Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things I ♥ Thursdays: Let it Shine, let it Shine, let it SHINE

When my reminder that it's Things I Love Thursday popped up today, instead of my usual "yay! something to write about" I thought - oh crap, I've written about all the things I love.

I'm sure that can't possibly be true. I mean, I've only had theme Thursdays for a few months now, and even though the posts often contain a list of items, it's not possible that I've exhausted all the joyous moments of life. And then I remembered that originally it wasn't just supposed to be any random things I adore, but the shining moments of the last week when I did something I love.

So I looked. And then I remembered a shining moment - I sang on Monday. Not a whole song. Not a planned performance. And not brilliantly. But I sang, with my whole heart "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine."

What most of the 80 or so people in the room didn't know was that that's not the first time I've performed that particular song. We sing it regularly in my choir - in the version below - but even that is not where I first performed it.

No, once upon a time 5-year old Shanny in a long white cotton dress with red buttons, holding a white taper candle with a protective tin foil handle stood on her church stage and sang her little heart out. And when we got to the verse "Won't let Satan *puff* it out" little Shanny puffed too hard. And her candle went out. And she thought that had meant Satan had won. And through her tears she watched her cherished Sunday School teacher Gary re-light the candle. And she wiped her tears and sang on.

Last Thursday I was looking for a saying for myself. Something to pull me forward in those moments when I forget who I am. Something Sacred that would restore me to myself and who I truly am. And it came to me, first as a saying. Then as a hum. And then as a wiping-my-tears-and-singing-on proclamation:

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

And so on Monday, in my seminar, when the seminar leader asked if I'd sing my Sacred Saying, I smiled, and took a deep breath, and began. And then I just stood there and shone.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Couldn't have put it better myself.

"Caught up in the day-to-day drama" of my own little life, I received Hugh MacLeod's daily cartoon newsletter today. Impeccable timing once again, and fulfilling on the promise of his newsletter, the sign up form for which includes "Remember Who You Are." There's something very reassuring about a stranger touching your heart. And so I share with you Hugh's art & words:


These are the lines of the final verse of one of my favorite hymns, "Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind". I first learned it when I was about ten.

Of course, back then I had no idea what the words meant. Not really. Then with time the meaning got more and more resonant..

We get so caught up in the day-to-day drama of our own lives, even though we know in our hearts how little of it really matters in the long run. But we like to make a big production of it, regardless. We're human, so OF COURSE we do.

Though wouldn't it be great if, one day, we taught ourselves to act differently? That's what this verse is about....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things I ♥ Thursdays: Shining Moments

I'm going to be straight with you - it's been a crap week. And then again, there have been some really shining moments. What's nice about your average crap week is that the shining moments REALLY shine:
  • Smiling in the open face of a perfect dogwood blossom
  • Giggling at everything/nothing with my niece
  • Couch 'voguing' and singing along to Glee (which really goes along with the giggling)
  • The heady scent of lilies gently filling a room, then a house, then your heart
  • A long forgotten melody stuck in your head, the video of which makes me laugh at who I once was
  • Love ambling up and quietly taking my hand

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sacred/Secure Heart/Head.

Everywhere I looked this week I saw signs, guidance, and nudges (not to mention a thinly veiled threat) about the essential and urgent need to do what my heart is here to do. But I struggle and beat myself because I know I still gotta do what I gotta do to keep above water.

Jerry Colonna at The Monster in Your Head lauded the Dance of Security as the foundation of our lives. Like Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void, Jerry quotes Bill Plotkin who said:
The first step is creating a foundation of self-reliance: a survival dance of integrity that allows you to be in the world in a good way—a way that is psychologically sustaining, economically adequate, socially responsible, and environmentally sound.
Once you have your survival dance established, you can wander, inwardly and outwardly, searching for clues to your sacred dance, the work you were born to do. This work may have no relation to your job. Your sacred dance sparks your greatest fulfillment and extends your truest service to others. You know you’ve found it when there’s little else you’d rather be doing.
And just when I thought "phew, I can sit back and just make do with survival" along came Cari Vollmer who asked in her newsletter "What were you born to do?" I could answer without hesitation: I know who I am; I know what I'm good at; and I know what I'm  here for.

I think the secret is in the mix. You can't have all icing and no veggies. Or all play and no effort. Or can you?

One day this week I worked for 5 hours. Then I packed up my camera, jumped in a gleaming white chariot, and was whisked away to the beach. I'd done the survival dance in the morning, and in the afternoon my heart glowed in the sun and the surf. For just over an hour we felt the sun on our face and the breeze off the water. An hour was enough to go back to life restored.

I'm still figuring it out, and finding ways to merge - even just for glimmering moments - the two dances. Plotkin promises
What your soul wants is what the world also wants (and needs). Your human community will say yes to your soul work and will, in effect, pay you to do it. Gradually, your sacred dance becomes what you do and your former survival dance is no longer need
It's nice to lay down the whip I've been using to punish myself for not yet being someone whose survival dance is redundant. And let's face it - I'm not a starving princess-artist locked in a garret. And no white knight is coming to rescue me. I can do - and am doing - the work to create my own freedom. And some days I even get to ride along with knights doing sacred dances of their own when they want to head to the beach.

TI♥T - I'm a writer, damnit

Has it already been a week since I posted? Wow. I was considering joining a 30 Posts in 30 Days blog challenge, and clearly that would take something given how much I have going on these days. Then again, it might just be the perfect thing.

When I was invited to take the challenge and looked at who I would be blogging with I thought

"these are all online businesses; I'm not a busienss person, I'm a writer."

To which I retorted

"well, that attitude certainly explains a lot about your bank account."

And, that retort explains a lot about why I've been hesitant to take on writing fully - there's some 'starving artist in the garrett' story that I just haven't yet shaken. That said, here's what I truly love about being a writer:
  • the feel of a perfectly turned phrase rolling off my pen
  • creating a word-banquet of thoughts and images for the world to feast upon
  •  pulling forward the writer-yearning-to-write in others
  • chronicalling the love, laughter and tears of life
  • putting my clients' thoughts and needs into words in ways that make them accessible and solvable
Pen in hand - or at least laptop in lap - I'm off. See you in the culture pages.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Life has taken some twists and turns this week, and it turns out ... I love surprises!

Okay, I actually knew that. But I thought maybe you'd be surprised to hear it. No? And, as I mentioned to the clerk at London Drugs the other day when my purchase was $3 less than I expected, some surprises are better than others.

Some of my favorite surprises this week?
  • Deep purple sea stars hiding under slimy rocks.
  • Bright blue eggs left by the Easter bunny (or some bunny) 
  • Sly smiles that turn into deep kisses
  • Learning that saying no can really be saying yes to something else - and to me
  • Contracts coming from nowhere
  • Soft sandy clearings protected by rocky ledges
  • Tenacious beauty growing in the heart of decay

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A smile. A laugh. A new path.

Life is funny. Do you walk through the door that just opened just because it is there? Do you stand on the threshold of the unknown, and wait to see? Maybe send an advance party to suss things out for you? Or do you jump in with abandon. Laugh and look in wonder. Dance with the Cheshire cat and nibble on the cake and sip the potion? And see where you land. And when you land, is it a place of magic and adventure? New friends and self-awareness?

I choose wonder.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

TI♥T - Freedom edition

It's Thursday, it's April, it's Easter Weekend and Passover week. Last week's post was all about the doing of Spring - the gardening, the bright clothing. But as I think of Easter weekend, and being with my family, and celebrating a weekend that for most of us still centres on Christ's death and renewal (as much as we love our Easter bunnies and sugar cookies, they are a bonus, not the point), I'm reminded again that without something passing, there is no renewal.

Without letting go, there is no moving foward.
Without completion, there is no creating something new.
And without taking responsibility for the past, there is no living into the future.

I've been doing all those things lately. It's not always pretty, and it's not always easy. But it is always worth it. And, I'm pretty excited about what's coming - about the new projects I'm creating, just over that next hill.

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