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.

What Matters Most

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I only choose projects that feel fully integrated with who I am and what I want to put in the world. I’m pretty lucky that I get to operate that way, and I’ve worked hard to be in this place both internally and externally. 

I just finished a big 2 month project : bringing Aloha to New York City in the form of out-of-this-world Hula dancers and musicians and 18 gorgeous modern dancers dressed in elaborate costumes that evoke the land of Hawaii. We were hired by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau to bring these Random Acts of Aloha (coined by the CMO) to NYC. We had 4 performances pop-up in different locations around manhattan. It was a lot of work, and it was a dream project.

But here’s what matters most : it was important to me that the feeling of aloha, oneness, joy in the present moment, love, the spirit of Hawaii happen throughout every aspect of this project. One of the costumes makers said, “This project is saving my life right now. I’m really needing to be creative in this way.” Many of the P.A.s said that this was one of the best gigs they’ve ever worked. The make-up artists said they were happy to be a part of the magic. One make-up artist said with her eyes big and jaw agape, “Wow, something .. really .. special is going on here. I’m so glad to be here.” The modern dancers said things like, “Thank you for bringing aloha into my life, this is really something wonderful” and “This is an experience I will never forget. Thank you for the incredible opportunity to give and receive aloha” and “I’m so happy I got to be a part of this. The spirit of Hawaii will be with me always”. 

This feeling expressed by our team, this matters for them personally and it matters for the campaign because as we allow ourselves to be bigger we can transmit that magic to the world. I heard things from the public like, “ Look what’s come to our city! And someone handed me this flower! I want to book a ticket now!”. I think this is beyond costumes and world class dancers. I think this is an embodiment of something powerful and beautiful. 

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m going to make the point big and bold :

this story is a metaphor for our lives….

Though I was the creative director, it’s not about me. It’s about something bigger. It’s ALWAYS about something BIGGER. The more we can live big in ourselves and our hearts, the more we can create a vortex of aloha, the more we can create the space for the people around us to live BIG (true, authentic, powerful, alive, glorious), the better for the world, the whole world. I really believe this.

Aloha, from my heart to yours.

MOVE TOWARD LOVE

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I look at the hate (fear) and brutality in the world and I feel crushed, physically crushed. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. The unjust and blatant violence perpetrated by the police against innocent unarmed black men (with no recourse) hurts my heart in a way that I can’t even convey. The simple thin words are: I feel anger and despair and powerlessness. 

I say this to all of us. Don’t look away. Don’t be crippled by the hurt. Don’t be poisoned by the anger. Don't let the despair of the injustice paralyze you. I am writing this through tears. Cry and keep moving toward the world in which you want to live. Feel the fury and stand your ground for what is right. What is right is love. Only love is right. Cry and keep moving toward love. Punch the sky and move toward love.

You can move forward in a way that is true to you. The way I move toward wholeness is through connection, dance, play, joy, beauty. 

So, I reached out to a friend who is a member of St Joseph Christian Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. I had the idea of doing some sort of outreach between the black community and the police that involved song or dance. Within days I had a meeting with the pastor and the outreach coordinator. They loved the idea. YAY. Next week we are meeting with the Chief of Police to get them on board.

The plan is a BIG ASS DANCE PARTY. We are inviting the police to attend and connect more deeply with the black community. We will dance together. We will share a human moment of play and connection and beauty. In that moment we will all move to the same beat.

YES. We will dance together.

Don’t look away my warriors of the heart. Run as fast as you can toward joy, love, and goodness. 

Contact me if you want to be a part of this!

 

 

ATTENDing

On my way home from Pennsylvania last week, I stopped at Tom and Rod’s snug little cabin, sweetly nested in the woods of West Virginia. The woods are wild and yet, it was clear this wildness had been attended to. The ground was clearly being cared for.

Inside the cabin were many antique objects, all of them with a story. The tiny kitchen was brimming with dishes, vintage and handmade; every corner was occupied. And, instead of it feeling oppressively full, it felt like an embrace. Standing there, I felt encircled by all those beautiful stories, all that love. The reason it felt like this, I think, is because the objects were not placed and forgotten. It was apparent that they too were being attended to. 

This has changed how I clean (attend to my things). There’s a huge difference between cleaning as a chore, a task that is only being done to get to the end of it and caring for this object, tending to it with respect. It has shifted cleaning from a chore to an act of love. 

I see a cleaner (more loved) house in my future.