Maybe Live A Little!

Tap, tap, tap.

What’s making that sound? I looked around trying to solve the puzzle. When I spotted her, I laughed! A little woodpecker was perched up high on the side of a black light pole tap-tapping away. At first I thought the poor thing must be confused, mistaking a light pole for a tree! 

But this little bird kept coming to mind throughout my day. And on second thought, maybe she just wanted to make music. 

Sometimes, like this little bird, we don’t fit in; we do things differently. Maybe others think we’re foolish because of it. Well the encounter today was a reminder to do your own thing anyways…be the dork, care enough to cry, do a silly, little dance in the grocery aisle, sing off-key!

The quirky way you interact with the world is a gift to us all.

When we free ourselves up to be authentic, we give others permission to do the same.

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The Snake’s Message: Time to Shed Your Skin

The sun had cast a glowing veil across pine boughs and river rocks, and the day was calling me to wake up. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, grabbed a sweatshirt, and headed outside.

“Where are you going?” my sister called after me.

“To say good morning to the river!” I called back over my shoulder, already making strides across the grass to the river path.

Last week, my family and I stayed in a cabin along the South Umpqua River in Southern Oregon.

I was cheerfully greeted by a bubbling, rolling stream of silver-blue water, careening over rocks, tickling grasses along the bank, and exuding the freshest smelling air that made me want to breathe it in deep. I spied the perfect sitting rock, where a natural smooth bowl was beckoning, and settled into a comfy perch, facing upstream, so I could watch the water dance. Closing my eyes, I felt the sunlight stream across my skin and warm me. When I opened my eyes again, hundreds of tiny winged creatures were floating above the water, catching the rays on their wings like glimmering jewels. At first, I imagined they were fairies, but on second thought, they were probably just crane flies or some related species. Nonetheless, the scene was breathtaking.

I reached up and stretched my arms, feeling quite content. And as I stretched, I happened to glance over my right shoulder, and spotted a long snakeskin arched around a small rock under the lip of a large boulder. I went to investigate, and sure enough, withdrew a beautiful black and gray snakeskin, almost completely intact.

Whenever I come across an animal or insect, whether in real life or in a dream, I trust it brings with it some sort of message or significance. The snakeskin appeared across my path at the perfect time, reminding me that old thought patterns, fears, and unresolved hurts from the past must be shed in order to make room for new life. I had already begun this process, as you may have read the poem I posted a few weeks ago about releasing memories. Seeing the snakeskin confirmed I am on the right path.

Oftentimes we desire new opportunities and experiences, yet they remain out of reach until we do the work of shedding our old skin of beliefs that no longer serve our dreams and highest good. As the snake reminds us, in order for transformation to take place, we have to release the past and be willing to enter the unknown with fresh skin. This undoubtedly requires us to be vulnerable. And although there is great power in vulnerability, it isn’t always the most comfortable feeling.

Fellow blogger Kelly C. Wells writes:

“‘You’ve heard the phrase ‘feeling comfortable in your own skin.’ Never is this more difficult when you are in a life transition and learning to take on a new identity. However, it’s important to know that being uncomfortable is not a sign that you are lost, powerless, or disconnected.

The best example of this in the natural world is when a snake sheds its skin. During the shedding process, the snake is visibly uncomfortable and unproductive. It doesn’t eat; it is irritated and sluggish, devoting all of its energy to this one task of ridding the old to make room for the new.

Why is the snake shedding? To grow into a larger, more capable and more evolved body and existence. While snakes do this physically, we as human beings metaphorically shed our own skin when it is time to grow personally, professionally, or spiritually.”

At the end of the week, before it was time to return home to Portland, I went back to the river and returned the snakeskin to the place where I originally found it, offering my thanks for its vital message. Feeling both grateful and tickled by the gift offered that first morning along on the river, I am more certain than ever that wisdom is all around us and an ever-present resource we can be nourished by, if we just open our hearts and minds to receive it.

What beautiful things will enter your world once you shed your old skin and make space for new experiences?

South Umpqua River, Oregon

South Umpqua River, Oregon

The view from the cabin's front porch.

The view from the cabin’s front porch.

Hold Onto Your Reasons

There’s no easy way to walk away from a path that is fast gaining momentum, but just isn’t right, and choose another one. Likewise, there’s no simple balm for the overwhelming uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, or fear that you will feel. (A lot of). That is, if you veer left, despite the pressure to march straight ahead.

So what’s the left-turn? I think your younger self could tell you.

What was it you dreamt of achieving when you were a child? What got you fired up and excited about the life ahead of you?

I bet if you really listened, that same passion — that wild call to follow your soul’s vocation — would still be there. In fact, you may discover it’s been there all the while, whispering at times, but never silent, and always leading you onwards through the myriad of experiences and adventures, challenges, risks, and explorations throughout the years that brought you to today.

When I dug deeply and made space for that voice just over a year ago, I knew I had to trust the call to travel. And at the time, that meant leaving a career-oriented job that didn’t fit my value system and heading out into the vast unknown alone.

At first, I was terrified!

But I boarded that plane and took the leap anyways. It turned out to be an incredible multi-month journey full of love and synchronicity. In fact, traveling broke my heart open in the best way possible, and looking back, it was exactly what I needed.

Now that I’m back, I’m still listening, and that inner voice is still speaking. It’s familiar call is welcome now, and I’m honoring it. Currently, I’m following the call to be a writer. An artist. A crafter of beauty by way of words.

Writing has, for as long as I can remember, lit a fire inside of me. When I’m writing, I feel like a woman on an endless adventure holding a butterfly net, catching little glimpses at the bigger picture of something wonderful — flawed and tragic, but deeply nourishing. The best part about capturing stories is releasing them back into the wild. There are tales everywhere that need to be told, and shared, and revelled in. Thus, I’m focusing more on writing than ever before.

When distractions or doubts threaten to derail my dedication to what makes me feel alive, I hold onto my reasons.

It feels right. It adds purpose and meaning to my existence. It’s my dream. Life is too short to not live fully. I’m here to answer the call.

We all have to hold onto our reasons for following our dreams, or else we might as well just give up as soon as things get difficult, right?

No matter what your aspirations are, don’t take your hands off the steering wheel out of fear, or pressure to live a life that is financially rich, but spiritually poor. Hold onto your reasons for living the life you truly desire. Have faith in possibilities and perfectly introduced opportunities. Trust that the path unfolding is meant to support you in fulfilling your calling.

Take the left turn.

“That wind is calling my name.
I won’t wait or I’ll never get on.

So hold high, have faith your reasons;
Hold high, have faith your reasons.”
-Blind Pilot

This post was inspired by a lovely song called “Half Moon” by Blind Pilot, a band based out of Portland, Oregon.

One week into my 104- day journey across Europe.

One week into my 104- day journey across Europe.