Making Space for Magic

For months I’ve been doing my blogging and planning on the dining room table.

I don’t know how this started. I mean, last year we said that my office was going to be in the guest room. During the World-Changing Writing Workshop, I participated in a whole teleclass about creating office space to support me in my creative work. I tried. It’s just…I don’t know…it didn’t really “take.” It was a guest room with a wobbly desk in it, not a space for magic.

And after a few months, the guest room became the Place Where Things Go to Die. Then it really REALLY wasn’t conducive to working…or doing anything, really, other than Dumping Stuff and Running Away. The cats liked it. That’s about it.

Last weekend Matthew and I decided that Enough was Enough. It was time to make some space. We started by clearing out the guest room.

(I purposely didn’t take “before” photos of the Hell Hole, but here—including that shopping cart and its contents—is about 3/4 of the stuff we cleared out of the room, not including furniture. Or the contents of the closet. Yeah…)

 

We rearranged everything, and spent about an hour scraping cat hair off the rug where under-the-bed used to be. And then it was time to settle back in.

At this point, Xander decided to come and help us put things away. This was his contribution…

 

I worked until bedtime on Saturday, sorting papers, organizing things, and putting pictures back up. I even reorganized most of the closet, but I didn’t photograph it because it still looks messy.

And here is the result:

Bookshelf. Business-y stuff on the right, crafty and household stuff on the left.

 

Actual space for pretty things! Matthew bought me that rabbit sculpture on the day we had Xander <3

 

Prayer flags from Goddess Leonie, standing work station, which I use about half the time, and you can *just* see part of my Right-Brain business plan by the blue curtain on the right.
Xander’s standing workstation…he’s “playing Minecraft” on the alarm clock.

 

I LOVE how it looks. It feels so much better.

But here’s the Magical Secret: this was about SO MUCH MORE than spring cleaning the guest room.

To be honest, the mess in the guest room kind of felt like a metaphor for my approach to my blog-and-business-y stuff. I had plans and projects to do, but they kept getting crowded out of the way by random crap. Papers. Lego. Facebook. Massive life changes. Hairballs…no, wait, that was the guest room, not the blog. As far as I know… 

The point is that my dreams were drowning in random pieces of crap that needed to be cleared out and put away. I needed time and space for action.

Last night I tried the office out for the first time, and this afternoon Matthew gave me a block of time to work as well. So far in this office, I have edited an e-book (not mine), recorded a movement meditation (that one’s mine, and more on that soon), created the beginnings of a new website, and danced for half an hour.

…Most of which I’d been planning to do for the past month or more. Clearing the guest room and making physical space for my work is allowing me to clear out my back-logged to-do list and make energetic space for more creativity and bigger projects.

YES.

This is my magic room, my business sanctuary, the place where Creations Will Be Made Real. I’ve only been in here for a couple of days, but I pretty much never want to leave.

SO HAPPY in my office space…and the cats seem happier too!

 

We’re going to have to find somewhere else to keep the shopping cart…

Breaking the Silence

Words words words.

My head is stuffed full of words unspoken and words unwritten. I am stifled, smothered, crushed by the weight of unspoken thoughts and untold stories. I am self-censored to the point of utter silence, mired in the shame that comes when you feel that your thoughts and feelings are not worthy of expression.

When you look at me, you might think I look a little sad, a little tired, a little stressed. But I am drowning, lost in a sea of words and stories and emotions, and unable to find my way out.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for days. I kept writing “blog post” on my to-do list and then…checking Facebook, opening tabs for other people’s blogs, obsessively collecting information about the thoughts and feelings of others instead of being in my own head and heart and processing their contents. As if salvation was possible only outside myself, as if other people’s breakthroughs could take the place of my own.

The only expression that has managed to break through the chaos is dancing…brief moments of release and escape from the crowded prison of my brain.

 

Big changes are coming for my family. Big changes for me, the stay-at-home mama. Changes which mean stepping out of my safe little bubble, smashing through my comfort zone, and doing the things I’ve said for ages that I wanted to do…but didn’t make time or space for because I was too afraid. It’s already starting. And I haven’t said one word on this blog or anywhere else on the Internet.

I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Didn’t want to upset anyone or take the risk and fail. Thought that if I kept quiet and didn’t tell anyone, maybe the Big Scary Changes would wander off and bother someone else.

And that makes me shake my head in disgust, because the second-to-last real post I wrote was about my epiphany: how I didn’t want to live in fear anymore, wanted to live out loud and be 100% me 100% of the time.

“Now look at you,” my inner critic cackles, “Stuck in the mud, quiet and cowed like you always will be.” The untold stories threaten to bury me, to cover my head and suck me down into a life of silence and shame once again.

But, eventually, I stop them. I close down Facebook and all the other browser tabs full of other people’s stories. I open my word processing program. I begin to type this out. And the pressure inside my head and heart begins to ease. I start to feel more like myself again. Like maybe my stories are as worth telling as anyone else’s. Like maybe it would be OK if I just wrote what I was feeling. Like maybe this is only the beginning.

I know me. I know that in a week, or even a day, this collection of sentences won’t remotely resemble what I’m feeling, just as it bears no resemblance to how I was feeling 2 weeks ago. I’m an air sign, as changeable as the breeze. But this is my story right now…and I will tell it. Keeping silent hurts too much.

The words flow out of my head and onto the screen, and I breathe a little deeper, sit a little more solidly in my body, make plans to dance again tomorrow. I remember why I started blogging in the first place, remember the relief of letting my stories out into the Universe. I start to think of new stories to tell, now that the dam is broken.

There are always stories to tell.

An epiphany…

I spent part of yesterday morning in a frenzy of self-doubt and worry. This in itself is nothing rare, sadly, and it usually makes me frustrated and sad in addition to the aforementioned frenzy (SO MUCH FUN!).

But yesterday, as I began the tailspin into self-criticism and doubt, fear and smallness, I looked at myself in the mirror. And all of a sudden, rage shot through me. I stamped my foot.

“What the HELL is this?!” I thought out loud.

And things shifted. Suddenly, I saw my life so far as a whole, patterns revealed and easy to see. I saw my past and my present, my achievements and challenges, my triumphs and fears. And over and over again, I saw myself playing small.

I saw myself constantly worrying about what people thought of me and fearing they might “realize that I was worthless and stupid” (“Realize”?!…WHAT?!). I saw myself hiding my light, pretending to be “normal” (whatever that means) for the sake of fitting in. I saw myself limiting my dreams according to what “they” said could be done (whoever “they” are), not even giving them a try on my own. I saw myself avoiding other people because I was afraid of what they would think of me. I saw an awful lot of worrying, shutting up, and putting things off.

I’m not saying this in a self-critical way, I swear, but it IS what I saw. 

I saw my gifts, lined up and ready…no…ACHING to be used. I felt the rage of pent-up energy longing to race forward while I held it back out of fear of what other people would think or say (what about what *I* think? What about what *I* have to say?).

I walked into the living room and I looked at my son, who radiates his light without even thinking about it, without questioning whether or not he “can” or “should.”

And it really hit home…

…All the times I hid that unique glowing part of myself so that I could fit in, or because I was afraid of failure or rejection, came rushing back to me. And I almost quivered with rage. I wanted to find every person who (directly or indirectly) taught me that it wasn’t OK to be me, that it was more important, more prudent, safer to fit in than to be myself, and PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE (I’m not a particularly violent person, so this was unusual).

And then, with all of these images flashing through my mind, I took a deep breath…and I said “Enough.”

Enough of this. Enough selling myself short, holding myself up to invisible (and imaginary) standards of how I “should” be. Enough hesitating out of fear and waiting to be “perfect” before I do anything. Enough limiting what I DO do to what I know I can succeed at immediately.

Enough hiding and pretending. Enough trying to “play by the rules,” dimming my light to fit in, enough trying not to be the weird one at the party. Enough assuming that people will think I suck…enough worrying about what they think, period. Enough assuming that someone else knows what I can and can’t do better than I do myself. SCREW ALL OF IT.

I want to live my life out loud. I want to be 100% me 100% of the time. I want to do what I love, and thrive. I want to be the person who walks down the street radiating joy and confidence, complimenting strangers and dancing in the rain. I want to be the person whe asks “Why not?” when someone says, “Oh, you can’t do that!” And then, if that thing calls to my heart, I want to do it anyway.

I’m so tired of worrying that I’m not good enough, not fit enough, not creative or talented or driven enough, not original enough, too old, too tired, too shy, too…unworthy.

Enough of this.

I AM WORTHY.

More than that…I AM AMAZING.

Amazingness is my birthright. It’s mine because I’m human and I’m me. We all come into this world as glowing sparks of light. We all come into this world shining our unique and amazing light. You’re amazing in a unique way that is 100% yours. You’re amazing because you’re human and you’re you.

Maybe it’s because I walk by this sign every time I go into my kitchen, but dammit, I’m ready to shine my light in the world. I’m more than ready. In fact, I’m shining now. My light is bursting out of my chest and filling every space I move through. I am blinding, shimmering, radiating light. I am ON FIRE…in the best possible way. It’s not that there’s nothing wrong with me…it’s that there’s everything right with me. My true self is beautiful, whole, and perfect because that’s how each of us is born…we just need to remember it.

Imagine a world in which all you had to do was inhabit your You-ness 100% of the time. What kind of magic would you make? What would it feel like?

Let’s try it together. Let’s paint the world in a glorious rainbow of unique colours.

Watch out, world. I’m done hiding. Prepare to be rocked.

Coming to terms with 2012…

2011 began with a blaze of certainty. I had committed to a year of deep internal work, healing, and transformation, and I couldn’t wait to get started. I knew that magic was going to abound in 2011. New Years Day was spent madly and joyfully journalling about all the things I was going to bring into my life.

Fireworks by bayasaa on Flickr.com
Image by bayasaa on Flickr.com

 

This year I tried to do the same thing. I printed out my 2012 workbook and I went through the motions of filling it out, and while some parts brought me a sense of joy and expectancy…it wasn’t the same. You know when you have a completely amazing and awesome experience and then you go back to that place or do that activity again and it’s just…different? And of course, you know intellectually that it should be different, but you find yourself oddly disappointed that the magic’s not there?

That’s what New Years 2012 was like for me. Last year I felt like all I needed to do to have a magical year was to be open. To be willing to change my own perspective, explore my shadowed corners, and heal my own heart. It was difficult and scary, sure, but it was internal work and I knew I could do it. I knew that the outcome would be a more awesome, magical, and joyful life. This year I feel like 2011 was all prep work for the next 12 months, and 2012 feels scary and big and (and here’s the part that terrifies me) unpredictable and uncontrollable. And I’m oddly surprised that it feels different than last year.

On the 1st, I did a tarot/oracle card reading for myself for the year. And yesterday I did one for Matthew. And as I went through the readings card by card (and witnessed the truly spooky intersection of the two decks), I was overwhelmed with a sense of impending massive change. Unpredictable, unknowable, uncontrollable change.

I almost had a panic attack.

But as I mulled the readings over in my mind, a word came to me. Not the word I had chosen for the year, but another one to go with it. My first word is Shine. The new word is Trust. It was as if the Universe was telling me,

“Look, I know you’re scared, but please trust me. I know what I’m doing. All I need you to do is keep shining, keep creating, keep your focus and connection. And trust that I will take you where you need to go. Don’t fight me on this. Just go with it.”

The energy this year is so different from last year. I feel it pulling me, calling me to move, to create, to share, to radiate. To shine my light. And I’ve already found myself answering that call—creating, beginning, planning. Ideas are blooming that I hadn’t even conceived a notion of back in December. The New Year brought them in.

So I will put my trust in my Universe, and I will ride this wave. I will create what calls to be created, and I will share it. I will shine my light. I will trust the current that carries me and my family. I will try to be brave. What is bravery but shining and trusting?

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Speaking of trusting, I don’t know exactly what my plan for the blog is this year. Last year I made a point of scheduling blog posts on certain days. This year, at least right now, I’m feeling the need for freedom and unscheduled-ness. I’m going to go with that for a bit. I don’t know when I will be posting or if a routine will emerge in the next few months. I could be posting every day, once a week, or somewhere in between (probably somewhere in between). It’s a little scary to be off of a schedule…but “a little scary” seems to be the theme for 2012 for me so far. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know where it will lead. I’m trying to be OK with the not-knowing. I hope you will be too.
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OK, 2012, here is my commitment to you:
I promise to show up, to honour my gifts, and to share them. I promise to shine. And I will trust you to do the rest.

Sometimes finding your word for the year is a roundabout business…

Happy New Year!

Today I’m giving you a wee glimpse into my process and sharing my journey to choosing my Word for 2012…because sometimes these things are FAR from simple:

Back on Dec 1st, I announced my Official Word of 2012 (I don’t do resolutions, but I DO do intentions summed up by Key Words). Here’s what I said:

Moving forward into 2012, the word I choose is Shine. Having come home to myself again and realized my own awesomeness in 2011, I wish to shine my light into the world and be even more of my beautiful, glowing, radiant, dancing self in 2012.

Sounds good, yes?

I thought so until earlier this week.

A couple of days ago I started rethinking. All of a sudden, “Shine” felt “should-y” and heavy and not-right. I felt like I would be stuck constantly feeling like I “should” be “shining” and berating myself for being too shy or cowardly or whatever. Like the way I felt at my husband’s office party last month…shy as hell, paralyzed with awkwardness, very guilty about not being outgoing, should-ridden, and not shiny at all.

So I set out to look for an alternative. I wracked my brains, going through word after word after word. And after many many (many many many) discarded words, I finally settled on my word for the year.

And the word is…

 

…wait for it…

 

SHINE.

Yes, that’s right. I ended up back where I began. Oddly, I’m 95% sure that this same exact thing happened with “Home” last year.

What happened? Well, I remembered why I chose that word in the first place.

I picked “Shine” after I rewatched Stardust back in November. One thing I’d forgotten from previous viewings that really caught my attention this time: whenever Yvain (a fallen star) is happy, she starts shining. It’s beautifully done, really.

See? Shine.

And that was what I was thinking when I first chose the word: glowing, lighting up from the inside. Somewhere over the past month it got twisted up in my head, but that’s what I really wanted it to mean. And it has all kinds of applications:

-practicing self-care to keep myself glowing

-recognizing and valuing my own unique light (this one is all about self-worth)

-doing what lights me up (trusting my instinct and going with the joy, even if it’s not what I had planned)

It also feels like the perfect continuation of last year’s intention. Like, I came home last year, and this year I’m finding ways to keep the home-fires stoked and burning brightly. In short, I’m back where I started, only with even more understanding about my choice of word, plus a lovely photographic illustration.

Now that I think about it, how could I NOT stick with “Shine”?! It was clearly meant to be. <3

The “So, what kind of dance do you teach?” phenomenon…

I’ve been noticing something interesting.

Since my Dancing Mamas Tribe starts tomorrow (!!!!), I spent some time putting up posters early last week. Here is the jist of EVERY SINGLE conversation I had in the process:

Meg: [enters store/coffee shop] Hi! I’m starting a dance class for moms with babies and toddlers…could I put up a poster on your bulletin board?

Store Owner: Sure! What kind of dance are you teaching?

Meg: I’m actually not teaching any kind of dance. I’m just offering moms time, space, and permission to come out and do their own dance with their little ones.

Store Owner: Oh! That sounds awesome! [lets me put up poster]

I mean, I get it. “Dance class”…you automatically run through a mental checklist…ballet, modern, tap, jazz, ballroom, zumba, African…more or fewer types depending on your experience. You definitely go into the “learning a dance style” mindset. The teacher is the “expert” and the students are there to learn how to do what she (or he) does.

But in a freeform dance gathering like The Dancing Mamas Tribe, that’s not really the dynamic at all. Yes, I have dance and teaching experience in a number of disciplines. But really, my job isn’t to train other bodies to imitate my dance. It’s to help the attendees find their own dance. They’re the experts.

Even in a DansKinetics/YogaDance class, which is more structured, you’re not really “teaching” people “how to dance”…you’re helping them to bring their own dance out. They don’t have to know the structure of your class plan or even do the movements you plan in any given class. They just have to listen to their bodies and do their own thing. You’re only there to hold the space and offer support and encouragement.

That’s exactly why, on my website and in conversation, I’ve been trying to make a point of not calling what I do “dance classes” and not calling myself a “dance teacher,” (and may I just say that I still find it challenging sometimes…it’s hard to find the right words).

But when you’re just stepping into a business to stick up a poster and you need to make someone understand more or less what you’re offering in one sentence, “dance class” is the fastest thing to say. And you just need to be prepared to explain if someone asks.

What I find especially interesting (and encouraging) is that the people in question didn’t think less of my offerings once I explained. They didn’t dismiss the idea when they learned that I didn’t fit into their preconceived notion. They thought it was a fabulous idea. In some cases they got much more excited about it. But the assumption is always there to begin with. It’s kind of exciting to get to be the one to open someone’s mind.

And here’s the really good news in all of this:

In every single instance where this happened I didn’t go into my usual cringe-and-blush-and-stammer-and-feel-pathetic routine. Nope. I explained the real situation, and couldn’t help but add “I’m really excited about it!” to the end of my “elevator speech.” Because I am really excited. So incredibly, crazily excited. A little scared. But mostly excited.

And that, my dears, has got to be some kind of first for me. I’m taking it as a sign.