Thursday, May 21, 2009

Call of the Rooster

One of my very favorite divination decks (surprise, surprise) is Bird Signs: Guidance & Wisdom from Our Feathered Friends by G.G. Carbone and Mary Ruzicka.

Instead of my usual process of spreading out the cards, meditating on an idea, and picking a card, I just opened the interpretive book looking for courage.

I knew there had to be a bird that represents courage in some way. Lo and behold Mr. Rooster popped off the page on page 102 cock-a-doodle-doo-ing at me.

I've been thinking about courage a lot lately, especially as it relates to the small acts of courage we all experience or encounter on a daily basis. (Now there is BIG Courage with a capital C, and many of us know what those experiences are like, too, but I want to focus on the little acts of courage we engage in every day.)

And the thing is, we don't know each others' struggles. We really have no idea what courage it took for someone else to get out of bed in the morning and make it to work or show up at a social gathering or eat dinner alone in a restaurant. For instance, it can take courage for me to be the center of attention. When I know that I am the focus (or that my art is the focus) I need to take a deep breath and say to myself, "this is just a little fear caterpillar crawling in, just a creepy crawly that likes to undermine my confidence."

According to Bird Signs, the message of Rooster is "Courage means acknowledging your fear." Carbone writes that "Rooster calls you to have courage to face the day. Remember that facing a fear is a huge accomplishment; you don't have to do anything other than have courage. When you have courage, fear has no power over you."

To tap into the Rooster energy, Carbone suggests being an early bird once in a while: "To tap into Rooster wisdom, glean knowledge during the predawn hours." Apparently Roosters are sensitive to infrared light, which is why "Rooster sees the morning rays almost an hour earlier than we do...."

Learn to see like Rooster (which is essentially seeing in the dark). Name what's in the darkness. One thing that I've noticed is that fear doesn't like being named. It loves to be mysterious and unclear, like nighttime, so we're walking around in a thick fog of icky feelings. One act of courage is in naming.

So, name the unknown. Feel the fear in your body, describe it (is it like a bowling ball in your gut or like wispy feathers on the back of your neck?), and feel how your courage gives you strength like Rooster's boisterous morning call. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Discovering the Full-Body Ah-Ha!

Inner Knowing, mixed media collage, 8" x 10"

According to Shakti Gawain (in her book Developing Intuition), 'The surest and most reliable way to know whether you are following your intuition is that whenever you do so, you feel more alive!"

I have absolutely found this to be so. When I am in tune with my body and trust in what I feel (you know, those nice "gut feelings" that kick in), I feel more vibrant, alert, and clear. Sometimes I even experience a full-body "ah-ha!" It's like being in pure alignment or flowing along with the current instead of against it.

Gawain continues:

"When you are listening to you intuitive feelings and acting on them, you keep your channel open so the life force can keep flowing. You literally have more energy moving through you. When you don't pay attention to your intuition, or go against it, you may find that you feel a certain heaviness, lack of energy, a kind of deadness. This is because the life force is trying to come through and move you in a certain way, and it is being blocked."

I can think of several times in my life when I went against the flow or current of my inner wisdom--when my body said "no, this isn't right," but I did something anyway. Or when my whole being lit up with "yes, do this!" and yet out of fear I stifled this feeling and was left with lethargy and disappointment.

My belief is that trusting yourself and your inner wisdom comes directly from body awareness. I think we must bypass the mind in order to feel the sensations in our being and to listen to the messages our body conveys to us. The mind is so powerful that it can override any body system (that's why we can experience panic when there is actually no real threat to our safety).

So try dropping into your body as you are learning to trust yourself. I believe your body does have the answers. What you feel from the inside can guide you in ways you never thought possible. What is that rumbling in your belly about? Or that twinge in your low back? Sink into it, enter it with your senses and find out.

(In my next post, I will explore this inner searching more specifically as I report on the amazing Focusing for Bodyworkers WorkshopI attended last week with Jack Blackburn. Stay tuned.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Know (Really, you do!)

I found the perfect phrase the other day and it is written on the lovely magnet above. This magnet is a PaPaYa! creation by the inspiring artist Anahata Katkin.

What I mean by "perfect" is that this phrase illuminates something very dear to my heart, which is my belief that you know yourself the best.

As a healing professional, I find that sometimes people want me to tell them who they are, what they feel, and who they should become. (I've wanted this with healers I have seen, too! It feels so much easier than sludging through my own muck to discover these things myself!) The truth is, I don't know the answers. And the reason I don't know is that you know yourself better than I do (or anyone else for that matter). It's true!

I do have intuitive gifts, empathic intuition being one of them, and I do sense energy and images and ideas do pop into my head when I am with clients. Sometimes I share these things and other times I keep them to myself. But what I don't do is tell clients who they are. They already know that. And if they are struggling with their identity, I help them on their path to discovery.

I see myself as a gatekeeper for others' personal growth. A guide. A facilitator. A barometer. A mirror. An echo. A safety net.

One idea that has come to me so strongly over the last few weeks is that I know myself the best because I have lived my life and each encounter, event, feeling is recorded in my cells. It may be difficult to access these things, but they do live in my body. I have everything I need in my very own body and mind! I may need some guidance in my process of understanding what I feel, but I am complete just as I am.

When I realized this about myself the other day, it felt like a revelation. Ah-ha! Holy moly: I have everything I need to know! I felt like I wanted to dance naked in the streets! Or flirt with sunflowers!

It is my belief that "you always know," just as the magnet says. Now, you may not know you know, but you do indeed know (is that too confusing?).

Let me put it another way: your body is the encyclopedia to you. It is also the instruction manual, the tarot card deck, the dictionary, the wikipedia entry, and the recipe. What happens when you open to the instruction manual chapter on "how to be myself"? What does your body have to tell you?