Volume 25, Number 2 â¢ March & April 2010 â¢ A ... - Women's Press
6 Body & SoulWomen’s Press March & April 2010Choosing the High RoadBy Inglis Carre’-Dellard, M.F.A.We are currently on a journey down a serpentineroad of twists and turns that wehave been traveling since birth. Our firststeps on the journey are thrilling! What awonderful, exciting place the world is! Weexplore and learn with great intensity and goin any direction that seems to offer the mostfun and stimulation. At times our adventureshurt or scare us, and we retreat to theshelter of our parents’ arms. We recover andtoddle off to explore again.As we proceed further along the road oflife, our thirst for adventure is tempered bythe knowledge we have gained from pastchoices, good and bad. To the extent that wehave learned to avoid dangerous situationsthat could harm us, this is an important survivalskill, and hopefully, we also are fortifiedby enough positive experiences that weare able to take a detour now and then withthe confidence that our little trip will be agood one.Becoming older and more worldly slowlymodifies our readiness to take detours, to dothe unexpected. Year by year we become alittle less flexible and a little more cautious.We become entirely too…sensible. We mayfind ourselves standing before the lusciousbanquet of life but have imposed on ourselvesa strict diet that rules out most of thereally delicious stuff!What do we do when we realize that wehave made more and more choices based onfear that have led to more choices – choicesthat have taken us to an unknown and desolategray land, where we wander, lost. Worseyet, we suspect that we are no longer ourgenuine self but an artificial self made up ofbits and pieces of looks, mannerisms, ideas –all kinds of “stuff” that has been pasted ontous by others. We have gladly worn this secondhand “stuff” to get their approval, andto avoid the hard work of finding and nurturingthe real core part of us that we fearthey won’t like as much.This dismal picture can be changed. Wecan begin walking out of the gray wastelandby taking the first step. The first stepis different for each of us, but for everyoneit involves making for ourselves a time andplace free from distractions. In this quiettime and place, we can think back to a timewhen we chose the high road that beckonedwith interest and excitement, instead of thedrab little alley that would have become ourpath by default had we given in to fear.We can try to remember and re-experiencethe way we felt about ourselves andabout the world at that magic moment intime. What is on the horizon of our presentlife that excites us? Perhaps we have beenthinking of this exciting possibility for years,but it recedes in front of us like a mirage.We can’t seem to get close, no matter howmuch we yearn for it.The universe is receiving our messageand is patiently waiting for us to step up andbecome a partner in manifesting the desiredoutcome. We must take action. Takingaction is difficult when we feel overwhelmedand intimidated by the apparent distanceof our goal, but if we divide that distanceinto shorter segments that are identified bysome kind of marker, the trek becomes moremanageable. If we make it to the little tree ashort distance away, we can look back andreassure ourselves that we have made someprogress in our trip to the beautiful moun-Photo by Fernando Audiberttain in the distance. Rather than fixating onthe mountain, we can focus on that prettyrock over there.If we just perform one small action eachday toward our first marker, we will begin tomove out of the gray wasteland of fear basedchoices and into a more colorful world wherethings are blooming and full of life. We willreach the first marker and feel emboldenedto take further actions that will bring us tothe second. The path of our progress will belittered with bits and pieces of the “stuff” ofour false selves. Fear will still be present, butwill be tamed and walking at heel, not leadingor chasing us. Our radiant true self willbe joyfully striding forward on the high roadto a better life.Inglis Carre’-Dellard, M.F.A. is a Los Ososartist and teacher whose teaching style emphasizesindividuality and self expression in anurturing environment. For more informationon individual creativity counseling orher “Awaken Your Creativity” class at the SanLuis Obispo Art Center in April, contact her firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.534.9693.
Women’s Press March & April 2010The Law of GoodBy Laura GraceWe are amidst the splendor of spring andmoving closer to the fullness that unfoldswith summer. Everywhere we look, we cansee color, light, and beauty.Despite how heavy our burden may feel attimes, in truth, we have so much to be gratefulfor, so many blessings appearing in myriadforms. As we recognize that there is a Lawof Good that governs our affairs, we beginto release those insidious thoughts of doubt,fear, and uncertainty. Accepting the Law ofGood that governs all things takes courageand faith and entails accepting all of the goodthat is in our life, right here, right now.In the prosperity-building program,“Keys to the Kingdom,” creator and author,David Owen Ritz, states: “That which youfocus and dwell upon—with a feeling of loveand gratitude—you will tend to multiplyand attract.” Changing from an attitude ofinsufficiency to a feeling of fullness and generosityis something called “Pro-active Gratitude”and it entails the following practices:1. Becoming conscious of the good inyour life—all of it!2. Praising the good in your life and paytribute to the good in the lives of othersas well.3. Sharing the good in your life with others.4. Looking for the good even in the negative(i.e., the hidden blessings and giftsthat emerge from our greatest challengesas the poet, Oliver, once penned:“Someone I loved once gave me a box fullof darkness. It took me years to understandthat this one, too, was a gift.”)Photo by Ivan VicencioLet us not be deceived by appearances,nor be tempted to succumb to the falsebelief that we live in a world that is drivenby lack, limitation, and scarcity. We live inan abundant Universe that supplies an inexhaustiblesupply of love, ideas, and energy.In her book Dare to Prosper, CatherinePonder shares, “A reader of mine once wrote:‘I don’t believe in recessions! I watched mymother become rich during the depressionof the 1930’s when she dwelled upon ‘the richsubstance of the universe’ instead of dwellingupon appearances of financial limitation.So instead of fretting about recession,depression, inflation or the high cost of living,dwell on ‘divine substance.’”When you dare to declare that divinegood is the one and only reality in your life,you are well on the way to solving your ownills as well as helping to solve the ills of mankind.May you experience the richness ofyour own spirit and extend it to everyoneyou encounter.Laura V. Grace is the Spiritual Leader for theCircle of Spiritual Enlightenment in San LuisObispo (www.spiritualcircle.org), an interfaithspiritual community. Laura is also a teacherand spiritual director, and a member of SpiritualDirectors International. A syndicatedcolumnist for more than twenty publications,Laura has penned 200 articles on spiritualgrowth and is the author of the books Gifts ofthe Soul and The Intimate Soul.Body & SoulIf You Only Had a Year To Live!By MaryAine CurtisIs it possible that I’ve become comfortable inthe pattern or the story that I’ve told myselffor years? Even if I feel ok with the path Ifollow, is it really what I want to do withmy life? Do you ever wonder about whatit would be like if you followed a differentdream? Do you want more in your life?I believe that my spirit is like a barometerthat shows me when to stick with somethingbecause it feels right and when to givesomething up because my spirit is heavy andit feels wrong. I was taught to play it safe, bea good girl, and follow directions. I was verycurious and that got me into trouble. I triedto do things based on what I was taught,but by the time I was 35 years old, I was verydepressed from being in the box that I putmyself in. I was trying to be someone else.It wasn’t who I wanted to be. My spirit wasdying. I had to make a choice about my life,and that meant making big scary changes.It was scarier to stay where I was though.That meant that it was time to grow up andmake some mature decisions about what todo next. Sometimes I still change my mindbecause I don’t like where I end up. I’velearned it’s okay to change my mind. I alsofeel that I was given a second chance at life.I had to get myself out of that box inorder to be able to live life differently. As Ithink about the possibility that this couldbe my last Valentine’s Day or Easter, I wantto be in the moment and choose more frommy heart than my head. When I don’t makethe effort, take the risk, jump in, and stretchmyself—then I’m wondering what to dowith myself. It feels the best when I’m stayingin the moment.I have this vision of looking back onmy life and savoring all the good memories,including what may have seemed likemistakes. I really don’t want to have regretsbecause I held on to family burdens thatkept me stuck in fear and doing what wasexpected of me. I took a chance to find outwhat I love to do and that’s what I do today.7What’s important to you? Just imaginewhat you’ve thought of doing someday.If you want to hike Half Dome, join thePeace Corps, live in South America, teach inJapan, or stay home with your children—doit!!! The only thing you have to lose is procrastinationand any fear that you may haveof not making a difference in your life andothers. You can do it your way. I’m here ifyou need help.If this was your last birthday, how wouldyou choose to spend it? Life is for living fullywhether in contemplation or living full tilt.You have the power and imagination to doanything today. Explore, experience, grow,and sparkle as you create your own story,your way.MaryAine Curtis is an Emissary of JOY!As well as a Spiritual Counselor, teacher andInner Transformation Coach. Her website iswww.return2joy.com(Come to my Women’s Press workshop andwe’ll explore what it is that would bring youjoy. You may have struggled with doing thingssomeone else expects you to do and need to discoverwhat brings you joy. Identify what getsyou excited and you’re on your way to havingan interesting and rewarding life).Workshop: Jill in the box.Jill out of the box.In this workshop we will discuss ourstory based on what others wanted us to do.We will explore and discover more of whatyou wished you could do. Experience how itfeels to stay in the box, and then how to getout of the box. I’ll lead a guided meditationto help you discover your story. We’ll playwith the impressions from the meditationand then put it on paper, what it feels liketo write your new story as if this was the lastyear that you have to live. What will you letgo of and what will you do more of?