More thoughts on freedom

What if freedom isn’t freedom from something (pain, suffering, third dimensional stuff) and instead is the embodiment of your true self, the love that you are? What would that look and feel like?

I’ve been thinking, where am I stopping myself from being free? Where do I cutoff flow, where do I give away my power, where do I shy away from the call of my heart, from the embracing of who I truly am, which is love?

Freedom is available every moment, every second, if we choose it!

Feeling the call for freedom

I’ve been feeling the call for freedom! What does freedom look and feel like inside myself?

For me, freedom is no more falsehood. That only the true, authentic me remains–no masks!

It’s freedom of pain and suffering. No matter what appears before me.

It’s finding flow and letting the light be…no interruption, no stagnation, no forcing.

It’s walking my path, step by step, trusting that whatever comes is for my highest good.

It’s moving beyond the constraints and limitations of a system of oppression that really lives inside myself.

Freedom feels like HOME inside myself.

Are you feeling the call to freedom? What does freedom feel like to you?

(Oh: and freedom also feels like THIS…the epic Aretha Franklin singing “Think!” in Blues Brothers…freedom…freedom…freedom, FREEDOM!)

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Removing the masks

Something’s been building in me and it’s this desire–really, more like a lion’s ROAR!–demanding I remove ALL THE MASKS that I wear. To let it flow. To be 1000% authentically me in every interaction whether with my family or friends or colleagues or strangers at the supermarket.

When we put on a mask we cut ourselves off from source. When we wear the mask we lower our vibration to meet those around us in a desire to fit in, not realizing that we are love and don’t need to seek it from anyone outside of ourselves.

For a long time many of my masks have involved hiding my spirituality and the wisdom of the teachings that have been shared with me. In hiding the teachings I dishonor them, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

What are the masks you are tired of wearing? Let’s toss them into a great bonfire and light up the skies with our freedom!

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Receiving and giving, it’s really the same. (Plus, a giveaway to kick-off the giving-receiving season!)

Image from Magdalas.comfollow her Facebook page for all sorts of lovely insights!

When I read the above quote it kind of blew my mind in that things started to click for me in a new way around flow, abundance, and giving and receiving.

I viewed flow state as sort of its own thing. Separate from a giving-receiving thing. I saw it as a one-way street. I think many of us do! I wasn’t seeing how this act was part of a whole. I did that “3d separation” thing.

Just a week or two ago I was in this lovely flow state of giving and creating. And what do you know, while I was in that lovely energy I started receiving so much. The receiving came in all forms–some of it was monetary, some of it was the sharing of my words with a larger audience, but all of it a beautiful gift that was part of a huge loop! A giving-receiving that was connected. Yes! I see it now!

I want to open my arms to the receiving because to do otherwise creates a block. Does that create resistance in you, thinking about the receiving end? So many of us, especially women, are taught to give it ALL without daring to receiving. That is not what the great mother wants for us! What might be holding you back from receiving–is it about worth? Is it about scarcity? Can you let it go and heal those parts that feel unworthy? Open your arms to not only give but receive?

To help get us in the spirit of giving AND receiving I’m giving away some of my art from my Etsy shop–one set of notes and two art prints including matting! Three winners will be chosen and each wins one item. Starts now and ends 11/30 at 12am.

To enter, click this link (sorry I couldn’t’ figure out how to embed this due to javascript!) – – you just enter your email and either comment on this post or on my facebook post and get a point for one or both! (Any questions or issues entering, email me at hello@justfollowthejoy.com,) Thanks and GOOD LUCK! I hope you win! Happy giving and receiving this holiday season. ❤

Enter to win…

Cardinal art print
What if I fly art print

To recap: To enter the giveaway just enter your email on this raffle widget I setup. You can either comment on this post or comment on If you don’t want to use the widget or have any problems you can also email me at hello@justfollowthejoy. That’s it!

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The magic of finding flow and dropping struggle in parenthood

I’m done with pushing. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, you can have it back thank you very much.

I’m talking about the energetic pushing. (Not the physical pushing – though definitely not into that at all!) The powering through, or powering over, a situation. Not my jam anymore. The results of this shift into flow and out of struggle have been pretty awesome too. Like for example, our struggles with THE READING LADY. (YES ALL CAPS.)

The reading lady might as well be THE CHURCH LADY

My daughter recently started seeing a speech therapist for reading challenges. We were referred to a woman by an Occupational Therapist my daughter loved. But from the get-go the speech therapist rubbed me the wrong way. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t exactly pinpoint though now I can see it: she was a pusher! She was someone who embodied powering through and over challenges. (Plus, she just wasn’t nice!)

So of course since I’m working on finding flow and not PUSHING I instantly decided not to see this woman again and found someone else, right? Oh no, of course not.

Yes, for several weeks we got up SUPER early for a butt-crack of dawn appointment with this woman, who pursed her lips when my child dared to let her eyes wander off the written page, and gave warnings when my daughter played with the shaving cream a little too long as they practiced making letters.

It’s no surprise to hear my daughter started to push back against going to these early morning, super-not-fun sessions! I couldn’t blame her. I didn’t like the lady either! So why exactly were we there??

And then I remember I’m done pushing and forcing. As fate would have it our reading lady was gone on vacation for a bit. During that time I found a new therapist. I ignored the part of me that said “oh but why can’t you be grateful for the person you found” or “yes she is grumbly but she knows her stuff!” or “What if you can’t find someone as good? What if you end up with someone worse?” and alllll that nonsense we tell ourselves. As soon as I shifted my focus asking for divine assistance to help me connect with someone who would serve the highest good in this situation, friends provided not one but two recommendations for therapists who were closer, kinder, and weren’t described as being at all like Dana Carvey’s church lady.

Fast forward to today: we LOVE our new therapist. My daughter looks forward to her appointment! And interestingly enough, the new therapist did mention that she observed my daughter doesn’t always keep her eyes on her, but that she also observed that she is retaining the information even though she appears distracted. The therapist was fine with this but wanted to let us know in case a teacher complains that my daughter isn’t paying attention in class. Fascinating difference right?!

OH, and my daughter is soaring with her reading.

No pushing! Finding balance and flow!

Now it’s time to graduate from kindergarten so to speak and apply this concept to the mother of all struggles we’re currently facing: bedtime routine. (DUN DUN DUN!!!)

Have you found the flow and dropped the struggle in any area of your life? How’s it going?

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It’s all about the essence ~ bringing back play to step into flow

Yay Snoopy we found our FLOW!

The essence behind your creations is as important as the creation itself. Are you bringing joy, love, gratitude? Or a fearful, frenetic, desperate, pushing/overpowering energy? Until very recently it was the latter for me, but I feel like at long last I’m finally shifting into a place of loving, joyful FLOW! (Picture me victory dancing atop a piano with Snoopy.)

When I look back to times when my creations haven’t “clicked” almost always there was a wonky energy behind it. I was pushing too hard, I was doing it out of fear or most often it was the case that I had this NOT-ENOUGH-TIME-MUST-DO-IT-ALL-NOW energy–the telltale sign of the ego pushing its way to the front. When it’s about life and death it’s the ego. When it’s about flow, ease, joy, then you know it’s soul-level.

Beautiful art from Wordsmith Studios Etsy Shop

What finally clicked was realizing I wasn’t having enough fun in my life. My spiritual work had become purely WORK (I mean, it’s challenging and all but it shouldn’t be drudgery!). I needed play and spontaneity! I needed that inner child to do her little dance again.

On somewhat of a whim I bought some beading supplies and dove into making jewelry with no plan or purpose, just play. It was SO FUN!! Pure joy. My daughter got in on the act too!

The act of play without any agenda seemed to be just what I needed to step into flow. That tiny act inspired another (some home decorating things I hadn’t been inspired to do in ages) and another (cooking a new recipe, something that had recently been drudgery) and then another (writing on this blog again).

Have you ever experienced the same? What’s helped you step back into flow after a funky period?

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Where the rubber meets the road

Can we talk about how hard April has been? Really hard. You would think I’d be prepared, knowing it’s the cruellest month and all. But nope.

t-s-eliot-quotes-5180.png

There has been an endless onslaught of bad news for people I care about. Tragedy, loss, injustice. One after another. (I need to close my FB feed for real.) It’s all knocked me down more than I expected. I’ve been feeling old grief wounds surface. I’ve been emotional-eating chocolate. And if I’m totally honest, I have to admit I’ve been wallowing in it a bit.

It is ok, we all need to wallow sometimes. But I decided this morning that I was done wallowing. I am not powerless (though I often feel powerless). I am not a victim of life. (Though I sometimes want to pout and believe I am.)  I am a co-creator of life. I am a participant and I don’t believe bad things happen because we are bad. I believe that nature has its rhythms and cycles and we are not immune to them. The baby tree that is knocked over in a hurricane doesn’t take it personally. The exploding ant that blows itself up to save its village doesn’t take it personally. (Um, maybe he should though??)

This is not to minimize the grief and despair we go through with major losses, pain or hurt. But the difference is that for me this past month, I wasn’t the actual victim of all the horrible stuff that went down. That doesn’t mean I don’t have empathy. (Oh Lord I do.) BUT pointing to the parade of tragedies as proof that life is awful and I’m doomed probably isn’t helpful either.

On this blog I like to talk a lot about how surrender, grace, gratitude and art/writing has helped me to release and transmute pain. Now the rubber is meeting the road, so to speak. I need to walk my walk and not just talk my talk.

For me it means I had to get outside into nature. (It always, always heals me.) I took a long walk, like many of the walks I took when I was deep in grief, and I started talking out loud to the oaks (and my beagles), asking for help to release and also recounting all I’m grateful for. Wouldn’t you know it but about a minute into this a mourning dove flew and landed about ten feet away. And then a mockingbird (another bird of meaning for me) landed on a branch and stared deeply into my eyes. Well, then I lost it, crying/laughing because yes. Ask and you will receive. Ask for help and you will be met with love. I walked for a while longer and felt so much better. I also started hearing the words I had to write today — a sure sign that I needed to sit down and write as well.

So here I am. The crazy-lady-who-talks-to-trees-and-birds-and-writes-about-it. And feels infinitely better. I’m going to keep showing up when it is hard and doing what I need to do. I’m going to be the best beacon of light I can when others are having hard times, (but I know that requires me to take care of my own baggage when needed). I’m going to go gentle with myself. I’m going to go gentle with others.

(And I’m also going to remind myself that April is thankfully over in EIGHT SHORT DAYS!)

 

 

You can’t manifest a robot in only one month.

Good morning my loves! Sarah here, with coffee and writing. (No cheese today. Just a medley of Life cereal mixed with Cheerios courtesy of the child. Mmm. A little sweet, a little oat.)

Mooooo. (c)mourning dove motherhood

I am proud to announce that last night, while watching Veep and eating my popcorn, I was so tempted to zone out to Selena Miller interspersed with Facebook scrolling. But then I was like, oh sh*t, I just told the dozens of lovelies who read my blog that I was going to do art at night time. This is good, you are holding me accountable. So I did some sketching…of COWS! Cows with cattle egrets. I am noodling around with the idea of a children’s book involving a cow and an egret who are friends. As part of my Wikipedia browsing  important literary research I discovered that cattle egrets are fierce little dudes. They apparently sometimes eat OTHER BIRDS. They think they are owls or something. Anyway, more to come on the cow and the egret.

What’s on my mind today is MANIFESTATION. I am talking about seeing something in your mind’s eye and making it a reality. I have always been pretty good at manifesting. I’m not a wizard* or anything. But I take leaps and follow my heart and probably most importantly, listen to my intuition. Now don’t get me wrong this quality in me isn’t always pretty. I once followed my intuition and dated a guy…who braided his beard. (And yes he worked at a food co-op. You guys, I can’t make this stuff up.)

So I have this manifestation thing down but what I struggle with is simply BEING. For a long time I thought the opposite of manifesting something was inaction. I am slowly realizing that no, it is important sometimes to simply be. I have had all sorts of random assorted messages that have made me aware that I am starting to tap into feminine energies more.  Feminine energy holds space for something and masculine energy is action. But that both are needed to manifest something. Or so I have deduced from others who are wiser about this stuff than I am.

Right now my heart (and a snail) are telling me that the flow for me right now is being. It isn’t time for action yet. This IS SO HARD FOR ME Y’ALL. I want action! Boom shacka lacka I want to get stuff done. I get antsy when I feel like I am not doing doing enough even when my heart tells me, slow down, poco a poco, you will get there.

Yesterday I was talking to my sister. I was lamenting about how hard it was for me to be patient in certain matters which I want to see results now damn it! I was talking about one personal thing that I will speak in code about. The conversation went something like this:

Her: Be patient with yourself. Think of all your body has been through over the last three years, and especially in the last several months. I have no doubt you will be holding a robot in your arms soon.

Me: I know. I want to build a robot now but I just need to be patient.

Her: You know, there are doctors that help people build robots. And sometimes medicines.

Me: Yes, I know, but I haven’t taken that step yet. I mean it is has only been one month since I started trying to build a robot again.

Her: *silence followed by laughter.* HOLD THE FRONT DOOR. You have only been trying to build a robot for one month?!

Me: Huh, now that I say that out loud, that is absurd that I am fretting about building a robot when I literally have only tried for ONE MONTH TO BUILD A ROBOT.

Yes, that is me in a nutshell. I decide I am ready to build robots and then see it in my mind’s eye and I am like, ok let’s do this. Let’s manifest some robots. And then when they don’t manifest in a month I am like, why is the universe broken??

Holding space. Simply being. All robots will be built in due time.  You know, perhaps in longer than one month. 

 

*Speaking of wizards, yesterday I saw a man in a long black cloak walking a dog. My first thought was, wow is that Professor Snape? Then I noticed the white collar. He was a priest. You can tell you have pretty much shaken your Catholic roots when your mind immediately goes to Harry Potter before thinking man of the cloth.

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How I learned to embrace 6AM and write in stolen time

My grandfather Karl woke up every day at 5:30 am. Voluntarily.

I am not normally a Karl. Not by a long shot. I’m more of a watch-Gilmore Girls-Reruns-until-1am kind of gal.

sunrise
Sunrises. Something new to me. (photo my own.)
That is, until recently.

My toddler wakes up early. Like 6am early.

I used to dread these mornings. I would barter with my husband in an attempt to weasel out of 6am childcare duty. And when I did get stuck with the morning shift, I would drag my blurry-eyed self to the couch, plop the child in front of the tv (no shame amiright?), let  Peg + Cat do its thing while I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, sipped coffee and pined for more sleep.

I’ve had a recent change of heart about these mornings. Now I eagerly get up with the kiddo and I’m not ashamed to admit there is even a little spring in my step.

I’ve embraced these early mornings as my stolen time to write.

I was inspired after hearing Tara Mohr encourage women (and men) with care-taking responsibilities  to  embrace stolen time as a way to create art.  Yes, I know it sounds crazy. You say, but Sarah, I don’t have the time, or energy, or caffeinated beverages necessary for this task. This is the thing: it doesn’t matter.

By showing up anyway, you join a long tradition of creative fore-mothers who had no choice but to create in their own stolen time.

It makes sense. Great-Great-Aunt Mabel, you want to be an artist? Better stitch a quilt while the baby sleeps. Oh, and you want to work with fancy textiles? Fat chance. Here, why don’t you turn these *actual rags* into gorgeous quilts.  And quick, now.  That butter isn’t going to churn itself!

Adopting this new perspective was the swift kick on the butt that I needed. No more whining, no more wringing of hands. Time to sit down and write. In my stolen time, with stolen materials. (Well the stolen time thing is accurate. I promise I’m not writing on a boosted laptop.)

Which brings me back to my decision to embrace my inner early-bird. (With coffee though—let’s not get too crazy OK?)

I have created a new routine, my friends. As I type this, it is barely light out. I make my coffee and settle into my desk with my official Skunk Ape Headquarters coffee mug on my left and children’s programming proceeding on my right.

And here’s the thing. The more I write, the more I’m hooked. I now look forward to my morning writing sessions. And I swear my muse knows the new drill and shows up pretty regularly. It’s pretty cool.

Now, I rise at 6am, voluntarily.

Just call me Karl.

P.s. Share your own successes (or failures) of writing with stolen time. Feel free to comment below or on the Facebook page!)