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Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

December 30, 2017

creative life

This guest post from Jade Herriman is all about embracing a multipassionate, creative life as the key to more wholehearted living.

This is the fifth guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have Jade Herriman as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. My sincere thanks to Jade for the contribution of her story and the photographs she shares from her work. Jade combines the creativity of art therapy with coaching to help people see themselves and their situation in new ways. Her wholehearted story tells of how she came to embrace the multiple dimensions of a creative life. It is a really valuable reflection piece as we end a busy year and many consider changes in their life for 2018. Read on to find out more!

Building and leaving a career

This is a story of building and leaving a career. It is the story of tasting burnout, choosing healing and moving toward a softer more creative life. Most importantly this story is not finished, it’s still being written.

These days I love the mystery and watching it unfold, without a firm and clear plan but rather trusting intuition and the accumulation of small choices to lead me somewhere new.

Over 15 years I worked hard in various jobs related to environmental management and sustainability. I had been keen on science and environmental issues since I was a kid and wanted to get in there and make a difference. From starting out after uni with no clue about how to apply for work and very little useful work experience to ending up in a senior role in a research organization managing large projects, I had a steady job with long-term career prospects. On the face of it, I was achieving what I had set out to do – so why was it feeling so hollow?

After a while, I began to feel sick of the professional mask required to work in these roles, the way that people came together to speak about work issues but often not what was in their hearts. I felt like the workshops I was running with professionals from different industries were sitting at a very surface level, all about the mind, but rarely about what mattered most to people. I longed to help facilitate more meaningful connection. I wanted to create spaces where people could be honest and share their hopes and fears as well as their competency and their ideas for work.

Over time I started to have a yearning to do something more creative. Our work was deeply creative in a sense – we were always designing and innovating, but I yearned to do something that involved the visual arts and making things. I started studying art therapy, part-time, on my weekends and days off, just in case one day I might find a way to use it.

creative life

Burnout helped me take the leap  

I had always been quite competent but not very confident, terrified on the inside of all that was required of me, but reliable and seemingly calm. I liked doing well and getting lots done but at times the burden of what I was carrying felt too much, and I would eventually buckle under the weight of the stress.

Burnout was a hard teacher. Finally, I learnt that my body had limits and that I could not be in stress mode indefinitely without it affecting my ability to continue. Burnout taught me that downtime is important to balance the busy periods. It taught me that constant worry about the future is not helpful. It also taught me that I still exist without work, without a title, without ‘outputs’.

In art therapy, we often talk about the hero’s journey and the descent into the ‘nadir’. This is the challenging place at our lowest where we feel that part of us is dying a symbolic death – before our ascent back into the ordinary world refreshed, wiser and more enriched by the journey. Burnout was this for me – the worst fear realized and endured – the catalyst that helped me leave my job and past career and take baby steps in a new field.

Feeling my way as an art therapist and coach

When I decided to start my own business, I gave myself permission to try things to see what I liked. In some ways work for me had always been doing ‘what was needed’ or ‘what I had been asked to do’. This was a chance to ‘feel’ my way through life – what actually felt satisfying, enjoyable and absorbing. Without stress fuelling my actions, with time and space to do and not do, I was able to observe what tasks I was able to do joyfully without much effort.

I had to adjust my pace through the first year especially, as my body was still quite exhausted and recovering its energy. I dialled back my expectations and allowed myself to have days that weren’t very productive. More and more I listened to the quiet voice of my body and less to the fear-driven voice of my ego. It felt like Persephone, a popular archetype for the wounded healer, spending time periodically in the underworld before returning to the productive harvest of summer aboveground. I embraced yin and yang, light and dark, productivity and rest.

Starting again wasn’t always comfortable. It was a brand new area of work and rather than being an experienced practitioner, I was a beginner all over again. I had to adjust to no longer having big and fancy projects to talk about or other trappings that made my ego feel secure. I had to sit with grief, loss, self-doubt and feelings of failure that came up sometimes. A book that resonated with me especially at this time was Wild Creative by Tami Lynn Kent, a love song to a life lived intuitively and in tune with our physical selves.

creative life

Bringing together my passions and loves

What my new work brings me is a chance to sit with people in honesty and create a space where all feelings are welcome. In art therapy groups, we speak about all aspects of life – and there is often a bittersweet tone to the conversations, about loneliness, about challenges, about grief, loss, trauma and mental illness. But there is also joy, sweet playfulness, and heartfelt connection between participants. There are shifts and development for individuals on the most humble of levels that are also quite profound – as they stretch their windows of tolerance, as they develop confidence in themselves as a creative person, as they practice speaking and being listened to with respect. In coaching, clients navigate self-doubt as a step forward towards long-held dreams.

I love that my work involves art now – helping other people make friends with art, playing with art materials, attending client exhibitions, making art myself, facilitating spaces where people make art together and reflect on the insights it has for their lives.

It also involves design and creativity in terms of thinking of new workshops, new programs, new writing that might be helpful for my clients. I love problem-solving and brainstorming with my coaching clients. I love the way that each session draws on all that I have to offer and there is a requirement to be in the moment, fully absorbed and focused with that person, responding to the mood, situation, communication styles, needs and more of each client.

creative life

Embracing my scanner self and a meandering path

Another big part of the journey towards a more wholehearted life has been embracing the part of my personality that is enchanted with learning and novelty. After discovering Barbara Sher’s work on scanners (multipotentialites, multipassionates, renaissance folk), and especially her book Refuse to Choose, I have found it easier to be kind to myself about my moving passions. Beyond just kind, I also approach my multiple interests with more respect and curiosity. I look for underlying patterns between the things I am interested in and know that to be happy I must do what I love.

How wonderful when we can give ourselves permission to do what we love, and not be wracked with guilt about being ‘selfish’ because we realize that people doing what they love benefits us all.

I went on to train to become a coach with Barbara Sher. This was face-to-face training over five modules all held in Germany! Geez, that was a lesson in following my instincts to do what I love even if it ‘makes no sense’. Since then I have been honoured to work with amazing multipassionate people around the world as they take steps to bring their dream projects into being.

What this insight into my personality has mostly given me is lightness in holding onto whatever it is I’m working on now. So for example, while my creative life at the moment looks like being an art therapist and coach, I no longer define myself entirely by my roles. Instead, I give myself permission to always be learning about how I can contribute my skills in the world, and what configuration of work feels good to me. I know that this will change over time, and I am less attached to having a CV that ‘makes sense’ to others than I am committed to listening to my inner voice, my curiosity and my fascination to see what might be the next thing for me.

creative life

What is wholehearted to me?

Becoming more wholehearted has been about embracing my softer side, my fearful side, the side that needs rest and can’t always ‘produce’, my intuitive and heart connected side.

It has been about living through and beyond perfectionism, overwork and burnout. It has been about creating a more gentle and caring way of working that plays to my gifts not just my skills.

In some ways, it has been about letting go of control and being okay with not knowing how the river of my work and life will meander. As a keen gardener, I like to imagine my life as a creative garden, which might be replanted frequently and feature a different mix in the years to come. In part, being more wholehearted has also been about stepping back from work, and having it take up a smaller part of my life, and unhooking myself from the wheel of achievement as a primary driver.

About Jade Herriman

Jade Herriman

 

Jade Herriman (Dip TAT, BSc and MSocSci) is a creative business owner, art therapist, artist and certified Barbara Sher life coach based in the Inner West of Sydney. She loves using art therapy and coaching to help people see themselves and their situations in new ways, and helping others create, connect and work towards their dreams. For more information, go to www.jadeherriman.com

 

Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Keep in touch + free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

You might also enjoy my free 95-page ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’ – all about wholehearted self-leadership, reading as creative influence and books to inspire your own journey.

Just pop your email address in the box to the right or below You will receive the ebook straight away as well as updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing on personality type, coaching, creativity, writing, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

inspiration & influence intuition

How to write a new story in positive ways – Gemini Full Moon Tarot Reading

December 9, 2017

“The world needs a new story. Each of us needs a new story.”

Cathy Pagano, Wisdom of Astrology


new story

“So find your tribe who shares your story and loves you for it! If you live out your story well, you will attract other people out of that dark, dead-end story into their own heart-stories.”

Cathy Pagano, Wisdom of Astrology

The Gemini Full Moon encourages us to write the new story of our lives. This reading reflects on ways to tell this new story and step through any fear.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Gemini from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

With Mercury just having turned retrograde, there is much to reflect on. This is a healing time as well as a time of self-mastery where we have an opportunity to cleanse our perceptions and open up to a new way. Time to upgrade our thinking and remember that we are free to perceive our experience in what ever way we choose.

Those final words above speak so powerfully to me now: “that we are free to perceive our experience in what ever way we choose.” Sometimes we forget the role our perceptions play. We have the ability to choose to create our story. One of my favourite quotes of all time is Peter Drucker’s:

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Gemini Full Moon energies

This Full Moon has powerful energies for writing and rewriting our story and creating our future. We can choose to connect with fear as our story. Or we can choose to see it as a story of love. It’s all about perspective, self-mastery, self-leadership and feeling like an active player in our lives instead of a passive recipient of circumstances. Whatever happens, we have choice in how we respond and how we find power and resourcefulness. And being our best or dream self can help create a more positive future – for us and others.

As Cathy Pagano reminds us in her post:

What have you discovered that can change your beliefs about yourself and the world? What new story comes to you as you shed your old story?…This is all about the stories we tell ourselves about life. Too often we gather facts that support our point of view so we don’t have to change our old story.

This made me think of Colette Baron-Reid’s fabulous definition of FEAR in her oracle cards as False Evidence Appearing Real.’

We can tell ourselves any narrative we like. But with these energies, it’s time to create powerful authentic stories of the heart. Through this, we can connect with our heart tribe and community and help others tell their stories.

This is what Wholehearted Stories is all about here at Quiet Writing: wholehearted self-leadership and authentic, heartfelt storytelling so we can create new more powerful stories. Writing out how we have seen and experienced can be a way to get to the heart of the story we really want to live. This might be the one appearing in our shadow careers or trying to write itself in the margins of our life. And this storytelling can help others to recognise, shape and tell their story.

The current energies help us to write a new personal story in more positive ways.

Gemini Full Moon connections

Working with tarot via Tarot Narrative each day helps me to align with my intuition and with that of others. I’m also working with the cycles of the moon and intentions in each cycle to support my creativity. I’m fascinated with how the messages connect up across these intuitive practices and with those of other people.

As I write, the Page of Fire (Wands) from The Good Tarot has turned up twice in two days, followed by the Page of Water (Cups) with messages around beginning new adventures. It is as if we need to rewrite the story or see it from a fresh perspective to take advantage of these energies right now.

Even if you have felt, like I have this year, that circumstances can be overwhelming, we can always choose how we respond. We can also choose when to respond. I love this quote from Pindar’s Odes in the front of Anne Deveson’s book ‘Resilience’ :

In time the wind sags, and we hoist new sails.

So it’s all about new stories, new sails and new adventures right now as we head into the end of 2017. It’s all about the story we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Gemini Full Moon tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Gemini Full Moon, I worked with:

This Full Moon in Gemini tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

Deck wise, I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki, my favourite tarot deck especially for questions about creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:

new story

This is another big and deep spread with eight cards like last month’s Taurus Full Moon reading. THE LOVERS was an interesting card to see arriving first up and had also recently appeared in my Tarot Narrative readings. This card speaks of choosing self-love in our relationship with ourselves. It also emphasises following our heart.

There are few swords appearing in the reading too, just as there have been many swords lately in my daily readings. In this reading, they are:

  • KING of SWORDS suggesting analytical creativity and focusing on how we use our mind
  • THREE of SWORDS reminding us about getting to the heart of things especially at challenging times.
  • NINE of SWORDS with thoughts around where we might be giving air-time to negative stories.

To balance this, there are also three RODS or WANDS in the reading:

  • QUEEN of RODS – emphasising how we actually live out our creative dreams
  • ACE of RODS – focusing on commencing action and rebooting
  • SEVEN of RODS – all about standing strong and standing up for ourselves and our story

Element-wise, it’s nearly all fire and air, fitting in with all the phoenix energy around lately as we rise from the ashes of negative stories and find new ways to live and focus.

There’s an absence of water and not a lot of earth, suggesting emotion is perhaps lacking or sitting beneath the surface of our days. There’s a clue there as to how to balance things a little more.

As always, a fabulous Tarot Narrative with these initial clues – so let’s dive into the fuller reading.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with guidance from my own Tarot Journal as well as the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols and Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot. Then connected back with the key energies highlighted for this Full Moon via the Mystic Mamma post and aligned posts. Messages from my daily readings are also always high in my mind.

1 What is pulling me in one direction? THE LOVERS

Yes, it’s my passions, my loves, my heart and saying yes to possibilities. It’s the desire for completion and the telling of new stories. In ‘Jung and Tarot’, Sallie Nicholls quotes Plato calling Eros:

the desire and pursuit of the whole.

She also says that “as with any archetype, to live out this instinctual force on the outside without assimilating its meaning can result in imbalance.”

This is what Quiet Writing is about – my own wholehearted story. It’s finding my tribe and connections around this, living out my story well to connect with others. And in this to support others to tell and live their story positively. It’s definitely heart and story work that I am working on here. But it needs to be balanced – both heart and mind.

2 What is pulling me in the other direction? KING of SWORDS

Well, yes, it’s my head, my mind, the intellectual side of the equation. This past year has had so much happening around ‘head vs heart’ and learning to work with both in a balanced way. This card here suggests there is still a lot of pull going on around this dynamic!

The King of Swords is a strong card of analytical intellect and creativity. It’s about working with words and clarity of thought. Above all, it’s about putting knowledge into practice. The challenge is blending the heart and mind together, managing this polarity into a more seamless way of working. I am much better at it but this reading suggests there is more work to do in this space now.

Just as we can go overboard with too much emotion or feeling, we can also go the other way with leading with the intellect and leaving the heart out of it. I know this is something I need to be aware of as an INTJ personality type where intellect and logical analysis often rule.

3 How can I best find the balance between the two? SEVEN of RODS

This card for this question speaks to me of needing to stand strong in myself and for what I believe in. It’s about backing myself and my Quiet Writing story, and our wholehearted stories.

It’s so easy to scope out our vision and then doubt it or question it. “Who am I to do this?” we can second guess ourselves. As Jessa Crispin says for this card: “Sometimes you have to fight yourself down, too.”

Combining what I love and am passionate about with putting it into action through words is the way to balance heart and mind now. Standing strong in my vision for myself and my new life, I write a new story I can step into, believe in and share with others.

4 Which facet of my life is not fitting with the others?   QUEEN OF RODS

This card flummoxed me a bit here. The Queen of Rods (Wands) is all about embodying passion and creativity. It’s about going after what we want and living our dreams, being the Queen of them.

On reflection, I think this card here is saying that I am holding back a little with my emotions and passions. Intellectually, I know where I want to go with my new story and Quiet Writing business. Possibly in line with my ice maiden, Virgo, INTJ personality, I can be and come across cooler than I feel. So maybe it’s saying to warm up, to embody passion and creativity more. “A woman of heart and mind”, as Joni Mitchell phrases it, sings to me of poetry and really expressing my heart more in how I work and communicate.

This balance of heart and mind possibly needs a bit more warmth in how it expresses itself in the world. My word of the year for 2017 is PASSION. There’s a clue as we wrap up this year. Perhaps time to reflect on how passion is playing out in my life and where I can express myself more. I do tend to hold back a little and can err on the side of understating my feelings. Time to write more heart into my story.

Can you relate to this balance between heart and mind and working out the right balance for you? Your story might be different but this push me/pull me feeling can be a strong one to work through but is valuable to learn from.

5 What illusions must I shatter before I go forward? TEN of COINS

The Ten of Coins (Pentacles) speaks brightly of prosperity and positivity. It suggests material success and how we are manifesting and attracting abundance. Further, it is about true riches in this such as community, connection and a sense of belonging.

This is suggesting I need to shatter some illusions about being comfortable with attracting abundance and being fulfilled in this new story. There’s been so much change in my life and I have been focusing so much on transition and building a new future. I need to remember to enjoy what is here now: new friends, community, connections so rich, the prosperity I have now. And also to be open to more of that abundance in every way as part of this new story.

As The Art of Life Tarot reminds us for this card:

“Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.”

John Petit Senn

6 What truths will emerge as the Moon rises? THREE of SWORDS 

Along with all this balance between heart and mind, it’s about getting to the heart of the matter. It’s about making sense of grief, loss, release and feeling your way to acknowledging pain. This card is always so visceral to me – like you can feel the pain of it. But the Three of Swords is about the meaning of pain and disappointment and how we overcome difficulties.

For me, this has been an ongoing journey this year in the battle of heart and mind and working more seamlessly or in a balanced way. Certainly a lot of the truths this year have been about accepting situations of loss and pain and learning from them. I welcome more wisdom in this area as I continue on this journey.

7 What beliefs trap me and how can I release them? ACE of RODS

We can make things seem very hard by over-stating how hard they are.

The importance of commencing action and just starting is important now and in this coming cycle. Part of the challenge is the negative stories we can tell ourselves making things harder than they need to be. NaNoWriMo taught me a lot about this in the past month. I learnt that I can write 1,667 words in under an hour. And that in an hour a day over a month, I can write 50,000 words.

So if my aim is to write, the best thing is to just start and work through that one hour each day as I write my story. Combining heart and mind, it’s about believing in our story and getting it down in practical terms as well. It’s the energy to start and ignite my passions as I imagine them. AND bring them together King of Swords style into real-life heart work in the world.

How often do we not start something because it seems so difficult? And then when we do start, we often find it’s not so hard at all.

8 What messages does the Universe have for this new phase? NINE of SWORDS

The Nine of Swords highlights where we are giving oxygen to fears especially through our thoughts. Again in that heart and mind balance, this is can be about turning certain thoughts off and focusing on how real our fears are. (Think FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.’).

To balance potential fear-mongering in our minds, look at the facts of the situation and what evidence there is. What is real and what is just fear? And how can we turn on the light of joy in the story of our lives more? Look at where you have worst-case scenario stuff churning in your head. See how you can rewrite this story into a more realistic and positive one.

new story

Ways to step into your new life story

So are your thoughts also on how to step into a new more positive life story?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Gemini Full Moon and reflections on my reading. They build on the recent Taurus Full Moon reading and  Aries Full Moon reading around stepping up into our truth. The key focus now is on how we can write our new story in a positive light, leaving fear behind. We can also incorporate learnings from challenges to make meaning of loss, pain and disappointment. Working through this, we can share our experiences with others in a wholehearted way. From this, we create more positive stories and can help others on their journey as well.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help write your new story at this time:

  • Where are you feeling pulled in one direction or another?
  • How can you balance the polarities – whether it be ‘head and heart’ or something else?
  • If feeling fear, is this helping you and how much of it is based on fact?
  • Where the fear is real, how can you act to minimise its impact?
  • What stories have you been telling yourself that are not serving you anymore?
  • Where would it be helpful to write a new story about your skills, knowledge, experience?
  • How can you cultivate joy in this storytelling?
  • What new story would you love to write in your life or in your art?
  • What beliefs or fears are stopping you from writing this story?

Another journalling activity that can be quite telling is to write about our life in fairy tale language. Just starting with the words, “Once upon a time,” is a powerful way to tell our story and rewrite it in new ways.

Wisdom from the Nine of Swords

The Nine of Swords is a fairly dark card but speaks to us of how we can make things darker than they really are. The Art of Life Tarot version of the card reminds us via Voltaire that:

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.

New story

 

May you rewrite the story of your heart with balance and meaning so you can take action and connect with your tribe. And may your wholehearted self-leadership help you be of service to others!

Thought pieces

This is posted a little later than usual for the Full Moon reading but life is fairly challenging at present behind the scenes. I do write these posts and my daily Tarot Narratives based on my cards and intuitive guidance. And whilst a snapshot in time in line with energies and intuition, the messages, quotes and any wisdom therein is applicable to everyday life any day. Plus I find these Full Moon readings are a lovely marker of the energies in focus and I find they tell their own story as they unfold.

I hope you find some meaning and story for yourself in this post and my intuitive tarot work. It’s a touchstone for me every day and a way of making meaning in my story.

Feature image via shutterstock.com and used with permission and thanks.

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You might also enjoy:

Aspiring to be what we are and can be – Taurus Full Moon Tarot reading

Authentic ways to act and be in the world – Aries Full Moon Tarot reading

How to step up into our power – Pisces Full Moon Tarot reading

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

transition wholehearted stories

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

November 27, 2017

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are.

Carl Jung

Becoming

This guest post from Colleen Reagon shows that becoming who we are is about connecting the narrative and listening to our heart.

This is the fourth guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have my dear friend, Colleen Reagon, as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Colleen is a long-term reader and supporter of Quiet Writing.  We’ve enjoyed regular connection over time via the creative community of Instagram and recently into the coaching realm, where Colleen was one of my first coaching clients. Colleen and I are kindred souls in many ways and I am so appreciative of her camaraderie on our creative journeys.

My sincere thanks to Colleen for the contribution of her story. I am grateful for the original images Colleen shares in this piece – her photography is such a delight. Colleen’s story is a journey around becoming and connecting knowing and doing. It highlights that whilst there are risks in making change and following through on our desires, it can result in us feeling much more aligned  – read on to find out more!

Beginning the conversation

Although the desire to live a wholehearted life has been with me for a long time, I’ve only
recently stepped onto the path to becoming who I really am.

My husband and I have spent a lifetime in Adelaide — bringing up children, renovating our
bungalow, running a business and pursuing a professional writing life.

About five years ago, the children grown and flown the nest, I found myself out of step with
life. I’d drifted out of working in our business and given up my corporate freelance writing
work, with plans to change direction. Creative non-fiction was luring me. I read books,
completed courses and wrote lists. But I was treading water in a stagnant pond with no way
out. Although I was unhappy with my lot, inertia and halfheartedness kept me company.

My husband and I talked many times about changing our lives. We made decisions, initiated
plans, then allowed our comfortable life to float along. We didn’t have the courage of our
convictions. The smallest obstacle was enough to thwart our plans. Life was too easy.  We
lived comfortably, our business moved along without much effort and we stayed in a rut with
our dreams blowing in the wind.

Until two years ago.

Life was brown — that stagnant pond colour. I felt isolated although I told myself that I
preferred solitude, that I worked well on my own. The trouble was that I wasn’t really
working. I was fiddling around the edges with no real plan and it turned out that my husband
was bored with the business. It was a habit which was weighing him down. We began a new
conversation about changing our life and realised that it was then or never. The change
required stamina and energy and if we left it much longer we might not have the energy.

Becoming

First steps

That summer we made a real plan. Sell our business and our house, find a parcel of land in
the country near the sea, build the dream house and live a more creative life. We pored over
real estate advertising, planned the dream house, and imagined how our lives were going to
look. The perfect life — just the right balance of leisure, engagement and creative endeavour.
But reality has a way of sneaking in. It wasn’t so easy to sell our business, the house needed
work before we could put it up for sale, the perfect parcel of land in the country was illusive,
and I still had no plan for my work life.

I was a writer but I felt a fraud. There were no clients. I finished my courses but hadn’t
submitted one article for publication. Heck, I wasn’t even showing up to the page regularly!
The more I thought about being a writer the more despondent I became.

Discovering what matters

2016 rolled around and summer turned to autumn. We were no closer to our dream of a sea-change. The business wasn’t sold, the house was still awaiting its repairs and my life continued to blow in the wind. The dream was starting to evaporate like all our previous plans.

Searching for direction, motivation, a guide to change, a spark, I was reading three books at once. Mark Nepo’s book, ‘The one life we’re given’, was a catalyst. He says that we are all born with a gift, we just need to find and nurture it. As I read, I felt wretched and guilty. There was no need to search for my gift, it was there. Had been there all along. A passion for words and writing — and I wasn’t nurturing it. He says,” The ultimate purpose of the gift is to exercise the heart into inhabiting its aliveness.” Not much exercising going on either!

Mark Nepo says, “Our dreams, goals and ambitions are all kindling, fuel for the heart to exercise its aliveness, to bring our gift into the world, to discover what matters.” Well, the kindling was piled up—enough to light a bonfire of epic proportions—but the spark was missing. I read on, looking for a simple solution, something to quick-start my heart into aliveness.

And there it was. The words scintillated from the page:

Aliveness shows itself in response to wholeheartedness, when we can say yes to life, work with what we’re given, and stay in relationship — to everything.

These words brought an awareness of what really matters.

Becoming

Gathering momentum

The changing season from summer to autumn marked the transition from inertia to action. It
was a busy season.  On our annual Italian journey, I gathered material for travel pieces I
planned to write. We cast our net wider and explored the south coast of New South Wales for
a piece of land, and resumed discussions about our dream plan. We began the work to prepare
our house for market, we put our business up for sale. And I said yes to showing up at my
desk.

We dared to make some decisions and our plan was finally gathering momentum.

Becoming a wild writer

Nurturing my gift of writing became my foremost intention. Paying attention to it consistently however, was difficult. I turned to books again. This time, Stephanie Dowrick’s Creative journal writing: the art and heart of reflection’ came to my aid. The title of the first chapter, “Writing a journal may change your life”, was written for me.

Yes!

Journal writing wasn’t new to me, I’d tried many times but didn’t keep it up. This time however, I felt a new purpose. It was a way to exercise my heart into aliveness.

I bought a beautiful journal, created a morning ritual and sat at my desk every day and wrote. The exercises in Stephanie’s book were liberating. I felt a new freedom to explore what mattered to me, to be creative not only with my writing, but in my thinking about the future. I managed to vanquish my obsession with perfectionism, a hangover from corporate writing and editing days. I became a wild writer. My daily wild writing led me through autumn, in step with our decluttering, repairing and real estate activities. I started a blog and recorded my thoughts as a way to be accountable. I became more present. And I found pleasure in my writing for the first time in years.

Becoming

A shift in imagination

Autumn moved slowly into winter. I observed my nectarine tree from my desk each morning, the leaves changing colour and slowly dropping to the ground and still some clinging stubbornly to the branches. Then one day, the breeze brought the last of the leaves down, a golden-hued carpet covering the ground. And like my tree suddenly surrendering to what is, I too felt a shift. A shift in imagination. Thoughts which had been cluttering my mind suddenly drifted away and I found myself writing a few simple questions in my journal — the most salient of all: “What if?”.

Asking “What if?” opened the door to new possibilities, and the space created in my mind allowed me to begin to write a new vision for my life.

Writing a journal is an adventure in self-discovery and more: clarity, insight, truth, developing my authentic voice and most importantly, focus, are gifts I have acquired along the way.

And the richest benefit, beautifully expressed by Stephanie:

Writing a journal is a way of honoring your own life, taking it seriously even as you open to the energy and spaciousness that creativity brings.

Mark Nepo was the catalyst for exercising my heart into aliveness. He shone a light on what it meant to be wholehearted. Stephanie Dowrick gave me permission to explore who I wanted to become.

Becoming

Following my heart

It was another year before our house was sold, the business as well, and a further three months before we made the trek to the south coast of New South Wales. It was twelve months of stressful activity, uncertainty and at times, doubt about our decision to pack up and close down our life. Adelaide was our home for 25 years and to take a leap into the unknown with just a dream and some fragile plans in our pockets was a scary thought if we allowed ourselves to think too deeply on it.

During that time I continued my journal writing — gaining new insights and developing my intuition. I felt a new freedom to extend my creativity. I took more photographs. I started to draw, a desire since childhood which I thought I didn’t have the talent for. It turns out that anyone can draw if taught some basic techniques. It’s like anything you want to master, all you need is the desire and the commitment to practice regularly.

I followed my heart through my journal writing, coming to the conclusion that this new chapter of my life required me to create a new story. One which honours all aspects of my life — freelance writing, travelling and communication professional. It was time to weave all these strands together into an authentic foundation for the person I was becoming.

Becoming

Creating the new story

I needed help to create my new story and serendipitously another alliance was formed. This time not through books, but in person. Terri Connellan had been busy working on her own major life transition from government employee to coach and writer. As part of her learning, she offered the opportunity of six sessions of career coaching. I believe it was a gift as the result of, as Stephanie Dowrick says, “being open to the energy and spaciousness that creativity brings” — a benefit from writing a journal.

It’s been an invaluable experience having someone to collaborate with, talk over ideas and support me in my quest to find the essence of my new story. I’m weaving the strands of my work life, my travels and my professional writing into this story. It is a strong foundation. When I took the first steps along this path, I was all too ready to discard what came before. Through my journal writing, my reading and my work throughout the coaching sessions, I’ve come to value these rich layers in my life’s story. The process of writing my journal especially, has been fundamental in revealing what matters most to me and has helped me to find a fresh approach to bring these aspects into my new narrative.

Becoming

On the path to becoming who I really am

Winter has turned to spring, a time of renewal and growth. A perfect season for new beginnings. Our life in Adelaide is a finished chapter. We have moved to our temporary home in New South Wales with its green rolling hills, pristine beaches and clear running rivers. Our transition has been fraught with challenges, anxiety and apprehension. However, our dreams are in place and our plans are spread out before us.

I hold dear many memories of my life in Adelaide — our home with its beautiful garden, children growing up, significant occasions celebrated, the orchard whose abundant harvest I will miss this summer and the rich cultural activities which I probably took for granted. But our new life here has begun. There are summer vegetables planted, we are exploring the treasures this region has to offer and the path ahead is illuminated by our purpose.

My wholehearted story is being created every day as I put one step in front of the other, one word and then another on the page. I’m holding onto quiet hopes of celebrations of dreams big and small. I’m walking the path, becoming who I really am.

About Colleen Reagon

Colleen Reagon

Colleen is a freelance writer and editor who loves words and how we use them. A communication professional for 25 years, she helps clients—especially small business—communicate effectively. She recently moved to the south coast of New South Wales to further her quest to live a passionate life. She has bibliophilic leanings, believes she was Italian in a past life and is often found with a camera in hand. You can find Colleen’s personal stories at A passionate life and photos of things that give her joy on Instagram

 

Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

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Authentic ways to act and be in the world – Aries Full Moon Tarot Reading

October 8, 2017

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Now is not the time for gilding the truth, or avoiding it, but for strategizing the best, most compassionate, way for you to stay aligned.

Jessica Shepherd, from Mooncircles

  focused

The Aries Full Moon invites to step into the power of our truth. This tarot reading reflects on authentic ways we can act and be in the world at this time.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Aries from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

Now is the time to bring forth our truth in a way that can heartfully express, assert and realign that which is out of balance. With the Sun in Libra, we can learn to do this in a way that is compassionate and cooperative so that it can illuminate, purify and transform. 

This Full Moon has powerful energies for finding our authentic heart. It reminds us to not be afraid of our own power and who we are. There are messages too around aligning and realigning where we may have got out of kilter. It’s an opportunity to reflect on where we are lacking in compassion for ourselves and others. Small, simple adjustments in attitude and actions are helpful now to self-correct and steer a more positive path.

Aries Full Moon connections

Working with tarot via Tarot Narrative each day helps me to align with my intuition and with that of others. I’m also working with the cycles of the moon and intentions in each cycle to support my creativity. I’m fascinated with how the messages connect up across these intuitive practices and with those of other people.

Today’s Tarot Narrative was about ‘keeping it real’. That message is a central focus for this Full Moon period and beyond.

Jessica Shepherd via Mystic Mamma highlights aspects of being true to ourselves in this Full Moon period. Spinning off thoughts from watching the new documentary on Lady Gaga, Gaga: Five Foot Two, she talks about the vulnerability of being who we are.

And this fear of being perceived as too messy, imperfect or emotionally vulnerable struck me as a woman’s issue: All this focus on who we are to others (Libra) versus who we are (Aries).

How often we censor our true, raw experience because we think it makes us weak, crazy, too emotional, when it’s actually refusing the whole truth of our real experience that weakens us…We aren’t born afraid to be our selves. We aren’t born fearing what other people will do or say in response to us, what their reaction will be. It is learned behavior. It can be scary to be ourselves–so real, so aligned, so honest–because it pushes other people’s buttons.

Because real-ness is scary to those who can’t be real in their own lives.

There’s a very strong message in this Full Moon about finding ways to be authentic but balanced. This might be through our choices, our ways of working and our collaborations. We need to negotiate ways of combining self-expression with collaborating with others. Whilst we are focused on our truths, it’s about learning to live them in a compassionate and wise way. For example:

  • If we can see a better way of doing something, how do we communicate that – forcefully or with love and respect?
  • There might be a myriad of choices open to you, but what’s the self-compassionate way to work?
  • How are we aligning with our core values in our actions?
  • Where can we gather the courage to act with the support of others?

My focus here at Quiet Writing is on wholehearted self-leadership. These energies provide a special time to reflect on and step into the power of our truth. This includes an emphasis on how we can be true to ourselves whilst we also align with others in our work in the world.

This dramatic, transformational energy has been accumulating and evolving for a while now. The combination of fiery, assertive Aries and Libran balance, focuses us on our authenticity and how it relates to others.

Aries Full Moon tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Aries Full Moon, I worked with:

This Full Moon in Aries tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

authentic

Deck wise, I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki, my favourite tarot deck especially for questions around creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:

 

authentic

THE FOOL was a fabulous card to see arriving straight up, setting the tone for the reading. I have had many messages recently about being at the end of a cycle. So this card suggests we are off on a new adventure with courage, truth and leaps of faith involved. A few favourite and recurring cards appeared for this reading too:

  • SEVEN of CUPS suggesting we are looking at the choices available to us.
  • FIVE of COINS (PENTACLES) reminding us about what we are leaving behind. We need to think about what to leave behind and what to take with us from our past as we move on.
  • PAGE of SWORDS symbolising our core values and new ways to work with them practically.
  • EIGHT OF RODS (WANDS) providing a sense of opportunity and action. There’s the courage to work differently in multiple areas; also to take on others’ viewpoints.

THE MAGICIAN turned up recently in my daily Tarot Narrative to remind me that our work is about combining the four elements in new and unique ways. We need a balance of fire, air, water and earth in how we work as we modulate and tune ourselves.

This reading with THE FOOL up front, followed by one card from each of the suits or elements, provides valuable clues to how to negotiate this time.

As always, a fabulous Tarot Narrative with these initial clues – so let’s dive into the fuller reading.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with guidance from the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols, Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors e-course notes, The Good Tarot Guidebook and Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot. Then connected back with the key energies highlighted for this Full Moon via the Mystic Mamma post and aligned posts.

1 What area do I need support in? THE FOOL

THE FOOL always makes you smile when it surfaces. Focusing in on new beginnings, the start of a cycle and new journeys, it’s all about time to take a fresh look. It’s interesting that this card has popped up around the question of where I need support.

As anyone following me for a while would know, I am going through a major transition time. Any transition time is about identity. As we shape a new way of being or moving in the world, we are also dealing with our identity. It might be getting back to our authentic heart. Perhaps it’s learning to collaborate with others in new ways. It involves working out what to leave behind, what to take forward and where to focus.

We have to work out what’s in our bag of tricks as we go forward: which skills, truths and messages are central? So this card in this space is suggesting it might be a good time to seek support as we hone this.

This aligns with my current work and focus. I can do a certain amount myself. But I am a fool if I think I can do it all myself. I’ve had to work out where a beginner’s mind is useful and where I need to work with others to complement my skills. I’ve been seeking out partnership with creative others right now: photographers, graphic designers, web specialists and other creative souls who can support me and travel with me on this journey.

So what’s right up front is a focus on our journey but seeking support to be able to live its truths. Jessa Crispin reminds us that “silencing the inner critic” is also part of this practice. I’ve just finished Tara Mohr’s Playing Big and she talks about the value of an inner mentor as opposed to an inner critic. That internal supportive practice would be really valuable to dive into at this time.

2 What do I need to devote my energy to during this moon cycle? SEVEN OF CUPS

I love the SEVEN of CUPS! It spells opportunity, choice and richness. But it reminds us that too much choice, being scattered and over-indulging are not helpful. So this time is about working out ways to have a diversity of input and output, but also recognising when too much is too much.

In line with the theme of being real, Jessa Crispin reminds us:

If you pull the Seven of Cups, you have to ask yourself whether your idea of where you want to end up is fantasy or if it’s imagination. And the only way to tell the difference is to see how much real work you’re putting into your development. (p183)

So clarity is a key piece in seeing where to devote energy at this time. Working out which strategies are effective and seeing whether the way you allocate time reflects your aims are valuable practices now.

It’s easy to get seduced by activities that feel safe and go nowhere. In ‘Playing Big’, Tara Mohr talks about ‘hiding strategies’ – things like doing more research, getting more qualifications and consulting more widely to feel ready and able. It’s a good time to cross-check whether your actions and strategies are in alignment with your goals or are just holding patterns. Choose wisely to get your authentic work done efficiently. Devote your energy to what brings fruition, fulfilment and nourishment.

3 What in my past do I need to make peace with to become more balanced and stable to welcome the future? FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES)

The FIVE of COINS (PENTACLES) is a card that always speaks strongly to me. It’s been arriving frequently of late including in last months’ Pisces Full Moon reading. This was on the question: What plans do I need to take risks on in order to release any blockages in my way? So it’s popping up in a similar way in this reading.

This card is about feeling out in the cold in some way. It represents a combination of moving on, leaving behind what wastes your time, and working out what to take forward from those experiences. It’s not without pain and feeling rejected, that’s for sure. But the trick with this card is to work out what is of value to take with you as you move ahead.

For example, I have many skills, honed over time, to take on this new journey. They include leadership skills, self-leadership learning and a deep ability to teach and facilitate that I can apply to writing and life coaching, especially group coaching and online learning.

Feeling outcast in some way can make you want to shut the door and leave it all behind you, key parts of yourself included. This card is a reminder to hold the deep authentic truths of ourselves close as we move on. You can take forward what’s quintessentially you and turn it into something golden, unique and special. All your new skills are able to merge with the old, applied in a new way.

4 How can I best use the Full Moon to align with my core values?   PAGE OF SWORDS

This card takes us to the heart of the reading. The Art of Life Tarot quote for this card is the Buddhist proverb:

When the student is ready, the master will appear.

There’s a sense of finally being ready to make big steps. This might be ‘turning pro’ or more professional in approaches to creativity and writing. It could be making your most authentic goals the centrepiece, instead of them languishing on the periphery of your life. There is a sense of readiness and having the right guidance and support for the journey now.

It’s all about knowledge and logic, shaping experiences and ideas into something that can take root and grow in a grounded way. The trick though is about wielding the sword of mastery into something tangible – a book, a course, a new life.

authentic

5 Where in my life do I need to gather courage and leap into action? EIGHT OF RODS (WANDS)

For cards of action, the EIGHT OF RODS (WANDS) is right up there. Like the SEVEN of CUPS, it suggests multiple options, multi-tasking and choices to be made. But above all, this card is about the energy of taking action in many ways.

It signifies rapid communications, doing several things at once that interconnect and hitting the mark with your efforts as they interweave. There’s power here, though we need to stay focused and calm, not get too carried away with all the options.

Collaborating with others, integrating their ideas and insights is valuable at this time. We don’t have to juggle all the pieces by ourselves. If we are going to get our authentic work done, we need collaborators, advisors, teachers and experts. Just as THE FOOL reminds us in arriving up front, we are all beginners in some respects, no matter what our background. Learn to seek support and gentle guidance now. Don’t be too proud and don’t be afraid of being vulnerable or of asking for help. Maximise the opportunities of this energy by working with and listening to others.

Ways to step into our authentic truth

So are your thoughts also around how to step into our authentic truth, with a balance between independence and collaboration?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Aries Full Moon and reflections on my reading. They build on the recent Capricorn Full Moon reading and Pisces Full Moon reading around stepping up into our power and truth. The key focus is on how we can work with others on the new aspects of this journey. That way, we can be of service as we get our work out there in a more efficient and aligned way.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help maximise your personal self-leadership at this time:

  • Where do you need support as you go on your journey?
  • What is new to you and where can you seek help where you feel out of your depth?
  • What’s holding you back from getting your work out there?
  • How can you work more efficiently with the support of others?
  • Where are you afraid to ask for help? Why is this?
  • How do you know the choices you are making about priorities are the right ones?
  • What evidence is there to reflect the return on effort?
  • How can you use this information to make better decisions about how you work?
  • Where can you simplify, rework, take small steps, to make the biggest difference?
  • What thoughts and habits are no longer serving you?
  • How can you replace them with more effective strategies?
  • Where are you wasting time?
  • What’s your most authentic desired passion, outcome or project?
  • How much time are you spending on this?
  • Are you doing what makes you happy?
  • If not, what changes can you put in place to do what’s more authentic for you?

Wisdom from the Five of Pentacles

And here is some final wisdom from the Five of Pentacles via the Art of Life Tarot on the heart of being authentic.

authentic

How unhappy we can be when we are not living an authentic life!

On the flip side, how wonderful is it when we start living the way we’ve always wanted to live, steeped in our passions? Working from what we love, collaborating with others and sharing our learning in new ways to help others on their journey is the greatest joy. It’s time to bring this joy to life as much as we can in simple steps of alignment. This Full Moon energy is helping to make these small but powerful steps.

May you enjoy living your authentic life in small and big ways, stepping into it more fully and freely. And may your wholehearted self-leadership help you be of service to others!

Apple feature image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

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36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

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20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

September 19, 2017

You are what you do, not what you’ll say you’ll do.

Carl Jung

showing up

Showing up and being brave

This is all about practical ways to show up and be brave. Because it needs to be talked about so we can all show up more, be brave, share our experiences and celebrate them.

Each time we show up – personally, creatively and in support of others – it gets easier to do it again, more often and in a deeper way. Every time, one of us shows up and is vulnerable, it helps and encourages others to do the same. And it involves action at its heart.

Tara Mohr says that her frustration is:

Brilliant women playing small. Women like you, with dreams they want to pursue and ideas they want to share.

Brené Brown says:

You have to make a choice: am I going to show up and be seen?

So here are 20 practical ways of showing up and being seen. Because each time we act, it makes it easier for ourselves and others to do the same.

I hope that it inspires you to show up and be a little braver each time in all that you are doing. Know too that it’s not a selfish act. It’s a way of helping others, showing the way and opening the door.

showing up

20 practical ways of showing up 

1 Support others who are not well or who are struggling

  • Supporting others and learning with them on the journey has to be one of the biggest and most important ways of showing up.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, but reach out, do what you can, make time, pick up the phone, send a note or a book. Support people practically and let them know you are thinking of them.

2 Hold space for others

  • Simply holding space for others – listening, witnessing, being there, asking questions – is so powerful.
  • It’s something I’ve learned through caring for my mother and through my coaching program this past year.
  • Having space held for me and holding it for others has been a huge support and source of growth, teaching me so much.

3 Make time for self-care 

  • Showing up for both yourself and others involves an investment in self-care.
  • It might be regular practices like yoga or meditation, exercise, knowing when to rest or making time for what lights you up.
  • Make time for practices that energise you in line with your personality. It could be finding time to read alone if you are a more introverted person. If you are more extraverted, self-care might mean connecting with friends and going out.
  • A huge learning for me this year has been about how self-care is a critical part of caring for others. Just like the adage of putting your own oxygen mask on first, we need to feed our own wellbeing to be helpful to others.

4 Set learning goals and achieve them

  • Identify learning goals that will help you reach your long-term goals and commit to them.
  • You can set smaller goals, like spending 30 minutes each day on an online program you’ve invested in or working through a book to learn new skills.
  • Set your learning goals and work towards them incrementally, knowing the direction.

5 Gain certification or qualifications to strengthen your knowledge and help others

  • Linked to the above, another way of showing up is to study to gain certification or qualifications.
  • This requires commitment and working week by week over time, making sacrifices and putting in the effort, but it’s so satisfying!
  • This past year I completed my Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coaching program. A key part of my life transition plan, I’m now a very proud Beautiful You Life Coach.
  • Whatever it is you need to know and develop, look at options to gain the skills you need. They can be in formal or less formal ways; both are important options.

6 Honour your personality and deepen your gifts

  • Honour your special natural attributes and skills, by recognising them, paying attention to them and investing in them.
  • Find out more about your personality and how to work your strengths. Personality wise, it could be introversion or extraversion; sensing or intuition; thinking or feeling. Talent wise, it might be writing, photography, sewing or art.
  • This past year, I learned more about Tarot as a way of honouring my personality and deepening my gift of Introverted Intuition.
  • Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors course helped me deepen my knowledge of tarot as an intuitive tool.

7 Develop your gifts and talents by practicing them consistently

  • Once you’ve identified your strengths and talents, one of the best ways to show up is to practice them.
  • Tarot and oracle have become deep personal practices that I work with regularly, flexing my intuition. I share my Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram, linked to books and quotes.
  • If you are working on writing, show up by writing each day. It might be morning pages, a set number of words, an amount of time, or a unit that makes sense to you. But whatever it is, put it into practice.
  • As Stephen King reminds us:

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

8 Connect on social media as a way of showing up and practice 

  • Social media gets a bad rap as a time waster. And it’s true, you can waste a lot of time there if it’s unfocused. But connecting on social media can be a beautiful way to show up for yourself and your creativity. It can also be powerful in supporting and helping others.
  • I’ve shown up on social media – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter mostly – over time because I value it immensely as a way of connecting with kindred creatives, growing the Quiet Writing community and learning from my connections.
  • Whether it’s sharing creative practices, books, tarot readings, the detail around you, the landscapes or streetscapes of your environment – it’s all a way of expressing you.
  • The community I connect with on Instagram has been such a creative and emotional support for years now. I likewise offer this support to them. Many of us have become close friends even though we’ve never met. Some of us have had the great pleasure of meeting in real life!

9 Commit to blogging, reading or other accountability practices regularly 

  • If you’re a creative, you can show up via commitment to a pattern of accountable, regular practice.
  • Showing up has an aspect of accountability. It might be books read on Goodreads, blog posts on your blog, social media over time or working quietly with an accountability group behind the scenes.
  • I’ve blogged for 7 years now but always struggled with consistency. This year, I’ve posted 1-2 times each week. It’s been a challenge but I’ve committed to it and talked about it.
  • Reading can also be an exercise in accountability and productivity practice.
  • Try to find a practice and metric that works for you and be accountable.

10 Write about your story

  • Be authentic and write your story. This helps others feel less alone and encourages them to do the same.
  • I’ve written about my journey of becoming more wholehearted this year on Quiet Writing, encouraging others to do so too.
  • From that, I’ve encouraged other women to share their wholehearted stories with 12 women coming forward to guest post on Quiet Writing in 2017-18. We will create an e-book together on our wholehearted stories to help others discover and share their own.
  • Each story opens the door for others. It might be a blog post, a novel, a poem or a memoir. Telling your story will help you work out so much – just as it will help others to read your experiences.

showing up

11 Write for others, guest post and stretch your audiences

  • Embrace your ability to draw on your experiences and knowledge to write for others such as via guest posting.
  • It’s a way of showing up for yourself because you have to ask yourself: What do I know? What have I experienced? What can I share? How can I help others?
  • It pushes your boundaries, stretches you and helps makes connections across your areas of knowledge and experience.
  • Powerful stuff, it makes you more visible and builds your audience as well. Here’s a guest post I wrote on a subject dear to my heart: leadership, self-leadership, and solitude.

12 Write and publish or self-publish

  • Write with a view to publishing whether it be on your blog, for a publisher or self-publishing.
  • It’s all valid and more than that, it’s a path to ways of earning income, developing your voice and getting your work out there.
  • Over time, I wrote 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence, a personal narrative of the books that have impacted my story. It’s 25,000 words and is available free for Quiet Writing readers. It’s a gift but I also learned so much from it.
  • Self-publishing is not just vanity publishing anymore; it’s a very real way to be read, build business and skill, and seek further publishing options.
  • As Joanna Penn says on your publishing options:

The publishing world is exploding with opportunity right now…and many authors are finding new ways to build a career with self-publishing, traditional publishing or a hybrid combination of the two.

13 Communicate and connect with others especially kindred creatives

  • Connect with special kindred souls whether it be via your newsletter, in your social media exchanges or through sharing posts and books.
  • Create ways people can communicate with you and be accessible if your aim is visibility.
  • People want to communicate with you as a creative human being however you can make that work for you and others.
  • If you do find someone who you connect with as a kindred creative, reach out to them in some way. It can feel vulnerable, but it’s worth the risk. You never know what might evolve from showing up in this way. Some of my best collaborations and connections have developed from one of us doing exactly that!

14 Commit to working on energy healing and spiritual areas

  • Working on energy healing and spiritual development is integral to personal growth and self-care.
  • I’ve committed to working on my intuitive skills as well as healing and working with guides to support my growth and creativity. I work with the magical energetic healer Amber Adrian.
  • Find what works for you in energy and spiritual realms. Whether it’s prayer, angels, crystals, tarot, oracle, channeling, church or working with the cycles of the moon – working with these connections is supportive in managing our energy, healing, breaking through barriers and being authentic.
  • And it’s time to shed any concerns about what people think about this. As Ruby Warrington says in Material Girl, Mystical World, it’s time to come out of the spiritual closet.

15 Work through a life coaching series 

  • Working through a life coaching series is a fabulous way to show up for yourself and others.
  • Coaching is goal-driven and action-oriented. You’re in the driver’s seat and are responsible for showing up and doing the actions.
  • You can have an excellent coach, but unless you do the work, there won’t be much personal progress.
  • As part of the Beautiful You program, I’ve worked hard on coaching goals of balancing self-care with the care of others and of juggling writing and coaching as twin goals in Quiet Writing.
  • I’ve learned so much too from the experiences of my Pro Bono Life Coaching clients as they have learned through a life coaching series with me.

16 Connect with family members including through family history research

  • Making time for family and ancestry is a way of showing up for yourself and others you are connected with over time.
  • My family and family history is important. I’m committed to understanding the stories of the people who came before me.
  • This helps to keep family, family history research and ancestral connections alive and can teach you so much about yourself and your heritage.

17 Work with or for other people in line with your values

  • Whether it’s paid, pro bono, volunteer, in the home or outside, how are you working with or for other people?
  • How do the experiences and outcomes validate you and show that you are on the right path and have much to give?
  • If it’s not feeling right, how else could you work with and for other people to grow in a different direction?
  • Think about how you are aligned or how you can be better aligned so you can show up for what is of value to you.

18 Work through the practicalities of health and well-being issues

  • Our health is an evolving and changing issue and one we need to honour and show up around, whether it’s in public or private ways. There’s no point putting your head in the sand about your health – physical, emotional and mental health.
  • You don’t have to share what’s not comfortable but on the flip side, if we all stay quiet, what is the impact of this?
  • Consider: How are you showing up on the health issues in your life and how are you addressing them? How are you taking responsibility for any changes and understanding them? What actions are you taking? What support is there? How can you connect with others and with information on health issues? Are you reaching out for help if you need it? How are you showing up for others?
  • As well as caring for my mum who is unwell, I’ve been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this year as well as osteoarthritis. I’m asthmatic and the flu hit me twice quite badly. I’m usually well so it’s been a challenge all round!
  • Working through the practicalities of all this with tests, learning, treatments, and reading, I’ve aimed to understand the meaning of these changes in my life.
  • I’m not saying I have it all sorted by any stretch, but being authentic, honest and open about these issues will help me a lot more than pretending they don’t exist.

19 Identify your body of work in the world

  • Whether it’s the job you are in now or the job you are heading to or if you are self-employed or working for others, identify your skills and body of work in the world.
  • Consider: How have you shown up over time in roles and with skills that matter? How have you made a difference? What are the special skills you bring to the world?
  • Think about how you can develop and take this body of work forward to help others.

20 Identify the core themes in your business or life’s work

  • I’ve worked on my new Quiet Writing business and its core concepts – its focus, key tenets, proposed offerings, how I can serve people.
  • I know its focus is ‘wholehearted self-leadership’ based on my own experiences.
  • Being connected, creative, flowing, intuitive and poetic are core values of my brand.
  • Consider: What are the core themes in your business or life’s work? What are the threads that tie this story together? How can you serve others from all that you have learned?
  • Think about how you can show up in your business or creativity to help others.

showing up

Showing up is not just about us

It’s not just about us and our own experiences. Self-leadership is where it starts but each of these actions impacts and enables others. We can never know our full influence. A key part of showing up is trusting that our work makes a difference to others. Whether it’s what we write, our intuitive work, tarot readings shared, social media inspiration, communicating with and caring for loved ones or holding space.

My Tarot Narrative work started as a practice just for me but as I was doing the work, I thought I might as well share it. Each day I receive messages of how my intuitive work helps others. This means so much to me and deepens my commitment and practice.

It starts with each one of us but it’s not all about us. It’s about being of service to others and inspiring others as well.

So share your story…

How are you showing up in the world?

  • Where have you stretched a little this past year to show up, hold space, reach out, learn, put your creative work into the world?
  • When you have showed up and been vulnerable, how did it help others?
  • How could you be a little braver?
  • Where would it be of benefit to show up more?
  • How could your showing up more be helpful to others?

Share your story in the comments below or on IG or Facebook!

Feature image and open door image from pexels.com

Clivias are in my garden and the flowers were from my mum x

Keep in touch

Sign up + get your free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes coaching, writing, creativity, and other connections to help you show up and express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and connected #12 – the courage to show up

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

How to write a blog post when you have almost no time

coaching personality and story planning & productivity

Creative and connected #12 The courage to show up

September 15, 2017

Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

show up

It’s Quiet Writing’s first blogiversary so I’m sharing thoughts on what I’ve enjoyed this week and over time on the courage to show up and be seen.

One year ago, on 13 September 2016, I hit the publish button with a welcome post on Quiet Writing. I’d been writing for six years before on my previous blog but it was time to step up. I wanted to refocus on my core values of being:

creative, intuitive, flowing, poetic and connected.

And this past year has been about weaving these values into everything I do. As I reach a one-year milestone at Quiet Writing, I’m thinking about what it means to show up here and elsewhere.

Showing up at Quiet Writing and elsewhere this year

The whole world changed this past year. Showing up for me has meant learning a new way to live. My primary role has been supporting and caring for my mother who is very unwell. That’s been a new experience of showing up, day in and day out, in ways I’ve never known before. It’s been emotional and has required digging deep.

At the same time, I’m working through a major life transition from leader and government employee of 30 years, to being a writer and life coach. I knew I needed to make this shift and then as I started, everything changed. This has involved all kinds of showing up – learning new skills, valuing my body of work, writing consistently and believing in myself in a new way. It’s taken place in an environment where I support my beautiful mother as the first priority.

In all this, I’ve had to focus on self-care too, learning how to be resilient and strong in this shifting landscape. I’ve had to learn to make time for myself – to rest, to swim, to plan a different future. And working with intuition has been important too even if it feels a vague thing to be doing at times.

I had one plan and circumstances delivered – and continue to deliver – a whole different scenario. It’s been a year of learning on all fronts – about myself and about what showing up and doing the work means. Certainly having the courage to be vulnerable and be seen has been a critical aspect of my learning and writing here. It’s also time to reflect on the need to be flexible in how we show up.

So with all this, here are some thoughts and resources on having the courage to show up and be seen.

Podcasts on what it means to show up

Scott Stabile on the Rawness of Real Life – on The Secret Library Podcast with Caroline Donahue

I love it that when I’m thinking about something like ‘showing up’ and writing about it, it pops up in my life in various ways. This podcast celebrates the release of Scott Stabile’s new book, ‘Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart‘.

It’s a fabulous conversation and around the 17-minute mark, there’s an exchange on showing up and fear that really spoke to me. Scott says:

…what I found was that every day showing up at the computer was an exercise in just moving forward with your fear.

He talks about how fear is always showing up as well and how we need to learn to work with it. He suggests the best way to put fear in its rightful place is through action:

Action assuages fear.

There was also a valuable takeaway on how showing up means different things for each of us. We all have our own unique ways of working. Doing the work and sitting down to write or create is central to it, but we all do this in different ways. We need to honour our own process and the ways of showing up that work for us. It might be working every day at a certain time or in a stretch of intense time. Perhaps we write in a cafe, at home, at night or while we’re commuting and it might be dictating to a machine, hand-writing, typing or speaking to someone else. But it’s all valid and our own rhythms and processes, so let’s celebrate and not be so damn hard on ourselves.

Thanks to Caroline and Scott for a fabulous chat and I look forward to reading Big Love!

Show up as if you’re already where you want to be – Jen Carrington, Make It Happen podcast

This short (8:41) podcast is a pep-talk from creative coach, Jen Carrington, on her mantra of “showing up as if you’re already where you want to be in your creative work and life”. It looks at how to honour this in your work by shifting mindset, changing practices and modifying the stories you tell yourself and others. Self-care is an important factor too in “fuelling your hustle”. It’s a powerful burst of inspiration to help you show up in your life and work.

Who gets to decide if you’re a legitimate artist – Mark Nepo with Elizabeth Gilbert, Magic Lessons

Ths podcast shifted my thinking enormously about external validation and who or what I am waiting for to feel valid. It’s a soulful conversation on how we can limit ourselves with this waiting. It illustrates that embracing and expressing our creativity is the best way to move forward. Again, fear of rejection emerges as a key factor to challenge!

show up

Books and reading notes: My reading week

In line with showing up with reading more productively and my accountability here, I’m reading a few books concurrently. I haven’t finished any lately though am making progress on all. I’m reading:

Getting my own ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ out into the world has been a big and satisfying priority!

I also received a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday recently so I’m looking forward to reading more via this device. It’s so lovely to read on, managing the eyestrain and screen impacts. It also means having access to books at reasonable prices including those of indie authors! Plus it’s better for the environment, easier to carry and helps with managing space in my library.

Book and blog notes on the courage to show up

In How do you show up? Teresa Cooley, Executive Director of the Center for Courage and Renewal talks about showing up in the light of recent and current natural disasters. She says:

The only thing we can control in the face of nature is how we show up. This kind of courage usually doesn’t take thinking about. It’s simply what we do. And every small and large spontaneously brave action tells us something precious about what humanity is capable of. It is that knowledge that helps us get up to face another day, no matter what it brings.

In The Vitamin Cocktail of Courage, Jane Bolton looks at varieties and elements of courage. She provides practical tips for how we can “supplement our personal reservoirs of courage” through action.

It seems action is a consistent theme! My favourite books on showing up, doing the work and courage are:

Steven Pressfield: The War of Art, Turning Pro and Do the Work

Brené Brown: Daring Greatly, Rising Strong

Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic

Stephen King: On Writing

Some of these feature in my special ‘36 Books‘ list so you can read more there.

And I think Scott Stabile’s ‘Big Love’ might join this list soon!

What are your favourite books and blog posts on the courage to show up and do the work?

courage

Social media interactions

On Instagram, there’s been plenty of people showing up around Kim Manganelli aka @journeyofawriter and her #showup100 hashtag project. The idea is to show up for 100 days before the end of the year and share pics of how you are doing this. If you are looking for an online community focused on showing up creatively – this is the place for you!

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, I’ve been thrilled to launch my free ebook: 36 Books that Shaped my Story into the world. It’s been so lovely to hear from readers engaging with my story! It’s a journey of creative influence and how books are ways that shape and flag what’s calling us.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram continue to be a way to practice intuition at this time of change. There have been plenty of messages about going with the flow and trusting our journey. Gabrielle Bernstein in ‘Spirit Junkie’ reminds us of the role of intuition and connection with spirit in our work and life:

Since my primary focus was to stay connected to spirit, everything else flowed. Each outward action I took was backed by strong intuition and inspiration. All I needed to do was commit to the belief that with spirit as my guide, everything was possible.

Share your thoughts:

Would love to hear your favourite books, posts and thoughts on the courage to show up! And all about how you are showing up in your life!

Have a fabulous creative weekend.

show up

Creative and Connected is a regular post (most Fridays) and links to recent previous posts are below. Or you can find them all here. There are so many rich resources to inspire you and I hope you enjoy them. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

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Keep in touch

Sign up + get your free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes coaching, writing, creativity, and other connections to help you show up and express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality type assessment.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #11 – on the special value of self-leadership

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

creativity inspiration & influence

How to step up into our power – Pisces Full Moon Tarot Reading

September 8, 2017

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Now, feel just how you would choose to have your life feel and infuse it with light and power.

Pat Liles, from The Power Path

  Full Moon in Pisces

The Pisces Full Moon invites to step up into our power. This tarot reading reflects on how we can maximise our self-leadership at this time.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Pisces from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

Assimilating into the now, we welcome a watery *FULL MOON* in Pisces. She reminds us to go within and listen to the deep pulsing of our hearts.

Can we hear our unique beat? Can we find our way back to our place of self-recognition, our exhale into ourselves, into our fullness, into the moment as it is? Exactly as it is?

This Full Moon has powerful energies for shifting into our creative heart. It provides opportunities to break old habits and ways of thinking. It’s time to get back to what is important, sacred and wholehearted for each of us now.

Special Pisces Full Moon connections

I felt a special connection with this Full Moon. Being in the Sun sign of Virgo and on my birthday, it flagged particular personal significance. It also connects with the focus of Quiet Writing about being wholehearted and, in this, being of service.

Cathy Pagano highlights the Virgo aspects of this Full Moon period:

At this first Full Moon after the Leo Eclipse…we’re going to dive deep in the Collective Unconscious (Pisces Moon) to see those aspects of life which we’ve neglected and abandoned in favor of our patriarchal need to ‘get ahead’.

As we deal with our shadows, we can figure out how we can be of service (Virgo Sun) to our world.

But before we can be of service, we have to integrate our own body, soul and spirit.

That’s Virgo’s purpose: to integrate all of who we are so we can offer our talents and gifts to the world…

I felt shivers as I read this.

These words sum up my purpose here at Quiet Writing; that is it: “to integrate all of who we are so we can offer our talents and gifts to the world.

My focus here is on wholehearted self-leadership and these energies give us a special time to reflect on and step into our personal power. This includes an emphasis on how we can be of service to others in our work in the world.

This dramatic, transformational energy has been accumulating for a while now. But now we can step it up, with the combination of watery, creative Pisces and practical, efficient Virgo. It’s a perfect time to hone the passions of our true heart. A key part of this is leaving behind what no longer serves us, especially any negative habits of how we think about ourselves.

Pisces Full Moon tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Pisces Full Moon, I worked with:

This Full Moon in Pisces tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

Full Moon Pisces

Deck wise, I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki, my favourite tarot deck especially for questions around creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:

Full Moon in Pisces tarot

I smiled as the TWO OF SWORDS arrived first up around “What’s bubbling to the surface from the shadowy depths?” It also popped up for my New Moon in Leo/Solar Eclipse reading two weeks ago around what’s blocking me from growing. This card for me is all about thought and feeling, how they come together and feed each other. So I sensed that this reading is all about being at a crossroads and an opportunity to move through.

THE WORLD turning up around how I can better connect emotionally with the world was a lovely synergy. Expansion and how being wholehearted relates to service jumps out as key themes.

There are three Swords cards in all so a big focus on cut-through and words as thoughts, tools, and weapons. And I love that both the first and last cards feature blindfolds, being trapped in some way, possibly of our own doing. This suggests it’s time to break free and the KNIGHT OF SWORDS hints at this energy of riding, moving and being less risk-averse.

The FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES) and SIX OF RODS (WANDS) are also cards I connect with strongly. They are indicators around how we choose to see the world and what we do with all our experiences, including the challenging ones.

As always, a fabulous tarot narrative with these initial clues – so let’s dive into the fuller reading.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols and Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot. Then connected back with the key energies highlighted for this Full Moon via the Mystic Mamma post and aligned connections.

1 What is bubbling to the surface from the shadowy depths? TWO OF SWORDS

The key message for me with this card in this spot is about the ability to choose between options. This is especially about what we choose to think and feel. When it came up for the New Moon, my thoughts were about “how being guarded comes at a cost” (Sakki Sakki Guidebook p139). This theme continues for this reading.

It could be taking the blindfold off to be able to see more clearly. Or it could be choosing to keep it on to zone out from what’s distracting us, just as we might wear noise-cancelling headphones to concentrate. But having the strength to choose and stop second guessing all the time is important now. How much energy do we chew up about what we can’t change? What effort goes into worrying about what we are unable to influence?

So what’s bubbling up as a force is being more certain and less trapped in our thinking patterns. It signals being more in tune with our feelings.

2 How can I protect myself while still letting down my walls in order to FULLY feel? FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES)

The FIVE OF COINS exactly captures that feeling of being unprotected. As Jessa Crispin puts it in The Creative Tarot:

You’ve been cast out. Excommunicated. That’s how this card feels, like you’re some kind of leper, and the people around you can’t wait to stick you on an island somewhere and forget about you. You feel lost and unprotected. (p161)

My sense of this card is around choosing to see the positives in any given situation. As the Sakki Sakki guidebook puts it: “Start seeing the full half of the glass, what you do have; and never underestimate your caring relationships and friendships.” (p158)

It is so easy when we have been cut adrift to feel the whole world is a loveless and lonely place. You might be making your own way, especially creatively, and independence has its virtues. But access the help of friends and supporters as you make your way. New connections and those special friends who’ve been there for you over time are of immense value now.  They are ways to protect yourself at this time of vulnerability and forging new roads.

3 What plans do I need to take risks on in order to release any blockages in my way? KNIGHT of SWORDS

The Knight of Swords arrives, brandishing his sword in a somewhat swashbuckling way, to remind me to just get on with it. He reminds me to be less risk-averse in my vulnerability and creativity. I need to follow through with my planned thoughts and actions.

Especially, I need to not fear being innovative and making new connections.

If you’re making a new way in a new world, what ideas are you coalescing? How are you bringing together those unique combinations only you can create? In what ways are you expressing your unique life blend, your onlyness?

Jessa Crispin reminds us:

Swords are words and thoughts, and the Knight of Swords knows how to use his words as weapons…It’s about using your ability to put thoughts and words into action, to sway others, and to encourge dissent. (p241)

It’s a good reminder to review how we are using our words in the context of being of service to others. How are we encouraging, offering support, also being that special friend to others? Where can we use our influence in the world for good and for positive outcomes, to make a difference?

4 What can I incorporate into my life in order to better connect emotionally with the world around me?   The WORLD

I like that THE WORLD came up for this one – a beautifully expansive perspective! In this context, this card speaks of having a sense of completion and mastery. It’s time to realise those lessons learned and take them forward. Gathering all the pieces, steps and parts together, it’s a moment to step up and contribute.

We can stay focused, FIVE OF COINS style, on what we lack, what we’re missing, how we’ve been shut out. Or we can take a look at how far we’ve come in this past year and realise the hard won victories and efforts. And we can celebrate them and see how we can take them forward to help others now.

So the way to better connect emotionally is through a heightened sense of contribution – yours and mine. What can we do with all this learning, this mastery, this completion? How can we apply it to benefit others?

Spring

5 What wisdom and guidance is emerging from my old wounds? SIX OF RODS (WANDS)

The SIX OF RODS (WANDS) speaks of rising up especially against obstacles. Your new life is taking shape. All that learning from events and people that wounded or disappointed you is being transformed into wisdom. All that rich experience is being absorbed into the fabric of you, especially the grief-stricken and painful times.

As Jessa Crispin focuses our attention:

That’s the goal here: to use failures, near-misses, and lessons learned in battle, and focus on breaking through to something larger and bolder. (p172)

My favourite words about this card are from The Wild Unknown:

Where will you go with your new set of wings?

six of wands

6 In what ways will awareness of my Self manifest during this Full Moon? EIGHT of SWORDS

Ouch – the EIGHT of SWORDS! All of these swords at the end of the number sequence (8, 9, 10!) don’t always feel so great to receive. But there’s a powerful message here.

The image of the EIGHT of SWORDS shows a woman blindfolded (like the TWO OF SWORDS). She seems to be in a trap of her own making. It’s all in the mind it seems. This card here speaks to me of realising how my thoughts stop me from moving forward. What stories am I telling myself? How are feeling and thought interacting and where I am trapped in old habits of thinking?

The Sakki Sakki guidebook tells us directly:

The Eight of Swords is calling you to break out of restricting habits and thoughts, and to initiate your own well-being and advancement by heightening your awareness of your abilities and options. (p145)

So I need to stop waiting to be rescued and for someone to tell me what to do. In line with the TWO of SWORDS up front, I need to make decisions, be clear and cease the second-guessing. Be informed about options and act on them.

Moreover, it’s a message to save yourself and be self-sufficient, noting the support of others as per the FIVE OF COINS. Trust your judgement, listen within and pay attention to what you are telling yourself. Are you being kind and self-compassionate now as you make huge changes? Are you celebrating being more wholehearted?

Combine that KNIGHT OF SWORDS and SIX of SWORDS energy too. Find ways to create yourself anew and to be in service to others based on your learning.

Ways to step into our personal power

So are your thoughts also around how to step into our personal power, with a balance between self and service?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Pisces Full Moon and reflections on my reading. They build on the recent Capricorn Full Moon reading around stepping up into our power, shedding what doesn’t help us. They also focus on how we can take our learning forward to support others.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help maximise your personal self-leadership at this time:

  • Where do you need to take the blindfolds off?
  • Alternatively, where is it helpful to turn a blind eye?
  • Where does being indecisive cause you grief and hold you back?
  • What is the reason for this indecision?
  • Where can you focus on seeing the glass half-full right now?
  • How are you honouring and calling on the special supporters in your life?
  • Where have you developed mastery and how can you share that?
  • What wounds or disappointments have you moved on from?
  • How can you celebrate and share the wisdom from this learning?
  • Where are your thoughts keeping you trapped? How can you change them?
  • What habits of thought need to be shaken now?
  • What are the underlying feelings keeping you stuck?
  • How can you acknowledge the feelings and move through?
  • Where are you waiting to be rescued or saved? Why?
  • Who is going to rescue you?
  • What can you do to be more self-sufficient at this time?

Special resources for this time:

Two special resources are waving their hands at this time.

Firstly, Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching 101, which I featured in Tarot Narratives on Instagram recently, is stepping forward. This book is a great self-help guide to how our thoughts and feelings interact and cause us difficulty. It’s especially good for breaking old thinking/feeling cycles.

Secondly, I listened to the podcast, How to Stop Playing Small, on Hashtag Authentic yesterday. It’s Sara Tasker chatting with author and coach, Tara Mohr, of Playing Big fame. Here’s a key quote from the show notes:

A lot of us have some sort of sinking, subtle awareness that we’re playing small – even if we don’t know exactly what we mean by that. We have this feeling – I’m hiding, I’m holding back, I’m not using my gifts, I’m not really trusting my ideas.

It was such an awesome chat about how we second-guess and doubt ourselves, especially with language. As I wrote here today, I was much more aware of how I used words like, “I think…” “I guess…” and “It’s probably…”, undercutting my message. I then stopped myself and found another way. It was scary how many times this happened. Time to step up and stop that!

I’ve heard a lot about Tara’s book and I must read it. It’s clearly a book for now and for taking those blindfolds off and being more self-trusting.

Wisdom from the Six of Wands

And here is some final wisdom from The Six of Wands via the Art of Life Tarot because it made me laugh and focus on what we need right now!

Six of wands

Enthusiasm, seeing the glass half-full, being supported by our special new and old friends, playing our cards strongly in the world and trusting our visions. It sounds such a positive way forward and all this Full Moon energy is helping to make these big steps.

May you enjoy the unfolding of this time and may your wholehearted self-leadership help you be of service to others!

Fish feature image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

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My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

August 28, 2017

wild soul

This guest post from Elizabeth Milligan reminds us that listening to our wild soul calling can provide important clues to a more wholehearted life.

This is the second guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors if you are interested. 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have my online friend, Elizabeth Milligan, as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Elizabeth and I met through Susannah Conway’s e-course, Blogging From the Heart, years ago now, and have followed and celebrated each other’s journeys ever since.

My sincere thanks to Elizabeth for the contribution of her beautiful personal story to Quiet Writing, including the stunning images from her journey. It’s a journey that has taken her to many new and rediscovered places – read on to find out more!

My wild soul is calling

It’s difficult to say where my story of living a more wholehearted life started.  There was no one dramatic, life-changing event.  It was more of an ongoing unease and restlessness that prodded me awake at night through my twenties and thirties.  A gentle tap-tapping, a whispering breeze, a far-off voice calling my name.  I tried to listen and follow my heart.  I travelled widely and far afield but I never found an answer.  I kept on moving.  I switched careers, jobs and countries more times than I can recall, but still something was missing.  Depression hit me.  Anger.  Despair.  Why couldn’t I just be?  Why the restlessness?  The continual searching?

I arrived at my forties and decided it was stability I needed.  I stopped moving, got a job, met a man.  For a time I was able to breathe.  The elation and euphoria of a new love blotted out all other concerns.  Or did it?  Soon the question of our combined futures was gently raised, and it turned out we were both looking for something other than the lives we were leading.  Ten months into our new life together we jumped ship, left the city and ran away to the countryside.  The plan was to use our savings, take a sabbatical of sorts from life and work in the city and do something more creative with our days, surrounded by nature.  We found a housesit in the middle of nowhere in rural France, gave notice on our jobs, put our stuff into storage, and set off.

Doing the groundwork

It sounds like this was all a smooth transition, but in reality there was a lot going on before any of it could happen.  I’m talking about mind-set and subtle changes that take place through conversation, discussion, self-questioning and research.  Where ideas and thoughts start to become viable possibilities.  I had been listening to Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions and was wanting to take a more proactive approach to my life based on my true values.  I had made my first vision board and stuck it on the wall opposite my bed so it was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing at night.  I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for but I was certain I was looking for something different.

wild soul

I felt like I had spent the best part of my life as an observer and onlooker.  When was I going have the starring role in my own life rather than a sad, out-of-camera cameo?  I could see very clearly where I was in life and to most people, this probably looked like a pretty good place.  A good job in a nice French city, a leisurely cycle to work, regular meetings in Paris, outdoor markets for shopping, and beautiful city parks or the hills of Beaujolais for weekend jaunts.  But in reality, my job was boring me to tears.  It was not who I was and it was not what I wanted.  I felt guilty for not wanting it but I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I realised things had to change and I had become aware of other options.  Instead of constantly trying to quash the panic and feeling of wanting to run, like I’d been doing for so long, it was time to listen to my gut and break free.

Taking a risk and breaking free

So we took a risk, threw everything up in the air and allowed the universe to catch us.  Ever since I read the books of Oriah Mountain Dreamer many moons ago I have wanted to trust in the power of the universe, to open up and surrender to something bigger and infinitely more powerful than we will ever be.  This was my chance.  I knew that we were going on a journey but I didn’t realise, and still don’t fully understand, the long-term implications of that decision we made one warm summer’s evening in our tiny French apartment.

Before arriving at our housesit, an isolated farmhouse sitting alone in over one hundred acres of rambling fields, I had no plan of what I would do every day.  I wanted to see how things would unfold.  I was not going to force myself to do anything.  I was craving unstructured days and freedom and this was the perfect opportunity.

Finding my inner child

Being completely free with no commitments, no expectations from anyone, and no structure in the day is rather strange at this age.  I can see how some people may be uncomfortable with this, but for me it was a wonderful and decadent regression.  I felt like a child left behind in a secret world after all the adults had gone home.

I found a pair of wellington boots that fit me and spent my days in wellingtons and shorts trudging around the fields spotting the local wildlife.  Deer, hares, coypu, egrets, foxes, wild boar, although these I never saw.  I only heard them some nights when the moon was full, calling across the fields with their terrifying blood-curdling screams.  I chopped wood for the fire and foraged for herbs and fruit, making nettle soup, elderberry jam and mountains of quince chutney.  I made friends with the barn owl that lived in the unused kitchen chimney, and the bats that flew around at night, often through the open windows.  I watched the sunrise in the morning and the sunset at night and every full moon I would run into the field behind the barn to catch the first glimpse on the horizon.

wild soul

Feeling like I was finally in my true environment, I became re-acquainted with the little girl inside and realised with relief that she hadn’t left me after all.  She had just been hiding and waiting for the right conditions to show herself again.  As a child I loved cycling and I had forgotten what fun it was to cycle around quiet country lanes.  Using bikes we found in the barn we started cycling to the shops for our groceries instead of driving.  When the weather was warm we would stop off and swim in the river on the journey home.  I felt alive.  I felt in touch with this beautiful planet we live on.  I had rediscovered a missing piece of the puzzle.

Rewriting my story

The next piece of the puzzle I found was regarding personality type.  I was in an online group of women and one week a discussion about personality type came up.  This was new for me so I did an online test and identified as personality type INFP on the Myers-Briggs scale.

This means nothing if you don’t know about this scale.  But what the test results revealed was that I was an introvert.  I had never considered whether I was extrovert or introvert before but the realisation felt like the penny dropping.  I suddenly saw my past with startling clarity.  I had felt like an outsider my whole life.  An observer.  Someone who kept their distance.  I thought I was maybe anti-social.  I had been called shy and quiet at best, and aloof and stand-offish at worst.  Here was something saying I was perfectly normal and not only that, other people felt the same way too.

I realised that if the stories I had been telling myself were no longer true then everything could change.  If I nurtured my introvert qualities and stopped trying to be extrovert like the world seems to want, then I could rewrite not only my past, but my future.  Astounding.

wild soul

Freeing my creative soul

So I started to nurture my newly discovered introvert self.  I very tentatively started to allow myself to enjoy being who I was, rather than reprimanding myself for not being someone I wasn’t.  I tried to stop worrying about all the things I was not and focus on all the things I was.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  But what seemed to help me was the daily pursuit of a more creative way of life.

To document life in the farmhouse I had started a blog and this became my way of communicating my newly discovered introvert self to the outside world.  Using writing and photography I started expressing myself and sharing my journey online.  Later on in our housesitting adventures, I would learn to express myself through art, something I had sadly locked away for years but which thankfully resurfaced along with other creative pursuits as yet another important, and previously missing, piece of the puzzle.

Intuition as a guiding light

Trusting my intuition, although incredibly difficult at times, has become a guiding light on my journey.  If I had planned things out too much I would never have discovered my creative side as I have, because I would have been busy committing to those plans.  I still have a lot of problems trusting my intuition and tend always to look outward first even though I know that only I have the answers to the deep questions I ask myself.  But I’m slowly learning to take the lead in my own life.  Inhabiting my life with my creative, nature loving, introverted self rather than filling the role of onlooker in a life that appears alien to me.

Bit by bit the negative and fractious energy built around the person I thought I should be has dissolved and been replaced by a more positive, gentle, flowing energy that is built around who I truly am.  Some parts of me I am still shy to show to the world, but these things take time and if I continue to trust my intuition then I am sure everything will slot into place as and when it needs to.

The struggle of self-discovery

All of these new experiences and discoveries were not without struggle though.  My demons showed up time and time again in dark moods, self-doubt, fear, impatience and insomnia.  Try to imagine this wonderful farmhouse in rural France in the middle of winter when we have been living in a grey cloud for the past few weeks.  There is no dry wood for the fire and the wind is howling through the badly fitting doors and windows.  The boiler keeps blowing out so there is no hot water and we are sitting there in the kitchen with our demons wondering how long you can spend in such isolation before going completely insane.

wild soul

In dialogue with my demons

This part of my journey I was not prepared for.  But one by one as the demons showed up at the door, snarling at me in disgust, taunting me with their snide comments of ‘not good enough’, ‘failure’ and other such niceties, I invited them in and I sat with them.  Quietly hearing them out until they had no more to say and disappeared off, one by one, back into the mist.  I knew they would return but I felt like it would be ok.  For the first time in my life I had opened up a dialogue with my own mind and somewhere deep inside I knew this to be a turning point and something to learn from.  I am still learning, but I now know that once we let the light in and start to show up every day as our true selves, everything changes.

We never did go back to real life, whatever that is, like we sensibly thought we would after our one year sabbatical, now four years ago.  Our savings lasted longer than we thought and it was difficult to say no to other housesits.  A winter by the sea looking after a tiny hotel.  Another two winters looking after an 18th century château and the resident cat.  A summer in a city apartment in Copenhagen.

The way forward

I’m not sure what’s next and I’m not sure it really matters.  My life has changed from the inside out and although I know I’m not there yet, I’m certainly on my way to living a much more wholehearted life.  Letting go of what no longer serves me and focusing on what lights me up.  Most importantly though, I’m enjoying the journey. ♥

 

About Elizabeth Milligan

Elizabeth is an aromatherapist and quiet creative.  She is currently redesigning her life and work around her own wholehearted values of creativity, positive interaction with nature, and slow and simple living.  You can find Elizabeth online at www.elizabethmilligan.com or on Instagram and Twitter as @libbylibellule.

 

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Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality based on Jung/Myers-Briggs theory.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel. The links are below.

You might also enjoy:

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Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

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Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

July 30, 2017

heart

Frustrated in the quest to find work and a life you love? Don’t despair, the greatest truth is that our heart always knows the way. 

This is the first guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here.  

In essence, Quiet Writing celebrates wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity and I am keen for a community of voices to be telling their story of what wholehearted living means here in this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, Katherine Bell, as the first ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Katherine and I met through an online course, The Introvert Effect, created by Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. When I talked on a group phone call about my planned transition to a more wholehearted way of life, Katherine reached out to me afterwards, sensing a connection in our stories. We have been firm and amazingly synchronistically connected friends ever since, supporting each other and sharing a love of books and especially of David Whyte, who features in this story.

I hope you enjoy Katherine’s story, poem and exquisite photography. My sincere thanks to Katherine for her beautiful contribution to Quiet Writing.

Starting out on my journey towards wholehearted life and work  

This is not a romantic story. Certainly others found it inspiring to start with—a quest towards a better life is something we can all relate to … for a time. But when the initial 12 months I had planned (what was I thinking?) grew into 18, then 24 … then five years and there were no tangibles like an impressive job title, a book, or the usual manifestations we take as evidence that someone has a successful life … well, cue crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling down the deserted street.  

Not long after my 39th birthday, with my life in a dire mess, I checked myself into a psychologist. I naively approached this as I would manage a work project, and estimated that I would be fixed before I turned 40. I was about to learn that inner work—deep inner work—is nowhere near linear. My biggest challenge was that I didn’t know what I wanted, despite recognising that I was desperately unhappy. I also felt that something was wrong with me, as the kind of prescribed life my partner of nearly 20 years had envisaged for us—and that everybody else seemed to want as well—was just not me. I felt like the Ugly Duckling, I simply didn’t belong.  

A beacon of hope 

It wasn’t until a friend passed a copy of David Whyte’s ‘Crossing the Unknown Sea—Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity to me around the same time that I recognised a voice like my own for the first time, and dared to hope that there was another way for work, relationship, life— a way that fit with me, instead of my feeble attempts to contort in ever-increasingly painful ways to fit with it. I can vividly recall the night I started to read it. I was in the bathtub (my Fortress of Solitude in those days) again feeling like the Ugly Duckling. But this time, the experience was akin to the duckling’s heart both leaping and aching when he looked up to see beautiful swans—his own kind—flying overhead. I recognised in David Whyte a kindred other who lived at depth, even though I did not quite know what living at depth was at that time.  

heart

This simple, profound recognition was enough to start me on the journey of my own unknown sea. Here, finally, was someone else who had crossed that sea, I recognised his voice, and I knew I belonged in some way to that pilgrimage. Fast forward to the present day, and with a small, knowing smile I say that the recognition was of my own voice. The best gift of David Whyte’s words have not been their beauty, nor their inspiration (as profound as both are) but the validity, the permission, they gave to my own words, my own voice. There was nothing wrong with me after all, I was not a duckling, I was a swan. I had simply been surrounded with voices that did not recognise mine.  

With that first heart-leap of recognition, and the simple permission given by the Wonderful Mr Whyte, I took the plunge into the unknown sea towards work, life and relationship that was wholehearted. I tackled the problem in the only way I knew how to at the time, which was to leave my job, home, partner and city in the same week (not recommended) and take flight to the other side of the world for six weeks. My entire known life was in storage, ready to be dealt with when I got back.  

In this way I jumped into my own metaphorical boat with not a clue (thankfully) of the squally territory that lay ahead, or that I would feel at sea for several years. I say “feel at sea” as in reality we are never truly lost, or alone, it just feels that way, and part of our quest is to be able to endure the inevitable crises of discomfort, discouragement, or despair. It’s a riding out of the storm, knowing that it will eventually pass.  

Allowing our heart direction to emerge 

I think the trip was the only part of the plan that made sense, in hindsight. It gave me the relief and spaciousness I needed—both literally, staying in remote parts of the English countryside and roaming open fields, mountains, and wild clifftops in the rain, and metaphorically, in starting to thaw out from what had been a fraught existence, both at work and home, for long years at a stretch. I felt like I was emerging from a coma and needing to learn what was real again. This was in the smallest of ways to begin with, an almost imperceptible turning of my head and simple noticing of what elicited a positive reaction in me, like surprise at hearing the unfamiliar sound of my own laugh.    

heart

It was a significant shock when I returned to Australia without a home, job, partner or any structure to my life and needed to take the first breath of my new life. I moved to a regional town near my family, embarking on a series of experiments to find work that worked for me. Work, for me, is of central importance, and my experiences with it not working have been as painful as any of my life’s challenges. David Whyte elevates work to the status of a marriage in his book “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” and I agree with it being given this priority. This is especially so for those who are creative types—there is no divorcing ourselves from our work, they are one and the same entity.  

In Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte talks of “having a firm persuasion in our work” (p.5) and that has certainly been the crux of my quest, taking precedence over relationship for a time. I have grappled with finding work that is heartfelt and resonant, and what has looked like foolishness to others from a financial perspective has been a dogged determination to settle for nothing less. I certainly miss elements of my former lifestyle, but in resolutely setting my sail to my own course I can say I am at peace and happy.  

My golden rule is that as mine is the only head to hit my pillow each night, I’m best qualified to set that sail, as long as I am staying aligned to what is true for me. It has, however, been stressful in needing to hold out far longer than I envisaged, yet the alternative—the life I used to live and the work I used to do—is no more an option for me as running a race if I no longer had legs. As Whyte’s friend Brother David said to him “You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers” (p.132).  

Discovering my work  

The only idea I had about what my right kind of work looked like was that I wanted to write. Knowing that I wasn’t interested in writing fiction was at least a start. I stumbled through exploring writerly activities such as creating a blog, writing poetry, entering writing competitions, and applying for a writing scholarship. However, apart from the cathartic blog and poetry, it felt as though I was contorting myself again into a shape that wasn’t quite right. Thankfully, as Rumi says, “what you seek is seeking you”, and I soon had an opportunity presented to write for a research organisation, work which I found I truly loved. All my clumsy attempts and experiments had in fact been my apprenticeship to the kind of writing I love. In revisiting an earlier journal I discovered the prophetic words:  

“My work will be a melange of my heart – not just one thing, it will be a blend of all the things that make my heart glad: writing, thinking, researching; the alchemy of ideas”. 

Here was evidence that my heart had known all along, I had just not been in a place to hear it, let alone respond to it. 

heart

The benefit of hindsight 

Hindsight shows us that all experiences—even the most painful—prepare us for our own particular work. Some experiences are definitive (like David Whyte’s influence on me, foundational stones to the structure of the work which only we can do) and some are transitional, forming the scaffolding we need to emerge ever so slowly until ready to stand and reveal our work to the world.    

If I could rewind the clock and give myself some advice to make the journey easier, it would centre on the following. 

  • There is no timeframe in matters of the heart, especially when needing to find a way back to life after being metaphorically dead as I was. It will take as long as it will take, even if you are just a little lost. Don’t try to plan and control it; it will only cause additional pain. I think one of the most important things is that any emotional or psychic recovery needs to be given the same credence as a physical injury. I have had to constantly adjust my expectations of the timeframe of recovery, likening it to having every bone, muscle, ligament broken and undergoing extensive rehabilitation, and learning to live again being more than a little changed.    
  • Be kind and patient … with yourself. I wish I had cut myself some slack along the way; I was really doing the best I knew how to at any given point, as feeble as that was. 
  • The truth is not that everything will be OK, it’s that it already is. Time and time again I have had to remind myself “all is well”. Even in the darkest moments, the truth is that everything is working for us when we are aligned to our hearts, not against us.   
  • It’s not a journey with a destination. I’m still not there, and I don’t think I ever will be. As David Whyte says, it’s a ‘continuing conversation’. The important thing is that we keep showing up, open-hearted, looking for the Hansel and Gretel trail that leads us ever homewards, crumbs as clues left behind by an engaged and benevolent Hand (whether we understand that to be our God, our Higher Self, or whatever language we use to give meaning and shape to our spirituality). 

From the time I first recognised David Whyte’s voice (and ultimately my own) in the bath all those years ago to now, I trust my little boat, metaphor for my heart, to carry me ever onwards. I have nothing to fear while I’m aligned to it. My only request is that after several years at stormy sea, I’m soon taken to safe harbour for a little respite, perhaps where I can feel the warmth of the sun of friendship and community on my face. Then, as it is now, all will be well.  

Postscript 

This reflective journey has led me back to a poem that I first started to write as I walked the clifftops in England all those years ago, with my own unknown sea stretched before me. Whilst not originally written with the intention of sharing it, it seems to fit so beautifully into my story that I offer it here.  

 

After

It turns out (in the end) that I am far
stronger than we all thought.

Surprisingly,
I chose to be brave at morning’s first light,
however grey and dim it appeared then.

Turning towards the east
to walk ever closer to the Ocean of Who Knows What,
throwing my face and caution
to the biting wind of my vulnerability,
stripped of all pretence and belief
for better, or for worse:
Strengthened
or at last, Ruined.

In angry defiance
—or quiet acceptance?—
I signed up, took the gamble,
declaring “See here?
This, this is my Mark,
my Consent,
my Line In The Sand
of how I will live and be in this world.
And if I die at this brutal hand
well …
at least I felt the sharp slap and bite of the wind,
the driving rain that hurt my eyes and became my tears,
and the aching weight of loss
after loss
—how will I bear it?—
but knowing at last,
This was Me
I had reached Land’s End,
And I refused to go into hiding again.

Standing on the cliff buffeted, yet
Resolute, watching
the cruel sea
Relentless against captive rocks,
I thought “Poor things, they’re just like me…
—pounded and near-drowned”.

Then pounded and near-drowned some more.

In years to come I will know that in
choosing to live
at risk of the Open Sea
I breathed
walked
and dreamed
Awake
Alive
in this beautiful and vicious world
that sometimes despised,
sometimes loved me
(I never knew which it was).

crossing the unknown sea

 

About Katherine Bell 
Katherine Bell
Before turning to the quieter world of writing, editing and research, Katherine worked for 25 years in the corporate sector across multiple industries in senior administrative and strategic project roles. Making a tree-change from Sydney to regional NSW several years ago, Katherine is passionate about promoting research that translates into real-life outcomes. She is currently working on forming an alliance with other corporate escapees who share her passion for making the workplace more humane and sustainable, particularly for those who are introverted or highly sensitive. Co-founder of  The Edit Bureau she also assists academics in Australia and overseas with getting their work published.

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel. The links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

creativity inspiration & influence personality and story writing

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

July 18, 2017

authentic heart

Knowing the authentic heart of you, the centrepiece, helps you to focus, prioritise and combine your unique threads so you can shine.

There are some central components of you that come together that are pivotal to how you want to work and shine. And there’s often that one piece that lights up the others from within and makes sense of them all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the authentic heart lately, this unique core that coalesces all the others. It seems the energy is right for getting clear on what really matters: the piece that spins and drives all the others. The one that makes you shine and polishes everything else into a shiny constellation of stars and planets.

Sometimes it takes a little searching and reflecting.

The journey back 

About a year ago, I began a journey of transition back to a life that more fully reflects me. Work had taken over and important pieces of me were missing in action. I’m reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea right now. These words I read last night described how I felt when that time hit:

When you get to the bottom, you’ll find everything you’ve disowned and thrown away from yourself lying around on the ground. (P126)

I’ve talked about wholehearted and how this means so much to me. It’s about being whole and finding our meaning, whether it be in work or other contexts. For me, this time was the opposite. You could call it stress or burnout, but I reached a point where the person I was, day in, day out, was not what I wanted to be.

So I began the search to gather back the pieces that were missing.

Beacons of light and stepping stones

In the solitude spaces of my busy days, I searched for the authentic parts that were missing in action. My long commute became the kernel of the way back.

I listened to podcasts that kept my writing ambitions alive especially The Creative Penn. I’ve enjoyed this podcast for years as a beacon for the life I want. Its host, Joanna Penn is the role model who shows me it’s possible. I know I can achieve this – living a writing life, having a self-sustaining creative lifestyle. So when unable to do this immediately, I learned about this way of being and writing as much as I could, every day on my way to work. It was a practical way of keeping the dream alive.

Elizabeth Gilbert, her Big Magic book and Magic Lessons podcast were also lighthouses that helped me find my way. Driving through the national park where I live, heading to the train, I had moments of realisation that kept the trail bright. In one episode, there was a conversation about being on the runway for a long time which hit straight to my heart. I felt like I’ve been preparing forever. The reminder that ‘the action is here’ was poignant. I realised that the time for creativity is now.

My friend, Victoria Smith kept me going through this period via her course Softly Wild. It helped me connect pieces I had lost and discover new ones. I also reached out to Victoria for help with life coaching through a coaching series. It was time to identify the transition path back to my wholehearted self. Victoria had been through similar experiences. With her experience and skill, she could help light the way and hold my hand on the journey.

authentic heart

The authentic heart of me

I identified a path back about nine months ago. It involved transitioning to a self-sustaining creative lifestyle. It had as its core tenets: writing, life coaching, personality/Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification and intuition skills via tarot.

I identified the key elements of learning as:

  • Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy course
  • Certification in personality type assessment (MBTI) via the Majors Personality Type Inventory based on Jung/Myers-Briggs theory
  • A deep dive into the intuitive art of tarot (via daily practice, study and Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors e-course)

And the central element and authentic heart of it all was writing. Quiet writing: my practice, my discipline and the sharing of this; the ability to produce books, blog posts and other pieces that reflected my heart. Writing as quiet influence, as voice, creating my story and sharing it.

In recent weeks, I’ve been circling back to writing as the authentic heart as I finish my Beautiful You Life Coaching course and refine my business focus. And coaching has helped me to define this. As part of completing our Beautiful You certification requirements, I chose to work with writing coach Caroline Donahue to make sure this authentic heart of Quiet Writing was not lost in transition.

Writing daily as my creative practice and working on larger creative non-fiction pieces and writing a novel is central to my business. If I’m not authentically and creatively me – writing day in and day out, showing up, making time for the longer pieces I have outlined or the ones there in my heart, it’s not genuine. I am only able to help others with their creative lives and careers through my own writing and coaching practice of living this every day.

Writing as creative practice

So as I further craft my coaching and writing business, its brand and focus, I know that writing is the authentic heart. It’s why my business name and website is Quiet Writing. The twin hemispheres of writing and coaching, joined by the thread of creativity, are at the centre. But writing is the heartbeat and leader. It’s about the process of becoming, of artistry, of being more wholehearted in the every day, crafting and creating ourselves and our lives. And if I am not doing that myself through my own creative practice, it’s a hollow story.

I’m always writing in my life in some way but recently, I’ve started showing up to writing more. I start the day with journaling via Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages now. It’s been calling to me for a while and I knew it was what I had to do. It’s a kind of first principle – the first lesson in Susan M. Tiberghien’s One Year to a Writing Life.

The first step towards a writing life – and its foundation – is journal writing. To write well takes practice….Your daily life calls you in a thousand directions; journal writing centers you.

It seems so obvious and so simple. And as Julia Cameron explains, it is:

Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

The power of writing these three pages before doing anything else is immense. I’m connecting deeply, I’m resolving things, I’m writing poetry which I haven’t done for a while and I’m freeing myself up for other writing.

I’ve committed to Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram. This is writing centred around tarot and oracle and crafting a creative, intuitive message linked to a book or other influence. It’s a practice I was doing anyway each day so it made sense to share it to inspire others’ creativity. The synchronicity and creative connection have been amazing. It’s now a deep part of my creative practice, linking intuition and writing.

I’m writing two blog posts a week here and I’m working on guest blog posts as well. This practice of showing up here at Quiet Writing in a committed, deep way is helping creative flow. I feel I am hitting my writing stride more comfortably now. I’ve struggled with this: is it better to wait till inspiration strikes or commit to two days a week? Well, I’m doing both and seems to be working well for me right now. I am a writer so I need to be writing!

Working on guest blog posts is another way of honing my voice in areas close to my heart: personality, leadership, introvert strengths, intuition, self-leadership, creativity and being wholehearted. Writing for different audiences and contexts is stretching my writing muscles. I’m studying my readability, the headlines I choose and watching my tendency to overuse the passive voice so I can get my message across more clearly.

And in a big shift last week, I’ve realised I have to make my longer creative projects a higher priority. For example, there’s the book I’ve nearly finished for Quiet Writing subscribers on the books that have influenced me; the novel that I want to write that was actually the genesis of all this; and the signature pieces for Quiet Writing that I have outlined, ready to be written and created. Through listening to this podcast and working with my writing coach, Caroline, I’ve committed to making the longer pieces a priority, like an appointment in my calendar.

So writing is my creative practice and I’m finally finding a place for it in my days as a priority.

authentic heart

Discovering our authentic centrepiece

There’s a lot of messages around right now about finding your authentic centrepiece. This week’s post from Nicole Cody is about reclaiming your dreams:

Inside, our dreams continue to burn. Ideas flicker, waiting for a breeze to fan the flame. Our long-neglected interests and hobbies need only a ray of sunshine and a little fresh air to spring back into being.

This week those dreams and longings begin to come back into focus. A little more of ourselves is restored. Our courage grows.

That’s exactly what it feels like for me as I refocus on writing as my centrepiece.

No matter what it is, keeping that light of you burning brightly as your authentic heart will help make sense of so much.

There are so many ways we can discover – or rediscover – our compass or centre around which everything else pivots.

Practical strategies for finding your authentic heart

Here are some practical strategies for finding that centrepiece and authentic heart:

1 Journaling, morning pages, dialoguing with the self

Make time for journaling, morning pages, dialoguing with yourself or any other form of writing to tap into your inner voice. That ability to hear your voice on the page and settle yourself is the source of so much wisdom. The solitude afforded is in itself is a valuable teacher.

2 Working with a Life Coach

As you can see from my story above, working with a Life Coach is such a valuable way to be supported in hearing your inner voice. A coach holds space for you, asks questions to enable reflection and suggests resources and options to explore to help make change. This is a gift of personal investment to enable powerful discovery and behaviour change in line with your goals.

3 Reflecting on the threads that reoccur in your body of work

Identifying the threads that reappear in your life’s work across its manifestations is a valuable way to reflect on your journey and story. As Pamela Slim defines in Body of Work:

Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact.

Taking this broader view of all your contributions and creations enable you to step back and see the passions that drive you. You can identify the common connections and from this, gain a new perspective on life, career and creativity options.

4 Thinking about your shadow career

As Steven Pressfield explains in Turning Pro, sometimes when we’re afraid of our real calling, we’ll follow a shadow career instead. This might mean living the writer’s lifestyle without actually writing or writing in a corporate context when you really want to be writing a novel. My work life in recent years has featured strategic policy writing, speech writing and writing for the media. I enjoyed this writing but it wasn’t the work I really wanted to be doing or the writing of my heart.

As Pressfield says:

If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for. That metaphor will point you to your true calling. (P13)

5 Thinking about the books you love as clues and evidence 

Think about the books you love as a form of evidence. Look at your bookshelves. What’s the predominant story and style? What’s the genre? Has it been lost along the way? What ignites your heart?

6 Brainstorming and visual maps to find the common threads

Mind-mapping, journaling, vision boards, Pinterest, brainstorming and writing lists are all valuable tools to get to the common threads of your work. Some are more right-brained and some are more left-brained. So mix it up so you can access different angles and see your work from a number of views to uncover the golden threads that connect.

7 Intuitive work such as tarot or oracle to tap into your inner voice

Tarot and oracle are great intuitive tools to tap into your wisdom and listen to your inner voice. Intuitive writing or any other stream of consciousness approach is another way to access your intuition. Regularly making time for the practice of intuition in whatever works for you helps tune into the heart of your creative energies.

8 Writing down what your ideal day looks and feels like

Writing what your ideal day looks like is excellent for insight into what you really want. I’ve done this a few times over the years and the core threads are pretty similar over time. Find out how you really want to spend your time. This helps you recognise it when you start to get glimpses or finally achieve a measure of success. You might have already achieved your ideal day in some respects that you can build on.

9 Tuning into what others are saying about you and your gifts

We get a lot of clues from what people say about us but often we are not fully listening or keeping track. What are others saying they appreciate about you? Your calmness, your ability to listen, your creativity, how they relate to your writing, your use of colour? Pay attention to feedback, keep a record and notice what is being reflected back as insight into your gifts and purpose.

What’s your authentic heart?

So what’s your authentic heart? The practice, the creative work, the combining principle, the thread that ties it all together?

That sense of cut-through to the new idea or recurring touchstone that will help shape everything. It may have already arrived or might be in the process of evolving. It might be an awareness, a piece around self-belief, maybe a forgotten love, that’s become buried in the busy layers of your day.

It’s about finding our passion, our fire and being open to it. It’s true all this integration can be a little tiring, so take a rest when you need to. Just stepping away and resting or exercising, can be clarifying and help the central narrative or missing piece fall into place in a practical way.

So I’d love to hear:

Where are you keeping a light in your heart?

What are the beacons in your day showing the way back to?

What are the shadows showing up and highlighting?

What’s the authentic heart and centrepiece for you?

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You might also enjoy:

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

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Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

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