Trust Your Heart

Deer Heart

Deer Heart

At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, made up of wave forms and resonances, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything in the universe. The act of getting in touch with this pulse can transform our personal experience and in some way alter the world around us.
—George Leonard (The Silent Pulse pg 11)

Our schools teach with an emphasis on facts, figures, and quantifiable knowledge. We live in a practical society that rewards head knowledge that can be tested or applied to a utilitarian purpose. Straight-line thinking and ten easy steps to achieve goals are highly valued.

The ways of the heart are more mysterious. Your heart speaks with a wisdom that is more intuitive, connecting you with your spirit. When you are weary of the ways of a utilitarian world, take time to listen to the deeper wisdom of your heart. It will teach you about love and help you receive guidance from God.

True abundance flows from the fountain of the loving Presence that is always with you and within you. God is in your heart, in the still small Voice within that comforts, guides, and sustains. Every time you choose to trust this calm and steady sense of Presence, the Universe will move in support as helping hands, loving hearts, and kindred spirits arrive in your life. Some call it the law of attraction. Some call it growing into our spiritual potential. This is the grace of inner abundance, helping you discover a peaceful, life-giving strength that can transform your life. Heaven is within, and you can create a taste of heaven on earth when you live from that inner reality.


Blessing arises from a state of mind and heart that understands wholeness, that understands joy, that sees what is right rather than what is wrong. It is not problem-solving as much as it is problem-dissolving.
David Spangler

Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.
Frank Gaines

Everything in life responds to the song of the heart. 
Ernest Holmes

Listening for Guidance

If we have listening ears, God speaks to us in our own language, whatever that language is.
—Mahatma Gandhi

When things start getting crazy, I’m learning to slow down and listen. When I don’t know what to do next, I take time for meditation and stillness in the presence of God. Instead of getting caught up in the chaos of the world, I withdraw to ask for guidance and help. I attune myself to a deeper wisdom that is in harmony with eternal values. 

It is our nature to harmonize with the natural rhythms of the universe, yet we have for the most part forgotten how to do this. In a world in crisis, it is vitally important to regain this lost art, and to attune our lives to the silent pulse that lies beneath all forms and manifestations. 

In his classic book on mindfulness meditation, Wherever You Go, There You Are, John Kabat-Zinn says that meditation “is a door into the timeless, it operates beyond time, underneath time, inside of time, and so allows for transformation without having to strive to get anywhere else, or beat oneself up along the way for being inadequate, or imperfect.” 

You do not have to twist yourself into a pretzel for hours on end or become an enlightened expert on exotic forms of mantras and mental tricks to find the benefits of meditation in your own life. A simple and ongoing commitment to fifteen to twenty minutes, or even five or ten when pressed for time, can be a gentle tool for transformation. As you learn to still your mind and body, you ease yourself out of time-bound restrictions and reactions into the peace and beauty of the eternal here and now.

By withdrawing from the world to listen to the still small voice of God, we learn to love God more deeply so that we can know ourselves more authentically and serve humanity more fully. It is a journey to the Source of love so that we may be that love in the world we inhabit.

We also practice the art of listening presence when we choose to
• listen with all our senses
• open our minds to larger ideas as we release old assumptions
• release that which no longer serves us and embrace our potential for wholeness 
• ask the questions that open us to new patterns that bring life and vitality
• enter into who we are already in the eyes of God
• live our lives with integrity and coherence 
• offer our unique gifts in service to the world

It’s an artful way to approach daily life as well. We ourselves hold the possibility of becoming art—of capturing the genesis moment of creation in the eternal here and forever now of our own lives. This requires an educated eye, a listening ear, a feeling heart, and a spirit attuned to the unfolding wonder of life itself. 

We must teach ourselves to be present and aware, or we will miss moments of glory and rapture. We must be able to listen with all our senses, set the distractions aside, and focus our awareness on what is happening within us and around us. 

As we train our hearts and minds, and awaken our senses, we discover that every moment is a Genesis moment, holding the potential for us to co-create with God. Then we can say, “Let there be…” and we can love our own small everyday world into fullness of being. 


Quotes

I know artists whose medium is life itself and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel, or guitar. They neither paint nor dance. Their medium is Being. Whatever their hand touches has increased life… They are the artists of being alive. 
—Frederick Franck

The Secret Path is not alone a path of mind; it may, and should, easily become the forerunner of a path of outer achievement, the more dynamic because it is the more inspired. Its object is not to withdraw men into monastic idleness but to help them work more wisely and more effectively in their own spheres of usefulness. 
—Paul Brunton

Every profound innovation is based on an inward-bound journey, on going to a deeper place where knowing comes to the surface. 
—W. Brian Arthur

I know what the answer is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world. 
—Henry Miller

I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
— Joseph Campbell

If you bring forth that which is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
—The Gospel of Thomas

Become aware of what is in you.
Announce it, pronounce it, produce it, and give birth to it.
— Meister Eckhart

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
—from the Lord’s Prayer

Your name, your sound can move us
if we tune our hearts as instruments for its tone.
Create in me a divine cooperation—
from the many selves, one voice,
one action.
—Neil Douglas Klotz (from an Aramaic translation of the Lord’s Prayer)

I want to know the mind of God. 
The rest is all details
— Albert Einstein


Affirmative prayer

Speak, Lord, for I am listening…
I enter blessed stillness and openness, so native to my soul. 
I find rest after all of the noise and distraction. 
I enter into the Presence.
I am listening…
And as I quiet mind and body, I hear a still small voice.
It whispers the truth I need to hear today,
A loving message from the heart of God to my human heart. 

Introducing an inspiring friend: 

Artist Emily Steinberg Cash at Watermelon Moon Farm sent me a reminder that their Autumn Harvest and Celebration Home Tour happens this weekend, September 11 and 12. It launches the fall festivities: luncheons, classes, crafts, cooking, and a memorable time at the historic Watermelon Moon Farm Bed and Breakfast just outside of Lebanon, Tennessee. Emily and Harold have remodeled and refreshed the shop after the fire this summer, and they are open for business from now through Christmas. Enjoy old-fashioned hospitality at this historic homestead. And if you miss the fall open house, look for the dates for the holiday open house in mid-November. I did a book signing there last year and loved every minute of it (especially the guinea hens!)

Check out their website for more events. 

http://www.watermelonmoonfarm.com/
10575 Trousdale Ferry Lebanon,TN 37090
Phone – 615.444.2356
e-mail – wmmoonfarm@yahoo.com


More inspiration for artful living: 

Sister Joan Chittister says: 

If, indeed, truth is beauty and beauty truth, then the monastic and the artist are one.

Monasticism, in fact, cultivates the artistic spirit. Basic to monasticism are the very qualities art demands of the artist: silence, contemplation, discernment of spirits, community and humility.

Basic to art are the very qualities demanded of the monastic: single-mindedness, beauty, immersion, praise and creativity. The merger of one with the other makes for great art; the meaning of one for the other makes for great soul.


Read the entire post at Huffington Post, August 23, 2010
The Artist and Monk Are One
From "The Monastic Spirit and the Pursuit of Everlasting Beauty," which appeared in The Journey and the Gift: The Ceramic Art of Brother Thomas.

When You Don't Know Which Way to Go, Go Within

Take your business as it is, child, and praise Divine Love that there is a strong wise way out of your dilemma. 
Emma Curtis Hopkins

I received an email from a friend who is considering a move. She is not happy where she is living and is looking for a new start. This reminded me of what has been going on in my own life recently, including having fantasies of moving away to find the “perfect” life. There may be no such thing as a perfect life, but fantasy can paint a pretty convincing picture of the wonderful life and perfect people and no problems that could be “if only.” Of course, if I know how to live my life well, I can have a wonderful life without having to pack everything up and move to the other side of the country. Having felt as if all the pieces of my life have been tossed into the air in the last year, I am seeing a few pieces beginning to land and create a new pattern for my life right here in Nashville. While I had fantasies of moving away and starting a pristine new life during these months of feeling disconnected from my old life (especially when facing the heat and humidity of a Nashville summer), I have come to realize it is not what is around me that makes the difference, it is what is inside me. 

Remember the saying “Wherever you go, there you are?” If I am only moving "away from" I'll be recreating the same problems in the new place. What I am goes with me. New faces and situations can just become new variations on an old mindset. If I’m giving my power away by blaming others or telling old stories of defeat and anger, I will find a way to recreate those negatives in a new location. If I’m always creating drama and chaos, I will do the same no matter where I move. Moving is not going to change my life—it is changing my thoughts and beliefs about what life can or cannot be that makes the real difference. 

There is a story told of a wise man sitting upon a hill next to a busy road. A traveler came by and asked the wise man about the people in the next town--what were they like? Was it a good place to live? The wise man asked the traveler, “What were the people like in the town you left?” "Oh, they were quarrelsome and difficult, hard to get along with, and not worth my time." The wise man answered, "They are the same in the town that you are going to." Later in the day another traveler stopped to talk to the wise man and asked him about the people in the next town. "What kind of people will I find there?" he asked. The wise man asked him, "What kind of people did you find in the town you came from?" "Oh, they were friendly and helpful. Everyone was so wonderful. Such beautiful people and I was sad to leave them behind." The wise man then said, "You will find the same kind of people in the town you are going to." 

That said, moving can be a powerful catalyst for breaking old thought patterns and negative habits—if you are already committed to doing your inner work right now, right where you are. Your commitment to the life you already have will help you make the right move at the right time for the right reasons. Here or there, your inner work, your choices, your thoughts, will create a life you love or a life that reflects your negativity. 

I moved to Nashville in 1993 to fulfill my songwriting dreams. It was country music boomtown at the time, with Garth Brooks at the top of the charts and an amazing community of like-minded dreamers who had moved from all parts of the country to pursue the same dream. Ninety-five percent of the people who come to town for the music leave in two years. They come excited to conquer the music industry, and leave after discovering that the music machine rolled over them. Nashville can be a tough town, and dreams can sour. Those who stay and become ten to fifteen year “overnight successes” usually find that it is the community that keeps them in town, not the career. 

I wouldn’t trade anything for the experiences I’ve had in Nashville and the music I made. But the elusive songwriting deal never manifested, and other hopes and dreams faded in the reality of making ends meet. There are signs that the Internet infrastructure is finally beginning to help artists find markets and support themselves with their creative work. But most of my songs are still sitting on the shelf, and even my book career has been a roller coaster ride instead of the steady climb I had hoped. I still hope. I’m working to make my creative dreams a reality and to live a fulfilling life using my best gifts and talents. And I adore the songs I wrote with incredible co-writers. I am thankful for the wonderful people I’ve met, and friends who have stayed and friends who moved away. I am glad I moved to Nashville when I did so I could experience that magic time. It was like falling in love. It was also, at times, like being in a bad relationship. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I found a community of like-minded people when I moved to Nashville, but as the years went by the community changed and so did I. I have enjoyed lasting friendships, but I have also seen a lot of people come and go. The music industry not only went into a bust cycle (it's always been boom and bust) but imploded, and most of the people I know, even ones who were getting deals in the early 90s and making hits, are struggling to survive. Many gifted and deserving people who are great performers and writers, people who should be on radio and TV, are relieved right now just to have a day job (if they have one). There's a standing joke in town: How do you get a songwriter off your porch? Pay him for the pizza. (I still remember one hit songwriter and producer telling the story of hearing his first song on the radio after a particularly dismal pizza delivery in the rain, with no tip from a very tiresome customer. He climbed into his truck, turned the radio on, heard his song being played for the first time, and laid his head down on the steering wheel and cried. He went on to a stellar career and his pizza delivery days were over. Love those Cinderella/triumph over the odds stories.).

I enjoy being part of a wonderful and diverse community here in Nashville. Some of my friends are songwriters, but many have little or nothing to do with the music business. My community is more varied now, a product of my years here and my involvement with activities and organizations and ongoing friendships. Though I was willing to move away (or get a day job, or do whatever Spirit might be guiding me to do) and open to making big changes in my life, I’m discovering that small incremental choices are leading me to the new life I crave. Little roots are being re-established in this town. If I’m supposed to leave Nashville, it’s not at this time.

Now my window of “not knowing” is beginning to close. I’m doing less anxiety reading and more focusing of my energy into creating the life I want to live. I’m currently in a “build it and they will come” mode as I embrace taking ideas out of airy nothingness and bringing them into manifest reality. An e-book, building my website and Internet presence, and settling into a new routine are all the focus of my days now.

I am choosing to stop looking for outside answers to my question of “What do I do now?” As all of my clients of almost 20 years have melted away due to the financial meltdown and changes in the publishing industry, I had been looking everywhere for new sources of revenue. Recently I realized that I was beginning to feel like a crazed gerbil trying to find its way out of a Byzantine maze. Let me tell you that panicked gerbil thinking will get you nowhere fast. When the old answers don’t work (and believe me, they don’t work any more at this moment in my life) it is time to approach things with a different mindset. 

I recently decided to spend some concentrated time in prayer, re-centering my energies, and getting quiet inside so I could hear the still small voice of God. Since what I had been doing was ineffective anyway (if they’re not hiring, they’re not hiring) I decided to look inward, concentrating on my inner light and on God as my Source. Knowing that all other doors closing could be the guidance I’ve been asking for, I took time to think about what I really want. While financial solutions are important (and essential) I could see that they might be found in doing what I love to do instead of forcing myself to fit into some preconceived notion of what I should do. I have given my best effort to finding conventional work and nothing has worked. Maybe those closed doors are a sign that I should follow my heart and trust the process, even if everything still feels amorphous and ambiguous. 

As I choose this path with heart, I realize I have everything to gain and nothing to lose in following my heart and doing what I love to do. So here I am again, writing my blog. I’m working on my first e-book and plan to get it out as soon as I learn how to do all the things you need to do to publish and prepare for market. “Build it and they will come.” I’m building. I have also been learning the ropes on social marketing. I’m on Facebook now, just beginning to build my public page. I’m not quite ready for Twitter, but as I build my infrastructure I’m sure I’ll eventually be tweeting with the best of them. I’m looking at ways to offer some of my best and most beautiful photos to the marketplace. I’m reading what others are saying about this brave new world of finding your tribe on the Internet. I’m learning new skills, opening my mind to new ideas, meeting new people. 

As well as doing an intense amount of work, I’m also disciplining myself to take time out and to give myself some breathing space for creative renewal. Taking long walks after hours at the computer has yielded fresh ideas and larger perspectives. Being with friends has become an essential, not an option. I may not know how this will unfold, but I’m building a creative space and believing that my tribe will find me. 

Instead of moving somewhere else, I reinventing my life right where I live, here and now. Instead of looking for the permission of others, I’m giving myself permission. And instead of expecting instant answers, I’m taking this one small step at a time, believing that I am guided as one thing leads to another. I’m asking myself “How can I contribute to the greater good? How can I create value? How can I use my best gifts and talents to create something heartfelt and authentic that will encourage others and remind them of the good, the true, and the beautiful?” 

I’m listening and present in the Presence, asking for God’s help and guidance. When you don’t know which way to go, go within. You’ll find solutions, help, and unexpected resources appearing in your life. And maybe, just maybe, some of the answers will find you, drawn by the law of attraction and your willingness to believe in and invest in your best dreams. 

Quotes

People aren’t reading books so much. They text and Twitter and Google a lot—anxiety reading—but they’re too jumpy for books.
George Dawes Green (novelist quoted in Publishers Weekly interview 7/13/09)

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a model that makes the existing model obsolete.
Buckminster Fuller

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Peter Drucker

Within me is the unborn possibility of limitless living; mine is the privilege of giving birth to it.
Eric Butterworth

Sooner or later, you must put God first in your life, that is to say, your own true spiritual development must become the only thing that really matters. You will find that you will do a great deal less running about after things that do not matter, when once you do.
Emmet Fox

There is a state of awareness possible in the mind which rises above all confusion, apprehension, fear, or doubt, and, looking over the obstructions, can dissipate them by the divinity of its own God-like glance.
Ernest Holmes

When your inner spirit is in harmony with Nature, it can adapt readily to all events and possibilities.
Marcus Aurelius

True magic, divine magic, consists in using all one’s faculties, all one’s knowledge, to bring about the kingdom of God in oneself and in others.
Omraam Mickhael Aivanahov

With our inventive powers, we can be passionately for each other and for the whole living world around us.
Ben Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander

God does not ask anything else except that you let yourself go and let God be God in you.
Meister Eckhart

I have spent my time stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.
Rumi

When we create from the unity of body, mind, and spirit, we are one with our muse, and our work is always original, always powerful.
Jeanne Carbonetti 

Find your own quiet centre of life and write from that to the world. 
Sarah Orne Jewett

Affirmative prayer

I love this beautiful affirmation by John Donne reminding us that God’s answers are not bound by times and seasons, but always fresh and available, always ripe and ready in God’s Perfect Time. 

All Times Are His Seasons

We ask our daily bread, and God never says, You should have come yesterday. He never says, You must come again tomorrow. But “today if you will hear His voice,” today He will hear you. If some king of the earth have so large an extent of dominion in north and south as that he hath winter and summer together in his dominions, so large an extent of east and west as that he hath day and night together in his dominions, much more hath God mercy and judgement together. He brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light. He can bring thy summer out of winter though thou have no spring. Though in the ways of fortune, or misunderstanding, or conscience, thou have been benighted till now, wintered and frozen, clouded and eclipsed, damp and benumbed, smothered and stupefied till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the sun at noon, to banish all shadows; as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. All occasions invite His mercies, and all times are His seasons.
God made the sun and moon to distinguish seasons, and day and night; and we cannot have the fruits of earth but in their seasons. But God hath made no decrees to distinguish the seasons of His mercies. In Paradise the fruits were ripe the first minute, and in Heaven it is always autumn, His mercies are ever in their maturity.
— John Donne

Inspiring friends 

Right now I’m making new choices to pursue new opportunities and new ways of doing business. I just downloaded this e-book package http://artmoneyguide.com/ (Picasso version) and I’m gobbling the information up. I have been following Chris Guillebeau at http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/ for guidance and inspiration on building my Internet business. His free PDF 279 Days to Overnight Success http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/overnight-success/ has been a model for me. I found his site on Seth Godin's blog (courtesy of a tip from a fellow musician) and have been learning and linking ever since (see my May blog for more details).

I took my first trip to Santa Fe in early June. I met some wonderful people and saw some inspiring places. Look for more later as I share photos, encounters, and more fabulous folks with you. 

Check out this totally inspiring presentation: Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it -- and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections. Watch his wonderful talk on music and passion on the TED website: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html
Or go to his website at http://benjaminzander.com/
 

Comments

  1. December 27, 2009 5:55 PM CST

    Candy, I want you to know....I grew when I read this and I am feeling peaceful, hopeful, secure and excited about living my life! Thank you for knowing just what I needed to read today.

    - Sharon Kasserman