This past week I attended Fabienne Fredrickson’s Mindset Retreat in Ft Lauderdale, FL. The event was part of her yearlong Boldheart Academy program that is designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. The Mindset Retreat was focused … Continue reading
This past Sunday I attended a meeting of WAGE International (Women and Girls’ Education International) and I was so very inspired by the experience. I was invited to the meeting after I had been asked by their president Heather Mistretta … Continue reading
Today is a perfect day for cloud hopping. What, you ask, is that? Well, I have a particular proclivity to daydream in the clouds. I like to look up on a day when there are puffs of cotton ball clouds that dot the blue sky. I imagine myself leaping from cloud to cloud, landing in a soft and springy embrace in the next cloud. I might bound from a low cloud and vault up to a higher one, or take a long lead and jump a great distance between clouds that are far apart. Mostly I hurdle like a dancer leaps, one leg stretched out in front of the other; a jeté. Rarely do I jump with two feet together. Sometimes I soar from cloud to cloud in one long stretch as if I were playing checkers and jumping over 10 pieces in one successive move.
My favorite days for cloud tripping are breezy days when the clouds are moving with a moderate to brisk pace so that I can vary which cloud I go to next based on what is floating nearest. A few weeks ago, Andy and I were working in the garden on such a day and it took a great deal of restraint for me to focus on the gardening task at hand and not go cloud hopping. I did manage to squeeze some jumps in when I took a break to lie down on the grass and stretch my back (the gardening work was intense!).
Flying is something that I have been doing since I was a little girl. My first early experience was at night in my dreams. Probably due to watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I began my treks in the sky on my four-post bed as a child. In the movie, the children go on adventures on a magical brass bed with their caretaker (who is a witch). I went on my own adventures as I flew my bed way above my New Jersey hometown. Mainly I would just watch the goings on from above. I still love to go up high into the sky and watch the world and I have had those floating dreams many, many times over the years beyond childhood.
Another media impact on my (you might say unusual, I say wonderful) flight behavior was the TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. As a little girl, I have a very distinct memory, one that seemed real even when I was old enough to know it wasn’t, of looking out my bedroom window into the sky and seeing Santa and his sled with Rudolph at the front. I determined when I was a bit older that the angle of Santa’s flight that I saw was exactly what occurs in the very last frames of the animated special. My lifelong fascination with the sky and memories of my night flight adventures are very dear to me.
Day skipping in the clouds, conducted while awake, is very calming to me and something I am happy to do anytime. It’s a form of daydreaming so not surprisingly, the clouds can be very distracting, even as I sit here and write. My desk is in front of a large window and I have a great view above our tree line of a piece of neighboring mountain and best of all, the sky. I might be in the middle of a sentence when a cloud catches my eye and I decide to go on an adventure in my mind – and in the heavens.
But cloud hopping is also very useful and productive. Because of the meditative quality of the experience, I often solve problems or just become more relaxed when I am way up there. If something is upsetting me and I am lucky to have the right conditions in the sky, I do a little bouncing from puff to puff and whatever was bothering me becomes less important. Or I suddenly have clarity and make a decision that is authentic, based on my gut knowledge of what is best for me. Like the time just a few years ago when I was on a bus in Florida and the sky was particularly splendid in deep blues and puffy pristine clouds. I realized during that 15-minute bus ride between the media conference and the hotel that I was done with my corporate gig. I immediately began my serious plans to leave. The clouds served me so well that day because now I am happy as a child, floating above the sky and doing my own creative work.
I am reminded by the book, “The Anatomy of Peace” that the first step to making long lasting peace with anyone is to first get into a place where I am, at my own heart, at peace. What does it mean to be at peace? Frequently when I feel anger to or from someone, I am really feeling fear, fear at how they will respond to me, fear that I cannot handle the anger that they send my way, fear that I will continue to hurt and ache like I am feeling in that moment.
So how do I transform that feeling to a peaceful state that will invite them to want to be with me, communicate with me, speak their own pain so that I can listen and learn and figure out how to be with them? I like the perspective that it is not that we should rid ourselves of fear but rather learn to live with the fear. Part of peace is being OK with fear, understanding it but not letting it take complete hold of you. Letting the wave of butterflies go by, flitting and floating with colorful power, providing waves of deep feeling yet knowing that a feeling won’t kill you, but having no feeling will.
I experience a moment of fear frequently when I post a new blog entry because of what I have revealed about myself. When I jump into something without looking, which I tend to do, I kind of like the whirl of adrenalin that makes me a bit faint and lightheaded. It is a sign that I am alive, very human and probably doing something that, right or wrong, is taking me out of my comfort zone. But how do I know if it is right or wrong? I am not sure that there is a right or wrong per say. If it were an action that was illegal or caused harm to others, yes I would say that is wrong, but if it means that I have revealed something about myself that might have consequences like loosing a job, or even loosing friends because I am revealing my own truth, then how can that be wrong?
Which brings me back to where I started – how do I be at peace with others who might not fully understand my perspective? I must speak the truth from my heart and let others know what I want for me, for them and for the world. I want peace and understanding of each other. I want shared appreciation of our complex and wondrous human experience.
I am realizing that to be true to who I am and where I fit in the world, I need to go back to my hippie beginnings. A child of the 60s, my favorite memories and images are of family, friends and me involved in the peace movement. Whether I was on a bus to a DC peace march that was chartered by my hometown or hanging out at home, I was clothed in peace signs. My favorite outfit was a t-shirt mini dress that said “peace love peace love” in rows covering the entire dress. And of course I had on my favorite peace sign headband made out of leather with a metal peace sign right in the middle.
I don’t have the dress or the headband anymore but I do have most of my peace-related jewelry including beautiful silver charm peace signs with and without flowers and one of my favorites, my peace dove. “War is not healthy for children and other living things” states my emblem necklace. The peace symbol is not just a sign of my desire for world understanding and communion, but it is an artistic expression of my deep need to be calm and soothed and at peace. Enveloping myself in clothes and jewelry of peace is one way in which I am able to provide a cocoon of peace all around me wherever I am.