An Ego Named Charlie

I am back from an amazing weekend at the Amrit Yoga Institute.  It was everything I hoped it would be and possibly a little more.  I’m not sure how much of it I will share.  I made a beautiful (in my eyes) painting and an amazing “goddess” sculpture.  I do want to write about and share a picture of the sculpture at some point when I get the photos taken and downloaded.   I may keep the painting just for myself this time and only share it with those who happen to come into my bedroom to sneak a peek of it hanging on the wall.  I did want to share an activity we did today because it might be helpful, or at least entertaining.

We were told to pick an animal to represent our ego.  Once we had the animal we were to name it.  The first animal that popped into my head was my dachshund, Lilly.  I resisted this at first but nothing else came to me.  I thought of Lilly’s neediness, the way she growls a little when she wants to be petted and barks constantly at your feet when you are looking out the window in the hopes that you will lift her up and let her see too.    But Lilly is tough, she sticks up for herself when her brother, Oscar, is bugging her.  She has a huge voice for her little body and could rally a whole stadium full of doggies.  Lilly didn’t exactly fit my ego.  But I decided the dachshund was a good representative.  I thought of how we keep our dogs crated when we are away or sleeping.  They put up a fuss when we close the crate door, but we know if we left them unattended and gave them free reign of the house they would piss on everything and get into all sorts of mischief.  Yep, that sounded a lot like an ego…

Next was the name.  Charlie popped into my head.  When I was a kid on occasion we’d go to Charlie’s Here, which was a convenient store up the street.  We’d get candy and sodas to carry along on an outing.  I’d usually wolf my treats down, never stopping to savor them.  I was always left wanting more and wishing I’d taken the time to enjoy what I had.

So there I had it.  My ego is a Dachshund named Charlie.

We were then asked to think of a question we have about our life.  My question was “What should I focus on in my life right now?”  We were told to close our eyes and inwardly ask our animal.  I was a little unsure on this one, but I did as I was told and to my surprise I received an answer.

Charlie said as he eagerly hopped around: “Make them love you, make them love you, make them love you.”  And with that I was shown a few of the ways I could do more or change to make the people around me love me more.  Yep, sounds about right.

We were then told to close our eyes and ask the same question, only this time direct it to Spirit.  I closed my eyes and did as I was told.  Spirit immediately said:

LOVE YOURSELF!!!

And with that the floodgates opened and tears poured from my eyes.  It was true.  I can’t make anyone else love me or love me more, all I can do is love myself and from there it will grow in my life and in the lives of those around me.

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Packing

It’s Wednesday night.  After I write this I am going into my bedroom to finish packing.  Tomorrow I am fulfilling one of my New Year’s wishes and heading to the Amrit Yoga Institute for the annual Goddess weekend.  I haven’t talked about it to too many people because I didn’t expect to be going and only decided to go about 4 weeks ago when other summer plans fell through.

I went on this retreat two years ago and a part of me has longed to go back ever since.  Two years ago it was one of the most relaxing and transformative weekends in a very long time.  That weekend I discovered that I LOVE to paint, although I’m not incredibly good at it.  I painted this huge painting and put a little queen in the corner.  When I came home and displayed the picture, Mark asked me why I had painted the Burger King.  Sure enough upon further observation I realized my queen looked more like that strange mascot on the commercials than what I’d intended her to be.

I know more what I am getting into this year.  I am trying to let go of expectations though.  I have in moments wondered what I will express through painting this time.  I have been through quite a bit since I was last at Amrit.  I wonder if I will express through color the spectrum of emotions I’ve experienced.  I am certainly not the same person I was two years ago.

When I was last there we explored archetypes.   Mine was the magical child.  It feels like the magical child influence  is no longer prevalent in my life.   I’ve been initiated into a different kind of adulthood now, the kind where you really know what loss feels like.

So as you read this on Friday, I am re-connecting and re-charging.  I am on the retreat my soul has been yearning for.  I am grateful for the opportunity to do this and hope to come back a little better than I am as I pack…

Here’s a picture of the painting I did two years ago:

Christmas Wish

I’m writing this on the 23rd and of course it is posting on Christmas Eve. Between the cold I’m suffering from and the stress of preparing for Christmas day and a trip to NC, I’m low on insightful reflections. I thought I’d just take a paragraph or two to tell you what’s on my Christmas list.

I’ll start with the simple stuff. These are the items I’ve shared with Mark and may or may not be receiving on Christmas day. I want an Ipod dock/charger/player. I love my Ipod but get so annoyed when I have to charge it on the computer. It takes a few hours and I have to constantly check to make sure the computer hasn’t “gone to sleep” thus halting the charge. I’ve gotten to where I just forget to do this and then when I’m all psyched up and ready to go to the gym, I realize I have no music. Having no music to listen to while exercising has become excuse number 1 not to work out at all. It’s a vicious cycle that I feel confident will end once I have an easier place to charge the Ipod.

The other item on my list is a bible (King James version with Jesus’ words in red). For as much as I write about spiritual stuff I am embarrassed to admit I don’t have a bible in the house. I’ve had my mother searching her house for the bible I had as a teen and she hasn’t had any luck finding it. I’ve said before that I read a lot of books by people who quote and talk about the bible, but now it is time for me to practice what I preach and read and study it for myself.

Now for the more complicated wish list. These requests truly require a miracle Santa to make happen. What I’d absolutely love is to have more time and money to take a few trips this year on my own. The first is a cruise or Caribbean vacation with my two best friends, Heather and Kristin. The second is the Goddess Retreat at Amrit Yoga Institute. The third is the BlogHer conference in New York City with my Twitter friends @2MuchPerfection, @OpinionatedGift, and @Kitterztoo. I’m pretty sure the first of these will happen. It will be a small miracle if I am able to participate in two of them and an extraordinary feat if I’m able to do all three.

Now what about you guys?  Care to share your Christmas wish list….

Birth and New Beginnings

I just found out today that a friend of mine gave birth to a new baby last night.  It doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, except for when I typed the title I thought of her and how coincidental it is that I am writing this now as she has just brought new life into this world.

Last year I took part in a Goddess Retreat that was held at Amrit Yoga Institute.  Amrit Yoga Institute is a beautiful ashram tucked away near Ocala, Florida.  The four days I spent there rank up towards the top of my all-time-greatest-experiences list.

The first day of the retreat we were all given cards with the names of archetypes written on them.  I was given “Magical Child.”  We were then presented with the characteristics of this archetype and some questions to reflect on.  “Magical Child” as it turns out was representative of “Birth” and “New Beginnings.”  As I looked at myself sitting amongst these amazing women (yoga instructors, artists, healers, writers, and business owners), I definitely felt like a child (maybe even a magical one) and that this was the beginning of something.

Our assignment was to complete the worksheet.  I thought for my blog post today I would share my answer to question number one.  The following was written in June of 2008 and at the time I was working on my second novel.

What is trying to be birthed through me right now?

“For starters a book.  I am trying to write a novel and I am coming to the edge and backing down every time.  If I am learning one thing it is to push through when I get to the edge.  But what I am trying to birth is more than that.  I am trying to find a never ending fountain of creativity that I know is within me.  I am trying to live my dream and create a dream career I left behind long ago.  I am trying to birth a life of balance ,though too, that holds all of this sacred (my dream career as a writer, my love and care of my family, and my love and care of myself).  I have a greater purpose in this life, more than just my past and present roles of teacher, mother, wife.  I want to give to others messages of life however I may, but right now through my writing.”

That was what I wrote on the second day of that retreat.  I will share more of my thoughts and experiences during my stay at Amrit in other blogs I’m sure.  But I want to leave you with a quote and a question.  This quote was at the top of the worksheet, under the title “Birth” and “New Beginnings.”

“Change and growth take place when a woman has risked herself and dares to become involved with experimenting with her own life.”

The question for you is….

What is trying to be birthed through you right now? (Share if you’d like…or just think about it.)