Tag Archives: Growth

On The Manuscript Found In My Soul or A Tale Of Owning My Story

Story

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
Brené Brown

I’m trying to figure out my own story – to own my story.  It’s not easy.  Sometimes, it’s even agonizing.  Our stories have this unique quality and ability to create connection and understanding of who we truly are. The better you are at owning your story, the more peaceful and meaningful your life is.

Why is this agonizing at times?  If you’re truly honest about self-exploration during your journey, you will come across many aspects and traits about yourself that you will find difficult to accept.  You must learn to embrace your shadow.  Your shadow is those aspects of self that are kept hidden in the dark and out of awareness.  Many of these aspects of self have great holds on your life and actually dictate your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions.  A metaphor would be a hidden cave in which you keep those parts of yourself that, on an unconscious level, you prefer to avoid or ignore. The shadow includes your deepest fears, shames, regrets, judgments, core beliefs, unconscious contracts/vows, “truths” about life, about others and yourself, as well as your greatest power, your beauty, your sacred and divine self.  In other words, the Shadow includes all these things about yourself that “you don’t know that you don’t know” or those things that sit in your subconscious.

The most powerful part of ‘owning’ our story is speaking about the those pieces that make us feel embarrassed or ashamed. Bringing our greatest weaknesses out of the dark and into the light.  If we are lucky, there is a certain catharsis in doing so, the sense of a burden being lifted.

Shadow

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster.
Carl Jung

What I’ve discovered is I’ve lost touch with who I’m meant to be, what is in my heart, and what I want.  I’ve conformed and I’m not living the life I desire. That wise sage Bette Midler once said, “My greatest fear is being trapped in a show not of my own design.”  I get it.  By owning my story, I put my name to it — I design it. I become the author and with that I take the role of protagonist; I own it.

If I’m not owning and authoring my story then who is?  That is the question …

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On New Beginnings or A Tale of Dancing Into 2016

Red onion skins and New Year’s Eve have much in common –-
they both peel away to reveal new vibrancy.”
Alex Morritt

2016 is here and I’m ready for bigger and better things.  “Wait,” you say.  Where have you been Kenny? There’ve been no blogs for many, many months.”  Well. I’ve made several career changes this year, directed an outstanding production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and fought tomato blight.  OK, we’re all caught up.

To begin again, 2016 is here and I’m ready for bigger and better things.  To do this, I’ll need to make some huge changes in who I AM — who I’ve become or as my guru, the Beatle, George Harrison puts it, I’m in need of “regrooving.”

George

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

At the opening of each New Year, we stand on the threshold to view the vista of a new beginning.  We see more clearly the possibilities that lie ahead of us – so many unexplored opportunities, so many paths.  Do we take the road less traveled, or trod the familiar path?  The choice is ours.  We are not shackled to the choices of the past.  We can, at any moment, let go of self-limiting thoughts, actions, and tendencies – the things that stifle the soul and hold us back from achieving our greatness.

“Awaken your habit-dulled spirit
to zestful new effort.
Rest not till th’ eternal freedom is won!”
Paramahansa Yoganada

Yogananda

Seize this opportunity – this new beginning — and feel renewed, refreshed, and start anew.  Begin by accepting the challenges each day, week and month bring.  Awaken your passion and grit to accomplish what you know is right and good and true.  Take up something you think cannot do and then do it.  Seeing the power of your tenacity will give you self-assurance and lend momentum to your will.  By doing this you will unleash the unlimited strength within you.

I intend to be more faithful in my blogging this year and share my journey with you.  Thank you for reading this and for sharing the trip with me.

I pray that you are blessed in this year and that you may bring to fruition your dreams and aspirations.

New year

On Out With The Old & In With the New or A Tale Of Embracing 2015

Blog 1

An old year ends, and takes with it people and sorrows and joys and memories, and a new one is on its way.

Neil Gaiman

Can I lose 60 pounds in nine minutes? This thought runs through my mind at the close of 2014.

It’s been awhile.  I know.  I’ve heard from several of you over the intervening months, “When are you going to write again?”  “What’s taking so long?”  Honestly, I’ve been busy.  “Doing what you ask?”  Well, I was dancing on tables and creating art — hard fought art — among other things.

2014 was a year of great change for me. I went back to work, my brother passed away, I directed a great production, my favorite Great Aunt passed way and I met some awesome people. But if I’m being honest here I have to admit I will be glad to see 2014 pass.

I realize new beginnings can happen any day at any time. A new beginning always involves leaving one thing behind and embracing something new and different. However, sometimes, new beginnings may not be of our own choosing or liking. New beginnings often are exciting, yet terrifying — no one knows what the future holds. Unlimited possibilities lie behind the door to your new beginning: successes and failures, ups and downs, and even some smiles and frowns.

Since I do not know what’s behind the next door or written in the next chapter of my life, I know it’s important to utilize tools at these pinnacle times in my life. These tools give me the strength and courage to aid me in adjusting to a new chapter in my life.

What’s in my tool box? Well … a positive attitude, and yes, sometimes I have to fake it, openness to new people and new experiences and an open mind, vulnerability so I can see into the shadowy parts of myself and grow in new ways, persistence because sometimes it just takes time and my wonderful support system of friends. But, the most important tools in my arsenal are magic, dreams and madness. In other words, you have to think outside the toolbox sometimes.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself.”                                                                                                                                                                    Neil Gaiman

 I have great hopes for 2015. Yes, I feel the winds of change are blowin’ by. I don’t much have more to say on welcoming in 2015 other than this last bit of advice that was passed onto me: I hope that in this year you make mistakes. Yes, that’s my wish for you and for me to make new mistakes, wonderful, glorious, amazing mistakes.   Oh, and whatever it is you’re afraid of doing, do it.

 

On To Tango Upon Chiron or A Tale Of Dancing With God

planets_300_300“All motion begins in God and ends in God.  The universe is engaged in a whirling flow of change and activity. This is God’s dance. We are all dancing with God and God with us.

I’ve come under fire of late.  Yes, I’m experiencing my own Duck Dynasty moment. Friends of mine, deeply spiritual friends, who define themselves as wounded Christians, have been very critical of my speaking openly about attending mass. To them it is a slap in the face since they have a negative view of Christianity.  Not to be outdone, friends who identify as Christians have been very critical of my chanting and practicing kirtan.  I’ve been told it’s idol worship.  To both groups I roll my eyes.

My devotions and practices are mine.  While we are all created in God’s image, God is also created in our image.  I believe I have forged a distinctively personal path of spirituality that places the uniqueness of the individual, in this case me, at the center of his or her own spiritual universe with God — a spiritual partnership so to speak. Feisty and invigorating, yet deeply personal and self-revealing — this is my approach to my inner life and my relationship with God.

This is my dance with God.

dancing godThe scriptures are filled with stories of dancing. These dances are not planned, scripted ballets but improvised songs of freedom, hope and joy. They aren’t performed by trained and seasoned professionals but are initiated in the joyful celebrations of people to their God.

These raves of God are edgy and innovative – raw and spirit filled. They are the dances of the people, the seeds of raw potential, born not out of the exactness of ritual but in the spontaneity of the Spirit – filled with the rhythm of life.  The dance of God is the dance of the cosmos, the interrelationship of Creator, created (you and me), and life itself, the holy creativity of the All in All.

The dancing metaphor of all life is envisioned and embodied as a circle dance. The dance of the divine is moving, active, eternally both transcendent and immanent, and flowing together in a joyful and harmonious, rhythmic and resonant celebration of life. The great Artist of eternal life dances with the child and the Divine Mother. Each dwells in the other, outside of and within the created world.

The Christ, the Lord of the Dance, is the physical embodiment of the sacred dance of life, the incarnated vision and rhythm of the artistry of God. Whereas the Trinity is the music and the composer, the Christ is the one who calls to us to “come and dance” and promises that we need never lose the rhythm of the dance.

The Lord of the Dance takes the lead. Our role is that of the dancing partner who has the courage to get up from the safety of sitting and spread our wings into the unknown. In joining the dance, we break free of some kind of social sheath and give others the courage to follow their passion.

As we join the Lord of the Dance the Spirit becomes a whirling life force, becoming aligned with and at one with God and ourselves. The implication of this dance is that all persons dance a dance of mutual love, breathe together the breath of life, and pour out to one another in mutual giving.

Believe only in a God who would know how to dance.

We are all of us invited to the dance, though not all join.  But look what happens when we do. We fall into sync with the rhythm of life. The rhythms of the Universe echo within the music of the spheres until all are singing and dancing together in a beautiful and diverse harmony.

The time is now, and the dance is eternal. Don’t sit this dance out. Life is moves quickly. Buds burst in fragrant spring; fruits delight in fertile summer. Leaves change colors in autumn. Trees fall in whitened winter. Dance while you can. The world doesn’t need more conversations so much as it needs more dancing. When “heart speaks unto heart,” what comes next is less a conversation than a waltz or a tango, with all its unexpected twists, turns and dips.

The soul’s dance occurs both in the earthly here and now and in the heavenly beyond. The celebration of rebirth, beauty and hope surrounds and permeates our life. Harmony prevails in every step we take with God and with each other. We are lead in a new dance of human connection under divine direction.

The dance of God is a dance of love that moves and flows through the ins and outs, ups and downs of all of life’s joys and travails. The circle of our dancing is a powerful movement of shared compassion).

Too often in our spiritual life, we want to give dance lessons, to be the judges of dance competitions. I won’t be judged in my dance with God.  The Lord of the Dance can never be directed or contained. To join the dance of spirit, we need to break out of our square lines and ballroom boxes and let the spirit draw us in. The dance is a dance of unity of sound and sight, a unity of those who believe, and a unity of God and his creation.

And now, as Lawrence Welk used to say, “A-one, an-atwo.

 

On The Spiraling Wheel Of Life or A Tale Of To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn

Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.
Stephen Chbosky

For the past few weeks I’ve been suffering from writer’s block; why, I don’t know.  It seems that every time I sat down and tried to write, nothing would gel.  I knew the block was from within and yet, I couldn’t dissolve it.  Today, I woke up brimming with ideas. It was like dozens of voices pulling at me to get their story out.  Whew.  Now the struggle is which to blog on first …

I’m still searching for a full time job, hanging in there daily for my family, and putting in hours of work every day into myself, my health, my blog, and working on creating real change, and yet I still feel like I have nothing to show for my efforts.

The hours I’ve been putting into my inner work, spiritual practices and creative work have taken time away from the time I spend with my friends, family, myself. My friends tell me our relationships have suffered as I work on myself.  Distant relatives have attacked me for writing a blog telling me I’m self-absorbed.  Others say I’ve put them on the back burner while I work in hopes of pushing through the barriers towards my dreams of making a life I love.  We all to some degree have a fear of change … that pounding in the heart that says: turn back …. but it’s too late for that and change I must.

I am on the brink of something big, yet I can’t help but feel stuck some days. Have I become used to the way I’m living my life that I’m subconsciously avoiding taking the next step? Often I feel I’m working at the speed of a snail while my mind is drawn to things requiring less thought.

Before I started this blog my brain was becoming stagnant and the desire to move forward was in limbo. How could I ever get to where I want to be if I’m just sitting around hoping things will change? It’s like a spell had been cast upon me to stall any movement towards progress in an already slow moving journey.

Then, I remembered that this wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way. I had been in a mind stalling funk in the past. I remembered the last time I felt this way was shortly before I moved from California. I also remembered that not a month after I moved, I began regretting it and the desire to get back to working on myself started to build.

I realized what I needed to do to move forward – I just needed to rest my mind. I needed to take a break from trying to figure things out. I was trying so hard to move forward that I was driving myself crazy. So, I decided to take a week off to completely unplug and think about nothing that had to do with my inner work.

I let all of my emotions out to a close friend of mine; we had a heart felt conversation in which I explained to her that my absence from her life was not her fault, but of my own. I’m not very good at these types of talks, but assured her I was getting back in touch with what mattered. I started paying attention to the small things and began making more time for my friends and family. I needed to find a way to make an adjustment to not only spend the quality time with those who mattered to me most, but work towards my vision of who I was trying to be as well.

Things changed, people changed, and the world went rolling along right outside the window.”
Nicholas Sparks

After this talk, I made two commitments 1) to stop being lazy and start being more productive with my time, and 2) I wanted to find a balance between working on my dreams and also working on building my relationships with the people I love. I began taking 15 minutes or so every night to write down the tasks I would work on the following day. I started making myself accountable to finish those tasks before I could move on to randomly perusing other interests. Without realizing it, I was bringing clarity to the chaos of not knowing. One of the biggest mistakes I had been making was not making a specific plan that led to the end result I was chasing.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill

So I find myself back in the same mindset I was in several years ago – I need to get unstuck and make new goals, have new visions and make some positive changes.  Yes, I need to make some major changes in my life.  One of the most complicated tasks any of us will face in life is the concept of making the right choice. I realize now every few seconds we have the opportunity to change our lives, our careers, our happiness. By making those changes the lives of many others, some of which we will never meet, will forever be changed as well.

I appreciate the process of self-improvement is far from easy. When you are aware of yourself, it is possible to enjoy this experience and be a better person. If there is one thing I have learned you must actively be engage in your life rather than sitting on the sidelines. If you just observe your life as it passes you by, you are just waiting for the end and not living.

What about you? Do you have a plan to move forward towards the changes you seek in your life? I’d love to hear them.

Thank you all for taking this journey with me and sharing your thoughts and feeling with me.  You have all been an inspiration to me on this journey of change.

Bhole Babaji ki Jai!