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Once in a Blue Moon, featured as part of SpiritSite.com's "Coaching Corner" column, is Copyright © 2001 by Amara Rose. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
"Gratitude and forgiveness are brothers. Be grateful for all the challenging people in your life -- bosses, co-workers, in-laws, children, friends -- because they're your greatest teachers."
Amara Rose, Once in a Blue Moon:
Giving Your Vision a Voice
When I was preparing to leave the corporate nest to try my wings as an entrepreneur, I had a dream in which my Dad -- not a big career risk-taker -- advised me, "Sometimes when you come to a blue moon you have to cross it."
Waking, I realized "blue moon" means a rare opportunity. His counsel to "cross it" was the metaphorical equivalent of seize the day -- to dare to live my dream out loud.
In the past decade I've launched two successful ventures. Each has built upon what's come before, and now I'm truly living on purpose. Yet it hasn't been a cakewalk. Resistance dogged my footsteps every inch of the way. We often try to camouflage this real-life stage fright with glib bravado, workaholism -- or apathy.
There's another way: following the path of the heart. How do we find it? With a transformational road map.
Step One: Give Yourself Permission to be Passionate
We fight change because acceding to it feels like stepping off a cliff into an abyss. Out of touch with our vital, intuitive nature, we panic and crawl safely back into the shopping center mentality. We resign ourselves to buying the leopard skin pants because we're afraid to be the leopard.
How do we answer this call of the wild? How do we reclaim our juiciness, our connection to what's true for us? First, we need to give ourselves permission to be passionate, to dream beyond our self-imposed boundaries. No one can do this for us.
As we grant ourselves this grace, the still, small voice inside us grows stronger. We advance from being good soldiers, who take orders, to spiritual warriors who take responsibility. Responsibility is the ability to respond, to say yes, count me in!
Step Two: Say The First Farewell
One of the "symptoms" of transition is that the familiar starts to seem strange. You feel a need to distance yourself from the "ordinary world" of others. This leave-taking can occur symbolically.
In the year before I left my corporate post to start my marketing communications business, I made a conscious decision to mentally "let my company go." I still completed the work to my usual high standards, and freed up enormous emotional energy I'd been pouring into job frustration, which I then productively channeled into the launch of my business.
Step Three: Enter The Void
So pry those mental fingers loose! Your willingness to be in free-fall, to release one trapeze bar before the next has swung into view, is an essential step in "restory-ing" your life.
Look again at the story you've created about how the world is, and see how this filter distorts your view of beauty -- your own beauty.
The poet Rilke encourages us to "live awhile in the question." You're entering a corridor between the worlds; it's okay to not know what happens next. Simply be with the change process.
As you allow yourself to feel safe inside the space between who you've been and who you're becoming, the feeling of falling into an abyss will subside.
Step Four: Enlarge The Lens
Marcel Proust said, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Look with the eyes of wonder, like a child. When children encounter the unfamiliar, they s-l-o-w w-a-y d-o-w-n, allowing their senses to absorb new information as they examine the curious situation.
You can do this with personal transformation. Breathe deeply into the mystery. Ask yourself, how can I expand this experience? Discover the place inside you that is "crea-geous," a warrior living from creative courage.
Keep a journal. If you're more kinesthetic than visual, dance your change process. What does it feel like as flowing movement? Try painting or sculpting your journey, or make up songs describing your experiences.
Step Five: Bless The Fear
Fools rush in; the rest of us tremble. Fear is normal. It's even valuable, because it gives us something to push up against, which helps develop our spiritual muscles. This is positive resistance. Weight training for the mind.
Fear itself is only a smoke screen: false evidence appearing real. You can defuse it with "affirmative action." Every night before bed, I'd give a thumbs-up to my office (set up in a corner of my living room). I did this for years. A simple, powerful, yes for success!
Step Six: Do The Work!
In the Hero's Journey, this phase is known as the Initiation. Goethe said, "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it/Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." Once you commit to change, a confluence of forces moves to assist you. This support flows from your intention, which precedes and initiates transformation.
I draw inspiration from improvisational comedy. The core concepts of improv are: Begin with what is. Don't manipulate the action, discover it. Never stop the action by saying "but" or "no"; instead say "yes, and" and add on to what's come before. In this way we build a story, a calling, a life.
When I wanted to start writing for health magazines, I authored a piece about my first client, a fashion designer, for a national business magazine (Begin with what is.)
After the article was published, I asked the editor, "Do you have other writing needs I could fill?" (Discover the action.) He said they had a column they were thinking of dropping for lack of writers with good story ideas. The topic? Personal health.
I became their primary contributor, and used these articles as a springboard to generate assignments in health magazines. (Yes, and...)
When you can feel air currents wafting past your face, you're in the solution. The poet David Whyte describes this forward momentum eloquently: "The rest of creation is waiting, breathless, for you to take your place."
Step Seven: Take The Tests
It should be obvious by now that you can't cut corners; no hitching a ride to self-discovery (or a new career/relationship/prosperity) on someone else's coattails!
To own your power, you must be willing to scrape your psyche on the rocky road inland. It's the only way to discover and claim your unique gift.
You'll encounter tests along the way, as you master an experience and are ready to move on. The tests can be innocuous or even pleasant, depending on our degree of resistance.
I approached a new teller named Amber at my bank, wanting to cash an ancient savings bond. Amber said matter-of-factly, "I like challenges," and enlisted a supervisor to show her the ropes.
When she handed me my money, I complimented her on her attitude, and she said, "Now I've learned something new. It was an exhilarating experience!" At twenty, she's a change master. Because Amber gives herself permission to be passionate, to enter the void, to enlarge the lens, bless the fear, and do the work, she is willing to take the tests -- and they're celebrations for her.
I saw a woman wearing a fabulous T-shirt that brings this principle home: "If you want to live life on your own terms/You've got to be willing to crash and burn." Now that's answering the call!
Step Eight: Humor Yourself
We can lighten up into our enlightenment. When I was deep into my transformational journey, a healer told me, "One day you will hear laughter and realize it's your own voice." It seemed a strange prophecy. Yet as I peeled away layers of false beliefs and crusty attitudes that kept me enslaved, I felt laughter spontaneously bubble up from some subterranean source, and I understood. This is who we are. Let yourself feel the joy, the light, the love inside your being.
Some ways to encourage dormant humor: play with a puppy, a kitten -- or a child. Make up nonsense words to popular songs and walk around singing them -- in public. Read humorist Dave Barry's syndicated Sunday newspaper column. Enroll in an improv comedy class.
Step Nine: Be Grateful
Gratitude and forgiveness are brothers. Be grateful for all the challenging people in your life -- bosses, co-workers, in-laws, children, friends -- because they're your greatest teachers.
These relationships are difficult precisely because of your (guess what) resistance to the lesson, which might be about compassion, self-worth, generosity, or unconditional love.
The Mayans have an expression, In Lakéch, which means, "I am another yourself." We're always looking in the mirror. If we don't like what we see, we can blame the mirror, or look within. The latter is the path of personal mastery, and peace.
Expressing our gratitude can also bring healing to a relationship. Remember that intention initiates transformation. Everything we manifest in the outer world begins first as an idea, as a thought in our minds. Appreciating another opens new avenues for our own abundance to flow in.
Step Ten: Be The Change
Heroes know that mastering change requires daily practice. I really enjoy the signs in public gardens that say, "Stay on the path."
This is the key to integrating change in your life: have big dreams, take baby steps. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see." Imagine, if Gandhi had remained a lawyer, the gifts the world would not have.
Living authentically means choosing to live from responsibility, courage, creativity and faith, all of which unleash tremendous joy and freedom. It's a lifelong process of self-actualization. And it's our reason for being here.
Amara Rose is deeply committed to helping others create spiritually successful change. A "midwife for the soul," she is adept at bridging the metaphysical and material apsects of life in 3-D. Amara offers individual coaching sessions, ongoing playshops on topics such as Building Manifestation Momentum, and her signature Eve-o-lution Discovery Salons, which facilitate the integration of our feminine and masculine selves. She is the author of many articles on personal transformation, some of which are posted to her website, http://www.liveyourlight.com (site will open in a new window). She may be reached at 707-522-9529 (northern CA) or 505-670-1608 (New Mexico)