A Poem For Grounding

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Short and sweet this week; I love poems for their lyrical arrow to the heart of the matter. I always offer one as part of my meditation and self-care classes, and was honored when a dear friend requested I bring one of mine she’d heard and loved to our next gathering.

As the trees shed their leaves and we careen towards the inevitable rush of the holiday season, I thought I would share it here too — may it serve you well.

Tree Tone

When I feel uprooted, unsupported,

split and splintered,

I ask the trees to meditate me.

Stark and empty, full strength visible in

dark limbs aiming up and out.

 

Do they yearn for green in winter

or simply trust

that naked is enough?

Their patience astounds me,

their tempo soothes and steadies,

less rhythm than hum,

the pitch of root, of earth.

My soul is struck by the tone

and resonates in harmony;

the thrum of the strum of the chord of the Lord.

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What Cheers You On?

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I’ve been speaking with a lot of women lately who feel overextended and disheartened. Their joy comes in small moments, like watching their daughter excel in school or enjoying a quiet dinner on their own or with a loved one.

But mostly, life feels like a marathon where five miles in they already have blisters and sore shins.

In a marathon, there are crowds of people cheering you on. Some are loved ones, most are strangers. They’re shouting encouragement, handing out water and energy bars, waiting at the end to massage your aching body. The miles add up yet the support urges you to keep going, even when every part of you is screaming “stop!”

The marathon of life doesn’t have quite so many built-in cheerleaders.

To the contrary, it has many well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) detractors. First you get to deal with your inner critic, who can be downright nasty or pose as “the voice of reason.”

Then you get to hear from the peanut gallery, those around you that try to get you to do more, be more, help more. Not to mention expect less, quiet down, not be so bold, or be a little bolder. Seems like everybody has an opinion…

What helps you not only stay in the game, but do so with a sense of joy, ease and empowerment? How do you cheer yourself on from the inside? What enables you to rest and renew with small sips rather than run till you drop?

I’m reading a fabulous book right now called Playing Big by Tara Mohr. In it, she talks about how, as women, we need to define playing big for ourselves. And sometimes our playing big can look, from the outside, quite small. It is, among other things, a matter of:

~learning to not be ruled by our inner critic (nor does it help to try banishing her; it’s more about shifting how we relate to and buy into her incessent chatter).
~unhooking from praise and criticism (yes, praise can be detrimental, especially if you look to it as validation of your essential value and worth).​
~tuning into your inner wisdom (easier said than done with all the competing wisdom — and wise guys — around you).

The true inner cheerleader is neither grandiose nor full of false cheer. It’s not about “faking it till you make it” or “I’m the best, I’m the best, I AM THE BEST!” Her main job is to keep you going by encouraging you to stop and rest more often.She’s an advocate of deep self-care born of self-awareness and self-love. She knows that, as much as she’s part of a community and eco-system, she also ultimately answers only to herself.

Whatever that answer may be, I pray you heed the call. There is only one you; she needs all the compassionate, juicy support — and rest — you can imagine. And then provide.

Stop Saying That!

Concept or conceptual tree word cloud tagcloud in man or woman h
Recently I read an article that really stuck with me, on women and how our word choices can unwittingly undermine our power. It stuck in part because I’ve already been working on eliminating certain words in my writing and speaking — particularly these two words I’ve used more than I care to say.
 
Two simple, seemingly innocuous words: just and actually.
  • As in “I just want to ask you something” or “Can I just show you what I wrote?” It is word of diminishment, as if what you (or I) have to say or show is barely worth the other person’s time and energy.
  • As in “Actually, I think this is a better idea” or “I don’t actually agree with that.” Why not just have a better idea or not agree, no modifier needed? How would it feel to state what you believe without trying to convince the other person that they should “actually” pay attention?
Think about a time when you felt moved to speak up about something. Whether it was a big idea at work or a small request to your spouse, how did you convey your message? It doesn’t necessarily need to be a confrontational situation; it could be as simple as needing a hug and asking someone you love directly. “May I have a hug?” versus “May I just have a hug?” Feel the difference? {Just, of course, has several meanings. I’m referring to the aspect of the definition that means almost; possibly; perhaps.}
Don’t Be Sorry, Be Certain
 
It is language like this, or automatically saying “sorry” when someone has bumped into you, that ekes away at you little by little. It’s rarely conscious and may seem too minor to bring into serious discussion, yet it works on the psyche like water on stone — slowly, incrementally, we let our power slip. We don’t take ourselves seriously and therefore others won’t take us seriously when we want them to.
Start to notice when and how you are using just, actually and sorry. Are you justifying taking up space in a meeting? Are you apologizing for something that doesn’t require it, like moving past someone blocking the aisle in the supermarket? Most of the time these words pop out automatically — this is an invitation to be more conscious and claim sovereignty over what you know, who you are and how you take your place in life.
Can you remember that you know what you know, and then express that? The language you use to frame your ideas absolutely makes a difference. Come into your knowing, claim the space you inhabit and practice not equivocating. I’d love to hear about what you experience HERE.