accepting the situation as it is. Better yet, nurture it and offer gratitude for whatever it has taught you. Then, let it know that it’s time for a shift and you’re ready to release it—with love.

Cheesy? Maybe.

Effective? Definitely.

Then, proceed with the feeling of gratitude, joy, love, and the excitement that comes from positive change. If you catch yourself acting from a feeling of anger, frustration, fear, or anxiety; back up, slow down, take a pause and realign your course; make changes if necessary; but make sure that your actions resonate with the feelings that propel you toward positive results.

Keep in mind, this takes practice. You may oscillate between feeling frustrated one minute and grateful the next. This is normal. Just keep focusing more of your attention on the way you want to feel. Eventually, the scales will tip to reflect more of what you want, and with that, the experiences of your life will confirm that the power of your awareness can move mountains.

This post originally appeared on my first blog, www.emilyparkinsonperry.com on February 25, 2015.