Tag Archives: wisdom

Subconscious work – money dream

I am late to get this blog post started this morning because I had a wild dream last night and I was capturing it before it was lost into my handwritten journal.

The night before last I had insomnia and only slept ~90 minutes. Last night I had a most juicy night of sleep, 10.5 hours. Of course, nights when I sleep deeply and well I tend to dream. Since dreams are a way that our subconscious works and processes what we are struggling with in our waking lives, sometimes they hold interesting keys when we remember them and interpret them. 

Or at least that’s what I am telling myself. I had a therapist once who wanted me to write down my dreams and tell her about them. She was a little “kooky” – there is no other way to describe her. But I think I got something from our 6 months of work together. The dream work kind of creeped me out though, and I never agreed with her interpretations, which were probably more about her than about me.

This particular dream had to do with a friend who entrusted me to give away some money to a list of people, mutual friends. At one point I questioned him (he was somehow there, and yet gone in the dream, perhaps deceased, but appearing to me in spirit…?) about why he had chosen ME for this particular task. It was hard, I told him. Some of these people I am no longer in contact with; why did he ask ME to do this thing?

Of all the people he knew, I was the only one he trusted to do the right thing with the money. If somehow a friend could not be located there was a charitable organization he had listed that would get the remainder of the money. (Let’s set aside the weird portion that I cannot understand at this point – the money was all in Russian currency).

This is really interesting and ironic to me, because I’ve been working on my “money dream” as part of my coaching work. One thing I have struggled with is my own self-trust when it comes to money. I want to take care of it well, and do things for my long-term well-being (and my husband’s) when it comes to money. And yet I do not entirely trust myself, since I have made some big mistakes in the past.

What this dream seemed to offer me was an affirmation. “You’re the only one I trust to do the right thing,” this friend said to me. When I consider that, in light of the doubts I have had about money, I am choosing to interpret this to mean I can trust myself when it comes to these decisions. Even though I have made some mistakes, I am learning from them. I am being much more open with my husband about my worries, fears and doubts, and we are working our way through these big decisions together.

I feel oddly comforted by this interpretation, and by its effect on my body in releasing stress. I can trust myself. I have learned from the past. I will do the right thing. Ahhh.

Does interpreting dreams ever do this for you? Does it bring you some comfort with an issue that’s been plaguing you? 




This moment, this breath

All we have is this moment. The past exists only in our memories. And the future exists only in our imagination.

Neither the past nor the future exist, except in our minds.

All we have is this moment, right now, anchored to the body by this breath, and our awareness of being HERE.

By awakening to this moment, developing the awareness to keep coming back here again and again, we develop gratitude and wonder for the abundance all around us.

People and companies from all channels, teevee, and internet, try to sell us happiness, in a can of Coke, the latest shoes, car or whatever accessory they urge us to buy and consume.

In the meantime, when we are aware that nothing outside of us can bring us true joy, and that we can tap an inner well of joy at any time, we are truly free.

We give thanks for our existence, for that miracle of being born in a time when we can create, as a species, more than we will ever need to survive.

We become conscious of over-using resources of the earth without regard for consequences. By not cultivating ecological harmony for future generations, we short-change the gift we simply received with no work on our part. It was granted just by being born of this earth.

As we sit in stillness and awareness of this moment, let us realize this great gift. Let us restore and heal our mother earth  and honor her for how she has fed us and sheltered us. We thank her for granting all the raw materials we need to apply our human ingenuity to transform into tools for better living.

She has not failed us and continues to give generously. Let us pledge never to fail her.

divine feminine

Photo credit link – The Divine Feminine and Return of the Sacred Wisdom of Creation


(a prayer/meditation to honor the divine feminine, handwritten by mexi minnesotana on March 1, 2018, transcribed March 2, 2018.)

Un-buffering your life

We are often taught that going “outside our comfort zone” is where the most growth happens. I believe this is true, to a large extent. Our human species evolved to seek comfort or pleasure and avoid pain. These impulses largely kept us alive, along with developing communities which could provide protection and safety in a wild world.

bird rising watercolor

But as humans evolved to go beyond our basic necessities, we must also evolve in our consciousness. We must make different choices beyond survival day-to-day in order to respect the long-term sustainability of ourselves and of our planet. I write this knowing that many people around the world lack clean water, or sufficient food to eat, and I am aware of my privilege in writing these words.

The practice of creativity and if making things purely for own pleasure is one magnificent part of our existence. Whether composing songs, decorating one’s home, writing a story, or playing with color on canvas, we are a species that delights in using our imagination and creating something from nothing.

Liz Gilbert writes and speaks so elegantly of this in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and in her podcast Magic Lessons. I am grateful to have re-discovered her work, along with uncovering the Joy Diet book I have by Martha Beck last fall. Also around that time I found the work of Brené Brown on vulnerability and courage, Daring Greatly among them, but I recommend any of her books.

As I confronted my habits of “buffering” my emotions through alcohol, food, over-working, etc, I realized that I needed to slow everything down. Right before I reached for that drink, or chocolate, or “buy” button to get myself out of my feeling of discomfort, I needed to pay attention to what was going on in my body.

tissue healing watercolor

Typically what I discovered was that an uncomfortable emotion was present. It might be loneliness or fear. It might be a response to avoidance I had about doing certain tasks at work, or anticipating a difficult conversation and not knowing how I wanted to speak my truth, while respecting another person.

Mostly what I found is that I used my buffers to avoid or resist the truth that I was feeling in my own body. When I learned some tools like meditation and yin yoga to help me get “comfortable with discomfort” I realized that I could sit with a feeling and just experience it all the way through, without resisting it and without attaching to it.

Once I acknowledge the emotion, named it and thoroughly sense where it resided in my body, I can move on, and not let it hijack me or my behavior. But that process of slowing down, feeling an emotion all the way through, without reaching for my phone, something in the fridge, or some other distraction, has radical implications.

Paying attention and becoming fully aware of what is happening not just around me but within me feels like a “magic” tool. I accept things as they are, embrace the suck, or just note when I feel fear, uncertainty, doubt, rage or discomfort. That allows me to examine what thoughts and stories feed these feelings.

variable infinities

When I back up and understand that emotional and physical cascade that resulted from certain thoughts, I can question whether those thoughts are even true. Sometimes I can do this from a “thought download” or a hand-written journal I use daily to get out all the junk that piles up in my curious monkey mind. Other times, it is locked in there pretty deeply, so I use some other medium, like pastels or watercolors to tease it out.

I joke with my husband that these always turn out like 2nd grade art projects (I posted some examples today). They are not really for anyone but me, but at the same time, they sometimes give me clues to what is really going on in my psyche. Words can do this for me, but sometimes they fail me. That logical, rational, ego-driven part of my mind can protect me mightily from my inner truth.

The ego knows some truths may be painful, and require me to make certain changes in my life, definitely stepping outside the comfortable world I know. Since my brain is trying its best to take care of me, to keep me ensconced in safety, it does what it knows best, seek pleasure and avoid pain.

after the rain watercolor

And yet, this is not the path where personal and spiritual growth happens. Often it takes a painful life event to get us to a place where we MUST make some change. Sometimes there is a powerful realization within us that we have become too comfortable. In my past, I find that I tend to “make trouble” for myself when things are a little too comfortable.

Looking back, I see how many times I was running from something, rather than facing up to it. Or how many times I tried to avoid my discomfort and fear, by keeping myself from know some truth that was billowing up within me. I feared as soon as I acknowledged it, I would need to change MY WHOLE LIFE and would disrupt my loved ones’ lives around me. I did not realize I could take action steps toward what was next, at a pace that worked for me.

Sometimes we must leap into the fire and destroy the previous life (or lie) we have lived, if it was not authentic to the essence of our being, who we really are. And I believe sometimes this fire burns from within, and allows us to rise from the ashes of our prior belief systems which no longer work for us.

As we un-buffer, and become comfortable with discomfort, we develop courage and determination to rise up and do what our soul calls us to do. May you, dear reader, slow down and know when your buffers are getting in the way of your highest purpose.



Animal magnetism

Last week while in Miami for work, I was sitting in the courtyard of the hotel, visiting with the facilitator (“G”) we had worked with during our team meeting. We were reflecting on the week, and on our sense of how things had resolved themselves, or in some cases, not resolved. I was feeling a little disappointed with my part in the meeting, a little critical of not being able to bring us to closure in the way I had hoped. We had intended to remove things from the team’s responsibilities and focus in on critical tasks that differentiate our team from others at the company.

Instead I found myself shaking my head at tasks being added to my team’s responsibilities. I had openly reflected out loud this concern during the conclusion of our meeting. As the operational manager for that group, I have responsibility for making sure we deliver on our commitments. But I felt we had set the group up with more, not less. This had been the problem in the first place, and I had hoped we could solve it.

Lizard in courtyard

While in this state of contemplation and self-doubt, “G” and I noticed a tiny little reptile, adorable in her fine detail, approaching us with quick little darts in the courtyard. I pulled out my phone to capture her, slowly and gradually, not wanting to scare her off. I was delighted with her perfect tiny features, and wanted to share this little creature with my husband when I returned home. He is what I call an “animal magnet.” Animals of all kinds: dogs, cats, birds, and other creatures, seem to gravitate toward him as though he possesses some special energy, something they crave. In our household, this could be because he feeds our furry felines every time I travel, so they know they are dependent on his attention. However, it happens with other creatures too, our neighbors’ pets, the cats and dogs of family and friends, and farm animals.

I have always appreciated this affinity he has for nearly every kind of creature he encounters. I consider it a great gift and a great comfort to me, that animals trust him. He is kind, and has a gentle heart, and I am convinced that they are able to sense it. Certainly it is one reason I believe we bonded so strongly when we first met.

Lizard hello

For a few moments the facilitator and I watched this tiny creature, as it darted again, then poised briefly on the edge of my foot. I was amazed! I sat there breathless, trying not to move or react, since I never have had such an adorable miniature lizard perched on me like this.

I remarked to G that this was unusual and that it reminded me of the principle that neuroscientists explain to us, about our “two brains.” We have primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, which responds instinctively to situations. It is fast, it is built for survival and it is one great reason we are alive today, as individuals, and humanity in general. When it comes to fear or danger, this “reptilian brain” rapidly signals to the thalamus that action is needed. In only 12 milliseconds, this trigger is activated, and we are able to do what is necessary in the situation.

The other part of our brain, fairly well-developed in humans, is the neo-cortex, also known as the frontal cortex. It has a remarkable ability to acknowledge fear and name it, but it responds slower than the amygdala, in about 25 milliseconds. That may not seem like much, but the emotional response triggered by the amygdala has already begun triggering the “fear response” which is the body’s physical response to the stimulus, emotional and visceral, ready for fight, flight or freeze. When we truly are in danger, we do not have time to consider your options for long. We must act, run or hide, and this perfectly adaptable. Our brain is very efficient gets the job done.

Humans (and mammals generally) evolved other areas as well that are critical to their survival, particularly in developing connection to others and a sense of belonging. We have mechanisms for building our social connections, for developing trust and living in community. Dogs have these as well. They are pack animals. Cats live in prides (in the wild), and other mammals and birds live in groups, often critical to their survival.

As humans we have the privilege of making conscious choices about who we invite to be part of our tribes. Sometimes we must accommodate, at work or in other groups, where we are asked to interact with those we do not necessarily enjoy. But it is still a choice, and we can do this grudgingly, joyfully or even neutrally, when our neo-cortex runs the show. When our amygdala is particularly active, however, these interactions are not as productive or fruitful. Without trust, there is little ability to quiet that inner lizard that is yelling (internally) “run away! run away!”

Lizard comfy

But when we have the resources, sometimes time or shared experience with other individuals or groups, we can more easily calm this fear response. As we move through the world, we develop some intuition about which people can be trusted, and which ones might require some “reserve” so we protect ourselves. This is necessary and allows for preservation of safety. But it can also be limiting when we are armored up all the time. As a woman, I completely relate to this tendency. I long to be open, to trust and to invite others to do the same. I also know that people can take advantage of this openness at times, and it is okay and reasonable to protect myself.

Openness is magnetic, in a very visceral way. Vulnerability, when shared judiciously, can open up possibilities in other people as well as ourselves. It is not weakness, to acknowledge places we have struggled, or ways in which we failed. It takes enormous courage to do this, and to invite others to know our humanity. Brené Brown reminds us: “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.”

That little lizard on my foot found a warm spot, and she knew I was no danger to her. She perched for a few minutes, and eventually darted off again while I delighted in this tiny lesson. In that moment I realized that my little lizard is always with me, but she can calmly sit even in uncertain conditions, waiting for the next indication of when it is time to move forward. That is what has kept her alive, and will allow her to thrive.