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Pour a Cup, Draw a Card, Take a Seat

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My heart holds the keys to my desires, my truth, and my connection.

The Power of Story

The greatest honor of being a hospital chaplain or traveling the US as an MS advocate was listening to people’s stories. I listened to varied accounts of courage in every type of setting: a woman receiving her cancer infusion with tears of joy in her eyes, a man trying to piece together a mental breakdown after losing his career, a family suffering after giving birth to a stillborn, a couple waiting to accept their adopted infant from the birth couple, a small boy struggling because he believes his father will forget him when he dies, a woman pounding her wheelchair arms in a shameful fit as she confides how she’s lost her health care coverage.

 

Different lives, different stories, similar roots. So many people struggling with loss. So much changing in my life, I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know how I feel about this. I want to do the right thing. The wise thing. The necessary thing. Who am I to make this decision?

 

I listened. I heard the longing.

The work of pilgrimage is meeting yourself in your stories. In order to appreciate the path, we must chew on our past. 
Gandhi, talking to me during an early draft of this passage

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as sending our lives running from it.
–Brené Brown, from her famous “The Power of Vulnerability” TED talk

One day after my hospital shift, I came home and quickly scribbled the image of a compass. I thought about the similar concepts that people laid at the foot of our conversations. They wanted answers but I heard the need for an anchor. I drew a compass and I began to chart the words I heard over and over. My purpose was to provide a presence not a direction. My job was to listen, to witness their trials. I felt their strength was their story and they held the key to how to move forward.

 

I meditated over this compass image. Over the course of a day or two, I came up with the labels of the ordinals that people sought: WISDOM, BOUNDARIES, COMPASSION. It wasn’t until I wrote “NARRATIVE” in the center and added “TRANSITION” on the outside that it sprang to life. I realized the compass was more than a tool. It was us! We are the compass. Our stories are instruments and the engine for learning and meaning-making. I created this compass for myself and for others. When I get overwhelmed or lost, sitting with the compass allows me to take a deep breath and get back to the basics: Wait, am I overanalyzing this? Is this really who I am? How do I really feel? What do I truly want? Do I desire something more fundamental? What really matters here?

The Story is Where You Start

Why is story so powerful? Because it's the roots to our life. Every person’s story becomes a thread in the weave of the great human tapestry. Being embodied is feeling our way into the connection of life. Story grounds us and helps us remain connected in a chaotic world. It's only a starting point. We pick up a compass to walk a path back to the light of our essential nature.

 

The Power of Place

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Excerpt from a channeled conversation with Leonardo DaVinci. Leonardo and Sally are standing waist-high in the waters off her beach looking back at Gentlewood and her neighbor's home.

DaVinci:

Tell me what you see.

 

Sally:

I see Gentlewood and my neighbor’s home.

 

DaVinci:

Yes. Tell me what else you see.

 

I look at DaVinci. Clearly, I'm not catching on.

 

DaVinci:

Look at the labyrinth.

 

I focus on the labyrinth. I notice that the air above it is moving! I’m seeing the air churning, winding, and twisting up into a funnel above the center!

 

DaVinci:

You are seeing energy, Sally. You are seeing the work of the vortex at the center of your labyrinth. You see, when you sit in the center of the labyrinth, you are connected to the past below and the future above.

I see myself cross-legged, meditating in the center of the labyrinth!

 

Instantly, I feel invigorated throughout the cells of my body as I am lie horizontal on my meditation mat. I close my inner eyes to enjoy this amazing sensation.
 

DaVinci:

Open your eyes. Trust what's happening to you, Sally. What you're experiencing is a 'siddhi' the ability to experience the power of bilocation.

Now I open my inner eyes and I am able to see myself, cross-legged on the labyrinth at the same time as feeling the energy coursing through my body. I close my inner eyes again because it is so much to take in.

 

I begin to slowly, internally whisper…

I am present…I am perfect…I am planted…I am empowered

I strive to remain grounded.

 

DaVinci observes the scene as I become silent, continuing to perfect my new mantra, my new tool.

A New Way

My Inner Lighthouse is an invitation to a new way of moving through life. It begins with an inward journey that connects us with the story of our life and leads us into a path of discovery and curiosity. Here is what I believe:

Our stories are sacred and they help us feel safe.

While stories are important pieces of our past, they can constrict our growth.

Our stories illustrate we were never meant to go it alone. The story of humanity is that in our brokenness we together heal a broken world.

Which brings me to the concept of the “one thing.” When I worked with clients one-on-one, I opened the session asking, “If you could change one thing in your life with the snap of your fingers, what would it be?” This "one thing" correlates to a need, a deep longing or belief which is the thread to discover and follow.

What Is Your "One Thing?"

What is the "one thing" that is vexing you these days? How are you seeking support?

Consider your question or challenge and click on a Compass Card below for guidance:

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Why Do The Work?

Decide to be happy 

Walk the path 

Try something new 

Talk to your body 

Look behind the anger 

Acknowledge your fears 

Make friends with your tears 

Pick up a compass 

Ask for guidance 

Respect the masters 

Let go, stop thinking and 

Let your heart decide 

Decide to be happy 

 

You are the compass 

Remember your 

Inner Lighthouse 

And know that you are enough.

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BECOME YOUR OWN SPIRIT GUIDE

I had been mightily comforted, encouraged and relieved of feeling experiences that were not mine to hold.

 

I remember during our session, you introduced Mother Mary to me in a way that actually meant something to me and brought her, as a meaningful presence, into my life.  She also came into my session, and the comfort I felt was indescribable. By working with you, the idea that there is no good or bad, right or wrong was reinforced in me and I was – and am – so grateful. Thank you!

 

- Sharon G.