Bringing the Dream to Life: An Overview of Creating

dream-catcher-by-jaime-handley-on-unsplash-comWhen you think of creating what comes to mind?  Perhaps you picture making something out of nothing or combining seemingly unrelated things or ideas in new ways.  You might envision the work of artists, musicians and designers and imagine that they are more creative than other people.  However, when we look closely, we recognize that everyone creates.  We craft our lives, form relationships and activate states of being whether or not we are aware of doing so.  Being conscious of the creative process stabilizes our creations, accelerates our progress and enhances our precision in manifesting our dreams.

This post explores the creative process in order to bring unconscious patterns into conscious awareness.  Ideally your creations align with the will of Creator.  While you can create outside of Divine Will, you do so from a 3rd dimensional perspective of duality and conditionality and these constructs limit your creations.  To create within a higher dimensional consciousness, you must be in a state of well-being, respect, cooperation, fairness, balance, harmony and reverence for all life.  These qualities naturally align you and your desires with Creator’s will and they offer a more expansive range of possible outcomes.

The process of creating involves five steps:

Setting an intention

Focusing your attention on your intention

Letting go of control and allowing the process to unfold

Receiving what the Universe brings you

Giving thanks

Upcoming posts will explore these steps more deeply.

The awareness that I am a creator changes how I engage with life.  I no longer react to problems and events.  Instead, I view circumstances as a mirror reflecting an energetic pattern that vibrates in my energy field.  Irritations and problems reveal the presence of a pattern that limits me.  I can shift my thoughts, feelings, words, actions and beliefs to create a new pattern that activates different outcomes.  With each alteration in my internal landscape, I intentionally create a different energy pattern.  Every adjustment brings me closer to the joy and well-being that I dream for my life.

What is the dream you desire to bring to life?  As an unnamed Disney employee reminds us, “If you can dream it, you can create it!”[1]

If you want assistance in creating with precision, joy and confidence, email me at info@catherinegrytting.com.

[1] gizmodo.com/8-walt-disney-quotes-that-are-actually-fake-1692355588

Dreamcatcher photo courtesy of Jaime Handley at unsplash.com

 

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The Artist’s Rule: A Book Review

book-cover-the-artists-ruleThe New Year brings the opportunity to simultaneously expand and focus our awareness. I have chosen creativity as the star that will guide my soul’s navigation through 2017. In light of that choice, I am reviewing Christine Valters Paintner’s book, The Artist’s Rule.

My experience of reading Paintner’s book reminds me of my excitement the first time I watched “The Wizard of Oz” on a color television. I had already seen the movie many times and I knew the story by heart. Nevertheless, I was awe-struck when the scenes in Kansas, which were filmed in black and white, burst into brilliant reds, yellows and greens as Dorothy lands in the new world of Oz.

Similarly, in The Artist’s Rule, the familiar subjects of creativity and spirituality explode into a kaleidoscope of connections when the reader enters the liminal space where these topics converge. Paintner achieves this effect as she quotes and comments on the understandings of artists, poets, mystics, psychologists, theologians, Scriptures and other wisdom traditions.

The book, which reads like a stimulating conversation with a soul friend, “began as an online course called Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist.” (p. 3.) It maps a twelve-week journey that blends sparkling elements of creativity with rich values of spirituality. The bones of the book are practices such as contemplation, praying the hours, obedience, humility, hospitality, community, asceticism and service. Paintner fleshes out the content with teachings from Celtic and Cherokee traditions, insights from early Christian, desert fathers and mothers and the intelligence of the Earth’s seasons.

After discussing contemporary perspectives on ancient wisdom, each chapter offers contemplative practices that include questions for reflection and a reading to ponder. Then Paintner presents two creative explorations, generally using visual and written forms, with some opportunities for movement. Rather than focusing on artistic products, the exercises foster transformation. Paintner encourages the reader to “give yourself permission to make ‘bad’ art. By ‘bad,’ I simply mean art that is purely for self-exploration . . . and for honoring the beauty found in truthfulness.” (p. 103) This style of artistic play can uncover the splendor that dwells in our sacred depths. Poetic gems from participants in the online class shimmer at the end of each chapter. The structure of every creative activity provides support for timid novices while launching bold oficionados.

Written for those interested in spirituality and creativity, Paintner’s book cultivates awareness of “the sacred presence beating through the heart of the world.” (p. 16) Readers can enjoy the book from cover-to-cover, or by engaging with random excerpts. They can be successful alone or in a group. Perhaps they will find that the content, reflections and creative explorations carry them over the rainbow to the place where “the monk and the artist are one.” (p. 161)

Happy New Year and Kunghei fatchoy! What star will you choose to guide your soul’s navigation through 2017?

The Artist’s Rule: A Twelve-Week Journey Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner; Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2011; 173 pages

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Song of Creation: A Children’s Tale

My gift to you this holiday season is a fable that I wrote to delight the child in your heart.  May you receive it with the wonder and joy of childhood.

This tale begins long ago, before the era of time, in the realm from which all creation is born.  The sovereign caretakers of this empire are a playful magician and a powerful priestess.  Their daughter, Amore, is a curious, creative and happy child.  Her laughter bubbles like the brooks that dance throughout this glorious land.

Amore loves beauty in all its forms.  Each morning, she bathes in streams of light that paint the sky.  She perfumes herself with the pungent, spicy and sweet fragrances that waft from the grasses, trees and flowers.  Then she braids her heart with ribbons of sound from the choirs of insects and animals.  Finally, she adorns herself in a rainbow of colors that mirrors the radiance of the Universe.

One day as Amore wove whispers of waves and sighs of sprites into the beats of her heart she wondered how she might imitate their playful harmonies.  She imagined an instrument whose sounds would sparkle like sunlight on dew.  Amore gathered crystals, gems and stones.  She shattered the rocks, placed the treasured shards in a long, glass tube and sealed the ends of the cylinder.  When Amore tilted or twirled the tube, the colorful fragments tumbled into each other.  They tinkled and chimed and the delicate sounds mesmerized Amore.  The glistening stones tickled her imagination and their gentle murmurs warmed her heart.  She called her invention a vibralux because of its pleasing pulsations of shimmering sound and colored light.

Amore played her vibralux every day.  She learned to tip the tube at a sharp angle to create the crashing waves of an angry storm.  She whirled the instrument to imitate the whine of a worried wind.  With gentle shaking, she replicated the contented sigh of a leaf caressed by a breeze.  Amore skillfully mimicked Nature’s melodies and over time she realized that these refrains were more than mere tunes.  They were the language of Creation.

Amore shared her insight with her parents.  They confirmed her discovery and told her more.  They said that now that Amore could communicate with Creation, she had the power to expand the world.  They told her that as she converses with the Cosmos, her ideas come into form and bring forth even more of Creation.

Amore was delighted to imagine that she could partner with Creation.  She wrote love songs.  She composed music for mourning.  She designed sounds to accompany every emotion.  And she found that her parents were right.  As the frequencies of her vibralux oscillated outward, Creation expanded to embrace the beauty of her handiwork.   In fact, it is the music of Amore’s vibralux that fuels our expanding Universe.  She plays all the time.  As she plays, light, color and sound swell outward in ever-larger circles.  The tones flow through all that is and Creation responds by appreciating and calling forth more.  Sometimes the tumbling stones sound the birth of a healthy child.  Sometimes the sharp tones accent the pain of losing a loved one.  Sometimes fragments rub against each other and grate like an abrasive co-worker.  Always, Amore plays the melodies of our lives.  Always, our souls are shaped by and echo the tones resonating from Amore’s vibralux at the center of All That Is.

May 2017 be a year in which your soul partners with Creation to expand the sense of delight, wonder and joy on our planet.

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Responding to the Election: Be the Change You Wish to See

donald-trumpNow that Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States, fear and anger saturate the hearts of many people, world-wide.  A Trump presidency threatens Muslims, Jewish people, refugees, immigrants, African-Americans, people living with disabilities, individuals who rely on social services, women who have suffered sexual assault and many, many others.  How can we, as individuals, make a difference and stand against Trump’s divisiveness?

This post offers two possible responses.  Both require taking responsibility for our unhealed aspects of self.  One promotes personal integration and the other supports systemic transformation.

William Lee Rand, a Reiki healer and founder of the Reiki Membership Association recently wrote an article titled, “Dealing with the United States Election.”  He focuses on personal healing, reminding us that:

[w]hen a negative event affects us, it tends to re-stimulate unresolved emotional distress that we have stored inside. This unresolved distress was often created long ago and was added to by [sub]sequent negative experiences that we were not able to heal at the time. Shoving them deep inside ourselves was the only way we knew to respond to them. Even though we may not be fully aware of them most of the time, they still have a negative effect on our lives and lower the level of health, well-being and vitality we experience. The re-stimulation of these old feelings that were hidden from our awareness causes them to rise to the surface of our emotions where they can be more easily healed. By looking at the current political situation in this way, we can use it positively to move forward with our own healing and by doing so, become better able to healthily address the resulting changes taking place in the world around us.[i]

In contrast to Rand’s perspective, the healer and author Monica McDowell describes a process that transforms systems.  McDowell knows what it’s like to stand against tyranny.  She came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against a minister who is very much like our President-elect.  McDowell tells her story in her book, My Karma Ran Over My Dogma.[ii]

Paraphrasing McDowell’s experience, she indicates that:

our outer circumstances and relationships mirror our inner world.  Every time I criticized something in the presbytery, I knew it reflected something in me.  I had to find that aspect in myself, no matter how small, and offer it compassion.  When I could find the piece in me and see why I had acted that way at some time in the past, then I could understand and feel compassion toward those who were perpetuating the abuse.  As soon as I healed that part of myself, I would get a phone call or a letter or some other indication that the system had also shifted.

To heal the world, we must first heal ourselves.  If you are feeling helpless, hopeless or overwhelmed by current events, you might consider scheduling an appointment with me, another healer or a mental health professional who can support you as you release unresolved emotional pain.  Or, as McDowell suggests, you might look into the mirror of societal conditions and direct compassion to your inner shadow.  Either approach allows you to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi).[iii]  You, as an individual, CAN make a difference!

[i] Rand, W. L. (2016). Dealing with the United States Election. http://www.reikiwebstore.com/ProductPage.cfm?ProductID=726&CategoryID=38

[ii] McDowell, M. (2007). http://www.monicamcdowell.com/my-karma-ran-over-my-dogma.html

[iii] Gandhi, M. (1942). http://www.academia.edu/3604874/Quit_India_Speech_by_Mahatma_Gandhi_1942_

photo courtesy of http://www.photosforclass.com

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Chaos Theory Offers Insights into Our Political Process

donald-trumpConfusion and chaos flood the current election process in the United States.  Chaos theory reminds us that unpredictable patterns can evolve into a new state of stability, for example, as when drops are added to chemicals to form a different compound.  What if the instability we are witnessing in the American political system signifies a transition to a more balanced and effective form of government?

hillary-clintonUsing insights from chaos theory to illuminate the process of political change, it seems that the “starting compound” consists of governmental structures that are built on an unbalanced foundation of hidden influences and policies that support the wealthiest members of our nation.  Drop by drop, Americans are destabilizing the old system.  Little by little, people are speaking out against unethical actions that have been common practice.  One by one, WikiLeaks is revealing eddies of corruption.  More and more, people are challenging hate, interrupting exclusion and reaching out to those who are marginalized.

It takes each one of us, as a member of the collective, to bring the new reality to life.  As we prepare to vote, we must consider both our individual interests and the needs of the greater community.  As we choose the direction we dream for our country and world, we must intend the highest good.  Doing so invites the Universe to work with us even when the fullness of the Divine outcome is beyond our view.

The following invocation calls forth Divine Government for our nation.  It is from the Era of Peace website co-founded by the internationally known teacher, Patricia Cota-Robles and the author and presenter, Kay Eileen Meyer.[i]  If you feel called to do so, please affirm these words every day from now until November 11th when the 11/11 portal opens.  On that day, currents of Universal energies stream to the Earth and swell our individual efforts to bring forth a government that embodies cooperation, peace, harmony and reverence for all life.  Even though change won’t happen instantly, the old structure has been disrupted and a transition is underway!

Call For Divine Government

I AM my I AM Presence, and I AM One with the I AM Presence of all Humanity. As One Breath, One Voice, One Heartbeat, and One Energy, Vibration and Consciousness of Pure Divine Love I invoke…

My Father-Mother God and the great Beings of Light associated with cocreating Divine Government on this blessed Planet. I also invoke the Mighty Archangels and the Ascended Masters guarding the evolutions of Earth.

Blessed Ones, blaze the most intensified frequencies of Divine Will, Divine Love and Divine Wisdom from the very Heart of our Father-Mother God in, through and around every person involved with the governments of Earth in any way. I ask that you exponentially expand this Divine Light within the Heart Flame of every man and woman running for office in the USA at national, state or local levels. 

Now Beloved Legions of Light, blaze these intensified frequencies of Divine Will, Divine Love and Divine Wisdom in, through and around every single registered voter in the United States of America. Awaken the entire electorate to the profound opportunity at hand and Enlighten every person to the profound Truth that it is time for Divine Government to manifest NOW!

Let each person tangibly feel and experience the Power, Love and Wisdom of our Father-Mother God flowing through their Heart Flame as they vote for each candidate and all of the issues before them.

I now invoke the I AM Presence of every person who will be elected during this Presidential election season and all of those who are presently serving at national, state or local levels to take full dominion of that person’s thoughts, feelings, words, actions, beliefs and memories. Help that person to hear and to listen to the “still small voice within” that will guide him or her unerringly toward the fulfillment of the unfolding Divine Plan for this sweet Earth.

Now Beloved Ones, SEAL the Activity of Light I have invoked this sacred and holy day in the Immortal Victorious Threefold Flame anchored within my Heart and the Heart of every person on Earth. Expand this Activity of Light daily and hourly a thousand times a thousand fold until Planet Earth and ALL Life evolving upon her have God Victoriously completed our Ascension into the 5th-Dimensional frequencies of the New Earth.

Now through all Realms of Consciousness I decree:

VICTORY IS OURS IN LOVE GOVERNING THIS PLANET!   (repeat 3 times)

And so it is, Beloved I AM.

 

[i] http://www.eraofpeace.org

photos courtesy of http://www.photosforclass.com

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Come to the Water: A Meditation to Quench Your Thirst for Well-Being

creek upstreamWhat qualities and experiences quench your thirst for well-being?  Recently, I facilitated a mindfulness training that focused, in part, on consciously choosing the energies we want to experience.  It is possible to select a state of being and direct your attention to it rather than wallowing in an experience, not knowing how to create your preferred response.  For example, before the workshop began, I noticed that I was feeling anxious.  I mindfully witnessed that emotion.  Then I asked myself what I would prefer.  I realized that I would rather feel excitement.  Knowing that anxiety and excitement share similar characteristics, I felt certain that I could successfully make this shift.  I directed my attention to the possibilities for growth and connection that the workshop could bring and the anxiety shifted to excitement.  As a result, I activated a much more comfortable and effective mindset for the presentation.

Today’s post is an adaptation of the closing reflection that I led for the participants of that workshop.  It is designed to amplify qualities that you want to increase in your relationships and projects, such as ease, balance and joy or clarity, effectiveness and playfulness or any other experiences that would quench your thirst for well-being.  To do the meditation, you might consider recording yourself reading the following steps.  Then you can listen to the recording and allow yourself to fully engage in the process.  As an alternative, you might read the entire meditation, breathe yourself into a quiet, reflective state and then let your heart guide you.  You cannot do it wrong.  The following steps are simply guideposts to help you develop your own roadmap.

Come to the Water Meditation

Choose three qualities that you wish to expand, strengthen and weave through your life.

Set these words aside knowing you will return to them later.

Think of a pleasing experience you have had with water.

Remember the details of that experience: sights, sounds, tastes, smells and the feelings on or in your body.  What was the season?  What colors were present?  How was the light?

Hold your attention on the details of the experience and call forth the feelings you had at that time.  As you inhale, allow the feelings to flow through your entire body.  As you exhale, relax into the feelings.  Each time you inhale, turn up the volume on your feelings.  Each time you exhale, relax and allow your body to experience the feelings even more strongly.  You might notice an inner expansion or a smile in your heart.  Perhaps you notice nothing at all.  There is no one right response.

Continue to focus on the feelings and let the memory of the water experience fall away.

Maintain your focus on the feelings and allow the three qualities that you identified in step one to float to you like leaves on the surface of a stream.

Picture yourself forming these qualities into a triangle.

Bring the triangle into your energy field.  Again, there is no one right way to do this.  You might place the triangle at the base of your aura, like a platform to support you.  You could place it in a chakra or above your head like an antenna to draw these qualities to you.  Do whatever seems right for you.

Breathe deeply and be pleased with yourself, knowing that you have strengthened the energy of these qualities in your energetic field.

Anchor the process and bring yourself to a sense of completion by taking three smooth breaths and continuing to feel pleased with yourself.

In the next few days and weeks, pay attention.  When you notice one of your chosen qualities, validate yourself.  That which we give attention to grows.  Repeat this meditation as often as you like.  When you strengthen qualities you wish to experience in your life, you quench your thirst for well-being.

 

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Presence: The Gift of a Quiet Mind

be here nowHow often is your awareness fully engaged in the present moment?  When I was asked that question I was surprised to realize that my mind frequently drifts to the past or future.  In my work as a spiritual director, healer and counselor, I notice a similar tendency among my clients.  Many of us replay events from previous years and wish things had been different or we think about ways that the good, old days were better than current reality.  In addition, we frequently anticipate the future by worrying, struggling to control what’s ahead, rehearsing potential conversations or attempting to avoid outcomes that might remind us of former restrictions and hurts.

The habit of focusing on the past and anticipating the future tethers the future to the past as it limits our present moment opportunities.  It is as if I create an energetic blueprint the first time I have an experience.  Each time I encounter a similar situation, I think about how it unfolded the previous time.  Then I strive to either repeat or avoid that outcome.  Over time, I establish a habitual response and I am no longer aware that it directs my life.

How do we interrupt the inclination to step away from present time?  Mindfulness is the practice of constantly returning our awareness to the here and now.  It interrupts the likelihood of stepping out of present time and it provides many benefits.  It quiets the mind, decreases stress levels, softens attachment to outcomes, focuses attention and strengthens resilience.[i]  Quieting the mind supports well-being.  When stress levels drop, the fight, flight, freeze response relaxes.  This, in turn, activates the body’s natural healing mechanism and improves overall health.[ii]  The ability to remain unattached to outcomes tempers our expectations and improves relationships.  Focusing attention alters the structure of the brain, simultaneously strengthening concentration and boosting effectiveness.[iii]  Resilience is especially important because it makes us more buoyant as we navigate the waves of fear washing over the planet.

During his life, the Vietnamese, Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote numerous books describing the practice of mindful awareness.  Over and over, he directs the reader’s attention to here and now.  For example, the following meditation ties the breath to various feelings and states of awareness:

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

Breathing in, I feel calm.

Breathing out, I feel at ease.

Breathing in, I smile.

Breathing out I release all my worries and anxieties.

Breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment.

Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment.[iv]

Another author and spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, emphasizes the importance of letting go of thinking in order to maintain an awareness of Presence.  In the YouTube video linked to the end of this post, he offers suggestions for slowing down the overactive mind.  As we practice mindful awareness, we expand our capacity to fully engage in the present moment.

For more tools on maintaining mindful awareness contact me at info@catherinegrytting.com.  To learn from Eckhart Tolle, watch “How Do We Break the Habit of Excessive Thinking?” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTFDfR47dl4.

 

[i] Hanson, R. with Mendius, R. (2009). Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

[ii] Rankin, L. (2013). Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. New York: Hay House, Inc.

[iii] Hanson, R. with Mendius, R. op. cit.

[iv] Hanh, T. N. (1998, 2015). The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy & Liberation: The Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path and Other Basic Buddhist Teachings.  New York: Harmony Books.

 

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