Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Connections Remain, No Matter How Far We Roam

I love experiencing new places. Especially ones I perceive as so foreign to the world I know. New sights, new sounds, new faces, new foods – an adventure waiting to happen down every turn. I held to this mindset as a few days ago I began a trip to South Korea, about 6,600 miles from home. I’ve never been to an Asian country and had no idea what to expect.

This is due in part because everything was being planned for me and my family – airfare, lodging, meals and every stop along the way. It was part of a tour designed by our Taekwondo Grand Master for a group of about 30 of his students. It’s the first time we’ve not been involved in any of the planning, and frankly, it was kind of nice (and interesting serendipity considering I’m also working on letting go and trusting more – see previous blogs).

In some respects, there were a lot of similarities: high rises, mini-malls, chain restaurants and the like. In other respects, seeing the Korean language plastered across neon signs everywhere, street food stands offering not just corn dogs but tentacles as standard fare, and all the beautiful mountains made it clear that we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

This is the path we started on to get into the lush island forest.
One of the things I’ve been most excited about is being in nature here. I love trees, creatures of all kinds and connecting with the spirit of nature whenever I can. I wanted to see if it felt different, what the leaves of trees looked like and the variety of plants and flowers. (This is usually about the time my daughters look at each other with synchronous eye rolls.)

On our fourth day here we toured a beautiful island called Jisimdo or Camellia Island. Camellia refers to a beautiful red flower of the Camellia tree, which starts blooming in December and continues well into the spring. The island is also known for its connection to the heart because the island looks like the Chinese character for heart. In fact, at the top of the island sits a statue of two giant hands forming a heart.

Walking along the many paths, what struck me was the variety of flora – pine trees, bamboo trees and what seemed like lush tropical plants – all of which sprouted from a huge mass of rock protruding from the Yellow Sea. It seemed peculiar to have all of these seemingly different plants thriving together, but it felt kind of right too. Walking beneath the canopies, you could feel the life everywhere.

Some of the life actually visited me. A black and white bird with a full white belly made itself known
My first siting
to me from a branch about 10 feet above my head. I learned afterward that the magpie is one of the most plentiful birds in Korea. It’s also a member of the crow family, which is significant to me because I have always felt a connection to crows and they often give me messages of one sort or another.

One aspect I associate with the magpie is the energy of the trickster as it’s considered a mischievous bird. So I often connect it with the lesson of Coyote in the Native American Medicine Wheel – the trickster who reminds us to not take life too seriously or we may end up repeating lessons that just make us play the fool over and over.

So when I first saw the magpie, I thought, what a beautiful bird. But later in the path I saw him again, as he landed less than 5 feet away from me on a branch. Well anytime I have a bird or animal appear to follow me, I’ll typically take this as a sign that there’s a message in it somewhere. A good rule of thumb with signs is if you see something three times, and there’s an unusual aspect to it (e.g., you see it in an odd place or something calls your attention to it in an unexpected way) then it’s a good chance it’s a sign worth deciphering. And if, as in this case, it appears in a particularly unusual way, then that’s a good indication as well.

So yes, I typically need to lighten up and realize that I’m playing the part of the fool. On this trip, I’ve had to fight back the urge to make sure everything is going right for others, herd people to the right place at the right time and generally step in when there’s absolutely no reason for me to do so.

I took the message to heart and decided to just enjoy the walk in nature. (Clearly, the message is still relevant because just as I’m writing this the song “Out of My Hands” by Jason Mraz is playing through my headphones.)

The nice thing about this is the message I received wasn’t dependent on where I was – a foreign land thousands of miles away. I’ve received similar messages in the past right at home. It’s comforting in a way, knowing that no matter where I go, I’ll always be able to connect to Spirit in a way that resonates with me. So no matter the place or the adventure ahead, I’ve got a constant connection available, just waiting for me to pay attention. 

Even if the message is to stop being a fool.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Step 2. Trust.

OK. Step one, start letting go (see previous blog). Step two, trust.

And by trust, I mean really, truly trust that what comes next is what’s supposed to come next. And it’s for my highest good.

You may have noticed I’m talking to myself. I’m not crazy. At least clinically. But I do find that telling myself what I want helps me stay focused on it. Call it an affirmation with an edge.

While I believe that affirmations work, I also get hung up on the sometimes flowery nature of affirmations. The “I’m good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me” (thank you Stuart Smalley) approach sometimes leaves me flat. I need a little more of a kick in the pants – more like a “Get over yourself, and just do what needs to get done. People may like you, they may not. It’s not the point.” approach.

Now trust has never been an easy one for me. I could chalk it up to any number of things in my life, but that’s not really important. What is important is where I am now. In this moment. I know it’s not a fully trusting place. I’m scared. I admit it.

So, if you were my client, and you told me you had a hard time trusting others, trusting that all will work out, trusting yourself, I’d approach it something like this.

There are nine areas of the Feng Shui bagua at your disposal (and I could use the Medicine Wheel too, but that’s a topic for another blog): Career, Self-knowledge, Family, Abundance, Fame, Relationships, Creativity, Helpful People and Balance.

Of these options, I’d suggest working on three of them: Self-Knowledge, Family and Helpful People. 
Here’s why:

If we can’t trust ourselves, how can we expect to trust others, the world around us, etc. So, the better you know yourself (Self-Knowledge), the more confidence you have in what you can do and the more you can actual trust yourself to achieve your goals – you know your strengths and weaknesses and what you need to do to draw from one and manage the other.

Funny thing about this area of life (gua in feng shui terms) is that it is also the area of Spirituality. Keep in mind this reflects whatever spirituality you follow – it’s not dependent on any religion and it’s really based on how you define it. I have the belief that God is not something separate from us but a part of us, and as such is an extension of us. So, with that logic, I know that for me, if I can trust myself or my Self, then I’m also trusting in Spirit. Nice connection there I think.
Next area where you could focus would be Family. When we think of family, there are many aspects, and often people look to their time growing up to be influenced most by their immediate family. So, if you have trust issues (this is just one of my many issues btw), then one place to look would be your current relationships with family members and how they evolved to be what they are today.

Finally, let’s look at Helpful People. Seems self explanatory right? We all want people to help us with our “stuff.” And as much as I sometimes just want to run away to a mountain and be a hermit living with the bears and other four-leggeds, and winged ones, the people in our lives can have a HUGE impact on our happiness. So, I would suggest you reinforce this area of your home to focus on the kind of people in your life who would be able to help you be more trusting. People you ACTUALLY trust to have your back and be there for you through thick and thin.

You might now say, that’s all fine and good, but what do you do with that information?

Have I mentioned how great feng shui is? Well it is, because there is ALWAYS a way to enhance a space. Always. Feng shui “cures” are so versatile you will never be at a loss for a way to improve your home. And if you’re not sure what these “cures” do, in a nutshell they act as beacons for what you want to attract into your life. Combine your intention with a cure and you’re going places baby.

Cures come in many shapes and sizes, and not just wooden flutes and red tassels (more traditional feng shui cures), but things like plants, light, color, statues. crystals and more. The most powerful cures, I've found, incorporate something personal to you. So I won't go into which cures to use in my trust scenario because they would be different for each person.

Of course if you want to talk more about this, I'm available for a consultation (that's my shameless self-promotion). Just give me a call or email me.

So my journey is continuing. It feels a bit like a wobbly bridge over a chasm, but adrenaline is a good motivator.

Until next time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Letting Go.

My name is Bill, and I’m a control freak.

I openly admit it. I’m not even ashamed.

In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to excel in my corporate job. Part of me relishes in having a hand in so many moving parts, directing here, nudging there, sometimes downright pushing situations to get us where we need to be.

But as of late, it’s clear, that this approach is not the approach that will support my happiness. It’s one fraught with disappointment, failure and frustration because I just can’t, no one can in fact, control everything in any situation. So faced with this reality, it’s time to let go.

Not easy. Nope. I’m willing, but there’s this death grip I have on my current reality. One that I’ve created in which the pursuit of control as the solution for all things is my norm. And if I were to be honest, it’s also beating the crap out of me mentally and spiritually (and my physical activity has reduced significantly too).

So, what does all of this have to do with feng shui, energy of space, spirituality and the like? Well it’s time to take my own advice. I tell my clients that their intention is the seed for all that they want to achieve – and we use that to direct the energy in their homes or businesses and even attract more of that into their lives.

Time to set an intention of letting go in my life. One in which I can actually feel what it would be like to let go – a little scary, freeing, fulfilling, heart-opening, adventurous and even exciting.  

I'm also giving my intention an additional push, with the altar shown here. As I tell my clients, a powerful way to solidify any intention is to create an altar, and use it as a focal point each day for your intention. Simply sitting with it, focusing on the feeling of achieving your intention, will build the energy to support you achieving your goal. Even a picture of one can act as your focal point. 

What is your intention for your life? How are you going about making it a reality? Feel free to use this altar here as your focal point of your dreams.