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

A Celebration of the End

A few days after my uncle chose to end his life, he visited me in a dream.

The two of us sat together on a hillside. The surroundings were colored in a drab blend of tan, brown and grey. He wore the thick knit beanie that always adorned his head in the cooler months of the year. My memory of the dream picks up in the middle of a conversation, and as my focus sharpens to remember, he looks at me with the familiar mischievous sparkle in his eyes and says, “…but look what I can do now…”

With that, he shot up into the air; arms at his sides like a cartoon figure, and erupted into a million bright and beautiful colors that blanketed the entire landscape of my dream. I was now standing in the middle of one of his vibrant oil on canvas paintings—one of the magical pieces that he created during the very best part of his manic-depressive cycle.

When I awoke, the joyful feelings of the dream began to intertwine and mix with the reality of my loss; the still-raw, empty sadness that would rise and fall, like the ebb and flow of an angry ocean. The sadness attempted to crush the joy I had felt in the dream….yet joy is stronger than sorrow.

Fear began to mingle with hope;
Sadness danced with joy;
And confusion turned to clarity.

Over time, I started to recognize that the tragic end had opened into a new and beautiful beginning. He had been set free; free from the mood swings; the suffering, and the crazed, manic episodes that plagued his entire adult life.

And now the choice was mine to be set free, also. Free from the sorrow; free from the confusion, and free from wondering why.

And so this is how I choose to remember the end of his life—a celebration of creative expression; joy; abundance; and a reminder of the freedom that he has finally discovered now that he is outside the confines of a physical body that was never strong enough to contain or express the magic he was meant to share.

A celebration of the end, which leads to a celebration of another beginning.

Celebrate the ebb and celebrate the flow;

The dark and the light.
The joy and the sorrow.
The fear and the love.
The mystery and its answer.

Because there is joy in the end, just as there is joy in the beginning.

Truly, it is cause for celebration.

Da

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil painting by Da

A Message For You

I have to be honest; sometimes pursuing your dream can be, well…really, really hard. Even if you know with every cell in your body that you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, there are still those moments—those moments when you don’t feel capable of handling all that is required to follow your dream.

I’m not sure there’s any way around it; it’s more a process of moving through it—breathing, observing, releasing tension as it rises—and remembering that it will pass. The creative block will pass; the trial will end; the fear will dissolve. And what you’ll be left with is strength. You’ll be left with more strength than you had before, because you made it through one more wave that tried to knock you over.

I recently moved through one of those waves of fear, and just when I was feeling depleted, discouraged and filled with doubt, I got a message…a simple ‘thank you’ that changed everything I had been battling for a few days prior. It’s all I needed to redirect my focus and clarify my intention.

My challenge for you this week: offer a simple thank you to someone who inspires, or offers you support in some way. Perhaps you could recognize someone close to you—someone that you don’t thank often enough. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture—a simple thank you, a kind note; simple recognition.

If you’re on Instagram, I’ve made it super easy to send a little thank you note. I’ve put one up as a photo. If it resonates with you and you’d like to pass it on to someone else, just tag them in the comments. It’s easy, effective and it might just change the course of their day.

And I want you to know:

You’re amazing, and even if it’s not always recognized, you’re doing amazing things every day. The work you’re putting out into the world makes a difference and means something to people you may never meet. It means something to me.

Thank you for doing what you do.

Thank you for being you.

Thankyou

Leap

This is my first official post on this blog, and after weeks and weeks of pulling ideas from my heart, organizing them through my mind, and finally, finally, offering them out into the world, I feel…terrified.

I feel terrified because it doesn’t feel quite ‘finished’ yet.

But that’s just it; creative work is never ‘finished’.

Creativity is always moving, shifting and evolving, so if you’re waiting for some magic moment when you can grab it and say that it is finished; ready; perfect…well, I don’t think it ever happens—not completely anyway.

I think when it comes to creative work; the best you can hope for is ‘enough’. It’s enough. It’s done enough. Good enough. And if you can catch yourself in that space, you had better take the leap before the moment is gone; before the courage to share it slips through your fingers.

How much of your creative work has never been seen by anyone else? And since art is in the eye of the beholder, who’s to say that your work isn’t already perfect to somebody else? Once you offer your creativity out into the world, it doesn’t belong to you anymore anyway. It belongs to everyone, and anyone who lays their eyes upon it gets to own a part of it as they interpret it in their own way.

So if you’re sitting on some creative work or ideas, I encourage you to take the leap. Let it go, and let it be whatever it is meant to be to everyone else.

And here’s the best part: when you release your creative work, you create space for more; and the more it flows through you, the more pure it becomes, and what you hold in your heart will manifest more closely to what you had envisioned it to be.

Don’t look, just jump.

Take the leap.

For one more little boost of inspiration, hop on over to my Make it Manifest Instagram page for a lovely quote by Agnes de Mille.

Hello, Shadow

Lately I’ve been questioning how well I know myself.

I know what’s on the surface. I know what I like and dislike. I know who I love, how to love, and how to be loved. I know what makes me feel good or bad and I know, for the most part, how to create the conditions for happiness to occur. I am willing to study my strengths so they’ll grow, and I’m willing to nurture the parts of myself that I feel might serve others, serve the planet and bring fulfillment. In general, I place a great deal of awareness on the aspects of myself that I consider my ‘light’ side.

But how well do I know my shadow side? Do I recognize its voice? Its tone? Do I recognize the way it feels in my body? When it is present, do I run away or do I face it? Do I blame other people and situations for its presence? Or do I own it, accept it and question its purpose?

Every person has a shadow side. It is the part of us that we generally choose not to explore. It’s where we hold the habitual tendencies that (sometimes unbeknownst to us) harm ourselves or those around us.  It’s where we hold weakness, fear, doubt, guilt, shame, anger or jealousy.  It’s the side of ourselves we don’t want to see, so often times we choose not to see it, fooling ourselves into believing that if we don’t look, it will go away. The problem is that our shadow  tendencies creep into our lives, making their way into conversations and life situations, causing distress and turmoil until they sink back into the dark, only to return again at some other time.

The only way to dissolve the shadow is through awareness of it. Our shadow tendencies provide an amazing opportunity for growth and understanding if we have the courage to face it. If I choose only to study and observe the light and pleasant parts of myself, then I will be missing out on the opportunity to study the real reasons behind what causes difficulty in my life.

The critical element in seeing our shadow tendencies is to remain present. As we practice present moment awareness, we become skilled in the art of paying attention–watching our thoughts and emotions come and go; seeing what makes us feel good, but also seeing what makes us feel bad. The difficult part is that we generally don’t want to accept that we’re the reason we feel bad or sad or angry, etc. That’s when we try to escape the feeling, blame others, distract ourselves, remove our awareness and ignore the shadow.

The dissolution of the shadow happens when we can remain still as it arises. Drop the story that comes with it, and hold acute observation of the feeling itself. Whenever an uncomfortable feeling or situation arises, breathe into the sensation that is manifesting in the physical body. It may feel like hardness around the heart, a lump in the throat, or discomfort in the stomach. Continue to drop whatever thoughts come up and focus on the sensation itself until the feeling dissolves. The shadow may come up several times before it is completely gone, but through this practice, we are given the opportunity to work toward awareness and ultimately, freedom.

Once held in the light of awareness, a shadow is transformed. Jealousy becomes inspiration, anger becomes activism, doubt becomes courage, guilt becomes forgiveness, shame becomes compassion, and fear becomes love.

If I want to know myself better, then part of that process means choosing to observe and accept all the parts of myself–not just the parts that I like, but also the parts that I don’t like. The next time my shadow emerges from the dark, I’ll see it, accept it, question it, change my behavior, and allow it to dissolve into the light of my awareness.

What is your shadow trying to tell you?

Next time you see it, ask.

 

This post originally appeared on my first blog, www.emilyparkinsonperry.com on February 26th, 2013

You’re struggling? Perfect. Here’s why that’s good news.

I know…feeling crappy isn’t usually synonymous with ‘good news’ and when you’re in the middle of it, looking on the bright side of things might make you want to puke. I totally get it. And believe me, I don’t want to be the obnoxious cheerful type telling you that it will all be over soon, or that things will get better, because I’ve been in that dark hole, and the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you over and over again that it’ll all be okay….even if it’s true.

What I do want to share with you is that hanging out on the dark side of things for a while can initiate a pretty brilliant transformation. A lot of magic happens in the dark….budding butterflies, sprouting seeds, ideas that have yet to see the light of day, and of course, baby making, (both in the womb and prior…wink, wink).

My point is this: that black hole that you might visit from time to time isn’t at the bottom of a pit—it’s a passageway that’s leading you somewhere. It’s guiding you toward a stronger, wiser, more compassionate version of yourself. That despair you feel? Its called evolution, baby, and you’ve got to go through it in order to see what’s waiting for you on the other side.

So if you find yourself feeling like you’re stuck at the bottom of a pit, start digging. Ask yourself what’s going on here? Is there something that needs to be released or something that needs to be awakened? What do you need to learn from all of this, and how can you speed up the process of understanding so you can step back into the light of day?

And if you’re in it, like, right now? Don’t feel guilty for it. Give yourself time. Let yourself be angry. Cave into the confusion. Allow yourself to be swallowed up by sadness. And be there for as long as it takes, because you’re in a process of growth, and growth takes time and darkness, and sometimes a lot of tears because you’ve got to release in order to make space for something new.

Don’t shy away from the dark. Jump in; cozy up to it, and start loving yourself no matter where you are, because you’re right where you need to be.

Oh, and get ready, because once you resurface, you are gonna shine brighter than you ever thought possible.

This post originally appeared on my first blog, www.emilyparkinsonperry.com on April 2, 2015.