Monday, October 8, 2012

Stepping into my Shadows...

When I was eight I was terrified of the night, of going to sleep, of being swallowed up by the darkness and not being able to wake up. When I was nine a ghostly figure floated at the top of our staircase, this didn't do much to calm my fears of shadowy corners. For most of that year I slept on the floor next to my parents bed. Even through my teens I would wake with such an intense fear of being alone in the dark, I would go sleep on the floor in my sisters' room. (My youngest sister sleeps with her eyes open, so most nights she'd freak me out too and I trod back to my own room.)

This year, December, marks 20 years since I lost the love of my life and best friend.  It happened at midnight. Knock on the door. A car ride so clear I can still see the rain drops on the windows and the street lights reflecting dark shadows into the car. I prayed for the best but I knew in my heart he was gone. When the words were spoken, I fell to my knees in a corner devoid of light.

For months I couldn't sleep, the dark screaming its silence in my face. On a curvy, long road at dusk the car started to fall into the arch, depths of dark wintery trees to my right. What if... what if I just let go of the wheel and drift into the trees. What if I let the darkness swallow me, maybe the pain will stop. I eventually made it around the bend and continued straight, on the road, leaving the bare trees in my rear-view mirror.

My bed has contained only one for many years and my house shelters me at night like a safe cocoon. I sleep well. Still, I've yet to make friends with the shadows. Even sunglasses block too much light most days.

But today, in SouLodge, I begin a decent with Black Panther, I'm eager to discover her offerings. My battle with shadow begins....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Feel the Love...Pass it On....

For many of us it's fall, which brings with it less light, colder temperatures, nesting and going within. I get tired, my motivation drops, the sadness sets in. No green leaves, only bare branches blowing lonely in the wind. I also start to get overwhelmed by the start of the holidays. So many people rushing everywhere to spend money they don't have, feeling obligated to buy gifts for loved ones they never see. Bells jingling at the grocery store entrance asking for donations to dozens of causes. Commercials and movies and traffic. Who is having Thanksgiving dinner, where is everyone going to sleep. Days off spent driving to family events.

But what if...

What if we slowed it down a bit, took a breath and noticed what is good in the now?

30 Days of Gratitude from Joanna on Vimeo.
(music by Florence and the Machine) 
*Big thanks to Shelly Norris of Soul Fire Retreat for her addition of artwork to this video*

Life is complicated and often a hot freaking mess. But practicing gratitude means appreciating the gifts that are present in our lives and appreciating every small blessing. Often when things feel uphill there are tiny seeds of learning being planted for us to sprout.

Create a sacred practice around even the smallest blessing...
The goal is to bring gratitude to every experience, even the not so awesome-sauce ones. Life has its own ebb and flow. Learning to appreciate the tides can make for a much more delicious life. When this becomes a true daily practice our world can shift in ways we never imagined.  

Join me in breathing in the gratitude-love and sharing it with those around us.
For 30 days, November 24 - December 24, you'll receive a love note from me. An inspirational message, a prompt to feel the gratitude for the moment.

It will come in the form of an image, words, collage, art, straight love... handmade by myself and other wonderful souls who also wanted to share.

The offering is free, just sign up for my mailing list here on the blog. Your first note of gratitude will arrive on Nov 24th.  
Feel the love of each note, breath it in… and then pass it on. You can forward the email to a loved one or friend. Print it and leave it randomly for a stranger to receive, or even use it as tags for holiday gifts.

Let's feel the love and gratitude for every special moment and share it with others.

I hope you'll join me.