Sunday, December 25, 2016

Keep it Local

My relationships are the greatest gift in my life. The longer we know people, the more tempted we might be to hold them to who they once were. And the longer we know people, the more we owe it to them to let them change.

You all have let me change, whether you like it or not, by allowing for less tipsandtricks. When tipsandtricks started, I wanted to practice my writing, and I was open about my learning and growing in this life.

Thanks for the support in practicing writing! It has been extremely helpful to feel fluent in writing for my work in grad school. My growth in Al Anon has shifted my process tremendously. My spiritual work lately has felt too nuanced to articulate, and I trust myself and my Higher Power to work it out.

Last night at Christmas Eve dinner, my family and I talked politics for a bit, and thanks God, the conversation was friendly and interesting. One member mentioned we have to "keep it local." The local level is where we can affect the most change and from local, the change can grow larger.

Lena Stevens has encouraged me to keep Kindness and Compassion as my theme: to start with myself, and then offer Kindness and Compassion to those I love and those I meet along my way. From loving ourselves and each other well, we can feel good to move forward with enough energy to affect greater change.

My life has been asking me to love others through growth; to not say anything definitive about anyone, to give them permission to change, and to see them anew. People do change. Allow yourself to, allow your loved ones to. Start local, grow through love and love through growth, trust your loved ones' growth, want it for them; don't be afraid of what it means for you. Allowing change in ourselves and each other at a local level is where it starts, loving each other well is where it is.

Friday, November 11, 2016

For Now and Beyond

"Never fear. Never accept the appearance of things. All this shall pass in this unstable universe of ours. Do not under any circumstances engage in fear. Do what empowers you. Keep your hearts open no matter how hard. Do not engage in martyrdom, resentment or hopelessness. Let us not allow our attachments to stand in the way of the work ahead of us." --Jose and Lena Stevens

Your love is needed friends. I have felt best lately giving my prayers and my extra money to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Thanks for these words, dearest Elena Brower: 

"Across the plains of North Dakota, thousands of people have gathered with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in recent months to protest construction of a 1,172-mile oil pipeline. What began as a legal battle to halt construction has grown into an international movement headquartered on an 80-acre campground in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The community began with members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and has now grown up to 8,000 people.

The pipeline’s path through four states not only threatens Native American sacred lands and cultural sites, but also compromises food security and water access for families who call the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and neighboring communities home. Without a guarantee that the pipeline will be halted, the community plans to remain permanently, even with winter approaching." Watch this

Water protectors and activists from across the country sleep in tents and teepees beneath flags from 300 tribal nations, gather around campfires, and cook meals in open-air kitchens. There’s even a day care center for children. Our contributions will help keep them warm and fed as they block further construction."

Also, these organizations and organizations like them in your community, give them your time and your extra money if you have it.

"Keep your hearts open no matter how hard."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"How to Love and Also be Free"

Tipsandtricks' birthday came and went without a peep from me regarding the usual celebration of Greatest Hits.

It has been an honor and a privilege to learn we all need to find our own way in terms of discipline and self-rules by way of writing less tipsandtricks this year, and I thank you, dear readers, for the opportunity.

In the name of freedom, a Prayer for "Honoring Freedom" (it's long; I promise it's worth it) from the inspired Pixie Lighthorse:

"Thank you for this beautiful day of growth, of separation and individuation. 
Thank you for showing us how to love and also be free. 

Thank you for the water, the grass, the simple things we need to live and tend to take for granted. Thank you for wide, open-range thinking and for the ability to create our own realities with your help. Thank you for the courage to step off of the well-traveled thoroughfare to seek our own fortunes of the spirit. 

Bless our paths as we leave a season of our lives behind and declare new footsteps, once again, as you have blessed us so many times before now. Bless the Wheel that keeps us turning and learning. Guide us to autonomy as we learn to make spirit-stuff our first priority and the closest matter to our hearts. Let us allow this in others, honoring their way-knowing that we each have our own sweet language with you.

Guide us to true freedom by showing us your part in everything-everything beautiful and of creation, as well as that which is unseemly and destructive. Both are of you. Allow us to sit on the edge of the cliff for as long as we need to before we can move forward. Keep us from hurrying the process, knowing that it is in our readiness for leaping that we gain our sovereignty. Remind us that it is in ownership of the role we've played which will release us and forgiveness of ourselves which sets us free.

Humble us by removing our disclaimers, our qualifiers and our blame of others for putting us in this place. Find us sitting on the mountain waiting for the visions to come from you, disrobed of our arrogance, stripped of our expectations, devoid of impatience. Surround us with your magical animals, vegetables and minerals which support our earth-walk toward full flexibility. Show us that it isn't others who hold us back, only ourselves and our very good reasons. Show us another way. 

Hold us tenderly when we suffer and amplify our radiance when we shine. Heal us with right medicine which opens us all the way up, in full support of our sensitive natures. 

Teach us to nurture ourselves deeply and leave tracks for others on path to find us and their freedom, too." 

Thank you and bless you all. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unite Rather than Divide

I recently got caught talking about someone else. The someone else "caught" me not by "over-hearing" me but by saying something judgmental about me. At least they said it to my face.

In my spiritual program, Al Anon, we don't talk about other people; we talk about "principles not personalities." Even if I love what so-and-so said and it's my new mantra for living, I don't say "I love what so-and-so said!" I say "I like what was said about..."

I think we get tempted to talk about other people because we feel like it connects us to the person we're talking to. The meditation book Hope for Today taught me, "Not only do we avoid focusing on ourselves when we gossip, but our disrespect for others reinforces self-defeating attitudes about relationships."

Life is hard enough on its own, I know I can be hard enough on myself, I don't need help. Sarah Varcus says in this week's Full Moon update, "There’s a fair bit of tension around and many will be feeling it, so cutting each other (and ourselves) some serious slack is good advice! If possible, avoid heated topics of debate and focus on things that unite rather than divide, otherwise it may be all too easy to slip into overzealous championing of our own perspective without any due consideration of someone else’s view."

Criticism and judgments take us further away from love, plain and simple. If we can try to be kind to ourselves, it will be so much easier to be kind to those around us, plain and simple.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Young-ish Buck

Recently, I was talking with a client of mine about timing. He noticed he had to change his appointments a few times because his schedule had shifted. He also noticed the day he actually did come in for his B.E.S.T. seemed to be a day when he really "needed" one. These days, I trust little shifts and big shifts out of my control are happening for a reason and I believe that trust is part of what places me in "right" place and "right" time.

Over the past few weeks, on two different occasions, I've seen two "mature" bucks. And the long list in my mind remembered to look up deer in Animal Speak. I got around to it yesterday and, naturally, the deer's message is needed now more than ever.

Sometimes people say recovery should be called "un-covery." In recovery, I have looked long and hard at parts of myself that are operating from fear and I've tried to hook them back into faith. And I've had a lot of success. I missed a part though, and somehow this summer has uncovered it. Looking at it has been haaaaaaard and to make matters worse, I've been really hard on myself about it.

"When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Ask yourself important questions. Are you trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of yourself? When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you."

Or as a dear friend said yesterday, "be nice to the part of yourself that's being mean to yourself."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Stuff Just Gets Done

If you had asked me on Monday, "Hey Ashleigh, are you ever going to write tipsandtricks again?" I would have said "Heck no." Not because I don't love writing tipsandtricks, because of the gigantic amounts of writing I'm doing in school. A big old project due yesterday had me pretty bent on Sunday and Monday because I was having a hard time finding research materials to support it.

I just kinda let myself be a crabapple about it. On Monday, if someone asked me how I was doing, I told them, "My ass is getting handed to me." And I was still a nice lady to my yoga students.

Forty eight hours later, the project is complete, not only have I turned the thing in, I've presented on it and answered questions my classmates posed regarding my subject, and now I'm writing tipsandtricks. Somehow, the stuff just gets done.

Sometimes resistance is a part of it, it's part of the healing, it's part of the learning, it's part of the path and it's okay, maybe more than okay, to let yourself feel it.

"If you're tired, rest. If you're sad, cry. If you're thirsty, take a long, cold drink of water. If you feel hopeless, feel that. But know it's just for the moment. If you feel confused, feel that. Feel it until clarity, desire, hope and meaning break through. You don't have to trudge on through on willpower, not any longer. Rest until you feel healed, then gently go forward. Let the universe assist you. See how the magical power of the universe carries you along, even when you get tired, even when you get confused." --Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart