Radical Presence and Poetry

As part of my pilgrimage to the UK, we took a poetry and movement course called Embodying the Line. Like the rest of the pilgrimage, I had no idea what to expect but since I like writing and moving, I was pretty sure it would be cool. It was.

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Vortex Tree

The course took place at Schumacher College where the focus is on “interactive and experiential learning” based on “progressive forms of education, art and agriculture,” which is exactly what we experienced.  All of the food we ate was grown on the land (all vegetarian and I survived for five days with no meat!!) We were surrounded by beautiful hippies who were exploring community and agriculture and taking courses like “Natural Magic” and “Dragon Dreaming.”  Schumacher sits in the middle of the Dartington Hall estate which was has the most beautiful gardens and vortex trees. Just an amazing place.

This poetry and movement course was not your average poetry and movement course (if another one even exists, which it probably doesn’t). It was a very unique experience for me to be in a completely creative endeavor for an entire week.  At my engineering school we had required liberal arts electives and I dabbled in the absolute minimum amount of arts education possible.

Our instructors Allison Hallett, a very cool poet from the UK, and Deborah Black, a fabulous “multi-disciplined embodied artist and teacher” (and a fellow hero/pilgrim!) were so much fun and are truly amazing artists.  We did the coolest exercises to spark our creativity, create poetry, and get in touch with our bodies. Here are some examples:

  • IMG_0110We spent 40 minutes in an open lawn, “investigating” whatever grabbed our attention (flowers,trees, benches, snails, grass, clouds) until the next thing grabbed our attention and we moved to that.  Later, we wrote a love letter to the thing we loved the most in that field.  I wrote a love letter to this super cool tree.
  • We went on a walk in the woods with a partner and dictated what we saw. One partner told the truth for a few minutes and then we switched and the other partner told lies (like, there is candy corn growing on the trees.) Then we looked for as many lines as we could find and had to write three poems, in the shape of three of the lines, and inspired by the stories. (Mind blowing, right?)
  • Half of the group closed their eyes and moved in whatever way inspired them in the middle of the room while the other half observed and reported back after the session. (Writing that now, it sounds like a scene from Eyes Wide Shut, but it wasn’t! It was like watching a completely non-sexual performance art piece – it was beautiful.)
  • We wrote a poem, cut up each line on a separate strip of paper and pasted it back together in a random order and read it back out loud.  Many of them were even BETTER in a totally mixed up order. Poetry can be so cool! (I never thought that is something I would say!)

We just had a great time writing cool stuff, exploring nature, and sharing our work with each other. It was a very special week.

Since one of my purposes is to write and inspire, I thought I should share one of my poems with you and maybe it will inspire you to write a poem! This is what came out of my brain after staring at some pink and purple flowers for 5-10 minutes after looking at pictures of my adorable nieces and nephew on my phone.  It is not a masterpiece, but it might be the closest thing to a children’s book I will ever write. It starts out kind of deep, comparing flowers to people, but then morphs in to a dance party! Maybe it will inspire you to dance! Enjoy!

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Ode to Pink and Purple Flowers

Light, small flowers bunched together on top of deep green clover shaped leaves,
Reminding me of young girls and their flowy pink dresses and tutus.
The sun giving them life and the earth nourishing their roots,
Like parents giving stability and love to children.
Bees create a community of flowers between buds that don’t touch,
Passing pollen from one flower to the next.
Mushrooms grow beneath the deep green leaves;
Toadstools for tiny frogs that live in the land below the flowers.
Even tinier ants crawl on the tiny mushrooms and up the stems of the flowers, joining the bees for a huge party.
The frogs leap up and try to join, but they can only get that high when a hedge hog passes by and they can jump on top.
Then the party really gets rockin’ with the ants and the bees and the tiny frogs and the hedge hogs,
All hanging out around the beautiful pink and purple flowers.
They like to listen to Elton John when they party;
Tiny Dancer of course.
The frogs do ballet while the ants tap dance and the bees do hip hop.
The hedge hogs don’t like to dance, but they sway because they love Elton John.
Then the sun starts to go down and it gets cold.
The bees go back to their hive.
The ants climb down from the flowers, back in to their ant holes to sleep.
The frogs leap down from the hedge hogs and climb under the tiny mushrooms to settle in for the night.
I’m not sure where hedge hogs sleep.
In a barn I think, when they can find one,
Deep in the woods, cuddled up together until its time to go out and party again!

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Actually, I Have a Bigger Purpose….

As it turns out, being a writer is not my purpose, or at least not my whole purpose.

I do love to tell my truth in my own unique voice.

I do love to do new stuff and write about it.

I am on the right path.

And I do have everything I need.

But there is more….

Apparently, my coaches never bought that writing was my purpose. They knew that I was meant for something bigger and that I was playing small.  I knew it, too. But even with all of the purification, obstacle release, energy work, and vibrating at a higher frequency that I have been doing, I still needed a little help to pick up on the signals my higher self was sending me.

On the last hour of the last day of our pilgrimage, my coaches (and their spirit guides) started asking me questions….

How did a corporate executive end up on a pilgrimage with 11 spiritual, creative entrepreneurs?

What if every choice I have made in my life has led me to this moment?

What if the skills that have made me successful in my business career are exactly what creative entrepreneurs need?

What if these creative people I find myself on a pilgrimage with are the people I am supposed to help?

Duh…..

Full disclosure, this idea came up BEFORE I left for the pilgrimage. The voice in my head was telling me that I am supposed to be a bridge between the corporate and creative worlds. I mentioned this in my pre-work and got a homework assignment to go out and ask some visionaries what they need to add structure and process to their business.

I didn’t do it. I got upset and frustrated and made a million excuses for why this could not be my purpose. It felt hard and scary. I don’t know enough. I suck at selling. How could this be a scalable business? I convinced myself that I should just stay in my safe corporate world and buy stuff from creative people and write about it. I told myself that this was how I am supposed to bridge the worlds. I have felt so strongly that I need something more, but maybe I just have to appreciate what I have.  That must be why this voice is telling me that I have everything I need. I don’t need to make a scary move. It’s all good.

But my current life does not make me truly happy. My job is OK but it’s not AMAZING. I want AMAZING!

I have always been drawn to the idea of being an entrepreneur but I had no idea what to DO!!!  I needed a visionary with an idea that I could help them execute. And the idea of being an entrepreneur scared the shit out of me. I am not a risk taker by nature (at least not in this life so far.)

So I was waiting for my visionary to appear and doing what I know how to do and what feels safe. I got a computer science degree because I LOVE solving problems and thinking analytically. I taught school because I want to “save the world” (or at least do my part). I got an MBA because I am pragmatic and like having money and I was on a quest to “find my thing”. I left business school without my thing. Nothing felt exactly right. I did find work that was sometimes fun. I learned that I can pretty much tackle anything that comes my way. And I made some money. But my heart was never in it. I have been safe and secure and traditionally “successful”, but never fully satisfied.

Then I found myself on a trip learning about energy and the fifth dimension and leading with your heart and not fear. I was fascinated by all of it and dove right in.  I have loved spending time with these women and they have big dreams for how they can help the world. And I have something they need and I can help them help the world!!

They are my visionaries! And I found my way to them, with every decision I have made up until this moment.

I still don’t have time to explain everything that has been happening these past two weeks. (Check out my Instagram feed for some highlights.) It has been so special and unique and different than anything I have every done before. I had no idea what was coming but it felt 100% right. All of it.

I have another assignment and this time I am going to do my homework!

Before we leave tomorrow morning, we all have to put our offer out in to the universe and let the world know problem we are going to solve.  Not how, just what.

So instead of telling you that I am going to do 50 new things before I am 50 and then write about them (small!!!), I am telling you that I am going to see what kind of business I can create that will help creative entrepreneurs with the “business stuff” so they focus on giving their creative gifts to the world.  Big!!! Scary!!!  AWESOME.  And I already have at least 5 clients!

I am not quitting my day job (yet). I am going to work with my new creative clients in my free time to see what is possible. That’s it.

I am letting go of needing to know exactly how it will all work out. I will probably freak out the minute we pull out of the English manor that I am writing you from now. But I have a support system in place to help me persevere and REALLY be my biggest and best self.

And I will keep reminding myself of one of my key takeaways from my 100 New Things (with a new twist).  If you think you might want to do something but you’re not sure, ask your higher self. And if she says yes, just fucking do it!!!

And My Purpose Is….

I am currently in England, at a beautiful college in Dartmoor, on a pilgrimage to find my life’s purpose.  On Day 2 of the pilgrimage (which I promise to tell you all about later), we got an assignment to tell our stories about what brought us here and then to share this “coming out story” publicly with the world (or at least our social media audience). All of the other amazing women on my pilgrimage have a business (or one they want to start) and a big part of this journey is to find the power, confidence, and support to take that business to the next level. Still having no potential business in mind, I had to get creative about what my story would be.  But it came to me.  Here is my story.

As I was doing my pre-work and preparing for the trip, a voice inside me (which I have now learned is my “higher self”) told me two things

  1. Buy purple converse sneakers
  2. Write

I listened to the voice and bought the sneakers and wrote the last post which caught you all up on the past few months.  While I was writing that post, and thinking about what led me to this pilgrimage, my inner voice kept thinking about The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her new friends go in this epic journey to find all of these things they think they don’t have (a heart, a brain, courage, home). They hear that “the wizard” has all the answers and they travel a long distance to find him. They finally make it there, only to learn that they have everything they need.

They have everything they need.

In the craziness of packing and getting myself from NYC to Glastonbury I couldn’t fully process that, but the thought was brewing in my mind.  As I got this assignment, I thought about my journey with this blog. I started this blog to encourage myself to get off my couch and do stuff and then write about it. I loved writing. I didn’t love doing stuff quite as much as I loved writing, but having a goal to write about it, definitely helped me get out there and do stuff.  But it was a constant battle to find time outside of my job.  Eventually I stopped writing all together. I missed it, but did not want to keep writing the same story about the battle I was fighting (and did not feel like I was winning) to make my life bigger.

Then my sister (and my body saying ENOUGH) led me to my “100 New Things in 2017” project, which led me to Sophia (aka Lobsterbird) and eventually back to writing.  I was doing stuff and writing about it…and I loved (almost) all of it.  Strangely, I actually DID stuff before I found my way back to writing about it. Something had shifted! And, as an unexpected side bonus, I was inspiring people!!!

I have everything I need.

It was as clear as day, right in front of my eyes, like the ruby red slippers.

I am writer. I am a writer who likes to do stuff and then write about it.

This is my purpose. To tell my truth in my own unique voice. To write about what I do and what I see and what I feel.  To inspire people with my writing (and my doing).  Where it will go next or beyond this blog, I don’t yet know but I know in my heart that I am on the right path….

Follow the yellow brick road.

This is my story. This is my purpose.