“Come ye thankful people, come!”
This is a line of lyric from a hymn I learned in childhood about joining together to celebrate the gathered harvest before winter begins. It always brings a smile to my face and a welling up of happy feelings. I love the Thanksgiving celebration.
In honor of this harvest holiday taking place this week in the United States, I want to tell you, how thankful I am for you, the readers of The Nurtured Entrepreneur. Without you, there would be no exchange of energy and that exchange feeds me whether it comes in comments or simply in thought.
To express my appreciation, I’d like to share the first glimpse of my book-in-progress about seasons and joy and gratitude. This is a page from the November-January section, the quarter of the year known as Samhain in the Celtic tradition.
I am grateful for a cup of tea snug in hand.
I am grateful for first dips into freezing temperatures.
I am grateful for the comfort of thick flannel sheets.
I am grateful for reminders to be lighthearted.
I am grateful to be here.
Early this month, an artist friend sent me a dear handmade card for Thanksgiving so I could enjoy it all the month long. It is a reminder of friendship, something no one should be without. My store of friends is rich indeed and in that way I am abundantly blessed. My mother was my role model for having friends, being a good friend, and enjoying friends. I would not be where I am in my business or life today were it not for good friends, tried and true. I am thankful for that gift every day of my life.
(click image to read verse)
May your memories of things you are thankful for be warm and bright, may your blessings be sweet and many!
Many years ago I read a curious book by Hugh Prather, a man who unbeknownst to him, was one of my greatest spiritual mentors. He called this collection of experiments, A Book of Games: A Course in Spiritual Play.
There was one game I’ve never forgotten. It’s an especially juicy game for spiritual entrepreneurs to play. In it he suggests that when we wake in the morning, we don’t think of it as really waking, but only “passing from one dream into another.” Since we’re the dreamer, our whole day is our dream.
At the end of your chosen day, review it in detail. As you reflect, remember that you were everyone you saw because “the entire dream was yours alone.”
- What did you think of yourself? Were you kind in your thoughts?
- How did you interact with yourself? Were you present?
- What did you say to yourself? Were the words ones you enjoyed hearing?
If you experiment with this idea, be easy with it – it’s a game. Don’t let it devolve into an opportunity for self-judgement. Play. Observe. Wonder.
Until next time …
What a fanciful thing to have said:
That the universe fits in your head -
Every aspect of Tao
As it’s happening now,
But you think that you’re tiny instead.
The Seeding of the Imagination
In North America we’re at the tail end of the harvest season and heading into winter. In a day or two our darkest six weeks of the year begin. I’ve been thinking about hibernation as in turning within and slowing down. This is a bit contrary to the time warp that seems to leap frog us from Labor Day to Thanksgiving to the heart of winter in double time along with the outward string of holiday celebrations, parties, and intense travel schedules.
But we can make choices about how we tend our time and pace ourselves. And there’s also the matter of how best to use the darkness. I have an idea. This is, after all, a powerful time for planting visionary seeds in the soil of your imagination.
- Make a “cave space” for yourself for the next six weeks. It can be small. Three feet by three feet? Maybe include a cardboard box, an old end table, a cleared spot in the attic, basement, garage, or a corner of a room. Anywhere but your desk and main office area.
- Add a little comfort so you enjoy spending time there. A chair or a large pillow to sit on. A surface big enough to hold a snack. Maybe a favorite old sweater or the handmade afghan a friend gave you. Set this up in your cave.
- Find an object that holds special meaning for you in relation to your business. Maybe you photocopied the first check you received from a client. Maybe it’s a talisman of good luck from your desk or a letter of congratulations from a colleague when you announced your business. Put that in the cave.
- Now find the oldest notes you still have about what your dreams for your business when it was still just an idea. Something handwritten hurriedly as the ideas tumbled out of you once upon a time. Maybe a list of brilliant products you wanted to create or programs, workshops, and retreats you wanted to offer. Pull them out. If they’re online, print them out and bring those to your cave.
- Get some favorite papers and pens; index cards; construction paper; scissors, colored pencils, markers. Maybe some old magazines and some glue sticks. The accoutrements you like to create or play with. Bring those to your cave.
For the next six weeks, spend at least an hour a week in your cave. That’s only six hours total. Use those six hours to plant seeds. Re-read your old notes. Let your mind wander. Meditate. Write and see what comes out on the paper. Cut out pictures that inspire you from the magazines and make some collages to conjure up the magic of the subconscious. Create your own ritual when you enter your cave. Each time you cross the imaginary or real threshold, leave everything behind but Spirit and you. Hibernate with your heart and see what wants to be nurtured in the dark of days of winter, ready to bring new life into being in the spring.
As spiritual entrepreneurs journeying mostly on a pathless path, it can be helpful to gather tips from those who have more experience.
In a tele-call last month with brilliantly creative entrepreneurs Martha Beck, Lissa Rankin, and Amy Ahers it was stated that we don’t have to “jump off a cliff or have a melt down” to find our calling. “It can be a smooth, well-supported, well-guided process.”
How do we match up with the best support and guidance for us? For me, it was initially akin to an unfruitful archeological dig. I followed recommendations for entrepreneurs in general. Lost cause. No good matches.
Then I looked for mentors with similar spiritual inclinations and “new millennium” business values and practices. Five good matches narrowed to two best matches. I was still trying to copy complete models because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.
After struggling with this approach for a while, I began to realize a number of things. To make my own path, I would need to:
- be even more discerning and selective.
- embrace some teachings and discard some teachings from each mentor.
- limit the number of programs I engaged with at any one time.
- piece together a custom travel kit and guide book.
Bottom line, I was going to have to forge my own gold in my own alchemical fire to come up with a sustainable business process. And follow my heart. As one of my dear entrepreneurial colleagues says, ‘It’s a process.’
How did you reach your calling? Did it take cliff jumping or a melt down? Have you found a well-supported, well-guided process? Share your insights with us.
This morning, one of my sacred writing mentors, Mark Nepo, had this to say in his book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen – Staying Close to What is Sacred:
“[…] when touched by our calling, it doesn’t matter if we’ve been prepared or trained or certified or if we’ve been delayed for years. What matters is if we can listen to our own unmitigated possibility with our whole being.”
Until next time …
The autumn harvests of old took place from early August to late October. During this same time frame, I have been harvesting a new vision of my work and my place in the world. The last couple of years have been spent going deep into the soil of my life and planting new seeds. Now there’s a harvest in progress, a coalescing of what I’ve gleaned that my soul wants to express; wants to bring more fully into my work with my clients.
At first glance, the new pieces don’t appear to fit in neatly with my current services. I could compartmentalize them as I have done in the past. But that feels like cutting myself into pieces when my heart is seeking integration. And so it asks, “Will you be true to me?”
Have there been new truths growing for you that want to come more fully into expression, through you and out into the world? Have you been tending new visions of what your spiritual entrepreneurship could be that are ready for harvest? Perhaps the field is covered in a morning mist so that what’s taking shape isn’t quite distinct, but something in you knows it’s out there ripening.
The last harvest of the year, “Harvest Home,” is when all the summer’s bounty is in and stored for the winter. It’s a time of great relief, great celebration, and great gratitude for the unified efforts of Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Spirit that yield this life-giving abundance. As you approach your own time of “Harvest Home,” what ripe goodness will you be bringing in to celebrate and share?
Until next time …
Have you ever entertained a thought that was so compelling it seemed to go into your being and not just your brain? Since my experience that I wrote about in the previous post, when my dear friend and healer, Debbie Hazelton, said to me regarding fear, anxiety, and control …
“That’s so old millennium, you know. We don’t need to do that anymore.”
… I’ve been turning this notion over in my mind. I’ve been asking myself a lot of “what if” questions.
- What if it really is time for me to let go of what’s not serving me well? Let it go by way of compassionate witnessing of the thoughts, the body feelings, but not attaching or judging; not imagining for even a minute that they are real.
- What if the Universe is just waiting for me to concur with this so it can conspire to support a clean sweep? To fill my cells and crevices with the light and power of new energy, a new perspective?
- What if it’s really, REALLY true, that I am much more of every good thing than I’ve ever imagined?
- What if it’s time to step into, claim, own, and live, the truest part and heart of my being?
What would that look like? The interesting thing about this last question is that as I begin to fill in the vision, it feels a lot like being a little girl again. It feels like living the wonder, the knowing, and the joy of being here in a human form that I felt before my teen years. At the same time, it feels like stepping into a deeper, more mature layer of my spiritual self.
What would your vision look like if you were to own and live the truest part and heart of your being? If you shifted into a very different relationship and perspective on fear? And what if it starts coming true for us because we hold it in consciousness? Ah, what then?
What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep you dreamed?
And what if, in your dream, you went to Heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you woke, you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?”
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Until next time …
New Insight on an Old Theme
Do you ever get so focused on your entrepreneurial endeavors, head down, to-do list at the ready, that you lose track of what you’re feeling in your body? This happened to me recently when I was suddenly awakened to the fact that I’d been tense with nameless fear for the past week. Through my days, a habitual muscle tension lay over me and I was asleep to it. Uh-oh. More >
Shall We Dance?
Have you seen the posters of the man and woman in their eighties in swim suits, both in incredible shape and just finishing up a swim? Talk about authentic living. Both posters say something like, “Growing Old – It’s Not for Sissies.” At the moment, that’s how I’m feeling about being a solopreneur. No matter how creative, mindful, astute, technologically savvy, or marketing-minded you are, it’s definitely not for sissies. More >
Journal Excerpts from a Nurtured Entrepreneur
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Joy. Joye. Joie.
Okay, Pollyanna, is the measure of our success as spiritual entrepreneurs how much joy we experience? More >