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Archive by Author


Dynamic Flow.

05/09/2019

Prior to April 10, I would have sworn I was well-practiced in flowing with the unknown. Then, on Wednesday, April 10, my father fell, and I was on the earliest direct flight from Boston to Tampa. He did not recover from the injury to his state of health. Five days later he died peacefully in his sleep, at home, with my mother closely by his side.

As we navigated my father’s declared final wishes for his body, memorial and post-death affairs, the flow of actions consumed our energy. Clear actions from earlier decisions were activated: his body given to science for further study, his memorial with a selected funeral home. Just call this number. His estate documents dictated who, what, where, when—but not why. And I flowed, dynamically.

I continue to flow, dynamically, as the date on the calendar reads April 29.

Flow contains movement, of course. This movement runs fast and furious, and also like a slow trickle, and then like a barely perceptible breath. I am waiting for the pause. A true moment of timeless stillness to simply Be. Here. Now.

Did I mention, that the day after my father’s memorial, my mother entered the hospital? Did I mention, she contracted a nasty virus in her lungs that took more than a week to get her into rehab? Did I mention the leakage of all of the hidden emotions and feelings of birth-family trauma (we all have trauma)?

I take my own pause. I turn my attention to the teachings in this pivotal transition. The death of a first parent marks a distinct growth point in human experience. I do not plan to miss it. I turn my attention to a teaching about gratitude. In this moment, I am very grateful for…

•    My father’s estate, planned, sufficiently, so that in the most chaotic, grief-stricken moments all we had to do was make a phone call.
•    Conversations with my father about his after-death wishes, many years ago.
•    A drafted obituary to use as a starting point for the final published version.
•    Friends, who showed up with food, flowers, calls, loving support and soft shoulders.
•    Condolence cards waiting for me upon my return home – balm soothing my heart.
•    Ears, listening even while the heart was breaking.
•    Dignity, enough that we saw behind decades of hurt.
•    Connection, a realization of ultimate love.
•    Safety, a melting of the illusion of aloneness.

Returning to dynamic flow, I make an offering to you: consider your plans.

What are your estate plans?
What is your life legacy?
Have you given attention to the final wish of your corpse once you take your last breath?
Have you prepared documents to minimize costs and confusion?
Have you held clear conversations with those appointed to take action on your behalf?
Have you communicated all that you want loved ones to hear?
Have you given attention to these practical and non-practical matters?

Please follow these links for information and practices to address your desires. Estate laws are dictated by the state of residence. Begin here with your plan: State Checklist. Your unique situation dictates which documents you need to create and execute, but wills, health care appointments and durable powers are necessary for every plan (Basic Estate Plan Checklist). For encouragement and communication practices, click here to read ideas and considerations for writing, speaking and clarifying your wishes.

It doesn’t matter the age on your driver’s license. If you are in your twenties, or nineties, complete your legacy planning. Give attention to this post-period of your life on behalf of your loved ones. Allocate three to six months of attention, and do it with gusto. Consider those left dynamically flowing, as you transition to what is next.

Dynamically flowing in the unknown,

 

 

 

Love. Appreciation. Gratitude.

04/11/2019

Love, appreciation and gratitude come alive only when activated and experienced in the body. Otherwise, they are roaming concepts. Concepts don’t support authentic connection so don’t bother trying, unless you find your body. In my somatic practices, when love, appreciation and gratitude blossom – I notice that they often arise in that order.

When I open and move with love, appreciation for the experience quickly follows. Then, gratitude arises as a powerful bow. Picture a trio playing instruments, or a pick-up practice of basketball. Each player has a unique chord or move – but they all move together in beautiful rhythm.

I am not clear why I am writing about this topic. But my heart has been very active (sore and achy) for many months and it is in my heart (in all hearts) that love, appreciation and gratitude reside.   Serving as a Lead Meditation Instructor for an online meditation program, I recently offered the following instructions to the Meditation Instructors when they hold videoconferences with their students. I said, “Love the people in front of you.” It reminds me of the lyrics from the Crosby Stills and Nash song, “Love the One You’re With.”

It has been said that if you really want to see – you need to love what you are looking at. What is more important than looking at and loving the people in front of you? Seeing registers that which we can appreciate. Thus, we feel grateful.

Before we go all ice cream, rainbows and sparkles… loving the person in front of us is not always easy. I get cranky and close down. In the best of moments, somatic awareness reveals that my body is contracted. To open, I move, usually with breath, or if needed, a wiggle or shake. In a less than stellar connection, I stay closed and barrel through the familiar sludge. Later, when I reflect with a relaxed body, I am able to make a better move. I see what happened and gain muscle to shift quicker next time. This is how development works. This is how love, appreciation and gratitude grow.

How do we love the people in front of us if the content of the conversation is heated?

When money is the topic of conversation, heat easily arises and the importance of heart work becomes explicit. Daily, I’m not exaggerating, clients struggle to connect with what really matters because of heated tugs and contractions about money.

Money, bound in fear, gets hit by outside forces which are not ready to include heart wisdom. Media, big investment houses – adrenaline-pumping sources.  It is up to us, those of us willing and committed to face fear-emblazoned money ways, to create new open generous pathways of money love. Yes, I did say money love.

Money, in the best way, is an expression of that which we most love and appreciate. It then expands our gratitude and the gratitude of those around us.

Here are a few creative moves to consider in your practice of love, appreciation and gratitude. Try it first without the subject of money. Gain new muscle. Then, allow money to be a potent muscle-strengthener.

•    Get willing and committed to love what is – even though you might not “know” how.
•    See others as works of art moving, breathing, living at whatever level they are capable.
•    Look at the idea of “level.” Eliminate the tendencies to evaluate and to need to help.
•    Allow heart curiosity to replace the notion something needs to be different or improve.
•    Expect and welcome surprises.

As I offer this to you, I receive a juicy reminder for myself.

Love, appreciation, and gratitude are potent presence that transcend all boundaries and ideas. No other subject in our modern world has more conceptual ideas than money   . Our heart intelligence is practically void. Any profession, any money situation, any money struggle asks for this kind of presence: loving attention.

The potential we bring to every relationship, every situation, and every money-second is a more evolved state of consciousness sourced through love, appreciation and gratitude.

Let’s practice this way together and see what happens.

Loving, appreciating and feeling gratitude,

 

 

 

Wisdom Includes the Body

03/14/2019

Knowledge is acquired by grasping things.
Wisdom is acquired by something grabbing us.

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

The above quote came to my attention as I searched my files and folders for something else. Does that spontaneous strategic sidetrack ever happen to you? It was saved in my files a while ago… I love when these surprises arrive and divert my energy toward something better.

Some of you are aware I am writing a book about Somatic Finance. Somatic Finance territory is vast and the quote above meets one big issue presented in my work.

Finance is largely utilized and engaged in the world through the lens of knowledge rather than wisdom. Knowledge is a perpetual grasping of facts and figures to satisfy the head center’s thirst for more information. It is very common in finance to want more data to meet a perceived need than it is to try a different move.

A different move takes on more perspectives and definitely more territory, more territory in our body. Seeking of information comes at the expense of our heart and our soul. Heart and soul are not metaphorical or the lyrics to a favorite song. Heart and soul have visceral locations, enabling wisdom to flourish.

Wisdom has legs, application, spirit, and depth that knowledge supports.
Wisdom grabs our heart with connection.
Wisdom grabs our belly with vitality.
Wisdom grabs our spirit with meaning.

In money, what we think and what we learn come largely from books, professionals, analysis, magazines, media and more. These external sources are tainted with motivations that may or may not be of benefit to you. Knowledge cannot discern the difference between what is grasping for attention and what is grabbing our essence. Wisdom offers us a new way with money by engaging our body and sourcing body intelligence.

Every new move begins with a clear understanding of why, followed by somatic practices that engage our hearts and bellies. Powerful body practices available right here, right now, are timeless, priceless and our invitation to evolve our money relationship and our money world.

I can’t wait to introduce you to the power, relief and wisdom of Somatic Finance.

With joy and anticipation,

 

 

Five-Minute Try-It: Feel Truth in the Body

Click photo for video.

PURPOSE: To build a more intimate and honest relationship with your body. Practice learning what truth feels like for simple statements, building muscles to be applied to more complex matters such as money.

PREPARATION: You need five minutes, space to put your body in, and the willingness to listen closely to your body.

Minute one: Name three truths and three falsehoods. Do not fret for the “right statements” – spontaneously allow them to emerge. Write them down if it helps to remember.

Minute two: Stand, feel your feet on the ground, spine elongated, top of the head reaching to the sky. Select the three truths and state them out loud. Note, these do not need to be profound – eye color, favorite food and movie will do. Notice what truth feels like in your body.

Minute three: Remain standing. Speak your falsehoods out loud. State them clearly and loudly one at a time. Notice what a lie feels like in your body. Compare and contrast the feeling to your previous experience. (Hint: notice breath, tension and constriction).

Minute four: Return to your truth statements. State them out loud again. Pay close attention to the distinct and subtle body imprints that signal truth.

Minute five: Recognize and register at least one body feeling of truth and one body feeling of falsehood to build your body-truth relationship.

Complete your practice by abiding in body-truth. Commit to building your body-truth relationship in service of embodying Sufficiency.

 

Five-Minute Try-It: Get Interested

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PURPOSE: Activate your interest muscle and experience the vibrancy of authentic interest.

PREPARATION: Be alone without interruptions; comfortable clothing preferable.

Minute one: Stand upright with a straight spine, mimicking a tall pine tree – a line of energy moving down from the heart into the earth and from the heart through the top of your head to the sky.

Minute two: Allow your eyes to wander, taking in the sights around your space. When your eyes meet something that attracts you, stop with interest.

Minute three: Sense the object or space with gentle eyes, looking with interest at whatever you see.

Minute four: What thoughts, feelings and sensations arise in your body as you deepen your interest in this object?

Minute five: Keep your interest on this object vacillating between the object and every experience that arises in your body.

Complete your practice by noticing what happens to the object. Is it separate? Compare this experience of interest with your typical way of being interested.

Daily 5-Minute Practice: Practice Getting Interested daily. I suggest you set a timer for three different times (AM, afternoon and evening) as a way to give full attention to getting interested.

What’s Your Woo Woo?

02/14/2019

Last month we were giddy up, this month we are woo woo. No I am not eating funky mushrooms, going crazy, soft, or losing my mind. I am highlighting the wisdom of Daniel Pink, from his book A Whole New Mind, a best-seller from over a decade ago. Mr. Pink offers discourse about right- and left-brain skills.

Artsy-fartsy, flaky, spacy and woo woo are words used by Pink in a beautiful discussion with Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul podcast. How fantastic that we can open the door a bit wider to explore the concepts of left and right brain, which manifest different qualities in our human expression. From more recent studies, we see that talking about the right/left brains is a convenient way to “handle” a complex subject.

As we humans attempt to simplify experience with language, our “two brains” are linked deep in the body and are not really separate. One study in 2013 from the university of Utah discounts the left/right brain separation by demonstrating activity is similar on both sides. Robert Shmerling, Faculty Editor at Harvard Health, posted an article highlighting the earlier study finding, after examining brain scans of more than 1,000 people between the ages of 7 and 29. The researchers divided different areas of the brain into 7,000 regions to determine whether one side of the brain was more active or connected than the other side. No evidence of “sidedness” was found. The notion of some people being more left-brained or right-brained was concluded to be more a figure of speech than an anatomically accurate description.

While these studies are fascinating, I’m particularly interested in how the work of money – typically held in the “left brain,” and creative problem solving – typically held in the “right-brain,” come together to support how we improve our lives and the lives of others. Left-brain skills of planning and problem solving, believed to be critical to financial planning, open to the need for right-brain skills.

Pink emphasizes that while abundance explodes in our culture, we might be liberated from some wants but we are not fulfilled. The technical systems that allow for more material goods and services are not cultivating joy. Oprah and Pink review the six abilities that Pink says we need more of in our economy – skills linked to right brain – that have the chance to touch what lives in our hearts.

  • Symphony – Seeing the big picture, connecting the dots
  • Meaning – Finding our why, our deepest calling
  • Story – Seeing the world and relating to others
  • Empathy – Feeling the heart of another, standing in another’s shoes
  • Design – Creating beauty, innovation, and value
  • Play – There is no definition but I call it Joying

In a world of abundance, apparently we need something that we do not know we are missing. We need our body and our six senses (linked to our “left brain”) to fully experience a satisfying life.  In other words, abundance is not what we really seek but rather enriching experiences that are felt and experienced in our body, embodied experiences.  Routine or automation, is disappearing from this country. Routine is a series of steps that provides a “right answer.” Right answers don’t require curiosity or out-of-the-box exploration. Certain kinds of automated work formerly the work of USA, is now outsourced because it can be completed for a much lower cost. What cannot be outsourced are creativity and innovative capital; central to the six abilities.

Not only are these capacities the future of a developed mature country, they are the proficiencies of our financial journey. In other words, though we have technology to plan and systematize our finances, we long for something more satisfying. Satisfaction and well-being come from the integration of vision, heart longing, relationship, authentic connection, beauty, and joy.

The six abilities begin with curiosity – opening to a softer, artsy, woo woo space – followed by a commitment to practice. Practice means we are aware of engaging activities that root us in linear planning and weave the unknown innovative surprises in our lives. Certainty does not provide what makes life worth living. Not even close.

Woo wooing,

 

 

Five-Minute Try-It: Chakra Breathing

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IN HONOR OF BREATH.

PURPOSE: We can live without food or water for a while, but breath is always with us.

PREPARATION: Journey with Gayle and breath, as we touch each of our energy centers.