Solstice Greetings from Shangri La

2010 Pre-Solstice

Brilliant
SunSparkles on snow
mingling my tracks with squirrels’
Fluffed robins drunk on fermented berries
Crows sing raucous verses
The passing V of Canada geese honking refrain
And the gibbous moon
rising midday spectral ghostly blur
waxing toward Solstice full
in blue firmament
Magic is airborne
riding currents of
short days with mid-afternoon dusks
punctuated by window candles
Holiday lights like multi-hued
stars of an earthbound universe

Energies of Divine Feminine
a Shakti blossoming
within perfect
circle of protection
Embracings within yin and yang
the balance unspoken
yet profound
Festivities foretold unfold
celebrating rebirth
of love alive
illuminating
the innermost sacred
center of the heart
Divine Love ignites
whisperings soul to soul
Missives of grace

17 December 2010
Bobbye Middendorf
The Write Synergies Guru

Shangri-La in Autumn

Chicago’s extended autumn, with mild-ish weather for much of November, has allowed extra time for being in our garden (aka Shangri-La). I wrote in late June, in my Missive from Shangri-La experience, all about a retreat that literally opened my eyes to, as they say, “the diamonds in my own back yard.” That is, Shangri-La is present just outside my door. This outdoor space is where and how I’ve been rooted on many a day of inner journeys — whether writing, dreaming, dining, or conversing.

In this month for gratitude, with so much to be grateful for, I wanted to share some of the special gifts in my life. Our Shangri-La garden is one that I’m looking at with grateful (and grace-full) eyes. I’ve been out there most days barefoot and doing a simple Qi Gong practice, soaking up the beauty and energies from the earth, the trees, the sky, and crow flying over.

It looks different in autumn. The trees shed their leaves. The Tree of Heaven, also known as the ailanthus, loses its leaves first. The copper beach will be the last, hanging onto golden crisp leaves through the winter, only to release them once the new growth starts. Without the leaves, even with the sun arcing low in the Southern sky, the garden glows in the light. At least on the days when clouds don’t get in between us and the sun.

A climbing hydrangea, its leaves brilliant yellow, stands like a small sun against the fence. Virginia creeper on the fence and side of the house always fades to a delicious pale pinky yellow with bright red stems. Crunchy leaves under foot mark one of passages of the autumn symphony.

Past mid-November in Chicago, the autumnal symphony is in its final movement. With deep gratitude and appreciation, I say Mahalo to all that has unfolded so that this particular humble little garden Shangri-La is now passing its grace through my life.

Seeing with New Eyes

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
–Marcel Proust

What makes you “see with new eyes?”  In late June, I returned home from a week-long retreat just a short couple of hours’ drive from home.The retreat, in a beautiful, sacred space, was filled with radiant and divine people. It was a magical time out of time.

(And did you know that yesterday, July 25, was Day Out of Time Day, courtesy of the 13 moons, Mayan calendar?)

So from this June 2010 time out of time retreat, with people I’d never met, and yet who became like long-lost family to me, I hesitantly returned to my ordinary reality. But I returned with new eyes that saw the blessings in my life for what they were: true gifts of support in every way.

Somehow when I returned to our cozy house and expansive, lush garden, I saw what had been there all along in a totally fresh, and yes, radiant, way. Where we’ve lived, rooted, for more than two decades, shines with a renewed vigor and magic, visible through my newly polished eyes. I said, while on the retreat, that I lived in a Shangri La, although in the middle of urban Chicago. When I came home, that is indeed what I experienced.

In seeing with new eyes, I strive for maintaining consciousness, for appreciating the blessings, for stepping into each day as a gift. It is easy to appreciate. What is harder, at least for me, is to take the mindful action steps necessary to expand my presence within this holy, sacred space of my life.

Several weeks after my return from the retreat, we (husby, teenage son, et moi) ventured to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a preserved segment of Mother Earth tucked in between heavy smokestack industries on both sides. Lake Michigan was still cold, but the day was hot enough that the chill felt refreshing. I spied hawk flying over the beach twice, bent on some mission. The smell of pine tickled my nose as we walked along hot sands to the dune succession trail boardwalk through the preserved wild lands inland from the beach.

Counting my years along the shores of Lake Michigan, I realize it has held my heart for more than three decades, as I bask still in her flowing and liquid magic, a grateful acolyte to these central waters of Mother Earth.

I’d love to hear how you are seeing with new eyes. Take a look into your own life, your own backyard or treasure closet. What do you see when you look with new eyes? Where can you gain renewed energies from looking anew at what is familiar?

My friend and mentor Susan Castle is leading another magnificent, eye-opening retreat, this time within the sacred space of Sedona, Arizona. I’ll be there. I’d love to have you along! Retreat spaces are very limited. To learn about Susan and this opportunity for learning to “see with new eyes,” I invite you to step into her circle. Click here to learn more.

I wish you Abundant Blessings that are available when you are willing to see with new eyes.

Warmest regards to you,
from Bobbye Middendorf,
the Write Synergies Guru

Build Momentum — 30 Day Blog Challenge Post 20

Building momentum is an interesting concept on the Write Synergies journey.  We need momentum both in the inner sphere (as in building our inner foundation for our ongoing awakening awareness), AND in the outer sphere, building momentum around creating our creations or ventures or projects.

According to Merriam Webster, momentum is “strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events.” Building that force of forward motion, or momentum, is most often seen as an outer process, and it certainly does come into play as we create the body of work  in the manifest world.

But let’s consider for a moment, the very important role that “building momentum” plays on the inner path.   It is the strength of that inner motion, strengthening the inner part of our work and our selves.  At the same time, that inner forward motion is the key to creating a strong foundation on which we  build the castles of our creations following the Write Synergies Path.

Building a foundation from the momentum of forward motion and strength of the inner journey requires the tools of self reflection, discussed in the writing to awaken self awareness post. Just as the foundation of a house is invisible once the house is built on top of it, so too the foundation built by our inner journey is unseen on the outside.  Yet it is the most critical part of the entire construction.  Without a solid foundation, nothing will stand up. This is why I say, “The inner journey IS the journey.”

This journey begins with a single step, and once taken, the momentum builds, step by step.

By the time we have arrived at 20 posts in a 30-day/post blogging challenge, the small steps of daily blogging has created substantial momentum. Check out the 30 Day Blogging challenge on Twitter at #blog30 and the 7-day mini challenge at #mini7.

Writing Your Inner Journey–Blog Challenge Post 14

I came across marketing expert and coach, Tara Kachaturoff, on Connie Ragan Green’s 30-day blog challenge.  Her post today, “Marketing Your Book – The strategy may be in “why” you wrote your book,”  suggests that authors and would-be authors look at the reasons why writing a book was important in the first place. Tara explains, “You can often find hints of marketing strategies that might be a good fit.”

She concludes, saying,  “I believe there is value in taking time to explore your original intentions as you may find some highly aligned and inspirational strategies that are perfect for you!”

Tara’s insights are right on the money. What she opens the door to here is the deep dive, what I call the “inner journey.”  In particular for conscious creators, visionaries, thought leaders, and paradigm-changing authors, writers, messengers, healers, and soul-preneurs, this sort of reflection creates the foundational inner work that strengthens the creator and the project. But why, you may ask, does that matter?

What I have discovered and observed over my time in corporate book publishing and a decade-long self-employment journey helping all kinds of clients with their words,  is that all the fantastic outer stuff is great.  But using those juicy marketing tools alone can result in “bright shiny object syndrome” without the foundational grounding of this inner journey.  Both creator and creation become like a tree without roots, and just as unlikely to thrive.

Think about it. Without examining your underlying motivations, your vision, aspirations, and goals, without the inner clarity that comes  from envisioning your path and ultimate destination (or at least the next few steps), then you risk traveling the road that old saying describes: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Ideally this inner work and inner journey takes place before the book is published.  But as Tara observes, it can be powerful at any point in the process. I like to point out the importance of this by saying “the inner journey IS the journey.”

Safe travels to all!

Post 14 in the 30 day blogging challenge. Follow the great collegiality on Twitter at #blog30.