Weekly Inspiration #20

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When I first started these weekly inspiration posts, 20 weeks ago, I wanted a weekly writing anchor, something that I could commit to creating a posting rhythm around, as well as a place to share some of the wonderful things that make up my week, both online and off. It’s part gratitude for my wonderful life, part journal and part sharing.

In the beginning I would wonder if it was worthwhile, but every week I kept coming back to it, for the simple reason that I received so much joy out of the process. Week by week though, as more and more people come and visit, read, watch and comment, both here and on twitter and facebook, it becomes apparent that my effort brings other people joy as well…and that’s just the best thing ever. So, thank you!

Joy is a big signpost for me, and it’s something I have learned to focus on instead of productivity, achievement and status. Some of the big lessons I am learning are patience, perseverance and building things gradually, block by block.

Okay, no kidding – as soon as I wrote that, I looked out of my window and saw two beautiful grey herons, one of them with a stick in its mouth. They walked up and down outside my window for about 5 minutes, just to make sure I saw them. And then vanished, presumably to build that goddamned nest, stick by stick. Β πŸ™‚Β 

White Faced Heron. Image by Tim Bergen Photography. Click on the image to see more of his work. Mystical Attributes: The ability to watch patiently for results. Dignity of movement, methodical procedure in matters. Gaining dignity and self-confidence for facing personal problems.
White Faced Heron. Image by Tim Bergen Photography. Click on the image to see more of his work.
Mystical Attributes: The ability to watch patiently for results. Dignity of movement, methodical procedure in matters. Gaining dignity and self-confidence for facing personal problems.

I have to do my time, and as Justine Musk says:

Everybody needs her period of apprenticeship, and it will be longer and tougher and harder than you expect or want it.

Over the years I have learned about commitment and grown to embrace it – 11 years of motherhood, a 15 year relationship, 11 years living in the same house, 6 years as P&C secretary, friendships dating back to my childhood – all of which paints a picture of someone who is very stable. And it’s true, I am.

What I had trouble with was committing to myself.Β 

The thing about people like me is that we want everything now, or better still, yesterday; we want things to be easy and we like to take shortcuts to success. That can work for some, for sure, but not me :). The first time I really committed to myself was when I did 40 days of yoga. That was the first time I did something I loved regularly, in my adult life, just for myself. It felt really uncomfortable and strange, and I had a lot of awful dialogue in my mind about being selfish and unproductive. Still, I persevered. Writing, both in this blog and out of it is like that too – I love writing, I love yoga, so I just keep coming back, day after day, on the mat, at the desk. I keep showing up, even when the voice in my head spins webs of doubt and anxiety.

This committing to ourselves – it is sacred work. It is how we uncover our purpose, what we have come here to do:

Everyone has a purpose in life…a unique gift or special talent to give to others.

And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.

– Deepak Chopra (The Seven Spiritual laws of Success)

How do you commit to yourself? What brings you joy?

Best Short Read

Elizabeth Gilbert. Again. She just keeps coming up with the goods – and while she’s channeling so much goodness, I’m going to keep drinking it in and sharing it with you guys. Here is a piece she wrote on her Facebook blog the other day:

IN PRAISE OF THE INNER CRONE!

Dear Ones –

OK, we all know about the “inner child”, right? The innocent being who still lives inside of us, who needs and deserves love and care, and whom we sometimes have to channel in order to learn self-compassion?

I’m a big fan of the notion of the inner child. It can be a really healing construct. Once, when I was going through a particularly dark season of self-loathing, I taped a sweet photo of myself (age 2) on my mirror, and taught myself that any harm I did to me, I also did to HER. It made me kinder and more tender to myself. Imagining other people’s inner children makes me kinder and more tender to them.

So the Inner Child is a good thing.

These days, though, I find myself spending less time thinking about my Inner Child, and more time focused on my INNER CRONE β€” the old lady who lives inside me, whom I hope to someday be.

Because she’s a serious bad-ass.

The really old ladies always are bad-asses. I’m talking about the real survivors. The women who have been through everything already, so nothing scares them anymore. The ones who have already watched the world fight itself nearly to death a dozen times over. The ones who have buried their dreams and their loved ones and lived through it. The ones who have suffered pain and lived through it, and who have had their innocence challenged by ten thousand appalling assaults…and who lived through all of it.

The world is a frightening place. But you simply cannot frighten The True Crone.

Some might consider the word “crone” to be derogatory, but I don’t in the least. I honor it. The crone is a classic character from myth and folklore, and she is often the bearer of great wisdom and supernatural power. She is sometimes a guardian to the underworld. She has tremendous vision, even if she is blind. She has no fear of death, which means: NO FEAR.

I keep a wall of photos of some of my favorite crones, for inspiration. The photo below is of a Ukrainian babushka named Hanna Zavorotnya who lives in (get this) Chernobyl. There are a group of about 250 such women β€” all tough elderly peasants β€” who have all recently moved back to the radioactive area around Chernobyl.

badass russian crone

You know why they live there? Because they like it.

They like Chernobyl because that’s where they came from. They are natural-born farmers, who got kicked off their farms when disaster struck. They hated being refugees.They resented being shunted off their land after the catastrophe. They hated living in the shabby and crime-infiltrated and stress-inducing government housing in the city, and much prefer the independence of living off the land.

So they moved back home β€” illegally β€” to the most contaminated nuclear site on earth. They have formed a stupendously resilient retirement community there, in what some would call the world’s most terrifying landscape.

Is it safe? Of course not. Or, whatever. After 90 years of hard living, what does “safe” even mean? (If you survived World War II and Stalin and famine and communism’s ravages, how worried can you be about “safe”?) They drink the water. These women plant vegetables in that radioactive soil and eat them. They butcher the wild pigs that scavenge around the old nuclear power plant, and eat them, too. Their point is: “We are old. What do have to fear from radioactivity? At this age? Who cares?”

All they want is their freedom. So they take care of themselves and each other. They cut and haul their own wood. They make their own vodka. They get together and drink and laugh about the hardships of their lives. They laugh about everything, then they go outside and butcher another radioactive boar and make sausage out of him.

They are living longer and healthier lives than their peers who stayed behind in refugee housing in the cities.

I would put these women in a Bad-Ass Contest against any cocky young alleged Bad Ass you’ve got going, and I guarantee you β€” the Chernobyl crones would win, hands down. Put the lady in this picture in a survival contest against any Navy SEAL; she will endure longer.

We live in a society that romanticizes youth. We live in a culture where youth is considered a real accomplishment. But when you look at a seriously powerful classic crone like the woman in this photo, you see how foolish we are to obsess over youth β€” to imagine that the young offer much for us to aspire to, or learn from.

No wisdom like the wisdom of survival. No equanimity like the equanimity of somebody who plants a garden right on top of a nuclear disaster and gets on with it.

So these days, when my Inner Child gets all fluttery with the panic of living, I just ask myself: ” WWMICD?”

“What Would My Inner Crone Do?”

Ask yourself that same question. See what she tells you.

One thing I can promise you she will never say? She will never say: “WORRY.

She will more likely tell you this: “ENDURE.”

So listen to her, and get on with it β€” get on with the powerful act of LIVING.

Hang in there, all you future awesome crones!

ONWARD!
LG

Best Book

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – a practical guide to the fulfillment of your dreams. Β –Β Deepak Chopra

7-spiritual-laws-of-success-300x405Okay, now you might have read this book – it’s 20 years old and a phenomenal best seller so odds are that you have. This is the first time I have read this book, and it is the first Deepak Chopra book I have ever read. Why? Because…I had formed some sort of half baked judgement on him and his work some time in my distant past and had never thought to revise it! There you go, you can’t say I’m not honest :). Ill-advised, judgmental and stubborn, yes, but dishonest, no.

Anyway, a fellow blogger recommended this book to me a few months ago, and in the context of the conversation we were having, I resolved to read it. I also keep my promises :). To cut to the chase, I loved it. Each law resonated deeply with me, and I discovered that these are the very laws I strive to live my life by – beautifully and succinctly expressed in an easy to understand, readable way. Note the word practicalΒ in the title – not only does he explain each law to you, but tells you how to apply each law in your own life. I love that πŸ™‚

I found this book deeply true, helpful and affirming of my own spiritual practice – and, it’s short. At just over 100 pages, there is no room for repetition or for filler. There are no wasted words, and I love that too.

Best Laugh

A friend posted this on my wall last week. Funny? Yes. Cynical? Yes. Maybe you will watch it, and like me, snort with derision – and then wonder if this is how other people see you. Using humor to illuminate our flaws makes it less painful, yes?

My friends, that is all from me this week. Have a beautiful week.

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit :).

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there πŸ™‚

21 comments

  1. After starting out with 3! blogs and ad hoc posts I found a weekly posting schedule suits me as well. I’m not wedded to it and it may fluctuate one way or another but the bones are there. In the background I cobble together ideas and write drafts, and it gives me space to really enjoy other’s posts and be part of a virtual community without taking over my entire life.
    I saw a grey heron last time we were at TA, first time I’ve seen them there. They are beautiful and I was thrilled. “The ability to wait patiently for results” resonates with me too, I’ve been doing that, sort of -“waiting necessarily” would be more accurate! I will think of the grey heron and try for patience.
    It’s interesting, my inner child tends to fear, and my inner crone is about “let it go”, confidence and perspective that is a balm to getting older.
    I’ve had DC’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success unread on my bookshelf for many years… I assume the right time to read it will become apparent.
    I’ve been thinking about the JP Sears clip since I watched it early this morning. As I went about my morning I considered the many and varied people I encountered along King Street in Newtown, one of the things I love about the place is it’s easy to be yourself. When I got home I had to Google JP Sears to get a background, and I was surprised to see on his “Inner Awakenings” About page “The purpose of JP’s work is to empower people to live more meaningful lives as whole individuals by guiding them to move beyond their symptoms of pain and sabotage so they may discover and reconcile their inner imbalances”. The clip just made me cringe, somewhat like Steve Hely’s novel “How I became a Famous Novelist”. It may be that parody is a powerful healing tool I’m unaware of…
    The clip seems to be targeted at “wannabees” which is currently trendy right now… who hasn’t joked about “wannabee hipsters”… But although I’ve distanced myself from people who overtly display the trappings of their beliefs-passions I do it quietly for my own reasons rather than belittling the stage of their journey they are on. It’s not my place to judge them or possibly derail their path because it’s manifested differently to mine. And yes, other’s may well have seen me the same way!
    Some light/energy seekers/workers avoid drawing attention to themselves, others the opposite but neither is an indicator of authenticity.
    The answer to my wondering (which I photographed and Instagrammed) was delivered to me via a chalk message I saw on a wall late this morning “If there is anything I could whisper, it would be that:- IT”S ALL INSIDE YOU ALREADY! every single thing that you need”.
    But there’s also nothing wrong I think in adopting external embellishments at our own discretion.
    Wow, you may be regretting my follow; such a long comment but the JP Sears clip really got me thinking, although I’m still humming “carrot neeblerrs” from the previous πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Regretting a long comment – never!
      I hear what you say about the JP Sears clip, and I agree with you, mostly. It is not my way either to make fun of people, although from what you say about his website, I am wondering if he was making fun of himself, at least a little bit, which is healthy, I think. I was a bit uncomfortable watching it in parts, especially the bit where he talked about competitive spirituality and criticised other people for being less conscious or evolved than he was. Ouch! I would never say that out loud, but in my head I think it…sometimes. So. Yes, a bit harsh, but…a kernel of truth in there too, maybe.
      The herons! I just couldn’t believe how they paraded like that right in front of me – If there was no window there I could most have touched them! And then when I looked up their symbolism, well, it was so perfect. Nature’s wisdom invariably is, I find.
      Maybe…now is the perfect time to read that book 😊. It’s a very easy read, very simple. I’m actually putting together a summary of the laws and their practices in the form of a daily practice chart…to publish next week. Maybe that will be enough πŸ˜„.
      Thanks for your lovely long comment and enjoy your weekend.

      Like

  2. Hahaha! Stop. That video! “Coondaleenie?” (Yes, I phonetically spelled that) Makes his coondaleenie stronger? And I immediately loved it at “ultra spiritual”. Great post. And for some reason that Elizabeth Gilbert has popped up like handful of times these past couple of days….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked that clip – it hasn’t sat so comfortably with everyone 😊. Some very funny moments to be sure! That Elizabeth Gilbert piece was written last year I think, but there is such wonderful wisdom in it. I’m so interested in the crone wisdom and how our culture deals with older women…how maidens are desirable, mothers are useful and crones…are neither, so not valued. I think things are changing there, slowly.

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  3. Thank you for telling me about what a heron represents. Just a few days ago, I woke up to massive amounts of bird excrement streaming down our very large picture window. It was obviously a heron that had let fly while it flew over the house. And right now I am reminded to watch patiently for results of recent energy work I’m doing on myself around a painful relationship with a sibling. Thank you for helping me remember that all is happening for my highest good, and I just need to wait a bit longer to see more shifts happen.

    Absolutely loved the Elizabeth Gilbert piece you shared on Facebook. And the JP Sears video is a hoot! Love the irreverence. Finally, I just found my copy of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and even though I bought it quite a while back, it’s now my next read.

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    • I just love that there is so much guidance for us, all day every day. It is such a blessing! I’m glad my herons didn’t choose to communicate with me like that – I may not have been as receptive! I’m glad you enjoyed the Elizabeth Gilbert piece – truly, she is tapping into Source at the moment, and it’s wonderful to see.
      It seems that book is another one that people have unread on their shelves…it’s such a simple, easy read and so rewarding, I know you’ll love it.

      Like

  4. This is a wonderful idea, to take weekly stock of life’s journey. Reflecting and sharing with others makes us feel better and also enable us think differently each week based on the inputs and suggestions we get from friends and family members…yes, ultimately the purpose in life matters and it is not a static thought and it dynamically evolves and take shape with our experience and exposure.
    Lovely post, Happy Writing & Sharing!!!

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    • Thank you Nihar, I really appreciate your lovely thoughtful comment. Life really is about the process not the outcome…which is why we need to do things that we enjoy! As you said, we dynamically evolve all the time in the most unexpected ways; let’s just enjoy the ride πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m loving witnessing you grow & develop and step deeper into your commitment to your self. So powerful! And really enjoying these weekly roundup a too. Always so much four was to be found – the Chernobyl Crones! wow!

    Much love,

    Klx

    iPhonin’ it, excuse brevity.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Kara-Leah – I really feel this year was about committing to myself in a really deep way and making choices, sometimes hard ones, that reflected that commitment. Now that I consistently live like that it becomes glaringly obvious when I’m not :). I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about! And yes, the crones…😍

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    • Hi Brydie πŸ™‚ I’m glad you liked the clip!
      Hmmm! I’m not sure if I’ve seen that one or not…I’ve seen others, which basically sent me off looking for more, I was so impressed. Maybe you could send me a link?

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  6. Sara, I actually know someone like the guy played by JP Sears! Okay,he’s not as ridiculous — but definitely could have been used as a reference in the making of the video.. So people like this do exist…oddly enough. I can totally relate to your lessons in perseverance and patience, and I like how you write about building block by block. When we find the joy in laying the blocks, the house is built in alignment and with nourishment. I usually just want the damn house to be done already….but am slowly starting to find the joy in the process. That’s really what it’s all about anyhow. Thanks for the round up! I always enjoy these!!

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    • You know what? I do too 😊Actually, it’s a woman. You know the type with Buddhas and incense and prayer flags everywhere, a dogmatic vegetarian and organic food consumer…but smokes, drinks until she falls down drunk and horribly judgmental. Oh, listen to me! Speaking of judgmental! A part of me thinks maybe they need to start from the outside and work in, and fake it until they make it…but it’s hard to be around.
      Thank you, by the way – I love your visits and would miss you if you weren’t here!

      Liked by 1 person

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