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what's next: rebirth, positivity and cultivating joy

Life has been bringing a lot of grace lately. While I won’t officially be a college graduate until the fall, my work is all turned in and I walked in the ceremony a couple of weeks ago. This happened because I decided it was time to move forward. I made a last, big push and finished. It’s been a fertile, exciting and, at times, grueling 4 years of school as a single mom. I’ve been loved, supported, held and challenged more than I would ever have imagined. I have grown, stretched and moved beyond old perceptions of myself.

The inevitable, “Now what?” questions have come from well-intentioned people in my life. I’m not one to prescribe to my culture’s more, more, MORE mentality so my answer, consistently, has been, “Breathing.”

So here I am, breathing. Waiting for signs. Listening to my soul. I had a dream about bats flying into my room a few nights ago. This is a wonderful affirmation that a rebirth is imminent. Because I have been talking about this process, a friend mentioned the book Soul Coaching by Denise Linn. I’ve read that book and worked the material before. Seven years ago. The year that many things changed for me. Doing soul work does that.

I decided this was a good time so I gathered my courage, took a deep breath and dove in. When nothing in the outer world is a resounding yes, going inward makes the most sense so I did. Spirit brought me a lovely group of women to work through the material with. I didn’t ask for this outwardly, it just manifested. I’ve noticed this often happens when I allow it.

One of the exercises in the book is making a list of what or whom brings energy and what or whom drags you down. The point of this isn’t to blame or judge but simply to notice. The next step is to narrow it down to a smaller list of things to focus on and things to let go of. It’s all about taking responsibility for your own life and happiness.

My lists of downers included:

1.) Coffee shop dates with people where we basically talk about our problems and/or yammer on about everything we’ve done since the last time we had a coffee shop date. I’d rather DO things with my friends than talk about doing things or, most especially, listen to them talk about what they have been doing with others and how they feel about it. SUCH a drag.

2.) Feeling responsible for other people’s feelings or problems. Always need to remind myself of this so I put it on the list.

3.) Relationships with people where there is no mutuality. People who don’t call me to DO anything but enjoy my ability to listen. People who want intimacy without companionship. This is a total drain. (I have already released these people from my life with love. SO liberating!)

My top five energy givers include:

1.) Writing, singing and artmaking.

2.) Exercise and dancing.

3.) Self-care.

4.) Playing with my kids and my friends.

5.) Being in/around flowers and nature.

After I wrote this list, I spent a day doing none of the drainers and all of the givers. I danced, sang, took my kids to a park to see an outdoor play, did some writing, relaxed and nourished my body with healthy foods, stayed off facebook and took care of some clutter clearing.

I not only noticed a huge shift in my own energy, feeling much more buoyant and relaxed, but I also noticed that the world just seemed to be more beautiful. I felt like I had something to give from overflow for the first time in a long time. I treated myself and my girls like queens. It felt so good.

I anointed the girls’ feet and legs by giving them a sugar scrub, a massage and a pedicure on the lawn in the sunshine next to the roses. As I did so, I said a prayer that all wounds from the past be cleansed. This act of devotion felt so good to my heart.

When we arrived at the park, we saw this message on the sidewalk:

We met this guy who brought bubbles to the park on a quest for the perfect bubble.

I thanked him for bringing liquid joy to us. (One of the bubbles gave me a very wet kiss. I took that as a good omen.) The same guy also brought a kite which got stuck up high in a tall tree. We cheered for him to get it out and he did it. That feeling of rooting for someone who is cultivating joy felt really good to my heart. I noticed this. I decided it was a good idea to root for myself and my own cultivation of joy.

On our way home, we saw a sign on a chain link fence that said I CARE ABOUT YOU to which I replied, “I care about you too, Universe!”

It feels good to reconnect with what feels good.

More, please.

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