Something New – Part 2

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.

In my second month (January) I have had a more difficult time deciding what my be a stretch for me.

Due to scheduling, I missed an opportunity to teach English for an hour at the local elementary school. Even though I am in Mexico and many opportunities abound, I have discarded many ideas.
I could hike a nearby peak, but that didn’t seem expansive or very different to me. After all, I have hiked many times and am not a huge fan. True, it would have been new because it is a different peak, but other than sweat and bugs it didn’t really feel outside my comfort zone.
I could have gone on a kayak ride in the lagoon – but again, I have done that before and all of the opportunities felt forced and in groups of people whose company I would not seek out.
Does it sound as if I was quibbling? Yes, I does to me, too.
Ultimately, however, I wanted to do something that would stretch me. And since I am here on a mental, physical, and spiritual retreat, I decided to move in that direction.
So my challenge is to live in the space and move with the assumption that it is truly okay being exactly who I am. I am trying to be aware of that little tightening response in my body when I am going against myself. I am working to be aware of when I am dodging and darting to please others. For moments at a time I am  breathing deeply in the satisfaction of just being myself. This means responding authentically. It includes saying no when necessary and speaking my truth when appropriate.
Holding onto myself is a part of this, too. Not giving so much of myself that I have nothing left. And when I must give, retrieving myself – disentangling my spirit and replenishing myself physically.
I know. It doesn’t sound like so much and sometimes it isn’t. At other times it is a gigantic change in me. As with everything, it’s a process…
The Student

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Something New – Pt. 1

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
For my first month (December) i understood what I was doing in hindsight.
The back story. We have four grown children. Having been raised in an era and with the ethos that the children went to the parents, we considered Christmas to be akin to running the gauntlet. With some divorced parents and living grandparents, we spent our holiday visiting many homes – trundling children along.
It was not without joy. We each loved our families and wanted our children to be nestled in the arms of extended family. But it was also exhausting to prepare and celebrate a Christmas with young ones while pleasing our parents and grandparents.
And so, when our children had children and began to create a variety of their own traditions we encouraged them to go for it. For a few years we celebrated Christmas all together on any chosen date before Christmas and somehow that evolved into us traveling to see them as individual family. Joint Christmases became less appealing as each family celebrated differently.
Now it is less appealing to travel every Christmas. We love celebrating quietly together in our own home.
Last year we decided to be useful. We served Christmas dinner at a local shelter. Our local kids and grandkids joined us on Christmas day and we were all thrilled by the experience. To feel as if we had made a meaningful contribution was good for all three generations.
This year, after much thrashing about, we decided to forego any travel (our local kids were out of town) and continue our own tradition – serving. The minute we made the firm decision we each sighed in relief and relaxed into enjoying the season.
I suppose to some this would seem a travesty – celebrating a holiday alone when we have a lot of family. But we loved it. We served lunch, came home to delicious split pea soup, and then went to a movie.
I am still not sure how this is reconnecting me to my regenerative forces. I’m not even really sure what that means. But I know that if feels good to make a decision outside my comfort zone that serves me well personally.
The Student

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And Solitude…

P1050618 • What generates meaning, hope, inspiration, and curiosity for you? Angeles Arrien
Well, I guess my reflections are just slow. Although Solitude one of my major needs, I didn’t think of it in relationship to this. Who can say which is more important for my inspiration in life? Connection, travel, learning, service . Perhaps I would rank connection and solitude as my top two. And they are the ying and yang of it, aren’t they?
I crave solitude. In that state I know myself – I have no doubt of who I am and am comfortable with that person. My mind can wander down paths without seeming to lack the power of attention.  And I get some of my best thougths there, too. In the days when I vacuumed more, my creativity began there. What is more solitary than running noisy a vacuum cleaner back and forth over a floor?
Yes. I must include solitude.
The Student

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