STARING DOWN RESISTANCE

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There are so many things that get in between us and the life we want, the project about which we care the most, the income we deserve, the you-name-it. I mean, sheesh, there are so many circumstances that make it nearly impossible to put ourselves out there. So. Many. Roadblocks.

Wait, what? No, none of that is true.

THERE ARE NO (real) ROADBLOCKS.

Are you nodding in agreement? Is your head cocked to the side, ummm, what? Are you saying damn you, Marielle, MY very particular roadblocks are REAL?!

Roadblocks seem to be external factors out of our control, but they are, in fact, resistance we fabricate, usually unconsciously. And they’re so powerful, convincing, sneaky that we believe in them. I’m pretty sure this happens to everyone. It happens to me, I can say that. It happens to my coaching clients. It happens to famous people, pretty people, brilliant people. I don’t think it happens to Oona, but we can’t all be Oona.

These roadblocks generally pop up when we are pushing ourselves into new territory. New territory can be scary. If into the equation, we add new territory that has meaning and is close to our hearts, well, that’s double scary. And then, what about new territory that clashes with long held beliefs, BOOM, a trifecta of impossible. 

Um. no. not impossible.

Challenging, yes.

Impossible, NO.

The bigger and the brighter our soul-calling shine, the longer and darker the shadow. Resistance is our smallness. Some believe resistance is an evil assh*ole. I believe it’s a misguided ninny that’s trying to keep us safe. I believe it’s working from a set of outdated blueprints that have nothing to do with our current life. You can’t build the life you want with blueprints designed to build a dank yet cozy underground bunker.

I had a coaching client say to me,

“ I feel like I will die if I don’t write this book. And, I feel like I’ll die if I do.”

I’ve never heard a more concise and clear example of a powerful soul-calling and the equal and opposite pushback of resistance.

So, what to do?

We need strategies. And sometimes help. And sometimes support. 

Step 1 - identify the obvious forms of resistance

Step 2 - identify the very tricky resistance you would never identify as resistance 

Step 3 - develop strategies that keep you moving, dodging, ducking and weaving right past all those roadblocks (this part, in particular, usually requires some help, but not always)

My top 3 forms of resistance are perfectionism, distractibility in it’s many forms, and indecision. I have a f*ckton more, but these are my Allstars. My modes of resistance that are the most intense and work to convince me that I should curl into a ball of despair are migraines and intense fatigue. The pain is real. The challenge and frustration and struggle are all real. And, to give in to them would be to choose smallness, to choose the cozy dank bunker that has my ass-print indented into every soft surface, to choose a stunted version of me.

Here’s a little story :

When I was doing 100 Days of Vidi-Ditties, one particular day, I’d struggled all day with a building migraine. It was the end of the day and the light was fading, so, I didn’t have time! I was in a bad mood for various reasons, real reasons! It was windy outside and I hate wind. I was visiting someone else’s house, so I didn’t have any private space; the only place I could figure out to make my video was out on a small deck off the bedroom, ugh! I looked at Eamonn before I carried my tripod out onto the deck and said with the saddest face ever, “ I don’t want to make a f*cking vidi-ditty today.” That’s a lot of seemingly real, valid, sad roadblocks.

And then, I opened the sliding glass door and crossed over the threshold, literally and figuratively, into doing. I showed up. Out of 150 ditties, that was the day I made my favorite ditty.

What was more important than making a favorite ditty was that I felt better. I connected to my essential self, the self that is truly, undeniably, powerfully and playfully me.

Show up and Play.

This is why I offer 45 Days of Creative Mojo. It’s 45 Days of guided Show Up and Play within a supportive group of fellow mojo-makers.

A super awesome bonus, I’m offering in the course this year, is that we will spend part of the initial live group-call staring resistance down, defining it, sniffing out the sneaky buggers, developing strategies, and getting our mojo workin. 

Are there things in your life where you feel a rumble, a soul-calling whose voice may be getting a little hoarse? Is it resistance? The Magic 8 Ball says, it is decidedly so.

Let me know if I can help. I’ve been there. I know the terrain.

IMPERFECT MOJO

Creative mojo is the expression of your unique vital essence. Think of kids and how they play, the fabulous lack of self-consciousness, that’s your mojo. 

Expression, Freedom, Exploration.

If you have a pulse, you have creative mojo. 

You may have misplaced your mojo, your mojo may be on snooze, but the good news is you can’t loose your mojo. 

It’s official : YOU CANNOT LOSE YOUR CREATIVE MOJO.

And the reason for that is that creativity is innate. It’s not about talent or artistry, it’s our juicy, lively, delicious, perfectly imperfect, expression. It’s tied to our life force. We need it and we need to express it. It looks a zillion ways because there are a zillion of us, almost.

Creative exploration puts us in touch with our essential soul selves; it brings us into an inquisitive present moment; it reminds us that we know how to play. It leads to insight, problem-solving, empathy, intuition, mindfulness, flow, fun, engagement, wellness and an appreciation of life that may otherwise slip by unnoticed. But, really most importantly, we are contacting that part of us that needs to play, needs the freedom from perfectionism, needs a break from the fast moving, gear-shifting, busy busy busy and to land in the present moment.


The video in this post is my Creative Mojo. I’ve included the outtakes from trying to make a video about this (which was very scary and challenging for me). I’ve specifically included the outtakes, the fuck-ups, because that is my mojo too. I am in motion, I am trying and my fuckup mojo is mine; it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

Creative Mojo is fire, motion, aliveness.

The very nature of our creative expression is that it is imperfectly perfect, perfectly imperfect. It’s the editing process and the skill building that hones it into something we consider “done”. It’s important that this step of editing and perfecting, is not confused with our actual unique freewheeling creative mojo that is all about PROCESS (feel free to read that sentence again).


What does your mojo look like? Are you as engaged as much as you’d like to be?

I’d be delighted for you to join the online course 45 Days of Creative Mojo if you feel the call of the MOJO wild! 

WHY I TAKE PHOTOS

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From an early age, I asked many a most sincere “Why?”. Such a little word with no real vowel. And answering that little word pries open a wondrous door that connects our hearts to our minds.

And here, I ask and answer, why do I take photos? 

Speaking to nature as my subject, I take photos as a form of communion. To the land and sky and water, I communicate, “I see you. I love you.” Light, tendril, briar, and branch are my wild divine temple and I love it in a way that transcends anything else. Relating to nature ignites my own light; it brings me home to myself; it expresses that I do indeed belong, here in my woods and here on this magical and majestic planet. The photos are a record, a reminder and a testament of what matters.

And why do I share them?

My quick superficial answer would be because they’re pretty. Digging deeper, opening the weighty door a little wider, I see that these photos are an offering. 

They are an invitation to accompany me as I visit the enchanted temple of the ephemeral. To witness the first rays of the sun illuminating the misty field, the arcing camellias encased in winter’s snowy song, water’s constant dance with light and landscape, we may encounter the poetic and unselfconscious. These gestures, these luscious whisper-soft utterances speak explicitly to both the ephemeral and eternal, the entirety of existence, the sacred. If we pause, we can experience the fragile majesty of this sanctuary and in turn, the fragile majesty of ourselves.

This seeing, this kinship and honoring, allows us to open the world-heavy door to the sanctuary of everything that matters and to sit quietly with exquisite solitude and deep belonging.

I invite you to sing hymns to the light, bow deeply to the trees, celebrate the gospel of gurgling waters. Our Earth, the first church. If we can look at this beauty and proclaim, “I see you. I love you.”, we may extend this same love to ourselves. As testament to the sacred glory of existing, for just showing up as a human, we may look in the mirror and say, “I see you. I love you.”.

At our deepest core, we want to be seen for the radiant being that we are.

“I see you. I love you.”.

INTUITION VS. FEAR

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True intuition is never wrong.

Intuition is different from a hunch or gut instinct, which can be unreliable. Often, our brains disagree with our intuition. Ah, the brain! The brain is so marvelously vital, and it can mess us up with confusing misinformation. This is why it’s important to hone the skill of identifying true intuition and knowing what it feels like in a way that is reliable and sustainable. Equally important is getting to know the absolute b.s. stories our brains are telling us, so that we can file them under : crap our brain tells us that isn’t true.

The brain knows a lot about fear and smallness and pattern recognition, and it thinks it’s protecting us.

Intuition is about bigness and trust and offers us true protection and wisdom. 

I've had decades of getting to know, inhabiting, and trusting intuition. Most of these experiences can’t be explained logically. I don’t understand how it works. I’m guessing there are some quantum wizard scientists out there who may explain it through the quantum field, but that’s beyond me. I know it works because I’ve had such powerful results by listening to it and trusting it.

Here is a story where my intuition may have saved my life:

My husband and I were cross-country skiing in Yosemite. We wanted to do a little more skiing, so we separated from our friends and went back the way we’d just come to add on another hour or so. It was getting late, but we had enough time, the trail was marked, and our tracks were there to follow. In a couple of miles, we would connect with a wide road that even in the dark would be easy to follow. Seemed like a safe plan. 

We got about three-quarters of the way to the road and a very heavy snowstorm hit. Our tracks were instantly covered and the little yellow markers could not be seen.. We were lost and turned around. It was a white-out. We knew the road was not terribly far, but if we went in the wrong direction, it could have been dire, I mean really dire. I asked for guidance and was told which way to go. My brain, in fear mode, second-guessed the guidance. My brain was pretty sure it knew best. At this point, I was at odds with my own self and my body was coursing with adrenaline. My heart rate was up and I had a grip in my stomach. Thankfully, I knew the difference between what fear feels like and what intuition feels like. For me, intuition feels like a plumb line through my body, clear and peaceful. It feels like an opening. Fear feels like a contraction; it has a frenetic energy and feels urgent, lacking in peace. It was useful that my understanding of intuition was strong enough that I was willing to trust it over my brain. Lovely that my husband was willing to trust it too.

In a short while we were on the road. It was almost dark. We had miles to ski, but as I said, the road could easily be skied in the dark. We got home safely.

How many times have we experienced this tussle with our brains? Not knowing what to do. The more we get ensnared, the harder it is the hear the truth.

Like I said, I don’t know what this higher authority is or how it works; I have my ideas; what I know is that it has led me to the best things in my life, and once or twice saved my life.

DO try this at home : 

1) Start noticing what fear feels like. Where in your body do you feel it? Is there really reason to be fearful? How does your body react.? Are there stories that your brain is telling you that are causing and exacerbating the fear (um, very likely, yes)? 

2) Start noticing the more, usually much more, subtle cues that your body, intuition, higher authority, whatever-you-want-to-call-it is telling you. There is a subtle and expansive hum of wisdom below the surface. It is in a calmer place than our zingy active brains. AND, ask! Ask for help, see what happens. Listen.

The key: your body, your body, your body: listen to your body.

Psst : I teach workshops about this very thing. Check it out here.

PLAY MAKES YOU SMARTER

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When I talk about play, people often think I am referring to being silly or something so light it is inconsequential.

Silly is good. Levity is useful. However, I am really referring to an open-ended creative process. My definition of play is a curious exploration without a known outcome. So, with this definition, a person cannot create anything original or solve a problem without engaging in the process of play. And, one of the conundrums related to play is that the more one strives and grasps for an outcome, the harder it becomes to arrive at this outcome. 

It’s a beautiful conundrum really. Because, it requires us to open, trust, be guided by something that is, or at least feels, different from our typical mind process. We get to experience the freedom of life without grasping.

The creative process allows us to enjoy the ride.

A key, the key, to play is a form of listening that is about tuning in. We are asked to LISTEN. Listen to the play that is happening. Listen to the musical note so deeply that the next note presents itself, listen so presently that your hands move the paint in a way that surprises you, listen to your body with the trust that the next move is there, listen to the idea that “makes no sense”. FLOW.

The way I see it, conscious play opens up new neural pathways.

When we allow ourselves to be in a fluid state of creation, right smackdab in the present moment, we are going where we have not been before; in fact, deep in the creative process, we don’t really know where we are going. And if we are going where we have not been before, we are enlivening neural pathways that were otherwise unused. 

When the creative process and flow-based play is brought into the workplace, the possibility and connection that is fostered leads to stronger teams and efficient solutions.

Being in a state of play makes our minds more fluid and agile; we ready ourselves for a state of flow; we listen more trustingly to our instincts. All of these things set us up for being stronger, healthier, happier, more intrinsically powerful humans. 

awake at the wheel

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A friend’s teenage son hit a deer. He was driving at night down a country road, a deer ran in front of his car, and he wasn’t able to avoid hitting her. Sadly, this happens all the time around here. The easy thing would have been to keep driving. Very few people would have the strength of character to stop and make sure she was dead, to make sure she was not left there to suffer. Few would have the strength to face the life just taken, the life they took. It’s easier to tell ourselves she's dead and keep driving. 

It’s easier to not ask the difficult questions and just keep driving. We so often tell ourselves the convenient story and keep moving forward.

Don’t we all do this in some form or another? Not ask the difficult questions? Not feel the difficult feelings? Just. Keep. Driving?

As it turns out we are not able to buffer ourselves from feeling all the suffering and simultaneously open ourselves fully to the ecstatic and miraculous beauty of this world. It’s one channel, and it’s open or it’s closed. Or, that’s my experience. 

While it’s not easy, it is a tremendously beautiful thing. The more of us who allow ourselves to see the inconsistencies, feel the injustice, experience the heartbreak, the more likely we are to move toward justice, integrity, connection. We will be more likely to take the (usually) inconvenient steps toward making the world a better place. We will be more likely to pull over, run through the corn field, and stay with the life we have just taken until they cross over. 

This is not the work for the weak, but what makes us strong and what makes the virtuous choice our only choice is allowing ourselves to feel. When we have empathy, when we feel the heart break, we only have the choice to move toward love in new and powerful ways.

Being fully alive and present is not about what’s easy. What is easy is to stay asleep. It is easier and probably more comfortable to not feel. When we are in sleep mode, cruising through the world not really paying attention, not really listening, not really connecting, not seeing the beauty all around us, and not really knowing how we are feeling, then we don’t have to feel all the pain and suffering inside ourselves. Simultaneously, we are buffered from feeling all the pain, suffering, injustice, heartbreak that goes on all around us. Opening the channel of feeling is worth it. It’s why we’re here. That’s my belief. We are here to open ourselves to this human experience. And being human is feeling. Feeling it all. The heartbreak, the beauty, THE LOVE. One channel. Open, open. 

I am heartened and hopeful about our future that this young man did indeed run through the cornfield to be with the wounded dying deer. He put his hands on her. He felt deep empathy. He wished her peace. 

May we all be that brave, that full of heart. 

BEAUTY IS THE BALM

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What do I mean by BEAUTY IS THE BALM?

Places of worship have long been designed to transcend the ordinary. It is an offering. It is both an offering to that which is worshipped, as well as an offering to the worshiper. Lofty ceilings reaching skyward, stained glass painting the light, earthy and soulful wood and stone all guide us to the elevated plane of that which is sacred. It feels expansive. It feels soulful. It places us in the small scale of our humanness while simultaneously offering an exalted and uplifted experience. 

If we allow ourselves, we are altered by the experience. There is the potential to be uplifted, to be transported out of a foggy gray moment into something quite tangibly luscious. This is what I mean by “Beauty is the Balm”.

All around us we are being offered the opportunity to transcend, to be uplifted, to move toward and be affected by joy.

Early morning light, the smell of freshly ground coriander, diving through a sparkling ocean wave, the taste and texture of a perfectly ripe peach, the graceful line of a calla lily, voices in heart-melting harmony, the ruffles of a peony, the face on a young child, music that compels you to dance, poetry that plucks your core, your own laughter, your grandmother’s words of wisdom, the Milky Way.

The list is endless. Begin to notice what ordinary things elevate you to a higher experience. Spend more time there. Slow down.

Take a moment to literally breathe it in. With your breath, soften your body, FEEL this phenomenon in your body. Direct all of your attention to your heart, imagine your heart is listening to and experiencing this beauty (if “feeling with your heart” makes your face look like you just bit down on a lemon, here’s some science .. there are some 40,000 neurons around the heart and these function in much the same way as your brain). Direct your attention to your belly, breathe, soften. What does it feel like to experience this beauty with your belly. ( Here’s more science, yay science! ..  Neurons lining the stomach are filled with neurotransmitters, chemicals that help nerve cells communicate with one another. One key neurotransmitter is serotonin, which plays a major role in mood regulation. While serotonin is also found in the brain, 95% of the body’s supply is in the stomach.) Yeps, we’re going downtown, feel this beauty with your pelvic floor, oh, hello! .. lots of neuron there. And your feet, furthest away from your brain (depending on your current yoga position) feel that beauty all over.

As if you could listen and see with all parts of your body (because you can), let your breath be the silky flume that takes you ever deeper into the miraculous beauty of the ordinary.

Let it permeate you and reset your particles. Let it move you to tears, to awe, to peace. Whatever balm you need, take it in. It’s here for you. 

By the way, this is life changing. Allowing this awe, this epic and everyday beauty, this miracle of glorious experience to really live in my body, has changed my life. It continues to change my life. 

The sacred beauty of our every day is available to us if we pay a little more attention, listen more, feel more, show up a little more to this existence in which we’ve found ourselves. The ordinary becomes our way toward something bigger our connection to all things.

We’re here; we’re alive; we might as well lap it up.

LAP. IT. UP.

Ecstatic Feast and Death

In in the middle of my commitment to The 100 Day Project, my Mother died.

No matter what the relationship one has to their mother, this shift is tectonic. The way one’s world is ordered, the relationship to self and (m)other is changed profoundly. Their is a vast hole, an endless expanse that brings forth an existential reckoning. So, yeah, it’s big, bigger than I ever imagined. All the feelings that arise, some of them can’t be explained, but there they are. Leaky eye syndrome at the coffee shop, in the car, at dance, while putting on a necklace. It’s a heartache that can’t be compared to any other. And, for me, it’s lonely. While I have a wonderful husband by my side and amazing friends who text me daily to let me know they are there and offer support, it is lonely.

I am a motherless child. I have no parents. I am at the top of the family tree. How did this happen? I don’t want to be at the top of the family tree. So many feelings.

Back to my 100 Day Project and 100 Days of Ecstatic Feast. In the midst of my grief, it has been more challenging to find, create, and celebrate the moments of Ecstatic Feast. And challenging too to share them, as is part of the project. However .. I believe from the bottom of my heart the sacred,the profound, the meaning and point of it all is found in our communion with the little and big ecstatic feasts we find and create. 

I think that some may look at my life and my 100 Days of Ecstatic Feast as merely showing how awesome my life is. And yes, my life is truly awesome. Some of that has been luck and a lot of it has been of my doing. Any life can look awesome. It’s feeling it that matters.

Like anyone, my regular life includes days that I feel lost, unwell, suffer the world not going my way. And lately I feel so much, it’s almost overwhelming. The point of Ecstatic Feast is to find, create, live, celebrate the things that bring us closer to love, to our own epic bigness, to creating that super awesome life. It’s not about waiting to trip over some awesome and photographing it. It’s about looking for it and more importantly cultivating it. And it’s not about waiting until we feel awesome enough to create and celebrate these wondrous, magical, beautiful, delicious, life-promoting, connected, joyful, sacred, meaningful moments.

And here it is, the point of this writing:

The point is to find, build, activate, live, celebrate the little and big Ecstatic Feasts especially when life is hard … especially when life is hard.

So this has been an amazing opportunity and a gift really. Grief can be consuming. The weight of it has no relationship to gravity and can only be measured by the heart. And though the days are filled with tearful outbursts and existential angst, sadness and fury, weariness and emptiness, I choose to tether myself to that which makes me bigger and takes me higher. We all have this choice.

The 100 Day Project and my commitment to it has once again been an incredible gift.

100 DAYS : HOW TO

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100 DAYS of Ecstatic Feast


ASK YOURSELF:


What are the things that light me on fire? 
What are things that make you super happy, yes SUPER happy?
What brings you joy and pleasure? 
WHAT NURTURES YOU?
What do you NOT do because you're too busy, or too .. fill in the blank?
When do I play it a little small, a little safe? How could I choose the thing I REALLY want?
Are there things I've been wanting to do for years that I could bring into the present, and DO!?

EXAMPLES:


I live on a river and I don't kayak very often. Every time I do, I LOVE it SO much.. so crazy much. And I ask myself, why don't I do this more? Whenever I take a break from technology, such peace, and gosh, I should do this more. Because of this orientation, I will be choosing these things which often take a little effort, but the payoff is amazing.

I love flowers and plants, but I hadn't really dedicated myself to making the garden happen... till NOW.

Our home was originally built as a guest house, so I've never invested in it the way I usually do. It's almost there, but I've not been super amped and happy when I look around. I'm changing that.

I've wanted a vintage bathtub outside as long as I can remember .. so I stopped thinking one day and did it .. DONE and THRILLED.

All through the day, I am taking note of the ways I am living my Ecstatic Feast (Dream Life) and really feeling that in-the-moment gratitude. Some of my things are nature, my dog, friendship, my work, FLOWERS, food, the ocean, clothes, beauty, fragrance, DANCE. It's important to acknowledge when we are living the dream while we reach for greater heights.

SHARING:


Post photos of the things that amp you up. Say why, if you feel like it.
Share ways that you are moving toward something new and exciting.
Share ways that you are choosing to do the thing that is BEST for you.
Share ways you choose the nurturing thing over the easy thing.

On Facebook or Instagram use the hashtag #100Daysofecstaticfeast. On Instagram find me at Ecstatic Feast and Marylo

THE DEALIO:


With all that you do .. what you eat, what you wear, who you socialize with, what your goals are, how you spend your free time, where you get your coffee .. Ask yourself, " Is this what I REALLY want? Is this my dream self? Is this an ECSTATIC FEAST?

100 DAYS OF ECSTATIC FEAST

100 DAYS OF LIVING MY ECSTATIC FEAST

It’s easy to back burner the most important things, our biggest dreams. It’s scary to live BIG. It’s scary to put ourselves out there in ways that are new and vulnerable and matter.

While I’ve been busy helping others push through fear and smallness, I’ve kept a number of my dreams, projects, and big ideas that are exciting and dear to me on the back burner. Okay, let’s face it, they haven’t even seen a burner.

There’s a way that we’re all guilty of waiting for our dream life to arrive. We conjure, affirm, seek guidance, make lists and plans but ultimately we hold it out in the future. Rarely do we say, I’m going to go ahead and live my dream life, my ecstatic feast, RIGHT NOW. So, that’s what’s happening with the 100 Days of Ecstatic Feast. I am choosing to live BIG, live FULL, live my dream life right now and share it. Holy Wow Wow. 

JOIN ME! 

What does it mean to join?!

This means listening and orienting to that which brings us into our biggest most wonderful dream life, RIGHT. NOW.

This means doing things we've been wanting to do for years. (YIKES!) (YAY!) (YIKES!)

This also means diving deep into the small things that matter so very much and acknowledging, yes!, this IS the dream. It's celebrating the beautiful magical dream life you are already living.

It often means not doing what is easy but what would bring us the most pleasure .. doing the thing that amps an experience into the wow zone. This can be subtle like adding fresh herbs to your dinner or taking another route home that is more scenic.  It can be big like sky diving, taking dance lessons, going on a trip.

An important part of the process is sharing. Vulnerable, ugh, I know! I'm doing this on Instagram and Facebook. Let me know if you're playing! Share a post daily about what you're doing to live your biggest life. Photo, words, video .. whatevs .. most of all, HAVE FUN.

Start anytime and post Day 1, Day 2 ... DAY 100. Feel free to let me know how it's going for you. I want to know! 

I can follow you on Instagram if you use the hashtag:  #100daysofecstaticfeast. I'm doing this as a part of the 100 Day Project. It's fun to be a part of something bigger, so you can also use the hashtag : #100dayproject

On Facebook, feel free to tag Ecstatic Feast!

Orienting to your BIGNESS, choosing TO live and celebrate LIFE AS AN ECSTATIC FEAST is life changing. 

For examples, feel free to check out my instagram feed, https://www.instagram.com/marylo/

So, here goes .. stepping over fear into an Ecstatic Feast!

PLEASE, do JOIN! I have been doing it for 2 weeks and there have already been profound insights and transformation. 

Ask yourself with every choice, is this what my dream self would do?

Does this choice look like my Ecstatic Feast Dream Life?

Get ready for life to be more amazing.